Review: Ink & Lies

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Ink & Lies
Ink & Lies by S.L. Jennings

Dali’s review & rating: 4 of 5 stars

Heartbreakingly angsty, frustrating and yet sweet. S.L. Jennings put my heart through the wringer, she evokes deep, strong emotions with this touching story about friendship, self-discovery and love. “Will it be the greatest romance ever told or a tragedy?”

August Rhys has always wanted to be a writer. More specifically, he’s always wanted to write for her, to touch
soul with his words. Because when they met ten years ago he fell in love with his best friend but didn’t realized it. And along the line he became a cynic, a liar who hides behind his heartfelt words, his woman’s pen name, his bestselling romance title and the misconstrued idea that love doesn’t exist. Real life though has its own plot twists. Can he shed his blindfold in time to get his HEA?

“I want to be your hero, Fi. In fact, I know I could be all of them and more for you – because of you. And I want to give you the most epic HEA in history – both real and fictional.”

Fiona has been by Rhys side for the past decade, being everything to each other except lovers. She’s admired how he writes beautifully touching stories while wanting one of her own although doubting it will ever be attainable until the seemingly perfect man comes along and offers it to her. It doesn’t matter that she has to change for him and his only redeeming quality according to Rhys is her. Will she chose the fairytale façade or the man she’s always loved but claims will never be emotionally available?

“I wondered what it would be like to be the last dream of August Rhys Calloway’s soul. I wondered what it would be like to be his everything, like he was my everything. I wondered and I hoped and I dreamt that I would be his.”

I’ve been having a difficult time trying to figure out what to write for my review. This is a gripping, addictive, emotionally stirring book that deserves an equally great review and rating. But words aren’t really my strong suit and I didn’t really fall in love with it. I did however fall in emotion with it. That’s right, S.L. made me feel so much with her beautifully strung words, incredibly complex characters and unique plot that I’m still in book comma.

“You know that feeling after you’ve just read the words The End of something so incredible, all you can do is sit there and stare at nothing, clutching that book to your chest like it shares your heartbeat, unable to talk or move or even think of anything other than the words that have ignited magic inside your soul?”

August Rhys is smart, handsome and a genius with words, a master narrator who could literally charm the pants off of most anyone fictional or not. He’s also “self-indulgent, slightly whorish and infuriatingly blind to his own feelings and what’s right in front of him.

“She isn’t just sunshine on a rainy day; she is refuge in a hurricane. And she’s my best friend.”

He turns prideful, cruel and harsh when desperation and fear hits and he realizes his happiness will slip through his fingers and it’s all his fault. Brilliantly written, the story is told mostly from his point of view which lead to empathy and understanding of this very complex man. I still wanted to smack him a few times though.

I loved knowing Fiona through Rhy’s eyes even if exasperating because the depth of his feelings where so obvious. Her beautiful, genuine, loyal, romantic heart was endearing. I understood her insecurities and reasoning behind her dreams, and wanted her to find her real life fairytale. But there were times I wanted to throttle her for being dense and making decisions that would lead her on the totally wrong path.

“Fiona was every heroine in ever book that I ever cherished.”
“She was his muse, his soul mate. She was the beauty in his world of heartbreak.”

Fi and Rhys were made for each other, their friendship was wonderful and it was so fun getting to know them. Their easy banter during the first half of the book was funny and flawless. I laughed, smiled and even swooned. But they just couldn’t seem to get it together and find their way to each other. So while they did, I hated and fumed while my heart splintered.

I loved and hated Rhys and Fi’s story in equal measure. I had to put it down on more than one occasion in order to tell my aching heart that the rousing prose that made it feel so darn much was about fictional people. I have this huge book hangover for characters I cursed and liked and their unpredictable story make me intensely, wholeheartedly feel.

“A good plot twist is as vital to a story as its characters. Without it, the hero and heroine would have no reason to change, to evolve. They’d have no reason to step out on faith and madness and take hold of their destiny. Take hold of their story.”

I highlighted tons of gorgeous, moving quotes I’d love to include and talk about but I think I’ll wrap up before I over share. Ink & Lies is a standalone contemporary romance by S.L. Jennings. This isn’t a fluffy, lighthearted read, it’s an angty, heartbreaking, friends to lovers story.

Amazon ->

* I was given an ARC of this book courtesy of the author via TRSoR & NetGalley. The excerpts are from that copy. *

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