Before this blog was a glimmer in a sadistic friend’s eye (you know, the one who said “you should write a book blog…” Not going to lie, I kind of hate him right now…) Anyway, before that, there was another project, one that was freaking awesome. I called it my Pride Project, wherein, I only read queerfic in the month of June.
It started quite by accident. The very buzz-y Red White and Royal Blue came in from a library hold right at the end of May, and I finished it on June 1, aka the first day of Pride. I read some amount of queer fiction throughout the year, but the timing on this seemed fortuitous, so I decided that I would only read queerfic for the entire month. In the end, I finished 23 books in June, and really enjoyed them all. But there were a few that stood out to me as being interesting or different or just really, really good.
And then today, as I was scanning Yuki’s list of possible Sunday Brunch topics, I saw this one—
Favorite LGBTQ+ reads?
So here you go—a full dozen of the best queerfic I’ve read.
Cynical August falls for a girl on the train, a girl who has been displaced in time for 40 years. Jane is vaguely aware of her circumstance, but thinks that she’s been on the train for months, not years. The writing is top-notch, the supporting characters quirky, and the relationship believable. And though I don’t quite understand the science involved in trying to, umm…unstick Jane from her life on the train, this is ultimately a light fantasy, so the science just needs to be enthusiastically embraced by the characters and it’s OK by me.
Him is the story of two boys who are best friends until a line gets crossed at hockey camp, causing them to become estranged. Years go by until they play each other in a college playoff. They turn up as coaches at the some hockey camp that summer, and…well…let’s just say that the romance genre is well-known or its happy ever afters.
The thing that I liked about this book was that there was zero angst about the ‘does this make me gay’ thing. They were just two guys who really dug each other, and this was treated with exactly the same gravitas as if they had been a straight couple.
The leads were adorable, and the story…eh, fantastical, sure, but endearing. And there was that promised HEA. Good read. Waiting patiently for the sequel.
Usually when I finish a book, there is at least a little bit of back and forth on the rating. I mean, I usually struggle for four, even five seconds before making my choice…and that choice is typically somewhere between 2 and 4. Almost every book that I read is somewhere between “meh” and “really good”. Few are outright horrible (I like to think that I vet better that the average bear) and fewer still are perfection.
This book…I couldn’t hit the fifth star fast enough.
The themes they tackled were bigger than the typcal romantic book. We examined the opiod crisis, adults with special needs, conversion therapy. The supporting cast was top-shelf, with a snarky fake-fiancée, a younger brother with Asperger’s, and more emotionally unavailable parents than you can shake a stick at. They earned that HEA, and there were legit times that I didn’t think we were going to get it, which made the last couple chapters feel like a real payoff. Can not recommend highly enough.
The Fallen Angel trilogy follows a very popular hard-rock band as they hire a new lead singer. Sparks quickly fly between the presumably-straight singer and the bad-boy lead guitarist.
I loved the chemistry between our two leads. Is the dialogue a little precious, a little awkward, a little over the top with the heart-eyes? Sure. I would have reigned that in a little were I in charge. But the world that the authors built, a world in which a 100% queer band (two gay, one bi, two poly) is the largest band in the world, a world that does not seem to care at all whom any of them go to bed with, is an intoxicating setting.
I have read the series two or three times through in the last two months. It’s a quick read, for sure, but I keep going back because I love spending time with these guys. They are good people.
This book is about as adorable as a golden retriever puppy, and almost as exuberant. This is the story of what happens when the son of the POTUS falls in love with one of the UK Princes, one that looks a lot like Harry, but a lot more, um, gay.
You will grin, and sigh and giggle your way through the story, which is a classic enemies to friends to more trope. But really well done. It feels current, with some of the best integration of social media that I’ve seen, and because of that, the relationship growth feels organic in a way that less-skilled writers don’t always pull off.
Declan hates commitment. He left his last boyfriend at the alter, and has worked the same temp job for years. He practically breaks out in hives at the thought of pemanent anything. Then he meets non-binary podcaster Sydney, who invites him to participate in a love study, where they will send him on dates with carefully-curated partners, and they will discuss the dates on the air.
Seems super simple until Declan catches feelings for Sydney.
What I loved the most about this book is what Publisher’s weekly called “the casual queerness of the cast and no-fuss treatment of Sidney’s nonbinary pronouns.” This book exists in a world where everyone is sort of incidentally queer, and that is a world that I look forward to living in.
What happens when POTUS falls for his Secret Service detail?
The thing that I liked about this series was that the espionage plot was well-developed and did not take a back seat to the romance. So often, any side plot is so under-developed that you kind of wish they hadn’t bothered. But here, this is a good story AND there’s one heck of a best friends to romance.
Linus is a caseworker for the super-bureaucratic Department in Charge of Magical Youth. As such, he is charged with maintaining the welfare of magically-inclined orphans. He is called to evaluate one such facility, which houses the more…unique children, one of whom happens to be the Antichrist.
The ways of the staff seem non-traditional, but over time, Linus falls in love with the kids, with the facility, and with its director.
This book has so much going for it. It’s warm, engaging, and kind. It features two 40-something leads, with nary a 6-pack in sight. The kids are hilarious, especially Lucifer (Lucy to his friends). It’s a quiet, gentle book that will stick with you long after you put it down.
Today’s question shamelessly stolen from Yuki Reads.
3 thoughts on “Sunday Brunch: LGBTQIA+ Reads”
Totally out of my wheelhouse, but your glowing recommendation and mention of all the non-typical themes it included got Someday, Someday on my TBR list. Well, most of a year later, it bubbled its way to the top and got read.
Now their hot and heavy stuff wasn’t why I was there for this book. But the damage of Max and Silas had from their pasts was palpable. Then the flashbacks and discussions of the conversion therapy was appropriately horrific. You weren’t kidding about how good it was, nor all the heavy themes it packed it.
Thanks for getting me to check out something so good, that I’d never have picked up in a million years otherwise.
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Jon…you are such an adventurous reader! I am so glad you loved it.