Saturday, 23 May 2015

Review ~ Beneath the Stain by Amy Lane

Reviewed by Donna ~ 5 stars

“You can’t be the whole album, Trav. You just can’t. But you can be the best songs.”

Beneath the Stain was originally released as a seven part serial and now this amazing story is bundled up in a 500+ page book of pure exquisiteness. While this book is an M/M I have to say that side of the story kind of paled into the background, the beautiful writing and the hauntingly beautiful story was so compelling that you couldn’t help but be 100% emotionally invested in this story. Amy Lane pulls you in hook, line and sinker and once you turn the first page be prepared, the next twelve or so hours are going to be an emotional blur.

This is the story of Mackey, his brothers and their friends, a bunch of misfits who all had different dads yet their mother worked her fingers to the bone to give them a roof over their head and food on the table. While they didn’t have much, they made the best of what they had and to Mackey specifically, music was his escape. He channelled his energy and anger into music, it was his salvation. While he may have been the youngest, he was the most talented, his lyrics, his music were perfection and the brothers just went a long for the ride.

“Man, watching that kid turn those bozos into a band is one of the joys of my fucking existence.”

Outbreak Monkey gave Mackey his outlet, it brought this band of brothers together and after forging ahead playing in bars it wasn’t long before they were discovered. Herein the real journey begins for all of them, choices have to be made, there are repercussions but this is what they have been aiming for, their ticket out of hell, now it was time to grab it with both hands.

“To realize that rich wasn’t just the way you spent money, it was the way you think.”

Amy Lane’s writing was perfection; vivid imagery coupled with heart felt dialogue enabled you to take these characters into your hearts and heads. You undertook this journey with them, the journey of life and their journey of love. The way this story was delivered was like a film and you are watching the big screen, these boys that are already so under your skin that they feel like family are there before your eyes, living their lives and living their dreams.

Mackey was a beautiful character, he was far from perfect, but he had that allure about him that just made you love him. He was sensitive, confused, and super talented but he had this front he put on, his mask, and boy did he wear it well on stage. My heart ached for Mackey at times, he always loved hard, and he gave himself completely and unconditionally. This tiny, scrawny man may have been small in stature but he had the biggest heart and it was pure twenty four carat gold. He wore it on his sleeve, proud for all to see, he was imperfectly perfect and Trav would ultimately be the man that made Mackey fly.

“Trav thought of the song - his song - and the cry from the invisible boy who slept in forgotten corners and lived to make people love him or hate him or anything so long as they didn’t forget his name.”

This story predominantly revolves around Mackey, he is gay and where they are from it is frowned upon but out in the spotlight, he can be who wants to be and after making the decision to come out after much soul searching and near self destruction, Mackey becomes free. It is like the bird that has been freed from its cage, those first movements are tentative, but then watch as the bird soars and Mackey soars.

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

Travis was such an amazing character, ex-military and now tasked with the job of keeping Outbreak Monkey alive, out of trouble and gets them where they should be. Travis couldn’t have been anymore opposite to Mackey. Trav was openly gay and hadn’t hidden the fact. He could see the turmoil that Mackey was going through. He saw Mackey at his lowest but he was determined to see him at his best. Trav was extremely loyal and had a heart of gold. Not only does this book concentrate on his relationship with Mackey but how he was really the foundation for the band as a whole. The friendships that are forged throughout this book gave you hope, not only was Trav their manager, but he was first and foremost their friend, their confidante, he was their rock and became so instrumental in their lives.

“It’s hard loving people that bright, that shiny, that they make everyone else in the world look dim.”

Despite the ups and downs this was an incredibly uplifting story, while the journey was fraught with heart break, it was a lesson in growing up, lessons in life and love. Every scene played its part, every word had a purpose and yes it was emotional, but it was raw, it was real and it was life. I have to applaud Amy Lane on delivering such an evocative story. This is one story that will still in my heart for a very long time. These characters have embedded themselves into my heart and soul and I was proud to have gone on this journey with them. Sometimes a book is more than just a book, and this is one of those instances.

“It’s a beautiful day…”

I urge everyone to read this book and even if you are not an M/M reader, this would be the perfect book to break your M/M virginity. This is what an M/M read should be, it’s not about the action between the sheets (although it is there), it is about the journey, the voyage, the self discovery, and the emotions. It is a story of life and this author nailed it.

Buy Links:

Amazon UK:
Amazon US:

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