Reader interviews: Favorite f/f & lesbian books, favorite tropes, and how to read a book a day!

When I first started Lesbian Book Bingo at the beginning of this year, I knew many of you are avid readers, but I had no idea how much some of you really read! Many readers didn’t just send in one bingo card; they sent in several. Two participants are even working on their fifteenth cards as we speak—which means they have read 375 f/f & lesbian books this year! That’s more than a book each and every day.

Isn’t that amazing?

I’m sure the same question that I had is running through your mind right now: How on earth did they manage to read so many books?

So I thought I’d just ask and find out. I interviewed four of the book bingo participants who sent in most cards. Here’s what they had to say about their book bingo experiences:

 

What many readers probably would like to ask you most: How on earth did you manage to read so many books?

Joc: I usually have my book with me. I read in queues, I read when I’m waiting for people, I read while I hold my children as they fall asleep, I read myself to sleep, I read while waiting for paint to dry, and I even read while watching TV (there is a limit to the number of times one can watch The Descendants). I’d read in church, but I don’t think my wife would be particularly impressed. I also work in a small shop, and there is some down time, so I read.

 

Kelly: I’m very lucky to have the time and the budget to meet or beat my goal of reading a book a day in 2018. I’ve always been a voracious reader, but I’ve amazed myself in the sheer number of books I’ve read this year. So how have I managed to read so many books?

  • There are so many good books out there to read! I’m constantly amazed how often I’ve spent an entire afternoon, lost in a terrific story. A big thank-you to all of the authors who have shared their work to entertain us all.
  • My loving wife is a school bus driver who is early to bed and early to rise. I’m a night owl who gets several uninterrupted hours in the evening to read.
  • I’m lucky to work from home. When my work and chores are done, I can pick up a book.
  • My kids are grown, and now that college is paid for, I have a bigger book budget.
  • Kindle Unlimited!
  • Audible books are great for long trips or bedtime stories. I’m a sucker for a British accent.
  • I’ve turned off the TV and ignored social media and pop culture. Other than watching sports, (I’m a long suffering Buffalo Bills fan.) it’s much more fun to immerse myself in a good plot than spending time on the awful content that seems to cater to the lowest common denominator or our baser instincts.

 

Órla: Well, first off, I should declare the fact that as a secondary teacher in Ireland I get ten weeks off in the summer. Unless there’s something special on that demands my attention, I’ll easily read a novel a day (on average). I do most of my reading on my Kindle and the Kindle app on my phone, keeping the two synched up so that if I have even five minutes while I’m out and about, I can carry on with the book I’m reading. I’ve always been a book lover and was initially very skeptical of the ereader as a concept, but I eventually embraced it, and now wouldn’t be without mine. It’s freed me from the horror of finishing a book while out of the house and not having anything new to read! I also watch very little television, (we didn’t have a TV when I was a child so I never really acquired the habit) and have no interest in gaming, leaving my downtime free for reading.

 

Victoria Thomas: That’s a really good question! I’ve always been an avid reader. When you announced the premise and the start of Lesbian Book Bingo, it immediately appealed to me. I love a challenge, and I am very goal-oriented. The first thing my inner book nerd thought was, “I want to complete one bingo card for each month!” That’s how it began. For the first five months, I was able to read about a book a day. It slowed down to two or three books a week when I took on more responsibility at work. I won’t hit my original goal, but I am still filling squares. Some people have a schedule of TV shows that they keep up with, which I know can be fun. I decided to turn my television off for this year and fill my free time with books. I’ve loved every minute of it, and I plan on making it the norm.

 

 

What did you like most about Lesbian Book Bingo?

Joc: I really liked that it challenged me to read in different sub-genres of lesfic. Last year, I read a similar number of books, but very few were speculative fiction and not because I’m averse to the genre (in fact, I was always a fan), but more because it never occurred to me to look for them in lesfic. I also find that when I don’t really know what to read next, I take a look at the bingo card and see what I’m missing and narrow my search criteria.

 

Kelly: I’ve really enjoyed reading books from authors outside the US. Thanks to Ylva Publishing and the imports available on Amazon and Audible, I’ve read stories from authors from around the globe. I’ve enjoyed learning about their different backgrounds and experiences. I hope to someday soon travel to and explore some of the beautiful places that I’ve read about.

 

Órla: I discovered some new authors (well, new to me anyway), specifically in the sci-fi and fantasy genres, which were the hardest squares for me to fill. Anna Burke & JL Heylen are two I will definitely be looking out for from now on. I also revisited a few old favourites, in particular the complete works of both Lee Winter and Ann McMan, two authors who never cease to amaze me with the depth and breadth of their writing. For some of the books like Lee Winter’s Shattered it amazed me how much more I got from the text on a second reading, so much so that I went back and rewrote my review. For some of Ann McMan’s works, I included audio versions on my bingo cards, and having that option was a big plus as I listen to books in the car. The dulcet tones of Christine Williams (and others) kept the road-rage at bay!

 

Victoria Thomas: There are so many things I loved about Lesbian Book Bingo. First of all, I love supporting lesfic authors, so I was happy to redirect a large part of my monthly entertainment budget to buying books. I was able to discover a slew of authors who I had never read before. I am a member of the Facebook group The Lesbian Review Book Club. I enjoyed discussing the books I was reading with other members. I also got into the habit of posting books as I finished them and listing which bingo squares the books would be appropriate for. And, I’ll be honest, part of me enjoyed posting my completed bingo cards in the Facebook group. It made me feel like a kid bringing home a good report card. I really hope that Lesbian Book Bingo was popular enough that we will get a 2019 version.

 

 

Was there anything that surprised you while participating in Lesbian Book Bingo?

Joc: I was surprised by how much I struggled to fill the foodie romance, summer reads, and holiday book blocks. The first one because I’m really not a fan of food books and cooking is really low on my list of likes. The second and third because there always seems to be a better block for the books and also that summer reads come out when I’m bundled up next to a heater and holiday books are under a metre of snow while I’m in a cozzie (swimsuit) by the pool.

 

Kelly: I’m not sure whether or not it’s a surprise, but I’ve really embraced the chance to read books from different genres. I’m not a big sci-fi or fantasy reader, so delving into those worlds has expanded my universe. I’m still not a big fan, but there are some very well-written books in every category.

 

Órla: That for someone who loves sports I don’t read a lot of sport romance novels. I swiftly discovered that this was because I don’t like it when people get sport wrong! I stopped partway through a few sports novels (admittedly, I had only started them to fill the square) because they were either boring me or driving me up the walls with clichés. It really was the hardest slot to fill each time. The only sports novels I was truly satisfied with were Wendy Temple’s Defensive Mindset and E.J. Noyes’ Gold.

 

Victoria Thomas: Participating in Lesbian Book Bingo was a revelation because I discovered speculative fiction. I know, it’s been there all along, but I always thought that it just wasn’t my thing. I’ve always liked paranormal romance novels so that wasn’t a problem. Having to fill in the Science Fiction and Fantasy squares started out as a chore. However, I got some great suggestions, and my mind was blown. There is such a huge selection of lesfic speculative fiction out there. I had no idea. My spec-fic library is still in its infancy, but I am looking forward to reading much more from that category.

 

 

What were your favorite squares/categories of Lesbian Book Bingo?

Joc: My favourite squares were erotica, sci-fi, women in uniform, paranormal, mystery & suspense, fantasy, and fake relationship.

 

Kelly: I’m a huge fan of age difference romances. I’m ten years younger than my wife, so maybe that has something to do with it, but it’s my favorite genre. I’m also a big fan of Women in Uniform.

 

Órla: It’s hard to choose, but I think Romantic Suspense & Mystery and Age Difference. In search of some suspense, I was prompted to go back and reread Cari Hunter and explore for the first time the works of authors like Wendy Hudson. While the age difference square had me revelling in the beautiful prose of Lee Winter, Clare Ashton & Lola Keeley to name but a few. It’s really good to see women over forty as romantic leads in lesfic because elsewhere in popular culture and the media in general it’s still almost taboo.

 

Victoria Thomas: Ooh, I could talk about this all day. I love work place romances, celebrity romances, and fake relationship romances. These categories are always so ripe for drama and often include prickly ice queens. I also love second chance romances because you can usually find a fair amount of angst in that trope and I love a good angsty read. If a book can make me laugh and then make me weepy, I’m all in.

 

 

Are there any other squares that you would have liked to see?

Joc: Tricky question! I would never suggest squares that would be difficult to fill. I wouldn’t have minded squares for established relationships, women with children, and fanfiction/or based on fanfiction.

 

Kelly:

  • Politics (I love the By Design series by JA Armstrong)
  • Lawyers (Anything by Carson Taite)
  • Pets/Animal Lovers, and/or separate Doctors from Veterinarians

 

Órla: I can’t think of any.

 

Victoria Thomas: I thought the categories represented by the different bingo squares were well thought out. I think if I could, I would change the Summer Reads square to Vacation Reads, mainly because I’ve come across some really great books about being on vacation, but they didn’t take place in the summer.

 

 

What were your favorite lesbian/wlw books that you read for Lesbian Book Bingo?

Joc: I’ve had quite a number of fantastic reads this year – too many to list them all – but here are some of my favourites.

  • The Cybernetic Tea Shop by Meredith Katz
  • After Mrs Hamilton by Clare Ashton
  • Lucky 7 by Rae D Magdon
  • Truth and Measure by Telanu
  • The Dark Victorian: Bones by Elizabeth Watasin
  • Butch Fatale, Dyke Dick – Double D Double Cross by Christa Faust
  • The Smell of Rain by Cameron MacElvee
  • Breaking Character by Lee Winter
  • The Art of Us by KL Hughes
  • Tricky Chances by Camryn Eyde

 

Kelly: I’d personally like to thank Jae and all of the many authors who have sponsored this contest. I appreciate all of the authors, editors, and publishers that work hard every day to entertain and enlighten. I’ve read some very good and bad lesbian fiction, but I feel that I’ve learned something from every voice. Thank you all.

Here are some of my favorite authors:

  • Radclyffe
  • Ali Vali
  • AE Radley
  • Eliza Lentzski
  • SX Meagher
  • Ann McMan
  • Harper Bliss
  • Jae
  • JA Armstrong
  • RE Bradshaw
  • Lee Winter

 

Here are some of my favorite books:

  • Rum Spring by Yolanda Wallace
  • Almost Heaven by SX Meagher
  • By Design by JA Armstrong
  • Thin Fire by Nancy Little
  • Broken Wings by LJ Baker
  • And Playing the Role of Herself by KE Lane
  • Wild Things by Karen Kallmaker
  • Hidden Truths by Jae
  • Without a Front by Fletcher DeLancey
  • Tricky Wisdom by Camryn Eyde
  • Beowulf for Cretins by Ann McMan
  • Carly’s Sound by Ali Vali
  • The Smell of Rain by Cameron MacElvee
  • The Princess Affair by Nell Stark
  • Seasons of Love by Harper Bliss
  • Breaking Character by Lee Winter

 

Órla: Ooh, tough to narrow it down. In no particular order:

  • Breaking Character by Lee Winter
  • The Brutal Truth by Lee Winter (and the excellent Angela Dawe audio version)
  • The Art of Peeling an Orange by Victoria Avilan (and the Christine Williams audiobook)
  • Compass Rose by Anna Burke
  • Ask, Tell & Ask Me Again by E.J. Noyes
  • Confessions of the Fox by Jordi Rosenberg
  • The Music & the Mirror by Lola Keeley
  • The Taste of Her Vol 1&2 by Jess Lea
  • The Goodmans by Clare Ashton
  • Goldenrod & Beowulf for Cretins by Ann McMan

 

Victoria Thomas: Shame on you for asking such a question! That’s like asking me which of my children I love most. What I can do is tell you some of my favorite books that I read by authors who I may not have discovered if it weren’t for Lesbian Book Bingo. So, no disrespect to any authors, but this list only includes authors who I had never read before (sorry, Jae!). This list could easily include fifty books, but I am going to cut it down to ten, and they are in no particular order.

  • Crossing the Wide Forever by Missouri Vaun
  • Scissor Link by Georgette Kaplan
  • The Extractor trilogy by Robyn Nyx
  • The Afterlife Inc. trilogy by Brey Willows
  • How Still My Heart by Diane Marina
  • Charming Memory by EL Bossert
  • Compass Rose by Anna Burke
  • The Smell of Rain by Cameron MacElvee
  • The Killing Ground by Syd Parker
  • When You Were My Girlfriend by Nikki Hammond

(I know. The two trilogies equal six books, but I couldn’t break them up!)

 

I hope you enjoyed these interviews and could add a couple of books to your to-be-read list. I know I did.

 

Please take a minute to answer the Lesbian Book Bingo survey

If you played Lesbian Book Bingo, please take a minute to answer a short survey. It’s only three questions, so it won’t take more than a minute.

 

Get ready for the drawing of the grand prize! 

If you haven’t sent in your bingo cards yet, please email them now so I can include them in the drawing for the grand prize.

Don’t forget to check back on December 31, when I will draw the winners and give you some stats on the book bingo. If you don’t want to miss the biggest giveaway of the year, please subscribe to my blog and you will get the post directly to your in-box.

 

2 thoughts on “Reader interviews: Favorite f/f & lesbian books, favorite tropes, and how to read a book a day!”

  1. Jae you should have a chat also on this blog so we can talk about books just a suggestion and I love you are doing this thank you

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