Anticipated LGBTQ+ Book Releases(August 2021)

  • The Dead and the Dark – Courtney Gould | RELEASE: AUG. 3rd, 2021 |
    (YA Horror ft. lesbian MCs and mLm secondary characters)
    Something is wrong in Snakebite, Oregon. Teenagers are disappearing, some turning up dead, the weather isn’t normal, and all fingers seem to point to TV’s most popular ghost hunters who have just returned to town. Logan Ortiz-Woodley, daughter of TV’s ParaSpectors, has never been to Snakebite before, but the moment she and her dads arrive, she starts to get the feeling that there’s more secrets buried here than they originally let on.

    Ashley Barton’s boyfriend was the first teen to go missing, and she’s felt his presence ever since. But now that the Ortiz-Woodleys are in town, his ghost is following her and the only person Ashley can trust is the mysterious Logan.

    When Ashley and Logan team up to figure out who—or what—is haunting Snakebite, their investigation reveals truths about the town, their families, and themselves that neither of them are ready for. As the danger intensifies, they realize that their growing feelings for each other could be a light in the darkness.

  • A Lesson in Vengeance – Victoria Lee | RELEASE: AUG. 3rd, 2021 |
    *TW* Death, Violence, Manipulation, Emotional abuse, Child neglect, Mental health issues, substance abuse, suicide reference (no actual suicide), References to racist history.
    (YA Fantasy/ Mystery/ Thriller ft. lesbian, NB and trans rep.)
    Perched in the Catskill mountains, the centuries-old, ivy-covered campus was home until the tragic death of her girlfriend. Now, after a year away, she’s returned to graduate. She even has her old room in Godwin House, the exclusive dormitory rumored to be haunted by the spirits of five Dalloway students—girls some say were witches. The Dalloway Five all died mysteriously, one after another, right on Godwin grounds.

    Witchcraft is woven into Dalloway’s history. The school doesn’t talk about it, but the students do. In secret rooms and shadowy corners, girls convene. And before her girlfriend died, Felicity was drawn to the dark. She’s determined to leave that behind her now; all Felicity wants is to focus on her senior thesis and graduate. But it’s hard when Dalloway’s occult history is everywhere. And when the new girl won’t let her forget.

    It’s Ellis Haley’s first year at Dalloway, and she’s already amassed a loyal following. A prodigy novelist at seventeen, Ellis is a so-called “method writer.” She’s eccentric and brilliant, and Felicity can’t shake the pull she feels to her. So when Ellis asks Felicity for help researching the Dalloway Five for her second book, Felicity can’t say no. Given her history with the arcane, Felicity is the perfect resource.

    And when history begins to repeat itself, Felicity will have to face the darkness in Dalloway–and in herself.


  • Like a Love Song – Gabriela Martins | RELEASE: AUG. 3rd, 2021 |
    (YA Romance ft. bisexual and lesbian characters)
    Natalie is living her dream: topping the charts and setting records as a Brazilian pop star…until she’s dumped spectacularly on live television. Not only is it humiliating—it could end her career.

    Her PR team’s desperate plan? A gorgeous yet oh-so-fake boyfriend. Nati reluctantly agrees, but William is not what she expected. She was hoping for a fierce bad boy—not a soft-hearted British indie film star. While she fights her way back to the top with a sweet and surprisingly swoon-worthy boy on her arm, she starts to fall for William—and realizes that maybe she’s the biggest fake of them all. Can she reclaim her voice and her heart?


  • Like Other Girls – Britta Lundin | RELEASE: AUG. 3rd, 2021 |
    *TW* misogyny, homophobia, forced kissing/touching, sexual harassment.
    (
    YA Contemporary/ Coming of Age ft. lesbian butch MC)
    After getting kicked off the basketball team for a fight that was absolutely totally not her fault (okay maybe a little her fault), Mara is dying to find a new sport to play to prove to her coach that she can be a team player. A lifelong football fan, Mara decides to hit the gridiron with her brother, Noah, and best friend, Quinn-and she turns out to be a natural. But joining the team sets off a chain of events in her small Oregon town-and within her family-that she never could have predicted.

    Inspired by what they see as Mara’s political statement, four other girls join the team. Now Mara’s lumped in as one of the girls-one of the girls who can’t throw, can’t kick, and doesn’t know a fullback from a linebacker. Complicating matters is the fact that Valentina, Mara’s crush, is one of the new players, as is Carly, Mara’s nemesis-the girl Mara fought with when she was kicked off the basketball team. What results is a coming-of-age story that is at once tear-jerking and funny, thought-provoking and real, as Mara’s preconceived
    notions about gender, sports, sexuality, and friendship are turned upside down.


  • The Wild Ones – Nafiza Azad | RELEASE: AUG. 3rd, 2021 |
    *TWs* Misogyny, child endangerment, human trafficking, abuse, rape (mention), bullying, grief, blood, violence, and victim’s guilt.
    (
    YA Fantasy ft. Trans, NB, and lesbian characters)
    Meet the Wild Ones: girls who have been hurt, abandoned, and betrayed all their lives. It all began with Paheli, who was once betrayed by her mother and sold to a man in exchange for a favor. When
    Paheli escapes, she runs headlong into a boy with stars in his eyes. This boy, as battered as she is, tosses Paheli a box of stars before disappearing.


    With the stars, Paheli gains access to the Between, a place of pure magic and mystery. Now, Paheli collects girls like herself and these Wild Ones use their magic to travel the world, helping the hopeless and saving others from the fates they suffered.


    Then Paheli and the Wild Ones learn that the boy who gave them the stars, Taraana, is in danger. He’s on the run from powerful forces within the world of magic. But if Taraana is no longer safe and free, neither are the Wild Ones. And that…is a fate the Wild Ones refuse to accept. Ever again.

  • Cheer Up: Love and Pom Poms – Crystal Frazier | RELEASE: AUG. 10th, 2021 | 
    (YA Romance Graphic Novel ft. Lesbian and Trans characters)

    Annie is a smart, antisocial lesbian starting her senior year of high school who’s under pressure to join the cheerleader squad to make friends and round out her college applications. Her former friend BeeBee is a people-pleaser—a trans girl who must keep her parents happy with her grades and social life to keep their support of her transition.

    Through the rigors of squad training and amped up social pressures (not to mention micro aggressions and other queer youth problems), the two girls rekindle a friendship they thought they’d lost and discover there may be other, sweeter feelings springing up between them. 


  • Rainbow in the Dark – Sean McGinty | RELEASE: AUG. 10th, 2021 |
    *TW*
    Mention suicide, pet death
    (
    YA Fantasy ft. possible queer MCs)
    High school senior Rainbow is trapped with three other teens in a game-like world that may or may not be real. Together, they must complete quests and gain experience in order to access their own forgotten memories, decode what has happened to them, and find a portal home.

    As Rainbow’s memories slowly return, the story of a lonely teen facing senior year as the new kid in a small town emerges. Surreal, absurdist humor balances sensitively handled themes of suicide, depression, and the search for identity in an unpredictable and ultimately hopeful page-turner that’s perfect for fans of Shaun David Hutchinson, Adam Silvera, and Libba Bray’s Going Bovine.


  • Busy Ain’t the Half of It – Fredrick Smith & Chaz Lamar | RELEASE: AUG.10th, 2021 |
    (New Adult ft. gay and queer characters)
    Elijah Golden and Justin Monroe are uncle and nephew with eclectic careers, friends, and family in LA, trying to center joy in their lives.Then their worlds turn in ways nobody expects.

    Elijah, a dedicated thespian, auditions by day, does theater by night, and works two jobs on weekends. With enough life for three people, he keeps his recently divorced partner Zaire coasting on bliss…until secrets and real-life dramas test their love.


    Justin, Elijah’s uncle, is a single father with teenage twins, and a TV journalist who’s been replaced at the anchor desk when new management arrives. No longer in the public eye, living true to his sexuality is something Justin can finally do. Dating and romance—Justin’s ready for fun. Conflicts with fatherhood and career—he’ll have none.


    Elijah and Justin seek happily-ever-afters, but are they too busy to notice happy when it’s there?


  • The Sisters of Reckoning (The Good Luck Girls Book #2) – Charlotte Nicole Davis | RELEASE: AUG. 10, 2021|
    (YA Fantasy ft. lesbian chracters)

    The Good Luck Girls are free. Aster’s sister and friends have new lives across the border in Ferron, while Aster remains in Arketta, helping more girls escape. But news of a new welcome house opening fills Aster with a need to do more than just help individual girls. And an unexpected reunion gives her an idea of how
    to do it. From there, grows a wildly ambitious plan to free all dustbloods, who live as prisoners to Arketta’s landmasters and debt slavery.


    When Clementine and the others return from Ferron, they become the heart of a vibrant group of fearless fighters, working to unite the various underclasses and convince them to join in the fight. Along the way, friendships will be forged, lives will be lost, and love will take root even in the harshest of circumstances, between the most unexpected of lovers.


    But will Arketta’s dustbloods finally come into power and freedom, or will the resistance just open them up to a new sort of danger?

  • Cazadora (Wolves of No World Book #2) – Romina Garber | RELEASE: AUG. 17th, 2021 |
    (YA Magic Realism ft. queer characters)

    In Cazadora, the follow-up to Lobizona, Romina Garber continues to weave Argentine folklore and real-world issues into a haunting, fantastical, and romantic story that will reunite readers with Manu and her friends as they continue to fight for a better future.

  • Both Sides NowPeyton Thomas  | RELEASE: AUG. 24, 2021 |
    (YA Contemporary ft. Trans MC)
    There’s only one thing standing between Finch Kelly and a full-blown case of high school senioritis: the National Speech & Debate Tournament. Taking home the gold would not only be the pinnacle of Finch’s debating career, but the perfect way to launch himself into his next chapter: college in Washington, D.C. and a history-making career as the first trans congressman. What could possibly go wrong?

    Well, for starters, Finch could develop a teeny tiny crush on his very attractive, very taken, and very gay debate partner, Jonah. Never mind that Finch has never considered whether he’s interested in more than just girls.


    And that dream of college in DC? Finch hasn’t exactly been accepted anywhere yet, let alone received the full-ride scholarship he’ll need to make this dream a reality.


    Worst of all, though, is this year’s topic for Nationals: transgender rights. If he wants to cinch the gold, and get into college, Finch might have to argue against his own humanity.


    People say there are two sides to every argument. But, as Finch is about to discover, some things–like who you are and who you love–are not up for debate.

Did I miss something? Feel free to share your most anticipated LGBTQ+ book releases in the comments!

 

One Last Stop Book Review

For cynical twenty-three-year-old August, moving to New York City is supposed to prove her right: that things like magic and cinematic love stories don’t exist, and the
only smart way to go through life is alone. She can’t imagine how waiting tables at a 24-hour pancake diner and moving in with too many weird roommates could possibly change that. And there’s certainly no chance of her subway commute being anything more than a daily trudge through boredom and electrical failures.

But then, there’s this gorgeous girl on the train.

Jane. Dazzling, charming, mysterious, impossible Jane. Jane with her rough edges and swoopy hair and soft smile, showing up in a leather jacket to save August’s day when she needed it most. August’s subway crush becomes the best part of her day, but pretty soon, she discovers there’s one big problem: Jane doesn’t just look like an old school punk rocker. She’s literally displaced in time from the 1970s, and August is going to have to use everything she tried to leave in her own past to help her. Maybe it’s time to start believing in some things, after all.

 

~

 

Casey McQuiston’s One Last Stop was my first sapphic read of June 2021 and it surely didn’t disappoint. McQuiston is the author of Red, White and Royal Blue, another highly esteemed queer novel that was an immediate hit, so of course when I heard about One Last Stop’s release, I had to read it. Especially with all the hype on Book Tok.


There are a lot of great things about the book, the fun,
magic-esque mysterious Jane, who’s from the 70s and stuck on the subway. August’s interesting background, and also being from Louisiana (yay for some home state rep!) and her interestingly difficult relationship with her mother. Niko, Myla, Wes and Isaiah who just really make you love all of them immediately off the bat at how distinctly human and real they all are. Honestly, it was a fun
read, despite me believing it was about 20K words too long, but that’s just a personal preference and shouldn’t take away from someone else’s experience reading it.


And on top of all that, there’s a lot of queer rep and some history
to go along with it.


Of course, I do judge sapphic romance books differently than
others that may feature different gender romantic dynamics because I am a lesbian, so there were a few things I wanted to see more of between August and Jane. I did love the characters individually, I think they had great scene interactions, I just wanted to feel the tension between them more. There were a
few sex scenes that would’ve been more impactful and enjoyable, in my opinion, had McQuiston focused more on the tension between the two beforehand. I do think McQuiston’s writing style is more along the lines of telling rather than
showing, and that’s totally okay, it’s just not my personal preference. I wanted more touches, more glances, more banter through dialogue.


I also think McQuiston could’ve done better when writing
about Jane’s fears of sexual and racial discrimination. Jane, who was a young, butch, Asian-American lesbian in the 70s, expresses her fear of how people will react or have reacted in the past to her, and there’s a comment August makes
claiming that “people aren’t like that anymore.”


In 2020 alone, we saw that people are, in fact, still like that, and it felt disingenuous to Augusts’ character and a bit insensitive.
There were a lot of great things about the story, and I enjoyed reading One Last Stop, but I don’t think all the different aspects in this story came together the way that I wished and expected.


Still, it was a good book that I’ll certainly recommend to people.


You can purchase the book here.

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Honey Girl Book Review

With her newly completed PhD in astronomy in hand, twenty-eight-year-old Grace Porter goes on a girls’ trip to Vegas to celebrate. She’s a straight A, work-through-the-summer certified high achiever. She is not the kind of person who goes to Vegas and gets drunkenly married to a woman whose name she doesn’t know…until she does exactly that.

This one moment of departure from her stern ex-military father’s plans for her life has Grace wondering why she doesn’t feel more fulfilled from completing her degree. Staggering under the weight of her parent’s expectations, a
struggling job market and feelings of burnout, Grace flees her home in Portland for a summer in New York with the wife she barely knows.

In New York, she’s able to ignore all the constant questions about her future plans and falls hard for her creative and beautiful wife, Yuki Yamamoto. But when reality comes crashing in, Grace must face what she’s been running from
all along—the fears that make us human, the family scars that need to heal and the longing for connection, especially when navigating the messiness of adulthood.


~


If I can say one thing about Honey Girl, Morgan Rogers’ debut novel, it’s that it’s different. It’s a book that fills a hole in the LGBTQ+ market, but also fills a hole in the black queer market
simultaneously. It’s a book about harsh truths that so many new adults face but is unique in its deliverance. This book is so much more than a lesbian romance novel, and even though I expected more bonding and connection between Yuki and Grace, there were other themes that made up for it. Then again, maybe the
distant connection that I got between Grace and Yuki was intentional by the author, considering they were practically strangers when they got hitched in Vegas.


What this book really is, to me, is a character-driven story
centered around Grace’s growth as a person who feels lost and lonely in the world around her. It’s a story about realizing your worth as a human, not based on the opinions and expectations of others, but your drive for happiness over a perfectly executed plan. It’s a story that lets us know, it’s okay not to be okay sometimes.


It touches on parental expectations and how that shapes and,
a lot of times, hurts the child, systemic racial issues in education and the professional workforce, mental illness, and other seriously important topics that too often get glossed over in fiction. This is one reason I’m glad the story didn’t revolve around the romantic plot, and Rogers writes it fantastically.


Different people will get different things out of this book, which is the beauty of it, because there are so many takeaways.


Not to mention the diverse characters, beautifully worded
themes and an absolutely stunning book cover. I think it was a fantastic debut novel, and I can’t wait to read more from Rogers in the future.


You can purchase the book here.

Written in the Stars Book Review

After a disastrous blind date, Darcy Lowell is desperate to
stop her well-meaning brother from playing matchmaker ever again. Love—and the inevitable heartbreak—is the last thing she wants. So she fibs and says her latest set up
was a success. Darcy doesn’t expect her lie to bite her in the ass.


Elle Jones, one of the astrologers behind the popular
Twitter account Oh My Stars, dreams of finding her soul mate. But she knows it is most assuredly not Darcy… a no-nonsense stick-in-the-mud, who is way too analytical, punctual, and skeptical for someone as free-spirited as Elle. When Darcy’s brother—and Elle’s new business partner—expresses how happy he is that they hit it off, Elle is baffled. Was Darcy on the same date? Because… awkward.


Darcy begs Elle to play along and she agrees to pretend they’re dating. But with a few conditions: Darcy must help Elle navigate her own overbearing family during the holidays and their arrangement expires on New Year’s Eve. The last thing they expect is to develop real feelings during a faux relationship. But maybe opposites can attract when true love is written in the stars?


~


Written in the Stars, by Alexandria Bellefleur, was the lesbian, adult, rom-com I didn’t know I needed. This was my first adult fiction read (after a span of YA) and as much as I love YA, I am, in fact, an adult, so I naturally found a lot of satisfaction in this light-hearted piece. Also, I identify heavily with Darcy, the loveable grump of the pairing.


With fake dating, adult humor, sexy character building, and relatable topics such as family acceptance (and not the
sexuality kind!), I found myself impressed with how quickly I read this book. It’s dense, and a good 384 pages, but I read it in about two days. I just couldn’t put it down. I loved the characters, I loved how Bellefleur wrote their angst and tension and lord those s e x s c e n e s? *fans self*


Definitely a book I would reserve for adult readers, so 18+.

The only thing that was a bit of a let down was the end make-up scene between Elle and Darcy. With how wonderfully Bellefleur wrote all the other scenes, I felt a bit unsatisfied with how Darcy “won Elle back over”. For a character like Darcy, I expected more. I wanted graveling, and yearning, and her confession of being an idiot and maybe even a heated kiss… But the book seemed to have ended suddenly. Too sudden for my liking.

Other than that, this is truly a great read, especially if you find you’re stuck in a reader’s slump. This book is sure to get you out of it!


You can purchase the book here.

Amazon Rolls Out Kindle Vella Program

Since starting my writing journey on Wattpad in the faraway year of 2012, I’ve watched the free-reading platform grow exponentially. To my knowledge, Wattpad has been an innovative platform for writers and writing opportunities for non-published authors for years. They started with the Futures program, that I fortunately got to be a part of, but it never quite made it out of the beta stage. It thrived, for what seemed to be a short time, and paid authors from advertisement revenue. This was Wattpad’s way of paying their most esteemed authors every quarter. And by no means was it livable income, but for someone like me – a college student working a job and running a band – the passive income helped.

Then Wattpad ended the Futures program as the Paid Stories program was launched, and other coin-based platforms such as LURE, Dreame, Kiss, and other coin-based story apps began to follow suit. The reason I mention Wattpad is because, I believe they should be credited for the snowballing effect we’re seeing in these reading platforms today.


Now, Amazon’s Kindle Vella Program aims to do the same thing. With their coin-based, serialized fiction, writers can capitalize off their readers with every episode posted, where they can access stories through the Kindle Vella Store on Amazon.com or the Kindle app.


The way this works is similar to every other serialized story platform I’ve seen:

The first three episodes will be free, which aims to hook readers and have them willing and ready to buy tokens to read more. It seems like the way Kindle and the authors will determine how many tokens are required to unlock the next chapter depends on the word count of thus chapter.


1 token for about every 100 words, and if you write like me, that total can increase significantly over time. I was writing around 5k-word chapters on Wattpad before I started my self-publishing journey. That’s an average of 50 tokens for every new episode.


And here are the coin bundles in which you can purchase:

Kindle Vella Example 3

Not too bad, right? Well, let’s get into the good stuff: the royalty rates and calculations for the authors.

Amazon says authors will earn 50% of what readers spend on tokens, and even provided a formula to calculate expected earnings:


(# of tokens to unlock episode) x (token bundle price / tokens in bundle – taxes and fees) x (50%) = Earnings per episode


Let’s break this down further, shall we? For example, let’s use the metric I provided early. 50,and the reader purchases the 525 tokens bundle ($4.99) which comes with 525tokens, and for fun, we’ll leave taxes and fees at zero, although we all know reality doesn’t work that way.

We all remember PEMDAS, right?

(50) x ($4.99 / 525 – 0) x (50%) = a whopping 0.237 cents per episode! And this isn’t even including taxes and fees, which will certainly lower the royalty rate per chapter.


Now, I don’t know about you, but sometimes I love crunching numbers. Let’s get even more generous. Let’s say readers are willing to pay for the highest token bundle available, but all the other metrics remain the same:

(50) x ($14.99 / 1700 – 0) x (50%) = 0.220 cents! The number went down, even though the reader is spending more money for more tokens.


I’m not saying it’s not a good idea, or that Amazon is taking complete advantage of its writers (It is, but what’s new?). I’m saying that, writers will make virtually pennies with this program.

Now, I’m not going to go into my educational background with the music industry, but we all know how streaming services literally pay tenths-of-a-penny per stream. It’s nothing. You can’t make a living with streaming alone.

Is this the future of the publishing industry? A dying industry’s dying breath to somehow justify paying its creators insubstantial cents in a world where content is nearly limitless? And besides, I don’t know about you, but when I read, I like to have the entire story in my hands. I don’t like waiting, because if I have to wait, I simply lose interest.

This is something I’ve learned from writing on Wattpad for years. People want consistency, they want it now, and they don’t want to wait a week for a new 5,000 words. I mean, tell me if I’m wrong, please, but this just seems counterproductive.

Or maybe, despite being only twenty-five, I’m becoming one of those old coots who scream “back in my day!” when industries attempt to keep up with the times.

Or maybe I’m a starving artist who, for once, just wants to see artists and authors and creators get paid what they’re worth for once, especially from a company worth $314.9 billion dollars.


Sources here.

Birthday Book Review

ERIC: There was the day we were born. There was the minute Morgan and I decided we were best friends for life. The years where we stuck by each other’s side―as Morgan’s mom died, as he moved across town, as I joined the football team, as my parents started fighting. But sometimes I worry that Morgan and I won’t be best friends forever. That there will be a day, a minute, a second, where it all falls apart and there’s no turning back the clock.

MORGAN: I know that every birthday should feel like a new beginning, but I’m trapped in this mixed-up body, in this wrong life, in Nowheresville, Tennessee, on repeat. With a dad who cares about his football team more than me, a mom I miss more
than anything, and a best friend who can never know my biggest secret. Maybe one day I’ll be ready to become the person I am inside. To become her. To tell the world. To tell Eric. But when?

Six years of birthdays reveal Eric and Morgan’s destiny as they
come together, drift apart, fall in love, and discover who they’re meant to be―and if they’re meant to be together. From the award-winning author of If I Was Your Girl, Meredith Russo, comes a heart-wrenching and universal story of identity, first love, and fate.

~


*T/W: Suicide*


Birthday by Meredith Russo was my first read of this year that features a transgender MC and, holy s**t, I’m so glad it was.  From the author of If I Was Your girl, Russo brings us another moving, raw piece of work that literally had me hooked from the very start.


Not only was this book a completely moving experience from
the first page, but being that it was written by a trans person for a YA audience… I don’t think there’s a better book to really grant insight on what it’s like for a trans person to come out and finally be able to become themselves, especially since the book’s setting is in a small town in Tennessee. It truly instills a deep empathy in its readers. And for the readers who have experienced growing up within the LGBTQ+ community in a small, conservative town, the ache of that trauma makes you really identify with Morgan and Eric.


Other than the hard truths of being trans, this book encapsulates so much more, like self-discovery, love, and the happiest ending, I think, possible for our MCs. I would recommend this book to those who enjoy realistic fiction and romance, but also to those who may find themselves lacking understanding of their trans brothers and sisters. Birthday  was a quick-paced read that I finished in a total of five hours because I simply could not put it down. Absolutely wonderful read.


You can purchase the book here.


Or on Amazon here.

Anticipated LGBTQ+ Book Releases(May 2021)

  • Meet Cute Diary by Emery Lee   (Trans Bi MC // Gay LI // Cuban Non-Binary Ace SC // Cuban Lesbian SC)
    People are calling Meet Cute Diary a Felix Ever After meets Becky Albertalli, where Noah, our Trans MC,
    runs a blog called, you guessed it,  The Meet Cute Diary, where he curates stories with happily-ever-after
    trans love stories, which blows up all over the globe. We have fake dating, we have trans teen love,
    and we have the wonderful lessons of life where our MC finds that unscripted love is the best type of love.
    Seriously, I can’t wait to read this book. ~RELEASE DATE: MAY 4th, 2021~
  • When You Get the Chance by Tom Ryan & Robin Stevenson   (Gay MC // Sapphic MC // Pan Non-Binary LI)
    Cousins on a road trip to Pride? Sign me up. Honestly, I’m the only LGBTQ+ member in my family, so I’m
    jealous of Mark and Talia, our MCs, but maybe this will fill that hole in my heart (or make me yearn to
    experience what they will in this book). ~RELEASE DATE: MAY 4th, 2021~


  • All Kinds of Other by James Sie    (Trans Gay MC // Gay MC)
    Here we have a coming-of-age, love story between two boys (one cis and one trans) where Jules is
    still figuring out what it means to be gay and Jack is reeling from a fall-out with his best friend and
    isn’t ready for everyone to know about it. Then a video linking Jack to a pair of popular trans
    vloggers is leaked to the school, the revelations thrust both boys into the spotlight they’d tried
    to avoid. They must decide whether to stay under the radar, or claim their space in the
    world —  together. ~RELEASE DATE: MAY 4th, 2021~


  • Indivisible by Daniel Aleman (Mexican-American mlm MC)
    A novel about a teen’s efforts to keep his family together as his parents face deportation.
    I already know this book is going to ruin me, but I’m really looking forward to reading this regardless.
    Mateo and his sister Sophia have been conditioned into fearing deportation their entire lives, and
    when Mateo returns from school one day to find his parents have been picked up by ICE, his deepest
    fears manifest to reality. He struggles to find out who he is and what he’s capable of while fearlessly
    protecting his parents and little sister. ~RELEASE DATE: MAY 4th, 2021~


  • Any Place But Here by Sarah Van Name   (F/F relationship)
    A contemporary coming of age story set at a picturesque Virginia boarding school.
    An all-too familiar story about being in love with your best friend, except June is ripped away from
    Jess and sent off to a boarding school, where she befriends other girls and meets a boy named

    Sam. I’m getting bisexual MC vibes from this summary, but can’t be 100% sure. Totally a letting-go-
    of-your-old-life-to-make-room-for-a-new vibes, which is always filled with enough heartbreaking
    lessons to go around. I can’t wait. ~RELEASE DATE: MAY 4th, 2021~

  • Cool for the Summer by Dahlia Adler   (Russian Jewish Bisexual MC)
    Honestly, you’ve got to love bisexual panic, which is exactly what Lara experiences when the girl she spent
    a wonder summer with shows up at her school as she’s on Chase’s arm (essentially, her dream man). An
    enrapturing story about self-discovery and what we need versus what we want. Not to mention the lesson
    of unconditional love and people who accept us for who we truly are. This book just screams with bi power.
    Not to mention that book cover. I mean, c’mon! ~RELEASE DATE: MAY 11th, 2021~


  • Stone Fruit by Lee Lai   (Queer Aunts MCs)
    Okay, I’m stupid hyped about this one. A graphic novel about queer aunties?! My gay heart. Bron and Ray,
    on their play dates with their niece, Nessie, find their emotional intimacy eroding, which leads them to
    attempt to mend their broken family ties with their sisters. This seems like a hugely anticipated novel
    that will touch on vulnerability in honest conversation with family who may or may not understand queer
    folks and how mending those broken ties can be emotionally draining, but strangely liberating. Now, take
    my money! ~RELEASE DATE: MAY 11th, 2021~


  • Some Girls Do by Jennifer Dugan   (Lesbian MC // Bisexual LI)
    In this YA contemporary queer romance from the author of Hot Dog Girl, an openly gay track star falls for
    a closeted, bisexual teen beauty queen with a penchant for fixing up old cars. This features a budding ship
    and the angst around one girl wanting to be out, and the other clinging desperately to the closet door.
    Honestly, need I say more? ~RELEASE DATE: MAY 18th, 2021~


  • It Goes Like This by Miel Moreland   (F/F Ship)
    A story about a queer group of friends that have a band?! Truly, 2021 is for the gays. Eva, Celeste, Gina,
    and Steph have been though a lot together, including the astronomical rise of Moonlight Overthrow, the
    world-famous queer pop band they formed in middle school. A sudden falling out leads to the dissolution
    of the teens’ band, their friendship, and Eva and Celeste’s starry-eyed romance, but a storm that wrecks
    their town brings them back together for one last show. ~RELEASE DATE: MAY 18th, 2021~


  • May the Best Man Win by ZR Ellor   (Trans Gay MC // M/M Ship)
    Jeremy Harkiss, cheer captain and student body president, won’t let coming out as a transgender boy
    ruin his senior year. Instead of bowing to the bigots and outdated school administration, Jeremy decides
    to make some noise―and how better than by challenging his all-star ex-boyfriend, Lukas for the title of
    Homecoming King? This book is gonna be filled with so much gay angst, I literally cannot wait for this one.
    ~RELEASE DATE: MAY 18th, 2021~


  • In the Ravenous Dark by A.M. Strickland   (Pan MC // Lesbian LIs // Ace Non-binary SC // M/F/F Polyamory)
    A pansexual, bloodmage reluctantly teams up with an undead spirit to start a rebellion among the living
    and the dead, in this dark YA fantasy…
    Although the age rating is from 15-18 years old, I’m definitely getting
    some more mature vibes outside YA. And although I don’t read a whole lot of fantasy, this is certainly
    intriguing, to say the least. A worldwide rebellion involving the mortal world and the underworld? Sounds
    like a truly thrilling ride. *buckles seat-belt* ~RELEASE DATE: MAY 18th, 2021~


  • Fence: Disarmed (Book 2 of Fence Series) by Sarah Rees Brennan   (M/M Ship)
    The second installment of the Fence Series drops in mid-may, and although I haven’t read the first, I can
    honestly say my interest in LGBTQ+ graphic novels is at an all-time high. The boys of Kings Row are off to
    a training camp in Europe! Underdog Nicholas can’t help but feel out of place, but a local legend helps the
    team find it within themselves to face superior fencers, ex-boyfriends, expulsion, and even Nicholas’s
    golden-boy, secret half-brother, the infamous Jesse Coste. Will Aiden and Harvard end up together, though?
    En garde! ~RELEASE DATE: MAY 18th, 2021~

  • Off the Record by Camryn Garrett   (Black Bisexual MC)
    *T/W sexual abuse, sexual harassment, sexual assault*
    From the author of Full Disclosure; The behind-the-scenes access of Almost Famous meets the searing
    revelations of #metoo in this story of a teen journalist who uncovers the scandal of the decade.
    This book
    was an instant add to my wish-list because I already know it’s going to infuriate and empower so many women
    by shedding light on sexual abuse and the ramifications women face for speaking out against their abusers.

    Our MC, Josie, is a seventeen-year-old journalist who finds herself brushing elbows with A-list celebrities when
    this story falls into her lap. She feels the need to expose the man responsible, but fears it will end her journalism
    career before it even has a chance to start. ~RELEASE DATE: MAY 18th, 2021~


  • After Francesco by Brain Malloy   (Gay MC)
    *T/W Death, AIDS pandemic, suicide*
    Return to New York City and Minneapolis in 1988, at the peak of the AIDS crisis. To be published on the
    40th anniversary of the disease’s first reported cases, this story is both a tribute to a generation lost
    to the pandemic as well as a powerful exploration of heartbreak, recovery, and how love can defy grief.
    Two years after his partner, Francesco, died, twenty-eight-year-old Kevin Doyle is dusting off his one good
    suit jacket for yet another funeral, yet another loss in their close-knit group. Some people might insist that
    Francesco is in a better place now, but Kevin definitely isn’t. He spends his days in a mind-numbing job and
    his evenings drunk in Francesco’s old apartment, surrounded by memories. Kevin struggles to keep going,
    and one night, he stops trying. When Kevin awakens in a hospital, he knows it’s time to move back home to Minnesota and figure out how to start living again—without Francesco. ~RELEASE DATE: MAY 25th, 2021~



  • How to Find a Princess (Book 2 of Runaway Royals Series) by Alyssa Cole   (Black Sapphic MCs)
    New York Times and USA Today bestseller Alyssa Cole’s second Runaway Royals novel is a queer Anastasia retelling, featuring a long-lost princess who finds love with the female investigator tasked with tracking her
    down.
    I already know this book is gonna be steamy as f**k just based on the cover. I mean, a sapphic
    princess and PI?! *swoons* I guess this means I need to invest in the first book before this one drops.
    ~RELEASE DATE: MAY 25th, 2021~

 

  • The Guncle by Steven Rowley   (Gay MC)
    Patrick, or Gay Uncle Patrick, has always loved his niece, Maisie, and nephew, Grant. That is, he loves
    spending time with them when they come out to Palm Springs for week-long visits, or when he heads
    home to Connecticut for the holidays. But when tragedy strikes and Maisie and Grant lose their mother
    and Patrick’s brother has a health crisis of his own, Patrick finds himself suddenly taking on the role of
    primary guardian, leaving him completely overwhelmed. This seems like such a bitter-sweet read about
    family and how queer people might approach parenthood differently than straight people. Also, the cover
    is absolutely adorable. ~RELEASE DATE: MAY 25th, 2021~


  • How to Become a Planet by Nicole Melleby  
    I wasn’t sure if I really wanted to include this book on my list because it doesn’t really showcase much
    LGBTQ+ MC/SC stuff because, well, it’s a children’s/adolescent book. The reason I did include it is
    because it talks about how social acceptance plays an important roll in mental health with our pre-teens.
    I think this book is going to start much-needed discussions about mental illness in pre-teens and how
    gender and social expectations mold and shape their minds into adulthood. ~RELEASE DATE: MAY 25th, 2021~


  • Not My Problem by Ciara Smyth   (Lesbian MC)
    Ciara Smyth is on a roll. Not even a year after publishing The Falling In Love Montage, her second book is
    set to hit shelves late May of this year. Aideen, our MC, has plenty of problems she can’t solve. But when she
    stumbles upon overachiever Meabh Kowalska having a meltdown, she sees one that she can actually fix.
    Meabh is desperate to escape her crushing pile of extracurriculars, so Aideen volunteers  to help—by
    pushing her down the stairs. Meabh’s sprained ankle is the perfect excuse to ditch her overwhelming
    schedule, but as classmates learn about their scheme, they start asking for Aideen’s “help”—kicking off
    a semester of traded favors, hijinks, and an unexpected chance at love. Yes, I am laughing as well. This
    book sounds like a trip. *pun intended* ~RELEASE DATE: MAY 25th, 2021~


  • Hani and Ishu’s Guide to Fake Dating by Adiba Jaigirdar   (Bangladeshi-Bengali Muslim Bi MC)
    Author of The Henna Wars, Jaigirdar is set to release another highly anticipated book featuring a Bi MC
    and sapphic love interest. Humaira “Hani” Khan is easy going and one of the most popular girls at school.
    But when she comes out to her friends as bisexual, they invalidate her identity, saying she can’t be bi if
    she’s only dated guys. More bi-panic occurs and Hani blurts out that she’s in a relationship…with a girl
    her friends absolutely hate—Ishita “Ishu” Dey. Ishu is the complete opposite of Hani. She’s an overachiever
    who hopes that becoming head girl will set her on the right track for college. Ishita agrees to help Hani,
    if Hani will help her become more popular so that she stands a chance of being elected head girl.
    ~RELEASE DATE: MAY 25th, 2021~



  • Coming Home (Book 2 of Cherrington Series)  by Rebecca J. Caffery   (Gay MC // Pan MC)
    This year, Logan’s in charge. Of the dormitory, of his future, and over his unresolved feelings towards
    Isaac. He holds the cards to stop his final year of high school going the way eleventh grade did. He has
    no desire for it to suck. Meanwhile, Isaac’s trying to get to grips with a new university, new friends, and his sexuality. All he wants is to succeed, make his parents proud, and fix all of the problems he caused last
    year. Not exactly light work. But, when a homophobic sports team, Noah’s brother, all the heartbreak of
    eleventh grade, and four-hundred miles stands in both of their ways, will either of them achieve what
    they want this time round? ~RELEASE DATE: MAY 25th, 2021~

You Should See Me in a Crown Book Review

Liz Lighty has always believed she’s too black, too poor, too awkward to shine in her small, rich, prom-obsessed midwestern town. But it’s okay — Liz has a plan that will get her out of Campbell, Indiana, forever: attend the uber-elite Pennington College, play in their world-famous orchestra, and become a doctor.

But when the financial aid she was counting on unexpectedly falls through, Liz’s plans come crashing down . . . until she’s reminded of her school’s scholarship for prom king and queen. There’s nothing Liz wants to do less than endure a gauntlet of social media trolls, catty competitors, and humiliating public events, but despite her devastating fear of the spotlight she’s willing to do whatever it takes to get to Pennington.

The only thing that makes it halfway bearable is the new girl in school, Mack. She’s smart, funny, and just as much of an outsider as Liz. But Mack is also in the running for queen. Will falling for the competition keep Liz from her dreams . . . or make them come true?

~


You Should See Me in a Crown, written by Leah Johnson,
was such a wonderful and easy read that I finished it in about two days. I simply couldn’t put it down. Liz Lighty, our wonderfully black, queer MC, is stepping out of her comfort zone and learning that she can take up as much space as she desires in her small, suburban town. YSSMIAC doesn’t revolve around Liz’s coming-to-terms with her sexuality, but instead revolves
around Liz and her aspirations of getting into her dream college, Pennington, and the obstacles she faces to get there.


While Liz’s sexuality isn’t the forefront of the story, it certainly
has enough gay content to satisfy that craving, especially with her love interest, Mack. Although I thought the relationship was a bit rushed, considering the story-line takes place over five weeks, it’s still a pretty accurate representation to teenage love, especially lesbian teenage love. Liz and Mack fall hard and fast for each other, and it takes me back to my first crush and
all those overwhelmingly wonderful feelings I experienced as a teen.


Liz, who is running for prom queen to win scholarship money,
navigates the social hierarchy of high school and struggles to find her footing at first. YSSMIAC touches on class and wealth privilege that is exhibited in Campbell High’s prom court process, that not-so-shockingly benefits the already privileged, forcing people like our MC to work twice as hard to get
to the top.


I enjoyed Johnson’s debut novel, and look froward to her second, Rise to the Sun, coming out in July of 2021.


You can purchase You Should See Me in a Crown novel here or from AMAZON here.


And pre-order Rise to the Sun here.

How to be Remy Cameron Book Review

Everyone on campus knows Remy Cameron. He’s the out-and-proud, super-likable guy who friends, faculty, and fellow students alike admire for his cheerful confidence. The only person who isn’t entirely sure about Remy Cameron is Remy himself. Under pressure to write an A+ essay defining who he is and who he wants to be, Remy embarks on an emotional journey toward reconciling the outward labels people attach to him with the real Remy Cameron within.

From the author of the bestselling novel Running With Lions, a story about overcoming the labels that try to define our lives

~


How to be Remy Cameron, written by Julian Winters, was my second read of February 2021 and let me tell you, it was so damn cute and heartwarming with just the right amount of angst to propel the plot forward. Winters’ second novel focuses on Remy, a young, black, gay, adopted teen living in the suburbs outside of Atlanta, Georgia who struggles with an AP Lit Essay of Doom about who he is and who he wants to become. He’s desperate to ace the assignment in hopes to get into his
dream college once he graduates, despite only being a junior, and as most high schoolers do, makes a mountain out of a mole hill. This inevitably sends Remy on a journey of self-discovery about the labels people give him and who he really is.


Something I must commend Winters for is the development of
his characters in this book. I haven’t read his first novel, Running With Lions, although I definitely plan to, but the characters in How to be Remy Cameron are just *chefs kiss*. I love them so much. Every. Single. One. Of. Them. Except for Ford and Liam. It’s just that, every character in this book is so distinct and unique in their own way, whether it’s their quirks or their talents or their sarcastic humor. As a writer, I can tell how dear these
characters are to Winters, and he wrote them fabulously.


And of course, Remy’s love interest throughout the book, Ian
*immediate heart eyes*. Honestly, the cutest slow burn romance ever, but once it takes off, there’s no turning back. Ian and Remy’s relationship throughout the book just makes my heart smile. It’s just so gay and so wholesome.


Speaking of wholesome, the amount of lovely interactions and progressive representation makes this book stand out from the
crowd to me. Not to mention that beautiful book cover! Winters does a fantastic job incorporating lessons in a digestible way for young adults who will pick up and read this book. Awesome novel. I’m so glad I had the privilege to read it, and I can’t wait to read more from him.


You can purchase his novel here.


The Stars and the Blackness Between Them Book Review

“Told in two distinct and irresistible voices, Junauda Petrus’s bold and lyrical debut is the story of two black girls from very different backgrounds finding love and happiness in a world that seems determined to deny them both.”

Port of Spain, Trinidad. Sixteen-year-old Audre is despondent, having just found out she’s going to be sent to live in America with her father because her strictly religious mother caught her with her secret girlfriend, the pastor’s daughter. Audre’s grandmother Queenie (a former dancer who drives a white convertible Cadillac and who has a few secrets of her own) tries to reassure her granddaughter that she won’t lose her roots, not even in some place called Minneapolis. “America have dey spirits too, believe me,” she tells Audre.

Minneapolis, USA. Sixteen-year-old Mabel is lying on her bed, staring at the ceiling and trying to figure out why she feels the way she feels–about her ex Terrell, about her girl Jada and that moment they had in the woods, and about the vague feeling
of illness that’s plagued her all summer. Mabel’s reverie is cut short when her father announces that his best friend and his
just-arrived-from-Trinidad daughter are coming for dinner.

Mabel quickly falls hard for Audre and is determined to take care of her as she tries to navigate an American high school. But their romance takes a turn when test results reveal exactly why Mabel has been feeling low-key sick all summer and suddenly it’s Audre who is caring for Mabel as she faces a deeply uncertain future.

Junauda Petrus’s debut brilliantly captures the distinctly lush and lyrical voices of Mabel and Audre as they conjure a love that is stronger than hatred, prison, and death and as vast as the blackness between the stars.


~


The Stars and the Blackness Between Them, had me laughing, smiling, and crying the entire way through. This book is certainly a lot denser than other Young Adult novels I’ve read, but Petrus does so to immerse you in the world of Audre and Mabel. With so many layers, it’s hard to know where to start for this review, especially without giving any spoilers


At first, I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to complete this book in the allotted time, but as I continued reading, I found I couldn’t stop. This book showcases so many different ways of life, beliefs, hardships, types of love… God, I could go on forever about it. It will definitely be a book I revisit in the future.


The book opens with Audre, who is living in Trinidad when we
meet her and is grieving being shipped off to the States because her mother caught her being romantically involved with another girl from their church. This obviously sends Audre into a depressive spiral because she’s ripped away from her family and the first girl she’s ever loved. As someone who experienced
something similar in my adolescent years with my first girlfriend, Audre’s pain pulls at old wounds.


When the old friends meet in Minneapolis at Mabel’s house,
the chemistry between them is there. Of course, both girls are going through their own type of heartbreak or sexual discovery, so their flame is a slow burn. The relationship between Mabel and Audre is the sweetest, realest, and most heartbreaking love once Mabel receives her medical diagnoses. There’s so
much lovely black queer love in this book, and it’s ridiculously sweet.


But as I said, there are so many layers that I could spend days talking about, like the spiritual experience it takes you on, the
activism, astrology, herbal healing, the pain of loss and the family we find in our queer communities. Not to mention a good bit of history and queer Whitney Houston. This is a novel that deserves a movie deal, honestly.


I see where Petrus is going with this book, why she wrote it,
and who she wrote it for. It deserves everything and then some. Also, the book includes a playlist of songs at the end (that I desperately wished I knew about beforehand) and discussion questions. A true masterpiece and adventure for anyone
who reads it.


You can purchase the book here.


Or through Amazon here.