The 5th Tuesday of the month is usually light on releases, but today has some great ones you won’t want to miss! Some of my most-anticipated releases of the year are out today, including Yerba Buena, Nina LaCour’s adult fiction debut, and Her Majesty’s Royal Coven by Juno Dawson, a transphobia-fighting sapphic witches fantasy! This is the perfect time to make some last-minute additions to your Pride TBR.
Rainbow Rainbow by Lydia Conklin (Queer and Trans Short Stories)
A fearless collection of stories that celebrate the humor, darkness, and depth of emotion of the queer and trans experience that’snot typically represented: liminal or uncertain identities, queer conception, and queer joy
In this exuberant, prize-winning collection, queer, trans, and gender-nonconforming characters seek love and connection in hilarious and heartrending stories that reflect the complexity of our current moment.
A nonbinary writer on the eve of top surgery enters into a risky affair during the height of COVID. A lesbian couple enlists a close friend as a sperm donor, plying him with a potent rainbow-colored cocktail. A lonely office worker struggling with their gender identity chaperones their nephew to a trans YouTube convention. And in the depths of a Midwestern winter, a sex-addicted librarian relies on her pet ferrets to help resist a relapse at a wild college fair.
Capturing both the dark and lovable sides of the human experience, Rainbow Rainbow establishes debut author Lydia Conklin as a fearless new voice for their generation.
The Golden Season by Madelina Kay Sneed (Lesbian Fiction)
How do you love a place that doesn’t love you back?
Emmy Quinn is West Texas through and through: her roots run deep in the sleepy small town of Steinbeck, where God sees all and football is king. She loves her community, but she knows that when she comes out as a lesbian, she may not be able to call Steinbeck—which is steeped in the Southern Baptist tradition—home anymore.
After a disastrous conversation with her dad, Emmy meets Cameron, a charismatic, whip-smart grad student from Massachusetts who hates everything Texas. But Texas is in Emmy’s blood. Can she build a future with a woman who can’t accept the things that make Emmy who she is?
Steve Quinn has just been offered his dream job as head coach of the struggling high school football team, the Steinbeck ‘Stangs. The board thinks he can win them a state championship for the first time—but they tell him he can’t accept the position if he’s got any skeletons in his closet. Steve is still wrestling with Emmy’s coming-out: he loves his daughter, but he’s a man of faith, raised in the Baptist community. How can God ask him to choose between his dreams and his own daughter?
This lush, gorgeously written debut is a love letter to the places we call home and asks how we grapple with a complicated love for people and places that might not love us back—at least, not for who we really are. The Golden Season is a powerful examination of faith, queerness and the deep-seated bonds of family, and heralds the arrival of a striking new voice in fiction.
Yerba Buena by Nina LaCour (Sapphic Fiction)
The debut adult novel by the bestselling and award-winning YA author Nina LaCour, following two women on a star-crossed journey toward each other
When Sara Foster runs away from home at sixteen, she leaves behind the girl she once was, capable of trust and intimacy. Years later, in Los Angeles, she is a sought-after bartender, renowned as much for her brilliant cocktails as for the mystery that clings to her. Across the city, Emilie Dubois is in a holding pattern, yearning for the beauty and community her Creole grandparents cultivated but unable to commit. On a whim, she takes a job arranging flowers at the glamorous restaurant Yerba Buena and embarks on an affair with the married owner.
The morning Emilie and Sara first meet at Yerba Buena, their connection is immediate. But the damage both women carry, and the choices they have made, pulls them apart again and again. When Sara’s old life catches up to her, upending everything she thought she wanted just as Emilie has finally gained her own sense of purpose, they must decide if their love is more powerful than their pasts.
At once exquisite and expansive, astonishing in its humanity and heart, Yerba Buena is a love story for our time and a propulsive journey through the lives of two women trying to find somewhere, or someone, to call home.
Her Majesty’s Royal Coven by Juno Dawson (Sapphic Fantasy)
If you look hard enough at old photographs, we’re there in the background: healers in the trenches; Suffragettes; Bletchley Park oracles; land girls and resistance fighters. Why is it we help in times of crisis? We have a gift. We are stronger than Mundanes, plain and simple.
At the dawn of their adolescence, on the eve of the summer solstice, four young girls–Helena, Leonie, Niamh and Elle–took the oath to join Her Majesty’s Royal Coven, established by Queen Elizabeth I as a covert government department. Now, decades later, the witch community is still reeling from a civil war and Helena is the reigning High Priestess of the organization. Yet Helena is the only one of her friend group still enmeshed in the stale bureaucracy of HMRC. Elle is trying to pretend she’s a normal housewife, and Niamh has become a country vet, using her powers to heal sick animals. In what Helena perceives as the deepest betrayal, Leonie has defected to start her own more inclusive and intersectional coven, Diaspora. And now Helena has a bigger problem. A young warlock of extraordinary capabilities has been captured by authorities and seems to threaten the very existence of HMRC. With conflicting beliefs over the best course of action, the four friends must decide where their loyalties lie: with preserving tradition, or doing what is right.
Juno Dawson explores gender and the corrupting nature of power in a delightful and provocative story of magic and matriarchy, friendship and feminism. Dealing with all the aspects of contemporary womanhood, as well as being phenomenally powerful witches, Niamh, Helena, Leonie and Elle may have grown apart but they will always be bound by the sisterhood of the coven.
The Book of Queer Saints: Horror Anthology edited by Mae Murray (Queer Horror Anthology)
In this debut horror anthology by editor Mae Murray, queer villains reign supreme.
The Book of Queer Saints features 13 short stories and a lineup that includes renowned authors Eric LaRocca, Hailey Piper, and Joe Koch. Joining them are the innovative visions of Briar Ripley Page, Nikki R. Leigh, Joshua R. Pangborn, Eric Raglin, Belle Tolls, Perry Ruhland, James Bennett, LC von Hessen, K.S. Walker, and George Daniel Lea.
A fresh blend of transformative body horror, crimson-coated romance, and monstrous eroticism, this anthology is sure to satisfy your every depraved itch.
Foreword by Sam Richard of Weirdpunk Books.
Flip the Script by Lyla Lee (Bisexual F/F YA Romance)
The first rule of watching K-dramas: Never fall in love with the second lead.
As an avid watcher of K-dramas, Hana knows all the tropes to avoid when she finally lands a starring role in a buzzy new drama. And she can totally handle her fake co-star boyfriend, heartthrob Bryan Yoon, who might be falling in love with her. After all, she promised the TV producers a contract romance, and that’s all they’re going to get from her.
But when showrunners bring on a new lead actress to challenge Hana’s role as main love interest—and worse, it’s someone Hana knows all too well—can Hana fight for her position on the show, while falling for her on-screen rival in real life?
Summer’s Edge by Dana Mele (Bisexual and Lesbian YA Paranormal Thriller)
I Know What You Did Last Summer meets The Haunting of Hill House in this atmospheric, eerie teen thriller following an estranged group of friends being haunted by their friend who died last summer.
Emily Joiner was once part of an inseparable group—she was a sister, a best friend, a lover, and a rival. Summers without Emily were unthinkable. Until the fire burned the lake house to ashes with her inside.
A year later, it’s in Emily’s honor that Chelsea and her four friends decide to return. The house awaits them, meticulously rebuilt. Only, Chelsea is haunted by ghostly visions. Loner Ryan stirs up old hurts and forces golden boy Chase to play peacemaker. Which has perfect hostess Kennedy on edge as eerie events culminate in a stunning accusation: Emily’s death wasn’t an accident. And all the clues needed to find the person responsible are right here.
As old betrayals rise to the surface, Chelsea and her friends have one night to unravel a mystery spanning three summers before a killer among them exacts their revenge.
Deep in Providence by Riss M. Neilson (Lesbian YA Fantasy)
For best friends Miliani, Inez, Natalie and Jasmine, Providence, Rhode Island has a magic of its own. From the bodegas and late-night food trucks on Broad Street to The Hill that watches over the city, every corner of Providence glows with memories of them practicing spells, mixing up potions and doing séances with the help of the magic Miliani’s Filipino grandfather taught her.
But when Jasmine is killed by a drunk driver, the world they have always known is left haunted by grief…and Jasmine’s lingering spirit. Determined to bring her back, the surviving friends band together, testing the limits of their magic and everything they know about life, death, and each other.
And as their plan to resurrect Jasmine grows darker and more demanding than they imagined, their separate lives begin to splinter the bonds they depend on, revealing buried secrets that threaten the people they care about most. Miliani, Inez and Natalie will have to rely on more than just their mystical abilities to find the light.
Thrilling and absorbing, Deep in Providence is a story of profound yearning, and what happens when three teen girls are finally given the power to go after what they want.
Improbable Magic for Cynical Witches by Kate Scelsa (F/F YA Fantasy)
Seventeen-year-old Eleanor is the last person in Salem to believe in witchcraft—or think that her life could be transformed by mysterious forces. After losing her best friend and first love, Chloe, Eleanor has spent the past year in a haze, vowing to stay away from anything resembling romance.
But when a handwritten guide to tarot arrives in the mail at the witchy souvenir store where Eleanor works, it seems to bring with it the message that magic is about to enter her life. Cynical Eleanor is quick to dismiss this promise, until real-life witch Pix shows up with an unusual invitation. Inspired by the magic and mystery of the tarot, Eleanor decides to open herself up to Pix and her coven of witches, and even to the possibility of a new romance.
But Eleanor’s complicated history continues to haunt her. She will have to reckon with the old ghosts that threaten to destroy everything, even her chance at new love.
Improbable Magic for Cynical Witches is a romantic coming-of-age about learning to make peace with the past in order to accept the beauty of the present.
The Rainbow Parade by Emily Neilson (Two Moms Pride Picture Book)
A sweet and celebratory story of a family’s first time at Pride
One day in June, Mommy, Mama, and Emily take the train into the city to watch the Rainbow Parade. The three of them love how all the people in the street are so loud, proud, and colorful, but when Mama suggests they join the parade, Emily feels nervous. Standing on the sidewalkis one thing, but walking in the parade? Surely that takes something special.
This joyful and affirming picture book about a family’s first Pride parade, reminds all readers that sometimes pride takes practice and there’s no “one way” to be a part of the LGBTQ+ community.
By Your Side: The First 100 Years of Yuri Manga & Anime by Erica Friedman (Nonfiction)
The Untold Story of Lesbian Love in Japanese Anime and Comics
From the pen of Erica Friedman, lesbian icon and possibly the foremost expert on Yuri (lesbian) Anime and Manga in the Western Hemisphere:
“By Your Side is the complete Yuri resource I only ever dreamed could exist. Decades in the making, this glorious collection surveys, analyzes, and contextualizes Yuri with unparalleled detail and enthusiasm. Friedman graces readers with illuminating insights as they follow her through a century of the genre’s evolution and revolution. By sharing her extraordinary knowledge, she provides inquirers, scholars, and aficionados alike with a deeper appreciation and understanding of lesbian anime and manga while galvanizing them towards the next era of Yuri.”
-Nicki Bauman, Yurimother