For Love of Books is a series where instead of interviewing the writers, I interview book reviewers, those people who give their opinions about different books and influence the buying patterns of thousands of readers. Most reviewers do this job because they really love books, which is why I like to talk to them.
Today I’m interviewing Buda a guest reviewer on the site, about why he likes to read M/M romances. Buda is one of a new breed of M/M romance readers – men.
I think reviewing is one of the most important and difficult jobs in the industry apart from publishing, writing the books, and selling them. Reviewers don’t promote books that they think are lemons (I hope) and we’re truthful about how we really feel about the books we review. If we are not truthful the readers won’t take long to spot this and will never trust us again.
Reviews are always a matter of opinion whether it’s movies, restaurants, stage shows, books, etc., and these opinions can vary from one end of the spectrum to the other, which is why it’s always a good idea to check out several reviews if you have the time, before you buy a book. Most reviewers are motivated by their love of books, are impartial, and if they have any biases they state them upfront and they don’t expect anything other than “thank you” from the readers.
So Buda, I now have you exactly where I want you – in the lap of Billy, one of the boyz from the hot tub. Are you okay? Stop fidgeting or we’ll never get this interview finished. WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING? This is an interview not a tryout for a porn movie role, so get your clothes back on. Billy, no touching Buda there. 😆
Hush, Wave. He’s doing fine on his own.
Now where were we? Ah yes, your interview about why you love books. Why don’t we start with the good stuff? I know it’s boring but everyone has to answer this question. Who is Buda?
I’m afraid the question is more interesting than the answer. I’m just a guy sitting on top of a guy asking him to…er, uhm. *ahem* [Illuminating answer, as usual Buda. :)]
What do you like to do? Last and most important, what are your special turn-ons in men?
Well, when I’m not toiling away in the salt mines of the EDJ, I like to spend time with my dog, who has entirely too much personality for her little body. And, of course, I read a lot. Sometimes I go out with friends. Good Christopher, I just put myself to sleep. Lift those eyelids, girlie. Here comes the good part. A special turn on about men has to be shoulders. I love nice, broad, straight shoulders with delicious delts. Put those on a tall man with a moderately hairy chest and a sense of humor and I’m down for the count.
How did you end up here reviewing a bunch of dirty books (sorry, I meant M/M romances) 🙂
You showed up at my house with chains and whips and the boyz from the hot tub. Don’t you remember? I think Billy was sick that day, because I certainly wouldn’t have forgotten this luscious morsel. Actually, I stumbled upon Goodreads on Facebook. From there, I was looking for a review of something and found your site. It was love at first site. (Get over it; I have a thing for puns, too.)
When you were growing up in the olden days before the Internet 😆 what kinds of books did you like to read? I’m betting you liked a lot of serial murders. 😀
Believe it or not, during elementary school and junior high (middle school for you young ‘uns), I only read nonfiction. Encyclopedias, histories and biographies were the sources of my entertainment. I think I read The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich for the first time in third grade. So, yeah, I’ve always been a freak. At about 19, I discovered the Tales of the City series and then started devouring everything gay-related I could get my hands on. Special favorites were the Todd Mills Mysteries by RD Zimmerman and the Mark Manning Mysteries by Michael Craft. I even read Sandra Scoppetone’s Lauren Laurano series when I ran out of good, non-whiny men to read.
What are some of your favourite books? Do you have a Top 3?
Hmm. My Top 10 M/M books change depending on my mood. But my all-time Top 3 from any fiction genre would have to include Imajica by Clive Barker, The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley, and Sofia Petrovna by Lydia Chukovskaya. I’m not a huge fantasy fan, but those books spoke to me.
What is the one quality you look for in a book above everything else? Do you have some turn offs?
Believability. I have to believe the situation or characters could exist before I will allow myself to get into the book. Mostly, I just want to be entertained, to fall in love with the characters and to be able to feel their joy and pain. I’m usually not a picky reader, but lately even one of my favourite writers (Word just Canadianized my spelling!) 😆 (I love it) has had two books out I’ve abandoned. I definitely have turn-offs. I’m not a huge fan of BDSM and I despise books that go the CWD (Chicks With Dicks) route. If you’re going to write a man, write a damn man. He doesn’t have to be a troglodyte, but there are certain universals about the way men’s brains work, so he shouldn’t be a woman with a man’s name. And don’t even get me started on shifters….
As a gay man, what frustrates the hell out of you when you read a male/male romance? On the flip side what are some of the best qualities of these books?
You know what really burns my cookies? Poor editing. It all comes down to that. If you have an editor who can’t see when a modifier is misplaced, how is he or she going to notice the MC’s eye color changed three times in the space of a paragraph? Or, worse yet, that the manuscript introduced four characters in total: the MC, the love interest, the victim and…the baddie. C’mon! Make me work for it! I reviewed that book. It was horrible, but it had potential. With a little more work, it could have been good. I know it’s the author’s responsibility to get it right the first time, but editors are there for a reason, right? So then why are the publishers releasing books that clearly aren’t ready yet? Get off the greed train and throw me a bo—bit of quality. 🙂
Conversely, damn there are some amazing books out there. I’ve probably laughed and cried more since reading M/M than I had in the three years prior. Realistically drawn characters whose problems I could relate to or know I would have trouble dealing with are all over the genre, thankfully.
I understand that you love sports especially hockey. You’re not Canadian so what is it about hockey that gets your mojo revving at top speed? Do you have a favourite player?
In the same way that rugby is football for real men, hockey is the sport for the guy whose attention span is too short to watch golf—or paint dry. I love hockey because the action almost never stops. I have a soft spot for goalies because I think that position has to be one of the hardest in the sport. Obviously, one of my favourite players is Peter Budaj, from whom I’ve taken my screen name. Boods will be playing for the Habs this season, so I won’t get to see him much, if at all. I will also admit to having had a fascinating (post-sexual) dream about Jeff Carter. And who can argue that Tim Thomas, who has been my go-to fantasy goalie (mind out of the gutter, Wave) for the last three or four seasons, isn’t a phenomenal goaltender?
As you know I usually ask the other readers to contribute interview questions and you have a whole raft of them. Hmmm … you must be very popular because there were so many I was going to edit a few of them out. 🙂
Liz wants to know:
Have you ever read a hot scene in a book and thought, “Wow, that looks totally fun!” If so, did you try it? And on the flip side, have you ever read a scene in a book and thought, “Wow, I don’t think that’s supposed to go there!” And if so, did you try it?
Thanks for the questions, Liz. Oh hell yeah. I’m never without opinions! 🙂 Let me just say, it is my firm belief that a fist should always be wrapped around a man’s front, never shoved up his backside.
What kinds of books will you read no matter what? And are there any books you refuse to read (like, I totally will not read books about were-snails, because that’s just weird)
I’m more likely to pick up a mystery than anything else. But, it’s more about the blurb and/or the author for me. I’ve seen far too may blurbs I was practically salivating over until I got to the part that revealed one of the characters shifted. Then I swallowed my disappointment and moved on. I have read a couple of the Cameron Dane series with the demon boys, but even those were too weird for me. I prefer my men to be humans, not seahorses in disguise.
And finally, how do you feel about poaching peoples’ stalkers? Not that you would ever do that, I’m sure.
I find poached stalker tastes better than batter-fried stalker.
Is there a character from a book that you relate to, and if so, which one?
I used to want to be Todd Mills—a successful reporter with a hunky cop boyfriend. What more could one possibly want out of life?
Raine asks –
Which character from which book do you think would be perfect for you?
Raine, such a great question! I know readers who didn’t quite “get” it created all sorts of drama, but I’m still completely in love with Ethan from Indigo Wren’s The Trap. He would definitely fit that bill. And speaking of boys in a hot tub? Damn!
Brian has a few questions to stump you: 🙂
When did you start reading M/M fiction, and do you remember what the first book was?
I only discovered M/M in this incarnation about two or three years ago. When I found it on Amazon for the first time, I was so excited I ordered 5 or 6 books at once. I believe Tigers and Devils by Sean Kennedy and Faith & Fidelity by Tere Michaels were among that bunch.
Is there a storyline/topic that you think is underutilized or untapped by authors? On the opposite side, what do you feel needs to be put to pasture topic wise?
Like Wave has discussed several times, it does seem like there is a shortage of differently abled characters and minorities. I would love to see more sports represented more—especially hockey, of course. And science fiction stuff like Syd McGinley’s Out of the Woods. And, to be frank, if I never saw another blurb for a were-creature I would die a happy man. But I do realize that’s my particular pet peeve and some people love them, so…. Also? Cops f*cking suspects just torques my turkey—and not in a way I want repeated!
Are you really a hockey fan, or is that just an avatar thing?
I really am a hockey fan! My team is the Colorado Avalanche.
I’d like to know, do you have an all-time favourite book? (not necessarily m/m)
Anything I can learn something from reading generally becomes a favorite. If you ask me this same question in two weeks, the answer will undoubtedly be different because I’ll have something else on my mind, but today, my favorite book is Sofia Petrovna.
And if you need a comfort read, what would you turn to?
The first Tales of the City is a good place to start. Settling in with Mouse and Mrs. Madrigal and the rest of the gang just relaxes me and puts a dopey grin (pun again?) on my face. One of my comfort movies is Jeffrey. It’s silly fun but with a message. Seeing Patrick Stewart as a flaming gay man is hilarious, plus Michael T Weiss is the sexiest thing since the Y chromosome evolved.
…..and, since I’m nosy like one of the hot-tub boys and on a diet to boot: what about comfort food? Nothing as telling about a man as his favorite food…. )
My favorite comfort snacks are chocolate and ice cream. My comfort meal would be a chicken-fried (country-fried, depending on where you are) steak, mashed potatoes with cream gravy, and green beans.
Ethan Stone – a man who knows how to be brief:
Would you rather be Indiana Jones or Han Solo?
LOL Now I have to admit to never having watched any of those movies. Thanks, E, ya brat. I’d rather be Jack Ryan—but the Alec Baldwin version. Or maybe that’s be with…. Hmm. :p
Marilyn is pretty succinct too:
Dallas, Dynasty or Knot’s Landing? (Do you even know these shows Buda?) 😆
Dynasty, definitely. Stephanie Beacham’s Sable Colby is still a work of art. The woman spoke some of the best lines in television history.
E-Book or Paper?
I’m a Kindle convert. I just wish the dang thing would give me page numbers.
Boxers or Briefs?
On me? Boxer briefs. On a hot half-naked man? Does it even matter? He’s half naked!
Hannah has an observation and lots of questions:
Men reading romance novels, is like me willingly mowing the yard (just not gonna happen). Do you have a RL friend to talk to about these books?
LOL I don’t mow the lawn either, so there ya go. I do have two friends I talk about these books with, one man and one woman.
As a reviewer on this site do you find yourself critiquing a book first vs. reading for the pure joy of reading?
Great question, Hannah. I actually do find myself critique reading too often, but I just give myself a little mental check and get back on track. On the other hand, when I’m supposed to be reading for review, sometimes I get so swept away that I forget to make notes the first time through.
Do you have an author that is an autobuy for you?
I don’t have any that are autobuys. I have several that are auto-look-sees.
How many books do you read a month of the m/m genre?
According to Goodreads, last year I read 208 books, all M/M, I think. This year I’ve slowed down a lot because of outside commitments and projects. I’m currently at 100 for the year.
Are you curious why so many women like/read m/m romances?
Nah. Men are hot. 🙂 I’d read ‘em, too, if I were a straight woman!
In m/m, do you have a favorite genre (contemporary, historical, etc)?
Contemporary, for sure. The historian in me has problems reading historicals because I always end up questioning how accurate they really are, but being far too lazy to find out.
Other than m/m what types of books and what authors do you read?
When I’m not reading M/M, I am usually reading nonfiction again. I was a Russian History major, so I read a lot of books about the Empire or the 1917 revolutions. My other major passion is the Great War, so I try to read as much about that as I can.
Do you prefer HEA OR HFN?
Unsurprisingly, I’m going to be difficult here. I like a realistic ending. If that means the Scarlett-equivalent is alone, gazing at the sunset, ranting about tomorrow being another damn day, then that’s brilliant—if that’s what make sense. I was originally thrilled with the idea of the Bittersweet Dreams collection, but I haven’t been able to read many of them. That said, there’s something a little unfinished about an HFN, isn’t there?
Do you have a huge TBR list, and if not, how do you keep up since there are so many m/m books being released?
Oh, lord. It’s gigantic! My to-read at Goodreads numbers 227, and I know there are many more not even on that list!
Do you read any fanfic?
I never have. I’ve heard so many people say they came to M/M through fanfic, but I have no idea where they find it. But if you know of any good Pretender (the TV series) fanfic, let me know. Michael T Weiss is practically the perfect man.
Eden wants to know –
Is a bestseller even now taking shape on your hard drive?
LOL There are many things running around on my hard drive (or whatever it is they do when I’m not looking).
Describe your ideal protagonist(s). What type of characters really excite you?
I think I’m pretty typical. My ideal protagonist is smart, incredibly witty, good at his job, troubled by something maybe mysterious (internal or external), with a soft spot for X (preferably not children; I’m not a fan). Oh, right. He should also be tall (I’m 6’2”, so I like a man bigger than me—even if almost all of my boyfriends have been shorter) and handsome but not pretty, strong but not perfect. Did I mention witty? My favourite characters make me laugh aloud. Ty & Zane from Cut & Run and Jake from the Adrien English series excite me—they’re strong, masculine and so f*cked up, but they’re hilarious at the same time. Love that.
What type of story might you pass on just from reading the blurb?
Anything with a shifting octopus. Or most M/M/M, just because I know how damn hard it is to keep one man happy, I couldn’t imagine having an additional one.
If you were a character in one of the books you read, which character of what book?
I am Michael Tolliver from Tales of the City without the eternal optimism…or the endless parade of boys and drugs. So basically, I’m not like him at all. Damn. Okay, my friend M says she thinks I would be Will from Lanyon’s Dangerous Ground series. She said I wouldn’t take the shot, like Taylor did, but I say it would totally depend on the type of day I was having!
Apart from the most obvious one, which other two areas of your body are the most sensitive and responsive?
I was going to say my eyes and brain, but then I realized you said “responsive,” so that definitely leaves out the brain! But I’ll stick with those. I’m very visually stimulated and love to learn new things—usually totally useless trivia, but whatever.
Quick shot or Long shot?
Quick draw? I have no idea what this means! lol
If you were reincarnated who or what would you like to come back as?
A gay man without issues—he’s as elusive as the unicorn. 🙂
This is the free ranging side of the interview where the boyz in the hot tub get to ask you a few “no holds barred” questions.
Billy who never wears clothes wants to know “When you read those books that you review, do you do a one hand read?” [Maybe he wants to lend a hand. Heh!]
I’ve got one hand on my Kindle and the other one is giving a peace sign. What? That’s not what you meant? Hahaha! Billy, seriously, just a little more to the left.
He has other questions – “How many times do you imagine yourself in bed with the MCs? Is this why your reviews are sometimes incoherent?” (I guess he has read some of them.) 🙂
My reviews are incoherent, Billy, because I’m always imagining you with clothes on. All that mystery, you know? No, not right now! Get back here!
He also wants to know: “Do you have a crush on Ethan Stone?” (Bad Billy) 🙂
I think I crush slightly on all the authors and characters I really enjoy. Don’t you? But then the next cute as hell book comes along …..
The boyz have a couple of very specific questions: “Have you ever worn a French maid’s outfit at home when you’re relaxing?” “If so, do you have pictures?”
It may be someone else’s fantasy for me to clean things (or dress like I want to), but it certainly isn’t mine. Costume kink would have to run more to the line of hockey drag, but that kit takes forever to get on and off, by which time we’re breathing hard, but not in the good way. That’s why rugby has the superior kit, for sure. (I confess it’s always been my fantasy to see a big hairy guy in a French maid’s outfit) 😮
One of the guys is offering to share some chocolate with you by pouring it on your body and licking it off. He would like to know where you want him to start.
Paraguay? I’m not really into the whole food with sex thing. It actually creeps me out. I blame The Silence of the Lambs. (You have no imagination Buda – you’re missing out on a lot of stuff that’s not on your diet.) 😀
Back to my questions:
If you had one wish what would it be? (No Buda, we really can’t do that since it’s against the law regardless of your feelings that it’s a health benefit).
Fine, then. I’ll just have to go with my second choice: World Peace!!!! 😀
Outside of sports what do you do for fun?
Sportsmen? Nope, totally not true. I’m not one of those people who constantly has to be surrounded by people, so most of the things I do for fun are quiet adventures. I take the dog for a long walk or read a book or something like that. I get far too much interaction with RLHs (Real Live Humans) at work; I don’t need them at home, too—which really pisses off the roommates. 🙂
If there’s one thing you would like to change in M/M books what would it be? 😆 :curse: :explode:
Wow, Wave! Did you see the bus? It almost ran me over! :p (You’re no fun Buda, Geez!!!)
I would love to see more people reading M/M. Even fictional characters have been able to change readers’ minds and broaden their horizons. If M/M burst onto the scene like that boytoy wizard did, think of how many more people would discover that we homos are pretty damn cool and not at all the monsters hiding in their closets (because, yeah, we had our own and we didn’t dig them? so we’re certainly not chillin’ in theirs).
On that note I think it’s time to wrap up the interview before you get into trouble.
*gapes in shock* Me?
Thanks for the interview Buda and the boyz in the hot tub would like to thank you also for giving them so much pleasure. What did you do when I wasn’t looking? 😆 They say you can come see them any time you’re in the area.
Thank you for having me, Wave and Billy. Especially you, Billy, you big stud. Where did you put my room key, B? :O
Oh, and thanks everyone for reading and submitting questions. Hope you’re all still awake. 🙂
Yashe? Yashe? Guess she fell asleep.