The Most Anticipated LGBT Books of 2019

Lots of books in a shelf

It’s hard to believe that a year has passed and 2019 is just several days away. Some amazing lgbt books have come out during 2018, and there’s even more coming out in 2019 that need to be added to your pre-order list.

Between traditionally published novels and indie authors, there is no shortage of lgbt books out there now, including Wayward Son by Rainbow Rowell, which was originally slated for 2020. These are just some of the most anticipated lgbt novels coming out in 2019.

                                    

The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali by Sabina Khan

Release Date: January 29th

Unable to come out to her conservative Muslim parents, Rukhsana Ali keeps that part of her identity hidden. And that means keeping her girlfriend, Ariana, a secret from them too. Luckily, only a few more months stand between her carefully monitored life at home and a fresh start at Caltech in the fall. But when Rukhsana’s mom catches her and Ariana together, her future begins to collapse around her.

Devastated and confused, Rukhsana’s parents whisk her off to stay with their extended family in Bangladesh, where she is met with a culture of arranged marriages, religious tradition, and intolerance. Fortunately, Rukhsana finds allies along the way, and, through reading her grandmother’s old diary, finds the courage to stand up for her beliefs, take control of her future, and fight for her love.

The Past and Other Things That Should Stay Buried by Shaun David Hutchinson

Release Date: February 19th

A good friend will bury your body, a best friend will dig you back up.

Dino doesn’t mind spending time with the dead. His parents own a funeral home, and death is literally the family business. He’s just not used to them talking back. Until Dino’s ex-best friend July dies suddenly—and then comes back to life. Except not exactly. Somehow July is not quite alive, and not quite dead.

As Dino and July attempt to figure out what’s happening, they must also confront why and how their friendship ended so badly, and what they have left to understand about themselves, each other, and all those grand mysteries of life.

Critically acclaimed author Shaun Hutchinson delivers another wholly unique novel blending the real and surreal while reminding all of us what it is to love someone through and around our faults.

 The Afterward by E.K. Johnston

Release Date: February 19th

It's been a year since the mysterious godsgem cured Cadrium's king and ushered in what promised to be a new golden age. The heroes who brought home the gem are renowned in story and song, but for two fellows on the quest, peace and prosperity don't come easily.

Apprentice Knight Kalanthe Ironheart wasn't meant for heroism so early in life, and while she has no intention of giving up the notoriety she's earned, reputation doesn't pay her bills. Kalanthe may be forced to betray not her kingdom or her friends, but her own heart as she seeks a stable future for herself and those she loves.

Olsa Rhetsdaughter was never meant for heroism at all. Beggar and thief, she lived hand to mouth on the streets until fortune--or fate--pulled her into Kalanthe's orbit. And now she's reluctant to leave it. Even more alarmingly, her fame has made her profession difficult, and a choice between poverty and the noose isn't much of a choice at all.

Both girls think their paths are laid out, but the godsgem isn't quite done with them and that new golden age isn't a sure thing yet.

In a tale both sweepingly epic and intensely personal, Kalanthe and Olsa fight to maintain their newfound independence and to find their way back to each other.

The Fever King by Victoria Lee

Release Date: March 1st

In the former United States, sixteen-year-old Noam Álvaro wakes up in a hospital bed, the sole survivor of the viral magic that killed his family and made him a technopath. His ability to control technology attracts the attention of the minister of defense and thrusts him into the magical elite of the nation of Carolinia.

The son of undocumented immigrants, Noam has spent his life fighting for the rights of refugees fleeing magical outbreaks—refugees Carolinia routinely deports with vicious efficiency. Sensing a way to make change, Noam accepts the minister’s offer to teach him the science behind his magic, secretly planning to use it against the government. But then he meets the minister’s son—cruel, dangerous, and achingly beautiful—and the way forward becomes less clear.

Caught between his purpose and his heart, Noam must decide who he can trust and how far he’s willing to go in pursuit of the greater good.

You Asked for Perfect by Laura Silverman

Release Date: March 5th

Senior Ariel Stone is the perfect college applicant: first chair violinist, dedicated volunteer, active synagogue congregant, and expected valedictorian. And he works hard―really hard―to make his success look effortless. A failed calculus quiz is not part of his plan. Not when he's number one. Not when his peers can smell weakness like a freshman's body spray.

Ariel throws himself into studying. His friends will understand if he skips a few plans, and he can sleep when he graduates. But as his grade continues to slide, Ariel realizes he needs help and reluctantly enlists a tutor, his classmate Amir. The two have never gotten along, but Ariel has no other options.

Ariel discovers he may not like calculus, but he does like Amir. Except adding a new relationship to his long list of commitments may just push him past his limit.

The Last 8 by Laura Pohl

Release Date: March 5th

Clover Martinez has always been a survivor, which is the reason she isn't among the dead when aliens invade and destroy Earth as she knows it.

Clover is convinced she's the only one left until she hears a voice on the radio urging her to go to the former Area 51. When she arrives, she's greeted by a band of misfits who call themselves The Last Teenagers on Earth.

Only they aren't the ragtag group of heroes Clover was expecting. The seven strangers seem more interested in pretending the world didn't end than fighting back, and Clover starts to wonder if she was better off alone. But when she finds a hidden spaceship within the walls of the compound, she doesn't know what to believe...or who to trust.

The Weight of the Stars by K. Ancrum

Release Date: March 19th

Ryann Bird dreams of traveling across the stars. But a career in space isn’t an option for a girl who lives in a trailer park on the wrong side of town. So Ryann becomes her circumstances and settles for acting out and skipping school to hang out with her delinquent friends. 

One day she meets Alexandria: a furious loner who spurns Ryann’s offer of friendship. After a horrific accident leaves Alexandria with a broken arm, the two misfits are brought together despite themselves—and Ryann learns her secret: Alexandria’s mother is an astronaut who volunteered for a one-way trip to the edge of the solar system. 

Every night without fail, Alexandria waits to catch radio signals from her mother. And its up to Ryann to lift her onto the roof day after day until the silence between them grows into friendship, and eventually something more . . .

A People's History of Heaven by Mathangi Subramanian

Release Date: March 19th

Welcome to Heaven, a thirty-year-old slum hidden between brand-new high-rise apartment buildings and technology incubators in contemporary Bangalore, one of India's fastest-growing cities. In Heaven, you will come to know a community of people living hand-to-mouth and constantly struggling against the city government who wants to bulldoze their homes and build yet more glass high-rises. These families, men and women, young and old, gladly support one another, sharing whatever they can.

A People's History of Heaven centers on five best friends, girls who go to school together, a diverse group who love and accept one another unconditionally, pulling one another through crises and providing emotional, physical, and financial support. Together they wage war on the bulldozers that would bury their homes, and, ultimately, on the city that does not care what happens to them.
 
This is a story about geography, history, and strength, about love and friendship, about fighting for the people and places we love--even if no one else knows they exist. Elegant, poetic, bursting with color, Mathangi Subramanian's novel is a moving and celebratory story of girls on the cusp of adulthood who find joy just in the basic act of living.

 Once & Future by Cori McCarthy and Amy Rose Capetta

Release Date: March 26th

When Ari crash-lands on Old Earth and pulls a magic sword from its ancient resting place, she is revealed to be the newest reincarnation of King Arthur. Then she meets Merlin, who has aged backward over the centuries into a teenager, and together they must break the curse that keeps Arthur coming back. Their quest? Defeat the cruel, oppressive government and bring peace and equality to all humankind.

No pressure.

 The Meaning of Birds by Jaye Robin Brown

Release Date: April 16th

Before: Jess has always struggled with the fire inside her. But when she meets Vivi, everything changes. As they fall for each other, Vivi helps Jess deal with her anger and pain and encourages her to embrace her artistic talent. And suddenly Jess’s future is a blank canvas, filled with possibilities.

After: When Vivi unexpectedly dies, Jess’s perfect world is erased. As she spirals out of control, Jess pushes away everyone around her and throws out her plans for art school. Because art is Vivi and Vivi is gone forever. Right when Jess feels at her lowest, she makes a surprising friend who just might be able to show her a new way to channel her rage, passion, and creativity. But will Jess ever be able to forge a new path for herself without Vivi?

A beautiful exploration of first love and first loss, this novel effortlessly weaves together past and present to tell a profound story about how you can become whole again when it seems like you’ve lost the most important part of yourself.

Starworld by  Audrey Coulthurst

Release Date: April 16th

April Sam Jones and Zoe Miller have one thing in common: they both want an escape from reality. Loner Sam flies under the radar at school and walks on eggshells at home to manage her mom’s obsessive-compulsive disorder, wondering how she can ever leave to pursue her dream of studying aerospace engineering. Popular, people-pleasing Zoe puts up walls so no one can see her true self: the girl who was abandoned as an infant, whose adoptive mother has cancer, and whose disabled brother is being sent away to live in a facility. When an unexpected encounter results in the girls’ exchanging phone numbers, they forge a connection through text messages that expands into a private universe they call Starworld. In Starworld, they find hilarious adventures, kindness and understanding, and the magic of being seen for who they really are. But when Sam’s feelings for Zoe turn into something more, will the universe they’ve built survive the inevitable explosion?

 Deposing Nathan by Zack Smedley

Release Date: May 7th

Nate never imagined that he would be attacked by his best friend, Cam.

Now, Nate is being called to deliver a sworn statement that will get Cam convicted. The problem is, the real story isn’t that easy or convenient—just like Nate and Cam’s friendship. Cam challenged Nate on every level from the day the boys met. He pushed him to break the rules, to dream, and to accept himself. But Nate—armed with a fierce moral code and conflicted by his own beliefs—started to push back. With each push, Nate and Cam moved closer to each other—but also spiraled closer to their breaking points.

 Keep This to Yourself by Tom Ryan

Release Date: May 7th

It’s been a year since the Catalog Killer terrorized the sleepy seaside town of Camera Cove, killing four people before disappearing without a trace. Like everyone else in town, eighteen-year-old Mac Bell is trying to put that horrible summer behind him—easier said than done since Mac’s best friend Connor was the murderer’s final victim. But when he finds a cryptic message from Connor, he’s drawn back into the search for the killer—who might not have been a random drifter after all. Now nobody—friends, neighbors, or even the sexy stranger with his own connection to the case—is beyond suspicion. Sensing that someone is following his every move, Mac struggles to come to terms with his true feelings towards Connor while scrambling to uncover the truth.

 Switchback by Danika Stone

Release Date: May 28th

Vale loves to hike, but kind of hates her classmates. Ash is okay with his classmates, but kind of hates the outdoors. So, needless to say they are both fairly certain that the overnight nature hike with their PE class is going to be a hellish experience. But when they get separated from the group during a storm, they have worse things to worry about than bullies and blisters.

Lost in the Canadian wilderness with limited supplies, caught in dangerous weather conditions, and surrounded by deadly wildlife, it's going to take every bit of strength, skill, and luck they can muster to survive.

The Grief Keeper, by Alexandra Villasante

Release Date: June 11th

Seventeen-year-old Marisol has always dreamed of being American, learning what Americans and the US are like from television and Mrs. Rosen, an elderly expat who had employed Marisol's mother as a maid. When she pictured an American life for herself, she dreamed of a life like Aimee and Amber's, the title characters of her favorite American TV show. She never pictured fleeing her home in El Salvador under threat of death and stealing across the US border as "an illegal", but after her brother is murdered and her younger sister, Gabi's, life is also placed in equal jeopardy, she has no choice, especially because she knows everything is her fault. If she had never fallen for the charms of a beautiful girl named Liliana, Pablo might still be alive, her mother wouldn't be in hiding and she and Gabi wouldn't have been caught crossing the border.

But they have been caught and their asylum request will most certainly be denied. With truly no options remaining, Marisol jumps at an unusual opportunity to stay in the United States. She's asked to become a grief keeper, taking the grief of another into her own body to save a life. It's a risky, experimental study, but if it means Marisol can keep her sister safe, she will risk anything. She just never imagined one of the risks would be falling in love, a love that may even be powerful enough to finally help her face her own crushing grief.

The Grief Keeper is a tender tale that explores the heartbreak and consequences of when both love and human beings are branded illegal.

Shatter the Sky by Rebecca Kim Wells

Release Date: July 30th

Raised among the ruins of a conquered mountain nation, Maren dreams only of sharing a quiet life with her girlfriend Kaia—until the day Kaia is abducted by the Aurati, prophetic agents of the emperor, and forced to join their ranks. Desperate to save her, Maren hatches a plan to steal one of the emperor’s coveted dragons and storm the Aurati stronghold.

If Maren is to have any hope of succeeding, she must become an apprentice to the Aromatory—the emperor’s mysterious dragon trainer. But Maren is unprepared for the dangerous secrets she uncovers: rumors of a lost prince, a brewing rebellion, and a prophecy that threatens to shatter the empire itself. Not to mention the strange dreams she’s been having about a beast deep underground…

With time running out, can Maren survive long enough to rescue Kaia from impending death? Or could it be that Maren is destined for something greater than she could have ever imagined?

 Wayward Son by Rainbow Rowell

Release Date: ???

There is no summary yet and no blurb, but it’s the sequel to Carry On which is really all you need to know.

Read about what I need to see in the second book of this series HERE.

What book are you most looking forward to in 2019? Let me know in the comments!

You May be Interested in:

7 Amazing LGBT Books Coming Out This Fall (Sep 2018)

10 Queer Authors You Need to Follow Immediately

We Need More LGBT Representation in Fantasy

My Top Five Books Featuring LGBTQ+ Characters

A Free FanFact Short Story

How Queerbaiting Got me a Wife

The Top 10 Christmas Stories of All Time


There are hundreds of Christmas stories ranging across every type of medium imaginable, from books and movies to plays and songs. With all of these amazing Christmas stories out there, how is anyone ever supposed to choose which ones to consume during the holiday season?

You have just under two weeks left to take in Christmas related media. Here are the top 10 Christmas stories of all time for you to enjoy before the holiday is over.

Books on a shelf with Christmas stocking wreath and candy cane

10. The Little Match Girl - Short Story

Let’s start off with something cheerful, shall we? This short story was published in the 1800s. Most people have heard the title of this story, but not everyone actually knows the tale, which is a shame. It is a very lovely, very sad Christmas story that serves as a reminder that there are many people in need in the world today, even as we enjoy an abundance of gifts and food.

The story may take place over New Years, but the Christmas imagery is impossible to ignore. As the young girl dies, she has dreamy visions of amazing Christmas decorations and a huge Christmas feast. It’s a sobering tale that I’d recommend to anyone. It certainly helps to give you perspective.

9. Sherlock Holmes - The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle - Short Story

The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle is the only Sherlock Holmes story that explicitly takes place at Christmas-- it’s also one of the funniest.  The mystery is light-hearted (a Christmas goose was stolen and a blue diamond was lost) and the resolution is silly. Written and set in Victorian London, this story gives the reader the feeling of what it must have been like to race through the streets of London at Christmas.

Around the short, amusing mystery is warm domesticity between Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson, as well as a few displays of deductive genius on the part of the Great Detective.  Read the story, close your eyes, and imagine yourself sitting beside the fire with Holmes and Watson, stomach full of stolen Christmas goose.

8. A Charlie Brown Christmas - TV Special

This is one of my favorite Charlie Brown specials of all time, as I’m sure it is for many people. Watching it as an adult gives me a much different feeling than when I was a child, though. This special uses satire masterfully to express the consumerism of the Christmas season.

I’m not a particularly religious person, but I can appreciate how the story brings a deeper meaning to Christmas through Linus’ speech. All Charlie Brown specials are a bit “dark” and bleak, and as a writer I can’t help but try to deconstruct the things these characters say, but this special really turns all of the bleakness into a truly heartwarming story.


7. Skipping Christmas/Christmas with the Kranks - Book/Movie

This comedy has just enough sappy, heartwarming content splashed in to create a perfect balance. An older couple, choosing to skip Christmas because their daughter will not be home for the holidays, are thrown into chaos when she surprises them by returning at the last minute.

I prefer the movie to the book and watch it every year. The story gives you so many relatable holiday moments, like the grocery store being out of your favorite Christmas dish and having nosy neighbors trying to tell you how to celebrate the holidays. This is a really fun one that I think everyone should watch or read.


6. Home Alone - Movie

At the risk at sounding incredibly old and cliche, kids these days will never understand the plot of this movie. At least, not the way we understood it when I was growing up. With smartphones, wi-fi connections, and even smart homes, this movie just couldn’t happen in the modern era like it used to.

Home Alone does such a good job of explaining how every little thing goes wrong to result in Kevin home alone during the holidays while his family is in France. The phone lines are down, the family does a headcount but a a neighbor boy gets counted, even Kevin’s ticket gets thrown away. The writers do an amazing job at making this story work. What do you think Kevin does when he grows up if he can pull off all those boobie traps at age 8? He must be building military weapons or something.

5. Christmas Vacation - Movie

This is one of my favorite Christmas movies of all time. In terms of Christmas movies, this one truly is a classic, though not for the same reasons that most Christmas movies are. This comedy is utterly absurd, plays on gross humor, and is probably pretty offensive by today’s standards. But the movie is just so...good.

If you like a bit more humor and a lot less sappy in your Christmas movies, this one is a really good choice. The movie follows an “old fashioned family Christmas,” and all the stress and shenanigans that come from that. And there are morals woven into the story, most notably about how letting your expectations become unrealistic can negatively affect your experience. That’s something I try to keep in mind, because I definitely tend to build up expectations.

4. The Gift of the Magi - Short Story

This short story, published in 1905, is the heartwarming tale of two people who don’t have a lot of money but find a way to get each other a heartfelt gift through their own personal sacrifice. This really puts the emphasis on how we should all strive to give, rather than obsess over receiving.

This classic has been adapted into multiple mediums, and is also a popular story to borrow from when it comes to other media such as TV Christmas specials. While many people have done the original story justice in their re-telling, none is as good as the original.

3. The Christmas Shoes - Song

Christmas Shoes is one of the saddest song I’ve ever heard, and certainly one of the saddest Christmas songs out there. It may seem unusual to include a song in a list about Christmas stories, but this song manages to tell a very vivid, very heartbreaking story in under 5 minutes.

This song tells the tale of a young boy who is trying to buy his mother a Christmas present, and he wants to get the perfect gift because she may die that very night. If you’re in the mood for something painful, give the song a listen.

2. How the Grinch Stole Christmas - Children’s Book

This story is such a great mix of absurd and heartwarming. The utter imagination that Dr. Seuss brings to all of his stories is astounding.

I actually never cared much for the animated version of The Grinch, but I adore the Jim Carrey version. I think it adds a lot to the source material in a way that is true to the original work. This is a great example of a humorous story with a heartwarming message.

1. A Christmas Carol - Novella

A Christmas Carol was written by Charles Dickens in 1843. Originally a novella, it has been adapted for a huge variety of mediums including plays, movies, and special TV episodes. No matter what format you consume this classic in, A Christmas Carol tops every list in terms of the best Christmas story ever created.

A Christmas Carol is a ghost story, a story of redemption, and a history lesson all at once. Every time I experience it my heart feels warm. When I think about Christmas I often think of the classic setting of this tale. It is remarkably magical, haunting, and sobering.

I go see A Christmas Carol at the Pabst Theatre in Milwaukee every year. They put on an amazing show. If you can get to the theater to see it live, I’d highly recommend it.



Which of these Christmas stories is your favorite? Did it not make the list? Let me know in the comments, and have a Merry Christmas!

More Christmas:

2018 Literary Gift Guide

Holiday Book Gift Guide

2018 Literary Gift Guide

Book with a bow and title "2019 Literary Gift Guide"

Looking for the perfect literary gift for the book geek or writer in your life this Christmas? There’s still plenty of time to shop before Christmas arrives.

I’ve included five items for readers and five for writers in this literary gift guide. They’re all items that I use myself or items I plan to buy for myself sometime soon. I have exactly 0% advertising on my website so you can be sure my recommendations are completely objective.

So, let’s get started!


Gifts for Readers


1. Binge-Reading Kit

Binge reading kit

Got a book nerd to buy for but have no idea what they’ve already read? This Binge-Reading Kit is a super cute and fun item to get for readers this Christmas. It comes with 14 items in the kit that are helpful for any serious readers; bookmarks, ear plugs, a reading light, and a bunch of other things! And it’s only $20!

Get it here!


2. Conceal Floating Bookshelf

I have wanted these for such a long time, but unfortunately I can’t install shelving in my apartment. Someday I’ll get my hands on these. Not only are they great for storage purposes, but the floating book aesthetic is just really cool.

Get it here!


3. Over Tub Caddy

Over the tub caddy holding book wine and candle

As a kid, I dreamed of inventing this item to make reading in the bath easier. Probably it already existed and I hadn’t even realized it. With an over tub caddy you can keep your book dry, keep a beverage close at hand, and with this one you can even add a candle! Perfect for book lovers who love baths.

Get it here!


4. Papercuts: A Party Game for the Rude and Well Read

This is just Cards Against Humanity for book geeks. This is perfect for the book nerd who has other book nerd friends! I’ve not played it, but I am high key interested in it. Besides, I could use a break from Cards Against Humanity.

Get it here!


5. Literary Scarf

I bought a Sherlock Holmes scarf as a treat for myself years ago and I pull it out to wear every winter. Granted, it isn’t the warmest scarf out there, but it’s very cute and I get tons of compliments on it. This is a fun literary take on a classic Christmas gift.

Get it here!

Gifts for Writers


1. Writer’s Market Deluxe Edition 2019

writers.jpg

If you take writing seriously, then you absolutely need to own this book. In this book writers will find materials dedicated to the publishing process and marketing advice, listings of book publishers, query letter examples, lists of professional writing organizations, and much more. I’d recommend this book for any writer who looks to pursue publication within the next one to two years. With the deluxe version writers will also get a one year subscription to writersmarket.com. This single book is an invaluable resource.

Get it here!

2. A Yearly Subscription to Writer’s Digest Magazine

A one year subscription gives you 8 issues, each one filled with writing tips, author interviews, and tons more. This is another great way to give the writer in your life tons of advice about their craft, publishing, and marketing, and it’s a gift that literally keeps on giving all year.

Get it here!


3. The Writer’s Toolbox

writer 2.jpg

My best friend bought me this for Christmas last year and it is tons of fun. The games and exercises in this toolbox can help generate new ideas or simply help you past a roadblock. Or, if you’re just looking to do some free writing, it is great for helping you experiment!

Get it here!


4. A Ticket to a Writing Conference or Writing Retreat

This is a more expensive gift, but one your writer friend will love. A conference is a great place to network, attend sessions and workshops, get critiques, and meet new and established authors. A retreat allows writers to spends days to weeks focusing on nothing but their writing. You’ll have to do some research to see which one works best for your writer.


5. Really Good Headphones

write 4.jpg

Writers may write at home, at coffee shops, or anywhere that has an internet connection. Sometimes the ambient noise is nice, but sometimes it is too distracting. A good pair of headphones, especially noise cancelling headphones, can do wonders. I’m linking to the pair I use, which block out most sound and have great sound quality.

Get it here!


I also wrote a holiday book gift guide last year if you want to pick out a book instead! Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, everyone!