Today, it’s time to read a book from a genre you don’t usually read. Depending on your reading comfort zone, that could be mystery, historical fiction/historical romance, fantasy, science fiction…or maybe even nonfiction. As long as it has a women-loving women character or theme, any book that isn’t your usual reading fare is fine.
Below, you’ll find 5 suggestions for genres such as historical fiction, paranormal romance/urban fantasy, science fiction, fantasy, mystery & romantic suspense, and romcom/humor.
If you would like to read a book from the speculative fiction categories (fantasy, paranormal, science fiction, etc.), but are struggling to find one you’ll enjoy, take a look at these tips. They’re from a previous reading challenge, but they apply to this year’s Sapphic Reading Challenge as well.
Speculative fiction sale at Ylva Publishing (April 23-25)
If you’re planning to read a speculative fiction book (paranormal romance, science fiction, fantasy & superheroes fiction) for this category, keep an eye on the speculative fiction sale at Ylva Publishing starting tomorrow (April 23-25, 2021).
I’ll be sending out an email to my newsletter subscribers because the sale includes my shape-shifter books True Nature and Natural Family Disaster. If you’d like to get an email about the sale too, please subscribe to my newsletter.
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, 2021. Read up on the rules of the Sapphic Reading Challenge and download your PDF so you can keep track of the books you read this year.
Remember that you can either read one of the books listed below or pick another sapphic book from a genre you don’t usually read.
Her Lady to Love by Jane Walsh (1810s)
Country mouse Lady Honora Banfield arrives in London with one mission: to catch a husband. A perpetual wallflower, she’s going to do whatever it takes to win a proposal from London’s most eligible bachelor, including teaming up with the most popular (and least proper) woman in London.
Miss Jacqueline Lockhart is having too much fun in her sixth season to ever consider settling down, even though she’s been unsuccessful at mingling with the upper echelons of London society.
When Lady Honora agrees to exchange invitations to the most exclusive events in return for Jacqueline’s introductions to eligible gentlemen, neither expects their friendship to ignite passion. Nora and Jacquie begin an affair with the strict understanding that it will end once Nora is married, but as a proposal becomes more imminent, choosing between a conventional life without love, or certain ruination if they stay together, isn’t as simple as it seems.
Backwards to Oregon by Jae (1850s)
“Luke” Hamilton has always been sure that she’d never marry. She accepted that she would spend her life alone when she chose to live her life disguised as a man.
After working in a brothel for three years, Nora Macauley has lost all illusions about love. She no longer hopes for a man who will sweep her off her feet and take her away to begin a new, respectable life.
But now they find themselves married and on the way to Oregon in a covered wagon, with two thousand miles ahead of them.
Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters (1890s)
Nan King, an oyster girl, is captivated by the music hall phenomenon Kitty Butler, a male impersonator extraordinaire treading the boards in Canterbury. Through a friend at the box office, Nan manages to visit all her shows and finally meet her heroine.
Soon after, she becomes Kitty’s dresser and the two head for the bright lights of Leicester Square where they begin a glittering career as music-hall stars in an all-singing and dancing double act. At the same time, behind closed doors, they admit their attraction to each other and their affair begins.
How to Talk to Nice English Girls by Gretchen Evans (1920s)
In the aftermath of The Great War, everything is changing.
But not for Marian Fielding.
Marian’s life is quiet and predictable in the solitude of the English countryside, where she plans to remain. But Marian’s world is turned upside down when she meets brash, confident Katherine Fuller.
Katherine arrives at the Fieldings’ family estate for the wedding of Marian’s sister and immediately shakes things up. Instead of keeping the ill-mannered American girl out of trouble, Marian finds herself magnetically drawn to Katherine’s vivacious nature, and they are swept into a whirlwind romance that will change both of their lives.
Katherine’s unconventional behavior and the pull of Marian’s old life threaten their chance at happiness together. But these two women from different worlds will find a way to be together against all odds and expectations.
Waiting for the Violins by Justine Saracen (1940s)
Antonia Forrester, an English nurse, is nearly killed while trying to save soldiers fleeing at Dunkirk. Embittered, she returns to occupied Brussels as a British spy to foment resistance to the Nazis. She works with urban partisans who sabotage deportation efforts and execute collaborators, before résistante leader Sandrine Toussaint accepts her into the Comet Line, an operation to rescue downed Allied pilots.
After capture and then escape from a deportation train headed for Auschwitz, the women join the Maquis fighting in the Ardenne Forests. Passion is the glowing ember that warms them amidst the winter carnage until London radio transmits the news they’ve waited for. Huddled in the darkness, they hear the coded message, “the long sobs of the violins” signaling that the Allied Invasion is about to begin.
Paranormal romance & urban fantasy:
Every Dark Desire by Fiona Zedde
Naomi lives an almost idyllic life in Jamaica. She has a daughter who adores her, a close-knit community that looks out for its own, and paradise as her playground. But she secretly longs for the touch of other women. It is a longing she finally gets to satisfy during a trip into the tourist heart of Jamaica. When she surrenders to the seduction of a compelling stranger, however, she is savagely transformed into Belle, a ruthless beast whose hungers know no bounds.
Now Belle is part of a vampire clan, reveling in an existence that lays bare the dark hungers within every soul. Part of her hates her new world, but another part glories in it and in the explosive sexual connection she shares with the powerful head of the clan. But as magical as her new world is, it also has its dangers. Dangers that threaten the people she loves.
Target by L.C. Mawson
Caroline doesn’t remember her crime.
One moment, she’s a Lady of the Demon Court.
The next, she’s sent to Earth as punishment.
Her task? Keep the humans from learning about magic at all costs. Even if it means doing the one thing she’s worst at – dealing with other people.
Detective Mina Sharma is determined to prove herself.
Her new promotion is the one thing going right in her life as a newly-divorced single mother, and she’s not going to let anything stop her from solving her first case.
Not even the aloof and enigmatic blonde with crimson eyes telling her to drop it if she values her life.
Especially not when this Caroline is just as much of a puzzle to solve as the case itself.
And Mina has always loved puzzles.
Avenging Avery by Sheri Lewis Wohl
Three hundred years ago, a vengeful vampire turned Isa Meyer into the undead, and Isa has been planning her revenge every day since. That same vampire destroyed the love of Deputy Sheriff Jeni Denton’s life, and she vows to annihilate every vampire she can.
Amid a rash of local disappearances, Isa’s and Jeni’s paths cross, and a common enemy forces them into an unlikely partnership. If their growing feelings for each other have any chance to survive, they must do the one thing they both fear the most: trust. Will that be enough to defeat a vampire set on destruction? Or will it take love to conquer all?
Both Ways by Ileandra Young
Danika Karson, field agent of the Supernatural Prohibition, Extermination, and Arrest Regiment (SPEAR), has the highest capture and kill rate on record. That is, until the mayor of Angbec makes her an offer she can’t refuse. Moonlighting as a rogue private investigator, Danika must find the mayor’s son, presumed kidnapped by vampires.
Determined to solve the case, Danika’s only lead is Rayne, a vampire whose power and beauty mask a kind and gentle heart. They race against time to find the missing boy, dodging vampires, evading SPEAR agents, and fighting the attraction that sparks between them. When the stakes rise ever higher, Danika is forced to put her life in Rayne’s hands, but can she really trust a vampire?
Ambereye by Gill McKnight
The thing with the Garouls is you never get quite what you think you will. They really are something else.
Hope Glassy loves her job at Ambereye, Inc., despite having Jolie Garoul as her new boss.
Jolie is a moody workaholic. She is awkward, contrary, and on occasion just plain mean. Hope is hardworking, popular, and in recovery from a serious illness. She doesn’t need a bizarre boss. She doesn’t need office politics. And she doesn’t need to work over Thanksgiving either. Nevertheless, that’s what she and Jolie end up doing…in Little Dip, home of the Garoul clan.
An important meeting brings them to the valley where it’s assumed Jolie has brought her chosen mate to meet her pack. Much to her consternation Jolie finds she likes this idea, but Hope has no time for romance. She is eager to get her life, health, and career back on track, nothing more. Jolie is determined to change her mind, but how does a lycanthrope woo a human? A small and super-efficient, bossy boots human at that?
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers
When Rosemary Harper joins the crew of the Wayfarer, she isn’t expecting much. The ship, which has seen better days, offers her everything she could possibly want: a small, quiet spot to call home for a while, adventure in far-off corners of the galaxy, and distance from her troubled past.
But Rosemary gets more than she bargained for with the Wayfarer. The crew is a mishmash of species and personalities, from Sissix, the friendly reptillian pilot, to Kizzy and Jenks, the constantly sparring engineers who keep the ship running. Life on board is chaotic, but more or less peaceful – exactly what Rosemary wants.
Until the crew are offered the job of a lifetime: the chance to build a hyperspace tunnel to a distant planet. They’ll earn enough money to live comfortably for years… if they survive the long trip through war-torn interstellar space without endangering any of the fragile alliances that keep the galaxy peaceful.
But Rosemary isn’t the only person on board with secrets to hide, and the crew will soon discover that space may be vast, but spaceships are very small indeed.
Lucky 7 by Rae D. Magdon
Elena Nevares is on the run. She’s a jacker, someone who connects to virtual reality with their brain, and everyone else on her crew was murdered during a mission gone wrong. Sasha Young is planning a rescue. She’s a handler, a team leader whose crew has been scattered by an evil corporation: Axys Generations.
Together, they must find the rest of Sasha’s crew: Cherry, the engineer and explosives expert; Rami, the master of disguise; Doc, the wunderkind Medical Officer; and Rock, the mechanically modified muscle. But Axys Generations has bigger plans than taking down Sasha’s crew. Elena, Sasha, and the rest of the Lucky 7 must go on their most dangerous mission yet—not for credits or tech, but to save the world.
The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson
Born in the dirt of the wasteland, Cara has fought her entire life just to survive. Now she has done the impossible, and landed herself a comfortable life on the lower levels of the wealthy and walled-off Wiley City. So long as she can keep her head down and avoid trouble, she’s on a sure path to citizenship and security – on this world, at least.
Of the 380 realities that have been unlocked, Cara is dead in all but 8.
Cara’s parallel selves are exceptionally good at dying – from disease, turf wars, or vendettas they couldn’t outrun – which makes Cara wary, and valuable. Because while multiverse travel is possible, no one can visit a world in which their counterpart is still alive. And no one has fewer counterparts than Cara.
But then one of her eight doppelgängers dies under mysterious circumstances, and Cara is plunged into a new world with an old secret. What she discovers will connect her past and future in ways she never could have imagined – and reveal her own role in a plot that endangers not just her earth, but the entire multiverse.
Zero Day Threat (The Ungovernable #1) by R.M. Olson
She’s lost her ship, lost her job, lost her reputation, and is on the run from the law.
Jez is a damn good pilot, and she’s always worked alone. Until she got picked up for smuggling, that is. Now she’s an ex-con and ex-employed, and there are plenty of people with old scores to settle. So when a mysterious stranger in a battered pilot’s coat comes to her with an offer that sounds too good to be true, she reluctantly agrees to listen.
All she has to do is fly one little job.
Four ex-convicts. One charismatic mastermind. And the most dangerous heist the System has ever seen.
Bitter Heart by Mary Griggs
When her home planet is invaded by the Babwe, royal daughter Julian escapes aboard a trade ship. She must get to the Unity planet and persuade the system government to intervene before all of her people are slaughtered or enslaved.
Julian discovers more allies than she expected but her choices have deadly consequences back home. With the fate of her people in the balance, can Julian work fast enough to save them?
Aurora’s Angel by Emily Noon
Joined in a battle for survival, a broken-winged angel and a shapeshifter huntress with a bloody past form a bond that may change their world.
Alone since her father’s murder, Aurora has spent years hunting his killers. Battle-weary she’s ready to start over where no one knows who or what she is – she just has one last mission. Everything is going to plan until she discovers the beautiful winged girl caged underground. Her decision to rescue Evie and to help her get home safely, despite avians being infamous for selling out shifters like Aurora to cutters and black-market flesh dealers, will put her on a perilous path.
As the women travel together their attraction grows but Aurora is guarding her lonely heart almost as much as her dangerous secrets and Evie is struggling to accept how important Aurora has become to her.
With their enemies conspiring to kill them, they may be each other’s only hope. Aurora is powerful but she’s also emotionally scarred. It will be up to Evie to save her from herself and to fight for them, or innocent people will die along with the guilty ones and Aurora will disappear from Evie’s life forever.
The Fate of Stars (Sea and Stars Book 1) by S D Simper
Worlds collide when Tallora is kidnapped from her ocean home and forced to be a pet to a tyrannical foreign empire. Her only hope for rescue lies with a sworn enemy—Princess Dauriel, infamous for her stone heart and conflicted past.
But when Dauriel’s kingdom comes to the cusp of war, could their uneasy alliance be the key to defeating a common foe? Or will their growing feelings for each other lead them to ruin?
Breaking Legacies by Zoe Reed
In a land impoverished by a war that started before she was born, Kiena has provided for her mother and brother by becoming one of the best hunters in the kingdom. But when a lifelong friend with connections recommends her to the king to track down a runaway princess, her life gets turned upside down.
Finding the princess is easy. Deciding what to do in a conflicting mess of politics and emotions… not so much.
Daughter of Fire: Conspiracy of the Dark (Destiny and Darkness Book 1) by Karen Frost
I am the daughter of winter. My people are strong and unbending as ice. I was born with the frozen winds sweeping through my hair, with snow dusted across my skin. I am. I am. I am…
For Aeryn, a girl born to the remote, wintry Ice Crown region of Ilirya, the outside world is a fantasy: a series of wonderful stories told by occasional passing travellers. She never imagines anything for her life beyond following in her parents’ footsteps.
But the discovery that she has the rare gift of magic shatters her isolated world. Aeryn can create and tame fire. It’s an intoxicating, raw, and thrilling power, but it also sets her apart. And her gift attracts attention.
She is whisked from her home in the wilds to train at Windhall University and master her magic. There, Aeryn slowly learns the truth about the real world, with its strange mix of people and powers, and so many intertwining threads of shadows and light. She’s drawn to unattainable Lyse, a beautiful healer in training who makes Aeryn’s heart soar. But she also senses a creeping darkness all around that could threaten the future of the kingdom itself.
Shalmar (A Tale of Lifetimes #1) by Serena Whynd
Shalmar is an Amazon warrior, feared and renowned among the people of her home country Gilsk. But when a prized statuette from a neighbouring country mysteriously disappears, tensions between the two kingdoms flare and their war reaches an all-time high.
In an attempt to stop the bloodshed, Shalmar recruits the newly-trained Jacqueline to help her retrieve the sacred statuette. As they embark on their search, the connection between them soon becomes undeniable.
But there’s much more to the missing statuette than meets the eye. Unbeknown to all but a few, it holds a frightening and evil power. Only the royals of its rightful owners know of the secret it keeps – and if it gets into the wrong hands, a terrible darkness may destroy Shalmar and wipe out all that she loves…
Mystery & romantic suspense:
Meant to Be Me by Wendy Hudson
Trying to find “The One” is never easy and engineer Darcy Harris is finding it tougher than most. It doesn’t help she’s also dealing with a shadowy stalker trying to make trouble for her. But Darcy’s determined not to let anyone ruin her life.
Her loyal best friend and boss, Anja Olsen, is stuck in a strange conundrum, forced to question who she has become and who she wants to be.
Meanwhile, stranger Eilidh Grey’s first instinct is to run fearlessly toward chaos and love. But this time she’s on a collision course with fate.
A chance meeting on a snowy bridge in Inverness, Scotland, binds all three women together, creating an unexpected, tangled, love triangle. What happens when it all unravels?
Bury Me When I’m Dead: A Charlie Mack Motown Mystery by Cheryl A Head
Charlene “Charlie” Mack is a PI in Detroit. Born and raised in the city that America forgot, Charlie has built a highly respected private investigations firm through hard work, smart choices, and relentless ambition. Her team of investigators are highly skilled and trustworthy, but she secretly struggles with her sexual orientation and a mother with early-onset Alzheimer’s.
When Charlie and her crack team head to Birmingham, Alabama following the trail of a missing person, what should be a routine case turns into a complex chase for answers. Shady locals and a southern patriarch with dark secrets dating back forty years obscure their path. It seems like everyone has something to hide, including Charlie.
When the case turns deadly with a double murder, and Charlie is attacked on a quiet neighborhood street, everything suddenly becomes personal. Who can Charlie trust, and will she ever solve the riddles of the Magic City?
Stoner McTavish by Sarah Dreher
Meet lesbian travel agent turned reluctant detective, Stoner McTavish and her friends, on their first adventure to Grand Teton National Park, where she falls in love with her dream lover, Gwen, whom she must rescue from almost certain death.
No Good Reason by Cari Hunter
“I can’t do this. I can’t do any of this without her. ”Detective Sanne Jensen (not blonde, not tall, definitely not Scandinavian) and Dr. Meg Fielding (scruffy, scatterbrained, prone to swearing at patients) are lifelong best friends, sharing the same deprived background and occasionally the same bed. When a violent kidnapping stuns the Peak District village of Rowlee, both women become involved in the case.
As Sanne and her colleagues in East Derbyshire Special Ops search for the culprit, and Meg fights to keep his victim alive, a shocking discovery turns the investigation on its head. With the clock ticking, Sanne and Meg find themselves pushed closer by a crime that threatens to tear everything apart.
Indiscretions by Barbara Winkes
He’s closer than they think…
Ellie returns to the job after a vicious attack, determined not to make any more compromises. She wants to become a detective as soon as possible, and she wants Jordan, the star investigator in the Homicide unit. After nearly losing her life, she deserves that much, doesn’t she?
Jordan’s life isn’t as perfect as it might look to a casual observer. In a dysfunctional relationship, she is struggling with her attraction to a younger colleague and what’s shaping up to be a nightmare case: A killer who abducts and tortures women he considers immoral. Another woman is missing, and now he has set his sights on one of their own.
They will stop him – whatever it takes…
Maybe Charlotte by Louise McBain
Charlie Kincaid has moved to Washington, DC, to get away from her spoiled ex-girlfriend Madison and an unsavory association with a popular item at her trendy Portland bakery, The Charlie Pie™. The delicious treat is a frosted blueberry tart secretly named after Charlie’s vagina. Now what was once a sexy secret has turned into the most talked about dessert in southern Maine—with knockoffs in every store and a radio jingle on repeat.
Renaming herself Charlotte, Charlie moves with her twin brother Daniel to the Georgetown guest house of their great aunt, internationally known artist Wellesley Kincaid. On a wild night out, Charlotte notices green-eyed Lily and sparks fly. When chance throws them together again, the sparks take fire. Charlotte finds herself hopeful that a relationship with the young lawyer might grow.
Then the fledgling romance is threatened when Madison makes a surprise trip to DC—looking for a way back into Charlotte’s life. Will the trust Charlotte and Lily have built withstand the test of Madison’s return?
Maybe Charlotte is the story of two women overcoming the disappointments of past relationships to forge one that is uniquely their own.
The Big Tow by Ann McMan
“Welcome to the National Recovery Bureau, where your assets are as sacred as God’s holy word.”
Vera “Nick” Nicholson is an overtaxed and underpaid attorney wasting away on the bottom rung of the gilded ladder at Turner, Witherspoon, Anders, and Tyler, PA in Winston-Salem, NC. When a high-priced luxury car belonging to one of the firm’s top clients goes missing, Nick gets saddled with the unenviable job of recovering the vehicle—and its mysterious contents—without involving the cops. Enter Fast Eddie and his quirky band of misfits at The National Recovery Bureau, a repo agency located in a sleepy town called K-Vegas.
When Nick is unceremoniously furloughed from TWAT, she throws caution to the wind and signs on to become the newest agent of the NRB, teaming up with moonlighting third-grade schoolteacher, Frances “Frankie” Stohler. Frankie’s mortician father and beautician mother are stalwarts of the Winston-Salem community—so it’s no surprise that everyone across three counties has some connection to her family. What is surprising, however, is the Slim Jim Frankie carries in her purse and her preternatural talent for jacking cars.
Nick and Frankie’s stumbling entrée into the surreal world of asset recovery takes them on a hilarious, fast-paced and mind-bending journey across the back roads and byways of the Tar Heel state, setting into motion a chain of misadventures that lead them both toward financial independence, cataclysmic legal jeopardy, and the discovery that true love can sometimes lurk in the most unlikely places.
#CassiNova by Lori G. Matthews
Samantha Cassidy, award-winning actress, up-and-coming Hollywood “It Girl”, is missing three things in her life: an Oscar, a special someone to share her life with, and a baby goat in pajamas.
Alex Novato married her college sweetheart, but tragedy struck and the love of her life was ripped from her arms. Now she refuses to open her heart again, choosing casual sex over deeper commitments, until a not-so-chance meeting with her favorite Hollywood starlet turns her world upside down.
Will Alex give love another try? Will Sam find the courage to follow her heart, Hollywood be damned? Will anyone get a baby goat in pajamas?
Scissor Link by Georgette Kaplan
Savin Aerospace employee Wendy Cedar has a massive crush on her hot older boss, Janet Lace, who’s just gone through a divorce.
Her secret love is all harmless enough until Janet finds an email listing every naughty thing Wendy wants to do to her, inspired by a sex dream Wendy has shared with her friend.
Now Wendy’s been called into the boss’s office. It might be a fantasy come true…if she doesn’t get fired first.
What starts off as a no-strings-attached, office fling could become something more. The women have to decide if a romance is for them or if they’re better off as boss and employee.
Just Jorie by Robin Alexander
Some believe that special someone is out there just waiting to be found. Jorie Andolini is one of those people and has spent a lot of time envisioning that moment. She bumps into a woman at a grocery store, the woman drops a can of peas, Jorie picks it up, their eyes meet, and two souls connect. But it’s actually a wasted trip to New York, a snowstorm, and a canceled flight home that puts her in the path of Lena Vaughn.
Lena has found fault in every man she’s ever dated. Her dream of finding a husband is dwindling with every year that passes. Despite what her friends say, Lena doesn’t believe she has a fear of commitment, she simply hasn’t found a man she wanted to commit to. It comes as a surprise that in fact it is a woman who stirs those desires. For Lena, it’s not really a matter of sexuality, it’s just Jorie.
Travel the road to happiness with Jorie and Lena. Two crazy old women, meddling friends, and cattitude are just some sights you’ll see along the way.
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Leave a comment and let us know which book you’ll be reading for the “character is a medical professional” category!
4 thoughts on “Genre you don’t usually read (Sapphic Reading Challenge #15)”
Hadn’t thought that RomCom is not popular. I have issues with horror – oh, the horror.
I read a light-horror:
Karin Kallmaker, Castle Wrath
Try my legal thriller with lots of #wlw romance. “Standby Counsel, A Monica Spade Novel,” fulfills several categories in the Sapphic Reading Challenge: Thriller (Unicorn Challenge); Part of a series (and standalone read); Character rocks a power suit; New-to-you author; and Longer book (528p). Happy Reading!
Whoa, creepy coincidence! 😳 I’m currently reading The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (audio) and Bury Me When I’m Dead!
Mystery is the genre I read least 😅 so I picked it for my two reads for this category.
Another suggestion for an underread genre is sports romances!
Give ’em chance! They’re wonderful! 😍
I actually have Mary Oliver’s Blue Horses on my to-be-read-for-the-challenge list :)