For this category of the Sapphic Book Bingo, read a sapphic book that is not a romance. It can have a romance subplot, but the romance shouldn’t be the main plot. You’ll find recommended sapphic books below that fall into genres such as fantasy, science fiction, mystery, thriller, general fiction, and historical fiction.
10 sapphic general fiction novels:
Here are 10 recommended sapphic books that are classified as general fiction or that are hard to classify:
Face the Wind by Caren J. Werlinger
Kathleen Halloran has never been happier. She and Molly Cooper have built a life together, living in her grandmother’s cottage. The family drama of the past has calmed down. She and Molly will soon be aunts. Life on Little Sister Island is everything Kathleen could wish for… until the island begins to send ominous signals that change is in the wind. Living beside a different ocean, Meredith Turner tries to make sense of her dreams—dreams of an island she’s never seen but can’t forget. After an ancestry test throws her family into chaos, the tempest that follows blows Meredith and her parents clear across the country, to the island of her dreams. For Louisa Woodhouse, it feels the end is near. With no one to follow after her, she’s the last of her line on Little Sister, and her secrets will go with her. Soon, the Woodhouse name will join the others that now exist only in the island’s genealogy records. But Little Sister Island has its own magic—rhythms and seasons and tides and currents that even the best-laid human plans can’t fight. And in that magic is a warning—a storm is coming.
Accidental Desperados by Lee Lynch
In this second book of the Rainbow Gap Lesbian Family Saga, MJ Beaudry, an angry, brilliant, abused runaway, is dumped in Rainbow Gap, Florida, and almost immediately discovers an aptitude for crime. The lesbian cop who catches her expects good-hearted lovers Jaudon Vicker and Berry Garland to save the kid. Although Jaudon’s business has suffered a killing blow and she’s frantic to make it right, she was once a besieged gay kid herself and reaches out, only to find herself in cahoots with MJ.
Berry is left in the dark, her own big dream on hold, and fears losing her love as Jaudon is swallowed by work and guilt. Berry, salt-of-the-earth Gran, besotted-with-MJ Vonnie Lowe, Allison the social justice warrior, and scofflaws Shady and Tad all stand behind Jaudon, but are they enough?
Or will it take this next generation of lesbians—MJ and Vonnie—to lead the way?
Pink by KD Williamson
Fresh out of a relationship, Shawnna Green is heartbroken, lost, and almost penniless. She decides to start over in New Orleans to find a new sense of self, despite her ex hampering her progress. With the help of her best friend, Veda, she finds employment at Stumpy’s Sex Emporium where she deals with customers that range from the strange to the hilarious.
At the same time, Shawnna discovers that women, sex, and dating, are not what they used to be, but neither is she. In finding herself, she uncovers a part she didn’t know existed, and that’s not always a good thing.
Can Shawnna pick herself up, reach out, and connect with the people around her?
A smoldering look at the things we hide from ourselves.
Maye’s Request by Clifford Mae Henderson
Freshly out of college and possibly in love, Brianna Bell, aka Bean, worries that she’ll never be able to have a normal relationship due to her screwy upbringing. Her parents form a perfect triangle: Mom, Dad, and her mother’s lover—who also happens to be her Dad’s twin sister. The animosity between the twins is a valley of landmines. When her mom, Maye, is threatened with a rare and possibly fatal illness, she begs Bean to help heal the rift between brother and sister. Reluctantly, Bean tries. But the more Bean finds out about her parents’ complicated history, the more she realizes how little she knows.
Veil of Silence by K’Anne Meinel
Five years ago, Lieutenant Marsha Gagliano disappeared when her helicopter crashed in Afghanistan. Her wife held out hope for her return, but with no word from the army after all that time, she begins to realize she may have to move on without her.
At the embassy in Kabul, a burqa-clad woman arrives at the gate with two young children in tow. The black-haired, brown-eyed woman looks like an Afghan native, but her American accent belies this. She identifies herself as Lieutenant Marsha Gagliano, all the while keeping a close eye out behind her as though at any moment, someone might jump out and snatch her back.
Questions arise regarding her disappearance and reappearance and the army is suspicious. The children are obviously hers. Has she consorted with the enemy? How will her wife react to these children? Will she be able to accept children she had no part in conceiving?
What is this woman hiding beneath her chador? What secrets lie behind her veil of silence?
I Am the Ghost in Your House by Mar Romasco Moore
Pie is the ghost in your house.
She is not dead, she is invisible.
The way she looks changes depending on what is behind her. A girl of glass. A girl who is a window. If she stands in front of floral wallpaper she is full of roses.
For Pie’s entire life it’s been Pie and her mother. Just the two of them, traveling across America. They have slept in trains, in mattress stores, and on the bare ground. They have probably slept in your house.
But Pie is lonely. And now, at seventeen, her mother’s given her a gift. The choice of the next city they will go to. And Pie knows exactly where she wants to go. Pittsburgh—where she fell in love with a girl who she plans to find once again. And this time she will reveal herself.
Only how can anyone love an invisible girl?
This Is Not a Love Story by Emma Wallis
This is not a love story, this is a story about growing up, leaving home, making friends, and stopping your mother from blackmailing them.
Scarlet is off to university. She’s trying to leave behind the strained relationship with her narcissistic mother, who wants her to find a rich older woman to marry.
Then Scarlet meets Dr Rhys Hunter, the head of the psychology department. Will her mother get what she wants after all?
Remember, this is not a love story.
Shaken and Stirred by Joan Opyr
Sometimes, I think my story is about addiction and adultery. Other times, I think it’s about bad luck with the Avon lady. And not just one—one I could chalk up to chance. Two rotten Avon ladies feel more like a curse.
So begins the story of Poppy Koslowski. She’s trying to recover from a hysterectomy, but her family has other ideas. She’s the one with the legal right to call time on her alcoholic grandfather in North Carolina. So she’s dragged back across the country from her rebuilt life into the bosom of a family who barely notice the old man’s imminent death.
Poppy understands why her grandfather is dying alone. She remembers how his drinking terrorized his family. But she also remembers the man who made her feel worthwhile and wanted after her parents’ marriage collapsed, a time when she felt like she was dying alone.
Plunged into a crazy kaleidoscope of consulting doctors, catching fire with an old flame, and negotiating lunch venues with her mother and grandmother, Poppy still manages to fall in love. With her best friend. Because nothing in the Koslowski family is ever straightforward.
Not All a Dream by Sophia Kell Hagin
What do you do when the whole world breaks?
Like when you make it through a plague with the woman you’ve loved for way more than half your septuagenarian life—only to watch her die, leaving you alone. And then, just weeks later, the world around you descends into relentless dark and cold.
Besieged, desolate Hester is too numb to know what to do. And even though she’s lucky to have the means to endure for quite a while, she’s tempted—really tempted—to just give it up. What, after all, is she enduring for?
But giving up will have to wait when she stumbles upon people who introduce her to the first rule of survival: Don’t try to go it alone if you don’t have to.
Backcast by Ann McMan
When sculptor and author Barb Davis is given an NEA grant to pair original feminist sculptures with searing first-person essays on transitions in women’s lives, she organizes a two week writing retreat with twelve of the best, brightest, and most notorious lesbian authors in the business. But in between regularly scheduled happy hours and writing sessions, the women enter a tournament bass fishing competition, receive life coaching from a wise-cracking fish named Phoebe, and uncover a subterranean world of secrets and desires that is as varied and elusive as the fish that swim the inland sea.
Set on the beautiful shores of Vermont’s Lake Champlain, Backcast is richly populated with an expansive cast of endearing and outrageous characters who battle writer’s block, quirky locals, personal demons, unexpected attractions, and even each other during their two-week residency. For Barb and each of her twelve writers, the stakes in this fast-moving story are high, but its emotional and romantic payoffs are slow and sweet.
Filled with equal parts laugh-out-loud humor and breathtaking pathos, Backcast serves up a sometimes irreverent, sometimes sobering look at the hidden lives of women, and how they laugh, love, lose, and blunder through their own search for meaning.
10 recommended sapphic historical novels:
Sisters of the Great War by Suzanne Feldman
August 1914. While Europe enters a brutal conflict unlike any waged before, the Duncan household in Baltimore, Maryland, is the setting for a different struggle. Ruth and Elise Duncan long to escape the roles that society, and their controlling father, demand they play. Together, the sisters volunteer for the war effort—Ruth as a nurse, Elise as a driver.
Stationed at a makeshift hospital in Ypres, Belgium, Ruth soon confronts war’s harshest lesson: not everyone can be saved. Rising above the appalling conditions, she seizes an opportunity to realize her dream to practice medicine as a doctor. Elise, an accomplished mechanic, finds purpose and an unexpected kinship within the all-female Ambulance Corps. Through bombings, heartache and loss, Ruth and Elise cherish an independence rarely granted to women, unaware that their greatest challenges are still to come.
Illuminating the critical role women played in the Great War, this is a remarkable story of resilience, sacrifice and the bonds that can never be vanquished.
Charity by Paulette Callen
The friendship between Lena Kaiser, a sodbuster’s daughter, and Gustie Roemer, an educated Easterner, is unlikely in any other circumstance but post-frontier Charity, South Dakota. Gustie is considered an outsider, and Lena is too proud to share her problems (which include a hard-drinking husband) with anyone else.
On the nearby Sioux reservation, Gustie also finds love and family with two Dakotah women: Dorcas Many Roads, an old medicine woman, and her adopted granddaughter, Jordis, who bears the scars of the white man’s education.
When Lena’s husband is arrested for murdering his father and the secrets of Gustie’s past follow her to Charity, Lena, Gustie, and Jordis stand together. As buried horrors are unearthed and present tragedies unfold, they discover the strength and beauty of love and friendship that blossom like wild flowers in the tough prairie soil.
The Ada Decades by Paula Martinac
Over seven decades, Librarian, Ada Shook, is witness to the racism laced through her Southern city; the paradox of religion as both comfort and torment; and the survival networks created by gay people. Eleven interconnected stories cover the sweep of one woman’s personal history as she reaches her own form of Southern womanhood—compassionate, resilient, principled, lesbian.
The Girls Club by Sally Bellerose
The Girls Club is the coming-of-age story of a young, white, working-class woman. Set in the 1970s, the story revolves around Cora Rose as she copes with her emerging sexuality, an illness her sisters refer to as “the dreaded bowel disease,” and the conflicts created by the growing disparity between her desires and her Catholic upbringing.
Part one deals with the three sisters’ adolescent relationship to each other and their Catholic working-class world. Cora Rose’s distress at being caught in an embrace with her best friend Stella leads her to sleep with the first boy who shows interest. She is married with a child at age eighteen.
Part two shows how the sisters help and hinder each other in their struggles to take control and responsibility over their lives.
Part three reveals Cora Rose’s physical challenges, including an ostomy, that further complicate her feelings about her sexuality and increase her need for her sisters’ support. She becomes involved with a woman she meets at a bar called The Girls Club. Marie and Renee play out their own struggles as Cora Rose leaves her husband, fights to keep her child, and overcomes religious and social prejudices that threaten her personal integrity.
Paper is White by Hilary Zaid
When oral historian Ellen Margolis and her girlfriend decide to get married, Ellen realizes that she can’t go through with a wedding until she tells her grandmother. There’s only one problem: her grandmother is dead. As the two young women beat their own early path toward marriage equality, Ellen’s longing to plumb that voluminous silence draws her into a clandestine entanglement with a wily Holocaust survivor—a woman with more to hide than tell—and a secret search for buried history. If there is to be a wedding Ellen must decide: How much do you need to share to be true to the one you love? Set in ebullient, 1990s Dot-com era San Francisco, Paper is White is a novel about the gravitational pull of the past and the words we must find to make ourselves whole.
Hunting Gold by Ann Aptaker
A golden city of prosperity, energy, the exciting engine of the American Dream. Just underneath, though, is a dark city, with darker ambitions. This is the world of Cantor Gold, dapper art thief and smuggler, who has her own way of securing the rewards of the American Dream. In the conformist 1950s, when same-sex romance was illegal, Cantor decides that any Law that condemns her as a criminal just for her love of women is not a Law she owes any allegiance to. As an outlaw, she thrives earning fistfuls of cash and living life on her own terms. But someone wants to take it all away. Someone wants to rob Cantor of everything: her success in the underworld, her freedom, her life.
Predators are out to destroy Cantor: the cops who violently raid the Green Door Club, Cantor’s favorite watering hole, where the lights are low and the women are willing; and worse, an unknown predator who threatens to destroy Cantor’s life, even destroy the lives of people close to her.
Murder is one of the weapons in the hunter’s arsenal, involving Cantor in the dangerous fate of each corpse. Another is the taunting, threatening notes that turn up on the corpses or at Cantor’s door or at the door of people she visits. And then there are the phone calls and a disguised voice. Someone is invading every minute of Cantor Gold’s life.
The Liberators of Willow Run by Marianne K. Martin
During World War II, Allied victory rested on the wings of America’s Liberator, the B-24 bomber. The only way to build them fast enough was to bring women into the work force. Join Audrey and Ruth as their search for freedom leads them to risk everything to rescue an abused young girl, somehow finding love and redemption along the way.
Two Wings to Fly Away by Penny Mickelbury
In 1856 Philadelphia, runaway slave Genie Oliver uses her dress shop as a front for her work with the Underground Railroad; and reluctant heiress Abby Read runs a rooming house not just because she hates the life of the idle rich society woman, but because she has no intention of ever marrying a man. When the daughter of Abby’s free black servant is grabbed by rogue slave catchers, an unlikely group of people come together, first out of necessity, and then, gradually, in friendship. And in the case of Abby and Genie, something much more.
Dead Dead Girls by Nekesa Afia
Harlem, 1926. Young Black women like Louise Lloyd are ending up dead.
Following a harrowing kidnapping ordeal when she was in her teens, Louise is doing everything she can to maintain a normal life. She’s succeeding, too. She spends her days working at Maggie’s Café and her nights at the Zodiac, Harlem’s hottest speakeasy. Louise’s friends, especially her girlfriend, Rosa Maria Moreno, might say she’s running from her past and the notoriety that still stalks her, but don’t tell her that.
When a girl turns up dead in front of the café, Louise is forced to confront something she’s been trying to ignore—two other local Black girls have been murdered in the past few weeks. After an altercation with a police officer gets her arrested, Louise is given an ultimatum: She can either help solve the case or wind up in a jail cell. Louise has no choice but to investigate and soon finds herself toe-to-toe with a murderous mastermind hell-bent on taking more lives, maybe even her own….
The Imperative of Desire by Elena Graf
In the waning years of Queen Victoria’s reign, a brilliant daughter is born to an aristocratic, military family in Prussia. A quirk of inheritance law allows Margarethe von Stahle to inherit her family’s titles. Her elders collaborate to educate her to take on her future duties, which include administering her family estates and supporting an order of nuns. Margarethe’s curiosity and precocity delight and perplex her teachers as they try to mold her. Her father trains her with his military cadets. A retired opera singer teaches her how to sing. Her grandaunt, headmistress of the convent school, educates her in philosophy and classics. At an early age, Margarethe heads to Oxford to follow in her father’s footsteps. Gifted with both musical and intellectual talents, she must choose between singing and service. Raised to take her duty and noblesse oblige seriously, she decides to study medicine and becomes one of the few female surgeons in 1920s Germany. Because she needs heirs to her titles, Margarethe reluctantly marries, but that doesn’t prevent her from finding solace in the arms of women. She trains under the best surgeons in Germany and England and rises to prominence as London’s infamous “Lady Doctor.” Finally, duty requires her to return to her homeland and take the reins of the family fortunes. The Imperative of Desire, the first volume in The Passing Rites Series, is a coming-of-age story that takes a young woman from La Belle Époque, through a world war, a revolution that outlawed the German nobility, the roaring twenties, to the decadent demimonde of Weimar Berlin.
10 recommended sapphic mysteries or sapphic thrillers:
Strange Attractors by Ana K. Wrenn
Fierce and frosty high achiever Professor Sonja J. Storey is on the verge of seizing power in her department. She has exacting plans to remake her backwoods North Carolina university, just as she has painstakingly remade herself.
Sonja’s perfectly ordered life takes a dramatic turn when she meets laid-back, magnetic junior professor Crystal Byrd.
But then come threatening notes, sinister emails, and shadowy nocturnal figures, and suddenly, Sonja’s controlled world starts to tremble like a butterfly in a storm.
Is someone out to get her? Is it a specter from Sonja’s past? It’s hard not to be suspicious of everyone, even intoxicating Crystal with her temptingly warm presence.
Seeing danger everywhere, Sonja must hunt down the source of the chaos before she loses her brilliant mind, and her chance at the one thing she’s never known—love.
The After Party by A.C. Arthur
Three women form an unbreakable bond in a sexy, suspenseful, and adventurous novel about empowerment and sisterhood through thick and thin.
Venus McGee, Draya Carter, and Jackie Benson are coworkers with a lot in common. They’re smart, independent, driven, and deserving of recognition—certainly more than they’ve been handed by a demoralizing boss. He’s the topic of conversation at their impromptu get-together after the company holiday party, where the threesome fantasizes about a life without him. There has to be an alternative to taking a deep breath and sucking it up. There is. It’s just not the one they expected.
When morning comes, Venus, Draya, and Jackie are blindsided by murder—a twist of fate that brings a startling new challenge to the table and forces them to navigate a hair-raising detour they never saw coming. For better and (unless they can help it) for worse, it’s going to turn their world upside down. What starts as a necessary bond of mutual trust soon morphs into an empowering and galvanizing friendship that Venus, Draya, and Jackie need now more than ever.
Chasing Shadows by Lila Bruce
Avery Smith, who returned to her hometown of Bethel Springs after time spent away in the big city, is finally beginning to absorb the culture shock and settle into her job at the local Sheriff’s Department. The pay’s not great, there’s a decided lack of decent coffee and available women in town, but those are sacrifices she’s willing to make to in order to be closer to her aging and increasingly eccentric grandmother. When the discovery of a dead body in the county coincides with the arrival of attractive but irritating TV personality Cameron Reinhart, Avery has to put aside her feelings of skepticism and disbelief when Cam claims to have seen Avery’s murder victim – after she was murdered.
Pulse Points by Barbara Valletto
Do you dream of a lover who can transcend time and place? Who will protect you from harm at any cost? Or avenge you if evil has gotten to you first? Do you believe in total surrender of mind, body, and spirit for the sake of fighting forces of evil? If so, you will tread a fine line between what you believe to be morally just and what is only achieved by vengeance. You will face your own mortality and thirst for a chance at a higher level of being. Are you ready to meet her? She’s been waiting…
The normally quiet town of Verhoven, NY, is plagued by a series of gruesome murders, leading Sheriff Lea Carlson to believe a serial killer is in their midst. Just when she thinks circumstances can’t get any worse, Kylie Vinson, Lea’s former lover, returns to Verhoven.
Kylie, a criminal behaviorist, has returned to Verhoven to find healing after surviving a brutal physical assault. But when Kylie is the one to find a murder victim, she and Lea put aside their unresolved feelings for each other to track down the killer.
Maya Holworth, Verhoven’s newest resident, comes into Kylie’s life in an unexpected way. The attraction is immediate and they begin a passionate affair. As Kylie plunges into her new relationship, Lea remains suspicious.
When Kylie discovers Maya’s bizarre connection to the murders, she is confronted with a terrible choice: kill, or allow an innocent to die. Her choice will affect the lives of everyone in Verhoven.
Catch Me When I’m Falling by Cheryl A. Head
Someone is murdering the homeless in Detroit’s Cass Corridor—by immolation. These horrific crimes wouldn’t require an investigation by Charlie Mack and her crack team investigators, except one of the burned bodies is identified as her mother’s friend. There’s a lot wrong with this case: the police won’t admit a serial killer is on the loose, drug trafficking intersects with the deaths, and a rogue cop is involved. The timing also couldn’t be worse—Charlie and Mandy are finally moving in together. This case becomes the most difficult of Charlie’s career when she transforms herself into a street person, and mixes with the corridor’s gangs, do-gooders, and the down-and-out to uncover evidence the police can’t continue to ignore.
Looking for Trouble by Jess Lea
In this quirky lesbian romantic mystery, a reporter and a party volunteer who can’t stand each other join forces to find the truth behind an ice queen derailing Australia’s weirdest election.
Nancy is sick of living in the share house from hell, getting dumped by women who aren’t that into her, and being stuck in dead-end jobs. It’s time to chase her dream to become a political journalist, get her own funky inner-city Melbourne place, and meet Ms Right.
Instead, she meets cranky George, a butch, tattooed bus driver and party volunteer who’s dodging a vengeful ex-girlfriend. George thinks Nancy is stuck up; Nancy thinks George is the rudest woman she’s ever met.
The warring pair is caught up in the crazy election campaign of Clara West, a maverick running on the bizarre promise to shut down the internet. Rich, sexy, and dangerous, Clara will stop at nothing in the pursuit of power.
Nancy and George must learn to trust each other and act fast if they want to stay alive.
Along Came the Rain by Alison R. Solomon
WHOSE MEMORY DO YOU RELY ON IF YOU CAN’T TRUST YOUR OWN? Wynn Larimer has a terrible memory but doesn’t believe she could have abducted two teenagers even though the police say they have irrefutable evidence that she did. Her partner Barker, is desperate to help Wynn, but she’s caught in the middle, since the missing girls are her foster care clients. As Wynn and Barker struggle to uncover the truth, the two women discover life-changing secrets about each other that throw their lives into turmoil.
Beyond the Smoke by Stacy Lynn Miller
Old flames. New secrets. Delayed justice.
Now private investigators, Manhattan Sloane and Finn Harper have just landed their very first big job – a contract to clean up a hefty load of unsolved crimes in San Francisco. On day one, the two women step into a political quagmire that pits them against powerful competing forces in the city.
Feeling like a pawn in a high-stakes chess game, Sloane stumbles across an unsolved murder with ties to her past – the police officer who rescued her from her parents’ deadly accident. When evidence points to someone close to her, she becomes determined to solve the 22-year-old murder. But her progress is slowed by old flames and new secrets that threaten to unravel her new life with Fin and her daughter, Reagan.
Will cutthroat politics prevent her from getting justice for her hero? Will Sloane finally get her happily ever after?
Bourbon Chase, The San Francisco Mystery Series, Book 1 by Alexi Venice
Jen Dawson is a rising star in the emergency room. An athlete addicted to sunshine and sea, she’s focusing on training for a triathlon.
Her boyfriend, Tommy Vietti, is an experienced detective who is loyal to the police force, his Italian family, and Jen.
Amanda Hawthorne is a charismatic District Attorney who prosecutes criminals while fending off attacks from mobsters. As San Francisco’s most eligible lesbian, Amanda has her choice of female companions, so why is she attracted to Jen, who is supposedly straight?
When Dr. Lane Wallace, one of Jen’s physician colleagues, becomes a suspect in a murder investigation, Tommy and Amanda invade Jen’s professional life. Jen sticks up for Lane but discovers she has more in common with Amanda than just butting heads.
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.
10 recommended sapphic fantasy novels:
The Road to Kalazad by K.L. Mitchell
Revka and her centaur girlfriend Iyarra are wandering adventurers almost as good at getting out of trouble as they are at getting into it. But when a mysterious duke shanghais them and forces them to go galloping cross-kingdom to steal an ancient artifact, can they deliver the goods before time – and their luck – runs out? Join the two adventurers as they go from one misadventure to another, encountering dragons, gangsters, highly suspect wizards, and a nonstop parade of monsters and miscreants in a fantasy kingdom that’s unlike any you’ve ever seen.
The Unbroken by C.L. Clark
Touraine is a soldier. Stolen as a child and raised to kill and die for the empire, her only loyalty is to her fellow conscripts. But now, her company has been sent back to her homeland to stop a rebellion, and the ties of blood may be stronger than she thought.
Luca needs a turncoat. Someone desperate enough to tiptoe the bayonet’s edge between treason and orders. Someone who can sway the rebels toward peace, while Luca focuses on what really matters: getting her uncle off her throne.
Through assassinations and massacres, in bedrooms and war rooms, Touraine and Luca will haggle over the price of a nation. But some things aren’t for sale.
Tales for the 21st Century, volume 2 by W. Freedreamer Tinkanesh
When spring comes and the tuned spires of every church of Prahak sing with the High Winds, you could be attacked by monsters as soon as darkness falls. Only one librarian seems to be safe.From one reality to the next, the last one left travelling keeps on travelling.These and other stories are the the second volume of TALES FOR THE 21st CENTURY where humans — alive and dead, try to survive. Meet Rayan, meet Kajdar, meet a Ray-Nor, and more.
I, Volcano by Eule Grey
According to ancient rhymes, the islanders of Ansar and Skarle are children of the volcano, born of fire and destined to be lovers. After the eruption, the prophecies are forgotten as all are forced to flee. Nobody cares about silly nursery rhymes now, certainly not Jalob.
When shy medic Jalob Baleine heads to war, it isn’t for romance. She only wants to help refugees who have no home or allies. Because they are kin. Jalob was born under the same glowering volcano, on an idyllic island surrounded by dolphins. Like the refugees, she fled the lava and secretly cherishes the old ways.
She falls asleep, ignoring the pull of tides, and dreams of a loving touch. Who doesn’t? And sure, maybe Jalob hasn’t felt whole for years, but war isn’t the time for fantasies. She keeps to herself and hopes someone else will sort the war out. One woman can’t heal the world. After all, she has enough to do, what with tending the sick and her supervisor, Susan, always on her back.
Then Jalob meets stroppy violinist, Corail Esplash. After an explosive introduction, they’re forced to spend time together. Stress makes them long for a reprise, and a fragile line dances between love and hate. Inevitably, the young women exchange island stories. Corail is head-strong and rude, a typical Ansar who loves to tease and be chased. And Jalob—strong, loyal, from Skarle—has such fast legs… Could the old rhymes about destiny be right? Ah, fate.
Death and war are relentless enemies, and difficult choices lie ahead. Can a shy girl rekindle the power of a dead volcano and harness the ocean? One woman can’t heal the world, but maybe Jalob is the only one who can save Corail.
Black as Day by Neen Cohen
When Adie and Tal leave OpenFields in the rear view they both have to come to terms with their own losses. The lives they once knew are now behind them, and together they struggle to make a new path. Once on the road, things aren’t as easy as they had hoped, a car crash, a betrayal and a past they can’t seem to shake. Can they find a way to move forward when the world once more rests on their shoulders?
The Well of Shadows by Sabrina Blaum
Aimee and Dylan follow up on a new lead in their hunt for a long-lost tome that might alter the very fabric of their reality. Along the way they strike up an unexpected, yet crucial alliance that adds an unforeseen complication to Aimee’s otherwise monotone existence.
Meanwhile, Christina Morgen is set to take over the Council of the Living, a role she’s been dutifully preparing for all her life. Her peaceful ascension to ruler of Saltung is jeopardized when the Tarung, a rebel group questioning major tenets of their society, rises in popularity and threatens Christina’s orderly world.
The Well of Shadows reveals secrets and challenges long-held beliefs as it hurtles its characters on a dangerous and magic-filled quest that sees them striving for a better future, only to come face to face with their biggest fears.
The Valkyrie’s Daughter by Tiana Warner
From the time she was born, Sigrid has only ever been ordinary. Being paired at birth with a plain horse—instead of the powerful winged mare of a valkyrie—meant there would be no warrior path for her. No riding the skies, no glory among the nine worlds. Just the simple, unremarkable life of a stable hand.
Everything changes when a terrible enemy ambushes Vanaheim and Sigrid sees a vision of herself atop a mythical stallion, leading the valkyries into a harrowing battle. Finally, she can grab her future with her own two hands and become the hero of her own story…if she dares.
But her destiny is tied up with Mariam, a fallen valkyrie who’s allied herself with the very enemy Sigrid is trying to stop.
Now Sigrid has left ordinary behind as she begins a journey with the beautiful—if treacherous—valkyrie, each step bringing her closer to answers…and to awakened feelings for Mariam.
Only, the life Sigrid has escaped may have been paradise compared to the one she’s racing toward. Because her destination is the realm of the dead: the gates of Hel.
Daughter of Fire: Conspiracy of the Dark 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.
Daughter of Mystery (Alpennia series #1) by Heather Rose Jones
Margerit Sovitre did not expect to inherit Baron Saveze’s fortunes—even less his bodyguard, a ruthlessly efficient swordswoman known only as Barbara. Wealth suddenly makes Margerit a highly eligible heiress and buys her the enmity of the new Baron. He had expected to inherit all, and now eyes her fortune with open envy.
Barbara proudly served as the old Baron’s duelist but she had expected his death to make her a free woman. Bitterness turns to determination when she finds herself the only force that stands between Margerit and the new Baron’s greed.
At first Margerit protests the need for Barbara’s services, but soon she cannot imagine sending Barbara away. And Barbara’s duty has become something far more hazardous to her heart than the point of a sword. But greater dangers loom than one man’s hatred—the Prince of Alpennia is ill. Deadly intrigue surrounds the succession and the rituals of divine power known as The Mysteries of the Saints.
The Tiger’s Daughter by K Arsenault Rivera
Even gods can be slain.
The Hokkaran empire has conquered every land within their bold reach—but failed to notice a lurking darkness festering within the people. Now, their border walls begin to crumble, and villages fall to demons swarming out of the forests.
Away on the silver steppes, the remaining tribes of nomadic Qorin retreat and protect their own, having bartered a treaty with the empire, exchanging inheritance through the dynasties. It is up to two young warriors, raised together across borders since their prophesied birth, to save the world from the encroaching demons.
This is the story of an infamous Qorin warrior, Barsalayaa Shefali, a spoiled divine warrior empress, O Shizuka, and a power that can reach through time and space to save a land from a truly insidious evil.
10 recommended sapphic science fiction novels:
The Vela by Yoon Ha Lee, Rivers Solomon, Becky Chambers, S. L. Huang
Orphan, refugee, and soldier-for-hire Asala Sikou doesn’t think too much about the end of civilization. Her system’s star is dying, and the only person she can afford to look out for is herself.
When a ship called The Vela vanishes during what was supposed to be a flashy rescue mission, a reluctant Asala is hired to team up with Niko, the child of a wealthy inner planet’s president, to find it and the outer system refugees on board.
But this is no ordinary rescue mission; The Vela holds a secret that places the fate of the universe in the balance, and forces Asala to decide—in a dying world where good and evil are far from black and white, who deserves to survive?
Persephone Station by Stina Leicht
Persephone Station, a seemingly backwater planet that has been largely ignored by the United Republic of Worlds, becomes the focus for the Serrao-Orlov Corporation as the planet has a few secrets the corporation tenaciously wants to exploit.
Rosie—owner of Monk’s Bar, in the corporate town of West Brynner, caters to wannabe criminals and rich Earther tourists, of a sort, at the front bar. However, exactly two types of people drank at Monk’s bar: members of a rather exclusive criminal class and those who sought to employ them.
Angel—ex-marine and head of a semi-organized band of beneficent criminals, wayward assassins, and washed-up mercenaries with a penchant for doing the honorable thing is asked to perform a job for Rosie. What this job reveals will affect Persephone and put Angel and her squad up against an army. Despite the odds, they are rearing for a fight with the Serrao-Orlove Corporation. For Angel, she knows that once honor is lost, there is no regaining it. That doesn’t mean she can’t damned well try.
The All-Consuming World by Cassandra Khaw
Maya has died and been resurrected into countless cyborg bodies through the years of a long, dangerous career with the infamous Dirty Dozen, the most storied crew of criminals in the galaxy, at least before their untimely and gruesome demise. Decades later, she and her diverse team of broken, diminished outlaws must get back together to solve the mystery of their last, disastrous mission and to rescue a missing and much-changed comrade . . . but they’re not the only ones in pursuit of the secret at the heart of the planet Dimmuborgir.
The highly evolved AI of the galaxy have their own agenda and will do whatever it takes to keep humanity from ever regaining control. As Maya and her comrades spiral closer to uncovering the AIs’ vast conspiracy, this band of violent women—half-clone and half-machine—must battle their own traumas and a universe of sapient ageships who want them dead, in order to settle their affairs once and for all.
Dead Space by Kali Wallace
Hester Marley used to have a plan for her life. But when a catastrophic attack left her injured, indebted, and stranded far from home, she was forced to take a dead-end security job with a powerful mining company in the asteroid belt. Now she spends her days investigating petty crimes to help her employer maximize its profits. She’s surprised to hear from an old friend and fellow victim of the terrorist attack that ruined her life—and that surprise quickly turns to suspicion when he claims to have discovered something shocking about their shared history and the tragedy that neither of them can leave behind.
Before Hester can learn more, her friend is violently murdered at a remote asteroid mine. Hester joins the investigation to find the truth, both about her friend’s death and the information he believed he had uncovered. But catching a killer is only the beginning of Hester’s worries, and she soon realizes that everything she learns about her friend, his fellow miners, and the outpost they call home brings her closer to revealing secrets that very powerful and very dangerous people would rather keep hidden in the depths of space.
Eye of the Damned by Sandra Barret
Jordan Bowers, a Terran Intel agent, finds herself on the wrong side of her own government when Helena “Dray” Draybeck gets into serious trouble, more than either of their families can rescue Dray from. With everything to lose, Jordan gambles on a secret mission to Novan space to pull in an old old favor.
On the other side of the galaxy, Terran clone, Kay, finds herself in uncharted waters as a civilian and girlfriend to one of the most important political figures in the Novan government. When family dynamics prove too much, she jumps at a chance for a risky mission into Terran space, a mission that turns her world upside down, and makes her question who she is, and what really matters to her.
Where the Whales Go by Angela McKenna
The year is 2069, and one Federal Government rules the world, its power cemented by squads of Federal Marshals deployed in all the Federated States. Backed by a new Prohibition law, alcohol is banned, replaced by state-authorised Synthahol, a miracle product that history teacher Lou Portman knows only too well.
It’s New Year’s Eve, and, high on Synthahol, Lou is in her holo-room when she comes face to face with Node 6474, a terrifying messenger delivering an impossible message from her long-dead sister. Despite her shock, Lou manages to run her final holo-class of the year, but things go from bad to worse when star pupil, Toby Miller, tells the class that the whales are disappearing. Somehow, both events seem impossibly connected.
Soon, Lou is dragged from the safety of her island home and thrust into an adventure in a world where she can trust nobody and where dark shadows of her past seek revenge. Driven by a promise to save the boy and off-grid without credentials, she and Toby must reach Marstrand Point, home of the world’s last legal cult. They must go where the whales go because something dark is coming and time is running out.
Lucky 8 by Rae D. Magdon
Sasha Young, leader of the Lucky 7, has unfinished business. Her eighth clone is ready for activation, but this time, she won’t be passing on her memories. Caring for a newly autonomous being that shares her DNA is challenging enough, but the situation gets complicated when Ford Andrews, a prominent CEO, hires the Lucky 7 for one last job. His payment? Information about how Sasha’s parents really died. Elena Nevares is in over her head. What began as a short trip to awaken Sasha’s clone has turned into one dangerous situation after another. All the while, her brothers and grandmother are waiting in Barbados, without her protection. With foes old and new trying to take down her crew, can she justify putting her family in danger for them, and for a future she isn’t sure she believes in?
Cinnamon Blade: Knife in Shining Armor by Shira Glassman
Every time Cinnamon Blade, crime fighter making up for a bad past, rescues the sweet and nerdy Soledad Castillo from bad guys, the two women’s chemistry grows stronger. Now that she’s finally asked Soledad out, sparks fly — but is a normal date even possible in a city threatened by aliens and vampires on a regular basis?
The Caphenon by Fletcher DeLancey
A split-second decision to save a civilization. Another decision to give it away.
Captain Ekatya Serrado has spent her career fighting the Voloth, who view less advanced civilizations as fuel for their empire. The choice between saving her ship or a world under attack is easy. The choices that come after are harder.
Lancer Andira Tal, the leader of Alsea, believes her people are alone in the universe until a gigantic spaceship crashes near her capital city. Now she is thrust into a struggle between two powerful forces, and her planet is the prize.
With a civilization and the galactic balance of power at risk, friendships and alliances may not hold against betrayal. Honor is easy when the stakes are low.
Ardulum: First Don by J. S. Fields
Ardulum. The planet that vanishes. The planet that sleeps.
Neek makes a living piloting the dilapidated tramp transport, Mercy’s Pledge, and smuggling questionable goods across systems blessed with peace and prosperity. She gets by—but only just. In her dreams, she is still haunted by thoughts of Ardulum, the traveling planet that, long ago, visited her homeworld. The Ardulans brought with them agriculture, art, interstellar technology…and then disappeared without a trace, leaving Neek’s people to worship them as gods.
Neek does not believe—and has paid dearly for it with an exile from her home for her heretical views.
Yet, when the crew stumbles into an armed confrontation between the sheriffs of the Charted Systems and an unknown species, fate deals Neek an unexpected hand in the form of a slave girl—a child whose ability to telepathically manipulate cellulose is reminiscent of that of an Ardulan god. Forced to reconcile her beliefs, Neek chooses to protect her, but is the child the key to her salvation, or will she lead them all to their deaths?
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