Top 5 Wednesday – LGBTQ+ Books (Sans Cis M/M Relationships)

“Top 5 Wednesday” is a weekly meme currently hosted on Goodreads by Sam of Thoughts on Tomes, where you list your top 5 for the week’s chosen topic. This week’s theme is: LGBTQ+ Books That Don’t Feature Cis M/M Relationships.

If this week’s prompt seems rather specific, here’s Sam’s reasoning:

This may seem oddly specific, but in honor 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.

I love that this gives us a chance to shine a spotlight on some of the other areas of the queer rainbow. Thanks, Sam!

1. Pantomime (Micah Grey 1) by Laura Lam


The first in Lam’s Micah Grey series is a fantasy story set around a travelling circus, which in itself is fun and interesting, but it also stars an intersex protagonist, which I’d never before encountered (in genre fiction or otherwise). Micah is a wonderfully likeable protagonist and his gender struggles are explored in a respectful, heartfelt manner. Plus I kind of liked the (sort-of) love triangle that he ends up in with two of the other circus members, which is a rare occurrence for me.

2. Peter Darling by Austin Chant

Peter Darling
With Peter Darling, Austin Chant creates a brilliantly original retelling of the classic tale. Peter in this story is trans and he finds himself back in Neverland to reclaim the Lost Boys and renew his old feud with Captain Hook. It’s a short but sweet story that touches on gender identity and the enemies-to-lovers trope.

3. The Thousand Names (Shadow Campaigns 1) by Django Wexler

the thousand names

I’ve said it before, but this entire series should be the benchmark for mainstream adult epic fantasy when it comes to LGBTQIAP+ representation. Some authors out there are patting themselves on the back for writing in a single gay character (out of a dozen) who appears in a total of maybe three scenes, and meanwhile Django here has amassed a total of (at least) nine queer side characters, plus one lesbian protagonist, by the end of the book 5. So if you’ve never heard the phrase “flintlock fantasy” before and are now curious to try it, I recommend you start with The Thousand Names. It’s got addictive military action, political intrigue, and interesting character relationships.

4. Borderline (The Arcadia Project 1) by Mishell Baker


Borderline is the first in an urban fantasy series that stars a disabled bisexual protagonist with bipolar disorder. In another writer’s hands, this might have been a complete disaster. But Mishell Baker writes Millie Roper with startling complexity–funny, not always easy to like, and fucks up a ton, but always, always trying to move forward. The first book also mashes your typical fae lore with Hollywood and the result is incredibly entertaining.

5. Curved Horizon (The Camellia Clock Cycle 2) by Taylor Brooke

Curved Horizon

This one might be considered cheating because I’m reading through it right now and still have about 15% left to go, but it’s impressing the hell out of me, so I want to take this chance to showcase it. The Camelia Clock Cycle books are set in a world where scientists have discovered a way to calculate the exact moment that you meet your soulmate. Book 2 follows Daisy and Chelsea (former is Asian and demi, the latter is bi), who were secondary characters from the first book, as they navigate through trauma, mental health, and the complexities of love and friendship. Brooke does such an exquisite job exploring these characters and their demons to the fullest; there’s angst and heartbreak, but also moments where the characters just talk and try to figure things out. It combines the messiness of real life with the sweet optimism of romance novels, and I’m loving every bit of it.


Have you read any of the books on this list? And shower me with your queer book recommendations!



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Tammy June 20, 2018 - 1:22 pm

This is a great list. I love the Micah Grey series and Mishell Baker’s series as well. And I’ve always wanted to read The Thousand Names. Now I have even more of a reason!

waytoofantasy June 20, 2018 - 2:29 pm

Great list! Haven’t read any of these yet, but AI do have The Thousand Names in my TBR pile. And now that I think on it most of the books I reading featuring LBGTQIAP+ characters are in Cis M/M relationships so fully support this listing!

Mel June 20, 2018 - 2:31 pm

I haven’t read any of these but this list makes me so happy! I’ve heard of Pantomime and knew it had an intersex character but didn’t know much else about it until I read your post. It definitely sounds good 🙂

Justine June 20, 2018 - 3:41 pm

I haven’t read any of these because do I even read? ><! But Curved Horizon sounds so interesting! I’m all for the set soulmate trope. 😅 I’m also very curious about Borderline, but it takes me awhile to read books with bp in it still.

acquadimore June 20, 2018 - 5:38 pm

I have heard of all of them but I’ve read none, but Peter Darling and Borderline (which I didn’t know was queer – one more reason to read it!) are on my TBR.
I’ve heard mostly good things about The Camelia Clock Cycle, but I’m on the fence about it because, while queer romance set in the future sounds like a great idea, I usually don’t like soulmate stories. Anyway I hope Curved Horizon keeps being good! (I cheated too and included a book I’m currently reading on my list…)

RedRocketPanda June 20, 2018 - 5:38 pm

I’ve had Pantomime on my list for a while and can’t wait to read it at some point!

Vera June 21, 2018 - 6:24 am

I love your list! 💕 I really want to read more diverse books. None of those on your list is known to me and I am taking notes and will be checking them out. Thank you. 😊

I just got The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo out from my library and can not wait to read it. It’s been on a few people’s lists this week and I’m hoping to enjoy it as well. 😊

Kathy @Pages Below the Vaulted Sky June 25, 2018 - 6:27 am

Aww you’re welcome, Vera! I’m always happy to thrust more LGBTQ+ books onto people’s radar. <3 And I can't wait to hear your thoughts on Evelyn Hugo! It seems to tackle some heavy but important themes and I'm already 100% sure your review's going to do them justice.

Vera June 25, 2018 - 9:46 am

Thank you Kathy for your kind words. ❤ Evelyn is definitely such an interesting character. Why do we have to work, I would much rather be reading about her instead! 🙂 x

Gerry@TheBookNookUK June 21, 2018 - 3:02 pm

Good list! I really struggled with this weeks topic, I think I’m just going to stalk through your blog for more inspiration!

mervih June 21, 2018 - 8:39 pm

Thanks for great recommendations! I’ve heard about couple of these books but didn’t know they are so good.

Kathy @Pages Below the Vaulted Sky June 22, 2018 - 10:47 pm

You’re welcome! They’re all really are quite fantastic. 😀

Kristen @ Metaphors and Moonlight June 22, 2018 - 4:14 am

I enjoyed Peter Darling, and both Pantomime and Borderline have been on my TBR for a while since I love books about circus and books with disability. I didn’t even realize they were LGBT+, so now I’m looking forward to them even more!

Kathy @Pages Below the Vaulted Sky June 22, 2018 - 9:56 pm

I loooove the way bisexuality was handled in both Pantomine and Borderline, and the plot and characters for both books are just as fantastic as the representation. I hope you enjoy them! 😀

Consu June 22, 2018 - 1:23 pm

Great choices! I’ve been meaning to read Peter Darling for a while now 🤔

Brittany's Book Rambles June 22, 2018 - 2:12 pm

Wow, Pantomine has a gorgeous cover! These are all new to me 😀 Thanks for sharing! <3

Brittany @ Brittany’s Book Rambles

Kathy @Pages Below the Vaulted Sky June 22, 2018 - 2:55 pm

Yay! Always glad to be introducing new books to people. Thanks for stopping by! 😀

sjhigbee June 22, 2018 - 10:47 pm

I loved The Thousand Names and read the next two books – I must continue the series, but just lost track of it a bit… And I love the sound of Peter Darling… Thank you for sharing a really great list:))

Kathy @Pages Below the Vaulted Sky June 25, 2018 - 6:37 am

Thank *you* for reading through my list! 😀 And I hope you enjoy the last two books to Shadow Campaigns! With long fantasy series, I sometimes worry about the quality of the ending (so many plotlines to wrap-up!), but the finale of Shadow Campaigns was so incredibly satisfying.

sjhigbee June 25, 2018 - 11:55 am

That is very comforting – I think one of the reasons why I get so far, and then stop is because I’m terrified of a naff ending after investing all that time and energy into the series.

Dani @ Perspective of a Writer June 23, 2018 - 8:00 am

Some great diverse books I’ve never heard of but need to look up now! I did quite enjoy Borderline and while the following books weren’t quite as good I liked getting a view into such a diverse character’s life besides the paranormal aspects which I enjoy. ❤️

Lucille June 23, 2018 - 11:26 pm

Ohhhh I didn’t know The Thousand Names had this kind of rep!! Thank you!!

Kathy @Pages Below the Vaulted Sky June 25, 2018 - 6:18 am

You’re welcome! :😊 I know the publishers were trying to market it as mainstream fantasy, but I still think they should have added a word or two about the queer rep.

Lucille June 29, 2018 - 9:33 am

They definitely should!! I’ve had it on my tbr for like 5 years and never heard anything about the rep. thanks again 🙂

justonemorepaige June 27, 2018 - 1:32 am

Great list – thank you! I’m definitely going to look into some of these. Also, if you are interested, a few years ago I read Golden Boy by Abigail Tarttelin, which is a story about a young intersex protagonist…it was a tough read (some difficult things happen), but I was blown away by the story and loved that it tackled topics I had never before (or really since) seen in fiction. Highly recommend it.

A Storm Of Pages June 29, 2018 - 8:33 am

Very diverse list! I struggled for this tag, and it made me realize I don’t have many reads where (I can remember) there being specific representation! I have read another book by Django Wexler but I think that was a middle grade. I did really like it, so will be adding The Thousand Names to my list!

Kathy @Pages Below the Vaulted Sky June 30, 2018 - 9:16 am

I’ve been meaning to check out Wexler’s middle grade stuff! I’m always curious to see how adult high fantasy authors adapt to the YA/children genre, because some do it very well, and some are…well, I applaud their efforts.

June 2018 Wrap-Up – Pages Below the Vaulted Sky July 5, 2018 - 6:51 am

[…] Books You Want to Read Before the End of the Year ➽ LGBTQ+ Books (Sans Cis M/M Relationships) ➽ Summer […]


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