- Graham’s Delicacies by Em Ali
- Format: eARC
- Source: author
- 227 pages (54k words)
- Genre: romance
- Rating: 5/5 stars
Six people and three love stories all in one bakery.
Jen goes to work, agonizes over college, and looks forward to the stolen moments in the kitchen. There she can watch Emilie bake love into every morsel. Their delicate friendship takes a step towards a budding romance, but will Jen’s anxiety help them survive their first hurdle?
James has never been kissed but he wants to be. Especially by his co-worker Sam, who he can’t talk to without turning into a little jerk. Sam is made of all the good stuff, but will James’ deepest insecurities allow him to kiss the boy?
Alex won’t let some foodie with a video camera bash their beloved bakery, even if it means to be petty. Except they’re nowhere ready for Yujin, the one who got away and is now romancing them. Will Alex’s pride let them see the gold heart the bashful king hides?
I don’t tend to read that much romance romance (or anthologies tbh), but I love Em and I loved their debut, Soft on Soft. SoS was so fluffy and pure and so when they told me this would be even fluffier, I doubted that it was possible to do. I’m so glad I was wrong.
Saccharine (f/enby) didn’t hook me on the first try, but I tried again and holy shit. I love Jen and Emilie so much. Both of the characters are amazing and I wish I could learn more. Emilie is nonbinary and uses she/her with Jen, and they/them with everyone else. One thing that stuck out about this story was the lack of gender conversations. No one ever questions them about their gender and pronouns and it’s not a big deal. I need more stories about nonbinary characters that are more than just figuring it out. The only they are questioned is when James notices that Jen uses she/her for Emilie instead of they/them. It’s all in his head, but I just really liked that moment.
Delectable (m/m) is amazing. James is my disaster son (I’m co-parenting with Em) and sweet Sam is a 100% accurate nickname. I love how awkward James is and how he has no idea how to act around his crush. I was texting Em as I read and dying. There are so many iconic lines. Also, James has a twin sister, Clara, that I love. I love how healthy her relationship is with James. Anyways, James is a DISASTER and I love him so much because of it.
Ravenous (m/enby) didn’t seem that great at first but when I got to the ending, I NEEDED more. My opinions on this story are honestly not that strong. It wasn’t my favorite, but I liked it a lot. I really like how Alex has boundaries set up that they stick to. When they got misgendered, they didn’t even think to dismiss it.
Overall, the anthology was amazing. I would definitely recommend it. It’s so queer, fluffy, and aro-friendly.
- Black, bisexual main character with anxiety.
- Nonbinary, chubby love interest with anxiety.
- Gay Mexican-American main character.
- Gay Black love interest
- Arab-American, queer, and nonbinary main character.
- Gay Korean-American love interest.
#ownvoices representation: Fat, bi, Arab, nonbinary, and anxious