Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance
Standalone/Series: Standalone (part of a series)
Published on: June 6, 2017
POV: third POV
Source: Publisher (Inkslinger PR)
Rating: 3.5 STARS
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Inked Expressions is the seventh book in the Montgomery Ink series by Carrie Ann Ryan. While it is a part of a series, it can be read as a complete standalone. You definitely don’t have to read them in order.
What is this story about?
This story follows a young pregnant woman named Everly who’s just found out that her husband, Jackson, just passed away in a tragic accident before giving birth to their twins. Her perfect world then crushed and the realization hit her hard: She is now a single parent to the twins and her twins will not be able to see their father. Trying her best to be strong for her sons, she tries to move on. Do her best to be a single parent by running her small indie bookstore to provide for them.
Storm Montgomery is the best and closest friend of Jackson’s and Everly’s. They’ve known him for years and the only one Everly could count on when Jackson was away with his business trips. Storm is still single in his late thirties and has never seen himself to settle down. He helps Everly whenever he can and she needs him as best as he can for his best friend, Jackson.
However, since Jackson passed away, things have been a little bit awkward between them. Everly seems to have avoided him for no reasons. He knows things have not been the way they used to be since there is no Jackson between their friendship. He has started to feel something for her but has tried to avoid it out of respect and loyalty to his deceased best friend. She is and will be his best friend’s wife. The one he cannot and will not have no matter what he feels for her.
Everly has started to feel different herself, therefore, she has tried to minimalize their interaction since Jackson’s passing three years ago. However, being a single mother to twin boys is not easy and the only one she could count on to help her is the only man who has been there for her since the first time she met him. Things happen between her and Storm, a mystery needs to be solved, and someone threatens to destroy her. All these things add to her struggle as a single mother. Can she survive? Can they both survive?
What did I think about it?
I loved the main characters, Everly and Storm. Everly was a strong heroine. She was a loving mother who tried her best to provide for her sons and an independent woman who was the owner of an indie bookstore—a small business she was passionate about. Storm was a great character who was always there for those he loved and cared about. I loved how he always took care of her and how he interacted with her twin sons. He was a swoon-worthy character with a great husband material that everyone would love.
Moreover, I enjoyed the elements this story provided: the sow-burn romance, the mystery, and the secrets which created an interesting overall story. It had the things that kept me turning the pages and anticipating the next. While I wasn’t surprised by the twists and turns, they still kept my interest very high.
However, I didn’t feel connected to this story and to the main characters as much as I hoped mostly because of the writing. Third person point of view is a tricky one for me. Sometimes I enjoy it but most of the time I don’t. In this case, I didn’t feel emotionally connected to the story as a whole. The writing could have been improved with more details and in-depth explanations. I felt like it was a “matter of fact” kind of writing, just providing the basic and leaving it to the readers’ imagination to develop it, which I struggled with. More specifically, I didn’t feel moved by the dialogs especially the ones between the main characters. Their changing of hearts happened without reasons, mostly because there was no explanation provided before, so it felt flat and, at times, too rushed.
Furthermore, while I enjoy the twists and turns, there were unanswered things I was hoping could be specifically more paid attention to. These unanswered things led me to question the other things in this story. I was left unsatisfied with the whole story and hoping for more to come, which was not the experience I was hoping to have.
Overall, Inked Expressions is a good story despite my issues with the writing and unanswered things. If you are planning on giving this book a try, I hope my review does not dissuade you. You might find yourself enjoying this more than I did, especially if you’re a fan of friends to lovers, slow-burn romance.