Category Archives: Amy Lane

BENEATH THE STAIN by AMY LANE

Beneath the Stain

SYNOPSIS

Complete novel.

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. 

 ★ ★

Beneath The Stain Collage

Reviewed by Jenny & Gitte

 5…there really aren’t enough stars for this book! 

‘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.’

BEST READ OF THE YEAR!!  HOW? HOW CAN OUR WORDS DO JUSTICE TO THIS BOOK?  There are stories we read that burrow their way into a little piece of our hearts, the ones we think about every now and again, and then there are stories like Beneath the Stain, a priceless piece of exceptional and heartfelt storytelling that stands out from the very first to the very last page, is detailed with such aching that it has such a staggering emotional effect on you, and you know it will stay with you always and is something you’ll NEVER forget!  This…. THIS book personified everything we love about reading.

“I’m trying to follow all the steps and check all the boxes. But my heart hurts and my skin aches, and God, I just want to be touched…….Can you touch me and then look at me tomorrow, and it will be okay?”

Beneath the Stain didn’t merely take a piece of our hearts, it obliterated them, made them soar and we may never recover, but then again, we don’t want to. We want to saviour and cherish this reading experience forever and we will! There was nothing superfluous about Mackey, Trav, Grant, Kell, Stevie, Blake and Jefferson’s story. Every word…EVERY SINGLE WORD felt like a precious gift to be treasured and guarded with our every fibre of our being.

‘Trav couldn’t explain the surge of protectiveness, of reluctant admiration, that knotted his stomach when he watched Mackey sleep. He was defenceless like this, every bit of sarcasm, sass, and fire shuttered behind closed eyes. Trav had to protect him when he slept – who else would? So far the world had done a stunningly poor job of taking care of Mackey Sanders.’

Amy Lane delivered a story with so much depth, so much emotion, so many layers and she brought it all to life with such incredible striking imagery  that we became a part of her world…. active participants in her story. At no time were we mere spectators. We lived and breathed the triumphs, tragedies, pain and heartbreak with each and every character. We felt their pain so deep in our hearts there were times we sobbed so hard our chests heaved and we couldn’t breathe.

“It’s just that I’ve finally seen you not awful. You’re stunning.”

Yes, this is a love story between Trav and Mackey but it so much more. This is a story of friendships, loyalty, family, love, overcoming prejudice and finding peace within you, and very, very rarely do we get to experience a story that encompasses this dynamic so breathtakingly beautifully and with such real emotion as this one. The dynamics of the relationships singularly were so diverse, yet as a whole so cohesive….so right, so real, so relatable. These guys may have been unconventional but each one had so much heart and was so unique….we loved them all.

‘It was a pure, unfiltered glimpse into Mackey James Sanders heart, and it was battered and bloody and still a little broken. But healing.’

At the centre of it all was the talented, temperamental, sensitive and almost ethereal McKay (Mackey) Sanders and what a fascinatingly flawed and complex character he was. A man plagued by demons, hiding his sexuality and who really just needs to feel loved and be accepted.

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

One of the most beautiful characters we’ve ever had the pleasure to meet was Travis (Trav) Ford. This stoic ex-military, man of order and timed precision who is entrusted with the job of looking after this bunch of rag tag rockers, would start out as the manager of Outlaw Monkey, yet soon becomes one of the most important in their lives, not only to Mackey, but to all the boys and his relationships with these boys was awe inspiring and really hits at the heart of the reader.

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

Beneath the Stain is pure emotion. It’s ALL about the story….no page filling nookie in this book. Every word served a purpose, every scene, every detail so vivid and so important, and so meaningful to their journey.

Amy Lane held us captive and transfixed through this entire story. Be it when she was whipping us into frenzy as an active, entranced audience member being beguiled by the extraordinary Mackey and the guys of Outbreak Monkey as they performed on stage. Or tearing out our hearts with some of the most intense, heartbreaking scenes we’ve read, or knotting our stomachs with her little teases of the angst that was to unfold, even giggling over the banter between the family and let’s not forget the times our hearts swelled with the love conveyed so masterfully through the pages.

‘Trav knew the real boy underneath, and he was three times as beautiful as the image.’

We could go on and on about this story and between us we WILL for a long time to come because we want to relive the tender, beautifully touching moments of this book again and again. Beneath the Stain is one of those diamonds you hope and pray you’ll come across as a reader and we’re so extremely grateful we did.

“My Mom told me the trick to staying in love was falling in love every day. Like you do with music. You listen for good music every day.”

Such and inspiring journey and all we can say is READ THIS BOOK!!!!!!

‘They became one, and Mackey could breathe. Trav was a part of him, and Mackey had strength. Trav moved, and Mackey’s body became light and Trav’s body became sound and together they were the thing Mackey worshipped most.
Music.’

BENEATH THE STAIN by AMY LANE
Amazon us || Amazon uk

Beneath the Stain

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Filed under 5 Stars, Amy Lane, Our Reviewers, Pick an Author, Reviews by Gitte, Reviews by Jenny

City Mouse (Country Mouse #2) by Amy Lane & Aleksandr Voinov

city mouse

SYNOPSIS

A magical weekend, a breathless declaration, a happy ever after . . . Right?

Wrong.

When Malcolm Kavanagh took his first step toward emotional maturity by declaring his love to Owen Watson, that was just the first chapter in their story. Anyone who’s ever been in love knows that happy endings take a lot more work than that.

One problem: Malcolm has never been in love. He doesn’t know the rules of a relationship and isn’t confident enough to trust that his is real. He learns the ropes by sharing his life and his flat with Owen, but relationship boot camp proves a challenge. Everything is a struggle, from accepting Owen’s low-status job to putting his boyfriend above his personal trainer.

Luckily, Owen knows a little more about relationships, and labors patiently to survive the first six weeks of their life together. From the art galleries of Cambridge to the tawdry majesty of the Dominion theatre, Owen adapts to England while Malcolm adapts to the whole human race. Maybe, if Owen is patient enough and Malcolm learns to give, the two of them can make it past Relationship Armageddon to a real happy ending.

Purchase COUNTRY MOUSE BOOK ONE  : Amazon US | Amazon UK
Purchase CITY MOUSE BOOK TWO :: Amazon US | Amazon UK


Reviewed by Jenny and Gitte

3.5 Stars

Aleksandr Voinov and Amy Lane can’t do much wrong in our eyes; they gave us a great emotional sequel that had angst, passion, love and hope.

We first met Malcolm and Owen in Country Mouse which we loved. This unlikely relationship is still going strong in City Mouse. Well kind of. What with Malcolm’s snobbish attitude, work ethics and slight case of relationship OCD it’s no wonder laid back Owen with his big cuddly heart feels as if their relationship is a fighting battle at times. Not only has Owen left his home country to take a chance on love, he also has to be the one that keeps this relationship alive.

Malcolm still struggles to get to grips with the love he has for Owen as well as their relationship. His intentions are good, deep down…they really are but he has got his priorities all wrong. His heart though is in the right place, he just does not know how to let go and just feel. His trust and his confidence being the two main culprits; hindering him in this relationship where frankly he comes across neurotic and scared. Malcolm drove us crazy at times in this story!

Now Owen, big strong cuddly and patient Owen is worried with where their relationship is going and wondering but also hoping that they can get past the hurdle that can make or break a relationship. If it wasn’t for Owen’s persistence, faith and love their relationship would have fallen at the wayside.

Despite the fact that we loved this sequel we can’t say we were fully satisfied at the end. Our hearts were still aching, we still felt issues were unresolved and we felt it wasn’t enough. We still worry for our Malcolm and Owen!

Thank you to Riptide Publishing and NetGalley for providing us with an ARC for an honest opinion

 

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Filed under 3.5 Stars, Aleksandr Voinov, Amy Lane, Our Reviewers, Pick an Author, Reviews by Gitte, Reviews by Jenny

Country Mouse (Country Mouse #1) by Aleksandr Voinov & Amy Lane

country mouseSYNOPSIS

Owen may be a bit of a country mouse, but he’s loving his vacation in London. After a long day playing tourist, he’s on the hunt for some cheap beer and a good burger. Instead he finds a man hunting him, an arrogant prick with only one thing on the brain: the kind of meat that doesn’t come on a bun.

Eighty-hour weeks at a trading desk don’t leave Malcolm Kavanagh much time for meaningful relationships. Besides, in his world, everything’s a competition-even sex. When his newest one-night-sub fails to show, Malcolm sets his sights on the pretty young Yank on the bar stool beside him.

Owen’s all for an adventure with a native, but he’s not the pushover Malcolm thinks he is, and Malcolm’s not as shallow as he tries to be. They both soon learn that nothing’s too intimate to share with a stranger, and the strangest things happen when two people share the most important pieces of their hearts.

Purchase COUNTRY MOUSE BOOK ONE  : Amazon US | Amazon UK
Purchase CITY MOUSE BOOK TWO :: Amazon US | Amazon UK


Reviewed by Jenny and Gitte

4 Stars

 Gitte:  Sigh…where do I start Jenny?! I really did enjoy this story.  It’s co-written by one of my favourite Authors so I was really looking forward to jumping in. I have to say though that despite it not being one of my favourites I really liked it. It was short, it was fun, it wasn’t too intense or emotional and it hit the spot!

Jenny:  I’m siging right there with you.  Where to start?  Of course….I’ve always said that Aleksandr Voinov could rewrite the phone book and I’d read it, so yes this became a must read for me and the synopsis sounded really good.  Whilst, I agree that it’s not my favourite of his, I have to say that I absolutely did enjoy every minute of it. It was such a fun story to escape into for a while.

Gitte:  It amazes me when Authors co-write Jenny because in this case the story is so seamless and fluid and prior to starting I was sure I’d recognise the Authors’ different writing styles, but I didn’t, I read it in one sitting and at no point did I hit a stumbling block or find that there were more than one voice involved. Owen and Malcolm came across solid, intense yet playful and oh so lovable.  This was a class act! What did you think Jenny?

Jenny:  I agree wholeheartedly G.  I read this in one sitting and never once did I skim nor falter in this wonderful story.  I loved both these characters.  I loved seeing Owen bring out the playful, caring side of Malcolm and I loved seeing Owen care for Malcolm and even manage to bring out a side in Malcolm, that even took Malcolm himself by surprise.

“Kindness is not weakness, Malcolm”

 Gitte:  I loved Owen and Malcolm Jenny. They were very night and day on the outside, portrayed somewhat deceptively. I felt like it was a bit of a ruse, with them starting off as one, me having them pegged down in my head…then as I read on, they almost did a 360 as they showed more of their true selves and shed the façade. From the start, unbeknownst to them, I believe they fit perfectly as each evened the other out, brought them out of , the slot they were occupying in life and emotionally; they needed that; they were ready for that.

Jenny:    Seeing them together was like seeing that last piece of the jigsaw being placed…..they fit so perfectly but neither of them were aware that they were missing that final piece, each other,  until the met one another.  I have no idea how authors co-write a book but seeing these two provide the fluidity of writing that, whilst they are both very different in their writing styles, it works so perfectly, so effortlessly that I look forward to more collaborations from these two authors.

Gitte:  Owen – “the country mouse”, did you not think Jenny that the description makes him come across as a bit meek….and also like this is a guy with no depth? I thought this was so misleading. This guy is amazing. So confident and sure of himself, who he is; what he wants. He is funny and enjoys life and isn’t scared to take a chance on this blood- minded guy he meets in a dingy pub.

Jenny:  Yes GG! I was I was expecting Owen to be meek, reserved and well yes, lacking depth but  nothing could be further from the truth.  Owen was a wonderful open, expressive character and so caring and yet so sexual, I loved how he brought Malcolm out of himself.

“Look at me” Owen whispered.  “Look at me until you can’t anymore”   

Gitte: Then we have Malcolm. I felt immediately that here is a guy who once put up a shield to protect his vulnerable self yet over time it has become so weather worn it’s almost welded itself to him making the true Malcolm blocked and stifled underneath this irritating cocky “pretend” dominant.  There were times in the beginning that rays of his true self shone out through the cracks in this shield which Owen obviously caught sensing the fake pretence and illusion. It took me a little while to warm up to Malcolm, Jenny.

Jenny:   Hmmm Malcolm, what a contradiction this man was.  I loved seeing his defences come down and those defences eventually shatter with Owen.  What an absolutely beautiful fit these two were and watching them bring out the absolute best in each other was mesmerising.

Gitte: I really thought the banter between these guys was fab, taking holiday sex and romance to a new level. It was fun, yummy and intense at times. A perfect balance of a quick swoon worthy and hard-hitting read. I loved how as a reader I started off on one path then taking a sharp turn onto another, I love surprises!! And yeah it being set in London made it all kinds of special too.

Jenny:  Loved everything about this book.  The banter was engaging, funny and and felt so real.  The sex was steamy, the intensity of the story and characters was spot on and it kept me entertained and had me devouring this fun story from start to finish.  I have to say the last scene in the book made me well up.   What an absolutely perfect ending to such an enjoyable story.  Captivating!

“Kiss me like a man Malcolm”

Gitte read and reviewed as an ARC for Netgalley

Jenny read and reviewed purchased copy

 

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Filed under 4 Stars, Aleksandr Voinov, Amy Lane, Our Reviewers, Pick an Author, Reviews by Gitte, Reviews by Jenny