Category: Romance

Desert Books for National Dessert Day

Okay, okay, before you @us, we do know the difference. But what goes better with your favorite dessert than a good book and some mediocre word play? Here are three books to embrace on #nationaldessertday.

 

All the Crooked Saints 

This story follows a family of banished saints, perched high in the Colorado desert where supplicants must travel far for a miracle. These saints can help you, but they can’t save you from yourself, as many pilgrims learn to their dismay. Still, there’s much to be gained by braving the miracles of Bicho Raro. Enthralling, luminuos, and with enough Mexican and Native southern states folklore to keep you from wandering the sand alone at night. At once grim and terribly hopeful, this is an exploration of love, family, and growth, set to pirate radio and the rushing wings of owls.

 

The Golem and the Jinni

New York, magic, the turn of the century – what more could you want? Unlikely friendships? Varied mythology? This book has it all, weaving a lush and surprising tale out of a premise that asks more questions than it answers. A golem and a jinni meet in New York. It’s more likely than you think! I love fantasy being laid over history like velum, especially more modern history. New York, and only a hundred years ago, is not where you most expect to encounter myth, but weaving it in seamlessly can make a world close enough to imagine, both in time and in possibility. goodr

 

The City of Brass 

Street smart and clever, Dara bites off more than she can chew when she summons an ancient and magical creature to her side, soon discovering that she has magic and an ancient legacy drawing her as well. She will have to travel to the city of the djinn itself, where struggles for power, purity, and prestige rage in the streets, if she hopes to find the truth of her past. Opulent, adventurous, and deeply ruted in folklore, this is a must read for anyone who wants a world that breathes with magic, prophecy, and intrigue. If you’re seeking mythology that often gets overlooked, pick this up.

 

The Wrath and the Dawn

I’m always a fan of a clever reimagining, and the tale of Scheherazade was neglected for far too long. You’ve got a lot of classic fairytale beats, like the murder of wives, along with a clever heroine, an unfathomable mystery, and gutting revelations. Scheherazade volunteers herself after her best friend’s murder, intent upon revenge against the cruel monarch who weds and murders so many young girls. But it’s not so simple as it appears, and though Scheherazade makes it to the morning and more, with each dawn she is less certain of her hatred.

Images via GoodReads 

Featured image via ThoughtCo

Kiera Cass Is Back with a Steamy New Romance Duology

If you have read the Selection series by Kiera Cass, then I know you are going to flip over her new duology. The first book in the duo is Betrothed, which will be released Spring of 2020.

 

The Betrothed

7 Beautifully Inspiring Books About Loving Unapologetically

Love is never easy, but we all deserve to love and be loved in return no matter how we identify ourselves and who we choose to love. Sorry, there was a lot of “love” in that sentence, but what the world needs now is just that, and on this National Coming Out Day let’s spread the sentiment to everyone—lesbian, gay, bi, trans, and everyone else a part of the rainbow flag.

 

Related image

Image via gyfcat

 

In honor of National Coming Out Day, let’s celebrate these stories that remind us all to be ourselves and love who we love.

 

 

 

1. Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin

 

 

Giovanni's Room (Vintage International) by [Baldwin, James]

 

A historical classic in Gay and Queer literature, this story follows a young man coming to terms with his homosexuality in 1950s Paris. Published in a time when homosexuality was not accepted in society and even considered a mental illness, Baldwin’s book about sexuality and acceptance was groundbreaking and meant the world to thousands upon thousands of LGBT people, especially for gay men.

 

 

2. Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan

 

Two Boys Kissing by [Levithan, David]

 

Focused on two ex-boyfriends trying to make a new Guinness record⁠—making out for a 32-hour marathon⁠—this optimistic tale centers around universal questions of love, identity, and belonging that our teenaged characters struggle with. An unconventional read, Two Boys Kissing will leave you with bliss and hope that love will find a way.

 

 

3. Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel by Sara Farizan

 

Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel: A Novel by [Farizan, Sara]

 

Leila is trying to make it through and fit in at her high school, and struggling to accept her Iranian-American descent when she is at school is tough enough, but she is hiding the fact that she is also gay. Everything goes according to plan until the beautiful new girl Saskia shows up. Leila starts to take risks she never thought she would, including coming out to one of her best friends about her feeling for Saskia. Finally coming out, Leila learns that every one of her classmates are keeping secrets of their own.

 

 

 

 

 

4. Rubyfruit Jungle by Rita Mae Brown

Rubyfruit Jungle: A Novel by [Brown, Rita Mae]

 

With parents who love her deeply, beauty and wit that makes all the ladies swoon, Molly Bolt is paving her own life the way she wants it. This inspiring coming-of-age tale teaches us to be true to ourselves and, against the odds, strive for a happily ever after.

 

 

5. For Today I Am a Boy by Kim Fu 

For Today I Am a Boy: A Novel by [Fu, Kim]
To Peter Huang’s parents, he is the exalted son in a sea of daughters⁠, expected to portray the ideal masculine man, but there’s an issue with that⁠, aside from toxic masculinity⁠—Peter does not identify with being a boy. While his sisters find their own way in life, Peter knows that freedom will not as easy for him. However, with their help, and the help of many he finds along the way, Peter works towards changing his life so he can finally feel comfortable in his own skin.

 

 

6. Stone Butch Blues by Leslie Feinbe

 

 

This biographical novel follows the real-life struggle of Jess Goldberg. With the rigorous gender pressures of society, Jess questions her identity her entire life, trying to find where she fits in and where she can survive.

 

 

 

 

7. Prom and Other Hazards by Jamie Sullivan

 

Prom and Other Hazards

 

Let’s be honest, not everyone was excited for prom. The same can be said for non-binary high schooler Sam, who wants nothing to do with it. If it weren’t for her best friend Tash, who has been dreaming about the perfect, romantic prom night, Sam would never consider going. After finding the perfect suit to match Sam’s androgynous and suave style, Sam puts a plan in motion to not only pay off the ridiculously expensive suit, but also to build up the courage to tell Tash how deeply in love she has been with her for years.

 

 

 

 

Granted not all of these books have romance as the focus, coming out is not always about having some romantic partner encouraging you to be true to what you want. There are times when you have to find it yourself. Either way, in this day and age, let’s hope that all can celebrate being who they are, and loving who they are, unapologetically.

 

 

Images Via Amazon

 

Featured Image via the vermillion

Finalists Roundup: National Book Award Fiction Picks!

The National Book Foundation has unveiled the finalists for the National Book Awards. Listing five books each in five categories, they’ve given us some recognizable names, but it’s going to be an interesting year considering that none of the authors have taken home a National Book Award in these categories before.

For this article, we’re going to show you what made it into the ‘Fiction’ category.

 

 

Trust Exercise by Susan Choi

 

Trust Exercise: A Novel by [Choi, Susan]
Image Via Amazon

 

Susan Choi brings us a novel that paints a picture of an American suburb in the early 1980s where students at a highly competitive performing arts high school struggle and thrive in their pursuit of music, movement, Shakespeare, and their acting classes.

When within this striving “Brotherhood of the Arts,” two freshmen, David and Sarah, fall head over heels, but their passion does not go unnoticed—or untoyed with—by anyone, especially not by their charismatic acting teacher, Mr. Kingsley.

Among its heaps of praise, the words of Sophie Gilbert in the Atlantic ring true, writing: “The students in Choi’s story shape their identities and their imaginations around art, letting its colors seep onto their blank pages”.

 

 

Sabrina & Corina: Stories by Kali Fajardo-Anstine

 

Sabrina & Corina: Stories by [Fajardo-Anstine, Kali]
Image Via Amazon

A collection of short stories that uses Denver, Colorado as a backdrop, we follow three Latina women who must navigate the land the way they navigate their lives: with caution, grace, and quiet force.

The first story, “Sugar Babies,” shows that ancestry and heritage cannot stay buried forever when they come to the forefront of the conversation during a land dispute.

“Any Further West” follows a sex worker and her daughter as they leave their ancestral home in southern Colorado only to find a foreign and hostile land in California.

“Tomi,” has a woman leave prison and finds herself in a city that is a shadow of the one she remembers from her childhood.

The title story, “Sabrina & Corina,” follows a Denver family that falls into a cycle of violence against women, coming together only through ritual.

Kirkus Reviews sums up the collection with these words:

Fajardo-Anstine takes aim at our country’s social injustices and ills without succumbing to pessimism. The result is a nearly perfect collection of stories that is emotionally wrenching but never without glimmers of resistance and hope.

 

 

 

Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James

 

Black Leopard, Red Wolf (The Dark Star Trilogy Book 1) by [James, Marlon]
Image Via Amazon

 

The first in a trilogy, this book draws from African history and mythology, following Tracker, an infamous hunter. Tasked with tracking down a mysterious boy who disappeared three years earlier, Tracker breaks his own rule of always working alone when he finds himself part of a group that comes together to search for the boy, but throughout a journey filled with shape-shifting man-animal known as Leopard, he wonders who this boy and why he’s been missing for long and, above all, why are many people want to keep Tracker from finding him?

Neil Gaiman said the novel has “[a] fantasy world as well-realized as anything Tolkien made.”

 

 

The Other Americans by Laila Lalami

 

The Other Americans: A Novel by [Lalami, Laila]
Image Via Amazon

 

Late one spring night, Driss Guerraoui, a Moroccan immigrant in California, walks across a darkened intersection when he is killed by a speeding car.

Driss Geurraoui’s death brings together a diverse cast of characters:

We have his daughter Nora, a jazz composer who returns to the small town she thought she left for good.

His widow Maryam, who wishes for a return to the old country.

Efrain, an undocumented witness whose fear of deportation prevents him from speaking up.

Jeremy, a former classmate of Nora’s and a veteran of the Iraq war.

Coleman, a detective who is slowly discovering her son’s secrets.

Anderson, a neighbor trying to reconnect with his family.

…and the murdered man himself.

Rayyan Al-Shawaf from the Washington Post sums up the novels as: “Lalami gives us a searching exploration of the lives of several individuals with whom mainstream American society has a vexed relationship”.

 

 

Disappearing Earth by Julia Philips

 

Disappearing Earth: A novel by [Phillips, Julia]
Image Via Amazon

 

On the shoreline of the Kamchatka peninsula at the northeastern edge of Russia, two sisters go missing. Months later the police investigation has turned up nothing.

Now we follow the lives of those connected to the crime⁠—a witness, a neighbor, a detective, a mother⁠—as they try to continue their lives without closure in a land where heaven and hell, from the densely wooded forests, open expanses of tundra and soaring volcanoes, all exist on the same plain.

Bethanne Patrick of NPR noted in her review of the novel that:

Julia Phillips witnessed Kamchatka in transition from its Soviet-era sleepiness into post-Communist Wild West-like corruption. While she says her next novel “is not set on a volcanic Russian peninsula I need to save up for three years to get to,” readers of Disappearing Earth will be willing to follow her to any destination.

 

 

From murder mysteries to epic fantasies and from short stories to novels, it’ll be tough this year. Who do you think will win this year’s fiction categories?

 

 

Featured Image Via Entertainment Weekly

7 Books For International Lesbian Day – Because Love Is Love

To celebrate the holiday of love and awareness, we’re sharing a versatile of books featuring Lesbian characters and the adventures they must have.

These books range from the fantastically adventurous, to romantically dramatic!

 

 

#1 Perfect Rhythm by Jae

 

Perfect Rhythm (Fair Oaks Book 1) by [Jae]

 

When pop star Leontyne Blake loses the love in her love songs, a sudden family emergency brings her back to her tiny hometown of Missouri. Tending to her father, sick in the hospital, Leontyne is finally able to escape the pressure of the music industry, as well as the pressure of finding someone who loves her for her, and not her fame.

Everything changes when she meets her father’s nurse, Holly Drummond, who is not only unimpressed with Leontyne’s success, but is more interested in Leontyne as a person. Holly is a woman different from any that Leontyne has ever met, uninterested in relationships in general, and also Asexual. As the relationship between these women develops, they need to find the perfect rhythm to find something more, a love that both had given up on a long time ago.

A great read for any hopeless romantic!

 

#2 The Stars Are Legion by Kameron Hurley

 

The Stars Are Legion by [Hurley, Kameron]

 

This sci-fi epic and Hugo Award winner will take you by storm, throwing you into an all-out war, blood-battles and all, but more than the intense drama of war, this story is about our heroine’s search for truth. Zan wakes with no memory of who she is, and where she has come from. Encaptured by strangers, all women, who claim they are her family and that she is their salvation, Zan must fight her way to the truth to save a dying world.

If action is what you’re looking for, look no further than this book! With twists and turns at every corner, this book perfectly blends the sci-fi genre with action and drama that will blow you out of this world, and there’s a little romance between the protagonist and another of the fierce women of the story.

 

#3 The Price of Salt (Carol) by Patricia Highsmith

 

The Price of Salt by [Highsmith, Patricia]

 

A beloved classic romance for the modern-day, this tale follows two women, lost in the daily monotony, living untrue to themselves and their potential. Therese, a struggling young sales clerk, and Carol, a stay at home mother in the midst of a bitter divorce, find each other, and therefore find joy and freedom that they never believed was possible before. Abandoning their oppressive daily routines for the freedom of the open road, they together build a love that they have always wanted. However, this is not a fairy tale romance where all it takes is two people falling in love to reach the happy ending, because of Carol’s obligations as a mother, she is forced to choose between her love for Therese and her beloved child.

True love never comes easy in the real world, and this emotional roller-coaster of a novel shows that tenfold.

 

 

#4 The Abyss Surrounds Us by Emily Skrutskie  

 

The Abyss Surrounds Us by [Skrutskie, Emily]

 

If that last book was a little too real for you, here’s some fantasy to escape the soul-crushing that is reality.

Combining monsters and pirates together this book follows Cassandra Leung, a trainee in a family of Recokners, trainers of genetically engineered sea monsters to defend ships as they cross the pirate-infested NeoPacific. When the pirate queen Santa Elena swoops in on Cas’s first solo mission and snatches her from the bloodstained decks, Cas’s dream of being a full-time trainer seems dead in the water. With plans to make the Sea her own, the Pirate queen orders Cas to train a monster pup to push her plans into action. Torn by her desire to uphold her family’s noble cause and her survival as a captive, Cassandra must choose wisely to live the Pirate life.

 

#5 My Lesbian Experience With Loneliness by Kabi Nagata 

 

My Lesbian Experience With Loneliness by [Nagata, Kabi]

 

Intensely personal, this graphic novel is Kabi Nagata’s revealing story, her struggles with depression and sexuality as a young woman. With charming and provocative illustrations, Nagata leaves nothing censored. The true and difficult reality of struggling with mental health and coming to terms with your sexuality is perfectly illustrated, both literally and figuratively, in this book. For any reader of this book, how real and relatable the story is written is moving.

 

#6 Nevada by Imogen Binnie

 

 

Maria Griffiths, a young trans woman, takes a life-changing journey away from her life in New York City after she discovers that her girlfriend has been lying to her. With her life as she has known it forever changed, Maria sets off to escape the painful lies that have been revealed, but with the struggles that trans people face looming over her head, her ventures are much harder than she wishes. Joined by another trans woman on her life journey, they must find their way in the world.

 

 

#7 We Are Okay by Nina LaCour

 

We Are Okay by [LaCour, Nina]

 

Having run from her old life, Marin has kept many secrets about her final moments before she left her family and old friends behind. With tragedy and grief from her past still tormenting her for years since she left, the past finally comes back to haunt her when her best friend Mabel pays a visit to Marin’s lonely apartment. The truth must finally come out, and Marin must face everything that’s been left unsaid and finally confront the loneliness that has made a home in her heart.

 

Images via Amazon

 

 

 

Featured Images via Amazon