This year I’ve made an effort to read more indie-published and self-published books, and there have been some absolute gems. If you’re book shopping for Christmas, do consider adding one (or more) of these to your basket.
This entire list is very queer, particularly in terms of asexual and aromantic representation, but also other LGBT+ identities. If that’s your cup of tea, read on!
Common Bonds by Various authors
I’m being cheeky by including this, as one of the stories in this anthology (Spacegirl and the Martian) is mine. This Kickstarter-funded anthology is full of SFF stories focusing on aromantic protagonists and platonic relationships.
There are honestly some real treasures in here, with my personal favourite being Cinder – a witty, empowering fairytale re-telling that captures the joy and excitement of new friendship. There’s also an astronaut bonding with her dad in space, and two werewolf stories because aro people evidently love werewolves!
Create My Own Perfection by E.H. Timms
This short story is a re-telling of the Medusa myth, set at a university full of mythological beings. It uses the ancient tale to explore the ever-current issue of sexual harassment, and also shows the sharper edges of female friendship. Emma isn’t just kind and supportive to her friends – she’s also willing to do whatever it takes to defend them.
The Murder Next Door by Sarah Bell
Want to read about a sapphic couple solving a murder mystery in 1912? Of course you do! Sarah Bell’s debut is full of rich historical detail, and the central pairing of Ada and Louisa are brought vividly to life.
Despite the period setting, don’t expect a traditional “whodunnit”. The emphasis is less on who did the deed, and more on the meaty, nuanced issue of whether or not they deserve to be punished for it.
The Mesmerist’s Daughter by Heidi James
Good lord, the writing in this one is extraordinary! An unreliable, but highly observant narrator tells the story of a child whose mother is a wolf. Not literally. But maybe literally? Full of magic, but the kind of magic you get in horror movies rather than fairytales.
Streetlamps and Shepherd Moons by Katherine Highland
Streetlamps and Shepherd Moons is a slice-of-life novel that focuses on Diane – an autistic woman – and her attempts to navigate a confusing and sometimes hostile world. It’s an authentic, unfiltered take on autistic life that’s both thoughtful and thought-provoking.
This certainly isn’t a comfort read. Diane has an awful lot to deal with (often neurotypicals being clueless) but her difficulties and dramas are counterbalanced by the warmth of everyday comforts and human connection. The book is ultimately a celebration of creating the life you want and finding the people who matter.
The Dragon of Ynys by Minerva Cerridwen
Now this one is a comfort read. It’s a short and sweet story of a knight, a dragon, and a baker’s wife teaming up to search for the missing baker, and finding adventure and friendship along the way. It’s like those books about dragons you used to read as a kid, but with added LGBTQIA rep!
Any of these sparking your interest? And have you read any awesome indie books this year? Feel free to rave about them in the comments!