Welcome to the 4th week of the 2022 IHL Sapphic Reading Challenge. Before we get to the books, we want to remind you of two ways you can interact with other readers to enhance your experience during the challenge this year.
First, you can join the I Heart Lesfic Facebook reader group. Every Monday we will announce the category for the week, and every Wednesday you will have the opportunity to post what book you are reading and be entered into the monthly drawing for a $25 Amazon gift card. (For those who are not on Facebook and still want to enter, remember you can email your reading selection to email@example.com).
Second, we have created a Goodreads group where readers can discuss books, swap recommendations, and generally have a good time.
Now, to get to the task at hand. We paired magical realism with hot chocolate day, which is today. We recommend brewing a cup (TB prefers a candy cane in hers and she saved one just for this very special day) and slipping into a story with magical elements that blur the lines between reality and fantasy.
Below you’ll find reading suggestions. Better yet, 4 of them are on sale, so scoop up a fantastic read at a bargain. Before you click any buy buttons, please ensure the sale price matches. (Some international prices may vary.)
The following books are on sale to celebrate magical realism week: January 31 through February 4
by Miranda MacLeod
$4.99 (Also in Kindle Unlimited)
An American celebrity chef and an Italian chocolate maker cook up a magical recipe for true love.
In a tiny village in the hills of Tuscany is a statue of Cupid with the power to grant the deepest desires of the heart to all who ask. The village is home to single mother Valentina, who runs a struggling chocolate shop. All she’s ever wanted was to fit in, determined to provide a quiet, normal life for herself and her daughter. She works hard to keep it together, asking for nothing…especially not Cupid’s help. Not when that would mean admitting to herself and everyone else that her deepest desire is to find the love of a woman.
American celebrity chef Andie should be having the time of her culinary life while on a PR blitz in Tuscany. Instead, a tabloid scandal that threatens to destroy her career has her hiding in a remote hillside village. With nothing to do but worry and wait, she spends her time avoiding shame and infamy by flirting with a local chocolate maker who’s as irresistible as the sweets she sells. She’s shocked by the discovery that her heart longs for much more than a temporary distraction, but even if she can convince the reluctant Valentina to give her a chance, how can she balance a relationship in Italy with a career in the States?
When it comes to realizing the deepest desires of their hearts, it just might take an act of divine intervention for these two women to find their future together!
by Sabrina Blaum
$7.99 (Also in Kindle Unlimited)
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.
by Rachel Ford
$4.99 (Also in Kindle Unlimited)
He’s a skeleton who used to be a cop. I’m a Freak who used to be a detective. Together, we’re going to find the woman I love.
Technically, the PD hasn’t fired me yet. But when my girlfriend, the star witness in the biggest embezzlement case in a century, went missing, I stepped on some toes. And maybe busted a senior detective’s nose.
He had it coming. He’s hiding something. I’m going to find out what, and I’m going to find my fiancée. But I can’t do it alone.
In a world of magic and undead beings, Normies avoid Freaks like me like the plague. Our magic terrifies them.
But there’s one place I know I can turn to find the help I need: the undead. So here I am, trusting the fate of my career and the love of my life to the bony hands of a 150 year old undead investigator.
And that’s a recipe for disaster. No bones about it.
by Silvia Shaw
$6.49 (Also in Kindle Unlimited)
An epic story of magic, heroism, love, and treachery, Rand is a magical world ruled by an imperial line of Queens.
Three hundred years ago, its most powerful talisman, a medallion called the Circle of Sheda, was taken through the portal and lost. When Dr. Savannah Cole is on an archeology dig in Algeria, she takes shelter from a violent sandstorm and discovers the mysterious artifact under a Berber ruin. She soon learns unknown forces are at play, powerful secret forces beyond her control. Compelled to wear the medallion, she’s swept through the portal into Rand. There she must forge a new life and embrace her role as the wielder of ancient magic.
Never before has someone from the ‘other world’ been chosen to bear the medallion, someone not a warrior. It’s a puzzle Savannah must solve before it’s too late. Why has she been chosen? As she battles demonic creatures and dark sorcery, she fights to take her place as the rightful bearer in the long line of warrior women.
But the question remains. What is coming that the lost medallion must resurface after so many years?
Keep scrolling for more reading suggestions!
by Serena J. Bishop
Aurora’s life is perfectly mundane. She has a job she hates, an ex that ran her out of her hometown, and the highlight of her week is Monday breakfast with her best friend. That changes when Aurora starts dreaming of a woman who can’t remember her own name. A woman who Aurora falls head over heels for. She knows the romance that develops between them isn’t real, but the dreams make life so much better that she hurries to bed every night…until she discovers that her dream woman isn’t imaginary. Her name is Leela and she is in a coma.
Aurora must risk everything—her job, apartment, friends, and her sanity—to save Leela, a woman she’s only ever met in her mind. But in order to help, Aurora must convince Leela’s neurologist and parents that she and Leela have a bond that transcends the physical plane.
Can Aurora fight through a progressively nightmarish landscape to wake Leela? And if Leela wakes, will she recognize Aurora as the one who saved her? As the one Leela said she loved? Their dream-relationship might not be real, but if there is any possibility of making her dreams come true, Aurora has to try.
Dreams is a sweet lesfic romance about a love that defies the laws of physics.
Available in Kindle Unlimited
A story where a touch of love and a slice of life creates a whole lot of magic.
Cath Monroe loves her teaching job, her friends, her family, and her colleagues. They fill her life and her heart. She knows that it’s important to share love with actions and words, but that last one? About the words? That’s a problem. Because when it comes to saying ‘I love you’ to her forever person, Cath discovers that she doesn’t really know anything about love at all.
Then, Rica Diamandis strolls into her life. Rica is all stardust and sexy, and Cath is intrigued. The sudden availability of a romantic blank canvas takes Cath’s breath away. But when her father is taken to hospital with a life-threatening disease, Cath boxes up the romance with Rica, and packs it into the back of her heart. Fortunately, the Universe has other ideas and Cath begins to realise that embracing emotional chaos is actually the art that creates the magic.
by Cindy Rizzo
A deeply polarized and ungovernable United States of America has separated into two nations—the God Fearing States (GFS) and the United Progressive Regions (UPR).
Judith Braverman, a teenager living in an Orthodox Jewish community in the GFS, is not only a talented artist accomplished in the ancient craft of papercutting, she also has the gift of seeing into peoples’ souls—and can tell instantly if someone is good or evil.
Jeffrey Schwartz has no love for religion or conformity and yearns to escape to the freedom of the UPR. When he’s accepted into an experimental pen pal program and paired with Dani Fine, an openly queer girl in the UPR, he hopes that he can finally find a way out.
As danger mounts and their alarm grows, Judith embeds a secret code in her papercuts so that she and Jeffrey can tell Dani what’s happening to Jews in the GFS without raising suspicions from the government. When the three arrange a quick, clandestine meeting, Jeffrey is finally faced with the choice to flee or to stay and resist. And Judith is reeling from a pull toward Dani that is unlike anything she has ever felt before.
Content note: the book contains one brief memory of sexual assault of a male teen by another male teen.
by Aria Storm
Available in Kindle Unlimited
Mavis was my name, and you could say I have had a bit of a tough go. Following a tremendous personal loss, I was entombed by my own daughter rather than allow me to expose our secret to the world.
I woke up in a mausoleum and two centuries have passed. All I want to do is drink a bit of blood and maybe find a beautiful modern maiden to entertain what’s left of my soul. However, sinister forces are ever at play in my world. Even a queen who is two-centuries usurped cannot rest. Vampyrs are dying and the royals including my only surviving child are all in danger, as are the communities around us.
Set in modern New Orleans, this is the tale of the Lower Queen, Mavis Aubrey the mysterious vampyr who once led most of Britannia. Come follow Mavis as she struggles to learn how to function in the post-modern world and the vast array of new challenges rising to greet her.
Slow building poly lesbian romance.
by Siri Caldwell
Abby Vogel lives in the world of her harp. She plays and sings like an angel for beachfront weddings and other events around beautiful Piper Beach. No one else needs to know that angels keep her company. They wouldn’t understand.
Gwynne Abernathy blames herself for the deaths of her sister and mother. Her psychic gifts have brought her only grief, and she’s turned her back on anything that isn’t “normal.” But the moment her path crosses with Abby’s she’s drawn to her.
Abby knows right away that there is more to Gwynne than meets the eye. When she realizes that Gwynne sees the angels too she finally accepts that they’re more than a figment of her imagination. What’s more, the angels desperately need something from her. If she answers their call it means giving up the magic she feels with Gwynne.
It means giving up…everything.
Happy reading and don’t forget the hot chocolate, or any warm beverage, especially if you’re dealing with freezing winter temps like we are in New England.
Miranda & TB