Sunday, May 25, 2014

{Review} Clipped Wings (Clipped Wings #1) by Helena Hunting

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?

My Review:

Clipped Wings is a book that I feel very inept at describing simply because it was such a profound experience, I am at a loss for words. I have sat down several times to write my review and every time I end up erasing it because I feel it's just NOT doing the book justice. I was extremely skittish to read this because lately my tolerance for angsty stories has been very low. After two of my closest friends, whom I trust implicitly, not only encouraged me to read it but threatened me with bodily harm if I didn't, I decided to bite the bullet and give it a try. I can't even tell you how glad I am that I listened to my friends. Hunting wrote a story about a couple so amazing that to me, they sit up there in the pantheons of coupledom such as Bella and Edward, Tris And Four or even Katniss and Peeta. Couples who were born of difficult circumstances yet forged in fire to come out on the other side stronger.

Tenley and Hayden meet when she moves to Chicago and starts helping out at his Aunt's book store. They are both curious about the other, what with them being extremely attractive and artistic people they finally give in to their curiosity and form a friendship of sorts when Hayden discovers Tenley can draw amazing images. The start of their relationship revolves around Tenley and her epic tattoo that Hayden coaxes her to show him. Because he's a tattoo artist and co-owner of Inked Armor they arranged to set up several sessions to put the drawing she came up with on her back. Tenley is a shy young woman hiding a painful past. One that she's trying her best to heal from. She's lost her fiance in a devastating plane crash that took more than just her sweetheart and left an abundance of scars as a reminder. Haunted by nightmares and plagued with guilt she tries to keep to herself, not feeling worthy of having any sort of connection with anyone.

This broken girl captured my heart almost instantly after finding out the tragic circumstances surrounding her arrival to Chicago. It's not hard to sympathize with loss because we've all lost something or someone that meant a lot to us but to lose as much as this poor girl has is almost cruel, even for fate or God or whoever the hell controls everything. What seemed almost worse is the memories that haunt her of a fiance who couldn't fully accept her for the beautiful and poetic soul she is. So not only did my heart literally break for her it also rolled over and played dead realizing she couldn't express herself the way she felt she needed. She wasn't given room to grow because she was involved so intimately being engaged at a young age. It's a shame I say this but I am actually happy that her fiance is no longer a hindrance to her despite how devastating it has been for her. She's finally able to discover who she really is and her penchant for body modification and tattoos is something I could totally grasp having several tats myself. When she meets Hayden she's fascinated by all his tattoos and piercings and something about him calls out to the lonely and broken part of her.

Hayden was a guy I expected to not like and was surprised to find I didn't just like him but fell so completely in love with him I'm not sure he can be topped. He's harboring his own twisted past after the murder of his parents left him with shame and guilt of his own. He felt responsible for their deaths and carried that weight with him for years, turning to drugs, alcohol and loose women to chase away the pain. He nearly spiraled out of control but managed to get his shit together enough to realize he could do better and ultimately has been on the straight and narrow for a while. Hayden was that guy who has a quiet intensity. A guy who doesn't outwardly vocalize his feelings but tends to wear them on his sleeve. Literally. His tattoos and piercings display a warning to people in hopes of keeping them at bay but makes for a lonely life. Hayden comes across as together for the most part but little things show the depth of his anguish, for instance his OCD tendencies that are a subconscious effort to control his surroundings which he wasn't able to do for his parents. He's a beautiful soul who genuinely cares for the people in his life and I think his passionate response to Tenley is what makes me love him the most.

The colorful cast of characters that surrounded Hayden and Tenley were wonderful additions to the story's landscape. Hayden's aunt Cassie and her husband Nate who took him in after his parents died, were an amazing support group for both Tenley and Hayden. their sage wisdom and guidance was given with all the love and affection of a parental unit and friendship. They were amazing people and I enjoyed whatever scene they happened to show up in. The Inked Armor gang of Lisa, Jamie and Chris always had me smiling and laughing with their antics and banter between them and Hayden. Chris being the funniest, I looked forward to more interaction with him and seriously loved his character even though there was some past beef between him and Hayden. Sometimes when you read a book full of amazing characters there just has to be that one person who makes you want to start shooting people from a water tower. For me that person was Sienna. Hayden's old fling who he can't seem to shake. I really hated her and everything she represented for Hayden and her desperate attempts to try and hang on to him just made me ill. She's the biggest cunt imaginable and I'm hoping she gets hit by a bus or something equally tragic but fitting.

Clipped Wings was a slowly developed character focused story that progressed so organically there was never a moment where I wasn't fully engaged. From watching the instant connection between Hayden and Tenley develop to their insane chemistry ignite behind closed doors, I was caught up in everything about them. The definition of the term "Lightning In A Bottle" as defined by Urban Dictionary is as follows:

Capturing something powerful and elusive and then being able to hold it and show it to the world. Performing a rare feat. A moment of creative brilliance. 

Hunting did just that, a moment of creative brilliance that cemented itself in my bone marrow. Hayden and Tenley had an extraordinary magic about them that left me breathless from one moment to the next with such a fragile foundation I feared could be shaken at the first test or trails. Tenley is unable to share how she feels for fear of losing Hayden when he finds out she's the reason for her loss. Hayden has never felt the way he does for Tenley about anyone else in his life. So much so that it scares him. They both have internal issues to work out both separately and together but when Tenley's past comes knocking, in the form of her almost brother in law Trey, they are left in limbo as she is rushed off to handle business back home.

I'm not normally a fan of cliffhangers but I was so lost in the story it didn't even matter. I just knew I needed the next book ASAP. Thankfully my friends were there to rescue me because I was a wreck when I finished. I know I haven't said all I could say about this wonderful book and it's characters but nothing I say can give you a clear picture of the magnitude of this story. I would encourage you to read it but you might not be into stories that feature couples with such a strong connection and insane chemistry that it's like a vice grip on your heart, squeezing every ounce of feeling you possibly possess inside your beating heart. If that's the case then you should avoid this book at all costs. BUT if you are one of those closet softies when it comes to intense emotional connections between your characters then let Hunting punch you in the honker with Clipped Wings and join the "I heart Hayden" club with me!


~ His short sleeved shirt revealed a canvas of ink that covered his arms, his story laid bare. Beyond the tattoos and piercings, or because of it --I couldn't decide which -- he was the most beautiful man I'd ever seen. Page 17

~ We stared at each other, some strange shift taking place. I wasn't sure what was happening between us, but it felt whatever our tentative friendship was transforming into, the process wasn't reversible. Like a chemical reaction, there was no going back once the catalyst had been added. Page 117

~ "Everyone has scars Tenley. If we're lucky they're only on the outside." Page 196

~ His eyes closed briefly,  his smile wry. When they opened, the way he looked at me made my heart ache. His emotions bared in that moment, as his fingers skimmed my throat, down to my collarbone and his palm stopped over my heart. "I want to be in here." There was such quiet yearning in his eyes as he gazed down at me. Page 390

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.



  1. See? You should always listen to me!
    But anyway, fantastic review. For someone who didn't think they could get their feelings out in a review, you did excellent.

  2. I'm so glad you loved this. Hayden was delicious.


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