Hi everyone! I hope you’re all doing well! I’m in a wee bit of a reading slump at the moment as the book I’m currently reading is suuuper slow, hence the lack of posts recently, but I thought I’d do a wee post to highlight some sapphic books that I’m really excited for that I haven’t seen a whole lot of buzz for! I’m sure this will be the first part of many posts to come, but for now, here’s some sapphic 2021 releases to keep and eye out for (buckle up, this is a long post)!
Contemporary & Romance
Reach the Stars by Lily Seabrooke
Emmy Montford never thought she’d make it to this song contest stage, let alone run into the reigning champion Katarina Jackson—literally. And Katarina—that’s Kat to everyone but the obnoxious girl who knocked her down in an elevator and thinks they can be friends now—never thought she’d have a bright-eyed sunshine girl doing her damnedest to attach to her. She doesn’t do friends. All that matters is winning, and nothing is going to get in her way. But not only is this televised song contest putting Emmy on the same stage as Kat, they’re paired up in everything they do, and Emmy can make friends with anyone—even the woman who’s sworn off such frivolous things as fun and friendship. Even as they compete for the title of champion—or, well, at least, Kat’s competing, Emmy doesn’t seem too invested—Emmy might just be able to chip away Kat’s walls and remind her what it’s like to care about something, and Kat might just be the meaning that Emmy’s been searching for. And getting shipped by their fans under #kataremmy doesn’t help with their feelings. Sunshine/grumpy lesbians written by a trans author! I’m a sucker for romance novels featuring singers but that tagline alone sold me straight away!
Skye Falling by Mia McKenzie
Twenty-six and broke, Skye didn’t think twice before selling her eggs and happily pocketing the cash. Now approaching forty, Skye moves through life entirely–and unrepentantly–on her own terms, living out of a suitcase and avoiding all manner of serious relationships. Her personal life might be a mess, and no one would be surprised if she died alone in a hotel room, but at least she’s free to do as she pleases. But then a twelve-year-old girl shows up during one of Skye’s brief visits to her hometown of Philadelphia, and tells Skye that she’s “her egg.” Skye’s life is thrown into sharp relief and she decides that it might be time to actually try to have a meaningful relationship with another human being. Spoiler alert: It’s not easy. Things gets even more complicated when Skye realizes that the woman she tried and failed to pick up the other day is the girl’s aunt and now it’s awkward. All the while, her brother is trying to get in touch, her problematic mother is being bewilderingly kind, and the West Philly pool halls and hoagie shops of her youth have been replaced by hipster cafes. This book has a stunning cover, first of all, and it sounds like the perfect mix of rom-com vibes and heartfelt moments!
Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake by Alexis Hall
Following the recipe is the key to a successful bake. Rosaline Palmer has always lived by those rules—well, except for when she dropped out of college to raise her daughter, Amelie. Now, with a paycheck as useful as greaseproof paper and a house crumbling faster than biscuits in tea, she’s teetering on the edge of financial disaster. But where there’s a whisk there’s a way . . . and Rosaline has just landed a spot on the nation’s most beloved baking show. Winning the prize money would give her daughter the life she deserves—and Rosaline is determined to stick to the instructions. However, more than collapsing trifles stand between Rosaline and sweet, sweet victory. Suave, well-educated, and parent-approved Alain Pope knows all the right moves to sweep her off her feet, but it’s shy electrician Harry Dobson who makes Rosaline question her long-held beliefs—about herself, her family, and her desires. Rosaline fears falling for Harry is a guaranteed recipe for disaster. Yet as the competition—and the ovens—heat up, Rosaline starts to realize the most delicious bakes come from the heart. I featured this one in my Queer M/F Recs post and it sounds like the sweetest (pun intended) romance ever! It’s also the first book in an upcoming baking-related romance series!
The Very Nice Box by Laura Blackett & Eve Gleichman
For fans of Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine and Severance: an offbeat, wryly funny debut novel that follows an eccentric product engineer who works for a hip furniture company where sweeping corporate change lands her under the purview of a startlingly charismatic boss who seems determined to get close to her at all costs…. Ava Simon designs storage boxes for STÄDA, a slick Brooklyn-based furniture company. She’s hard-working, obsessive, and heartbroken from a tragedy that killed her girlfriend and upended her life. It’s been years since she’s let anyone in. But when Ava’s new boss—the young and magnetic Mat Putnam—offers Ava a ride home one afternoon, an unlikely relationship blossoms. Ava remembers how rewarding it can be to open up—and, despite her instincts, she becomes enamored. But Mat isn’t who he claims to be, and the romance takes a sharp turn. This sounds like it’s going to be a really revealing book about office culture and male privilege and from reviews I’ve seen already, I’m so intrigued by it!
Indestructible Object by Mary McCoy
For the past two years, Lee has been laser-focused on two things: her job as a sound tech at a local coffee shop and her podcast “Artists in Love,” which she cohosts with her boyfriend Vincent. Until he breaks up with her on the air right after graduation. When their unexpected split, the loss of her job, and her parent’s announcement that they’re separating coincide, Lee’s plans, her art, and her life are thrown into turmoil. Searching for a new purpose, Lee recruits her old friend Max and new friend Risa to produce a podcast called “Objects of Destruction,” where they investigate whether love actually exists at all. But the deeper they get into the love stories around them, the more Lee realizes that she’s the one who’s been holding love at arm’s length. And when she starts to fall for Risa, she finds she’ll have to be more honest with herself and the people in her life to create a new love story of her own. This sounds like such a gorgeous story with a bisexual protagonist, and it has found family which you don’t often see in contemporary novels, so I’m really anticipating this one!
Tell Me Anything by Skye Kilaen
Where do you turn when your family won’t accept who you are? Can Isabel return this year for a refund? Because it sucks. Her editing business would be paying her bills just fine… if her ex-boyfriend wasn’t blackmailing her. Of course, if her conservative family wouldn’t disown her for being bisexual, her ex couldn’t blackmail her in the first place. Sadly, she hasn’t invented time travel to un-make the mistake that created this mess. Derek has a good life. Mostly. He’s an out bisexual man with a successful business and a loving queer found family. But he’s almost forty, living alone is getting stale, and yet dating seems pointless since nobody’s ever found him exciting enough to build a life with. Given he’s now doing zero-creativity craft kits to pass the time, he suspects they’re right. Maybe he should get a dog. Isabel isn’t holding auditions for a rescuer, and she wouldn’t have expected Derek, a gorgeous, gentle man with his own history of family rejection, to fill the role. But Derek’s “boring” life is the calm harbor Isabel needs, and her affection helps Derek see himself in a new light. Their tentative connection might become the happily ever after they both deserve—if they can hold onto it through the fallout from Isabel’s recent romantic disaster. I’ve yet to be let down by one of Skye Kilaen’s books and the fact that this is an m/f romance where both of the mcs are bisexual is so exciting!
Satisfaction Guaranteed by Karelia Stetz-Waters
Cade Elgin has a life and career in New York City, and she’s determined to get back to both as soon as possible after her aunt’s funeral in Portland. However, when she unexpectedly inherits her aunt’s sex toy store — and has to save it from foreclosure — Cade realizes she’s not going anywhere. But making Share the Love profitable won’t be as easy as Cade had hoped. Her new partner has an infuriating lack of business sense, and an infuriating ability to turn Cade on.
Selena Mathis knows that nothing is more important than saving Share the Love. Not her pride, not her inconvenient attraction toward her new business partner. Cade may be more buttoned-up than Selena usually goes for, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t know how to turn the store around. But the more they work together, the harder it becomes for Selena to ignore her growing feelings for Cade. And she starts to wonder if there is something more important than saving Share the Love. This literally sounds like my perfect sapphic rom-com and I can’t wait to get my hands on it!
Finding Haley by Margaux Fox
Is losing yourself in the bed of a seductive and beautiful stranger the best way to solve your problems? This is an Age Gap Romance set on the beautiful coastline of Spain. It is hot and steamy in nature (you have been warned!) Haley Anderson has run away to Spain following the breakdown of her marriage. She wants to start again, to find something, to find herself perhaps. She doesn’t expect to be swept off her feet and into the bed of a beautiful older woman. What secrets is this woman hiding? And will Haley be able to find herself in the arms of someone else? Margaux Fox is another author whose works I’ve loved so far, and she’s really been churning out new books over the last few months, so if this doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, definitely check out what else she’s got on offer!
Traitors of the Black Crown by Cate Pearce
Three women will betray the black crown. A Knight. A Duchess. A Queen. Raena Schinen narrowly escaped when the Queen’s guard murdered her entire family. If Raena’s survival is exposed, she’ll be next. For fifteen years Raena has hidden as a male Knight, “Sir Rowan”, consumed by her vengeful desire to assassinate the Queen. The moment Raena is close enough to exact her revenge, she is unexpectedly exiled to a foreign land. There she serves the common-born Duchess Aven Colby, whose suspicious kinship with the Queen further threatens Raena’s delicate secrets. Just as they become united in a common goal to curb a looming invasion, unexpected heat and romance blossoms between “Sir Rowan” and Aven. The peril demands they set out on a journey to form clandestine political alliances, risking the Queen’s wrath, and drawing Raena and Aven closer together. But no one in the kingdom could have imagined the sinister foe rising from below the surface. In order to save themselves and those they love, Raena, Aven, and the Queen must recognize who are the oppressors and who will unite against the Black Crown. Sapphic adult fantasy with a sapphic knight!! I’ve waited so long for this!!!
Contract Bound by Elle Mae
From Silvia’s point of view, vampires are blood sucking soul less creatures that don’t give a damn about any of the humans in this world. She decided that the only way for her to live: Kill vampires and pay off her crippling debt. Silvia was adamant about not working for blood suckers but when they came to her with the promise of erasing all her debt she couldn’t say no. Now the accomplished hunter is forced to baby sit the most dangerous vampire heir in the world. Their excuse is that humans are smart and they have finally found a way to fight back. Silvia knew as soon as she set eyes on the breathtaking heir to the vampire throne that there was more than meets the eye. She knew that what ever the human rebels had in store could not possibly be more dangerous than the person in front of her. Can the heir teach her that not all vampires are soul less monsters? It’s hard to say but one thing is for certain, the attraction between them is deadly. I’m not a huge lover of enemies-to-lovers stories, but I’ve seen some really positive reviews of this book so far and I’m always down for more sapphic vampires!
An Imposter in Warriors Clothing by Elle Mae
For as long as Vien could remember she had been a pitifully weak mortal with a miserable life. Only by what seems like a chance encounter in a dark forest is she able open her eyes to a more enchanting albeit more dangerous magical world. It’s been six hundred years since magic started disappearing and people started dying. Baecos and his court have been searching for Vien for over a hundred years hoping that by some chance that when she reincarnated that she would be able to help them. The problem? Vien has no connection to her past memories or powers. Baecos offers her a place in his Kingdom and helps her train to get her magical powers back. Vien is tempted by power beyond anything she had ever dreamed of causing her to rethink her plan to rejoin the mortal world. But the power is not the only thing making her hesitate. The circumstances surrounding her death have been too suspicious to ignore. And while Baecos has relit a long-forgotten fire within her, he is hesitant to answer her questions leaving her to doubt his true intentions. Let’s hope that this time, curiosity does not kill the cat. This is being compared to ACOTAR and it has a seriously gorgeous cover – I can’t wait!
There’s Magic Between Us by Jillian Maria
A diehard city girl, 16-year-old Lydia Barnes is reluctant to spend a week in her grandma’s small town. But hidden beneath Fairbrooke’s exterior of shoddy diners and empty farms, there’s a forest that calls to her. In it, she meets Eden: blunt, focused, and fascinating. She claims to be hunting fae treasure, and while Lydia laughs it off at first, it quickly becomes obvious that Eden’s not joking—magic is real. Lydia joins the treasure hunt, thrilled by all the things it offers her. Things like endless places in the forest to explore and a friendship with Eden that threatens to blossom into something more. But even as she throws herself into her new adventure, some questions linger. Why did her mom keep magic a secret? Why do most of the townspeople act like the forest is evil? It seems that, as much as Lydia would like to pretend otherwise, not everything in Fairbrooke is as bright and easy as a new crush… This sounds like the perfect read for those who loved The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black and are looking for something similar and I really can’t wait to read this one!
Windfall by Shawna Barnett
Captain Liana Foley lives a life of crime on the high seas, never missing the life she could have had as Princess Ilyana Romenel. When a mysterious letter arrives, and its sender threatens to reveal who she is, Liana must risk exposure attending a ball at the palace where she was born to hopefully discover what became of her parents the night they died. Princess Rhian Vitalis has lived a sheltered life in the palace of the Capital, learning what she knows of the world from books. But it’s not the world she needs to know more about—it’s herself. Rhian has been struggling to harness the magic in her veins, and one wrong move crumbles the foundation of her entire life. Nothing at the ball goes to plan. Rhian uses her magic, Liana accidentally kidnaps Rhian, and suddenly, they’re both on the run. But can they both make it out alive? And will they ever be the same if they do? Sapphic pirates falling for magical princesses!! I’m sold!
Matchlight by Anastazia Dymen
As the general of the Carnevaran army, Ashes had one objective; to keep the kingdom safe. And no old prophecy would be getting in the way of that. Once declared the prophesied damnation of the kingdom and now the driving force behind its safety, Ashes’ job was her life. Her past as a gladiator and her present as the leader of the Carnevaran military made the kingdom the strongest in the region, a fact that allowed her peace. From long nights drinking the tavern dry with her partner Hael, to bloodying the battlefield under the king’s orders, her life had fallen into perfect domestic monotony. When a typical errand to the northern border leaves her with new knowledge of the neighboring kingdom of Artemea, she finds Carnevara’s position as the strongest kingdom in the region threatened. Under the guidance of the new General Carob, the Artemean army had become competent. Newly organized, skilled, and efficient in battle, their growth over such a short time had exceeded worrisome and become threatening. Her weariness of the army they shared such close quarters with had nothing to do with her past and everything to do with her job. No matter what Hael said, she had to strike before Artemea became the fall of Carnevara. War was inevitable, all that was left was to see who would be the first to light the match. And no one even thought about the prophecy anymore. I was lucky enough to read an ARC of this and wow! It’s a really fun and exciting sapphic fantasy that fans of An Ember in the Ashes are sure to love!
Spellbound by Ophelia Silk
Jane Paris is everything a young woman should be: polite, charming, and obedient, with a glowing reputation and a good man all but begging for her hand in marriage. If she has any doubts about her role in life, they’re easy to push down. But when she takes a fateful shortcut through the woods, her idyllic life is threatened by an attack from the fabled beasts who stalk the trees. Fortunately, she’s rescued by the equally fabled witch who lives there. Unfortunately, the attack has left injuries that only the witch can heal. Jane is forced to stay with her until she recovers. This poses a problem, because the witch, Adelaide Thompson, is everything that Jane is not: blunt, abrasive, and unapologetic. But there is more to the fabled woman of the woods than meets the eye, and her harsh exterior belies a gentle kindness. As they grow closer, Jane’s attraction to both magic and the witch herself get harder to ignore. But can a life with Adelaide alone and cut off from society truly fulfill her, or will she be forced to compromise on her happiness no matter her choice? This is a gorgeous cottagecore-esque fantasy romance novella that is a really sweet, short sapphic read!
The Devotion of Delflenor by R. Cooper
For ten anxious years, the country of Ainle has had no chevetein to keep their many lesser cheves in check and maintain peace. Anyone can become the chevetein if it is the will of the Three, as the most powerful of the gods are known. But as the years pass, fewer and fewer people go to the Seat to offer themselves as chevetein. Doubt has crept in among the population, and more than one arrogant cheve has decided that the time has come to abandon the old ways. Only the presence of Prityal of Ters, Knight of the Seat, Tyrant-slayer, the Hope of Ainle, has kept the country from falling into chaos. Soft-spoken but fierce, noble as well as beautiful, Prityal is all that a Knight of the Seat should be. As faith dwindles, so, too, does the number of knights waiting to serve the chevetein, and with no one else available, it is Prityal who volunteers for a risky mission to an unfamiliar place. She cannot go alone. So, Delf, a lower-tier knight, accompanies her. Plain, with an odd sense of humor, and of no fame or noted background, Delf is content to act as Prityal’s squire on this quest. Delf has loved Prityal for years with no intention of ever speaking of it. A hero and a nobody might become friends as they travel through ancient lands, facing tricky spirits and desperate farmers, finding ruins and knights of faded glory, speaking of magic and the history they share—yet even that is beyond Delf’s dreams of her future. But a chevetein must be found, and Prityal will do it at the cost of her life, if need be, though the country—and Delf—need her. It seems the Three have plans, after all, and will use anything to see them through—including the strong, devoted heart of a hero. This has an f/nb romance at the heart of it and is so high up on my TBR!
Mysteries & Thrillers
Dead Dead Girls by Nekesa Afia
Harlem, 1926. Young black girls 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, Manhattan’s hottest speakeasy. Louise’s friends 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–several local black girls have been murdered over the past few weeks. After an altercation with a local police officer gets her arrested, Louise is given an ultimatum: She can either help solve the case or let a judge make an example of her. Louise has no choice but to take the case and soon finds herself toe-to-toe with a murderous mastermind. She’ll have to tackle her own fears and the prejudices of New York City society if she wants to catch a killer and save her own life in the process. I have been loving sapphic books set in the 1920s recently and this adult sapphic mystery sounds right up my street!
Love Kills Twice by Rien Gray
She needs an assassin. They’re the best in the business. Falling in love was never part of the deal. Desperate to escape her abusive husband, Justine hires a contract killer. Campbell’s services come at a high price, and their dark, seductive charisma leads Justine right into their bed. Hiding an affair while Campbell designs the perfect murder has Justine walking a tightrope of stress, but each time the two of them sleep together, it’s harder not to get attached. Campbell struggles with their own traumatic past, convinced that the truth will drive Justine away. There’s a faint hope that things could work, save for one problem: Justine’s husband wants her dead too. Revenge is easy—heartbreak could cost both of them everything. Sapphic f/nb thriller with assassins!! This is literally everything I want in a book and the reviews I’ve seen so far are glowing!!
Lonely Receiver by Zac Thompson, Jen Hickman & Simon Bowland
A Horror/Breakup Story in Five Parts. Lonely Receiver is a stand alone, sapphic sci-fi horror graphic novel that follows Catrin who is extremely lonely and so buys an Artificial Intelligence partner who is specially made just for her and who is meant to bond for life with her. But after ten years, her AI wife has had enough and disappears without warning. The breakup sends Catrin into a downward spiral as she tries to figure out life without her wife, and also tries to find her again. This is a truly a bizarre and creepy graphic novel featuring AI wives and a really intriguing sci-fi setting! I have a mini review up for this one already but I loooved the concept so much!
I Am Not Starfire by Mariko Tamaki & Yoshi Yoshitani
Seventeen-year-old Mandy Koriand’r is not her mother. Daughter of Starfire and high school outcast, Mandy is constantly trying to get out from under the shadow of her bright, bubbly, scantily clad, and famous mother. Dyeing her bright orange hair black and sticking close to her best friend, Lincoln, Mandy spends her days at school avoiding Teen Titans superfans and trying to hide her feelings for the gorgeous, popular, and perfect Claire. And while Mandy usually avoids spending too much time with her alien mother, she’s been particularly quiet as she’s keeping one major secret from her: Mandy walked out of her S.A.T. While Mandy continues to tell Lincoln her plans of moving to France to escape the family spotlight and not go to college, she secretly hides a fear of not knowing her identity outside of just being the daughter of a superhero and who she will become. But when she is partnered with Claire to work on a school project, their friendship develops into something more and a self-confidence unknown to Mandy begins to bloom. Claire seems to like Mandy for being Mandy, not the daughter of Starfire. But when someone from Starfire’s past comes to disrupt Mandy’s future, Mandy must finally make a choice: give up before the battle has even begun, or step into the unknown and risk everything. I Am Not Starfire is a story about mother-daughter relationships, embracing where you come from while finding your own identity, and learning to be unafraid of failing, if it was even failing in the first place. Mariko Tamaki has really been giving the sapphics what they want, and I’m always down for more sapphic superheroes and difficult mother-daughter relationships!
Anthologies & Short Story Collections
Sword Stone Table : Old Legends, New Voices edited by Swapna Krishna & Jean Northington
Here you’ll find the Lady of the Lake reimagined as an albino Ugandan sorceress and the Lady of Shalott as a wealthy, isolated woman in futuristic Mexico City; you’ll see Excalibur rediscovered as a baseball bat that grants a washed-up minor leaguer a fresh shot at glory and as a lost ceremonial drum that returns to a young First Nations boy the power and the dignity of his people. There are stories set in Gilded Age Chicago, ’80s New York, twenty-first century Singapore, and space; there are lesbian lady knights, Arthur and Merlin reborn in the modern era for a second chance at saving the world and falling in love–even a coffee shop AU. I LOVE Arthurian legend retellings and as soon as I heard about this one I knew that I needed to get my hands on it ASAP! It features some really diverse retellings with female Merlin and Arthur, characters of different races and ethnicities, disabled characters and queer characters!
Fools in Love: Fresh Twists on Romantic Tales edited by Ashley Herring Blake & Rebecca Podos
Join fifteen bestselling, award-winning, and up-and-coming authors as they reimagine some of the most popular tropes in the romance genre. Fake relationships. Enemies to lovers. Love triangles and best friends, mistaken identities and missed connections. This collection of genre-bending and original stories celebrates how love always finds a way, featuring powerful flora, a superhero and his nemesis, a fantastical sled race through snow-capped mountains, a golf tournament, the wrong ride-share, and even the end of the world. With stories written by Rebecca Barrow, Ashley Herring Blake, Gloria Chao, Mason Deaver, Sara Farizan, Claire Kann, Malinda Lo, Hannah Moskowitz, Natasha Ngan, Rebecca Podos, Lilliam Rivera, Laura Silverman, Amy Spalding, Rebecca Kim Wells, and Julian Winters this collection is sure to sweep you off your feet. If that list of authors that are contributing to this anthology doesn’t have you extremely excited already, then I don’t know what you’re doing on my blog! I am insanely excited about this one!!
The Paper Garden by Caitlin Vance
THE PAPER GARDEN is a debut story collection of darkly humorous, gothic, speculative and feminist tales that will remind readers of Carmen Maria Machado and Samantha Schweblin. From the answers on a patient intake from a woman awaiting treatment to reimagined fairy tales or myths about troubled couples, these inventive stories are an introduction to a startlingly original literary voice. This sounds super intriguing and I know that this one also deals with difficult mother-daughter relationships! There’s not a whole lot of info released about it yet but I will definitely be keeping an eye out for it!