Monday, June 19, 2017

Can You Read a Series in a Month? Review #2 ~ Between the Cracks & Inked Armor ~ Helena Hunting

Berls @Fantasy is More Fun and Michelle @Because Reading hosted this challenge last year and I really wanted to participate but just couldn't do it. THIS YEAR, I'm in! For all the details on the challenge, click the graphic above.


Between the Cracks (Clipped Wings, #1.5)Between the Cracks by Helena Hunting
Clipped Wings #1.5
Release Date: May 6, 2014
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance
Source: Kindle Freebie
Rating: 4 Bookworms
Challenges: Can You Read a Series in a Month?, #ShelfLove

Tattooiest Chris Zelter doesn't always make the best decisions when it comes to the people he cares about, or the women he gets involved with. Things have changed recently, though. Chris has lost interest in casual flings as he finds himself wrapped up in Sarah Adamson, a waitress at the local strip club he frequents. It takes months of persistent attention before she finally agrees to date him, and he's determined not to mess it up.

Just as things are finally going his way, Chris receives a troubled phone call in the middle of the night from Hayden Stryker, his best friend and business partner. Unexpected revelations and the sudden departure of his girlfriend, Tenley, has nearly sent Hayden over the edge. Add in a speeding ticket and an impounded car and Hayden is balanced on the precipice of a total meltdown. Worried about his friend, Chris sets out on a rescue road trip, first to get Heyden, and then to bring back Tenley. The two men run into unforeseen roadblocks, proving even the best intentions don't guarantee results.

Chris and Hayden return to Chicago empty handed, and Chris is left feeling as if he's let down all the people who matter, especially Sarah. But Chris discovers that sometimes the best way to deal with failure is to find a way to forget about it. And losing himself in Sarah is the perfect way to do just that.

Between the Cracks is a little glimpse into Chris' world/head in the few days following the incident with Tenley and her subsequent return "home". It was a short, quick read, but I enjoyed seeing this part of Chris - his loyalty and love for Hayden - as well as his obvious deeper feelings for Sarah.

Onto Inked Armor...

Inked Armor (Clipped Wings, #2)Inked Armor by Helena Hunting
Clipped Wings #2
Release Date: May 13, 2014
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance
Source: I won a paperback copy in a giveaway hosted by the blog formerly known as The Bookish Babe
Rating: 4 Bookworms
Challenges: Can You Read a Series in a Month?, #ShelfLove

In this follow-up to Clipped Wings, the emotional love story continues between Hayden and Tenley; two young people who desperately want to love and be loved but are afraid to completely let go of their pasts.

In the wake of losing Tenley Page, tattooist Hayden Stryker's tumultuous past is haunting him. Plagued by nightmares about the murder of his parents, Hayden reaches out again to Tenley. Having run from the man she doesn't believe she deserves, Tenley finally lays her guilt to rest. Despite their intense physical attraction, Hayden and Tenley struggle to repair their fragile emotional connection. As Hayden gets closer to the truth, he must find a way to reconcile his guilt over his parents' death in order to keep the woman who finally cracked his armor, and found her way into his heart.

Inked Armor picks up essentially where Clipped Wings ended. Things between Hayden and Tenley are even more tenuous and strained. It seems they aren't done battling their pasts - question they do it together?

Clearly if things are to work out between these two, their pasts have to be dealt with. However, Hayden doesn't know how to deal with Tenley's and he's not so interested in sharing his past with her. These two can't stay apart though and it broke my heart watching them try to find the right path - the one leading them to each other.

I didn't find Inked Armor to be as emotionally gripped as Clipped Wings. There were things that were glossed over, predictable, or too cleanly resolved. But at its heart, this is a love story where love proves its strength and tenacity when it's the real deal.

The way Hunting used tattoos in Hayden and Tenley's healing process was fascinating. It's made me consider tattoos more carefully and wonder about the stories behind them. The character growth in both Hayden and Tenley demonstrated was admirable. They both figured out ways to deal with things on their own so they could be better in ways that made for a more solid foundation for their relationship. I also delighted in the stellar secondary cast members. They were a tight-knit group and gave Tenley and Hayden the family and stability they needed. 

Inked Armor is the end of Hayden and Tenley's part of the story. The final novel is Chris and Sarah's story, and I'm eager for it. 

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