Reviewed by Donna
AUTHOR: Veronica Sloane
LENGTH: 210 Pages
BLURB: Tattooing might have once been Liam’s passion, but he left it all behind along with ugly memories when he went to college. When his uncle’s health fails, Liam must come home at last to say his goodbyes. His days are spent at the hospice, leaving his nights to rake over the past. To fill those empty hours, he takes a job at Great Sin Ink. The close knit friendship of the workers there both intrigues and shakes Liam, who has spent the last four years keeping everyone at arm’s length. Neither Deb, the no-nonsense piercer, nor Goose, a manic tattoo artist, will let Liam get away with his isolationist ways for long.
If it were just those two, Liam might have stood a chance — but there’s also Ace, the owner of Great Sin. He hires Liam despite a thin resume, and that is a kindness Liam can’t forget. The two start up a tentative friendship, learning about each other as the summer days melt into each other. Slowly, Liam reveals a tender heart underneath the wall of quotes he uses to keep everyone out. Unfortunately, life doesn’t stand still, and both Liam and Ace have hard struggles before them that might break them up before they can even get together.
REVIEW: This book is a little hard to review because basically, nothing happens. Which is, I think, exactly the way it needs to be but it doesn’t make it any easier to write a few hundred words about it.
As the blurb tells us, Liam has returned home from college to spend as much time as possible with his uncle before he dies. Liam’s uncle is the person who raised him, the only person in the world that Liam cares about and Liam’s life has shifted into a sort of holding pattern as he waits for the most important person in his life to leave him. To distract himself during the times he can’t be with his uncle, Liam gets a job at a local tattoo shop where he finds himself amid a quirky trio of best friends who quickly adopt him as one of their own.
When Ace, the owner of Great Sin Ink, first meets Liam he finds him attractive but not very friendly. Which he’s happy about. The last thing he wants is to get attached to someone who is only hanging around for a few months. He’s happy to have him working in the shop, he’s even happy to become friends but anything else, Ace knows is not a good idea. Of course, he can remind himself of that, as many times as he likes, it’s not going to help.
I enjoyed the way Liam and Ace built a solid friendship before there was any romantic involvement. They are there to support each other as friends because they both have problems and secrets that they need help to deal with. When they do switch from friendship to romantic relationship it’s rather effortless and was a nice change from the usual drama. Not that I don’t enjoy the usual drama but, you know, change is apparently as good as a holiday.
I said at the beginning that not a lot happens in this book and I guess I should probably explain that, because I’m not saying that the book is in any way boring or lacking. There was so much potential for drama within this story. Liam’s ex boyfriend could have been brought into the story or Ace’s sister could have caused some catastrophe. But the author quietly, without fuss, took care of both of those situations in a way that, as I was reading, left me slightly disappointed. However, now that I’m finished the whole story I appreciate the simplicity of it. Aside from the developing relationship with Ace, Liam’s life is on hold as he sits each day by his uncle’s bedside. The lack of any other plot distractions kept me focused and waiting with him. We know it’s coming, it’s right there in the blurb, so I don’t consider it a spoiler to share that when his uncle dies, I absolutely lost it crying. I seem to be writing that a lot lately. I need to review some happier books. But again, it was the simplistic way the author wrote about the uncle’s death, focusing on his lasts breaths, which affected me so much. This is the event we’ve been waiting for the whole book and I was utterly devastated.
Honestly, I did find it strange that I enjoyed this book so much because the whole time I was reading I was waiting for something to happen to shake up the story a bit. Like I already mentioned, it wasn’t until I finished that I appreciated the lack of drama.
Although, I should mention that books that have a tattoo artist main character always capture my attention. Some readers love firemen or cops, for me it’s tattoo artists. As soon as I saw that this book has two tattoo artist main characters I just had to read it. This book has some amazing descriptions of tattoos as well as many interesting quotes, from dead philosophers to Yoda and everybody in between. It was a story that focused on the importance of love and friendship and I’m glad I got this chance to discover a new author I can add to my “watch for” list.