Sapphic Slow-burn romances

Sapphic Book Bingo 2023

Sapphic Book Bingo 2023

Happy New Year and welcome to the Sapphic Book Bingo 2023!

Since my previous reading challenges (the Sapphic Book Bingo 2022, the Sapphic Reading Challenge in 2021, the F/F Fiction Crossword Challenge in 2020, and the Lesbian Book Bingo in 2018) were so popular with readers, I decided to host a new reading challenge in 2023. I hope it will keep you reading all year and help you find new favorite books and authors!


What is the Sapphic Book Bingo?

The Sapphic Book Bingo is a fun, year-long event for readers of sapphic fiction. It runs from January 1 to December 31, 2023. You can join any time you want.


Why is it called Sapphic Book Bingo?

In case you aren’t familiar with the term sapphic: It comes from the Greek poet Sappho, who wrote about love and passion between women.

During the past few years, I’ve come to use sapphic rather than F/F or lesbian when I’m talking about our genre because it’s more inclusive.

Lesbian is a perfectly fine word, but not every book with a love story between two women is a lesbian romance. Some of the characters in these stories are bisexual, pansexual, or homoromantic asexual women, or they prefer the label queer–or no label at all.

The term sapphic includes any woman who’s attracted to women, but unlike the term WLW (women-loving women), it also includes nonbinary people and intersex people who identify as sapphic (not all nonbinary or intersex people do).


The rules of the Sapphic Book Bingo

  • The reading challenge will run from January 1, 2023, to December 31, 2023. You can join at any time. No registration necessary—just start reading!
  • The goal is to fill out the entire bingo card by reading one book for each square. If reading 25 sapphic books in 2023 sounds too ambitious, you can also aim for completing just one line (horizontal, vertical, or diagonal) of the bingo card (5 books).
  • Below, you’ll find two bingo cards to choose from: a regular bingo card with 25 squares and a Book Unicorn card with 12 harder-to-find categories. You can pick the regular card or the Book Unicorn card or try to complete both—totally up to you.
  • Each book needs to have at least one sapphic main character (see above for the definition of sapphic).
  • Each book may be used only onceper card, even if it fits several different squares. (Exception: If you read the same book twice in 2023, you can use it for two different squares).
  • I’ll post book recommendations for a different square on my blog every Thursday. You can either pick a book from my recommended reading lists or choose any other sapphic book that fits the square.
  • Only books you started and finished in 2023 count.
  • Books can be any format—ebook, paperback, or audiobook.
  • Books can be any language. In fact, there’s a German version of the reading challenge too.
  • It doesn’t necessarily have to be a novel. Novellas (usually around 17,500-40,000 words) count too, as do anthologies, fanfiction, and graphic novels.
  • Not all books you read for the Sapphic Book Bingo need to be new-to-you. Re-reads of books you’ve previously read count too.
  • Email me your filled-out bingo card by December 31, 2023 at 10 am German time, to be entered into the drawing (see below for the prizes you can win).
  • If you are a voracious reader who reads hundreds of books a year, feel free to send in several bingo cards. You’ll get one entry into the giveaway for each card.


The prizes

The real prize, of course, is discovering a lot of awesome books and new favorite authors.

But there’ll also be a big giveaway at the end of the year. Everyone who sends in their bingo card with at least one complete line will be entered into the drawing.

There will be 15 winners:

  • I’ll draw 5 winners among those readers who send in a bingo card with one complete line. Each of these winners wins 1 ebook.
  • I’ll draw 5 winners among those readers who send in a completed Book Unicorn card. Each of these winners wins 2 ebooks.
  • I’ll draw 5 winners among those readers who send in a complete bingo card, with all 25 squares filled out. Each of these winners wins a bundle of 5 books—a mix of paperbacks and ebooks or all ebooks (winner’s choice).

Email me your filled-in bingo card—either the filled-in PDF you can download below or a screenshot/photo of it—by December 31. I’ll draw the winners on December 31, 2023, at 10 a.m. Central European Time, using a random numbers generator.


The regular Sapphic Book Bingo card

Here are the 25 categories for the main bingo card. I’ll post a new recommended-reading list three times a month on Thursdays. I put together a mix of popular tropes and topics as well as categories that’ll push you to try new books and diversify your reading. I encourage you to read diversely, from a wide spectrum of authors and genres.

You can download a PDF of the regular bingo card here. Fill it in with the titles of the sapphic books you read in 2023. You can either type in the PDF or print it out and fill it in by hand.


The categories for the regular Sapphic Book Bingo card

Sapphic Book Bingo main categories

For book recommendations, you can click on the links for each of the categories I have already posted:

  1. Sapphic age-gap romance: Read a sapphic romance in which the main characters have an age difference of at least 10 years.
  2. Bodyguard or security guard: Read a sapphic book with a main character who is a bodyguard or works in security.
  3. Blind date: Read a sapphic book in which the main character goes on a blind date (i.e., a date with someone they have never met before).
  4. “Heart” in the title: Read a sapphic book that has the work “heart” in the title.
  5. Co-authored book: Read a sapphic book that two (or more) authors wrote together.
  6. Roommate romance: Read a sapphic book in which the main character falls in love with their roommate.
  7. Inheritance: Read a sapphic book in which one of the main characters inherits something within the first three chapters of the book and the inheritance plays an important role in the book.
  8. Free sapphic book: Read a sapphic book that you got for free. Many authors have a free story for you to download on their website (you’ll find a few of mine here) or send one to readers who sign up to their newsletter. You’ll also find a list of 20+ free sapphic books by various authors here.
  9. Country or state you haven’t visited: Read a sapphic book that is set in a country or in a US state you haven’t visited yet.
  10. Single parent: Read a sapphic book with a main character who’s a single parent.
  11. Enemies-to-lovers romance: Read a sapphic romance in which the main characters start out as enemies or rivals or at least strongly dislike each other before falling in love.
  12. Pride scene: Read a sapphic book in which the main character attends a Pride parade or another Pride event.
  13. Same-sex wedding: Read a sapphic book in which a same-sex wedding plays an important role. It needs to be essential to the plot, not just the two main characters getting married in the last chapter or epilogue.
  14. New or new-to-you author: Read a sapphic book by an author who is either new (hasn’t published more than two full-length novels) or new to you.
  15. Angsty romance: Read a sapphic romance with a high angst level—the characters are going through strong emotional turmoil, and the author puts them through the wringer before they get their happy ending.
  16. Low-angst romance: Read a sapphic romance with a low angst level—a light-hearted, feel-good novel that you’d read whenever you need a book hug.
  17. Coffee shop romance: Read a sapphic romance in which one of the main characters either works in a coffee shop or spends significant time in one.
  18. Boss/employee romance: Read a sapphic workplace romance in which one character is the other character’s boss.
  19. Second book in a series: Read a sapphic book that is the second book in a series.
  20. Workaholic character: Read a sapphic book with a main character who’s a workaholic.
  21. Vineyard romance: Read a sapphic book that is set on a vineyard. Typically, the main character owns, runs, or works on a vineyard.
  22. Cowgirl or rancher: Read a sapphic book with a main character who’s a rancher or a “cowgirl.” The book can be historical or contemporary.
  23. Sibling relationship: Read a sapphic book in which the main character’s relationship with their sibling plays an important role.
  24. Tool belt: Read a sapphic book with a main character who works in construction or wears a tool belt in at least one scene.
  25. Fake relationship romance: Read a sapphic book in which the two main characters pretend to be in a relationship with each other.


The Book Unicorn bingo card

The Book Unicorn represents harder-to-find themes and categories. So if you’d like to challenge yourself, you can try to complete the Book Unicorn bingo card.

I’ll post a recommended-reads list for one category of the Book Unicorn card once a month, starting with “ice queen who’s younger than her love interest” on January 12.

As you can see below, the Book Unicorn card isn’t a 5×5 grid. The squares form a U for Unicorn.

You can download a PDF of the Book Unicorn bingo card here. You can either type in the PDF or print it out and fill it in by hand.


The categories for the Book Unicorn bingo card

Sapphic Book Bingo unicorn categories

For book recommendations, you can click on the links for each of the categories I have already posted:

  1. Younger ice queen: Read a sapphic book with an ice queen character who’s younger than her love interest.
  2. Imperfect sex: Read a sapphic book in which the sex isn’t always perfect (or at least not right away). Something might go wrong; they fumble around, stub their toe, fall asleep, etc.
  3. Shorter butch character: Read a sapphic book with a butch main character who is shorter (or at least the same height, not taller) than her love interest.
  4. Brown eyes: Read a sapphic book in which both main character have brown eyes.
  5. Unusual first date: Read a sapphic book in which the main characters are going on an unusual first date, e.g., the location of their first date or the first-date activity is unusual.
  6. Immigrant or expat: Read a sapphic book with a main character who is an immigrant or an expat (i.e., they left their native country and now live elsewhere).
  7. Stunning cover: Read a sapphic book with a cover that is stunning, unusual, or stands out in some way.
  8. POC on the cover: Read a sapphic book that has a person of color on the cover.
  9. Five-star read: Read a sapphic book with a five-star average on Amazon or Goodreads. For it to count as a five-star read, it needs to have at least five reviews with an average of at least 4.8 on either Amazon or Goodreads.
  10. Romance without a sex scene: Read a sapphic romance that doesn’t have an on-the-page sex scene.
  11. Menopause: Read a sapphic book with a main character who is going through menopause.
  12. Unusual setting: Read a sapphic book with an unusual setting, e.g., Antarctica, space, a remote island, etc.


Don’t miss the first square of the Sapphic Book Bingo

I’ll post the book recommendations for the first category of the Sapphic Book Bingo on Thursday, January 5. We’ll start with age-gap romances.

To make sure you don’t miss it, subscribe to my blog, and I’ll send the post to your in-box!


Need more book recommendations to fill your bingo card?

As I said, you’ll get weekly book recommendations on this blog. I’ll share 15 books for one category every Thursday.

But if you need more book recommendations, here are a few options:

  • If you are on Facebook and want book recommendations from other readers to fill your bingo card—or you just want to chat about the books you love, feel free to join my Facebook group for readers. It’s a private group, so only members can see who’s in it and what we are discussing. We keep a folder to which authors are adding little cards that help you see what categories of the Sapphic Book Bingo their books fit into. Here’s an example:

Next of Kin bingo card


  • If you prefer Goodreads over Facebook, I also set up a Goodreads group for the Sapphic Book Bingo.
  • I put together a page that shows how my books fit into the Sapphic Book Bingo categories, along with the categories of the IHS Reading Challenge.
  • Check out Ylva Publishing’s Sapphic Book Bingo list that shows you how the Ylva books fit into the catgegories of the reading challenge.


Leave a comment

Please leave a comment below and let us know which bingo card you will pick for this year’s reading challenge. Are you aiming to complete the 25 squares of the regular bingo card? Just one line? Or will you take on the Book Unicorn card?

The Romance Bet by Jae

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In my monthly reader newsletter, I share not just new releases and other book news but also free books, giveaways, and special offers. As a welcome gift, you also get a free ebook copy of my romantic short story The Romance Bet.

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55 thoughts on “Sapphic Book Bingo 2023”

  1. My “strategy” the last two years was to read, and then about mid-year, find which books fit into which boxes. But then it was too difficult, so I gave up. I probably could have easily filled both regular and Unicorn cards.

    I plan this year to look at the cards, figure out which books I want to read (or re-read) and pencil them in (so to speak), and go from there. Hopefully, this strategy works!

    Thank you, and all your helpers, for doing this! And for the authors participating! (And for other readers – including authors who are participating as readers – it makes it so much fun!)

    • I hear you! I actually read about 62 books over the year, but just had trouble filling in the card. Also, there were some categories that I didn’t care for. This year’s card seems more doable somehow, so I will try to pay more attention and see how far I can get with my card completion!

    • I had this problem the first year. Last year I put book and all categories in an excel sheet that way I knew all the possible categories for each book. The reason why I chose it may not have been what it finally matched

  2. Hello Jae🙏. Today is January 1, 2023. This is my first Sapphic Book Bingo foray. Hurrah 😄. My goal is to complete both cards. Unicorns 🦄 are cool 😎. Reportedly, unicorns 🦄 originate from Germany 🇩🇪, more specifically the Black Forest. Jae has not substantiated this claim with photographic evidence but I take her at her word. She seems trustworthy.

  3. oh, some of these are gonna be tough!

    I was wondering if you could provide simple jpegs of the two challenges? I usually track this over on Canva for easier rearrangement with the covers.

  4. My goal is to read at least as many sapphic books as I read last year. I’m downloading both cards, but I’ll probably only get bingo on the main card.

  5. This will be my first time for Sapphic Book Bingo. I’m going to complete the first card but I’m also going to try to complete the Unicorn card.

  6. I just turned 60 yesterday (1/1) so I am joining the challenge and setting my own personal goal to read 60 books and to of course complete both cards.

  7. Question: Can the ‘Free Book’ Space be something taken out either physically from the library or via Libby/Hoopla?

    They’re technically free to me, even though the library did buy them at some point or another?

    Can’t wait to get started on this.

  8. I’m excited for this year’s bingo. I actually finished both the regular and unicorn card last year, but I never submitted them. It was still a enjoy to discover the many books from the unique categories and I definitely discovered my favorite trope lol. Finishing the challenge is more than enough reward for me, but I think this year I’ll actually email the results lol.

  9. I’m going to try to fill both cards, as well. I’ve read so many sapphic books over the years – I can recall old friends from years before that will help with the unicorns … and will enjoy re-reading them.

  10. I’m going for filling both cards! So excited!! Thank you SO much for putting all of these activities together for us!!

    Happy Reading, everyone!

  11. I’m new to your bingo and have never read this many sapphic in a year, but I’ll try for both cards and see! This will take a lot of planing and thought 😆 but I’m excited. We are only allowed to count fiction books for this is that correct? I also love LGBTQ biographies and essay collections. Also, what length audiobook would you say reaches the 17,500 word minimum?

    • Biographies, memories, nonfiction, and essays are also allowed if they fit the description. For some categories, you might be able to make it work.

      As a rule of thumb, 10,000 words are about an hour of an audiobook, so 17,500 words would be 1.75 hours.

  12. I’ve never done a book bingo before and haven’t read a lot of sapphic books so this will be a new challenge. I’m looking forward to trying for the regular bingo card and at least one bingo.

  13. I haven’t read much before now and your recommendations are going to be very helpful for finding books. Thank you.
    I like your writing, so I’ll trust your taste in reading.

  14. Hi, I’m working my way trough the bingo cards and it is so much fun, thank you for organizing this! I have a question though. Is it allowed to use some of the books for both the regular and the unicorn cards?

    • Only if you read the same book twice. Each book is only supposed to be used for one square (unless you re-read). I hope that clarification helps. Let me know if you have any other questions.

  15. Do our OWN books count in a category? We typically have read our own books…typically a nauseating amount of times :-D And I can see how one might fit perfectly into a particular category. (shrugging, while understanding it might be a stretch)


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