Review: One Good Year

One Good Year
One Good Year by Rowan McBride
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I vaguely remember quite liking both this author and the previous book so I snapped this one up on that brief passing feeling. While this sequel is decent and helps recall events from the previous book, it feels too incomplete and flounders looking for a strong purpose. Initially I was really excited to read from Spade’s first person POV but soon I realized he’s just as empty and mysterious as he was in the first book. Without Ace’s charming personality to help cover any gaps in the writing and storyline, this sequel leaves a lot to be desired. The author’s winning voice and engaging manner shines through and makes the novella easy to read and get through but it easy falls short of the original and by a lot sadly. Continue reading

Rowan McBride’s One Shot

One Shot by Rowan McBride

Blurb:

Nick Carlyle understands the intricacies of his job better than anyone. He lives to crunch those numbers and his skills are valued throughout the company. If his personal life might be lacking, he doesn’t notice, especially whenever he steals a harmless glance or two at Riley Jameson’s tight body. But he’s the boss, and that means look but don’t touch.

When a universal flu shot is developed, it’s hailed as a miracle, and rightly so. But the seemingly harmless side effects begin to change the world, warping the statistics that Nick’s always used to guide him through life. Everything he thought he knew is suddenly upside down.

No one changes as much as Riley. Suddenly the young man is bigger, stronger. He’s also aggressive in ways Nick isn’t prepared for, and for the first time analyzing the numbers does nothing to help the situation.

Now, his numbers only add up when it comes to Riley.

 

Review:

 

This is an over the top, outrageous, and ultimately fun yaoi influenced story. The antics and actions are sometimes completely ridiculous, yet there is a certain humor and enjoyment if you’re willing to let go and just enjoy the ride. The characters have appeal and interest and while the story is far fetched, it’s just a vehicle to introduce yaoi characteristics to the pairing. On the downside the lead character of Nick is entirely too obsessive compulsive and whines throughout the entire book. However, if you can get past that – and I surprisingly did – this might be the fun yaoi book that satisfies.

 

In this day and age of flu shots, the particular shot in this book also has the added bonus of increasing height in the majority of the recipients. Nick is very happy at an even 6 feet but worries and stresses that everyone else will be taller than him and thus making him the dreaded “average.” Nick worries that being average will ultimately cause him to lose income, be less attractive, and even lose intelligence. While Nick is worrying about the increased height of everyone else, he doesn’t run out and get the shot himself since it’s known that 0.4% of people actually –lose- height and that’s a gamble he’s not willing to risk. It’s not until Nick’s paranoia reaches untenable levels that he finally gives in and gets the shot himself.

 

Unfortunately, Nick classically is in the rare percentage that loses height instead of gains and he shrinks from 6 feet even to a perky 5’8”. Here the confident, intelligent, if obsessive, Nick turns insecure and whiney as he complains about his height, his looks, his intelligence, and even his sex appeal. While everyone around him is taller and to him, more attractive, he is ignorant and clueless to his own appeal. Nick can’t fathom how anyone would be interested in him and the one person who has always shown interest, Riley, must be using Nick in some horrible, evil way now that Nick is shorter and thus vulnerable.

 

The characterization in the book is uneven. On the one hand there is Nick who whines enough to annoy likely the most placid reader, yet this is tempered by the adorable character of Riley. Riley grows to massive, hulk-like status just by breathing. He is constantly outgrowing his clothes whenever he happens to take a deep breath or encounter Nick. Riley even has some hilarious and ridiculous scenes when his (also growing) dick bust through his clothes. This is very reminiscent to the Hulk getting a woody. Funny, over the top, and potentially painful but entertaining in a comic book style. This is where the book is able to transcend the ridiculous premise into a story with typical yaoi personalities and some fun sex scenes.

 

The writing is engaging, so much so that the whiney Nick doesn’t ruin the story. The dialogue is sometimes strong and interesting and overall the emphasis and intense focus on muscle building didn’t bother me. This clearly is a fantasy story that will appeal to those with a muscle fetish first and foremost, yaoi fans as well, but the prose choice and voice compliment the story. At times I rolled my eyes and others I was fully invested in the story. If you’re looking for a cute, funny story with a bloated emphasis on muscle growth – this will definitely satisfy. 

Get it HERE!

Lone by Rowan McBride

 Lone by Rowan McBride

Blurb:

Seth Anderson has finally found sanctuary in Brier, Iowa. Even better, he’s found Rafe: a strong, giant of a man who owns the town pool hall. Seth has never been so close to anyone. When he’s asked to give a series of lectures in DC, it seems only natural that Rafe come along. But in a few surreal days, his true nature is exposed and he brings both their lives crashing down around them.

Because Seth is not only a werewolf; he’s also something much, much worse.

 

Review:

Lone is an interesting book with a very intriguing world created for paranormal and supernatural beings. The characters and writing are tight and solid and the book reads incredibly fast from the first scene to the end. Unfortunately, there are some problems with the book from character problems and repetition but these may or may not bother other readers. For those that enjoy well-written, creative plots with high angst, heavily melodramatic characters with a lack of any self-worth yet redeemable qualities – you may like this offering. Even with the problems I found, I enjoyed reading the book and look forward to future stories set in this creative world.

The world built is with beings called Nightkin, supernatural creatures including vampires, werewolves, warlocks, witches, and Seers. Most are born, not created, and exist with a magic imbuing them with their various powers. This magic is recognizable by all Nightkin and thus it’s handy to know who to stay away from. Of course no supernatural creation is complete without the requisite abomination and in this case these are Ravagers. Mutated beings who have more strength, cunning, and ability than their counterparts yet lack reasoning and emotion subsisting on rage and lust alone. The Ravagers are usually killed at birth or hunted mercilessly until they are killed, rarely living past twenty years.

Seth Anderson is one such Ravager, but he’s managed to elude death by constantly moving and rarely engaging unless forced and then he obliterates anyone coming after him. He certainly takes to heart the phrase “ashes to ashes and dust to dust.” He is a small, innocent looking man standing only 5’5” and lacks any strength in his human form. He’s an intelligent, shy, emotionally fragile man who has been beaten, ridiculed and hunted all his life. He has absolutely no concept of self-worth and believes totally and completely he is a monster worth destroying. Yet his own self-preservation wins and he continues to elude death and discovery by living in the middle of nowhere Ohio and rarely allowing photographs.

Rafe is a local pool house owner who’s been dating Seth for three months and declares his love on a short weeklong trip to DC. Rafe at 6’6” is attracted to Seth’s vulnerability and cute appearance, taking on the role easily as protector. Rafe has an unending supply of patience and love and even when expressing anger, remorse, and sadness he yields to Seth’s needs. The transition of thinking of Seth as his lover to knowing Seth’s supernatural side is not a hard transition for Rafe. His easy going demeanor and belief in love conquering all allow him to accept actions and facts that should send him running. Rafe is too good to be true, just as Seth is too needy but they compliment each other in their uneven relationship.

Seth is certainly a sympathetic character with his emotional and self-esteem problems. Having no concept of love or positive behavior towards him, he has trouble accepting Rafe’s constant positive comments and steadfast support. Seth always looks for the hidden meaning, the negative connotation and is quick to jump on any hint of negative reactions or fear and scorn. This does wear somewhat on the course of the story as while it’s understandable that Seth would struggle with his self worth given his past, he drags on in an angst filled and melodramatic funk creating problems and issues that Rafe has already forgiven. Seth simply can’t believe that Rafe would love him and this is the crux that takes Seth the entire novel to accept. It wears over the course of the novel and individual tastes will vary on this overused and exaggerated drama.

The plot was interesting, if basic at its core. The tension and drama almost entirely stem from Seth and his inability to accept Rafe’s love and the few additional scenes of Rafe struggling to accept Seth’s new personality. A definite problem was that once Seth’s supernatural being is exposed, he completely changes. Seth goes from an intelligent, articulate, submissive but not weak man prior to the exposure to inarticulate, fearful, dog-like behavior and emotion. Even when in his human form, Seth rarely is able to express any sort of intelligent discussion and emotion, lapsing back into repeated phrases such as “Bad Seth, Good Rafe” and dialogue that reads as if taking to a pet – “Rafe is tired. Rafe is shelter. Good Seth?” Seth then continues the trend with often submissive behavior and acting even more like a dog than previously, going so far as to be jealous of a family pet that gets Rafe’s attention. Considering how long Seth has survived with this part of his personality, able to become some rock star in the math world, it’s strange and disconcerting when he reverts back to the most simplistic and basic behavior and language. It made absolutely no sense and definitely created problems between the characters and the story. Some of this behavior was understandable but not all of it. It’s really no wonder Rafe got emotional repeatedly at the transformation from Seth as an equal lover to now a pet in the relationship.

Another problem evident were the dangling questions that were not addressed and instead the story ended abruptly with a happy ending. Seth ruminates very near the end, asking himself what he offers Rafe as Seth takes everything he needs from Rafe but offers nothing in return. This essential part of their dynamic is never addressed and there *is* no answer for what Seth offers. Seth eventually is able to say he loves Rafe, which certainly could be the answer but other than outright physical protection and loyalty this emotion still fell flat from Seth. This couple would benefit from a sequel where their dynamic is more explored and understood as the relationship grew and matured. Considering the secondary characters, especially the scene stealing Dorian, no doubt future books will give a look back on Rafe and Seth.

The tight writing and descriptive prose without overindulging in details did create an enjoyable read with interesting and fully realized characters, even if they had drawbacks. Seth’s emotional angst and melodrama ran long towards the end with the repetition of simplistic language and behavior but will definitely be a subjective aspect to the character. Seth is like a stray pet taken in and requires the same amount of patience and constant affection where even one outburst could take considerable time to get over. With this in mind, the story will either appeal or not but I enjoyed it. The author’s writing and ability to infuse emotion within the prose is wonderful and never takes the drama into the ridiculous. His world building is intriguing and will entice readers to want to read more (if that was his intent) and I look forward to more in what I hope will become a series. 

Get it HERE!

*Reviews by Jessewave asked me for this particular review so it’s cross-posted HERE!


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