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