27 April 2011


This morning I finished reading Finding Zach (Rowan Speedwell). It took me until almost halfway through the book to...categorize (for want of a better word) it. It's not what I would call a typical romance - it's so much more (I hate putting those two words together) than that. I think I would describe it as a journey of self. At its heart, this book is Zach's story, Zach's journey, and the role those people who love him play in it. It's...I think the lovely Mariana from Hips like Mine said it best:
...it really is a[bout] discovering and recovering self. I loved that it was a hopeful book.
And it's exactly that. It's a book brimming with hope.

And that got me to thinking...about books I have read previously and how much more than just a romance they are. Brooke McKinley's Shades of Gray (I must stop trying to replace the 'a' in Gray with an 'e'), JB MacDonald's By Degrees, Amy Lane's Keeping Promise Rock, Talker, Talker's Redemption (Amy Lane has written a lot of 'more' books IMHO) are just a few example. But...these books all fall into the m/m subgenre. And...maybe it's me, but I can't seem to find as many m/f books that I would classify as being 'more' (although I would include Lisa Kleypas' Blue-Eyed Devil). Some skirt the boundaries, but...are still more romance than anything else. And....they often have what I like to call the 'magical penis fix'. Yes, one person can have an impact, play an integral role, but...more than just that is needed. In Finding Zach, while David was integral to Zach's recovery he wasn't the only factor. There were Zach's parents, his friends, both old and new, and countless hours of therapy. And there were no quick fixes. Even at the end of the book Zach's journey was continuing, his recovery was still in progress. But that's how it should be and I applaud the author for not taking the easy/quick route.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I prefer those books in which the struggle for self determination is noticeable. And where change and growth can occur not just because of the impact of one person. Because that gives me something to believe in, gives me that hope that Mariana mentioned...that I'm not simply waiting for that elusive someone to appear, to wave their magic wand and fix everything. Because, in reality, that just doesn't happen. In reality, it is the individual that takes all those steps...with help along the way :)

So, what are you thoughts on the magical penis fix...and do you like books that are 'more' than a romance? If so, what are your favourites (whether m/m or m/f)?


  1. I am not a fan of the magical penis fix in m/m or m/f. Someone with psychological issues isn't going to be magically better just from having sex. Um. My memory sucks, but the Shadow of the Templar series is about more than just the romance or the suspense/mystery plot. And it builds across all four books.

  2. Someone with psychological issues isn't going to be magically better just from having sex.

    Exactly. Which is why it's so frustrating when the magical penis makes an appearance. (I'm thinking of a particular m/f book that was a DNF for me because of just that.) I really need to try the Shadow of the Templar series...I love books that are about more than just the plot or the romance :)

  3. Oh I so agree with this!! The penis is lovely, but really can't fix EVERYTHING.

    First one I thought of (because I just read it) is Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke's Heart by Sarah MacLean. There is definitely a sexual impact, but both hero and heroine grow so much, besides the sex. Just a lovely book.

    I also think Kate Noble does a nice job with this. I'm sure there are others - must think on it!

  4. These are the books that really resonate with me. There's lots to delve in to with them.

    Ones that came to mind while reading your post are ZA Maxfield's St Nacho's series. LOTS of growth and development, there. Someone who seems almost irredeemable in 1 book becomes a hero in the next. I really like that! (Sort of like Sebastian in Kleypas's The Devil in Winter.) Marie Sexton's Coda series is another that I thought of.

  5. Mandi - LOL! Oh, I don't think I know much about Eleven Scandals *makes note to search GoodReads*

    Renee - *nods* That's is exactly. They resonate because there is so much more to the story. St Nacho's huh? So start at the beginning of the series? I love Lisa Kleypas' Sebastian...and the Coda series is amazing!

  6. Renee - I've added St Nacho's to my ARe Wish list so I can read it sooner rather than later. I have another ZA Maxfield book on there - Long Way Home - but...read St Nacho's first?

  7. Hmmm...blogger seems to have eaten my comment.

    Yes, I definitely recommend reading St Nacho's in order. You find out a lot about the heroes of later books in previous books. I haven't read Long Way Home, but I haven't read anything of ZAM's that I didn't enjoy.

    Also, I LOVE her ePistols at Dawn. (Goofy title notwithstanding.) The characters stayed with me for days after reading it!