Saturday, March 19, 2011

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥: American Love Songs by Ashlyn Kane

American Love Songs
Ashlyn Kane

Page Count: 260
Release Date: 31 December, 2010
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Source: Complimentary copy provided by publisher, in exchange for an honest and unbiased review (thank you!)

Jake Brenner has too many wild oats to sow to fall in love—or so he claims. Besides, he's much too busy with his band, the Wayward Sons, to go looking for romance. His reticence has nothing to do with his embarrassing crush on Chris, the band's lead singer and Jake's erstwhile best friend. But that was before enigmatic wanderer Parker McAvoy signed on as the band's new lead guitarist. He can only deny his attraction to sweet, dorky Parker for so long before the urge to do something about it becomes impossible to ignore. The trouble is, Parker knows all about Jake's philandering ways—and oh, yeah, he's not gay. Or so Jake thinks until a string of related events provides encouraging new insight. Can he convince Parker to overlook his colorful past and give him a chance? Or will this love song fade out before it even begins?

What Stephanie Thought: I'll tell it to you bluntly: it's been quite a while since I've read a book I've enjoyed as much as American Love Songs. It's more than a book—it's more than erotica. It's an authentic romance, and the story, characters, and dialogue are written to ensure they're something you'll keep in your heart forever, and never want to forget.

I don't read much m/m because usually it's associated with explicit sex scenes. Not that I don't like erotica, but usually even sex gets tiring after the first several pages. Rest assured, there are plenty of steamy scenes in American Love Songs—but they're so full of raw passion and underlying confusion, that they hardly seem too inappropriate.

Jake Brenner is in love with the mysterious, adorable, and captivating Parker McAvoy, but unfortunately, as most love revelations go, he is the last to find out. For starters, they'd make the worst couple ever—Jake's exhibitionist qualities clashing with Parker's bashful innocence—and let's go with logistics; Parker isn't even gay. But then why does it feel like the sizzling yet undiscovered chemistry the two share seem so, so right? Parker's secretive and heartbreaking past will allow both him and Jake to realize the real priorities in life, as well as the consequences of overwhelming musical success, helping them both find their true selves along the way.

For me, Ashlyn Kane's novel is a breath of fresh air, as well as a wave of sympathy-inducing nostalgia. Her original, witty plot is one that's hard to put down—I read the whole book in one night!  You'll be hooked by Jake and Parker's forbidden, but hectic love story. It's really difficult to write a novel about music, but Kane does it without flaw. Enjoy the thrill of rock stars, gay men, sex, and true love—all put to a soundtrack that you, on your own, will be prompted to vividly create. Think Brokeback Mountain meets Kings of Leon; does it get any better than that?

Kane has a way with words, but more importantly, she knows how to pull at a reader's heart, while still sparing a few giggles (or guffaws) all the way throughout. Her well-crafted ideas are spun beautifully with entertaining, realistic dialogue, and paired with creative blog posts, text messages, and other forms of communicative media, she is able to develop lovable characters and a story that is difficult to let go of. I wish Kane the very success the Wayward Sons achieved; if Grammys could be awarded to authors (and if you know... I had the authority to hand out Grammys like candy), she definitely deserves one.

Stephanie Loves: "'Oh, for God's sake, Jake, put some pants on,' Allanna told him when he emerged from the bathroom wearing only a towel. She hadn't even looked up from her PDA.
'Sorry,' Jake said snidely, 'I like to shower in the buff.'"

Radical Rating: 10 hearts: I'm speechless; this book is an extraordinarily amazingly wonderfully fantastically marvelous masterpiece. ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥