Most of this week’s new releases are romance or romance-adjacent titles (lots of Bold Strokes Books titles) and some sequels, but there is a little bit of variety sprinkled throughout! Let me know in the comments which sapphic new releases you’re excited about this week, especially if it’s one I missed.
Parallel Hells by Leon Craig (Queer Short Stories)
In this deliciously strange debut collection, Leon Craig draws on folklore and gothic horror in refreshingly inventive ways to explore queer identity, love, power and the complicated nature of being human.
Some say that hell is other people and some say hell is loneliness . . .
In the thirteen darkly audacious stories of Parallel Hells we meet a golem, made of clay, learning that its powers far exceed its Creator’s expectations; a ruined mansion which grants the secret wishes of a group of revellers and a notorious murderer who discovers her Viking husband is not what he seems.
Asta is an ancient being who feasts on the shame of contemporary Londoners, who now, beyond anything, wishes only to fit in with a group of friends they will long outlive. An Oxford historian, in bitter competition with the rest of her faculty members, discovers an ancient tome whose sinister contents might solve her problems. Livia orchestrates a Satanic mass to distract herself from a recently remembered trauma and two lovers must resolve their differences in order to defy a lethal curse.
My Secret Valentine by Julie Cannon, Erin Dutton and Anne Shade (F/F Romance Anthology)
Winning the heart of your secret Valentine? These award-winning authors agree—there is no better way to fall in love.
In I Met Someone by Julie Cannon: Hayes Martin shares everything with her BFF Claire Wheeler. Well, almost everything. Hayes has kept a secret from Claire for years, and she can’t take it anymore. Tonight is the night she comes clean and risks it all to gain everything she’s ever wanted.
In Taking a Risk by Erin Dutton: Police officer Jo Forsythe thinks she could find the love and family she’s been longing for with Kayla McCall. Kayla’s focused on running her business, and if she was looking for love, it wouldn’t be with Jo. Can Jo win the hearts of both Kayla and the small town that’s so protective of her?
In Bouquet of Love by Anne Shade: It’s been twenty-five years since English teacher Alyssa Harris was on the dating scene, but romance is too old-fashioned for love in the digital age. Tennis coach Collette Roberts doesn’t think so and sets out to sweep Alyssa off her feet.
Reading Her by Amanda Radley (F/F Romance)
Awkward teenager Hugo Whittaker doesn’t know a cross-trainer from an elliptical, but getting strong is the only way to fight off the bullies who won’t leave him alone. Lauren Evans loves her job as a fitness instructor, and she wants to guide him. Unfortunately, Hugo paid for his gym membership by stealing his mother’s credit card, and it doesn’t take his mother long to track down her wayward son.
In a courtroom, shrewd barrister Allegra Whittaker is unstoppable, but when it comes to her son Hugo, she’s afraid she’s losing her touch. She reluctantly allows him to continue using the gym as long as she can keep an eye on him—and his undeniably intriguing instructor.
As each encounter leaves them wanting more, Lauren and Allegra learn love and happiness are right where they least expect it. There’s just one little problem: Lauren has a huge secret she absolutely cannot tell anyone, and Allegra knows she’s hiding something.
Her Heart’s Desire by Anne Shade (F/F Romance)
Eve Monroe couldn’t ask for a better life. She’s free of an unhappy marriage, her event planning business is a success, and she’s surrounded by the love and support of her family. Then Lynette walks into her life and her intense dark eyes and easy charm have Eve longing for a love her heart has always desired, but she’s too afraid to admit to.
The last thing Lynette Folsom is looking for is love, especially with a closeted lesbian. She’s gone down that road before and has nothing but a broken heart to show for it. When she meets Eve, she begins to wonder if love behind closed doors can really work.
Two women. One choice. Will they be able to overcome their doubts and fears to embrace their deepest desire?
Enchanted Autumn by Ursula Klein (F/F Fantasy Romance)
When Dr. Elizabeth Cowrie shows up in Salem, Massachusetts, to study the witch trials, Hazel and her best friend, Roxy, are both instantly attracted to the workaholic professor. Roxy snags a date with Elizabeth first, but when their chemistry fizzles out, Hazel sees an opportunity to pursue Elizabeth herself—until she realizes Elizabeth is avowedly antimagic.
That’s definitely a problem since Hazel is a bona fide witch: rides a broom, has a black cat, brews love potions, lives in a haunted house, and has a vampire ex-girlfriend. Roxy is the only person who knows the truth, and Hazel has gotten used to hiding who she is, but she can’t live a lie with the person she loves most. Can Hazel give up magic to make it work with Elizabeth? Or will she give up on the love of her life instead?
Watching Over Her by Ronica Black (F/F Romantic Thriller)
All Riley Robinson wants is peace and serenity. She can’t wait to spend the winter at her new cabin in snowy, remote Northern Arizona. On the way Riley meets Zoe Mitchell, a secretive woman whose barely hidden vulnerability captures her curiosity and sparks her interest.
Zoe was doing just fine until without warning she becomes the focus of a stalker. With no idea who is following her and desperate to shrug off the sense of being watched, Zoe takes off to her grandfather’s old cabin. Unfortunately, the cabin hasn’t been used in years, and the snowstorm of the century is moving in. Zoe has no intention of taking chances with a beautiful woman she’s just met, but she can’t turn down Riley’s offer of help and a warm place to take refuge.
As they face the storm and the looming threat of a stalker, Riley and Zoey just might find love in the most unexpected of places.
Deadly Secrets by VK Powell (F/F Romantic Thriller)
Special Ops Agent Rafe Silva has always been a dedicated soldier, content in the military and jetting from one mission to the next. Her life is structured and clear of emotional entanglements until an old friend requests she provide protection for an industry whistle blower.
Jana Elliott had found her ideal career and a second home within the corporate environment of Alumicor until a coworker dies and Jana suspects the company is covering up a deadly secret. When she starts investigating, her boss quickly shuts her down. Jana is determined to uncover the truth even if it means risking her life. Her friend’s suggestion of a bodyguard seems like overkill, but then Rafe Silva shows up and their irresistible attraction changes everything.
Perilous Obsession by Carsen Taite (F/F Romantic Thriller)
Detective Beck Ramsey is paying a stiff price for blowing the whistle on a fellow cop. Relegated to the always underfunded, often ignored cold case desk, she’s biding her time until she can escape long-forgotten lost causes and get back in the field.
Journalist Macy Moran digs deep on every story, but when her usually objective reporting turns into an unrelenting hunt for a serial killer, she risks losing her relationships, her career, and her reputation. Haunted by the memory of her best friend’s death, Macy is willing to put everything on the line until she meets the infuriating and captivating Beck Ramsey and somehow convinces her to reopen the coldest case on her desk.
As their plans and their hearts careen out of control, Macy’s obsession with a murderer will either bring her closer to Beck or rob her of a chance at true love.
Escorted by Renee Roman (F/F Erotica)
Are you looking for a night to remember? The Agency is your premium choice for sensual female companions who will always leave you satisfied.
Dani Brown has the kind of fantasies she can’t share with just anyone, let alone trust someone enough to make them come true. The Agency is a perfect solution—safe, secret, and best of all, no strings attached.
As the CEO of the Agency, Ryan Lewis has dashing good looks, a lucrative business, and as much kinky sex as she wants. She has it all, right? Everything except the one thing she most desires—true love.
Intrigued by Dani’s fantasies, Ryan takes her on as a client. Ryan is more than capable of giving Dani exactly what she craves, but when the tables turn and her control slips, will she be able to stay away from the woman of her fantasies?
Errant by L. K. Fleet (F/F Bisexual/Lesbian Fantasy)
Aspen Silverglade used to be a force for good, but now she’s just a sword for hire. On the run from the people she once trusted most, she needs to keep her head down and keep moving.
But old habits are hard to quit. One night in a tavern, Aspen tries to save a woman from some unwanted attention. The woman, Charm Linville, is in the middle of a subtle and delicate act of thievery, and she does not appreciate Aspen blundering in.
The disastrous and public rescue-gone-wrong makes the townspeople think Aspen and Charm are a couple. This mistake sets Aspen’s bloodthirsty betrayers on Charm’s trail, tying the two of them together.
Even if Aspen can’t run from her past any longer, Charm shouldn’t have to suffer. Despite Aspen’s determination to work alone, Charm insists on helping—and she has a past of her own. The two of them don’t care for each other’s methods, but as they journey through the villages and wildernesses of Falland, solving problems and meeting magical friends and foes, Aspen and Charm grudgingly come to care for each other. Can these two guarded, stubborn women admit their feelings, or will Aspen’s enemies kill them first?
The Willing by Lyn Hemphill (F/F Fantasy)
Kitty Wilson doesn’t know how, but she can bring people back from the dead as long as someone is willing to take their place and keep the universe in balance. Oxford student Talia McGregor’s life goes from bad to worse when she’s killed in a hit-and-run. When the drunk driver responsible agrees to sacrifice his life to save Talia’s, Kitty makes the trade and brings Talia back to life. Neither of them expects the ghost of Matt, Kitty’s BFF, to come back with her.
Kitty has to figure out how to untether Matt’s ghost from Talia and bring him back for good. In her quest to discover the extent of her magic, Kitty must confront a secret society with questionable motives and connections to tragedies in her past, and a magical bloodline she never knew was hers.
As the stakes and the spells rise, Kitty and Talia rely on each other to survive, but can they open their hearts and trust the magic of love?
The Thousand Eyes (The Serpent Gates #2) by A. K. Larkwood (Sapphic Fantasy)
Just when they thought they were out…
Two years after defying the wizard Belthandros Sethennai and escaping into the great unknown, Csorwe and Shuthmili have made a new life for themselves, hunting for secrets among the ruins of an ancient snake empire.
Along for the ride is Tal Charossa, determined to leave the humiliation and heartbreak of his hometown far behind him, even if it means enduring the company of his old rival and her insufferable girlfriend.
All three of them would be quite happy never to see Sethennai again. But when a routine expedition goes off the rails and a terrifying imperial relic awakens, they find that a common enemy may be all it takes to bring them back into his orbit.
Sisters of the Forsaken Stars (Our Lady of Endless Worlds #2) by Lina Rather (Queer Science Fiction)
“We lit the spark, maybe we should be here for the flames.”
Not long ago, Earth’s colonies and space stations threw off the yoke of planet Earth’s tyrannical rule. Decades later, trouble is brewing in the Four Systems, and Old Earth is flexing its power in a bid to regain control over its lost territories.
The Order of Saint Rita―whose mission is to provide aid and mercy to those in need―bore witness to and defied Central Governance’s atrocities on the remote planet Phyosonga III. The sisters have been running ever since, staying under the radar while still trying to honor their calling.
Despite the sisters’ secrecy, the story of their defiance is spreading like wildfire, spearheaded by a growing anti-Earth religious movement calling for revolution. Faced with staying silent or speaking up, the Order of Saint Rita must decide the role they will play―and what hand they will have―in reshaping the galaxy.
The Moonstone Girls by Brooke Skipstone (Sapphic Historical YA)
Tracy should have been a boy. Even her older brother Spencer says so, though he wouldn’t finish the thought with, “And I should have been a girl.”
Though both feel awkward in their own skin, they have to face who they are—queers in the late 60s.
When both are caught with gay partners, their lives and futures are endangered by their homophobic father as their mother struggles to defend them.
While the Vietnam War threatens to take Spencer away, Tracy and her father wage a war of their own, each trying to save the sweet, talented pianist.
At seventeen, Tracy dresses as a boy and leaves her parents in turmoil, with only the slimmest hope of finding peace within herself. She journeys to a girl with a guitar, calling to her from a photo, “Come to Alaska. We’d be great friends.”
Maybe even The MoonStone Girls.
Woodsqueer: Crafting a Sustainable Rural Life by Gretchen Legler (Nonfiction)
“Woodsqueer” is sometimes used to describe the mindset of a person who has taken to the wild for an extended period of time. Gretchen Legler is no stranger to life away from the rapid-fire pace of the twenty-first century, which can often lead to a kind of stir-craziness. Woodsqueer chronicles her experiences intentionally focusing on not just making a living but making a life―in this case, an agrarian one more in tune with the earth on eighty acres in backwoods Maine.
Building a home with her partner, Ruth, on their farm means learning to live with solitude, endless trees, and the wild animals the couple come to welcome as family. Whether trying to outsmart their goats, calculating how much firewood they need for the winter, or bartering with neighbors for goods and services, they hone life skills brought with them (carpentry, tracking and hunting wild game) and other skills they learn along the way (animal husbandry, vegetable gardening, woodcutting).
Legler’s story is at times humbling and grueling, but it is also amusing. A homage to agrarian American life echoing the back-to-the-land movement popularized in the mid-twentieth century, Woodsqueer reminds us of the benefits of living close to the land. Legler unapologetically considers what we have lost in America, in less than a century―individually and collectively―as a result of our urban, mass-produced, technology-driven lifestyles.
Illustrated with rustic pen-and-ink illustrations, Woodsqueer shows the value of a solitary sojourn and both the pathway to and possibilities for making a sustainable, meaningful life on the land. The result, for Legler and her partner, is an evolution of their humanity as they become more physically, emotionally, and even spiritually connected to their land and each other in a complex ecosystem ruled by the changing seasons.