30 Days of Pride: Top queer releases still to come in 2020

Hi everyone,

My second last post of Pride! I still can’t quite believe I actually managed to post every day… I’m going to have so much free time once this is over and I’m back to usual posting. For my penultimate 30 Days of Pride post, following from yesterday’s top queer books of 2020 so far, it’s time to look at what is still to come in 2020! I keep a journal with lists of new releases, and there seems to be a lot less books coming in the second half of 2020 than the first half? I’m scared I’m missing lots of good releases! But do not fear, I still have plenty of books to talk about in this post, so prepare your TBRs: here’s the 36 queer books I’m looking out for in the second half of 2020!

Cinderella is Dead by Kalynn Bayron

Release date: 7 July

I’m such a fan of retellings and I’m sure this one will be no different! Set 200 years after the death of Cinderella, teens now appear at an annual ball where the boys choose their wives based on their beauty and finery. If a girl is not chosen, they are never heard of again. Sophia would much rather marry her best friend than any boy, and so she runs away and hides in Cinderella’s mausoleum where she meets the last descendent of Cinderella herself. The two team up to bring down the King once and for all.

Burn Our Bodies Down by Rory Power

Release date: 7 July

Burn Our Bodies Down, from the author of the hugely popular Wilder Girls, is a horrory, mystery, thrillery genre bending book following Margot, who has lived alone with her mother as long as she can remember and is forbidden from asking about her family. When Margot finds a clue leading back to her other family, she runs away and returns to her mother’s hometown to find out about her history.

Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust

Release date: 7 July

So I was lucky enough to get an ARC of this title and all I can say is YOU ARE IN FOR A TREAT! I’ll have a full review of this one coming on release day, so here’s just a little teaser: imagine monster girlfriends, a bisexual love triangle, descent to villainy, and a princess who is poisonous to the touch…

The Extraordinaries by T.J Klune

Release date: 14 July

This is another book I was so lucky to get an ARC for, and as with Girl, Serpent, Thorn, THIS IS AMAZING AND YOU ARE IN FOR SUCH A TREAT. Klune is making his YA debut with his take on the superhero genre. The Extraordinaries follows Nick, a fanfiction writer obsessed with real life superheros Shadow Star and PyroStorm. After a chance encounter with Shadow Star, Nick vows to become extraordinary himself, with or without the help of his best friend, Seth, who just so happens to have gotten really cute over the summer… With ownvoices ADHD rep as well, this is so cute and so fun, and I’ll have a full review coming on release day!

I Kissed Alice by Anna Birch

Release date: 28 July

Enemies to lovers FANFIC romance?!?! Are you kidding me?! Please I need it now. Two girls are locked in a fierce competition to win a prestigious art scholarship at their school. They each escape using fanfic, where they are unknowingly collaborating on a graphic novel. And their fanfic aliases are really beginning to fall for each other. But, obviously, the truth will out…

Seven Devils by Laura Lam

Release date: 4 August

“Feminist space opera following seven resistance fighters” sign me the fuck up. Eris and Cloelia have been assigned a new mission to infilitrate a star ship that is carrying deadly cargo and bring back information to the Resistance. But the fact they hate each other might make the mission a bit difficult. When they find the ship, they also find three fugitives who carry knowledge about the corrupt empire. They must all work together to bring the empire to its knees.

The First Sister by Linden A Lewis

Release date: 4 August

Blessed is the adult scifi in August, because here’s space opera number two! It’s described as “The Handmaid’s Tale but in space” and just?!? That pitch?!?! I’m so excited. This has spaceships and spies, a secret Sisterhood, and a soldier hunting down his traitorous former partner.

The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson

Release date: 4 August

August queer sci fi NUMBER THREE?!?! Why is August so spacey? But I love it and I am here to get my queer ass in space. The Space Between Worlds is a take on the multiverse. In this world, multiverse travel is possible, but you can’t travel to other worlds if your counterpart is still alive. Which makes Cara great for multiverse travel, as 372 of her other selves are dead. But Cara is plunged into trouble when one of her 8 remaining selves is killed in mysterious circumstances that will impact the entire multiverse.

Elatsoe by Darcie Little Badger

Release date: 25 August

If asexual, Lipan Apache ownvoices doesn’t already get your excitement up, also imagine an America that’s just a little stranger than the current one. In this world, America has been shaped by the magic, monsters and legends of its people, both Indigenous and not. Elatsoe can raise the ghosts of dead animals, a magic that has been passed down through generations of her Lipan Apache family. When her cousin is murdered in a town that doesn’t want people investigating, Elatsoe vows to protect her family and reveal the town for what it truly is.

Darius the Great Deserves Better by Adib Khorram

Release date: 25 August

LESS THAN 2 MONTHS UNTIL DARIUS #2!!! I don’t think I’ve ever been this excited for a contemporary book before, it’s like I’m a changed reader!! This is the sequel to Darius the Great is Not Okay which was one of my favourite books of 2019 (and is also one of my favourite books ever). This sequel follows Darius who has returned to the US, has a boyfriend, an internship at his favourite tea shop, and is finally getting on with his dad. But everything changes when his grandmothers come to town and now he has to rethink everything.

Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas

Release date: 1 September

If I had to bet money, I would bet that this book is going to be the most talked about queer release of the rest of the year. And that’s because I’m pretty sure it’s going to be amazing. Cemetery Boys follows trans boy Yadriel, who summons a ghost to prove he is a real brujo. But he accidentally summoned the wrong ghost, Julian, the school’s resident bad boy. Julian wants Yadriel to help tie up some lose ends after his death and of course the longer Julian sticks around, the less Yadriel wants him to go.

Yellow Jessamine by Caitlin Starling

Release date: 5 September

Caitlin Starling is the author of one of my favourite horror books, and one of my favourite reads of 2019, The Luminous Dead, so it comes as no surprise that I am so excited for this novella coming out in September. This follows a shipping magnate, Evelyn, when one of her ships brings a mysterious sickness to town that causes obsessive behaviour and eventually a catatonic state: and all those infected seem to be obsessed with her. Evelyn must find out why the sickness is focused on her and how to stop it before it destroys everything she’s worked for.

The Final Child by Fran Dorricott

Release date: 8 September

I haven’t read any of Dorricott’s other work, but I’ve heard so many great things which makes me even more excited for The Final Child! Erin and her brother were the last kids to be kidnapped by serial killer The Father, who only ever took pairs of siblings. Whilst Erin managed to escape, her brother was never seen again. 18 years later, Erin meets Harriet, whose cousins were The Father’s first victims. Harriet is writing a book and wants to interview Erin. Erin wants nothing to do with her, but when she starts receiving sinister gifts and her house is broken into, Erin begins to feel she’s being watched and that maybe The Father never really disappeared… How terrifying does this sound?!

Bestiary by K-Ming Chang

Release date: 8 September

Bestiary looks to be an absolutely explosive literary fiction novel debut from K-Ming Chang. It is a story following three generations of Taiwanese American women who are each haunted by myths and legends from their home country.

The Bone Shard Daughter by Andrea Stewart

Release date: 10 September

Okay okay okay but how incredible does this sound: magic controlled by BONE SHARDS?! An established lesbian relationship?! Magical animal companions?! The emperor has ruled for decades, with his magic powering the magical animal constructs which keep order. But now his rule is failing and revolution is sweeping the nation. Lin, his daughter, is trapped inside the palace with a father who refuses to name her his heir. So she vows to gain mastery over bone shard magic to prove to him her worth. But the revolution has reached the palace gates… This genuinely might be the fantasy release I’m most excited about in the second half of 2020?!

Crosshairs by Catherine Hernandez

Release date: 15 September

Well this cover is so outstandingly beautiful, I adore it. This is a very queer dystopian novel about a near future where a queer Black drag performer teams up with his allies to take down an oppressive regime which is rounding up everyone considered “Other” into camps.

Each of Us a Desert by Mark Oshiro

Release date: 15 September

Oshiro is bringing a fantasy YA novel in verse with Each of Us a Desert, which follows Xochital, who is destined to wander the desert forever with only the stars and lines of poetry which have been magically strewn across the desert as her companions. When she is joined by the daughter of the town’s murderous mayor, the two must survive the terrors that come after dark before they can be together.

Who I Was With Her by Nita Tyndall

Release date: 15 September

This sounds like it’s going to be one of the most heartbreaking books of the year, following Corinne, a closeted bi girl who has to hide her grief when her secret girlfriend is killed. The only person she can turn to is Maggie’s ex, Elissa. Who I Was With Her will explore the messiness of grief as Maggie begins to have feelings for the last person she ever should.

Legendborn by Tracy Deonn

Release date: 15 September

Covers are fierce in the second half of the year!! Legendborn is a super queer King Arthur reimagining, and follows Bree who is invited to a special program for bright students at the local university. And then accidentally sees a magical demon attack on her very first day. She is drawn into a secret society who claim they are the descendents of King Arthur. But Bree suspects they had something to do with her mother’s death and she must decide whether to work with them to save the world from a magical war or to take them down from the inside.

A World Between by Emily Hashimoto

Release date: 15 September

This is described as a “sapphic romance for millenials” so obviously, I want to read it. A World Between follows college students Eleanor and Leena who meet in an elevator and have a whirlwind romance. Years later, they bump into each other in San Francisco and find themsevles drawn back to each other.

How it All Blew Up by Arvin Ahmadi

Release date: 22 September

How it All Blew Up follows Amir, a teen who ran away to Rome when he faced bullies, blackmail and a failed relationship. But now he needs to explain all that to a US Customs Agent when he’s trying to get back into the country.

The Lights of Prague by Nicole Jarvis

Release date: 22 September

Not much gets me more excited than a book with bisexuals and vampires, hence The Lights of Prague is probably one of my most anticipated books of the next few months! Set in Prague, this follows two POVs: one, a vampire hunter who is being stalked by the White Lady, a ghost who haunts Prague castle; and two, a widowed, noble vampire Lady trying to find her way in a human world.

Miss Meteor by Anna-Marie McLemore and Tehlor Kay Mejia

Release date: 22 September

Two YA icons are teaming up for this one, Anna-Marie McLemore, the lyrical genius of Dark and Deepest Red and When the Moon Was Ours, and Tehlor Kay Mejia, the legend between sapphic YA dystopia We Set the Dark on Fire! This magical realism novel follows a girl made of stardust who enters into the beauty pageant, Miss Meteor, a beauty pageant all about sharing yourself and loving the parts of you no one else understands.

Burning Roses by S.L Huang

Release date: 29 September

Give me all the non-Western retellings please! Burning Roses combines Chinese and Western folklore with this retelling of Little Red Riding Hood and Hou Yi the Archer, who must join forces to stop sunbirds from destroying the countryside.

The Archive of the Forgotten by A.J. Hackwith

Release date: 6 October

Watch me vibrate with excitement for this book!!! The Library of the Unwritten is one of my favourite fantasy novels and I am sure I will love the sequel just as much. The Archive of the Forgotten continues Claire, Brevity and Hero’s story in the library of unwritten manscripts as a strange ink begins to leak from the books.

Beyond the Ruby Veil by Mara Fitzgerald

Release date: 13 October

So if The Bone Shard Daughter is my most anticipated adult fantasy, then this might be my most anticipated YA fantasy. Beyond the Ruby Veil follows chaos lesbian Emanuela after she kills the only person in her two who can create water and now has to find a way to save everyone before the entire town dies of thirst.

This is All Your Fault by Aminah Mae Safi

Release date: 13 October

I read Aminah Mae Safi’s Tell Me How You Really Feel earlier this year and it was so so good therefore I can’t wait for This is All Your Fault! This book follows three young women across one day as they try to save the indie bookshop they work at.

The Lady Upstairs by Halley Sutton

Release date: 17 November

This feminist noir thriller follows Jo, a woman who spends her time blackmailing the most terrible, lecherous Hollywood men. When one of her targets is murdered, Jo ends up with the police, and her mysterious boss The Lady Upstairs, on her back and must take on her biggest con yet to get out of the mess.

Phoenix Extravagent by Yoon Ha Lee

Release date: 20 October

“Dragons. Art. Revolution.” Ummmmmmmmmm YES PLEASE. Phoenix Extravagant follows painter Jebi after they are recruited by the Ministry of Armour to paint the mystical sigils that animate the automaton army. But when Jebi discovers the source of the magical paint and the crimes of the government, they can no longer stay out of politics. So they steal a dragon. FUCK YES.

The Thirty Names of Night by Zeyn Joukhadar

Release date: 3 November

The Thirty Names of Night is my most anticipated literary fiction of the entire year. It was originally due to be released in May but has been pushed back to November thanks to the cornovirus. The Thirty Names of Night follows three generations of Syrian Americans and the mysterious bird that binds them all together. It follows a trans boy who is his grandmothers sole caretaker after the death of his mother. He finds the journal of a Syrian American artist, Laila Z, who reveals the history of queer and trans people within his community and discovers she is tied to his mother and grandmother in ways he couldn’t expect.

Master of One by Jaida Jones and Danielle Bennett

Release date: 10 November

This sounds like a very fun, very queer fae fantasy! Rags is a thief. But when he’s caught by the Queensguard, he is forced to find an ancient fae relic for the royal sorceror. But turns out the relic is an ancient fae prince. Who just so happens to be distractingly handsome…

The Factory Witches of Lowell by C.S Maelrich

Release date: 10 November

A historical fantasy about witches on strike? Yes yes yes! In The Factory Witches of Lowell, women are faced with awful working conditions in the cotton mills. So when their rent is raised, they decide to go on strike. Judith had been on strike before, and saw that strike fold and she is definitely not going to let that happen here. So it’s a good thing her best friend has the gift of witchcraft and can ensure no one leaves the picket line.

Written in the Stars by Alexandria Bellefleur

Release date: November 10

A sapphic Pride and Prejudice romcom? Between a media astrologer and an actuary? *insert screech of excitement here* Darcy is desperate to stop her brother from ever playing matchmaker again after a disastrous date. So she lies and says everything went great. Meanwhile, Elle, Darcy’s brother’s new business partner, is very confused when Darcy’s brother talks about how happy he is they hit it off. Darcy begs Elle to play along with the lie and the two begin their fake dating plan to get both their families off their backs. But obv, feelings ensue….

Ruinsong by Julia Ember

Release date: 24 November

Ruinsong is the sapphic Phantom of the Opera retelling you’ve always dreamed of. In this world of music magic, Cadence has been forced to use her voice to torture nobles at the queen’s bidding. But when she is reunited with a childhood friend who has ties to the rebellion, Cadence must decide whether to stand up and fight or to become a monster herself.

The Love Curse of Melody McIntyre by Robin Talley

Release date: 1 December

I can’t believe I still haven’t read a Robin Talley book. Perhaps this will finally be the one! (Highly likely as this one is all about musical theatre and I am a theatre geek.) This queer romcom follows Melody, her high school’s stage manager extraordinaire. But in the past, every time she’s fallen for someone during a school performance, both the romance and the show have ended in complete disaster. So Melody swears off any romance for the school’s next performance of Les Mis. But of course she didn’t count on rising star Odie to audition.

A Curse of Roses by Diana Pinguicha

Release date: 1 December

And finally the last one! And what a gorgeous cover we’re ending on! A Curse of Roses is a sapphic retelling of a Portugese myth about a woman who turns any food she touches into flowers. Princess Yzabel is on the verge of starving, much like the rest of Portugal. She wants to reverse her curse so she can turn flowers into food, and knows Fataya, an Enchanted Moura, could do so, but she has magical binds on her power. She can be set free with a kiss but to do so, Yzabel would be committing treason as she’s betrothed to the King.

All I can is WOW, we are in for so many incredible books over the next few months and the fact I have neither the time nor the money to read them all is heartbreaking. What queer release are you most looking forward to over the next six months? Let me know in the comments below!

30 Days of Pride: My top queer releases of 2020 so far

Hi everyone,

We’re halfway through 2020 and suffice to say: it’s been a year so far. So today I wanted to look back and celebrate 22 fabulous queer releases we’ve had so far! The first batch are my personal favourite queer reads released in 2020, that I’ve actually managed to read. The second batch are some of the books I haven’t had a chance to read yet and thus are sitting on my shelves staring at me forlornly, but I’m sure they will be immediate favourites when I do finally read them! In my defence, I expected to read many of them this month and then had a pretty awful reading month soo…..

My personal favourites

The Electric Heir by Victoria Lee

Let’s start with the only sequel on this list, and the ending to one of my favourite series of all time, The Electric Heir. This ends the duology that started with The Fever King, my favourite book. If you haven’t yet read these, all I can say is WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH YOUR LIFE?! But seriously, I am in awe of Victoria Lee’s work: science fantasy dystopia, overcoming trauma and survival, everyone is queer, overthrowing evil regimes, this series literally has everything you could possibly want and it’s just so fucking good.

Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender

This is definitely up there as one of my favourite books I’ve read all year. I went in expecting it to be amazing, and I was still blown away by how good it really is. Felix Ever After follows queer, trans, Black teen Felix as he catfishes his bully to get revenge and ends up in a quasi-love triangle. What really makes this book special is the brilliant exploration of gender and sexuality. The questioning journey Felix goes on to discover who he is is just so brilliant, so personal, and I felt so so seen.

Only Mostly Devastated by Sophie Gonzales

I’m not a huge romance reader, but I was absolutely blown away by this hilarious romcom from Sophie Gonzales. This is a queer Grease retelling, and it had such a 90s/early 00’s romcom feel – I totally got the Grease, Clueless and 10 Things I Hate About You vibes which is probably why I loved it so much because I ADORE 90s romcoms. The main character Ollie is so funny, so snarky and so self-deprecating, I love him, and this book was just so much fun.

The Unspoken Name by A.K Larkwood

The Unspoken Name is an epic, expansive, sapphic portal fantasy with lesbian orcs, necromancers, powerful gods, backstabbing, wizards, flying ships, it sounds like a lot. But A.K Larkwood brings this new world together so fantastically. It’s a slowpaced, character driven fantasy, about powerful wizards who want the power of gods and an orc woman who was supposed to be sacrificed to her god but instead chose to escape.

The Henna Wars by Adiba Jaigirdar

This book is just as soft, hesitant, uncertain, beautiful as this book cover is. The accuracy with which this cover captures the essence of this book is unreal. This is a brilliant contemporary YA romance about two girls, Nishat and Flávia, who set up rival henna businesses for a school project, but Flávia is appropriating Nishat’s culture.

Real Life by Brandon Taylor

Literary fiction isn’t a genre I read much of, and it’s a genre I’m extremely hard to please in because I find it is often overwrought and pretentious. But Real Life is none of these things; it’s literary fiction at its best. Real Life follows Wallace, a queer Black man studying at a very white Midwestern university as he contemplates his life after an encounter with a friend he thought was straight. It’s a difficult and emotional read that explores the way racism occurs in both workplace settings as well in small friendship groups.

The Mercies by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

The Mercies is Kiran Millwood Hargrave’s adult debut and what a fucking debut! The Mercies is inspired by the real life Vardø storm, a storm in the 1600s which wiped out the men in a small fishing village in Norway. The women are left to their own independence until a witch hunter is appointed as commissioner. The Mercies explores friendship and the insidious way evil can destroy relationships, and it has a fantastic sapphic relationship that is quite possibly one of my favourites I’ve ever read.

The City We Became by N.K Jemisin

It’s no surprise that N.K Jemisin is one of my favourite authors, she writes one of my favourites series, The Broken Earth trilogy, and The City We Became is the start of her newest series! In this book, the city of New York is waking up. Six individuals wake up and find themselves with the soul of a borough inside them, and they must fight off an evil Enemy that threatens to destroy the city and everyone in it. I adored this book so much. The way Jemisin uses fantasy to parallel real world racism and trauma is outstanding, her imagination and ideas are just so exceptional and I would like to read book 2 immediately please.

The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J Klune

I’m a fairly new Klune fan (I only read my first of his in December 2019), but I have adored all three of his books so far, and I have several more on my Kindle waiting to be read. The House in the Cerulean Sea is an adult fantasy following Linus, a caseworker in the department of magical youth. Linus travels to a far off orphanage to audit them, and finds the family he’s always dreamed of in the six particularly powerful magical children and their guardian, Arthur. This book exemplifies the found family trope, it is so touching and much like every other Klune book, had me crying on one page and laughing on the next.

You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson

Whilst I haven’t quite finished the audiobook yet (because I am the worst with audiobooks and need to replay sections whenever I get distracted), what I have heard has been amazing!!! This book is funny, it’s cute, and boy does it shine a light for this Scot living in Australia on the ridiculousness that is American high school proms. When the financial aid Liz has been counting on falls through, she joins the race for Prom Queen, as the winner also gets a scholarship. But then she falls in love with her competition. The audiobook narrator is so so good, but I’m probably going to pick up a hard copy of this as well because it has been so much fun!

Dangerous Remedy by Kat Dunn

French Revolution? Check. Bisexual disasters? Check. Bi love triangle? Check. Heist? Check. Science and fantasy? Check. This book was released in eBook in May but the hardback was postponed until August 6 this year. And you should really order yourself up a pre-order because this book is one of my favourite YA fantasies of 2020. This was just the most fun, this rag tag team are SUCH DISASTERS and SO GAY and I loved all of them. Nothing, I repeat, nothing beats French Revolution queer disasters saving people from the guillotine.

The Animals at Lockwood Manor by Jane Healey

I originally rated this book four stars but I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it so I’m very close to raising it up. Cause this shit is good. It completely rejuvenated my love for gothic literature as a genre and is the reason I’ve picked up so many books over the past few months. This gothic tale is set during WW2, and follows Hetty as she accompanies the Natural History Museum’s mammal collection to Lockwood Manor to stay safe during the war. But at Lockwood Manor, she encounters the irascible Lord Lockwood, she is entranced by his daughter, Lucy, and then the mammals start going missing and Hetty isn’t sure if there’s a thief or something darker at play….

Still to read

All the Boys Aren’t Blue by George M Johnson

Having fallen in love with memoirs after reading In the Dream House, I immediately purchased several more, of which All Boys Aren’t Blue was one. This is a series of essays from activist George M Johnson covering topics from toxic masculinity, to consent, to Black joy.

The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea by Maggie Tokuda-Hall

This gorgeous book is one of my most anticipated books of the year and I can’t believe it’s been a month since my copy arrived and I still haven’t read it. The Mermaid, The Witch, and the Sea features a genderfluid pirate who falls in love with one of the noblewomen held prisoner on the ship.

We Unleash the Merciless Storm by Tehlor Kay Mejia

The sequel to one of my favourite YA sapphic fantasy novels, We Set the Dark on Fire, We Unleash the Merciless Storm follows in Carmen’s POV as Dani and Carmen continue to try to take down the oppressive regime in control of Medio.

When We Were Magic by Sarah Gailey

Sapphic witch books are winning in 2020 and When We Were Magic is just one of these books! This follows a coven of witches after they accidentally kill a boy with their magic and then their attempts to fix it go even worse.

Witches of Ash and Ruin by E. Latimer

And here’s another book about sapphic witches, this one with black magic and Celtic mythology! Dayna is a witch struggling to cope with her somatic OCD and her absent mother. But when a new coven known for their history with black magic comes to town and a local witch ends up dead, Dayna must team up with the new coven to hunt down the dangerous serial killer.

Loveless by Alice Oseman

I’m ashamed I still haven’t read any Alice Oseman but this one is likely to be the first! It follows Georgia as she starts university and sets out on a new plan to find romance. When it ends in disaster for her friends and new terms like asexual and aromantic are thrown at her, she starts to wonder if she’s looking for the wrong thing.

The Prettiest Star by Carter Sickels

Another literary fiction novel that is almost certain to have me in tears is The Prettiest Star, a book set during the AIDS crisis. It follows Brian as he returns from New York to his small hometown and his unaccepting family to die.

The Boy in the Red Dress by Kristen Lambert

A historical fiction YA novel that’s compared to Miss Fisher’s Murder Mystery? Hell yes! The Boy in the Red Dress follows Millie as she tries to clear her best friend’s name afte he’s accused of murder. With a bi love triangle, a drag artist accused of murder, and Prohibition era history, this sounds like a wonderful murder mystery!

Where We Go From Here by Lucas Rocha

This translated YA novel is set in Brazil and follows three young men whose lives become entwined in the face of HIV, and explores found family coming together in the face of stigma and prejudice.

You Exist Too Much by Zaina Arafat

You Exist Too Much is another literary fiction novel, this one following a Palestinian-American woman caught between her cultural, religious and sexual identities.

And there you have it, 22 of my favourite queer releases of 2020 so far! What’s your favourite queer release of the year so far? Let me know in the comments! And check back in tomorrow where I’ll be talking about queer releases that are still to come in 2020!

30 Days of Pride: Memoirs

Hi everyone,

I really haven’t been a big memoir or nonfiction reader in the past (like….really not at all), and it’s something I want to remedy in 2020! Whilst the first half of the year I’ve completely failed at that goal (I’ve read a grand total of 1 and that was two weeks ago), I’m going to be making a big effort to fix this over the next 6 months. So I thought I’d give a shout out to some of the queer memoirs and biographies that I’m aiming to read in the next few months!

In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado

In the Dream House is the memoir I’ve read, and I just read it a few weeks ago! I am in awe of Carmen Maria Machado and the strength it must have taken to live through this, but also to relive it when she wrote this book. In the Dream House is a memoir about living through an abusive queer relationship. It is so powerful, every single sentence has been written so carefully. I was absolutely blown away.

All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson

This was a very recent purchase so I haven’t quite had time to read it yet, but I’m so excited to! This is a collection of essays by LGBTQIA+ activist George M Johnson. All Boys Aren’t Blue covers topics such as gender identity, toxic masculinity, family and Black joy.

Tomboyland by Melissa Faliveno

Releasing on August 1, Tomboyland is an essay collection about gender and identity in the American Midwest, following Melissa’s journey through life and questions gender, queerness and class, and how our upbringing impacts these.

When They Call You a Terrorist by Patrisse Khan-Cullors and Asha Bandele

Patrisse Khan-Cullors is one of the founders of the Black Lives Matter movement. This is her memoir, about her life growing up as a queer Black woman in America, and the hashtag that birthed the BLM movement.

We Have Always Been Here by Samira Habib

We Have Always Been Here is a queer Muslim memoir. Samira Habib tells of her childhood in Pakistan as an Ahmadi Muslim, a small sect that faces threats from Islamic extremists who believe them to be blasphemous. She talks of her move to Canada, the bullies and racism she faced there, and her journey exploring sexuality, faith and love.

The Trauma Cleaner by Sarah Krasnostein

The only biography on this list, The Trauma Cleaner is a book about the life of Sandra Pankhurst, a trans woman, drag queen, sex worker and founder of a trauma cleaning business, who faced a lifetime of transphopbia and hate but fought through to create a business that would help people at their worst.

How We Fight For Our Lives by Saeed Jones

From award-winning poet Saeed Jones, this is a coming-of-age memoir about a gay, Black, Southern man. How We Fight For Our Lives is both a love letter to Jones’ mother and an examination of race and queerness in the US.

Sissy: a Coming of Gender Story by Jacob Tobia

I just picked up a copy of this at my local library and can’t wait to jump in! (Update at time of scheduling: okay I’ve actually jumped into this and so far it’s so good, and is very confronting in the way it reveals the horrific impact of enforcing gender norms on young kids). This looks like it will be both amusing as well as a blueprint for transinclusive feminism. It’s described as a memoir about growing up wondering if “you’re (a) a boy, (b) a girl, (c) something in between, or (d) all of the above”.

Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde

Sister Outsider is a collection of speeches and essays from Black lesbian poet and feminist writer Audre Lorde. This collection examines class, racism, sexism, homophobia, and ageism.

Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe

And last but very much not least is the only graphic novel on this list, Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe. I won’t lie, I was highly intrigued over this graphic novel from one sentence in the blurb “bonding with friends over erotic gay fanfiction”. I’m already sold. But if you need to know more, this autobiography started as a way to help Maia come out to eir family as nonbinary and asexual, and is a guide to the meaning of gender identity and how to think about it.

I hope you’ve found a few books to add to your TBRs! Do you need memoirs often? If you have any recommendations, do let me know in the comments as I’m keen to read a lot more!

30 Days of Pride: The rise of the queer novella

Hi everyone,

Happy Day 24 of Pride! Today I’m talking about a type of book I’ve only very recently started reading (just this year!) but have been overwhelmed with the brilliance of writing we’re seeing: the queer novella.

Novellas (generally books under 200 pages) are short, quick reads that I really feel are becoming more common and visible in the mainstream. Which is great, especially when so many of them are incredible, diverse books that kick as big a punch as books 500 pages long do. And what’s more, whilst I couldn’t tell you the name of a single cishet novella, I am hearing about a ton of queer novellas! They really seem to be leading the charge in this new wave of publishing, so here’s a few of my favourites and some I haven’t read yet but which sound pretty fucking epic. And because there’s so many, the list is longer than the 10 I’ve tried to keep the rest of this months posts at, for which I am not even the tiniest bit sorry for how this may affect your TBR. And I apologise to any contemporary fans – every single one of these is spec fic. I’m sorry, I have a type when it comes to books clearly.

The Seep by Chana Porter

If you want a kickass trans woman who stomps about in big black boots and leather, then this is the book for you! This is a weird and wonderful science fiction novella about an alien invasion. The alien seeps in through the water supply and into the human brain. In The Seep, everything and everyone is connected: so capitalism breaks down, barriers are thrown away. Anything is possible, as long as you can imagine it. Trina and her wife, Deeba, have been living under The Seep, until Deeba wishes to be reborn as a baby. And of course, The Seep can grant her that wish. This is a very odd, surreal book, that combines both deep social commentary on issues like bodily autonomy, capitalism, death and grief, alongside a humourous and punky writing style.

The Deep by Rivers Solomon

Rivers Solomon is an absolute pioneer of speculative fiction and their novella The Deep is no different to their novels. This is a book about the water-breathing descendants of African slave women who were thrown overboard, called wajinru, who have built their own society in the ocean waters. In order to cope with the trauma of their past, one wajinru, a historian, holds the memories of their history so the others do not have to. Yetu is given the honour of being historian, but the role is destroying her and so she runs away to the surface, leaving the other wajinru trapped remembering all the memories that have burdened Yetu for years. This is a novella about intergenerational trauma and a community who come together to survive that trauma, and about Yetu, a young woman trying to find out who she is outside of her community. It’s a powerful and moving novella that brings hope to those suffering from a dark and traumatic past.

Upright Women Wanted by Sarah Gailey

The first of the Sarah Gailey novellas on this list, Upright Women Wanted is set in a Western style dystopia, full of queer librarian spies killing fascists. It’s a story of found family and rebellion. Esther is a stowaway who has snuck into the back of a librarian’s wagon in the hopes of escaping her town, where her girlfriend has just been executed for treason. But when she travels with the librarians, she realises not everything she’s been told about them is quite true. The whole ‘distributing illegal material and killing fascists across America’ thing was a bit of a surprise. This is an absolute bundle of fun, I adored it and am absolutely dying for more books set in this unvierse. Each and every one of the characters is a DELIGHT, though I particularly loved Cye, a rough and tumble nonbinary librarian who’s tasked with watching over Esther to make sure she doesn’t get up to any mischief whilst they travel across the US. It’s action packed, has a wonderful slowburn romance and is just so fucking cool.

River of Teeth by Sarah Gailey

If Upright Women Wanted didn’t convince you that Sarah Gailey writes epic Western-style speculative fiction, then maybe River of Teeth will! River of Teeth is a historical fantasy that imagines what would happen if the US government decided to import and raise hippos in the South in the early 20th century. In hindsight, this was a terrible plan because now they’ve had to hire a group of hippo ranchers to deal with all the feral hippos killing people. The fact that is based on an actual idea the US government had is even better.

Finna by Nino Cipri

Trying to beat “queer librarian spies” for most awesome pitch is Finna, a book where two queer IKEA employees are ordered into the multiverse by their capitalist overlords to hunt down a missing customer. Oh, and these two employees just broke up a week ago so this is going to be an absolute riot of fun for them both. Not. This is such a bundle of fun, all the different IKEAs are so creative (my personal favourite being the one where you have to pay in blood). It’s a humorous take down of capitalism wrapped up in a fun queer adventure with two individuals who don’t want to be anywhere near each other in the normal world, let alone in several murderous parallel universe IKEAs. A sequel to this novella has already been announced and I am ecstatic!

This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal el-Mohtar and Max Gladstone

One of the most talked about books of 2019, This is How You Lose the Time War is an epic sapphic time travel war story about two agents on opposite sides of the time war who start corresponding through letters to each other. At first, it begins as humourous, battlefield taunts, but develops into an intense and personal relationship that will change the direction of the very war they fight.

The Empress of Salt and Fortune by Nghi Vo

This novella combines so many elements which I love: period drama check! Asian inspired check! A take on an Atwood story check! Talking animals check! Angry empress check! Nonbinary main character check! Does that not sound incredible? The Empress of Salt and Fortune is powerfully told in just 112 pages. Chih, a cleric documenting a coup, meets an elderly woman, called Rabbit, who narrates to him the story of the Empress In-Yo, to whom Rabbit was a personal handmaiden. Combining the feminist powerhouse writing seen in the comparison to Atwood, with high fantasy and a harsh critique of monarchy, The Empress of Salt and Fortune is not to be missed!

The Monster of Elendhaven by Jennifer Giesbrecht

Dark and gorey, this is a novella full of murder and revenge! The city of Elendhaven has been wracked with a plague, industry has vacated the town, and they have been forgotten and left to die. But the monsters of Elendhaven want their revenge. This is a bloody gothic horror about a magician who loves murder and monsters and yes, that does sound brilliant.

Silver in the Woods by Emily Tesh

Silver in the Woods is the first in a novella duology about Greenhollow, about a mysterious and not-quite-normal man called Tobias who lives near the woods. When he falls in love with the handsome stranger, Henry, who moves there, Tobias must reckon with secrets about the forest and himself. Lyrical and fairytale-esque, this is the start of a lush debut which continutes in….*drum roll*

Drowned Country by Emily Tesh

In this follow up to Silver in the Woods, Tobias’ mother is calling for him and so he and Henry must journey to Rothport, a town where the ancient forest that used to be there was drowned by the sea. Along with some monsters and a missing girl, this continues a beautiful, unique and mythical world.

The Order of Pure Moon Reflected in Water by Zen Cho

This gorgeous novella just published yesterday and I was so excited to read it (and not just because of that stunning cover). This is a found family wuxia fantasy about a nun who joins a group of bandits, with a focus on identity and spirituality and with a nonbinary lead, yas!

Yellow Jessamine by Caitlin Starling

I hope you’re ready for this incredible novella coming from the author who brought us one of my favourite horror novels, The Luminous Dead. A reviewer on Goodreads described this as if Mexican Gothic, which is pretty much my favourite book of the year so far (and so fucked up, it’s amazing), had a baby with The Monster of Elendhaven, so gorey murdery monster goodness. Thus, this sounds incredible. It’s coming out in September, and follows a shipping magnate, who has a ship where the crew is coming down with a mysterious illness – one that causes obsessive behaviour and then catatonic stupor, and it all seems to be focused on her. She escapes to her family’s estate, but the sick are coming for her and she needs to work out how this illness is connected to her before it destorys everything she’s built.

To Be Taught If Fortunate by Becky Chambers

Sci-fi extraordinaire Becky Chambers of the Wayfarers series has now released this fantastic novella, not set in the series, but still a very fun space romp. In To Be Taught If Fortunate, instead of humans terraforming planets to be suitable to them, they terraform their bodies, changing them to be suited to each new environment. Adriane is an explorer, she goes to sleep during the travel between planets and wakes up changed. It also has a whole cast of queer characters, including trans, ace, bi/pan and poly rep.

A Glimmer of Silver by Juliet Kemp

This novella is described as what happens after first contact: when the humans have colonised a far away planet, what happens next? On this world, Ocean is alive. If Ocean talks to you before you turn 16, you become a communicator. Jennery does not want to be a communicator, xe wants to be a musician. But Ocean is angry about the humans colonising the planet and Jennery must decide whether to listen or not.

The Ascent to Godhood by JY Yang

The is the fourth installment of the Tensorate novella series, but this one features a sapphic villain romance which is just amazing. It follows the series villain, and a courtesan she had a relationship with. So read the first three to get this, or just give this one a go!

Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire

I haven’t actually read any of Seann McGuire’s very popular Wayward Children series but I’ve read her work as Mira Grant and adore it so I’m pretty confident these will be just as brilliant when I finally get around to reading them. These are set at a home for wayward children, who sometimes disappear in a magical land and come back changed.

The Four Profound Weaves by R.B Lemberg

This book is publishing in September this year and I am very excited to have an ARC for it. This is a trans epic fantasy, set in a world with very strict gender roles and a man who has changed between them and struggles to embody the masculinity required of his new role after years performing the life of a woman.

Thank you Tor.com for your help in pushing novella publishing into the queerest realms possible. I’ve been really enjoying reading lots of novellas, but I do admit, I often fall in love with the world so much I want full books set there! Do you prefer to read novellas or novels? Do you have any favourite queer novellas I didn’t feature on this list? Let me know in the comments!

30 Days of Pride: The Henna Wars by Adiba Jaigirdar

Title: The Henna Wars by Adiba Jaigirdar

Publisher: Page Street Kids

Publication date: 12 May 2020

Genre: Young Adult | Contemporary | Romance

Page extent: 400 pages


Goodreads blurb: When Dimple Met Rishi meets Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda in this rom com about two teen girls with rival henna businesses.

When Nishat comes out to her parents, they say she can be anyone she wants—as long as she isn’t herself. Because Muslim girls aren’t lesbians. Nishat doesn’t want to hide who she is, but she also doesn’t want to lose her relationship with her family. And her life only gets harder once a childhood friend walks back into her life.

Flávia is beautiful and charismatic and Nishat falls for her instantly. But when a school competition invites students to create their own businesses, both Flávia and Nishat choose to do henna, even though Flávia is appropriating Nishat’s culture. Amidst sabotage and school stress, their lives get more tangled—but Nishat can’t quite get rid of her crush on Flávia, and realizes there might be more to her than she realized.

To understand the vibe of The Henna Wars, just look at the cover. The feeling I feel looking at that cover is exactly the same as I felt reading this book. The Henna Wars is soft and beautiful, confusing and uncertain, it fills you with such a warm feeling. This is a book that very much was not written for me (a white queer), but one that I found so much sweetness and love in. And I really hope this book can reach those it was written for and provide them with hope.

The Henna Wars is told from Nishat’s perspective, a young Muslim lesbian who has just come out to her parents (who don’t take it well). At school, she starts a henna business for a competition, but her crush, Flávia, also starts a henna business for the competition. But there’s one big problem: Flávia is appropriating Nishat’s culture, and Nishat will therefore do anything to beat her.

One of the things I loved most about this book was the complicated portrayal of high school friendships and hierarchy. Nishat doesn’t have many friends, and those she does have are at times unsupportive and do not understand her. Along with the relationship between Nishat’s sister, Priti, has with her best friend, Ali, these friendship circles really showcase the speed at which school hierarchies and friends can change, which felt very realistic. Nishat’s relationship with her sister is definitely my favourite of the book. It was so nice to see such a strong sister bond, their love for each other so apparent amongst both the snark and the support.

The relationship between Flávia and Nishat is definitely very cute and sweet, particularly at the start prior to the souring of the relationship thanks to Flávia’s appropriation. I’ll admit, I did want to see Flávia and her henna business partner, Chyna, the school bully and gossipmonger, get taken down a peg or two more. I don’t really feel like either of them really got the issue with what they were doing. With Chyna, I can see that’s probably because she’s just a bit of a racist ass. But Flavia’s sudden ‘oh I do understand why this sucks’ didn’t feel like a particularly strong statement of understanding. I wanted her to actually feel ashamed and guilty for what she did, but she never really seems to get it. But I guess in life, the bad folks never really get what they deserve either.

The relationship Nishat has with her parents is definitely a difficult one to read. But it’s also very hopeful, and the fact that they were watching Ellen DeGeneres by the end of the book was just hilarious.

The other thing I just absolutely adored with this book is how resolutely NOT WHITE it is. The Henna Wars is so embedded in Bengali culture, from Nishat’s relationship with her parents and sister, to the way Nishat feels about her henna, to the food, to the wedding, to the party to celebrate Nishat’s Junior Cert results, it’s a fantastic world and creation and I loved finding out about Nishat’s culture.

All in all, I thought this was a really great debut. It’s a book which very much places importance on characters and their relationships. It’s so full of pride and joy at Bengali culture, and is a soft and sweet sapphic contemporary.

30 Days of Pride: Asexual and aromantic books

Hi everyone,

It’s Day 21 of Pride month and I am nowhere near my reading goal of beating last year’s 15 books read during June. However, what I have read so far has been amazing, plus one of the books was Priory which basically counts as three seperate books. Day 21 has also been pretty great as I went to the library and a bookshop for the first time in so many months and it was great to just pick up a book based only on the cover.

Today, we’re celebrating the asexual and aromantic folks among us and I’m talking about books which feature an ace and/or aro main character! I’m so happy there are so many fantasies on this list, it makes my heart so happy to see all these queernorm worlds being created. I hope you enjoy today’s list!

Beyond the Black Door by A.M Strickland

Beyond the Black Door has an asexual biromantic heroine and a dark and lush fantasy world to explore. In this book, Kamai is a soulwalker, someone who can walk through the souls of people whilst they sleep. In all the souls she walks, a black door follows her. And Kamai wants to know what’s behind it. So obviously, let’s open the ominious black door, what could possibly go wrong?! (Hint: a lot.)

Summer Bird Blue by Akemi Dawn Bowman

Akemi Dawn Bowman is one of my favourite YA authors (and I’m very upset that with Covid my preorder of Harley in the Sky has still not arrived). With a questioning aroace MC, Rumi, who has been sent away to stay with her Aunt after the death of her sister, Summer Bird Blue is a book that will have you sobbing (as with all of Akemi Dawn Bowman’s books!)

Tarnished are the Stars by Rosiee Thor

Tarnished Are the Stars is a steampunk science fantasy with ownvoices asexual rep. In Tarnished Are the Stars, Anna is the Technician, an engineer who supplies black market medical technology thanks to the bans on tech set by the tyrannical Commissioner. Meanwhile Nathaniel, the Commissioner’s son, vows to find the Technician to earn his father’s respect. Full of adventure, alchemy, clockwork hearts and spies, this is such a fun book!

Belle Révolte by Linsey Miller

I am such a big fan of the switching lives trope (but sadly have not read enough to make this a section in my trope posts!) Emilie is a noblewoman who wants to be a physician. Annette longs to move beyond her humble life and be trained in magic. The two swap lives, but then their nation starts a war and they both must help the rebellion to unearth the truth about the war.

Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann

Let’s Talk About Love is a YA contemporary with Black, biromantic, asexual Alice who had her summer all planned until her girlfriend broke up with her when Alice told her she was asexual. Now she’s saying no to dating. But then she meets Takumi, and needs to decide whether to risk their friendship for a love which might not be returned. This is a cute, adorable book about friendship and acceptance.

Loveless by Alice Oseman

Loveless is a recent release which I am so excited to read!! I fail the YA community by never having read an Alice Oseman book yet (I’m sorry!) but this one will likely be my first because it sounds great. This is a book about identity and self-acceptance as Georgia starts university and sets herself out to find romance. But when her plans cause havoc with her friends, she begins to question who she is and what she feels.

Beneath the Citadel by Destiny Soria

A super diverse YA fantasy with morally grey characters, ancient prophecies and a heist to take down a corrupt council kept in charge because of said ancient prophecies who have caused a decade of murder and rebellion? Yes please.

The Perfect Assassin by K.A Doore

K.A Doore has some of the best book recommendations, they have never steered me wrong so it’s pretty awful that I still haven’t read their own books! The first two books in the Chronicles of Ghadid series can be read in any order, though The Perfect Assassin was released first. This book is all about a gay, asexual assassin called Amastan who realises he doesn’t want to kill anyone – so it’s a pretty good thing there is a ban on assassin contracts then. But then important people around the city started turning up murdered and Amastan is ordered to find the murderer so his family isn’t blamed.

City of Strife by Claudie Arseneault

Claudie Arseneault might be one of the most wellknown and prolific authors of asexual and aromantic characters so I had to include one of her books! City of Strife is the start to her most recent series, a political fantasy about friendship and found family. Arathiel has returned to his city, Isandor, after over 100 years elsewhere. He hides in the city, trying to find a new life but when his friend is accused of assassination he must come out of hiding to save him.

Soft on Soft by Mina Waheed

And we’re ending with a soft and fluffy romance between Black, demisexual, biromantic Selena and Persian June. And it has TWO CATS. June is a make-up artist, and despite her regular social media posts, she is very anxious inside. Selena helps calm her anxiety, and June’s two cats also love her. But to be with Selena, she needs to take a chance and step out from her safe zone. This such a cute and happy book with no angst around, which is something I definitely need right now!

Have you read any of these books? What’s your favourite book with ace or aro rep? Let me know in the comments!

30 Days of Pride: Historical fiction

Hi everyone,

History was gay, we all know it, and I have the books to prove it. Historical fiction is a genre I have found myself absolutely LOVING the past year or so. I haven’t read huge amounts of historical fiction previously, so there are lots of new favourites here today and books I’m sure will be favourites as soon as I get a chance to read them. There’s quite a mix of genres here within the “historical fiction” purview, from fun YA fantasy, to literary fiction that will make you sob, to romance, to more traditional gothic suspense. Some of my favourite reads in the past year are on this list so I hope you find something you can enjoy. Because for me? Nothing can beat Revolution era French fashion than making it queer!

Dangerous Remedy by Kat Dunn

After mentioning French Revolution era fashion in my intro, what other book could I start with than Kat Dunn’s Dangerous Remedy? This book released in eBook during May and the hardback is coming this Summer. It’s an absolute chaotic adventure full of disaster queers who really bring new meaning to the name, a bi love triangle, and the Battalion de Mortes, a team of young outcasts who are saving people from the guillotine. It’s absolutely hilarious, so much fun and you should definitely read this one! Check out my full review here.

Under the Udala Trees by Chinelo Okparanta

This book has been on my TBR for so long and I should be seriously shamed for not having read it yet. Everyone I know who has read it a) loved it and b) sobbed uncontrollably. Under the Udala Trees is inspired by Nigerian folktales and war. In the wake of civil war, a young girl, Ijeoma, is sent away to safety, and meets another displaced child, with whom she falls in love. But they’re both girls. When their love is discovered, Ijeoma discovers she will always need to hide away this part of her self. The book follows Ijeoma as she comes of age and moves into adulthood in the wake of a civil war and with a secret she must always hide.

Blood Countess by Lana Popović

There’s not much that attracts me more to a book than “dark and sapphic” and this book has that in absolute spades! Blood Countess is a wonderfully dark and beautiful retelling of the infamous Countess Elizabeth Báthory, who’s considered the most prolific female serial killer who ever lived. And then Popović made it gay. *sobs in sapphic* This book is a lush and dangerous tale about Anna, a scullery maid in Elizabeth’s household who catches her eye. The development of Anna and Elizabeth’s relationship is bewitchingly good, and Blood Countess is full of discussions and questions about who we are and where evil comes from. Check out my full review here.

All the Bad Apples by Moïra Fowley-Doyle

The covers in today’s list are just gorgeous, but this one is particularly stunning! All the Bad Apples is a story told part in the past, part in the present. It follows Deena as she follows her family’s history whilst hunting for her sister. Her sister leaves her mysterious letters which tell their family story, and of the curse which marks their family. Thus we get both the dark past of women in Ireland explaining the curse and how it was formed through their family tree, and the not very distant future with Deena, who is seen as a bad apple by the rest of her family due to her sexuality. It is a book full of very true and very awful horrors of Ireland’s past, with a fabulistic edge and atmospheric writing.

The Animals at Lockwood Manor by Jane Healey

This is probably up there as one of my favourite books of the year so far, it pretty much rejuvinated by adoration of gothic literature and filled me with the desire to reread all my favourite gothic classics and rewatch all my dark gothic films. It is 1939, and Hetty has been sent with the Natural History Museum’s mammal collection to Lockwood Manor, where she will stay for the duration of the war and look after the collection. At the manor, she meets the rude and irascible Lord Lockwood, along with his mysterious and haunted daughter, Lucy. And then the mammals start disappearing. Hetty isn’t sure if she’s going mad, if there’s a thief, or perhaps something even darker at work. This book is full of all your favourite gothic tropes: haunted manors, women lounging over everything, misty gardens, and of course a beautiful sapphic relationship which really should be the heart of all gothic novels in future. Check out my full review here.

The Gods of Tango by Carolina de Robertis

A book I am hugely looking forward to reading this month, The Gods of Tango is one I’ve been meaning to read for several years now, but I finally bought a copy! Set in 1913, this book follows the early beginnings of tango music. It’s a book full of exploration of gender and sexuality, and follows Leda, who moves from Italy to Argentina to be married in 1913. But when they arrive, their husband is dead. They long to learn the violin but know they won’t be able to perform as a woman. So Leda takes their husband’s name, Dante, and cuts off their hair to join a tango troupe. But the lines between Leda and Dante begin to blur as they explore their gender and sexuality.

The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics by Olivia Waite

Possibly the most talked about sapphic romance on my Twitter feed, I finally read this book last month and loved it! This follows female astronomer, Lucy, and her patron, Catherine, as they work to translate a well regarded astronomy text into English. Of course all the men scientists dislike a woman being involved and so try to scuper their plans and discredit Lucy along the way. It is such a sweet and tender romance, with a really interesting plot outside of the romance and brilliant discussions about the importance of both art and science for the advancement of society. (And I should also shout the next book in this series which releases in July called The Care and Feeding of Waspish Widows and is all about midcentury beekeeping!!!)

Like a Love Story by Abdi Nazemian

This is one of my absolute favourite books, and also one of my absolute favourite covers in the world. It’s just stunning (and even more so in person!) This is a beautiful bittersweet and heartbreaking story about friendship, family, love and fear. Like a Love Story is set in the late 1980s during the AIDS crisis and follows Reza, an Iranian boy who has just moved to New York and is terrified someone will realise he’s gay; Judy, an aspiring fashion designer who worships her Uncle Stephen, a man living with AIDS; and Art, Judy’s best friend, openly gay boy who documents the AIDS crisis with photographs. It is a intensely powerful book full of activism and courage and finding the strength to be open about who you are.

Music From Another World by Robin Talley

Robin Talley is well known for her historical queer books, and Music From Another World is her most recent book, released earlier this year. It’s about a closeted lesbian surrounded by super religious, antigay family members whose only way of expressing herself is through writing letters to gay activist Harvey Milk. But then she gets matched with a penpal who changes everything. They bond over punk music and shared secrets and and rely on their friendship to get them through the antigay fervour sweeping through the US.

Patsy by Nicole Dennis-Benn

Patsy might not feel like a historical novel to millenials but the 1990s are officially historical! In Patsy, we meet the titular character in 1998 in Jamaica. Longing to be reuinted with the woman she loves, and best friend Cicely who lives in New York, Patsy leaves behind her young daughter Tru and emigrates to America. The book follows Patsy and Tru and the impact of Patsy’s decision to leave. This is another one that will have you sobbing.

Swimming in the Dark by Tomasz Jedrowski

Another new release, this one is on my TBR this month! Set in 1980s Poland, this debut literary fiction Swimming in the Dark follows two young men, Ludwik and Janusz who meet at an agricultural camp and have an affair. It follows them as one goes into politics in a country where communism is on the out, and the other follows a life of protest, their political differences slowly tearing them apart.

Ziggy, Stardust & Me by James Brandon

This is a hugely difficult and emotional read so do take note of the content warnings for this one. Set in 1973, it’s a time where being gay is still considered a mental illness. Jonathan is a sixteen year old anxious teen who’s undergoing therapy to change him, he wants nothing more than to be “normal”. But then Web stumbles into his life before his treatment is over. And he’s drawn to Web more than he’s been drawn to anyone. Web is the first person who has ever thought Jonathan is perfect, just the way he is, and who might help him accept himself for the first time.

The Good Luck Girls by Charlotte Nicole Davis

The Good Luck Girls isn’t historical fiction in the traditional manner, instead this is a historical fantasy set in Western inspired world. It’s described as Westworld meets Handmaid’s Tale which should tell you how amazing this is. The Good Luck Girls follows a group of five girls who are sold into ‘welcome houses’ to act as maids or prostitutes. When one of the five accidentally kills a man, they escape and go on the run to find a woman who can remove their brandings so they can live freely.

I have really been loving all the historical novels I’ve read recently, but it hasn’t been a genre I’ve read much of in the past so I really want to expand my knowledge of this genre! What are some of your favourite queer historical fiction books? Let me know in the comments.

30 Days of Pride: 2 Fast 2 Tropey

Hi everyone,

So after yesterday’s dive into queer enemies to lovers, the trope to rule all other tropes, I also want to talk about several other tropes that I just adore. And midway through writing this post, I realised it was going to be SO LONG because there are SO MANY books that I love with these tropes. So I had to once again split it up. Today, we’re going to get three tropes: disaster queers, slowburn romance, and everyone’s favourite ‘there’s only one bed!’

Disaster queers

Disaster queers, aka the trope where a group of queer people or an individual is a complete and utter disaster/mess/loveable idiot who just cannot catch a break and no matter how much they plan, shit gets fucked up. I LOVE THEM. Such messy angels.

Dangerous Remedy by Kat Dunn

First off, a group of French Revolution queer disasters to rule all queer disasters forevermore. These idiots are trying to rescue innocent people from the guillotine, but their rescue keeps going wrong (and like, really wrong.) The opening action sequence of this book is quite possibly the most hilarious, fun disaster rescue in the whole world, and all these characters know it and accept it with such resignation and snark, I love them all so much. You can read my full review here.

Finna by Nino Cipri

How about two queer disasters who just broke up but now have to travel the multiverse in search of a lost customer because their corporate overlords tell them they have to? Enter disasters such as almost getting eaten by a plant chair and paying in blood at a parallel universe Ikea with creepy clones all around you.

The Ruin of Kings by Jenn Lyons

The main character of The Ruin of Kings has been called the literal definition of a bisexual disaster by so many people I follow on Twitter so the fact that I still have not read this book is really letting down the team, I’m sorry. This book sounds like it puts the epic in epic fantasy, with gods, demons, dragons, prophecies, war and a long lost prince.

Beyond the Ruby Veil by Mara Fitzgerald

In Beyond the Ruby Veil we have the brand of disaster queer known as ‘chaos lesbian’. This beautiful foolish idiot kills the only person in her city capable of creating water and now her whole city might die of thirst and so she has to try and figure out how the fuck to get water back. What a disaster.


Not much is better than a long, drawn out romance where they don’t kiss until pretty much the last chapter. Slowburn romance + speculative fiction is pretty much my favourite genre of all time, I read so much of it so here’s four of my favs!

The Unspoken Name by A.K Larkwood

This has been one of my favourite books of the year so far! The Unspoken Name is a portal fantasy with an absolutely huge, expansive world with magic, necromancy and powerful gods. And it also has a brilliant slowburn romance that’s one of my favourite relationships of all fantasies ever because it has: one idiot lesbian orc who doesn’t think before acting (yes she probably could also appear in the previous trope), one extremely powerful mage who might be a gateaway to a fallen, evil god so must always remain in total control, and said aforementioned completely-in-control mage TOTALLY FUCKING LOSING IT over the idiot lesbian orc, I love it. You can read my full review here.

We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia

This book is one of my favourite YA fantasies and as it’s a genre I’ve been struggling with recently, that means it is extra, extra special!! This is such a relevant and uncomfortabley familiar book about illegal immigrants crossing walls into Medio, an island city. Dani illegally crossed the border with her parents but is now at the Medio School for Girls where, hiding her past, she is top of her class. At the school women are trained to be wives for important men, Primera’s and Segunda’s. Each man chooses two girls to be his wives – and in We Set the Dark on Fire, two wives fall in love with each other instead of their husband. It’s slowburn sapphic fire, a book full of revolution and courage, a must read for YA dystopian readers. You can read my full review here.

A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine

Possibly the most unique book I’ve read recently, this is a science fiction unlike any other: it combines massive space empires with poetry and murder mystery. And obviously a very (and I mean very) slowburn f/f romance. It’s a twisty turny political-technological-sci-fi-ode-to-poetry-murder-mystery-romance! It sounds complicated (and it totally is), but it’s absolutely amazing and full of humour as well, which brings a much needed lightness to this complex book. You can read my full review here.

Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan

I’m terrible at sequels so whilst I still haven’t read the sequel to this brilliant debut fantasy, I have read (and loved) Girls of Paper and Fire. This book was the kind of fantasy I read the first page in bed and then had to put the book down to start the next day because I immediately knew I was not going to be able to stop reading. There is an incredible world with different castes of people, human, demons, and Steel (a mix of both). It’s a very dark book (the entire premise is basically a King choosing 8 girls to be consorts – regardless of whether they want to be or not), but the relationship that develops between our two lead girls is beautiful, and Ngan writes in an empowering manner, putting focus on the strength and recovery of these girls than on the acts themselves. You can read my full review here.

There’s only one bed….

I feel like this is one of the most popular tropes, and that’s because it’s just so tense and awkward, I love it. There’s only one bed aka ‘here are two people who may not really like each other (or perhaps do like each other but it’s a secret and the other doesn’t know) and now they have to sleep really close together because there is but one bed’.

Crier’s War by Nina Varela

Yes this book appeared in yesterday’s enemies to lovers trope list, and yes it is appearing here too. But that’s because it does both these tropes so well! This is ‘there’s only one bed’ at it’s most classic and excellent: with two characters who kind of hate each other.

Silver in the Wood by Emily Tesh

Queer novellas are winning right now (in fact so much so I have a separate post this month all about them!) and Silver in the Wood is one of these, a lyrical, mythical folklore romance about a man who lives on the edge of the woods. And of course a ‘oh! look! we have but one bed, where shall I sleep!’ scene.

The Abyss Surrounds Us by Emily Skrutiskie

Okay there’s really something about enemies to lovers and there’s only bed going together because this is another that is on both lists. And that’s because THIS is the moment when feelings often change, when people who used to hate suddenly consider other feelings that change everything. And it’s pretty awesome when we’re on a pirate ship with a pirate and a monster trainer too.

If We Were Villains by M.L Rio

Dark academia is one of my newest loves so when we take dark academia + nostalgic theatre gays + murder + there’s only one bed, it becomes something even more extraordinary.

That’s it for today’s list of tropes! Join us tomorrow for my last two favourite tropes: monster romances (and hot damn did this list get rather long, I clearly have A Type), and a trope I think particularly personal and important to us queers: found family.

30 Days of Pride: The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J Klune

Title: The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J Klune

Publisher: Tor

Publication date: 17 March 2020

Genre: Adult | Fantasy

Page extent: 393 pages


Goodreads blurb: A magical island. A dangerous task. A burning secret.

Linus Baker leads a quiet, solitary life. At forty, he lives in a tiny house with a devious cat and his old records. As a Case Worker at the Department in Charge Of Magical Youth, he spends his days overseeing the well-being of children in government-sanctioned orphanages.

When Linus is unexpectedly summoned by Extremely Upper Management he’s given a curious and highly classified assignment: travel to Marsyas Island Orphanage, where six dangerous children reside: a gnome, a sprite, a wyvern, an unidentifiable green blob, a were-Pomeranian, and the Antichrist. Linus must set aside his fears and determine whether or not they’re likely to bring about the end of days.

But the children aren’t the only secret the island keeps. Their caretaker is the charming and enigmatic Arthur Parnassus, who will do anything to keep his wards safe. As Arthur and Linus grow closer, long-held secrets are exposed, and Linus must make a choice: destroy a home or watch the world burn.

An enchanting story, masterfully told, The House in the Cerulean Sea is about the profound experience of discovering an unlikely family in an unexpected place—and realizing that family is yours.

Well my heart has melted into a puddle of rainbows, this is ghost Rachel speaking. I come to you from beyond the grave with the gift of a book review for the happiest, most joyful, so fucking queer, loveliest, sweetest, glorious book I’ve read all year. This was magnificent. I read this book a month or two ago near the start of the coronavirus stress and isolation here in Australia, and I’m so glad I could escape into this world with these beautiful characters during that lonely time.

Linus is a caseworker for the Department in Charge of Magical Youth (DICOMY). He is assigned a new, highly classified case whereby he must go to a secret orphanage on an island where six special magical children live, to investigate if the orphanage is up to DICOMY standard. There, he is changed and renewed by this children and their caretakers, Arthur and Zoe, as he comes to know their lives and see underneath the monster society has labelled them as.

These six children are the life blood of this book, giving it the hope and joy which made this book so special. Each of these children are special, more powerful than other magical children which is why they have come to be placed in this particular orphanage. We have:

  • Talia: a female gnome (the being female makes her unique as this has never before been heard of). She is such a fierce character, full of threats and bluster and grump, and yet at a moment’s notice can be touchingly sweet.
  • Sal: a teen who can turn into a Pomeranian, though one who can also pass this magic on if he bites you. He has had an awful, terrible childhood, passing through 12 orphanages until he was placed on the island. He is terrified of adults and constantly startled and frightened, but grows into his confidence as he learns to have faith that this home is permanent.
  • Theodore: a highly intelligent wyvern, clumsy as he hasn’t quite grown into his wings yet, who has a secret hoard of treasure and a particular fondness for buttons, who looks at the world with such beauty, even the smallest things imaginable.
  • Pree: a traumatised young forest sprite, who saw her mother die in front of her, who is dealing with powers she struggles to control, full of teenage flounce.
  • Chauncey: the adorable and sweet Chauncey, a creature no one knows quite what is, with a see-through body and tentacles, who’s only dream in the world is to help people by being a bellhop, and yet has only ever been told he is a monster.
  • Lucy: and then we have the enigmatic and morbid Lucy, the Antichrist himself, but still just a six year old child who is overwhelmed with nightmares of spiders and destruction, but who has a brilliant love for music and cooking.

I cannot express the beauty of these characters in words. They are so perfectly whole and wonderful, Klune has created a cast of characters who make this story feel like home. You feel as much at home with these children as Linus does, as they drag him from his dreary office job into a world of colour. And dear old Linus. What can I say about a man who sees himself as below ordinary, as the most unspecial, unimportant person on the planet, but who does what he can with what he’s got. I would say his hate for himself when he such a wonderful person is utterly destroying, but that would be wrong, because Linus doesn’t hate himself, somehow it’s much worse than that: he thinks he is invisible, devoid of any use, and his indifference and acceptance of what he sees as uselessness is so much worse to see. Because he is a beautiful person, so able to see hope and love in the world and yet unable to accept it as something he could have. But these children, Arthur and Zoe, provide an opportunity for his life to gain colour.

Arthur himself is an enigma for much of the book, standing on the edge of the story but always looking and seeing Linus for who he is. He helps Linus to see his worth, much like he helps the children to see theirs.

In addition to the beauty of these characters, Klune makes subtle (and sometimes decidedly unsubtle) jabs at our capitalist, surveillance state, from the robotic blank slate that is the DICOMY offices, to the obscene 250 page Rules and Regulations manuel, to the posters decorated everywhere – Say Something, See Something. This integration of satire adds to the humour of the children to create this funny and inviting novel, set in a world so much like our own in so many ways.

Klune’s writing is full of humour and smiles. I felt so happy to see this world and be around these characters and I long to see more of them. I didn’t want this world to end, but it did, and I was so full of happy tears and joy at this delightful book which brightened up a very dark and lonely time in isolation.

30 Days of Pride: Bisexual books

Hi everyone,

If you haven’t thought about what you can do today to support Black Lives Matter, here’s a link to a Twitter thread of petitions which still haven’t reached their goal! There’s so many there, and even spending just 10 minutes of your time would get a TON of these signed. (And if you spent just 10 minutes a day signing, I bet you’d get all of these petitions signed before the weekend is over).

Today we’re going to look at books with bi rep! We have contemporaries, fantasy, horror, adult and YA so hopefully you can find something that suits all your bisexual desires in this post.

I wanted to do a pan rep post as well (especially since I tend to prefer the term pansexual over bi for myself, though I do go by both depending on the situation) but I’ve only read one book with pan rep. This seriously needs to be remedied, so if you have any recs, please do let me know! And in case you’re wondering what that one book is, it’s The Library of the Unwritten which featured in yesterday’s science fiction and fantasy post and it’s one of my favourite books so you should definitely pick it up!

Deposing Nathan by Zack Smedley

Deposing Nathan is one of my alltime favourite books. It’s a very important book, very close to my heart, AND this year was nominated for a LAMBDA for Bisexual Fiction! Deposing Nathan is part courtroom drama, part YA coming of age. We open in a courtroom, where Nate is giving evidence against his former best friend, Cam, who stabbed him. We cut between this courtroom and the past, where we see Nate and Cam’s relationship develop as they go from BFFs to Stab City. This book also very personally and honestly deals with religion and sexuality, as well as the validity of bisexuality and it’s pretty much one of the most important books to me because of this. Smedley also manages to have some of the most realistic, dramatic writing I’ve seen, I felt so connected to Nate and his very moving story. This isn’t a happy story. But it’s a very important one. You can read my full review here.

Missing, Presumed Dead by Emma Berquist

I won a copy of Missing, Presumed Dead in a Twitter giveaway (pretty much one of the only things I’ve ever won in a giveaway or raffle situation). And it also had the honour of being my first ever SIGNED book, so it has a rather special place in my heart. And that’s on top of it being an incredible f/f ghost romance murder thriller. Whenever Lexi touches someone, she sees their death in vivid detail. When she forsees Jane’s death, she does nothing to try stop it. So, when Jane comes back to haunt her, Lexi agrees to help her hunt down the killer. This is a very dark and gritty book, but with a very realistic take on what it would actually be like to have this magic power. Lexi is deeply depressed and lonely, and I love that this book really talked about the shitty sides of having magic. Check out my full review here.

Full Disclosure by Camryn Garrett

Full Disclosure has one of the funniest scenes in YA, an epic heroine, nerds for musical theatre, and a sweet, lovely romance. Simone has lived with HIV since she was a baby. Having moved schools after she was bullied for her HIV status at her previous school, Simone plans to stay away from boys and avoid another reaction like at her past school. But as director of the school musical, she begins to fall for Miles, a sweet, adorable guy who she vows to teach all about her favourite musicals. But then she starts getting threats warning her that if she doesn’t break up with Miles, her secret will be revealed. Simone is such a brilliant character, so funny and strong and I loved all her musical references. I also really appreciated the different discussions of sexuality that showcased the spectrum of bisexuality and queerness, including those questioning and unsure of their sexuality. There is some internalised (and external) biphobia but it’s questioned and addressed within the narrative. Check out my full review here for more details.

Reign of the Fallen by Sarah Glenn Marsh

Necromancy is one of my favourite magic systems to explore so I was so excited to read this bisexual necromancer book! Our main character, Sparrow, is a necromancer. Whenever a noble dies, she walks into the Deadlands to retrieve their soul and brings them back to their body. But once raised, the Dead must stay shrouded in life. If they are ever seen by the living, they became Shades, deadly monsters. When a necromancer is murdered, Sparrow realises someone is purposely making Shades to bring down the empire and must hunt down the murderer. Reign of the Fallen had such a cool magic system. Everyone is born with eye colour which determines their magic, blue eyes for necromancers, green for beast masters, brown eyes for inventors, and lots of other interesting magics. There is a big fight between Living and Dead in the empire, with the Dead ruling nobles outlawing inventors as they want to stay in the past and not progress. It was a really interesting world, with normalised queerness and lots of creepy dead people.

Shatter the Sky by Rebecca Kim Wells

Bisexuals with dragons! Bisexuals with dragons! Bisexuals with dragons! Shatter the Sky is the first in a duology which concludes later this year, about a bisexual (obviously) who goes to rescue her girlfriend by stealing a dragon. The magic system around the dragons is so interesting and unique – aromatherapy magic anyone?! There are different scented oils which can work the dragons up into different states (such as put them to sleep, make them angry etc). There’s a very dark undertone to this fantasy, with the enslavement of these dragons who can think and have minds as clever as humans but are reduced to nothing by use of these drugs. Plus, we have a bisexual m/f/f love triangle which I love to see. Check out my full review here.

Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant

Onto one of my favourite ever books, Into the Drowning Deep is the novel which all horror will always be held up to in comparison. This book is chilling and terrifying and so, so, so damn good. In this book, mermaids are real. But they aren’t the lovely ladies of the sea everyone thinks them to be, instead they’re ferocious face eating monsters from the deep who will hunt you down if you enter their realm. So of course, the only thing to do is send a research ship to them to investigate. What follows is a gore covered mess of chaos and terror as the ship fights against the monsters. And it’s so. fucking. good. Check out my full review here!

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

This book is iconic in sapphic Twitter and I read it so long ago I am never going to be able to sell it better that pretty much all other people I follow on Twitter. But I shall try! The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is the story of a retired film star, Evelyn Hugo, who has hired someone to write her biography. The story is told as Evelyn recites her life story to this writer, of her seven husbands, and of the great love affair of her life. It is beautiful, tear-enducing, historical fiction at its best. Anyway Evelyn Hugo is a bicon (that’s a word right?) and hence has to be included in this list.

Steel Crow Saga by Paul Krueger

Steel Crow Saga is on my TBR for this month but I couldn’t resist adding to this list because we needed some adult fantasy bisexuals on this list. Steel Crow Saga is a chonky, standalone fantasy novel with MAGICAL ANIMAL COMPANIONS that fight alongside you in battle. I feel like I need to highlight that part. A soldier, a thief, a detective and a prince unite together to defeat an enemy with unstoppable power; five different nations, all coded after different Asian countries (this sounds amazing?!?!); and POVs from the colonised and the colonisers to create a political fantasy of epic proportions. And lots of magical companions uniting together too?? Hopefully? I just love magical animal companions, I used to have a cat that followed me around in Elder Scrolls and it was truly magical.

Not Your Sidekick by C.B Lee

If you’re into superheros, then this is the book for you! A Vietnamese-Chinese American bi teen, Jess, lives in a town where superheros are common. She’s looking to beef up her college application and lands a great internship. There’s just one problem: it’s with the heinous supervillain in town and her superhero parents are going to kill her. But a bonus? She gets to work with her longtime crush. What could go wrong?

Let’s Call it a Doomsday by Katie Henry

It’s very rare to get any sort of questioning rep in YA, so it is really great to get this bisexual questioning religious girl, who also suffers from extreme anxiety. Though, it’s probably definitely not the book to read whilst the world is as Fucked Up as it is right now. It’s about two girls who meet in their therapists waiting room, one who is terrified the world is going to end, and one who knows when it will end, because she had a premonition.

Do you have any other bisexual favourites to add to this list?