Happy May! I'm not sure how it's May already (isn't it only March?), but that's what the calendar keeps telling me, so I'm forced to believe them. The good news is that this means it's time for this month's picks for the Read and Write challenge!
If you're unfamiliar with the challenge, each month has a theme word, and I have guests recommend books, TV shows, and movies that go with the theme. I also throw in some of my own recs.
This month's theme is RAINBOW because it's spring and storm/tornado season in Texas and I can't wait for that scary part of the year to be done. Bring on the rainbows! But the theme also gives us a great opportunity to give extra focus to diverse, own voices, and LGBTQ reads for the month. And I have some fantastic guests ready to give you some great recommendations!
Plus, there's a CONTEST. So stay tuned until the end for a chance to win a book!
First up, author Robin Covington! A little about Robin...
A USAToday bestseller, Robin Covington loves to explore the theme of fooling around and falling in love in her books. Her stories burn up the sheets. . .one page at a time. When she’s not writing she’s collecting tasty man candy, indulging in a little comic book geek love, hoarding red nail polish and stalking Chris Evans.
A 2016 RITA® Award nominee, Robin’s books have won the National Reader’s Choice and Golden Leaf Awards and finaled in the Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice, the Book Seller’s Best and the Award of Excellence.
She lives in Maryland with her hilarious husband, her two brilliant children (they get it from her, of course!), and her beloved furbabies, Dutch and Dixie Joan Wilder.
Hey ya’ll! Many thanks to Roni for letting me visit with you and share my picks for LGBTQ books, tv and film!
I’m Robin Covington and I’m the product of a fine southern storytelling tradition, mixed in with the love of music and a liberal dash of moonshine bootlegging bravado! I write sexy contemporary and erotic romance that burns up the sheets . . . one page at a time.
Here are my picks for the month . ..
FIRST AND FIRST by Santino Hassell.
Let me tell you right off the bat that this entire series is amazing but this book ... gah . . . it’s a trifecta book for me. That means that I own a digital, print and audio copy and I re-read it all the time. Santino’s voice is so edgy and real and he brings the repressed but hopeful Caleb and the cynical but lonely Ollie to life on every page.
They are an unlikely couple but it becomes so clear that they are meant to be together as they continually drift back into each other’s orbit. The sex scenes are hot but it’s the emotional bond that forms between these two damaged New Yorkers as they also figure out who they are that gets me in the gut and has me reading it over and over. From the sizzling first encounter to exploration of what it means to be loved and loved in return, you’ll be hooked.
I’ve had two fantastic LGBTQ TV experiences lately. The first is the web series called, THE OUTS. Over two seasons the series chronicles the lives of Jack and Mitchell, ex-lovers who start out as-less-than-friends and then make their way back to an indestructible friendship. The writing is crisp and hilarious and sometimes poignant as their social circle includes the bitchily-lovable Oona, the wise-beyond-his-years Paul (aka Scruffy) and Alan Cumming. The first season is free on the show website, while the second season is available on Vimeo. Season three is in the works!
I had to also tell you about LONDON SPY. This show was a roller coaster from the first episode the last second of the final and 7th installment. Lost London party boy, Denny, falls for the serious and inexperienced Alex but when Alex gets killed, Denny learns that his life has been a jigsaw of lies and truth. It’s riveting, breath-taking and engrossing. Jim Boradbent and Charlotte Rampling bring their decades of acting chops to the screen but Ben Wishaw steals every scene as the devastated Denny who finds out he’s way stronger than he thought he was.
I watched it on Netflix – so bonus!
I recently watched BOY MEETS GIRL on Netflix as well and I was enchanted by the candid portrayal of a transgender young woman exploring love and her options for the future as she graduates high school and heads out into the world from her small town. I really loved that the main character was played by Michelle Hendley, a transgender woman. I’ve been searching for books, film and literature to help me understand the challenges and joys of transgender people and this film helped me grow in my knowledge. It thought it was charming, funny and poignant with characters and a story that were universal. I loved it.
I watched it on Netflix and then I tuned into Hendley’s video blog which is funny and very honest about her transition and her life. (
Next up is author Lex Chase! A little about Lex...
Lex Chase once heard Stephen King say in a commercial, “We’re all going to die, I’m just trying to make it a little more interesting.” Now, she’s on a mission to make the world a hell of a lot more interesting.
Weaving tales of cinematic, sweeping adventure—and depending on how she feels that day—Lex sprinkles in high-speed chases, shower scenes, and more explosions than a Hollywood blockbuster. Her pride is in telling stories of men who kiss as much as they kick ass. If you’re going to march into the depths of hell, it better be beside the one you love.
Lex is a pop culture diva, her DVR is constantly backlogged, she has intense emotions about Hannibal's Hannigram, and unapologetically loved the ending of Lost. She wouldn’t last five minutes without technology in the event of the apocalypse and has nightmares about refusing to leave her cats behind.
For LGBT television, my #1 recommendation is NBC's Hannibal. All three seasons are streaming for free on Amazon Prime.
Why I would rec a show about Hannibal Lecter? It's actually a gay love story played out on mainstream television. Our hero is FBI agent and social misfit, Will Graham, who has settled for the idea he'll never fit in anywhere. Upon the first time he and Hannibal cross paths, Hannibal sees something special in him. A bond so strong, it's one that you can feel in your soul. For that one person to not only get you, but fully understand who and what you are under all the layers we put on ourselves. It's a love story without being about the love story, which is lovely.
And yes, there's cannibalism, but really, Hannibal makes them look goddamn tasty. It is a beautiful psychological horror show after all. Also Mads Mikkelsen and Hugh Dancy are pretty easy on the eyes. Just sayin'. Even if you don't think the show is your jam, just try it. Trust me.
But you don't have to take my word for it. This YouTuber sums it up best.
Next up is author Tamsen Parker! First, a little about Tamsen...
Tamsen Parker is a stay-at-home mom by day, USA Today bestselling erotic romance writer by naptime. Her novella CRAVING FLIGHT was named to the Best of 2015 lists of Heroes and Heartbreakers, Smexy Books, Romance Novel News, and Dear Author. Heroes and Heartbreakers called her Compass series “bewitching, humorous, erotically intense and emotional.”
She lives with her family outside of Boston, where she tweets too much, sleeps too little and is always in the middle of a book. Aside from good food, sweet rieslings and gin cocktails, she has a fondness for monograms and subway maps. She should really start drinking coffee.
An Unseen Attraction by KJ Charles: For my money, KJ Charles is one of the best writers in romance right now. I loved this m/m historical because includes a PoC hero, and the main characters aren't Dukes or Earls, but the proprietor of a boarding house and a taxidermist.
Hold Me Down by Sara Taylor Woods: This is a BDSM coming-of-age novel, and one I hope budding kinksters get their hands on. It's an #ownvoices story with a Jewish heroine and I love seeing faith integrated in non-Inspirationals.
And finally, it's time for a few of my picks...
This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel
This book was one of my Friday Reads a while back and you can see my full review here, but this is about a loving family and how the handle things when they're youngest son starts saying he's a girl. This story was funny, touching, and loving. The whole family is full of people you'd like to know. And it really makes you think about how, as parents, we often have to make huge decisions for our children that could affect them long-term, and we usually don't have all the information (because it can't be known), so it's a leap of faith and trusting your gut.
The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon - I read this one earlier in the year and it's stuck with me. It was so fantastic. Two teens meet in NYC and spend the whole day together. But it's so much more than that. It's about how one day and one person can make a difference in the whole trajectory of your life. It was romantic, funny, poignant, heartbreaking, and ultimately uplifting. It fits the rainbow them because the cast is diverse (the heroine is Jamaican, the hero Korean-American) and the cover has a pretty rainbow theme! My full review is here.
Queen of Katwe - I saw this one with kidlet. It's based on a true story about a girl in Uganda who discovers she has an amazing talent for chess. It was a great movie that I enjoyed, but also a bonus that my normally easily distracted in non-cartoon movies kidlet was into as well.
Hidden Figures - I saw this one with my son as well and it was phenomenal. If you haven't seen it yet. Watch. Now.
Thank you to our guests for this month! While you're grabbing your Read and Watch picks, check out their newest books, too!
Third by Robin Covington
Dr. Carla Androghetti is not interested in compromise.
With a thriving psychiatry practice in Washington, D.C. and a fulfilling position as a sexual third in a threesome with couples at Club D, she's living just the way she wants. When the murder of a famous former bedmate brings a sexy, tempting cop into her life, she indulges in an affair as sizzling as it is dangerous. Finding a man who can love her and accept her kink is a dream she’d given up a long time ago.
Homicide Detective Aiden Cross takes no prisoners.
Usually nothing can distract him from a case, but a sexy shrink with an unusual kink has him losing his laser-focus on the job. He’s been burned before by a cheating ex-wife and he doesn’t share, so why does he keep finding himself in the bed of a woman who breaks all his rules?
Passion will force them to take a risk.
When forbidden desire takes them to the edge of their personal limits, their walls will need to crumble if they have any chance together.
Americana Fairytale by Lex Chase
Modern fairy-tale princess Taylor Hatfield has problems. One: he’s a guy. Two: his perfect brother Atticus is the reincarnation of Snow White. Three: Taylor has no idea which princess he is supposed to be. Four: Taylor just left his prince (a girl) at the altar. Despite his enchanted lineage, Taylor is desperate to find his Happily Ever After away from magic, witches, and stuffy traditions. Regrettably, destiny has other plans for him. Dammit.
When word reaches Taylor that Idi the Witchking has captured Atticus, Taylor is determined to save his brother. He enlists the help of rakish and insufferable Corentin Devereaux, likewise of enchanted lineage. A malicious spell sends Taylor and Corentin on a road trip through the kitschy nostalgia of roadside Americana. To save Atticus, they must solve the puzzles put forth by Idi the Witchking. As they struggle, Taylor and Corentin’s volatile partnership sparks a flash of something more. But princesses have many enemies, and Taylor must keep his wits about him because there’s nothing worse than losing your heart… or your head.
His Custody by Tamsen Parker
He needs to be a better man for her sake, but she makes him want to be so bad...
Keyne O’Connell leads a charmed life. She has a caring family and a terrific boyfriend. Her senior year is about to begin, and her future looks bright. But one dark summer night robs her of everyone she loves, thrusting her into the care of her boyfriend’s intimidating, much older brother.
Dark and brooding, Jasper Andersson is not a good man. His business dealings are barely legal. He’s a womanizer and a casual drug user. He has no interest in becoming Keyne’s guardian, although given her limited options, he doesn’t have much of a choice. He knows he must protect her at whatever the cost.
But living in close quarters soon stirs up feelings inside them both that are far from platonic. Keyne needs a firm hand to keep her in line, but what she desires could lead Jasper into trouble...
BY THE HOUR came out last week! If you haven't grabbed your copy yet, what are you waiting for? ;) Read the first chapter here or just get yourself the whole thing!
Also, a huge thank you to everyone who has bought, read, reviewed, and spread the word about it. Huge hugs!
About the book:
From the New York Times bestselling author of Off the Clockcomes a story of love, hate, and the fire that ignites when the two collide...
Dr. Elle McCray has a plan. Work hard. Be the best. And do it alone. After her ex-husband’s betrayal, she’s learned being feared is a hell of a lot easier than being humiliated. So when trouble personified, Lane Cannon, dares to flirt with her, she shuts him down cold. Too gorgeous. Too cocky. And his job as The Grove’s sexual surrogate is to sleep with patients. No, thank you.
Former escort Lane Cannon has spent enough years with people looking down on him. Stupid. Trailer trash. Rent boy. He’s heard it all. He’s worked too hard to shed his past to let some haughty doctor cut him down. But something about Elle’s ice queen act has his dominant instincts perking up and his body taking notice. He can’t walk away.
After an evening of verbal sparring turns into a night of steamy hate sex, Lane’s ready for round two. But Elle proposes a business deal. How better to keep things strictly physical than to pay him for his services?
Lane wants her, not her money. But he’ll play along in exchange for one thing—all the control. It’s only supposed to be a dirty little fling between colleagues, but these two are about to learn a lesson in love…by the hour.
This month as a thank you to our guests, I'll give away a copy of one of the guest's books to three different winners.