Queer Book Releases April 2021

This post was sourced and created by both @lisa-stapleton and @lee_lei_lp and contains referral links.

I want to say a quick thank you to my Discord server, The Swamp for encouraging myself, @lisa-stapleton, and @lee_lei_lp to do this monthly queer books list. I know there’s a million more out there, but I hope ours specifically adds a little something to your day.

Also! For the entire month of April we’re doing Camp NaNo challenges, sprints, and workshops in The Swamp! So drop in and say hi! We’d love to have you.

Zara Hossain Is Here by Sabina Khan

Releases on: April 6 – Sourced by @lee_lei_lp

young adult, slice of life, school life

Zara is a high school student struggling against dangerous Islamophobia and targeted bullying. Her journey is marked by difficult and important discussions around racism and white privilege, gun violence, and homophobia. While Zara’s bisexuality doesn’t cause strife in her family, she sees that it is an issue in the US. 

Side note: One review points out that the book has LGBT characters beyond the MC and her immediate circle, as well as trans inclusive feminism!

The Sky Blues by Robbie Couch

Releases on: April 6 – Sourced by @lee_lei_lp

young adult, slice of life, school life

Sky goes above and beyond, and completely out of character, by planning a huge, gay promposal for his crush. When his plans are maliciously leaked in a homophobia driven attack, Sky expects to be shunned by his small town. But now that he’s on their radar, they aren’t planning to let him down.

Malice by Heather Walter

Releases: April 13 – Sourced by @lee_lei_lp

new adult, fairy tale, fantasy

We all love a good fairy tale retelling. We all love a protag of ambiguous Good or Badness. We all love Disney princesses going sapphic. Need I say more?

Victories Greater than Death by Charlie Jane Anders

Releases: April 13 – Sourced by @lee_lei_lp

young adult, space opera

Most of us spend our teen years waiting for life to really begin, but Tina knows what’s in store for her. As the clone of a legendary space captain, she’s just waiting for the day that she is summoned to fulfill her destiny.

Leaving Isn’t the Hardest Thing Essays by Lauren Hough

Releases: April 13 – Sourced by @lisa-stapleton

In 2018, Hough’s eye-opening essay about the decade she spent as a cable guy in the suburbs of Washington D.C.—fixing phone, TV, and internet lines for “the American id in its underpants”—went viral. That piece is reprinted here, along with ten more staggering slices of autobiography, all of which reside in that sweet spot between devastating and irreverent. Though Hough has lived many lives—an airman, a cult survivor, a bartender—her brand of deadpan candidness is singular. 

A Crown So Cursed by L.L McKinney

Releases April 13 – Sourced by @desdemona-wren

In A Crown So Cursed, the third book in L.L. McKinney’s Nightmare-Verse series, Alice is called to save Wonderland from itself.

Alice is doing her best to recover from her last boss battle, but members of her crew start having these… dreams.

And they’re all the same dream: visions of a dark past—and an even darker future. It seems the evil in Wonderland may not be as defeated as they’d hoped.

When word spreads of an encroaching army of Nightmares unlike any ever seen, Alice finds she may have to step between the coming darkness and the mortal world once more.

But this time is different.

This time, the monsters aren’t waiting for her on the other side of the Veil.

They’re in her own back yard.

NOTE: This is the third book in an AMAZING series.

These Feathered Flames by Alexandra Overy

Releases: April 20 – Sourced by @lee_lei_lp

young adult, fantasy, folktales

A queer retelling of a Russian folktale featuring f/f enemies to lovers. Twin princesses born into destined roles, the time has come for each to find out what her power really means.

She Drives Me Crazy by Kelly Quindlen

Releases: April 20 – Sourced by @lee_lei_lp

young adult, school life

We’ve got your fake dating. We’ve got your sports sapphics. We’ve got your kitschy rom-com tropes. Word on the street* is that we’ve even got your one bed. I don’t think we can lose here.

*Goodreads reviews

Kate in Waiting by Becky Albertalli

Releases: April 20 – Sourced by @lee_lei_lp

young adult, school life

Theater geeks and BFFs Kate and Andy share everything, from car rides to crushes to codependent decision making. It all works out in perfect harmony until Matt shows up. When delicate feelings get involved, their friendship is tested.

Water I Wont Touch by Kayleb Rae Candrilli

Releases: April 20 – Sourced by @lisa-stapleton

Whiting Award winner Candrilli evokes the ever-changing topography of American landscapes—from Wildwood, New Jersey to the Grand Canyon—in order to tap into the beautiful fluidity of their own physical and metaphysical self: “the tide tells me/my body can morph/as many times as it needs.”

The Key to You And Me by Jaye Robin Brown

Releases: April 20 – Sourced by @lisa-stapleton

Piper Kitts is spending the summer living with her grandmother, training at the barn of a former Olympic horseback rider, and trying to get over her ex-girlfriend. Much to Piper’s dismay, her grandmother is making her face her fear of driving by taking lessons from a girl in town.

Kat Pearson has always suspected that she likes girls but fears her North Carolina town is too small to color outside the lines. But when Piper’s grandmother hires Kat to give her driving lessons, everything changes.

Piper’s not sure if she’s ready to let go of her ex. Kat’s navigating uncharted territory with her new crush. With the summer running out, will they be able to unlock a future together?

In Deeper Waters

In Deeper Waters by F.T Lukens

Releases: April 20 – Sourced by @lisa-stapleton

A young prince must rely on a mysterious stranger to save him when he is kidnapped during his coming-of-age tour in this swoony adventure that is The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue meets Pirates of the Caribbean.

Between Perfect and Real by Ray Stoeve

Releases: April 27 – Sourced by @lee_lei_lp

young adult

Currently out as a lesbian, Dean Foster knows that he is actually a trans guy. When he is cast as a “non-traditional” Romeo in the school play, he begins exploring ways to live his truth.

Book Review: Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli

This is my FAVORITE Creekwood book. Like, Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda was great, but this one spoke directly to my soul.

Leah Burke is LITERALLY me. In high school I was the impoverished bi girl who had severe mental illness issues and preferred to BURN EVERYTHING TO THE GROUND rather than let anything slightly inconvenience me.

She, of course, has more supportive friends and family than I did, but her character resonated so much with me I literally cannot stop yelling about it.

All her fears, her wants, her needs…everything. She’s literally perfect. Or…well…fundamentally flawed, which is how I like my characters.

Her relationship with Abby literally had me SCREAMING for most of the book. They’re so cute and so precious. And I really wish they’d gotten together in book 1, but alas. It wouldn’t have been as sweet, in my opinion.

But seriously, Leah is my absolute favorite. And I feel like she really got shafted in the Love, Simon film because they made her openly like Simon. That does not fit her character at all, she only liked Simon when they were really young. Then she had a crush on his older sister.

I did spend a little bit of the book hoping she’d fall for Simon’s younger sister, but Leah/Abby is my OTP for life now.

This book is one of my absolute favorites!

Overall rating: ★★★★★★★★★★
(10/5 Stars. )

Rating breakdown:

Prose: ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️
Plot: ??????????????
Characterization: ???????????????
Boredom meter: ??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? ?????????????????????????

More About Leah on the Offbeat

Leah Burke—girl-band drummer, master of deadpan, and Simon Spier’s best friend from the award-winning Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda—takes center stage in this novel of first love and senior-year angst.

When it comes to drumming, Leah Burke is usually on beat—but real life isn’t always so rhythmic. An anomaly in her friend group, she’s the only child of a young, single mom, and her life is decidedly less privileged. She loves to draw but is too self-conscious to show it. And even though her mom knows she’s bisexual, she hasn’t mustered the courage to tell her friends—not even her openly gay BFF, Simon.

So Leah really doesn’t know what to do when her rock-solid friend group starts to fracture in unexpected ways. With prom and college on the horizon, tensions are running high. It’s hard for Leah to strike the right note while the people she loves are fighting—especially when she realizes she might love one of them more than she ever intended.

Get your copy here on Amazon.

Book Review: Her Royal Highness by Rachel Hawkins

This book was so sweet and so cute. I absolutely love books that are in a series, but aren’t completely related to one another. I don’t know why, I’m just a total nerd for these types of books.

That said, I didn’t read the first book in the royals series. Mostly because it wasn’t LGBT and I’ve really been on an LGBT kick lately. BUT

This book. Was ADORABLE.

Millie and Flora are basically my endgame. When Millie was wasting her time with her friend Jude or whatever in the beginning of the book I literally wanted to punch her in the face. Like Go to Scotland and find your true love, Millie!

Flora in the beginning was high key annoying, but once she stopped being such a jerk to Millie I was like “Oh no she’s just prickly because she doesn’t trust people easily!” and honestly, same. I can totally relate.

This book was so sweet and cute and such a fun read. I did wish there was more of it. I don’t really like it when books end on the “We’re together!” part. And while this one didn’t technically do that, it sort of felt that way.

Millie and Flora have so many cute moments in the book, but I felt like their story needed more to really feel wrapped up at the end. Because there were a lot of people that opposed their relationship, including Flora’s own mom and that never really got resolved, so that sort of felt up in the air at the end.

Other than that, and a few minor complaints (Like how did Flora NOT know the animal of Scotland was the Unicorn when she is LITERALLY the princess of Scotland? Like I know that, Flora. And I’m an American. Yes, I know my family is Scottish & I’m first gen. Don’t @ me.) I thought this book was FANTASTIC.

I hope to read a lot more cute books by Rachel Hawkins!

Overall rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
(4/5 Stars. )

Rating breakdown:

Prose: ????
Plot: ?‍❤️‍??‍❤️‍??‍❤️‍??‍❤️‍??‍❤️‍?
Characterization: ?????
Boredom meter: ?????

More About Her Royal Highness

Millie Quint is devastated when she discovers that her sort-of-best friend/sort-of-girlfriend has been kissing someone else. And because Millie cannot stand the thought of confronting her ex every day, she decides to apply for scholarships to boarding schools . . . the farther from Houston the better.

Millie can’t believe her luck when she’s accepted into one of the world’s most exclusive schools, located in the rolling highlands of Scotland. Everything about Scotland is different: the country is misty and green; the school is gorgeous, and the students think Americans are cute.

The only problem: Mille’s roommate Flora is a total princess.

She’s also an actual princess. Of Scotland.

At first, the girls can barely stand each other–Flora is both high-class and high-key–but before Millie knows it, she has another sort-of-best-friend/sort-of-girlfriend. Even though Princess Flora could be a new chapter in her love life, Millie knows the chances of happily ever afters are slim . . . after all, real life isn’t a fairy tale . . . or is it?

Get your copy here on Amazon.

Book Review: I Wish You All the Best by Mason Deaver

I really liked this book, but the writing style was actually really hard for me to get into. So it took me quite a long time to read it because of this.

The romance was really sweet, I thought Ben and Nathan meshed really well together. And Ben really needed some good in their life after what happened with their parents after they came out. Like that for SURE broke my heart.

I wish Ben had a better relationship with their sister. I did really enjoy their relationship with their best friend, Miriam. Who was also my favorite character in the entire book.

I felt like a lot of the other characters outside of Nathan, Miriam, and Ben were very flat. Which makes sense since they were only supporting characters, but considering side characters always end up being my favorites in a book, I was a little sad about this.

And I don’t know if it’s because I listened to the audio book instead of reading an ebook or print book, but I really genuinely had a hard time getting into the story. It was very, very good, but I did struggle a little bit.

I felt like the narrative was a little lacking. The story was good, it was a very good queer story. And I loved how Ben spoke about being bisexual for males and other non-binary people because it is so rare to see people actually understand bisexuality.

Overall rating: ★★★★
(4/5 Stars. )

Rating breakdown:

Prose: ????
Plot: ????
Characterization: ?‍♂️?‍♂️?‍♂️
Boredom meter: ???

More About I Wish You All the Best

When Ben De Backer comes out to their parents as nonbinary, they’re thrown out of their house and forced to move in with their estranged older sister, Hannah, and her husband, Thomas, whom Ben has never even met. Struggling with an anxiety disorder compounded by their parents’ rejection, they come out only to Hannah, Thomas, and their therapist and try to keep a low profile in a new school.

But Ben’s attempts to survive the last half of senior year unnoticed are thwarted when Nathan Allan, a funny and charismatic student, decides to take Ben under his wing. As Ben and Nathan’s friendship grows, their feelings for each other begin to change, and what started as a disastrous turn of events looks like it might just be a chance to start a happier new life.

At turns heartbreaking and joyous, I Wish You All the Best is both a celebration of life, friendship, and love, and a shining example of hope in the face of adversity.

Get your copy here on Amazon.

I have 4 books!

It has come to my attention recently, after a few of my close friends yelled at me, that people don’t know I’ve written books.

So I’m here to set the record straight. My name is Desdemona Wren and I have written 4 books; 2 novels & 2 novellas and I’m going to tell you a little bit about them.

First up, The Marjorie Diaz series: Marjorie Diaz’s Unfortunate Introduction to Magical High Society and Marjorie Diaz’s Unfortunate Introduction to Ancestral Politics & Foul Play.

The Marjorie Diaz series follows Marjorie Diaz, a 22 year-old Mexican American college student who manages to piss off some magical high royals and gets herself marked for death.

And while that seems like a very bad thing (TM), the story keeps cutting deeper and Marjorie discovers everyone has a secret, including her best friend.

This title is LGBT with acespec rep, lesbian rep, bisexual/pansexual rep, and transgender characters. There is also POC rep with Mexican American, Black American, Zimbabwean, and British Indian characters.

Next up, Bloom: A Monster Love Novella and Call Me Eli (my anthology piece).

Both of these books feature transgender characters in same-sex relationships.

Bloom: A Monster Love Novella is about Holly Juniper who falls for a nymph who comes through a portal in her barn. She gets more than she bargained for, when Nia helps her discover what she was truly meant to do.

Call Me Eli is about a transman who falls in love with a rock star when he shows up and hijacks Eli’s cab ride back from his impromptu concert at CosFest, a huge con he goes to with his best friend every year. It’s a Cinderella story, but with a fresh take. They’re adorable together and I’ll be rewriting their story when I get the rights back in August.

I have another few books I want to release this year: Nighthawks: A Monster Love Novella, A City of Glass and Sand, Marjorie 3, A Reverse Harem story, and The Incredible Origins of Suzie Q, Demon Hunter Extraordinaire.

To keep up with my books, what I’m up to, and get sneak peaks of my writing: sign up for my monthly newsletter on my website!

Hi. I’m Desdemona Wren and I have written a few books. No big deal (who am I kidding? YES big deal! Read them! They’re hella gay!)

It has come to my attention recently, after a few of my close friends yelled at me, that people don’t know I’ve written books.

So I’m here to set the record straight. My name is Desdemona Wren and I have written 4 books; 2 novels & 2 novellas and I’m going to tell you a little bit about them.

First up, The Marjorie Diaz series: Marjorie Diaz’s Unfortunate Introduction to Magical High Society and Marjorie Diaz’s Unfortunate Introduction to Ancestral Politics & Foul Play.

The Marjorie Diaz series follows Marjorie Diaz, a 22 year-old Mexican American college student who manages to piss off some magical high royals and gets herself marked for death.

And while that seems like a very bad thing (TM), the story keeps cutting deeper and Marjorie discovers everyone has a secret, including her best friend.

This title is LGBT with acespec rep, lesbian rep, bisexual/pansexual rep, and transgender characters. There is also POC rep with Mexican American, Black American, Zimbabwean, and British Indian characters.

Next up, Bloom: A Monster Love Novella and Call Me Eli (my anthology piece).

Both of these books feature transgender characters in same-sex relationships.

Bloom: A Monster Love Novella is about Holly Juniper who falls for a nymph who comes through a portal in her barn. She gets more than she bargained for, when Nia helps her discover what she was truly meant to do.

Call Me Eli is about a transman who falls in love with a rock star when he shows up and hijacks Eli’s cab ride back from his impromptu concert at CosFest, a huge con he goes to with his best friend every year. It’s a Cinderella story, but with a fresh take. They’re adorable together and I’ll be rewriting their story when I get the rights back in August.

I have another few books I want to release this year: Nighthawks: A Monster Love Novella, A City of Glass and Sand, Marjorie 3, A Reverse Harem story, and The Incredible Origins of Suzie Q, Demon Hunter Extraordinaire.

To keep up with my books, what I’m up to, and get sneak peaks of my writing: sign up for my monthly newsletter on my website!

Book Reviews: Death of a Bachelor by M.A Hinkle

Oh my gosh! I loved this book. I loved every second of it.

I am obsessed with Cathal. Like he and I are pretty much the same person. And Felix! I loved him so much.

Literally, this book is like a breath of fresh air! There is so much LGBTQIA+ representation in here that I really felt seen. There is acespec representation, bisexual representation, gay representation, lesbian representation, and I think there were even some straight people?

The romance is a juicy, juicy slowburn that took just enough time to woo me as a reader and convince me that Damon and Cathal belonged together. I was rooting for them for the whole book because these two broken men need each other to survive.

Cathal especially since he can’t cook and spends all of his “alone time” eating instant ramen and not knowing what half of the stuff Damon cooks is. I love how clueless and adorable he was about cooking, but how smart he was about space.

At the end of the book, I’m pretty sure even Era shipped them from beyond the grave. She had a hand in getting them together, after all. I like to imagine her ghost chatting with Felix casually about it over a box of Lucky Charms. Her two broken boys finding comfort in one another after her loss.

Great, now I’m crying again.

Seriously, though. This book was incredible. It was a little slow in the beginning, but once it picks up it picks up FAST and I read the bulk of it in just a few days. I cannot wait to see more from M.A Hinkle!

Overall rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
(5/5 Stars. )

Rating breakdown:

Prose: ?????
Plot: ?????
Characterization: ?????
Boredom meter: ?????

I cannot wait for the next book in the series that focuses on Felix and the twins. I know it is going to be as incredible, if not moreso than this one. I love M.A Hinkle and I’m willing to bet I’m going to be a life-long fan.

Review: Return to Sender by Roberta Blablanski

I am literally still happy sobbing as I type this. I am so glad I read this book!

This story is so beautiful and kind from the very beginning. I’m not a fan of M/M stories, which I know is really unfair because I’m an LGBTQIA+ author, but I find that most M/M stories are not written by people in the community and aren’t a good representation of gay culture as a whole, but that was definitely not the case with Return to Sender.

From the very beginning, this story had me hooked. The romance and family and just love in this book had me crying happy and sad and just emotional tears almost the whole time I was reading it.

I read this story in literally a single day. It’s a novella, so it wasn’t that hard, but that is a feat for me. I usually have to keep putting books down to do other things, but this book in particular just really spoke to me and was always on my mind.

I loved that all the smut scenes were fade to black because that was so on brand for Drew and Wes! They deserved all their privacy and their secret stolen moments after everything they’d been through.

The writing was amazing and expressive and full of emotion and I didn’t ever once think “this is a first-person POV novel” because I was never pulled out of the narrative long enough to ever question anything about the mechanics of the book. I cannot praise Return to Sender enough. It was truly an amazing read.

Roberta, this story was literally brilliant. I cannot think of a story more deserving of a 5-star review from me. I loved it so much and I cannot wait to see what you write next.

Overall rating: ★★★★★
(5/5 Stars)

Rating breakdown:
Prose: ?????
Plot: ?????
Characterization: ?‍??‍???‍??‍?
Boredom meter: ?????

This book brought me so much joy and so much pain. Honestly, I recommend it to everyone who loves LGBT lit.

Review: Never Letting Go by Liv Devereaux

This was very, very short and read like an unedited Wattpad story. I really like that Devereaux continues to write f/f and LGBT fiction, but I can’t help but think that this sort of writing is a little detrimental to the community.

As an LGBT author myself, I am all for supporting other people who write for the community and Devereaux is not a bad author. On the contrary, I do enjoy a lot of their work, but I find myself wishing they could be a little better.

This story was over in the blink of an eye, though I did like the narrative of two estranged lovers coming back together, I wish Devereaux would have explored this further in a longer story. I know we get the explanation toward the end as to what happened between them and how they ended up like this, but it all felt really flat.

I fully believe Devereaux has an incredible talent that they have yet to explore fully and will continue to read and advocate for their books with a little bit of constructive criticism thrown in. Keep writing, Devereaux, you’re out here fighting the good fight and filling the world with so much needed wlw representation.

I look forward to the next project I read by you.

Overall rating: ★★★
(3/5 Stars)

Rating breakdown:
Prose: ??
Plot: ????
Characterization:
Boredom meter: ??

I would like to see better characterization and prose writing from Devereaux in the future.

Review: Not Your Villain by C.B Lee (Audible)

I got this title on audible like I do most of my traditional publishing reads and as much as it pains me because I adored the first one, I’m going to have to DNF book 2.

I love Bells and I would have loved to follow his story especially his whole Chameleon thing, but C.B Lee doesn’t do anything interesting with him. Most of the book he pines over Emma in the most annoying way possible.

Then he whines when she gets a boyfriend and starts acting like a bad friend. Which was so annoying to me and made even more annoying by the voice actor they had reading the book that I had to stop listening.

Not to mention, Lee completely mischaracterizes Jess. It’s like this book was written by a completely different person. In book 1, Jess loved running and training and she wanted to be a hero. In book 2, Jess is a whiny lazy grump who is useless on most missions.

This turned me off so badly because I really genuinely loved Jess and seeing her stripped down to a whiny comic relief archetype was horrible.

You’re better than this, C.B Lee and I really agonized over giving this book a bad review because I loved the first one so much, but I cannot continue to struggle through reading this.

Overall rating: ★
(1/5 Stars – DNF)

Rating breakdown:
Prose: ??
Plot: ?
Characterization:
Boredom meter:

I really hope the next novel C.B Lee puts out is better than this.