Queer Romance New & Recent Releases: February Edition

Hello bibliophiles, glad y’all made it to this month’s list. There’s something for everyone this month: A sapphic plus-size lingerie model in a reality TV arranged marriage! A nonbinary Tinkerbell! A meet-cute at a comics convention!

Housekeeping:

If you find any errors, please let me know so I can correct them. And if you ever spot an AI cover here, please reach out so I can yank that book down with a quickness.

New and Recent Releases

That Bitter Sting by Melissa Polk (Amazon/KU / Goodreads)

Why I’m excited to list it: That cover… I just… damn. (In a good way.) Author’s pronouns are they/them.

“Soren, code-name Anubis, is part of an elite group of mercenaries beholden to the alpha of the Vasco pack. Trained from childhood, he is a skilled thief, assassin, and spy–but his true worth lies in the magic that allows him to kill with a single touch. Given an assignment that feels like a test of loyalty, Soren suspects there is more at work in the Vasco pack ranks than he knows. Not that it matters. Soren always gets the job done. That is, until he encounters a gorgeous tattooed man whose touch negates his magic.

Dominik Prince is a simple man. He just wants to run his coffee shop in peace and remain off the radar for anyone who might connect him to the past he’s worked so hard to escape. But simple isn’t in the cards when you’re a witch in hiding. Especially not when the past you’ve run from always seems to be nipping at your heels. When Dominik finds himself wrapped around a handsome man on his night out, he doesn’t expect to be drawn into the business of the local wolf pack; after all, the man in his arms clearly isn’t a wolf.

Fate and duty pull Dominik and Soren in directions neither anticipate, but the attraction between them can’t be denied any more than Soren’s orders or Dominik’s independence. But like a bad penny, the past has a way of turning up when least convenient and might well tear any hope of a future apart.”


Princess Fox and Iron Wolf by Liliana Chaos (Buy from author / Amazon / Goodreads)

Why I’m excited to list it: Trans woman author, and the blurb is extremely amusing.

“Dressing up as a girl and wandering through the city as a punishment for losing a bet?

Honestly, not even that bad.

Getting caught up in a fight between heroes and a villainess, and then being kidnapped and taken hostage while still pretending to be a girl?

Eh… Could be worse.

Realizing I enjoyed being the damsel and continuing to cross-dress even after the bet in hopes of running into the villainess and getting kidnapped again…?

Eh, what? A therapist? I don’t need a therapist! You need a therapist!”


No Shelter But The Stars by Virginia Black (Bywater Books / Amazon / Goodreads)

Why I’m excited to list it: Y’all know my eyes light up when I see sapphic sci-fi romance! BIPOC author. Small press.

Virginia Black’s No Shelter But the Stars is the space opera you’ve been waiting for—packed with warring worlds, romantic adventure, and larger-than-life characters.

Kyran Loyal is the last heir to the lost throne of a forgotten planet, the figurehead of a nomadic people fleeing the galactic tyranny of a brutal regime. Davia Sifane is the unrecognized daughter of an imperial despot. When happenstance pits them against each other in battle, neither expects the outcome: they are the only two people to survive. Marooned on a barren moon, their only hope of survival is to rely on each other, but what they learn will either kill them or change the galaxy forever.”


A Sheep in Wolf’s Clothing by Amy Allen (Bella Books / Amazon / Goodreads)

Why I’m excited to list it: Trans woman MC, trans woman author. Small press.

“Harper Zeale is finally taking up the family business – hunting supernatural threats. One of her first jobs is to solve the murder of a girl at Malcolm-Baptiste College, a small school in central Illinois. It’s obvious the killer was a werewolf, but Esther Talbot — the only werewolf around—is a harmless puppy who wouldn’t hurt a fly.

Without any leads to follow, Harper enlists the help of Esther and her friends in the search for the killer. All she has to do is keep them all alive, keep her dangerous instincts in check, and keep a lid on her foolish crush.”


A Con Affair by Joe Glass (Amazon/KU / Goodreads)

Why I’m excited to list it: Because I am a comics geek myself, so the setting feels like home. Gay romance by gay male author.

CW: weight talk.

Romance, sex and spandex all collide in this romantic drama that considers if love and career can co-exist, or are they always just a crisis waiting to happen.

Arran Wilson is an aspiring comic book writer. Cameron Perkins is an avid cosplayer. When they meet at a London comic con, the pair hit it off immediately, in every sense. As they start hooking up at comic cons all over the country, what at first seemed like a bit of fun starts turning into something more.

Then Arran gets his first major publishing contract. Suddenly, his noisy mind is filled with new concerns. As he gets swamped by all these questions and fears, Arran has to learn if he can have it all: the dream career, the hot lover and romance too. Or is that just as colourful a fiction as the superheroes he writes about…”


Imago by M Zakharuk (Buy from the author / Kobo Plus / Amazon / Goodreads)

Why I’m excited to list it: Nonbinary lesbian MC. Author’s pronouns are they/he. I confirmed with them that there is an HFN for the romance subplot.

“Tresor Institute accepts only the worthy, and Ada Călinescu is anything but. Intractable, mannish, a child of convicted terrorists, she can at best hope to be overlooked. Yet somehow the Institute accepts her application for transfer. Her ticket to the polar town of Heilung, home of the Institute, arrives free of charge.

Her only chance to forge a brighter future.

Except Heilung welcomes Ada with news of a brutal murder. Militiamen stalk the town, keen to fill their arrest quotas — and Ada knows she could make an easy scapegoat. At every turn the bloody conspiracy follows her, from the halls of Tresor to the arms of a stranger she yearns to make hers. What starts as a dalliance risks putting Ada at odds with the Bureau itself.

And then expulsion will be the least of her concerns.”


Breaker of Fates by Vaela Denarr and Micah Iannandrea (Amazon / Goodreads)

Why I’m excited to list it: Polyam! And if you love a long-as-heck fantasy romance, check this one out, it’s over 500 pages.

Perilous quests give rise to heroes. And broken songs call for Chosen Ones to be mended.

Roderick and Keeva, once friends, now orphaned by a dragon’s wrath that fractured the harmony between the great clans, spend their days locked in battle… until they are reunited, realizing that they’re both dating the same guy: Mateo, whose overdue transformation into a dragon is complicated by feelings of self doubt after the disastrous attempt to broker peace.

Choosing to get along is one thing, but forgiving one another—or themselves—for the hurt they’ve inflicted is another. Keeva keeps seeing the face of her dead best friend in her dreams, and Roderick’s suspicion and distrust keep him up at night. Soon, though, a great threat unites them against a common foe.

Someone has stolen a song from the gods, disrupting the tenuously rebuilt harmony of their homeland, and the very beast that tore them apart threatens to be set loose. True heroes of Koor Kosma are required to serve as vessels for the other four godly songs and reforge the divine harmony.

Neither Roderick nor Keeva are such heroes, but unless they can unite the divine and broken songs, unless harmony brings the shattered clans together, all will burn.

They are not chosen.
They are not the heroes of this story.
They are broken.
And they must be forgiven.

The Broken Song Duology is a story about queer grief, trauma, forgiveness and finding your place in the world.


Candy Hearts: An LGBTQIA2S+ Charity Anthology (Buy direct to maximize donation / Kobo Plus / Amazon / Goodreads)

Why I’m excited to list it: Charity anthologies, yay!

“What’s sweeter than a low angst queer romance at Valentine’s Day? How about sixteen of them brought together in one anthology to help support a good cause?

Each novella in the Candy Hearts Anthology is overflowing with red-hot romance and all the good feels. And this time around, every story has a secret — a secret admirer.

The Candy Hearts Anthology will be available for a limited time, and all proceeds will benefit the Transgender Law Center and the National Center for Transgender Equality.”


The Roiling Sea by Parker Love (Amazon/KU / Goodreads)

Why I’m excited to list it: F/nonbinary fantasy romance.

CW: Sexual assault (not by an MC).

A human girl could never have a lasting ramification to the fae world. She’s just one human girl.

Princess Branwen isn’t like anyone in her family. She is not fair of hair, skin of milk, personality of dew, or whatever her sister strives for. With her dark hair and olive complexion, the men her father brings to court will never see her as anything but an obstacle to her lovely, yet vapid sister anyway. When summer solstice comes, her father gathers his men to follow through on one of his obsessions, capturing an elusive, and probably extinct fae.

Seeker, Ruler of the fae Solar Court, can’t believe they’ve been captured by a ridiculous human girl. She doesn’t even know the rules… and why do they keep helping with hints? Well, it is no matter. Released from her trap, they’re free to return to the fae realm, and their search for the object which will save their people. There’s no way this girl could be meaningful to them… right?”


Of Socialites and Prizefights by Arden Powell (Amazon/KU / Goodreads)

Why I’m excited to list it: The newest installment in the Flos Magicae series is sapphic, and it’s butch-femme, hurray!

She needs a woman’s kiss to break her curse.

When Deepa Patel rejects the wrong man, he curses her: every night, she will transform into a wild animal until her curse is broken by true love’s kiss. The problem is twofold. One: Deepa needs her nights to seduce shallow men into spending money on her — money she desperately needs to buy herself and her mother a better life. Two: she doesn’t believe in love. She’s never met a man she wanted to keep longer than a week, never mind forever.

She never considered her true love might be a woman.

Roz is unlike any of Deepa’s past suitors. She’s working class, with a nose that’s been broken at least once, courtesy of an underground boxing club. And she makes Deepa feel lighter and softer than she ever thought possible. But Roz can’t afford to give Deepa the life of luxury she craves.

Meanwhile, Deepa is posing as a wealthy nobleman’s fiancée. There’s no love between them, but his lifestyle is everything she’s ever wanted. Caught between a real relationship and a loveless fake one, Deepa has to choose: give up on her dreams for a chance at true love, or make her dreams come true but stay cursed forever.

Of Socialites and Prizefights is a butch/femme sapphic novel in the Flos Magicae series, a collection of queer romances set in an alternate 1920s world with magic.


Truthfully, Yours by Caden Armstrong (Amazon / Goodreads)

Why I’m excited to list it: Female MC Caden’s callout of an ableist jerk at the beginning of this book is epic. She is bi and autistic, and so is the author.

“Rules are set in stone… but life is meant to be improvised.

Charlie did not think things could go this wrong… Yet here she is, in Scotland, thousands of miles away from home, after having publicly called out one of the actors of her favorite show for being ableist at a convention… and of course, it went viral. The one silver-lining? Her best friend signing her up for a work-stay program at an independent bookstore in Scotland, where she’ll be able to live in the owner’s apartment for the next three months. What Charlie does not realise is that she’s one good golf club swing away from chaos.

Enter Page, or Jamie Mahone, as the fans of StarVerse know him, the unfortunate co-star to the actor who started all this. Page did not for one second imagine that surprising his sister one night would lead to a good headache and a handful of trouble. Stuck in the same apartment, they must not only fight their immediate dislike of each other but also their attraction to one another. Their solution?

Flatmates rules!
1. The apartment stays clean, and we stay out of each other’s respective rooms.
2. If one of us feels uncomfortable, we need to tell each other.
3. Flatmates don’t fall for flatmates.

After all, Charlie is the show’s number one public enemy, and Page cherishes his privacy above anything else, so giving in to the rising attraction between them would be a bad idea… Right?”


Letters to Her Love by Katherine Grant (Kobo Plus / Amazon / Goodreads)

Why I’m excited to list it: An epistolary will always catch my eye, and I’m a novella fan, so.

“They are writing their love story one letter at a time…

Louisa Hoggart is about to leave Northfield Hall. Her charge, Miss Caroline Preston, is fully grown and hardly needs a governess anymore. Even more exciting, Louisa plans to move to London as a children’s author. She just has one major task left: help Miss Preston host her first house party.

Opera singer Elena Zilio accepts her invitation to the Northfield Hall house party for the free room and board. She also hopes to find a new protector for herself and her eight-year-old daughter. When she hears Louisa Hoggart will be at the party, she is excited to reconnect with an old acquaintance.

It doesn’t take long for sparks to fly between the two women. Yet what Louisa recognizes as attraction, Elena labels as friendship. Armed with nothing but her pen and big dreams for the future, can Louisa convince Elena to take a chance on the feelings swirling between them?”


Laird is Gender Neutral by Kirsty Mackay (Amazon/KU / Goodreads)

Why I’m excited to list it: A delightful little “how they met” short story that I really enjoyed.

“A funeral isn’t the best place to meet people, but when you live on an island off the coast of Scotland, you take what you can get.

This short story is a meet-cute between Hannah, our Asexual protagonist, and Mal de Moray, the Non-Binary charmer who’s family have ancient ties to the island she lives on. It has Small Town charm as well as all the cultural touchstones of a Highland romance.”


Falling For You by Mariah Ankenman (Kobo Plus / Amazon / Goodreads)

Why I’m excited to list it: Sapphic ghost-hunting, grumpy x sunshine, yes thanks. The previous Aerials novella was queer M/F, so bonus points for a mixed-pairing series.

“What do you do when a ghost is haunting your attic?

For Tally, the answer is simple: enlist the help of her grumpy, yet capable, neighbor Ruby. The woman who does all the maintenance around the apartment complex hasn’t said more than a dozen words to her in the two years they’ve known each other, but that’s all about to change.

Ruby knows two things. One, seven in the morning is too early to be woken up by her annoyingly cheerful neighbor. And two, ghosts don’t exist. Tally might be beautiful, but the aerialist had some strange ideas about the sounds coming from the attic. Ghosts? More like rats.

When a late-night ghost hunt ends in injury, the two grow closer. But will their differences lead to a happily ever after, or is their love as doomed as the ghost who haunts their attic?”


Not Your Darling by RM Cherry (Amazon / Goodreads)

Why I’m excited to list it: Nonbinary Tinkerbell. Author’s pronouns are they/she.

Sometimes fiction is more than it seems.

Ben Richards has it made. He’s a best-selling author, has fans throwing themselves at him every chance they get, and lives in a classy penthouse in New York City. Ever since he published No Longer Neverland, a book series about an older Peter Pan adventuring with Tinkerbell, life couldn’t be better. Then, a man claiming to be a Lost Boy shows up saying Ben’s really Peter Pan and that Captain Hook is after him for revenge…

Everyone wants a love right out of a storybook.

Pip Messinger just wants to be loved for who they are, eccentricities and all. So when their hot neighbor James seems interested in them, it’s like a dream come true.

That is, until James kidnaps them and whisks them away to Neverland to use as bait for Peter Pan. As they find themselves unwillingly thrown into an adventure through the dangerous island with the author who broke their heart, they start to wonder if everyone on the island is right, and maybe there’s more to them than meets the eye…”


First Comes Marriage by Bryony Rosehurst (Kobo Plus / Amazon / Goodreads)

Why I’m excited to list it: Sapphic rock star x plus-size lingerie model in a reality TV arranged marriage. What could go wrong?

“Impulsive rock star Charlie Dean isn’t interested in relationships, let alone marriage, but when her reputation takes a dive after an onstage meltdown, she runs out of options to repair her image. With her manager signing her up for reality TV show, First Comes Marriage, where celebrities are matched together and meet for the first time at the altar, she is forced into cleaning up her act once and for all. The problem? Her wife is none other than Tamara Hewitt, a glamorous plus-size model who Charlie could never possibly be compatible with.

At least, so she believes. Tamara and Charlie come to an agreement, accepting that in order to get through the next six to twelve weeks of newlywed challenges and come out of the other side loved by the public again, they must play up to the cameras — but will they fake it till they make it, or is an arranged marriage between two women from very separate worlds doomed to end in tragedy?”

My Recent Reads and Recommendations

At the end of each newsletter, I recommend a few of my recent favorite queer reads, from romance to SFF to graphic novels, comics, and kids’ books. Maybe you’ll find a new favorite book here! These may not always be self-published or small press; it just depends on what’s gotten to the top of my TBR lately.

The Women Could Fly by Megan Giddings (Amazon / Goodreads)

I really enjoyed this dystopia about a biracial, bisexual Black woman facing government-mandated marriage or a lifetime of surveillance under suspicion of being a witch. I do have to say that the pacing was a little different than I expected, I did have a couple of worldbuilding questions, and it was cis-centric for a book with a queer MC. But even with that, I felt so strongly for Jo’s situation, the choices she had available, and how hard she, her friends, and her lover were struggling to do the right thing under a system that cut off so many people’s choices. I will definitely be keeping an eye out for Giddings’ next book.

“Josephine Thomas has heard every conceivable theory about her mother’s disappearance. That she was kidnapped. Murdered. That she took on a new identity to start a new family. That she was a witch. This is the most worrying charge because in a world where witches are real, peculiar behavior raises suspicions and a woman — especially a Black woman — can find herself on trial for witchcraft.

But fourteen years have passed since her mother’s disappearance, and now Jo is finally ready to let go of the past. Yet her future is in doubt. The State mandates that all women marry by the age of 30 — or enroll in a registry that allows them to be monitored, effectively forfeiting their autonomy. At 28, Jo is ambivalent about marriage. With her ability to control her life on the line, she feels as if she has never understood her mother more. When she’s offered the opportunity to honor one last request from her mother’s will, Jo leaves her regular life to feel connected to her one last time.”


The Singularity series by R.M. Olson (Kobo Plus / Amazon / Goodreads)

I am re-running this rec from last year in May because I finally finished the entire six-book Singularity series, and it’s amazing. Slow-burn M/Nonbinary friends-to-lovers romance with tons of pining, another queer romance that was a delightful surprise, space opera with tons of political conspiracy and backstabbing, deadly alien creatures… y’all, seriously. It was so good.

On the fringes of the Joias System, a portal opens to the unknown, portending humanity’s salvation—or possibly, its utter destruction.

In the far reaches of the Rim Mountains, itinerant field-scientist Aran Romeu is searching desperately for the cure to an incurable disease — one that’s slowly killing his best friend. He’s sworn to do whatever it takes to find it. But when the portal opens, and an alien capsule arrives through it, he realizes that ‘whatever it takes’ will involve travelling into the uncharted space beyond the portal. And he’s not the only one after the cure, and willing to do whatever it takes to get to it first …

In the weighty halls of government, Chief Justice Alba Espina is preparing a political gamble that could change the shape of the system itself. The appearance of the portal shatters her carefully-laid plans and hands her political rival a weapon he could use destroy her—unless she can delay him with the promise of a diplomatic mission through the portal. But the stakes of the mission are higher than just her personal ambition. If her diplomatic mission doesn’t succeed, it might just spell the end of humanity itself.

In a remote spaceport, Savina Moya, the system’s most talented assassin-for-hire, is on the run again after her latest murder. But when a deadly government agent is sent after her, with instructions to bring her back dead or alive, the diplomatic mission heading into the portal may hold the key to Savina’s survival—if she’s brave enough, or desperate enough, to take it.

No one knows what’s beyond the portal. And as the three of them are drawn inexorably together in uncharted space, with no idea who is an ally and who is an enemy—it’s an open question if any of them will live long enough to find out.”


Doughnuts Under a Crescent Moon by Shio Usui, translated by Jenny McKeon (Amazon / Goodreads)

I just adored this four-volume sapphic romance series, which I would describe as ace 4 ace.

I saw one reviewer I normally jive with say they wished the representation was clearer, but honestly one of the things I liked about this was how any information about the characters’ identities is communicated through these two specific people processing and untangling what they want from each other. I don’t have an issue with a Queer Identities 101 session in a book, either! But I think there’s room for a variety of depictions of queer people figuring themselves out.

A yuri romance for the modern career woman!

Uno Hinako throws herself into makeup, fashion, and falling in love, hoping that will make her seem ‘normal’ to the other people at her job. But no matter how hard she tries, she’s a self-doubting mess inside, and her attempts at ‘normal’ romance with men just keep failing. When she starts to think she might be alone forever, a new normal presents itself in the form of her relationship with Asahi Sato, a level-headed woman who works at her company. It starts as respect, and then it becomes far more intimate.”


Dragman by Steven Appleby (Amazon / Goodreads)

I originally read this back in 2021, but re-read it recently and possibly enjoyed it even more the second time. It’s an entertaining superhero/mystery tale while also being a story about one person’s gender journey. Includes a note by the author at the end about her own journey. (Appleby uses both he/him and she/her pronouns, from the latest I can find.)

Content warning: The blurb doesn’t include one of the important subplots, about a serial killer preying on trans women. There are several short prose passages from his POV.

“August Crimp can fly, but only when he wears women’s clothes. Soaring above a gorgeous, lush vista of London, he is Dragman, catching falling persons, lost souls, and the odd stranded cat. After he’s rejected by the superhero establishment, where masked men chase endorsement deals rather than criminals, August quietly packs up his dress and cosmetics and retreats to normalcy — a wife and son who know nothing of his exploits or inclinations.

When a technological innovation allows people to sell their souls, they do so in droves, turning empty, cruel, and hopeless, driven to throw themselves off planes. August is terrified of being outed, but feels compelled to bring back Dragman when Cherry, his young neighbor, begs him to save her parents. Can Dragman take down the forces behind this dreadful new black market? Can August embrace Dragman and step out of the shadows?”


And that’s the list!