Man o' War spans over several years of River McIntyre's life, beginning with a personal realization so sudden and intimidating that they jump into the literal shark tank at the local SeaPlanet. Intimate like a diary, McIntyre's identity and growth washes over them in waves as time ticks by-- an achingly real portrayal that mirrors many trans experiences in a way that holds your heart in a vice grip. Man o' War is a blistering novel that caught me in its tide, a fully-rounded and resolute coming of age.
Rising meteorologist Ari Abrams loves a rainy day, but there's a storm brewing at KSEA6 News between two divorced starring staff, and Ari is tired of it dampening the atmosphere. Teaming up with sports reporter Russell, the two hatch a plan to make their bosses fall in love again-- and there might be love in the forecast between them, too. Solomon has a knack for capturing the aesthetic of the Pacific Northwest in all of its glory, and Weather Girl is no exception with its cozy warmth and crackling sparks. This novel is without a doubt the rom-com of the rainy season, broadcasting sunshine into the heart.
Suffering from internalized ableism and body dysmorphia from his cerebral palsy, Elliott has been hiring sex workers behind his boyfriend's back, finding validation in intimacies where his disability doesn't play a role in how he's treated. Just by Looking at Him is audacious in its humor while packing an emotional punch. Elliott's journey of realization and healing includes (but isn't limited to) much self reflection, complex relationships of all kinds, and raises questions regarding what's considered the "ideal" gay male experience. A raw, fervent novel of navigating the dating and business world as a disabled person.
Alexis Hall is ushering in a new era of historical romance with Viola Caroll, a trans woman who left her old life behind after war to live authentically. Two years later, she must come face to face with Gracewood, her closest childhood friend, who has no idea she's more alive than ever. With A Lady for a Duke, Hall sheds a little light on the often overlooked happy endings for LGBT folk in history, as we've always been here-- and what a delight it is to read a sweet, sensual, and heart-mending romance that celebrates it.
Joshua Whitehead is hands-down one of the greatest writers of our time. This vivid, grounding book isn't about any one thing, yet overall generates thoughts and teachings of decolonization in not just the mind, body, and spirit of the self, but in all Earthly relations and the ways that we perceive the world we live in. That being said, Making Love with the Land brings forth much contemplation about the reader's identity while Whitehead ruminates on his-- regarding how we see ourselves, and how others see us. There is no easy or simple way to summarize this brilliant book other than it's the kind of book that is bound to become re-read, marked up, worn, and well-loved as readers revisit it again and again.
When Nicolás Caraveo is encouraged to move to New York by his cousin Daisy Fay, he finds himself neighbors with the enigmatic and alluring Jay Gatsby. You might think you know this story already... but I can assure you that this retelling is an enticing, intersectional crown jewel that just might surpass the original. McLemore has long been a master of writing atmosphere and longing, and this really shines in Self-Made Boys.
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When Sasha was three years old, she was gifted with the Skagit family name, Taqsablu, by her great-grandmother-- she was going to do important things in this life. LaPointe comes from generations of enduring women, and alongside her story, she tells us of Comptia Koholowish, who fled from the Smallpox epidemic that destroyed her village and family, eventually marrying a Scottish settler in what's now called Astoria, Oregon. Throughout this raw memoir, LaPointe tells of significant pieces in her life filled with music, travel, and writing, often paired with heartbreak and healing of many varieties; some familial and romantic, some physical and spiritual. Red Paint is an emotional, impactful, and brilliantly constructed narrative that celebrates and honors LaPointe's ancestral history as well as her own history in the making.
I was completely invested in Santi & Suwa's all-consuming love story filled with music and anime topped off with a dose of fate. This lively and bittersweet novel made my own heart beat in the same rhythm as the paths these two forge as they move up and move beyond their family circumstances together.
Delilah Green isn't looking forward to being her stepsister Astrid's wedding photographer, but the hefty paycheck will make it worth the trip. What Delilah doesn't expect is to find herself attracted to Claire, one of stepsister's best friends, and the spark seems to be mutual. The most surprising phenomenon of all is when Delilah teams up with Claire and Iris in an attempt to stop the marriage-- because even Astrid deserves better than a pompous jerk for a husband. Snarky, sensual, and sweet, Delilah Green Doesn't Care is a firecracker of a romance with genuine characters that I would love to know, and I'm in awe of Blake's ability to bring everything to the table with this novel-- and I'm eagerly awaiting what other shenanigans the residents of Bright Falls have in store in the future.
Shara Wheeler is the picture of perfection in the small town of False Beach, Alabama, so it's a shock to everybody when she disappears on prom night. Of course, she couldn't run off in complete silence-- Shara has left a scavenger trail of confessional notes for the three people she kissed the day she left: her boyfriend, her neighbor, and our narrator Chloe, a bisexual misfit that's always been in academic competition with Shara. McQuiston never disappoints, and their YA debut has the same real and cinematic flair they're known for. I Kissed Shara Wheeler is a small town mystery of gay longing worth getting lost in, an addicting novel with Mr. Brightside energy that won't disappoint.
The life stories of two women intertwine and mirror each other when journalist Zoe goes to San Felipe and meets Feliciana, the first curandera healer in her Mazatec community after countless generations of curandero men. I was completely captivated by their stories and the parallels between Zoe and Feliciana, despite their vastly different upbringings. Lozano brings the Language alive in Witches, a spiritual and vibrant novel.
A vibrant and thoughtful novel with a focus on existentialism, the speed of light, and the paths we choose in life for comfort or happiness. Like the light, Fuyuko absorbs the inner workings and relations of the few people that orbit around her semi-reclusive lifestyle as a freelance copy-editor, in turn ruminating on the route she's taking in her own livelihood. Quiet, contemplative, and bittersweet.
The five stories in this collection are so reflective and ambient, I felt like I was right there with each narrative and breathing in the same air. Yoshimoto's writing makes the daily motions of life feel special, even in times of hardship. I inhaled this book, pleased to let my mind wander into each perspective. A warm, comforting jewel of a read.
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I'm not shy to admit that I don't know a lot about art-- Pham, however, is deeply immersed in all of its forms, and her brilliance shows in every segment of Pop Song. Pham herself is an artist, a world traveler, a lover, and much, much more. In this memoir, she enchantingly describes a select few pieces that have captivated her, relating them to beautiful, painful, and ultimately vulnerable points of her life, whether that be past, present, or future. Pop Song is somehow all of the following: vibrant, quiet, poignant, raw, and blooming. An absolutely stunning account of art and coming-of-age suited for the insightful reader.
Step aside, Meg Ryan-- Bellefleur is bringing us Sapphic in Seattle. Darcy, mathematical workaholic, has been burned before in love. She's ready to swear off dating for good, but her brother is relentless when it comes to finding her a girlfriend. The latest candidate is Elle, and THAT was a disaster. It isn't until later that these two form a plan... if they pretend to date for at least a month, Darcy can get her brother off of her back, and perhaps with a woman like her by her side, Elle's family will begin to take her wildly successful astrology business seriously, as well as the person she is. It doesn't take long for their charade to realign into something genuine... Written in the Stars is indeed a fitting title to this striking romantic comedy, keeping me starry-eyed and filled to the brim with fuzzy warmth the whole way through.
Who'd have known that a romance as ghostly as The Dead Romantics could be so funny, sweet, and perfect? I was enamored from the very first page to the very end, and I was left feeling so light and joyous that I might as well have floated away like a spirit in the night. It would be a grave mistake not to read this charmingly delightful novel! I hope to see more of the Day family in the future!
In Goodbye, Again, Sun touches on his experiences with anxiety, depression, and surviving with the mindset that productivity equals value in a world where taking a break from the grind feels like failure. This is the book for the people that want to matter, make a difference and leave a mark, but at the same time don't feel like they've achieved enough to deserve it. Jonny's love of plants comes into metaphor often, revealing there's a lot we can learn from them-- growing takes time, rest is a necessity, and sometimes things truly just are the way that they are. Goodbye, Again is without a doubt a book worth revisiting again and again-- Simply and wonderfully healing, a blooming treasure.
Talty's writing evokes all five senses in these interwoven stories about an Indigenous family and present-day coming of age on a Penobscot reservation. While each can be read on their own, Night of the Living Rez feels like a full novel in the way it jumps throughout time, unveiling prominent details about recurring characters throughout the experience this book brings. The kind of collection you'll want to revisit again and again.
AIDs is on the rise in 1987, and seventeen year old Micah is conflicted about coming out a gay and exploring this new and uncertain world. Thankfully, he meets CJ, and the two seem to be both kindred spirits as well as total opposites. Destination Unknown is an incredible, heart-squeezing coming-of-age novel of community and activism, enmeshed with the resilient history of LGBT culture and survival. Be prepared to feel a full spectrum of emotions with this one.
What happens AFTER a group of ragtag teens overthrow an evil king? What many consider the end of the story is precisely where So This Is Ever After begins. Ringleader Arek only meant to take the crown temporarily, but suddenly he's bound to the throne of Ere, and with a time limit: find someone to marry by his eighteenth birthday, or disappear into nothing. With only three months to spare, Arek attempts to charm each of his friends into falling in love with him-- everyone except the one he loves most, his best mage Matt. So This Is Ever After is a hilarious and sweet fantasy romcom with a fresh and playful take on many fantasy tropes! A blast of a book that will leave you craving more.
You could consider The Cat and The City to be both a novel and a short story collection-- a nimble calico cat winds her way through the lives of many Tokyo residents; young and old, salarymen and yakuza, and so many more. Some know her well, while others get a glimpse-- there are times you wonder if she can even take on her own human form. These characters range from charming to caustic, worlds intersecting throughout this feline's travels without realizing. Brilliantly connected and put together, you'll want to revisit The Cat and the City again and again to connect the dots of these bustling lives.
Muiriel's one constant love is nature, but she refuses to put down roots. Born into the foster care system, she's moved through many homes (often willingly). Now, age seventeen, she's put to the test of staying in one place for her senior year on Bainbridge Island in Seattle, and everything about life here is perfect... yet she's determined not to become attached. Longo has a way of writing that brings you niche, extraordinary facts one might not seek out themselves-- I learned a lot about John Muir, Muiriel's namesake, and much more. What I Carry is a book I would happily live inside, and I would gladly read on past its final page.
When Rintaro Natsuki's beloved grandfather dies, he inherits the family bookstore with intent to close it-- he's a high school shut-in, after all. Rintaro's grieving takes a bizarre turn when a mysterious talking tabby cat appears in the shop, requesting his help in saving the souls of books. The Cat Who Saved Books is, in a way, a love letter to book lovers, championing the emotional impact that stories have in the hearts and lives of readers. Tiger, the snarky feline sidekick, adds a bonus charming and Ghibli-esque aesthetic to this thoughtful, tender novel.
Jack has been living as an illusionist's assistant in stride without much thought until he finds Wilhelm, a boy held captive for most of his life by a fame-seeking swindler. When the two meet at the 1909 Seattle Alaska–Yukon–Pacific Exposition, there's more than magic in the air-- there's secrets, longing, and a dose of teleportation-- well, the last part is just Wilhelm. Before We Disappear is an enchanting and wonderfully orchestrated historical fantasy packed with illusions both on and off the performance stage! Hutchinson also explores themes of emotional and psychological manipulation at the hands of caretakers and how it can shape one's personality.
It's been over a decade since childhood friends Gabe and Michelle have seen each other after Gabe left her high and dry for college on the other side of the country. Thanks to a twist of fate, the two reconnect when Gabe's colleague contacts Michelle for their gym's brand overhaul. Will they be able to heal the rift that tore them apart all those years ago-- more importantly, can they resist the sensual electric charge that courses between them? A Lot Like Adiós combines business opportunities and second chances in this heated and heartfelt romance.
Pony is tired of being known as "the trans kid". When his family relocates in time for senior year, he's more than ready to be seen as the average boy at his new school. Here he locks eyes with Georgia, a cheerleader who's grown tired of popular kid antics, harboring secret dreams of being a writer. Their chemistry is undeniable, but Pony knows he needs to tell her about himself soon if they're going to date. I cannot begin to summarize what this book meant to me-- I devoured it. I'm so thrilled and relieved it exists for the teens of today and tomorrow. Stay Gold is inspiring, empowering, notably humorous, and wonderfully sweet.
Winter Counts is far more than just a crime novel-- it also illustrates the emotional complexities of growing up on the rez, how each person connects with their cultural traditions in different ways, and the work that is still being done to undo the damage that colonization brought. It's rough, beautiful, political, and unapologetically jaw-dropping. I was completely captivated from beginning to end.
There's a skeleton inside of everyone, encased in flesh bags, and we are all going to die eventually. These are a few of the main consistent that cycle through Gilda's brain, and they become amplified after a car accident that breaks her arm. The ER professionals are no help with managing her panic attacks, and her family prefers to pretend nothing is wrong. When she walks into a church seeking a mental health support group, Gilda is unintentionally roped into a job as their new receptionist. In dire need of cash. she omits that she's an atheist lesbian and finds herself wrapped up in the mystery death of her predecessor, an elderly woman named Grace. Everyone in This Room Will Someday Be Dead is artfully sardonic and neurotic, a timely portrayal of the millennial struggle. I was completely hooked on Gilda's train of thought and the way that Austin chose to piece together all these moments in Gilda's life leading up to her present.
I'm not sure I will ever fall in love with a pop culture history book the way I've fallen in love with Nöthin' But a Good Time. Told in a tell-all in interview format from various musicians and bigwigs from the 1980's glam metal scene, I learned even more about all the wild shenanigans of the time, and this book did an incredible job of bringing the sex, drugs, and rock n' roll of the LA strip to life before my eyes. It's been a month since I finished this book and I'm still obsessed with it! I've fallen in love with the glam all over again.
This book had me howling with laughter, both from Perry's general sense of humor as well as her personal recollections of media that she and countless others have been shaped by as baby gays. She covers TV, movies, and music from iconic to cringe-y, oftentimes both, and even the worst of them were beloved to some of us: whether that's the aggressive heterosexuality of Disney Channel Original Movies with undeniable LGBT undertones, or the infamous and oversexed The L Word. I got such a kick out of The 2000s Made Me Gay! If you're looking to reminisce and relive the disastrous magic of the 2000s or simply research modern media classics of the era, you HAVE to read this!
Alexis runs the ToeBeans Cafe, a cat cafe that has also become a refuge for women that have survived sexual assault. Noah is an ex-hacktivist, and one of the only men in the gang that hasn't yet been initiated into the book club. These two have become inseparable friends, but would turning their relationship into something more destroy everything they have? And who is Candi, a woman who arrives claiming to be Alexis' half-sister? ToeBeans Cafe's resident maine coon, Beefcake, was by far one of my favorite characters. I was curled up like a cat all day with this book!
Isabel has always been the quiet "easy" kid of the family, a do-gooder often left alone at home. The only regular attention she gets is from her controlling boyfriend. Ironically, it's when she's trying to avoid him that she accidentally stumbles headfirst into a stand-up comedy event-- not just as a spectator, but as a performer. On stage she becomes Izzy V., far more clever and funny than the Isabel she's perceived to be. Through comedy and the new friends she makes in the scene, Izzy learns a lot about the people in her life, but most of all herself. There were so many times I saw myself in Izzy, and wished I could reach out to her! I was completely wrapped up in this beautiful, humorous, and bittersweet novel of growing up and self-worth.
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Only words of the highest caliber can be used to describe How Moon Fuentez Fell in Love with the Universe. This novel is phenomenal, extraordinary, spiritual, and breathtaking-- just to name a few. This book cracked open my ribcage and made both my heart and soul ache in the most wonderful way. Moon talks of how flowers become seeds, to flowers again, and how life remakes us anew through all sorts of experiences-- just being on this journey with her had that effect on me. I was wholeheartedly immersed in this stellar narrative of bittersweet healing.
Salih's debut novel explores a deep parallel duality between two gay childhood friends that cross paths at a wedding shortly after gay marriage becomes legal nationwide. There's Sebastian, a high school teacher that aches for domestic bliss, and there's Oscar, disgusted by how mainstream and tame his fellow gay men have become, feeling like sideshow entertainment to heteronormative society. While Sebastian finds himself intoxicated by a student's open, free, and innocent gay identity in the modern era, Oscar becomes attached to an author twice his age, glorifying his liberated sexual conquests over the decades, desperate to replicate and live through him.
First in a four-book series, Rho Grace is the chosen one to defeat Ophiucus, the 13th Zodiac sign that was exiled so long ago people think he is merely a fairy tale. In this universe, everyone comes from a different planet based on their zodiac sign, and our heroine hails from the Cancer planet. Sci-fi readers and astrology nerds will inhale this series!