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 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 Pride Month over and summer in full swing, there’s plenty to read this July. From writers who find love to disappearances full of magic and anger, we’ve got you covered for the month of July 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. What We Devour by Lindsey Miller
Summary: Lorena Adler has a secret—she holds the power of the banished gods, the Noble and the Vile, inside her. She has spent her entire life hiding from the world and her past. She’s content to spend her days as an undertaker in a small town, marry her best friend, Julian, and live an unfulfilling life so long as no one uncovers her true nature.
But when the notoriously bloodthirsty and equally Vile crown prince comes to arrest Julian’s father, he immediately recognizes Lorena for what she is. So she makes a deal—a fair trial for her betrothed’s father in exchange for her service to the crown.
The prince is desperate for her help. He’s spent years trying to repair the weakening Door that holds back the Vile and he’s losing the battle. As Lorena learns more about the Door and the horrifying price it takes to keep it closed, she’ll have to embrace both parts of herself to survive.
2. Bolla by Pajtim Statovci
Summary: April 1995. Arsim is a twenty-four-year-old, recently married student at the University of Pristina, in Kosovo, keeping his head down to gain a university degree in a time and place deeply hostile to Albanians. In a café he meets a young man named Miloš, a Serb. Before the day is out, everything has changed for both of them, and within a week two milestones erupt in Arsim’s married life: his wife announces her first pregnancy and he begins a life in secret.
After these fevered beginnings, Arsim and Miloš’s unlikely affair is derailed by the outbreak of war, which sends Arsim’s fledgling family abroad and timid Miloš spiraling down a dark path, as depicted through chaotic journal entries. Years later, deported back to Pristina after a spell in prison and now alone and hopeless, Arsim finds himself in a broken reality that makes him completely question his past. What happened to him, to them, exactly? How much can you endure, and forgive?
Entwined with their story is a re-created legend of a demonic serpent, Bolla; it’s an unearthly tale that gives Arsim and Miloš a language through which to reflect on what they once had. With luminous prose and a delicate eye, Pajtim Statovci delivers a relentless novel of desire, destruction, intimacy, and the different fronts of war.
3. Out of Character by Annabeth Albert
Summary: Milo Lionetti is not a gamer. Not even close. But when a stupid bet costs him his brother’s prized cards, he’ll do anything to replace them before anyone notices they’re gone. To do that, he’ll need a little help from the best gamer he knows…who also happens to hate him.
Jasper Quigley is known for moonlighting on a popular gaming blog, but he’s eager to stop playing the sidekick. The last thing he wants is to help out Milo and dredge up feelings he’d rather forget. But helping Milo comes with some perks, including getting his help running a cosplay event at the local children’s hospital. All that forced proximity was not supposed to come with kissing, and definitely not falling in love…
4. VIP by Jackie D
Summary: Audrey Knox has been America’s Sweetheart since she appeared in her first film at sixteen. Never one for a scandal, she’s lived a predictable and well-manicured life. With each movie more successful than the last, she has the world at her fingertips. An undeniable connection with bad girl superstar Harlow Thorne was never in her plan.
Harlow Thorne left her childhood trailer park with nothing but her guitar and twin brother. Those times are nothing but a distant memory now, and she’s consistently at the top of the pop music world. She has managed to keep her mother in her rearview mirror through all her success, but that all changes when her mother reappears with a family secret.
Together these two could conquer the world—but in a town where careers are made and broken by the press, the secrets and lies may be too much to overcome.
5. Unbridled by D. Jackson Leigh
Summary: After a hard-fought battle to take control of her personal and professional life, mystery writer Lauren Everhart’s star is finally rising. She vows never to give up control of anything in her life until she meets her niece’s sexy horseback-riding instructor and signs up for her own private lessons, and more.
Riding top horses on the show jumping circuit and igniting a woman’s desire are simply games of power, and Marsh Langston is a master player. Only this time, the flame she fans with Lauren Everhart burns too hot and so quickly it threatens to sear through Marsh’s impenetrable control.
6. Poison Pen by Jean Copeland
Summary: Kendra Blake is having her best year ever. At forty-five, she’s finally fulfilled her lifelong dream of writing a lesfic novel and is excitedly awaiting its publication. Alison Chatterley, a British au pair, aspires to stay in America and become a journalist. While neither woman has finding romance on their radar, when their paths cross, their chemistry and connection are instant, and they’re swept into a passionate relationship. But is it too much too soon?
Before long, the bloom falls off their rose when a nasty book review, Alison’s secrets, and baggage from Kendra’s past derail their promising future. Despite a career change taking Alison’s life in a new direction, she is determined to prove what they had is worth fighting for. But convincing a skeptic like Kendra will be harder than she thinks.
7. The Calyx Charm by May Peterson
Summary: Violetta Benedetti knows how to hide things. She spent years concealing herself behind the persona her father expected of her. Now she hides in the dark corners of Vermagna’s underworld, lying low to keep her father from using her magic in his unending quest for power. But her biggest secret is her love for her best friend, who only knew her as Mercurio Benedetti, not the woman she is today. Now he’s dead, and she’ll never be able to tell him the truth.
Tibario Gianbellicci was dead. And then…he wasn’t. Reborn as an immortal, he has powers he never imagined. Powers his crime boss mother wants to tap into to destroy their longtime rivals: House Benedetti. But Tibario is hiding something, too: his best friend is a Benedetti—and the love of his life. With a second chance at life, he’ll have to risk revealing his heart.
8. Flash Fire by TJ Klune
Summary: Through bravery, charm, and an alarming amount of enthusiasm, Nick landed himself the superhero boyfriend of his dreams. Now instead of just writing stories about him, Nick actually gets to kiss him. On the mouth. A lot. But having a superhero boyfriend isn’t everything Nick thought it would be—he’s still struggling to make peace with his own lack of extraordinary powers.
When new Extraordinaries begin arriving in Nova City—siblings who can manipulate smoke and ice, a mysterious hero who can move objects with their mind, and a drag queen superhero with the best name and the most-sequined costume anyone has ever had—it’s up to Nick and his friends Seth, Gibby, and Jazz to determine who is virtuous and who is villainous.
And new Extraordinaries aren’t the only things coming to light. Long-held secrets and neglected truths are surfacing that challenge everything Nick knows about justice, family, and being extraordinary. Which is a lot to handle when Nick really just wants to finish his self-insert bakery AU fanfic.
Will it all come together in the end or will it all go down in flames?
9. The Dangerous Kingdom of Love by Neil Blackmore
Summary: How have I, Francis Bacon, well-known as the cleverest man in England, been caught in this trap? For years I survived the brutal games of the English court, driven by the whims of the idiot King James I – and finally, I was winning. Forget what my friends Ben Jonson and William Shakespeare say about love. I had that which men truly crave above all else: power.
But now, at the moment of my greatest success, a deadly alliance of my enemies has begun closing in on me. Led by the King’s beautiful and poisonous lover Carr, this new alliance threatens to turn our foolish King against me, so that I may rot in the Tower.
I refuse to go down without a fight. I have concocted a brilliant new plan: I will find my own beguiling young man and supplant Carr in the King’s bed, and take power for myself. All I need to do is find him, my beautiful and mysterious creature, my perfect chess move.
In the dangerous kingdom of love, those who understand desire win. And I intend to win, at all costs.
10. The River Has Teeth by Erica Waters
Summary: Natasha’s sister is missing. Her car was found abandoned on the edge of a local nature preserve known as the Bend, but as the case goes cold, Natasha’s loss turns to burning anger. She’ll do anything to find answers.
Della’s family has channeled magic from the Bend for generations, providing spells for the desperate. But when Natasha appears on her doorstep, Della knows it will take more than simple potions to help her.
But Della has her own secrets to hide. Because Della thinks she knows the beast who’s responsible for the disappearance — her own mother, who was turned into a terrible monster by magic gone wrong.
Natasha is angry. Della has little to lose. They are each other’s only hope.
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.)