Typically, the last Tuesday of the month–especially if it’s the 5th Tuesday–is a slow week for new releases, so I’m surprised to see such a solid lineup out today! As a reminder, these are just some of the titles that I’m most excited about; it’s definitely not comprehensive.
Let me know in the comments which book out this week you’re the most excited to read! I personally cannot resist the premise of Wild and Wicked Things by Francesca May: queer 1920s sapphic witches on an island with dark vibes? Sign me up!
The Most Dazzling Girl in Berlin by Kip Wilson (F/F Historical Fiction)
A fascinating historical novel about Hilde, an orphan who experiences Berlin on the cusp of World War II as she discovers her own voice and sexuality, ultimately finding a family when she gets a job at a gay cabaret, by award-winning author Kip Wilson.
On her eighteenth birthday, Hilde leaves her orphanage in 1930s Berlin, and heads out into the world to discover her place in it. But finding a job is hard, at least until she stumbles into Café Lila, a vibrant cabaret full of expressive customers. Rosa, one of the club’s waitresses and performers, immediately takes Hilde under her wing. As the café denizens slowly embrace Hilde, and she embraces them in turn, she discovers her voice and her own blossoming feelings for Rosa.
But Berlin is in turmoil. Between the elections, protests in the streets, worsening antisemitism and anti-homosexual sentiment, and the beginning seeds of unrest in Café Lila itself, Hilde will have to decide what’s best for her future . . . and what it means to love a place on the cusp of war.
Mysteries and Thrillers
Monarch by Candice Wuehle (Queer Thriller)
After waking up with a strange taste in her mouth and mysterious bruises, former child pageant star Jessica Clink unwittingly begins an investigation into a nefarious deep state underworld. Equipped with the eccentric education of her father, Dr. Clink (a professor of Boredom Studies and the founder of an elite study group known as the Devil’s Workshop), Jessica uncovers a disquieting connection between her former life as a beauty queen and an offshoot of Project MKUltra known as MONARCH.
As Jessica moves closer to the truth, she begins to suspect the involvement of everyone around her, including her own mother, Grethe (a Norwegian pageant queen turned occult American wellness guru for suburban housewives). With the help of Christine (her black-lipsticked riot grrrl babysitter and confidante), Jessica sets out to take down Project MONARCH. More importantly, she must discover if her first love, fellow teen queen Veronica Marshall, was genuine or yet another deep state plant.
Merging iconic true crime stories of the ’90s (Lorena Bobbitt, Nicole Brown Simpson, and JonBenét Ramsey) with theories of human consciousness, folklore, and a perennial cultural fixation with dead girls, MONARCH questions the shadow sides of self-concept: Who are you if you don’t know yourself?
Fantasy & Science Fiction
Wild and Wicked Things by Francesca May (Lesbian Fantasy)
Neither real magic nor faux magic interests Annie Mason. Not after it stole her future. She’s only on the island to settle her late father’s estate and, hopefully, reconnect with her long-absent best friend, Beatrice, who fled their dreary lives for a more glamorous one.
Yet Crow Island is brimming with temptation, and the biggest one may be her enigmatic new neighbor.
Mysterious and alluring, Emmeline Delacroix is a figure shadowed by rumors of witchcraft. And when Annie witnesses a confrontation between Bea and Emmeline at one of the island’s extravagant parties, she is drawn into a glittering, haunted world. A world where the boundaries of wickedness are tested, and the cost of illicit magic might be death.
The Book of Azrael (Gods and Monsters #1) by Amber Nicole (Bisexual Fantasy)
World Ender meets Ender of Worlds…
A thousand years ago, Dianna gave up her life in the deserts of Erioa to save her dying sister. She called upon anyone who would listen, not expecting a monster far worse than any nightmare to answer. Now she does what Kaden asks, even if that means securing an ancient relic from the very creatures that hunt her.
A King thought long dead and long forgotten.
In the old world his name was Samkiel. In the new world it is Liam, but one title remains true throughout time. He is the World Ender, a myth to his enemies, a savior and King to those loyal to him. After the Gods War, he locked himself away, hiding from the world. He denied his crown and responsibilities, leaving the very ones who needed him most to deal with the fallout of the death of their homeworld. Now an attack on those he holds dear sends him back to the one realm he never wished to visit again and into the sights of an enemy he thought imprisoned eons ago.
Now enemies older than time must put aside their differences and work together in hopes of saving both their world and every realm in between.
Live, Laugh, Kidnap by Gabby Noone (Sapphic YA Contemporary)
The only thing Genesis, Holly and Zoe seem to have in common is being stuck in Violet, Montana. Well, that and the fact that Hope Harvest Ministries is trying to ruin their lives.
Genesis lives on a commune that is now an echo of the New Age cult it once was. She’s witnessed power couple Pastor Jay and Ree Reaps transform their sleepy small town into a haven for online Influencers, who flock to Violet, Bible in one hand and Ree’s bestselling ACT LIKE A LADY, PRAY LIKE A BOSS in the other. Now, the Reaps have decided it’s God’s Will™ that they take over Gen’s ranch.
Holly is a begrudging tourist, forced to spend the summer with her estranged father as punishment for her unsavory behavior back in LA. To Holly, Hope Harvest is nothing but a gimmicky marketing ploy, but it’s threatening to put her father’s diner out of business and, for some reason, Holly cares.
All Zoe wants is to leave Violet, working thankless shifts at the diner to scrape together enough cash to start a new life with her girlfriend. But Zoe’s mother has lost everything to the church’s multilevel marketing schemes so the little money that Zoe manages to make goes right to debt collectors.
The only solution to their problems is to scam the scammers and protect what’s theirs. It shouldn’t take much – the Reaps’ golden son, an accidental kidnapping, some light blackmail – and the Reaps’ fortune will be in the girls’ much more deserving hands. As long as everything goes according to plan…
My Dearest Darkest by Kayla Cottingham (Sapphic YA Horror)
Wilder Girls meets The Craft in this Sapphic horror debut that asks: what price would you be willing to pay to achieve your deepest desires?
Finch Chamberlin is the newest transfer student to the ultra-competitive Ulalume Academy… but she’s also not what she seems. Months before school started, Finch and her parents got into an accident that should have left her dead at the bottom of the river. But something monstrous, and ancient, and terrifying, wouldn’t let her drown. Finch doesn’t know why she woke up after her heart stopped, but since dying she’s felt a constant pull from the school and the surrounding town of Rainwater, like something on the island is calling to her.
Selena St. Clair sees right through Finch, and she knows something is seriously wrong with her. But despite Selena’s suspicion, she feels drawn to Finch and has a sinking feeling that from now on the two will be inexplicably linked to one another.
One night Finch, Selena, and her friends accidentally summon a carnivorous creature of immense power in the depths of the school. It promises to grant every desire the girls have kept locked away in their insecure hearts—beauty, power, adoration—in exchange for a price: human body parts. But as the cost of their wanting becomes more deadly, Finch and Selena must learn to work together to stop the horror they unleashed, before it consumes the entire island.
Mama and Mommy and Me in the Middle by Nina LaCour and Kaylani Juanita (Two Moms Picture Book)
For one little girl, there’s no place she’d rather be than sitting between Mama and Mommy. So when Mommy goes away on a work trip, it’s tricky to find a good place at the table. As the days go by, Mama brings her to the library, they watch movies, and all of them talk on the phone, but she still misses Mommy as deep as the ocean and as high as an astronaut up in the stars. As they pass by a beautiful garden, the girl gets an idea . . . but when Mommy finally comes home, it takes a minute to shake off the empty feeling she felt all week before leaning in for a kiss.
Michael L. Printz Award winner Nina LaCour thoughtfully renders a familiar, touching story of a child who misses a parent, illustrated by Kaylani Juanita, whose distinctive style brings charm and playfulness to this delightful family of three.
let the dead in by Saida Agostini (Queer Poetry)
Saida Agostini’s first full-length poetry collection, let the dead, is an exploration of the mythologies that seek to subjugate Black bodies, and the counter-stories that reject such subjugation. Audacious, sensual, and grieving, this work explores how Black women harness the fantastic to craft their own road to freedom. A journey across Guyana, London, and the United States, it is a meditation on black womanhood, queerness, the legacy of colonization, and pleasure. These poems craft a creation story fat with love, queerness, mermaids, and blackness.
Ten Steps to Nanette: A Memoir Situation by Hannah Gadsby (Lesbian Memoir)
“There is nothing stronger than a broken woman who has rebuilt herself,” Hannah Gadsby declared in her show Nanette, a scorching critique of the way society conducts public debates about marginalized communities. When it premiered on Netflix, it left audiences captivated by her blistering honesty and her singular ability to take them from rolling laughter to devastated silence. Ten Steps to Nanette continues Gadsby’s tradition of confounding expectations and norms, properly introducing us to one of the most explosive, formative voices of our time.
Gadsby grew up as the youngest of five children in an isolated town in Tasmania, where homosexuality was illegal until 1997. She perceived her childhood as safe and “normal,” but as she gained an awareness of her burgeoning queerness, the outside world began to undermine the “vulnerably thin veneer” of her existence. After moving to mainland Australia and receiving a degree in art history, Gadsby found herself adrift, working itinerant jobs and enduring years of isolation punctuated by homophobic and sexual violence. At age twenty-seven, without a home or the ability to imagine her own future, she was urged by a friend to enter a stand-up competition. She won, and so began her career in comedy.
Gadsby became well known for her self-deprecating, autobiographical humor that made her the butt of her own jokes. But in 2015, as Australia debated the legality of same-sex marriage, Gadsby started to question this mode of storytelling, beginning work on a show that would become “the most-talked-about, written-about, shared-about comedy act in years” (The New York Times).
Harrowing and hilarious, Ten Steps to Nanette traces Gadsby’s growth as a queer person, to her ever-evolving relationship with comedy, and her struggle with late-in-life diagnoses of autism and ADHD, finally arriving at the backbone of Nanette: the renouncement of self-deprecation, the rejection of misogyny, and the moral significance of truth-telling.