In an effort to build a space for queer people like myself, every Tuesday I’ll be posting interviews, opinion pieces, listicles, 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 spooky season here, there’s plenty to read this October. From a queer romance for fans of regency to witches with crushes, we’ve got you covered for the month of October with a list of LGBTQ+ books you should read.
A special shoutout goes to Netgalley, the premier source of getting books in advance if you’re looking to review books. All the summaries were sourced from Netgalley (and from Amazon) and we hope this helps get readers interested in these creative queer writers!
1. The Charm Offensive by Alison Cochrun
Summary: Dev Deshpande has always believed in fairy tales. So it’s no wonder then that he’s spent his career crafting them on the long-running reality dating show Ever After. As the most successful producer in the franchise’s history, Dev always scripts the perfect love story for his contestants, even as his own love life crashes and burns. But then the show casts disgraced tech wunderkind Charlie Winshaw as its star.
Charlie is far from the romantic Prince Charming Ever After expects. He doesn’t believe in true love, and only agreed to the show as a last-ditch effort to rehabilitate his image. In front of the cameras, he’s a stiff, anxious mess with no idea how to date twenty women on national television. Behind the scenes, he’s cold, awkward, and emotionally closed-off.
As Dev fights to get Charlie to connect with the contestants on a whirlwind, worldwide tour, they begin to open up to each other, and Charlie realizes he has better chemistry with Dev than with any of his female co-stars. But even reality TV has a script, and in order to find to happily ever after, they’ll have to reconsider whose love story gets told.
2. Payback’s a Witch by Lana Harper
Summary: Emmy Harlow is a witch but not a very powerful one—in part because she hasn’t been home to the magical town of Thistle Grove in years. Her self-imposed exile has a lot to do with a complicated family history and a desire to forge her own way in the world, and only the very tiniest bit to do with Gareth Blackmoore, heir to the most powerful magical family in town and casual breaker of hearts and destroyer of dreams.
But when a spellcasting tournament that her family serves as arbiters for approaches, it turns out the pull of tradition (or the truly impressive parental guilt trip that comes with it) is strong enough to bring Emmy back. She’s determined to do her familial duty; spend some quality time with her best friend, Linden Thorn; and get back to her real-life in Chicago.
On her first night home, Emmy runs into Talia Avramov—an all-around badass adept in the darker magical arts—who is fresh off a bad breakup . . . with Gareth Blackmoore. Talia had let herself be charmed, only to discover that Gareth was also seeing Linden—unbeknownst to either of them. And now she and Linden want revenge. Only one question stands: Is Emmy in?
But most concerning of all: Why can’t she stop thinking about the terrifyingly competent, devastatingly gorgeous, wickedly charming Talia Avramov?
3. Unwritten Rules by KD Casey
Summary: Zach Glasser has put up with a lot for the sport he loves. Endless days on the road, playing half-decent baseball in front of half-full stadiums and endless nights alone, pretending this is the life he’s always wanted.
The thing is, it could have been everything he ever wanted—if only he’d had the guts to tell his family, tell the club, that he was in love with his teammate Eugenio Morales. Well, ex-teammate now. When Zach wouldn’t—couldn’t—come out, Eugenio made the devastating choice to move on, demanding a trade away from Oakland. Away from Zach.
Three years and countless regrets later, Zach still can’t get Eugenio out of his head. Or his heart. And when they both get selected to play in the league’s All-Star Classic, those feelings and that chemistry come roaring back. Zach wants a second chance. Eugenio wants a relationship he doesn’t have to hide. Maybe it’s finally time they both get what they want.
4. Abbott: 1973 by Saladin Ahmed
Summary: Elena Abbott is one of Detroit’s toughest reporters—and after defeating the dark forces that murdered her husband, she’s focused on the most important election in the city’s history. But when someone uses dark magic to sabotage the campaign of the prospective first Black mayor of Detroit, it becomes clear to Abbott that the supernatural conspiracy in her city is even greater than she ever imagined. Now Abbott must exhaust all her abilities as a reporter and a supernatural savior to rescue Detroit—but at what cost to her own life? Miles Morales: Spider-Man mastermind & Eisner Award-winning writer Saladin Ahmed and acclaimed Machine Gun Wizards artist Sami Kivelä return to the Hugo Award-nominated world of Abbott, as the eponymous unstoppable reporter tackles a new corruption taking over Detroit in 1973 and the supernatural threat behind it. Collects Abbott: 1973 #1-5.
5. Aristotle and Dante Dive into the Waters of the World by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Summary: In Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, two boys in a border town fell in love. Now, they must discover what it means to stay in love and build a relationship in a world that seems to challenge their very existence.
Ari has spent all of high school burying who he really is, staying silent and invisible. He expected his senior year to be the same. But something in him cracked open when he fell in love with Dante, and he can’t go back. Suddenly he finds himself reaching out to new friends, standing up to bullies of all kinds, and making his voice heard. And, always, there is Dante, dreamy, witty Dante, who can get on Ari’s nerves and fill him with desire all at once.
The boys are determined to forge a path for themselves in a world that doesn’t understand them. But when Ari is faced with a shocking loss, he’ll have to fight like never before to create a life that is truthfully, joyfully his own.
6. Hard Drive by Shae Connor
Summary: Hi, my name’s Annie Clark, and I’ve managed to flip my quiet, nerdy, single life completely upside down. First, I recently figured out that I’m bisexual. Second, Eve Frederick, star softball player and my ultimate crush, asked me out on a date. Third, she rocked my world, and now I can’t stop thinking I want more… even though Eve is not into relationships. And to top it all off, someone took a private video of us and is threatening to make it public. It’s enough to make me want to go back to hiding out in my dorm room—but only if I can take Eve with me
7. Her Wolf in the Wild by Rien Gray
Summary: Christiana Arjean needs to get out. She tried to fix her relationship, but making a break for it is her only shot. She almost doesn’t make it, until a butch biker with a shock of white hair tosses Christiana on the back of her bike. Micah is as mysterious as she is attractive, and Christiana wants to know what’s under that tough exterior.
Micah Nubilo knows a little bit about keeping secrets. Rescuing Christiana is a bad idea, and letting her hang around is even worse. But there’s something calling to Micah: an impossible bond no werewolf should ever feel for a human, even one as beautiful as Christiana.
Their growing intimacy is threatened when they realize their pasts are connected in ways they never could have imagined. Christiana and Micah must fight against threats both outside the pack and inside themselves for a chance at putting it all behind them and finding a way forward—together.
8. This Is Our Rainbow by Katherine Locke and Nicole Melleby
Summary: A boyband fandom becomes a conduit to coming out. A former bully becomes a first-kiss prospect. One nonbinary kid searches for an inclusive athletic community after quitting gymnastics. Another nonbinary kid, who happens to be a pirate, makes a wish that comes true–but not how they thought it would. A tween girl navigates a crush on her friend’s mom. A young witch turns herself into a puppy to win over a new neighbor. A trans girl empowers her online bestie to come out.
From wind-breathing dragons to first crushes, This Is Our Rainbow features story after story of joyful, proud LGBTQA+ representation. You will fall in love with this insightful, poignant anthology of queer fantasy, historical, and contemporary stories from authors including: Eric Bell, Lisa Jenn Bigelow, Ashley Herring Blake, Lisa Bunker, Alex Gino, Justina Ireland, Shing Yin Khor, Katherine Locke, Mariama J. Lockington, Nicole Melleby, Marieke Nijkamp, Claribel A. Ortega, Mark Oshiro, Molly Knox Ostertag, Aisa Salazar, and AJ Sass.
9. The Perks of Loving a Wallflower by Erica Ridley
Summary: As a master of disguise, Thomasina Wynchester can be a polite young lady—or a bawdy old man. She’ll do whatever it takes to solve the cases her family takes on. But when Tommy’s beautiful new client turns out to be the highborn lady she’s secretly smitten with, more than her mission is at stake . . .
Bluestocking Miss Philippa York doesn’t believe in love. Her heart didn’t pitter-patter when she was betrothed to a duke, nor did it break when he married someone else. All Philippa desires is to decode a centuries-old manuscript to keep a modern-day villain from claiming credit for work that wasn’t his. She hates that she needs a man’s help to do it—so she’s delighted to discover the clever, charming baron at her side is in fact a woman. But as she and Tommy grow closer and the stakes of their discovery higher, more than just their hearts are at risk.
10. Meet Me in Madrid by Verity Lowell
Summary: Charlotte Hilaire has a love-hate relationship with her work as a museum courier. On the one hand, it takes her around the world. On the other, her plan to become a professor is veering dangerously off track. Yet once in a while, maybe every third trip or so, the job goes delightfully sideways…
When a blizzard strands Charlotte in Spain for a few extra days and she’s left with glorious free time on her hands, the only question is: Dare she invite her grad school crush for an after-dinner drink on a snowy night?
Accomplished, take-no-prisoners art historian Adrianna Coates has built an enviable career since Charlotte saw her last. She’s brilliant. Sophisticated. Impressive as hell and strikingly beautiful. Hospitable, too, as she absolutely insists Charlotte spend the night on her pullout sofa as the storm rages on.
One night becomes three and three nights become a hot and adventurous long-distance relationship when Charlotte returns to the States. But when Adrianna plots her next career move just as Charlotte finally opens a door in academia, distance may not be the only thing that keeps them apart.
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.)