Review: Reel by Kennedy Ryan #NewRelease #BlogTour

Reel, an all new epic CONTEMPORARY STANDALONE love story from Wall Street Journal bestselling author Kennedy Ryan, is available now!

"Emotional, layered, sexy, and deeply satisfying, with stunning prose and a sweeping storyline, REEL is everything that has Kennedy Ryan fans devouring her books.”

 --  Lexi Ryan, New York Times bestselling author

One moment in the spotlight.

For months I stood by, an understudy waiting in the wings, preparing for my time to shine. 

I never imagined he would watch in the audience that night. 

Canon Holt.

Famous film director.

Fascinating. Talented. Fine.

Before I could catch my breath, everything changed. 

I went from backstage Broadway to center stage Hollywood.

From being unknown, to my name, Neevah Saint, on everyone’s lips.

Canon casts me in a star-studded Harlem Renaissance biopic, catapulting me into another stratosphere. 

But stars shine brightest in the dead of night.

Forbidden attraction, scandal and circumstances  beyond my control jeopardize my dream.

Could this one shot—the role of a lifetime, the love of a lifetime—cost me everything?

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"Bravo . . .A true literary audio experience!" 

-- Alexandria House, Amazon & Audible bestselling author

Narrated by Eboni Flowers and Jakobi Diem

Featuring Nicole Small

Vocal Performance by April Christina

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Neevah Saint has spent the last dozen years honing her craft, paying her dues, and that pays off in a big way when she takes the stage on Broadway – an understudy filling in for the lead actress – and is seen by none other than Canon Holt. A talented and highly respected director, Canon has spent the last six months searching for the lead in his upcoming movie. An actress with that elusive light and spark who will step into the role of a lifetime – a biopic of 1930’s/40’s singer Dessi Blue. Watching Neevah on stage, Canon knows he has found his Dessi. But the road to Canon’s labor of love is a bumpy one, filled with roadblocks, intense attraction, and decisions that will change lives.

The characters in Reel felt devastatingly realistic and I felt every heartbreak and every triumph. They were multi-layered and flawed and I absolutely did not want to say goodbye to them. Neevah was strong and independent, talented and ambitious, but had a softness and a warmth that drew people in. Her estrangement from her mother and sister was a hole in her life that she felt keenly and was a thread throughout the story that added such emotional import.

The opening chapter with Canon and his mother set the stage well in showing her impact on his life and the lasting effect she had on him. Talented, respected, driven, and with an almost single-minded focus, he tended to keep others at arm’s length. Having been burned before from an involvement with an actress he was directing, Canon was understandably gun shy when it came to Neevah. His focus and commitment to his work were staggering, and it made the slow burn relationship all the sweeter (and hotter). I loved the respect these two had for one another and the openness they shared. Their honesty and their connection were truly something special. And when faced with setbacks, doubts, and an uncertain future, that honesty and connection became everything.

I can’t imagine the amount of research that must have been undertaken to write Reel. The story within the story of Dessi Blue, and all the other African American artists and entertainers, was eye opening; an acknowledgment of and an open love letter to the scores of talented and groundbreaking performers whose contributions have largely been forgotten by history, because of the color of their skin.

Kennedy Ryan writes love stories that are felt soul deep while she seamlessly weaves in timely and relevant issues. The result is a story that engages both your heart and your mind. Ryan never fails to impress - her writing, her storytelling, is on another level and she continues to raise the bar with each new release. She has shown once again showed why she is an author I will return to time and time again. Reel was an incredible journey - beautiful, raw, emotional, unexpected - and will undoubtedly be among my top picks of the year.

Disclosure: I received a complimentary advance copy of this book for review. This does not impact my opinion of the book or the content of this review. I received no compensation and my review is voluntary.

About Kennedy Ryan

A USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author, Kennedy Ryan and her writings have been featured in Chicken Soup for the Soul, USA Today, Entertainment Weekly, Glamour, Cosmo, TIME, O Mag and many others. A RITA® Award winner, Kennedy writes empowered women from all walks of life and centers those who have found themselves perennially on the margins of traditional storytelling. 

Her Hoops Series (Long Shot, Block Shot and Hook Shot) and All the King's Men Series (The Kingmaker, The Rebel King and Queen Move) have been optioned for television.

An autism mom, Kennedy co-founded LIFT 4 Autism, an annual charitable initiative, and has appeared on Headline News, Montel Williams, NPR and other media outlets as an advocate for autism families. She is a wife to her lifetime lover and mother to an extraordinary son.

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  1. Ryan definitely knows how to hit me in the feels. Sounds like another great and emotional book from her.

    1. Same! She just impresses me beyond belief and every book seems to raise the bar. Boy, was I feeling these characters.

  2. It sounds like this one was just as good as all her others. That's amazing. I'm glad you enjoyed it so much.

    1. It really was. Kennedy is just amazing and she never disappoints.

  3. Yay! I've heard great things about this one but now I'm more excited. I love a well-researched book.

    1. I was in awe at the amount of research Kennedy obviously had to do for this one, Amber. Movie-making, Broadway, illness, the Harlem renaissance and the performers in that era... it was amazing.

  4. Great review!! I'm definitely looking forward to reading this one. I still really need to read Still.

    1. Oh boy, Still was ah-mazing! Definitely my favorite book in the Grip series.

  5. I thought I had read Kennedy Ryan in the past, but I just realized it was Kendall Ryan instead! Those names are so close I got them mixed up! *face palm* I'll have to give her a shot. Glad to hear this was a hit, Tanya!

    1. LOL There are a few authors I get mixed up, too. Like Kendall Ryan and Kennedy Fox. It gets confusing! But Kennedy Ryan is one of my all-time favorites. Her books are so real and emotional and always make a huge impact on me.

  6. This sounds amazing, Tanya! I like that there is a story inside the story and it really sounds like fate that he was there on the night that she had the chance to take the stage. I am adding this one to my wishlist!

    1. This was such an incredible story, Carole! And I really loved the story-within-a-story aspect.

  7. Kennedy Ryan sounds like a great writer! You have definitely convinced me to check out her books :)

    1. She's definitely one of my favorites. Her story telling is amazing.

  8. I love a romance that can mix in other things, and the historical aspects of this one sound really intriguing!

    1. It was another reminder of why Kennedy Ryan is one of my top favorites.

  9. Great review Tanya. I'm so happy to read you loved this book too. I definitely loved it from start till finish. And I agree about how realistic these characters felt. I really want to read more books by Kennedy Ryan.

    1. She's written some of my favorite books but I still haven't read all of her backlist yet. More to enjoy! :)