It’s a delight to interview romance blogger and reviewer Shirley Frances today. Her blog features reviews and authors of M/M, Contemporary, New Adult and Erotica genres. If you find reviews valuable, I recommend checking out her blog.
Tell us about you and your gay romance blog. Where can we read it?
LeAnn’s Book Reviews celebrates Romance by bringing the latest releases, my book reviews and any other information regarding books in the Romance genre.
I recently moved my blog to my own domain and you can find it at http://shirleyfrancesbooksandmore.com
What got you started as a m/m blogger or reviewer?
I discovered the M/M genre purely by accident when participating in a reading challenge. However, once I started I didn’t look back. Since I was late in discovering the genre, I relied on reviews to help me pick my next read. But these were often few and far between and those I did find were riddled with spoilers. So with that in mind, I started reviewing on Goodreads until a fellow reader suggested I start my own review blog. And that is how LeAnn’s Book Reviews started in the Summer of 2012.
Why are you passionate about reading and reviewing m/m books?
What I enjoy the most about the genre is the dynamic between the main characters and how it defers from mainstream romance. I do enjoy those, but there’s always that something more in M/M stories that draw me in until the very end. I especially enjoy seeing how these men handle their emotions and give themselves the chance for a relationship without (mostly) resorting to games and mainstream cliches.
Many of my readers love reading m/m blogs but what makes yours unique compared to others?
I think what sets me apart is that my reviews are honest and spoiler free. They can be funny, emotional and everything in between those two. I focus mainly in the connection between the characters, the range in emotions brought to the page and how viable the romance appeared to me. I also reference the character’s personalities and the growth, if any, they endured throughout the process.
I’m a series OCD kind of gal so I also make mention of the other books in the series and if the book I’m reviewing can be read as a stand alone or if the reader should read the previous books in the series. Many times I bought a book based on a review only to discover later on that it was part of a series, so I want my readers to have that information handy in case they’re like me.
Define success as a m/m blogger and reviewer.
I think the first thing a blogger and reviewer should keep in mind is their audience. You may have a great number of followers but if they don’t open those emails with your latest posts or they are left with more questions than answers then you haven’t done your best by them.
Your review or blog post should be friendly and reflect your personality regardless if you liked the book or not. You don’t have to be mean or degrading to the author or your reader simply because the book wasn’t for you.
For me success is not measured on the numbers of followers I have but in the visitors and/or comments left on my reviews.
What are some of the best m/m books you’ve read this year?
These are some of my best rated reads of the year:
– Summer Symphony by Brandon Shire
– The Half of Us by Cardeno C.
– How to Train Your Dom in Five Easy Steps by Josephine Myles
– Double Up by Vanessa North
– Running Wild by SE Jakes
– Hostile Ground by LA Witt & Aleksandr Voinov
– Counterpunch by Aleksandr Voinov
– Red Dirt Heart by NR Walker
– Fever Pitch by Heidi Cullinan (I just finished this one today–Loved it!)
What would you like to see more in m/m literature you don’t see now?
I don’t have any major complaints, but I would love to see more characters with families or struggling with something more than coming out or being accepted. I realize that’s those are real problems today but those are not the only struggles gay men endure throughout their life.
What advice can you give to aspiring m/m reviewers and bloggers?
Read what draws your attention, write your review as if your talking to a friend and never disrespect your reader or an author. It’s not about competing with your fellow blogger, it’s about spreading the word about this wonderful but often ignored genre.