mm blogOne of the things I like best about reviewing for AAR is the fact that I’m encouraged to select books to review rather than being assigned what to read. Of course, this freedom promotes good, rather than bad reviews most of the time.

The other freedom I enjoy at AAR is that if I find an under-represented romance review category, I’m encouraged to review in that subgenre.

This is particularly true of m/m or gay romance fiction, which I’ve been reviewing since December 2012. When I realized how few m/m books had been reviewed before then and how many m/m books were being published, I decided I could help shore up the database with reviews.

In order to do so, however, I wanted to read books which interested me—contemporary gay romances, not historicals or Westerns. I used the same method of selecting what I’d review as I did when I chose heterosexual romances to read.

Since I didn’t have any favorite gay romance authors in 2012, I read the blurbs associated with new releases, and if I was interested, I read the sample chapters on Amazon or the publishers’ websites.

Because AAR wasn’t being sent any m/m romance to be reviewed, I decided after exchanging emails with my editor, that for the first year (2013) I would buy all the books I reviewed. Consequently, almost everything I read I liked and gave a good review.

Understandably, readers have asked if I love all m/m romances. The honest answer is no, I don’t. The m/m subgenre, like all romance fiction, runs the gamut from poorly written, almost unreadable to absolutely wonderful books—at least according to my subjective evaluation.

By limiting my choices to contemporary gay romances of which I’ve read at least a chapter or two, I’ve increased the chances of reviewing books that have a higher than average chance that I will love them.

I realize this doesn’t help the reader who wants to know which books to avoid, but it helps them identify more good books. Having reviewed over 85 m/m books, I must admit I’d rather have read so many good books than mediocre or unreadable ones.

Do you really blame me? Wouldn’t you rather read a review of a book you think will be a DIK than one which might be a chore to get through?

Pat Henshaw