Sapphic Novellas To Read In November (Or Any Time!)

You won’t catch me trying to write any novellas this November (respect for anyone who tries to write 50,000 words in a month, it’s just not in my plans any time soon), but I did read a few! To my mind, novellas occupy a challenging space when it comes to fiction. They need to be so much more tightly focused than a novel, and when done poorly they can feel anemic by comparison. On the other hand, novellas have vastly more space to breathe and play than a short story ever could; when done well, they’re like a satisfying main course next to a short story’s minimalist appetizer. The following novellas ran the spectrum in my opinion, though I think there’s something worthwhile in each of them for readers and writers of novellas alike.

Orpheus Girl by Brynne Rebele-Henry

Orpheus Girl by Brynne Rebele-Henry is a very loose retelling of the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, set in mid-2000’s rural Texas. It is also absolutely brutal to read. The underworld here is a conversion therapy camp that lesbian teenagers Raya and Sarah are sent to after their relationship is discovered. Raya is bent on saving Sarah and leading them out of there, but the things they are forced to endure are not easy to stomach, especially with the knowledge that this sort of thing still happens today. Of the novellas I read this month, Orpheus Girl is the only one that I felt had more words to play with than was strictly necessary, and could afford to spend them luxuriously. I can tell that the author was primarily a poet before moving to fiction. Still, reading Orpheus Girl left me in a half-heartbroken haze—I appreciate books like these, but they’re the reason I generally stick to lesbian fantasy and sci-fi more than any other genre of sapphic fiction.

Content Warnings: homophobia, transphobia, child abuse, self-harm, suicide attempt, torture

the cover of Fireheart Tiger

Fireheart Tiger by Aliette de Bodard is a small, anxious story about finding agency while trapped in restrictive relationships. Princess Thanh and her kingdom of Bình Hải are stuck in several, be it with more powerful nations, former lovers, or even Thanh’s own mother. Fireheart Tiger is the shortest book here, and I felt like it struggled the most with the novella format. A large portion of this book is spent telling rather than showing, and the overall effect is that most of Fireheart Tiger feels like it is spent deep inside Thanh’s internal ruminations. Which isn’t to say that the situations it presents aren’t compelling; Thanh’s political predicament is a thorny one that presents no clear solution, likewise Thanh’s struggle to reconcile her troubled relationship with her mother and their cultural tradition of filial piety. However, Fireheart Tiger lost me at its treatment of the only overtly masculine sapphic character. I understand what Eldris is supposed to represent in the narrative—both the threat and unavoidable gravity of an imperial nation—but in practice it just feels like she was written like a man, which is a stereotype of masculine lesbians that I hate to see in any story.

the cover of Spear by Nicola Griffith

Spear by Nicola Griffith is another loose retelling of old myths, this time a clever weaving of medieval tales regarding Peretur—also known as Perceval, Parzival, or Peredur—along with a handful of other Arthurian elements. Set in 9th century Wales, Spear is a bewitching read right from the beginning, steeped in that subconscious feeling of agelessness that only really good fantasy can instill. The magic is mysterious and wild, the people historically grounded and human; each familiar name and face feels appropriately placed, and yet the story itself felt gripping and fresh. It has a young butch disguising herself as a man (without slipping into questioning her gender), a tender and passionate romance between a knight and a witch, a special import given to both etymology and food—in short, it feels like this book was written just for me, and I wish it were about a million times longer. As much as I want more lesbian low fantasy like this in my life, though, I can admit that Spear is only as long as it actually needs to be. Should I try to write a novella after all? …Maybe next November. Maybe.

Samantha Lavender is a lesbian library assistant on the west coast, making ends meet with a creative writing degree and her wonderful butch partner. She spends most of her free time running Dungeons & Dragons (like she has since the 90’s), and has even published a few adventures for it. You can follow her @RainyRedwoods on tumblr.

Nat reviews Something’s Different by Quinn Ivins

the cover of Something's Different

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Of all the tropes in the world, the twin swap was not one that I would have thought myself a fan of, and yet… I might be now, after reading Something’s Different. Caitlin Taylor is an unemployed PhD grad who hasn’t been able to find a job in academia and reluctantly returns home to lick her wounds. Ironically, she finds herself in the heart of the academic world, working in a peripheral role as assistant to a college president— except the job isn’t really hers. She’s impersonating her sister. Chloe is Caitlin’s twin, a college drop out, historically a bit of an underachiever who follows her heart rather than her head. When she calls in a big favor from her sister, Chloe doesn’t think her boss will suspect a thing. But while they may look alike, the two sisters are polar opposites in their approaches to life, and what should have been just one week doing the bare minimum at Chloe’s job turns into a much more complicated situation for Caitlin. 

First of all, let’s talk about the absolute second hand anxiety that you will experience reading this book. The book isn’t angsty, but wow does it keep you on the edge of your seat. WHAT IF SOMEONE FINDS OUT? Will Caitlin be fired? Arrested? How will she even know what to do and where to go?? On top of all of this, sympathetic Caitlin, who’s been suckered into this gig by her mom and sister, has an actual anxiety disorder and oh my gawd how is she even functioning? Caitilin’s issues with anxiety bring up a big theme in this book: mental health and the stigma attached to those issues. More on that in a minute. 

For now, say hi to Ruth Holloway, ice queen extraordinaire and college president of a financially struggling institution. Ruth’s new assistant is suddenly competent. Helpful, even. And an analytic wunderkind? And hot? No, no, definitely not hot. Very inappropriate. While on the surface Ruth is successful and confident, she has her own struggles with mental health and a complicated relationship with the world of academia. She has some very valid trust issues that she navigates while serving as captain of a slowly sinking ship. With a bit of unexpected help from her (somehow now very helpful) assistant, Ruth realizes that despite their age gap, she and “Chloe” (Caitlin!) have a lot in common and work well as a team. 

Both Caitlin and Ruth manage mental health issues in their lives with medication and have very open discussions about their experiences. I appreciate Ivins addressing the side effects of medications, including the sexual side effects; it’s refreshing to see authors chipping away at the stigmas around issues like these. (Ivins gave us this same positive treatment in her previous book, Worthy of Love, in which one of the main characters has undiagnosed ADHD.) 

This book has great pacing, and while it deals with the politics of academia, it never gets bogged down with the details. Ivins creates great tension with the medium stakes risks of Caitlin getting caught, and there is a steady push and pull of chemistry between our main characters as they fight their attraction. Ivins dishes us up all the great tropes while giving us a fresh look at workplace politics from two very different points of view. 

Til reviews The Stone Child by David A. Robertson

the cover of The Stone Child

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The Stone Child is book 3 in the Misewa Saga, following foster siblings Eli and Morgan, who discover that they can travel to another dimension when they put Eli’s drawings on a wall in their foster-home’s attic. Here, in Misewa, they meet animals who wear clothes and live in villages, but sometimes face major crises with which the children can help. The series incorporates Cree words and rituals, with identity as a powerful theme for the main characters, both of whom are First Nations.

This is the first book to introduce a romantic side-plot. Since it’s a middle grade novel, I hadn’t felt that was especially lacking, but it was introduced with characteristic nuance. This time Morgan’s friend Emily is along for the adventure. The girls share a nerdy friendship centered around a mutual love of outer space adventure stories, especially Star Wars; they tease each other and generally enjoy one another’s company. This would have been a perfect portrayal of a friendship even without the romance aspect.

As for the romance itself? Adorable. It progresses slowly, with little jokes and blushes, a tiny kiss on the cheek and full stop to ask if this was okay. Morgan and Emily have a relationship built on shared interests, respect for one another, open communication, and trust. Their nascent romance never rises to the center of the story, something I consider a positive. There are life-and-death stakes in this book. Morgan is struggling with her family. Though Emily is a consistent positive in her life, she’s never a distraction from Morgan’s questions of identity and belonging. One of my biggest pet peeves in any fiction is a character losing their sense of self for a romantic partner, so I adored watching Morgan stay honest to her path, even as she invited Emily to walk with her.

I don’t recommend starting with this book. The first in the series, The Barren Grounds, is the place to start. Even before Morgan and Emily’s friendship begins to wend its way toward “something more”, the series is filled with nuance—from Morgan, an angry girl with a huge and damaged heart; to her foster-mom Katie, so eager to do right but oblivious as a white woman fostering First Nations children; to how right and wrong play out on a generational scale. It’s at times heartbreaking and at other times pure delight. And, consistently, it’s an exciting adventure.

Maggie reviews Queer Little Nightmares edited by David Ly and Daniel Zomparelli 

the cover of Queer Little Nightmares

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Queer Little Nightmares, an anthology edited by David Ly and Daniel Zomparelli is a fun and sometimes terrifying collection of queer horror writing. The Lesbrary was provided with a review copy, and I was more than happy to spend time with this collection. Queer Little Nightmares let writers experiment with queerness and horror in a variety of ways. I highly recommend getting your hands on this one if you want some innovative horror writing.

As with any anthology, some stories caught my attention more than others, with my favorites being “Wooly Bully” by Amber Dawn and “Glamour-Us” by Andrew Wilmont. 

“Wooly Bully” is a story about coming of age, queer awakenings in a small town, and werewolves. I absolutely loved all the sensory details, the limits of the narrator’s community, and how deeply she feels within that setting. The enforced gender roles as they learn agricultural skills, the way she is put off by the boys but is fascinated by Brenda, the slow realization that the feelings are real and reciprocated—it is a delightful story of teenage growth and queer desire, and the setting was filled in to perfection. The sort of story where the 4-H fair culture of my youth is turned slightly on its head. 

“Glamour-Us” is at the other end of the spectrum, about a future where it is possible, for enough money, to purchase either a synthetic body or a self-projection that can be customized, with the rich of course using it as a form of eternal youth. Within the LGBT community though, there is immediate debate as to whether that sort of glamour is a brilliant way for people to transition without struggle or for people to experiment or for people who don’t see themselves as one particular gender and want to flip between projections, and whether such technological assistance is exploitive and something the community doesn’t need. I think the story does a great job of bringing into a short story both an echo of “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde but make it trans,” the sort of inner community debate that would absolutely happen in these circumstances, and how the threat of bigotry is still a horror that always lurks, no matter the technology.

But I enjoyed much of this anthology, and it’s the sort of collection where everyone will have immediate favorites but those favorites will be wildly different. This plays to the biggest strength of this collection which, in my opinion, is the whole range of horror presented, in both prose and poetry format. Horror and monster standards such as werewolves, devils, and creepy carnivals make appearances, but authors also explore how horror interacts with queerness in novel ways, from body horror to love and desire. The editors put together a stunningly broad collection that doesn’t leave you bored. I never knew what sort of story was coming next, and it was a very fun read. I also appreciated that they included both short stories and poetry. I think it presented a varied picture of the complex themes and manner queerness interacts with horror.

In conclusion, if you’re a horror fan you could certainly do worse than picking up Queer Little Nightmares. The range of material gives full scope to queer imagination, and perhaps you will discover new fav authors to follow in the future.

Content warnings: It’s hard in an anthology, particularly a horror anthology, to be comprehensive with warnings but you will find gore, bigotry, body horror, cannibalism, sexual assault, and death at various points within this collection.

Danielle Izzard reviews Nothing Sung and Nothing Spoken by Nita Tyndall

the cover of Nothing Sung and Nothing Spoken

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Nothing Sung and Nothing Spoken by Nita Tyndall is a queer YA historical fiction novel—a genre that I had yet to come across, and knew I had to read as soon as it was released. I was immediately intrigued by its poetic title, as well as by the promise of a topic I wasn’t used to reading. Tyndall certainly delivered with this novel: it is well written, intricately plotted, and overall beautiful. Following strong female characters as they navigate not only personal relationships, but WWII in the heart of Germany, this was an interesting read that captured my attention from start to finish. It’s a perfect YA novel, dealing with teenagers struggling with very real issues that have been faced throughout history: identities, relationships, and emotions. It presents strong family dynamics, which strengthened its appeal, showcasing both supportive and unsupportive families, making the novel realistic and believable. Tyndall writes with beautiful imagery: poetry, jazz music, maps that the protagonist, Charlie, creates. These images and Tyndall’s descriptions of the setting makes the novel vivid, easily bringing words to life.

Despite its strengths, Nothing Sung and Nothing Spoken was slightly too short for my liking. Not that short novels aren’t appealing, but in this case, it didn’t help with the progression. It was at times too fast paced, leaving me feeling breathless as I struggled to keep up with the unfolding events. The short length left little time for character development, or even introduction. Throughout reading, I wondered how the characters had come to know each other, and felt that their personalities weren’t conveyed very strongly. I didn’t feel as though I knew them by the end of the novel. I’d have traded the short length for a slower, more drawn-out story. Really, I’d have liked more time in this setting Tyndall so beautifully crafted.

A captivating YA novel that covers WWII in Germany, with queer characters and relationships, Nothing Sung and Nothing Spoken is a great example of books we need more of. It’s perfect for fans of Malinda Lo’s Last Night at the Telegraph Club, and for readers of all ages.

SPONSORED POST: Support the Kickstarter for this Lesbian Greek Mythology Comic!

the cover of Meraki against a rainbow gradient background

We’re excited to launch our next issue of MERAKI: a lesbian LGBTQ+ comic book series set in a futuristic world infused with Greek mythology.

I created MERAKI, because I wanted to see more LGBTQ+ characters. Representation matters for our community. The characters in MERAKI are funny, caring, intelligent, flawed, and gay. They are simply Human. Their sexuality is a part of them, but it is only part of their story.

This comic book series follows Psi and her team through this savage world infused with Greek Mythology.

Born into the land of Wrathic Warriors, Psi ascended swiftly through the savage ranks. Her path forged in blood, she now commands the deadliest military team on Balen. This is her story!

We will have early bird specials including limited rewards for the first 48 hours! And for a special bonus, everyone who pledges during the first 48 hours and types “Add Me In!” into the comments will be entered to win a cameo appearance in MERAKI #7! Click here to join our campaign:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/mk-palmer/meraki-7-a-futuristic-odyssey-adventure-story

Please consider pledging today to help sure we have the strongest launch possible. Thank you!

—M.K. Palmer, creator and writer of Meraki

Vic reviews The Wicked Remain (The Grimrose Girls #2) by Laura Pohl

the cover of The Wicked Remain

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The Wicked Remain by Laura Pohl is the follow-up to last year’s The Grimrose Girls and exactly the conclusion this duology deserved, which is to say it was clever, full of hope, with a clear love of stories and rage at their prescribed endings. While I will try to avoid spoiling either book, The Wicked Remain continues right where the first one left off, with the girls now having to deal with the consequences of everything they did and everything they learned at the end of the last book. Along with grappling with the stakes of their relationships, new and old, romantic and familial, they also must try to save themselves (and every other girl at Grimrose) from the tragedies that await them.

When I read the first book in this duology, I knew that I enjoyed it, but I didn’t actually realize how much I liked it until I realized six months had gone by since I read it and I was still thinking about it. Book two was even better. Now, I will say I often enjoy the second book more simply because I already know I like the world and the characters, so now I’m along for the ride. It’s the difference between making new friends and spending time with your old friends. However, I also think in this case book two works better because while the first book was driven by a mystery that I didn’t find terribly shocking in its conclusion, the second book is driven by “how do we fix this?” On a personal note, I always find myself more invested in those stories than in mysteries, but I do believe character arcs are where Pohl excels, much more than in shocking mysteries. In setting up The Wicked Remain as she did, she was able to really lean into her strengths.

Everything that I loved about the first book was present in this book, but, as I said, even better. I loved reading about all of these characters again, and I loved how themselves they were all allowed to be. While the first book had to spend time on setup, this book was able to jump right in, which also meant it could dive deeper. Yuki’s descent into darkness contrasted with her desire to be loved and fear that she won’t be made for a particularly fascinating journey, and one that I can’t think of too many similar examples of, though I’m sure they must exist.  

And the relationships! The relationships introduced in the first book were explored more in depth here, and in interesting ways that I didn’t always expect (I’m looking at you, Nani and Svenja), but always loved. I am always here for gay princesses, which this duology more than delivers on, but that is not even all that I am talking about here. The friendships, both old and new, are the heart of this book, and they were just as fascinating, from the still-slightly-awkward newness of Nani’s inclusion in the group to the “I would kill and die for you” intensity of Yuki and Ella’s friendship. Even the complexities of the relationship between Ella and her stepsisters are given their due, and I loved this book all the more for it.

While this is a series about fairy tales, it takes everything so seriously, in the sense that nothing is treated as worthless. Everything matters. Everyone matters.  I won’t say much about the ending, but I thought it was the perfect end to the series. If these books had existed when I was sixteen, I would have been absolutely obsessed with them, and I know that for a fact because even now, as an adult with bookshelves full of the sapphic fantasies I craved in high school, The Grimrose Girls duology is still a favorite.

Rachel reviews Fayne by Ann-Marie MacDonald

the cover of Fayne by Ann-Marie MacDonald

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Famous Canadian author Ann-Marie MacDonald returns with an incredible new historical novel. Fayne (2022) sweeps readers away to an expansive world of fantasy and wonder. 

Set in late-nineteenth-century Scotland, Fayne follows Charlotte Bell, who is growing up at Fayne, the lonely and isolated Scottish estate that straddles the border between England and Scotland. Charlotte has been kept from society by her father, Lord Henry Bell, who adores her. Charlotte’s isolation is the result of a mysterious condition that compels her father to keep her from public view in order to protect her. 

But Charlotte is bright, curious, and clever, always exploring the moor and reading everything she can get her hands on. She is haunted, however, by a portrait of her mother that hangs over the staircase at Fayne. Charlotte’s mother has died in childbirth after having her, and Charlotte’s older brother, Charles, died shortly before that. One day, when Charlotte’s explorations on the moor uncover a strange item, Lord Henry announces that he has arranged for Charlotte to be cured of her condition. What follows is a twisted and winding trail of family secrets, hidden truths, and nefarious individuals that will take Charlotte through a mystery that will upend her sense of her own identity. 

This book was incredible—easily one of the best books I have read this year. As the latest iteration of neo-Victorian queer fiction, this book is a wonderful contribution to queer literary production. As an over seven-hundred-page text, the narrative is thorough and expansive, and the text places small details throughout that later come to have significant meanings for the whole plot. Therefore, this text requires careful reading, and it draws you in. I read it in a span of four days, and I was sometimes literally unable to tear myself away from the intricate narrative MacDonald has crafted. 

Charlotte’s perspective is mesmerizing—I was rooting for her, and I was compelled by her mind and her quest for truth and identity in a world that appears to dissuade her from finding and understanding those things. Her journey is beautiful, and it resonates with contemporary readers as she embarks on a quest for autonomy and power in a highly binarized, gendered world. 

There is also a magical element to this book that was alternately mysterious and compelling. MacDonald uses setting to her advantage, framing Fayne as a character in itself, and the surrounding bog as a place of wonder and danger. 

Alternately touching, harrowing, enraging, and memorable, this book took me through a range of emotions to structure a tale that will definitely become an instant classic. 

Please add Fayne to your TBR on Goodreads.

Content warning: medical violence, physical abuse, child loss, psychological abuse, non-consensual medical procedures. 

Rachel Friars is a writer and academic living in Canada, dividing her time between Ontario and New Brunswick. When she’s not writing short fiction, she’s reading every lesbian novel she can find. Rachel holds two degrees in English literature and is currently pursuing a PhD in nineteenth-century lesbian literature and history. 

You can find Rachel on Twitter @RachelMFriars or on Goodreads @Rachel Friars.

26 Bi and Lesbian Books Out November 2022!

a collage of the covers listed with the text Sapphic Books Out In November!

Would you believe that more than 26 sapphic books come out this month? It’s true! Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to find out which books have queer representation, or what kind of representation they have. So here’s a big list of bi and lesbian books out this month, sorted by genre. I’ve highlighted a few of the books I’m most interested in and included the publisher’s description of those, but click through to see the other titles’ blurbs!

November and December are usually quieter months in publishing, and there are certainly fewer new releases than there were in October, but there are some of the most-anticipated releases of the year coming out this month, including the next book in the Delilah Green Doesn’t Care series and several holiday romances.

As always, if you can get these through an indie bookstore, that is ideal, but if you can’t, the titles and covers are linked to my Amazon affiliate link. If you click through and buy something, I’ll get a small percentage. On to the books!

Adult

Romance

the cover of Astrid Parker Doesn't Fail

Astrid Parker Doesn’t Fail by Ashley Herring Blake (F/F Romance)

An interior designer who is never without the perfect plan learns to renovate her love life without one in this new romantic comedy by Ashley Herring Blake, author of Delilah Green Doesn’t Care.
 
For Astrid Parker, failure is unacceptable. Ever since she broke up with her fiancé a year ago, she’s been focused on her career—her friends might say she’s obsessed, but she knows she’s just driven. When Pru Everwood asks her to be the designer for the Everwood Inn’s renovation, which will be featured on a popular HGTV show, Innside America, Astrid is thrilled. Not only will the project distract her from her failed engagement and help her struggling business, but her perpetually displeased mother might finally give her a nod of approval.
 
However, Astrid never planned on Jordan Everwood, Pru’s granddaughter and the lead carpenter for the renovation, who despises every modern design decision Astrid makes. Jordan is determined to preserve the history of her family’s inn, particularly as the rest of her life is in shambles. When that determination turns into some light sabotage to ruffle Astrid’s perfect little feathers, the showrunners ask them to play up the tension. But somewhere along the way, their dislike for each other evolves into something quite different, and Astrid must decide what success truly means. Is she going to pursue the life that she’s expected to lead or the one that she wants?

the cover of Kiss Her Once for Me

Kiss Her Once for Me by Alison Cochrun (F/F Romance)

The author of the “swoon-worthy debut” (Harper’s BazaarThe Charm Offensive returns with a festive romantic comedy about a woman who fakes an engagement with her landlord…only to fall for his sister.

One year ago, recent Portland transplant Ellie Oliver had her dream job in animation and a Christmas Eve meet-cute with a woman at a bookstore that led her to fall in love over the course of a single night. But after a betrayal the next morning and the loss of her job soon after, she finds herself adrift, alone, and desperate for money.

Finding work at a local coffee shop, she’s just getting through the days—until Andrew, the shop’s landlord, proposes a shocking, drunken plan: a marriage of convenience that will give him his recent inheritance and alleviate Ellie’s financial woes and isolation. They make a plan to spend the holidays together at his family cabin to keep up the ruse. But when Andrew introduces his new fiancée to his sister, Ellie is shocked to discover it’s Jack—the mysterious woman she fell for over the course of one magical Christmas Eve the year before. Now, Ellie must choose between the safety of a fake relationship and the risk of something real.

Perfect for fans of Written in the Stars and One Day in DecemberKiss Her Once for Me is the queer holiday rom-com that you’ll want to cozy up with next to the fire.

the cover of The Forever Factor
the cover of Calling the Shot
the cover of Two Wrongs Make a Right
the cover of Securing Ava

Fiction

the cover of Small Game
the cover of Girlcrush
  • Small Game by Blair Braverman (Sapphic Survival Thriller)
  • Girlcrush by Florence Given (Bisexual Jekyll & Hyde Retelling)

Fantasy

the cover of Even Though I Knew the End

Even Though I Knew the End by C.L. Polk (F/F Vampire Noir)

A magical detective dives into the affairs of Chicago’s divine monsters to secure a future with the love of her life. This sapphic period piece will dazzle anyone looking for mystery, intrigue, romance, magic, or all of the above.

An exiled augur who sold her soul to save her brother’s life is offered one last job before serving an eternity in hell. When she turns it down, her client sweetens the pot by offering up the one payment she can’t resist—the chance to have a future where she grows old with the woman she loves.

To succeed, she is given three days to track down the White City Vampire, Chicago’s most notorious serial killer. If she fails, only hell and heartbreak await.

the cover of The World We Make
the cover of A Restless Truth

Science Fiction

the cover of The Red Scholar's Wake

The Red Scholar’s Wake by Aliette de Bodard (Lesbian Space Opera)

Xích Si: bot maker, data analyst, mother, scavenger. But those days are over now-her ship has just been captured by the Red Banner pirate fleet, famous for their double-dealing and cruelty. Xích Si expects to be tortured to death-only for the pirates’ enigmatic leader, Rice Fish, to arrive with a different and shocking proposition: an arranged marriage between Xích Si and herself.

Rice Fish: sentient ship, leader of the infamous Red Banner pirate fleet, wife of the Red Scholar. Or at least, she was the latter before her wife died under suspicious circumstances. Now isolated and alone, Rice Fish wants Xích Si’s help to find out who struck against them and why. Marrying Xích Si means Rice Fish can offer Xích Si protection, in exchange for Xích Si’s technical fluency: a business arrangement with nothing more to it.

But as the investigation goes on, Rice Fish and Xích Si find themselves falling for each other. As the interstellar war against piracy intensifies and the five fleets start fighting each other, they will have to make a stand-and to decide what kind of future they have together…

An exciting space opera and a beautiful romance, from an exceptional SF author.

the cover of Màgòdiz
the cover of The Stars Undying
the cover of Born Andromeda

Comics, Graphic Novels, and Manga

the cover of The Legend of Korra: Patterns in Time

The Legend of Korra: Patterns in Time by Michael Dante DiMartino, Bryan Konietzko, Heather Campbell, Jayd Ait-Kaci, and Killian Ng (Sapphic Graphic Novel)

Celebrate new stories from The Legend of Korra!

Your favorite characters from Team Avatar and beyond are here in this collection of stories, from the heartwarming to the hilarious. Join Korra, Asami, Mako, Bolin, Tenzin, and more familiar faces from The Legend of Korra, featured in stories specially crafted by a bevy of talented comics creators! Be sure to add these all-new stories to your Avatar Legends library!

the boxset of Love and Rockets: the First Fifty
the cover of I Can't Believe I Slept With You! Vol. 3
the cover of Catch These Hands, Vol. 3
the cover of Futari Escape

Young Adult

YA Contemporary

the cover of How to Excavate a Heart

How to Excavate a Heart by Jake Maia Arlow (Lesbian F/F YA Contemporary)

Stonewall Honor author Jake Maia Arlow delivers a sapphic Jewish twist on the classic Christmas rom-com in a read perfect for fans of Kelly Quindlen and Casey McQuiston.

It all starts when Shani runs into May. Like, literally. With her mom’s Subaru.

Attempted vehicular manslaughter was not part of Shani’s plan. She was supposed to be focusing on her monthlong paleoichthyology internship. She was going to spend all her time thinking about dead fish and not at all about how she was unceremoniously dumped days before winter break.

It could be going better.

But when a dog-walking gig puts her back in May’s path, the fossils she’s meant to be diligently studying are pushed to the side—along with the breakup.

Then they’re snowed in together on Christmas Eve. As things start to feel more serious, though, Shani’s hurt over her ex-girlfriend’s rejection comes rushing back. Is she ready to try a committed relationship again, or is she okay with this just being a passing winter fling?

the cover of We Deserve Monuments

We Deserve Monuments by Jas Hammonds (F/F YA Contemporary)

What’s more important: Knowing the truth or keeping the peace?

Seventeen-year-old Avery Anderson is convinced her senior year is ruined when she’s uprooted from her life in DC and forced into the hostile home of her terminally ill grandmother, Mama Letty. The tension between Avery’s mom and Mama Letty makes for a frosty arrival and unearths past drama they refuse to talk about. Every time Avery tries to look deeper, she’s turned away, leaving her desperate to learn the secrets that split her family in two.

While tempers flare in her avoidant family, Avery finds friendship in unexpected places: in Simone Cole, her captivating next-door neighbor, and Jade Oliver, daughter of the town’s most prominent family―whose mother’s murder remains unsolved.

As the three girls grow closer―Avery and Simone’s friendship blossoming into romance―the sharp-edged opinions of their small southern town begin to hint at something insidious underneath. The racist history of Bardell, Georgia is rooted in Avery’s family in ways she can’t even imagine. With Mama Letty’s health dwindling every day, Avery must decide if digging for the truth is worth toppling the delicate relationships she’s built in Bardell―or if some things are better left buried.

YA Genre Fiction

the cover of Reader, I Murdered Him

Reader, I Murdered Him by Betsy Cornwell (Sapphic YA Historical Thriller)

In this daring tale of female agency and revenge from a New York Times bestselling author, a girl becomes a teenage vigilante who roams Victorian England using her privilege and power to punish her friends’ abusive suitors and keep other young women safe.

Adele grew up in the shadows—first watching from backstage at her mother’s Parisian dance halls, then wandering around the gloomy, haunted rooms of her father’s manor. When she’s finally sent away to boarding school in London, she’s happy to enter the brightly lit world of society girls and their wealthy suitors. 

Yet there are shadows there, too. Many of the men that try to charm Adele’s new friends do so with dark intentions. After a violent assault, she turns to a roguish young con woman for help. Together, they become vigilantes meting out justice. But can Adele save herself from the same fate as those she protects?

With a queer romance at its heart, this lush historical thriller offers readers an irresistible mix of vengeance and empowerment.

the cover of The Wicked Remain

Nonfiction

the cover of Holding Space

Holding Space: Life and Love Through a Queer Lens by Ryan Pfluger (Queer Photography)

Featuring 100 stunning color photographs of queer, interracial couples taken by a renowned photographer for the New York Times Magazine, Time, Rolling Stone, and more, this incredible photo and story collection depicts modern love and relationships in all their joy, vulnerability, and affection.
 
Throughout 2020 and 2021, during a time of intense personal and political upheaval, artist, advocate, and photographer Ryan Pfluger set out to capture intimate images of queer, interracial couples, along with personal insight into their relationships in today’s world. Featured together for the first time in Holding Space, this unique collection of modern love in its many forms across the spectrum of race, sexuality, and gender identity and gives space to these couples to share short, revealing stories about their relationships.
 
The photos in this collection, and the people in them, can be startling in their openness, playful in their poses, and tender to their core. Pfluger has captured the magic, honesty, and beauty of love in today’s queer culture.
 
With a Foreword by Janicza Bravo and an essay by Brandon Kyle Goodman

the cover of The World Keeps Ending, and the World Goes On

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Nat reviews Errant (Volumes 1-3) by L.K Fleet

the cover of Errant

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I’m always impressed by books that are co-written, but a book with three writers?! A menage-an-author? The Errant series is written by L.K. Fleet, the pen name for a trio of writers: Felicia Davin, K.R. Collins, and Valentine Wheeler. For those of you who are very online and have perhaps pined for Touraine’s arms in CL Clark’s The Unbroken or Gideon’s very large biceps in Tamsyn Muir’s Gideon the Ninth, may I present to you: Aspen Silverglade’s well-muscled thighs. (Not that her arms aren’t also worth mentioning.) Aspen is a tall, dark, and mysterious do-gooder with impeccable swordsmanship but a troubled past. When Aspen meets Charm Linville, an actress whose skills extend to pickpocketing, she’s trying to protect the woman from a handsy fellow in a pub. This doesn’t go quite as planned for Aspen, but it does kick off the start of a series of adventures involving a secret organization called the Scale and a troupe of bawdy actors. 

One of the reasons this series gave me such warm fuzzies is its treatment of gender as well as  the casual introduction of characters with their pronouns. Gender roles are an interesting part of this book, but presented so subtly, woven into the world building, that you can’t help but appreciate the ease with which it’s done. Just about everyone gets some rep here: Polycule of domestic bliss? Check. Genderqueer/fluid, trans, and bisexual characters… triple check. Aspen, a tough but sensitive butch, is bisexual and has previously only had relationships with men/genderfluid characters, not following the stereotypical gender role script. Our curvy, secretive femme Charm is a lesbian. The people of the Sun have genders that change with the color of their scales! There are so many things to love about the book. (Including a horse named Mouse!)

My only minor issue was some confusion about the world our characters were living in. “Earth” people vs those of the Wood and the Sun (etc.) threw me off course a bit, thinking that perhaps there was off planetary travel, which seemed weird with the horses and swords, but who knows: it could have been a sci-fi mash-up or a Wheel of Time situation (where a once high tech world is thrown into the dark ages). This worked itself out for my brain about halfway through the book, where it becomes clear these are regions and the terms are more geographically based, but all on the same planet. 

This review is for the series as a whole, which reads quickly. As far as the romance goes, this is a slow burn, folks. We might have flirtation and heated glances, one horse, one bedroll and the like, but get cozy, because these lovebirds are going to take their sweet time consummating the relationship. It’s a bit like watching a TV series draw out the chemistry between the main characters until you are ready to throw something at the screen. In a good way, of course. 

Errant is relatively angst free; it does deal with issues of past trauma such as emotional abuse, but nothing incredibly heavy or triggering. These books are also meant to be read as a series. The authors do a decent job filling you in on a few details you might have missed or jogging your memory if you’ve taken a break between reading them, but you’ll likely feel lost if you don’t start from the beginning – although I can’t think of any reason you wouldn’t want to read all three of these delightful novellas!