Welcome to week 31 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 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 Grumpy / Sunshine week with National S’mores Day, which is August 10th because TB the Grump loves s’mores and she’s currently at a lake house in Maine. Pair the two and TB becomes a ray of sunshine!
Below you’ll find reading suggestions. Better yet, 7 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 Grumpy / Sunshine week: August 8 through August 12
by TB Markinson
$3.99 (Also in Kindle Unlimited)
What do you do when love strikes at the worst possible moment?
Dagny is convinced she’s about to get engaged while on holiday in England. What she doesn’t expect is getting dumped. To make matters worse, it happens on Christmas Eve.
Allison receives an assignment from her boss that will make Allison’s journalistic career. The investigation will call for one thing: her complete dedication to the story and nothing else.
The two meet on Christmas Eve night, and while Allison is brimming with joy, Dagny wants nothing to do with anyone. However, what’s worse? Being alone on a holiday or spending it with a stranger neither will probably ever see again?
There’s one major problem. They just might be perfect for each other despite the terrible timing.
Is it kismet or a curse?
by Lucy Bexley
$2.99 (Also in Kindle Unlimited)
Darby lives her life on the bright side. She loves her two best friends Mia and James, so much in fact that she’s built an awesome career running Flippin’ Fantastic Renovations with them. All she wants is to decorate houses, cheerlead the people around her, and for no one to call her by her given name (Jane).
Astrid West is restless. She’s curated a life that ties her to nothing and no one. Her best friend is a stray cat named Meatball. She works a series of part-time jobs and owns exactly 8 shirts, all of them black. She’s lived in Denver for a year and has yet to commit to a lease. She moves cities on a whim, always looking for that perfect location where everything will fall into place.
Astrid is working the door at Revel, a Denver lesbian bar, when she meets Darby. Darby, who wears mittens and pink heart sunglasses and offers to help her, a total stranger, move apartments on New Year’s Day. Can Darby convince Astrid that people make a place a home? Or will Astrid leave Denver in search of greener grass before she gets the chance?
by Maria Jackson
$3.99 (Also in Kindle Unlimited)
Stuck in a cabin alone for three months, Claudia and Miriam compete to win a cash prize. The reality show only has one rule: they can’t fall in love. Claudia can barely stand the arrogant supermodel, and Miriam only wants to seduce the annoying bookworm. Will these bachelorettes hate each other by the end of the filming? Or will they end up breaking all the rules?
by Emma Sterner-Radley
$5.99 (Also in Kindle Unlimited)
Korinne Woodsorrow is trapped. Not only at her parents lumbermill but also in a village where she’s shunned. Worse than that, she’s stuck sacrificing the life she wants for the person she loves.
Next to the lumbermill looms the deadly Whispering Wildwood, with its magical creatures and mystical plants. The wildwood is not to be spoken of and not to be entered.
Yet, when disaster strikes, Korinne has to take her brother–who is all muscles and heart but not much brain–with her into the wildwood on a death-defying quest. Guided by a dashing rogue of a pirate and hunted by mysterious monsters, this quest soon goes deeper into a world of fairytales, danger, and wonder.
Korinne quickly has to figure out who and what to trust. As well as her new future, her sexuality, and of course – what happens if a quest changes into something completely different while you’re on it?
by Nicole Higginbotham-Hogue
After a disastrous situation causes Parker Avery to lose her position at the Orlando Police Department, she opens up a private investigation firm. However, business isn’t what she thought it would be, and after spending several weeks without a case, she reconsiders her decision. Just as her discouragement is getting the best of her, Kent Walker arrives at her office with a fresh case. The older man, occupied by his granddaughter, asks for help finding a map that was stolen from his boat. As Parker looks deeper into Kent’s story, she finds an adventure filled with mysterious undoings and a treasure that is hidden on a faraway island. Parker accepts the case immediately and upon Kent’s request agrees to let his granddaughter Kay help her. As the two women embark on the mission to find Kent’s treasure, it is soon clear that they are complete opposites. Parker tries to keep her promise to Kent, bypassing the other woman’s negativity to focus on the problem at hand. However, Kay is good at pushing buttons, and she does everything in her power to get Parker to drop the case. As tension heats up, the two women find themselves in an ordeal that could impact their very survival, and when they are faced with a life and death situation, Parker and Kay finally drop their defenses and see each other for who they really are. Kay realizes that Parker might be the one person who moves her romantically, but Parker, still plagued by her past, knows that her buried secrets could ruin the opportunity if they are revealed.
by Clare Lydon
Can you find love in a hopeless place?
Nobody would ever describe Scarlet Williams as a ray of sunshine, but that doesn’t mean she deserves the flood that wipes out her basement flat, making her temporarily homeless.
Enter Joy Hudson, local mayor & sunshine specialist, who opens her house to flood refugees and ends up with Scarlet on her doorstep. Two more opposing characters you couldn’t fail to meet, and yet, somehow, they strike up a friendship. But when the rain stops and the sun comes out, could that friendship blossom into something more?
Fans of contemporary lesbian romance will love Scarlet & Joy’s story, bursting with real characters and shot through with British wit. From the international best-selling author of London Calling and This London Love comes a heart-warming tale of love & redemption.
by Ali Williams
$2.99 (Also in Kindle Unlimited)
I love when a quiet evening with my girlfriend becomes a night of rope play. She makes me feel like art, and there’s nothing that turns me on more…
Turning On is a 4,500 word f/f romance short story.
Keep scrolling for more reading suggestions!
Falling in love is not a laughing matter in this opposites-attract lesbian romance with a bit of a fake relationship thrown in.
Comedian Stephanie Renshaw hopes to finally get her big break in LA. A chance encounter lands her the perfect apartment close to the comedy clubs, but it comes with a catch: she needs a roommate to afford the rent.
Enter Rae Coleman, a former police officer working the door at one of the top comedy clubs. After getting injured in the line of duty and losing her job with the LAPD, Rae guards her wounded soul behind a tough exterior.
At first, the two clash horribly before a tentative friendship develops. Bit by bit, Steph manages to break through the walls Rae has built around her.
But Steph has never been in a relationship, preferring casual flings, and Rae isn’t sure she’s ready to be happy again. Will they find the courage to open themselves up to love?
by Jennie Davids
Quiet does not equal weak…
Leaving a dependable job to apprentice as a tattoo artist was a drastic step after surviving breast cancer, but Cassie Whiteaker is nearly five years cancer-free. Nearly. She’s not ready to go out on her own until she clears that all-important hurdle. Also off-limits are relationships and sex—something Cassie is sure she’ll never want again.
Struggling tattoo shop owner MJ Flores doesn’t give a damn what people think, but losing Thorn & Thistle would mean losing everything. When her former mentor’s protégé arrives at her door, MJ hires her out of obligation…at first. Cross-stitching goody-goodies are not her type, but Cassie’s business background might just get the shop back on solid footing. They strike a bargain: Cassie will enact new marketing plans and MJ will teach her to find her inner bitch.
Only when clients request to see Cassie—having learned of the beautiful, compassionate tattoos she creates for survivors and their families—does MJ realize all Cassie has endured. And as Cassie’s fears fade, she finds it harder to keep her admiration for her bad-girl boss from reawakening all she’d feared was lost.
by Jean Copeland
Kate Randall is a successful, sophisticated attorney terminally jaded since the demise of her long-term relationship. Now with best friends Didi and Des by her side, she’s savoring single life and the sweet taste of hard-won independence. As her friends navigate the poignant and amusing pitfalls of finding lasting love in their forties, she’s quite content to watch from behind a cosmo.
But when the girls drag Kate to a Pride event, sexy young singer Jordan Squire rocks the stable foundation Kate had struggled for years to build. Despite Kate’s protests, Jordan’s charms prove too powerful to resist, and they fall into a passionate summer love affair. But even if Kate can conquer her fear of repeating the past, can their relationship withstand the pressures of a significant age difference and the demands of Jordan’s burgeoning music career?
by Ellen Hoil
Nicole, a socially awkward loner, hasn’t seen her family of origin or her hometown for decades. Blocking out the pain and memories of her earlier life, she’s spent this time honing her skills as a talented wildlife photographer. When she’s offered a dream contract for a book, she hesitates, realizing that she would have to return to her hometown to do it. She takes it, hoping she can enjoy it without seeing her family, the woman she had adored from afar, or dredging up the past.
by Kelly Farmer
Caro Cassidy used to be a legend.
During her career, Caro was one of the best defense players in women’s hockey. These days, she keeps to herself. Her all-girls hockey camp is her life, and she hopes it’ll be her legacy. Sure, her new summer hire is charming and magnetic, but Caro keeps her work and personal life strictly separate.
Amy Schwarzbach lives life out loud.
Amy’s as bright and cheerful as her lavender hair, and she uses her high-profile position in women’s hockey to advocate for the things she believes in. Ten weeks in Chicago coaching a girls’ training camp is the perfect opportunity to mentor the next generation before she goes back to Boston.
Letting love in means putting yourself out there.
When the reticent head coach offers to help Amy get in shape for next season, her starstruck crush on Caro quickly blossoms into real chemistry. As summer comes to an end, neither of them can quite let go of this fling—but Amy can’t afford a distraction, and Caro can’t risk her relationship becoming public and jeopardizing the one thing that’s really hers.
by Jesse J. Thoma
Natasha Parsons is a ride-along mental health clinician attached to the local police department. She charges into danger without a gun or badge to de-escalate crises. She’s quick on her feet and confident in her opinions. If only she could convince her by-the-book, humorless partner that she’s an asset, not the enemy.
Being a cop is in Tommy Finch’s blood. She comes from a long line of cops and grew up learning how to protect and serve with honor and integrity. Getting saddled with a shrink who’s reckless and brash isn’t something Tommy signed up for. How can she do her job when she’s responsible for the safety of an unarmed civilian?
No matter how often they clash on the job, an undeniable attraction simmers just beneath the surface. Can they find the courage to change so love has room to grow?
Faith, Em, Miranda, & TB
Want to stay up to date on all the happenings on IHS? Sign up here for the newsletter and never miss a thing.