A blog entry over at Nose in a book by lisabea about grading books has got me thinking. How do I choose an ebook? What makes me pick one book over another and does the cover, excerpt or blurb play a role in my choice? Made me think about the process I go through, especially when it comes to trying new authors.
So back to where I started… (imagine flashback scene music)
I read my first book with gay characters years ago in the early 90’s. It is a dark, gothic horror called Lost Souls by Poppy Z. Brite. It’s beautiful, and in the midst of my then huge Anne Rice glom a welcome change. I went on to read her short story book Swamp Foetus and another one edited by her called Love in Vein. By far my favorite book by her is Drawing Blood. When I read her comments on this book about it being a very “druggy book” and how the “bong was never far from her desk” I cracked up. heh. It is lush, scary, angsty, dark and sexy and even though she has moved away from writing the smex in her books, she is an excellent read and incredibly talented. (OK, so I like sex in my books!!!) She is also responsible for us drinking a lot of Chartreuse during this time! I can still feel the burn… The two leads in this book, Trevor and Zachary, are among some of my favorite characters. Check out this link to the last chapter of the book here, er…not particularly wk sf.
I spent a lot of time re watching Maurice written by E.M. Forster and directed by James Ivory. I had this great anthology called His edited by Robert Drake and Terry Wolverton. It was lovely and sexy but had some really depressing elements and I really like my m/m with plenty of candy coated goodness. There is quite enough crap to have to deal with in life without having to pour over it in a book. My GLTB collection was quite wee.
I have pretty much stuck to het romance since then as there was just no m/m romance to be found where I live. Honestly, our book shops blow much. I also think that there is a bit of a difference in what I consider m/m romance and gay fiction which I often got out of the local library. Josh Lanyon discusses the differences here, which is very interesting. Although, I am not sure I totally agree with the sex for sex sakes comment. In a recent Emma Holly book, All u can eat, there is a scene, with the heroine and the hunk of spunk kitchen aproned bloke, that is incredibly hot and so not about romance. To me it was more about fulfilling a need. I guess you could call it promiscuous but I did not connect with the character any less because of this. The aproned kitchen guy was not the hero and I did not consider the encounter at all romantic, it was more about people connecting physically. But, I like this more human touch to a book it made it more real and I was really ok with it. Might be an interesting discussion to have!
With the advent of the internets at our house and online shopping I discovered ebooks and online bookstores that order lovely smexy goodness in from overseas. The credit card has not been the same since. I first read Crash Course by Juliet Hastings which had a menage scene. I then read Emma Holly’s book Menage which had a m/m partnership in it and from there started trawling Amazon for similar reads. I saw Hard Candy advertised somewhere and managed to get it in pb form. It was bloody marvelous and I got a serious jones for Morgan Hawke’s books from this first short story of hers. She is a good writer and I just adore her Interstellar Service & Discipline series, which you can check out here. They are totally hot and it all kind of opened up from there. I got into buying some loose id books, and found JL Langley, which was one of the first strictly m/m romances I read in ebook form and she is absolutely one of my favorites.
I found some sites that had reviews and now I always check them out before I buy anything as I have brought a few lemons. I am such a tightwad and books are incredibly expensive to get in. If it costs 10 in the US you need to add on another 3$ for exchange rate then then postage which is exorbitant. So, I usually check out librarything.com. I have a few libraries on my favorites page that I have found to have similar tastes to mine own and they often have new authors I have not tried. Also, ebooks are generally cheaper! I regularly read The Naughty Bits, not only to find good books but because teddypig cracks me up with that occasional acerbic wit. I am so missing the pig at the moment! Lisabea at Nose in a book is a daily stop. She not only has reviews but new authors on there I may not have read before, like James Buchanan, my current squee. There are a couple of other sites I have found that have similar tastes to moi and also have graded books how I would have, so I often trawl through them. When I read an review online, I look less at a review grade and more at what the reviewer has said about the book and the feel I get from their words. You can tell if its hit a nerve by the tone of the review and any gushing or tellingly absent gushing.
I am not at all that keen on readying excerpts unless I have actually read an authors work already. I am more inclined to pick a book up due to a review, book cover (shallow I know) or the synopsis will appeal to me. They only time I really get into reading an excerpt is usually for a favorite authors new book. My latest fav is The Englor Affair excerpt by J.L. Langley. I find reading an except cold without having read other work a bit meh. I have no knowledge of the authors voice and no feeling of connection, god that sounds overwrought and emotional!! but it is true. When I like an author I am just that much more inclined to pick up another one of their books if I’ve enjoyed the 1st one.
I feel kinda lucky to have discovered some wonderful authors in the past year or so that feed my reading addiction so well. J.L. Langley, Josh Lanyon, Jet Mykles, Morgan Hawke, Emma Holly, James Buchanan and a whole load more. I am so impatient though, they can never write fast enough, so am always on the look out for the next glom!