It may be the weird fifth Tuesday of the month, but there are some very notable new releases out today! In the Event of Love is the first of several sapphic holiday romances that are out this year, which absolutely delights me. I think I’ll be saving it until the weather cools off some. And speaking of seasonal reads, Dead Flip looks like a delightful YA horror book to read in October. So stock up on your seasonal reads now–but, of course, it’s never a bad time to read a good book.
Mysteries and Thrillers
Real Bad Things by Kelly J. Ford (Queer Thriller)
Beneath the roiling waters of the Arkansas River lie dead men and buried secrets.
When Jane Mooney’s violent stepfather, Warren, disappeared, most folks in Maud Bottoms, Arkansas, assumed he got drunk and drowned. After all, the river had claimed its share over the years.
When Jane confessed to his murder, she should have gone to jail. That’s what she wanted. But without a body, the police didn’t charge her with the crime. So Jane left for Boston—and took her secrets with her.
Twenty-five years later, the river floods and a body surfaces. Talk of Warren’s murder grips the town. Now in her forties, Jane returns to Maud Bottoms to reckon with her past: to do jail time, to face her revenge-bent mother, to make things right.
But though Jane’s homecoming may enlighten some, it could threaten others. Because in this desolate river valley, some secrets are better left undisturbed.
In the Event of Love by Courtney Kae (F/F Romance)
Fans of Casey McQuiston and Alexandria Bellefleur will adore this queer romcom that combines everything people love about Hallmark-style holiday romances with laugh-out-loud humor and a sweet and steamy love story between two women.
With her career as a Los Angeles event planner imploding after a tabloid blowup, Morgan Ross isn’t headed home for the holidays so much as in strategic retreat. Breathtaking mountain vistas, quirky townsfolk, and charming small businesses aside, her hometown of Fern Falls is built of one heartbreak on top of another…
Take her one-time best friend turned crush, Rachel Reed. The memory of their perfect, doomed first kiss is still fresh as new-fallen snow. Way fresher than the freezing mud Morgan ends up sprawled in on her very first day back, only to be hauled out via Rachel’s sexy new lumberjane muscles acquired from running her family tree farm.
When Morgan discovers that the Reeds’ struggling tree farm is the only thing standing between Fern Falls and corporate greed destroying the whole town’s livelihood, she decides she can put heartbreak aside to save the farm by planning her best fundraiser yet. She has all the inspiration for a spectacular event: delicious vanilla lattes, acoustic guitars under majestic pines, a cozy barn surrounded by brilliant stars. But she and Rachel will ABSOLUTELY NOT have a heartwarming holiday happy ending. That would be as unprofessional as it is unlikely. Right?
Fantasy & Science Fiction
Kalyna the Soothsayer by Elijah Kinch Spector (Bisexual Fantasy)
A plucky, sardonic con artist must “prophesize” her way out of peril— discovering along the way that power and politics are nothing more than the stories sold as truth.
Kalyna’s family has the Gift: the ability to see the future. For generations, they traveled the four kingdoms of the Tetrarchia selling their services as soothsayers. Every child of their family is born with this Gift—everyone except Kalyna.
So far, Kalyna has used informants and trickery to falsify prophecies for coin, scrounging together a living for her deteriorating father and cruel grandmother. But Kalyna’s reputation for prophecy precedes her, and poverty turns to danger when she is pressed into service by the spymaster to Rotfelsen.
Kalyna is to use her “Gift” to uncover threats against Rotfelsen’s king, her family held hostage to ensure her good behavior. But politics are devious; the king’s enemies abound, and Kalyna’s skills for investigation and deception are tested to the limit. Worse, the conspiracy she uncovers points to a larger threat, not only to Rotfelsen but to the Tetrarchia itself.
Kalyna is determined to protect her family and newfound friends, but as she is drawn deeper into palace intrigue, she can no longer tell if her manipulations are helping prevent the Tetrarchia’s destruction—or if her lies will bring about its prophesized downfall.
Dancing Barefoot by Alice Boyle (F/F YA Romance)
Patch is out of place at Mountford College: she wears the wrong clothes, she’s not sporty or popular, she lives in a small flat above her dad’s record shop a world away from the leafy suburb where she goes to school. And she has a secret long-term crush on basketball star Evie Vanhoutte. Evie barely knows Patch exists until an accident involving a bottle of ink and Patch’s school uniform sparks a friendship that’s equal parts exhilarating and terrifying, and very, very confusing.
As if that weren’t enough, Patch is also trying to deal with a jealous school bully, forgetting to be supportive of her transitioning best friend, Edwin, and worrying about how a potential new stepmother could throw everything off course.
Dancing Barefoot is a feel-good romance about growing up queer, figuring out your place in the world, staying true to yourself and your friends, finding love, and learning to embrace the obstacles life throws in your path.
Dead Flip by Sara Farizan (Lesbian YA 90s Horror)
Edge-of-your-seat YA horror perfect for fans of Stranger Things
Growing up, Cori, Maz, and Sam were inseparable best friends, sharing their love for Halloween, arcade games, and one another. Now it’s 1992, Sam has been missing for five years, and Cori and Maz aren’t speaking anymore. How could they be, when Cori is sure Sam is dead and Maz thinks he may have been kidnapped by a supernatural pinball machine?
These days, all Maz wants to do is party, buy CDs at Sam Goody, and run away from his past. Meanwhile, Cori is a homecoming queen, hiding her abiding love of horror movies and her queer self under the bubblegum veneer of a high school queen bee. But when Sam returns—still twelve years old while his best friends are now seventeen—Maz and Cori are thrown back together to solve the mystery of what really happened to Sam the night he went missing. Beneath the surface of that mystery lurk secrets the friends never told one another, then and now. And Sam’s is the darkest of all…
Diary of a Misfit: A Memoir and a Mystery by Casey Parks (Lesbian Memoir)
Part memoir, part sweeping journalistic saga: As Casey Parks follows the mystery of a stranger’s past, she is forced to reckon with her own sexuality, her fraught Southern identity, her tortured yet loving relationship with her mother, and the complicated role of faith in her life.
When Casey Parks came out as a lesbian in college back in 2002, she assumed her life in the South was over. Her mother shunned her, and her pastor asked God to kill her. But then Parks’s grandmother, a stern conservative who grew up picking cotton, pulled her aside and revealed a startling secret. “I grew up across the street from a woman who lived as a man,” and then implored Casey to find out what happened to him. Diary of a Misfit is the story of Parks’s life-changing journey to unravel the mystery of Roy Hudgins, the small-town country singer from grandmother’s youth, all the while confronting ghosts of her own.
For ten years, Parks traveled back to rural Louisiana and knocked on strangers’ doors, dug through nursing home records, and doggedly searched for Roy’s own diaries, trying to uncover what Roy was like as a person—what he felt; what he thought; and how he grappled with his sense of otherness. With an enormous heart and an unstinting sense of vulnerability, Parks writes about finding oneself through someone else’s story, and about forging connections across the gulfs that divide us.