Book Review: Beneath the Stain by Amy Lane

Beneath the Stain by Amy LaneTitle: Beneath the Stain
Series: Beneath the Stain Serial, Parts 1-7
Author: Amy Lane
Genre: Contemporary Romance, M/M Romance
Sensuality Rating: Erotic
Source: bought
Published: October 17, 2014

In a town as small as Tyson, CA, everybody knew the four brothers with the four different fathers-- and their penchant for making good music when they weren't getting into trouble. For Mackey Sanders, playing in Outbreak Monkey with his brothers and their friends—especially Grant Adams--made Tyson bearable. But Grant has plans for getting Mackey and the Sanders boys out of Tyson, even if that means staying behind.

Between the heartbreak of leaving Grant and the terrifying, glamorous life of rock stardom, Mackey is adrift and sinking fast. When he's hit rock bottom, Trav Ford shows up, courtesy of their record company and a producer who wants to see what Mackey can do if he doesn't flame out first. But cleaning up his act means coming clean about Grant, and that's not easy to do or say. Mackey might make it with Trav's help--but Trav's not sure he's going to survive falling in love with Mackey.

Mackey James Sanders comes with a whole lot of messy, painful baggage, and law-and-order Trav doesn't do messy or painful. And just when Trav thinks they may have mastered every demon in Mackey's past, the biggest, baddest demon of all comes knocking.

Reviewed By: Crissy

Why I Read This Book: There’s something deeply sexy about a rocker. I get that they’re not all bad boys, but there’s that bad boy air about a rock star, that could-give-a-damn attitude that pushes all my buttons. Plus this book was originally put out as a serial—the first by this author—and I just had to know what all the buzz was about.

In A Nutshell: A poignant journey from friendship to romance for two men and their families, the struggles and jealousies they work through to find one another, and the heartbreak they face to stay together.

What I Liked: There is so much to like about this book. It starts off so powerful, intense doesn’t seem like a strong enough word. Mackey is the passion that drives this story, the band, Grant, and Trav. It’s such an emotionally charged story from opening to close that I almost felt raw by the end. There were several tears shed in the reading of this book, but there was also rolling laughter. To say it’s a rollercoaster ride would be an understatement. And yes, I read it as a serial so I got it piece by piece and my heart ached and bled and rejoiced and sighed right along with every single character in this book. The passion, the emotion—it’s almost tangible and so powerful.

What I Also Liked: I love a headstrong and snarky character with vulnerabilities and that is Mackey Sanders all over. He’s a bit of an ass with a side of bitchy and a lack of verbal filter to cover up his insecurities. But geez, the hell this guy goes through in this book. It’s a wonder he’s able to make it through the day most days. I love his journey from wide-eyed, boxy, badass fourteen year old who realizes he loves his brother’s best friend to nineteen year old rock star/overnight sensation, from poor to rich, from pretty much innocent to drug addict to recovering addict. He’s a work in progress this entire book and he makes mistakes, but it’s his imperfections that make him so very perfect. And he is just that. Perfect.

I was worried at first about how to deal with the drug abuse issue, not that I don’t see it as a real issue. But there’s a fine line with drug abuse in fiction, romantic or otherwise. Will it be gratuitous or will it be romanticized? Those are things that I find issue with. This author does a wonderful job of focusing on the problem and healing the problem, and even the fear and pain that comes with healing, that she does on the actual abuse. Don’t get me wrong; there’s still drug abuse, but it actually advances the story.

I’m not sure if this will be part of the novel, so I almost hesitate to mention it, but as part of the serial, the author added bonus scenes that included the beloved members of the supporting cast. Not only did they allow me to get to know those characters better—because, seriously this cast/family is a freaking brick wall of support around Mackey—they brought levity and a brief interlude to the intensity that was wrought within this story. For that I was so thankful. Also, geez, the bonus scenes made me want so much more of the secondary characters. I would especially love Blake to find a happy ending.

What I Didn’t Like: The ending, though I loved it, seemed to drag on. The pacing of this story with each installment and each chapter is pretty fast, like days and weeks sometimes months at a time. Then we get to the last few chapters and it’s like the author slammed on the breaks. A lot happens in that time frame, which helps to make up for the pacing, but I couldn’t help but feeling like the very end dragged by just a little too much for my taste.

In My Opinion: This book is a must read. I loved it. It’s hard-hitting and powerful, to say the very least, but it’s also beautiful and sweet and has those moments of hilarity and snark that cannot be forgotten. It’s a definite re-read for me.

Memorable Moments (and I seriously had to narrow them down because there are a lot of good ones):

“Well, it’s not like I never glazed a donut when I was trying to make rent. Not that I want that spread around—it’s not usually my thing unless, you know, food or shelter’s on the line.”

“Why’s shit gotta be so awful, Trav?”

It was a child’s question, one that adults could never answer.

“So we know the good stuff when we see it.”

Trav moved, and Mackey’s body became light and Trav’s body became sound and together they were the thing Mackey worshipped the most. Music.

“Good. If he was in position, I’d let him knee you in the balls. Jesus, you people talk about my self-control!”

“You know we get pregnant when God fucking sneezes!”

Crissy’s Rating:
4 1/2 Frogs

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About Brianna: Supermom by day, naughty reader by night. Addicted to chocolate, Twitter, her iPad, her Kindle, and 99¢ Kindle deals. You can follow Brianna on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and Instagram.


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