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Ratings and Book Reviews ()

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3.8 out of 5
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  • Heartwarming

    I’m always impressed when an author takes two characters who have gone through really trying times and still writes a rather light and fluffy story. Fluffy doesn’t mean it’s not meaningful, by the way, but rather that it’s heartwarming without being depressing. That’s what we get here with Inked with a Kiss. Both Jamie and Sierra managed to rise above tough childhood and become kind and selfless adults. At thirty-seven, Jamie is a respected tattoo artist. She’s on pretty good terms with her ex-wife and her teenage daughter, not so much her brother and alcoholic parents. Her parents are functioning alcoholics, have been throughout Jamie’s childhood. It’s all she’s ever known, and while her brother has decided to stop helping them since they’re not willing to help themselves, she has a very hard time letting go. She’s aware she’s enabling them to some extent, but she needs that feeling of helping, of saving. Sierra is a twenty-something social worker whose job is threatened by budget cuts. She’s full of energy and ideas. Her latest endeavour is a fundraiser to get disadvantaged kids access to art supplies. When she asks Jamie – who does all her tattoos – for her help, she’s also hoping the attraction she’s feeling for the artist will flourish and lead to something real. She’s down for a fling, Jamie isn’t. Neither does relationships, for reasons linked to their past. Sierra lost her mother at a young age and was rejected by her grandmother until her outcast gay uncle took her in. Jamie doesn’t want to impose her complicated life (the complicated part being mostly due to her parents) to anyone. Life, however, has a way of not caring about self-imposed boundaries. There’s nothing intense about this novel, nothing depressing, but it doesn’t shy from sensitive and painful issues (I’m not talking tattoos, though they play a big part in the story). It’s a good example of what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. The Carina Press HEA/HFN promise guaranteed that Jamie and Sierra would find a way to be together, but it never felt artificially straightforward. They both had to work on themselves and on the relationship, accept that not everything would be perfect every day. They’re both relatable and complex characters, with very different personalities. The secondary characters were layered too, from Jordan, the young adult working with Sierra to Jamie’s brother Ryan or her daughter Riley. There were also characters from the first book in the series, New Ink on Life, namely Jamie’s coworkers. I haven’t read this one yet (Inked with a Kiss can be read as a standalone) but it’s going on my list right now. I received a copy from the publisher and I am voluntarily leaving a review.

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  • Steamy and sweet

    A tattoo artist and a social worker develop feelings outside of their professional relationship, but their combined baggage might be too much for them to handle. Both steamy and sweet, this romance felt a bit more realistic than some others I've read. Sierra and Jamie were interesting three-dimensional characters and I enjoyed following their lives. I'll admit I can be wary of age gaps in relationships, but it was handled quite well here.

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  • Sweet romance

    Heavy but uplifting book about finding the person who helps you see the good in the world. Book 2 in the Thorn and Thistle world, but you do NOT need to read in order. This can be a stand-alone read. Jamie, a 30-something tattoo artist at the Thorn & Thistle, has spent her life dealing with her alcoholic parents. As they spiral downwards, Jamie is left with the unenviable choice: keep supporting them, thus enabling their addiction or cut them off, losing contact with her parents. Sierra has had the hots for Jamie ever since she started getting tattoos from her. A social worker, Sierra teams up with Jamie to do a fundraiser and as the two get to know each other better, sparks fly. Both women, for different reasons, are apprehensive to get into a relationship, but neither can resist the pull. And as their lives get more and more complicated, each finds that perhaps having someone to lean on is not a bad thing.

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  • tattoos and romance

    Inked with a Kiss is my first read by Jennie Davids and the second in a series. That said, the book does stand alone as far as I could tell. At least, I didn't notice any glaring details I felt like I missed as I read Sierra and Jamie's story. On the technical side, the book is well written, and the pacing is pretty steady with no serious lags in the book. Good pacing aside, I still struggled with parts of this one. I usually enjoy a good age gap romance, and while 12 years can be considered as a pretty big gap, I felt like there was a bit too much emphasis on Jamie's age here. She's 37 - seriously, 37, not ready for retirement, but it gets a lot more attention than necessary. Cutesy jokes aside, once it's established that the age difference isn't a problem, that should've been enough if it's not going to be used as a source of conflict. The other issue for me lay in Jamie's big turn around. I expect some character growth, especially when it comes to characters who are as gun shy of relationships as these two, but there's one part of Jamie's character that makes a pretty dramatic change, and it just didn't ring true. Not that it wasn't a good thing because this particular change is certainly needed, but it comes way too abruptly. Given the backstory, I suppose it's really a long time coming, but I don't buy it - I found it hard to believe that the change would be so complete, so quickly. Of course, it was needed to give us the big conflict between the characters so we can worry about a happy ending, and that propels us to the big get it together gushy moment, but it just didn't feel right to me. It's kind of like there's no middle ground for Jamie. It's all or nothing with no room for a happy medium, a balance in her life. Nevertheless, I did find both Sierra and Jamie likable, and there were some great moments between them. The book also touches on some serious topics, and Jennie Davids strikes a pretty good balance between getting too angsty and not angsty enough. In the end, there were things I liked and things I didn't about this one. I didn't love it, but I did like it, and I would check out other books by this author.

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