LGBTQ+ Fiction: May 2018

This month’s LGBTQ+ Fiction post includes a bit of a variety of genres, from a lesbian romance graphic novel based on the Arabian Nights, to an M/M romance featuring asexual secret agents, and a fantasy/mystery with a lesbian main character kicking butt and taking names. My upcoming read is a general fiction novel about a young Nigerian boy who is accidentally outed as gay to his super conservative father. While not all of these titles wowed me, I do hope something here will entice you. Happy reading!

Books I’ve Read Recently

Title/Author: The One Hundred Nights of Hero by Isabel Greenberg

Summary: When Cherry’s husband strikes a bargain with his best friend to see if the man can seduce her in one hundred nights, Hero, Cherry’s maid and secret romantic interest, tells stories in order to stall the man from consummating a relationship with Cherry.
Series/Standalone: Standalone
Genre/Sub-Genre: Graphic Novel/Fantasy/Romance
Book Format: Hardcover Graphic Novel
Length: 224 pages
LGBTQ+ Orientation: Lesbian
HEA/HFN: Yes, though the ending may be considered tragic, depending on how you look at it.
Abuse/Rape: An implied wish of a male character.
Violence: Some, but it’s very minor.
Ratio of Sex/Plot: Mostly plot.
Well Written/Editor Needed: Well written, though the art wasn’t entirely to my taste.
Would I Re-Read?: Yes
Personal Thoughts: While I wasn’t a fan of the artwork, and the opening scenes didn’t grab my attention, the overall story here is beautiful and a must-read for everyone. This isn’t a story where the characters meet and we watch them fall in love. However, since they are unable to be together in a romantic sense until the end, it is sort of like a romance novel. The main theme here is empowering women to work together for good, getting an education, and supporting each other. The League of Secret Story Tellers is a brilliant, awesome, and beautiful concept for this world. I also love the fact that the maid’s name is Hero.

Title/Author: His Quiet Agent by Ada Maria Soto

Summary: In an attempt to be seen as friendly and outgoing in his secret government security job, Arthur Drams befriends Martin Grove, the agent with strange habits whom no one has spoken to in three years. At the same time Arthur is figuring out his own asexuality.
Series/Standalone: Standalone
Genre/Sub-Genre: M/M Romance
Book Format: E-book
Length: 156 pages
LGBTQ+ Orientation: Gay Romantic/Asexual/Demisexual
Abuse/Rape: None
Violence: Some, but it’s off screen.
Ratio of Sex/Plot: All plot—no sex.
Well Written/Editor Needed: Editor needed, but not enough to detract.
Would I Re-Read?: I’ve probably read this at least five times already!
Personal Thoughts: I know I listed this in my favorites post, and I promise I’ll stop talking about it. . . someday. But honestly, this was my top book of 2017. Since I am asexual myself, I really identified with these characters, even more so, I think, than other ace characters I’ve read in romance novels before. This was a very sweet, quiet romance that also had me on the edge of my seat at times, as parts of Martin’s life are slowly revealed over the course of the book, and then the unthinkable happens, leaving Arthur to wonder if he’ll ever see Martin again. It’s hard to explain this, but because there was no sexual urgency, I felt their emotions that much more. The main characters are complicated, realistic, and beautifully written. I loved it.

Title/Author: The Year of the Knife by G.D. Penman

Summary: Agent “Sully” Sullivan is one of the top cops in the Imperial Bureau of Investigation, a veteran witch of the British Empire who isn't afraid to use her magical skills to crack a case. But Sully might need more than a good education and raw power to stop the string of grisly murders that have been springing up across the American Colonies.
Series/Standalone: Standalone
Genre/sub-genre: Fantasy/Mystery
Book Format: Paper
Length: 226
LGBTQ+ Orientation: Lesbian
Violence: There is a lot of violence in this and some might even be considered pointless.
Well written/Editor Needed: Editor needed.
Would I Recommend?: No
Personal thoughts: I really wanted to like this one, but right from the start, I was turned off by the writing, which leaves a lot to be desired, and the fact that I couldn’t seem to care much for the main character. There are many long passages simply telling me what was happening, or giving me a world-building history lesson, that felt very dry and still left me confused. I also wasn’t sure why the demons and controlled humans had to speak out loud in all capitals or in a mix of letters like “WE ArE cOMInG BaCK!” It was very distracting. The main character, Sully, is also not very likable because she’s unsympathetic and shows no remorse for anyone she’s killed, whether on purpose or by accident. Even her romantic exploits lack any kind of romantic feel. The ending was a huge twist I never saw coming that left me even more confused about why so many people had to die for “the greater good”. In short, this one just wasn’t for me, though it appears I’m in the minority, as online reviews seem to be mostly favorable.

Books I’m Looking Forward to Reading

Title/Author: Speak No Evil by Uzodinma Iweala

Summary: Niru has a painful secret: he is queer—an abominable sin to his conservative Nigerian parents. No one knows except Meredith, his best friend. When his father accidentally discovers Niru is gay, the fallout is brutal and swift. As the two friends struggle to reconcile their desires against the expectations and institutions that seek to define them, they find themselves speeding toward a future more violent and senseless than they can imagine.
Series/Standalone: Standalone
Genre/Sub-Genre: General Fiction
LGBTQ+ Orientation: Gay
Reasons I’m Excited About It: First of all, this includes a gay person of color. Second of all, I admit to being very curious about this violent future the friends are speeding toward, and what that really means for them. I am seriously hoping no one dies in the end, which historically, has been a staple ending of LGBTQ+ books.