Temps are dropping, snow is falling and sweaters are out of the closet—cozy season is here and so are these fabulously queer reads. From graphic novels to poetry collections to Harlem Renaissance-set mysteries, there’s something for everyone! (When applicable, links go to IndieBound, but most of these titles are available in print and digital forms through Amazon, Barnes & Noble or best of all, your favorite feminist bookstore.)
If you love queer Shakespearean graphic novels, check out “Twelfth Grade Night” by Molly Horton Booth, Stephanie Kate Strohm, and Jamie Green. When Vi arrives at Arden High, she finds herself thrust into a wacky, magical environment, where fairies populate the hallways and poetry and LARP (live action role playing) rule the school. But can Vi choose between two love interests and figure out her own gender expression in time for the Twelfth Grade Night dance? (Out now)
Queer stans of all the holiday-movie bliss that Hallmark and Lifetime have to offer will love “All I Want for Christmas” by Georgia Beers, Maggie Cummings, and Fiona Riley. Family Christmas parties, pop-up holiday market hustle and freak snowstorms abound, along with the best rom-com tropes—invent-a-girlfriend, opposites attract, and enemies to lovers—all with a sapphic twist, in these three romance novellas. Enjoy the best parts of holidays and romantic love, and plenty of lady kisses! (Out now)
For a dynamic poetry collection–from one of GO’s very own writers!–pick up “Diary Of…” by A’Kala Chaires. Poet Chaires honors self-discovery, loss and life’s transitions, using her gift for storytelling in this powerful anthology, in her words, “for anyone who is going through a midlife [sic] crisis when they didn’t think there would be one.” (Out now)
For an inspiring journey from homelessness to Big Tech, dive into “Acceptance” by Emi Nietfeld. As a teenager, Nietfeld navigated her sexual identity and a complex relationship with her estranged trans parent while also battling housing insecurity and poverty, and trying to make a secure life for herself—a long and challenging road she chronicles with dark humor and endless heart. (Out now)
Fans of hot AF love scenes kicking off the action should grab Meryl Wilsner’s “Mistakes Were Made”. This stellar follow-up to Wilsner’s hit queer romance “Something to Talk About” answers the age-old question: what if you just had the hottest one-night stand of your life, only to learn that the gorgeous older woman you bedded is in fact your best friend’s mom? (Out now)
If you’ve been craving a Harlem Renaissance-set mystery with lesbian domestic bliss, smash Order on Nekesa Afia’s “Harlem Sunset”. In the second of Afia’s Harlem Renaissance Mysteries, Louise Lloyd lands a sweet gig managing a hot new Harlem club—but then her girlfriend Rosa Maria, who partied all night at that very club, is accused of murder the next morning. What’s a sapphic sleuth to do but solve the case? (Out now)
If you’ve ever said to yourself “I wish Swan Lake was gay”, try “Poison Forest” by Lauri Starling. When her childhood love Dette goes missing, in the latest of a string of disappearances in the Triumvir of Corundum, plucky Thedra journeys deep into a cursed forest to find Dette and defeat the evil sorcerer whom Thedra suspects is behind it all. (Out now)
For queer space fantasy with a Joan of Arc twist, check out Neon Yang’s “The Genesis of Misery”. Misery Nomaki, raised on a moon colony without religion, hears the voice of an angel proclaiming Misery the chosen one to lead their people to victory in a holy war—but what is a delusion brought on by space exposure, and what is real? (Out now)
If all you want for Christmas is a collection of LGBTQ+ fairy tales, order “At Midnight”, edited by Dahlia Adler. Queer author and book blogger extraordinaire Adler once again brings together the best and brightest writers, this time in an anthology of genre-bending reimaginings of everything from “Little Red Riding Hood” to “Sleeping Beauty” to “The Little Mermaid”—plus an all-new fairy tale. (Out now)
If you love 80s nostalgia, f/f romance and coming-of-age stories, try “Roses, In the Mouth of a Lion” by Bushra Rehman. Growing up in a Pakistani-American community in Queens, Razia experiences her first heartbreak when a family rift alienates her from best friend Saima, and as a teenager heads to a prestigious Manhattan high school and falls for classmate Angela. Can Razia reconcile her queer identity with her beloved culture and a promising future? (Out now)
For the ultimate cozy lesbian bookstore vibes, pick up Chelsea M. Cameron’s “Mainely Books Club” trilogy. The latest series from bestselling romance author Cameron centers around a quaint New England town that just happens to be full of beautiful queer humans who love to read, drink cider, and make out. And really, what could be better than that? (Books 1 and 2 and 3 out now)
If you love books and want to support authors, PREORDER! Ordering titles ahead of their release dates greatly helps authors’ sales numbers, which means they can write more queer AF books for you to enjoy. Plus, when they arrive, it’s like a present to yourself! Hop on the preorder train with these forthcoming titles:
“Dykette” by Jenny Fran Davis: three couples—one young, dysfunctional and artistic, one older, wealthy but not necessarily wiser, and the third a dynamic pair of “it-queers”—spend an unforgettable holiday at a country home in this dark comedy. (Out May 16, 2023)
“Tomorrow and Tomorrow” by Lillah Lawson and Lauren Emily Whalen (that’s me!): in this sexy reimagining of Shakespeare’s “Macbeth,” all-female rock band The Scottish Play battle dark prophecies, a charming but controlling manager and the ghosts of past and present in a bloody quest for stardom. (Out Oct. 17, 2023)
“Coming Out Together: A Collection of Short Memoirs on the LGBTQ+ Experience” from Open Air Press: support a brand-new LGBTQ+ press by preordering this anthology that documents and celebrates the queer experience.
This cozy season, grab a mulled wine or a hot chocolate, snuggle with a cutie, and dig into one of these gorgeous books!
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