LGBTQ+ Fiction: July 2018

Now that it's July, I hope your Pride Month was a good one. Did you get a chance to visit the library booth at the Pride Festival? We had a great time and enjoyed seeing a lot of readers getting excited over library books! We also signed up a lot of new members for library cards, whom we hope to see in our branches soon!

Today, I'm reviewing a Fantasy/spy thriller with a beautiful book cover and an adorable graphic novel full of character goodness. The book I'm looking forward to reading next is an asexual lesbian steampunk romance novel featuring a fully autonomous robot and a mechanic. So with all of that, there should be a little something for everyone. Enjoy!

Books I’ve Read Recently 

Title/Author: Amberlough by Lara Elena Donnelly

Summary: In the city of Amberlough master spy Cyril DePaul must become a turncoat in exchange for his life when his cover is blown on a mission. At the same time, he must protect the life of his lover, cabaret emcee and smuggler Aristide Makricosta, when the radical One State Party (otherwise known as the Ospies) tries to unite Gedda’s four municipal governments under a socially conservative vision. Cordelia Lehane, a top cabaret dancer-turned-runner for Aristide, could be the key Cyril needs, if he can trust her. As the twinkling lights of nightclub marquees yield to the rising flames of a fascist revolution, these three will struggle to survive using whatever means—and people—necessary. Including each other.
Series/Standalone: The Amberlough Dossier book 1
Genre/sub-genre: Fantasy/Spy Thriller
Book Format: Hardcover
Length: 400 pages
LGBTQ+ Orientation: Gay
Violence: Yes
Well written/Editor Needed: Well written
Would I Recommend?: Yes
Personal thoughts: I’m not normally big on spy thrillers, but I really enjoyed this one, probably for its great combination of world building and well rounded, interesting characters. I should mention that while this is a “fantasy” setting and it has a colorful, vibrant, yet seedy, feel to it, it contains no magic or other fantastical elements. That didn’t bother me, and in fact, I think I preferred it. I admit, it took me a little bit to get into the story, as a lot of information (places, politicians, political machinations)... is flying at your face without background information, but eventually it all makes sense, and then you’re sucked in for the ride. I loved the three main characters, Aristide, Cordelia, and Cyril. They brought a lot to the story, made it come alive, and made me root for them every step of the way. I highly recommend this and am looking forward to the second book in the series, Armistice. Though I do have to mention that even though there is a romance between Aristide and Cyril, this is not a romance novel. 

Title/Author: Moonstruck by Grace Ellis

Summary: Werewolf barista Julie and her new girlfriend go on a date to a close-up magic show, but all heck breaks loose when the magician casts a horrible spell on their friend Chet. Now it's up to this team of mythical pals to stop the illicit illusionist before it's too late.
Series/Standalone: Vol. 1 (Collects issues 1-5)
Genre/sub-genre: Graphic Novel/Fantasy/Paranormal
Book Format: Paperback
Length: 120 pages
LGBTQ+ Orientation: Lesbian and gender queer
Violence: None
Well written/Editor Needed: Well written
Would I Recommend?: Yes
Personal thoughts: This is, first and foremost, adorable! I love the cute artwork. Over all, it was a light, enjoyable read with great representation, though there were a few setbacks to this one. The plot was a little too simple, the ending was a little too easy, and I wasn't sure why it included the plot of Julie's favorite middle grade mystery novel throughout or the weird advice columns acting as chapter breaks. For some reason, I’d thought this would be a little more adult than it was. The middle grade novel made it seem meant for young children, yet the college town setting and the advice columns made it seem older. That aside, read it for the characters, because they are the star of this show. There are two lesbians and one gender queer character who uses “they/them/their” pronouns, which was awesome. There are multiple characters of color, and the main couple here is black and Latinx. Also, there are all kinds of body types. True, this is a fantasy setting, so there are centaurs, ghosts, vampires, and other creatures, but the two main female characters are plus sized in both their human and werewolf forms. While I thought the plot suffered a bit, the characters were well rounded and fun to read about. I'm interested to see where this goes in the next volume.

Books I’m Looking Forward To

Title/Author: The Cybernetic Tea Shop by Meredith Katz

Summary: Sal, a fully autonomous robot, has been running her previous master’s tea shop until she has nearly fallen apart from use and lack of care, when Clara, a technician specializing in A.I. companions, walks into her shop for lunch one day. Clara doesn’t intend to stay in town, preferring to keep on the move, but then she realizes how much Sal needs her help, and as the two spend more and more time together, they both debate what it means to move on.
Series/Standalone: Standalone
Genre/Sub-Genre: F/F Romance/Science Fiction
LGBTQ+ Orientation: Lesbian/Asexual
Reasons I’m Excited About It: The biggest reason is the asexual representation! It’s still very rare to find Ace characters in romance novels, especially well written Ace characters. The second is that the premise sounds amazing and interesting. I don’t think I’ve read that many books with humans falling in love with robots, and I’m curious to see how this author handles it.

Books Mentioned Above

Title/Author: Armistice by Lara Elena Donnelly

Series/Standalone: The Amberlough Dossier book 2
Genre/Sub-Genre: Fantasy/Spy Thriller
LGBTQ+ Orientation: Gay