pansexual or bisexual character

Pansexual or bisexual character (Sapphic Reading Challenge #37)

This week’s Sapphic Reading Challenge features books with a bisexual main character or a pansexual main character. 

A bisexual person is someone who’s attracted to two or more genders, while a pansexual person is someone who’s attracted to people regardless of gender.

Important note: A female character who is solely attracted to women is a lesbian, even if she slept with men in the past, before figuring out she’s a lesbian. Sexual orientation is defined by who you are attracted to, not by who you sleep with. 

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re-read a favorite book

Re-read a favorite book (Sapphic Reading Challenge #35)

It’s time for another special category of the Sapphic Reading Challenge. This one doesn’t come with a list of suggested reads either. Instead, I want you to re-read one of your favorite books featuring a sapphic protagonist.

Reconnecting with your favorite characters can be fun, and I often discover new things and deeper layers whenever I re-read one of my favorites. So if you’ve been meaning to read one of your all-time favorite novels again, now’s the time to do it!

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character works in the food industry

Sapphic character works in the food industry (Sapphic Reading Challenge #34)

This week’s Sapphic Reading Challenge category features characters who work in the food industry. The protagonist could be a chef, a baker, a pastry chef, a waitress, or a caterer, or maybe they own a restaurant, a bakery, an ice cream shop, or some other yummy place.

People working with beverages count too for this category, so the main character could also work as a barista, a bartender, a winemaker, etc.

Most of the books on the list below are foodie romances that might cause some serious food cravings and are best enjoyed with a snack of your choice!

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disguised or living as a man

Disguised or living as a man (Sapphic Reading Challenge #33)

This week’s category of the Sapphic Reading Challenge features books about main characters who are either women who disguise themselves as men out of necessity or genderqueer people who were assigned female at birth but might identify as nonbinary or as trans men (even though the book might not use those terms since most books on this list are historical romances).   Read up on the rules of the Sapphic Reading Challenge If you are only discovering the Sapphic Reading Challenge now, the good news is you can still join! It’s a year-long challenge, so it runs until December 31, …

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sapphic steampunk fantasy

Sapphic steampunk fantasy or gaslamp fantasy (Book Unicorn #8)

Have you ever heard of steampunk fantasy? What about gaslamp fantasy? If you haven’t, don’t worry about it–I’m about to introduce you to this rare genre in this month’s Book Unicorn category of the Sapphic Reading Challenge. 

Steampunk fantasy and gaslamp fantasy are both subgenres of speculative fiction (or, to be more specific, of science fiction). The books usually take place in a Victorian-style setting, which gives them a historical flair (think bustle skirts, bowler hats, and goggles). Basically, they are alternate history that explores what would happen if technology and science had developed in a different way, never moving beyond steam power. There’s usually modern or fantastical technology such as time machines or robots, but it’s all steam-powered.

While steampunk centers around alternate developments in technology, gaslamp fantasy adds supernatural or magical elements.

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body-positive book

Sapphic body-positive books (Sapphic Reading Challenge #32)

This week’s Sapphic Reading Challenge category features body-positive books that celebrate women of all sizes and shapes, e.g., a plus-sized protagonist.

The romance novel industry has a reputation for abiding by Hollywood’s standard of beauty. It’s rare to find plus-size characters in f/f romance novels (or any romance, for that matter). Most of the main characters are portrayed as slim, with perfectly sized breasts, and if they are a bit chubby, their goal in the story is probably to lose weight.

So let’s break with that tradition and search out diversity when it comes to how the main characters look. 

By the way, body positivity includes not just fat or plus-sized characters; it also refers to characters who are skinny or flat-chested such as Eliza from Wrong Number, Right Woman or who otherwise deviate from society’s beauty standards.

I hope that going forward, there’ll be more body positivity in romance novels and that women of all shapes and sizes will find themselves represented in a positive way.

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sapphic friends-to-lovers romance novel

Sapphic friends-to-lovers romance novels (Sapphic Reading Challenge #31)

This week’s Sapphic Reading Challenge post features sapphic friends-to-lovers romance novels.

For some reason, there are not a lot of true friends-to-lovers romances out there, which is weird, because so many same-sex couples start out as friends (85%, according to a study I recently read!).

Important definition: In a friends-to-lovers romance, the two main characters are already friends (sometimes best friends or childhood friends) at the beginning of the book. If they are strangers who meet at the beginning of the book, then become friends before becoming lovers, it’s not a friends-to-lovers romance in the narrower sense of the word. 

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sapphic mystery novels

Sapphic mystery novels (Sapphic Reading Challenge #30)

This week’s Sapphic Reading Challenge features sapphic mystery novels–a novel in which the plot revolves around a murder or another crime that needs to be solved. 

Mystery novels with a queer female crime-solving badass have a strong tradition. Even before I discovered romance novels between women, I was reading mainstream-published books featuring lesbian detectives such as the Kate Martinelli series by Laurie King and the Kate Delafield series by Katherine V. Forrest or private investigators such as the Lauren Laurano series by Sandra Scoppettone. 

I’ve included some of these classics along with more recently published mystery novels. 

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