Graham’s Delicacies by Em Ali is a collection of three sweet, soft, sexy and queer love stories that warmed my heart.
I received an eARC of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
My rating: 4/5 stars.
Blurb: 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, where she can watch Emilie bake love into every donut, cake, and brownie. Their delicate friendship takes a step towards a budding romance. But will Jen’s impulsiveness help their romance surviving its first hurdle?
James has never been kissed but he wants to, especially by Sam, who he can’t talk to without turning into a little jerk, and who is made of all the good stuff. Will James’ insecurity in his inexperience ever allow him to make the move to kiss the boy?
Alex won’t let some foodie with a video camera bash their beloved bakery, even if it means they have to be petty. Except they’re nowhere ready for Yujin, the one who got away, and the one attempting to woo them. Will Alex’s second impression of Yujin let them see the sincerity in the bashful king?
The representation in this book is ownvoices for fat, bi (the author identifies as bi/pan romantic and demisexual), nonbinary, Arab, and anxious. This review is ownvoices for bi(/pan)-romantic, nonbinary, and anxious.
I absolutely adored this book. I was into it as soon as I read the dedication,
This is for nonbinary cuties.
and my high expectations were only exceeded as I continued reading.
In every story, there was a different kind of chemistry between the main character and the love interests, but in each one it was so well-written, I could feel it. Consent is handled perfectly, because yes, consent is sexy! And this book is proof. The kissing and sex scenes are amazing (seriously, I’ve never read better ones).
I haven’t read a lot of romance, but this book has definitely set my standard very high. Nothing but queer fluff in my future romance reads!
Every character is an absolute gem whom I would protect with my life, and I could never pick a favourite character or story from this collection. I will write a mini review for each story, but they all get the same rating.
I so wish I could visit Graham’s myself!
Representation: black, bisexual MC with anxiety; nonbinary, chubby love interest with anxiety.
Content warnings: explicit consensual sex.
This story contained possibly the best kissing scene I’ve ever read. Jen and Emilie are so sweet together and so considerate of each other! Several of my notes on this story are simply ‘I’m soft’. I just adore these two.
She wanted to kiss her so badly, but it felt better to wrap Emilie in an embrace to feel her warmth.
Listen, being conscious of each other’s boundaries and going out of your way to respect them is freaking romantic and I love that this story pays attention to that!
(Please note that while Jen uses she/her pronouns for Emilie in the above quote, Emilie is only comfortable with that because of their close relationship; otherwise they want to be referred to with they/them.)
Representation: gay Mexican-American MC; gay black love interest.
Content warnings: explicit consensual sex, mention of a parent’s death.
On the one hand I related to James a lot; awkward and covering up emotions, type-A personality, older sibling, and all pining, no telling… Yeah. It me. On the other hand, James is my child and I want to protect him.
So naturally I loved this story. Sam and James have such chemistry, I was pretty much squealing the entire time (internally, that is). Give me all the gay pining, please.
He could feel Sam’s breath against his forehead, but he didn’t dare look up.
I also loved James’ background with his family, and his relationship with his twin sister taking up an important part of the story. I’m impressed how Em Ali puts so much development in such a short story – and this goes for all three of them!
Representation: Arab-American, queer, nonbinary MC; gay Korean-American love interest.
Content warnings: misgendering (challenged on page), discussion of parents’ death, explicit consensual sex with D/s dynamics.
This. Story. How do I describe this? One-night-stand to (kind of) hate to love? Regardless, the chemistry between these two characters was intense and I loved every moment.
Alex turning Yujin down while also secretly still wanting him? An absolute joy to read. Alex’s soft side? Also amazing.
If they were weak to one thing it was soft, fluffy, and all-together teeth-rotting fantasies.
These characters contain multitudes and, again, to put all of that background and growth in a short story without any negative consequences to the pace is just incredible to me!
I recommend this book to anyone who would like to read (more) queer romance that’s fluffy and soft, and sexy too. Even if you don’t read a lot of romance (like me) you might enjoy this if you’re looking for more queer stories!