The best fantasy and paranormal books with great queer representation

The Books I Picked & Why

The Once and Future Witches

By Alix E. Harrow

The Once and Future Witches

Why this book?

Witches, feminism, race relations, sapphic love, the power of words—this book has all of it and lit a passionate, delighted, mischievous, and poignant flame in me. Harrow’s writing is lovely and magical, like a spell itself, while unfolding a twisty tale of three sisters who find themselves representing the hallowed pagan triad of Maiden, Mother, and Crone. The story is set in an alternate-history world of New Salem, USA, in the late 1800s, and I loved the little world-building details differentiating this world from ours. Wait till you hear what happened to OLD Salem…(*shiver*).


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Spellbound: A Paranormal Historical Romance (Magic in Manhattan Book 1)

By Allie Therin

Spellbound: A Paranormal Historical Romance (Magic in Manhattan Book 1)

Why this book?

I’m a sucker for a cool historical setting and also for romance with a social-status difference as a main obstacle, and this novel delivers on both! In 1920s-era New York City, amid Prohibition and jazz and snazzy fashions—and, in this version of things, an underworld of secret magic—wealthy Arthur meets working-class Rory, and the sparks begin. Both of the men are utterly endearing (another feature I’m soft on) and bring different paranormal powers to the problem of a lethal magical relic on its way to New York. There are two more books in the series, so if you fall for this pair, hurray! There’s more to read.


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The Mysterious and Amazing Blue Billings (Black and Blue Series)

By Lily Morton

The Mysterious and Amazing Blue Billings (Black and Blue Series)

Why this book?

Do not read after dark! At least, don’t do so if you’re a scaredy-cat like me when it comes to ghost stories. That said, I found this story lovely and fun and steamy—when it wasn’t scaring the daylights out of me, that is. The premise is fabulous: a man moves to York, England, because he has inherited an old house there, which turns out to be super haunted. So who does he turn to for help? One of the many ghost-tour guides who roam the city telling their tales, of course. Turns out this particular guide—aside from being a highly sexy fellow with dyed-blue hair—can in fact see ghosts. And the ones in this house would rather murder the living than be politely ushered out.


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The Dark Wife

By S. E. Diemer

The Dark Wife

Why this book?

The story of Persephone and Hades is my favorite Greek myth—and a lot of other people’s, to judge from how many of us have written about it. Therefore I’ve read lots of the novels that retell it, but The Dark Wife stands out for being the only Sapphic version I’ve found! Here Hades is a goddess rather than a god, and rather than abducting Persephone, she shelters her in the Underworld, where Persephone can avoid the sexual predators among the gods above. (Of which there are a lot, in canonical myth; let’s be honest.) Though set in the deliciously spooky land of the dead, the romance between the two goddesses is sweet and comforting, and the writing is as lyrically pretty as a classical poem.


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Peter Darling

By Austin Chant

Peter Darling

Why this book?

I was bewitched by the weird allure of Peter Pan when I read it as a kid, and I think I love Peter Darling even more. Not only does it recast many of the unsettling aspects of the original into a more palatable interpretation, but it provides a trans twist: at home on Earth, he’s known as Wendy Darling, but when he escapes to Neverland he becomes Peter Pan, his true self. Returning there as a young adult, Peter begins untangling the emotions and past events that have haunted him, and finds most are not what they seem.

Foremost in the welcome surprises is that he and Captain Hook don’t have to be arch-enemies—they could, in fact, become quite the opposite. Needless to say, the story also provides pirate ships and fairies and swashbuckling: who can resist those?


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