Tag Archives: Japanese

All Strings Attached by Miss Merikan

All Strings Attached CoverRelease Date: February 23, 2015
Published by Acerbi & Villani ltd.
Review Copy from Author

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.

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OUR THOUGHTS:

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!

BLOG TOUR: Down and Dirty (Cole McGinnis #5) by Rhys Ford

There’re no words to describe just how elated we are to kick off Rhys Ford’s blog tour for her latest Cole McGinnis story, Down and Dirty! We know you’ll share our excitement that she’s giving us another Cole McGinnis serial on this tour, so be sure to follow along. Oh, and be sure to enter the giveaway – you don’t want to miss the chance to win a $20 gift certificate to the e-tailer of your choice! Welcome, Rhys!! We’re thrilled you’re here. :)

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To celebrate the release of my new book, Down and Dirty, I’m inviting you to follow along with blog tour serial of a Cole McGinnis case, Dirty Minds! Enter to win a giveaway at every site!

Rhys Ford’s Down and Dirty Giveaway
$20 Gift Certificate to the e-tailer of your choice

If the blog uses a widget, enter there. If not, comment below. Winner to be chosen randomly.

Dirty Minds Part One
I never knew how unstable a minivan’s suspension was. As far as handling went, it was probably the shittiest I’d ever come across. Of course, it could have been the van itself. Its turning radius sucked and every time it hit anything above forty, it seemed to rattle and groan like its wheels were about to fall off. There was also this loud BRAP BRAPBRAP sound coming from the engine.

Or, to be fair, that could also have been the bark of the shots the passenger was blindly taking at me as I clung to the roof of the minivan.

A small detail but apparently one I should have considered when evaluating a car’s performance.

Barreling down Wilshire at ten o’clock on a Saturday night isn’t something I’d recommend for a date night. Seeing as I’d just abandoned Jae at a wedding and screamed at Bobby to follow me, I was pretty sure the only ‘laid’ I was going to get that night was in a coffin once the road kill crew was done scraping me off the road.

A heavy-bodied red truck gunned up next to the minivan’s drive slide then slammed into it, jostling the vehicle into the curb. The van rocked and wove, nearly jumping into the sidewalk but in a fear of tremendous skill or blind luck, its driver was able to get the van back onto the road. I clung harder to the rack bolted into the van’s roof, thankful for whoever decided they were one day going to go skiing in a vehicle made more for shopping trips than skin runs.

Luckily, I knew who was drive the truck, my alleged best friend, Bobby Dawson who was apparently more interested in dislodging me from the top of the minivan rather than getting the damned bastards to actually stop the car.

Sirens were going off somewhere nearby—or at least nearby in Los Angeles’ sketchy grasp of relative distance—and I could only hope they’d be for the minivan’s occupants. I’d shouted at my lover, Jae-Min to call the cops right when I grabbed the van’s rear door handles as it took off, dragging me along behind it. Letting go hadn’t seemed like an option. At the time, adrenaline and anger fueled my actions and I’d somehow scrambled up the rear doors and onto the roof.

What I’d planned to do from there, I had no idea but there I was—getting shot at by a thankfully cross-eyed thief holding a pea-shooter while my damned best friend was slamming the side of his truck into an already ill-balanced minivan.

“Jump into the bed!” Bobby screamed at me through the truck’s open back window. We’d taken the truck’s flat lid from its bed early that day to move an armoire into Bobby’s loft. Luckily for me, neither one of us thought to replace it. Unluckily for me, Bobby was quickly running out of maneuvering room.

As they screamed through the stretch of Wilshire between downtown and the park, traffic began to thicken and Bobby careened around slower moving cars and sliding into left turn lanes, fighting to keep abreast with the minivan.

I debated jumping. After my initial rage-fueled bravado slunk away behind my often late-to-the-party common sense, several things occurred to me. First, I had no way of actually stopping the robbers and second, I could actually stop their ill-aimed bullets if ever the guy in the passenger’s seat decided he was going to look where he was shooting instead of merely pointing the weapon out of the window and firing shots of in my general direction.

Bobby nearly lost the front of the truck on the back of a slow-moving Honda held together by bumper stickers and cat hair and he shot off around it, narrowly missing a bus coming in the opposite direction. Swerving back into the lane, he over-corrected and hit the minivan hard, lifting it up off its wheels. Another shot, aimed for Mars or Jupiter this time, then the driver did the one smart thing he’d done since he planted his ass in the seat of the stolen minivan.

He turned a hard, sharp right and I went flying.

FOLLOW THE TOUR TO GET THE COMPLETE SERIAL:

Dec 30 Part One — 3 Chicks After Dark
Dec 31 Part Two — Boy Meets Boy Reviews
Jan 1    Part Three — Joyfully Jay
Jan 2    Part Four — LoveBytes
Jan 2    Part Five — On Top Down Under
Jan 3    Part Six — Prism Alliance
Jan 4    Part Seven — It’s About The Book
Jan 4    Part Eight — The Blogger Girls
Jan 5   Part Nine — Sinfully Sexy 
Jan 6   Part Ten — NDulgent Bloggers 
Jan 7   Part Eleven — The Novel Approach
Jan 8   Part Twelve — Under the Covers Blog

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Down and Dirty CoverFrom the moment former LAPD detective Bobby Dawson spots Ichiro Tokugawa, he knows the man is trouble. And not just because the much younger Japanese inker is hot, complicated, and pushes every one of Bobby’s buttons. No, Ichi is trouble because he’s Cole McGinnis’s younger brother and off-limits in every possible way. And Bobby knows that even before Cole threatens to kill him for looking Ichi’s way. But despite his gut telling him Ichi is bad news, Bobby can’t stop looking… or wanting.

Ichi was never one to play by the rules. Growing up in Japan as his father’s heir, he’d been bound by every rule imaginable until he had enough and walked away from everything to become his own man. Los Angeles was supposed to be a brief pitstop before he moved on, but after connecting with his American half-brothers, it looks like a good city to call home for a while—if it weren’t for Bobby Dawson.

Bobby is definitely a love-them-and-leave-them type, a philosophy Ichi whole-heartedly agrees with. Family was as much of a relationship as Ichi was looking for, but something about the gruff and handsome Bobby Dawson that makes Ichi want more.

Much, much more.

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PURCHASE A COPY:  DREAMSPINNER PRESS / AMAZON

 

OUR THOUGHTS:
There’s just something about the way Rhys Ford writes, her words paint a startling, clear picture on the page. Suddenly you can see the sights, hear the sounds and virtually step into the setting alongside the characters. This kind of immersion is inevitable; it brings you into the story in such a tangible way that you can’t help but become connected to the people and places. It’s one of the reasons I feel such a tie to Cole and Jae, not to mention everyone else in their world.

I love when authors tell concurrent story lines, because there’s something familiar and comforting about the overlapping events. In this story we get Ichi and Bobby’s story as it’s happening during the events of the Dirty Deeds. I like getting an idea of how it all came together in the moments leading up to Bobby dropping that bomb on Cole. I feel as though every scene almost has more meaning than it did before when we were only getting things from Cole’s perspective. They always say there are two sides to every story, and it couldn’t be more accurate.

I’ve been shipping Bobby and Ichiro for a while, and I kind of felt like them getting together was inevitable.  They’ve had this insane chemistry since their first encounter. I wasn’t sure if it was because they were kind of off limits – you know the whole best friend’s brother thing –  but even if that’s how the intrigue started, it’s not how it ends. After reading Down and Dirty, it’s hard to fathom that anyone would ever try to keep these guys apart. They’re so perfect together, something that was absolutely reinforced for me the more Ford delved into their backgrounds and psyches. In fact with the issues they’re shouldering, I can’t imagine them paired with anyone else. Each makes the other feel at ease despite their imperfections. Their flaws allow each to accept more of the same in the other. As they resolve each issue and obstacle thrown their way, their bond is cemented more and more.

If I had to pick a favorite part of this story what would it be? THE FIREWORKS. I often anticipated exactly how it would go down once Cole found out about Bobby and Ichi, and I think Rhys Ford has outdone herself. That entire scene and exchange is FANTASTIC. Way beyond my wildest imagination and done to perfection. I nearly wore out my kindle reading and re-reading that exchange.  All I can say is thank God for Claudia. ;)

While I’m desperately in love with Ichiro after this story, I’ve got to say my love for Jae-Min still runs deep. In fact, I’m not ashamed to admit I ran a  Kindle search for his name before starting Down & Dirty. Can’t blame a girl for wanting a little hint so she can set realistic expectations. Imagine my pleasure when it returned 167 results. :D

RATING: ONE BAD ASS BOOT, ONE STILETTO

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
!rhys_ford_headshotRhys Ford was born and raised in Hawai’i then wandered off to see the world. After chewing through a pile of books, a lot of odd food, and a stray boyfriend or two, Rhys eventually landed in San Diego, which is a very nice place but seriously needs more rain.

Rhys admits to sharing the house with three cats of varying degrees of black fur and a ginger cairn terrorist. Rhys is also enslaved to the upkeep a 1979 Pontiac Firebird, a Toshiba laptop, and an overworked red coffee maker.

CONNECT WITH RHYS: BLOG / FACEBOOK / TWITTER 

And at the Starbucks down the street. No really, they’re 24/7. And a drive-thru. It’s like heaven.

My books can be purchased, folded and first chapters read at Dreamspinner Press.

GIVEAWAY:
3 Chicks After Dark would like to thank Rhys Ford for generously providing the prize for the tour’s giveaway. Enter below for a chance to win a $20 gift certificate to the e-tailer of your choice!

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Summer Symphony by Brandon Shire

Summer SymphonyPublished 1 October 2014

Published by TPG Books

Copy obtained from author for review.

Synopsis:

Martin Zoric had vivid dreams of fatherhood, of a small hand pressed to his, of pink dresses and girlish laughter. Then his wife had a stillbirth and his world fell apart.

He listened to the unwanted apologies, stood by his wife as was expected of him, and kept his façade strong and firm for the entire world to see.

But does he have the strength let go and really grieve?

When Ren Wakahisa landed in Croatia he was hoping to escape the cultural pressures put on him to conform. His family wanted him to forsake love for duty. They viewed his happiness as secondary to familial prosperity.

Does he have the courage to be who he wants to be? Or, will he yield to their wishes?

Summer Symphony is the story of how two men find their answers and what they learn about strength, and grace, and the endurance of love.

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Review:

Words, full of despair and turmoil, dance across the page as if they are being propelled by the music flowing from Martin and Ren’s souls. Shire’s ability to make his words provoke so many emotions, like music notes, is a thing of beauty. The tortured moments of a broken man, raw from pain. The weight of expectation from a savant. This haunting beauty carries the book through pages of real-life suffering, as if a dance. The music is their solace. The music is their prison. The music is their hope for peace. The music, their only escape, their only joy.

Two men, two different journeys to happiness. Their paths cross and they help each other cope and find the music that will lessen their burdens and free their souls. One man has lost his ability to use music to heal the other can only cope and release through music. They are quite a pair.  When they come together to create a musical masterpiece, it is just what they both needed. At that moment, it is everything and yet so small in the symphony of life. One summer that propels them through, helps them make their decisions and move on.

Summer Symphony is a poignant reflection of life after the loss of a child. The loss of a dream, a moment, of a lifetime of happiness. That is Martin Zoric’s journey. Summer Symphony is also about the stress of familial obligations in a culture where family and honor is everything. Being gay isn’t the problem, not marrying and having babies is the problem. How can Ren Wakahisa dash his mother’s hopes for their family’s future? These two men must find their inner strength and decide to either give in, let go, move on or be miserable. Sometimes support can come from someone without a tie or the same experience. When there is a common thread, in this case music, to grasp it can be enough to create a bond strong enough to pull each other through the hardship.

This work of emotional sensitivity is a must read. Brandon Shire continues to astound his loyal readers with unique and impassioned works of fiction.

RATING: STILETTOS!!!