Queer Romance New & Recent Releases: May Edition

Hi again everybody! Each month seems to have a cluster of books with something in common, such as dragons, polyamorous vampires, or Asian authors (that was awesome). This month I feel like sapphic SFF is throwing a party. But as always, there are plenty of other choices too, from contemporary ace romance to nonbinary historical to trans sci-fi. Happy reading!


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As always, if you find any errors, please let me know so I can correct them.

New and Recent Releases

Blue Billy’s Rogue Lexicon by David Lawrence (Amazon/KU / Goodreads)

Why I’m excited to list it: Historical gay romance that’s set in the Georgian era, instead of Regency. Self-pubished.

“By 18, William Dempsey had risen from a life of thieving and prostitution to be the personal plaything of the Marquess of Argyll. Then a bad decision sees him returned to the rough streets of London without patronage, his West End apartment, or a place among the ton.

So on a stormy night, he arrives at a house in Southwark. Marathon Moll’s in the Mint – the bawdyhouse he worked in during his ascent and where he earned the name Blue Billy. It is here, amidst the parties and antics of the house, that he meets Tom, a quiet, conflicted man. The attraction is immediate, and they take the first, tentative steps towards a better future with each other.

Then an ambitious young rogue arrives at the house. A man with the power to make Billy question everything he thinks he wants. For he is asking him to return to his past.

To the street language of vagabonds. The canting dialect of thieves.

To the schemes, and the dreams, of his youth.”

Discovering Home by Blake Allwood (Amazon/KU / Goodreads)

Why I’m excited to list it: M/M romance by a gay male author, and it’s low heat – which tbh I wish we saw more of in queer romance because I know there are readers out there who appreciate it. Self-published.

Choosing his self-respect over his inheritance leaves him adrift. Can the sexy wine grower be his foundation, or will everything be lost?

Matt’s late grandfather always supported him as an artist, but the inheritance and new vineyard he left for him came with a catch that throws everything into doubt. Life becomes even more complicated when he can’t stop thinking about Logan, the attractive wine grower his grandfather hired before he passed away.

Logan has always dreamed of making award-winning wines, so when a chance to take over and build a new winery falls into his lap, he grabs it. Unfortunately, his dreams seem to be dashed with the death of the winery owner. His life is upended, and his attraction to the late owner’s grandson just seems to make things worse.

As the two men navigate their way through family, social and legal challenges, will they be able to overcome all that’s stacked against them, or will everything they’re working for be lost?”

An Orc and a Gentleman by Moira Carn (Kobo Plus / Amazon / Goodreads)

Why I’m excited to list it: Queer M/F where the female MC is already in a queer polycule when she meets the male MC. Self-published.

“Lettie has everything she needs. A family made of her lovers and their child. A solid job working in a brothel with a steady clientèle, and side job at a bakery to fulfill her passion. But when a mysterious patron, Roarke, asks her to pose as his fiancé for a hefty amount of cash, Lettie doesn’t think twice about saying yes. Whisked away to Silver City for a week, Lettie finds herself blurring the lines between client and lover. Will she keep her distance and maintain her professional reputation? Or will she open her heart to the handsome Orc?”

Anomaly by Lizzie Anastasia (Amazon/KU / Goodreads)

Why I’m excited to list it: New adult sapphic dystopian sci-fi. Self-published.

“I wasn’t prepared for the rapturous rush that hits when a gorgeous girl with honey eyes steals my breath and my heart.

And nothing’s more dangerous in my world than emotions. Emotions make you a threat. The fact that I’m feeling them means I’m a danger to everyone close to me. To everyone in the entire Community. It was destructive passions that destroyed the world. I studied the same history books as everyone else. I should know how much safer we’ve been since they chipped us all to save us from volatile fervor of any and every kind.

Except… My chip has started glitching.

And while it’s true, I’m absolutely terrified by all the emotions suddenly blasting me like a tidal wave… there’s also… Well, I didn’t have a name for the feeling that welled up the first time I felt beauty. Joy.

…and love.

Because it turns out I’m not alone with my terrible secret. There are others. And my safe world is about to turn upside down. Now that I’ve felt these things, I can’t go back to the nothingness. I won’t go back. Not that I could anyway. Because did I forget to mention… I’ve sorta kinda also developed some super-powers. And I think it’s about time to tear this whole thing down.”

Death Enraptured by Richard Amos (Amazon/KU / Goodreads)

Why I’m excited to list it: The necromancer MC of this series *knits*. Queer author. Self-published.

Note: This is the second book in a series, which is best read in order.

Follow my heart and make a mess… That’s putting it mildly.

My life has really taken a complicated turn here in Oakthorne. I keep hoping some fairy godmother will show up and offer to turn back time for me. Not too much, just enough to ease this pain.

Yeah. Right.

As much as there’s hurt, there’s also Death. He is a complication, and a beautiful one I can’t resist when I really, really should. He consumes my every waking moment, submerges me in raging desire I never want to break free from.


On top of that messiness, there’s a mystery to solve, a bad guy to defeat, and other new developments within myself to deal with. So much to do. So much danger to face.

Where the hell is that fairy godmother?

Changing Spaces by Karmen Lee (Amazon/KU / Goodreads)

Why I’m excited to list it: Black sapphic romance by a Black author. Part of a multi-author series with a variety of queer rep. Self-published.

Unexpected changes are always difficult, but so is ignoring the delicious tension between Anisse and Star. A low-angst, small town, workplace lesbian romance.

Star has spent the past five years making Clover Hill’s Anisse & Clover Diner her home away from home. She’s turned her job there into a fulfilling career and has never felt more content. If her dating life is a little lackluster, well, that’s just how it’ll have to be. But when ownership of the diner changes hands from mother to daughter, Star finds herself scrambling to keep up…and to keep far away from the attractive woman who’s now at the helm.

Anisse moved back home to reconnect with her roots after too many years in the city, and she’s excited to bring the diner her family founded into the current decade. Unfortunately, she might have more to worry about than just reinventing the recipes she grew up with. Star, the gorgeous manager whose cooperation she needs to make the refreshed Anisse & Clover a success, hardly gives her the time of day.

But once Star and Anisse are pushed into sitting down together, their mutual attraction is undeniable. Going from coworkers to dating would be tricky, but neither of them wants to walk away from what might be the relationship they’ve always wanted.

Can these two women navigate their burgeoning connection, or will too many changes too fast leave both of them singed beyond repair?”

Reality Royal by Kristian Parker (Amazon/KU / Goodreads)

Why I’m excited to list it: M/M romance by a queer guy. Self-published.

“The Honourable Alexander Fitzwilliam has made a fool of himself again. His latest ‘business venture’ has tanked in the most public way possible and his stepmother, Cynthia, takes great pleasure in Alexander failing once more to impress his father, Earl Fitzwilliam.

Alexander dusts himself off and finds a new mountain to climb. This time as a reality TV star. Take that, Cynthia. As one of the players in Celebrity Blogger, he’s paired with the star of daytime TV soap Highland Fling, Zac Caton. To Alexander’s amazement, the self-assured forty-something Zac smashes straight through Alexander’s public façade and finds the sensitive man underneath. Finds and likes.

With a new career and a potential new man, Alexander is flying high. But family secrets on both sides threaten to derail him and Zac before they’ve barely started.

If he wants to find a lasting love, Alexander will have to do something he doesn’t do easily—trust.”

Stargun Messenger by Darby Harn (Amazon/KU / Goodreads)

Why I’m excited to list it: I adore a fucked-up spacer character, and this is sapphic to boot. I’ve started reading it and it’s making my geeky heart sing. Self-published.

Astra Idari must keep the last living star alive in a galaxy lost to shadows.

Astra Idari is a mess. She drinks too much, remembers too little, and barely pays for it all as a Stargun Messenger. She hunts down thieves who steal filamentium, the fuel that allows for faster-than-light travel. When Idari meets Gen Emera, she meets the girl of her dreams and the last living star. There’s just one problem.

Filamentium is only found in the blood of living stars.

Everyone wields knives and justifications for butchering the living stars, but once Idari knows the truth, she faces a stark choice. Either she turns Emera over to her employers who control the filamentium monopoly, or risks everything to help Emera fulfill her quest to save her people. The choice should be simple, but it’s not losing her life that terrifies Idari. It’s finally living. Idari knows she’s human despite outwardly appearing to be an android with a failing memory stitched together by her ship’s irascible AI, CR-UX. She’s been just getting by for longer than she remembers, assured in her humanity, but not enough to risk it.

Idari has lived her entire life in darkness. The dark comforts and shields. The dark preserves in its cold, and Idari may not be able to keep her star out of her shadow.”

GLITCH by Jackie D and Erin Zak (Amazon/KU / Goodreads)

Why I’m excited to list it: Y’all know I’m always down to try a sapphic sci-fi. I’ve started this and I’m enjoying it so far. Self-published.

“In the year 2287, the United States is no more. In its place stands Tekano, a utopian society that seems to have solved all the world’s problems. But as Amara Pierce, Secretary of History and daughter of the Tekano president, knows all too well, there are always secrets lurking beneath the surface of perfection.

Isa Adams, a Tekano Elite soldier, is the strongest and fastest in her unit. Her strength and skill are matched only by her stubbornness and the oversized chip on her shoulder. When the fate of Tekano is threatened by a group of rogue assassins fueled by their hatred for everything Tekano represents, Amara and Isa are brought together once again.

Their unforgettable romance was cut short by Isa’s need to protect Amara, but when the stakes are raised, they must work together to save their beloved Tekano. With the help of time travel, they set out to find the rogue assassins and stop them from halting the progress of the technology that has enabled the Earth to survive climate change.

As they face danger at every turn, Amara and Isa must confront their feelings for each other and decide if their love is strong enough to withstand the challenges that lie ahead.”

Necessary Repairs by Skye Kilaen… who is me! (Amazon/KU / Goodreads)

Bending my own newsletter rules a bit here because this short story is a reissue rather than a new release. It’s in KU from now until August-ish, and then it will be everywhere & in Kobo Plus if you’d rather wait for that! If you were on my old author newsletter, you may already have a copy lying around.

“Violet hasn’t seen her danger-loving business partner (and wife) Iona for months. They’re better off with at least two planets between them. But now a client’s offered them good money to retrieve an irreplaceable item from the man who stole it. Violet wants to say no, but their bank balance and ailing ship’s engine say yes.

It’s one day’s work and they’re both heavily armed. Surely they can get through one job together without breaking anything else?

A no-heat sapphic science fiction “marriage in trouble” romantic suspense short story that has an HFN with the promise of rebuilding.

The Scandalous Letters of V and J by Felicia Davin (Kobo Plus / Amazon / Goodreads)

Why I’m excited to list it: BECAUSE THIS NONBINARY ROMANCE IS FREAKING AWESOME! I know because I beta read it and I was like “Why do you even need someone to beta read this? Just publish it so I can tell people to buy it.” Seriously, I have been waiting for this book to come out FOREVER so I could tell y’all to read it.

“Paris, 1823. Victor Beauchêne has led a stifling existence, unrecognized for both his cleverness and his gender, except in the pages of his meticulous diary. Abruptly cut off from his family’s fortune, he takes the opportunity to start a new life in a shabby boarding house with his beloved spinster aunt Sophie. There, he stumbles upon two kinds of magic: a pen with eerie powers of persuasion and a reserved, alluring art student named Julien.

Brilliant, unconventional Julien is also Julie, a person whose magical paintings can transform their body or enchant viewers. Haunted by a terrible episode in their past, they’ve come to Paris for artistic success—the ordinary, non-magical kind. Victor, too handsome and far too inquisitive, is a dangerous distraction from their ambitions.

Drawn to each other, Victor and Julie strike up a cautious correspondence of notes slid under doors. It soon unfolds into a passionate romance. Outside the bedroom, their desires clash: Julie wants to distance herself from the world of magic and Victor wants to delve deeper. When the ruthless abuser from Julie’s past resurfaces, he aims to take control of her powers and ruin more lives. Victor and Julie are the only ones who can stop him. Do they trust each other enough to survive the threat to their love and their lives?

The Scandalous Letters of V and J is a historical fantasy romance with two nonbinary main characters, told primarily in letters and diary entries.”

The Accidental Bride by Jane Walsh (Buy direct from Bold Strokes Books / Amazon / Goodreads)

Why I’m excited to list it: I am weak for historical sapphics, and this cover is gorgeous. Small press.

“Miss Grace Linfield has resigned herself to life as a lady’s companion as the only path to respectable security. At least it allows her to visit the beautiful seaside town of Inverley with her charge, Lady Edith. Passions flare when botanist Miss Thea Martin whirls into town –and into Grace’s bed for a scandalous night of passion.

Disaster looms when Lady Edith elopes with Thea’s brother. Prim-and-proper Grace and wildly outrageous Thea each wish it was anyone else by their side as they race after them to Gretna Green. In the midst of attempting to stop a wedding that will incur the wrath of both their families, they discover their passion for each other is too strong to resist.

A chance at a real relationship was the last thing either of them expected. When Grace and Thea return from Scotland, will the honeymoon be over? Or will love finally be in full bloom?”

A Long Time Dead by Samara Breger (Buy direct from Bywater Books / Kobo Plus / Amazon / Goodreads)

Why I’m excited to list it: Sapphic vampires. Gorgeous freakin’ cover. Queer Jewish author. Small press.

Somewhere foggy, 1837…

Poppy had always loved the night, which is why it wasn’t too much of a bother to wake one evening in an unfamiliar home far from London, weak and confused and plagued with a terrible thirst for blood, to learn that she could no longer step out into the day. And while vampirism presented several disadvantages, it more than made up for those in its benefits: immortality, a body that could run at speed for hours without tiring, the thrill of becoming a predator, the thing that pulls rabbits from bushes and tears through their fur and flesh with the sharp point of a white fang.

And, of course, Roisin. The mysterious woman who has lived for centuries, who held Poppy through her painful transformation, and who, for some reason, is now teaching her how to adjust to her new, endless life. A tight, lonely, buttoned-up woman, with kindness and care pressed up behind her teeth. The time they spend together is as transformative to Poppy as the changes in her body, and soon, she finds herself hopelessly, overwhelmingly attached. But Roisin has secrets of her own, and can’t make any promises; not when vengeance must be served.

Soon, their little world explodes. Together and apart, they encounter scores of vampires, shifty pirates, conniving opera singers, ancient nobles, glamorous French women, and a found family that throws a very particular sort of party. But overhead, threat looms—one woman who is capable of destroying everything Poppy and Roisin hold dear.”

Stubbed Toes and Dating Woes by Dahlia Donovan (Amazon / Goodreads)

Why I’m excited to list it: Ace and autistic MC. Ace and autistic author. Self-published.

“Niclas Ruiz loves digging in the dirt for ancient artifacts. He’s obsessed with old words and lives in his own world. His summers are often spent traveling to new places to hunt for treasure with his trusty metal detector while trying not to get lost or stumble off a cliff.

Love has never been high on his priority list. His being autistic and asexual has often been a hurdle for other people. But he’s happy enough to plod along on his own with his horde like a fairy-tale dragon.

But sometimes, he allows himself to dream about a man out of his reach.

Two things about Falk “Grizz” Evensen are certain. He runs a successful security firm and has been hopelessly in love with his best friend’s younger brother for many years. Neither of them has ever dared to test the waters.

When Niclas plans to visit Cornwall for the summer, his older brother convinces Falk to join him under the auspices of keeping him safe.

Is this May-December romance doomed to be derailed by fears of unrequited love?

Will their treasure hunt lead them to true love or fool’s gold?”

Second Chance With the Demon by Chace Verity (Amazon/KU / Goodreads)

Why I’m excited to list it: Sapphic demon romance! Part of a series with a mix of queer pairings. I’ve started reading this and I’m already empathizing a lot with Crystal, as a former tech employee myself. Self-published.

“Crystal Barefield loves developing romance-focused video games at FlirtHoney, but her office is a trash fire of misogynistic coworkers and crunchy deadlines. In order to survive the toxic environment, she has to keep to herself and refrain from showing emotions. Her isolating lifestyle has worked fine for years, but everything crumbles when she reunites with the demon she wanted to forget.

It’s been eighteen years since Crystal last saw her demon ex-girlfriend. Meena still has a voracious appetite for food, fire, flirting, and making sure Crystal’s happy. Being with the demon again reminds Crystal of all the stuff she was missing in life, but she can’t give up her dreams of making games—and she can’t forget the way Meena disappeared so suddenly all those years ago.

When FlirtHoney’s CEO introduces a new direction for the company, Crystal’s career is at risk of going up in flames. Between an assignment that goes against her ethics and a charming fire demon melting her icy exterior, unwanted paths start to emerge. If Crystal doesn’t find the route that will lead to her happy ending, it’s game over for her dreams.”

Of Tides and Snow by Darva Green (Amazon/KU / Goodreads)

Why I’m excited to list it: I know many of y’all love a retelling so I love bringing them to you! And I’m looking forward to trying this out. Self-published.

A runaway priestess. A pirate with a deadly curse upon her heart. Will they be able to save each other before the hourglass runs out in this steamy, sapphic Snow White retelling?

I’ve spent my whole life preparing for one moment, but on the night I’m supposed to commit myself to the Moon Coven, a murder attempt has me fleeing the safety of the only home I’ve ever known. I run straight past the safe cottage in the woods and right into the arms of a most unlikely hero—a ruthless pirate captain. As I board The Ruined Soul, I can’t be sure if I’m a passenger or a captive, but as the tides grow more dangerous, I begin to suspect there’s more to the cold-hearted captain than meets the eye.
And my magic just might be the thing to help her thaw out.

The wall of ice I keep between myself and everyone else is meant to protect my cursed heart. No one can get too close to me.
But my walls start to crumble when a runaway priestess stumbles onto my boat and into my life. I only need to remind myself that she’s a bag of gold to be protected at all costs and nothing else—I won’t give in to the temptation to risk my soul for a taste of her. With my crew of misfit pirates, we’ll make it across a sea full of monsters and get her to safety, so we can claim our sweet reward.”

It Spells Trouble by Andy Gallo (Amazon/KU / Goodreads)

Why I’m excited to list it: GRYPHONS. And I am so delighted by the concept of a PhD in pediatric shifter social work. M/M romance by a gay male author. I have started the first book in the series and I am really enjoying it. Self-published.

Note: This is the second book in a series, and the author says it’s probably better to read them in order.

“Mage Jannick Pederson thought it was a simple assignment: help the gryphon leader find some missing human children and then go home. A noble cause, even if he didn’t much like the abrasive jerk. So why didn’t someone tell him he’d be working closely with the leader’s son instead? That hot piece of perfection could make even happily-single Jannick give up his no-strings-attached ways.

Gryphon shifter Conall Arwan has simple goals for his life: get his PhD in pediatric shifter social work and stay off the radar of his disapproving father. When his father orders him to work with a hot but arrogant mage to find missing human kids, all Conall sees is how it pushes back his graduation date. Again. And even if the mage unexpectedly turns out to be not so bad — and maybe even a little sweet — there’s still no future for them. Conall’s dad has plans for him and they don’t include getting involved with a sexy, infuriating mage.

But fate has other ideas.”

My Recent Reads and Recommendations

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.

Redshift by R.M. Olson (Amazon/KU / Goodreads)

First contact sci-fi with plenty of queer characters, where political conspiracies and deadly creatures abound. My geek girl heart couldn’t be happier with this series as I start Book 3. Nonbinary author.

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.”

The Last Girl Scout by Natalie Ironside (Buy direct from the author / Amazon / Goodreads)

Sapphic post-apocalypse with two trans women leads, by a trans woman. I loved the hell out of this debut novel in large part because of something that a few other reviewers have disliked: the dialogue. There are stretches where Ironside isn’t using dialogue to mimic an actual human conversation. She’s using it to lavish the female characters (trans and otherwise) with what they genuinely need: to share their story with someone who is truly listening, or to hear what they desperately need to hear from someone who really cares about their healing. I thought it was a wonderful example of how not all art has to follow the exact same form.

Also, at 566 pages with two distinct story arcs, you basically get two books in one, and there’s a lot of punching Nazis in both. Win.

CW: Extensive discussions of sexual trauma and other violence, during the healing process.

“The past lies like a nightmare over the world.

Two hundred years after the War when atomic fire rained from the skies and burned the world to cinders, human civilization has had time to rebuild within the burned-out husk of Old America. But the old terrors of the past still persist, and while some work to build a better world, others still dream of reclaiming the glory of the Old World.

In southern Appalachia, political commissar Magnolia Blackadder is sent on a mission into the irradiated Exclusion Zone of Old DC, where an evil that humanity thought it had vanquished centuries ago is waking up and rebuilding its strength. Along the way, she meets a strange woman with terrible secrets and an unspeakable past, and as they forge a bond and brave the terrors of the wasteland together, she learns that some demons are not so easily exorcised, and that some stones are better left unturned.”

Ander and Santi Were Here by jonny garza villa (Amazon / Goodreads)

I felt this as New Adult romance with a nonbinary MC; others might feel it more as YA. In either case, this isn’t a recent read for me because I was lucky enough to beta read a draft, but it came out earlier this month and it’s wonderful.

Finding home. Falling in love. Fighting to belong.

The Santos Vista neighborhood of San Antonio, Texas, is all Ander Lopez has ever known. The smell of pan dulce. The mixture of Spanish and English filling the streets. And, especially their job at their family’s taquería. It’s the place that has inspired Ander as a muralist, and, as they get ready to leave for art school, it’s all of these things that give them hesitancy. That give them the thought, are they ready to leave it all behind?

To keep Ander from becoming complacent during their gap year, their family ‘fires’ them so they can transition from restaurant life to focusing on their murals and prepare for college. That is, until they meet Santiago Garcia, the hot new waiter. Falling for each other becomes as natural as breathing. Through Santi’s eyes, Ander starts to understand who they are and want to be as an artist, and Ander becomes Santi’s first steps toward making Santos Vista and the United States feel like home.

Until ICE agents come for Santi, and Ander realizes how fragile that sense of home is. How love can only hold on so long when the whole world is against them. And when, eventually, the world starts to win.”

Trans Girls Hit The Town by Emma Jayne (Buy Direct From The Author / Goodreads)

“Cleo and Winnie experience the soaring highs and crushing lows of a night on the town.”

Winner of the 2019 Ignatz Award for Outstanding Minicomic
Winner of the 2020 Prism Award for Outstanding Small Press Comic

I really enjoyed this black and white comic, as well as the followup Trans Girls Hit The Field! These are both slice of life comics where trans women support each other in dealing with the realities of life, which aren’t always fun. But in both stories, friendship is centered, valued, and the key to getting through tough times. Jayne also made me laugh out loud more than once.

I have pre-ordered her forthcoming graphic novel! Very excited.