Wednesday, March 5, 2014

REVIEW AND GIVEAWAY: CUPCAKES AND INK and CLIPPED WINGS by HELENA HUNTING

 
 
 
Cupcakes and Ink (Clipped Wings, #0.5)Series: Clipped Wings #0.5
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Pocket Star
Publication Date: 2/3/14
Format: eARC
Pages: 60
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4 stars

Tenley Page is looking for a new start: a new city, a new apartment, a new life. Her plan is to keep to herself and stay focused. But leaving her past behind and starting over isn’t as easy as she thought. And neither is maintaining her solitude. As Tenley settles into her new surroundings, she finds herself drawn to Inked Armor, the tattoo studio across the street. But it’s the gorgeous, dark-haired tattoo artist who captures her interest. There’s something about his severe beauty that captivates her—and not just in her waking hours.

Covered in the ink he inscribes on other people’s skin, Hayden Stryker has made a career out of being a tattooist. He’s got his own business and a tight circle of friends. As far as he’s concerned, that’s all he needs. At least until his aunt, who owns the antiques and used book store across from his tattoo studio, hires a new employee. At first his intrigue is based on physical appeal; hot chick equals something nice to look at. But as he begins to catch glimpses of the fiery personality under the fragile, feminine exterior, his fascination with Tenley grows. Annoyed by his inability to control his fixation, Hayden decides the best way to cure him of the new obsession is to get to know the girl under her skittish faƧade.

But like the ink he wears as armor, Tenley has the ability to get under his skin and stay there.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18813938-cupcakes-and-ink?from_search=true

Cupcakes and Ink was an interesting little novella. It is a prequel to Clipped Wings, but barely. This story blends right into the next, and helps provide a bit of context to the emotional state of both Tenley and Hayden.

After having read both back-to-back, I would definitely say that it is important to read Clipped Wings first. It's not that there is anything of significance that occurs, but it is a good set-up to Clipped Wings. Without reading Cupcakes and Ink, I'm afraid that the connection at the beginning would seem a bit rushed.

I do like that Cupcakes and Ink is significant to the overall story, and I really liked it.


Favorite Quote:

  But denial was a funny thing. It allowed me to justify the images floating around in my head, not all of them lurid. They all contained Tenley, though. And if I was really honest with myself, which I rarely was, I didn't want the illusion to break. Because all of a sudden, my controlled, self-imposed exile didn't seem all that appealing. For the first time in years, I wanted...something. Anything. As long as it was real.



Clipped Wings (Clipped Wings, #1)Series: Clipped Wings #1
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication Date: 3/4/14
Format: ARC
Pages: 400
Source: Publisher
Rating: 5 stars


An emotional love story that follows the touch-and-go relationship of Hayden and Tenley; two young people who desperately want to love and be loved but are afraid to completely let go of their pasts.

As Hayden and Tenley navigate their newfound but slightly unstable relationship, they want to trust each other, but Hayden is hiding a dark and shameful past that he doesn't ever want Tenley to find out about. And Tenley has secrets of her own that could make Hayden run away forever. When Tenley asks Hayden to put a beautifully elaborate tattoo across her back, the two form what they thought was an unshakeable bond. But when Tenley's past shows up on her doorstep, will Hayden stand by her side...or run?

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18344534-clipped-wings?from_search=true
 
"Everyone has scars, Tenley. If we're lucky they're only on the outside."


I went into Clipped Wings with absolutely no expectations. Actually, that's not true. Based on the book description, I thought it might be exactly like a lot of the stories I've been finding lately: emotionally crippled bad boy seeks emotionally damaged girl for lots of angst and drama and sexy times that will heal both. Yeah, that's what I expected. I was hoping the writing would at least make up for the "sameness" that was coming. But, that is not what I got in Clipped Wings. What's delivered was an emotionally powerful story that, yes, had some of those elements, but due to the  very thoughtful and in-depth angle, as well as the prose by the obviously talented Helena Hunting, was gorgeous.

Clipped Wings is very much a character-driven story. Tenley and Hayden, their secrets, their histories and their efforts to make a better future are the elements that move the story. As you can see in the description, both characters have a dark past. What has happened is not immediately revealed, but unfolds slowly throughout the story. I mean, I guessed it correctly - the clues are pretty strong- but the two play their cards so close to their chest and both refuse to reveal all their truths. To be completely honest would seem the obvious choice, I know. But Hunting did such a great job in giving the motivations for secrecy that I didn't even mind. Tenley feels blame and shame for what she's gone through (for those of you wondering, no, it is not sexual trauma of any sort), as does Hayden. These two truly believe that if the whole truth is known, the other will walk away. It's not completely logical from the outside looking in, but again, Hunting sold it well.

As I mentioned before, I think Helena Hunting did a terrific job with the story. I love the choices she made creatively, despite the fact they hurt me as a reader. I like that the relationship between Tenley and Hayden was very tentative, reluctant, and developed slowly. The character motivations made sense to me. It certainly felt more realistic than many stories I've come across with similar situations. Besides the story, I found Hunting's prose to be a true treat to read. It was full of emotional depth and feelings, but never read as too melodramatic.

Fair warning: Clipped Wings does end on a cliffhanger. I was so hurt at the ending, infuriated by one character in particular, and I sort of sagged out of exhaustion. You could say I had strong-frustrated, but still good- feelings. It took every bit of my resolve not to pick up my copy of Inked Armor and dive right back into the story. Call me a masochist, but I think I wanted to roll around in my feelings a bit. Draw it out. I enjoyed every single moment of Clipped Wings, even when it hurt. I think this series is definitely one to watch.



Favorite Quotes:

   "Any kind of modification, whether it's to alter physical features, like cosmetic surgery or to decorate, like piercings and tattoos cause some degree of discomfort. But that's the point, isn't it? It's cathartic because it's the promise of change in some form or another. My tattoos give the memory related to the art a place to exist outside of my head, on my body."


  I was starting to think of her as mine. For the first time in my life, I wanted someone for myself. And I would take her any way she came.


 
 
 
The Clipped Wings Series
 
Cupcakes and Ink (Clipped Wings, #0.5)  Clipped Wings (Clipped Wings, #1)  Inked Armor (Clipped Wings, #2)
(covers lead to GoodReads page)
 
 
 
Purchase Links
Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble  |  iBooks




GIVEAWAY
 
 
About the author
Helena Hunting lives on the outskirts of Toronto with her incredibly tolerant family and two moderately intolerant cats. She’s putting her degree in English Lit to good use by writing contemporary erotic romance. She is the author of Clipped Wings, her debut novel, and Inked Armor.
 



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36 comments:

  1. awesome post, andrea! i've had my eyes on this series but just haven't gotten around to it yet. also, the cover for the first book is so super stunning, love it! it definitely sounds like something right up my alley so huge thanks for the chance!

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    1. ack, i didn't answer the why so here goes: i'm knee-deep into contemporary romances right now. at first, i thought it was all new adult but omg, i'm into like... just regular contemporary romances and all that... which i guess category-wise is adult, lol! anyway, again, thanks for the chance!

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  2. I love the tattoo aspect but I'm terrified this will be really angsty and I'm stroke prone in my old age so I'm not sure if I can handle it LOL! GReat review babe!

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  3. Oh how I love a good book that can rip me to shreds! Great review!

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  4. This sounds absolutely wonderful, Andrea! It seems so emotional and so well-written. But, I'm going to wait for all the books to come out because I'm not a fan of cliffhangers! Lovely review! :)

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  5. It sounds like the author did an excellent job developing her characters, which I sincerely appreciate. I love depth!

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  6. I love the fact that their story builds throughout the whole book. It gets tiring when everything wraps up quickly. I want to see the growth of the characters, that gets them through to the other side. I love angst, but hope there's not too much. He'll yeah, this book is something I want to read!

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  7. It does seem like a book I would like to read. I really enjoy love stories with secrets.

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  8. This sounds like a series I definitely want to read. I love a good emotional story that draws you in and this sounds right along those lines. Thank you for the giveaway.

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  9. I'd like to read this series. Any book that's blurb tells me the characters have some deep dark secret, I have to read!

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  10. I have both of these but I think I really wanna go with the audiobooks instead. I'm so happy this isn't like the same ol story I need a break from. So happy to see this got 5 stars from you. LOVE the cover for Clipped Wings :)

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  11. Excellent Review!!! I really want to read this story! It sounds amazing. I love books with beautiful prose, and emotionally charged stories are my favorite! I love that the relationship between the two main characters developed slowly, and since you think this is a series to watch, I will, because I take your opinion in to the highest regard.

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  12. I really love the cover for Clipped Wings. That's great you enjoyed it and it wasn't just a repeat of other titles you've been reading. I always like to hear when a book focuses on characters.

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  13. kinda but I detest cliffhangers ;(

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  14. Yes, I would love to read for a fair and honest review

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  15. I think this one is right up my alley. I love character driven stories and it sounds like this book has a lot more depth compared to it's other counter parts.

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  16. I've got the "prequel" and I can't wait to dive into this series :) Thanks so much for sharing!

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  17. I just finished the prequel and now I have to get the books, the prequel was such a tease but so so good.

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  18. Great review Andrea. Thanks for telling us about the ending. I hate endings like that.

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  19. I want to read it because you love it so much.

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  20. I love character driven stories, and it's great to hear that although the story does follow the whole 'dark past' theme that it's strong writing made it stand apart from the rest. Plus those last two covers are gorgeous!

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  21. Beyond excited to get my hands on this books.

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  22. The promise of a good character-driven story will draw me right in. I'm glad to learn that the relationship develops at its own pace. Despite the cliffhanger ending you, I'm still curious to read more of Tenley and Hayden's story!

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  23. I love a good character-driven story, Andrea, and Clipped Wings sounds like it is exactly that. I'd already one-clicked these, of course ;), and now I'm even more eager to read them. Great review!

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  24. I've heard awesome reviews about Clipped Wings so I read the synopsis and excerpt of the story and I want to read what happens to Hayden and Tenley. Thank you for this amazing giveaway! :)

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  25. This looks like an interesting series and I'm excited to check it out! Thank you for the chance to win!

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  26. It does seem like a book I would like to read. I really enjoy love stories with secrets.

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  27. I just finished Clipped Wings last night. I really enjoyed it! It definitely packed the emotional punch and I felt it was a slower developing/paced story, but that didn't make me want to stop reading. I definitely need Inked Armor!

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  28. Tattooed workers are portrayed as being hot and sexy. Add romance and issues, and there's a chance for a good read...sounds like this one is!

    Barrie

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  29. I love character stories! Especially when they take a bit of time to develop--no instalove, for me!

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  30. Yeah, the cover is gorgeous. Makes me want to dig right in. :)

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  31. I agree completely, Cupcakes and Ink should be read first. I can't imagine reading Clipped Wings without it. This series has taken me by complete surprise. I am completely hooked on this story. Great reviews.

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  32. I read a very early version of these books, and they were fantastic! I can't wait to read the finished product!

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  33. I just saw a book tube review of this book, before that I had never heard of it. I'm interested in reading a book that started as fan fiction because I've never read fan fiction before.

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  34. I definitely would like to read this book! I read this before it was published and would love to read the finished, published version.

    Thank you for the chance!

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