Permanent Ink, by Avon Gale and Piper Vaughn
Series: Art & Soul, Book 1
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Release Date: August 7, 2017
I hate to say it, but I found Permanent Ink pretty underwhelming from start to finish. It wasn’t a bad book, not at all, but I kept waiting for it to get better and it just never did.
The writing was a bit clunky at first and Jericho’s character voice took some getting used to. I thought Poe stood out more and his character was generally better written, but unfortunately he came off as a very immature delinquent so I can’t say I was particularly enamored by him either. Even as I eventually got into the flow of things, neither of them ever really grew on me – individually or as a couple – and my enjoyment of the book as a whole definitely suffered because of this.
For starters, a lot of their thought processes and actions didn’t make sense to me. I was all for Jericho helping his best friend’s son out with a job, but rewarding him with the tattoo apprenticeship in addition to that totally didn’t make any sense. Poe clearly sucked as a receptionist – and not in the way he would’ve liked – and had no interest whatsoever in tattoos or the tattoo business. When Jericho started having doubts about Poe’s passion a few weeks into his training, I was like, Well duh, since when has Poe been passionate about anything besides street art? You took him on as your full-time apprentice knowing he wasn’t really into it and now you’re questioning his dedication?
As you’ve probably guessed, this book tested my patience from time to time.
Well, as it turns out Poe eventually does come to appreciate tattooing, and with his artistic eye, he’s even good at it. But – and this is a huge but – I totally rolled my eyes when out of the blue, he started calling it “the path of his heart” and his “true path.” While I definitely agree that he spent long hours at the studio and that Jericho opened his eyes to how meaningful ink can be to both the wearer and the giver, I did not see how or when this newfound appreciation all of a sudden became his life’s passion. Don’t get me wrong, I liked the newer, more grounded version of Poe, who dare I say started to show signs of maturity (or at least less signs of restlessness), but referring to tattoos as his life’s passion just rang hollow for me.
The other thing that really bothered me was how, when asked what he saw in a guy 17 years younger than him, the only thing Jericho could come up with – apart from the sex – was a great conversation they’d had about graffiti a while back. That’s it. I mean okay, he was asked this question early on in their relationship, but this was also a grilling he had mentally prepared himself for, so… color me less than convinced about them as a long-term couple.
I guess when all is said and done, I did not see a romantic connection beyond them wanting to fuck each other’s brains out. Yes they had great chemistry but in all honesty I had a difficult time seeing their relationship as anything more than a convenient apprenticeship with benefits. Poe had the daddy kink thing going and Jericho was a good role model for him. And that’s a great start, but I needed to see more than that. I really hate that the story didn’t focus more on establishing a convincing romance and lasting relationship between them. I thought the final third was more intent on a buildup for the next book rather than giving Poe and Jericho a convincing HEA or even a solid HFN. Even the grand gesture at the end, which you could totally see coming but was sweet nevertheless, had more to do with Poe maturing as a person and an apprentice rather than as a milestone in their relationship.
Despite my problems with the story, Permanent Ink was still a decent read and I do plan on checking out the next book in the series which will be about Poe’s best friend Blue. I enjoyed the embattled relationship he and Poe shared (to the point I almost wished they were paired together), and I’d definitely like to read his story.
Avon grew up in the southern United States, and now lives with her very patient husband in a liberal Midwestern college town. When she’s not writing, she’s either doing some kind of craft project that makes a huge mess, reading, watching horror movies, listening to music or yelling at her favorite hockey team to get it together, already. Avon is always up for a road trip, adores Kentucky bourbon, thinks nothing is as stress relieving as a good rock concert, and will never say no to candy.
At one point, Avon was the mayor of both Jazzercise and Lollicup on Foursquare. This tells you basically all you need to know about her as a person.
Piper Vaughn wrote her first love story at eleven and never looked back. Since then, she’s known that writing in some form was exactly what she wanted to do. A reader at the core, Piper loves nothing more than getting lost in a great book—fantasy, young adult, romance, sci-fi, she loves them all (and has an over-two-thousand-book library to prove it!). She’s an avid tea drinker, a hockey fanatic, a vintage typewriter collector, and loves to travel so much she has “wanderlust” tattooed on her ankle and dozens of countries on her bucket list. Recently, she discovered the world of nail art and realized she’s pretty handy with a paintbrush—as long as it’s a miniature one.
As a bisexual and Latinx person, Piper takes great pride in her heritage. She grew up in an ethnically diverse neighborhood and strives to put faces and characters of every ethnicity in her stories, so her fictional worlds are as colorful as the real one. She currently resides in the suburbs of Chicago with her husband, son, and a cat that has Piper wrapped around her little paw. Above all, she believes that everyone needs a little true love in their life … even if it’s only in a book.
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I received an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.