Thursday, October 24, 2013

Review: My Only Sunshine by Rowan McAllister

My Only Sunshine
by Rowan McAllister 
Published October 4th 2013 by Dreamspinner Press
Formats Available: .epub, .mobi, html, pdf, Paperback

My Rating: 5 of 5 Stars

Tanner Wallis is nearly at the end of his rope the night Mason Seidel finds him lying next to the mangled body of a cow on the back pastures of the Seidel family's Wyoming ranch. Recently out of the hospital after he and his boyfriend were brutally beaten, Tanner is jobless, homeless, and almost penniless. His desperate hope is that Mason will believe he’s innocent of the senseless crime and give him a place to heal, both physically and emotionally, until he can get on his feet again.

But Mason already has enough on his plate. He's only been back on the ranch a few months, ten years after his father kicked him out for being gay, and only because his sister begged him to come help after the man's disabling stroke. With all his responsibilities—running the struggling ranch and keeping his sister and father off his back—Mason can't really afford the distraction Tanner represents. But he can't just abandon the attractive young man either. There’s trouble in spades on the ranch, but if they face it together, Mason and Tanner might find a future with a little sunshine.

I must focus on the story of Mason and Tanner before I start my ranting and raving about some things in this story. Theirs was a beautiful romance. When I read the title of this book, My Only Sunshine, I remembered a childhood favorite song I used to sing to my dogs when I felt down: You Are My Sunshine as sung by Johnny Cash. How I loved that song and it was really the reason why I picked this one up. 

For those who have never heard or read the lyrics to this song, it is quite important to go now and check for this is really what the book is all about. Mason was in a very difficult and grey situation when in comes Tanner. It was quite a dramatic entrance, I have to say, and it came in together with an ongoing mystery of sorts. Soon, Mason's only way to get some bit of sanity was Tanner and pretty early on in the book, he referred to this young man as his ray of sunshine. That was quite a bit of romance there that had me hooked.

As the story unfolds, we see a whole lot of supporting cast coming in and placing their bit of action into the plot. There were quite a few but probably the best is Ed and Lucy, surrogate parents to Mason. Then there was Robert and Diana. (sigh sigh sigh)

I really had a hard time reading this story when these two were on the page. These were characters that hit me on a personal note and I just plain hated them: Robert and Diana, Mason's father and younger sister respectively. Robert was just plain mean and sorry to say, sick or not, stroke or not, his was a character I see day in and day out so no, I have no qualms in saying I hated him and hasta la vista! As for Diana, she reminds me of a 2 year old having a tantrum trapped in a woman's body. Hated her as much as her father. No matter how this story and character ended for the better, I stay clear away from such individuals and sorry to say, having to deal with individuals like her day in and day out, hasta la vista!

Now, having said that, as I was having a raging emotional headache from reading these two, I had an epiphany of sorts. I realized that my violent reaction to these two characters were so real, so tangible and it was scary. How Rowan McAllister was able to do this so brilliantly hit me right in the solar plexus and - WOW! simply, WOW! 

That was beautifully done madam! BRAVO! 

Finally, we get to the mystery thing. I was surprised by this one but as I read through it, I sort of remembered a similar case that happened in the city next to where I live. Once I remembered that case, I was no longer surprised. Apparently, these things happen more often than not. I am just glad that the author decided not to include any gory details that I am sure she had ready for when I recalled these cases, I also looked over the profiles and images. Not good!

To end this review, I thought at first to give this a good old 4 stars. Then I dropped to a 2 or 3 Stars because of those two. So why did I decide to give this a 5 Stars instead? 

Well, let's get back to the emotional turmoil I suffered through when reading this book. The author hit me on a very personal level and honestly, she just kept knifing it in deeper and deeper. Yes, it hurt reading this, but WOW! the way she did it shows me that she has a real talent in getting her readers involved in her stories. Her characterization is stupendous really. So hate I must those characters mentioned, love I do Mason and Tanner, my only reaction is: WOW!

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