Published by Dreamspinner Press on October 17th 2014
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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.
★‿¸.•*´´*•.¸(*•.¸¸.•*)¸.•*´´*•.¸‿★6 Star Review★‿¸.•*´´*•.¸(*•.¸¸.•*)¸.•*´´*•.¸‿★
Beneath the Stain has been on my radar for awhile. I have a dear friend who has been begging me to read it for years. I’m not sure why I was hesitant, but after reading this phenomenal story, I’m left wondering why did I wait so long?!!!
This is an MM story, but as we know, not all are created equal. This has now become one of my top MM books EVER!!! The story starts out in a small town where tolerance is a foreign concept. It broke my heart what Mackey endures for being different. It’s cruel and ugly, and he holds up the best he can with his brothers and his friend Grant. The band helps Mackey to express himself through lyrics. His brand of toughness is born from lashing out before others have a chance. Oh how I loved him and all his many layers. He has to hide so much of himself from the world, and even his family, but he never gives up. He loves fiercely and completely.
When the band finally gets their big break, things start to fall apart for Mackey. It’s just so tragic that just when they were finally going to be able to live their lives free of the narrow minded influence of small town people, Mackey has to leave behind his first love. To say this is a breaking point would be an understatement. Every emotion gutted me. Why, for someone who has already been through so much, does he have to lose this too? Unfortunately, that is the price of his, and his brother’s dreams.
Once the band leaves for LA, the story takes a turn. It’s real, and raw, and a stark look at how fame and pressure can chew you up and spit you out. There is nothing here that is easy to take. I loved how the author didn’t shy away from some serious consequences. Addiction and depression are some powerful forces, and Mackey has to face them head on.
Enter Trav Ford. Trav was a surprise. I wasn’t quite sure how he would fit into the story. He was just so different from the band and Mackey. He definitely wasn’t what I was expecting. He starts off as the band’s reluctant manager, and quickly learns keeping his distance won’t be possible. I have to say his quiet strength won me over. He’s loyal, protective, and has a strong moral code. I adore him! This story had everything…heartbreak, tragedy, angst, humor, love, redemption…So beautifully written, the emotions drip off the page. I cried so many tears over this book, but every single one was worth it. There are so many layers here, aspects of the book that kept evolving and changing. I can’t recommend it enough! Now it’s my turn to beg people to read it! PS. I’ve gotten one person to so far…
★‿¸.•*´´*•.¸(*•.¸¸.•*)¸.•*´´*•.¸‿★6 Star Review★‿¸.•*´´*•.¸(*•.¸¸.•*)¸.•*´´*•.¸‿★
We all have a friend (some of us more than one) that is a proud Potterhead. Obsessed with Harry Potter, has collected all things related to HP, read the series countless times, and can quote HP at the drop of the hat. A friend that will overlook the fact that you’ve never read (and have no intention of ever reading) the series, because “It’s not my genre”, and will not hold it against you. When one such friend insisted that I read a book she said she “might” love more than HP (I have screenshots of our conversation. Just saying), I jumped at the chance to redeem myself. She didn’t steer me wrong, I absolutely loved Beneath the Stain! She asked me to write my own review and showed me hers. It had one word. No, it wasn’t a mistake, it had only ONE word. I read it and thought how do you top that? What could I say, she’d said it all? Well it turns out she knows me very well and knows I love to give my opinion on everything. So, here goes…..I’ll try to do her review justice. The very first thing I want to rave about is the name of each and every chapter! Be sure to pay close attention to them.
At fourteen, McKay “Mackey” Sanders, is the lead singer of Outbreak Monkey. The group he, his two older brothers, Jefferson and Kellogg, and their friends, Stevie Harris and Grant Adams formed, while in high school. The boys grew up together in the backwoods town of Tyson, California, population ten thousand. The Sanders brothers were raised by their single mother, Heather, a waitress, in a small, two-bedroom apartment. They also had a younger baby brother, Cheever, who was in kindergarten. The boys were well known in the small town, four brothers with four different fathers, their unusual first names were the last name of their biological fathers. The brothers had met Grant and Stevie when their mom had cleaned their houses, while pregnant, and needing extra money. Grant came from money; his dad owned a car dealership, and Stevie’s parents were comfortable.
“Their mom wanted to be a good mom. She wanted to be a good mom. She wasn’t always there, and they spent a lot of time in charge of Cheever and a lot of time worrying about money to keep their shitty little apartment. He knew that some of their Christmas presents came from coat donation and that most of their clothes came from Goodwill, and he knew that their birthdays were usually celebrated with cake a book—one book, new—because that’s all she had. She bought school supplies in gross when they went on sale and had cleaned the church lady’s house so they could have music lessons, and her temper was short when she came home late and her boys were still up.”
Heather had arranged for Mackey and Jeff to take organ classes in church to keep them busy. The boys had decided 4 years ago to play rock band and never quit. Since then, with Mackey working at a music store and getting used and broken instruments, they’d taught themselves how to play bass and drums. He had a way with words, well known for his smart mouth that kept him out of fights. They discovered he had a talent for singing and writing songs, too. He became the unofficial leader of their band.
Mackey also knew, at twelve, that he was attracted to Grant, a secret he kept to himself. So, it came as a big surprise the first time Grant kissed him, two years later. Especially since Grant had a girlfriend, Samantha, which he’d been dating for years.
The boys make their grand debut as Outbreak Monkey at Kell and Grant’s senior prom, in front of two hundred and fifty people.
“Grant couldn’t stop bragging about you, he thinks you’re a genius. He keeps saying about how you’ll put our little town on the map, and I’m like ‘Mackey? If he’s smart, he’ll just forget we were ever here’”
When the band gets their big break, a few years later, instead of celebrating it’ll be a time of heartbreak. I don’t want to give too much away, just know that this is an epic tale of love, heartache, loss and redemption. I think just about everyone knows someone who’s gone through some kind of problem with addiction and known the how hard it is to break the habit, either through rehab or, cold turkey. It’s painful and not always successful. But if they do, it helps to have someone waiting for you.
This book has everything we readers love in a romance novel, but extra special due to the twist. I don’t think it’s a spoiler to mention that it’s an M/M love story, if you’ve never experienced one; this is the one to read! I wanted to wrap my arms around Mackey and never let him go. The real hero is Trav Ford, I absolutely LOVE him! There were moments I cried tears of real sorrow (I still get teary-eyed thinking about it!) and had sighs of joy! I wish I could hand everyone I know a copy and say “Here! Read this, now!”
I’m seriously rethinking my resistance of never reading a HP book. Maybe. Someday! OK, maybe I’ll finally watch the movies. Well, a movie. Oh, and by the way, if you’re wondering what my **friend’s review said, it was just…… “WOW”.
**BTW….it’s our own beloved Sandie!