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 over, there’s still plenty to read this November. From a historical queer YA to the beginning of Christmas, we’ve got you covered for the month of November 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. Miss Claus by J.R. Hart
Summary: Kris Claus has spent her entire life preparing to become the next Santa Claus. After all, she’s Santa’s daughter, so she’s certain to be next in line for the title. She’s gotten the degrees, served as his assistant… nothing can stop her. Well, nothing except her lawyer ex, who is trying to sneak his way into the title by bringing up an archaic gender law that says women can’t be Santa.
Steeped in small-town politics and a rivalry for the ages, Kris won’t stop until she’s gotten what she’s fought for her whole life, but she won’t give up who she really is — a proud woman — to reach her dreams. When a letter from a transgender girl down South reminds her of herself as a child, Kris knows exactly what’s at stake, not just for her own dreams, but for the dreams of girls everywhere.
2. A Winter’s Earl by Annabelle Greene
Summary: Infamous poet Sherborne Clarke is a scholar, a lover—but not a father. When he finds a baby abandoned on the steps of his crumbling castle, he knows he must get her to London and an orphanage. It’s the perfect excuse to contact the one person he trusts…the man whose love he stills yearns for, and whose heart he broke years before.
Richard Ashbrook was groomed from birth to become the Earl of Portland, until Sherborne betrayed him, exposing his sexuality to the papers and forcing him into exile. But as much as he hates Sherborne, Richard has never managed to break their link or let his confusing sentiments concerning him subside. When he receives a missive implying that Sherborne’s life is at risk, he knows it is time to return home.
Richard undergoes the perilous journey from Sicily only to find the other man untouched. Furious, he agrees to transport the baby to London—whatever gets him out of Sherborne’s life once and for all. But when a snowstorm leaves them stranded, they’re forced to confront the past—and deal with the love between them that’s all too present.
3. The Reckless Kind by Carly Heath
Summary: It’s 1904 on an island just west of Norway, and Asta Hedstrom doesn’t want to marry her odious betrothed, Nils. But her mother believes she should be grateful for the possibility of any domestic future, given her single-sided deafness, unconventional appearance, and even stranger notions. Asta would rather spend her life performing in the village theater with her fellow outcasts: her best friend Gunnar Fuglestad and his secret boyfriend, wealthy Erlend Fournier.
But the situation takes a dire turn when Nils lashes out in jealousy—gravely injuring Gunnar. Shunning marriage for good, Asta moves with Gunnar and Erlend to their secluded cabin above town. With few ties left to their families, they have one shot at gaining enough kroner to secure their way of life: win the village’s annual horse race.
Despite Gunnar’s increasing misgivings, Asta and Erlend intend to prove this unheard-of arrangement will succeed. Asta trains as a blacksmith; Erlend cares for recovering Gunnar. But as race day approaches, the villagers’ hateful ignorance only grows stronger. With this year’s competition proving dangerous for the trio, Asta and Erlend soon find they face another equally deadly peril: the possibility of losing Gunnar, and their found family, forever.
4. My Name’s Yours, What’s Alaska? by Alaska Thunderfuck 5000
Summary: Before extraterrestrial Trash Queen Alaska Thunderfuck 5000 rocketed to superstardom on RuPaul’s Drag Race, Justin Andrew Honard was a small-town Pennsylvania boy searching for a stage. This dishy, visual memoir spills the tea on Alaska’s meteoric rise to fame, from her childhood makeovers of Mickey Mouse dolls all the way to her legendary Drag Race lip-syncs. With heartbreaking honesty, humor, and her signature drawl, she shares never-before-heard stories about the man behind the beat and sheds new light on the well-worn tales of her career, such as her time at Trannyshack and relationship with Sharon Needles. Intimate and alluring with exclusive photography throughout, this book is the ultimate backstage pass to the making of everyone’s favorite Glametron transplant.
5. A Convenient Arrangement by Aurora Rey; Jaime Clevenger
Summary: Jess Archer, digital journalist for the internet’s hottest lesbian media platform, has been assigned to research cuffing, from an up close and personal perspective. She’s not sure it’s really her thing, but the assignment gives her the chance to write something more substantial than her usual fluff pieces. All she needs now is a willing lesbian.
For Cody Dawson, signing up for Jess’s project is a no-brainer. She gets to date an interesting woman, enjoy her company, and not disrupt the tidy life she’s built for her son. Everything’s perfect until she starts falling for Jess. When she realizes she’s heart-deep in the feelings she’s agreed not to have, their convenient arrangement becomes anything but.
6. The Nobleman’s Guide to Scandal and Shipwrecks by Mackenzi Lee
Summary: Adrian Montague has a bright future. The sole heir to his father’s estate, he is an up and coming political writer and engaged to an activist who challenges and inspires him. But most young Lords aren’t battling the debilitating anxiety Adrian secretly lives with, or the growing fear that it might consume him and all he hopes to accomplish. In the wake of his mother’s unexpected death, Adrian is also concerned people will find out that he has the mental illness she struggled with for years.
When a newly found keepsake of hers—a piece of a broken spyglass—comes into Adrian’s possession, he’s thrust into the past and finds himself face to face with an older brother he never knew he had. Henry “Monty” Montague has been living quietly in London for years, and his sudden appearance sends Adrian on a quest to unravel family secrets that only the spyglass can answer.
In pursuit of answers about the relic, the brothers chart a course to locate their sister Felicity. But as they travel between the pirate courts of Rabat, Portuguese islands, the canals of Amsterdam, and into unknown Arctic waters, the Montague siblings are thrown into one final adventure as they face a ghostly legend that threatens their whole family.
7. Love, Accidentally by Jaime Clevenger; Aurora Rey
Summary: Sure, lesbians love to bring a U-Haul on the second date. But what happens when the U-Haul crashes?
For Amelia Stone, it’s a literal question as much as a figurative one. When plans to move in with her girlfriend go sideways, she’s left with more questions about their future than answers. It doesn’t help that she’s spending far more time with the paramedic who came to her rescue than the woman she’s supposed to be in love with.
When Finn Douglas responds to a routine traffic accident, the last thing she’s looking for is love. But something about Amelia pulls her in. The more time they spend together, the more it feels like Amelia might be The One. If only Amelia didn’t have her life all planned out with a woman who isn’t Finn.
8. Sweet Surprise by Jenny Frame
Summary: Flora Buchanan doesn’t think a relationship is an option. A variety of mental health issues—anxiety, OCD, and PTSD—make it seem impossible to find love. Instead, she seeks joy in the one thing that is safe and ordered: her sweetshop in Glasgow.
Mack Sharkey is ready to start a new life after being released from jail. As part of the infamous Sharkey family, she took care of business on the edge of the law for the once criminal, and now legitimate, empire. After being sentenced to jail time her cousin should have shared, she’s promised a quiet life running her dream barbershop.
Flora and Mack are bound together by a night that changed their lives two years before and never thought they’d ever see each other again. But when Mack opens up her barbershop right next to Flora’s sweetshop, their connection comes roaring back.
Content advisory: This book contains instances of violence against women.
9. A Queer Dharma by Jacoby Ballard
Summary: Jacoby Ballard provides an empowering and affirming guide to embodied healing through yoga and the dharma, grounded in the brilliance, resilience, and lived experiences of queer folks.
Part I deconstructs the ways mainstream yoga perpetuates queer- and transphobia and other systemic oppressions, exploring the intersections of yoga, capitalism, cultural appropriation, and sexual violence. Ballard also addresses the trauma–complex, vicarious, historical, and collective–perpetuated against queer communities. In response, he offers tools for self-compassion, tonglen, lovingkindness, and grounding, and helps readers explore questions like:
• What is trauma? How is it a product of injustice–and how can healing it create justice?
• The world won’t stop being homo- and transphobic, so how do I encounter that in a way that does the least harm?
• How do we love what is uniquely trans about us?
• What are affinity groups, and why do we need them?
In part II, Ballard offers a queer-centered, fully embodied, and equity-rooted practice with meditations, practices, and sequences for processing and healing from trauma individually and in community. He explains concepts like lovingkindness, letting go, compassion, joy, forgiveness, and equanimity through a queer lens, and pairs each with corresponding meditations, practices, and beautiful line drawings of queer bodies.
Enhanced with stories from Ballard’s personal practice and professional experience teaching yoga in schools, prisons, conferences, and his weekly Queer and Trans Yoga class, A Queer Dharma is a guidebook, reclamation, and unapologetically queer heart offering for true healing and transformation.
10. The Life Revamp by Kris Ripper
Summary: The hunt is beginning to wear him down…until he meets (slightly) famous fashion designer Diego. Everything sparks between them—the banter, the sex, the fiery eye contact across a crowded room.
There’s just one thing: Diego is already married and living his happily-ever-after, which luckily (or not) for Mason includes outside courtships.
But not quite in the way he’d always imagined. Mason thought he knew what would make him happy, but it turns out the traditional life he’d expected has some surprises in store.
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.)