Happy February! Welcome to the month of love and joy. Unfortunately, there is only one true romance book on the list this month, but don’t worry because Vania is spearheading a list of the best unconventional romance movies coming to you soon. I’ve only read one of the books on this list so far, but there’s so many I’m genuinely excited about reading.

It’s also the very first month where we are using Bookshop links in this post! The links in our articles, and our BOOKSHOP STOREFRONT will give us a small commission when you purchase from those links. We are so incredibly close to being able to pay our writers (in January, we were net positive for the first time ever, not including the 2022 carryover debts) but we need as much help as possible to get to competitive rates. Aakanksha and I have so many big dreams surrounding hiring people to focus on diverse & international content (write for us) but to do that we need to be able to make money! Make our dreams come true so that we can make yours come true!

Someone Else’s Shoes

Author: Jojo Moynes

Release Date: February 2nd, 2023

Genre: Romance

StoryGraph Summary: That’s because Sam Kemp – in the bleakest point of her life – has accidentally taken Nisha’s gym bag. But Sam hardly has time to worry about a lost gym bag–she’s struggling to keep herself and her family afloat. When she tries on Nisha’s six-inch high Christian Louboutin red crocodile shoes, the resulting jolt of confidence that makes her realize something must change—and that thing is herself.

Nisha Cantor lives the globetrotting life of the seriously wealthy, until her husband announces a divorce and cuts her off. Nisha is determined to hang onto her glamorous life. But in the meantime, she must scramble to cope–she doesn’t even have the shoes she was, until a moment ago, standing in.

Full of Jojo Moyes’ signature humor, brilliant storytelling, and warmth, Someone Else’s Shoes is a story about how just one little thing can suddenly change everything.

Who are you when you are forced to walk in someone else’s shoes?

Find the Book: Goodreads | StoryGraph | Bookshop

I love romance books, and Jojo Moyes is a classic artist in the romance genre. This book looks like a very adorable mix-up trope romance story where the main character, Sam Kemp, accidentally takes much more wealthy Nisha Cantor’s gym bag, launching the book title Someone Else’s Shoes and the story. I’m excited to read the book based on the very common adage.

Choosing Family: A Memoir of Queer Motherhood and Black Resistance

Author: Francesca Royster

Release Date: February 7th, 2023

Genre: Memoir

StoryGraph Summary: As a multiracial household in Chicago’s North Side community of Rogers Park, race is at the core of Francesca T. Royster and her family’s world, influencing everyday acts of parenting and the conception of what family truly means. Like Maggie Nelson’s The Argonauts, this lyrical and affecting memoir focuses on a unit of three: the author; her wife Annie, who’s white; and Cecilia, the Black daughter they adopt as a couple in their forties and fifties. Choosing Family chronicles this journey to motherhood while examining the messiness and complexity of adoption and parenthood from a Black, queer, and feminist perspective. Royster also explores her memories of the matriarchs of her childhood and the homes these women created in Chicago’s South Side–itself a dynamic character in the memoir–where “family” was fluid, inclusive, and not necessarily defined by marriage or other socially recognized contracts.

Calling upon the work of some of her favorite queer thinkers, including José Esteban Muñoz and Audre Lorde, Royster interweaves her experiences and memories with queer and gender theory to argue that many Black families, certainly her own, have historically had a “queer” attitude toward family: configurations that sit outside the white normative experience and are the richer for their flexibility and generosity of spirit. A powerful, genre-bending memoir of family, identity, and acceptance, Choosing Family, ultimately, is about joy–about claiming the joy that society did not intend to assign to you, or to those like you.

Find the Book: Goodreads | StoryGraph | Bookshop

This book looks so incredible! I love queer memoirs, and this story of motherhood and in Chicago looks so good. I’m very excited to hear more about Francesca Royster’s life, and the way that her identity and experiences shape the family that she created, especially as I look forward to having a family of my own.


Author: Jennifer Savran Kelly

Release Date: February 7th, 2023

Genre: Literary Fiction

StoryGraph Summary: It’s 2003, and artist Dawn Levit is stuck. A bookbinder who works in conservation at the Met, she spends her free time scouting the city’s street art, hoping something might spark inspiration. Instead, everything looks like a dead end. And art isn’t the only thing that feels wrong: wherever she turns, her gender identity clashes with the rest of her life. Her relationship, once anchored by shared queerness, is falling apart as her boyfriend Lukas increasingly seems to be attracted to Dawn only when she’s at her most masculine. Meanwhile at work, Dawn has to present as female, even on the days when that isn’t true. Either way, her difference feels like a liability.

Then, one day at work, Dawn finds something hidden behind the endpaper of an old book: the torn-off cover of a ‘50s lesbian pulp novel, Turn Her About. On the front is a campy illustration of a woman looking into a handheld mirror and seeing a man’s face. And on the back is a love letter.

Dawn latches onto the coincidence, becoming obsessed with tracking down the note’s author. Her fixation only increases when her best friend Jae is injured in a hate crime, for which Dawn feels responsible. As Dawn searches for the letter’s author, she is also looking for herself. She tries to understand how to live in a world that doesn’t see her as she truly is, how to get unstuck in her gender, and how to rediscover her art, and she can’t shake the feeling that the note’s author might be able to help guide her to the answers.

A sharply written, deeply evocative story about what it means to live authentically—even within an identity whose parameters have not yet been defined—Endpapers will appeal to readers of queer, nonbinary, or trans fiction like Torrey Peters’ Detransition, Baby as well as anyone who loves character-driven, setting-rich stories like Tell the Wolves I’m Home or The Immortalists.

Find the Book: Goodreads | StoryGraph | Bookshop

The cover of this book is so beautiful that it drew me in right away! While it’s a bit silly to say that this book will “appeal to readers of queer, nonbinary, or trans fiction” in general, since that is an extraordinarily wide genre, I shall play that off as a marketing issue that happens far too often and dive headfirst into Endpapers. I have a deep love of queer history, and so this adventure of Dawn Levit as she pursues queer history herself, sounds incredibly relatable.

And Other Mistakes

Author: Erika Turner

Release Date: February 14th, 2023

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary

StoryGraph Summary: For most of her life, Aaliyah’s home situation hasn’t been great, but she’s at least had her childhood best friend and role as a cross-country star to balance it out. But once she got outed by a church elder last spring, everything came undone — including Aaliyah.

Now, senior year is about to start and she is determined to come back faster and wiser. No more letting other people define her. No more losing herself to their expectations.

Except… well, with new friends, old flames, nosy school counselors, and teammates who don’t trust her yet, the route already feels rough. And what’s with the new girl, Tessa, who gives Aaliyah butterflies every time she looks at her? Regardless, she’ll be fine. Because this is the year to prove to everyone—and most of all, herself—that she’s more than her mistakes. After all, even Aaliyah can’t outrun everything. 

Find the Book: Goodreads | StoryGraph | Bookshop

I am very much over coming out experiences being the only type of story that’s represented in Young Adult literature, but I’m hopeful the fact that Aaliyah is outed to kickstart the story (while terrible) sidesteps the classic “should I come out” narrative. I’m excited to see Aaliyah grow and fall in love with both Tess and herself.

On the Savage Side

Author: Tiffany McDaniel

Release Date: February 14th, 2023

Genre: Mystery / Thriller

StoryGraph Summary: Arcade and Daffodil are twin sisters born one minute apart. With their fiery red hair and thirst for an escape, they form an unbreakable bond nurtured by their grandmother’s stories. Together they disappear into their imagination and forge a world where a patch of grass reveals an archaeologist’s dig, the smoke emerging from the local paper mill becomes the dust rising from wild horses galloping deep beneath the earth, and an abandoned 1950s convertible transforms into a time machine that can take them anywhere. 
But no matter how hard they try, Arc and Daffy can’t escape the generational ghosts that haunt their family. And so, left to fend for themselves in the shadow of their rural Ohio town, the two sisters cling tight to one another. 
Years later, as the sisters wrestle with the memories of their early life, a local woman is discovered dead in the river. Soon, more bodies are left floating in the water, and as the killer circles ever closer, Arc’s promise to keep herself and her sister safe becomes increasingly desperate – and the powerful riptide of the savage side more difficult to survive. 
Drawing from the true story of women killed in Chillicothe, Ohio, acclaimed novelist and poet Tiffany McDaniel has written a moving literary testament and fearless elegy for missing women everywhere. 

Find the Book: Goodreads | StoryGraph | Bookshop

The cover of this book evokes The Miseducation of Cameron Post, movie edition, but in fact it has nothing to do with that at all! This book looks disturbing and scary, a classic thriller of adult women who are drawn back to things that happened in their childhood. This book is based on a true story, the killings in Chillicothe, Ohio, of which I know nothing but am excited to learn about.

I Have Some Questions For You

Author: Rebecca Makkai

Release Date: February 21st, 2023

Genre: Mystery / Thriller

StoryGraph Summary: A successful film professor and podcaster, Bodie Kane is content to forget her past—the family tragedy that marred her adolescence, her four largely miserable years at a New Hampshire boarding school, and the murder of her former roommate, Thalia Keith, in the spring of their senior year. Though the circumstances surrounding Thalia’s death and the conviction of the school’s athletic trainer, Omar Evans, are hotly debated online, Bodie prefers—needs—to let sleeping dogs lie.

But when the Granby School invites her back to teach a course, Bodie is inexorably drawn to the case and its increasingly apparent flaws. In their rush to convict Omar, did the school and the police overlook other suspects? Is the real killer still out there? As she falls down the very rabbit hole she was so determined to avoid, Bodie begins to wonder if she wasn’t as much of an outsider at Granby as she’d thought—if, perhaps, back in 1995, she knew something that might have held the key to solving the case.

In I Have Some Questions for You, award-winning author Rebecca Makkai has crafted her most irresistible novel yet: a stirring investigation into collective memory and a deeply felt examination of one woman’s reckoning with her past, with a transfixing mystery at its heart. Timely, hypnotic, and populated with a cast of unforgettable characters, I Have Some Questions for You is at once a compulsive page-turner and a literary triumph.

Find the Book: Goodreads | StoryGraph | Bookshop

I haven’t read any of Rebecca Makkai’s other novels, but they all get rave reviews and I’m sure that I Have Some Questions For You will be no different. I am always a bit wary of murder novels that center around police investigations, but since this is about a woman going back to solve a crime that’s nearly 20 years old, I’m hopeful that it will be more about Bodie than what happened the firs time around. I’m very excited to read this book!

The Librarian of Burned Books

Author: Brianna Labuskes

Release Date: February 21st, 2023

Genre: Historical Fiction

StoryGraph Summary: Berlin 1933. Following the success of her debut novel, American writer Althea James receives an invitation from Joseph Goebbels himself to participate in a culture exchange program in Germany. For a girl from a small town in Maine, 1933 Berlin seems to be sparklingly cosmopolitan, blossoming in the midst of a great change with the charismatic new chancellor at the helm. Then Althea meets a beautiful woman who promises to show her the real Berlin, and soon she’s drawn into a group of resisters who make her question everything she knows about her hosts–and herself.

Paris 1936. She may have escaped Berlin for Paris, but Hannah Brecht discovers the City of Light is no refuge from the anti-Semitism and Nazi sympathizers she thought she left behind. Heartbroken and tormented by the role she played in the betrayal that destroyed her family, Hannah throws herself into her work at the German Library of Burned Books. Through the quiet power of books, she believes she can help counter the tide of fascism she sees rising across Europe and atone for her mistakes. But when a dear friend decides actions will speak louder than words, Hannah must decide what stories she is willing to live–or die–for.

New York 1944. Since her husband Edward was killed fighting the Nazis, Vivian Childs has been waging her own war: preventing a powerful senator’s attempts to censor the Armed Service Editions, portable paperbacks that are shipped by the millions to soldiers overseas. Viv knows just how much they mean to the men through the letters she receives–including the last one she got from Edward. She also knows the only way to win this battle is to counter the senator’s propaganda with a story of her own–at the heart of which lies the reclusive and mysterious woman tending the American Library of Nazi-Banned Books in Brooklyn.

As Viv unknowingly brings her censorship fight crashing into the secrets of the recent past, the fates of these three women will converge, changing all of them forever.

Find the Book: Goodreads | StoryGraph | Bookshop

In a frankly tragic turn of events, book banning and burning has once again spiked to nearly the same levels as 1933 Berlin. As a result of that, this book is sure to have even more emotional resonance than if it was published even two years prior. This WWII novel centering three different women in three slightly different time periods is sure to be a delight.

For Her Consideration

Author: Amy Spalding

Release Date: February 21st, 2023

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

StoryGraph Summary: Since a crushing breakup three years ago, Nina Rice has written romance, friends, her dreams of scriptwriting for TV, and even L.A. proper out of her life. Instead, she’s safely out in the suburbs in her aunt’s condo working her talent agency job from home, managing celebrity email accounts, and certain that’s plenty of writing—and plot—for her life. But a surprise meeting called by Ari Fox, a young actress on everyone’s radar, stirs up all kinds of feelings Nina thought she’d deleted for good…

 Ari is sexy, out and proud, and a serious control freak, according to Nina’s boss. She has her own ideas about how Nina should handle her emails—and about getting to know her ghostwriter. When she tells Nina she should be writing again, Nina suddenly finds it less scary to revisit her abandoned life than seriously consider that Ari is flirting with her. Between reconnecting with her old crew and working on a new script, a relationship with a movie star seems like something she’ll definitely mess up—but what could be more worth the risk?

 Amy Spalding’s For Her Consideration is full of heat and heart as Nina learns that her story just might include the kind of love that lasts.   

Find the Book: Goodreads | StoryGraph | Bookshop

The premise of this book feels fairly similar to Behind the Scenes, another 2023 release that I absolutely adored. I’m excited to read more about a woman whose career was derailed after her breakup, and I’m wishing the best for her!

Who Does That Bitch Think She Is?

Author: Craig Seligman

Release Date: February 28th, 2023

Genre: LGBTQ+ Nonfiction Biography

StoryGraph Summary: There were effectively three Dorises–the quiet visual artist, the glorious drag queen, and the hunky male prostitute who supported the other two. He started performing in Sydney in 1972 as a member of Sylvia and the Synthetics, the psycho troupe that represented the first anarchic flowering of queer creative energy in the post-Stonewall era. After moving to San Francisco in the mid-’70s, he became the driving force behind years of sidesplitting drag shows that were loved as much as you can love throwaway trash–which is what everybody thought they were. No one, Doris included, perceived them as political theater, when in fact they were accomplishing satire’s deepest dream: not just to rail against society, but to change it.

In the 1970s, queer people were openly despised, drag queens scared the public, and that was the era when Doris Fish (born Philip Mills in 1952) painted and padded his way to stardom. He was a leader of the generation that prepared the world not just for drag queens on TV but for a society that is more tolerant and accepting of LGBTQ+ people. How did we get from there to here? In Who Does That Bitch Think She Is? Craig Seligman looks at Doris’s life as a way to provide some answers.

Seligman recounts this vivid era in LGBTQ+ history, giving needed insight to how drag has become the performance phenomenon we know today. Filled with interviews, letters and more, Seligman revisits the places and people Doris knew best allowing us to understand the historical markers and shifts his life encompassed and represented for the wider queer community, past and present.

An exciting new history of drag told through the life of the remarkable, flawed, and singular Doris Fish

Find the BookStoryGraph | Goodreads | Bookshop | My Review

I was lucky enough to receive an e-ARC of this book via Netgalley and I loved it! This was a true deep dive into Doris Fish’s life as well as the lives of the people surrounding him. I didn’t know anything about drag culture in San Francisco before reading this, but I am always looking to learn more about queer history and this book helped me achieve that. I would very much recommend to anyone looking to learn more about semi-recent LGBTQ+ history.

She is a Haunting

Author: Trang Thanh Tran

Release Date: February 28th, 2023

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy / Gothic Horror

StoryGraph Summary: When Jade Nguyen arrives in Vietnam for a visit with her estranged father, she has one goal: survive five weeks pretending to be a happy family in the French colonial house Ba is restoring. She’s always lied to fit in, so if she’s straight enough, Vietnamese enough, American enough, she can get out with the college money he promised.

But the house has other plans. Night after night, Jade wakes up paralyzed. The walls exude a thrumming sound while bugs leave their legs and feelers in places they don’t belong. She finds curious traces of her ancestors in the gardens they once tended. And at night Jade can’t ignore the ghost of the beautiful bride who leaves cryptic warnings: Don’t eat.

Neither Ba nor her sweet sister Lily believe that there is anything strange happening. With help from a delinquent girl, Jade will prove this house—the home they have always wanted—will not rest until it destroys them. Maybe, this time, she can keep her family together. As she roots out the house’s rot, she must also face the truth of who she is and who she must become to save them all.

Find the Book: Goodreads | StoryGraph | Bookshop

As someone who struggles to sleep at night, books where the protagonist experiences a form of haunted sleep paralysis are my nightmare. The fact that this mixes sleep paralysis and “Don’t eat” warnings is an interesting choice for a YA novel, but it’s two tropes I’m fascinated to see play out. I’m excited to read this book about Jade Nguyen and her estranged father when it comes out!

What books are you looking forward to reading this February?