Fabulous new release and queer books

Queer books Love Frankie Jacqueline Wilson review CREDIT Minka Guides

If you’re looking for something new to read, here are some of the fabulous new release titles I’ve read lately. Naturally, there are a lot of queer books reviewed here plus other tasty titles that have piqued my interest. Found something you like? Make sure you use the bookstore links below each review when buying to support my site! And if you’re also Goodreads fan, follow me to stay up to date with my latest reading list.

📌 Looking for more fabulous book ideas? See my previous book reviews.

Love Frankie by Jacqueline Wilson

Book review: Love Frankie by Jacqueline Wilson | Minka Guides queer books

Frankie is nearly fourteen and teenage life certainly comes with its ups and downs. Her mum is seriously ill with MS and Frankie can feel herself growing up quickly, no thanks to Sally and her gang of bullies at school. When Sally turns out to be not-so-mean after all, they strike up a friendship and are suddenly spending all of their time together. But Frankie starts to wonder whether these feelings she has for Sally are stronger than her other friendships. Might she really be in love?

I didn’t grow up in the UK in the late 90s, so I had no idea who the author Jacqueline Wilson (or her most infamous character, Tracy Beaker) is but my flatmates were delighted when they discovered I was reading this book. Not only were they big fans of her books when they were children but also because Wilson has recently come out as a lesbian. Apparently, this is the first time she has featured a queer protagonist in her books, which they were very excited about.

I really enjoyed this book because it mixed all the highs and lows of your first teen crush with an interesting look at a family struggling with divorce, financial issues and a parent who has MS. Even as someone who hasn’t been a school kid in many decades, I really enjoyed reading this YA book. Some of the words and phrases used by the teen characters didn’t feel like something they would actually say, which I found a little jarring at times, but overall I think Wilson did a great job of capturing that rush of first hormonal love and the struggle to realise that you don’t fit in with the heteronormative world.

I especially liked the relationship between Frankie and her boy next door/best friend Sam, who would really like to be more than friends but is very accepting and supportive of the fact that Frankie isn’t interested. As for Sally, she’s pretty awful and I found it difficult to warm to her. I found the ending surprising and not that believable, so it wasn’t that satisfying for me. However, I still really enjoyed it and hope that Wilson will have another go at writing more queer books like this one.

Support me and buy this book from

US: Amazon

UK: Foyles | Waterstones | Amazon

AU: Dymocks | Amazon

Hideaway Inn by Philip William Stover 

Book review: Hideaway Inn by Philip William Stover  | Minka Guides | queer books

No one in the charming river town of New Hope, Pennsylvania, needs to know that Vince Amato plans on flipping The Hideaway Inn to the highest bidder and returning to his luxury lifestyle in New York City. He needs to make his last remaining investment turn a profit…even if that means temporarily relocating to the quirky small town where he endured growing up. He’s spent years reinventing himself and won’t let his past dictate his future. But on his way to New Hope, Vince gets stuck in the middle of nowhere and his past might be the only thing that can get him to his future. Specifically Tack O’Leary, the gorgeous, easygoing farm boy who broke his heart.

If you’re looking for a good MM romance novel that you can sink your teeth into during our current ‘staycation’, then grab a copy of this new book. I identified with Vince’s journey a lot: New Yorker returning to the small town that he grew up in, carrying a lot of pain from the abuse he received for being gay. He’s done a lot to put it all behind him – perhaps a little too much. Of course, the first person he runs into is Tack, the boy next door who was the object of his teen affection. They had a strong connection but there was never the opportunity to take it further.

I like how well-rounded the characters are for a story like this. Lots of baggage to overcome, hangups about each other that they have to work past, plus broader issues around bullying, toxic masculinity, gender identities and pride. I also have a real soft spot a ‘second chance’ love story, so this book was right up my street. I think Tack was a little too amazing to be believable at times, but maybe that says more about how low my expectations are about people.

Either way, I was delighted when I discovered that this queer book may be the first in a series. Stover weaves a blissfully feel-good story, packed with missed opportunities, throbbing desire and a host of delightful supporting characters. Perfect for an indulgent weekend read this spring.

Support me and buy this book from

US: Barnes & Noble |  Amazon

UK: Amazon

AU: Amazon

Come Again by Robert Webb

Book review: Come Again by Robert Webb | Minka Guides

Kate’s husband Luke – the man she loved from the moment she met him twenty-eight years ago – died suddenly. Since then she has pushed away her friends, lost her job and everything is starting to fall apart. One day, she wakes up in the wrong room and in the wrong body. She is eighteen again but remembers everything. This is her college room in 1992. This is the first day of Freshers’ Week. And this was the day she first met Luke.

Having been moved and amused by his amazing memoir, How Not To Be A Boy, I was keen to read this new book from Robert Webb – his first foray into fiction. I consumed most of his memoir with his voice from Peep Show in my head (which was funny considering I’m not a fan of the show – it makes me hella anxious), so I was surprised when this didn’t happen here. 

Instead, I discovered that Webb really knows how to write. Even better, he knows how to write great female characters, with the protagonist Kate leaping off the page as a genuinely complex human who just happens to also be female. Even though we meet her at her lowest moment, I found myself genuinely liking and respecting Kate, which in turn made me like and respect Webb even more.

I also really enjoyed the fact that even though the premise felt a little derivative, the story took me to places that I definitely wasn’t expecting. It said a lot to me about how much we idolise lost loves and how hard it is to move on while we are under that spell.

Buy this book from

US: Barnes & Noble | Amazon

UK: Foyles | Waterstones | Amazon

AU: Dymocks | Amazon

Femme Tales by Anne Shade

Book review: Femme Tales by Anne Shade | Minka Guides | queer books

Local celebrity chef Chayse Carmichael has achieved a level of success she’d only imagined while learning to cook. But when free-spirited Georgia peach Serena Frasier walks into her restaurant, Chayse realizes that success doesn’t always bring happiness if you don’t have someone special to share it with. Does love at first sight truly exist?

You definitely shouldn’t judge this book by its cover. Honestly, I nearly passed on it because the quality of the cover images looked so stock-ish that I thought it was self-published. Thankfully, the stories inside made me glad I gave it a chance. They’re fun, sexy, butch/femme spins on the classic fairy tales Beauty and The BeastSleeping Beauty and Cinderella

I sped through this queer book because the stories were so juicy and sweet, with contemporary storylines that place these characters in Chicago. Each story is packed with tension and smouldering desire with adorably sweet endings. If you’re looking for some lesbian romance with B/F dynamic, then these stories are a cute contemporary take on the bedtime stories you loved as a kid, featuring stories exclusively about women of colour. 

Buy this book from

US: Barnes & Noble | Amazon

UK: Amazon

AU: Dymocks | Amazon

Miss World 1970 by Jennifer Hosten

Book review: Miss World 1970 by Jennifer Hosten | Minka Guides

Jennifer Hosten went to the 1970 Miss World pageant on a lark, representing the tiny Caribbean island of Grenada, and came home with the crown and a place in history. What was supposed to be a light-hearted affair, with a parade of the world’s most beautiful women vying for the attention of the judges and comedian/host Bob Hope, turned out to be the most controversial, politically charged, and consequential pageant ever.

This fascinating memoir is by the first woman of colour to win the Miss World pageant, way back at the dawn of the 1970s. Jennifer Hosten was also the first woman to ever represents her home country, Grenada, and she very much saw her participation in the competition as an almost ambassadorial role, making her win even more important as it bought so much recognition and pride to the Caribbean island.

This book has recently been turned into a film and if you’re looking for the full backstory behind the dynamics that the plot explores, you’ll probably be disappointed. The Miss World pageant and the surrounding controversy is only explored in the first couple of chapters and only from Hosten’s perspective (as you would expect in a memoir), whereas the film appears to tell the story from a range of women who were involved in the event, from other contestants to the feminist activists who staged protests on the night.

The rest of the book looks at how Hosten’s life unfolded after winning the pageant and the political turmoil that besieged Grenada in the late 70s. I found this all quite interesting, as there is obviously so much more to her life than this one public event.

Buy this book from

US: Barnes & Noble | Amazon

UK: Foyles | Waterstones | Amazon

AU: Dymocks Amazon

📌 Looking for more fabulous book ideas? See my previous book reviews.

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Fabulous new release and queer books | Minka Guides

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