Welcome to week 11 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 firstname.lastname@example.org).
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 Fantasy with National J.R.R. Tolkien Reading Day, which is March 25th.
Below you’ll find reading suggestions. Better yet, 8 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 Fantasy week: March 21 through March 25
by Arizona Tape
Her dream comes at the price of human souls.
Ylva has always wanted to become a Valkyrie, and now she’s enrolled in her first year at Afterlife Academy, she’s getting her chance. But nothing is simple about bringing souls to Valhalla and she soon finds herself embroiled in ancient rivalries and new friendships.
With more human souls in need of collection than ever before, Ylva and her classmates are about to get a crash course in death.
Valkyrie 101 is book one of the Afterlife Academy: Valkyrie, an urban fantasy f/f academy series. The Afterlife Academy specialises in teaching paranormals how to help human souls pass onto the next phase, whether that’s by guiding them gently, preparing them for rebirth, or cutting them loose with a scythe.
by Emma Sterner-Radley
$5.99 (Also in Kindle Unlimited)
Our four mapmaking magicians are back at the Hall of Explorers. As they continue their studies, their journey to find new lands is brought forward following a calamitous event. However, seafaring and exploring turns out to be even more dangerous and complicated than they expected.
Soon they have to battle not only the perilous waves, the king’s cruel plans, and sea monsters, but also their emotions. Eleksander pines for Hale, who in turn joins Sabina in having feelings for Avelynne. Meanwhile, Avelynne is realising her lack of romantic interest may run deeper than she thought. Meeting new people on their journey makes things even more complex.
Feelings will however have to take the backseat as they realise that the magical conspiracy they are part of is even bigger than they thought and that the ocean is full of surprises; some wonderful, but far too many of them dangerous beyond measure. And like the king of Cavarra, the sea doesn’t show mercy.
by Caren J. Werlinger
What if Beauty was the Beast?
Lise’s father is dead, and the life of plenty and freedom that she has known as the daughter of the King’s Huntsman is gone. She must now live a life of duty to her mother and sisters, helping them to cope in their altered circumstances. But where her mother would have her wed a childhood friend to secure their future, Lise knows that is not what she longs for.
When she meets a mysterious woman in the forest, Lise feels the stirrings of emotions she cannot give voice to, but with this woman, she doesn’t have to say anything—Senna knows.
Cursed, hunted, and feared, Senna has been forced to wander from place to place for more years than she cares to remember. She gave up hope long ago that there could ever be an end to her isolation.
Odd sightings in the forest—monsters of legend come to life, old enemies back from the past, fearsome beasts on the prowl—begin to frighten the people of Lise’s village. Somehow, all of these things are connected to Senna. As the villagers’ fear grows, so does their hatred.
Senna prepares to flee, accepting what has become her fate, but Lise isn’t ready to give up her one chance for happiness. Soon, only Lise stands between the villagers and the woman she has grown to love.
by Dawn K. Lake
High fantasy adventure with magic, lesbians and a dragon. A story inspired by fairy tales.
Princess Andromeda is a princess no longer. She has left all of that behind and set out to find her beloved Talen, the bodyguard who stole her heart two years ago.
While on that journey, Andromeda makes a momentous discovery. She has a rare ability she never knew she possessed. The power of magic. And Andromeda will need all of that new-found power if she is to unravel the mystery that lies at the heart Blackheath, the world where Talen now resides.
Blackheath is a land hovering precariously on the edge of destruction, ruled by a mysterious Empress who has bound Talen to an impossible quest, with little time left before a frozen never-ending winter swallows them all.
by S D Simper
$0.99 (Also in Kindle Unlimited)
As a child, Mairi made a deal with a young fae – a kiss in exchange for gills.
Now, betrothed to a man she hardly knows, Mairi is desperate to escape her fate. When she finds that same fae at the river’s edge, she’s offered a proposal that makes her skin grow cold . . . and her blood run hot.
Romance meets horror in this lesbian fairytale. Do you dare dive . . . Beneath the Loch?
by Rachel Ford
A missing giant. A sinister conspiracy. A decision that will change the fate of a jarldom.
The bone trade is big business. Black market buyers will offer many silvers for fresh giant bone, to carve into charms or use in dark enchantments.
When cloaked men kidnap the giant Njal Frostborn, everyone knows why. He’s destined to be murdered and sold in that terrible trade.
His best friend, apprentice wizard Idun Wintermoon, is determined to save him from that terrible fate. But to do so, she must defy the head of her order, and face powers far beyond her ability. To survive, she’s going to need an ally. Luckily for her, Lissette Forlatt – a down-on-her-luck sellsword – is on the case. Together, they’ll brave worse than the elements and rogue mages in their quest to save Njal. What they discover might shake the jarldom to its core.
If they live long enough to tell the story.
by Del Robertson
Something in Fairhaven stinks. Other than the mutton stew, that is.
Gwen thought life after being a virgin sacrifice would be a bed of roses.
Bodhi was just looking for a wench to bed.
Neither less-than-dashing hero nor not-quite-so-pure maiden imagined they would meet again, much less be trapped together in a city the likes of the ill-named Fairhaven. There’s a killer on the loose. Fairhaven’s on lockdown, its citizens fearful for their lives. The local guards are corrupt. And, Bodhi’s been accused of murder…
by A.J. Fitzwater
No Man’s Land is a historical fantasy and a love story set in the golden plains of North Otago, in the South Island of Aotearoa New Zealand.
Dorothea ‘Tea’ Gray joins the Land Service and is sent to work on a remote farm, one of many young women who filled the empty shoes left by fathers and brothers serving in the Second World War.
But Tea finds more than hard work and hot sun in the dusty North Otago nowhere—she finds a magic inside herself she never could have imagined, a way to save her brother in a distant land she never thought she could reach, and a love she never knew existed.
Keep scrolling for more suggestions!
by Cameron Darrow
Available in Kindle Unlimited
Words aren’t always easy. Sometimes they’re impossible. Only too rarely are they unnecessary.
Long set apart from the rest of her tribe, Zifa’s life of quiet invisibility high in the mist-shrouded trees of the Great Forest has meant the first two have always been true, the last barely a dream. It takes the arrival of a foreign princess unlike any elf Zifa has ever seen to leave her speechless. The newly-installed Princess Skathi brings with her dire news, however: the desert-dwelling Cantari tribe is on the verge of losing its only source of water and magic. Charged with finding a way to save her people by any means necessary, when negotiations go poorly her options quickly dwindle to accepting their fate or taking a new home from their pacifist cousins by force. So when a final, remote chance to fix things peacefully presents itself, she takes it, even if it requires venturing with Zifa into the most cursed place in any elven tongue to confront not only their fears, but everything Skathi thought she knew about strength.
From the highest place to the lowest, they will need everything they find in each other to face the truths awaiting them.
If it isn’t too late.
by Genevieve McCluer
Hannah Olsen just wanted to be an accountant. She met the girl of her dreams and was more than ready to settle in for an ordinary life. Then she found out she was the reincarnation of Thor. Suddenly, she’s thrown into a world of magic and intrigue, unexpected attraction, and a mystery she’s got to unravel. All she can count on are her friends and her partner, and perhaps her new crush. With their help, she just might be able to find her way in this new life, and maybe stop an evil plot along the way.
by Rachel E. Bailey
In a modern world where Packs of werewolves exist side by side with a none-the-wiser humanity, what if one person stood between a lasting peace among the werewolf Packs and all-out civil war? A young female werewolf called Des is bound by a blood oath with the guarding of this person, the aging leader of all the Packs: the Dyre. But when the Dyre is murdered on Des’s watch, she’s sworn to protect the new Dyre, a young woman named Ruby. Des must deal with her emerging feelings for her stubborn new charge while they both try to uncover who’s behind the continuing murders of powerful werewolves. It’s stable employment—nice work, if you can get it…at least until the silver bullets start to fly.
by Karen Frost
A compelling, original, evocative young adult fantasy novel for all ages. Part one of the Destiny and Darkness series.
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.
by Barbara Ann Wright
Zara del Amanecer’s purpose in life is to do her duty, whether as a noble or a scout. She never shirks her responsibilities, especially with missions as simple as this one: to reconnoiter the border with the Firellian Empire and report anything suspicious. Easily done, even with a new recruit conscripted from prison. Never mind that Veronique the thief ignites unfamiliar feelings in Zara, from furious loathing to overwhelming desire.
Roni can’t stop imagining how passionate Zara would be if she thought less about duty, or even if she cared more about survival. Because the Firellians have a new magical weapon no one suspected, and they’re not about to let anyone who’s seen it get out alive. In the sights of an empire planning invasion, Zara and Roni’s principles might not be the only things sacrificed.
by Catherine Lane
Claire, fairy godmother level one plus, is one of the best operatives at the Fairy Godmother Council, but god-mothering in the twenty-first century isn’t all it used to be. The magic’s drying up; the girls are spoiled brats, and guardian angels poach the council’s best clients whenever they can.
When her boss assigns her a VIP case, Claire assumes it’s more of the same. But Frankie, her client, seems to be the deserving underdog of the olden days. And Tamiel, the guardian angel who pops onto the scene, swears she’s there to protect Frankie, not to steal her. It doesn’t hurt she’s smokin’ hot.
As the case starts to unravel, Claire is forced to examine her own prejudices and desires. Is she heading for certain ruin, or will she grab her happily ever after in this lesbian urban fantasy?
by Edale Lane
Available in Kindle Unlimited
When secrets and lies threaten the throne, can a fierce champion tame her passion in time to stop a cruel enemy’s ruthless march?
Jutland, Early 11th Century. Viking Warrior Princess Lena craves revenge. Hunting a killer after her husband is brutally slain, she discovers a shadowy traitor is at play behind the scenes, working to disrupt the balance of power. But she places her need for vengeance on hold when the king falls gravely ill, and sails out along with the pretty slave she rescued to locate a fabled healer.
Gunnar is loyal to the core. But when his lord orders him to sabotage the princess’s royal mission, he’s plagued by an unfamiliar sense of doubt. And after he witnesses the courageous woman and her crew save his life in a vicious storm, he’s no longer certain he’s fighting for the right side.
Beset by foul weather and an uncharted island of trolls, Lena fears she’ll never avenge her husband’s death… even as her heart softens towards the lovely Celt girl she longs to embrace. And now Gunnar must decide where his fealty rests as the tides turn to war.
Can Lena and Gunnar survive a bloody grab for power and find a true home for their hearts?
Happy reading peeps!
Miranda & TB