Welcome to week 23 of the 2022 IHS 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 SapphFic 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 Neurodiverse Character week with Autistic Pride Day, which is June 18th.
Below you’ll find reading suggestions. Better yet, 8 of them are on sale, so scoop up some fantastic reads at bargain prices. Before you click any buy buttons, please ensure the sale price matches. (Some international prices may vary.)
The following books are on sale for Neurodiverse Character week: June 13 through June 17
by TB Markinson
$3.99 (Also in Kindle Unlimited)
Lizzie Petrie doesn’t know how to handle life in the best of times.
When COVID-19 strikes, flipping her entire world upside down, she deals with it in true disastrous Lizzie fashion.
Unbeknownst to Lizzie, her wife invites family to move into their home for the lockdown, making it difficult for Lizzie to find breathing room and to give her brain space to put the pandemic into terms she can understand.
Unfortunately, COVID isn’t the only life-altering situation Lizzie is grappling with.
As she begins to question everything about her life, Lizzie tries to keep her feelings bottled up.
Will being trapped with her family and thoughts break her, or is this the start of a new adventure?
by Miranda MacLeod
$5.99 (Also in Kindle Unlimited)
They’re the only two single ladies on the Lesbian Love Boat. Can opposites attract?
Jeanie Brooks is a small town history teacher who sometimes leaps before she looks, but when she books a last minute river cruise for lesbian singles, she knows she’ll have no regrets. Two weeks of beautiful women and glorious adventure against the backdrop of Europe’s most famous cities—what more could she want?
Eleanor Fielding is an actuarial accountant from Manhattan, and an expert at assessing risk from every angle. Analytical and reserved, the only thing worse than spending the summer floating around with a gaggle of desperate single women is the prospect of her sister nagging her for all eternity if she refuses to go.
But thanks to a ticketing error, Jeanie and Eleanor unexpectedly find themselves the only two eligible women on the Danube. What starts as an awkward alliance to salvage some enjoyment from the trip soon transforms into something more.
When it comes to love, can this odd-couple learn to dance to the same rhythm?
by Amanda Radley
Starting a new job is hard. Especially if you’re the boss’s daughter.
Heather Bailey has been in charge of Silver Arches, the prestigious London shopping centre, for several years. Financial turmoil brings a new investor to secure the future and Heather finds herself playing office politics with the notoriously difficult entrepreneur Leo Flynn. Walking a fine line between standing her ground and being willing to accept change, Heather has her work cut out for her.
When Leo demands that his daughter is found a job at Silver Arches; things become even harder.
Scarlett Flynn has never fit in. Not in the army, not in her father’s firm, not even in her own family. So starting work at Silver Arches won’t be any different, will it?
by Jax Meyer
$2.99 (Also in Kindle Unlimited)
On the verge of turning 40, former Marine Cameron ‘Cam’ Warren didn’t expect to be walking onto a community college campus to spend a year playing music. But after five years, Cam is still mourning the tragic death of her partner and fellow Marine Sharon Rodriguez. To move forward, Cam needs a change. She hopes a sabbatical to play the drums will allow her to live fully again, connecting her to her emotions in ways her autism hinders.
Jazz pianist and teacher Laura Clark has had enough of city life on the east coast and yearns for the quiet beauty of Colorado. When a faculty position opens at a small community college in Ft. Collins, she jumps at the chance to start a new life. What she couldn’t predict was one of her star students walking back into her life twenty years since their last contact.
When Cam is introduced to the new jazz ensemble director she is shocked to see her high school music teacher, a thousand miles away from the small town where Ms. Clark first introduced her to jazz. But Cam is no longer a kid and, as their chemistry grows stronger, Cam has to choose which path her life will take. Will she choose love or will she choose fear?
Dal Segno is a lesbian romance that shows the power of revisiting the past to create a completely different result. Everything changes the second time around….
by Nicole Higginbotham-Hogue
Taton has spent the last five years dedicated to improving an invention that will help people deal with stress. She came up with the concept in order to deal with the guilt of her late friend’s passing. When she gets the opportunity to do a research study that might put the product on the market, she wastes no time in seizing the opportunity. With the help of her sister and Dr. Irene Campbell, Taton navigates the twists and turns of entrepreneurship, and in the process, she is faced with a whole new sense of self-discovery.
by A. Zukowski
Our days were numbered but precious.
Courting Light is the story of Josie, an eighteen-year-old about to leave home to start university in London. She volunteers at a summer camp for disabled children. When Josie is paired with the autistic teenager Lucian, she faces intense experiences that are truly eye-opening. To her surprise, Lucian is not the only one who captures her attention. Over the weeks, Josie develops powerful desires evoked by the camp’s enigmatic young leader with a shaved head and tattoo on her skull.
by S D Simper
$3.99 (Also in Kindle Unlimited)
Haunted by a history of horror and abuse, Flowridia, a witch with a tender heart, finds a second chance in the home of her kingdom’s royal family. With employment comes friendship, and perhaps she has finally found a place to belong—until she catches the eye of Lady Ayla Darkleaf, a woman with enticing grace and a predatory smile. The corrupt world of politics consumes her, and Flowridia falls into a toxic love affair surely doomed for heartbreak. Yet when Ayla’s legacy as a monster unfolds, Flowridia sees only the tender soul hiding beneath.
An ancient deity returns, hell-bent on restoring the world to its natural order, and Flowridia’s kingdom is tasked to stop him. Caught in the ensuing clash of gods, her loyalties will be tempted at every turn—by family, by fate, and by the woman whose claws grip her heart.
by Nicole Pyland
$7.99 (Also in Kindle Unlimited)
Peyton Gloss is the world’s most famous and popular singer & songwriter, known for her chart-topping hits as well as her famous girl squad and July 4th events, inviting all of her famous friends to celebrate. This year, she did something even more extravagant than ever, and invited her friends to join her for a week-long adult summer camp experience.
Mackenzie Smyth was dared to audition for a TV show. Thinking she had no chance of getting the part, she went along with it. Five years later, she’s one of the most popular young actresses in Hollywood. She’s also socially awkward and struggles with getting to know new people and spending time with her peers.
Lennox Owen is Hollywood royalty and has been famous since birth. She’s remained in the business because she didn’t know what else, if anything, she could do, and because it was what was expected of her.
When Lennox and Kenzie meet, there’s electricity between them. And the camp is the perfect opportunity for them to explore what might be. But after the magic of their week away from the world dissipates, can they still find that spark and make their relationship work?
Keep scrolling for more suggestions!
by Anna Stone and Hildred Billings
Available in Kindle Unlimited
By day, she’s her boss. By night, something naughtier…
Isabel Diaz’s post-college life couldn’t be better. While relationships have always proved elusive to her, she’s finally putting herself out there on dating app Darkest Desires. Plus, she has an amazing job leading the graphic design team at a hot Seattle startup.
But everything changes when the startup is sold off and Scarlett Black takes over as CEO. Scarlett is just as ruthless as her formidable reputation suggests. But there’s something mysterious about the icy older woman that draws Isabel to her.
Scarlett Black has it all. The oldest daughter of Seattle’s wealthiest family, she’s been groomed to take over the family company and is engaged to the perfect man. Yet her picturesque life isn’t what it appears to be. And at night, she escapes that life as her seductive alter ego, Dominique.
When she encounters a woman on Darkest Desires who is seeking the same escape, things heat up between them. But little does Scarlett know that the woman she’s having an anonymous liaison with is her young employee. And Isabel has no idea that Scarlett and Dominique are the same captivating person.
As their sensual fling escalates, tensions rise in the office. It’s only a matter of time before their real identities are exposed and both women are forced to confront their true feelings.
by Jeannie Levig
Leslie Raymond spent the past two years wishing her life had taken a different turn. It’s time for a fresh start, a move across the country, and a new set of rules to help heal her heart—no straight women, no women with kids, and no commitment. But when she meets her new neighbors, the beautiful Erica and her special needs daughter, Siena, she struggles against the pull she immediately experiences.
Erica Cooper has learned to rely only on herself. She knows most people don’t stick around when the going gets tough. And when caring for child with autism, the going can get tough fast. She is content with the quiet and emotionally safe life she’s constructed, but when they are befriended by their kind, playful, and—damn it—really hot new neighbor, the walls protecting her heart threaten to crumble.
So much for good intentions and firm resolutions–neither stand a chance when the stars align for love.
by Tammy Bird
Katia Billings, EMT with the Emergency Medical Services of Buxton Beach, NC, is one of the first to respond after a hurricane rips through the small island community. As she helps search for survivors, she and her fellow responders discover a secret that will haunt Katia the rest of her life.
Lurking beneath the sand dunes is an evil that no one suspected.
A sandy grave not connected to the storm leads investigators to uncover the tomb of a serial killer, literally beneath their feet, hidden for years from the residents of the tight community.
For Katia, it’s personal because she knows one of the killer’s victims. She enlists help from K-9 search expert Paige, and Katia’s on-and-off lover, Zahra, in her determination to find the killer, dubbed Sandman, and stop him from killing again.
What small-town secrets will they unearth in their pursuit of the truth? Will the three women survive the physical, emotional, and psychological attack being waged against their small slice of sand? Or will they become the next victims of Sandman?
by Anne E. Terpstra
Olivia Northman’s world shattered the day she lost her wife to a drunk driver. Three years later, she still struggles with grief and the demands of being a single parent to their autistic son, Ben. After her first attempt at a new relationship crumbles, Olivia retreats to the simple, the predictable. It’s what’s best for her son and her heart.
Ellie Vasquez isn’t simple or predictable. In fact, she’s charmingly impulsive, as well as gregarious, confident, and attracted to Olivia, which she reveals in an unguarded moment. Olivia doesn’t know what’s more surprising—Ellie’s interest, or her own—but a quiet conversation over drinks soon spins into something more. As Olivia’s caution gives way to hope, she sees another chance at love, both for her, and for Ben, who takes to Ellie with a tender openness. Ellie is fearless about love in a way that makes Olivia want to be brave, but the deeper their passion, the closer she gets to drowning—in grief, in fear, in guilt. To have a future with Ellie, Olivia must come to terms with her past. If she can’t, she risks losing the second love of her life.
by Annette Mori
On the surface, it appears as if Zari Woods has achieved everything she set out to accomplish, fame, money, a supportive best friend, and loving parents. But to a person on the neurodiverse spectrum, a loving woman is elusive.
When Frankie moves into her neighborhood, Zari starts her final quest, a happily ever after. Frankie is beautiful, kind and seems to genuinely enjoy spending time with Zari despite her quirks. Unfortunately, Frankie already has a girlfriend. Sort of. It’s complicated.
by Quinn Ivins
Nadine Bayani was at the top of her game. The brilliant, ruthless lawyer was in line to be White House chief of staff—until she confessed to campaign finance crimes that cost her party the election.
Now Nadine’s out of prison, broke, hated by millions, and stuck doing a menial retail job in rural Virginia where she barely earns enough to survive.
Bella Clarke has worked at Overstock Oasis since she flunked college. She wants to go back to school, but secretly doubts she’s smart enough. At least she’s not as clueless as her boss, who just accidentally hired the woman responsible for a national scandal.
However, Nadine seems to be nothing like the crook portrayed in the media, and Bella is drawn to her troubled, standoffish co-worker. As they grow closer, Nadine introduces Bella to the delights of Filipino food and opens Bella’s eyes to her own possibilities.
Before long, about the only thing harder to make sense of than Nadine’s past is their powerful chemistry together. Is Bella really falling for a woman who caused so much harm? And even if she is, how can two such different people ever be a match?
Faith, Em, Miranda, & TB
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