A look at gay romance


Whatever you’d like to call it, gay romance, M/M fiction, or any other name attributed to the two main characters being male and having a sexual relationship together, it’s a genre I’ve been reading quite a lot of lately. This wasn’t exactly intentional, but perhaps somewhere in my unconscious brain, I wanted to read about boys getting it on!? Any why the hell not?

I know a lot of people out in the blogosphere may not be keen on the idea of gay romance, boys kissing boys (as well as other things) but I have to say I thoroughly enjoy a great M/M romance just as much as a M/F romance or a F/F romance. I don’t tend to limit myself to just reading straight romance, why would I when there’s so much fantastically written M/M and F/F romance out there?

On a slight tangent from this subject, while doing a little bit of searching on the M/M or gay romance topics I stumbled across this interesting article on the difference between M/M romance and gay romance. Interesting stuff with some great links to authors and articles on the subject.

Some clarification…

I am, proudly part of a number of groups on Goodreads that focus on M/M and F/F romance reading and writing. I was for a vast number of years the affectionately labeled ‘fag hag’ of a group of gay guys, one of which being my best friend for years. I still have a number of friends who are gay, lesbian, or bisexual. I know transgender people, cross-dressers, drag queens who perform of a weekend and I love them all, for who they are, not who they choose to screw.

Now, some of you may think that this is why I enjoy M/M or F/F romance. OR M/M/F or F/M/F or any number of combinations… No. I think it stems more from my open-mindedness and deep understanding and belief that people are who they are from birth. I believe that people are born with their sexuality already, it’s not a learned response. It’s WHO they are!

Onto the books…

As I mentioned above, I have been treating myself to quite a few stories of late featuring gorgeous gay men getting it on while delving into mystery, murder, everyday capers and above all, engaging in toe-curling, heart-fluttering, soul-warming romance. This of course can be coupled with some pretty hot graphic sex when it comes to some of the books, but not in all cases. I’ve had some interest shown in comments here and on GR about my reading of late and some people just aren’t game to jump on the M/M bandwagon.

I get it! It’s different. It’s daunting. It’s a bit taboo. It’s also a hot topic right now with the gay marriage laws being discussed and decided upon across the globe.

I saw this one on Facebook, not sure of source.

I just LOVE Tim Gunn!
I saw this one on Facebook, not sure of source.

Well, for those of you who are sitting on the fence, I’ll highlight some of the best M/M books I’ve come across and I’ll lay them out for you to have a look at. I’ll tell you in advance if they’re graphic sexually, if they’re sweet and gentle, or full on ‘hold on cowboy’ style sexual books. So, if you’re still a little unsure when it comes to M/M romance, here’s my guide.

Sweet and Sultry

Starting out with the sweet and gentle romance with a little sexy time amongst the characters. These books are a good introduction into the M/M world.

Books I’ve read:

Kim Fielding’s Ennek series. I have blogged about Kim’s series before and the beauty that was the relationship between main characters Ennek and Miner.

  • Sex-O-Meter: this one does have some sex, but it’s very light. I’d rate it a 3 out of 10.
  • Romance: high on romance.
  • Story: The M/M aspect is a pivotal aspect of the plot, but it’s very strongly supported by some great fantasy writing.

Books I haven’t read, but are recommended by the M/M Romance group members:

Photo Credit: http://flic.kr/p/3vcV27

I love me some sexy guys getting it on don’t you?
Photo Credit: http://flic.kr/p/3vcV27

Tigers and Devils by Sean Kennedy Aussie born, and getting high ratings for this one. Over 2,700 ratings have graced Tigers and Devils with an average rating of 4.24 out of 5

  • Sex-O-Meter: The sex is subtle and non-explicit. Reviewers are giving this one around a 3 out of 10 for spiciness. 
  • Romance: Held in high regard over the realness of the characters and the romance aspect, this one seems like a sure thing for first time M/M readers.
  • Story: A high point for Tigers and Devils is the fact that the female characters in the book are actually likeable. This seems to be a bit of a rare thing. A contemporary sporty romance set in Australia, Sean has created something special.

Faith & Fidelity by Tere Michaels is also on the list for first time M/M readers.

  • Sex-O-Meter: Low. Reviews tote this one as having little to no sex in it. This has left the book getting some lower reviews. 
  • Romance: Interestingly, this one seems to be about two heterosexual men falling in love. The reviews are showing that it’s highly emotional and explores the relationship and issues with the relationship quite a bit.
  • Story: Policemen! The two main characters are both police, but from different sides of the sexual fence, one who has only ever been with their late wife, the other is a lady’s man!

Let’s get it on… just a little

Jumping up a little higher on the graphic scale, here I’ll talk about books that have some graphic sex in them, others may just have lots and lots of sex, but less graphic.

Books I’ve read:

Ann Somerville’s Unnatural Selection series. I’ve blogged about these before here and here.

  • Sex-O-Meter: These are a little more graphic than the first list, but they’re not explicit, nor is the whole story about sex. 
  • Romance: These books have a nice mix of sexy-time and romance between the characters.
  • Story: A little fantasy/paranormal/science-fiction mixed in with the M/M, these books are thoroughly enjoyable!

Books I haven’t read:

Zero at the bone by Jane Seville is highly recommended in the M/M romance genre. Sporting well over 4,500 ratings, this one is sitting pretty at just over 4 stars average.

  • Sex-O-Meter: Seems this one is a slow burn, but intense and full of simply written but sexually charged play-time. Reviewers are touting this one as a 5-6 out of 10 for sexiness.
  • Romance: Mentioned time and time again in reviews, this one seems to focus about half the book to the romance and sex, and 50% of the book on plot and story progression.
  • Story: A suspense thriller that has some of GoodReader’s top reviewers lining up for a peek.

Willow Bend by Ally Blue is a highly recommended M/M for new to the genre readers. With almost 500 ratings, this one is sporting a rather nice 3.78 out of 5 rating.

  • Sex-O-Meter: Reports are that this one is low but still perhaps a 4 out of 10. Focus seems to be on the emotional side of the relationship.
  • Romance: High on romance all mixed in with a contemporary setting, it sounds rather delicious!
  • Story: Reports from the reviews are that this is one sad story. The boys aren’t mushy either.

Hot and heavy…

Hot and heavy may include lots of sex, explicit sex scenes or kinks, but still has a storyline and good characters.

Books I’ve read:

The Soul Reader series by Natasha Duncan-Drake is one series of short, sexy, sizzlingly sensual M/M romance. Woah boy! Book #1 throws you in the deep end, but book #2 is just plain AWESOME!

  • Sex-O-Meter: High up there! Around an 8 or 9 out of 10. This includes rather graphic language, explicit scenes and lots of them. 
  • Romance: Despite the sexiness of the story, there is development on the romance side of things too.
  • Story: Featuring vampires and a vast number of fantasy elements, Natasha builds the world around the story.

Live Undead by Steve Warren. I recently blogged about this one.

  • Sex-O-Meter: High on the list of graphic content, but not just for the sexual content. This one is a horror/gore M/M story.
  • Romance: Romance does come into the story, but it’s only fleeting. This one borders on the cusp of erotica.
  • Story: Strong characters, heavy themes and a strong presence of M/M throughout the story. Not one for the feint-hearted.

Me, Myself and I by Natasha Duncan-Drake – this one is a little strange. I rated it 3 out of 5, but considering it’s free, perhaps you’d like to give it a try.

  • Sex-O-Meter: 7 out of 10, graphic as is a lot of Natasha’s work, but the weirdness factor is from the fact that the M/M aspect is essentially the same person, just a good and bad version of himself. This is definitely in the realm of erotica, but given it’s very short length I’m lumping it in with the rest.
  • Romance: None present really.
  • Story: Interesting premise, some reviewers have asked the question on if this one stemmed from Watchmen fanfic. I’m not sure as I haven’t watched it.

Books I haven’t read:

Cut & Run by Abigail Roux has all the fangirls screaming! The review page looks like the aftermath of a One Direction concert, though slightly more explicit.

  • Sex-O-Meter: To be honest I can’t get a good gauge on the spiciness in this one, there’s too much OMGing, professing undying love for the characters and screaming in the reviews. Now, I’m not normally one to pander to public opinion, but nearly 4,500 people can’t be wrong can they? In a niche genre, that’s a bucket load of people who’ve read it. 
  • Romance: A side effect of this book is that you’ll love the protagonists once you’ve read it, so there’s some sort of romance. The romance between the main characters is apparently very realistic, sweet at times and raunchy at others.
  • Story: Again, cops (FBI this time) are involved in this story. This one is also a mystery thriller, some people have claimed that it was rather creepy. All in all, it sounds rather delightful, except for the whole ‘becoming a fangirl’ afterwards deal.

Conclusion:

I love me some good M/M romance, be it sweet and sexy or hot and sizzling. I hope that those of you who are reading this that may have been on the fence about M/M romance will take the leap of faith needed and give one of these books or another in the genre a try.

Also, once I’ve done some more F/F reading I’ll be sure to add my very own blog post dedicated to a little girl on girl loving, so watch this space…

Photo Credit: http://flic.kr/p/9YYCso

And coz I’m equal opportunity, here’s some sexy gals getting it on too
Photo Credit: http://flic.kr/p/9YYCso

Please Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s