Shira Glassman Recommends F/F Sci Fi You Can Buy Outside of Amazon

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post full of links to f/f fantasy books I personally recommend, populated with buy links other than Amazon for any of you who don’t want to stop there or at least looking at cutting back on spending money there. I’d like to do another post like that, this time with some of my f/f science fiction recommendations. If you don’t see your favorite book on here, it might be that I haven’t personally read it, but it might also mean I couldn’t find a non-Amazon link for it. And happy endings only, of course. This is, after all, a Shira Glassman recs post!

First of all, you have to have anticipated that a post like this would start with a recommendation for Not Your Sidekick by CB Lee. This YA starring a bi Chinese/Vietnamese-American girl, written by same, kicks off a fun romp of a trilogy starring qpoc teen superheroes. The main character’s parents are superheroes, as is her older sister, but her powers haven’t kicked in yet. What if they never come? So in a fit of teenage pique she decides to start interning for the villain. Turns out things are a little more upside down than she anticipated. This is a good series for people who have been binging superhero fanfiction and people who want big happy queer friend groups instead of just romance.

Next, a wonderful, sweet piece about an outmoded android and a repair tech: The Cybernetic Tea Shop by Meredith Katz. The android woman still carries with her vast grief from missing her original human, and the path given to her by the plot is a metaphor for healing and vulnerability that really resonated with me.

You can read this one for free: “Né łe!” by Darcie Little Badger. Originally printed in Love Beyond Body, Space, and Time, a LGBTQ+ Native anthology, this is a romance between two Native women 1. in space 2. surrounded by 41 puppies. If that isn’t a heck of a selling point, I’m just going to go back to bed.

Ascension by Jacqueline Koyanagi is about disabled queer women in space fighting Big Pharma. The sci-fi plot takes you everywhere from space opera to multiverse theory, and the romantic plot resolves in several layers of overlapping polyamory. TW for some fridged family members, and for the description of how one of the women lost a limb.

Chameleon Moon by RoAnna Sylver takes us to Parole, a city the US government trapped under quarantine to control the population’s mutant powers. Evelyn Calliope is a trans woman with sonic powers, in a f/f/f triad with a woman with plant powers and a woman with mech powers (they also have a son, and, if I remember correctly, a robot dog?) Together with Anxious Lizard Man Regan and some other characters they try to find hope, water, and other resources in the dystopian mess. RoAnna’s writing is full of positivity and cheerleading.

Medic to the Hive Mind by Kayla Bashe coverWhat is a connection? What is trust? In Medic to the Hivemind, Kayla Bashe plays with some classic questions of both the romance and science fiction genres. A woman stranded in space is comforted by another woman over the Space Internet, without knowing much about her. Hard to describe without spoilers. Also, Jewish lead/author.

Amazingly, “f/f romance set in an arts school in outer space” is becoming its own subgenre somehow! First, I’ll recommend Sparks Fly by Llinos Cathryn Thomas, set in a dance school on a space colony, involving a kind of dancing that uses zero-gravity and floating pods. One of the heroines has been working at the school for years and thought she’d have the headmistress spot to herself eventually, but it turns out she has to share the top spot with an injured dance star taking some time to recover. It’s sort of rivals to friends to lovers, but more awkward than really rivals. Secondly, Flowers of Luna by Jennifer Linsky, starring a biracial Japanese girl written by same, takes place at fashion design college on the moon. A new student meets a cute girl who’s sort of sexually adventurous (she often goes out in public without underwear, for example.) This one has a very ‘New Adult’ feel as well as many details of the main character’s fashion career.

The Abyss Surrounds Us by Emily Skrutskie coverThe Abyss Surrounds Us by Emily Skrutskie is a futuristic dystopian adventure story in which a group of pirates, led by a vicious yet appealing woman captain, want control over a sea monster. The f/f is between a girl who’s been with the pirates for a while to support her family and the main character, who winds up with them initially against her will as part of their sea monster acquisition scheme. If teenage lesbians and a gigantic turtle are your jam, this is your book. TW for one of the pirate boys dying in a horrifying way. There’s a sequel I haven’t read yet. Side notes that this book is more likely to be in your local library without you having to request it than most of these others, and it also won’t out you to your parents or coworkers.

The Long Way To A Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers is a mostly feel-good, episodic series of related adventures with one of those “the spaceship’s crew is like a family” setups. The f/f romance is only one of the side plots but does involve the main character. This is a book that has a lot of wonderfully neat alien species including polyamorous reptilians that have giant cuddle parties. Warning that you may want to read some reviews because there’s a disability related side plot unrelated to the f/f that some people found hurtful (I actually prefer the sequel, but it doesn’t have any romance and is more of a spinoff involving two minor side characters in Long Way.)

Cinnamon Blade by Shira Glassman coverThose are my offerings today! If you want to check out my own writing, the closest I’ve gotten to science fiction are either the short story “Aviva and the Aliens” in Tales from Perach, about how the queen’s girlfriend outsmarts the aliens who kidnap her in hopes that her cooking will be better than their spaceship’s replicator, or my brand-new superhero romance Cinnamon Blade: Knife in Shining Armor, in which an ex-thief who’s now the hero’s sidekick decides to finally ask out the damsel in distress she’s rescued several times. Can they ever have a normal date or are there too many monsters of the week?

11 Literally Perfect Sapphic Novels

Here’s another one of my recent booktube videos, this time discussing the sapphic novels and short story collections that I’ve rated 5 stars!

Books mentioned:

Support the Lesbrary on Patreon to be entered in monthly queer book giveaways!

Mallory Lass Interviews Elle Spencer

Elle Spencer is finally living her dream job as a romance novelist. She is the author of the best-selling, Goldie-nominated Casting Lacey. Her next release is Unforgettable (Nov 2018) – a collection of two novellas that each start with one-night standsElle and her wife love to travel and split their time between Utah and California. When I caught up with Elle she was enjoying some quality time with her in-laws.

Q: What is something people would never guess about you?

I don’t swear nearly as much as my characters do. According to my sister, I’m not as funny as my characters are either. But she talks with her mouth full, and we all know you can’t trust someone who talks with her mouth full.

Q: You often post hilarious outtakes from your life on twitter. What is the funniest thing to happen to you recently?

When my wife puts her clothes on inside out. It happens more often than you would think, and it absolutely makes my day. One day, I’ll get a picture of it and post it on twitter.

Q: What was the last thing you watched on TV/What TV shows are you into?

We’re finally caught up on The 100 and Handmaid’s Tale, and we just started watching The Americans.

Casting Lacey by Elle Spencer coverQ: Who and/or what has influenced your writing?

My writing is influenced by every book I read and every movie I watch. Did it stir my emotions? Did it keep me spellbound? Great storytelling is what influences me. It doesn’t matter if it’s a movie, song, book or someone’s grandma. If it’s 1 a.m. and I fall asleep mid-story, is it the first thing I think of when I wake up? I love stories that stay with me, and I want to give other people that experience too. 

Q: Your characters always have really cool jobs: high end art dealer, cancer researcher, actresses (who play nurses and lawyers). What kind of research goes into making these characters feel so authentic?

Sometimes I know people who have some knowledge of the world I’m writing about. I had some help on the details around Casting Lacey’s TV shoots and the way actresses think about things. Mostly, though, Google is a wonderful thing. I choose something that interests me and then research it as much as I can and hope I get it right.

Q: Casting Lacey is about to be republished by Bold Stokes Books (August 2018) after you self-published it earlier this year to rave reviews. How has the experience been moving from self-publishing to one of the biggest publishing houses in lesfic?

It’s been an amazing experience. I went to the 2018 GCLS conference as a BSB author and the welcome I received from other BSB authors was incredible. It’s a very supportive group of people, all rooting for each other’s success.

Q: What is your biggest challenge in writing your next book?

Finishing it!

Q: What is your favorite romance trope?

Well, I do love the fake girlfriend trope, which is why I wrote Casting Lacey. I’m also a sucker for second chance romances, which is what my next book is about. I can’t think of a trope I don’t enjoy. As long as there’s a compelling story, interesting characters and a bit of happily ever after, I’m happy.

Unforgettable by Elle Spencer cover

Q: Do you have any advice for other aspiring writers?

It’s so important that we LGBTQ people tell our stories, because for so long, no one did. If you have a story inside of you, write it, because odds are someone out there will want to read it. Maybe it will give them a few hours of entertainment or maybe, it will change their lives forever. Don’t assume your words don’t have power. The only time they’re powerless is when you don’t use them.

Q: What is something you enjoy doing other than writing?

One thing? Ha!

I love travelling. Eating great food. Listening to music. Building things. Also, I’m learning about baseball because my wife loves it so much. In fact, I often write about beautiful women while watching baseball players do gross stuff like spit and adjust themselves. It just reinforces my gayness.

Q: What is something sweet or funny or both you have heard from your readers/fans?

I have the best fans in the world. It’s such a huge compliment when a reader takes the time to write a review or send an email or a tweet expressing their appreciation. I recently got a review for Casting Lacey where the woman said she felt like “a wrung out dish rag.” I loved that because to me it meant she was highly invested, and that’s everything.

Q: If you could replicate one meal or dining experience from your past, what would it be?

We went to New York for my birthday a few years ago, and my wife (she wasn’t my wife at the time) took me to this very fancy restaurant called Le Bernardin. The whole experience was special from start to finish. The food was incredible. The service was outstanding. And the company… well, I ended up marrying the company 16 months later, so it must have been pretty good!

July Wrap Up

Did you know that in addition to the Lesbrary and the Bi and Lesbian Literature tumblr, I (Danika) also have a booktube channel? It’s not 100% queer women books, but unsurprisingly, most of it is. I’ve decided to try to post of those videos here, when they’re Lesbrary-related, so that everything is in one place. This video is me discussing all the books I read in July, which happened to be all queer.

Most of these I’ve already reviewed at the Lesbrary, so I’ve linked the full reviews, in case this piques your interest.

Trigger warning for discussion of rape culture in the discussion of Girl made of Stars.

Books mentioned:

Support the Lesbrary, Bi & Les Lit, and this channel on Patreon to be entered in monthly queer book giveaways!

The Lesbrary Has Been Selected to Be Included in the Library of Congress Web Archives

Yesterday, I received a very exciting email from the Library of Congress. It begins:

The United States Library of Congress has selected your website for inclusion in the historic collection of Internet materials related to the LGBTQ+ Studies Web Archive. We consider your website to be an important part of this collection and the historical record.

The Library of Congress preserves the Nation’s cultural artifacts and provides enduring access to them. The Library’s traditional functions, acquiring, cataloging, preserving and serving collection materials of historical importance to the Congress and the American people to foster education and scholarship, extend to digital materials, including websites.

The following URL has been selected for archiving:

http://lesbrary.com/

I am so honored to have this site be included in the Library of Congress archives! I wanted to thank all of you for reading and supporting the site, both on Patreon and through your views, comments, and shares. When I started the Lesbrary eight years ago, I had no idea how it would grow and evolve, and I’m so happy that it’s only become a bigger part of my life over time. The feedback and support I’ve gotten has been incredible, and I wanted to share this massive milestone with you! I couldn’t have done it without you, and without all the reviewers who put out amazing reviews every month. I can’t believe the book blog I started in college has become something the Library of Congress considers an important cultural artifact! Which means that it will be preserved for future researchers. It’s unreal! Thank you all so much for your support and for coming along on this journey with me!

Shira’s fantasy/fairy-tale recs where the girl gets the girl, for those avoiding Amazon either right now or indefinitely

I wanted to make it easier for those of us who are trying to avoid crossing the Amazon picket line during the strike to still find the reading material we crave, where the heiress falls for her dashing female bodyguard, where a selkie gets a crush on the siren who’s helping her rescue her fellow selkie, where a lonely witch and a mermaid recover from their painful pasts by falling in love. If there’s a book you think belongs on this list and is missing, it’s very possible I had trouble finding a non-Amazon version. (Or I just haven’t read or finished it yet.)

I’m starting this post with two published but FREE stories:

“The Cage” by Alyx Dellamonica

Lesbians help keep a werewolf baby safe from anti-werewolf humans

https://www.tor.com/2010/07/28/the-cage/

Reviewhttps://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1503829802

“The Scrape of Tooth and Bone” by Ada Hoffmann

Steampunk with robots and dinosaurs, starring a queer autistic woman written by same

http://giganotosaurus.org/2016/02/01/the-scrape-of-tooth-and-bone/

Reviewhttps://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1548021086

These other ones cost money, but they’re worth it. In the case of the two titles where even the eBook costs $10, if that’s too steep for you, consider looking them up on worldcat.org and using interlibrary loan to bring them closer to you for free, or even suggesting them to your own library as a purchase choice, if that’s a possibility. Otherwise, I hope you enjoy the $2 and $3 options that comprise the bulk of the list.

Moon-Bright Tides by RoAnna Sylver

In a world where the moon is gone, it’s now a witch’s job to row out to sea and call the tides. She and a lonely mermaid find each other and it’s so cute I turned into a Lisa Frank pencil case while reading it

https://gumroad.com/l/moonbrighttides

Reviewhttp://lesbrary.com/2018/02/17/shira-glassman-reviews-moon-bright-tides-by-roanna-sylver/

The Terra-Cotta Bride by Zen Cho

An all-female love triangle in the afterlife. Zen Cho is one of my favorite authors; I wish I had more f/f to rec by her.

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/619637

Review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1758073500

Daughter of Mystery by Heather Rose Jones

Margerit inherits her godfather’s fortune on one condition: that she retain the young woman he’d hired as his bodyguard. She may also have powers literally capable of protecting the country from ruin. Early 19th century costume drama with magic and lesbians.

https://www.bellabooks.com/product/9781594933806e/

Reviewhttp://shiraglassman.tumblr.com/post/140026499025/daughter-of-mystery-19th-century-german-setting

Note: there are two sequels and they add even more awesome characters, but you can read book one as a standalone and get a complete story. It even mentions on the last page that they were always together. The future books just introduce new lady couples.

Prayer of the Handmaiden by Merry Shannon

A goddess worshipping warrior priestess loves the queen’s chambermaid, but can they be together while protecting the country from spooky threats? (Spoiler: yes. Happy ending for TWO f/f couples in this one.)

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/529644

Eelgrass by Tori Curtis

When her best friend is selkie-napped (you know, that thing where a man takes your sealskin so you’re stuck with him as a human), Efa gets other sea creatures involved to rescue her. This book is a gigantic metaphor about resisting and fighting rape culture, so it’ll take you to some dark places. But the women win and it’s beautiful.

https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/eelgrass

Reviewhttp://lesbrary.com/2017/11/18/shira-glassman-reviews-eelgrass-by-tori-curtis/

Reviewhttps://shiraglassman.wordpress.com/2015/11/14/goddess-worshippy-fantasy-novel-where-priestess-loves-chambermaid-saves-nation/

Promises, Promises by L-J Baker

A lesbian parody of Lord of the Rings and Dungeons and Dragons, with two f/f couples getting a happy ending. Lots of fourth wall breaking zaniness and characters with names like so and so “the Off-White”

https://weightlessbooks.com/fiction/novel/promises-promises/

Reviewhttps://shiraglassman.wordpress.com/2015/09/05/promises-promises-three-lesbians-on-quest-in-sword-and-sorcery-parody/

The Gift of Your Love by Kayla Bashe

A lonely young expat with magical powers is rescued by other magical people from her country and joins them in their fight against magical criminals. Includes some mental illness depictions written from the inside.

https://lessthanthreepress.com/books/index.php?main_page=product_bookx_info&cPath=92&products_id=1611

Reviewhttp://lesbrary.com/2018/05/19/shira-glassman-reviews-the-gift-of-your-love-by-kayla-bashe/

and, if you are so inclined, my own —

The Olive Conspiracy by Shira Glassman

A young lesbian queen has to save her country from an international plot to sabotage their agriculture, with the help of her found family including a dragon, a witch, a warrior woman, and the queen’s devoted, creative wife, of course. Includes two f/f couples who stay together (the other couple are farmers.)

https://gumroad.com/l/tSekI

Vacation Reads by Julie Thompson

Part of the idea behind selecting summer reads is vacationing from our jobs, whatever they may be. I’ve already taken my longer vacation, tramping up and down the streets of San Francisco. Now, I squeeze in the odd long weekend here and there, scouring stacks of unread books for the one (or two…or five) that will share the quiet moments with me before bed or as I lounge on the back porch of a cabin rental, surrounded by trees and birdsong. Recently, I stole away into the mountains bordering Canada and Washington State. I managed to pack *only* three reads: Vital Lies by Ellen Hart, Wade in the Water by current United States Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith, and a back issue of Analog Science Fiction & Fact magazine.

Vital Lies, Hart’s second cozy mystery featuring amateur sleuth and restaurateur Jane Lawless, takes places as far away from sunshine and beaches as you can get. However, if you’re plastered to your couch in a tank top and short pants, a Minnesota winter might be just what you need to cool down. Jane and her best friend, the inimitable, Cordelia, spend the Christmas holiday visiting a friend with a rural inn. It is immediately apparent that someone is trying to sabotage its success, as disturbing incidents occur. On top of it all, Jane must decide whether she wants her English aunt Beryl to come live with her. I read this one out of series order, but I’m glad I chose it for a restive, secluded woodsy weekend. Hart has a great talent for placing readers within the scene, whether it’s among snow drifts, onstage, or at a college sorority house.

All I Want for Summer by Clare Lydon coverAll I Want for Summer by Clare Lydon, the fourth book in her “All I Want” series finds London-based Tori and Holly heading to Brighton Pride to help promote their friends’ lesbian dating app. I downloaded the novella on the 4th of July, eager for a distraction from the incessant booming and crackling of neighborhood fireworks. The women, who are challenging themselves to break out of their comfort zones, end up in involved in a series of misadventures. Holly, however, is a reluctant camper and Pride attendee (for painful reasons that end up playing a role in her holiday trip). Through it all, Tori possesses a sense of determined optimism that no amount of shenanigans can derail. A surprise ending might entice me to pick up the next book in the series, All I Want for Autumn. While I haven’t read the rest of the series, it didn’t prevent me from enjoying the novella as a stand-alone. Lydon, who also hosts a fantastic interview podcast called The Lesbian Book Club, sets up character chemistry and offers a peek at Pride at the English seaside that’s a mix of humor and drama. Once Upon a Caravan is another light, quick read from Lydon that also involves trying new things over a holiday.

Advertise with the Lesbrary!

For the first time since the Lesbrary started hosting ads, we have a few free spots! If you’re a publisher or author of queer women books, why not advertise where the entire audience is made up of readers of queer women books? The Lesbrary has 10,000 views a month and has over 19,000 followers on its tumblr counterpart. Find out more at the Advertise with the Lesbrary page!

The Lesbrary now has a browse by genre feature!

The Lesbrary now has a browse by genre feature!

It’s been a long time coming, but I finally put together a “Browse by Genre,” “Browse by Rating,” and “Browse by Representation” menu bar for the Lesbrary! Now you can more easily find the reads you’re looking for. Like Steampunk? Go to Browse by… -> Browse by Genre -> SFF -> Fantasy -> Steampunk. Too much? Just click “Browse by Genre” and it shows all the genres and subgenres on one page. “Browse by Representation” means you can look for only books by people of color, for instance, or that feature asexual characters.

This is only the beginning! Now, I am going to go through all the old posts (all 8 years of them) and re-tag them to try to make it all uniform. A lot of posts haven’t been tagged, or haven’t been tagged thoroughly. Let me know if there any broken links or anything you’d like me to add!

Patreon Giveaway!

Did you know the Lesbrary has a Patreon page? It’s a huge help in keeping this site running! It’s how I was able to go down in hours at my day job, so I can spend more time on the Lesbrary and its tumblr.

Plus, if you support the Lesbrary for $2 or more a month, you get entered into a monthly giveaway of queer women books! And it’s open internationally! Pictured above are some of the most photogenic books the winner can choose from this month.

Even more exciting, we’re only $18 away from the $200 goal! Once it gets over the $200 mark, I start doing two giveaways a month, giving you twice the chance to win!

Support the Lesbrary Patreon page here and be entered in the giveaway!