Reading Rewind: If I Stay, Clipped Wings, Inked Armor, Isla and the Happily Ever After, and The Art of Lainey


Last week, I didn’t want to do much but read. So, I didn’t, including forgetting to post the three books I read that week. I read another two this week, so this update is going to be kind of epic. (SoryNotSorry) I’ve got three really good YAs in there as well as two super-steamy and fun NAs. And almost all involved a tattooed boy, which just makes my heart happy.


Goodreads Summary:

Just listen, Adam says with a voice that sounds like shrapnel.

I open my eyes wide now.
I sit up as much as I can.
And I listen.

Stay, he says.

Choices. Seventeen-year-old Mia is faced with some tough ones: Stay true to her first love—music—even if it means losing her boyfriend and leaving her family and friends behind?

Then one February morning Mia goes for a drive with her family, and in an instant, everything changes. Suddenly, all the choices are gone, except one. And it’s the only one that matters.

If I Stay is a heartachingly beautiful book about the power of love, the true meaning of family, and the choices we all make.

My Thoughts:

So, I’m a little late to the If I Stay bandwagon, but I am so glad I read it. I was impressed by how much I loved the characters we got to see mostly through backstory. The relationships were so rich and vibrant, it was heartbreaking to think that some of them were over almost as soon as the book began. I knew going in that it would make me cry. And man, did I cry. Not necessarily from what happens in the story but from the things the characters say to Mia. Gramps got me first and I just wanted to hug him because he reminded me so much of one of my grandfathers and it broke my heart. And then there was Kim who refused to break because she refused to believe she would lose her best friend. And then Adam. Oh, Adam. If anyone could convince her to stay it would be the guy she fell in love with too young. The guy who would do anything to get in to see her just so she knew she wasn’t alone and she had a reason to live when living would be the really hard choice. Such a sweet, sad, beautiful story.


Goodreads Summary:

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 Thoughts:

Clipped Wings got under my skin in such a good way. Besides being about two very broken people who find a way to help each other heal, it has a seriously hot tattooist (who in my head looks like Davey Havoc from AFI, the Davey of recent years with the killer hair and the slick clothes and the punk-rock attitude) and a bookish girl who is desperate to finally be herself, tattoos and piercings and all. Sometimes the repetition of what Tenley and Hayden were running from got a little old (I personally didn’t need to be reminded that often) as did the constant mentions of how much they relied on/desperately needed each other despite only knowing each other for a month or so. But their relations was so real and hard and desperate that I fell in love right along with them.

The book is much steamier than I expected (and more explicit, especially when it came to some of their body piercings), but that was so true to their characters that I couldn’t put the book down. And I bought the sequel before I had even finished it.

I received an ARC of this book from Gallery, Threshold, Pocket Books and NetGalley for an honest review.


Goodreads Summary:

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

My Thoughts:

Yeah, so I picked up the second book, Inked Armor, even before I finished the first because I was too invested in these characters to not know how their story ended. And this book did not disappoint. I had some theories on Hayden’s parents’ murders and I was so glad he finally got some closure (and that my theories were pretty damn accurate!). And seeing Hayden and Tenley finally get over their shit and help each other heal was so satisfying. This story is hot and romantic and full of feels.


Goodreads Summary:

From the glittering streets of Manhattan to the moonlit rooftops of Paris, falling in love is easy for hopeless dreamer Isla and introspective artist Josh. But as they begin their senior year in France, Isla and Josh are quickly forced to confront the heartbreaking reality that happily-ever-afters aren’t always forever.

Their romantic journey is skillfully intertwined with those of beloved couples Anna and Étienne and Lola and Cricket, whose paths are destined to collide in a sweeping finale certain to please fans old and new.

My Thoughts:

My initial reaction to Isla and the Happily Ever After was, apparently, an understatement. I love everything about this book. Josh and Isla are so damn cute and flawed and wonderful. I loved how real their relationship was and how even with all the swoony moments, it was still hard to be together at times. Their love is so intense and overwhelming and so perfectly right. As always, the writing was delightful, fun and surprisingly snarky. And seeing Anna and St. Clair and Lola and Cricket was so damn wonderful. Without spoiling anything, their scenes made me cry. As did the Joshua tree on an island drawing. That was brilliant and broke my heart. But seriously, I could not put this book down. And now, I am dying for someone to create Josh’s graphic novel because clearly I need this in my life.


Goodreads Summary:

Soccer star Lainey Mitchell is gearing up to spend an epic summer with her amazing boyfriend, Jason, when he suddenly breaks up with her—no reasons, no warning, and in public no less! Lainey is more than crushed, but with help from her friend Bianca, she resolves to do whatever it takes to get Jason back.

And that’s when the girls stumble across a copy of The Art of War. With just one glance, they’re sure they can use the book to lure Jason back into Lainey’s arms. So Lainey channels her inner warlord, recruiting spies to gather intel and persuading her coworker Micah to pose as her new boyfriend to make Jason jealous. After a few “dates”, it looks like her plan is going to work! But now her relationship with Micah is starting to feel like more than just a game.

What’s a girl to do when what she wants is totally different from what she needs? How do you figure out the person you’re meant to be with if you’re still figuring out the person you’re meant to be?

My Thoughts:

I’m not much of a girly-girl who’s into celebrity gossip or soccer, like Lainey, but what I am into is mohawked, tattooed baker-boys. And luckily, eventually Lainey realizes she is too. Using The Art of War to win back an ex is such a smart, original idea and made for some painful and some swoony moments for both Lainey and Micah in The Art of Lainey. I loved the humor and the back and forth playfulness between the two and how Micah opened Lainey up to a whole new way of looking at things. Lainey drove me nuts for the first half of the book, but once she got over being obsessed with her asshole ex and being the clone of his sister, and starting thinking for herself, I was totally rooting for her. It might be a little predictable, but this book was serious fun. Also, Mizz Creants House of Torture (and pancakes) is brilliant. If this exists in real life, I want to go there.


2 thoughts on “Reading Rewind: If I Stay, Clipped Wings, Inked Armor, Isla and the Happily Ever After, and The Art of Lainey

  1. YAY! You read Lainey! Don’t you just want to choke her in the beginning?! But what I loved about it is that I’ve totally been that girl before and I love her character arc. So glad you liked it!

    So, I’m noticing a theme in your reads this week: hot tattooed boys…be still my heart. 😉 Also, I’m so jealous of all your reading time! *stares at pile of unread books*

    • It was such a good book, Jess. I enjoyed the hell out of it, especially Micha. Lainey’s arc worked well. So glad she got over Jason and realised Micha wad the right one. And yes, lots of tattooed boys in books this week. Always a good time. 😉

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