People I have feelings and thoughts I need to discuss!
I recently finished ‘Where we Left Off’ by Roan Parrish, the third book in her fantastic M/M contemporary romance series ‘Middle of Nowhere’. I really enjoyed Will and Leo’s story (FYI this is going to contain spoilers), for me, the ending was the natural and organic conclusion of their relationship given the two heroes different ideas concerning relationships.
Leo is a hopeless romantic, who is looking for the typical monogamous relationship. Will isn’t. He’s a massive commitment-phobe, having been scarred by his parent’s relationship (childhood sweethearts who were so in love with each other they neglected everything else including their children). He doesn’t see the value in a relationship, but he does like Leo… A lot.
After a lot of angst and soul searching Will agrees to try a monogamous relationship with Leo, with the condition that it can be re-negotiated at a later date. In reality, Will would prefer a polygamous relationship with Leo as his primary partner, but still being able to sleep with other people. Yet Will gives up his polygamous beliefs to be with Leo. He makes a choice. Whether it guarantees a long-term HEA for the couple is another matter. Given the fact they want such different things out of a relationship make me question if this would be an HEA, but I enjoyed the ending for what it was. Also, Will and Leo are clearly in love so maybe they’ll make it work?
Yet when I read the reviews I was shocked how many people disliked Will, seeing him as a cheater or not good enough for Leo. In my opinion, Will didn’t cheat, as he never promised Leo exclusivety… In fact, he clearly told Leo he would continue to sleep with other people when they first got together. Leo knew this and agree to ‘date’ Will anyway.
So this got me thinking, is monogamy an essential part of the HEA in a romance book? Or can agreed non-monogamous relationships between two people be a HEA?
I think if the two or more individuals are happy with the arrangement then I don’t believe monogamy is essential for a HEA. But I’m intrigued to see what other people think? Have you read any other romances where the central couple have a polygamous relationship? (FYI I’m discounting the Ménage à trois romances I’ve read as they all featured committed 3+ relationships)
Let’s get this out straight away: You cannot disregard character arcs. The
way you can think of character arcs is that readers usually come for the plot
but stay for the character because you can have a kick ass plot but if the
characters don’t have depth and don’t grow or change throughout, then the
readers can’t connect to the story. Readers need to care about the character to
care about what they are going through and the best way to do this is through
their arc. Now, though attention to character is always important, certain
genres demand more than others just like certain genres demand more plot than
others. For example, literary, contemporary YA, and romance put more emphasis
of character than more plot-driven genres like thriller, adventure, fantasy and
sci fi. In any case, character arc enhances the story but it can be tricky to
understand how create this arc and how to use it to better the story, so here
are some tips:
Really, think of it as a curve. Okay, so
maybe not a nice smooth curve, more like one with a bunch of bumps and squiggles
in it. Also, the direction of this curve depends on who you want your character
to become. Usually, a protagonist will arc up, starting at point where they
have some personal obstacles to overcome, whether this is just a few things or
a major attitude adjustment. You can also have characters that arc down and progressively
get worse, like a villain or a tragic hero. The point is that as the time goes
on, your characters should move on the Y axis (sorry for the math). You can
actually plot it out if it helps you understand the rises and falls of your
Find what each character really needs to change. What is holding them back from achieving their goal? Why is it so
important that they change? What would happen or who would they be if they don’t
change? Alternatively, what can go wrong if they change or change for the worse?
Remember that not every character arc is a positive one and sometimes readers
need to see the characters fall to understand what is at stake and cheer for
them more when they get back up.
Don’t make it sudden or pointless. Like
anything else in your story you want to make the character’s advancement (or
deterioration) have a cause and effect relationship. Something that happens in
the story causes the character to have to change or at least consider how their
actions are impacting others and their own life. A drunk who gets into a car
accident and nearly kills their kid. A hero whose selfishness nearly causes the
destruction of a village. Typically, the biggest shifts happen near the climax
where the stakes are highest and the character has to make the biggest
Don’t make the character passive.
Passive characters, in particular passive protagonists are unbearable. These
are the ones that have the plot happen to them rather than contributing to the
direction and outcome of the events. A character needs to take charge of their own
destiny even if it’s a story where destiny is literally coming after them. Like
I said before, some genres have more room for this than others. A high-stakes
thriller that’s more plot driven has moments where the characters have to
struggle to keep up with the events happening to them, but they should still be
making the major decisions that ultimately lead to the conclusion. When the
characters aren’t being decisive they can’t grow or change and their personal story
stays flat and boring.
From zero to ninety in 20 pages: the first chapter of Truth or Beard by Penny Reid is the first time in the history of my reading that lust at (sort of) first sight has worked for me. And I mean really, really worked for me. I’m feeling almost as disoriented as heroine Jessica, and this close to cursing an honourable romance hero (which I never do).
I can’t remember if I announced this here, but I have a novella out tomorrow US time! (It’s already out in Australia because timezones)
It’s cute and fun and (hopefully!) funny. Because we all need some laughs these days.
Colin Partridge can hold down a conversation with his nine-year-old
students, no problem. Beautiful women, on the other hand? Not so much.
So when he bumps into Britt Endicott, the single mother of one of his
students, he barely manages to get through the conversation with his
Britt Endicott hasn’t dated since her ex-husband
left her and her daughter Abigail seven years ago. She doesn’t trust
men, and with good reason. And even if she did–which she definitely doesn’t–dating her daughter’s teacher is totally against the rules.
Can they get around school rules, meddling children, and most of all themselves, to find their happy ending?
a pretty tough gig being First Daughter. The eyes of a nation are on you at all
times; as plenty of other president’s children have discovered, messing up
carries serious consequences.
Bennett’s youthful mistake cost her the man she loved and very nearly her life
when she ran straight into the claws of a kidnapper. Ten years later,
turning to Joe, the man who saved her back then and the only person who ever
made her feel truly safe, is the most natural thing in the world for her to do.
the romance in this book. Vivian and Joe had a terrific chemistry and a Past to
deal with; Vivian’s PTSD was delicately dealt with, though Joe’s mere presence
curing her insomnia was something I found a little hard to swallow being an
insomniac myself. A lot of people, Joe included, treat Vivian like she’s
helpless. The way she pushed back and insisted on making her own decisions was
villain was pretty obvious; there weren’t so much delicately dropped clues as
honking great neon signs saying BAD GUY HERE. The plot hung together pretty
well, though, and I liked the way all the threads were neatly tied off at the
I was a
little bit put off by literally every single character in the book being white,
too. Really? In the modern USA? Joe being black or Latinx would have added
another fascinating layer of discrimination he had to face… and to be honest,
Vivian being described as other than a beautiful blonde might have helped me to
envision her differently to another beautiful blonde thirty-something First
Daughter businesswoman - who I don’t like.
almost certainly not the author’s fault because this book was probably written
and picked up for publication long before the current president achieved
office. I just think I’d have liked Vivian a lot better if she’d had red hair
or been Latina.
bring myself to give the book five stars because of the issues mentioned above,
but it’s certainly a solid four.
don’t even know where to start telling you how wonderful this book is. It’s
the moment Mina rescues super-famous horror author Thomas St Clair’s dog, she
knows she’s in trouble. Not least because once upon a time, when she was a
budding journalist and he was a barely-out-of-his-teens author with a New York
Times bestseller, he blew her off when she was assigned to interview him.
Exasperated beyond reason, she wrote a brutal exposé on his awful childhood,
and then he got her fired in retaliation.
The Mistaken Billionaire takes those
long-ago actions and really twists them around, using them to show how Thomas
and Mina both became different people because of them. They are absolutely
perfect for each other now, but with a secret like that between them (because
Thomas doesn’t know Mina is the journalist who once tore his private life apart
for the world to see) how can they ever find happiness together?
as you might imagine, that’s a road that’s got some serious twists and turns in
it, and I was more than happy to be along for the ride. I hadn’t read anything
by Lexxie Couper before but damn, I will be looking out for more now, because
this was absolutely fantastic. Although it’s the second book in the Muse series,
it stands perfectly well alone - the protagonists of the first are only
mentioned in passing.
I find myself seriously hoping that Sebastian, Thomas’ Aussie film
director friend, is the hero of the third. Yes, Lexxie Couper, I got the
‘Michael Dundee’ inside joke and damn nearly laughed my ass off. Hysterical!
The Mistaken Billionaire was an
absolutely fantastic read. I didn’t want to put it down. Five well-deserved