Top 5 Wednesday is a GoodReads group where every week participants are asked to rate books on a set topic. It is currently hosted by Sam from ThoughtsOnTomes.

This week’s topic caused me a lot of thought.

June 20th: Favorite LGBTQ+ Books That Don’t Feature Cis M/M Relationships
— This may seem oddly specific, but in honour of Pride being this month, I wanted to have a topic to celebrate LGBTQ+ books. But, the book community tends to, when given the chance, lift up cis m/m pairings the most. And while those books are still important and valued (we’ve even had topics covering m/m relationships earlier this year, which featured many cis m/m pairings), I wanted to shine the spotlight on some of those lesser known, recognized, and celebrated books.

It occurred that I don’t have enough for this, which bothers me. I like to read diversely. That said, I don’t choose books particularly for male/male, or even male/female,  romances either. To me, a good love story is a good love story, regardless of the sexuality of the people involved.

Still, perhaps a little conscious effort is needed.

First a couple of disclaimers…

Disclaimer #1 – I am not trying to invalidate cis-gender male/male relationships in fiction or say they are in anyway less important.  Some of my current favourite fictional relationships fall into this category.

Disclaimer #2 – The books listed below are at the top of my TBR anyway ( I didn’t have to dig). The only reason I haven’t read at least one of these is that I’ve been on a major contemporary kick and haven’t really touched fantasy in three months.

Here are five books I REALLY want to read featuring LGBTQ+ relationships not including cis-gender male/male. In no particular order.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

This book apparently features bisexual representation and a female/female romance. It also is set in Old Hollywood. I have been hearing nothing but rave reviews about this and cannot wait to read it.

Not Your Villain (Sidekick Squad, #2)

Not Your Villain by C. B. Lee

The sequel to Not Your Sidekick, which is a fun story about a future where some people develop superpowers. The first book has a cute female/female romance in it, but as a whole, it was just okay. So why the sequel? Not Your Villain follows my favourite character, Bells. He is a transgender African-American guy who goes to high school and works in his family’s restaurant — he also has shapeshifting powers, allowing him to turn into other people. When I heard Bells was the star of this book I immediately went and downloaded it to my Kindle. Where, in true Victoria fashion, it still sits unread.

Peter Darling

Peter Darling by Austin Ghant

Much like the previous entry, this is another book that I heard about and immediately went and downloaded — still to be read. This is a transgender retelling/sequel to Peter Pan. That’s really all I needed to hear. Peter Pan is one of my favourite stories. This novella is also OwnVoices and has a dark, twisty Neverland. Sign me up!

The Tiger's Daughter (Their Bright Ascendency, #1)

The Tiger’s Daughter by K. Arsenault Rivera

I heard a review of this and immediately knew it was something I needed to read. It checks so many of my boxes. We have warrior women, a fantasy world not based on a sanitized version of Medieval Western Europe, an epic love story and it’s told (at least partially) in letters. Why I have not picked up this book yet astounds me.

I think I am scared of books that I’m super excited about. This is a problem

The Fifth Season (The Broken Earth, #1)

The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin

A post-apocalyptic fantasy which starts at the end of the world. This book apparently features a polyamorous relationship — which I have never read about before.  I’ve been meaning to pick up something by Jemisin for years (I own two of her trilogies).

This may actually be one of the next books I pick up. I need a bathtub book and I own it in paperback *eyes bookshelf*

Have any of you read these books? What did you think (should I prioritize some over others)? Any other recommendations?







7 thoughts on “Top 5 Wednesday – LGBTQ+ Recommendations

  1. I love love love the Fifth Season, but the Poly romance comes in late and if you’re reading it for that, this book will kill you hard. It’s a dark book about a society that actively abuses a certain subset of its people while using their powers for labour, and it’s about the end of the world, and there’s a lot about what it is to be a parent from that subclass who knows what the future is likely to hold for her children.

    The Tiger’s Daughter intrigues me.

  2. Oh, and my most recent really LGBTQ+ (++) reading has been Erin Ptah’s two ongoing webcomics, “But I’m a Cat Person” and “Lief and Thorn”. Neither is finished, though BICP is at least 2/3 done and is definitely heading for an end. Lief and Thorn is fairly early on, but also looks like it could be like “Questionable Content” (Also LGBTQ+ friendly, I just assume everyone reads it already), and even when a particular romance is resolved will still keep going.

    But I’m a Cat Person starts with two female roommates (both lesbian/bi but not involved with each other) picking up a stray dog… who isn’t really a dog at all. it’s in a world that’s essentially ours but with the presence of Beings, shapeshifting creatures whose exact nature and origin comes out as the story goes on. Other characters cover just about every letter in the gender and sexuality spectrums, possibly including ace/aro; it’s not clear if that character is just “too busy for romance” or actually not interested at all ever. They also cover several races, classes, countries and faiths.

    Lief and Thorn is set in a relatively modern fantasy world, and is a combination m/m romance and cultural clash between people from two major powers. While the main romance is m/m and thus disqualified, it’s again a world where the other characters cover a wide range. It’s also a world where who you want to have sex with and what your gender is are mostly Not an Issue in the same way. Their names for these things, and ways of thinking about them in culture don’t always perfectly align with ours, either, in a realistic way. (One of the two also does a lot less gender segregation of certain fashions, so you keep seeing guys in cute puffy sleeves and what we’d consider feminine necklines.)

  3. I will definitely have to look into those webcomics.

    I’m more interested in the plot and author for the Fifth Season than any LGBTQ+ themes. I’ve heard nothing but great things about Jemisin’s writing and the plot intrigues me (even more so with your recommendation). I could use a good dark epic fantasy/sci-fi, change it up a bit — I’ve been reading Rick Riordan lately (bring on the funny fluff).

    I don’t generally seek out books with LGBTQ+ relationships in them, I don’t avoid them because of it either. It just doesn’t enter into my decision. Give me a good love story, regardless of the gender/sexuality of the people involved and the hopeless romantic me is happy. Give me a interesting plot with characters I want to read about and I’m in.

    1. That last paragraph sounded more dismissive than I intended. I do think that all sexualities should be represented in fiction, along with different ethnicities and people with disabilities. Fiction should reflect society … not just a small section of it.

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