Review: Clipped Wings and Inked Armor by Helena Hunting

Disclaimer: Way back when I read and loved a certain young adult vampire series, I discovered fan fiction. At first I was hesitant to read this book because, well, the tattooed and pierced main character kind of scared me. At the time, I was struck by what a unique and almost unrecognizable take this book was on the original canon. As a fan fiction, Clipped Wings and Inked Armor was one of the more popular works out there. Clipped Wings and Inked Armor has been released as two books, with a prequel Cupcakes and Ink also available.

clipped wingsNew Release Review: Clipped Wings by Helena Hunting
Series: Book 1 of Clipped Wings
Release date: March 4, 2014
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance
Book provided by Edelweiss and Gallery Books

Synopsis from Goodreads: 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?

AH’s Review – 3 Skulls – C+

Clipped Wings by Helena Hunting is the story of two people who have survived very difficult traumatic experiences. Tenley lost all of her loved ones, including her fiancé Connor in a horrifying plane crash where Tenley was one of the few survivors. Tenley is both physically and emotionally scarred from her experience. Hayden has also lost people close to him and he too carries the grief around with him. His grief is manifested in severe OCD, potty mouth, and nightmares.

The story is told in alternating first person points of view so the reader gets to be inside each character’s head. Tenley is a smart young woman who is working on her dissertation at Northwestern. She has a lot of emotional issues to work through and is taking anti-anxiety meds. At times, Tenley is like a skittish kitten. Hayden, on the other hand, is like a bull in a china shop. He’s loud, opinionated, yet he has an intellectual side to him. Hayden is ruled by his OCD and cannot stand to have anything out of place. Hayden’s preoccupation with cupcakes is hilarious and often adds comic relief as he waxes poetic about Tenley’s baking.

There’s a lot of angsty drama in this book and some of it is due to a lack of communication between the two characters. Both Tenley and Hayden refuse to ask for help, even though that would have made this book much shorter. Outside forces work to keep these two apart, especially the heinous almost-brother-in-law Trey.

I found it difficult to read this book at times and at one point I had to put it down and take a break. The sexy scenes are fun, as are the icing covered cupcake parts, however the pacing was a little slow and draggy. This book does end in a little bit of excitement and there is a cliffhanger.

Clipped Wings should appeal to new adult readers who enjoy an angsty read and an alpha caveman cupcake eater.

Rating:  ☠  ☠  ☠  ☠  ☠ 

Thank you to Edelweiss and Gallery Books for a review copy of this book.


inked armorEarly Review: Inked Armor by Helena Hunting
Series: Book 2 of Clipped Wings
Release date: May 13, 2014
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance
Book provided by NetGalley and Gallery Books

Synopsis from Goodreads: 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.

AH’s Review – 4 Skulls – B+

The conclusion to Clipped Wings was a much better book. Tenley returned to her hometown to deal with Connor’s estate and Trey. I was so very happy for Tenley, who despite being threatened by Trey’s underhandedness, she stood up for herself. Gone is the skittish kitten, replaced by a woman with a backbone. Tenley becomes the self assured woman that she in.

In contrast, Hayden is a mess without Tenley around him. It’s hard to believe that they were together for such a short time and that her absence would have that effect on him. Hayden’s OCD tendencies increase and anger management is something he cannot get a handle on. His anxiety is exacerbated by the fact that Tenley does not return his calls.

I liked Inked Armor more than Clipped Wings. For some reason, separation is good for Tenley and Hayden. It gives both characters a chance to reflect on what they want, and what kind of life they could have together (or apart). Tenley and Hayden are co-dependent. Their life experiences make their relationship work in a bit of a dysfunctional way. These two need to address their emotional issues before their relationship can progress.

This is an angsty book punctuated by some very hot and sexy scenes. The pacing was a little better in this book or maybe I was just rooting for Tenley and Hayden.

I must admit that I learned way too much about tattooing and the reasons why a person would want to get body art. I also learned quite a bit about body piercing, however some of it falls into that TMI box.

Inked Armor was a satisfying conclusion to the Clipped Wings series. If a cupcake eating tattoo artist is your cup of tea, you’ll definitely enjoy this series.

Rating:  ☠  ☠  ☠  ☠  ☠ 

Thank you to NetGalley and Gallery Books for a review copy of this book.

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