Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Originally Erotic: American Love Songs by Ashlyn Kane


It’s hard to believe that with all the wonderful, smutty fan fiction out there that we get time to read published books too. You should know by now that the Pack Pervs are nothing if not insatiable smut hounds. We can never get enough of well written steamy sex, and we’re even willing to pay for it.

Here we will team up to recommend some original erotica and erotic romance fiction that are guaranteed to get you hot and bothered.

Title: American Love Songs
Author: Ashlyn Kane
Author’s Twitter: @ashlynkane
Author’s Facebook: Ashlyn-Kane
Genre: Gay Romance
Amazon: $16.99 (hardback) $6.99 (ebook)
Dreamspinner: $16.99 (hardcover) $6.99 (ebook)
Book Description: 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?

Jeanne - American Love Songs is one of the best books I have read all year. Not just the best gay romance or best romance novel, but one of the best books, period.

Ashlyn Kane has elevated this story beyond genre and sexual orientation, to a place that few works of fiction ever reach: American Love Songs is a great story about friendship, love, and the precarious nature of success in the music industry. Sure, there is the added wrinkle of how being a young gay man effects all of this, but it’s not treated like a burden, which is so often done in gay romances.

Jake Brenner is gay. His friends, family, and fans of the band all know this for fact. We as readers learn it right off the bat. Jake never bemoans his sexuality. In fact, his causal self acceptance allows the reader to quickly move past that fact to get to know Jake as a person. To know Jake is to love him.

It’s been a long time since I fell this wholly in love with a fictional character, much less a gay one, but it’s hard not to be smitten with someone so funny, creative, and loyal.

Wayward Sons’ Inaugural Post

Wow, okay, this page has eight fans now and only four of them are us, so I guess I should put something up to introduce ourselves or something. Anyway, here’s a picture.

On the left is Jimmy, our drummer. You can just see him under all the hair. Jimmy’s a great guy. Dumber than a sack of hammers, but damn, he can count.

Next up is Chris, the lead singer and rhythm guitarist. Chris can hit the high notes like a Viennese choirboy. Also, don’t let his pretty face fool you. He’s a douchebag.

The slammin’ redhead rocking the pixie cut and licking the guitar is Kylie, lead guitarist. Yes, those are her real boobs. No, you can’t touch them. Sorry, guys. Jimmy will break you, and we’re too poor to get lawyers.

Oh, hey, and the hot guy on his knees is me, Jake. Please, no blowjob jokes. People should never joke about blowjobs. I play bass. Nice to meet you.

Together, we’re the Wayward Sons, an up-and-coming (is that pretentious? To call oneself up-and-coming? Who am I kidding; nobody’s reading this, so who cares?) rock band based in Independence, Kansas.

America Long Songs by Ashlyn Kane page 5

That is Jake. A smartass, shit talker who will have you rolling and snorting through the entire book. His character voice is crystal clear, and unmistakably his own. The same can be said about the rest of the motley crew that makes up the cast of this story. Everyone from minor players like Jake’s loving mother to Jake’s love interest, Parker, come alive on the page.

Speaking of Parker...*swoons* Yeah, Parker McAvoy is the quintessential tortured genius. At the start of the story we are unsure of what tortures him, though it is clear that something not-so-good has happened in his past. What’s most fascinating about Parker, other than his incredible musical talent, is how his quiet, shy personality is the perfect counter to Jake’s loud, outgoing nature. Don’t get me wrong, Parker is no shrinking violet. He holds his own even with the likes of Mr. Brenner.

Jake plonked the bottle down in the middle of the living room table, distracting Parker from his place in Breakfast of Champions. Rubbing his eyes with one hand—he’d been at it for hours—Parker lowered his glasses with the other. His eyebrows lifted as his gaze lighted on the bottle of amber liquid.

“We’re going to play a game,” Jake said firmly, but he made sure to smile just in case Parker thought he was a psychopath.14

“Is it the one you play on your knees in front of a toilet?” Parker asked. “Because I hate that game.”

With a flourish, Jake produced two shot glasses from behind his

“Oh,” Parker sighed. “It is that game.” But he folded the corner of his page over and set the book aside, so he obviously didn’t hate it that much.

America Long Songs by Ashlyn Kane page 24

Side note: That “14” in the quote above isn’t a typo. It’s a marker for an annotation (see below). They are scattered through the narrative and are comments from either Jake or Parker. I have never seen anything like this before in fiction, but it is great, and never failed to make me laugh.

14In case you were wondering? It didn’t help.—PM

These two are so perfectly in-tune that you can feel the magnetic pull between them through the pages of the book. They have palpable chemistry and an adorable interplay, not to mention undeniable sexual tension, even when they are just friends. Although, when things become more complicated between them it is some of the hottest erotica I have ever read (I’ll let the other pervs tell you all about that). However, the romance of this story isn’t just Jake and Parker’s journey, but the slow and steady seduction of the reader by the world that Ashlyn Kane has created.

This isn’t just a love story, it’s a Rock story, and it is jam packed with classic rock-n-roll moments. From Parker getting intense stage fright at their first big show, to the band going through endless interviews to find an acceptable road manager who wouldn’t sleep with Chris, the lead singer, and even the filming of their first music video. All these details help to flesh out the world of American Love Songs and transforms it from genre fiction to a full-developed, and wholly enjoyable fiction novel (that has a gay romance at its center).

I am passionate about this book, not just because I love the characters, story, and the eyeball-meltingly hot sex scenes, but because I believe Ashlyn Kane has done something that I knew could be done if someone talented and brave enough would just do it. She has shown us that there is a place for gay fiction to sit side by side with mainstream fiction. That stories featuring homosexual relationships at the forefront can be just as enthralling and fulfilling as their heterosexual counterparts, in this case even more so. This book blows just about every romantic story (heterosexual or homosexual) that I’ve read this year out of the fucking water. No, I am not exaggerating.

American Love Songs is a hilarious, heartwarming, and romantic story of two friends finding love in the chaotic world of rock-n-roll. I hope that we have convinced you to take a chance, skip a trip to Starbucks for one day and buy this book. If you love slash fan fiction, if you love rock-n-roll or even if you just love well written fiction, this is the book for you.

Jess - When Jen and Jeanne first started talking about this book - yes, a real book - I sort of chalked it up to nice to know but not really my cup of tea. But the more they went on and on about how amazing it was, the more intrigued I became. And so began my foray into erotic M/M original fiction and continued my love affair with slashfic.

Jeanne gave you the entire back story and set this whole review up nicely. I think what I’d like to focus on is the actual way Ashlyn Kane tells this story. It’s no surprise by the title of the book, that American Love Songs is about music, but it’s the way the book is constructed - Prelude, Movements, Interludes, and Postlude, that set this book up for such success. This, coupled with all the blog posts and fun footnotes, really helped move and break the story up, so that it could be told in the most efficient and moving way. The whole time I was reading, I felt like I was an insider in Parker and Jake’s world. This creative element seriously set the tone for the whole story, and it worked like a charm.

As Jeanne said, we know from the beginning that Jake is gay. It’s so upfront and out there, that it’s a non-issue. At some points, I even forgot about it, because it just wasn’t that big of a deal... until Parker comes along. Parker, to me, was the character with whom I identified most. I grew up much like he did - conservative religious home with very clear views on homosexuality - and as I watched him come to grips with who he was and to terms with all the struggles he’d face along the way (I won’t spoil them here for you), I felt myself fall more and more in love with his character. I really felt like Ashlyn Kane handled the religious component well, blending it into the fabric of the story and using it as a way to bring Parker and Jake closer. There’s a truly touching scene on Christmas Eve where Jake, knowing Parker is struggling to reconcile his religious background with what he knows to be true about himself, finds a gay-friendly church and they share in a tradition Parker desperately needed.

“This place is, you know.” Parker gestured helplessly, trying to convey what he meant.

“One hundred percent homo friendly,” Jake assured him. “Come on, I wouldn’t do that to you.”

“No, I know.” His posture relaxed, and he leaned back into the uncomfortable wood. “I know you wouldn’t. I guess I’m just expecting fire and brimstone, you know?”

“Well, sorry to disappoint, but I’m pretty sure the only open flame tonight is going to be on the advent candles.”

America Long Songs by Ashlyn Kane pages 217 & 218

This scene was a turning point in their relationship, and it led to some seriously delicious sexy times.

Speaking of... I cannot even begin to tell you how intense the UST (and you know I LOVE this) was in this novel. Sometimes it was just a glance, other times it was a lingering kiss, or even the sound of Parker’s voice that left me feeling all hot and bothered. Then again, it could have been the more intense moments like when Parker is in a photo shoot and Jake is totally checking him out:
He noticed the way the jeans Macy put him in clung to Parker’s thighs and the way Parker’s hair, grown out of its usual buzzcut through negligence, had been styled to look like someone had been running their fingers through it. He noticed the way the dramatic shadows from the overhead lights turned Parker’s eyelashes into enormous seductive crescents. He noticed the obscene way Parker’s hips cradled the body of his guitar.

God, did he notice.

It was becoming something of a problem.

America Long Songs by Ashlyn Kane page 145

What followed was probably one of the hottest make-out scenes I’ve ever read. It went something like this: Jake follows Parker back to his dress room. Jake slams Parker against the door, complete with hands in hair, knees between legs, and hot steamy kisses. As questions arise in Jake’s mind, he looks to Parker for reassurance, but all he gets is this babbling mess of words:
“Jake -- Jake, that’s” he stopped to let out a truly filthy moan, and the pitch of his voice went up an octave. “Jake, if you don’t stop I’m gonna--”

It wasn’t a cue to stop, and Jake didn’t take it as one. He put a hand over Parker’s mouth and bit his pulse point again as Parker fucking shook apart, mewling and shuddering and coming in his pants so hard Jake could feel the pulses against his leg, and holy Christ, Jake wanted him.

America Long Songs by Ashlyn Kane page 149

That’s just a little, albeit super hot, taste of what was to come later. Everything that follows is an added bonus in this already amazing story. As I read, I never felt like sex was the main point - an issue that doesn’t go undiscussed and serves as just another major element in their already tumultuous and unsteady relationship.

There is nothing I didn’t truly love about this story. Every character in this book is meaningful and adds to the very articulate telling of this story. Give American Love Songs a try; it will be one of the best books you read this year.

Jen - When I finished reading American Love Songs I just could not wipe the smile off of my face. I had this amazing feeling of contentment and satisfaction, as well as awe. It wasn’t just that I was pleased with the outcome of the story. It was almost like I was basking in the glow of a job well done, only I hadn’t done the job, Ashlyn Kane did.

I’ve been reading m/m romances for a couple of months (slash fanfic is a gateway drug, apparently) and there have been many stories that I’ve enjoyed. American Love Songs is just on a level all to itself: the characters and the plot are so well developed it just blows the rest of the genre right out of the water. The plot is not just a means of moving from one sex scene to another as I’ve seen in other m/m novels. Don’t get me wrong--this story is sexy as hell, but the sex scenes advance the plot and are in no way gratuitous.

I can’t think that there’s any way that a reader of this blog would not love this story. As Jeanne and Jess have said, the characters are wonderfully lovable. Jake is a self-assured rock star to-be, but he’s not an asshole. He’s observant, yet he misses some big signals. Parker’s got the aloof, cool, uber-talented musician thing going on, while at the same time he’s very naive and innocent. The story of the band’s rise to fame holds the reader’s interest just as much as the love story does. You’ll root for Wayward Sons to succeed just as hard as you’ll root for Jake and Parker to finally, finally realize that they both want the same thing.

It takes the boys a while to realize what they’re feeling for the other, and it takes some more time before they’re able to talk about it. Parker misunderstands some of Jake’s actions and words. Jake is so caught up in feelings that he’s sure will be unrequited that he doesn’t take some of Parker’s actions at face value, and he completely fails to recognize the truth that is screaming out from lyrics Parker has written. It’s a delicious journey- a little angst, a lot of UST, and some seriously UNFy loving.

I absolutely loved reading about these boys. When I reached the end, I was not left with that unsatisfied feeling you get at the end of some fics or books--the feeling of absolutely needing more about the characters for the story to feel complete. It’s absolutely just right. American Love Songs is a book I’ll read again and again, and I am definitely looking forward to reading more from Ashlyn Kane.

If you have an original erotic novel that you think we will love feel free to email your recommendation to us at


Anonymous said...

I trust you pervs so I ran along and read the first chapter for free on amazon and now I have to buy because I totally loved it:) Is it just me but the fact that the main charachter is named Jacob and has a sister named Rebecca made me giggle a bit...

Anonymous said...

thanks for the recommendation. i've gone thru too many m/m that were reviews as being "the best", but in reality, were duds. like the comment above said, i trust you guys :)