AfterEllen’s Official Summer 2017 Reading List

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Summer was my favorite season as a kid (which is a big deal, seeing as Winter had both Christmas and my birthday) because the six-week holiday afforded me plenty of time to read without a teacher telling me to stop reading The Babysitters Club or Goosebumps during my Math(s) class.

In recent years, due to the lack of summer vacation that comes with being a so-called grown-up, I’ve been spending less of August in the library but that doesn’t mean I’ve given up my summer reading- and neither should you.

With that in mind, I’ve selected my top 16 newly released (or soon to be released) books- across a range of genres- which feature a lesbian/bi-female character at the center of the story.




Soul Survivor By I. Beacham

When American journalist Josephine “Joey” Barry’s crew is attacked and killed by rebel insurgents near the Syrian border, she is forced to hide out. After being rescued, she finds it hard to cope and ends up breaking down on national television during a live political debate.

Joey is sent to England in order to recover, where she crosses paths with the motorbike-loving (not a euphemism) Reverend Samantha “Sam” Savage.

While Joey has seen enough in her life to dispel any notion of a god, she finds herself drawn to the charismatic vicar who is secretly struggling with her own demons. Could love heal their wounds?

Out now.



Highland Fling By Anna Larner

When Eve Eddison describes her perfect woman to her best friend, Roxanne; she never imagined that she’d meet her just a few days later, on a trip to the Scottish Highlands.

Eve falls head over heels for Moira Burns, a forestry officer shrouded in mystery, and Eve knows that she wants more than a Highland fling with her. But Moira is holding on to pain from her past and cannot make the commitment that Eve wants.

Roxanne advises Eve to break off the relationship before she gets hurt, but can Eve really let go of her perfect woman?

Out now.



A&B by JC Lillis

Barrie Krumholtz, an 18-year-old singer-songwriter, has only one goal in life: securing a spot on the reality show, Pop University. But after humiliating herself on national television and losing out on a spot in the finals to smug songstress, Ava Alvarez, Barrie channels her dark side and takes a bold new artistic direction which the public go crazy for.

When Ava ropes her in for a top-secret collaboration, both girls develop feelings for each other but fear that a relationship could distract them from their professional goals or even kill the creative muse. Will they sacrifice their art for love or their lover for art?

Out now.





The Cursed Queen by Sarah Fine

This novel follows spunky Queen Ansa as she fights an invisible enemy –dark magic within her bones; a depression metaphor if ever I heard one- after being cursed by an evil queen.

It becomes more dangerous, the more she tries to hide it (much like another Queen we know, right Elsa?) and begins to threaten her relationship with Thyra, daughter of the late chieftain.

Ansa’s tribe is under threat from Thyra evil uncle and if she cannot control the dark magic, it may threaten the lives of her people and her partner.

This is a companion piece to last year’s The Imposter Queen.

Out now.



Witches, Princesses, and Women at Arms: Erotic Lesbian Fairy Tales edited by Sacchi Green

This anthology turns the traditional fairy tale narrative on its head; featuring stories of dominant damsels who rescue each other, female/female pairings, and a fair number of erotic encounters.

Out May 9th.



Island of Exiles by Erica Cameron

Bisexual warrior Khya lives in an isolated desert where most residents die young. She has always put her clan first, but now she is forced to betray them (and put her trust in her enemy Tessen) in order to save her brother’s life.

My favorite part of this book is that the default sexual orientation of this world is bi/pansexual, which I’m sure will get a small section of the internet angry. I can hear them now, “But the default sexual orientation in this universe isn’t my sexual orientation… not fair…something about liberal snowflakes.”

Uh huh, welcome to our world.

Out now.


Mystery/ Thriller



Freedom to Love By Ronica Black

Brynn Williams, a newly released convict whose entire family has a dicey relationship with the law, is forced to choose between loyalty to her family and helping the cops who put her away in this gripping thriller.

When Sergeant Kat Vander and her partner are ambushed and shot, Brynn saves their lives but goes on the run. Kat now needs to find the Williams’ while fighting her feelings for Brynn.
Out August 1st.



A Secret to Tell by Ann Roberts

Amateur sleuth Ari Adams and her cop-turned-private-investigator girlfriend Molly Nelson are working hard to prove themselves in the male-centric world of private eyes, whilst rebuilding their relationship.

While Molly is investigating the murder of attorney Victor Guzman, Ari is focused on a murder which correlates with her childhood, but danger surrounds them as they come closer to solving their cases. Can they find the killers in time?

This is the sixth instalment in the Ari Adams mystery series.

Out now.



Daughter of the Burning City by Amanda Foody

Sorina, a 16-year-old festival illusion-worker, is on the hunt for the murderer of one of her life-like illusions. But how can you kill an illusion?

On her quest, bisexual Sorina meets gossip-worker Luca who helps investigate the case and romance blossoms.

Out July 25th.





Speakeasy, Speak Love by Sharon G. Clark

Set in the prohibition era, this novel charts the growing romance between the working-class Fiona “Finn” Cavanaugh and the well-to-do Margaret Graham, after Fiona saves Margaret from a local thug.

Margaret’s gangster brother, Eldon, offers Fiona, whom he mistakes for a boy, some work which will make enough money to leave behind her abusive father and move west.

As Margaret and Fiona grow closer, this upsets Eldon’s plans to marry Margaret off to his partner in crime, Jimmy. When Jimmy and rival gangsters begin to attack Eldon’s businesses, it looks like neither lady will survive long enough to pursue their relationship.

Out June 1st.



Spark By Catherine Friend

Jamie Maddox is faced with two explanations for her current situation; either she is having a psychotic break and is trapped in an Elizabethan fantasy while an alternate personality has taken control of her life or she really has been transported back to 1560, into the body of Blanche Nottingham, a scheming lady-in-waiting to Queen Elizabeth I.

The novel flits between present day and 1560 (or reality and fantasy) as Jamie battles to maintain control of her mind and body, but just as Jamie is running out of time, salvation (and love) arrive from the most unexpected space.

Out July 1st.




The You I’ve Never Known by Ellen Hopkins

This YA novel follows two teenage girls- Ariel, who’s just discovered that she might have been kidnapped as a baby, and Maya, who’s pregnant and fleeing an abusive home- as they fight to find out their pasts and figure out what the future may bring, while exploring their sexualities and maybe falling in love.

Out now.



Riptide Summer by Lisa Freeman

Set in the 1970s Californian Surfer scene, Riptide Summer follows sixteen-year-old Haunani “Nani” Nuuhiwa, who recently moved from Hawaii, as she fights to prove that girls are just as capable on the waves as boys.

Nani was splitting her time between her surfer boyfriend Nigel and her ‘good friend’, and fellow surfer, Rox, but it all ends in tears after Nigel breaks up with her and Rox reveals a secret that rips their friendship and their surfing squad apart.

In order to keep the reputation of her all-female surfing squad, Nani must now recruit new members, but can she do it in time?

This is the sequel to Honey Girl.

Out May 9th.



third law

The Third Law by Jordan Falconer

Rowan May and Kelly Carne are technical support workers for Octahedron Software who are sent to Settler’s Creek to finish a job that was abandoned under mysterious circumstances. While there, they encounter homophobic townspeople, stumble upon apocalyptic remains, and discover new realities.

The pair find strength in each other but is their relationship enough to help them survive this?

Out now.




In Ageless Sleep by Arden Ellis

Mal, a spy who doesn’t care much for honor, has been sent to hijack a cryo-ship, kidnap Princess Aurora, and deliver her to the enemy.

However, when the cryostasis system on the ship malfunctions; Mal and Aurora must team up to save the lives of the other passengers who are still in cryo-sleep. As the only two awake passengers, the pair grow close, which jeopardizes Mal’s mission.
Out now.


Sappho’s Bar and Grill by Bonnie J. Morris

Women’s history professor Hannah Stern is resigned to a lonely life of academia until she finds out that her local lesbian bar features a time-travel vortex; allowing her to meet the feminist role models that she teaches her students about.

What wisdom do they have to share with Hannah? What can Hannah share with them about the state of women’s rights in the 21st century? Will she embark on romances with lesbians from the past or take a chance with her old friend Isabel who runs the bar?

Out July 11th.


So, which of these stories are you most interested in? Have you picked up any of them already? Let us know in the comments below.