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Queer Rom-Coms to Celebrate Pride

June 13, 2024

It’s June so that means that the temps are up and it’s time for Pride. This year, Nashville Pride Festival is June 22-23 at Bicentennial Park. Click here for all the deets. Come by and see NPL at Pride! To celebrate, I offer you some of my favorite Queer Romances. 

For this one, think Lessons in Chemistry meets The Great British Baking Show (or Bakeoff as they call it in England). For reference, I love both of these things. If you are among the uninitiated, you can check out both of these from NPL to get caught up on the fabulousness. Main character and high school chemistry teacher Tori is cast on the America-Bake-o-Rama show. If she wins, the prize money will help her finally open her own bakery. Simon Cowell-esque judge, Kendra Campbell signs on because her restaurants are struggling and she’ll do anything to save them. Man, I really enjoyed this one. I’d never read anything by this author, but it was so good, that I am a fan. Whatever she writes, I’m here for. I also liked that this was a little lighter when it came to the romance (read:sex). The author took the time to develop the story line, instead of just jumping from sex scene to scene. These books are all good reads, but if you only read one on this list, pick this one.

In the past I’ve read and enjoyed other books by this author, specifically Boyfriend Material. This cover looks like it belongs to that series, so I was excited to see it in the library. Bad news - it’s not part of the London Calling series. Sad face. However, there is some good news - it is the start of it’s own series (Material World). Sam works for a home goods store and thinks his boss, Jonathan Forrest, is a jerk. During training one day, said boss got mad at him and during the scuffle, Sam hits his head on a shower and gets a concussion. Somehow, his boss thinks he has amnesia, so Sam has to stay with him for care, since the only person at his flat is the cat. This was a good listen (I chose the audio version). It took a minute to get into, but I polished off the back half in less than a day. Alexis has written many queer stand-alone romances in addition to these series, so if you like this one, be sure to check out the others.

If you are looking for nonbinary or trans characters, you definitely want to check out this series. Yes, it’s about cooking again (I have a type, ok?), but that doesn’t mean it’s not a good read. In the first one (Chef’s Kiss), baker Simone Larkspur is trying to save her magazine, so she starts shooting videos with her kitchen manager, Ray. Will she save her job, only to lose her heart? In the second installment (Chef's Choice), trans woman Luna gets fired from her boring office job. Through a meet-cute happenstance, she runs into trans man Jean-Pierre who needs a fake girlfriend to get stay in his famous grandfather’s will. Of course, they must also prepare his world-renowned recipes, and neither are the best chef. These both kept me engaged the whole time. Even if you’re not a foodie, I think you’ll enjoy these heartfelt stories.

Normally, I am a stickler when it comes to series - they must be read in order, no exceptions. But then sometimes, I pick up a book and get into it before realizing that it’s in the middle of the series. That’s what happened here. I accidentally started with the second book, Astrid Parker Doesn’t Fail, about an interior designer who is working to rehab and old hotel and falls in love with her carpenter who is also the granddaughter of the hotel owner. It was so good that I went back and found the first one, Delilah Green Doesn’t Care. In this one, Delilah is pulled home to Bright Falls to photograph her friend’s wedding when she falls in love with the local bookstore owner. The most recent installation in this series, Iris Kelly Doesn’t Date, was just released. Iris is pulled into a genderbent production of Much Ado About Nothing at the local queer theather. All her friends think she is dating Stevie who is playing the female-identifying Benedick to her Beatrice. What’s a girl to do? I enjoyed all of these in audio, but NPL also has print. Pick your poison and get to work.

I checked this one out to read during the Christmas season, but somehow it got buried on my To Be Read pile (imagine that!) and I missed it. Luckily, it fits here as well. When Margot gets dumped right before Christmas, she finds herself at a loss as to where to spend the holiday. Luckily her client, Ben, invites her to come to his family’s country estate for two weeks. He’s tired of always showing up alone, so she agrees to be his fake girlfriend, even though she is a lesbian. Every goes smoothly, until Ben’s sister, Ellie shows up. Ellie mistakenly thinks that Margot is a gold-digger, while Margot thinks Ellie is cute. Also, there’s a mysteriously pregnant dog. I’m sad I missed out on this one during the holiday season, but I’m glad I finally got to it. There was some depth here that I wasn’t expecting. If you like this one, be sure to come back to the NPL blog next month for my best Christmas in July reads to get your mind off the hot weather.

So all tea, no shade - these are some great reads. If you need to pregame for Pride, you can’t go wrong here. Better get started!

Happy Pride Month…
:) Amanda

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Amanda is a classically-trained pianist who loves to read. Like any good librarian, she also has two cats named after Italian cities. Amanda spends her free time sitting in Nashville traffic, baking, and running the Interlibrary Loan office at the Nashville Public Library.

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