Heading to the beach this summer? Here are a few LGBTQ+ self-published books to pack in your beach tote. Please note that these are, essentially, all romance novels. Most of these titles have been selected because they are quick reads.
If you’re looking for something sweet, steamy, and contemporary
Starting this list off strong with the short and steamy novella, So Sweet by Rebekah Weatherspoon. Novellas are ideal for taking to the beach. They’re quick reads but long enough to give you a satisfying story arc. This one is a romance between a bisexual Black woman and her billionaire sugar daddy. It will be perfect for reading while you indulge in that sweet strawberry daiquiri on the sand.
Almost Maybes by Anna P. is a sweet and fun debut romance. It has some insta-love, a gorgeous female main character who is both unapologetically fat and unapologetically bi. It’s a fairly light read but one that doesn’t shy away from heavier topics. This book also features a food truck date, including a food truck that specializes in fancy milkshakes. What better way to end your beach day?
Bottle Rocket by Erin McLellan seems like an obvious choice for this week. It’s a Fourth of July themed romance and even if you didn’t celebrate the holiday this year, there’s a lot to enjoy about this short, steamy, and fun romance about a teacher who reunites with an old flame as she attempts to try new things. McLellan is always great for sex toy positivity in her books and all of her main couples are queer.
If you want a bit of kink with your steam
Cinnamon Roll by Anna Zabo is excellent. This one gets into s/D and pain play, so be prepared for that going in. There’s also some arospec representation which we love to see. It’s part of a multi-author series, so if you enjoy this one, the rest of the series is very fun too! It’s great for the beach because even though it’s part of a series, each book is a pretty fast read and works very well as a stand-alone.
The Wicked Villains series by Katee Robert offers several great options. Katee Robert has garnered attention on the traditional publishing side with her Dark Olympus series, but her self-published books are a great introduction to her work. Wicked Villains is a series of romance novels rewriting Disney villains as members at a BDSM club. They can be read in any order but for the purposes of variety, I’m going to recommend Queen Takes Rose which is F/F or The Sea Witch, which is F/F/M. All of her books are just plain fun, making them perfect for the beach.
If you want something that will keep you on the edge of your beach blanket
Layla Reyne writes fantastic romantic suspense. Prince of Killers is the first in her Fog City series with an assassin falling in love with his target. These books are fast-paced with a ton of great LGBTQ+ characters.
If you kind of want an escape but you’d like some rooting in reality
A Ferry of Bones & Gold by Hailey Turner starts off with the main character preparing for vacation and dreaming of drinks with umbrellas in them. Indulge in some umbrella garnished drinks of your own to bring the whole theme together while you read this one. It’s the start of a seven book series that is a non-stop page-turning adventure, filled with a cast of amazing characters.
If you want paranormal but with a lighter touch, try The Sumage Solution by G.L. Carriger. The entire San Andreas Shifters series is a complete delight. Carriger specializes in laugh-out-loud stories filled with delightful LGBTQ+ characters. This series can get a little angsty, but will still leave you feeling light-hearted. Also, one of my personal favorite characters is a merman and you can’t get beachier than that, right?
If you want to cut straight to monster territory
Another novella to try is The Witch’s Wolves by Ellie Mae MacGregor. It’s a sweet, soft romance between a witch and two wolfmen. Basically think cottage core mixed with wholesome monster smut and you’ve got a good idea. This is perfect if you want a quick read that makes you feel cozy. Arguments could be made that this is more of a fall read but coziness is important all year round.
Feed by Aveda Vice is getting more firmly into monster territory and also gets into some kink realms as well. But like the recommendation above, it’s a good short read (although less sweet) and perfect if you want something steamy while you’re steaming on the beach.
If you’re in the mood for something more historical
KJ Charles excels at queer historical romance. Read The Gentle Art of Fortune Hunting for a solid stand alone romance. Her books have humor and heart and a ton of well-researched details.
Want a bit of magic to go with your historical romance? Try my book Letters to Half Moon Street. Told entirely through letters, most of the chapters are pretty short making it perfect for reading in between cooling off in the water or pouring yourself another drink.