New Ink On Life by Jennie DavidsNew Ink On Life by Jennie Davids is the first book in the Thorn & Thistle series. This beautiful story isn’t your regular romance and it is filled with enough angst to keep you enthralled for hours on end.

Cassie Whiteaker always looks before she leaps but after surviving breast cancer she decided to fly by the seat of her pants instead of meticulously planning every decision she makes. She left a lucrative job with numerous benefits to work as an apprentice at a tattoo shop. There’s only one thing that’s holding her back from living her dream of branching out on her own—she needs to pass the five-year cancer free milestone in order for her to move forward in all areas of her life.

MJ Flores is struggling to keep the Thorn & Thistle tattoo shop afloat. She doesn’t care about what people think or say about her but she cares a great deal about her business and her staff. MJ has enough problems to keep her company until she takes her last breath and the last thing she needs is an apprentice; especially one that looks like a pint-sized people pleaser. MJ grudgingly hires Cassie out of respect for the wishes of her former mentor but Cassie’s invaluable marketing knowledge and her business savvy techniques might bring in much needed revenue for the shop. They agreed to help each other out: Cassie will create new money making strategies and MJ will teach her how to stand up for herself.

Cassie is well-known but she just doesn’t know it until clients ask to see her. MJ doesn’t have any idea about what Cassie has been through until she learns about the stunning and unforgettable tattoos that she creates for other cancer survivors and their relatives. As time goes by and Cassie’s fears have lessened, she realizes that she is insanely attracted to MJ—the last person in the world she had expected to fall in love with. 

Will Cassie be able to let go of old fears and open her heart to the love that she has always desired?

The Characters

MJ Flores is the proud owner of the Thorn & Thistle tattoo shop. Her shop is her kingdom and she will do anything to protect it. MJ is a force to be reckoned with because she doesn’t give a damn about what people think about her. I’ve got to admit, at first I was not impressed with her blunt and boisterous attitude but my feelings toward her changed when I got to know more about her past. There’s no way I could resist a butch goddess who is tough as steel on the outside but she’s a complete marshmallow on the inside (Did I forget to mention that she’s a gorgeous butch woman with tattoos and she has a heart of gold?)

Cassie Whiteaker works as an apprentice at the Thorn & Thistle tattoo shop. She is the queen of spreadsheets and marketing. I just wanted to reach out and give Cassie the biggest hug ever because she really wants everyone at the shop to like her and she constantly worries about what other people think about her. Even though Cassie usually keeps a tight lid on her emotions, she has no reservations when it comes to expressing herself through her drawings and her heartfelt tattoos (If Cassie was a real woman I would be first in line to get some new ink on my skin.)

The Writing Style

I think I’ve found a new favorite author! Jennie Davids blew me away with her vivid descriptions of the Thorn & Thistle tattoo shop and I loved the way she portrayed MJ and Cassie’s innermost thoughts without going overboard. I also enjoyed the sarcastic comments and the witty banter between the characters.

The Pros

What could be better than immersing myself into a world filled with awesome tattoos and resilient women? Not a thing in this world! While I was reading this wonderful story, I felt the familiar call of ink lust again and I have MJ and Cassie to thank for that (wicked wink!)

The Cons

Zero complaints!

aprils favourite booksThe Conclusion

This story hit all the right notes for me because I have a thing for angst filled romances that feature two phenomenal women who just can’t stand each other at first. Now this novel is so much more than a romance, it contains so many important life lessons and timeless truths. There’s no way that I would ever forget Cassie and MJ because both women are the epitome of true strength and tenacity.

Excerpt from New Ink On Life by Jennie Davids

I drew my gaze from the blue vein running up her neck to the picture of a lion I’d done. I had to give her some points on taste. That was one I showcased in my bio for magazine articles.

“Something like that is a special commission. It takes a while. Plus, something that big is gonna hurt.”

Her lips twisted in a weird kind of smile. “I can handle pain.” She turned away from the wall and faced me. “But that’s not why I’m here.”

“To get a custom piece?”

“To get a tattoo.”

I pushed away from the counter. “As much fun as it’s been chatting, I don’t have time for this shit. I got things I could be doing for clients. You know, paying ones.”

“No, please wait. I’m sorry. I’m not explaining this well. I’m here because of Zan.”

I did an about face, the name of my mentor guaranteed to get my attention. “What about her?”

“I was her apprentice.”

Holy shit. This woman who could barely make eye contact, not only wielded a tattoo gun but had worked with Zan—a fucking trailblazer and one of the best artists ever.

She took my stunned silence as some kind of invitation, stepping closer. “She always talked about you with so much pride.”

I jerked my chin at her to cover my flinch. “How long were you with her?”

“Four years.”

Well shit. In that time, I’d only talked to Zan a few times on the phone and maybe stopped into her shop here in Portland once. That’s all I had for the woman who’d made me who I was.

“I’m Cassie Whiteaker by the way.”

“MJ Flores.” I took the hand she held out, not tempering my grip just because her wrist bones looked like they could bust through her skin. “So what do you want with me?”

“Oh. Um.” Her gaze darted around the shop again before grazing me. “When Zan got sick and things started to look bad, I promised her I’d come to you to be my mentor.”

“No.” I took a giant step back.

Apprenticeships were a time suck. You shared all your skills and knowledge in return for some grunt work. As soon as they were done, they could go and open a shop next to you, take the clients that were yours, not theirs. No thank you. The field was crowded enough.

If I ever did decide to strap myself with an apprentice it wouldn’t be this woman, Zan’s apprentice or not. I could tell we wouldn’t mesh well. She looked like she’d piss herself the first time I smashed something.   

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Thorn & Thistle Series

New Ink On Life

Bits and Bobs

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Note: I received a free review copy of New Ink On Life by Jennie Davids. No money was exchanged for this review. When you use our links to buy we get a small commission which supports the running of this site

About the author

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My name is April Adams and I am an accountant at a civil service office. Even though I read a wide variety of lesbian fiction, I enjoy mystery and thriller books the most because I love the state of suspense the stories have me in until the end and I find out “who’s done it.”