Wednesday, July 15, 2020

BOOK REVIEW: Inked by Sarah Darlington


Men like Nick should come with a warning label... don’t touch. He walked into the shop, smelling like heaven, wanting his first tattoo, and I should have refused his business. Because I knew the moment I set eyes on him, I didn’t stand a chance. Still, I fell down the rabbit-hole with him.

Now, he’s gone, moved on, and the result of our one-night stand is left growing inside me. I’ll probably never see this man again.


It was only supposed to be a little ink. A parting gift to myself from myself. Because when your girlfriend dumps you for a famous rockstar, you leave. You move on. You get the hell out of town and forget all about her. But I never counted on meeting Amanda before I left. Or the night we shared. Or the mark she left when she put her ink on my skin.

I have to go back. For her.

*INKED is a full-length standalone with a HEA.

3 Stars

Marine biologist Nick Jasmine, 23, is still reeling after his girlfriend left him for a rockstar (see Never Trust a Rockstar). Amanda, 25, is the tattoo artist who leaves a reminder of Kill Devil Hills on his skin before he kisses the beach town good-bye. Except he inadvertently leaves Amanda with a little memento as well.

I liked both Nick and Amanda in the opening chapters.  The turtle thing was cute. It was off to a good start.  But when Nick returns from Maine, both characters went downhill.

For Amanda, it was her lie about him not being the father.  I don’t really get why she did that. I’m not sure Amanda even got why she did that. 
“I knew that I should have been honest with him from the start. I should have told him the baby was his.”
It not only was a lousy and immature thing to do, but it was just the beginning of crappy communication and wishy-washy behavior on both of their parts.

Then there’s Nick. His character, like often times their romantic connection, seemed to suffer from tell vs. show.  Amanda describes him as cool, confident, and gorgeous, which I suppose was how he was supposed to come off to others, but then in his POV the reader gets the real Nick, the insecure one who suffers from a panic disorder. Or was this just another facet of Nick’s personality?  It was hard to tell, and I struggled to envision a clear picture of him. It didn’t help that he too flip-flopped so much on what he wanted.
 “…I don’t want kids of my own.”
Okay, he might have even had a valid reason, but then why not be super diligent about protection!?

Their lack of safe sex practices and lack of safe sex discussions made them seem immature and irresponsible.  So did the fact that he ditched a good job he loved in his career and fled town to avoid his previous girlfriend. His acceptance of raising someone else’s baby with a stranger he barely knew just made him seem desperate. Nick was all over the place. Which brings me to the dinner scene...

The fake “social” story that Nick tells just made him seem….well fake. And the lack of condemnation over it was bothering.  That scene didn’t help make Nick more likable, and it was a big miss in terms of interweaving John and Dani (whose voice was noticeably absent) from the previous books/sister series (see Never Kiss a Rockstar).

All in all, the story just fell a little flat (as did their love scenes). It had tons of potential, but the execution left their chemistry hard to feel alongside so many issues that could have been resolved with basic communication and simple conversation. And given that they were going to be parents together, I really needed them to display the foundations of a solid, lasting relationship.

Told via Amanda and Nick’s alternating first person POV, the safety angle is good which I always appreciate, but the characters just left me feeling kinda meh. I didn’t love it; I didn’t hate it. My recommendation—if the items mentioned above don’t bother you, give it a whirl. If communication is key, you might want to sit this one out or check out other titles in the Kill Devil Hills universe.

Safety Recap: 

*I volunteered to review this ARC. All reviews written by Book-Bosomed Book Blog are honest opinions. In the interest of providing unbiased book reviews and to avoid misleading other readers, it is the blog’s policy not to withhold or delay any reviews no matter the star rating. To the best of my knowledge, this title was presented to the blog without any conditions or stipulations.

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Available on Amazon or *FREE* to read in Kindle Unlimited.

Sarah Darlington was born in Colorado and grew up all over the United States. These days, she calls Virginia home, where she lives with her husband, two kids, and large dog. The best word to describe Sarah is 'creative.' She's passionate about designing, crafting, and photography. But most of all... she loves creating stories through her writing. Her romance books are sexy and heart-gripping at their core, guaranteed to make you swoon. Any of them can be read as a stand-alone, but all are connected within the same world. 


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