Title: Beneath the Stain
Author: Amy Lane
Narrator: Nick J. Russo
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Run Time: 16 hours and 36 minutes
At a Glance: Unfortunately, this narrator paired with this book just wasn’t for me, but in the end I was glad I listened to it, if for no other reason than my love of the story.
Reviewed By: Karen
Blurb: 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.
Review: The Story:
When I read this book the end of last year, I was wrecked. This amazing, brilliant story took me on an emotional journey that even though I had read the reviews and heard what people were saying, I still wasn’t expecting it. I laughed and got angry, became an inconsolable blubbering, crying mess. It was awesome. For me, it is a story I have to be in the mood to read, though, because as much as I loved it, it is not one that I will probably pick up and reread as often as others, but it is there when I want to be torn apart and put back together again (every once in a while I need that). Reading this story, you get to watch a group of kids grow up and go through more than what a lot of people will ever go through. It isn’t pretty most of the time, it was hard and they had to work for it, they got hurt and hurt themselves, hurt others and ones they loved, but they stuck it out together. You get to see how strong they can be on their own, knowing that if they fall, there is a whole band of brothers there to catch them and carry them if needed.
Review: The Narration:
I saw that this book was out in audio and immediately added it to my wish list. I haven’t listened to any of Amy Lane’s books on audio, and knew that this one was going to be my first. It is by far my favorite of her books, and I couldn’t wait to listen to it. Five minutes after I received it, I put my headphones on and jumped right in. And then, it went downhill for me.
About an hour or two in, I had to stop listening and really was struggling because I love this book, I loved this story, but I was not liking the audio. I know sometimes my mood can affect what I like to read and listen to, though, so I thought maybe I just wasn’t in the right headspace for it then. I switched over and listened to a different favorite and about a week later, I gave Beneath the Stain another shot. After another hour, I still just couldn’t get into it. There was something about the voices and the flow that just didn’t work for me.
I get that an audiobook is someone reading the book to you, but it shouldn’t seem like I am literally being read to, but that was how it was coming off. And then I though some of the narration came across a little cheesy, and I really struggled. I wanted to love the audio as much as I loved reading the book, but it just wasn’t happening, and I thought about not be able to finish it. I started seeing other reviews of the audiobook, and everyone else seemed to love it, so then I thought I must be missing something and decided to try and push through.
I started again and after about the 4-5 hour mark, I knew I would make it through. The more I listened the less I struggled with the narration, and realized more that it wasn’t the main characters I had an issue with as much as the secondary character voices. Through this experience I have realized that I really should listen to the audio samples since, of course, just like every book has people who will like it or not, the same will be said for a narrator. Unfortunately, this narrator just wasn’t for me, not for this book. But, in the end I was glad I listened, if for no other reason than my love of the story.
You can buy Beneath the Stain here: