Queer Romance New & Recent Releases: July Edition

Hello again, romance reading peeps!

It’s another big month, so get your beverage of choice and settle in for some fantastic book browsing. As always, I’m confident there’s something here for every queer romance reader… but also there are SO many fantasy & paranormal romances! Apologies to the TBRs of people who love magic and supernatural creatures.


If you find any errors, please let me know so I can correct them. 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

An Idol With Luv by Piper J. Drake (Kobo Plus / Amazon / Goodreads)

Why I’m excited to list it: I’d been interested in this werewolf / pop star / rake sci-fi Why Choose romance because it seems like an over-the-top good time. Then I saw on social media there was queer rep! I’ve confirmed that all three MCs are queer. Thai American author.

Trouble can be fun, and fun can be a great way to recover from burnout.

Nirin is a lot of things – a human, who shapeshifts into a werewolf, who works as a mercenary – so she strives for a simple life. Complete the mission. Get paid. Survive. Avoid complications. But when an old friend calls in a favor and hires her to protect a brilliant intergalactic idol, she finds herself sharing guard duty with the rakish station engineer she swore she’d never get tangled up with again. She’s tempted beyond reason by each of them, and they’re quickly overriding any reasons not to choose the both of them.

Add in the discovery of a dead body in a place where all three of them are potential suspects, and this job is beyond complicated.”

In The Light of the Moon by Noelle Upton (Amazon/KU / Goodreads)

Why I’m excited to list it: This interracial paranormal romance is queer M/F. It only took me a few pages to really like Sylvie, the FMC, who is bi per the author on social media. Series starter (not reflected on Amazon yet) but each book will be a different romance. BIPOC author.

“Sylvie, a twenty-eight-year-old undergraduate student, has recently moved to Antler Pointe following the death of her father. She’s committed to finally finish her degree in English and to learn her family craft under the tutelage of her grandmother. One night, while closing up at her part-time job, Sylvie stumbles upon an injured man. After helping him on his feet, and watching him shuffle off into the night, Sylvie goes into her last year of college with an enthusiasm to finally set her life back on track. What she doesn’t expect, however, is to quite literally run into the man she helped, now fully healed. He’s curt and suspicious of her but is committed to settle the debt of her kindness.

Orion is a literature professor who has settled in his hometown after years of trying to find his place. After a disastrous attempt, Orion has resolved himself to live a quiet life on his family’s land with nature and books for companions. But once a witch with kind eyes saves him by caring for and generously gifting him with her smiles, he starts to hope that he may not need to remain alone.

However, there is something sinister happening in Antler Pointe, and while they’re eager to explore a peaceful life with one another, Sylvie and Orion are quickly swept up in a string of disappearances that culminates in a bloody showdown. In the Light of the Moon is a paranormal romance with a fall backdrop where witches and shifters meet, fight, and love. All under the light and shadows of a living forest that calls to both groups with very different songs.”

Becoming His Perfect Daddy by Lincoln Mercer (Amazon/KU / Goodreads)

Why I’m excited to list it: Debut by a trans guy author, this is an M/M romance between two trans men. Y’all, I was *feeling things* while reading the sample for this book, as Sam read the book referenced in the blurb below, and started on his journey. Despite Daddy/boy not being a draw for me personally, I’m looking forward to sitting down with this because Mercer really impressed me with just the sample.

A new trans Daddy. A boy who’s given up on love. When a moment changes everything, will they embrace who they truly are for an imperfectly perfect love?

When Sam reads his favorite author’s latest book, he discovers a truth about himself he can no longer deny: He is a trans man. Longing for connection, he gathers his courage and sends an email that will change his life forever.

Indie author Cameron can’t seem to write anything after his latest release. Maybe because he’s a romance author who’s sworn off love. But after a string of transphobic dates, who could blame him? Men can’t be trusted, after all. Only his dream guy — of whom he’s imagined every detail — would be the perfect man for him. But then a single email has him questioning everything he thought he knew.

As Sam transitions and their virtual relationship heats up, Sam realizes he may be ready for more. When they are thrown together in person — more than once — even Cameron starts to wonder if his perfect plan isn’t as great as he thought. But both are keeping secrets. When all is revealed, will their love be strong enough to hold them together?

Becoming His Perfect Daddy has an indie author ready to give up, a fan who just figured out he’s a Daddy, a transgender awakening, two trans MCs, a lot of fun toys, no age play, and a love that defies all the best-laid plans.

This 18+ standalone book is the first in the interconnected Unlikely Daddies series, MM and MM+ romances about Daddies who may not look like a Daddy at first and the boys who love them. If you love watching men fall in love with other men in explicit detail, you’ll love this book.”

Tempered in Ash by Willo Glen (Amazon/KU / Goodreads)

Why I’m excited to list it: I saw this fantasy series starter recommended by a couple of fantasy romance authors who have written books I enjoy. Started reading and WOW. Since this is a series starter following the same character(s), I don’t know if the sapphic romance subplot (referenced by the author & recommenders on social media) will have an HEA/HFN at book end or series end, but if you’re a fantasy romance fan do check this out.

“On the eastern edge of the continent of Eolis sits a small town named Eldryss, where life is intentionally slow and simple. When Eldryss is wracked by a plague that crept slowly over the horizon, its people are completely annihilated, except for one — the fifteen-year-old daughter of the town’s only tavernkeeper.

Forced to flee north on her own for survival, Ilde arrives in the city of Isonwood battered, tired, and barely suppressing the trauma she endured at the hands of unknown forces. She finds solace in the repurposed temple of the forgotten god, Mersari, and seeks shelter with the city’s most notorious mercenary. With a faith founded through scorn and strength earned through years of practice, Ilde grows up and leaves Eldryss and its darkness behind.

Seven years later, Ilde has learned how to swing a blade, but the need for vengeance still sits in the back of her mind. With the help of an unexpected ally, Ilde begins searching for answers. But when word reaches Isonwood about another city being annihilated, Ilde digs deep into her faith and sets out on a quest to discover what happened to Mersari, who is responsible for the death of her people, and why she is the only one left.”

100 Miles Until I Love You by Austin Moon (Amazon/KU / Goodreads)

Why I’m excited to list it: I always adore the combo of friendly-to-everybody guy with standoffish seemingly-arrogant guy! This seems very cute so far. Author’s pronouns are they/them.

What’s harder than cycling hundreds of miles down the west coast? Doing it with the annoyingly hot guy who hates your guts.

Cal is excited to go on a two-week cycling trip with his best friends. He doesn’t want, he needs the relaxation in order to kill his artist’s block—he has a new show coming up and he’s nowhere near finished.

However, things get complicated when one of his best friends brings her standoffish brother Nate along for the ride without telling him. Which would be fine if the guy wasn’t a total pretentious jerk. Nate made sure to let Cal know that even though they are both gay they are not the same.

Sharing a tent with this guy every night is torture…until it isn’t. Turns out getting the prick to smile does something to Cal he can’t explain. Nate might just be exactly what Cal is looking for, whether he knows it yet or not.

Only 856 more miles to go. Can Cal and Nate make it to their destination without killing each other first?

Get ready for a swoon-worthy road trip story that features enemies to lovers, only one bed, best friend’s brother, a secret romance, and a vacation fling. From the meet-cute to the happily ever after 100 Miles Until I Love You crafts a charming romance you won’t want to miss.

100 Miles Until I Love You is a m/m enemies-to-lovers romance that contains low spice and a HEA.”

Isle of No’Man by Martin J Dixon (Amazon/KU / Goodreads)

Why I’m excited to list it: This M/M romcom is adorable so far. Love triangle-y though I’d expect it ends monogamously. Fat gay main character written by a fat gay author.

“Heartbroken, stand-up comic George decides to escape from an emotionally chaotic London and runs away to the Isle of No’Man, swearing off all men…except for a stranger with movie-star good looks and a sexy seaman. Not a good start.

George is an unashamedly fat, effeminate gay man desperately trying to find his path back to happiness. He throws himself into this new adventure, immersing himself in managing the island café, whilst trying to win over the locals and juggling some outdoorsy hunks. But it’s not long before problems from his deeply entangled past find their way across the sea. Unexpected love reaches out to find a vulnerable George, but will his shattered heart be ready to receive it?

His story will help you believe in love again. Or at least enjoy the failings of a dramatic comedian-cum-barista along the way, who has no idea what he’s doing.”

Where Willows Weep by Luna Fiore (Kobo Plus / Amazon / Goodreads)

Why I’m excited to list it: Sapphic horror romance. I may too scaredy-cat for this but dangit after reading the sample I’m gonna give it my best shot!

If these walls could talk…

Years ago, Jess ran away from her small Southern town and vowed to never return. But when her mother needs a caretaker, Jess is forced back into her childhood home with its rotting floors and growing stains. Reconnecting with her high school sweetheart, Sam, is the bright spot as Jess is haunted by disembodied cries, malicious shadows, and sleepwalking episodes. Will she survive the specters that haunt her home or will the house drown her in its secrets?”

The Pull of the Tide (Amazon / Goodreads)

Why I’m excited to list it: Sapphic MERMAID romance anthology, whee!

“Mermaids, sea witches, selkies, ahoy! Dive into ten tales of sapphic romantasy.

Separated by land and sea, two lovers ache with yearning. Can a human and a mermaid really make a life together? Elsewhere, a selkie despairs, trapped in an arranged marriage, only for her fated heart mate to pull her in with a sweet song. Across the sea, two pirate lovers-turned-sworn-enemies must work together against a foe trying to steal a goddess’s power. On a seductive island, a swordfish shifter and a human crash together and come apart. Can they piece together their shattered supernatural connection?

This gender and identity-inclusive sapphic collection features ten pearl-sized ocean-themed stories of love and adventure on the high seas.

Stories by SD Simper, Elliot Ason, Ali Williams, Aoibh Wood, Theresa Tyree, Erin Branch, Rosemarie Dillon, Erin Casey, Julie Brydon, and Evelyn Shine”

Heartwaves by Anita Kelly (Kobo Plus / Amazon / Goodreads)

Why I’m excited to list it: I’ve been looking forward to this so I can fictionally indulge my dreams of living near the water and opening a bookstore. Middle-aged MCs, both are non-binary and/or gender non-conforming. Kelly’s pronouns are they/them.

“Mae Kellerman is content. After forty years of ups and downs, she has a meaningful job at a queer community center in Portland, Oregon. She has an apartment full of plants, a ride-or-die group of friends.

Until the day her best friend actually does up and die. Leaving Mae with a hole in her heart — and a shocking amount of money.

But before she can think about that, she has to throw his perfect death party, followed by spreading his ashes on the Oregon Coast. It’s there that she stumbles upon an empty storefront for sale in the tiny whale-watching town of Greyfin Bay. Overnight, an old dream resurfaces…and Mae’s newfound inheritance could make it possible.

If only Dell McCleary didn’t stand in her way.

Dell only sells property to the folks actually invested in the best interests of Greyfin Bay. Not some Portlander with pink hair who breezes in on a whim. A Portlander who, irritatingly, refuses to take no for an answer.

As Mae upends her life for the pursuit of opening a queer-owned bookstore in a conservative coastal town, she and Dell are forced to work together, navigating prejudices and past traumas along the way. But as opening day of Bay Books grows nearer, Mae’s heart grows increasingly tangled with her landlord’s — even if his own heart might already belong to someone else.

Heartwaves is a contemporary queer romance that explores the risks and rewards of life in any landscape, and the freedom to lift the limitations we put on love.”

One and Done by Frederick Smith (Bold Strokes Books / Amazon / Goodreads)

Why I’m excited to list it: Black M/M romance by a Black gay male author. Smith is a treasure and I’m always glad to see another of his books come out.

(Ebooks from Bold Strokes are pricey, but they’re almost always available on Libby/Overdrive, so ask your library! For many libraries, the “Notify Me” tag in Libby doesn’t count as an ask, so I’d recommend asking directly.)

“One night of passion and possibly one more chance at love…

Determined, motivated, goal-driven, and eternally single, Dr. Taylor James is an accomplished university administrator in San Francisco determined to get his campus successfully through an upcoming accreditation process. The process could set him up for his ultimate career goal–to be one of the only Black and openly queer university presidents in the US. Taylor gives himself just one day a week to have fun and let loose with friends–a one and done Sunday Funday brunch in the Castro District.

Dustin McMillan is a consultant and project manager who reluctantly returns to the Bay Area, his hometown, for an assignment. The first in his family to finish college, earn a healthy six-figure income, and have choice and agency in his life’s direction, Dustin is fearful that returning home could mean falling back into roles that he’d thought he’d resolved by moving miles away…and equally fearful of falling back into bed with one sexy and toxic ex-boyfriend who still lingers in his memories.

One chance encounter. One night of passion. Will Taylor and Dustin leave it at one and done?”

Act Two by Rochelle Wolf (Amazon / Goodreads)

Why I’m excited to list it: The pretty cover for this sapphic romance caught my eye, I am very pro-novella, and Gabriella seems really sweet. I’m rooting for her already.

Sometimes love is worth rewriting — is it time to move their love from the wings and onto center stage?

Gabriella Adams has done her best to forget it all.

It’s been a year since her whirlwind situationship with Jenna Daniels — the theater actor that managed to sneak backstage into her heart — ended and she’s ready to move on. Gabriella refuses to linger on lost feelings for an old flame and is set on making the most of her newfound singleness…and she’s been doing amazing, thank you very much.

But when Jenna shows up unexpectedly hoping to be friends again, it throws Gabriella for a loop. She wasn’t expecting an encore on their relationship and as old feelings resurface, Gabriella has to decide whether there was a deeper reason for their split, or if it was distance and the wall she’s always had around her heart that drove them apart. Are they ready for their next Act to begin?

Act Two is a standalone, 20,000-word novella, sapphic second chance romance featuring a Toronto setting, theater nerdiness, and a guaranteed HEA!”

To Love You In The Light of Other Stars by Nabeel Mohammed (Amazon/KU / Goodreads)

Why I’m excited to list it: Bring me all the sapphic sci-fi! What I’ve read so far is making my queer-romance-in-SPACE-loving self so happy. Trinidadian author.

“Dr. Rebecca Zaidi is a brand new astro-navigation expert and she’s off on her first voyage, sailing the stars on a merchant vessel. She wanted her first trip to be fun, exciting and full of new experiences. What she didn’t count on was a journey fraught with political intruige, subterfuge and most of all, romance. Especially with another woman!

Ainsley Woodhams is a gruff and gritty ship’s engineer. She would love to be left alone to tinker with her machines and read the books she’s collected from all over the galaxy. She didn’t expect that a new crew member would crash into her quiet life and open her heart in ways she never thought possible. When a mysterious alien comes between these two women with warnings about a deep space magic and a war that could tear the universe apart, Rebecca and Ainsley will have to make very hard choices.

Where will love take them next?”

What’s a Devil To Do? by Yolande Kleinn (Kobo Plus / Amazon / Goodreads)

Why I’m excited to list it: When I think of authors who excel at putting just the right amount of story into a short work, I think of Kleinn. I’ve enjoyed so many of her short stories, both sci-fi and contemporary, and this paranormal looks to be no exception. Ace nonbinary MC, ace author.

“Even if Harper had realized demons are real, they never would’ve anticipated meeting one at a stuffy business conference. Now they’re face-to-face with a flustered succubus, who says her name is Tria and wants to know why Harper can see her true form. Posed with such a quandary, what’s an asexual enby to do?”

My Boyfriend Got Bit by X. Everett (Amazon/KU / Goodreads)

Why I’m excited to list it: The title of this M/M/M vampire romance makes me laugh in a good way, and the chatty, confessional first person voice of the narration is entertaining. It’s a series starter and the series will follow the same characters. Gay male author.

My name’s Eli, and I’m dating a vampire. Actually, two of them.

When my boyfriend and I decided to spice up our relationship by adding in a third, I didn’t expect to be dating the undead. Or am I just overthinking things?

Life is good: I’m a successful paranormal romance novelist, I have an amazing boyfriend named Rigg—and we also have the hots for his best friend and colleague, the mysterious yet charming Alek. But where’s the handbook on opening up your relationship to a vampire?

Don’t get me wrong — my line of work has me more skeptical than most, but there’s something about this muscular, fair-skinned stud that I can’t figure out. To top it off, Rigg is acting different. I’m talking ‘ice cold hands and suddenly sensitive to the sun’ different. But he’s never made love to me so voraciously in my life. And here I thought I had stamina.

You can imagine my surprise — and excitement — when Rigg invites me away to Alek’s cabin for the weekend. What’s this little secret my boyfriend is keeping from me? Why do I feel so much sexual tension between us all? All I know is that I’m hoping blood still rushes to all the right places when you’re a vampire.

My Boyfriend Got Bit: And Vampire Makes Three Book #1 is a 20k word steamy/spicy gay paranormal romance novella featuring a happy ever after and themes such as M/M/M (menage), high steam, and dom/sub dynamics.”

Caretaking Love by Chloe Keto (Amazon/KU / Goodreads)

Why I’m excited to list it: Yay butch-femme sapphic romance! I also really like starting a romance with a teacher MC and it’s clear she loves her job. Trans woman author.

“Vic Davies is very happy as Sandford Secondary Academy’s Site Manager. She’s well known around Birmingham to be good with her hands – both in her job and at Tulips, her favourite local nightclub. She loves helping others – but something is missing.

Redhead English teacher Georgia Smith-Ashfield doesn’t need anyone. She’s laser focussed on her career and has a life plan with her fictional dream woman – straight haired, suit-wearing, professional Veronica.

What happens when a mistake by a confident butch Site Manager ignites a lust that the career focussed English teacher didn’t know she held? Will the fiery literary fan’s pride get the better of her or will she recognise in time that her career and cat need some company to complete her personal literary tale?

Sometimes love works best complemented by tools, paint and plenty of books… See for yourself whether the sparks are due to dodgy building wiring or Georgia and Vic’s chemistry…

Dandelion by Merlina Garance (Amazon/KU / Goodreads)

Why I’m excited to list it: Any historical queer romance in an unusual time period is going to catch my eye, and y’all know I love older MCs in queer romance, so I was absolutely going to check out this 70s-set novel. Also, I love angst, and wow, yeah, Bill is Going Though Some Things. Very pleased so far and looking forward to continuing this read. Bi rep, autistic rep (undiagnosed), queer disabled author.

“1973 – At 53 years old, Bill, hadn’t expected to run into Bobby when he signed up for that medical convention in Houston. Fair to say they didn’t exactly part on good terms last time.

Twenty years later, is Bill ready to finally admit his feelings, his sexuality, and to gather his courage to conquer his old lover and friend once more?

A second chance romance with flashbacks to young love, addressing the struggles of coming out in an unwelcoming environment and building the life you really want.”

Show Me Your Teeth by Amy Marsden (Amazon/KU / Goodreads)

Why I’m excited to list it: The covers for this bloody sapphic vampire romance series just keep getting better! This is the second book & the series follows the same couple, so you need to back up and read We’re All Monsters Here (Amazon / Goodreads) if you haven’t yet.

Here’s the blurb for that first book:

“When Anna is invited to a secluded retreat full of selfish, greedy humans, of course she doesn’t say no. Not only did she manipulate the CEO of the world’s largest oil corporation, Peter Beyer, into organising the four-day getaway in the first place, but no self-respecting vampire would ever turn down such easy prey. Her weekend gets even better when she meets Saira, one of Peter Beyer’s employees, and they begin a whirlwind affair. Blood and beautiful women are Anna’s idea of a great time.

She should have known it was too good to be true.

Hunters are dangerous, deadly, and dedicated to eradicating vampires. When a group of them turn up at the retreat, Anna must use her centuries of experience to escape their ever-closing net. Will she get out unscathed, or will they finally catch up to her? Will she give into her intense and unexpected feelings for Saira, or will she leave her to burn as she destroys all evidence she was ever there?

A fresh twist on urban fantasy, with an added splash of sapphic romance.”

The Case of Armando by Leo Sparx (Amazon/KU / Goodreads)

Why I’m excited to list it: Sparx is doing such interesting things with his M/M erotic romances inspired by classic literature. This erotic romance x mystery series starter has great character voice and feels like a good jumping-on point to his work.

“For readers who enjoy a dark and mysterious plot with their sexy books, Leo Sparx presents the first installment of this kinky m/m (m/m/m) series inspired by the Edgar Allan Poe stories, ‘The Murders in the Rue Morgue’ and ‘The Cask of Amontillado.’

At the start of this queer erotic romance, a body is found chained to a wall in a world-famous gay resort. A heartbroken ex-theatre kid turned forensic scientist and an eccentric private detective form an unlikely team to investigate. Through hidden sex mazes, strange drag shows, and forbidden water features, the duo abandons the safety of the morgue, concealing their identities and losing their clothes on the way.

Pulled to the darkness beyond the main area of The Masquerade by his strong sexual appetite, the scientist runs into his ex-boyfriend — and things get really complicated. Meanwhile, he suspects his new strange but sexy investigator friend is hiding more than just his intentions. Rumors abound about a case of small bottles containing the best party favor ever made as a second body is discovered.

The duo ventures deeper to find out who or what is killing the men at The Masquerade. BDSM scenes gone wrong? Accidental overdose? Or is there a serial killer on the loose in the resort? Whatever is killing guests at the massive club, these men seeking the truth begin to suspect they’re next.

It’s Edgar Allan Poe with a queer kinky twist!”

Blame It On The Stars by Elle Bennett (Amazon / Goodreads)

Why I’m excited to list it: New adult queer M/F (she’s bi) that’s already won me in two ways. First, top-notch meet-cute banter, A+, no notes. Second, acknowledgement that part of bisexual culture is not being able to sit in a chair the way its designer intended.

“When Marie Samuels was five years old, she made a wish on a star. Ever since then, all her best friends leave her the moment she gets too close to them. At twenty years old, her best friend has moved across the country, and she’s once again broken hearted. Clearly, the stars are to blame.

The day Alex Kim walks into her life, she decides that she’ll keep him at arms length – no way will this cute, friendly guy get into her heart. Except that he really is very handsome. And funny. And kind. And he already lives seven hundred miles away, so there’s no way he could even become her best friend, let alone the love of her life. No way the stars can mess things up for her this time around.

At least, she hopes that’s the case.”

Under the Dragon Moon by Mawce Hanlin (Amazon/KU / Goodreads)

Why I’m excited to list it: Magical detective! I was absolutely hooked by this so fast. M/M romance with a trans MC. Queer neurodivergent author, Hanlin’s pronouns are they/them.

To break the thread of weaver’s fate, those who witness must weave anew…

Mael Nguyen doesn’t believe in fate, but he does believe in magic. His entire life revolves around the study of the arcane — spells and rituals, potions and illusions. As far as Mael is concerned, all he needs is a book in one hand and magic in the other. Anything outside of his bookshop, hidden away in the streets of New Orleans, isn’t worth his attention. But when a strange human stumbles into his life and hires him for a job, bringing along his blinding smile and curious magic, Mael finds that Fate is just as dangerous as Magic.

Leo Greyson refuses to believe in fate, but he desperately wishes to believe in magic. As a small time rockstar, full time radio host, Leo has never been one to shy away from experience and adventure. He’s always lived his life on the edge — always moving, never standing still. But when his twin sister is murdered, and he gains custody of her strangely magical daughter, that constant motion comes to a screeching halt. Instead, he is launched into an entirely new world hidden right beneath his nose, and Leo finds himself wondering if Fate really does exist, and if she’s led him right where he needs to be.

A queer take on magic, murder, and romance, fans of The Dresden Files, Howl’s Moving Castle, and A Marvelous Light will find family, acceptance, and a fantastical new world to get lost in within the pages of Under the Dragon Moon, the first book in the Belamour Archives.”

This Eclipsed Crown by Lina C. Amarego (Amazon/KU / Goodreads)

Why I’m excited to list it: How do so many fantasy romances keep grabbing me?? I am a scifi girl! Anyway, I confirmed with the author, who was lovely to chat with, that this dark epic fantasy is also queer polyam romance with sapphic and pan rep. I wouldn’t expect HEA/HFN until series end. Chronic illness rep. Queer author.

“Three hearts. Two Kingdoms. One dark vow.

NO ONE TOLD Thera of Erebus how heavy her late father’s crown would be. But the newly appointed Shadow King feels its weight as she fights a war on two sides; against the Shadowborne, the vicious race of monsters terrorizing her people – and the vast, resourceful Luxian Empire. To end the bloodshed, the former ‘soul eater’ lays down her sword and forges a deal, offering to marry the Prince of Lux and settle the ages-long conflict once and for all – as long as she can keep her dark, shadowed past a secret.

No one told Prince Caelum Borealis how to lead. Cast in his father’s long, impressive shadow, he has lived his days studying the texts of his people without ever seeing the action, his illness keeping him caged in his own body. But when the new King of Erebus offers him a proposition – his hand in marriage for the promise of her dark power — Caelum has the opportunity to carve his own name into the history books and finally make his late mother proud.

No one told Aurora Bellatore the true price of a life. Since she swore her oath as the youngest Captain of the Guard in Luxian history, she would gladly give her life for the kingdom of Lux – and for her beloved Prince Caelum. But when tasked to discreetly kill the new King of Erebus, she must decide which she’d rather sacrifice; her position, or her honor.

As Kingdoms eclipse and bonds shatter, as truths come to light and betrayals are exposed, Thera, Aurora, and Caelum must make the choice to either fill the roles they’ve been given, or to let their hearts lead; and risk breaking them.”

Duty of the Winter Wolf by Arizona Tape (Kobo Plus / Amazon / Goodreads)

Why I’m excited to list it: I already want all the good things for Akira, the MC. Per the author’s website, the pairing is “F/F, with an M/F love triangle.” Asian author.

“After twenty years of being an outcast in her Wolf Clan, Akira finds herself chosen for the greatest honour possible. She’s to become a Guardian Wolf. Suspiciously, a sacred relic needed to complete the ritual has gone missing.

Suddenly it’s her duty to retrieve it. Alone.

When she sets off on her journey across continent, she couldn’t be less prepared for the perilous and traitorous nature of her quest. An odd group of lone wolves quickly take her in and one of them even claims to be her fated mate, but can they really be trusted?

Akira will have to find out the hard way.

Duty Of The Winter Wolf is the first book in the Guardian Of The Winter Stone series and is an epic fantasy with romance, wolf shifters, and fated mates. It has themes of found family, redemption, and a romantic plot where Akira must choose between her enchanting true mate and a growly alpha wolf.”

Cleats, Corsets, and The Cutie by Ashish Rastogi (Kobo Plus / Amazon / Goodreads)

Why I’m excited to list it: Just look at that cover. Look at it. Drag queen + cooking + sports M/M romance by a male author, and if you can find another book with that trifecta, let me know. M/M romance by a BIPOC male author.

“One football star, one drag queen, and a pansexual. Eliot’s closet is crowded. Living one life is tough. Living three!? Eliot craves acceptance. He wants to show the world his flamboyance. Most of all, he yearns for a love that accepts the different parts of his life.

The floodlights and the spotlights make him wary till he crosses paths with the Indian chef, Raghuvendra, with his ‘tutti-frutti’ English, who speaks in the third person. Six months is long enough to make goo-goo eyes from across the stage. Eliot needs to make a move on the cuddle-worthy bear.

But? What if he shows Raghu who he really is and all that he has worked for burns down? While his cleats and corsets are stored in the safety of different compartments of his life, Eliot must find a way to keep the cutie.

This is the second book in the Keely Brothers series. Though it is preferable to read them in order, each can be read as a stand-alone.”

Under Lock and Key by Sarah Zane (Amazon/KU / Goodreads)

Why I’m excited to list it: Because this is a short story and there’s a map and cute character art in the front matter (yay!), the sample only gives the first few paragraphs of the story. So since I don’t have KU at the moment, I can’t say much, but the writing style seemed perfectly lovely & the premise is intriguing.

A sapphic dark cozy fantasy romance retelling of the story of Bluebeard about a blue haired temptress innkeeper and the mysterious woman who wanders into her inn and falls for her charms.

Delphine has a deadly secret that she keeps safely locked away. Cursed to be a danger to anyone she falls in love with, she has done everything she could to protect herself and others by staying isolated at her inn in a cozy, forgotten corner of Somerset. She was lonely, but she was safe and content.

Until a gorgeous girl with her own dark secret wanders into her inn and into her life, and cursed or not, Delphine is determined to keep her.

One thing is for certain, at the Sapphire Siren Inn, some doors are better left unopened.

Bite Me Twice by J.S. Jasper (Amazon/KU / Goodreads)

Why I’m excited to list it: Sometimes you just gotta drink the blood of a guy who tries to steal a lady’s purse and stab her, am I right? Sapphic vampire romance, loving it so far.

“Scarlett spends her days in the shadows. Her whole life, really, but she doesn’t mind. All the best things happen in the dark. She likes to pick up women without the threat of eternal damnation, and she can walk through the park without being nervous. Though, to be fair, that might have more to do with her fangs and bloodsucking nature than anything else.

Either way, in hundreds of years, she hasn’t found anything that makes her want to step into the sunshine.

Not until her…”

The Curious Incident of the Great Cookie Snackcident of 979 by Kass O’Shire (Amazon/KU / Goodreads)

Why I’m excited to list it: This demi gal + nonbinary monster romance looks adorable so far. They bond over baked goods! And it’s framed as though written by a historian/storyteller, so there are fun worldbuilding footnotes. Love it when an author pushes on the usual format of a romance. Demi bi author.

“The Curious Incident of the Great Cookie Snackcident of 979 is a cozy, slower burn workplace romance with two MCs who connect over a shared passion for their calling. It features a demi heroine, a non-binary shadow monster, wooing with snacks, footnotes from an in world narrator, and shadow tentacle play!”

A Hex on Honeysuckle Lane by Caroline Laine (Amazon/KU / Goodreads)

Why I’m excited to list it: Sapphic paranormal mystery return-to-hometown romance, yesss. I already love Holly and how much she starts out despising Cricket haha.

“For five years, Holly Harkness has missed the smell of honeysuckle on the drive into Haven’s Hill. She’s missed her friends and family, and most of all, she’s missed the magic that permeates the whole community–even if coming home means contending with her legacy as the heir to one of the most powerful families in town.

There’s one person she hasn’t missed, though: her high school rival, Christine “Cricket” Long, the part-siren owner of local bar The Brew House. But when a hex puts all the magic in Haven’s Hill on the fritz, she finds herself teaming up with Cricket to crack the case.

Soon, though, their partnership takes a turn for the steamy, and Holly’s starting to wonder why she ever hated Cricket in the first place. Will their growing attraction to each other prove to be a distraction, or will it unlock the secrets and legacies lying beneath Havens Hill?”

Iguana You To Want Me by Meredith Spies (Kobo Plus / Amazon / Goodreads)

Why I’m excited to list it: The rescue iguana’s name is Gojira. How could I, a woman who is mid-way through a year-long Godzilla movie (re)watch project, NOT be excited about this book? But also, Vic is the sweetest and I already want him to be delightfully happy. The fact that this happiness will be with a librarian is a bonus.

“Vic Koudelka has a problem saying the word ‘no.’

Need three dozen cookies baked for a seven a.m. class party? He’s your guy. Dog walker quit at the last minute? He’ll wrangle your four rambunctious Golden Retrievers without complaint.

As the nanny for two high-energy kids, a volunteer at the shelter, and a skateboard instructor his days are filled juggling it all. Yet when he adopted a three-legged iguana named Gojira, his focus shifted. Now he’s determined to orchestrate a fundraiser to help the hard-to-place animals in the Gaynor Beach Animal Shelter.

Local librarian, Percy Reyes, thinks Vic is too much. Too eager. Too friendly. Too overextended. He does his best to ignore Vic and his young charges whenever they come into the library… until Vic gives him that wide, dimpled smile and Percy begins to rethink his no hookups with library patrons policy.

Percy only has himself, and his growing attraction to Vic, to blame when he agrees to help Vic with the fundraiser. Can the pair keep things strictly business? Or will Vic’s exuberant passion for life prove even more impressive in the bedroom?”

The Spellmaster of Tutting-On-Cress by Sarah Wallace (Kobo Plus / Amazon / Goodreads)

Why I’m excited to list it: Wallace’s M/M epistolary Letters to Half Moon Street was a *delight* so I’ve been looking forward to reading another romance in this series. This one is queer M/F; she’s demi and he’s pan. Author’s pronouns are she/they.

You can’t orchestrate true love…can you?

Spellmaster Geraldine Hartford has everything she could want — a successful spell shop and close friends and family — but she’s still waiting on her own swoon-worthy romance. Her friends think their matchmaking efforts are helping, but it’s the tall, handsome stranger in town who immediately catches Gerry’s eye.

Basil Thorne’s life has turned upside down. After his father’s death, he’s found himself uprooted from Bath to become the head of a family he barely knows. Overwhelmed by responsibilities, not to mention the clamor of Tutting-on-Cress locals wishing to befriend him — only the lovely spellmaster with a twinkling smile seems to soothe Basil’s heart.

And he’s not the only one who’s noticed…

Soon it seems as though everyone in Gerry and Basil’s lives is determined to match them up. But Gerry is waiting for the surefire spark of romance and Basil is waiting until his life settles down.

They may be perfect for each other, but it will take some meddling — and a bit of magic — to bring them together.”

Making the List by Aiden Murray (Amazon/KU / Goodreads)

Why I’m excited to list it: Last but not least, here’s an F/nonbinary romance for Christmas in July. It’s an extremely interesting twist on the mythology of the holiday, and I won’t say anything more to avoid spoilers. Genderqueer author.

“Christmas is the most magical time of year, a time to celebrate and spend with the ones you love, or at least it is for most people. Sam Christmas doesn’t believe in love or the magic of the holiday they unfortunately share a name with. All of it is a hoax, a money grab by big business everywhere.

Holley Daye not only believes in the spirit of Christmas but lives it every day. Owner of a small Christmas shop, she is surrounded by her favorite holiday year round. Her kind heart and giving spirit have her name written in permanent ink on the nice list.

Can a little push from fate and Holley’s infectious spirit ignite the magic within Sam and get them to open their heart to the holiday and perhaps love?

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 Phoenix Bride by Natasha Siegel (Amazon / Goodreads)

I loved this queer M/F historical about grief: Cecilia’s for her husband, David’s for his male best friend he was secretly in love with. Because of the main characters’ places in society, it’s a very slow burn, but they find their way through the seemingly impossible barriers between them. Really gorgeous.

“It is 1666, one year after plague has devastated England. Young widow Cecilia Thorowgood is a prisoner, trapped and isolated within her older sister’s cavernous London townhouse. At the mercy of a legion of doctors trying to cure her grief with their impatient scalpels, Cecilia shows no sign of improvement. Soon, her sister makes a decision born of desperation: She hires a new physician, someone known for more unusual methods. But he is a foreigner. A Jew. And despite his attempts to save Cecilia, he knows he cannot quell the storm of sorrow that rages inside her. There is no easy cure for melancholy.

David Mendes fled Portugal to seek a new life in London, where he could practice his faith openly and leave the past behind. Still reeling from the loss of his beloved friend and struggling with his religion and his past, David is free and safe in this foreign land but incapable of happiness. The security he has found in London threatens to disappear when he meets Cecilia, and he finds himself torn between his duty to medicine and the beating of his own heart. He is the only one who can see her pain; the glimmers of light she emits, even in her gloom, are enough to make him believe once more in love.

Facing seemingly insurmountable challenges, David and Cecilia must endure prejudice, heartbreak, and calamity before they can be together. The Great Fire is coming — and with the city in flames around them, love has never felt so impossible.”

Behind These Doors by Jude Lucens (Amazon/KU / Goodreads)

Let’s do another historical, shall we?

I re-read this M/M historical with M/M/F polyamory recently, and enjoyed it just as much as the first time. Set in 1906 London, the main love story is between Aubrey Fanshawe, second son of an earl, and Lucien Saxby, working-class journalist. If you’re a fan of historical romance that engages with feminism, class and power differences, political struggles, etc. then give this a try. I loved watching these two guys – and various other characters they’re involved with – work so hard to love each other, make mistakes & hurt people they care about, but apologize and work to do better. Lucens does an amazing job of having characters talk things out with each other, sometimes at length, while maintaining the character voices and the feeling of engaged conversation rather than people suddenly giving dramatic speeches.

“Lucien Saxby is a journalist, writing for the society pages. The Honourable Aubrey Fanshawe, second son of an earl, is Society. They have nothing in common, until a casual encounter leads to a crisis.

Aubrey isn’t looking for love. He already has it, in his long-term clandestine relationship with Lord and Lady Hernedale. And Lucien is the last man Aubrey should want. He’s a commoner, raised in service, socially unacceptable. Worse, he writes for a disreputable, gossip-hungry newspaper. Aubrey can’t afford to trust him when arrest and disgrace are just a breath away.

Lucien doesn’t trust nobs. Painful experience has taught him that working people simply don’t count to them. Years ago, he turned his back on a life of luxury so his future wouldn’t depend on an aristocrat’s whim. Now, thanks to Aubrey, he’s becoming entangled in the risky affairs of the upper classes, antagonising people who could destroy him with a word.

Aubrey and Lucien have too much to hide — and too much between them to ignore. Rejecting the strict rules and closed doors of Edwardian society might lead them both to ruin… but happiness and integrity alike demand it.”

Details possibly of interest to many people reading this: Lord Hernedale is somewhere on the asexual spectrum, which doesn’t bother his wife or Aubrey, but which sadly is a source of profound insecurity for him. Lucien has an ongoing sexual relationship with his friend Ben (from the excellent prequel short story Gutter Roses), a bisexual married working class man of color. Lucens is a disabled BIPOC author.

I originally also felt like Henrietta, Lady Hernedale, needed more narrative attention after a certain point in the plot, but then I saw an interview with Lucens indicating the next book in the series was planned to focus on her. Sadly, that has not come to fruition yet – I know Lucens had been dealing with health issues – but I remain hopeful and will welcome the book if it arrives.

Boyfriends by refrainbow (Amazon / Goodreads)

This college slice of life polyamorous webcomic collection is hilarious, adorable, and charming, with bi, gay, pan, and trans rep within the M/M/M/M polycule. Two volumes are out so far and I enjoyed them both.

(Many reviewers seem to have come to this expecting deep character arcs and narrative complexity… which this comic strip is not trying to do. Remember, friends, there are many different kinds of books in the world!)

“Jock, Goth, Nerd, and Prep are all juniors in college. But studying is the last thing on their minds as they are mainly interested in getting a boyfriend. Or multiple boyfriends.

The first two to couple up are Goth (cool and sexy) and Nerd (bubbly and flirty). As their budding relationship deepens, they can’t deny their chemistry with Goth’s other friends, Jock (sweet and easygoing) and Prep (sensitive and anxious). Nerd suggests they try something totally brand new to all of them: a polyamorous relationship. Everyone’s game to try, because they all agree the only thing better than one cute boyfriend… is three cute boyfriends!

But the transition isn’t so smooth, as Jock and Prep have issues of their own to settle, and all four need to learn how to make their new polycule work. Through navigating the adventures of dating life, the boyfriends come to understand themselves and each other in new and profound ways.”

Pardalita by Joana Estrela, translated by Lynn Miller-Lachmann (Amazon / Goodreads)

Lovely graphic novel + prose blend that’s about teen love and life, but feels very meditative / literary fiction to me, in a good way. I got this from the library, but then bought my own copy, because I know I’ll be coming back to it. Especially if you’re interested in different graphic novel formats, give this one a try if it looks interesting.

“16-year-old Raquel lives in a small town in Portugal, the kind of place where everyone knows everyone else’s business. Her parents are divorced and she’s just been suspended for cursing out a school aide asking about her father’s new marriage. She has two best friends, Luísa and Fred, but wants something more. Then, from afar, she sees Pardalita, a senior and a gifted artist who’s moving to Lisbon to study in the fall. The two girls get to know each other while working on a play. And Raquel falls in love.

Using a gorgeous blend of prose poems, illustrations, and graphic novel format, author and artist Joana Estrela captures the feeling of being a teenager in a way that feels gentle, joyful, and real.”

And that’s this month’s list! Happy reading!