FEATURED AUTHOR

WHAT WHO WRITES IS READING WEEK 6: DEBBIE McGOWAN!!


I HAVE REALLY ENJOYED OUR WHAT WHO WRITES IS READING SERIES SO FAR, AND WE STILL HAVE A FEW WEEKS TO GO! THIS WEEK I AM SUPER EXCITED TO HAVE THE LOVELY DEBBIE McGOWAN WITH US! I CAN'T WAIT TILL YOU SEE HER POST! AWESOME, AND I HAVE REVIEWED TWO OF THE BOOKS, SO I WILL PUT THE REVIEW LINKS UP AND THE LINK TO THE BOOKS I HAVE REVIEWED BY DEBBIE! HERE WE GO:

So..I was asked to share my favorite MM Romance, and I said, "Yep!" Sounds easy enough, I thought. But then I realised I'd have to explain a few things about what I like and what I don't in order to explain the explaining...With me so far? Nope. Me neither. OK. Put another way: 

What I don't like is... admitting I like romance. Sigh. My dear husband? He's happy to admit he loves a good romcom - the more bumblingly British the better.

"Um, yah, so...right. I think, sweet, lovely Fliss, that I, um, might...love you?"

"Oh, my darling Matthew. I love you too."

"Marry me?"

"Yes, of course. Yes!"
[Fliss clings to Matthew, Laura Ashley skirt flapping in that good old British breeze. Cut to shot of Tower Bridge rising...]

Naw. *spew* Appalling. In short: I'm not that kind of girl and I don't like that kind of man. Then, a few years ago, I read some gay romance, and thought to myself, yes. That's better. There are no feebly swooning, waifly women for starters. The men were still too damn perfect. The worlds they inhabited were not real to me - not because I am not a gay man; I'm still a person, after all, and we all connect on the same level - but because they were often fantasy worlds parodying reality. Whilst those stories most definitely have their place - they are wonderful, escapist landscapes, with beautiful characters - often they are superficial, artificial.

Much as I'm up for a little escapism from time to time, I soon came to realise that what I was looking for was something real. Romance doesn't just happen between people who are physically attractive and armed with the right social skills. It happens between the tall and the short, the fat and the thin, those with deformities, the 'ugly' - I'm deliberately referring to the superficial physical traits on which we judge an individual's attractiveness. It also happens between the shy and the impulsive, the obsessive and the careless, and those who have been damaged by the judgements and actions of others. And really, it's not hard to take two beautiful, perfect characters and write them a beautiful, perfect romance.
But it takes a special kind of author to take characters who do not fit Western society's very narrow definition of 'beauty' and, through their words, show the reader just how truly beautiful those characters are.

Which - finally - leads me to my favorite 'MM' romance, although actually it's three stories, but they are the same kinds of romance, written by different authors and in entirely different social worlds, but sharing that same realism. In all three, the main character is... fat. If you're the sort of reader whose reaction to seeing that word - FAT - was 'ugh, yuck', then you've more than proved my point. We are none of us perfect, and if you like the superficiality of physically perfect characters, you'll find plenty of stories to satiate your literary hunger. Feel free to gorge yourself on the bounty of beauty.

Or if you want to read something fresh, different and healthy for brain and self-esteem alike, then try out these babies for size.



Tim On Broadway (Rick Bettencourt)

Tim Benton is a slightly overweight guy, who's got a couple of minor mental health issues, stemming from a pretty massive occurrence in his past, but he is really just trying to get on with life...one doughnut at a time. He's written beautifully – a clever, funny man, with a na├»ve generosity that he extends to Javier, the hottie in the store where they work, and in the opening chapter, we discover that it wasn't an entirely one-sided favour when Tim loaned Jav some money. Yet, in spite of the dire consequences of everything associated with that loan, Tim cheerfully just keeps on going and he achieves, maybe only in small ways, but as a reader, I was there with him, feeling his relief, his happiness, his confusion, his anxiety...

So, lots of deep emotional exploration, but Tim on Broadway is not heavy-going. It's a very fun read, in fact, with some hysterically funny moments (the Toilet Scene had me laughing out loud, especially), but there are a few kick-you-in-the-back-of-the-knees moments too, like when Tim is judging himself in the bathroom mirror. At that point, I had to stop reading for a few minutes, because I really felt for Tim, and for how down on himself he is, when he's really a fairly successful guy with lots of great qualities.

Javier turned out to be a lot different than I initially anticipated, but I'll leave it at that, as part of the joy of this story is in coming to understand the characters, and whereas Tim is emotionally open from the start of the book, Jav is much deeper and more complex.

The plot's fun – nothing too angsty or tricky to follow. It's just a simple journey, following Tim on the trail of one of his big dreams, and watching him grow as a person. The friendship between Tim and Jav blossoms gradually and realistically, and there's enough of a conclusion for the author to either leave it where it is, or treat us to more adventures with Tim (and hopefully Jav) on Broadway, or wherever else life takes them.

Beaten Track: http://www.beatentrackpublishing.com/timonbroadway
Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00M4N1L9K
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00M4N1L9K

BEFORE WE LOOK AT THE NEXT BOOK, I HAVE TO SAY THAT I AGREE WITH DEBBIE, I RECENTLY READ THIS BOOK AND I FELL IN LOVE, I SHOULD HAVE A REVIEW UP REALLY SOON! RICK BETTENCOURT IS AMAZING, LOVE HIS STYLE!



Eight Inches to make Johnny Smile (Claire Davis and Al Stewart)

This is Mat's story primarily, although it's Johnny's story too. Mat is fat and the people close to him - his parents, his co-workers - are vile and loathsome, and you'll be enraged, but then you'll also realise that all of us have known people like this. Some of us have made those judgements for ourselves - look at that fatty. Stupid fatty, stuffing his/her face. No wonder they're fat. Fat is bad, fat is ugly...

Just as in Tim on Broadway, in Eight Inches, the authors force us readers to realise: not only is fatism cruel, it is also pathetically shallow. Like Tim, Mat and Johnny are beautiful characters.

So, whilst this is a gay romance - an MM romance, if you like - it's unconventional, in that it addresses a real issue that is profoundly detrimental to a lot of people. I don't mean obesity itself, but the discrimination and damage to self-image that comes with it.

BUT...it's not a tragic story. It's one with a rather gooey happy ending. I won't say more than that.

Beaten Track: http://www.beatentrackpublishing.com/eightinches
Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00SNBQGYC
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00SNBQGYC

I HAVE REVIEWED THIS BABY AND I LOVED IT, HERE IS THE LINK:

BEC'S REVIEW OF EIGHT INCHES TO MAKE JOHNNY SMILE



Bowl Full of Cherries (Raine O'Tierney)

Crowley has such low self-esteem - about his weight, and undoubtedly expounded by his mother...grr. Dislike. But anyway, it's safe to say Crowley isn't expecting 'love' to blossom the way that it does.

Averell is Crowley's roommate's twin, and he's awesome. That's all you need to know. He's not a slacker, he's a dude with a cool attitude, taking life just as it comes. Since reading Bowl Full, I have an enduring crush of 'Rell - he sees Crowley the way we should all see him - and every person who is physically imperfect - by looking past the surface and the things society tells us are attractive, to the real beauty within.

This is an amazing story, with lots of sweet, gorgeous Raine O'Tierney loveliness, and a few tearful moments.

Dreamspinner: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=5799
Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00Q084VLK
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00Q084VLK

I HAVE ALSO REVIEWED THIS BOOK AND I WILL PASTE THE LINK HERE, I JUST HAVE TO SAY THAT I AM WITH DEBBIE IN THE 'ADORE 'RELL' TO DEATH' BOAT! HE IS A LOVELY GUY WHO IS WAY MISUNDERSTOOD! :P

BEC'S REVIEW OF BOWL FULL OF CHERRIES

THANKS SO MUCH DEB FOR THIS AWESOME POST! I CAN'T WAIT FOR YOU GUYS TO READ THESE BOOKS!

I HAVE DONE MY FAIR SHARE OF REVIEWING DEB'S BOOKS SINCE  I LOVE HER BOOKS TO DEATH, HERE ARE MY LINKS TO THE BOOKS OF DEB'S I HAVE REVIEWED:

BEC'S CRYING IN THE RAIN REVIEW

BEC'S CHRISTMAS BOOK BONANZA REVIEWS

BEC'S RUMANITIONS REVIEW

DEB'S EVENT DAY SPOTLIGHT

THANKS FOR JOINING US GUYS, I HOPE YOU HAVE HAD AS MUCH FUN AS WE DID!