New Sapphic Releases: Bi and Lesbian Books Out June 28, 2022

It looks like publishers really stacked their queer book releases to come out in the beginning of Pride month, so this week is a little bit quieter. We do have some much-anticipated sequels, as well as a selection of murder mysteries and horror comics/novels if you want to to read some books with a chill as the weather heats up. I’m currently halfway through Bad Things Happen Here and enjoying it—stay tuned for my review soon! (Content warnings for self-harm as well as murder, violence, and sexual assault.)

Mysteries and Thrillers

Harlem Sunset (Harlem Renaissance Mystery #2) by Nekesa Afia (Sapphic Historical Mystery)

the cover of Harlem Sunset

A riveting Harlem Renaissance Mystery featuring Louise Lloyd, a young Black woman working in a hot new speakeasy when she gets caught up in a murder that hits too close to home…

Harlem, 1927. Twenty-seven-year-old Louise Lloyd has found the perfect job! She is the new manager of the Dove, a club owned by her close friend Rafael Moreno. There Louise meets Nora Davies, one of the girls she was kidnapped with a decade ago. The two women—along with Rafael and his sister, Louise’s girlfriend, Rosa Maria—spend the night at the Dove, drinking and talking. The next morning, Rosa Maria wakes up covered in blood, with no memory of the previous night. Nora is lying dead in the middle of the dance floor. 
 
Louise knows Rosa Maria couldn’t have killed Nora, but the police have a hard time believing that no one can remember anything at all about what happened. When Louise and Rosa Maria return to their apartment after being questioned by the police, they find the word GUILTY written across the living room wall in paint that looks a lot like blood. Someone has gone to great lengths to frame and terrify Rosa Maria, and Louise will stop at nothing to clear the woman she loves.

Horror

Patricia Wants to Cuddle by Samantha Allen (Queer Horror)

the cover of Patricia Wants to Cuddle

On this season of The Catch, contestants must compete for love. And their lives. 

When the final four women in competition for an aloof, somewhat sleazy bachelor’s heart arrive on a mysterious island in the Pacific Northwest, they prepare themselves for another week of extreme sleep deprivation, invasive interviews, and, of course, the salacious drama eager viewers nationwide tune in to devour. Each woman came on The Catch for her own reasons—brand sponsorships, followers, and, yes, even love—and they’ve all got their eyes steadfastly trained on their respective prizes. 

Enter Patricia, a temperamental and woefully misunderstood local living alone in the dark, verdant woods, and desperate for connection. Through twists as unexpected as they are wildly entertaining, the self-absorbed cast and jaded crew each make her acquaintance atop the island’s tallest and most desolate peak, finding themselves at the center of an action-packed thriller that is far from scripted—and only a few will make the final cut. 

A whirlwind romp careening toward a last-girl-standing conclusion, and a scathing indictment of contemporary American media culture, Patricia Wants to Cuddle is also a love story: between star-crossed lesbians who rise above their intolerant town, a deeply ambivalent woman and her budding self-actualization, and a group of misfit islanders forging community against all odds.

Young Adult

Bad Things Happen Here by Rebecca Barrow (Sapphic YA Mystery)

the cover of Bad Things Happen Here by Rebecca Barrow

I Killed Zoe Spanos meets The Cheerleaders in this haunting mystery about an island town with a history of unsolved deaths—and a girl desperate to uncover the mystery behind it all.

Luca Laine Thomas lives on a cursed island. To the outside world, Parris is an exclusive, idyllic escape accessible only to the one percent. There’s nothing idyllic about its history, though, scattered with the unsolved deaths of young women—deaths Parris society happily ignores to maintain its polished veneer. But Luca can’t ignore them. Not when the curse that took them killed her best friend, Polly, three years ago. Not when she feels the curse lingering nearby, ready to take her next.

When Luca comes home to police cars outside her house, she knows the curse has visited once again. Except this time, it came for Whitney, her sister. Luca decides to take the investigation of Whitney’s death into her own hands. But as a shocking betrayal rocks Luca’s world, the identity Whitney’s killer isn’t the only truth Luca seeks. And by the time she finds what she’s looking for, Luca will come face to face with the curse she’s been running from her whole life.

Godslayers (Gearbreakers #2) by Zoe Hana Mikuta (Sapphic YA Sci Fi)

the cover of Godslayers

The only way to kill a god is from the inside…

The Gearbreakers struck a devastating blow against Godolia on Heavensday, but the cost of victory has been steep. Months later, the few rebels who’ve managed to escape the tyrannical empire’s bloody retribution have fled to the mountains, hunted by the last Zenith―Godolia’s only surviving leader.

Eris has been held prisoner since the attack on the capital city, which almost killed her. And she begins to wish it had when she discovers Sona―the girl she loves, the girl she would tear down cities for―also survived, only to be captured and corrupted by the Zenith. The cybernetic brainwashing that Sona has forcibly undergone now has her believing herself a loyal soldier for Godolia, and Eris’ mortal enemy.

With the rebellion shattered and Godolia moving forward with an insidious plan to begin inducting Badlands children into a new Windup Pilot program, the odds have never been more stacked against the Gearbreakers. Their last hope for victory will depend on whether Eris and Sona can somehow find their way back to each other from opposite sides of a war…

Comics, Graphic Novels, and Manga

M Is for Monster by Talia Dutton (Queer SFF Graphic Novel)

the cover of M is for Monster

A scientist attempts to bring her younger sister back to life with unexpected results in this Frankenstein-inspired graphic novel about ghosts, identity, and family

When Doctor Frances Ai’s younger sister Maura died in a tragic accident six months ago, Frances swore she would bring her back to life. However, the creature that rises from the slab is clearly not Maura. This girl, who chooses the name “M,” doesn’t remember anything about Maura’s life and just wants to be her own person. However, Frances expects M to pursue the same path that Maura had been on—applying to college to become a scientist—and continue the plans she and Maura shared. Hoping to trigger Maura’s memories, Frances surrounds M with the trappings of Maura’s past, but M wants nothing to do with Frances’ attempts to change her into something she’s not.

In order to face the future, both Frances and M need to learn to listen and let go of Maura once and for all. Talia Dutton’s debut graphic novel, M Is for Monster, takes a hard look at what it means to live up to other people’s expectations—as well as our own.

[Note: I can’t find in any review what kind of queer content this title has, just that is has queer content (and is by a queer creator). I’m assuming it’s sapphic, but I could be wrong.]

Clementine: Book One by Tillie Walden (Bisexual Horror Comic)

the cover of Clementine: Book One

FROM THE WORLD OF ROBERT KIRKMAN’S THE WALKING DEAD…
…CLEMENTINE LIVES!

Clementine is back on the road, looking to put her traumatic past behind her and forge a new path all her own.

But when she comes across an Amish teenager named Amos with his head in the clouds, the unlikely pair journeys North to an abandoned ski resort in Vermont, where they meet up with a small group of teenagers attempting to build a new, walker-free settlement.

As friendship, rivalry, and romance begin to blossom amongst the group, the harsh winter soon reveals that the biggest threat to their survival…might be each other.

Check out more LGBTQ new releases by signing up for Our Queerest Shelves, my LGBTQ book newsletter at Book Riot!

Support the Lesbrary on Patreon to get queer books in the mail throughout the year!

New Sapphic Releases: Bi and Lesbian Books Out June 21, 2022!

This week includes two of the fantasy releases I’m most excited to get my hands on: The Final Strife and Not Good for Maidens. I’ve heard only amazing things about The Final Strife, and it promises to be an epic fantasy trilogy with big stakes and a memorable world. Is it just me, or has sapphic epic fantasy really picked up in the last couple years? And then there’s Not Good for Maidens, which is a sapphic YA horror retelling of “The Goblin Market.” If you’re not familiar with the poem, it’s definitely worth a google to look into the queer subtext that’s been read into it for a long time. Can’t wait to see what a canonically queer take on it looks like!

Fiction

Jobs for Girls with Artistic Flair by June Gervais (F/F Fiction)

the cover of Jobs for Girls with Artistic Flair

An uplifting, feminist coming-of-age love story about a young woman who dreams of becoming a tattoo artist, and living life on her own terms.

Introvert Gina Mulley is determined to become a tattoo artist, and to find somewhere she belongs in her conventional Long Island town. But this is 1985, when tattooing is still a gritty, male-dominated fringe culture, and Gina’s funky flash is not exactly mainstream tattoo fare. The good news is that her older brother Dominic owns a tattoo shop, and he reluctantly agrees to train her.

Gina has a year to prove herself, but her world is turned upside down when a mysterious psychic and his striking assistant, Anna, arrive on the scene. With Anna’s help, Gina recognizes that the only way she has a shot at becoming a professional tattoo artist is to embrace her quirkiness both in her art and her life.   The tattoo shop is rocked by a crisis just as Gina finds herself falling in love with Anna. Dominic gives Gina an ultimatum, and she’s faced with an impossible choice: Is the romance and newfound independence she’s found worth sacrificing her dreams? Or can she find a way to have it all?   

Nettleblack by Nat Reeve (Queer Historical Fiction) [UK Release]

the cover of Nettleblack by Nat Reeve

1893. Henry Nettleblack has to act fast or she’ll be married off by her elder sister. But leaving the safety of her wealthy life isn’t as simple as she thought. Ambushed, robbed, and then saved by a mysterious organisation – part detective agency, part neighbourhood watch – a desperate Henry disguises herself and enlists. Sent out to investigate a string of crimes, she soon realises that she is living in a small rural town with surprisingly big problems.   

When the net starts to close around Henry, and sinister forces threaten to expose her as the missing Nettleblack sister, the new people in her life seem to offer her a way out, and a way forward.  

Is the world she’s lost in also a place she can find herself? 

Told through journal entries and letters, Nettleblack is a subversive and playful ride through the perils and joys of finding your place in the world, challenging myths about queerness – particularly transness – as a modern phenomenon, while exploring the practicalities of articulating queer perspectives when you’re struggling for words. 

Fantasy & Science Fiction

The Final Strife (The Final Strife Trilogy #1) by Saara El-Arifi

the cover of The Final Strife

Red is the blood of the elite, of magic, of control.
Blue is the blood of the poor, of workers, of the resistance.
Clear is the blood of the slaves, of the crushed, of the invisible.

Sylah dreams of days growing up in the resistance, being told she would spark a revolution that would free the empire from the red-blooded ruling classes’ tyranny. That spark was extinguished the day she watched her family murdered before her eyes.

Anoor has been told she’s nothing, no one, a disappointment, by the only person who matters: her mother, the most powerful ruler in the empire. But when Sylah and Anoor meet, a fire burns between them that could consume the kingdom—and their hearts. 

Hassa moves through the world unseen by upper classes, so she knows what it means to be invisible. But invisibility has its uses: It can hide the most dangerous of secrets, secrets that can reignite a revolution. And when she joins forces with Sylah and Anoor, together these grains of sand will become a storm. 

As the empire begins a set of trials of combat and skill designed to find its new leaders, the stage is set for blood to flow, power to shift, and cities to burn. 

Young Adult

Epically Earnest by Molly Horan (Sapphic YA Contemporary)

the cover of Epically Earnest by Molly Horan

In this delightfully romantic LGBTQ+ comedy-of-errors inspired by Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, a high school senior works up the courage to ask her long-time crush to prom, all while deciding if she should look for her bio family.

Jane Worthing’s claim to fame is that she was one first viral internet sensations, dubbed #bagbaby—discovered as a one-year-old in an oversized Gucci bag by her adopted father in a Poughkeepsie train station.

Now in her senior year of high school, Janey is questioning whether she wants to look for her bio family due to a loving, but deeply misguided push from her best friend Algie, while also navigating an all-consuming crush on his cousin, the beautiful, way-out-of-her-league Gwen Fairfax.

And while Janey’s never thought of herself as the earnest type, she needs to be honest with her parents, Algie, Gwen, but mostly herself if she wants to make her life truly epic. With a wink toward Oscar Wilde’s beloved play, Epically Earnest explores the complexity of identity, the many forms family can take, and the importance of being . . . yourself.

Not Good for Maidens by Tori Bovalino (Queer YA Horror/Fantasy Retelling)

the cover of Not Good for Maidens

They’ll lure you in with fruit and gems and liquor and dancing, merriment to remember for the rest of your life. But that’s an illusion. The market is death itself.

Beneath the streets of York, the goblin market calls to the Wickett women―the family of witches that tends to its victims. For generations, they have defended the old cobblestone streets with their magic. Knowing the dangers, they never entered the market―until May Wickett fell for a goblin girl, accepted her invitation, and became inextricably tied to the world her family tried to protect her from. The market learned her name, and even when she and her sister left York for Boston to escape it, the goblins remembered.

Seventeen years later, Lou, May’s niece, knows nothing of her magical lineage or the twisted streets, sweet fruits, and incredible jewels of the goblin market. But just like her aunt, the market calls to her, an echo of a curse that won’t release its hold on her family. And when her youngest aunt, Neela, is kidnapped by goblins, Lou discovers just how real and dangerous the market is.

To save her, both May and Lou will have to confront their family’s past and what happened all those years ago. But everything―from the food and wares, to the goblins themselves―is a haunting temptation for any human who manages to find their way in. And if Lou isn’t careful, she could end up losing herself to the market, too.

Nonfiction

Funny Gyal: My Fight Against Homophobia in Jamaica by Angeline Jackson with Susan McClelland (Lesbian Memoir)

the cover of Funny Gyal

“Instead of remaining silent, she chose to speak out … That’s the power of one person.” ― Barack Obama

The inspiring story of Angeline Jackson, who stood up to Jamaica’s oppression of queer youth to demand recognition and justice.


When Angeline Jackson was a child, she wondered if there was something wrong with her for wanting to kiss the other girls. But as her sexuality blossomed in her teens, she knew she wouldn’t “grow out of it” and that her attraction to girls wasn’t against God. In fact, she discovered that same-sex relationships were depicted in the Bible, which she read devoutly, even if the tight-knit evangelical Christian community she grew up in believed any sexual relationship outside of marriage between a man and woman was a sin, and her society, Jamaica, criminalized homosexual sex.

Angeline’s story begins with her traumatic experience of “corrective rape” when she is lured by an online predator, then traces her childhood through her sexual and spiritual awakening as a teen ― falling in love, breaking up, coming out, and then being forced into conversion therapy.

Sometimes dark, always threadbare and honest, Funny Gyal chronicles how Angeline’s faith deepens as a teenager, despite her parents’ conservative values and the strict Christian Jamaican society in which she lives, giving her the courage to challenge gender violence, rape culture, and oppression.

Check out more LGBTQ new releases by signing up for Our Queerest Shelves, my LGBTQ book newsletter at Book Riot!

Support the Lesbrary on Patreon to get queer books in the mail throughout the year!

New Sapphic Releases: Bi and Lesbian Books Out June 14, 2022!

First, I have to mention that I somehow left off some of my most-anticipated new releases from my June Sapphic New Releases post! I don’t know how that happened. So I’ve added them into the post, but I also wanted to highlight them here, because I think you’ll want to see them!

New Releases From Last Week I Missed!

the cover of Buffalo is the New Buffalo

Buffalo is the New Buffalo: Stories by Chelsea Vowel (Queer Métis Futurism Short Stories)

“Education is the new buffalo” is a metaphor widely used among Indigenous peoples in Canada to signify the importance of education to their survival and ability to support themselves, as once Plains nations supported themselves as buffalo peoples. The assumption is that many of the pre-Contact ways of living are forever gone, so adaptation is necessary. But Chelsea Vowel asks, “Instead of accepting that the buffalo, and our ancestral ways, will never come back, what if we simply ensure that they do?”

Inspired by classic and contemporary speculative fiction, Buffalo Is the New Buffalo explores science fiction tropes through a Métis lens: a Two-Spirit rougarou (shapeshifter) in the nineteenth century tries to solve a murder in her community and joins the nêhiyaw-pwat (Iron Confederacy) in order to successfully stop Canadian colonial expansion into the West. A Métis man is gored by a radioactive bison, gaining super strength, but losing the ability to be remembered by anyone not related to him by blood. Nanites babble to babies in Cree, virtual reality teaches transformation, foxes take human form and wreak havoc on hearts, buffalo roam free, and beings grapple with the thorny problem of healing from colonialism.

Indigenous futurisms seek to discover the impact of colonization, remove its psychological baggage, and recover ancestral traditions. These eight short stories of Métis futurism explore Indigenous existence and resistance through the specific lens of being Métis. Expansive and eye-opening, Buffalo Is the New Buffalo rewrites our shared history in provocative and exciting ways.

the cover of Vera Kelly: Lost and Found

Vera Kelly: Lost and Found by Rosalie Knecht (Lesbian Historical Thriller)

Everyone’s favorite sleuth―Vera Kelly―is back and put to the test as she searches for her missing girlfriend.

It’s spring 1971 and Vera Kelly and her girlfriend, Max, leave their cozy Brooklyn apartment for an emergency visit to Max’s estranged family in Los Angeles. Max’s parents are divorcing―her father is already engaged to a much younger woman and under the sway of an occultist charlatan; her mother has left their estate in a hurry with no indication of return. Max, who hasn’t seen her family since they threw her out at the age of twenty-one, prepares for the trip with equal parts dread and anger. 

Upon arriving, Vera is shocked by the size and extravagance of the Comstock estate―the sprawling, manicured landscape; expansive and ornate buildings; and garages full of luxury cars reveal a privileged upbringing that, up until this point, Max had only hinted at―while Max attempts to navigate her father, who is hostile and controlling, and the occultist, St. James, who is charming but appears to be siphoning family money. Tensions boil over at dinner when Max threatens to alert her mother―and her mother’s lawyers―to St. James and her father’s plans using marital assets. The next morning, when Vera wakes up, Max is gone.

In Vera Kelly Lost and Found, Rosalie Knecht gives Vera her highest-stake case yet, as Vera quickly puts her private detective skills to good use and tracks a trail of breadcrumbs across southern California to find her missing girlfriend. She travels first to a film set in Santa Ynez and, ultimately, to a most unlikely destination where Vera has to decide how much she is willing to commit to save the woman she loves.  

the cover of Home Field Advantage

Home Field Advantage by Dahlia Adler (F/F Lesbian and Queer/Polysexual YA Contemporary)

Amber McCloud’s dream is to become cheer captain at the end of the year, but it’s an extra-tall order to be joyful and spirited when the quarterback of your team has been killed in a car accident. For both the team and the squad, watching Robbie get replaced by newcomer Jack Walsh is brutal. And when it turns out Jack is actually short for Jaclyn, all hell breaks loose.

The players refuse to be led by a girl, the cheerleaders are mad about the changes to their traditions, and the fact that Robbie’s been not only replaced but outshined by a QB who wears a sports bra has more than a few Atherton Alligators in a rage. Amber tries for some semblance of unity, but it quickly becomes clear that she’s only got a future on the squad and with her friends if she helps them take Jack down.

Just one problem: Amber and Jack are falling for each other, and if Amber can’t stand up for Jack and figure out how to get everyone to fall in line, her dream may come at the cost of her heart.

Dahlia Adler’s Home Field Advantage is a sparkling romance about fighting for what – or who – you truly want.

[Check out my review for HFA!]

the cover of Happily Ever Island by Crystal Cestari

Happily Ever Island by Crystal Cestari (Sapphic YA Contemporary)

Head-in-the-clouds romantic Madison and driven pragmatist Lanie are unlikely best friends, but the two would do anything for each other. So when Madison’s life starts to fall apart, Lanie agrees to join Madison for the test run of Disney’s newest resort experience during their first college spring break: Happily Ever Island―an immersive vacation destination, where guests can become their favorite Disney character for a week. Madison decides to go as the iconic princess herself, Cinderella, with Lanie as bow-wielding Merida. It’s not Lanie’s idea of fun, but she knows Madison needs her, and besides, she could use the break from her strenuous courseload anyway. Plus, maybe she’ll get to shoot things.

But once on the island, Lanie and Madison begin to drift apart. Madison finds herself either missing out or messing up all the enchanting moments she has dreamt her whole life about, and is forever running into their annoyingly perfect (and distractingly cute) vacation’s coordinator, Val. Meanwhile, Lanie unexpectedly finds herself swept up in the magic of it all. She strikes up a secret romance with Prince Charming―but there’s no telling whether he’s just playing a part.

In this delightful YA rom-com inspired by Disney fandom, get swept up in a whirlwind of laughter, tears, and more than just a touch of Disney magic.

Fiction

Island Time by Georgia Clark (Sapphic Fiction)

the cover of Island Time by Georgia Clark

The Kellys are messy, loud, loving Australians. The Lees are sophisticated, aloof, buttoned-up Americans. They have nothing in common…except for the fact that their daughters are married. When a nearby volcano erupts during their short vacation to a remote tropical island off the coast of Queensland, the two families find themselves stranded together for six weeks.

With only two island employees making up the rest of their party, everyone is forced to question what—or who—they really want. Island Time is a sumptuous summer read that dives deep into queer romance, family secrets, ambition, parenthood, and a bird-chasing bromance. This sexy, sun-soaked paradise of white sandy beaches, crystal-clear waters, and lush rainforest will show you it’s never too late to change your destiny.

Body Grammar by Jules Ohman (Sapphic Fiction)

the cover of Body Grammar

A coming-of-age queer love story set in the glamorous but grueling world of international modeling—a “terrific debut … roiling with deep questions of identity and art, love, and the irrepressible need for meaning in life” (Jess Walter, bestselling author of The Cold Millions)

By the time Lou turns eighteen, modeling agents across Portland have scouted her for her striking androgynous look. Lou has no interest in fashion or being in the spotlight. She prefers to take photographs, especially of Ivy, her close friend and secret crush.
 
But when a hike ends in a tragic accident, Lou finds herself lost and ridden with guilt. Determined to find a purpose, Lou moves to New York and steps into the dizzying world of international fashion shows, haute couture, and editorial shoots. It’s a whirlwind of learning how to walk and how to command a body she’s never felt at ease in. But in the limelight, Lou begins to fear that she’s losing her identity—as an individual, as an artist, and as a person still in love with the girl she left behind. 
 
A sharply observed and intimate story of grief and healing, doubt and self-acceptance set against the hyper-image-conscious industry of modeling and high fashion, Body Grammar shines with the anxieties of finding your place in the world and the heartbreaking beauty of pursuing love. 

Romance

Forever Comes in Threes by D. Jackson Leigh (F/F Romance)

Forever Comes in Threes cover

Efficiency expert Perry Chandler lives what she preaches on her internationally popular podcast. She wakes at exactly the same time to begin her precisely scheduled day with no wasted minutes. Perry’s entire life is planned in advance, which is exactly how she likes it. How else do you get anything done?

Holistic, naturopathic physician Ming Lee greets every sunrise with arms outstretched as she opens herself to the earth’s slow, steady rhythm. Millions follow her podcast on how to live a healthier life by refusing to get caught up in the idea you must hustle to be successful. After all, what’s the point of life if you don’t enjoy it?

Perry and Ming are both sure they hold the key to success until the attraction sizzling between them, and the three rambunctious mutts they’re unexpectedly responsible for, teach them lessons in life and love that they never imagined.

Fantasy & Science Fiction

A Song of Silver and Gold by Melissa Karibian (Sapphic Fantasy Retelling of The Little Mermaid)

the cover of A Song of Silver and Gold

A sapphic Little Mermaid retelling perfect for fans of To Kill a Kingdom and The Shadows Between Us.

Out in the open sea, it’s kill or be killed. No one knows that better than Kaelyn. For the past year, Princess Kaelyn of Avalon has disguised herself as a man, Captain Kae, and led her crew into tumultuous waters to eradicate sirens on a journey fueled by revenge for the death of her brother. When they return home and experience a fatal siren attack on Avalon’s harbor, Kae sets sail again to destroy the sea demons once and for all.

Aqeara is a siren warrior of Meyrial, an underwater kingdom hidden from humans. When her negligence during the Avalon harbor attack causes the death of Meyrial’s princess, she accepts the help of a sea witch to overturn her banishment. Aqeara is given a human body and has until the next full moon to carve out Captain Kae’s heart in exchange for a spell to bring the dead princess back to life.

When Kae’s and Aqeara’s paths cross, they fall into a whirlwind romance, complicating their respective plans. Kae must decide whether her desire for revenge against sirens overrides her feelings for the woman she’s falling for, and Aqeara must choose between resurrecting the dead princess or sparing Kae’s life.

the cover of The Dawnhounds

The Dawnhounds by Sascha Stronach (Sapphic Fantasy)

Gideon the Ninth meets Black Sun in this queer, Māori-inspired debut fantasy.

The port city of Hainak is alive: its buildings, its fashion, even its weapons. But, after a devastating war and a sweeping biotech revolution, all its inhabitants want is peace, no one more so than Yat Jyn-Hok a reformed-thief-turned-cop who patrols the streets at night.

Yat has recently been demoted on the force due to “lifestyle choices” after being caught at a gay club. She’s barely holding it together, haunted by memories of a lover who vanished and voices that float in and out of her head like radio signals. When she stumbles across a dead body on her patrol, two fellow officers gruesomely murder her and dump her into the harbor. Unfortunately for them, she wakes up.

Resurrected by an ancient power, she finds herself with the new ability to manipulate life force. Quickly falling in with the pirate crew who has found her, she must race against time to stop a plague from being unleashed by the evil that has taken root in Hainak.

Young Adult

The Dawnhounds by Sascha Stronach (Sapphic Fantasy)

the cover of The Dawnhounds

Gideon the Ninth meets Black Sun in this queer, Māori-inspired debut fantasy.

The port city of Hainak is alive: its buildings, its fashion, even its weapons. But, after a devastating war and a sweeping biotech revolution, all its inhabitants want is peace, no one more so than Yat Jyn-Hok a reformed-thief-turned-cop who patrols the streets at night.

Yat has recently been demoted on the force due to “lifestyle choices” after being caught at a gay club. She’s barely holding it together, haunted by memories of a lover who vanished and voices that float in and out of her head like radio signals. When she stumbles across a dead body on her patrol, two fellow officers gruesomely murder her and dump her into the harbor. Unfortunately for them, she wakes up.

Resurrected by an ancient power, she finds herself with the new ability to manipulate life force. Quickly falling in with the pirate crew who has found her, she must race against time to stop a plague from being unleashed by the evil that has taken root in Hainak.

Comics

Crush & Lobo by Mariko Tamaki and Amancay Nahuelpan (Sapphic Graphic Novel)

the cover of Crush and Lobo

Crush has quit the Teen Titans and realizes it’s time to finally confront her old man in prison. She needs to prove to herself that she’s nothing like him…and she’s gonna do that by bounty hunting Lobo across space. Like father, like daughter? Like hell!
 
Winner: GLAAD Media Awards 2022 Outstanding Comic Book


Crush recently walked away from her classmates at the Roy Harper Titans Academy and effectively quit being a Teen Titan in a blaze of glory. Her relationship with her too-good-to-be-true girlfriend, Katie, is kind of on the rocks. She recently found out Lobo’s in space jail, but that’s cool, because he’s the worst. Now it’s time for the Main Man’s daughter to go to space and confront her dad and all her problems.

Children’s Books

ABC Pride by Louie Stowell and Elly Barnes (LGBTQ Picture Book)

the cover of ABC Pride

A is for Acceptance! ! B is for Belonging! ! C is for Celebrate!

ABC Pride introduces little readers to the alphabet through the colorful world of Pride. Children can discover letters and words while also learning more about the LGBTQIA+ community and how to be inclusive.

Every letter of the alphabet is paired with fun, bold illustrations to support language learning, and a handy list of discussion points at the end gives adults the tools to spark further conversations and discussion. 
 
ABC Pride offers a simple yet powerful way to explain gender, identity, ability to children, while supporting diverse family units. Ideal for children to explore together with a caregiver, or in the classroom.

Check out more LGBTQ new releases by signing up for Our Queerest Shelves, my LGBTQ book newsletter at Book Riot!

Support the Lesbrary on Patreon to get queer books in the mail throughout the year!

46 Bi and Lesbian Books Out In June 2022

a collage of the covers of the books listed below with the text Sapphic Books Out In June!

Would you believe that more than 40 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, but click through to see the other titles’ descriptions!

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

Fiction

the cover of Fruiting Bodies

Fruiting Bodies: Stories by Kathryn Harlan (Queer Short Stories)

This genre-bending debut collection of stories constructs eight eerie worlds full of desire, wisdom, and magic blooming amidst decay.

In stories that beckon and haunt, Fruiting Bodies ranges confidently from the fantastical to the gothic to the uncanny as it follows characters―mostly queer, mostly women―on the precipice of change. Echoes of timeless myth and folklore reverberate through urgent narratives of discovery, appetite, and coming-of-age in a time of crisis.

In “The Changeling,” two young cousins wait in dread for a new family member to arrive, convinced that he may be a dangerous supernatural creature. In “Endangered Animals,” Jane prepares to say goodbye to her almost-love while they road-trip across a country irrevocably altered by climate change. In “Take Only What Belongs to You,” a queer woman struggles with the personal history of an author she idolized, while in “Fiddler, Fool, Pair,” an anthropologist is drawn into a magical―and dangerous―gamble. In the title story, partners Agnes and Geb feast peacefully on the mushrooms that sprout from Agnes’s body―until an unwanted male guest disturbs their cloistered home.

Audacious, striking, and wholly original, Fruiting Bodies offers stories about knowledge in a world on the verge of collapse, knowledge that alternately empowers or devastates. Pulling beautifully, brazenly, from a variety of literary traditions, Kathryn Harlan firmly establishes herself as a thrilling new voice in fiction.

the cover of Buffalo is the New Buffalo

Buffalo is the New Buffalo: Stories by Chelsea Vowel (Queer Métis Futurism Short Stories)

“Education is the new buffalo” is a metaphor widely used among Indigenous peoples in Canada to signify the importance of education to their survival and ability to support themselves, as once Plains nations supported themselves as buffalo peoples. The assumption is that many of the pre-Contact ways of living are forever gone, so adaptation is necessary. But Chelsea Vowel asks, “Instead of accepting that the buffalo, and our ancestral ways, will never come back, what if we simply ensure that they do?”

Inspired by classic and contemporary speculative fiction, Buffalo Is the New Buffalo explores science fiction tropes through a Métis lens: a Two-Spirit rougarou (shapeshifter) in the nineteenth century tries to solve a murder in her community and joins the nêhiyaw-pwat (Iron Confederacy) in order to successfully stop Canadian colonial expansion into the West. A Métis man is gored by a radioactive bison, gaining super strength, but losing the ability to be remembered by anyone not related to him by blood. Nanites babble to babies in Cree, virtual reality teaches transformation, foxes take human form and wreak havoc on hearts, buffalo roam free, and beings grapple with the thorny problem of healing from colonialism.

Indigenous futurisms seek to discover the impact of colonization, remove its psychological baggage, and recover ancestral traditions. These eight short stories of Métis futurism explore Indigenous existence and resistance through the specific lens of being Métis. Expansive and eye-opening, Buffalo Is the New Buffalo rewrites our shared history in provocative and exciting ways.

the cover of Nevada

Nevada by Imogen Binnie (Trans F/F Fiction) (Rerelease)

A beloved and blistering cult classic and finalist for the Lambda Literary Award for Transgender Fiction finally back in print, Nevada follows a disaffected trans woman as she embarks on a cross-country road trip.

Maria Griffiths is almost thirty and works at a used bookstore in New York City while trying to stay true to her punk values. She’s in love with her bike but not with her girlfriend, Steph. She takes random pills and drinks more than is good for her, but doesn’t inject anything except, when she remembers, estrogen, because she’s trans. Everything is mostly fine until Maria and Steph break up, sending Maria into a tailspin, and then onto a cross-country trek in the car she steals from Steph. She ends up in the backwater town of Star City, Nevada, where she meets James, who is probably but not certainly trans, and who reminds Maria of her younger self. As Maria finds herself in the awkward position of trans role model, she realizes that she could become James’s savior―or his downfall.

One of the most beloved cult novels of our time and a landmark of trans literature, Imogen Binnie’s Nevada is a blistering, heartfelt, and evergreen coming-of-age story, and a punk-smeared excavation of marginalized life under capitalism. Guided by an instantly memorable, terminally self-aware protagonist―and back in print featuring a new afterword by the author―Nevada is the great American road novel flipped on its head for a new generation.

the cover of Island Time by Georgia Clark

Island Time by Georgia Clark (Sapphic Fiction)

The Kellys are messy, loud, loving Australians. The Lees are sophisticated, aloof, buttoned-up Americans. They have nothing in common…except for the fact that their daughters are married. When a nearby volcano erupts during their short vacation to a remote tropical island off the coast of Queensland, the two families find themselves stranded together for six weeks.

With only two island employees making up the rest of their party, everyone is forced to question what—or who—they really want. Island Time is a sumptuous summer read that dives deep into queer romance, family secrets, ambition, parenthood, and a bird-chasing bromance. This sexy, sun-soaked paradise of white sandy beaches, crystal-clear waters, and lush rainforest will show you it’s never too late to change your destiny.

the cover of Exalted

Exalted by Anna Dorn (Lesbian Fiction)

Emily Forrest runs Exalted, the hottest astrology account on Instagram, from her studio apartment in Los Angeles. Burned out on meme-making and listicles, Emily’s passion for astrology is waning despite her gift for deciphering the signs, until she comes across a birth-chart that could potentially change her mind. Beau Rubidoux’s planets are aligned, each paired with its optimum sign—his chart is exalted. She decides that Beau, a well-connected photographer in Echo Park, could potentially be the love of her life and help her fulfill her true destiny: to be a star.   

Meanwhile in Riverside, Dawn Webster has been dumped once again. At 48, she is forced to return to the same restaurant where she started waiting tables at 18. With no girlfriend, no career, and her only son gone to Hollywood, the once-vivacious Dawn is aimless and alone. Persona non-grata at the local gay bar, she guzzles cheap champagne and checks Exalted to feel seen. She is a fiery Leo, and one day she will get her due.

Alternating between Emily and Dawn’s very different points of view, Exalted is a deliciously dark novel that explores desire, the projection of our need for love, and what we’re really searching for when we keep scrolling. Anna Dorn’s signature wit and biting social commentary takes readers across Southern California until Emily and Dawn’s shocking connection is finally revealed.  

the cover of Jobs for Girls with Artistic Flair

Jobs for Girls with Artistic Flair by June Gervais (F/F Fiction)

An uplifting, feminist coming-of-age love story about a young woman who dreams of becoming a tattoo artist, and living life on her own terms.

Introvert Gina Mulley is determined to become a tattoo artist, and to find somewhere she belongs in her conventional Long Island town. But this is 1985, when tattooing is still a gritty, male-dominated fringe culture, and Gina’s funky flash is not exactly mainstream tattoo fare. The good news is that her older brother Dominic owns a tattoo shop, and he reluctantly agrees to train her.

Gina has a year to prove herself, but her world is turned upside down when a mysterious psychic and his striking assistant, Anna, arrive on the scene. With Anna’s help, Gina recognizes that the only way she has a shot at becoming a professional tattoo artist is to embrace her quirkiness both in her art and her life.   The tattoo shop is rocked by a crisis just as Gina finds herself falling in love with Anna. Dominic gives Gina an ultimatum, and she’s faced with an impossible choice: Is the romance and newfound independence she’s found worth sacrificing her dreams? Or can she find a way to have it all?    

the cover of So Happy For You

So Happy for You by Celia Laskey (Queer Fiction)

Robin and Ellie have been best friends since childhood. When Robin came out, Ellie was there for her. When Ellie’s father died, Robin had her back. But when Ellie asks Robin to be her maid of honor, she is reluctant. A queer academic, Robin is dubious of the elaborate wedding rituals now sweeping the nation, which go far beyond champagne toasts and a bouquet toss. But loyalty wins out, and Robin accepts. 

Yet, as the wedding weekend approaches, a series of ominous occurrences lead Robin to second-guess her decision. It seems that everyone in the bridal party is out to get her. Perhaps even Ellie herself. 

Manically entertaining, viciously funny and eerily campy, So Happy for You is the ultimate send-up to our collective obsession with the wedding industrial complex and a riveting, unexpectedly poignant depiction of friendship in all its messy glory. 

the cover of Body Grammar

Body Grammar by Jules Ohman (Sapphic Fiction)

A coming-of-age queer love story set in the glamorous but grueling world of international modeling—a “terrific debut … roiling with deep questions of identity and art, love, and the irrepressible need for meaning in life” (Jess Walter, bestselling author of The Cold Millions)

By the time Lou turns eighteen, modeling agents across Portland have scouted her for her striking androgynous look. Lou has no interest in fashion or being in the spotlight. She prefers to take photographs, especially of Ivy, her close friend and secret crush.
 
But when a hike ends in a tragic accident, Lou finds herself lost and ridden with guilt. Determined to find a purpose, Lou moves to New York and steps into the dizzying world of international fashion shows, haute couture, and editorial shoots. It’s a whirlwind of learning how to walk and how to command a body she’s never felt at ease in. But in the limelight, Lou begins to fear that she’s losing her identity—as an individual, as an artist, and as a person still in love with the girl she left behind. 
 
A sharply observed and intimate story of grief and healing, doubt and self-acceptance set against the hyper-image-conscious industry of modeling and high fashion, Body Grammar shines with the anxieties of finding your place in the world and the heartbreaking beauty of pursuing love. 

the cover of Nettleblack by Nat Reeve

Nettleblack by Nat Reeve (Queer Historical Fiction) [UK Release]

1893. Henry Nettleblack has to act fast or she’ll be married off by her elder sister. But leaving the safety of her wealthy life isn’t as simple as she thought. Ambushed, robbed, and then saved by a mysterious organisation – part detective agency, part neighbourhood watch – a desperate Henry disguises herself and enlists. Sent out to investigate a string of crimes, she soon realises that she is living in a small rural town with surprisingly big problems.   

When the net starts to close around Henry, and sinister forces threaten to expose her as the missing Nettleblack sister, the new people in her life seem to offer her a way out, and a way forward.  

Is the world she’s lost in also a place she can find herself? 

Told through journal entries and letters, Nettleblack is a subversive and playful ride through the perils and joys of finding your place in the world, challenging myths about queerness – particularly transness – as a modern phenomenon, while exploring the practicalities of articulating queer perspectives when you’re struggling for words. 

the cover of Not Exactly What I Had in Mind

Romance

the cover of The Perfect Crimes of Marian Hayes

The Perfect Crimes of Marian Hayes by Cat Sebastian (Bi F/Bi M Romance)

Marian Hayes, the Duchess of Clare, just shot her husband. Of course, the evil, murderous man deserved what was coming to him, but now she must flee to the countryside. Unfortunately, the only person she can ask for help is the charismatic criminal who is blackmailing her—and who she may have left tied up a few hours before…

A highwayman, con artist, and all-around cheerful villain, Rob Brooks is no stranger to the wrong side of the law or the right side of anybody’s bed. He never meant to fall for the woman whose secrets he promised to keep for the low price of five hundred pounds, but how could he resist someone who led him on a merry chase all over London, left him tied up in a seedy inn, and then arrived covered in her husband’s blood and in desperate need of his help?

As they flee across the country—stopping to pick pockets, drink to excess, and rescue invalid cats—they discover more true joy and peace than either has felt in ages. But when the truth of Rob’s past catches up to him, they must decide if they are willing to reshape their lives in order to forge a future together.

the cover of She'll Find Me

Mystery/Thrillers

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the cover of Vera Kelly: Lost and Found

Horror

the cover of Patricia Wants to Cuddle

Patricia Wants to Cuddle by Samantha Allen (Queer Horror)

On this season of The Catch, contestants must compete for love. And their lives. 

When the final four women in competition for an aloof, somewhat sleazy bachelor’s heart arrive on a mysterious island in the Pacific Northwest, they prepare themselves for another week of extreme sleep deprivation, invasive interviews, and, of course, the salacious drama eager viewers nationwide tune in to devour. Each woman came on The Catch for her own reasons—brand sponsorships, followers, and, yes, even love—and they’ve all got their eyes steadfastly trained on their respective prizes. 

Enter Patricia, a temperamental and woefully misunderstood local living alone in the dark, verdant woods, and desperate for connection. Through twists as unexpected as they are wildly entertaining, the self-absorbed cast and jaded crew each make her acquaintance atop the island’s tallest and most desolate peak, finding themselves at the center of an action-packed thriller that is far from scripted—and only a few will make the final cut. 

A whirlwind romp careening toward a last-girl-standing conclusion, and a scathing indictment of contemporary American media culture, Patricia Wants to Cuddle is also a love story: between star-crossed lesbians who rise above their intolerant town, a deeply ambivalent woman and her budding self-actualization, and a group of misfit islanders forging community against all odds.

Fantasy

the cover of The Final Strife

The Final Strife (The Final Strife Trilogy #1) by Saara El-Arifi

Red is the blood of the elite, of magic, of control.
Blue is the blood of the poor, of workers, of the resistance.
Clear is the blood of the slaves, of the crushed, of the invisible.

Sylah dreams of days growing up in the resistance, being told she would spark a revolution that would free the empire from the red-blooded ruling classes’ tyranny. That spark was extinguished the day she watched her family murdered before her eyes.

Anoor has been told she’s nothing, no one, a disappointment, by the only person who matters: her mother, the most powerful ruler in the empire. But when Sylah and Anoor meet, a fire burns between them that could consume the kingdom—and their hearts. 

Hassa moves through the world unseen by upper classes, so she knows what it means to be invisible. But invisibility has its uses: It can hide the most dangerous of secrets, secrets that can reignite a revolution. And when she joins forces with Sylah and Anoor, together these grains of sand will become a storm. 

As the empire begins a set of trials of combat and skill designed to find its new leaders, the stage is set for blood to flow, power to shift, and cities to burn. 

the cover of A Song of Silver and Gold

A Song of Silver and Gold by Melissa Karibian (Sapphic Fantasy Retelling of The Little Mermaid)

A sapphic Little Mermaid retelling perfect for fans of To Kill a Kingdom and The Shadows Between Us.

Out in the open sea, it’s kill or be killed. No one knows that better than Kaelyn. For the past year, Princess Kaelyn of Avalon has disguised herself as a man, Captain Kae, and led her crew into tumultuous waters to eradicate sirens on a journey fueled by revenge for the death of her brother. When they return home and experience a fatal siren attack on Avalon’s harbor, Kae sets sail again to destroy the sea demons once and for all.

Aqeara is a siren warrior of Meyrial, an underwater kingdom hidden from humans. When her negligence during the Avalon harbor attack causes the death of Meyrial’s princess, she accepts the help of a sea witch to overturn her banishment. Aqeara is given a human body and has until the next full moon to carve out Captain Kae’s heart in exchange for a spell to bring the dead princess back to life.

When Kae’s and Aqeara’s paths cross, they fall into a whirlwind romance, complicating their respective plans. Kae must decide whether her desire for revenge against sirens overrides her feelings for the woman she’s falling for, and Aqeara must choose between resurrecting the dead princess or sparing Kae’s life.

the cover of The Dawnhounds

The Dawnhounds by Sascha Stronach (Sapphic Fantasy)

Gideon the Ninth meets Black Sun in this queer, Māori-inspired debut fantasy.

The port city of Hainak is alive: its buildings, its fashion, even its weapons. But, after a devastating war and a sweeping biotech revolution, all its inhabitants want is peace, no one more so than Yat Jyn-Hok a reformed-thief-turned-cop who patrols the streets at night.

Yat has recently been demoted on the force due to “lifestyle choices” after being caught at a gay club. She’s barely holding it together, haunted by memories of a lover who vanished and voices that float in and out of her head like radio signals. When she stumbles across a dead body on her patrol, two fellow officers gruesomely murder her and dump her into the harbor. Unfortunately for them, she wakes up.

Resurrected by an ancient power, she finds herself with the new ability to manipulate life force. Quickly falling in with the pirate crew who has found her, she must race against time to stop a plague from being unleashed by the evil that has taken root in Hainak.

the cover of Lockland
the cover of A Mirror Mended
  • Locklands (The Founders Trilogy #3) by Robert Jackson Bennett (F/F Fantasy)
  • A Mirror Mended (Fractured Fables #2) by Alix E. Harrow (Sapphic Fantasy)

Science Fiction

the cover of January Fifteenth

January Fifteenth by Rachel Swirsky (Sapphic Near Future Sci Fi)

“One of the best speculative writers of the last decade.”―John Scalzi

January Fifteenth―the day all Americans receive their annual Universal Basic Income payment.

For Hannah, a middle-aged mother, today is the anniversary of the day she took her two children and fled her abusive ex-wife.

For Janelle, a young, broke journalist, today is another mind-numbing day interviewing passersby about the very policy she once opposed.

For Olivia, a wealthy college freshman, today is “Waste Day”, when rich kids across the country compete to see who can most obscenely squander the government’s money.

For Sarah, a pregnant teen, today is the day she’ll journey alongside her sister-wives to pick up the payment­­s that undergird their community―and perhaps embark on a new journey altogether.

In this near-future science fiction novella by Nebula Award-winning author Rachel Swirsky, the fifteenth of January is another day of the status quo, and another chance at making lasting change.

Comics, Graphic Novels, and Manga

the cover of Clementine: Book One

Clementine: Book One by Tillie Walden (Bisexual Horror Comic)

FROM THE WORLD OF ROBERT KIRKMAN’S THE WALKING DEAD…
…CLEMENTINE LIVES!

Clementine is back on the road, looking to put her traumatic past behind her and forge a new path all her own.

But when she comes across an Amish teenager named Amos with his head in the clouds, the unlikely pair journeys North to an abandoned ski resort in Vermont, where they meet up with a small group of teenagers attempting to build a new, walker-free settlement.

As friendship, rivalry, and romance begin to blossom amongst the group, the harsh winter soon reveals that the biggest threat to their survival…might be each other.

the cover of The Two of Them Are Pretty Much Like This Vol. 1

The Two of Them Are Pretty Much Like This Vol. 1 by Takashi Ikeda (F/F Manga)

From the creator of Whispered Words! Enjoy this new slice-of-life yuri manga about two adult women in the creative industries and their shared romantic life in their apartment.

Thirty-two-year-old scriptwriter Sakuma Ellie and twenty-two-year-old rookie voice actress Inuzuka Wako are roommates with a strictly professional relationship. Or at least, that’s what they tell everyone. In fact, they’ve been living as a couple in Ellie’s apartment for the past year, spending delightful, tranquil days together.

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the cover of I Can't Believe I Slept With You! Vol. 2
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Young Adult

YA Contemporary

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Home Field Advantage by Dahlia Adler (F/F Lesbian and Queer/Polysexual YA Contemporary)

Amber McCloud’s dream is to become cheer captain at the end of the year, but it’s an extra-tall order to be joyful and spirited when the quarterback of your team has been killed in a car accident. For both the team and the squad, watching Robbie get replaced by newcomer Jack Walsh is brutal. And when it turns out Jack is actually short for Jaclyn, all hell breaks loose.

The players refuse to be led by a girl, the cheerleaders are mad about the changes to their traditions, and the fact that Robbie’s been not only replaced but outshined by a QB who wears a sports bra has more than a few Atherton Alligators in a rage. Amber tries for some semblance of unity, but it quickly becomes clear that she’s only got a future on the squad and with her friends if she helps them take Jack down.

Just one problem: Amber and Jack are falling for each other, and if Amber can’t stand up for Jack and figure out how to get everyone to fall in line, her dream may come at the cost of her heart.

Dahlia Adler’s Home Field Advantage is a sparkling romance about fighting for what – or who – you truly want.

[Check out my review for HFA!]

the cover of Happily Ever Island by Crystal Cestari

Happily Ever Island by Crystal Cestari (Sapphic YA Contemporary)

Head-in-the-clouds romantic Madison and driven pragmatist Lanie are unlikely best friends, but the two would do anything for each other. So when Madison’s life starts to fall apart, Lanie agrees to join Madison for the test run of Disney’s newest resort experience during their first college spring break: Happily Ever Island―an immersive vacation destination, where guests can become their favorite Disney character for a week. Madison decides to go as the iconic princess herself, Cinderella, with Lanie as bow-wielding Merida. It’s not Lanie’s idea of fun, but she knows Madison needs her, and besides, she could use the break from her strenuous courseload anyway. Plus, maybe she’ll get to shoot things.

But once on the island, Lanie and Madison begin to drift apart. Madison finds herself either missing out or messing up all the enchanting moments she has dreamt her whole life about, and is forever running into their annoyingly perfect (and distractingly cute) vacation’s coordinator, Val. Meanwhile, Lanie unexpectedly finds herself swept up in the magic of it all. She strikes up a secret romance with Prince Charming―but there’s no telling whether he’s just playing a part.

In this delightful YA rom-com inspired by Disney fandom, get swept up in a whirlwind of laughter, tears, and more than just a touch of Disney magic.

the cover of Epically Earnest by Molly Horan

Epically Earnest by Molly Horan (Sapphic YA Contemporary)

In this delightfully romantic LGBTQ+ comedy-of-errors inspired by Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, a high school senior works up the courage to ask her long-time crush to prom, all while deciding if she should look for her bio family.

Jane Worthing’s claim to fame is that she was one first viral internet sensations, dubbed #bagbaby—discovered as a one-year-old in an oversized Gucci bag by her adopted father in a Poughkeepsie train station.

Now in her senior year of high school, Janey is questioning whether she wants to look for her bio family due to a loving, but deeply misguided push from her best friend Algie, while also navigating an all-consuming crush on his cousin, the beautiful, way-out-of-her-league Gwen Fairfax.

And while Janey’s never thought of herself as the earnest type, she needs to be honest with her parents, Algie, Gwen, but mostly herself if she wants to make her life truly epic. With a wink toward Oscar Wilde’s beloved play, Epically Earnest explores the complexity of identity, the many forms family can take, and the importance of being . . . yourself.

the cover of If You Still Recognise Me by Cynthia So

If You Still Recognise Me by Cynthia So (F/F YA Contemporary) [UK Release]

Elsie has a crush on Ada, the only person in the world who truly understands her. Unfortunately, they’ve never met in real life and Ada lives an ocean away. But Elsie has decided it’s now or never to tell Ada how she feels. That is, until her long-lost best friend Joan walks back into her life.

In a summer of repairing broken connections and building surprising new ones, Elsie realises that she isn’t nearly as alone as she thought. But now she has a choice to make…

A lyrical contemporary story about falling in love and finding yourself in the process, for fans of The Black Flamingo, The Falling In Love Montage, and Alice Oseman.

the cover of Valiant Ladies

Valiant Ladies by Melissa Grey (F/F YA Historical Fiction)

Two teen vigilantes set off on an action-packed investigation to expose corruption and deliver justice in Valiant Ladies, Melissa Grey’s YA historical fiction novel inspired by real seventeenth century Latinx teenagers known as the Valiant Ladies of Potosí.

By day Eustaquia “Kiki” de Sonza and Ana Lezama de Urinza are proper young seventeenth century ladies. But when night falls, they trade in their silks and lace for swords and muskets, venturing out into the vibrant, bustling, crime-ridden streets of Potosí in the Spanish Empire’s Viceroyalty of Peru. They pass their time fighting, gambling, and falling desperately in love with one another.

Then, on the night Kiki’s engagement to the Viceroy’s son is announced, her older brother―heir to her family’s fortune―is murdered. The girls immediately embark on a whirlwind investigation that takes them from the lowliest brothels of Potosí to the highest echelons of the Spanish aristocracy.

the cover of We Are Your Parents
the cover of The Gravity of Missing Things

YA Mystery/Thrillers

the cover of Bad Things Happen Here by Rebecca Barrow

Bad Things Happen Here by Rebecca Barrow (Sapphic YA Mystery)

I Killed Zoe Spanos meets The Cheerleaders in this haunting mystery about an island town with a history of unsolved deaths—and a girl desperate to uncover the mystery behind it all.

Luca Laine Thomas lives on a cursed island. To the outside world, Parris is an exclusive, idyllic escape accessible only to the one percent. There’s nothing idyllic about its history, though, scattered with the unsolved deaths of young women—deaths Parris society happily ignores to maintain its polished veneer. But Luca can’t ignore them. Not when the curse that took them killed her best friend, Polly, three years ago. Not when she feels the curse lingering nearby, ready to take her next.

When Luca comes home to police cars outside her house, she knows the curse has visited once again. Except this time, it came for Whitney, her sister. Luca decides to take the investigation of Whitney’s death into her own hands. But as a shocking betrayal rocks Luca’s world, the identity Whitney’s killer isn’t the only truth Luca seeks. And by the time she finds what she’s looking for, Luca will come face to face with the curse she’s been running from her whole life.

YA Horror

the cover of Not Good for Maidens

Not Good for Maidens by Tori Bovalino (Queer YA Horror/Fantasy Retelling)

They’ll lure you in with fruit and gems and liquor and dancing, merriment to remember for the rest of your life. But that’s an illusion. The market is death itself.

Beneath the streets of York, the goblin market calls to the Wickett women―the family of witches that tends to its victims. For generations, they have defended the old cobblestone streets with their magic. Knowing the dangers, they never entered the market―until May Wickett fell for a goblin girl, accepted her invitation, and became inextricably tied to the world her family tried to protect her from. The market learned her name, and even when she and her sister left York for Boston to escape it, the goblins remembered.

Seventeen years later, Lou, May’s niece, knows nothing of her magical lineage or the twisted streets, sweet fruits, and incredible jewels of the goblin market. But just like her aunt, the market calls to her, an echo of a curse that won’t release its hold on her family. And when her youngest aunt, Neela, is kidnapped by goblins, Lou discovers just how real and dangerous the market is.

To save her, both May and Lou will have to confront their family’s past and what happened all those years ago. But everything―from the food and wares, to the goblins themselves―is a haunting temptation for any human who manages to find their way in. And if Lou isn’t careful, she could end up losing herself to the market, too.

YA Fantasy and Sci Fi

the cover of Out There

Out There: Into the Queer New Yonder edited by Saundra Mitchell (Queer SFF YA Anthology)

To conclude the trio of anthologies that started with critically acclaimed All Out and Out NowOut There features seventeen original short stories set in the future from fantastic queer YA authors.

Explore new and familiar worlds where the human consciousness can be uploaded into a body on Mars…an alien helps a girl decide if she should tell her best friend how she feels…two teens get stuck in a time loop at a space station…people are forced to travel to the past or the future to escape the dying planet…only a nonbinary person can translate the binary code of a machine that predicts the future…everyone in the world vanishes except for two teen girls who are in love.

This essential and beautifully written collection immerses and surprises with each turn of the page.

the cover of We All Fall Down

We All Fall Down by Rose Szabo (Queer YA Fantasy)

In River City, where magic used to thrive and is now fading, the witches who once ruled the city along with their powerful King have become all but obsolete. The city’s crumbling government is now controlled primarily by the new university and teaching hospital, which has grown to take over half of the city.

Moving between the decaying Old City and the ruthless New, four young queer people struggle with the daily hazards of life―work, school, dodging ruthless cops and unscrupulous scientists―not realizing that they have been selected to play in an age-old drama that revives the flow of magic through their world. When a mysterious death rocks their fragile peace, the four are brought into each other’s orbits as they uncover a deeper magical conspiracy.

Devastating, gorgeous, and utterly unique, We All Fall Down examines the complex network of pain created by power differentials, even between people who love each other―and how it is possible to be queer and turn out just fine.

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YA Comics, Graphic Novels, and Manga

the cover of Baby Teeth

Baby Teeth by Meg Grehan (Sapphic YA Vampire Graphic Novel)

From the multi-award winning author of The Deepest Breath, a Junior Library Guild Selection, comes a YA verse novel about LGBTQ+ desire, identity — and vampires.

The blood
Feeds the hunger
That threatens everything

It starts when Claudia offers her a yellow rose.
Immy has been in love before – many times, across many lifetimes. But never as deeply, as intensely as this. Claudia smells like paint and peppermint tea. She wears her hair in a plait, and has a green thumb, and Immy is utterly besotted. Claudia has never been in love like this either. But then, this is her first time with a vampire. But a love like this can’t last. The forbidden thirst for blood runs deep in Immy. And within her mind clamour the voices, of all the others she has been, their desires, and their wrongs.

the cover of Slip

Slip by Marika McCoola and Aatmaja Pandya (Sapphic YA Graphic Novel)

From Eisner-Award nominated writer Marika McCoola and debut artist Aatmaja Pandya, an emotional coming-of-age graphic novel for fans of Bloom and Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me.

Right before Jade is about to leave for a summer art intensive, her best friend, Phoebe, attempts suicide. How is Jade supposed to focus on herself right now?

But at the Art Farm, Jade has artistic opportunities she’s been waiting for her whole life. And as she gets to know her classmates, she begins to fall for whimsical, upbeat, comfortable-in-her-own-skin Mary. Jade pours herself into making ceramic monsters that vent her stress and insecurities, but when she puts her creatures in the kiln, something unreal happens: they come to life. And they’re taking a stand: if Jade won’t confront her problems, her problems are going to confront her, including the scariest of them all—if Jade grows, prospers, and even falls in love this summer, is she leaving Phoebe behind?

Children

the cover of The Big Book of Pride Flags

The Big Book of Pride Flags by Jessica Kingsley and Jem Milton (Nonfiction Picture Book)

Celebrate and learn about the LGBTQIA+ community with this colourful book of Pride flags!

Featuring all the colours of the rainbow, this book teaches children about LGBTQIA+ identities through 17 different Pride flags. With fun facts, simple explanations and a short history of each flag accompanying beautiful illustrations, children will uncover the history of Pride and be introduced to different genders and sexual orientations. There’s also a blank Pride flag design at the back of the book so that children can create their very own Pride flag!

With a Reading Guide that provides a detailed History of the Pride Flag and questions for further discussion, this inspiring book is a must-have for every child’s bookshelf, library or classroom.

Nonfiction

Poetry

the cover of Still Water: Poems

Still Water: Poems by Jewelle Gomez (Poetry)

African American, Cabo Verdean/Wampanoag/Ioway all converge in Jewelle Gomez’s exquisite collection of poetry that explores the legacies of family heritage, history, and identity.

Gomez contemplates her sexuality, multi-ethnic and class identities, and what it means to experience love, loss, grief, friendship, and solidarity with other women during times of political upheaval.

Gomez’s poems are a gift: at times sumptuous and impassioned, and always striking in their clarity.

Memoirs & Essays

the cover of Funny Gyal

Funny Gyal: My Fight Against Homophobia in Jamaica by Angeline Jackson with Susan McClelland (Lesbian Memoir)

“Instead of remaining silent, she chose to speak out … That’s the power of one person.” ― Barack Obama

The inspiring story of Angeline Jackson, who stood up to Jamaica’s oppression of queer youth to demand recognition and justice.


When Angeline Jackson was a child, she wondered if there was something wrong with her for wanting to kiss the other girls. But as her sexuality blossomed in her teens, she knew she wouldn’t “grow out of it” and that her attraction to girls wasn’t against God. In fact, she discovered that same-sex relationships were depicted in the Bible, which she read devoutly, even if the tight-knit evangelical Christian community she grew up in believed any sexual relationship outside of marriage between a man and woman was a sin, and her society, Jamaica, criminalized homosexual sex.

Angeline’s story begins with her traumatic experience of “corrective rape” when she is lured by an online predator, then traces her childhood through her sexual and spiritual awakening as a teen ― falling in love, breaking up, coming out, and then being forced into conversion therapy.

Sometimes dark, always threadbare and honest, Funny Gyal chronicles how Angeline’s faith deepens as a teenager, despite her parents’ conservative values and the strict Christian Jamaican society in which she lives, giving her the courage to challenge gender violence, rape culture, and oppression.

the cover of Brown Neon

Brown Neon by Raquel Gutiérrez (Queer Essays)

A meditation on southwestern terrains, intergenerational queer dynamics, and surveilled brown artists that crosses physical and conceptual borders. 

Part butch memoir, part ekphrastic travel diary, part queer family tree, Raquel Gutiérrez’s debut essay collection, Brown Neon, gleans insight from the sediment of land and relationships. For Gutiérrez, terrain is essential to understanding that no story, no matter how personal, is separate from the space where it unfolds. Whether contemplating the value of adobe as both vernacular architecture and commodified art object, highlighting the feminist wounding and transphobic apparitions haunting the multigenerational lesbian social fabric, or recalling a failed romance, Gutiérrez traverses complex questions of gender, class, identity, and citizenship with curiosity and nuance.

Check out more LGBTQ new releases by signing up for Our Queerest Shelves, my LGBTQ book newsletter at Book Riot!

Support the Lesbrary on Patreon to get queer books in the mail throughout the year!

New Sapphic Releases: Bi and Lesbian Books Out May 24, 2022

While June always (well, at least in the last few years!) comes with a deluge of queer new releases, there are also plenty coming out in the lead up to Pride this week! We’ve got a selection of bisexual books, including some bi M/F romances. There are also some fascinating nonfiction titles hitting the shelves, including a queer roller derby memoir and a YA nonfic book about queer behaviour in animals!

Since I haven’t yet had the pleasure of reading all of these, I’ve used the publishers’ descriptions.

Which queer books coming out this week are you most excited about? Let me know in the comments!

Fiction

Solo Dance by Li Kotomi, translated by Arthur Reiji Morris (Queer Literary Fiction)

the cover of Solo Dance

A powerful novel about the LGBTQ rights movement and gay love in Japan and Taiwan, from the most important queer voice of East Asia’s millennial generation.

Cho Norie, twenty-seven and originally from Taiwan, is working an office job in Tokyo. While her colleagues worry about the economy, life-insurance policies, marriage, and children, she is forced to keep her unconventional life hidden―including her sexuality and the violent attack that prompted her move to Japan. There is also her unusual fascination with death: she knows from personal experience how devastating death can be, but for her it is also creative fuel. Solo Dance depicts the painful coming of age of a gay person in Taiwan and corporate Japan. This striking debut is an intimate and powerful account of a search for hope after trauma.

Romance

You Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty by Akwaeke Emezi (Bisexual M/F Romance)

the cover of You Made a Fool of Death With Your Beauty

Feyi Adekola wants to learn how to be alive again.

It’s been five years since the accident that killed the love of her life and she’s almost a new person now—an artist with her own studio and sharing a brownstone apartment with her ride-or-die best friend, Joy, who insists it’s time for Feyi to ease back into the dating scene. Feyi isn’t ready for anything serious, but a steamy encounter at a rooftop party cascades into a whirlwind summer she could have never imagined: a luxury trip to a tropical island, decadent meals in the glamorous home of a celebrity chef, and a major curator who wants to launch her art career.

She’s even started dating the perfect guy, but their new relationship might be sabotaged before it has a chance by the overwhelming desire Feyi feels every time she locks eyes with the one person in the house who is most definitely off-limits—his father.

This new life she asked for just got a lot more complicated, and Feyi must begin her search for real answers. Who is she ready to become? Can she release her past and honor her grief while still embracing her future? And, of course, there’s the biggest question of all—how far is she willing to go for a second chance at love? Akwaeke Emezi’s vivid and passionate writing takes us deep into a world of possibility and healing, and the constant bravery of choosing love against all odds.

Young Adult

Just Your Local Bisexual Disaster by Andrea Mosqueda (Bisexual YA Contemporary)

the cover of Just Your Local Bisexual Disaster

Growing up in Texas’s Rio Grande Valley, Maggie Gonzalez has always been a little messy, but she’s okay with that. After all, she has a great family, a goofy group of friends, a rocky romantic history, and dreams of being a music photographer. Tasked with picking an escort for her little sister’s quinceañera, Maggie has to face the truth: that her feelings about her friends―and her future―aren’t as simple as she’d once believed.

As Maggie’s search for the perfect escort continues, she’s forced to confront new (and old) feelings for three of her friends: Amanda, her best friend and first-ever crush; Matthew, her ex-boyfriend twice-over who refuses to stop flirting with her, and Dani, the new girl who has romantic baggage of her own. On top of this romantic disaster, she can’t stop thinking about the uncertainty of her own plans for the future and what that means for the people she loves.

As the weeks wind down and the boundaries between friendship and love become hazy, Maggie finds herself more and more confused with each photo. When her tried-and-true medium causes more chaos than calm, Maggie needs to figure out how to avoid certain disaster―or be brave enough to dive right into it, in Just Your Local Bisexual Disaster.

Beauty and the Besharam by Lillie Vale (Bisexual M/F YA Contemporary)

the cover of Beauty and the Besharam

Seventeen-year-old, high-achieving Kavya Joshi has always been told she’s a little too ambitious, a little too mouthy, and overall just a little too much. In one word: besharam.

So, when her nemesis, Ian Jun, witnesses Kavya’s very public breakup with her loser boyfriend on the last day of junior year, she decides to lay low and spend the summer doing what she loves best–working part time playing princess roles for childrens’ birthday parties. But her plan is shot when she’s cast as Ariel instead of her beloved Belle, and learns that Ian will be her Prince Eric for the summer. [Cue the combative banter.]

Exhausted by Kavya and Ian’s years-long feud, their friends hatch a plan to end their rivalry by convincing them to participate in a series of challenges throughout the summer. Kavya is only too eager to finally be declared the winner. But as the competition heats up, so too does the romantic tension, until it escalates from a simmer to a full-on burn.

Primal Animals by Julia Lynn Rubin (Sapphic YA Horror)

the cover of Primal Animals

Arlee Gold has always lived in the shadow of her successful mom; even after everything Arlee’s been through, her mother still expects nothing but the best. In an effort to get her daughter back on track after a less-than-stellar few school years, she’s enrolled Arlee as a legacy at Camp Rockaway, an elite college prep summer camp deep in the North Carolina wilderness. On her own for the first time and buzzing with anxiety, Arlee is intimidated by the camp’s shiny exterior, suffocated by the relentless, thick summer heat…and tormented by the ceaseless stream of crawling, slimy, flapping bugs that seem to come straight from her nightmares.

In the midst of her brewing dread, Arlee is relieved to find a queer sanctuary in her bunkmates, and is especially drawn to Winnie, the enigmatic girl who sleeps in the bunk above her. Except Arlee starts to notice whispers in her wake, and how so many others recoil from her as if she were as creepy as the insects that terrify her. Struggling in her prep classes and feeling increasingly paranoid, Arlee can no longer suppress her panicked glitches.” Winnie, too, seems to become wary, and Arlee’s worst fear is confirmed: even here, in the place her mother promised was “going to change everything,” she’s been found out as a freak.

Just as she’s facing a summer completely alone, another rising junior slips her a mysterious invitation, and Arlee finds herself caught up in a secret society that expects its sisterhood to protect each other from any and all who would harm them―by any means necessary. Here, finally, Arlee feels like a part of something bigger, something that matters. Guided by their cunning leader, Lisha, a rising senior with a smile sharp enough to cut bone, the sisterhood will stand against any threat, unquestioningly. But when Winnie is put in grave danger, Arlee is forced to confront just how far her sisters will go, and whether they truly protect the girls.

A Cruel and Fated Light (The Hollow Star Saga #2) by Ashley Shuttleworth (Sapphic and M/M YA Fantasy)

the cover of A Cruel and Fated Light

Half-fae Arlo becomes entangled in the courtly intrigue at the Seelie Summer palace as danger for ironborns mounts in this gripping sequel to A Dark and Hollow Star.

After thwarting the man behind the gruesome ironborn murders—and breaking several fae laws to do so—all Arlo wants is a quiet summer. As the deity of luck’s Hollow Star, capable of bringing about endless possibilities, this shouldn’t be too much to ask, right?

But someone is still trying to summon the mythical Seven Deadly Sins. All signs point to immortal meddling, and if this is the gods’ attempt at returning to the Mortal Realm, it’s Arlo they’re going to use to do it.

When Queen Riadne offers to host Arlo at the Seelie Summer palace, she jumps at the chance. She’ll get to see more of Vehan and Aurelian and perhaps even work out her complicated feelings for the gorgeous ex-Fury, Nausicaä. But no one trusts the infamous Queen of Light, even as Arlo wonders if she’s just been greatly misunderstood.

With the Summer Solstice quickly approaching, everyone expects Riadne to finally challenge the High King for his crown. And as Arlo struggles to get control of her powers and take charge of her destiny, she’ll soon be faced with a choice that won’t only change the fate of the Mortal Realm forever but could condemn it to a cruelty the likes of which the Courts have never known.

Queer Ducks (And Other Animals): The Natural World of Sexuality by Eliot Schrefer (Queer YA Nonfiction)

the cover of Queer Ducks (And Other Animals)

This groundbreaking illustrated YA nonfiction title from two-time National Book Award finalist and New York Times bestselling author Eliot Schrefer is a well-researched and teen-friendly exploration of the gamut of queer behaviors observed in animals.

A quiet revolution has been underway in recent years, with study after study revealing substantial same-sex sexual behavior in animals. Join celebrated author Eliot Schrefer on an exploration of queer behavior in the animal world—from albatrosses to bonobos to clownfish to doodlebugs.

In sharp and witty prose—aided by humorous comics from artist Jules Zuckerberg—Schrefer uses science, history, anthropology, and sociology to illustrate the diversity of sexual behavior in the animal world. Interviews with researchers in the field offer additional insights for readers and aspiring scientists.

Queer behavior in animals is as diverse and complex—and as natural—as it is in our own species. It doesn’t set us apart from animals—it bonds us even closer to our animal selves.

Middle Grade

Fight + Flight by Jules Machias (Sapphic Middle Grade Contemporary)

the cover of Fight and Flight

Avery Hart lives for the thrill and speed of her dirt bike and the pounding thump of her drum kit. But after she’s diagnosed with hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, a disease that affects her joints, Avery splits her time between endless physical therapy and worrying that her fun and independence are over for good.

Sarah Bell is familiar with worry, too. For months, she’s been having intense panic attacks. No matter how much she pours her anxiety into making art, she can’t seem to get a grip on it, and she’s starting to wonder if she’ll be this way forever.

Just as both girls are reaching peak fear about what their futures hold, their present takes a terrifying turn when their school is seemingly attacked by gunmen. Though they later learn it was an active shooter drill, the traumatic experience bonds the girls together in a friendship that will change the way they view their perceived weaknesses—and help them find strength, and more, in each other.

Nonfiction

Brace for Impact: A Memoir by Gabe Montesanti (Queer Memoir)

the cover of Brace for Impact

Growing up queer in a conservative Midwestern town, Gabe Montesanti never felt comfortable in her own skin. A competitive swimmer, she turned to perfectionism and self-control to create a sense of safety, only to develop an eating disorder and constantly second-guess her instincts. When she enters graduate school in St. Louis, she is determined to put the baggage of her childhood behind her. With no prior experience, she joins Arch Rival, one of the top-ranked roller derby leagues in the world. Gabe instantly falls in love with the sport’s roughness, intensity, and open embrace of people who are literally and figuratively scarred. She soon finds community and a sense of belonging, reveling in the tattoos, glitter, and campiness. 

But when Gabe suffers a catastrophic injury, she can no longer ignore the parallels between the physicality of roller derby and the unresolved trauma of her upbringing. Rendered inactive, forced to be still, Gabe realizes she needs to heal her emotional wounds as much as her physical ones; she must confront her fear and self-diminishment in order to feel truly alive.

Told with unflinching honesty and a giant dose of wonder, Brace for Impact is a tender, inspiring memoir about the everyday heroism of pursuing a life less ordinary, and the deeply human need to be at peace with who you are.

Don’t You Dare: Uncovering Lost Love by Gayla Turner (Sapphic Biography)

the cover of Don't You Dare

Don’t You Dare is a compelling story that weaves together a current-day journey of discovery and a true-life love story between two women that took place over a hundred years ago. Newspaper headlines and stories back then didn’t mention LGBTQ people. The LGBTQ community loved and lived in the background of society because it was too dangerous to do otherwise. All were hidden, just like the wedding photos belonging to author Gayla Turner’s grandmother – Ruby. This unforgettable book begins with the discovery of these hidden wedding photos dated June 8, 1915. As these photos unveiled an awe-inspiring secret, Gayla Turner embarked on a seven-year journey to find out more about her grandmother and the woman standing next to her dressed as the groom.

Curiosity led to extensive research that uncovered a love story between Ruby and the mystery woman in the photos. The author also uncovered a secret lesbian social club that was formed in the early 1900s by a local businesswoman. Women from as far away as Chicago traveled by train to the little farm town of Amherst, Wisconsin, to attend her exclusive parties. The local town people thought Cora held private tea and card parties so single young ladies could talk about how to find a husband. Little did they know, finding a man was not a subject of their conversations.

Public Faces, Secret Lives: A Queer History of the Women’s Suffrage Movement by Wendy L. Rouse (Queer Nonfiction)

the cover of Public Faces, Secret Lives by Wendy L Rouse

Restores queer suffragists to their rightful place in the history of the struggle for women’s right to vote

The women’s suffrage movement, much like many other civil rights movements, has an important and often unrecognized queer history. In Public Faces, Secret Lives Wendy L. Rouse reveals that, contrary to popular belief, the suffrage movement included a variety of individuals who represented a range of genders and sexualities. However, owing to the constant pressure to present a “respectable” public image, suffrage leaders publicly conformed to gendered views of ideal womanhood in order to make women’s suffrage more palatable to the public.

Rouse argues that queer suffragists did take meaningful action to assert their identities and legacies by challenging traditional concepts of domesticity, family, space, and death in both subtly subversive and radically transformative ways. Queer suffragists also built lasting alliances and developed innovative strategies in order to protect their most intimate relationships, ones that were ultimately crucial to the success of the suffrage movement. Public Faces, Secret Lives is the first work to truly recenter queer figures in the women’s suffrage movement, highlighting their immense contributions as well as their numerous sacrifices.

Check out more LGBTQ new releases by signing up for Our Queerest Shelves, my LGBTQ book newsletter at Book Riot!

Support the Lesbrary on Patreon to get queer books in the mail throughout the year!

54 Bi and Lesbian Books Out This Month!

a collage of the sapphic book covers listed below with the text Bi and Lesbian Books Out In May!

Would you believe that more than 54 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, using publishers’ descriptions, but click through to see the other titles’ blurbs!

This month has so many exciting books coming out in a range of genres and age groups, including some cute two mom picture books, sapphic middle grade contemporary novels, F/F YA romances, thought-provoking queer lit, and lots more.

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

Fiction

the cover of Queerly Beloved

Queerly Beloved by Susie Dumond (Sapphic Fiction)

“A delightful debut, perfect for any person who’s ever created their own place to belong.”—Casey McQuiston, bestselling author of Red, White & Royal Blue and One Last Stop

Amy, a semicloseted queer baker and bartender in mid-2010s Oklahoma, has spent a lifetime putting other people’s needs before her own. Until, that is, she hits it off with Charley, a brilliant, attractive engineer who’s just moved to Tulsa. Suddenly, Amy’s found something—someone—she actually wants. Her tight-knit group of chosen family is thrilled she’s finally moving on from her ex. Mostly, though, they want Amy to find a way to show up for love—and life—as her authentic self.

But when a one-off gig subbing in for a bridesmaid turns into a full-time business—thanks to Amy’s baking talents, crafting skills, and years watching rom-coms and Say Yes to the Dress—her deep desire to please kicks into overdrive, at her own expense. It’s not until Amy’s precarious balancing act strains her relationships to the breaking point that she must decide what it looks like to be true to herself—and if she has the courage to try.

the cover of What We Do in the Dark

What We Do in the Dark by Michelle Hart (Sapphic Fiction)

A novel about a young woman’s life-altering affair with a much older, married woman.

Mallory is a freshman in college when she meets the woman. She sees her for the first time at the university’s gym, immediately entranced by this elegant, older person, whom she later learns is married and works at the school. Before long, they begin a clandestine affair. Self-possessed, successful, brilliant, and aloof, the woman absolutely consumes Mallory, who is still reeling from her mother’s death a few months earlier. Mallory retreats from the rest of the world and into a relationship with this melancholy, elusive woman she admires so much yet who can never be fully hers, solidifying a sense of solitude that has both haunted and soothed her as long as she can remember.
 
Years after the affair has ended, Mallory must decide whether to stay safely in this isolation, this constructed loneliness, or to step fully into the world and confront what the woman meant to her, for better or worse. This simmering, unsettling debut novel reveals the consequences of desire and influence, portraying two women whose lives have been transformed by love, loss, and secrecy.

the cover of Solo Dance

Solo Dance by Li Kotomi, translated by Arthur Reiji Morris (Queer Literary Fiction)

A powerful novel about the LGBTQ rights movement and gay love in Japan and Taiwan, from the most important queer voice of East Asia’s millennial generation.

Cho Norie, twenty-seven and originally from Taiwan, is working an office job in Tokyo. While her colleagues worry about the economy, life-insurance policies, marriage, and children, she is forced to keep her unconventional life hidden―including her sexuality and the violent attack that prompted her move to Japan. There is also her unusual fascination with death: she knows from personal experience how devastating death can be, but for her it is also creative fuel. Solo Dance depicts the painful coming of age of a gay person in Taiwan and corporate Japan. This striking debut is an intimate and powerful account of a search for hope after trauma.

the cover of Yerba Buena

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.

the cover of Acts of Service
the cover of The Golden Season
the cover of Little Rabbit
the cover of Rainbow Rainbow
the cover of The Dance Tree
  • Acts of Service by Lillian Fishman (Queer Fiction)
  • The Golden Season by Madelina Kay Sneed (Lesbian Fiction)
  • Little Rabbit by Alyssa Songsiridej (Queer Fiction)
  • Rainbow Rainbow by Lydia Conklin (Queer and Trans Short Stories)
  • The Dance Tree by Kiran Millwood Hargrave (Lesbian Historical Fiction) [tragic]
  • That Green Eyed Girl by Julie Owen Moylan (Sapphic Historical Fiction)

Mystery/Thrillers

Magic, Lies, and Deadly Pies

Magic, Lies, and Deadly Pies by Misha Popp (Bisexual Cozy Mystery)

Daisy Ellery’s pies have a secret ingredient: The magical ability to avenge women done wrong by men. But Daisy finds herself on the receiving end in Misha Popp’s cozy series debut, a sweet-as-buttercream treat for fans of Ellery Adams and Mary Maxwell.

The first time Daisy Ellery killed a man with a pie, it was an accident. Now, it’s her calling. Daisy bakes sweet vengeance into her pastries, which she and her dog Zoe deliver to the men who’ve done dirty deeds to the town’s women. But if she can’t solve the one crime that’s not of her own baking, she’ll be out of the pie pan and into the oven.
 
Parking her Pies Before Guys mobile bakery van outside the local diner, Daisy is informed by Frank, the crusty diner owner, that someone’s been prowling around the van—and not just to inhale the delectable aroma. Already on thin icing with Frank, she finds a letter on her door, threatening to reveal her unsavory secret sideline of pie a la murder.
 
Blackmail? But who whipped up this half-baked plot to cut a slice out of Daisy’s business? Purple-haired campus do-gooder Melly? Noel, the tender—if flaky—farm boy? Or one of the abusive men who prefer their pie without a deadly scoop of payback?
 
The upcoming statewide pie contest could be Daisy’s big chance to help wronged women everywhere…if she doesn’t meet a sticky end first. Because Daisy knows the blackmailer won’t stop until her business is in crumbles.

Romance

the cover of Chef's Kiss by TJ Alexander

Chef’s Kiss by TJ Alexander (F/NB Romance)

A high-strung pastry chef’s professional goals are interrupted by an unexpected career transition and the introduction of her wildly attractive nonbinary kitchen manager in this deliciously fresh and witty queer rom-com.

Simone Larkspur is a perfectionist pastry expert with a dream job at The Discerning Chef, a venerable cookbook publisher in New York City. All she wants to do is create the perfect loaf of sourdough and develop recipes, but when The Discerning Chef decides to bring their brand into the 21st century by pivoting to video, Simone is thrust into the spotlight and finds herself failing at something for the first time in her life.

To make matters worse, Simone has to deal with Ray Lyton, the new test kitchen manager, whose obnoxious cheer and outgoing personality are like oil to Simone’s water. When Ray accidentally becomes a viral YouTube sensation with a series of homebrewing videos, their eccentric editor in chief forces Simone to work alongside the chipper upstart or else risk her beloved job. But the more they work together, the more Simone realizes her heart may be softening like butter for Ray.

Things get even more complicated when Ray comes out at work as nonbinary to mixed reactions—and Simone must choose between the career she fought so hard for and the person who just might take the cake (and her heart).

the cover of You Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty
the cover of The Wicked and the Willing

Fantasy and Sci Fi

the cover of When Women Were Dragons

When Women Were Dragons by Kelly Barnhill (Lesbian Fantasy)

A rollicking feminist tale set in 1950s America where thousands of women have spontaneously transformed into dragons, exploding notions of a woman’s place in the world and expanding minds about accepting others for who they really are. The first adult novel by the Newbery award-winning author of The Girl Who Drank the Moon.

Alex Green is a young girl in a world much like ours, except for its most seminal event: the Mass Dragoning of 1955, when hundreds of thousands of ordinary wives and mothers sprouted wings, scales, and talons; left a trail of fiery destruction in their path; and took to the skies. Was it their choice? What will become of those left behind? Why did Alex’s beloved aunt Marla transform but her mother did not? Alex doesn’t know. It’s taboo to speak of.
 
Forced into silence, Alex nevertheless must face the consequences of this astonishing event: a mother more protective than ever; an absentee father; the upsetting insistence that her aunt never even existed; and watching her beloved cousin Bea become dangerously obsessed with the forbidden.

In this timely and timeless speculative novel, award-winning author Kelly Barnhill boldly explores rage, memory, and the tyranny of forced limitations. When Women Were Dragons exposes a world that wants to keep women small—their lives and their prospects—and examines what happens when they rise en masse and take up the space they deserve.

[Alex is a lesbian.]

the cover of Her Majesty’s Royal Coven

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 cover of Siren Queen

Siren Queen by Nghi Vo (Sapphic Fantasy)

It was magic. In every world, it was a kind of magic.

“No maids, no funny talking, no fainting flowers.” Luli Wei is beautiful, talented, and desperate to be a star. Coming of age in pre-Code Hollywood, she knows how dangerous the movie business is and how limited the roles are for a Chinese American girl from Hungarian Hill―but she doesn’t care. She’d rather play a monster than a maid.

But in Luli’s world, the worst monsters in Hollywood are not the ones on screen. The studios want to own everything from her face to her name to the women she loves, and they run on a system of bargains made in blood and ancient magic, powered by the endless sacrifice of unlucky starlets like her. For those who do survive to earn their fame, success comes with a steep price. Luli is willing to do whatever it takes―even if that means becoming the monster herself.

Siren Queen offers up an enthralling exploration of an outsider achieving stardom on her own terms, in a fantastical Hollywood where the monsters are real and the magic of the silver screen illuminates every page.

the cover of Misrule
the cover of Darknesses
the cover of The Book of Queer Saints
the cover of Someone In Time
the cover of Under Fortunate Stars

Comics, Graphic Novels, and Manga

the cover of Heathen: The Complete Series Omnibus Edition

Heathen: The Complete Series Omnibus Edition by Natasha Alterici,  Ashley A. Woods, Rachel Deering, and Morgan Martinez (Sapphic Fantasy Graphic Novel)

SMASHING THE PATRIARCHY – Viking Style!

WOMAN. WARRIOR. VIKING. HEATHEN. OUTCAST. 

THE GODS MUST PAY…

Born into a time of warfare, suffering, and subjugation of women, and exiled from her village for kissing another woman, the lesbian Viking warrior, Aydis, sets out to destroy the god-king Odin and end his oppressive reign. She is a friend to many as she is joined by mermaids, immortals, Valkyries, and the talking horse, Saga. But she is also a fearsome enemy to the demons and fantastic monsters that populate the land. 

the cover of Mizuno and Chayama

Young Adult

YA Contemporary

the cover of Melt With You

Melt With You by Jennifer Dugan (F/F YA Contemporary)

From the author of Some Girls Do and Hot Dog Girl comes a sweet and salty queer YA rom-com about two girls on a summer road trip in an ice cream truck.

Fallon and Chloe used to be best friends. But last summer, the girls hooked up right before Chloe left for college, and after a series of misunderstandings, they aren’t even speaking to one another. Now, a year later, Chloe’s back home from school, and Fallon is doing everything in her power to avoid her. Which is especially difficult because their moms own a business together—a gourmet ice cream truck where both girls work.

But when their moms have the opportunity to make a presentation to some venture capitalists in Texas—something that could seriously expand their business and solve all their money problems to boot—it’s up to Fallon to work a series of food truck festivals across the country. But she can’t do it alone, and Chloe is the only one available to help. As tensions heat up again between the two girls, will Fallon be able to keep her cool?

the cover of Flip the Script

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?

the cover of I Kissed Shara Wheeler

I Kissed Shara Wheeler by Casey McQuiston (Bisexual F/F YA Contemporary)

From the New York Times bestselling author of One Last Stop and Red, White & Royal Blue comes a romantic comedy about chasing down what you want, only to find what you need…

Chloe Green is so close to winning. After her moms moved her from SoCal to Alabama for high school, she’s spent the past four years dodging gossipy classmates and the puritanical administration of Willowgrove Christian Academy. The thing that’s kept her going: winning valedictorian. Her only rival: prom queen Shara Wheeler, the principal’s perfect progeny.

But a month before graduation, Shara kisses Chloe and vanishes.

On a furious hunt for answers, Chloe discovers she’s not the only one Shara kissed. There’s also Smith, Shara’s longtime quarterback sweetheart, and Rory, Shara’s bad boy neighbor with a crush. The three have nothing in common except Shara and the annoyingly cryptic notes she left behind, but together they must untangle Shara’s trail of clues and find her. It’ll be worth it, if Chloe can drag Shara back before graduation to beat her fair and square.

Thrown into an unlikely alliance, chasing a ghost through parties, break-ins, puzzles, and secrets revealed on monogrammed stationery, Chloe starts to suspect there might be more to this small town than she thought. And maybe―probably not, but maybe―more to Shara, too.

Fierce, funny, and frank, Casey McQuiston’s I Kissed Shara Wheeler is about breaking the rules, getting messy, and finding love in unexpected places.

the cover of Just Your Local Bisexual Disaster

Just Your Local Bisexual Disaster by Andrea Mosqueda (YA Contemporary)

Growing up in Texas’s Rio Grande Valley, Maggie Gonzalez has always been a little messy, but she’s okay with that. After all, she has a great family, a goofy group of friends, a rocky romantic history, and dreams of being a music photographer. Tasked with picking an escort for her little sister’s quinceañera, Maggie has to face the truth: that her feelings about her friends―and her future―aren’t as simple as she’d once believed.

As Maggie’s search for the perfect escort continues, she’s forced to confront new (and old) feelings for three of her friends: Amanda, her best friend and first-ever crush; Matthew, her ex-boyfriend twice-over who refuses to stop flirting with her, and Dani, the new girl who has romantic baggage of her own. On top of this romantic disaster, she can’t stop thinking about the uncertainty of her own plans for the future and what that means for the people she loves.

As the weeks wind down and the boundaries between friendship and love become hazy, Maggie finds herself more and more confused with each photo. When her tried-and-true medium causes more chaos than calm, Maggie needs to figure out how to avoid certain disaster―or be brave enough to dive right into it, in Just Your Local Bisexual Disaster.

the cover of The Lesbiana's Guide to Catholic School

The Lesbiana’s Guide to Catholic School by Sonora Reyes (YA Contemporary)

Sixteen-year-old Yamilet Flores prefers to be known for her killer eyeliner, not for being one of the only Mexican kids at her new, mostly white, very rich Catholic school. But at least here no one knows she’s gay, and Yami intends to keep it that way. 

After being outed by her crush and ex-best friend before transferring to Slayton Catholic, Yami has new priorities: keep her brother out of trouble, make her mom proud, and, most importantly, don’t fall in love. Granted, she’s never been great at any of those things, but that’s a problem for Future Yami. 

The thing is, it’s hard to fake being straight when Bo, the only openly queer girl at school, is so annoyingly perfect. And smart. And talented. And cute. So cute. Either way, Yami isn’t going to make the same mistake again. If word got back to her mom, she could face a lot worse than rejection. So she’ll have to start asking, WWSGD: What would a straight girl do? 

Told in a captivating voice that is by turns hilarious, vulnerable, and searingly honest, The Lesbiana’s Guide to Catholic School explores the joys and heartaches of living your full truth out loud.

the cover of The Queen of Junk Island
the cover of Beauty and the Besharam

YA Mystery/Thrillers

the cover of Dead End Girls

Dead End Girls by Wendy Heard (Sapphic YA Thriller)

Two girls fake their deaths only to face mortal danger in this YA thriller perfect for fans of The Twin and None Shall Sleep.

In one week, Maude will be dead. At least, that’s what she wants everyone to think. After years of research, Maude has decided to fake her own death. She’s figured out the how, the when, the where, and who will help her unsuspectingly. The why is complex: revenge, partly. Her terrible parents deserve this. But there’s also l’appel du vide, the call of the void, that beckons her toward a new life where she will be tied to no one, free and adrift. Then Frankie, a step-cousin she barely knows, figures out what she’s plotting, and the plan seems like it’s ruined. Except Frankie doesn’t want to rat her out. Frankie wants in.

The girls vault into the unknown, risking everything for a new and limitless life. But there are some things you can never run away from. What if the poison is not in the soil, but in the roots? This pulse-pounding thriller offers a nuanced exploration of identity, freedom, and falling in love while your world falls apart.

the cover of Summer's Edge

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.

YA Horror

the cover of Primal Animals

Primal Animals by Julia Lynn Rubin (Sapphic YA Horror)

Arlee Gold has always lived in the shadow of her successful mom; even after everything Arlee’s been through, her mother still expects nothing but the best. In an effort to get her daughter back on track after a less-than-stellar few school years, she’s enrolled Arlee as a legacy at Camp Rockaway, an elite college prep summer camp deep in the North Carolina wilderness. On her own for the first time and buzzing with anxiety, Arlee is intimidated by the camp’s shiny exterior, suffocated by the relentless, thick summer heat…and tormented by the ceaseless stream of crawling, slimy, flapping bugs that seem to come straight from her nightmares.

In the midst of her brewing dread, Arlee is relieved to find a queer sanctuary in her bunkmates, and is especially drawn to Winnie, the enigmatic girl who sleeps in the bunk above her. Except Arlee starts to notice whispers in her wake, and how so many others recoil from her as if she were as creepy as the insects that terrify her. Struggling in her prep classes and feeling increasingly paranoid, Arlee can no longer suppress her panicked glitches.” Winnie, too, seems to become wary, and Arlee’s worst fear is confirmed: even here, in the place her mother promised was “going to change everything,” she’s been found out as a freak.

Just as she’s facing a summer completely alone, another rising junior slips her a mysterious invitation, and Arlee finds herself caught up in a secret society that expects its sisterhood to protect each other from any and all who would harm them―by any means necessary. Here, finally, Arlee feels like a part of something bigger, something that matters. Guided by their cunning leader, Lisha, a rising senior with a smile sharp enough to cut bone, the sisterhood will stand against any threat, unquestioningly. But when Winnie is put in grave danger, Arlee is forced to confront just how far her sisters will go, and whether they truly protect the girls.

the cover of Burn Down, Rise Up

Burn Down, Rise Up by Vincent Tirado (Sapphic YA Horror)

Mysterious disappearances. An urban legend rumored to be responsible. And one group of friends determined to save their city at any cost. Stranger Things meets Jordan Peele in this utterly original debut from an incredible new voice.

For over a year, the Bronx has been plagued by sudden disappearances that no one can explain. Sixteen-year-old Raquel does her best to ignore it. After all, the police only look for the white kids. But when her crush Charlize’s cousin goes missing, Raquel starts to pay attention―especially when her own mom comes down with a mysterious illness that seems linked to the disappearances.

Raquel and Charlize team up to investigate, but they soon discover that everything is tied to a terrifying urban legend called the Echo Game. The game is rumored to trap people in a sinister world underneath the city, and the rules are based on a particularly dark chapter in New York’s past. And if the friends want to save their home and everyone they love, they will have to play the game and destroy the evil at its heart―or die trying.

YA Fantasy

the cover of Deep in Providence

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.

the cover of Improbable Magic for Cynical Witches

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 cover of Uncommon Charm

Uncommon Charm by Emily Bergslien and Kat Weaver (Sapphic 1920s Fantasy)

Three days after I was expelled from the Marable School for Girls, our poor Simon arrived.

In the 1920s gothic comedy Uncommon Charm, bright young socialite Julia and shy Jewish magician Simon decide they aren’t beholden to their families’ unhappy history. Together they confront such horrors as murdered ghosts, alive children, magic philosophy, a milieu that slides far too easily into surrealist metaphor, and, worst of all, serious adult conversation.

the cover of A Cruel and Fated Light

YA Nonfiction

the cover of Here and Queer

Here and Queer: A Queer Girl’s Guide to Life by Rowan Ellis (Queer Girl Nonfiction)

Here and Queer is a helpful, friendly guide full of support and advice about living your best queer life, written for girls.

This vibrant, inclusive guide, designed for all kinds of girls, is designed to help you be the strongest, proudest, happiest version of yourself! A celebration of the gift of queerness, it’s packed full of heartfelt advice, comforting stories, and stylish illustrations, and will give you the tools you need to explore your own identity, on your own terms.

Author and YouTuber Rowan Ellis uses her personal experience to take you through queer life, from coming out and dealing with tough stuff, right through to finding friendships and celebrating Pride. There are also brilliant guest essays from contributors across the LGBTQ+ spectrum.

The book opens with guidance on understanding how you feel as a queer girl. From choosing your pronouns to navigating different labels and identities, Ellis helps girls understand that they are in control of their own identity, and that it’s ok to not be sure straight away.

Moving onto a glossary of queer terms, Here and Queer helps introduce girls to the rainbow of definitions and terms which help queer people understand who they are and how they feel. The book then moves onto advice on coming out, for many one of the hardest steps to take on their journey to truly living their best lives.

Following are chapters on sex and romance, including helpful advice about your first time, as well as guides on consent and knowing how to make sure you build a healthy and supportive relationship with your partner.

There are also sections on dealing with bullies and stigma, finding your community, and looking after your mental health, including advice on how to help you find extra support if you need it. The book also has more information on queer ladies in history, and on the fight for equality undertaken by brave activists throughout history and today.

Stylishly designed with cool illustrations, this helpful, friendly guide will help all queer girls navigate the challenges of discovering and embracing their identities and flourishing in their own skins!

Children’s Books

Middle Grade

the cover of The Real Riley Mayes

The Real Riley Mayes by Rachel Elliott (Queer Middle Grade)

Funny and full of heart, this debut graphic novel is a story about friendship, identity, and embracing all the parts of yourself that make you special.  

Fifth grade is just not Riley’s vibe. Everyone else is squaded up—except Riley. Her best friend moved away. All she wants to do is draw, and her grades show it.

One thing that makes her happy is her favorite comedian, Joy Powers. Riley loves to watch her old shows and has memorized her best jokes. So when the class is assigned to write letters to people they admire, of course Riley’s picking Joy Powers!

Things start to look up when a classmate, Cate, offers to help Riley with the letter, and a new kid, Aaron, actually seems to get her weird sense of humor. But when mean girl Whitney spreads a rumor about her, things begin to click into place for Riley. Her curiosity about Aaron’s two dads and her celebrity crush on Joy Powers suddenly make more sense.

Readers will respond to Riley’s journey of self-discovery and will recognize themselves in this character who is less than perfect but trying her best. And creative kids will recognize themselves in her love of art and drawing.

While often funny and light, Riley’s exploration of what it feels to be an outsider and how hard it can be to make a friend break your heart in the best way. And with all of Riley’s hijinks and missteps, this story is laugh-out-loud funny from start to finish.

the cover of Fight and Flight

Fight + Flight by Jules Machias (Sapphic Middle Grade Contemporary)

Avery Hart lives for the thrill and speed of her dirt bike and the pounding thump of her drum kit. But after she’s diagnosed with hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, a disease that affects her joints, Avery splits her time between endless physical therapy and worrying that her fun and independence are over for good.

Sarah Bell is familiar with worry, too. For months, she’s been having intense panic attacks. No matter how much she pours her anxiety into making art, she can’t seem to get a grip on it, and she’s starting to wonder if she’ll be this way forever.

Just as both girls are reaching peak fear about what their futures hold, their present takes a terrifying turn when their school is seemingly attacked by gunmen. Though they later learn it was an active shooter drill, the traumatic experience bonds the girls together in a friendship that will change the way they view their perceived weaknesses—and help them find strength, and more, in each other.

the cover of The Science of Being Angry

The Science of Being Angry by Nicole Melleby (Sapphic Middle Grade)

Eleven-year-old Joey is angry. All the time. And she doesn’t understand why. She has two loving moms, a supportive older half brother, and, as a triplet, she’s never without company. Her life is good. But sometimes she loses her temper and lashes out, like the time she threw a soccer ball—hard—at a boy in gym class and bruised his collarbone. Or when jealousy made her push her (former) best friend (and crush), Layla, a little bit too roughly.

After a meltdown at Joey’s apartment building leads to her family’s eviction, Joey is desperate to figure out why she’s so mad. A new unit in science class makes her wonder if the reason is genetics. Does she lose control because of something she inherited from the donor her mothers chose?

The Science of Being Angry is a heartwarming story about what makes a family and what makes us who we are from an author whose works are highly praised for their presentation of and insights into the emotional lives of tweens.

the cover of Our Sister, Again

Our Sister, Again by Sophie Cameron (Sapphic Middle Grade Sci Fi) (UK Release)

On a small island off the Scottish coast, Isla and her family are grieving the loss of her older sister Flora, who died three years ago. Then they’re offered the chance to be part of a top-secret trial, which revives loved ones as fully lifelike AI robots using their digital footprint.

Isla has her doubts about Second Chances, but they evaporate the moment the ‘new’ Flora arrives. This girl is not some uncanny close likeness; she is Flora – a perfect replica. But not everyone on their island feels the same. And as the threats to Flora mount, she grows distant and more secretive. Will Isla be able to protect the new Flora and bring the community back together?

the cover of The Stonewall Riots: Making a Stand for LGBTQ Rights

Picture Books

the cover of ‘Twas the Night Before Pride

‘Twas the Night Before Pride by Joanna McClintick and Juana Medina (Picture Book)

A glittering celebration of queer families puts Pride gently in perspective—honoring those in the LGBTQ+ community who fought against injustice and inequality.

Pride’s . . . a day that means “Together, we are strong!”

This joyful picture-book homage to a day of community and inclusion—and to the joys of anticipation—is also a comprehensive history. With bright, buoyant illustrations and lyrical, age-appropriate rhyme modeled on “’Twas the Night Before Christmas,” it tackles difficult content such as the Stonewall Riots and the AIDS marches. On the night before Pride, families everywhere are preparing to partake. As one family packs snacks and makes signs, an older sibling shares the importance of the march with the newest member of the family. Reflecting on the day, the siblings agree that the best thing about Pride is getting to be yourself. Debut author Joanna McClintick and Pura Belpré Award–winning author-illustrator Juana Medina create a new classic that pays homage to the beauty of families of all compositions—and of all-inclusive love.

the cover of The Rainbow Parade by Emily Neilson

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.

Nonfiction

the cover of Brace for Impact

Brace for Impact: A Memoir by Gabe Montesanti (Queer Memoir)

Growing up queer in a conservative Midwestern town, Gabe Montesanti never felt comfortable in her own skin. A competitive swimmer, she turned to perfectionism and self-control to create a sense of safety, only to develop an eating disorder and constantly second-guess her instincts. When she enters graduate school in St. Louis, she is determined to put the baggage of her childhood behind her. With no prior experience, she joins Arch Rival, one of the top-ranked roller derby leagues in the world. Gabe instantly falls in love with the sport’s roughness, intensity, and open embrace of people who are literally and figuratively scarred. She soon finds community and a sense of belonging, reveling in the tattoos, glitter, and campiness. 

But when Gabe suffers a catastrophic injury, she can no longer ignore the parallels between the physicality of roller derby and the unresolved trauma of her upbringing. Rendered inactive, forced to be still, Gabe realizes she needs to heal her emotional wounds as much as her physical ones; she must confront her fear and self-diminishment in order to feel truly alive.

Told with unflinching honesty and a giant dose of wonder, Brace for Impact is a tender, inspiring memoir about the everyday heroism of pursuing a life less ordinary, and the deeply human need to be at peace with who you are.

the cover of Ma and Me

Ma and Me: A Memoir by Putsata Reang (Lesbian Memoir)

“This openhearted memoir . . . opens the door to include queer descendants of war survivors into the growing American library of love.” ―Sarah Schulman, author of Let the Record Show

When Putsata Reang was eleven months old, her family fled war-torn Cambodia, spending twenty-three days on an overcrowded navy vessel before finding sanctuary at an American naval base in the Philippines. Holding what appeared to be a lifeless baby in her arms, Ma resisted the captain’s orders to throw her bundle overboard. Instead, on landing, Ma rushed her baby into the arms of American military nurses and doctors, who saved the child’s life. “I had hope, just a little, you were still alive,” Ma would tell Put in an oft-repeated story that became family legend.

Over the years, Put lived to please Ma and make her proud, hustling to repay her life debt by becoming the consummate good Cambodian daughter, working steadfastly by Ma’s side in the berry fields each summer and eventually building a successful career as an award-winning journalist. But Put’s adoration and efforts are no match for Ma’s expectations. When she comes out to Ma in her twenties, it’s just a phase. When she fails to bring home a Khmer boyfriend, it’s because she’s not trying hard enough. When, at the age of forty, Put tells Ma she is finally getting married―to a woman―it breaks their bond in two.

In her startling memoir, Reang explores the long legacy of inherited trauma and the crushing weight of cultural and filial duty. With rare clarity and lyric wisdom, Ma and Me is a stunning, deeply moving memoir about love, debt, and duty.

the cover of The Women's House of Detention

The Women’s House of Detention: A Queer History of a Forgotten Prison by Hugh Ryan (Queer Nonfiction)

This singular history of a prison, and the queer women and trans people held there, is a window into the policing of queerness and radical politics in the twentieth century.

The Women’s House of Detention, a landmark that ushered in the modern era of women’s imprisonment, is now largely forgotten. But when it stood in New York City’s Greenwich Village, from 1929 to 1974, it was a nexus for the tens of thousands of women, transgender men, and gender-nonconforming people who inhabited its crowded cells. Some of these inmates—Angela Davis, Andrea Dworkin, Afeni Shakur—were famous, but the vast majority were incarcerated for the crimes of being poor and improperly feminine. Today, approximately 40 percent of the people in women’s prisons identify as queer; in earlier decades, that percentage was almost certainly higher.

Historian Hugh Ryan explores the roots of this crisis and reconstructs the little-known lives of incarcerated New Yorkers, making a uniquely queer case for prison abolition—and demonstrating that by queering the Village, the House of D helped defined queerness for the rest of America. From the lesbian communities forged through the Women’s House of Detention to the turbulent prison riots that presaged Stonewall, this is the story of one building and much more: the people it caged, the neighborhood it changed, and the resistance it inspired.

the cover of Queer Ducks (And Other Animals)

Queer Ducks (And Other Animals): The Natural World of Sexuality by Eliot Schrefer (Nonfiction)

This groundbreaking illustrated YA nonfiction title from two-time National Book Award finalist and New York Times bestselling author Eliot Schrefer is a well-researched and teen-friendly exploration of the gamut of queer behaviors observed in animals.

A quiet revolution has been underway in recent years, with study after study revealing substantial same-sex sexual behavior in animals. Join celebrated author Eliot Schrefer on an exploration of queer behavior in the animal world—from albatrosses to bonobos to clownfish to doodlebugs.

In sharp and witty prose—aided by humorous comics from artist Jules Zuckerberg—Schrefer uses science, history, anthropology, and sociology to illustrate the diversity of sexual behavior in the animal world. Interviews with researchers in the field offer additional insights for readers and aspiring scientists.

Queer behavior in animals is as diverse and complex—and as natural—as it is in our own species. It doesn’t set us apart from animals—it bonds us even closer to our animal selves.

the cover of Don't You Dare
the cover of By Your Side
the cover of You Still Look the Same

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New Sapphic Releases: Bi and Lesbian Books Out This Week!

The last Tuesday of the month is always a bit slower of a release day, so the collection today is small but mighty! It’s a release day for YA and middle grade fans (I’m especially interested in the middle grade book out today).

The descriptions included are the publishers’. Let me know if any of these are on your TBR!

Fiction

Like a House on Fire by Lauren McBrayer (F/F Fiction)

the cover of Like a House on Fire

What would you do if you found the spark that made you feel whole again?

After twelve years of marriage and two kids, Merit has begun to feel like a stranger in her own life. She loves her husband and sons, but she desperately needs something more than sippy cups and monthly sex. So, she returns to her career at Jager + Brandt, where a brilliant and beautiful Danish architect named Jane decides to overlook the “break” in Merit’s résumé and give her a shot.
 
Jane is a supernova—witty and dazzling and unapologetically herself—and as the two work closely together, their relationship becomes a true friendship. In Jane, Merit sees the possibility of what a woman could be. And Jane sees Merit exactly for who she is. Not the wife and mother dutifully performing the roles expected of her, but a whole person.
 
Their relationship quickly becomes a cornerstone in Merit’s life. And as Merit starts to open her mind to the idea of more—more of a partner, more of a match, more out of love—she begins to question: What if the love of her life isn’t the man she married. What if it’s Jane?

Young Adult

Arden Grey by Ray Stoeve (Sapphic YA Contemporary)

the cover of Arden Grey

An insightful, raw YA novel about a young photographer navigating toxic relationships and how they influence her identity

Sixteen-year-old Arden Grey is struggling. Her mother has left their family, her father and her younger brother won’t talk about it, and a classmate, Tanner, keeps harassing her about her sexuality—which isn’t even public. (She knows she likes girls romantically, but she thinks she might be asexual.) At least she’s got her love of film photography and her best and only friend, Jamie, to help her cope. Then Jamie, who is trans, starts dating Caroline, and suddenly he isn’t so reliable. Arden’s insecurity about their friendship grows. She starts to wonder if she’s jealous or if Jamie’s relationship with Caroline is somehow unhealthy—and it makes her reconsider how much of her relationship with her absent mom wasn’t okay, too. Filled with big emotions, first loves, and characters navigating toxic relationships, Ray Stoeve’s honest and nuanced novel is about finding your place in the world and seeking out the love and community that you deserve.

Dig Two Graves by Gretchen McNeil (Sapphic YA Thriller)

the cover of Dig Two Graves

One of Us is Lying meets Hitchcock in this novel from celebrated author of the #MurderTrending series, Gretchen McNeil.

I did my part, BFF. Now it’s your turn.

Seventeen-year-old film noir fan Neve Lanier is a girl who just wants to be seen, but doesn’t really fit in anywhere. When Neve is betrayed by her best friend, Yasmin, at the end of the school year, she heads off to a girl’s empowerment camp feeling like no one will ever love her again. So when she grabs the attention of the beautiful, charismatic Diane, she falls right under her spell, and may accidentally promise to murder Diane’s predatory step-brother, Javier, in exchange for Diane murdering Yasmin. But that was just a joke…right?

Wrong. When Yasmin turns up dead, Diane comes calling, attempting to blackmail Neve into murdering Javier. Stalling for time, Neve pretends to go along with Diane’s plan until she can find a way out that doesn’t involve homicide. But as she gets to know Javier – and falls for him – she realizes that everything Diane told her is a lie. Even worse, she discovers that Yasmin probably wasn’t Diane’s first victim. And unless Neve can stop her, she won’t be the last.

In this twisted game of cat and mouse, the reader never quite knows who’s telling the truth, who’s playing games, and who is going to end up dead.

Harley Quinn: Reckoning by Rachael Allen (Sapphic YA Fantasy)

the cover of Harley Quinn: Reckoning

In this new launch of a trilogy within the DC Icons universe, experience the origin story of a Super-Villain. This is the Harley Quinn backstory fans have been waiting for.
 

When Harleen Quinzel scores an internship in a psych lab at Gotham University, she’s more than ecstatic; she’s desperate to make a Big Scientific Discovery that will land her a full-ride college scholarship and get her away from her abusive father. But when Harleen witnesses the way women are treated across STEM departments–and experiences harassment herself–she decides that revenge and justice are more important than her own dreams. 

Harleen finds her place in an intoxicating vigilante girl gang called the Reckoning, who creates chaos to inspire change. And when Harleen falls for another girl in the gang, it finally seems like she’s found her true passions. But what starts off as pranks and mischief quickly turns deadly as one of the gang members is found murdered–and a terrifying conspiracy is uncovered that puts the life Harleen has worked so hard for at stake. Will she choose her future–or will she choose revenge?

In this refreshingly feminist spin on the story of our favorite villainess, Harley Quinn: Reckoning traces Harleen’s journey from precocious, revenge-obsessed teenage girl to a hardcore justice-seeker on her way to becoming the most captivating Super Villain of all time. This is one story that you won’t be able to put down.

Children’s Books

In the Key of Us by Mariama J. Lockington (F/F Middle Grade Contemporary)

the cover of In the Key of Us

From the author of the critically acclaimed novel For Black Girls Like Me, Mariama J. Lockington, comes a coming-of-age story surrounding the losses that threaten to break us and the friendships that make us whole again.

Thirteen-year-old Andi feels stranded after the loss of her mother, the artist who swept color onto Andi’s blank canvas. When she is accepted to a music camp, Andi finds herself struggling to play her trumpet like she used to before her whole world changed. Meanwhile, Zora, a returning camper, is exhausted trying to please her parents, who are determined to make her a flute prodigy, even though she secretly has a dancer’s heart.

At Harmony Music Camp, Zora and Andi are the only two Black girls in a sea of mostly white faces. In kayaks and creaky cabins, the two begin to connect, unraveling their loss, insecurities, and hopes for the future. And as they struggle to figure out who they really are, they may just come to realize who they really need: each other.

In the Key of Us is a lyrical ode to music camp, the rush of first love, and the power of one life-changing summer.

Nonfiction

Reclaiming Two-Spirits Sexuality, Spiritual Renewal & Sovereignty in Native America by Gregory D. Smithers (Two-Spirits Nonfiction)

the cover of Reclaiming Two-Spirits

A sweeping history of Indigenous traditions of gender, sexuality, and resistance that reveals how, despite centuries of colonialism, Two-Spirit people are reclaiming their place in Native nations.

Reclaiming Two-Spirits decolonizes the history of gender and sexuality in Native North America. It honors the generations of Indigenous people who had the foresight to take essential aspects of their cultural life and spiritual beliefs underground in order to save them.

Before 1492, hundreds of Indigenous communities across North America included people who identified as neither male nor female, but both. They went by aakíí’skassimiatiokitcitakwe,or one of hundreds of other tribally specific identities. After European colonizers invaded Indian Country, centuries of violence and systematic persecution followed, imperiling the existence of people who today call themselves Two-Spirits, an umbrella term denoting feminine and masculine qualities in one person.

Drawing on written sources, archaeological evidence, art, and oral storytelling, Reclaiming Two-Spirits spans the centuries from Spanish invasion to the present, tracing massacres and inquisitions and revealing how the authors of colonialism’s written archives used language to both denigrate and erase Two-Spirit people from history. But as Gregory Smithers shows, the colonizers failed—and Indigenous resistance is core to this story. Reclaiming Two-Spirits amplifies their voices, reconnecting their history to Native nations in the 21st century.

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New Sapphic Releases: Bi and Lesbian Books Out This Week!

a graphic showing a book and the text Sapphic New Releases: Bi and Lesbian Books Out This Week

My laptop broke (I’m currently borrowing my roommate’s), so I didn’t get this the April new releases out in time, unfortunately. Last week had a ton of amazing releases, though, including She Gets the Girl by Rachael Lippincott and Alyson Derrick (F/F YA Romance), Nothing Burns as Bright as You by Ashley Woodfolk (F/F YA Contemporary), Burning Butch by R/B Mertz (Nonbinary Butch Memoir), Beast at Every Threshold by Natalie Wee (Queer Poetry), and Burning My Roti: Breaking Barriers as a Queer Indian Woman by Sharan Dhaliwal (Memoir), so don’t miss those either!

While last week had one of the biggest publishing days of the year, this week is a little more relaxed, but still has some sapphic releases you should have on your radar. Let me know what you’re excited to read this week!

Fiction

Violets by Kyung-Sook Shin, translated by Anton Hur (Sapphic Fiction)

the cover of Violets

By Man Asian Literary Prize winner Kyung-Sook Shin, “a moving delve into a lonely psyche” that follows a neglected young woman’s search for human connection in contemporary Seoul (YZ Chin).

San is twenty-two and alone when she happens upon a job at a flower shop in Seoul’s bustling city center. Haunted by childhood rejection, she stumbles through life—painfully vulnerable, stifled, and unsure. She barely registers to others, especially by the ruthless standards of 1990s South Korea.

Over the course of one hazy, volatile summer, San meets a curious cast of characters: the nonspeaking shop owner, a brash coworker, quiet farmers, and aggressive customers. Fueled by a quiet desperation to jump-start her life, she plunges headfirst into obsession with a passing magazine photographer.

In Violets, best-selling author Kyung-Sook Shin explores misogyny, erasure, and repressed desire, as San desperately searches for both autonomy and attachment in the unforgiving reality of contemporary Korean society.

Romance

No Rings Attached by Rachel Lacey (F/F Romance)

the cover of No Rings Attached

Lia Harris is tired of being the odd one out. She’s never quite fit in with her uptight family, and now that her roommates have all found love, she’s starting to feel like a third wheel in her own apartment. Fed up with her mother’s constant meddling in her love life, Lia drops hints about a girlfriend she doesn’t have. But with her brother’s London nuptials approaching, she needs to find a date to save face. Lia turns to her best friend, Rosie, for help, and Rosie delivers―with the fun, gorgeous Grace Poston.

Grace loves to have a good time, hiding her insecurities behind a sunny smile. Her recent move to London has provided her with a much-needed fresh start. Grace isn’t looking for love, and she hates weddings, having weathered more than her fair share of heartache. Friendships are different, though, so for Rosie’s sake, she reluctantly agrees to pose as Lia’s adoring girlfriend for the wedding festivities.

Both Grace and Lia are prepared for an awkward weekend, complete with prying family members and a guest room with only one bed. As it turns out, they get along well―spectacularly, in fact. Before they know it, the chemistry they’re faking feels all too real. But is their wedding weekend a fleeting performance or the rehearsal for a love that’s meant to last?

Restrained Desires by Katherine McIntyre (Lesbian and Bi F/F Fake Dating Romance)

the cover of Restrained Desires

One rule: don’t fall for your best friend’s straight sister. Especially not when she’s pretending to be your fake girlfriend.

Chelsea Moore is officially divorced from her asshole husband, and after wasting her early twenties putting up with his shit, she’s burning to get out there and play the field—especially a certain kinkier side he made her feel like garbage about.

Kyle Walker’s terrified to put herself out there. According to her mother, she doesn’t have the looks to hook anyone, but what makes it worse is that her dating history falls in line. However, when her family tries to claim she’s not really a lesbian, she tells them she’s bringing her girlfriend to Christmas. Only problem? She doesn’t have one.

In comes sexy, newly divorced, and straight Chelsea Moore to the rescue—her best friend Aubrey’s little sister. She’s doing Kyle a favor—like any friend would—except Kyle’s half in love with her from the moment they start hanging out. All too soon those lines begin to blur—lingering touches, flirting, kissing…. And when they connect on kink and begin hooking up, that’s when Kyle knows she’s screwed.

Chelsea might have Aubrey to protect her heart, but Kyle could lose both her best friend and the only woman who’s made her feel like she’s worth more.

Fantasy & Science Fiction

The Language of Roses by Heather Rose Jones (Queer Beauty and the Beast Retelling)

the cover of The Language of Roses

A Beauty. A Beast. A Curse. This is not the story you know.

Join author Heather Rose Jones on a new and magical journey into the heart of a familiar fairytale. Meet Alys, eldest daughter of a merchant, a merchant who foolishly plucks a rose from a briar as he flees from the home of a terrifying fay Beast and his seemingly icy sister. Now Alys must pay the price to save his life and allow the Beast, the once handsome Philippe, to pay court to her.

But Alys has never fallen in love with anyone; how can she love a Beast? The fairy Peronelle, waiting in the woods to see the culmination of her curse, is sure that she will fail. Yet, if she does, Philippe’s sister Grace and her beloved Eglantine, trapped in an enchanted briar in the garden, will pay a terrible price. Unless Alys can find another way…

Check out more LGBTQ new releases by signing up for Our Queerest Shelves, my LGBTQ book newsletter at Book Riot!

Support the Lesbrary on Patreon to get queer books in the mail throughout the year!

New Sapphic Releases: Bi and Lesbian Books Out This Week!

These weekly posts were getting a little long, so I’ve narrowed them down considerably! These are just the titles I’m most intrigued by, but they’re far from a complete list. Let me know which new releases you’re most excited by this week!

Romance

The Roads Left Behind Us by Kat Jackson (F/F Romance)

the cover of The Roads Left Behind

After some unexpected life detours, Callie Lewes is determined to complete her PhD program and figure out what to do with the rest of her life. Her laser focus is finely tuned and she’s ready for total immersion in literature, subpar student essays, and all the joys that come with being a graduate teaching assistant. She has no time for, or interest in, anything else. Especially not dating.

Even if Callie were to entertain the idea of dating, she’s certain it would be with someone vibrant, open, and close to her own age. Definitely not someone like Dr. Kate Jory, a new member of Pennbrook College’s English department. Kate is both intimidating and a closed book. And the age difference between them is not small. But Kate is also brilliant and fascinating, and Callie is drawn to her in ways she’d never imagined possible.

Not that Kate notices. Or does she? Callie can’t tell. Even though they develop an engaging and flirtatious friendship, Callie struggles to work up the courage to put herself directly in Kate’s romantic path—wary of the type of fire she suspects their sparks could ignite.

Shake Things Up by Skye Kilaen (Polyamorous M/F/F Romance)

the cover of Shake Things Up

Three people, one road trip, and so many queer feelings. A polyamorous romance about changing your life.

Allie and Matt’s happy open relationship means they’re both free to find hookups. When Allie gets duped by a date, though, she’s found with someone else’s cheating boyfriend. Ugh!

Meeting Noelle by helping her leave the guy isn’t the night Allie expected, but after the women bond over drinks and a seriously dysfunctional tape gun, Allie’s hesitant to say goodbye. It’s weird; she doesn’t normally like-like people who aren’t Matt.

Matt’s questioning whether he’s entirely straight, and he hopes to find answers on his and Allie’s impending road trip. But he’s cool with bringing her new maybe-crush along, especially since he and Noelle keep finding things in common. And staring into each other’s eyes.

Noelle lost her demanding job right before her boyfriend cheated, and she’s looking for her next career move—preferably back home in Chicago. Allie’s fumbling charm and Matt’s flirtatious humor, however, make her wonder if her life compass needs fixing.

Late-night talks on Texas highways, first kisses, and hotel confessions might change a lot… if there’s a next step for Noelle that isn’t leaving.

A high-heat contemporary romance novel with a polyamorous HFN involving F/F and queer M/F relationships. F/F and M/M love scenes on page.

Tropes: road trip, geeks in love, bisexual awakening, coming out, polyamory, open relationships.

Detailed content warnings will be available in the book’s front matter and on the author’s website.

Fantasy & Science Fiction

The City of Dusk (The Dark Gods #1) by Tara Sim (Sapphic Fantasy)

the cover of The City of Dusk

Set in a gorgeous world of bone and shadow magic, of vengeful gods and defiant chosen ones, The City of Dusk follows the four heirs of four noble houses—each gifted with a divine power—as they form a tenuous alliance to keep their kingdom from descending into a realm-shattering war.

The Four Realms—Life, Death, Light, and Darkness—all converge on the City of Dusk. For each realm there is a god, and for each god there is an heir.

But the gods have withdrawn their favor from the once vibrant and thriving metropolis. And without it, all the realms are dying.

Unwilling to stand by and watch the destruction, the four heirs—Angelica, an elementalist with her eyes set on the throne; Risha, a necromancer fighting to keep the peace; Nikolas, a soldier who struggles to see the light; and Taesia, a shadow-wielding rogue with a reckless heart—will become reluctant allies in the quest to save their city.

But their rebellion will cost them dearly. 

Middle Grade

Ellen Outside the Lines by A.J. Sass (Sapphic Middle Grade Contemporary)

the cover of Ellen Outside the Lines

Thirteen-year-old Ellen Katz feels most comfortable when her life is well planned out and people fit neatly into her predefined categories. She attends temple with Abba and Mom every Friday and Saturday. Ellen only gets crushes on girls, never boys, and she knows she can always rely on her best-and-only friend, Laurel, to help navigate social situations at their private Georgia middle school. Laurel has always made Ellen feel like being autistic is no big deal. But lately, Laurel has started making more friends, and cancelling more weekend plans with Ellen than she keeps. A school trip to Barcelona seems like the perfect place for Ellen to get their friendship back on track.

Except it doesn’t. Toss in a new nonbinary classmate whose identity has Ellen questioning her very binary way of seeing the world, homesickness, a scavenger hunt-style team project that takes the students through Barcelona to learn about Spanish culture and this trip is anything but what Ellen planned.

Making new friends and letting go of old ones is never easy, but Ellen might just find a comfortable new place for herself if she can learn to embrace the fact that life doesn’t always stick to a planned itinerary.

Check out more LGBTQ new releases by signing up for Our Queerest Shelves, my LGBTQ book newsletter at Book Riot!

Support the Lesbrary on Patreon to get queer books in the mail throughout the year!

New Sapphic Releases: Bi and Lesbian Books Out This Week!

This week is a mix of genres, including a few from Bold Strokes Books, as well as a couple of poetry collections! These all use the publishers’ descriptions. What are you reading this week?

Fiction

Vagabonds! by Eloghosa Osunde (Queer Fiction)

the cover of Vagabonds!

In the bustling streets and cloistered homes of Lagos, a cast of vivid characters—some haunted, some defiant—navigate danger, demons, and love in a quest to lead true lives.
 
As in Nigeria, vagabonds are those whose existence is literally outlawed: the queer, the poor, the displaced, the footloose and rogue spirits. They are those who inhabit transient spaces, who make their paths and move invisibly, who embrace apparitions, old vengeances and alternative realities. Eloghosa Osunde’s brave, fiercely inventive novel traces a wild array of characters for whom life itself is a form of resistance: a driver for a debauched politician with the power to command life and death; a legendary fashion designer who gives birth to a grown daughter; a lesbian couple whose tender relationship sheds unexpected light on their experience with underground sex work; a wife and mother who attends a secret spiritual gathering that shifts her world. As their lives intertwine—in bustling markets and underground clubs, churches and hotel rooms—vagabonds are seized and challenged by spirits who command the city’s dark energy. Whether running from danger, meeting with secret lovers, finding their identities, or vanquishing their shadowselves, Osunde’s characters confront and support one another, before converging for the once-in-a-lifetime gathering that gives the book its unexpectedly joyous conclusion.
 
Blending unvarnished realism with myth and fantasy, Vagabonds! is a vital work of imagination that takes us deep inside the hearts, minds, and bodies of a people in duress—and in triumph.

Mysteries and Thrillers

Secret Identity by Alex Segura (Queer Historical Mystery)

the cover of Secret Identity

It’s 1975 and the comic book industry is struggling, but Carmen Valdez doesn’t care. She’s an assistant at Triumph Comics, which doesn’t have the creative zeal of Marvel nor the buttoned-up efficiency of DC, but it doesn’t matter. Carmen is tantalizingly close to fulfilling her dream of writing a superhero book.

That dream is nearly a reality when one of the Triumph writers enlists her help to create a new character, which they call “The Lethal Lynx,” Triumph’s first female hero. But her colleague is acting strangely and asking to keep her involvement a secret. And then he’s found dead, with all of their scripts turned into the publisher without her name. Carmen is desperate to piece together what happened to him, to hang on to her piece of the Lynx, which turns out to be a runaway hit. But that’s complicated by a surprise visitor from her home in Miami, a tenacious cop who is piecing everything together too quickly for Carmen, and the tangled web of secrets and resentments among the passionate eccentrics who write comics for a living.

Alex Segura uses his expertise as a comics creator as well as his unabashed love of noir fiction to create a truly one-of-a-kind novel–hard-edged and bright-eyed, gritty and dangerous, and utterly absorbing.

Whereabouts Unknown by Meredith Doench (Lesbian Thriller)

the cover of Whereabouts Unknown

Theodora Madsen has everything she’s ever hoped for: a distinguished career as a homicide detective with the Dayton Police Department, a woman she loves, and a baby on the way.

While Theo and Bree nest and plan for their family’s future, two sixteen-year-old Ohio girls vanish—one from Dayton and the other from Brecksville—each leaving behind a bloody handprint. Then a routine interview goes disastrously wrong, and Theo’s injured and facing a lengthy recovery.

With her professional future uncertain and the cases growing cold, Theo scrambles to piece together the links between the girls. But the clock is ticking and time is running out.

Romance

Exclusive by Melissa Brayden (F/F Romance)

the cover of Exclusive

Her new job as an on-air reporter in sunny San Diego is a big break for Skyler Ruiz. No more covering small-town softball games or vegetable growing competitions. She’ll be working at the same station as her TV mega-crush and longtime idol, anchorwoman Caroline McNamara, and that doesn’t hurt either.

Unfortunately, people don’t always live up to expectations.

Skyler’s hopes of impressing Caroline are dashed when she discovers Caroline has little time for newbie reporters and is downright unwelcoming. But when Caroline drops her guard, Skyler is left with her head happily spinning, her heart wide open, and oh-so ready to explore a romance she never saw coming.

So, of course, the network pits them against each other.

It’s only when Skyler is ready to sacrifice everything she’s ever dreamed of for Caroline does she begin to suspect love is nothing but fake news.

The Game by Jan Gayle (F/F Romance)

the cover of The Game

Ryan Gibbs was the best thing to hit the LPGA from New Mexico since Nancy Lopez, but that was two years ago when her rookie year tour made the history books. Since she left the world of professional golf to be with her sick mother, she hasn’t played outside of her home course in Los Alamos, where she now works as a coach.

Katherine Reese has the drive to be the best, but since her second season, when she landed herself in the top ten in nearly every tournament, she’s barely been able to make the cut. Unable to let go of her ghosts, Katherine is in danger of tanking her career before it even begins.

Ryan and Katherine are natural competitors thrown together by their swing coach, Maggie Hart. Both have so much to prove and so little time for the inconveniences of falling in love. But if they can figure out how to work together, they just might be a force for women’s sports and a beautiful match for each other.

Her Duchess to Desire by Jane Walsh (F/F Historical Romance)

the cover of Her Duchess to Desire by Jane Walsh

Anne, the Duchess of Hawthorne, is tired of her reputation as the Ice Queen of London society. She resolves to leave behind her cold-hearted marriage to the duke—and to find a woman to keep her warm at night. Perhaps the dashing designer she hires to transform her Mayfair estate can also help her to transform her life.

Letitia Barrow has big dreams of running her own interior design business. The opportunity to reinvent the Hawthorne estate is the job that will finally establish her as a leading designer among the ton. The duchess might make her weak in the knees, but giving in to temptation could risk everything she’s working so hard to build.

The designer and the duchess embark on an affair, with renovations to the house in full swing—and the renovations in their hearts well underway. Then, unexpectedly, the duke returns home and their feelings are tested. Can London’s hottest new designer melt the Ice Queen forever?

Dying for You by Jenny Frame (F/F Vampire Romance)

the cover of Dying for You

Victorija Dred, Principe of the Dred clan, is one of the most feared vampires to walk the earth, but since her unwanted blood bond with Daisy, she’s slowly losing herself to blood sickness. Her clan is dismayed by her reluctance to order Daisy brought to her. The old Victorija would have used her for her blood without a second thought. However no one knows of the age-old vow holding her back.

Daisy MacDougall is struggling to cope with the vampire bite that is urging her to seek out Victorija. Secrets and history bind them in unfathomable ways, and when she discovers her family’s past and a very different Victorija, she vows to find the truth even if she must force their meeting.

Victorija and Daisy travel a dark and seductive path even as Victorija fights every instinct to take Daisy’s blood, and love seems all but impossible. As if that wasn’t bad enough, neither expects the real threat to Daisy’s life to be hiding inside the Dred clan.

Lead Me Astray by Sondi Warner (Queer Polyamorous Paranormal Romance)

the cover of Lead Me Astray

Welcome to Overlay City in New Orleans—a shadowy in-between where the paranormal and the real world meet. Its newest resident: Aurie Edison.

A victim of a hit-and-run, Aurie now exists as a ghost in this mysterious realm. Convinced there is more to her death than what she remembers, Aurie sets out to uncover the truth. She soon finds herself in the company of Mys, a psychic empath, whose need to help others trumps all else, and Zyr, a werewolf detective able to work both the human and occult worlds.

As they begin to piece together the events leading up to her death, Aurie can’t deny the deeper connection developing between them. Yet, with each new secret suggesting a more sinister danger at play, they realize they may not make it out (dead or) alive.

Undeniably queer and devilishly sexy, Lead Me Astray will take you to the shadowy depths of New Orleans and never let you go.

Young Adult

Take Her Down by Lauren Emily Whalen (Queer YA Thriller)

the cover of Take Her Down

In this queer YA retelling of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar,stakes at Augustus Magnet School are cutthroat, scheming is creative, and loyalty is ever-changing.

Overnight, Bronwyn St. James goes from junior class queen to daughter of an imprisoned felon, and she lands in the care of her aunt and younger cousin Cass, a competitive cheerleader who Bronwyn barely knows. Life gets worse when her ex-best friend, the always-cool Jude Cuthbert, ostracizes Bronwyn from the queer social elite for dating a boy, Porter Kendrick.

Bronwyn and Jude are both running for student body president, and that means war. But after Bronwyn, Porter, and Cass share a video of Jude in a compromising position, Jude suddenly goes missing. No one has seen her for weeks and it might be all Bronwyn’s fault. Will Jude ever be found? Or will Bronwyn finally have to reckon with what she’s won—and what she’s lost?

Content Advisory: Depictions of sexual assault.

Comics, Graphic Novels, and Manga

My Wandering Warrior Existence by Nagata Kabi (Lesbian Manga Memoir)

the cover of My Wandering Warrior Existence

The newest diary manga from the Harvey Award-winning creator of My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness.

After attending a friend’s wedding, Nagata Kabi decides she wants one of her own. That’s not the only thing she wants—she longs to love and be loved. But she has three major problems: she has no partner, no dating experience, and her only sexual encounters are limited to a lesbian escort service. With the help of a photoshoot, a dating app, and more, the author embarks on a journey to seek the love and happiness she so desperately desires.

Poetry

Cane Fire by Shani Mootoo (Queer Poetry)

the cover of Cane Fire

From internationally celebrated writer and visual artist Shani Mootoo comes Cane | Fire, an immersive and vivid collection that marks a long-awaited return to poetry.

Throughout this evocative, sensual collection, akin to a poetic memoir, past and present are in conversation with each other as the narrator moves from Ireland to San Fernando, and finally to Canada. The reinterpretations and translation of this journey and its associated family history give meaning to the present. Through these deeply personal poems, and Mootoo’s own artwork, we begin to understand how a life can not only be shaped, but even reimagined.

Prelude by Brynne Rebele-Henry (Lesbian Poetry)

the cover of Prelude

Prelude delineates the gay female experience through a poetic reconstruction of the girlhood of Catherine of Siena, a Catholic saint who lived in 1300s Italy and disobeyed her parents by refusing marriage to devote her life to God.

Through a historical lens, Brynne Rebele-Henry examines the erasure of gay women’s lives and offers a perspective of medieval queer girlhood while considering themes such as violence, desire, and the lesbian body.

Nonfiction

Outrageous!: The Story of Section 28 and Britain’s Battle for LGBT Education by Paul Baker (Nonfiction)

the cover of Outrageous

A personal and impassioned history of the infamous Section 28, the 1988 UK law banning the teaching “of the acceptability of homosexuality.”
 
On May 23, 1988, Paul Baker sat down with his family to eat cake on his sixteenth birthday while The Six O’Clock News played in the background. But something was not quite right. There was muffled shouting—“Stop Section 28!”—and a scuffle. The papers would announce: “Beeb Man Sits on Lesbian.”
 
The next day Section 28 passed into UK law, forbidding local authorities from the teaching “of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship.” It would send shockwaves through British society: silencing gay pupils and teachers, while galvanizing mass protests and the formation of the LGBTQ+ rights groups OutRage! and Stonewall.
 
Outrageous! tells its story: the background to the Act, how the press fanned the flames and what politicians said during debates, how protestors fought back to bring about the repeal of the law in the 2000s, and its eventual legacy. Based on detailed research, interviews with key figures—including Ian McKellen, Michael Cashman, and Angela Mason—and personal recollection, Outrageous! is an impassioned, warm, often moving account of unthinkable prejudice enshrined within the law and of the power of community to overcome it.

Check out more LGBTQ new releases by signing up for Our Queerest Shelves, my LGBTQ book newsletter at Book Riot!

Support the Lesbrary on Patreon to get queer books in the mail throughout the year!