Reviewed by Nikyta & Sid
TITLE: My Only Sunshine
AUTHOR: Rowan McAllister
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
LENGTH: 226 pages
BLURB: 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 have a weakness for cowboy stories. Throw in the fact that one of the characters is not only injured physically but is damaged emotionally and you have a story I just had to read.
This is about Tanner Wallis, who life has not been kind to the last few weeks. Forced to endure one hellish situation after another, he unintentionally wanders onto Mason’s property. Seeing that Tanner is not in the best of shape, Mason allows him to heal and rest on the ranch until he’s healthy again. Unfortunately, Mason might be out but he has his own set of problems with his homophobic and disabled father and having Tanner on the ranch can cause way more issues than he wants. However, the feelings between the two develop quickly and intense, leaving both of them unwilling to leave the other no matter what. But what will happen when Mason’s daddy finds out about Tanner? Will Tanner and Mason be able to get through the inevitable trouble that’s bound to happen?
I must say, I simply adored Tanner. He’s so fragile but he’s also very strong. His worst enemy is himself and it was sad to see him have second thoughts about Mason. He doesn’t believe he’s worthy enough to have someone love him for who he is instead of what his face looks like. Very heartbreaking. I also loved Mason because of what he has to put up with. I loved that he was so willing to take care of a father who hated him but at the same time I wanted to shake Mason and tell him to stick up for himself when it came to his family! I found it frustrating that he would bite his lip and just let things get worse instead of getting the courage to tell things the way they really happened, especially when it came to his sister.
The plot of the story mostly revolves around the developing relationship between Tanner and Mason with a side mystery. IMO, the mystery was too weak. It really only showed up or was mentioned when it would add more conflict to the story. However, the relationship between Tanner and Mason was very strong. I liked the almost physical pull the two had for each other. It was cute, sweet but sometimes intense. One thing I probably adored the MOST was the fact that these loved to hug each other simply to be held. I couldn’t get enough of that and really loved that there was nothing sexual attached to the hugs. They were for comfort, love and to give each other strength. It might have been the highlight of the story for me.
I enjoyed the story but I had a few issues with it. My main issue was that for a while in the middle, it started to drag. It was nice seeing Tanner and Mason get to know each other but at the same time, nothing else happened so it didn’t hold my interest for long when I tried to read. On top of that, I had an issue with the foreshadowing at the end of some of the chapters, which felt awkward and unnecessary. The ending was too nicely tied up for my liking so by the end, it left me with a lot of questions. My biggest one being how Mason and Tanner could afford to do most of the things they ended up changing.
Overall, this was a sweet story. I enjoyed it for the most part but I did have my issues. It’s main draw for me was the numerous hugs, as I said. It’s just not something you see in abundance in m/m when there’s not a sexual undertone to it and the hugs between Tanner and Mason were just sweet and adorable, filled with love. So CUTE! It definitely ends on a happy note and I was glad that these two found the happiness they both deserve.
Nikyta rates it:
Nikyta is one of the official reviewers on The Blog of Sid Love.
To read all her reviews, click the link: NIKYTA’S REVIEWS
Nikyta and I have quite a similar taste so when she suggested that we should buddy read on this one, I went to check out the blurb and said an immediate yes! The premise was so promising that I couldn’t say no and that’s how we ended up reading this together.
Believe me when I say – I never had an urge to read a book with hotshot Cowboys – sure, I lust for those hotties like any other gay men out there but this book was one of those exceptions where nothing else mattered but my reader’s soul inside me that craved to have a peek into this book and oh what a journey it was!
The beginning hooked me in an instant and I was more than excited to see how fate brings the two main characters together – like no one could imagine, yet it was believable enough to amaze me. The writing was outstanding and every character stood out in their roles – Tanner’s innocence and his pain or Mason’s desperation for a life in which he mattered made me connect with them. You just have to read this story just so you could live the moments they share as their relationship grows. How beautiful each of those stolen moments are, when they sneak kisses or – yes, those cute hugs Nikyta mentioned of course. It didn’t even bother me that the development was kind of slow because I know it was how it was supposed to be.
Secondary characters did well just by supporting these two (or even standing as a barrier to their relationship) – Ed and Lucy’s love for the boys or Brian’s protective demeanor over his friend Tanner when someone speaks ill of him or even Robert Seidel’s hatred to that extent where I hated him from the bottom of my heart.
However, that doesn’t mean I approve of how the author decided to just “get rid of him” so that the boys could finally live together. It was disappointing, considering how high I had my expectations built for this book and they just came crashing down bit by bit in the second half of the book. For the most part after the main characters make love to each other, there is nothing exciting happening at all. Words just seem to run for pages after pages describing how and what they did each day. Much of unneeded information is given to the reader – if this had been edited well, a shorter version (still a novel, though) with some best scenes would have been a final product. A couple of grammatical errors made the perfectionist in me cringe but one could overlook it easily, I guess.
Nikyta said it well – the mystery lacked its essence in this story and the climax was just not good enough. The ending of it all seemed rushed. The reader gets a bigger picture of it all at the end to show their happily ever after, however the little details – which actually made me fall in love with the story right in the beginning – remained missing right till end.
However, I would still recommend this book because Mason and Tanner do have a special story of their love to tell. It was a change for me – refreshing (even with the angst and all) and I found to be taken by Rowan McAllister’s talents.
For this romantic, cowboy tale, I give a rating of 3.25 stars.
Sid rates it:
Sid Love is the owner of The Blog of Sid Love.
To read all his reviews, click the link: SID’S REVIEWS