- Books Release Day Review: Off Stage by Jaime Samms
Release Day Review: Off Stage by Jaime Samms
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Off Stage (Books 1 and 2)
About the Author
Jaime Samms is a writer, reader/reviewer, home schooling mother and artist living and working in Canada. She writes romance, fantasy, urban fantasy, shifter stories about men, about life, and about love. Her work is populated mostly with men, most of whom are into each other, and yes, we do mean into each other. In her world of fiction, love is real, gender fluid, and there is never a dull story. If Happily Ever After is not forgone, it's at least a hope for every character.
She reviews gay romance for Dark Diva Reviews and Yaoi light novels at Kuriosity.com. Her art centers on the stories she writes, although she also does bead work and textile art when the mood and time permit.
On the home front, kids and cats take up a great deal of her time and attention. Yes, it's a busy life!
February 22, 2017
epub, mobi, pdf
This book set contains past physical abuse references, current abuse happening physically and mentally, and off-page rape references. If these are triggers, you may wish to avoid this set.
Read the excerpt at Dreamspinner Press.
The grunge band Firefly was Trevor “Damian” Learner and Lenny Stevens’s dream since they were boys growing up in rural Ontario. They found the right people to live the dream with them, even landed the best representation in the business, but the higher their star rose, the harder it became to ignore their issues.
Now, needing guidance beyond what each other and their bandmates can offer, Damian and Lenny must let go of a relationship that’s hurting everyone around them and accept support from men who know what they need better than they do. Two submissives will never make each other happy without the dominance they both crave but can’t find in each other.
First Damian needs to get his life on the right path and accept the rules Stan sets forth for him. Then Lenny will have to step into the wings, leave the spotlight, and concentrate on his own well-being—and Vance’s guiding hand—before they can help the band reach its potential.
Wow! Just Wow!
The Off Stage book set is the story of two rock stars learning how to heal, how to love, and what not to do. The first book is Off Stage: Right, the story of Damian. The second story is Off Stage: In the Wings, the story of Lenny. I’ll break down the reviews for each book below, but would like to address the style of the writing first. The author draws you into the headspace of each character in turn, allowing you to feel the self-recrimination, the desolation, and the tiny trickle of hope hiding in the furthermost corner of each mind. She skillfully tackles the symptoms associated to the PTSD that both men suffer from without dragging you so deeply that you feel you cannot continue to read. Instead, you find yourself cheering on every stride forward that each man makes. Now, on to the reviews!
Off Stage: Right:
Damian’s story is a mass of complications, misunderstandings, and the heading off of self-destruction. Lead singer of a wickedly talented rock band, Damian is the stage persona donned by regular guy Trevor, and in which he is confident to the point of cocky. Drugs, random sex, and taking chances are all part of Damian’s persona. The problem is, Trevor is a walking disaster. He hates himself with an intensity that is visceral, and his life is a miasma of bad decisions. When he and Lenny have a vicious falling out, Damian finds himself with Stanley, his new agent and the man who wants to put Trevor back together.
The plot is strong, but a touch convoluted. Stan initially is with another character, and that character then takes on the issues of Lenny, yet their story isn’t told here. Damian is initially involved with Lenny, but ends up under Stan’s domination. The character development is very strong, and the relationship is the focus of the novel, with the physical scenes as something of a filler. There is no doubt of the chemistry between Stan and Trevor, though, so not to worry. The peripheral characters are many and create a needed break in the intensity of the main story. This is a brutal battle from start to finish, but by the end you can see things getting lighter in their world. The end is the one part that I wasn’t particularly happy about. It doesn’t really resolve so much as just hint at what is to come, yet it also doesn’t feel like an HFN. It just kind of ends, which disappointed me.
The second story takes place concurrently to the first. This would have been quite nice to know before I started book one because I was baffled at the lack of any storylines for Lenny, thinking instead that both stories ran concurrently through the two books. Let this be your head’s up.
Off Stage: In the Wings:
Lenny is the lead guitarist for the band, but he is reeling from the extreme PTSD he suffers as a result of off-page extreme abuse that was the only form of D/s relationship he knew. Still thoroughly submissive but incredibly wary, he has violent outbursts that result in pretty severe damage to whomever crosses his path. Vance is also managed by Stan, and until he saw Lenny he was engaged in a friends with benefits situation with his fellow dominant. Lenny sees in Vance his salvation, his chance to serve as his nature calls him to do. Unfortunately, he’s so broken that their relationship suffers drastically and leaves him floundering.
The plot to this book is better than the first, and I was quite impressed with that one. The character development is again very strong, and while there is only one main peripheral character that stands out, he made me buy into the whole thing. I can only hope that he has (or will have) his own story – he was that important to the whole. Again, the intimacy is more cerebral than physical, but the story is that much stronger for it. Again, like the first book, the ending is what disappointed me. It also trails off into uncertainty for the characters involved.
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