ABOUT THE BOOK:
— She found the perfect guy. But he hates her dolls. —
Anna is the weirdest girl Gavin has ever dated.
He lost his arm in an accident, and his mohawk makes him stand out from the crowd, so he’s dated his share of weirdos, geeks, and freaks. Yet no one quite like Anna. She’s cute, hot, and has boobs Gavin wants to bury his face in, but she just won’t shut up about her limited edition Japanese doll collection, or whatever they’re called.
So Gavin comes up with a perfect plan – a no strings attached relationship, so they can fool around without overcommitting. He’d get to have his pussy and eat it too.
Anna thinks she’s met the perfect boyfriend in Gavin, but her pierced and tattooed prince of darkness turns out to be yet another disappointment relationship-wise. When he proposes a friends-with-benefits arrangement, Anna figures she might as well make the best of it and unleash all her kinky fantasies on the guy. After all, it’s not like he’ll be there to judge her in half a year’s time.
Soon enough, there are more strings attached than any of them expected.
WARNING Contains adult content: kinky sex, explicit language. Expect inappropriate behavior on the subway, at a cemetery, and in a room full of dolls.
I know what you’re thinking: a one-armed guy with a mohawk meets a girl with an obsession for Japanese dolls, and this is going to be romantic how? When I first read the description I was a little perplexed. First off, let me preface this by saying we don’t review a lot of New Adult genre romances since this is an adult-content blog. Second, Miss Merikan explained it was heavily centered around dollfie, something I’m not inherently familiar with. I’ve seen pictures but wasn’t ever really drawn to it the way some collectors – like Anna – might be. Here’s a word of advice: set aside everything you think you might already know about what’s going to happen in this book. If you go in with no expectations you’ll be amazed at what happens.
Kat & Agnes Merikan never fail to entertain when they team up to write a story, and All Strings Attached is no exception. I can honestly say that I know going in I’ll get something unique and different every time – it’s part of why I agreed to review this book despite the NA label. I guess in a way I couldn’t not read it – ignore that double negative, you know what I mean – especially after reading the warning. It piqued my curiosity in such a way that I absolutely couldn’t stop thinking about it. Pretty soon I was obsessing over Japanese dolls, too, and not for the same reason as our main character, Anna.
Here’s a second piece of advice: don’t get all wrapped up in the dolls. I was worried I’d never grasp what’s happening because there’s no way I could become an expert on the ins and outs of BJDs and everything that comes with this fandom. It’s clear Miss Merikan has done her homework; she’s an experienced collector who really knows her stuff. She cleverly and generously shares with you all you need to know to dive into this story. Gavin’s new to the scene, so we kind of learn it all right along with him. It’s a brilliant way to provide the background without boring readers to death while bringing them into the fabric of the story.
Okay, so, yes, there are dolls, and yes, they’re important, however, that’s not really what this story is about. For me, looking back, it’s not even so much about Anna and Gavin’s relationship, although don’t worry, you definitely get romance. The way they get to know each other and the circumstances surrounding their no-strings-attached relationship are an extremely important, and without their kinky connection, much of the rest of the story wouldn’t be the same. I think overall what stands out for me is the evolution of Gavin as a character. I feel like his story is so much bigger than a fandom or a blossoming romance between two eccentric, unexpected characters.
After the accident that costs him his arm, Gavin’s life is a bit unpredictable. You can imagine the subsequent year has been full of trials and tribulations. Everything is more difficult – getting girls, his profession, even something as simple as getting dressed – and he’s struggling to regain his identity. Figuring out exactly who he is and how to find happiness isn’t something easy for any twenty-year-old, much less one who’s been through such a life-altering event. I tried to keep all this in mind while watching him hide behind his makeup and defense mechanisms, trying to protect himself from getting hurt.
Meeting Anna kind of changes Gavin’s perspective. She’s someone who’s willing to set aside stereotypes and see him for who he is on the inside. I love her genuine nature and how she’s shy about who she is but unwilling to compromise for anyone, much less a guy who seems to only want sex. Or does he? Hmm…
That’s part of Gavin’s metamorphosis throughout this story. The distance he thinks he wants from the cute, doll-obsessed girl isn’t quite as important as he gets to know her. In fact, the more he gets to know her, the more he wants to know. It’s classic romance the way she breaks down his barriers, but watching his character really embrace that change is amazing. He demonstrates confidence and determination, not to mention an open mind to try and to accept new things. Merikan makes these changes gradually and almost covertly, sometimes in tiny, painful baby steps. It’s like taking a journey you aren’t even sure you’re on until you arrive at the destination.
Bravo, Miss Merikan, on a brilliantly written and fantastic story!
RATING: BAD ASS BOOTS!