In an effort to build a space for queer people like myself, every Tuesday I’ll be posting interviews, opinion pieces, listicals, reviews, and more focused on the LGBT community (and occasionally about the Latinx/WOC community since I am Latinx.) Welcome to Queerly Not Straight! Enjoy and leave a comment below if you have a suggestion for what I should cover next.
With our one-year anniversary since the lockdown began, we need a little distraction in our lives. From stories that put found family front and center to romances that will sweep you off your feet, we’ve got you covered for the month of March with a list of LGBTQ+ books you should read.
Special shoutout goes to Netgalley, the premiere source of getting books in advance if you’re looking to review books. All the summary’s were sourced from Netgalley and we hope this helps get readers interested in these creative queer writers!
1. Luckmonkey by Alysia Constantine
Summary: By day, Luckmonkey is a struggling punk band playing in record stores and taco joints; by night, its members are anti-capitalist agitators, breaking into homes and businesses, each time stealing one possession and leaving something different in its place. Squatting in an abandoned building without electricity or heat, they scrounge a patched-together life as a raucous, mismatched family of queer, trans and first-gen social activists. But when one of them steals a wind-up monkey toy and brings it home, things begin to deteriorate into squabbles and bad decisions, until an arrest forces the group to weigh the hard work of political resistance against their individual needs for stability and safety.
2. Village Fool by Nathan Burgoine
Summary: Owen is only confident in two places: at work, supporting clients through IT woes, and when he’s sitting around a gaming table in the role of a smooth and charming bard. He’s never acted on the crush he’s had on his physiotherapist—and total cubcake—Toma. Even though they’re no longer patient and client, and his crush hasn’t dialed down in the slightest, Owen can’t figure out how to make a move.
When a friend decides to play a prank involving Owen’s contact list, Owen spends the morning of April Fools’ day inadvertently texting smooth and charming thoughts about Toma… to Toma himself.
By the time Owen discovers the prank, things are completely out of control. Discussions of thighs and awards for the World’s Best Chest have been handed out—not to mention they’ve set an accidental coffee date—and there’s no taking that sort of thing back. When this joke finally gets told, Owen’s convinced he’ll be the punchline, but with a little luck and some nudging from his friends, the last laugh might be the best of his life.
3. What a Tangled Web by Melissa Brayden
Summary: As winemaker at Tangle Valley Vineyard, Madison LeGrange relies on science and logic to make the best vintage possible. It’s also how she manages her life. But with her career in its prime, her accountant thinks it’s time she diversifies her income. Not a problem because her favorite café, the Bacon and Biscuit, is up for sale. What she didn’t plan on was the time she’d spend with Clementine, who has her feeling anything but logical.
Clementine Monroe loves her job managing the Bacon and Biscuit Café. In fact, after escaping a difficult past, it’s all she has. When Clementine is offered the opportunity to step out from behind the counter and buy the place, her longtime dream is about to come true. That is until it’s snatched out from under her by the very same girl she crushed on in high school. Old habits are hard to break, but Clementine has no plans to forgive Madison anytime soon.
4. Not Broken by Lyn Hemphill
Summary: Rose Pereira is drifting through life when she’s first introduced to Stare at the Sun, an up-and-coming indie band led by the puppy-eyed Harley. The energetic group pulls her in, and she finds herself living for the first time in ages. Especially when she meets a friend of the band, Max, a trans guy.
With his bizarre sense of humor, his gorgeous arms, and the way he talks about music, Max is a danger to her don’t-care attitude. He’s her best friend, in her corner no matter what, he makes her laugh, and he gets her. Even when she screws everything up, Max is on her side. Pregnant with Harley’s baby, she absolutely can’t be in love with Max. Rose is not in love. Because if you don’t fall in love, then you can’t get broken.
5. Your Body is Not an Apology Workbook by Sonya Renee Taylor
Summary: Readers of The Body Is Not an Apology have been clamoring for guidance on how to do the work of radical self-love. After crowdsourcing her community, Sonya Renee Taylor found her readers wanted more concrete ideas on how to apply this work in their everyday lives. Your Body Is Not an Apology Workbook is the action guide that gives them tools and structured frameworks they can begin using immediately to deepen their radical self-love journey–such as Taylor’s four pillars of practice, which help readers dismantle body shame and give them access to a lifestyle rooted in love. Taylor guides readers to move beyond theory and into doing and being radical self-love change agents in the world.
“In this book, you will be asked to draw, color, doodle, talk to friends, take risks, and perhaps step outside of what feels like your natural gifts and talents,” Taylor writes. “I encourage you to release the need to be ‘good’ at what you are doing and instead strive to be authentic. Perfection is the enemy of radical self-love because it is an impossible illusion. When the voice of perfectionism chimes in, take a deep breath, remember that the work is about the process, not about the product, and give yourself permission to be fabulously unapologetically imperfect.
6. The Split by Laura Kay
Summary: A brilliant, heart-warming and intensely funny story of love, heartache, friendship and family. Perfect for fans of Marian Keyes and Beth O’Leary.
Brutally dumped by her girlfriend, Ally is homeless, friendless and jobless… but at least she has Malcolm. Wounded and betrayed, Ally has made off with the one thing she thinks might soothe the pain: Emily’s cat. After a long train journey she arrives home to her dad in Sheffield, ready to fold herself up in her duvet and remain on the sofa for the foreseeable. Her dad has other ideas. A phone call later, and Ally is reunited with her first ever beard and friend of old, Jeremy. He too is broken-hearted and living at home again.
In an inspired effort to hold each other up, the pair decide to sign up for the local half marathon in a bid to impress their exes with their commitment and athleticism. Given neither of them can run, they enlist the support of athletic, not to mention beautiful, Jo. But will she have them running for the hills… or will their ridiculous plan pay off…?
7. Please Come Off-Book by Kevin Kantor
Summary: In Please Come Off-Book, Kevin Kantor crafts a raw and vulnerable confluence between two of their passions: acting and poetry, using their experiences as a trans non-binary theatre maker as an extended lens of exploration into gender identity, family dynamics, and growing up queer.
Kantor critiques the treatment of queer figures with an adroit blend of humor and earnest longing, imagining a braver and bolder future, one in which Hamlet is trans (obviously) and queer characters get to survive their own stories. Please Come Off-Book is both a heartfelt love letter and a scathing critique of the American theatre and the lenses we choose to see ourselves through.
8. First Team by Robbie MacNiven
Summary: Victor Borkowski – aka Anole – has adjusted well to life at Xavier’s Institute, gaining control over his reptilian mutant powers and the respect of his fellow students. However, when he discovers that his parents have been kidnapped by anti-mutant extremists, the Purifiers, Victor’s discipline and trust in the X-Men is strained to breaking point. Setting out alone in defiance of his instructors, he’s quickly in serious trouble. It isn’t just the fanatical Purifiers threatening his family, there’s a villainous scientist waiting to get hold of Victor himself. Maybe he can’t do this by himself after all…
9. Where There’s a Kilt, There’s a Way by Ella Stainton
Summary: Two years ago, Dr. Ainsley Graham proved the existence of ghosts and fell in love—hard to top that. But a trip to Sweden to research at a prestigious university for the summer is nothing to sneeze at, especially since his partner, psychologist Joachim Cockburn, will be teaching alongside him. A change of scenery might be just the thing.
Their idyllic trip to Sweden is interrupted by a ghost with a proclivity for rude hand gestures and graphic curse words—and a ghastly history begging to be investigated. Life among the living is complicated, too, by a gruff professor who can’t take his eyes off Ainsley, and an enticing new job offer for Joachim.
What starts as an adventurous trip abroad turns into mayhem, murder, and…a magical moose? And everyone—well, perhaps not the moose—is a suspect in the death of the ghostly young man who brings them together to expose secrets, loves lost, and a crime that will shock them all
10. Knit, Purl, a Baby and a Girl by Hettie Bell
Summary: Poppy Adams doesn’t have a perfect life, and she wasn’t ready for the positive test. An unexpected baby—Poppy’s unexpected baby—won’t exactly have her family doing cartwheels. But she’s making the right choice. Right?
Poppy’s totally got this. She just needs a little encouragement, and a knitting group is the perfect place to start. Baby blankets, booties, tiny little hats—small steps toward her new life. But she feels like she’s already dropped a stitch when she discovers the knitting group is led by the charismatic Rhiannon.
It’s not exactly a great time to meet the woman who might just be the love of her life. While the group easily shuffles around to make room for Poppy, it’s not so easy fitting her life and Rhiannon’s together. With the weeks counting down until her baby arrives, Poppy’s going to have to decide for herself what truly makes a family.
Queerly Not Straight posts every Tuesday with opinion pieces, listicals, reviews, and more focused on the LGBT community (and occasionally about the Latinx community since I am Latinx.)