He Said – She Said
He Said – Reviewed by Ulysses Dietz
Member of the Paranormal Romance Guild Review Team
Well, well, well, this is Rhys Ford with all the bloody bits left out. Kinda nice, actually.
Twenty-three short pieces follow the chronology of the narrative arc of the Sinners Gin
series, offering a weird birds-eye view of the long-term collision of the obliterated rock
band Sinners Gin and the indomitable Irish-American Morgan clan of San Francisco. I’d
put an asterisk (*) by this rating because it only counts if you’ve read all six of the novels.
Without that, not much of this will make sense, in spite of the charm of these little
jewels; because they are not intended to stand alone, but to mine the interstices of the
saga of Miki St. John and his band of brothers.
What you can hardly forget, even amidst the gunfire and explosions that exemplify Rhys
Ford’s style, is that this series is about resurrection, redemption, and romance. First
there’s Miki and Kane Morgan; then his brother-in-all-but-birth Damien Mitchell and
Sionn Murphy (who is Brigid Morgan’s nephew; followed by Forest Ackerman, who
catches the unexpecting eye of the eldest son, Connor Morgan; and finally the Morgan
boys’ childhood friend Rafe Andrade, who kicks addiction to win the heart of the
bookish Quinn Morgan. Against the individual backstories of each of the Crossroads Gin
bandmembers, the rich (and rather unlikely) tapestry of the Morgan family hangs as a
constant, colorful backdrop.
The anthology seems like it might be bits and pieces written as part of the creation of the
books in the series, but left out of the finished books, for one reason or another. Oddly
enough, I can see how each and every one of these texts, marvelous in itself, didn’t quite
fit in, or feel necessary to the fast-paced action-romance of the novels themselves.
There’s an almost elegiac starter, showing us Miki and Damien before their band was
formed and their lives changed forever. Here are two boys, one having rescued the
other, who create a whole family out of two broken parts. There are two shorts about
tattoos, one from Miki and Damien’s perspective, one from the Morgan brothers and
their father’s. These are about brotherhood of different kinds, and the mystic power of
tattoos in many people’s minds (and there’s also a foreshadowing of another series from
The one group of twelve snippets that I think stands alone, and was not ever intended to
be in the series, is dedicated to Dude, the smelly, smart, ill-trained terrier who brings
Kane Morgan to Miki St. John’s door. About half of these are actually from Dude’s point
of view, which is hilarious. Definitely for dog lovers, but these also offer, as does every
story in this book, a deeper insight into the people who filled the pages of this series.
Each of the four couples who come together over the course of the series get their own
share of space here; but also, rather wonderfully, do Donal and Brigid Morgan. I loved
this chapter because the parental Morgans have always been a mystery to me. Irish-
born, parents of eight (yet not all that old), they manage to be as broad-minded and
generous of heart as any characters in any book I’ve ever read. They are a constant
thread of fierce and unyielding love that weaves its way through every one of the books
in this series. I felt like I finally knew them.
One of the longest pieces in the book, “A Day at the Fair,” does actually feel like a short
story complete in and of itself. Kane takes Miki to the Los Angeles County Fair in
Pomona, driving all the way from San Francisco to do it. Much of the kind of
introspective writing that Ford favors is present here, but beyond that is an utterly
charming story about a man giving the person he loves the gift of an experience he was
denied in childhood.
Miki and Kane do appear to get the most page time in ‘Nother Sip of Gin, but reading
this substantial volume was not just about them. It felt to me like gorging on a big tray
of delicious snacks. Every page in the book reminded me of the stories in the series, and
the complex network of emotional healing that went on in those pages, touching on
every one of the characters. By the end of it, you feel like you stumbled on a random box
of faded color photographs, each of which brings to mind a happy memory of something
else. When you read these, you feel like an insider. It’s a good feeling.
She Said – Reviewed by Melissa Brus
Member of the Paranormal Romance Guild Review Team
I love when a writer gives us little glimpses into the lives of favorite characters. This anthology, of these vignettes of our Sinners Gin family, is so amazing. From before Miki and Damie were ever in a band, to life in the new formation of one, to a whole series of moments told from Dude’s perspective, I thoroughly enjoyed every word. This book definitely is not a stand alone book. This is very much a collection of additional moments to the already amazing Sinners series. But do not think this is less than because it is not a traditional novel. Rhys Ford imbues these little moments with all of her signature lyrical writing style and with all the emotional intricacies we have come to expect and love. My favorite bits were seeing Brigid and Donal discussing their history and their current family. There is a cupcake scene that brought me to tears. This is an absolute must have for fans of Sinners Gin. Go One Click this now. You will be so happy you did.