Today, I’m interviewing romance reviewer and blogger Bea who’ll celebrate this month the 3rd year of her blog’s existence. Her blog features reviews of books she loves and you’d do yourself a great favor if you check some of it out. If you’re looking for unique content and honest reviews, I highly recommend you check her blog! I promise, you’ll enjoy it a lot!
Tell us about you and your gay romance blog. Where can we read it?
You can find Bea’s Hive at (http://beawriting.com). I’ve read romance books since my teens. Remember those Harlequin Romances from the 1980’s and 1990s? I read those by the handful. As the years went by, my taste matured and I started reading more complex books that eventually led me to male/male literature.
I found that I would confuse plots and characters between books. Which Alpha stud rescued our heroine from the evil bad guy? Did I like a book? Why? So I started reading the reviews in Goodreads and Amazon, but they never really gave me what I wanted. In October 2011, I decided to write reviews that I wanted to read; hopefully others have found them helpful. Bea’s Hive celebrates a 3-year anniversary this month!
What got you started as a m/m blogger or reviewer?
I’ve read romances and then erotica for years. I started to become jaded with the straight romances; it always seemed like the Alpha hero rescues the heroine. The female character always swooned after being rescued.
Then I read Lauren Dane’s Laid Bare and it changed my perspective of romance. It was a story about a woman who at first falls in love with a man. But more than that, they together fall in love with his best friend. It was amazing to find the dynamics of the two men, which made me begin reading male/male romances.
Why are you passionate about reading and reviewing m/m books?
First off, I love romance and novels that expand my limits and challenge my beliefs. With m/m books, there are sociological aspects that provoke me to consider issues deeper than simply sex. For example, I never considered how it felt to not be able to hold hands with my lover in the street without reprisal. I found that m/m books provided more serious content and social issues that I could discuss on my blog than the straight romances.
Many of my readers love reading m/m blogs but what makes yours unique compared to others?
I have read many reviews and blogs; it was one way I determined the format of my blog. What would make my blog stand out? I come from an education background and literary reviews always dig deeper than just “It was a good book”; they often deal with character development, plot analysis, and a discussion of theme. So, at Bea’s Hive, I try to dig that deep, if I can’t find a theme, then it’s not a 5 star book.
Define success as a m/m blogger and reviewer.
I’m not sure what to call a success. I don’t review books for popularity, but for the love of reading. And for the male/male community, I feel a passion to let folks know that these books are not all written about sex. The plots can range from serious issues on HIV, domestic violence, adoption, and bullying. With male/male romance growing as a sub-genre, I feel it is important that we as reviewers do what we can to demonstrate the quality within the genre.
What are some of the best m/m books you’ve read this year?
So far, I’ve read 92 books for my Goodreads Challenge this year. It will be hard for me to narrow my favorites down. The most recent book I have reviewed is Grif’s Toy by Joseph Lance Tonlet. I thoroughly enjoyed the BDSM aspect of the novel and it was great to see the character development of Grif.
But other great books I read this year were: Dirty Deeds, by Rhys Ford, The River Leith, by Leta Blake, and Strength of the Mate by Kendall McKenna.
What would you like to see more in m/m literature you don’t see now?
While there are a variety of themes in m/m literature, I have found that more and more of them are all shorter erotica. It can be frustrating when you find a book that sounds good, but then discover that the length of the novel is only 98 pages. There is no way that these novels have the time to properly develop characters and relationships. It is a shame, considering often the book is well written in what they do write.
What advice can you give to aspiring m/m reviewers and bloggers?
Do it because you love it. If you feel as if the blog review is more like a job, you won’t keep it up. In the last year, I have received more requests from authors and publishers to review a book. This is exciting, but at the same time, I might end up reading a book that I would not normally read. This can quickly burn you out. So, just remember to read books you actually want to read and your blog will reflect your joy of reviewing.