Review: Graham’s Delicacies

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.

Graham's Delicacies review header. It reads: Em Ali (in glittery pink font) / GRAHAM'S (larger navy font) / Delicacies (large glittery pink) / REVIEW (small navy)

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Blurb: Six people and three love stories all in one bakery. 

Saccharine

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?

Delectable

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? 

Ravenous

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.

An aesthetic for Graham's Delicacies. Top left: the face of a chubby white person with some make-up on, lips parted slightly. Top centre: a display of cakes at a bakery. Top right: a black woman; torso, arm and partial face are visible; she's wearing a yellow T-shirt, her afro hair reaches just above her shoulders. Centre left: a black man sitting outside reading a book and smiling; his hair is close-cropped, as is his facial hair. Centre: a coffee machine on a counter looking out at a glass wall and door, in front of which hangs a rainbow flag. Centre right: brown, longish curly hair hanging back from a man's face, of which only some light skin and an ear is visible. Bottom left: head and shoulders of an Asian man seen from behind, wearing glasses and an earring, backpack over his shoulders, his longish black hair partially tied back. Bottom centre: a brown hand with some flour on three finger tips. Bottom right: long dark brown hair falling down someone's front; part of a torso and arm are visible, wearing a pinkish red baggy T-shirt.

Review

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!

Saccharine

Aesthetic for Saccharine. Top left: a black woman; torso, arm and partial face are visible; she's wearing a yellow T-shirt, her afro hair reaches just above her shoulders. Bottom left: a black and white cat in the arms of someone wearing a grey jumper. Top right: a display of cakes at a bakery. Centre right: the face of a chubby white person with some make-up on, lips parted slightly. Bottom right: two white hands, slightly covered in red fruit juice, holding a piping bag.

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.)

Delectable

Aesthetic for Delectable. Top left: a black man sitting outside reading a book and smiling; his hair is close-cropped, as is his facial hair. Bottom left: the face of a ginger cat lying on a soft white surface. Top right: brown, longish curly hair hanging back from a man's face, of which only some light skin and an ear is visible. Bottom right: a coffee machine on a counter looking out at a glass wall and door, in front of which hangs a rainbow flag.

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!

Ravenous

Aesthetic for Ravenous. Top left: a brown hand with some flour on three finger tips. Bottom left: head and shoulders of an Asian man seen from behind, wearing glasses and an earring, backpack over his shoulders, his longish black hair partially tied back. Top right: long dark brown hair falling down someone's front; part of a torso and arm are visible, wearing a pinkish red baggy T-shirt. Bottom right: a camera on a tripod. Centre: the arched back of someone light-skinned with dark hair, sitting on a bed with grey sheets.

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!

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2 thoughts on “Review: Graham’s Delicacies

  1. Pingback: Graham’s Delicacies Blog Tour RECAP – EM ALI WRITES

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