This week’s Sapphic Reading Challenge features sapphic books with an animal depicted on the cover.
It can be any kind of animal, though I suspect you’ll encounter cats, dogs, and horses most often. The animal can either be very prominent on the cover or be in the background.
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.
15 sapphic books with an animal on the cover
I put together a list of 15 sapphic books that have an animal depicted on the cover. I hope you find at least one you’ll enjoy.
A Purrfect Gift by Jae
Lena has just moved to a new city with her cat, Scully, so when she finds little gifts on her doorstep every day, she thinks they’re from her neighbors.
Caroline, who lives next door, can’t figure out how her stuff keeps disappearing until she catches a cat in the act of stealing from her. She follows the feline felon home—and meets its cute owner.
Despite Lena’s best efforts, Scully doesn’t seem inclined to give up her life of crime, so she keeps having to go over to Caroline’s to return the loot.
Soon, neither woman minds the cat burglary anymore. Is it possible that her thieving cat gave Lena the purrfect gift for Christmas?
Pas de Deux by EJ Noyes
Caitlyn Lloyd has the world at her feet. Or more accurately—under her horse’s hooves. With the 2016 Rio Olympics just around the corner, nothing is going to derail her long-held dream of winning a medal or two in Olympic dressage. Not even the reappearance of a childhood so-not-a-friend throwing her perfectly balanced life into disarray.
Addie Gardner’s career is at its peak, and accepting a last-minute fill-in position as the veterinarian for the US Olympic Dressage Team was a no-brainer. The fact that her old crush from Pony Club is on the team is just a bonus. Not a distraction at all. And it might just offer the chance to be friends with the girl who wouldn’t even give her the time of day twenty years ago.
But Caitlyn and Addie have very different memories of their time together at Pony Club and their first meeting as adults is less like a reconnection and more like a butting of heads. With the Olympics looming, they’ll need to set aside their history and learn to work together. And maybe Caitlyn and Addie will realize childhood memories aren’t always accurate, and that they have more in common than they would ever have thought. Maybe. Just maybe.
Night Mare by Franci McMahon
Journalist Jane Scott finds herself drawn into a world of violence. Horses are being murdered for their insurance value and stolen to sell with new identities. Jane uses her journalist skills in an attempt to expose the growing horror taking place in the seemingly benign horse show circles of the wealthy. When she gets too close to the truth, her own horses disappear from her farm. Is it a warning that she’s getting too close to the truth?
Jane unexpectedly meets Miles, a woman who finds her at the feet of a beautiful black Trakehner mare, which Jane calls Night. Jane falls for Miles in more ways than one. But the men Jane is trying to stop are determined she will not expose their lucrative horse theft ring. Can she expose them before they come after her?
The Mountain Whispers by Ali Spooner
Arriving home and discovering the betrayal by her best friend and lover, Eli Fortner leaves to run off her anger and hurt. A chance stop at a convenience store and the purchase of lottery tickets, sends Eli’s life into a whirlwind of change.
Able to now pursue her dreams, Eli heads off to see what else fate has in store for her.
Whit Brewer, Eli’s neighbor, is everything Eli never knew she needed and wanted. But can she let go of the betrayal long enough to let Whit in?
Thirteen black cats, a baby goat, and Cruz, her furry best friend, join Eli on her adventure, new life, and the possibility of real love.
Dare to Stay by Georgia Beers
Welcome to Junebug Farms, a successful, well-known animal shelter in upstate New York, where every day brings something new—love, stress, heartbreak, warmth—and not just from the animals.
Since inheriting Junebug Farms from her grandmother, Jessica Barstow’s life revolves around it, and she has no time or energy for much else. Not hobbies. Not fun. Not love–certainly not love. And the new, young, and hip TV reporter who’s been sent to host the upcoming fundraising telethon isn’t going to change that—even though it seems like she wants to change everything else.
Sydney Taylor has zero desire to cover human interest stories in some Podunk, upstate New York hamlet, but that’s where she’s landed—for now. So she’ll make the best of it until she can get something bigger. In the meantime, she is assigned to host the annual live fundraising telethon for some local animal shelter. It’s just a job; she doesn’t have time to get attached. And it doesn’t matter that the rigid, keeps-to-herself CEO of the shelter is resistant to anything Sydney suggests. Or that she’s super attractive and sexy. That doesn’t matter at all…
Such Happiness as This by Laina Villeneuve
Robyn Landy thought her happily-ever-after would start after she retired from the U.S. Coast Guard. Instead, she discovers that her job demands were not the only reason her eight-year relationship was tanking. Struggling to find equilibrium in her life, she leases a horse at a local barn. There she befriends Kristine Owens and her son Caemon. The new setting relieves the sadness she feels at home.
A relative newcomer to rural Arcata, Grace Warren heads grant coordination for the local college’s art department. As new friends encourage her to explore the local arts scene and wilderness, Grace finds herself repeatedly crossing paths with the intensely attractive Robyn. When she discovers Robyn’s woodworking artistry, they seem perfect for each other and Grace easily envisions a future together.
But the decidedly reserved Robyn chafes under Grace’s advice and scrutiny. Why are women always trying to change her? There’s no reason to upend her life yet again—except for a kiss neither of them can forget.
Home by Kris Bryant
To say Sheriff Natalie Strand is shocked that Sarah Eastman, the girl who kissed her at a high school party, is back in town would be a huge understatement. Between Sarah’s return and a stray dog that gets the best of her, Natalie’s world is suddenly turned upside down.
They say you can’t go home again, but that’s exactly what Sarah does when she returns to Spruce Mountain, Oregon, to live with her aunt and uncle after her divorce. All she wants is peace and to ensure her daughter, Harley, has stability. Seeing Natalie again after seventeen years ignites a passion that she hasn’t felt in a long time. Never mind that her heart tumbles in her chest or that she forgets words when Natalie’s around, she needs to focus on her family and getting her life back together.
Natalie and Sarah are about to discover that anything is possible when love takes the long way home.
Stay by Magnolia Robbins
When a tumultuous past causes Alice Gray, the only woman Lou Pearson has ever loved, to leave her for good, she shrinks away from the world, trying to make amends. Dedicating years of her life to training service dogs and saving rescues.
Little did she know, a rescued dog would save her, too.
Caspian shows up in Lou’s life and the dog guides her to a young girl who desperately needs him, and to the girl’s mother, Alice. Propelling Lou into a past she believed she’d never have to face again. To a woman who she assumed she’d lost forever.
As an old romance and deep emotions resurface themselves, Lou’s worst fears come crashing back and she can’t help but wonder… This time, if it all falls apart, will Alice stay?
The Adventurers by Bryce Oakley
Joey Moore got her heart stomped on. At her engagement party. So, she did what any normal, completely rational 28-year-old would do — she moved to a new city with her dog to start a new life. Without much of a plan, it turns out.
Kendall O’Hara doesn’t enjoy chaos — at 42-years-old, she has a stable job and two cats she likes more than most people. Okay, all people, except her close-knit group of friends. She’s not boring. She’s just protecting her still-healing heart decades after a devastating loss.
When Joey and Kendall’s paths cross, a rocky start with an accidental laundry switch turns into an unlikely friendship. From there, the two friends make a pact to get out of their comfort zones, one piece of paper drawn from an “Adventure Jar” at a time. A growing mutual attraction leads them on an adventure that neither one might have expected…
Love Bites by Lila Bruce
The last person Ashley Baldwin expected to see when she walked into Ridgeview Animal Clinic was the gorgeous ex-love-of-her-life, Peyton Maxwell. Their break-up in college had been an explosive one, and now, some twelve years later, Ashley was still picking up the pieces of her broken heart.
Peyton Maxwell knew better than anyone that life rarely turned out the way you planned. After spending more than a decade away from her hometown, she’d finally decided to move back in order to raise her young daughter closer to family. She was just beginning to settle into her new job when Ashley walked into an exam room at the vet clinic and back into her life. Peyton thought she’d put that part of her life firmly in the past, but one look at her former lover and it all comes rushing back.
Ashley has waited a long time for answers, but walks away from their encounter with only questions. Could it really hurt to pursue a friendly, platonic relationship as Peyton suggests? Or will Ashley find herself rekindling a flame that never really died?
Veterinary Technician by Nancy Wheelton
Veterinary technician Valerie Connor longs for love, but as hard as she tries, her relationships never last. As a single mom, Val’s determined not to give her heart to someone who doesn’t also love her daughter and their small town life. When an intriguing schoolteacher moves to town, Val hopes it just might work out this time.
After her career and love life crash and burn, Ronnie Yakimoto escapes the big city and surprises herself by enjoying life in tiny Thresherton, Saskatchewan. She’s there to teach and learn to live a stable, peaceful life. But she’s just gotten clean after hitting rock bottom, and nothing is more important than staying clean, not even love.
When a stable of horses is threatened, Val and Ronnie must work together against the odds to save them, and maybe even themselves, along the way.
Wingspan by Karis Walsh
When architect Kendall Pearson finds an injured osprey on her property, she expects to simply drop it off at a local wild bird rehabilitation center and be done with it. Quick and painless, like every other relationship she has. But wildlife biologist Bailey Chase has other plans for Ken. First, as surgical assistant, and second, as the designer for her new raptor sanctuary.
Bailey protects her privacy with the vigilance of a hawk, hiding in her rescue center where she has complete control over her life and her work. Isolated on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula, she’s surrounded by natural beauty and plenty of solitude. Until sexy Ken Pearson walks in with a wounded bird and Bailey finds her life has been invaded by more than just an extra beak to feed.
Sometimes pain is invisible, and only love can soar over protective barriers and heal a wounded heart.
Prize Money by Celeste Castro
Eva Angeles is a professional barrel racer headed for her third world title when a competition mishap throws her in the path of an on-the-loose bull. She is saved from impending disaster by a tall, dark, and handsome bullfighter—a woman.
Toma Rozene is an equestrian stuntwoman fresh off the set of a blockbuster film when a family emergency calls her home to help run the family business: rescuing fallen rodeo riders before blustering bulls and bucking broncos trample their dreams.Eva and Toma’s shared passions and competitive spirits make friendship easy, but, as their feelings deepen, they must decide if the divergent futures they seek will stand in the way of love.
A Kiss Before Dawn by Laurie Salzler
Country girl Chris Martel has struggled all her life to form strong, lasting relationships. For Chris, love, compassion, and trust are critical. In their absence, she has turned to her dog and her horse for the emotional fulfillment she craves. Then along comes Mary Jo Cavanaugh.
Fresh out of veterinary school, Mary Jo inadvertently antagonizes Chris with her overconfident assumptions about how to care for animals. She comes to learn that Chris’s practical experience provides both a wealth of knowledge and a friendship unlike any she’s ever known.
The carefully built walls around Chris’s heart crumble as she acknowledges the unfamiliar feelings evoked by being with Mary Jo. Just as she believes she’s found the happiness that had always eluded her, someone from Chris’s past comes back into her life. Can the love between Chris and Mary Jo survive so they can share a kiss before dawn?
From the Boots Up by Andi Marquette
Meg Tallmadge has more than enough on her plate. She’s finishing up a college degree, getting ready to apply to vet school, and working another summer with her dad, Stan, on the family ranch in southern Wyoming. He’s managed to get the Los Angeles Times to send a reporter out to do a story on the Diamond Rock, which doubles as a dude ranch. Meg knows the ranch needs all the publicity it can get to bring in more customers, but she’s not looking forward to babysitting a reporter for a week. When the originally scheduled reporter can’t make it, Meg worries that they won’t get a story at all, which is worse than dealing with a city slicker for a few days. Fortunately for Stan and the ranch, the Times finds a replacement, and Meg prepares to be under scrutiny, under the gun, and the perfect hostess. She knows what this opportunity means to her father, and she’s hoping that if it goes well, it’ll ease some of the distance between them that resulted when she came out a few months earlier.
What Meg’s not prepared for — and never expected — is the reporter herself and the effect she has on her. In spite of what she feels, Meg can’t risk the fallout that could result from overstepping a professional boundary. But as the week draws to a close, it becomes clear that not taking a chance could be the biggest risk of all.
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