Our Queerest Shelves

Let’s Make Banned Books Week Mean Something

It’s Banned Books Week, and I’ll get into my complicated feelings about that later in the newsletter. The TL;DR version, though, is please use this time to actively fight against book censorship — don’t just read banned books! That might be great for your reading life, but it doesn’t help the kids who have been denied access to them. Show up to school board meetings, vote in library and school board elections, contact your legislators, and throw your weight behind these life-saving books so that kids have the chance to read them when they need them!

One place you can help is by donating to EveryLibrary, which has been on the front lines of fighting censorship and supporting librarians.

Bookish Goods

a photo of a long sleeve that says I Support #FReadom

Official #FReadom Librarian Unisex Long Sleeve Tshirt by KeenBeeStudio

The FReadom Fighters are a group of Texas librarians fighting censorship. You can help support them with this official shirt!

New Releases

the cover of The Lost Century

The Lost Century by Larissa Lai (Queer Historical Fiction)

When Fox is a Thousand by Larissa Lai is one of my favorite books, so of course in my infinite reading wisdom, I somehow have never read another of her books. I’m going to have to fix that soon, though, because this looks fascinating. It follows Tobie, who is just learning the story of her grandmother during the Japanese invasion of Hong Kong in the 1940s. It promises to explore “queer Asian history, underground resistance, the violence of war, and the rise of modern China.”

the cover of Other Ever Afters

Other Ever Afters: New Queer Fairy Tales by Melanie Gillman (Queer Middle Grade Graphic Novel)

What a fantastic new releases day! Melanie Gillman is one of my favorite artists — just look at that detailed pencil crayon art! I just finished this collection and loved it. They do feel like timeless fairy tales, but they’re all queer and often about dismantling oppressive power structures. I highly recommend this for readers of any age!

The Old Place by Bobby Finger (Lesbian Fiction)

Less is Lost by Andrew Sean Greer (Gay Fiction)

the cover of Less is Lost

Constitution Check by Katherine McIntyre (F/F Romance)

Morgan Breaks a Vow by M. L. Sexton (F/F Romance)

The Unbalancing: A Birdverse Novel by R. B. Lemberg

No Gods for Drowning by Hailey Piper (F/F Fantasy)

The 99 Boyfriends of Micah Summers by Adam Sass (M/M YA Romance)

The Killing Code by Ellie Marney (Sapphic YA Historical Mystery)

rust in the root book cover

Rust in the Root by Justina Ireland (Sapphic YA Fantasy)

Eternally Yours edited by Patrice Caldwell (YA Fantasy Anthology, F/F Story Included)

Fraternity by Andy Mientus (90s Gay Paranormal YA)

You Only Live Once, David Bravo by Mark Oshiro (Queer Middle Grade Fantasy)

Doughnuts and Doom by Balazs Lorinczi (F/F Fantasy Graphic Novel)

Twelve Percent Dread by Emily McGovern (Queer/Nonbinary Graphic Novel)

Doughnuts and Doom cover

Look Again by Elizabeth A. Trembley (Queer Graphic Memoir)

The Black Period by Hafizah Augustus Geter (Queer Memoir)

Anti-Romance: Special Edition Vol. 1 by Shoko Hidaka (BL Manga)

Monotone Blue by Nagabe (BL Manga)

Togetherness by Wo Chan (Nonbinary Poetry)

For more new releases, check out our New Books newsletter!

Banned Books Week

It’s Banned Books Week, and I’m feeling conflicted about it, to be honest. “Celebrating” Banned Books Week has always felt strange, and now that book censorship (especially against LGBTQ and BIPOC books as well as sex education books) has hit unprecedented levels in the U.S., it feels even more out of touch. The ALA, which hosts Banned Books Week, has had a disappointing response to this crisis while still collecting unmarked funds through Banned Book Week. Meanwhile, many librarians have reported that they aren’t even answering the phone when contacted for support.

Here in Canada, we celebrate Freedom to Read Week instead (in February). But rebranding is not enough. It’s about recognizing that “read banned books” is not an adequate response to conservative propaganda pulling much-needed diverse books out of schools and public libraries, and it doesn’t protect librarians who are being called “groomers” or stop hate groups from harassing library workers.

So, I do want to highlight a couple of queer books that have been challenged and banned a lot in recent years, but please, don’t have your takeaway be just “read these books.” This requires an active response, including showing up to school board meetings and voting in school board and library board elections. Check out our Banned Books Week Action List for more.

book cover all boys aren't blue by george m. johnson

All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson

If you see Banned Books Week displays that are mostly made up of books like To Kill a Mockingbird or The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, they are missing the mark. The books getting targeted now are queer books, especially by authors of color, like this beautiful nonbinary YA memoir and the asexual and nonbinary graphic memoir Gender Queer.

the cover of Melissa by Alex Gino

Melissa by Alex Gino

Melissa, previously published as George, has the dubious honor of being frequently banned and challenged before 2021 made banning queer books cool again. (I apologize for the sarcasm and anger dripping off this newsletter; I just really hate queer books getting banned.) This is a sweet middle grade novel about a trans girl who wants to play Charlotte in the school’s production of Charlotte’s Web.

If there’s a topic you’d like queer books recommendations for, let me know on Twitter and it might be my next Riot Rec!

All the Links Fit to Click

The best queer comics, recommended by LGBTQ creators

2022 Is The Year Of The Bisexual Book

Banned in the USA Q&A: Kalynn Bayron calls challenges “clearly homophobic”

2022 queer books by Latinx authors and starring queer Latinx main characters!

10 Books To Add To Your TBR After Watching Prime Video’s “A League Of Their Own” and 8 Books A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN Fans Have to Read

That’s it for me this week! Until next time, you can find me at my sapphic book blog, the Lesbrary, as well as on Twitter @danikaellis. You can also hear me on All the Books or you can read my Book Riot posts.

Happy reading!

Our Queerest Shelves

Queer Books To Read for Hispanic Heritage Month!

Happy Hispanic Heritage Month! I’ve got a couple recommendations for you to add to your TBR this month, plus artwork from Cemetery Boys you can hang up in your reading nook.

From September 22-25, Pride and Less Prejudice is holding a virtual auction to raise money to donate LGBTQ-inclusive books to elementary schools in the U.S. and Canada. Mark your calendar!

Bookish Goods

a print of the two teen boys in Cemetery Boys embracing each other

Mi Querido scene from Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas | Illustration | Print by Peaches Obviously

This shop has art from a bunch of queer books, including The Song of Achilles, One Last Stop, and I Wish You All the Best. This one is a scene from Cemetery Boys! $16

New Releases

cover image for I'm the Girl

I’m the Girl by Courtney Summers (Sapphic YA Thriller)

From the author of Sadie and The Project, this is a highly-anticipated queer YA thriller about Georgia, who is trying to solve the murder of the 13-year-old girl whose body she discovered. Along the way, she’s pulled into a glittery world of excess unlike anything she’s ever experienced, and it soon becomes obvious that here, everyone is complicit. But exposing the truth will mean risking everything.

the cover of No Country for Eight-Spot Butterflies

No Country for Eight-Spot Butterflies: A Lyric Essay by Julian Aguon (Queer Essays)

This is a mix of essays, memoir, and poetry that explores environmental justice and Indigenous resistance, highlighting why the natural world is worth fighting for, from a queer climate activist based in Guam.

Junie by Chelene Knight (Sapphic Bisexual Historical Fiction)

We Won’t Be Here Tomorrow: And Other Stories by Margaret Killjoy (Queer SFF Short Stories)

the cover of Notorious Sorcerer

Notorious Sorcerer by Davinia Evans (M/M Fantasy)

The Unbalancing by R.B. Lemberg (Queer F/NB Fantasy)

Nona the Ninth (The Locked Tomb #3) by Tamsyn Muir (Sapphic SFF)

Death by Society by Sierra Elmore (Sapphic YA Contemporary)

Aces Wild: A Heist by Amanda DeWitt (Asexual YA Heist)

Silver Under Nightfall by Rin Chupeco (Queer, Polyamorous YA Vampires)

the cover of Silver Under Nightfall

Tragic by Dana Mele & Valentina Pinti (Sapphic YA Hamlet Graphic Retelling)

Love Nest, Vol. 1 by Yuu Minaduk (Yaoi Manga)

Your Emergency Contact Has Experienced an Emergency by Chen Chen (Queer Poetry)

Brother Sleep by Aldo Amparán (Queer Poetry)

Almanac of Useless Talents by Michael Chang (Queer Poetry)

Alive at the End of the World by Saeed Jones (Queer Poetry)

the cover of Before We Were Trans

Caught In The Act: A Memoir by Courtney Act aka Shane Jenek (Drag Memoir)

A Place Called Home: A Memoir by David Ambroz (Gay Memoir)

Refusing Compulsory Sexuality: A Black Asexual Lens on Our Sex-Obsessed Culture by Sherronda J. Brown (Asexual Essays)

Before We Were Trans: A New History of Gender by Kit Heyam (Trans Nonfiction)

For more new releases, check out our New Books newsletter!

Riot Recommendations

It’s Hispanic Heritage Month! (It runs September 15th through October 15th.) So, of course, it felt like a good time to highlight some queer Hispanic books. As with many intersectional identities, I find it easier to find YA that’s representative, but here is a litfic title and a memoir to add to your TBR this month! And if you haven’t read Carmen Maria Machado yet, get on that.


Cantoras by Carolina de Robertis

Cantoras follows a friend group of five queer women over several decades during the Urguayan dictatorship (1970s and 80s). Despite the danger they face being queer in this time period, they find community in each other, escaping every year to an isolated shack on the beach that they own together.

Hola Papi Cover

¡Hola Papi! by John Paul Brammer

Brammer’s advice column got its name from the opening line he kept getting from white guys on Grindr. In the book of the same name, he explores growing up as a queer Latino kid in a small town and how it eventually led to becoming “Chicano Carrie Bradshaw.”

As always, if there’s a topic you’d like queer books recommendations for, let me know on Twitter and it might be my next Riot Rec!

All the Links Fit to Click

The Right Is Banning LGBTQ+ Books, So We Made Our Own Queer Syllabus

8 Books A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN Fans Have to Read

Andrew Sean Greer on His New Novel, Less Is Lost

Before We Were Trans by Kit Heyam was reviewed at The New York Times

That’s it for me this week! Until next time, you can find me at my sapphic book blog, the Lesbrary, as well as on Twitter @danikaellis. You can also hear me on All the Books or you can read my Book Riot posts.

Happy reading!


Our Queerest Shelves

Witchy YA and THE HOLIDAY, But Gay

It’s September, and that means a lot of kids and college students are back to school! (And some of you went back in August, apparently? We don’t do that here in Canada.)

So today, let’s help some teachers and librarians get queer books on the shelves for students who need them. Here are a few Donors Choose projects that would appreciate you tossing them some money as well as social media shares:

Bookish Goods

a photo of someone wearing a shirt with a rainbow over a mountain and the text "It's always a beautiful day to say gay"

It’s Always a Beautiful Day To Say Gay by CosmicBabesClub

This is a particularly great shirt to wear in Florida, home of the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. $23+

New Releases

the cover of The Holiday Trap

The Holiday Trap by Roan Parrish (Gay and Lesbian Holiday Romance)

If you, like me, watch The Holiday every December and cry when Jude Law cries, do I have a book for you. Greta is tired of being seemingly the only lesbian in her small town in Maine. Truman, in Louisiana, is reeling from finding out his boyfriend has a secret life — complete with a marriage and a kid. They both want to get away. So they decide to swap places for the holiday break! But when they fall for people far from home, what happens when the holidays come to an end?

Cover of The Sunbearer Trials by Aiden Thomas

The Sunbearer Trials by Aiden Thomas (Trans Guy YA Fantasy)

Aiden Thomas has a huge fanbase from Cemetery Boys, so this is a highly anticipated release. Every ten years, the sunbearer trials pit ten of the best semidiós competitors against each other. At the end, one will be elevated, and one will be sacrificed. Teo is shocked to find himself (and his best friend) chosen, because no one considered him one of the best. Now he has to keep himself and his best friend alive — and did I mention his ex-boyfriend is also in the competition?

Sacrificio by Ernesto Mestre-Reed (Queer Fiction)

Destination Unknown by Bill Konigsberg (Queer Boys YA 80s Historical Fiction)

A Clash of Steel by C.B. Lee (F/F YA Treasure Island Remix) (Paperback Rerelease)

cover of Self-Made Boys: A Great Gatsby Remix (Remixed Classics, 5) by Anna-Marie McLemore; illustration of two young men, one white and blonde, one Latine with dark hair, dressed in 1920s outfits

Self-Made Boys: A Great Gatsby Remix by Anna-Marie McLemore (Trans Guy YA Retelling)

Funeral Girl by Emma K. Ohland (Queer YA Horror/Fantasy)

Moonflower by Kacen Callender (Nonbinary Middle Grade Contemporary)

A Costume for Charly by C.K Malone and Alejandra Barajas (Bigender Picture Book)

Coven by Jennifer Dugan and illustrated by Kit Seaton (Sapphic YA Graphic Novel)

Space Trash Vol. 1 by Jenn Woodall (Sapphic Sci-Fi Graphic Novel)

The Summer You Were There Vol. 1 by Yuama (Yuri Manga)

For more new releases, check out our New Books newsletter!

Riot Recommendations

Since Aiden Thomas has a new book, and I consider September/October prime witchy/horror/mystery reading time, I decided to make this week’s Riot Recs about Witchy YA! Of course, check out Cemetery Boys to read about a trans and queer brujo who accidentally brings the wrong spirit back while trying to solve a murder. We’ve all been there.

the cover of Labyrinth Lost

Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova

Alex comes from a family of brujas, but she has no desire to wield their power, which is linked to the dead. But when she tries to get rid of magical abilities, she instead sends her family to Los Lagos, a terrifying in-between world. Now she’s teamed up with a broody brujo and her bubbly best friend (hello, love triangle) to travel there herself and try to get them back.

The Witch King cover

The Witch King by H. E. Edgmon

Wyatt is on the run from the fae world since his powers caused a disaster. But his ex-fiance, Emyr, has tracked him down and now demands he keep up his side of the political union between witch and fae. Wyatt makes a desperate deal to escape, but perhaps marrying Emyr isn’t such a bad deal after all. (This has a trans guy main character.)

As always, if there’s a topic you’d like queer book recommendations for, let me know on Twitter and it might be my next Riot Rec!

All the Links Fit to Click

Teens Are Fighting Back Against LGBTQ Book Bans

Maia Kobabe was interviewed at Time about the attempt to restrict sales of eir memoir.

103 Queer and Feminist Books Coming Your Way Fall 2022

Get in Your Back-to-School Feelings With These 10 Queer YA Books

10 Queer Dark Academia Books

Chivalry Is Undead: The Sapphic Swordswomen of The Locked Tomb

Meet the Real-World Rude Lesbian Swordfighter Behind Gideon the Ninth

10 Asexual Icons In Comic Books

That’s it for me this week! Until next time, you can find me at my sapphic book blog, the Lesbrary, as well as on Twitter @danikaellis. You can also hear me on All the Books or you can read my Book Riot posts.

Happy reading!

Our Queerest Shelves

Queer Books From 2021 You Probably Missed

I regret to tell you I’ve fallen back into a reading slump since last time I wrote, but hope springs eternal! There are so many incredible (and so very queer) books on my TBR that I’m bound to get pulled in again soon. Some of them are in this very newsletter!

This week, I wanted to highlight the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, which provides legal aid to low income trans, intersex, and gender-nonconforming people of color in New York City. You can find out more about them on the SRLP website and you can help out using their donation page.

If you know of a queer charity/nonprofit you’d like to see highlighted on OQS, let me know!

Bookish Goods

a photo of a Sappho bust lamp

Sappho Bust Lamp by StaticGazeFollow

I’ve been admiring this Sappho bust lamp for about a year now, which means I should definitely buy it, right? It would really gay up the place. Etsy also offers Sappho bust planters and statues. $35

New Releases

the cover of Didn't Nobody Give a Shit What Happened to Carlotta

Didn’t Nobody Give a Shit What Happened to Carlotta by James Hannaham (Trans Woman Fiction)

After two traumatic decades of being held in a men’s prison, Carlotta, an Afro-Latina trans woman, is back in Brooklyn and trying to rebuild her life, including reconnecting with her son. This is a stream-of-consciousness story in the style of Ulysses where Brooklyn is as much the main character as Carlotta is.

cover of Dead Flip by Sara Farizan; 1980s movie poster-style image of several teens and arcade games under neon text

Dead Flip by Sara Farizan (Lesbian YA 90s Horror)

In 1987, Cori and Maz’s friend Sam disappeared. Five years later, the two have drifted apart: Maz is convinced Sam was pulled into a pinball machine, while Cori believes he’s dead. They’re thrown back together, though, when they find Sam standing outside his house like he never left — exactly like he never left. He’s still 12. Now they have to figure out what happened and keep him safe.

The Dreaming by Andre Bagoo (Gay Short Stories)

Real Bad Things by Kelly J. Ford (Queer Thriller)

A Taste of Gold and Iron by Alexandra Rowland (M/M Fantasy Romance)

cover of A Taste of Gold and Iron by Alexandra Rowland; illustration of two men with dark hair, one with a beard, wearing royal garments

A Love For Micah by Eskay Kabba (M/M Romance)

In the Event of Love by Courtney Kae (F/F Romance)

Harley Quinn: The Animated Series Vol. 1: The Eat. Bang! Kill. Tour by Tee Franklin and Max Sarin (F/F Superhero Comic)

Patisserie of Love Vol. 1 by Anna Hanamaki (Yaoi Manga)

Seaside Stranger Vol. 4: Harukaze no Étranger by Kii Kanna (Yaoi Manga)

PULSE Vol. 1 by Ratana Satis (Yuri Manga)

Diary of a Misfit: A Memoir and a Mystery by Casey Parks (Lesbian Memoir)

Don’t Look Away by Danielle Laidley (Trans Woman Memoir)

Feels Right: Black Queer Women and the Politics of Partying in Chicago by Kemi Adeyemi (Nonfiction)

For more new releases, check out our New Books newsletter!

Queer Books From 2021 You Probably Missed

Since I started book blogging, and especially since cohosting All the Books, I’ve been a front list reader: my TBR is dominated by books that aren’t even out yet, or have only just come out. So today, I’m taking a moment to talk about some books that came out a year ago almost exactly that I don’t see talked about a lot now, but are worth a second look.

In the Watchful City cover

In the Watchful City by S. Qiouyi Lu

This is a novella about a fantasy city protected by a living system called the Gleaming. One day, a stranger arrives in town with “curiosities” from elsewhere, and Anima, a part of the Gleaming, begins to see the world in a whole new way. The book also has several main characters who use neopronouns, including æ/ær.

the cover of The Ophelia Girls

The Ophelia Girls by Jane Healey

A bonus to waiting a year after the pub date: this is in paperback as of last month! From the author of The Animals at Lockwood Manor, Ophelia Girls is an unsettling story told in two time periods. In the 1970s, Ruth and her friends try to stage the painting of the drowning of Ophelia over and over — until the river takes one of them for good. Ruth returns to the estate as an adult with a teenage daughter, Maeve, who has recently recovered from cancer. Maeve feels misunderstood — except by Stuart, a childhood friend of Ruth’s. This is a story about a 40-year-old man grooming a 17-year-old, so do be prepared for that going in. (To be clear, the text portrays this as something disturbing; it doesn’t condone it.) Ruth is a lesbian, and there’s a gay side character.

As always, if there’s a topic you’d like queer books recommendations for, let me know on Twitter and it might be my next Riot Rec!

All the Links Fit to Click

Adiba Jaigirdar’s Hani and Ishu’s Guide to Fake Dating won the YA Book Prize!

The Unapologetic Dyke Camp Style of Tasmyn Muir’s Locked Tomb Series

That’s it for me this week! Until next time, you can find me at my sapphic book blog, the Lesbrary, as well as on Twitter @danikaellis. You can also hear me on All the Books or you can read my Book Riot posts.

Happy reading!

Our Queerest Shelves

Cryptid Romcoms and Queer Little Nightmares

Last weekend, I briefly surfaced from a years-long reading slump. I wanted to pick up a book instead of scrolling TikTok. I finished the middle grade book I was reading, read a novella from start to finish (We Had to Remove This Post, which was disturbing but thought-provoking), and then read a whole graphic novel. In the same day! On a whim!

I haven’t had a significant chunk of unscheduled time since then, so I’m crossing my fingers that it’s my new normal. Despite loving books, I am so easily led astray by the siren call of online videos. (And speaking of sirens, that’s a bit of foreshadowing for today’s Riot Recs!)

This week, I want to highlight the charity LGBT Books to Prisoners. You can donate either monetarily or with books. They’re especially looking for gay, bi, and trans books (they have an overflow of lesbian book at the moment). You can also purchase books off their Amazon wishlist.

Bookish Goods

a photo of someone wearing a white hoodie with the Heartstopper-style leaves across it

Heartstopper Leaves Hoodie by GiftUniversell

Find your fellow Heartstopper fans with this hoodie that has the iconic illustrations of leaves from the book and show. And for everyone else, it just seems like a cute seasonal sweatshirt for fall! This one goes up to 5x. $30+

New Releases

the cover of My Government Means to Kill Me

My Government Means to Kill Me by Rasheed Newson (Queer Historical Fiction)

This is a coming of age story about a young queer Black man in New York City in the 1980s, including volunteering at a home hospice for AIDS patients. It comes highly recommended by Andrew Sean Greer, the author of Less, among many others, and promises to be funny, sexy, and powerful.

this is why they hate us book cover

This Is Why They Hate Us by Aaron H. Aceves (Bisexual YA Contemporary)

Quique needs to get over his hopeless crush on Saleem, so he decides the best move is to pursue some fun flings with other people, which is only slightly complicated by the fact that he’s not out to anyone except his best friend. It turns out, though, that, as the back of the book puts it, “getting over one guy by getting under a bunch of others may not have been the best laid plan.”

Kissed by Her by Chelsea M. Cameron (F/F Romance)

Just a Touch Away by Jae (F/F Romance)

the cover of You & I, Rewritten, showing an illustration of two men holding books with papers flying around them

Call Me Enitan by L. Leigh (Sapphic Romance)

Like Real People Do by E.L. Massey (M/M Romance)

You & I, Rewritten by Chip Pons (M/M Romance)

A Flood of Blood to the Heart by Isis Molina (F/F Fantasy Short Stories)

Nine Stones Vol. 1 by Samuel Spano (M/M Graphic Novel)

The Insiders by Mark Oshiro (Queer Middle Grade Fiction) (Paperback Rerelease)

I’m Not Broken by Jesse Leon (Gay Memoir)

Gender Pioneers: A Celebration of Transgender, Non-binary and Intersex Icons by Philippa Punchard (Nonfiction)

For more new releases, check out our New Books newsletter!

Riot Recommendations

I asked you what you wanted to see in Riot Recs, and I got a request for queer cryptids/monster-hunting. It just so happens that I’m reading one right now, so that was easy. I also feel like cryptid stories are the perfect transition from summer to fall: there may be a sasquatch lurking in the woods while you’re camping, but they’re also unsettling enough to earn a spot on your horror/thriller reading season TBR. (Which is what fall is all about, right?)

Do you have any other queer cryptid books you recommend? Or do you have another topic/subgenre/trope/etc you’d like to see covered on OQS? Let me know on Twitter!

the cover of Patricia Wants to Cuddle

Patricia Wants to Cuddle by Samantha Allen

Imagine The Bachelor, but set on a remote island in the Pacific Northwest. Now add lesbians. Now add a sasquatch. And look at that cover! This one promises to be part romcom, part horror thriller. As a queer woman who lives in the Pacific Northwest and loves a weird book, I am prepared for this to be my new favorite read.

the cover of Queer Little Nightmares

Queer Little Nightmares: An Anthology of Monstrous Fiction and Poetry edited by David Ly and Daniel Zomparelli (October 4th)

Let’s take a minute to admire how these covers match. Queer Little Nightmares is out at the beginning of October, and it’s a collection of queer stories and poems about monsters, from werewolves to a Minotaur to a gentle kaiju. Arsenal Pulp Press is my favorite publisher, so I can’t wait to get my paws on this one.

All the Links Fit to Click

That’s it for me this week! Until next time, you can find me at my sapphic book blog, the Lesbrary, as well as on Twitter @danikaellis. You can also hear me on All the Books or you can read my Book Riot posts.

Happy reading!

Our Queerest Shelves

It’s Time to Get Quozy

I just got Patricia Wants to Cuddle by Samantha Allen in the mail, and it is burning a hole in my bookshelf. Lesbian sasquatch romcom/horror!! What could be better? But I’ll hold off long enough to finish this newsletter. That’s how much I care about you.

Given the shirt I’m featuring in today’s email, I thought I’d use this space to point you towards the Trans Justice Funding Project: a “community-led funding initiative supporting grassroots, trans justice groups run by and for trans people.” You can help support their work at their donation page.

Bookish Goods

a shirt reading Protect Trans Kids with a trans flag behind the text in an arc

Protect Trans Kids T-Shirt by MegEmikoArt

It’s just that simple. Also, 50% of the proceeds from the sales of this shirt go to the Trans Justice Funding Project! $29

New Releases

the feeling of falling in love book cover

The Feeling of Falling in Love by Mason Deaver (Trans Guy/Nonbinary Romance)

Neil needs a date for his brother’s wedding, and friends-with-benefits Josh seems like an obvious choice — until Josh confesses his love for Neil, which is unrequited. Awkward. So now he’s convinced his roommate Wyatt to join him. This is a romance between a trans guy and a nonbinary person, and it seems to have that classic grumpy one/sunshine one dynamic, so it’s a perfect fit if you enjoy a prickly main character.

the cover of Me and My Dysphoria Monster

Me & My Dysphoria Monster by Laura Kate Dale and Hui Qing Ang (Trans Girl Picture Book)

I’m so excited to see how much queer and trans kidlit has grown in recent years. This picture book has a trans girl main character who meets a trans man mentor who helps her deal with dysmorphia, imagining as a monster. I can only imagine how helpful this will be for trans kids who don’t yet have the words to describe their feelings of dysphoria.

Cherry on Top by Georgia Beers (F/F Romance)

Parallel Paradise by Mayapee Chowdhury (Bisexual F/F Romance)

Royal Exposé (Royal Generations #1) by Jenny Frame (F/F Royal Romance)

cover of The Honeys by Ryan La Sala; the word 'honeys' repeated all the way down the cover over paintings of flowers

The Inconvenient Heiress by Jane Walsh (F/F Regency Romance)

Summer Sons by Lee Mandelo (Queer Horror) (Paperback Rerelease)

The Oleander Sword (The Burning Kingdoms #2) by Tasha Suri (F/F Fantasy)

The Drowned Woods by Emily Lloyd-Jones (Bisexual F/M YA Fantasy)

The Honeys by Ryan La Sala Genderfluid (YA Horror)

Fence: Rise (Vol. 5) by C. S. Pacat (M/M YA Comics)

Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation: Mo Dao Zu Shi (Novel), Vol. 3 by Mo Xiang Tong Xiu and illustrated by Marina Privalova (M/M Light Novel)

Song of My Softening by Omotara James (Queer Poetry)

Antiman: A Hybrid Memoir by Rajiv Mohabir (Queer Memoir) (Paperback Rerelease)

For more new releases, check out our New Books newsletter!

Riot Recommendations

Last newsletter, I asked you to tell me what genre/subgenre/topic you’d like to see covered in Riot Recs, and cozy mystery was the top request! (Along with mystery more generally, and queer men rep more generally.) I’m still looking for more suggestions, so let me know on Twitter!

Unfortunately, while cozy mysteries are getting more diverse and “quozies” (queer cozy mysteries) are starting to make an appearance, they don’t seem to have overlapped yet: I couldn’t find any by authors of color. If you know of one, please let me know!

The Tita Rosie’s Kitchen series is by a queer Filipino author and has queer side characters, so that’s a good one to check out, too. (Fingers crossed that those characters get their own spin-off book!)

the cover of Renovated to Death

Renovated to Death by Frank Anthony Polito

A gay couple who host a home renovation reality show and solve crimes together? Yes, thank you. If you’re someone who loves to zone out in front of HGTV, this is the cozy mystery for you. Plus, it’s the beginning of a series, so there should be more soon!

cover image for Magic, Lies, and Deadly Pies

Magic, Lies, and Deadly Pies by Misha Popp

Daisy has a mobile bakery called Pies Before Guys. What could be more cozy than baking pies? And if those pies happen to also act as a magical method of revenge against men who’ve done terrible things, that’s just a happy bonus. When Daisy starts getting blackmailed, though, she’ll have to find out who is holding this secret over her — with enough time to win the state pie baking competition.

All the Links Fit to Click

23 New LGBTQ+ YA Novels To Chill With This Summer

Elana Dykewomon, Author Who Explored Lesbian Lives, Dies at 72

That’s it for me this week! Until next time, you can find me at my sapphic book blog, the Lesbrary, as well as on Twitter @danikaellis. You can also hear me on All the Books or you can read my Book Riot posts.

Happy reading!

Our Queerest Shelves

Sapphic Flappers and Other 1920s Queer Adventures

Our Queerest Shelves readers, I need your help! Every week, I am frozen with indecision at the prospect of having to pick just two queer books to highlight in the Riot Recommendations section, so I want to know: what kinds of books are you looking for? Happy trans stories? Bisexual dystopia? Gay cozy mysteries? Queer stories about monster hunting? Let me know on Twitter, and they just might pop up in the next send!

You don’t want to hear it and I don’t want to talk about it, but censorship against queer books continues — it’s even lead to a public library being defunded — and we’re expecting it to come back with a vengeance. The best way to oppose it is to show up to your local library board and school board meetings to let them know you support queer books. Second best is sending letters and emails or making calls to voice your support. But if you want to contribute financially, consider donating to EveryLibrary.

Bookish Goods

a photo of someone wearing a shirt that reads "Gorgeous, gorgeous gays read books"

Gorgeous Gorgeous Gays Read Books T-Shirt by JazzyDesignsEtsy

Find your fellow queer readers (and TikTokers) by wearing this shirt! $26+

New Releases

cover of The Women Could Fly by Megan Giddings

The Women Could Fly by Megan Giddings (Bisexual Dystopia)

From the author of Lakewood comes another queer dystopia. In this world, all women must marry by 30. Oh, and witches are real, and any woman who doesn’t fit the mold may find themselves on trial for suspicions of witchcraft. Josephine is 28, and is not particularly looking forward to marriage, so she decides to take an opportunity to honor a request in her mother’s will, who disappeared when she was younger.

the cover of High Times in the Low Parliament

High Times in the Low Parliament by Kelly Robson (Sapphic Fantasy)

This is being pitched as a “lighthearted romp through an 18th-century London featuring flirtatious scribes, irritable fairies, and the dangers of Parliament.” When Lana is swayed by a few kisses to deliver a message for another scribe, she finds herself banished to Low Parliament by an upset fairy, and now she’s tangled up in a vote that might decide the fate of humanity.

A Killing in Costumes by Zac Bissonnette (Lesbian and Gay Cozy Mystery)

The Bruising of Qilwa by Naseem Jamnia (Aro/Ace Nonbinary, All-Queer Cast Fantasy Novella)

the cover of The Bruising of Qilwa

New World: Made for Me by Lily X (F/F Sci-Fi Romance)

The City Beautiful by Aden Polydoros (Queer YA Historical Fantasy) (Paperback Rerelease)

These Fleeting Shadows by Kate Alice Marshall (Sapphic YA Horror)

Kevin Keller Celebration Omnibus (Gay Comics)

Ask the Brindled: Poems by No’u Revilla (Queer Poetry)

Queer Tattoo edited by Benjamin Wolbergs, Florian Rudolph, and Brody Polinsky (Queer Nonfiction)

Queering Mesoamerican Diasporas by Susy J. Zepeda (Queer Nonfiction)

For more new releases, check out our New Books newsletter!

Riot Recommendations

Today’s theme is 1920s sapphic historical fiction genre crossover books. There are a surprising amount of sapphic historical fiction book set in the 1920s, and I can never resist them. Flapper girls! These two aren’t even all the 1920s sapphic genre crossover titles: there’s also Wild and Wicked Things by Francesca May for fantasy and Last Call at the Nightingale by Katharine Schellman for mystery, to name just a few more.

Cover for The Chosen and the Beautiful by Nghi Vo

The Chosen and the Beautiful by Nghi Vo

What if, instead The Great Gatsby having intense queer subtext as well as subtext that Gatsby was Black, it simply had a queer woman of color as the main character — and some magic thrown in, just for fun? Enter, The Chosen and the Beautiful, starring Jordan, a bisexual Vietnamese adoptee. This is a gorgeous story that swept me away, and it doesn’t hurt that it has a complicated and very queer love triangle… quadrangle… pentagram? (With the deals with demons happening, that would make sense.)

Dead Dead Girls Book Cover

Dead Dead Girls by Nekesa Afia

Louise had enough adventure for a lifetime when she kidnapped as a teen. She has no intentions of getting herself involved investigating the string of murders of Black women outside of the café she works at. But then she’s blackmailed by the police into helping find the killer — though she might be putting herself and her girlfriend in danger while doing so.

All the Links Fit to Click

Elana Dykewomon, Acclaimed Lesbian Author, Dead at 72

Alice Oseman is selling million pounds worth of books each month

That’s it for me this week! Until next time, you can find me at my sapphic book blog, the Lesbrary, as well as on Twitter @danikaellis. You can also hear me on All the Books or you can read my Book Riot posts.

Happy reading!

Our Queerest Shelves

Sapphic Books to Read on a Rollercoaster

We are midway through a two week long heat wave here, and there’s been a steady cool breeze through my window today, so I’m wearing a hoodie for the first time in ages. It feels weird to have sleeves. And pants. But I’m excited to briefly not be reduced to laying down on the tile floor to try to keep a human temperature.

This is the last time I’ll be reminding you to apply for our Editorial Operations Associate position! If you love being the person who holds the clipboard, come work with us! Applications are open until August 8th.

This week, I want to spotlight The Okra Project. They offer “free, delicious, and nutritious meals to Black Trans people experiencing food insecurity.” You can help out at their donate page.

Bookish Goods

a photo of a read more queer books tote bag

Read More Queer Books Tote Bag by JazzyDesignsEtsy

Transport your beach reads with this Read More Queer Books tote bag! $9

New Releases

the book eaters cover

The Book Eaters by Sunyi Dean (Lesbian Fantasy)

Devon is a book eater who has run away from the controlling book eater network of families to protect her mind eater son. But that means finding him humans to feed on while she searches for some alternative. I just finished this one, and I loved it. In alternating chapters, we see Devon on the run, willing to sacrifice anything for her son, constantly going from one bad situation to another; and then we see her childhood and how she got to this point. I talk about it more in depth on this week’s All the Books episode.

the cover of The Devouring Wolf

The Devouring Wolf by Natalie C. Parker (Sapphic Middle Grade Fantasy)

This is a “queer tale about kid werewolves,” which is good enough for me. Also, that cover is perfect. It follows Riley and four other werewolf kids who don’t shift into wolves when they come of age, like they were supposed to. Now, they’re being chased by The Devouring Wolf, which is supposed to just be a campfire story. I can’t wait to get my paws on this one.

Dogs of Summer by Andrea Abreu, translated by Julia Sanches (Sapphic Fiction)

Radiant Fugitives by Nawaaz Ahmed (Lesbian Fiction) (Paperback Rerelease)

the cover of All This Could Be Different

Boulder by Eva Baltasar, translated by Julia Sanches (Lesbian Fiction)

All This Could Be Different by Sarah Thankam Mathews (Sapphic Fiction)

Don’t Make Me Do Something We’ll Both Regret: Stories by Tim Jones-Yelvington (Queer Short Stories)

Small Angels by Lauren Owen (Lesbian Gothic Fiction)

Mademoiselle Revolution by Zoe Sivak (Bisexual Historical Fiction)

the cover of Don't Make Me Do Something We'll Both Regret

Ben and Beatriz by Katalina Gamarra (Pansexual Much Ado About Nothing Reimagining)

Dirt Town by Hayley Scrivenor (Lesbian Mystery)

Heartstrings by Rachel Spangler (F/F Romance)

Set in Stone by Stela Brinzeanu (F/F Historical Romance)

Real Sugar is Hard to Find by Sim Kern (Queer SFF Short Stories)

cover of Dauntless by Elisa A. Bonnin; illustration of two young woman in sci-fi gear in a jungle

A Broken Blade (The Halfling Saga #1) by Melissa Blair (Sapphic Fantasy)

Unwieldy Creatures by Addie Tsai (Queer Frankenstein Retelling)

Fault Tolerance (Chilling Effect #3) by Valerie Valdes (Pansexual Sci Fi)

Dauntless by Elisa A. Bonnin (Sapphic YA Fantasy)

Slaughter at Seabridge by Cassidy Frost (Bisexual YA Horror)

Katerina Cruickshanks by Daniel Gray-Barnett (Nonbinary Picture Book)

the cover of Knocking Myself Up

Kind Like Marsha: Learning from LGBTQ+ Leaders by Sarah Prager and Cheryl Thuesday (LGBTQ Nonfiction Picture Book)

Bolero by Wyatt Kennedy & Luana Vecchio (Bisexual SFF Graphic Novel)

Knocking Myself Up: A Memoir of My (In)Fertility by Michelle Tea (Queer Memoir)

For more new releases, check out our New Books newsletter!

Riot Recommendations

Now that we’ve tipped into August, I’m determined to make the most of the rest of the summer, including some seasonal reads. One thing I can’t resist in the summer is queer books set at amusement parks: I loved the drama and fun of Hot Dog Girl by Jennifer Dugan, I can’t wait to get my hands on the graphic novel Lifetime Passes by Terry Blas and Claudia Aguirre, and there’s nothing quite like the premise of an M/M YA set at a country music theme park (A Little Bit Country by Brian D. Kennedy). For a version that lends itself to both summer and fall, there’s the Deadendia graphic novels, which take place at a haunted house (slash portal into hell) at an amusement park.

While this is a little subgenre, I can’t seem to find any by authors of color. I did some poking around, and it looks like about 70% of park attendees are white, but that’s still 30% who are people of color. Besides, publishers are notorious about pigeon holing authors of color into writing only about tragedy and racism. I would love to see some books on this theme published by authors of colors in the future, because this is such a fun, joyful little subgenre.

the cover of Almost Flying, showing girls on a rollercoaster

Almost Flying by Jake Maia Arlow

Dalia’s dad is getting remarried, and he insists that she needs to bond with her new stepsister, Alexa. Luckily, Alexa was already planning an amusement park trip, and Dalia has been desperate to ride a roller coaster for the first time. She invites along a new friend, Rani, and she soon discovers Alexa has brought a secret guest of her own: her girlfriend. As they explore the park together, Dalia realizes that she might also be interested in girls — specifically, Rani.

the cover of The Stars and the Blackness Between Them

The Stars and the Blackness Between Them by Junauda Petrus

Audre has just been kicked out of her home in Trinidad after being caught with her girlfriend. Now, she’s being sent to live with her estranged father in the U.S. When she gets there, she becomes friends with Mabel, who keeps getting sicker. This only has one scene set at an amusement park, but I promise you that includes a rollercoaster ride you won’t forget.

All the Links Fit to Click

Why Do the Gays Care So Much About Percy Jackson? (I find it odd this article doesn’t mention the upcoming (very queer) Nico book co-written by Mark Oshiro!)

Did Somebody Say Lesbian Sasquatch Horror-Comedy “Bachelor” Parody?

Paper Girls Takes Us On A Time Warp and Sets Up Destined Queerness and How the Paper Girls Show Is Different from the Comics

That’s it for me this week! Until next time, you can find me at my sapphic book blog, the Lesbrary, as well as on Twitter @danikaellis. You can also hear me on All the Books or you can read my Book Riot posts.

Happy reading!

Our Queerest Shelves

A violinist with a Faustian bargain and an alien donut shop owner walk into a book together…

Well, it’s heat wave time here, and I’m in the land of no air conditioning. I spent most of yesterday reading while submerged in a kiddie pool. I hope you’re all keeping cool!

Reminder: Book Riot is hiring an Editorial Operations Associate! If you are ready to wield the power of a clipboard, apply to join us!

This week, I wanted to highlight the charity True Colors United. Their mission is to “implement innovative solutions to youth homelessness that focus on the unique experiences of LGBTQ young people.” You can find out more about them at their website, and you can help at their donation page.

Bookish Goods

a sticker of a book with the text "lgbt books save lives" and the trans symbol

LGBT Books Save Lives 3″ Vinyl Sticker by CoyoteSnout

In a time where queer books are being banned and challenged at unprecedented rates, it’s worth having this reminder.

New Releases

Cover of A Strange and Stubborn Endurance by Foz Meadows

A Strange and Stubborn Endurance by Foz Meadows (M/M Fantasy)

Okay, sit down for this premise: it’s a marriage of convenience… but it’s between two men in a fantasy setting. You don’t usually see queer takes on a marriage of convenience, and I’m here for it.

When Vel is outed, he expects his life to fall apart, including his planned marriage to form a political alliance. Instead, the neighboring kingdom offers a different solution — that he marry his betrothed’s brother Cae instead. To make things more awkward, a faction is willing to stop at nothing to prevent this alliance, putting both their lives and their kingdoms in danger, so they’ll have to learn to work together.

the witchery book cover

The Witchery by by S. Isabelle (Sapphic YA Fantasy)

Look, I can’t resist a queer witch book, and this one is set at a coven boarding school. Things at Mesmortes are always high stakes, as Haunting Season brings an onslaught of Wolves that witches and humans have to fight back against, but this year is particularly difficult. Students are turning up dead in the halls of the academy, and the peace between humans and witches is at a breaking point. These four witches will have to develop their powers together in order to stop the Wolves — and maybe something even worse.

Seeing Strangers by Sebastian J. Plata (Gay Fiction)

Cover of Beating Heart Baby by Lio Min; pink with line illustration of person kissing another person's neck

Beating Heart Baby by Lio Min (M/M, Trans Guy Love Interest YA Contemporary)

The Valkyrie’s Daughter by Tiana Warner (Sapphic YA Fantasy)

A Tropical Fish Yearns for Snow, Vol. 9 by Makoto Hagino (Yuri Manga)

Yuri Espoir, Vol. 1 by Mai Naoi (Yuri Manga)

Yuri is My Job!, Vol. 9 by Miman (Yuri Manga)

How Do We Relationship?, Vol. 6 by Tamifull (Sapphic Manga)

For more new releases, check out our New Books newsletter!

Riot Recommendations

I was going to include these paperback releases out this week in the new releases section, but I didn’t want you to miss them. If you’ve been holding off on picking up these excellent books, now is the time!

Light from Uncommon Stars book cover

Light From Uncommon Stars by Ryka Aoki (Trans and Sapphic SFF)

I am still think about this book many months after finishing it. It’s about a violinist who sells her soul to the devil for success, but will get it back if she convinces seven other violinists to do the same. She just needs one more. Meanwhile, an alien refugee opens a donut shop after escaping from a hostile planet, but she fears violence will follow them here. And a trans teenager seems to find safety with a violinist intent on developing her talent. I find it so interesting that each of these main characters seems to be living in a different genre: fantasy, sci fi, and realism. This is also one of the most brutal books I’ve read — strong content warnings for transmisogyny, and I recommend looking up the full list of content warnings — while simultaneously being one of the most hopeful books I’ve read. Somehow, it pulls off this ambitious premise.

The Henna Wars by Adiba Jairgirdar

The Henna Wars by Adiba Jaigirdar (F/F YA Contemporary)

Nishat is a second generation Bangladeshi immigrant living in Ireland who has the perfect plan for her business class’s final project: she’ll start a henna business! She’s been learning from her grandmother for years, and this will be a great opportunity to hone her craft. There’s just one problem: someone else in the class has the same idea. When Nishat confronts Flávia about this being appropriative, Flávia, who is Black and Brazilian, brushes her off. Now they’re in competition, and Flávia has an advantage by being more popular and better at advertising. And then there’s an added complication…neither of them can deny the spark they share. I do want to give content warnings for homophobia: Nishat has a really rough experience. It still manages to be hopeful, though, and I really appreciate this novel’s discussion of cultural appropriation.

All the Links Fit to Click

Autostraddle posted 12 Books to Read to Be a Better Ally to Disabled People This Disability Pride Month

Drag Queens Are “Not Gonna Back Down” after Attacks on Story Hours

Michelle Tea on Queer Pregnancy and Writing a Memoir in Present Tense

That’s it for me this week! Until next time, you can find me at my sapphic book blog, the Lesbrary, as well as on Twitter @danikaellis. You can also hear me on All the Books or you can read my Book Riot posts.

Happy reading!

Our Queerest Shelves

Queer YA with Summertime Vibes

I don’t know about you, but this week has felt endless to me. I keep having to do things every day. It’s exhausting! I just want to channel the energy of a gay capybara reader (that will make sense in approximately four more seconds).

As a heat wave rolls across the UK, consider donating to nonprofits who are dedicated to helping houseless LGBTQ people. Hot weather is especially dangerous for unhoused people, and queer people are much more likely to be unhoused. Here is a list of some organizations who are helping.

Bookish Goods

a sticker showing a capybara reading by a stack of rainbow books with the text Be Gay, Read Books

Be Gay Read Books Capybara Vinyl Sticker by CTKRStudio

This is all I want to do with my life. I love the subtle Progress Pride Flag with the leaning books, too! $2+

New Releases

Don’t miss checking out our sponsor for another great queer book out this week!

cover of Can't Resist Her

Can’t Resist Her by Kianna Alexander (F/F Romance)

Summer has moved back to her hometown to take a teaching position, and she’s determined to save the high school her grandmother founded. Aiko is on the architectural team in charge of tearing down the high school. But despite both being firmly invested in opposite sides of this conflict, they also can’t forget the kiss they shared one fateful dance in senior year…

Tea Dragon Society box set cover

The Tea Dragon Society Box Set by K. O’Neill (Queer Middle Grade Fantasy Graphic Novels)

I cannot express how much I adore this inclusive middle grade fantasy series, full of queer characters, disabled characters, and characters of color. The artwork is gorgeous, and who can resist a tiny little tea dragon?? I bought an art print to hang up on my wall, and I’ll definitely be buying this set — even though I already own the first volume…

A quick note: even though I love O’Neill’s work and this series in particular, Oni Press has recently fired a lot of staff and seems to be a in a strange position right now, so keep an eye out for updates there.

The Work Wife by Alison B. Hart (Sapphic Fiction)

Briefly, A Delicious Life by Nell Stevens (Sapphic Historical Literary Fiction)

Young Men in Love cover

Vicious Creatures by Ashton Noone (Sapphic Thriller)

The Comedienne’s Guide to Pride by Hayli Thomson (Lesbian YA Contemporary)

The Language of Seabirds by Will Taylor (M/M Middle Grade Contemporary)

Young Men in Love: A Queer Romance Anthology edited by Joe Glass and Matt Miner (M/M Romance Comics Anthology)

The Last Session Vol. 1: Roll for Initiative by Jasmine Walls and Dozerdraws (Nonbinary, Queer Fantasy Graphic Novel)

I Think Our Son Is Gay, Vol. 3 by Okura (LGBTQ-Friendly Manga)

Whisper Me a Love Song ,Vol. 5 by Eku Takeshima (F/F Manga)

For more new releases, check out our New Books newsletter!

Queer YA Summer Reads

I’m a big fan of seasonal reading. In fact, I won’t pick up a horror book 11 months of the year, but I devour them in October. These queer YA books take place in the summer, so reading them in the sunshine adds a little bit of extra magic.

the cover of Kings of B'more

Kings of B’more by R. Eric Thomas

Harrison has big plans for him and his best friend, Linus, in the summer before junior year. But then he learns that Linus is moving out of state within a week. Inspired by Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Harrison decides to cram all of that summer fun into one ambitious day, including a mini road trip to attend their first Pride. This is a celebration of queer Black boy friendship, but it also discusses the racism and danger they face as young Black men.

cool for the summer book cover

Cool for the Summer by Dahlia Adler

From a plot inspired by Ferris Bueller to one inspired by Grease! This is told in two timelines. One is the intense and confusing summer Lara spent falling for Jasmine, which seems to exist in a vacuum, and then Lara’s life at school, where she finally looks to have a chance with her long-time crush, Chase. But just when things with Chase seem to be moving from daydream to reality, Jasmine walks through the doors as a new student at their school.

Sure, I may be a little bit biased because my name is in the acknowledgements of this book (!! That’s never happened before!!), but I would already have recommended it before I fell out of my chair reading that.

All the Links Fit to Click

That’s it for me this week! Until next time, you can find me at my sapphic book blog, the Lesbrary, as well as on Twitter @danikaellis. You can also hear me on All the Books or you can read my Book Riot posts.

Happy reading!