Rana Joon and the One and Only Now

Read Rana Joon and the One and Only Now by Shideh Etaat

Perfect Iranian girls are straight A students, always polite, and grow up to marry respectable Iranian boys. But it’s the San Fernando Valley in 1996, and Rana Joon is far from perfect—she smokes weed and loves Tupac, and she has a secret: she likes girls.

As if that weren’t enough, her best friend, Louie—the one who knew her secret and encouraged her to live in the moment—died almost a year ago, and she’s still having trouble processing her grief. To honor him, Rana enters the rap battle he dreamed of competing in, even though she’s terrified of public speaking.

Rana Joon and the One and Only Now is a novel about grief. As many novels about grief are, it is also about hope. Rana needs to build a place for herself, and since the death of her best friend Louie a year ago − a death that she does not believe was an accident,…

Holding Still for as Long as Possible

Read Holding Still for as Long as Possible by Zoe Whittall

Holding Still explores an unusual love triangle involving Billy, a former teen idol, now an anxiety-ridden agoraphobic; Josh, a shy transgender paramedic who travels the city patching up damaged bodies; and Amy, a fashionable filmmaker coping with her first broken heart. With this extraordinary novel, Whittall gives us startlingly real portraits of three unforgettable characters, and proves herself to be one of our most talented writers.

I love Zoe Whittall and her messy queers. This goes up in my favourites from this author, alongside The Spectacular, and will definitely be in my June 2023 recap.

Lavender House

The beautiful lavender-colored cover of Lavender House.
Read Lavender House by Lev AC Rosen

When you’re a cop in 1952 and your colleagues bust you in a raid on a gay bar, your career options become extremely limited. Former San Francisco Police Inspector Evander Mills’ retirement plan is to drink until his money is gone, then pitch himself into the bay. Until a widow sits down next to Andy at the bar and offers him a private gig—find out what happened to her wife.

Persuaded to take the case, Andy accompanies the widow to Lavender House, the family seat of recently deceased Irene Lamontaine, head of the Lamontaine Soap empire. At this secluded estate, where none of the residents, or the staff, need to hide their identities, Andy finds a bewitching freedom.

He also immediately finds himself a pawn in a family game of old money, subterfuge, and jealousy—and Irene’s death was only the beginning. The gates of Lavender House can’t lock out the real world, and it turns out that not even a soap empire can keep everyone clean.

A delicious story from an new voice in suspense, Lavender House is Knives Out with a queer historical twist.

A murder mystery set during the Lavender Scare and gay-bashing in 1950s San Francisco. Sometimes you want a neat little mystery that does exactly what the genre says it’s supposed to do. Sometimes you want it to be super gay. If that is the case and if you don’t mind a few graphic police beatings…