Title: American Love Songs
Author: Ashlyn Kane
Genre: Contemporary Romance, New Adult, M/M Romance
Sensuality Rating: Erotic
Source: review copy provided by publisher
Published: December 31, 2010 by Dreamspinner Press
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?
Reviewed By: J9
In a Nutshell: Great way to tell a story but the immaturity of the characters and the coming of age plot was decidedly too New Adult for my taste.
The Set Up: Jake and his rock band Wayward Sons need a new guitarist. Parker is an enigmatic drifter whose talent earns him a spot in the band. As Wayward Sons catapults to the top of the charts, Jake can no longer ignore his attraction to sweet and nerdy Parker. But Parker’s distrust of Jake’s ability to be monogamous may put an end to them before they even become a couple.
Why I Read this Book: This is on a lot of best of MM lists so had to try it.
What I Liked: This is a unique and compelling way to tell a story. First is the traditional third person narration. Interspersed is the band’s blog that Jake mostly writes for the fans so readers get a first person, edited version from Jake. Then text conversations between Jake and his sister and with Parker’s sister so readers get even more character and plot development there. Finally, magazine articles and interviews of the Wayward Sons are peppered through-out the novel, such as a Rolling Stone review of the band’s new album and an interview with the band on tour. I loved this holistic approach to telling a rock ’n’ roll band’s story and thought it was brilliantly executed.
What I Also Liked: The author has three dimensional characters. The Wayward Sons are made up of Jake and his two elementary school friends, Chris and Jimmy. Jake has had a crush on front man Chris who is a heartless womanizer and drummer Jimmy is the Zen friend who smokes pot and does yoga. Parker is the enigmatic new comer to the band who slightly threatens Chris with his musical talents. All of the relationships are well drawn and made the book interesting. Add in Jake’s charming family, especially his funny kid sister, and the band’s roadie, Allanna, and this novel has a great cast of characters.
The plot of the Wayward Sons starting out as a local cover band and then making it big also was good. This is a modern day musical fairytale of a band touring, getting record deals and awards. Anyone who likes shows like American Idol will enjoy the plot of this book.
What I Didn’t Like: These characters were way too immature for my tastes. Jake isn’t even old enough to drink when the book begins and yet drinking and partying make up a big part of the band’s life. Jake’s immaturity causes him to hurt Parker for most of the book because of his immaturity and inability to think of someone other than himself. But it isn’t just this that pushed the book into New Adult for me: it was the boys playing video games to decide who does dishes; Jimmy peeing off a bridge for a blog picture; the nearly-harmful prank Chris plays on Parker; Chris and Jake sleeping with groupies they pick out of their audience. I suppose the author was successful in making me feel like I lived on the tour bus with these guys but it also meant I could smell their teenage funk and wished they’d all just grow up!
IMO: Readers who enjoy New Adult coming of age books will likely adore this book but it wasn’t my thing.