Welcome to another roundup of new and recent romances that are queer, all across the rainbow, and self-published or small press. (Actually this month they’re all self-pub!) I hope you find something new and interesting for your TBR here.
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Why I’m excited to list it: Vampire x vampire hunter enemies-to-lovers, oh yes. Agender author.
“Father Bryson has been trying to drive a stake through Anstice’s vampiric heart for ten wonderfully entertaining years.
Never before has a slayer pursued him with such passion and fervor; it’s enough to make any undead dandy swoon.
But lately, Anstice has noticed that his nemesis is behaving… strangely.”
Why I’m excited to list it: Black sapphic romance by Black author, with a fake engagement!
“Deceit has never tasted so sweet…
Lucille Waters, a spunky but anxious aspiring artist, finds herself caught in a conundrum. Her parents want her to marry or become a governess. In order to avoid either fate, she needs a solution— and quickly. On a whim, she lies and tells her parents she is engaged to the reclusive Lord Fondant. When her mother calls her bluff, Lucille is forced to create an elaborate scheme that will hold up against the scrutiny of her parents. The only problem? It involves convincing Lord Fondant to pretend to be her fiance.
Unbeknownst to Lucille and the rest of the Ton, Lord Fondant isn’t Lord Fondant at all. She’s the newly minted Lady Fiona Fondant; Fiona is a renowned confectioner whose delectable creations have captured the hearts of the Ton. Despite Fiona’s success and wealth, she’s struggling to navigate her new role at the helm of the family business. It’s a lonely, physically demanding job that only exacerbates the chronic illness she must manage day in and day out.
Together, they agree to go through with Lucille’s charade that challenges both their hearts and expectations. As their friendship deepens, Lucille and Fiona find themselves entangled in a world of make-believe; the line between fantasy and reality begins to blur, and an undeniably sweet chemistry simmers beneath the surface. But is their newfound friendship a recipe for disaster?”
Why I’m excited to list it: Black sapphic romance. I’ve started reading this, and I’m already mad at Ty’s girlfriend, even though they haven’t broken up yet!
“Ty and Avonna meet on a flight to Minnesota and quickly form a connection while conversing for the duration of the flight. When Ty’s girlfriend suddenly ends their relationship during the trip, Ty is left feeling lost and alone in an unfamiliar city. In her time of need, she turns to Avonna, who comes over to provide comfort.
Gradually, as they spend more time together, Ty and Avonna develop a strong bond. However, Ty’s biggest fear remains that it might be too late for them as Veya still lingers in the picture.
Amidst all this confusion, Avonna helps Ty through her pain.”
Why I’m excited to list it: Polyam hurt-comfort romance. In case it’s not clear from the blurb, the woman who has just died was both Blaise and Grant’s partner. She did not want her two partners to meet, so they didn’t until after she passed away.
“Blaise Thompson had everything he always wanted: A soulmate, a daughter, and the person he spent more than half his life with. When the foundation of his life cracks after the death of one of his partners, he’s left adrift, relying on his husband and his new friendship with Grant to get him through.
Grant Davis-Wilde’s unconventional upbringing taught him to never settle, except his insecurities and anxiety prevented him from making meaningful connections. When he loses the one person who understood, he finds himself alone in the tragedy until Blaise and his husband offer a lifeline he desperately needs.
Sawyer Thompson would do anything for his husband, including inviting the man they were never supposed to meet into their lives so Blaise can have someone else to lean on. What he doesn’t expect is to feel drawn to the gorgeous, hurting man.
In the wake of their shared heartbreak, Blaise and Grant cling to one another, finding safety and connection they never expected, but neither hesitates to grab with both hands. And Sawyer finds himself falling head over heels for Grant, the other man filling pieces Sawyer didn’t know he was missing. But grief isn’t easy, and with every step forward, there are two steps back.
Grant desperately wants to be a part of the unique family Blaise and Sawyer come with, but his past insecurities won’t allow him to believe he can have what they’re offering. In the end, it’ll take Blaise’s understanding and friendship, and Sawyer’s quiet and gentle way of loving to ensure all three get the ending they deserve.”
Why I’m excited to list it: M/M romantic suspense by a queer guy author.
With a serial killer’s crosshairs on my back, the world as I knew it is turned upside down. The threats are real, the fear is palpable, and my survival? Questionable.
Enter Gabriel Fernandez, a hunky detective-bodyguard hybrid with a mission to shield me from danger. Our connection is instantaneous, sparking an undeniable attraction that threatens to melt us both on the spot. But yielding to our emotions could jeopardize my safety, exposing me to danger.
Our solution? Draw a line until the killer is caught, then reassess things then. Except a looming question remains: What if Gabriel fails to stop the murderer in time? And what if our lightning-hot romance only paints a brighter bullseye on my back?
As a detective in Stonewall Investigations’ elite division, I specialize in high-stakes cases and perilous pursuits. My latest mission leads me to Atlanta, and straight into the life of Tristan Hall. He’s alluring, captivating, and in serious danger.
My task is simple: keep distractions at bay and ensure Tristan’s safety while uncovering the identity of the Midnight Chemist. But how can I maintain focus when Tristan himself is the most tantalizing distraction of all?
The stakes are sky-high, and more than just my heart is on the line. As the danger escalates, so do my feelings for Tristan, setting the stage for a case that will change both of our lives one way or another.”
Why I’m excited to list it: M/M romance by a BIPOC author. Also, I love that Akhil names his plants.
“Curly-haired, bespectacled, Dr. Akhil can replace your hip without a sweat, but he is a rambling, fidgeting fool outside the operation room—an absolute klutz—the worst qualifications to have for a man in search of love. However, one can overcome any obstacle with a bit of planning. Right?
Plan A is simple. Unfortunately, the heart-to-heart blows up in shouting hysterics, tears, and abandonment. Worry not. Time for Plan B.
A year in London, and Plan B goes belly up. Thanks to a reality dating show. Anyway, who cares. Akhil has his plant babies, Priyamvada, Ms. Fancy Pants, and Zami. They are not traitors like the stars that Akhil loves to gaze at night. The twinklers conspire to bring the dark enemy back into his orbit.
Nope, not happening. Akhil has a plan. This time a three-letter one. Plan KDA – Keep Dan Away. But it is not easy blocking “the player” hell-bent on dribbling his way past Akhil’s defences one accident at a time – ready to score. Add the nosy Keely matriarch and her two sidekick clowns to flying forks, tripping legs, and an accomplished kiss coach; our Akhil is in deep trouble.”
Why I’m excited to list it: Part of a multi-author series by queer authors featuring a variety of queer pairings.
“When Nat and Ian go on a blind date, there are sparks…
But Ian Wilson has no desire to get tied down to Clover Hill. Working at Grackle Comics is fine for now, but they feel like they’re… coasting. Someday soon, their stepdad’s house will be ready to put on the market so they can move back somewhere faster-paced. That’ll help them get the fiery Nat out of their head.
Especially because she refuses to speak to them. They’re both fundraising for the same bike ride from Baymill to Maple Heights. And Nat Belanger — who owns a bike shop — is incensed when she realizes Ian is taking donations from customers she was counting on. It doesn’t matter how danged hot they are.
Small problem? They both have to go on this ride. But there are a lot of people on the ride. It’ll be easy to avoid each other, because that’s definitely what they both want. Right?”
Why I’m excited to list it: That title hits hard, y’all. Cis bi gal MC + genderqueer LI.
“Dating in your twenties is hard. Online dating as a bi woman in the midwest is proving to be even harder. Elena knows what she wants and she’s struggling to find it. The dating apps are a disaster and it seems like it’s just one tragic date after the other, until she meets Landon. A beautiful human being who’s gender queer. The two of them together seem to be the perfect match for their own LGBTQIA+ identities. However, they both have reservations about what a relationship could look like if they laid it all out and embraced their true selves. Will they be able to get over their own preconceived notions of who they are and what love can look like? Maybe. These two will have to figure out what it means to commit in a society that doesn’t seem set up for their kind of love.”
Why I’m excited to list it: Post-apocalyptic sapphic with autism rep. I’ve started reading this and I’m enjoying it so far.
“When the apocalypse hits the Pacific Northwest, an emergency room physician with autism and a park ranger with a healing heart band together to find their families.
The harsh winter isn’t the only challenge these women will face as they learn to swallow their pride and trust each other. Will their blossoming romance survive the wilderness?”
Why I’m excited to list it: I’ve seen a lot of people talking about how they enjoyed this book! Author’s pronouns are she/they.
“Jayce has little memory of life before entering servitude to the Dark Lord, and no hope of ever escaping. Until he meets Alexius, the knight with a heart of gold. He offers Jayce, his enemy, a chance to break free of the Dark Lord’s clutches, and Jayce is not about to let such an opportunity pass.
When the war comes to an end, Jayce finds himself finally free, with Alexius’s help, and surrounded by a new world of opportunity. And the prospect of a new love. The more time Jayce spends with Alexius, the more he finds himself falling for this knight in shining armour.”
Why I’m excited to list it: I’m here for mystery/romance blends and hope to see more of them! Trans, nonbinary, queer author.
“Not everyone could say their luck started improving the day they got hit by a car, but not everyone was me. Which was good because one me is all the town of Lester Cove can handle.
Ever since, murder’s been afoot and my new friend seems to be right in the thick of things. Mrs. Witte is a sweet older lady but she cannot keep herself from getting involved with the murder mystery, and her stepson Benjamin seems to think that’s somehow my fault.
Look, I’m just a washed up child star turned accidental pet sitter and sometimes plucky sidekick. I had nothing to do with the deaths that seem to be happening at an alarming rate, deaths Mrs. Witte wants me to help solve. Dealing with Ben’s antipathy is on my list, right below cleaning up after a dead woman’s dog.”
Why I’m excited to list it: I rarely include erotic romance here, but I couldn’t skip this later-in-life bi awakening book.
“An adults-only couples vacation takes a surprisingly sexy turn!
Darcy and I have been friends forever, so when we plan a kid-free getaway with our husbands, we’re expecting the same relaxing, stress-free time we always have together.
What we don’t expect is a rental with walls so thin we hear everything happening in the other room.
Or how hot it is to hear Darcy and Alec get it on—to imagine the actions going along with those sounds, to try and guess who’s doing what to whom.
As the week goes on, we can’t deny our growing attraction to our best friends — I can’t stop checking Darcy out, and Rafe’s gaze keeps drifting over to Alec.
And they’re looking too.”
Why I’m excited to list it: Sapphic Beauty and the Beast retelling. I started reading this and I thought the backstory for the Beast was really cool.
“At seventeen, Alana single-handedly defeated the biggest army that Thornwood had ever seen. By sunrise the very next day, she’d been shunned by her own people, forced to become a recluse and reside in the castle where she was supposed to rule over them. Now, with both her parents gone, she suffers alone, bearing a curse bestowed upon her by the village witch, making her resentful heart as twisted as a vine.
But when she finds trespassers on her land, she seizes an opportunity to break the curse from a travelling sorceress. Alana was never looking for company, and she has little faith that the sorceress can change her fate, but years of loneliness have left her craving connection, and unfamiliar emotions begin to surface in the presence of her new companion.
But love isn’t the only thing on her mind. The kingdom is plagued with whispers of dark forces creeping their way across Thornwood’s borders. Jaded by her past, can Alana save her kingdom from evil once more…or will she become the monster her people believe her to be?”
Why I’m excited to list it: Because my name is Skye and I, too, would be mesmerized by a sexy graffiti artist in coveralls who helps change my car’s flat tire.
“After she discovers that her wife has been cheating, Skye throws herself into her work to forget the break-up of her marriage, relishing the chance to explore and research the famous Catacombs of Paris.
When a misstep leaves Skye lost in the ancient tunnels, she stumbles upon Trick, a gorgeous graffiti artist with a sense of adventure. Skye is grateful for Trick’s help to get out of the tunnels, but how can she truly thank her rescuer when she was caught actively defacing one of the greatest historical sites that Skye has ever seen?
It wouldn’t matter, but when Skye’s rental car gets a flat tyre, the enigmatic Trick appears once more looking unfairly sexy in her dirty coveralls. Skye quickly learns that all is not as it seems with the rebellious Parisienne.”
Why I’m excited to list it: Another book from Bailey about sapphics in their seventies finding love! AND the third book in the series has been announced, which is queer M/F, which means this is now a series with a mix of pairings.
“The thrill-seeking photographer. The fiery librarian. The hometown hardship that finally brings them together.
Dylan Lavoie won’t take retirement sitting down. After four decades as head librarian, the septuagenarian has one month to raise enough funds to save her library and her job. Not even the unexpected return of the adventurous childhood confidant who once abandoned her can stop her from saving her sanctuary.
Fifty years ago, Frankie Chan fled heartbreak in Juniper Creek to chase excitement as a wildlife photographer. When the recent retiree reluctantly returns home for her mom’s funeral, she finds her beloved library under siege and the snarky bibliophile she still pines after fighting its closure. How can Frankie ignore the excuse to reconnect with the only woman she’s ever loved—even if she can’t stay?
As the two fundraise at the Pumpkin Days events, Frankie dares to hope the years have changed Dylan’s mind about them—but what if she’s wrong? Can Dylan and Frankie forgive their painful past to save the library and find their second chance at love before it’s too late?”
Why I’m excited to list it: Ace 4 ace queer M/F romance by an ace author. (Both Miri and Leo are sex-favorable aces who do have sex in the book.) I beta read this and it was great then, and I know it’s even more awesome in its final form.
Note: It would be better to read the preceding book in the series, Petrichor Blooms, before this one, but it’s not strictly necessary. (Petrichor Blooms is sapphic.) Also, in case it’s not clear from the beginning of the blurb, Miri was part of the referenced experiments when she was a child, but she is now an adult.
“Miri harbors a secret, and if it comes to light, it may cost her everything.
As part of the Ediya Experiments, a group of children genetically modified with dragon DNA, Miri must hide her ability to see emotions in color. But that’s not easy when she keeps accidentally altering people’s feelings, often with disastrous results. When her latest mistake ends in her losing her job, she’s desperate to find a way to control the powers she never wanted.
Leo has been hiding his crush on Miri ever since they were children. But when she shows up in his hometown, adrift and looking for answers, even wounded feelings can’t keep his past love from rekindling. He doesn’t understand why she insists on holding him at arm’s length.
When the two of them witness a shocking crime in Leo’s idyllic community, the investigation pushes them together, forcing them to admit feelings they thought long buried. But as they uncover secrets that cast an ugly light on their society, they find their lives unmoored.
Miri’s powers are more dangerous than she knows, and if she can’t get them under control, their future — and the world — could go up in flames.”
Why I’m excited to list it: Fantasy M/M romance by a queer guy. I’m super intrigued with the setup of a relationship that used to be polyam and has now become kind of a “marriage/relationship in trouble” trope situation with the two surviving members, and I’m looking forward to seeing what the author does with it.
“Telepathic high school teacher Dorian prepares teen witches for professional casting because going in unprepared is what killed one of his partners. But new state mandates on magical proficiency make it nearly impossible, and Dorian worries he can’t give his students the education they really need. Seeking a distraction from work, Dorian kisses his still-living on-again off-again clairvoyant boyfriend, Milo. Instead of a distraction, Dorian glimpses Milo’s vague vision involving the murder of Caleb — one of Dorian’s new students.
Already devastated by the loss of his partner, Dorian refuses to stand aside and let Caleb die. He searches for clues by delving into Caleb’s mind. Rooting through Caleb’s memories alongside teaching classes leads Dorian to two more students: Caleb’s ex-best friend turned rival and the prodigy with connections to dangerous warlocks. However, each step further into his students’ minds forces Dorian to confront his deteriorating relationship with Milo.
After discovering a link involving illegal casting, Dorian resolves to work with Milo to prevent the impending vision. To succeed, Dorian will have to explore the potential of a future with Milo and find closure on their third partner, whose loss looms between them. But meddling with fate to save Caleb inadvertently draws the warlocks near, putting all his students in danger. Dorian will have to risk his life and gamble his second chance with Milo to keep his students alive.”
Why I’m excited to list it: Queer M/F book by an author duo who are auto-buy for me. I always love their takes on celebrity main characters.
“Culinary school dropout Callie Giordano never intended to wind up in a small town with a terrible name, but after surviving a serious cycling accident in New York City, she needed a change of pace. At 26, she is now the sole doughnut entrepreneur living in Fly-Debate, Maine.
But Fly-Debate isn’t just a one-stoplight town deep in lobster country. It’s also home to the cast and crew of hit historical heist TV series, Hidden Cove. Beckett Brown, its star, may as well have a resume that says 44, single, and nesty, but between his celebrity status and a reputation for falling too hard and too fast, dating feels impossible.
At least until he meets Callie.”
Why I’m excited to list it: Queer M/F (she’s bi) with small town romance, forced proximity, high school rival… trope-a-licious, is what I’m trying to say.
“Nine months after his dad’s death, Danny Callaghan is still grieving. He keeps busy running Handy Danny’s Workshop, helping out at his family’s restaurant, and giving away too much of his time for free. The last distraction he expects is Lacey Cherry, his best friend’s other best friend, aka his high school rival, to show up, literally, on his doorstep.
Lacey has been avoiding Starling Hills since high school, but she’s back home after her grandma’s death. She desperately needs somewhere to stay while she ties up loose ends, and it can’t be the house she grew up in. Lucky for her, there’s an open room at her best friend’s house. It just so happens that her know-it-all nemesis, Daniel, also lives there.
They haven’t seen each other in over ten years. They are adults now. They can be civil… right?
As if living in the same house isn’t bad enough, Danny and Lacey start running into each other all over Starling Hills. Their quibbling escalates to a fever pitch, until Danny — handyman extraordinaire — offers to help Lacey get her grandma’s house in shape to sell it.
Working together for once, Danny and Lacey begin to see different sides of each other, complete with fireworks that are impossible to ignore.
Are these happy accidents enough to keep Lacey in the town she’s been running from? Are they enough for Danny to ask her to stay?”
Why I’m excited to list it: Interracial M/M romance by a Black trans masc author.
“An Unexpected Love
For Jamir Cunnigham, a relationship is the last thing on his mind. After inheriting his grandparent’s bookstore, Jamir has been completely focused on running the business. And if he’s lonely, that was between him and the books. Yet, from the moment Emmy Park walked into his life, Jamir was immediately captivated by the plus-size Korean.
A Fresh Start
After his recent divorce, former Olympic Wrestler Emerson “Emmy” Park moved to Texas to get a fresh start. After taking a job as an assistant wrestling coach at a nearby university, he stumbles across Jamir’s bookstore. Emmy is instantly attracted to Jamir. Unfortunately, he is big and burly with a resting bitch face and thinks he has zero chance with the gorgeous Black man.
However, when a sudden encounter shows them how good they can be together. Is the simmering attraction between them enough for them to see past their differences and finally give in to their desires?”
Why I’m excited to list it: Part of a multi-author series by queer authors featuring a variety of queer pairings.
“Daphne wants three things: to build her solo business as a wedding planner, stay in her home without breaking the bank, and figure out the next steps in her life. Taking a housemate will help with at least one of those.
Enter Cade, golden retriever gym bro who needs a place to stay in Clover Hill while he helps to open a new chiropractor’s clinic. He doesn’t mind being far from home, and he might be the answer to all of Daphne’s problems.
Neither of them are looking for romance, but when an instant attraction sparks between them, who are they to turn away?”
At the end of each newsletter, I take the liberty of recommending a few of my recent favorite queer reads, from romance to SFF to graphic novels and comics. 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.
Jules Kelley is one of my auto-buy authors, and this sapphic fiction about discovering your identity is absolutely amazing.
“1995. A young woman. Her boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend. The small Alabama town neither of them can escape. And a ghost.
Lilly Ann Guthrie is living with a man she isn’t married to; she can’t hold down a job, and she can’t sit in a moving vehicle without having a panic attack. It isn’t the life she once imagined for herself, but she can’t complain. She has a roof over her head and food on her table, and she doesn’t owe either of those things to her only living relative, an aunt whose disdain almost makes her wish she’d died in the same car wreck that claimed her brother and parents. So it could be worse.
But in late summer, life decides it has other ideas. Her boyfriend’s infamous ex, Jolene, comes back to town and turns everything on its ear, including Lilly’s ability to be satisfied by her current circumstances, and strange things start happening around her house. Voices in empty rooms, fleeting glimpses of someone in her peripheral vision. Is she on the verge of losing everything, including her mind, or is she standing on the precipice of having even her most secret wishes granted?”
Gorgeous, emotional YA about three generations of Iranian and Iranian American young men. CW: Saeed is the non-gay MC, and he struggles a lot with accepting homosexuality.
“2019. Moud is an out gay teen living in Los Angeles with his distant father, Saeed. When Moud gets the news that his grandfather in Iran is dying, he accompanies his dad to Tehran, where the revelation of family secrets will force Moud into a new understanding of his history, his culture, and himself.
1978. Saeed is an engineering student with a promising future ahead of him in Tehran. But when his parents discover his involvement in the country’s burgeoning revolution, they send him to safety in America, a country Saeed despises. And even worse — he’s forced to live with the American grandmother he never knew existed.
1939. Bobby, the son of a calculating Hollywood stage mother, lands a coveted MGM studio contract. But the fairy-tale world of glamour he’s thrust into has a dark side. Bobby is forced to hide his sexuality for fear of losing everything.
Set against the backdrop of Tehran and Los Angeles, this tale of intergenerational trauma and love is an ode to the fragile bonds of family, the hidden secrets of history, and all the beautiful moments that make us who we are today.”
Loved this middle-grade graphic novel about a biracial nonbinary kid who finds out they may be next in line to save the world.
“Frankie knows who they are. They’re a drummer, they’re nonbinary, and they’re… the Dog Knight?
One day Frankie is a relatively normal middle schooler, with relatively normal challenges, like finding the perfect outfit to wear during their drum solo during the upcoming band concert. The next, they save a friendly golden retriever from bullies and suddenly find themselves in a giant magical doghouse, with a funny looking helmet, talking to a group of dog superheroes called the Pawtheon about a job offer.
If Frankie can prove that they possess the six dog virtues of loyalty, kindness, honesty, justice, stubbornness, and smell, they will be named the Dog Knight and be given the power to fight alongside the Pawtheon and save the world from the forces of chaos.
Maybe there is more to Frankie than they thought?”
This graphic novel is so lesbian, so horny, and full of both interpersonal drama and ridiculous antics. I am delighted it’s a series starter and I can’t wait for the next volume.
“Mickey Monsoon is the hotshot pitcher for the Belle City Broads, and their team is poised to sweep the league this season. But Micky is thrown off their game when Astra Maxima shows up to catch for the Gaiety Gals, the Broads’ fiercest rival. Years ago Mickey and Astra were best friends . . . and maybe more. That was, until Astra unceremoniously dumped Mickey to become a softball wunderkind at a private girl’s school in Switzerland. Now, Astra is flirty, arrogant, and reckless on the field — everything the rule-abiding Mickey hates.
Astra thinks Mickey’s cute and wants to fool around, despite their rocky history and the trail of jilted softballers that Astra leaves in her wake. Too bad the only thing Mickey wants is vengeance for their broken heart and wounded pride! But even they have to admit — Astra is a certified babe. And that’s not all: Astra isn’t just a softball superstar, she’s a full-fledged magical girl.
The only way for Mickey to defeat Astra is to betray the Broads and join the Danger Dames, a secret elite team, and start dating Astra’s ex! OK, that last bit wasn’t part of the plan… Mickey’s rapidly getting in too deep, but are they just in trouble or are they actually in love?”