Another wonderful month for new queer romances, yay! One note: I always put the books in order by release date – for some reason, this month the top ended up sapphic-heavy. Maybe a lot of sapphic authors needed to get their books out so they could switch gears to Halloween preparations? Whatever the reason, there’s a great mix of books here. I hope you find something new and intriguing for your TBR!
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Why I’m excited to list it: Because breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. Also, I liked both of the MCs in the sample. Asian author.
“When Serena’s favourite breakfast café suddenly gets an influx of customers, she’s forced to share a table with a stranger, which is exactly the opposite of how she likes her mornings.
Bear shifter Maize doesn’t mind the extra people at Bearly Breakfast Time, especially when it gives her the opportunity to get to know a pretty stranger.
A series of coincidental breakfast dates leads to more, but exactly how much more? That’s a question only the Crescent Lake of fate can answer.”
Why I’m excited to list it: Y’all just keep bringing the romance/mystery hybrids. I love what I’ve read so far. Beekeeping autistic MC, autistic author.
“Get ready for a charmingly quirky romance with a twist of murder mystery in Honey Mead Murder!
Follow the heart-warming story of George Bernard Sheth, a devoted pug and bee lover, who has been secretly crushing on a local mead brewer. But when a customer dies during a mead tasting, Murphy Baird, the brewer, finds himself at the centre of a police investigation.
As the two navigate the murder mystery, they find themselves falling deeper in love, all while trying to stay alive long enough for their first date.”
Why I’m excited to list it: Sapphic paranormal + that pretty cover! Plus, who doesn’t love a sassy flapper?
“When magic and passion swirl, desire sparks into a bewitching sapphic paranormal romance…
Meet Andrea Gomez, a witch with a problem. She’s been hired to banish the stubborn spirits haunting Willoughby House, but one beguiling ghost refuses to budge — Cecilia Morgan, a sassy flapper who died under mysterious circumstances. Cecilia’s got zero interest in crossing over to the other side, and she’s driving Andrea crazy.
Determined to get her payment and push Cecilia into the light once and for all, Andrea sets up camp in the haunted house. Sparks fly and the connection between Andrea and Cecilia deepens, and soon an irresistible attraction takes hold. Magic and passion surge around them as they find themselves drawn together in delicious ways they never expected.
But can their love break the boundaries between life and death?”
Why I’m excited to list it: I’m always going to look at a sapphic historical in a place & time authors don’t usually write about.
“A battle-hardened shieldmaiden. A pacifist healer. Can the two find love amid the chaos of war?
Tyrdis is a stalwart warrior raised to value honor, courage, and military prowess. When a traumatic injury renders the powerful protector helpless, she depends on the lovely, tender-hearted Adelle to restore her from the brink of death. Is it merely gratitude or true love that draws Tyrdis to the healer?
Defying cultural norms, Adelle despises violence and those who propagate it, but when her shieldmaiden patient saves the life of her beloved little girl, she must reexamine her values. Could Tyrdis be more than a stiff, efficient killer with an amazing body?
In a kingdom steeped in conflict with their neighbors and internal strife, shocking secrets are revealed, and both women strive to ensure justice prevails. Can they overcome their differences to safeguard their friends, end the war, and fall in love, or will fate prove to be a cruel sovereign?
This Sapphic Viking Historical nursed-back-to-health, opposites-attract Romance is packed with action, intrigue, and mythical references.”
Why I’m excited to list it: A sapphic historical will always catch my eye, and I love novella length works. Autistic MC with autistic children, autistic author.
“One dowager Duchess. One spinster school teacher. One happily ever after.
When the school Iris works at is sold, her close friend Peggy is determined to do whatever it takes to keep Iris close.
Her Duchess is a lesbian friends to lovers romance set in 1870s Kent. It contains explicit scenes and some light D/s.”
Why I’m excited to list it: Polyam erotic romance, both FMCs are bi, Black author.
“They say three’s a crowd…
Alaina is tired of unfulfilling relationships. Why waste her time? Maybe an exclusive invite to a members-only website is just the cure she’s looking for.
Melinda loves her husband, but with her days as a sugar baby long behind her, she’s ready to turn the tables and do some spoiling of her own. Being a sugar mama could be her new calling.
Seth adores his wife. He’d give her anything her heart desires. And when what she wants is a beautiful woman that has them both ready to fall to their knees, there’s no way he’d even think of saying no.
But maybe it’s really just more fun.”
Why I’m excited to list it: Queer M/F (she’s bi).
“Ever since the car accident that dashed her dreams of skating professionally, Stella has made countless bad decisions. At almost thirty-five, she has a failed marriage under her belt, no job, and she’s living rent-free with her best friend after returning to her hometown.
Her latest bad decision? She agreed to go to the high school reunion hosted by a former friend…and she roped her brother’s best friend Leland into being her fake boyfriend so she wouldn’t have to attend said reunion alone.
The timing is perfect, though: with Stella’s past mistakes and disastrous dating history haunting her, a fake relationship is exactly what she needs to prevent her from continuing her journey down the Hot Mess Express. Bonus points for the fact she actually enjoys Leland’s company while they spend time together in order to ensure their ruse is believable.
With Leland’s help, along with the love and encouragement of her three lifelong best friends, Stella starts to feel less lost and aimless. She also begins to feel more than friendly feelings for her fake boyfriend. If only she could get past the old fears that prevent her from believing she deserves more.
As the reunion approaches and the deadline for their fake relationship looms, Stella will need to decide whether to remain ‘just friends’ with Leland or pursue what her heart truly yearns for: the real, lasting love she’s never experienced, but that she thinks might be possible with Leland.”
Why I’m excited to list it: THE COVER IS A LIBRARY CIRCULATION SLIP. And “how they met” romance short stories are one of my fave things.
“Addison Yates is one semester away from her college graduation, but too much fun and not enough studying has been detrimental to her GPA. To maintain her scholarship and make it to graduation, she plans to shut out all distractions and focus on her remaining assignments. Spending the evening at her college library would normally help her avoid temptation if not for Ellie Brown, the beautiful and enigmatic campus librarian. Addison knows that Ellie is out of her league, but there’s something about the elusive, bookish woman that makes her want to try.
One big secret. One night to forever. One night to eternity?”
Why I’m excited to list it: Demi author. CW: the death of the MC’s mother was more sudden/shocking than I was braced for. But I do like what I’ve read so far!
“Immortality is a dangerous affair when it isn’t done right.
Basie Yeats knows he’s doing immortality all wrong, spending endless days in the same place, but he doesn’t see a reason to leave the home he loves in Long Lily, Pennsylvania. Once the impossible death of his mother leaves him the only immortal person he knows, Basie decides that the only thing he wants to do is get out of Long Lily and start doing immortality the right way — alone.
Kit Elliot has wandered the world looking for the right place to call home, so when a church-turned-cottage suddenly goes up for sale in a quaint Pennsylvania town, it feels like it was meant to be. It takes only a few days at Wellhead Cottage for Kit to decide that the man who sold it to him is frustrating, awkward, and terribly handsome. He offers to help Basie find a new home away from Long Lily — but as days turn to months, Kit finds himself wishing he could make Basie stay.”
Why I’m excited to list it: Polyam that starts with an emergency pole dancing substitute gig for charity. I’m not lying.
“The Delivery Team at Santa Enterprises brings cheer during the holidays, but Dancer is putting a little Christmas in July with a hot summer romance.
When a friend gets injured right before a performance for charity Dancer offers to take his place. Unexpectedly among all the sequins and spotlights, he finds not one chance at love, but two.
He never thought Trevor, the sweet but quiet bouncer, was interested…but the way he watches Dancer from the audience says otherwise.
Candace Cane, another performer, is as sweet and refreshing as her name. When she urges Trevor and Dancer to act on their feelings, they both realize they’re interested in her as well—but a relationship is the last thing on Candy’s mind.
Will these three find love with a little Christmas magic, or will fate pass them by?”
Why I’m excited to list it: This sapphic paranormal opens very dramatically and I am here for it. Small press.
“There’s a rip in the dimension somewhere that allows otherworldly beings to cross over to earth, and it’s the Black family business to trap and kill these creatures before they can cause any harm. Andy Black loves being in the family business. But when she goes to a job expecting to find a dead angel and instead finds a very alive — and very angry one, Andy’s world is flipped on its axis.
Oriana is used to human cruelty and learned long ago not to trust any of them. Half-human, half-angel, she’s been held captive by a trapper for most of her life. Now that she’s escaped, she finds herself held by more humans. But the unexpected kindness of the Black family, and from one member in particular, brings Oriana’s human instincts to the surface.
When their worlds collide without warning, Andy and Oriana must work together to move forward—and conquer the monsters that haunt them.”
Why I’m excited to list it: Sex worker MC. M/M romance by a queer guy author.
“Fiore has a plan. Find a wealthy elderly gentleman, delight him until the end of his days, and retire on the resulting inheritance. It’s the best outcome a low-born courtesan in the city of Halcyon can hope for.
And it seems a perfect scheme… until a mysterious masked man upends it.
Banished from university after a disastrous duel, Enzo wanders the city searching for scraps of the affection he’s lost. His public mask conceals private agonies. A single night in the company of a courtesan, however, balms his wounded heart, and he finds himself returning again and again to Fiore, revealing more of himself than he’s ever dared before.
Furthermore, and more astonishing still, Fiore finds he returns Enzo’s affections.
But while Fiore wears no mask, he nonetheless has secrets of his own. And when the ghosts of their pasts return to haunt them, only the bond of trust between them will carry them through.”
Why I’m excited to list it: Nonbinary MC, trans woman author. Small press.
“Heather McKenna has no idea how to be a werewolf. Her wolf might be free from its cursed cage but has shut the door between the two of them, leaving Heather still reeling from the emptiness. When Heather discovers her mother is in the hospital, she is certain that closure from the person who cursed her in the first place will settle her wolf’s grudge and is quick to pack a bag.
V Raines sees the problems with werewolf society all around them. Despite being a nonbinary outcast in their own pack, they still have the responsibilities of being the Alpha’s only child. When their father attempts to pair them off with a dominant male pack member, V is all but ready to abandon their pack.
When V is called to the hospital to take care of a possible rogue shifter, they aren’t ready for the consequences of finding their true mate in Heather. V’s all in as Heather worries she’s not wolf enough to stand between V’s intense pack and her true mate. Fate just made their lives a lot more difficult.”
Why I’m excited to list it: Beaudoin’s Too Like The Lightning is one of my favorite contemporaries, and I loved the sample for this one. M/M romance by a queer guy author.
“He pulled me into his world by mistake. Now I’m trying like hell to bring him into mine.
It’s hard to surprise Gremory. He’s been around for millennia, after all. But when this Duke of Hell is accidentally summoned by Scotty Campbell, the big-hearted owner of a struggling antique shop, he realizes there are still people in the world who can provoke his curiosity.
As Gremory lets himself get tangled up in human emotions and earthly delights, Scotty’s big heart and quiet strength become irresistible. What started out as strictly business will blossom into a connection that will stretch the laws of Heaven, Hell, and the local village council.
From witty banter to steamy encounters to the genuine joy two kindred souls find when they work toward a common goal, their relationship will push them farther than they ever expected to go. Sparks will fly, but will they be able to save Scotty’s shop in time for the town’s annual Halloween Festival?”
Why I’m excited to list it: THEY ARE SPIES THAT FALL IN LOVE! IN SPACE! Queer BIPOC leads, queer Black author. Small press.
“Vade is an anarchist, a Phantom Dragon. Althus is a Touchstone ― an Imperial agent.
Their love was never meant to survive.
In a world of magical empires and the anarchists that would tear them down, A Necessary Chaos is the story of Althus and Vade, assigned to spy on the other by opposing sides. But now that they’ve both caught feelings, where will their loyalties fall? They must each decide if they’ll follow orders or find a way to make their romance thrive beyond the lies.”
Why I’m excited to list it: THAT COVER. It’s killing me, I love it. Author’s pronouns are they/them.
“Wishing For The Real Deal
Dean Thorne is living the dream by costarring with the swoon-worthy Ingram North in a popular historical show — Wyndinham Hollow. The problem? Dean feels like a fraud. Their characters are in love, and with each passing day it’s becoming more difficult for Dean to distinguish fact from fiction.
Strangled by Mob Ties
Ingram North is in deep trouble. He worked hard for his big break in Hollywood, but he hasn’t always played fair to get it. He has been paying off the mob to stay quiet about his shady past. Sadly, Ingram’s bank account is close to zero. To make a complicated situation worse, Ingram feels things he shouldn’t for Dean. In a last-ditch effort to end the blackmail, Ingram makes a proposal that will entangle his career with Dean’s in a dangerous way.
Fake Boyfriends or More?
Ingram asks Dean to go on a promotional tour guaranteed to cement them as a fictional couple in the minds of the public. The money Ingram will make from the tour is the only way that he might keep his head above water. Dean is excited because he’ll get to spend more time with Ingram. Everything goes smoothly until the mobsters blackmailing Ingram turn their attention to Dean. Ingram worries for Dean’s safety, but he is also scared to tell Dean the truth. Can Ingram come clean before they’re both killed? Or will everything Ingram has worked so hard for — including his budding relationship with Dean—be destroyed by the criminals who helped him get his start?”
Why I’m excited to list it: M/M romance by a queer guy author.
“Apprentice mage Wally spends his days cataloging rare artifacts and dreaming about finally mastering his magics and living the adventures he’s always desired. Bez, a once mighty devil who craves the freedom of the outside world again, despises his confinement inside a powerful object. His only company now comes from the mages working within the archives he’s stored. Among them, the most annoying of them all, an anxious and considerate Walter.
When the archive is attacked, Wally and Bez each seize the opportunity to achieve their dreams—and inadvertently create a magical link between them. With so many lives lost in this assault on the mage headquarters, Wally’s connection to a dangerous devil makes him a threat and a target, forcing the pair on the run. Wally sees Bez as a sadistic devil, and Bez finds every word out of the mage’s mouth grating. Even so, they’ll have to work together to unravel the true threat in the city or they won’t live long enough to enjoy the lives they’ve both desperately wanted.”
Why I’m excited to list it: Trans woman MC, trans woman author and genderqueer demisexual author.
“Lola never wanted to be on camera alongside an A-list star — but maybe Mackenzie is everything she needs.
History professor Lola Barnes never cared about celebrities, and filming alongside superstar actress Mackenzie Vale isn’t exactly on her bucket list. But there aren’t a lot of experts on Mackenzie’s hometown on the remote Celadon Isles, so when the studio filming a deep dive of Mackenzie’s backstory comes knocking, no isn’t really an option.
This exposé is the last thing Mackenzie wants to do. She’s had a good run as an actress without the ravenous press finding out she’s trans, but keeping it that way when the media is digging around in her childhood and with her gossipy family isn’t going to be easy. But it might be her last shot at her dream casting—and her agent doesn’t take no for an answer, anyway.
And it isn’t any easier when Mackenzie is immediately head-over-heels for the gorgeous professor they tapped to film with her. And it isn’t any easier when going back to the isles means confronting all the things Lola ran away from there over twenty years ago—and that the only thing comforting her is a bond with the last person she’d ever expect to fall for.
As a tight filming schedule, a nosy agent and a relentless director force Lola and Mackenzie to face the ghosts of their pasts, will they crumble in the face of everything they ran from once? Or can they find strength in one another and be more than they were before?”
Why I’m excited to list it: Polyam with one trans and two cis guys.
“Sent to take care of his grandmother during lockdown, twenty-eight-year-old Trevor is surprised at how quickly he takes to The Grandma Lifestyle, learning how to manage her household. His world has narrowed down to the tiny street where his grandma and her neighbors live, but Trevor’s only real complaints are his stalled career and love life. He has some plans for his career. It’s his love life that’s the bigger problem.
At the start of 2020, Trevor and his boyfriend Sky broke up when Sky got a job offer in another state and moved away. But he and Sky have never stopped talking — and doing a lot more than talking, even if that’s all online now. Sky, something of a genius, has a tendency to act bratty to get what he wants without having to ask for it, including Trevor dominating him. But even if Trevor weren’t still finding his way when it comes to the kinkier side of their unofficial relationship, he doesn’t think he can approach Sky to ask for the relationship he wants after already ending it once.
Complicating things, Trevor’s crush on one of his neighbors has intensified since he finally got to speak to the elusive older bear down the street. G.G. closed himself up in his house long before any lockdowns, protecting himself from people who don’t appreciate his sensitive nature. G.G. has more experience in the world of kink, and the way he looks at Trevor makes Trevor want him the way wants Sky — as a boyfriend and as a submissive.
If Trevor wants this unconventional family for himself, he’ll need to make Sky finally admit what he wants and convince G.G. he can have love and not just a paddling… and to maybe get his old-fashioned, if slightly rebellious, grandma to approve of the whole ‘two boyfriends’ thing. It feels impossible, but Trevor has spent the last few years learning how to take care of people. Now it’s time for him to do what he does best.”
Why I’m excited to list it: I am in love with this cover, and one of the MCs is pan, yay!
“Armando Medina suffered a tragic loss at the hands of some Nitelvosa, supernatural beings who control his world. For decades, he’s been unable to forget the horrific night when his life changed.
Izdahl Amasi, a member of a prominent Nitelvosa family, had briefly dated Armando. He’d hoped for much more, but Armando’s trauma drove a painful wedge between them. With each passing day, Izdahl’s heart grew heavier, as he thought of what could have been.
Now, Armando and Izdahl find themselves connected in unexpected ways. Despite how much Armando tries to avoid the truth of their attraction, he’s drawn to Izdahl. Looming over them are events from Armando’s youth and the mystery of who’s responsible for his anguish. Can Armando open his heart and trust Izdahl? Or will Izdahl stop believing they have a chance?”
Why I’m excited to list it: I’m soft for coffee shop flirting. Third in a queer romance series that mixes gender pairings.
“After one unforgettable night they were never supposed to see each other again.
Tristan Taylor Tomás finally has the career opportunity he’s been waiting for but it means moving across the country and leaving everything behind. A year’s worth of flirting with a hot mysterious man over coffee orders has come to nothing.
Powerful Witch, Edwin Bickel follows the rules. Especially the ones he sets for himself. His life is carefully constructed, change unwelcome, until sweet Mortal Tristan tempts the misanthropic Witch into abandoning his moratorium on love.
But Edwin’s past casts a long shadow and he won’t risk getting close to Tristan… so one night is all they have.
When a chance re-encounter has magic of its own, Edwin can’t bring himself to walk away any more than he can allow himself to open up. A casual affair seems like the perfect answer, however Edwin isn’t the only Witchy influence in Tristan’s new life. Tristan doesn’t know magic exists and something sinister is lurking out of sight.
Can Edwin trust Tristan to help stop the biggest magical crime New York has ever seen? And can a Mortal looking for love ever make it work with a Witch who’s spent his life guarding his heart?”
Why I’m excited to list it: Nonbinary MC, bisexual nonbinary author.
“Oliver is 27 years old, nonbinary, and stagnating, both in their career and in their love life. That is, until a fateful ghosting leads to them reuniting with Gaines, an old high school friend with whom they have unfinished business. Gaines is recently divorced and has gotten back to doing what he loves: drumming in Pissanthropy, a local death metal band. When the estranged friends reunite, memories resurface and their feelings towards each other evolve from friendship to something deeper. All signs are pointing toward a profound change, but a medical mystery and a tornado warning complicate Oliver and Gaines’ renewed connection.”
Why I’m excited to list it: Polyam! Also I love an MC with pink hair. Latinx and FilAm author.
Becoming a head strength and conditioning coach was the dream of a lifetime, but it’s hard to celebrate our World Series win when I spent the season ignored and underutilized. It’s even harder when I’m staring at a lease I can’t afford and the empty room my best friend abandoned without warning. Training the star right fielder is my chance to shine, and I can’t mess this up, no matter how tempting he and my training partner are.
Giving up my Olympic dreams is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Facing my estranged dad is a close second. When he volunteers me to help train the right fielder known for big catches and sleeping with a different man in every city, I can’t disappoint him, no matter how many reasons I have to say no. Not least of all, the fact that I can’t even look at a pool without hyperventilating.
I should be riding the high of winning the World Series into the offseason — spending my days golfing with the boys and my nights putting my World Series fame to good use. But almost blacking out during the big game was the wake-up call I needed.
There’s no time to be terrified of my diagnosis when I’m spending the offseason with the bubbly coach who shares my love of kink and the anxious swimmer who can’t keep his eyes off of either of us, no matter how hard he tries to push us away or how much he blushes.
If this offseason training is my only chance to convince them both to open up to me, then I have to make every second count.
And if they both end up in my bed along the way, well, there’s nothing wrong with a little extra cardio.”
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.
As mentioned above, I’m a sucker for a “how they met” romance short story, and this sapphic short was perfect. Kiki (cis) just got dumped in the middle of her Christmas vacation abroad with her girlfriend. Maya (trans) rescues Kiki from her possibly ill-advised decision to go skiing for the first time by herself anyway.
I loved how Kelley handled the fact that Kiki just got dumped and is in a weird place alongside the truth that sometimes when you meet somebody, you meet somebody, even if the timing is bizarre. Good stuff!
Some of the queer experience is universal, but there’s so much value in also recognizing the specific experiences of subgroups under the umbrella. The bi/pan experience has a lot in common across genders, but there are also significant differences! Mehta did a great job with this book and I’m glad my library was willing & able to acquire it, since I think it’s a valuable resource.
“‘You’re just being greedy.’
‘Are you sure you’re not gay?’
‘Pick a side.’
Being a bisexual man isn’t easy – something Vaneet Mehta knows all too well. After spending more than a decade figuring out his identity, Vaneet’s coming out was met with questioning, ridicule and erasure. This experience inspired Vaneet to create the viral #BisexualMenExist campaign, combatting the hate and scepticism m-spec (multi-gender attracted spectrum) men encounter, and helping others who felt similarly alone and trapped.
This powerful book is an extension of that fight. Navigating a range of topics, including coming out, dating, relationships and health, Vaneet shares his own lived experience as well as personal stories from others in the community to help validate and uplift other bisexual men. Discussing the treatment of m-spec men in LGBTQ+ places, breaking down stereotypes and highlighting the importance of representation and education, this empowering book is a rallying call for m-spec men everywhere.”
Loved! this! so! much! I adore all the main characters and honestly I teared up a little at the end because my heart was so full. Plenty of emotion & also plenty of wonderful humor.
“Black, weird, awkward and proud of it. Welcome to the club!
Tired of feeling like you don’t belong? Join the club. It’s called the Section. You’d think a spot to chill, chat, and find community would be much easier to come by for nerdy, queer punks. But when four longtime, bookish BFFs―Lika, Amor, Lala, and Tony―can’t find what they need, they take matters into their own hands and create a space where they can be a hundred percent who they are: Black, queer, and weird.
The group puts a call out for all awkward Black folks to come on down to the community center to connect. But low attendance and IRL run-ins with trolls of all kinds only rock everybody with anxiety. As our protagonists start to question the merits of their vision, a lifetime of insecurities―about not being good enough or Black enough―bubbles to the surface. Will they find a way to turn it around in time for their radical brainchild, the Blackward Zine Fest?”
I love how K. Lynn Smith draws people, and this grumpy/sunshine paranormal road trip graphic novel series hit all the right notes for me. Rayne seems to be a hippie chick on a wander, but she’s got a lot more going on than it initially appears. Thatcher is running not just from other people, but from his own guilt, but he’ll be damned (more) if he’ll admit it. I thought the resolution moment towards the end was simple and perfect. And darkly funny.
Bonus: Thatcher is bi, and a bit slutty about it (which I found quite amusing!), and that has literally nothing to do with him being cursed.
This series is complete in three volumes, or one omnibus edition.