Plunge Into Exciting New Worlds With These Spectacular SFF Sapphic Reads

Dive into this week’s Three to Read where we’re celebrating exciting sapphic releases in science fiction and fantasy.

Fantasy Recommendations Science Fiction Three To Read
Summer 3TR banner with the covers for "The Honey Witch" by Sydney J. Shields, "The Phoenix Keeper" by S.A. MacLean, and "No Shelter But The Stars" by Virginia Black.

For decades, science fiction and fantasy have been places of refuge for queer readers. The fantastical and far-fetched elements of the genres gave writers the freedom to include identities and persons excluded from traditional literature and provided a validating escape for queer readers.

Even though inclusion and diversity in publishing has come a long way, most queer readers and writers turn to genre fiction to tell their stories. Queerness in SFF is stronger than ever, and in celebration of Pride Month, here are three can’t-miss SFF releases.

HOT PICK

The Honey Witch by Sydney J. Shields

The Honey Witch by Sydney J. Shields, book cover
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SUMMARY

Marigold Claude, tired of unimpressive suitors, eagerly accepts her grandmother’s offer to train her as the next Honey Witch. In the family cottage on Innisfree, Marigold is bursting with new magic and independence. Her new life only has one caveat: the Honey Witch will never find true love. This doesn’t seem like an issue until Lottie Burke, a grumpy skeptic of all things magic, appears on Marigold’s doorstep. Lottie’s skepticism is a challenge Marigold can’t pass up, and eventually, Marigold grows quite fond of Lottie. But the arrival of darker magic threatens Marigold’s new home, and in fighting it, she risks losing her magic and her heart.

WHY

The Honey Witch is a magical debut wrapped in a cozy cottage-core aesthetic. Set in the 1800s, this historical fiction is equal parts romance and chick lit as the MC, Marigold, yearn to be one with nature and escape the restrictions society places on women. Combine a mysterious love interest, a sapphic grumpy x sunshine dynamic, and a unique magic system, and you get the warm and heartful story of The Honey Witch.

BEACH READ

The Phoenix Keeper by S.A. MacLean

The Phoenix Keeper by S.A. MacLean, book cover.
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SUMMARY

Ever since she was a child, Alia has wanted to conserve the life of the endangered firebirds. Thanks to her job as head phoenix keeper at a famous zoo for magical creatures, that dream is closer than ever. Except her zoo’s breeding program is practically nonexistent. A tragic phoenix heist at a neighboring zoo is just the opportunity Alia needs to prove her facilities can take over the project, as long as she gets some help from the zoo’s hotshot griffin keeper. The same griffin keeper that happens to be Luciana, Alia’s enemy from college. The world is watching, and poachers are closing in — can Alia protect the future of the phoenix species?

WHY

The Phoenix Keeper is brimming with mythical beasts. From dragons and unicorns to griffins and the titular phoenixes, there is no shortage of creatures to be found here. And Alia, our painfully shy MC, prefers it that way — who needs judgey humans when you have majestic creatures? MacLean’s debut is a light-hearted fantasy with diverse queer representation, an endearing enemies-to-lovers romance, and a protagonist who is just trying her best to save what she loves.

DARK HORSE

No Shelter But The Stars by Virginia Black

Cover for No Shelter But The Stars by Virginia Black.
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SUMMARY

Kyran Loyal, heir to a lost throne on a forgotten planet, is the figurehead of a nomadic people as they flee a violent regime that dominates the galaxy. Davia Sifane, the rejected daughter of an imperial dictator. Two women pitted against each other in battle, Kyran and Davia, are forced to rely on each other when they are the only survivors of the battle that made them enemies. As they try to survive while marooned on a barren moon, they face something so big it will either kill them both or change the galaxy forever.

WHY

No Shelter But The Stars is an epic space opera that pulls no punches in its commentary on resistance, terrorism, and the effects of colonization. Heavy as it may sound, the story draws readers in with two equally complex and intriguing MCs who are forced to face their differences and work together if they want to survive. Amidst the politics and adventure is a magnetic romance that you can’t look away from. Who doesn’t love lesbians in space?

Thanks for tuning in to this week’s Three to Read! Check back next week for more thematic recommendations.


Thanks for tuning in to this week’s article; check out last week’s Three To Read on children’s books celebrating Juneteenth here.

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