Love, Violet by Charlotte Sullivan Wild (Text) and Charlene Chua (Illustrations) (4th)
There’s only one person in Violet’s class she wants to go on adventures with: Mira, the girl with the cheeriest laugh and who races like the wind. So Violet has made Mira a very special Valentine.
Because Mira is magnificent.
But what if she thinks Violet isn’t? Violet is afraid that Mira won’t want to go on adventures together, and in order to share her feelings, she must overcome her fears—and maybe a snow flurry or two—to tell Mira how she truly feels, and ask, Want to go on an adventure?
Spin Me Right Round by David Valdes (4th)
All Luis Gonzalez wants is to go to prom with his boyfriend, something his “progressive” school still doesn’t allow. Not after what happened with Chaz Wilson. But that was ages ago, when Luis’s parents were in high school; it would never happen today, right? He’s determined to find a way to give his LGBTQ friends the respect they deserve (while also not risking his chance to be prom king, just saying…).
When a hit on the head knocks him back in time to 1985 and he meets the doomed young Chaz himself, Luis concocts a new plan-he’s going to give this guy his first real kiss. Though it turns out a conservative school in the ’80s isn’t the safest place to be a gay kid. Especially with homophobes running the campus, including Gordo (aka Luis’s estranged father). Luis is in over his head, trying not to make things worse-and hoping he makes it back to present day at all.
All of You Every Single One by Beatrice Hitchman (4th)
Set in Vienna from 1910 to 1946, All of You Every Single One is an atmospheric, original, and deeply moving novel about family, freedom, and how true love might survive impossible odds. Julia Lindqvist, a woman unhappily married to a famous Swedish playwright, leaves her husband to begin a passionate affair with a female tailor named Eve. The pair run away together and settle in the more liberal haven of Vienna, where they fall in love, navigate the challenges of their newfound independence, and find community in the city’s Jewish quarter. But Julia’s yearning for a child throws their fragile happiness into chaos and threatens to destroy her life and the lives of those closest to her. Ada Bauer’s wealthy industrialist family have sent her to Dr. Freud in the hope that he can cure her mutism—and do so without a scandal. But help will soon come for Ada from an unexpected place, changing many lives irrevocably.
Through the lives of her queer characters, and against the changing backdrop of one of the greatest cities of the age, Hitchman asks what it’s like to live through oppression, how personal decisions become political, and how far one will go to protect the ones they love. Moving across Europe and through decades, Hitchman’s sophomore novel is an intensely poignant portrait of life and love on the fringes of history.
All Daughters Rise by Alysa Auriemma (4th)
In All Daughters Rise, a young witch must challenge everything she believes to be true and somehow cooperate with her ex-girlfriend in order to carry out her mother’s secret legacy and save the world.
Sabrine, a Greenwitch, has grown up thinking that the female, winged warriors known as the Daughters were unrepentant killers, gleefully slaughtering all humans who stood in their way. This all changes when her ex, vampire Lora Walker, resurfaces with a shocking revelation–Sabrine’s mother was once the feared leader of the Daughters. Sabrine has unknowingly been groomed to be her mother’s assistant.
Now Sabrine needs to reevaluate everything she thinks she knows, and she needs to do it fast, because the barrier that separates the magical world from the world of the humans is cracking open, and nobody knows why. And the only person she can rely on is the last person she wants to deal with: her ex-girlfriend.
Buy it: Amazon
The Kindred by Alechia Dow (4th)
To save a galactic kingdom from revolution, Kindred mind-pairings were created to ensure each and every person would be seen and heard, no matter how rich or poor…
Joy Abara knows her place. A commoner from the lowly planet Hali, she lives a simple life—apart from the notoriety that being Kindred to the nobility’s most infamous playboy brings.
Duke Felix Hamdi has a plan. He will exasperate his noble family to the point that they agree to let him choose his own future and finally meet his Kindred face-to-face.
Then the royal family is assassinated, putting Felix next in line for the throne…and accused of the murders. Someone will stop at nothing until he’s dead, which means they’ll target Joy, too. Meeting in person for the first time as they steal a spacecraft and flee amid chaos might not be ideal…and neither is crash-landing on the strange backward planet called Earth. But hiding might just be the perfect way to discover the true strength of the Kindred bond and expose a scandal—and a love—that may decide the future of a galaxy.
Fiona and Jane by Jean Chen Ho (4th)
Best friends since second grade, Fiona Lin and Jane Shen explore the lonely freeways and seedy bars of Los Angeles together through their teenage years, surviving unfulfilling romantic encounters, and carrying with them the scars of their families’ tumultuous pasts. Fiona was always destined to leave, her effortless beauty burnished by fierce ambition–qualities that Jane admired and feared in equal measure. When Fiona moves to New York and cares for a sick friend through a breakup with an opportunistic boyfriend, Jane remains in California and grieves her estranged father’s sudden death, in the process alienating an overzealous girlfriend. Strained by distance and unintended betrayals, the women float in and out of each other’s lives, their friendship both a beacon of home and a reminder of all they’ve lost.
In stories told in alternating voices, Jean Chen Ho’s debut collection peels back the layers of female friendship–the intensity, resentment, and boundless love–to probe the beating hearts of young women coming to terms with themselves, and each other, in light of the insecurities and shame that holds them back.
Spanning countries and selves, Fiona and Jane is an intimate portrait of a friendship, a deep dive into the universal perplexities of being young and alive, and a bracingly honest account of two Asian women who dare to stake a claim on joy in a changing, contemporary America.
Best Lesbian Erotica of the Year, Vol. 6, ed. by Sinclair Sexsmith (4th)
Reaching far beyond the confines of traditional erotica, prepare to explore the intersections of ace and kink, of pan and submissive, of exquisite torment and explicit consent.
In the sixth stunning and representative volume, Sinclair Sexsmith once again offers a dazzling array of voices, perspectives, and persuasions navigating boundaries and identities in truly inventive narratives. These twenty-three steamy stories are meant not just to titillate, but to validate—spanning past the pulsing power of desire to make pleasure and trembling release both a healing and radical act.
Find and then lose yourself as you traverse the complexities of full-spectrum sexuality, one delectable story at a time.
A Betrayal of Storms by Ben Alderson (8th)
Wychwood, the realm of the fey prepare for war against the humans who hate, hunt and kill them for coin. Aided by the unclaimed, destructive power of the murdered, forgotten Winter Court, they ready their numbers for complete domination of the human realm.
All until Robin Vale reveals himself to be the last Icethorn heir. A hope for the humans he has grown up amongst, but to the detriment of many who would see him dead before ruining their years of preparation.
Robin finds allies during his discovery of a realm he has long since feared. Gideon, a fey warrior who aids as a distraction during the long nights. Althea, a stern princess hellbent on stopping the human hunters from killing her kind.
Thrust into a world of betrayal, murder and lies he must survive long enough to have the choice; listen to fate and claim his families power, or let it wreak havoc on a realm that turned its back on him for becoming who he was truly meant to be.
But a dark evil is brewing, monsters have returned and the scales of power are being forced by a hand who longs for revenge.
Buy it: Amazon
High-Risk Homosexual: A Memoir by Edgar Gomez (11th)
A debut memoir about coming of age as a gay, Latinx man, High-Risk Homosexual opens in the ultimate anti-gay space: Gomez’s uncle’s cockfighting ring in Nicaragua, where he was sent at thirteen years old to become a man. Readers follow Gomez through the queer spaces where he learned to love being gay and Latinx, including Pulse nightclub in Orlando, a drag queen convention in Los Angeles, and the doctor’s office where he was diagnosed a “high-risk homosexual.”
With vulnerability, humor, and quick-witted insights into racial, sexual, familial, and professional power dynamics, Gomez shares a hard-won path to taking pride in the parts of himself he was taught to keep hidden. His story is a scintillating, beautiful reminder of the importance of leaving space for joy.
Love Somebody by Rachel Roasek (11th)
Sam Dickson is a charismatic actress, ambitious and popular with big plans for her future. Ros Shew is one of the smartest people in school–but she’s a loner, and prefers to keep it that way. Then there’s Christian Powell, the darling of the high school soccer team. He’s not the best with communication, which is why he and Sam broke up after dating for six months; but he makes up for it by being genuine, effusive, and kind, which is why they’re still best friends.
When Christian falls for Ros on first sight, their first interaction is a disaster, so he enlists Sam’s help to get through to her. Sam, with motives of her own, agrees to coach Christian from the sidelines on how to soften Ros’s notorious walls. But as Ros starts to suspect Christian is acting differently, and Sam starts to realize the complexity of her own feelings, their fragile relationships threaten to fall apart.
The Paris Bookseller by Kerri Maher (11th)
When bookish young American Sylvia Beach opens Shakespeare and Company on a quiet street in Paris in 1919, she has no idea that she and her new bookstore will change the course of literature itself.
Shakespeare and Company is more than a bookstore and lending library: Many of the prominent writers of the Lost Generation, like Ernest Hemingway, consider it a second home. It’s where some of the most important literary friendships of the twentieth century are forged—none more so than the one between Irish writer James Joyce and Sylvia herself. When Joyce’s controversial novel Ulysses is banned, Beach takes a massive risk and publishes it under the auspices of Shakespeare and Company.
But the success and notoriety of publishing the most infamous and influential book of the century comes with steep costs. The future of her beloved store itself is threatened when Ulysses‘ success brings other publishers to woo Joyce away. Her most cherished relationships are put to the test as Paris is plunged deeper into the Depression and many expatriate friends return to America. As she faces painful personal and financial crises, Sylvia—a woman who has made it her mission to honor the life-changing impact of books—must decide what Shakespeare and Company truly means to her.
To Paradise by Hanya Yanagihara (11th)
In an alternate version of 1893 America, New York is part of the Free States, where people may live and love whomever they please (or so it seems). The fragile young scion of a distinguished family resists betrothal to a worthy suitor, drawn to a charming music teacher of no means. In a 1993 Manhattan besieged by the AIDS epidemic, a young Hawaiian man lives with his much older, wealthier partner, hiding his troubled childhood and the fate of his father. And in 2093, in a world riven by plagues and governed by totalitarian rule, a powerful scientist’s damaged granddaughter tries to navigate life without him—and solve the mystery of her husband’s disappearances.
These three sections are joined in an enthralling and ingenious symphony, as recurring notes and themes deepen and enrich one another: A townhouse in Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village; illness, and treatments that come at a terrible cost; wealth and squalor; the weak and the strong; race; the definition of family, and of nationhood; the dangerous righteousness of the powerful, and of revolutionaries; the longing to find a place in an earthly paradise, and the gradual realization that it can’t exist. What unites not just the characters, but these Americas, are their reckonings with the qualities that make us human: Fear. Love. Shame. Need. Loneliness.
Iron Annie by Luke Cassidy (11th)
Originally published in the UK, this is the US version.
Dundalk—The Town, to locals—took Aoife in when she left home at eighteen. Now she’s gone from a small-time slinger of hash to a bona fide player in Dundalk’s criminal underworld. Aoife’s smart, savvy, and cool under pressure. Except, that is, when it comes to Annie. Annie is mysterious and compelling, and Aoife is desperate to impress her and keep her close.
Unfortunately, not everyone in The Town shares Aoife’s opinion of Annie. So much so that when Aoife’s friend and associate, the Rat King, approaches her about off-loading ten kilos of stolen coke, he specifically tells her to keep Annie out of it. Aoife doesn’t want to do the job without Annie, though, so she lands on an idea. Annie has contacts in the UK, and sure it’d be better to get the coke as far away from Dundalk as possible. At first, everything goes to plan. But when Annie decides she’d like to stay in the UK, Aoife makes a decision that changes everything, and finds her whole world turned upside down.
If I Were a Weapon by Skye Kilaen (11th)
When dying alien ships materialized across the Earth, their nanite infection knocked Deneve Wilder out cold. She woke up with the ability to see the future. Determined to keep anyone from using her visions for evil, she took to the road. Giving up everything was a small price to pay for freedom.
The ship that hit Jolie Betancourt’s town gave her the power to set things on fire. It was safer to start over in a new city. Then one terrible mistake demonstrated far too clearly that for her, solitude is safer. For everyone.
So when Deneve shows up after a vision of Jolie being kidnapped, Jolie wants little to do with the frustratingly attractive drifter. Deneve’s surprised by how much she wants to thaw the pretty shopkeeper’s chilly attitude, but the idea of staying in one place sets off her alarm bells.
If they can’t evade whoever’s abducting people with powers, however, the growing connection they both feel anyway might be the least of their problems.
Buy it: Amazon
The Bone Spindle by Leslie Vedder (11th)
Fi is a bookish treasure hunter with a knack for ruins and riddles, who definitely doesn’t believe in true love.
Shane is a tough-as-dirt girl warrior from the north who likes cracking skulls, pretty girls, and doing things her own way.
Briar Rose is a prince under a sleeping curse, who’s been waiting a hundred years for the kiss that will wake him.
Cursed princes are nothing but ancient history to Fi–until she pricks her finger on a bone spindle while exploring a long-lost ruin. Now she’s stuck with the spirit of Briar Rose until she and Shane can break the century-old curse on his kingdom.
Dark magic, Witch Hunters, and bad exes all stand in her way–not to mention a mysterious witch who might wind up stealing Shane’s heart, along with whatever else she’s after. But nothing scares Fi more than the possibility of falling in love with Briar Rose.
The Wedding Setup by Charlotte Greene (11th)
Ryann is thrilled when her friend Stuart asks her to help him plan his last-minute wedding. He moved across the country over a year ago, and she misses him like crazy. As an executive with event planning experience, Ryann’s the best person to help him fulfill his wildest wedding dreams.
However, things in Colorado are not what she expects, especially Maddie, the maid of honor for the other groom. Maddie is attractive, and while she’s certainly Ryann’s type, she has some different ideas about the wedding. Also, flirting with her is incredibly distracting, especially when Ryann just wants to keep things professional. With just two weeks to the big event on Valentine’s Day, can Ryann help Stuart to wedded bliss, and avoid his well-intentioned attempts to set her up with Maddie?
Buy it: Amazon
Lost & Found: A Memoir by Kathryn Schulz (11th)
Eighteen months before Kathryn Schulz’s beloved father died, she met the woman she would marry. In Lost & Found, she weaves the stories of those relationships into a brilliant exploration of how all our lives are shaped by loss and discovery–from the maddening disappearance of everyday objects to the sweeping devastations of war, pandemic, and natural disaster; from finding new planets to falling in love.
Three very different American families form the heart of Lost & Found the one that made Schulz’s father, a charming, brilliant, absentminded Jewish refugee; the one that made her partner, an equally brilliant farmer’s daughter and devout Christian; and the one she herself makes through marriage. But Schulz is also attentive to other, more universal kinds of conjunction: how private happiness can coexist with global catastrophe, how we get irritated with those we adore, how love and loss are themselves unavoidably inseparable. The resulting book is part memoir, part guidebook to living in a world that is simultaneously full of wonder and joy and wretchedness and suffering–a world that always demands both our gratitude and our grief.
No Strings by Lucy Bexley (13th)
Fun is the one thing Elsie Webb takes seriously. Though she’d be having a lot more of it if Haelstrom Media paid her enough to actually get out of debt. She’s determined to hold out on contract negotiations for her kids’ television show Fangley Heights until she gets what she deserves. There’s only one problem, the head of the network just died and left her future more uncertain than ever.
Forty-eight hours and one funeral–that’s all Jones Haelstrom has to get through before she can return to her life in LA that’s as ordered and sparse as an IKEA showroom. When she steps in as CEO of her father’s media company, Elsie Webb is her first problem to deal with. Elsie ends up challenging Jones in ways she never could have predicted, starting with an attraction neither can avoid.
As their attraction teeters on the edge of something more both agree to keep it casual. A no-strings agreement and disclosure to HR should be enough to keep things between Jones and Elsie from getting tangled, right?
Buy it: Amazon
The Lock-Eater by Zack Loran Clark (18th)
Melanie Gate is a foundling with a peculiar talent for opening the unopenable—any lock releases at the touch of her hand. One night, her orphanage is visited by Traveler, a gearling automaton there on behalf of his magical mistress, who needs an apprentice pronto. When Melanie is selected because of her gift, her life changes in a flash, and in more ways than she knows—because Traveler is not at all what he seems. But then, neither is Melanie Gate.
So begins an epic adventure sparkling with magic, wit, secret identities, stinky cats, fierce orphan girls, impostor boys, and a foundling and gearling hotly pursued by the most powerful and dangerous wizard in the land.
Icebreaker by A.L. Graziadei (18th)
Seventeen-year-old Mickey James III is a college freshman, a brother to five sisters, and a hockey legacy. With a father and a grandfather who have gone down in NHL history, Mickey is almost guaranteed the league’s top draft spot.
The only person standing in his way is Jaysen Caulfield, a contender for the #1 spot and Mickey’s infuriating (and infuriatingly attractive) teammate. When rivalry turns to something more, Mickey will have to decide what he really wants, and what he’s willing to risk for it.
This is a story about falling in love, finding your team (on and off the ice), and choosing your own path.
Love & Other Disasters by Anita Kelly (18th)
The first openly nonbinary contestant on America’s favorite cooking show falls for their clumsy competitor in this delicious romantic comedy debut “that is both fantastically fun and crack your heart wide open vulnerable.” (Rosie Danan, author of The Roommate)
Recently divorced and on the verge of bankruptcy, Dahlia Woodson is ready to reinvent herself on the popular reality competition show Chef’s Special. Too bad the first memorable move she makes is falling flat on her face, sending fish tacos flying—not quite the fresh start she was hoping for. Still, she’s focused on winning, until she meets someone she might want a future with more than she needs the prize money.
After announcing their pronouns on national television, London Parker has enough on their mind without worrying about the klutzy competitor stationed in front of them. They’re there to prove the trolls—including a fellow contestant and their dad—wrong, and falling in love was never part of the plan.
As London and Dahlia get closer, reality starts to fall away. Goodbye, guilt about divorce, anxiety about uncertain futures, and stress from transphobia. Hello, hilarious shenanigans on set, wedding crashing, and spontaneous dips into the Pacific. But as the finale draws near, Dahlia and London’s steamy relationship starts to feel the heat both in and outside the kitchen—and they must figure out if they have the right ingredients for a happily ever after.
Real Easy by Marie Rutkoski (18th)
It’s 1999, and Samantha has danced for years at the Lovely Lady strip club. She’s not used to taking anyone under her wing―after all, between her disapproving boyfriend and his daughter, who may as well be her own child, she has enough to worry about. But when Samantha overrides her better judgment to drive a new dancer home, they are run off the road. The police arrive at the scene of the accident―but find only one body.
Georgia, another dancer, is drawn into the investigation as she tries to assist Holly, a Harvard-educated detective with a complicated story of her own. As the point of view shifts from dancers and detectives to club patrons and children, the women round up a list of suspects, all the while grappling with their understandings of loss and love.
Coming Back by Jessi Zabarsky (18th)
Preet is magic.
Valissa is not.
Everyone in their village has magic in their bones, and Preet is the strongest of them all. Without any power of her own, how can Valissa ever be worthy of Preet’s love? When their home is attacked, Valissa has a chance to prove herself, but that means leaving Preet behind. On her own for the first time Preet breaks the village’s most sacred laws, and is rejected from the only home she’s ever known and sent into a new world.
Divided by different paths, insecurities, and distance, will Valissa and Preet be able to find their way back to each other?
The Missing Page by Cat Sebastian (18th)
This is the second book in the Page & Sommers series.
England, 1948: Semi-retired spy Leo Page and country doctor James Sommers team up to solve a decades-old mystery.
When James learns that an uncle he hasn’t heard from in ages has left him something in his will, he figures that the least he can do is head down to Cornwall for a weekend to honor the old man’s parting wishes. He finds the family home filled with half-remembered guests and unwanted memories, but more troubling is that his uncle has tasked his heirs with uncovering the truth behind a woman’s disappearance twenty years earlier.
Leo doesn’t like any of it. He’s just returned from one of his less pleasant missions and maybe he’s slightly paranoid about James’s safety, but he’s of the opinion that rich people aren’t to be trusted where wills are concerned. So he does what any sensible spy would do and infiltrates the house party.
Together they unravel a mystery that exposes long-standing family secrets and threatens to involve James more than either of them would like.
Buy it: Amazon
The Falcon and the Foe by A.J. Truman (24th)
Two single dads. One huge grudge. And one tiny tent.
It’s hard enough balancing two jobs with raising my son solo. Forget dating. I barely have time for laundry.
But when my son’s scouting troop The Falcons needed a co-scout leader, I couldn’t say no. There’s just one ginormous problem: the other scout leader Russ.
To all other parents, he’s #DadGoals, Mr. Sexy Widower who lords over the drop off line.
To me? He’s the bane of my picket-fenced existence – stuck up, anal (not in the fun way), and definitely the person who got me booted from the Parent Teacher Association. I can’t let him wrest control of The Falcons and have history repeat itself – no matter how hot he looks in his khaki uniform.
Thing is, the more we work together, the more I glimpse the caring man lurking under the cold exterior. Maybe he isn’t the completely wretched human being I thought.
We’d both sworn off romance to focus on fatherhood, and nothing’s going to change that, not even sharing a too-small tent in the wilderness.
Buy it: Amazon
Perpetual West by Mesha Maren (25th)
When Alex and Elana move from small-town Virginia to El Paso, they are just a young married couple, each the other’s best friend, intent on a new beginning. Born in Mexico but adopted by white American Pentecostal parents, Alex is hungry to learn about the place where he was born. He spends every free moment across the border in Juárez—perfecting his Spanish, hanging with a collective of young activists, and studying Mexican professional wrestling, “lucha libre,” for his graduate work in sociology. Though Elana has enrolled at the local university as well, she feels disillusioned by academia and struggles to find her place in their new home. She also has no idea that Alex has fallen in love with Mateo, a lucha libre fighter.
When Alex goes missing and Elana can’t determine whether he left of his own accord or was kidnapped, it’s clear that neither of them is able to face who they really are. Spanning their journey from Virginia to Texas to Mexico, Mesha Maren’s thrilling and fiercely intelligent follow-up to Sugar Run takes us from missionaries to wrestling matches to a luxurious cartel compound, and deep into the psychic choices that shape our identities.
At the End of Everything by Marieke Nijkamp (25th)
The Hope Juvenile Treatment Center is ironically named. No one has hope for the delinquent teenagers who have been exiled there; the world barely acknowledges that they exist.
Then the guards at Hope start acting strange. And one day…they don’t show up. But when the teens band together to make a break from the facility, they encounter soldiers outside the gates. There’s a rapidly spreading infectious disease outside, and no one can leave their houses or travel without a permit. Which means that they’re stuck at Hope. And this time, no one is watching out for them at all.
As supplies quickly dwindle and a deadly plague tears through their ranks, the group has to decide whom among them they can trust and figure out how they can survive in a world that has never wanted them in the first place.
A Previous Life by Edmund White (25th)
A daring, category-confounding, and ruthlessly funny novel from National Book Award honored author Edmund White that explores polyamory and bisexuality, ageing and love.
Sicilian aristocrat and musician, Ruggero, and his younger American wife, Constance, agree to break their marital silence and write their Confessions. Until now they had a ban on speaking about the past, since transparency had wrecked their previous marriages. As the two alternate reading the memoirs they’ve written about their lives, Constance reveals her multiple marriages to older men, and Ruggero details the affairs he’s had with men and women across his lifetime-most importantly his passionate affair with the author Edmund White.
Sweeping outward from the isolated Swiss ski chalet where the couple reads to travel through Europe and the United States, White’s new novel pushes for a broader understanding of sexual orientation and pairs humor and truth to create his most fascinating and complex characters to date. As in all of White’s earlier novels, this is a searing, scintillating take on physical beauty and its inevitable decline. But in this experimental new mode-one where the author has laid himself bare as a secondary character-White explores the themes of love and age through numerous eyes, hearts and minds.
Rebel Boys and Rescue Dogs, or Things That Kiss With Teeth by Brianna Shrum (25th)
Seventeen-year-old Brynn Riley is perfect. She’s on a hundred committees, has earned teacher’s pet in practically every class she’s ever taken, and is on track to make valedictorian—salutatorian if she REALLY slacks off, which, please.
But one night, Brynn makes a mistake.
A big one.
Why wouldn’t the cops show up on the one night she’s ever cut loose in her life? Why wouldn’t she be assigned community service for one tiny mistake (something she would DIE over if word ever got out)? And why, of all things, wouldn’t a boy from school happen to work at the pitbull rescue she chooses to do her community service hours at?
Oliver West’s dad owns the rescue. And Oliver works there as his second in command. And Brynn and Oliver both know that she absolutely screwed him out of a major opportunity at school not twenty-four hours before she shows up for her community service.
If Brynn doesn’t want her secret spilled and her sterling reputation ruined, she’d better start taking Oliver seriously. He’ll keep quiet if she helps him land this project (since she ruined it, after all), which requires Brynn to give up her own spot in the running.
As the two get closer, the stakes begin to shift. Brynn starts to want Oliver for more than the community service checkmark, and Oliver, as it turns out, takes Brynn Riley very, very seriously. But, well…you know what they say.
Nothing brings people together like blackmail, pit bulls, and court-ordered community service.
Survivor’s Guilt by Robyn Gigl (25th)
This is the second book in the Erin McCabe Mysteries series
At first, the death of millionaire businessman Charles Parsons seems like a straightforward suicide. There’s no sign of forced entry or struggle in his lavish New Jersey mansion—just a single gunshot wound from his own weapon. But days later, a different story emerges. Computer techs pick up a voice recording that incriminates Parsons’ adoptive daughter, Ann, who duly confesses and pleads guilty.
Erin McCabe has little interest in reviewing such a slam-dunk case—even after she has a mysterious meeting with one of the investigating detectives, who reveals that Ann, like Erin, is a trans woman. Yet despite their misgivings, Erin and her law partner, Duane Swisher, ultimately can’t ignore the pieces that don’t fit.
As their investigation deepens, Erin and Swish convince Ann to withdraw her guilty plea. But Ann clearly knows more than she’s willing to share, even if it means a life sentence. Who is she protecting, and why?
Fighting against time and a prosecutor hell-bent on notching another conviction, the two work tirelessly—Erin inside the courtroom, Swish in the field—to clear Ann’s name. But despite Parsons’ former associates’ determination to keep his—and their own—illegal activities buried, a horrifying truth emerges—a web of human exploitation, unchecked greed, and murder. Soon, a quest to see justice served becomes a desperate struggle to survive . . .
D’Vaughn and Kris Plan a Wedding by Chencia C. Higgins (25th)
Instant I Do could be Kris Zavala’s big break. She’s right on the cusp of really making it as an influencer, so a stint on reality TV is the perfect chance to elevate her brand. And $100,000 wouldn’t hurt, either.
D’Vaughn Miller is just trying to break out of her shell. She’s sort of neglected to come out to her mom for years, so a big splashy fake wedding is just the excuse she needs.
All they have to do is convince their friends and family they’re getting married in six weeks. If anyone guesses they’re not for real, they’re out. Selling their chemistry on camera is surprisingly easy, and it’s still there when no one else is watching, which is an unexpected bonus. Winning this competition is going to be a piece of wedding cake.
But each week of the competition brings new challenges, and soon the prize money’s not the only thing at stake. A reality show isn’t the best place to create a solid foundation, and their fake wedding might just derail their relationship before it even starts.
Into the Midnight Void by Mara Fitzgerald (25th)
Emanuela has finally gotten what she’s always wanted. Since escaping her catacomb prison, she’s become the supreme ruler of everything under the veils. Finally, she has the power to throw aside senseless, old traditions and run things exactly the way they should be.
But when cracks in her magic start to show, Emanuela begrudgingly allies herself with her enemies, including her frustratingly alluring archnemesis, Verene. Together, they discover deeper truths about the mysterious blood magic Emanuela and Verene both wield. There is a higher, otherworldly authority outside the veils, and in order to save Occhia and the other realms, Emanuela may just have to rip another crown off someone’s head.
The Temperature of Me and You by Brian Zepka (25th)
Sixteen-year-old Dylan Highmark thought his winter was going to be full of boring shifts at the Dairy Queen, until he finds himself in love with a boy who’s literally too hot to handle.
Dylan has always wanted a boyfriend, but the suburbs surrounding Philadelphia do not have a lot in the way of options. Then, in walks Jordan, a completely normal (and undeniably cute) boy who also happens to run at a cool 110 degrees Fahrenheit. When the boys start spending time together, Dylan begins feeling all kinds of ways, and when he spikes a fever for two weeks and is suddenly coughing flames, he thinks he might be suffering from something more than just a crush. Jordan forces Dylan to keep his symptoms a secret. But as the pressure mounts and Dylan becomes distant with his closest friends and family, he pushes Jordan for answers. Jordan’s revelations of why he’s like this, where he came from, and who’s after him leaves Dylan realizing how much first love is truly out of this world. And if Earth supports life that breathes oxygen, then love can only keep Jordan and Dylan together for so long.
Manywhere by Morgan Thomas (25th)
The nine stories in Morgan Thomas’s shimmering debut collection, Manywhere, witness Southern queer and genderqueer characters determined to find themselves reflected in the annals of history, at whatever cost. As each character traces deceit and violence through Southern tall tales and their own pasts, their journeys reveal the porous boundaries of body, land, and history, and the sometimes ruthless awakenings of self-discovery.
A trans woman finds her independence through the purchase of a pregnancy bump. A young Virginian flees their relationship, choosing instead to immerse themselves in the life of an intersex person from Colonial-era Jamestown. A young writer tries to evade the murky and violent legacy of an ancestor who supposedly disappeared into a midwifery bag. And in the uncanny title story, a young trans person brings home a replacement daughter for their elderly father.
Winding between reinvention and remembrance, transition and transcendence, these origin stories rebound across centuries. With warm, meticulous emotional intelligence, Thomas uncovers how the stories we borrow to understand ourselves in turn shape the people we become. Ushering in a new form of queer mythmaking, Manywhere introduces a storyteller of uncommon range and talent.
Something Fabulous by Alexis Hall (25th)
Valentine Layton, the Duke of Malvern, has twin problems: literally.
It was always his father’s hope that Valentine would marry Miss Arabella Tarleton. But, unfortunately, too many novels at an impressionable age have caused her to grow up…romantic. So romantic that a marriage of convenience will not do and after Valentine’s proposal she flees into the night determined never to set eyes on him again.
Arabella’s twin brother, Mr. Bonaventure “Bonny” Tarleton, has also grown up…romantic. And fully expects Valentine to ride out after Arabella and prove to her that he’s not the cold-hearted cad he seems to be.
Despite copious misgivings, Valentine finds himself on a pell-mell chase to Dover with Bonny by his side. Bonny is unreasonable, overdramatic, annoying, and…beautiful? And being with him makes Valentine question everything he thought he knew. About himself. About love. Even about which Tarleton he should be pursuing.
Getting Clean with Stevie Green by Swan Huntley (25th)
Seven Mercies by Laura Lam and Elizabeth May (25th)
This is the sequel to Seven Devils
The second book in a feminist space opera duology that follows the team of seven rebels who will free the galaxy from the ruthless Tholosian Empire–or die trying.
After an ambush leaves the Novantae resistance in tatters, the survivors scatter across the galaxy. Wanted by two great empires, the bounty on any rebel’s head is enough to make a captor filthy rich. And the seven devils? Biggest score of them all. To avoid attacks, the crew of Zelus scavenge for supplies on long-abandoned Tholosian outposts.
Not long after the remnants of the rebellion settle briefly on Fortuna, Ariadne gets a message with unimaginable consequences: the Oracle has gone rogue. In a planned coup against the Empire’s new ruler, the AI has developed a way of mass programming citizens into mindless drones. The Oracle’s demand is simple: the AI wants One’s daughter back at any cost.
Time for an Impossible to Infiltrate mission: high chance of death, low chance of success. The devils will have to use their unique skills, no matter the sacrifice, and pair up with old enemies. Their plan? Get to the heart of the Empire. Destroy the Oracle. Burn it all to the ground.
A love letter to the legendary Black and Latinx LGBTQ underground subculture, uncovering its abundant legacy and influence in popular culture.
What is Ballroom? Not a song, a documentary, a catchphrase, a TV show, or an individual pop star. It is an underground subculture founded over a century ago by LGBTQ African American and Latino men and women of Harlem. Arts-based and intersectional, it transcends identity, acting as a fearless response to the systemic marginalization of minority populations.
Ricky Tucker pulls from his years as a close friend of the community to reveal the complex cultural makeup and ongoing relevance of house and Ballroom, a space where trans lives are respected and applauded, and queer youth are able to find family and acceptance. With each chapter framed as a “category” (Vogue, Realness, Body, et al.), And the Category Is . . . offers an impressionistic point of entry into this subculture, its deeply integrated history, and how it’s been appropriated for mainstream audiences. Each category features an exclusive interview with fierce LGBTQ/POC Ballroom members—Lee Soulja, Benjamin Ninja, Twiggy Pucci Garçon, and more—whose life, work, and activism drive home that very category.
At the height of public intrigue and awareness about Ballroom, thanks to TV shows like FX’s Pose, Tucker’s compelling narratives help us understand its relevance in pop culture, dance, public policy with regard to queer communities, and so much more. Welcome to the norm-defying realness of Ballroom.