A BJ Review: Chyna Doll (Horizons #4) by Mickie B. Ashling

Rating:  3 stars out of 5

ChynaDollLGChyna, an intersexed male raised as a girl, is struggling with identity issues as she enters adolescence. She finds herself suddenly attracted to her brother Chip’s friend, Luca. Luca, who has grown up with two gay Dads, struggles with his own sexual identity when he finds himself torn between an attraction to Chip and his twin sister, Chyna. .

While the cover and blurb made me think this book concentrated on the relationship of Luca and Chyna, that’s only partially true. A large section of the book concerns the somewhat troubled relationship of Luca’s two Dads, Grier and Lil. This is definitely not a young adult book, since the sex between the two older characters is quite kinky and includes such tantalizing bits as diamond tipped penal plugs, sounding and men who like wearing lacy women’s undies. So a small warning: don’t go into this thinking it focusing only on young adults and their issues. That is not the case.

Chyna’s sexual identity issues were exacerbated by the deplorable way Chyna’s parents handled her upbringing, lied to her and others, and kept from her so many things that could have made it easier on her. Heartbreaking to read about such betrayal from those entrusted with such responsibility.

This book covers some intense and interesting issues pretty thoroughly and from various angles. The ending wasn’t cut and dried but and all tied up sweet, which felt right. But it left me cheering for Luca and feeling hopeful for a HEA for him and Chyna.

This story had excellent potential, but ultimately fell short for me. The writing style varied from extremely readable to parts an info dump of telling. In addition, I found it jarring when we move totally away from the main characters and focus exclusively on the vacationing gay parents and their issues for the space of quite a few characters in the middle of the book. At that point, I’d invested myself in the story of Chyna and Luca and had to resist the deviation to skim forward. Finally, the large number of POVs characters sometimes felt a bit like head hopping and make it hard for me to anchor to any of them long enough to develop a rapport.

Cover Artist: Anne Cain.A lovely cover that portrays two of the main characters close to the way I’d pictured them. This cover gives the impression that these two are the only focus of this story, when actually there’s almost equal focus on Luca’s gay parent’s relationship. In that respect, the cover misleads.

Sales Links:    Dreamspinner Press      All Romance (ARe)       Amazon     Buy It Here

Book Details:  

ebook, 320 pages
Published February 23rd 2015 by Dreamspinner Press
(first published February 23rd 2014)
edition languageEnglish
seriesHorizons #4

Horizons series includes the following:

  • Horizons (Horizons, #1)
  • Taste (Horizons, #2)
  • Daddio (Horizons, #3)
  • Chyna Doll (Horizons, #4)

By Scattered Thoughts

At over 50, I am ruled by my terriers, my gardens, and my projects. A knack for grubbing about in the woods, making mud pies, and tending to the injured worms, bugs, and occasional bird and turtle growing up eventually led me to working for the Parks. I was a park Naturalist for over 20 years, and observing Nature and her cycles still occupy my hours. From the arrival of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds in the Spring to the first call of the Snow Geese heading south in the Fall, I am entranced by the seasons. For more about me see my bio on my blog.

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