This year, I decided to do more readathons and challenges (as if I am not doing enough already) and for February, I did four (FOUR!) … including the F/F February reading challenge hosted by Imi and Ellie over at beyond a bookshelf.
The challenge was to read books that feature sapphic characters and/or an F/F relationship. There are 9 prompts.
In total, I read 10 books with an f/f relationship or sapphic main character. Here is what I read for F/F February:
1. an f/f contemporary, historical and/or romance
PINK SLIP by Katrina Jackson
For this prompt, I picked this m/f/f erotic suspense that took me on a journey (literally – they went to Serbia … and they brought me along). I’m originally a mystery / suspense reader so this was just an overall enjoyable read for me.
2. an f/f book from a 2020 or 2021 debut author
THE EMPRESS OF SALT AND FORTUNE by Nghi Vo (Singing Hills Cycle 1)
This high fantasy novella was released in 2020 and follows cleric Chih and their assistant Almost Brilliant recording the stories of empress In-yo and her handmaiden, Rabbit as told by Rabbit herself. The world building was excellently done in 2h 20m (I listened to the audiobook). It took me a while to catch on to what’s happening but once I got there, I was in for a tale which I very much adored.
3. an f/f book featuring your fave trope
HEAVY VINYL: RIOT ON THE RADIO (VOL 1) by Carly Usdin, Nina Vakueva
I usually don’t have singular favourites when it comes to books, but tightknit friend groups in any shape or form would definitely make my top 5 tropes. In this, they are not just co-workers, but a teen vigilante fight club! I loved all the characters and how different yet similar (*ehem* sapphic) they were. Plus it’s 90s and music themed, that was enough to get me interested.
4. an f/f audiobook, graphic novel, or multimedia story
HEAVY VINYL: Y2K-O (VOL 2) by Carly Usdin, Nina Vakueva
I wasted no time jumping into the second volume in this series and of course I loved it just as much as the first. Taking place a year later, we see the girls team up with others to prevent a y2k disaster in the music industry by forming a band … and more. Allow me to hope a Vol 3 will come too.
5. an f/f backlist book
THE COLOR PURPLE by Alice Walker
I was happy to go way back to this classic for this prompt. I’ve wanted to read The Color Purple for so long and I’m glad I finally did because it is nothing short of excellence. This book brought me through pain, joy and hope and I cried for every mood … and then I saw the film adaptation and BAWLED even more.
6. a re-read of a book you loved
THE STARS AND THE BLACKNESS BETWEEN THEM by Junauda Petrus
I read this in June 2020 and knew right away I would revisit it. Well, fast forward to February 2021 and here I am. It’s a unique coming-of-age story that explores many themes. But what I really loved most about this book is the sensory experience it gives me. The scents, imagery … I just love it all.
7. a f/f sci-fi or fantasy
WHEN THE TIGER CAME DOWN THE MOUNTAIN by Nghi Vo (Singing Hills Cycle 1)
Of course, I also read the sequel in this series and it is as equally great as the first. This time, Chih must recount the story of a tiger and her lover to a band of hungry tigers in order for them and their companions to stay alive. Again, in just a few pages, Nghi Vo brilliantly developed a layered story that had me intrigued and low-key tense (in a good way).
8. a sapphic own voices book
THE WEIGHT OF THE STARS by K Ancrum
This book has been on my TBR ever since Mina (big ups to her) recommended it on her YouTube channel. It is definitely one of my favourites for this month. I also cried at the end of this one. And, if I wasn’t sure about my love from friend groups/ found families in books, this definitely would solidify it.
9. an f/f rec from a friend
POLAR VORTEX by Shani Mootoo
(This book was the February rebelwomenlit book club pick and I would like to think of them as my friend lol). Whew, this book is drama. It explores the complex dynamics between an older aged f/f couple and their friends, while highlighting experiences of diasporic Indians. The writing was so well done I got through this book very quickly. The ending still has me feeling a way.
10. bonus book
TAKE A HINT, DANI BROWN by Talia Hibbert
Literally everyone is/was talking about this book, and this month I decided I will finally join the club. It was a fun time listening to this book. I loved the characters and their love for each other. From the bantering to supporting and caring for each other whether through their interests or mental health, their friendship was so heart-warming.
And there you have it! Bingo!