A MelanieM Release Day Review: Fake Dating the Prince by Ashlyn Kane

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

A royal deception. An accidental romance.

 

When fast-living flight attendant Brayden Wood agrees to accompany a first-class passenger to a swanky charity ball, he discovers his date—“Call me Flip”—is actually His Royal Highness Prince Antoine-Philipe. And he wants Brayden to pretend to be his boyfriend.

 

Being Europe’s only prince of Indian descent—and its only openly gay one—has led Flip to select “appropriate” men first and worry about attraction later. Still, flirty, irreverent Brayden captivates him right away, and Flip needs a date to survive the ball without being match-made.

 

Before Flip can pursue Brayden in earnest, the paparazzi forces his hand, and the charade is extended for the remainder of Brayden’s vacation.

 

Posh, gorgeous, thoughtful Prince Flip is way out of Brayden’s league. If Brayden survives three weeks of platonically sharing a bed with him during the romantic holiday season, going home afterward might break his heart….

Sometimes a story and a reader just mesh.  The romance has just the right combination of sweet comedy, heady falling in love, and deeper relationship  issues to make it all work and bring it alive.  Your face grins continually and your heart feels warm.

That’s what Fake Dating the Prince by Ashlyn Kane is to me.  It’s that sparkling, sweet romance you remember and will reread when you need a lift.  The characters that actually dance across a ballroom and into your heart! With parents you love to boor!

l adore it when a story exceeds your expectations.  I always enjoy the Dreamspun Desires line from Dreamspinner Press.  One that started out giving a M/M twist to the older romance tropes we typically read about.  Fake marriages, fake boyfriends, mistaken identities, you name the trope and the authors give it a fresh new LGBT twist.

Here of course, it’s the fake boyfriend and fiance.  From the small European country no one has ever heard of .  Considering the novels and movies where that occurs, must be a zillion of them. The country, the family, and everything about this story made me grin like mad!  Made my heart happy and everything outside their road to happiness and HEA a blank .

And isn’t that what a light-hearted romance is supposed to do?  There’s no real angst here, no great problems.  Just two lovely men looking for love and finding it in each other. In a small place no one has ever heard of.  Plus we get two, not one but two great families.  Really, I could have had much more of them both.If the author is listening.  we need a sequel and a wedding.

If you love contemporary romance and are looking for your next sweet story?  Here is one I highly recommend.  I just adore it.

Cover Artist: Alexandria Corza.  Great cover, that is the personification of Flip!

Sales Links:   Amazon, Dreamspinner, Barnes & Noble, Indigo Books, Target

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, Dreamspun Desires #84, 212 pages
Expected publication: June 18th 2019 by Dreamspinner Press
ASINB07QYT5Y4V
Edition Language English

Ashlyn Kane on the soundtrack for her new release Fake Dating the Prince (author guest blog)

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Fake Dating the Prince by Ashlyn Kane

Dreamspinner Press
Publication: June 18th 2019
Cover Artist: Alexandria Corza

Sales Links: Amazon, Dreamspinner, Barnes & Noble, Indigo Books, Target

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Ashlyn Kane here today on tour for her new novel, Fake Dating the Prince. Welcome, Ashlyn!

 

Hi! I’m Ashlyn Kane and you’re here with me on Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words. Please join me in thanking our gracious hosts, Stella and Melanie!

Considering that I’m a romance writer, I sort of couldn’t believe I’d never really written something where someone really got swept off their feet—you know, in the silver screen way (apologies to Drew from His Leading Man). Mutual adoration and pining, sure. But the kind of contemporary story where an everyday character is introduced to a whole new world by a billionaire or a rock star or, oh, a prince—I hadn’t done that before.

Why haven’t I done that before?

Anyway, never mind, I’ve done it now. I present Fake Dating the Prince:

When fast-living flight attendant Brayden Wood agrees to accompany a first-class passenger to a swanky charity ball, he discovers his date—“Call me Flip”—is actually His Royal Highness Prince Antoine-Philipe. And he wants Brayden to pretend to be his boyfriend.

Being Europe’s only prince of Indian descent—and its only openly gay one—has led Flip to select “appropriate” men first and worry about attraction later. Still, flirty, irreverent Brayden captivates him right away, and Flip needs a date to survive the ball without being match-made.

Before Flip can pursue Brayden in earnest, the paparazzi forces his hand, and the charade is extended for the remainder of Brayden’s vacation.

Posh, gorgeous, thoughtful Prince Flip is way out of Brayden’s league. If Brayden survives three weeks of platonically sharing a bed with him during the romantic holiday season, going home afterward might break his heart….

If you like tropes like fake dating, “platonic” bed sharing, and royal scandals, this is the book for you.

And a grand, dare I say cinematic romance like this deserves to be scored like one, but unfortunately my composing abilities extend about as far as cheesy country songs. So without further ado, I present the unofficial Fake Dating the Prince soundtrack, with annotations.

  1. Carly Rae Jepsen – “Call Me Maybe.”
    Because “Hey, I just met you, and this is crazy, but do you want to go to an extremely posh event hosted by the crown prince, who is me” is absolutely the vibe of this story. Even if it doesn’t quite scan.
  2. From Disney’s Snow White – “Someday My Prince Will Come.”
    When Brayden’s sister finds out he’s dating Flip—she doesn’t know that it’s all a ruse that got out of hand—she 100 percent rickrolls him, except the link is to this video on YouTube.
  3. Sunidhi Chauhan – “Aaja Nachle”
    I watched a lot of bhangra dance competitions on YouTube while I was writing. There’s only one actual scene where they dance it, but it’s so fun to watch that I ended up going down the YouTube rabbit hole a bunch of times. I’m a lousy dancer even by basic white girl standards—it runs in the family—which is maybe why, to me, dancing can be such an impossibly romantic activity. “Aaja Nachle” isn’t necessarily a romantic song to dance to—as I understand it, it’s a call to start dancing. In the story, dancing is the turning point where things are no longer black and white. Is this relationship still fake? Does either of them want it to be?
  4. Whitney Houston – “I Wanna Dance With Somebody.”
    Flip has his work cut out for him softening Brayden up enough to fall in love. Brayden’s been single by choice since he was sixteen—he’s punishing himself for something and never lets himself get close to anyone for longer than a one-night stand. But does he want to dance with somebody who loves him? Of course. And Flip is just the prince charming for the job.
  5. Billy Joel – “The Longest Time.”
    I know, I know. I wasn’t actually even born yet when this song came out. But a) it’s catchy and b) it’s thematically appropriate—a song about a man who’s decided to take that chance and damn the consequences, it’s already worth it. That’s a romantic sentiment I (and Brayden) can get behind.
  6. Queen – “A Winter’s Tale.”
    It may be June now, but in the book it’s the dead of winter, and this song is perfectly atmospheric for a romantic surprise winter getaway—the sort you’d get taken on if a handsome prince wanted to sweep you off your feet, for example. (Hint: he does.)
  7. From Frozen: The Musical – “Hygge.”
    When I set out to write a book set in northern Europe in early winter, I knew that coziness was the name of the game. I have some experience with this firsthand—I lived in Dresden, Germany, for three years—so I had that to draw on for ways to make a dark, chilly place come across as warm and inviting. There are markets and festivals pretty frequently throughout the winter months, and mulled wine out with friends and slippers at home are key to feeling warm when it’s gray out. “Hygge” is sort of a silly song about things that do (and don’t) help a person stay cheerful in the winter months. (The song is itself quite hygge, IMO, but it can be an earworm. Probably not as bad as “Let it Go,” though.)
  8. Golden Earring – “Radar Love.”
    Because why shouldn’t Brayden’s love for his prince be the equivalent of the Bat Signal? And… well, spoilers.
  9. Bonus track: Bruno Mars – “Marry You.”
    Look, the classics are classic for a reason. And this one includes references to dancing and tequila, both of which are present in the book. Besides, every romance novel needs a happy ending!

Fake Dating the Prince releases June 18. It is available at Amazon, Dreamspinner, Barnes & Noble, Indigo Books, Target, and (this just tickles me, so I have to mention it) at the Dayton Public Library—so you’ll want to check your local library too!

ASHLYN KANE is a Canadian former expat and current hockey fan. She is a writer, editor, handyperson, dog mom, and friend—sometimes all at once.

On any given day she can usually be found walking her ninety-pound baby chocolate lapdog, Indy, or holed up in her office avoiding housework. She has a deep and abiding love of romance novel tropes, a habit of dropping too many f-bombs, and—fortunately—a very forgiving family.

Twitter: @ashlynkane

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ashlyn.kane.94

Website: www.ashlynkane.ca

A Lila Audio Review: His Leading Man by Ashlyn Kane and Kenneth Obi (Narrator)

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Drew Beaumont is bored of the same old roles: action hero, supervillain, romantic lead. He’s not going to let a fresh gay buddy comedy languish just because they can’t find him the right costar. No, Drew bats his eyelashes and convinces everyone that the movie’s writer should play Drew’s not-so-straight man.

Aspiring writer Steve Sopol has never had a screenplay optioned. Now one of Hollywood’s hottest properties wants to be in a movie Steve hasn’t finished writing—and he wants Steve as his costar. Turns out the chemistry between them is undeniable—on and offscreen.

Drew swore off dating in the biz, but Steve is the whole package: sharp, funny, humble, and cute. For Steve, though, giving in to the movie magic means the end of the privacy he cherishes. Will the credits roll before their ride into the sunset?

His Leading Man is all about indie films and production. A behind the scene, step-by-step path from pre-production to award season. The book does read like the script for an independent movie. It’s one I could see in a Fine Art theater or a small company production. And that’s one of the reasons the story didn’t rate higher for me. The technicalities took away from me getting invested in Steve’s and Drew’s love story.

They did have an interesting chemistry and their personalities gelled well. I like the sass between them and how they worked together to further develop the script. I love the dog, Drew’s over the top personality, and Steve’s smart wit.

There’s not much drama in the story and everything has a simple solution. The secondary characters, especially Steve’s mom, added that humor to the story that made it unique. It’s an interesting story, different from most Dreamspun titles.

Kenneth Obi brings the story to life and adds to the characters. I’m glad he did the narration.

The cover by Bree Archer is generic to the Dreamspun Desires series. Not really enticing, but good enough for the story.

Sales Links: Dreamspinner | iTunes | Audible

Audiobook Details:

Narrator: Kenneth Obi
Length: 5 hours 22 minutes
Published: August 16, 2018 (Audio Edition) by Dreamspinner Press
ASIN: B07GJSKZMN
Edition Language: English

An Ali Release Day Review: Hex and Candy (Strange Bedfellows #1) by Ashlyn Kane

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

True love’s kiss can break the curse. But then what?

Cole Alpin runs a small-town candy store. He visits his grandmother twice a week. And sometimes he breaks curses.

Leo Ericson’s curse is obvious right away, spiderwebbing across his very nice body. Though something about it worries Cole, he agrees to help—with little idea of what he’s getting into.

Leo is a serial monogamist, but his vampire ex has taken dating off the table with his nasty spell, and Leo needs Cole’s companionship as much as his help. When the hex proves to be only the beginning of his problems, Leo seeks refuge at Cole’s place. Too bad magic prevents him from finding refuge in Cole’s arms.

Cole’s never had a boyfriend, so how can he recognize true love? And there’s still the matter of the one responsible for their troubles in the first place….

I really enjoyed this story.  Cole wants to help Leo but at the same time is sure that he can’t be the one to do it.  Leo doesn’t realize how hollow his life and relationships have been until he doesn’t have them anymore.

Cole has given up on finding love and even though he doesn’t want to fight this pull to Leo he is afraid to give in and get hurt.  Leo is struggling with his new reality but it is also giving him a chance to reflect on his life and how he may want it to change.

I really liked both of these characters.  I could understand how Cole kept the way to break the kiss from Leo but once they gave in and the curse seemed to go away there never really a talk about how that happened.  We can see Leo struggle to understand everything about this new paranormal world he is living in but he does pretty well for the most part and really doesn’t want to walk away from it either.  I look forward to more stories in this universe and hope it will follow someone we met in this book.

The cover art by Aaron Anderson is great and I love all the visuals that it gives for the story.

Sales Links: Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | B&N

Book Details:

ebook, 214 pages

Published: August 21, 2018 by Dreamspinner Press

ISBN-13: 978-1-64080-739-6

Edition Language: English

Series: Dreamspun Beyond, Strange Bedfellows #1

A MelanieM Release Day Review: His Leading Man by Ashlyn Kane

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

 

He wrote a comedy. Fate directed a romance.

Drew Beaumont is bored of the same old roles: action hero, supervillain, romantic lead. He’s not going to let a fresh gay buddy comedy languish just because they can’t find him the right costar. No, Drew bats his eyelashes and convinces everyone that the movie’s writer should play Drew’s not-so-straight man.

Aspiring writer Steve Sopol has never had a screenplay optioned. Now one of Hollywood’s hottest properties wants to be in a movie Steve hasn’t finished writing—and he wants Steve as his costar. Turns out the chemistry between them is undeniable—on and offscreen.

Drew swore off dating in the biz, but Steve is the whole package: sharp, funny, humble, and cute. For Steve, though, giving in to the movie magic means the end of the privacy he cherishes. Will the credits roll before their ride into the sunset?

Sometimes all you want is an extremely well written angst free romance.  One completely lacking in murderous ex lovers, psychotic stalkers, or even the normal life driven “why  did it happen to me/them” elements that realistically thread through some contemporary novels these days.  Sometimes, I just want happy.  A well plotted story, full of multidimensional characters who were easy to connect with, and, had a journey towards HEA that just pulled me in for hours.

His Leading Man by Ashlyn Kane is that story.  Two intelligent, nice, hardworking men who find each other at the right time in their lives and it works.  It was so enjoyable!  I fell effortlessly into the tale of actor Drew Beaumont and writer Steve Sopol on the set of Steve’s low budget movie Dog Gone that he’s written.  It’s Steven’s first screen play and his big break into movies as a writer.  For Drew?  This low budget film represents something different.  Smartly written, dialog his loves, as well the the comedic character and tone of the story?  And LGBT storyline?  It’s something he’s been looking to play.

Ashlyn Kane brings us right into the dynamics of creating a low budget movie, writing a screenplay and acting, all the while as two men discover each other and fall in love.  We get both points of view, a cautious relationship that moves from friendship to dating to love, and with each step, I fell in love with this couple and this story even more.

I first read Ashlyn Kane from her hockey books but it had been a while since I’d last turned a page of one of those.  What a delight to rediscover her and her stories again in His Leading Man.  This just showed me what I’ve been missing.  Now I’m off to see what else she’s been  writing in the interim.

Do you love contemporary romance?  One’s guaranteed to reach into your heart with a sweetness and lightheartedness that will make your day?  Then I recommend His Leading Man by Ashlyn Kane to fit the bill.

Cover art: Bree Archer.  Light, fun, and romantic.  It  works for the character and tone of the story.  Perfect.

Sales Links: Dreamspinner website |  Amazon.com.

Book Details:

ebook, 222 pages
Expected publication: June 5th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press
Original TitleHis Leading Man
ISBN139781640801080
Edition LanguageEnglish
URL

Ashlyn Kane on Characterization, Gary Stu, and her new release His Leading Man by Ashlyn Kane (author guest blog)

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His Leading Man by Ashlyn Kane

Dreamspinner Press
Cover Art: Bree Archer

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Ashlyn Kane here today talking about her latest contemporary romance, His Leading Man.  Welcome, Ashlyn.

 

Hi all! I’m Ashlyn Kane, and I’m here as stop one on the His Leading Man blog tour. Thanks so much to Stella and Melanie for hosting me! If you haven’t heard about the book, here’s the blurb:

He wrote a comedy. Fate directed a romance. 

Drew Beaumont is bored of the same old roles: action hero, supervillain, romantic lead. He’s not going to let a fresh gay buddy comedy languish just because they can’t find him the right costar. No, Drew bats his eyelashes and convinces everyone that the movie’s writer should play Drew’s not-so-straight man.

Aspiring writer Steve Sopol has never had a screenplay optioned. Now one of Hollywood’s hottest properties wants to be in a movie Steve hasn’t finished writing—and he wants Steve as his costar. Turns out the chemistry between them is undeniable—on and offscreen.

Drew swore off dating in the biz, but Steve is the whole package: sharp, funny, humble, and cute. For Steve, though, giving in to the movie magic means the end of the privacy he cherishes. Will the credits roll before their ride into the sunset? 

If that strikes your fancy, you can buy it on the Dreamspinner website or on Amazon.com.

And now for more about me!

How much of yourself goes into a character?

If I’m doing my job right, just enough to get me into their mindset for writing, and not so much that they all start to sound alike. That was a bit tricky in my newest book because it features Steve, who’s a somewhat private writer, so of course we’ve got that in common: the desire to tell stories, particularly unique ones. But Steve’s leading man (or vice versa depending who you ask) is Drew, who’s a flashy movie star—very different on the surface, until you realize that is just another way to tell stories.

Do you feel there’s a tight line between Mary Sue or should I say Gary Stu and using your own experiences to create a character?

I grew up in fandom mumble-mumble years ago, which gives me a knee-jerk reaction to those names. To me Mary Sue or Gary Stu doesn’t mean just a self-insert but a character who’s “too perfect,” and when people use the term that way I want to go off on a tangent about how male power fantasies are allowed (Bruce Wayne, anyone?) but female ones get called out as two-dimensional. But to answer the question I think you mean: this isn’t something I personally struggle with. I’m a deeply boring person. No one would read a book about me, and I wouldn’t want to write it!

Has your choice of childhood or teenage reading genres carried into your own choices for writing?

Hmm, I think only in that I’ve always been eclectic. As a kid I read everything I could get my paws on, from the Bunnicula series and Nancy Drew to Harry Potter to The Green Mile. The first romance novel I ever read was about a woman with superpowers. I write a little bit of everything too (except historical, which is too much research!), the flashy Hollywood romance sort of books but also the quieter, almost pedestrian ones, and even paranormal. My next book after this is magical realism, which is a fun universe to write in and I’m debating revisiting it. The only thing I haven’t really done yet is sci-fi, which I read a ton of growing up but I think I’m too—lazy? intimidated? uninspired? all of the above?—to try writing. I mostly write for fun, so I prefer not to have to think too hard. Thinking is for editing!

Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?

HEA all the way. This is why sequels make me nervous! What if you take the happy ending away from them??? No, thank you!

 

What traits do you find the most interesting in someone? Do you write them into your characters?

A sense of humor is so important. Life can be brutal and tragic and lonely and hard. I think that it’s important to share it with someone who can cheer you up. That could come in the form of kindness too, rather than humor, but it’s usually the humor people notice first. Kindness is quieter, but also important. I think, in this genre, a lot of what people are looking for boils down to levity and kindness, so I try to make sure each book has a good portion of each, however that works out character-wise.

 

Ever drunk written a chapter and then read it the next day and still been happy with it?  Trust me there’s a whole world of us drunk writers dying to know.

Oh sure, only every time I’ve ever gotten stuck on a sex scene!

  

With so much going on in the world today, do you write to explain?  To get away?  To move past?  To wide our knowledge?  Why do you write?

Because I need to tell stories. I’ve been writing since I was six years old. My parents used to read me bedtime stories; once they turned off the lights and closed the door, I’d lie awake and make up more stories to tell myself. It’s a part of me that’s always been there—some kind of self-soothing behavior, maybe. It’s like watching TV, except backwards.

 

What’s next for you as a writer?

Well, I’ve got another book coming with Dreamspinner late this summer, and then we’ll see! I have a few ideas floating around, but none of them has taken quite firm enough root yet. Ask me again in two months—maybe I’ll have a better answer!

ASHLYN KANE is a Canadian former expat and current hockey fan. She is a writer, editor, handyperson, dog mom, and friend—sometimes all at once.

On any given day, she can usually be found walking her ninety-pound baby chocolate lapdog, Indy, or holed up in her office avoiding housework. She has a deep and abiding love of romance-novel tropes, a habit of dropping too many f-bombs, and—fortunately—a very forgiving family.

Twitter: @ashlynkane

Facebook: www.facebook.com/ashlyn.kane.94

Website: Ashlynkane.ca