ARC Reviews,  Reviews

Kennedy Ryan’s Reel ARC Review

Thank you to Kennedy Ryan and the team at Social Butterfly PR for the advance reader copy of Reel, the first story in the Hollywood Renaissance series. This book releases on June 8th!

I was floored to receive an ARC of Kennedy Ryan’s new story. I discovered her in 2019 after the buzz around the All the King’s Men series. Which if you had not read it is a must. Then I went on to read Grip and a bunch of her other books. If you had not read Grip it is another must! So basically I had been anticipating Reel for a very long time and I had very high hopes for this story. Well I am glad to say that Kennedy Ryan not only met my expectations but she blew them out of the water!

Check out the Goodreads synopsis…

Award-Winning Wall Street Journal Bestselling author Kennedy Ryan launches a brand new series with a Hollywood tale of wild ambition, artistic obsession, and unrelenting love.

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?”

Check out my more detailed thoughts below…

  • Characters: We first meet Neevah Saint as an understudy on Broadway and this is her big chance to fill in for the lead while she is away. Neevah went to Rutgers for acting after fleeing her small-town life, after her sister slept with and was impregnated by Neevah’s fiance she really needed a fresh start. Neevah is a super talented actress and Canon Holt sees that in her. He is a famous director known for biopics and documentaries. He plucks Neevah off the stage after seeing her perform and begs the studio execs to cast her as the lead in his next movie. Canon was a fantastic male lead with a determination and fighter’s spirit that could only be matched by Neevah. Canon wants to tell important black stories and that is exactly what Kennedy Ryan set out to do in this story, and she achieved that and then some!
  • Setting: The story is primarily set in Los Angeles. Neevah is whisked away from the Broadway stage to the soundstages of LA. The story really comes alive on set, as the various cast of characters who make up the crew really enriched the story. There was Neevah’s bestie and hairstylist extraordinary Takira, who was a great support to Neevah throughout shooting this movie. Then there were Canon’s supports like Monk, the composer and Verity, the scriptwriter. Those two definitely have a fraught history with each other and I cannot wait for their story to be explored in a future instalment.
  • Pacing: The pacing of this story was super interesting. This might be the best place to mention that it really felt like I was getting two stories for the price of one. Canon’s biopic on the fictitious performer Dessi Blue is well developed throughout the story. We get segments of the script and that really helps to bring this movie to life. Like now I actually wanna see it cause it would be an epic tale. I know that Kennedy took inspiration from many unsung black female creatives who have never had their due. Dessi’s story of success that is then almost lost to history is indicative of the stories of real black creatives. Kennedy really wrote an empowering story that will make any reader not only acknowledge and learn about the performers of the past but also understand their legacy and how it informs black creatives in our present day.
  • Romance: Kennedy will be the first to tell you that first and foremost this is a love story. What a powerful one it is. On its surface, it may seem to you like nothing more than an up-and-coming actor hooks up with her director. That may be what the outside world sees, but Kennedy brings us deeper. We see two people who have had never had a love like this in their lives. It is as simple as Neevah’s struggle with Lupus and how Canon supports her is something she had not experienced before. Neevah’s character for being outwardly open and loved by those around her. She is pretty damn secretive and it is not until Canon that she learns to break those patterns in herself. Not only is this romance emotional epic, but the scenes between these two in the bedroom were also flawless. There is so much emotional intensity that is brought into these scenes that I found myself tearing up even sometimes when they would come together. I could not recommend this story more, please go give it a read.

Reel receives five out of five stars.

You can pick up the story below…

Amazon Worldwide:
Apple Books:
Google Play:
Amazon Paperback:
Barnes and Noble Paperback:

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Thank you again to Kennedy and the team at Social Butterfly PR for the review opportunity. Thank you for reading and supporting my blog!

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