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Mary’s TOP 5 Sapphic Books of 2023

Top 5 Reads of 2023 Graphic
Get ready to add books to your TBR pile!

As the end of the year draws near, we have one question we want to ask book lovers the world over. What were your top 5 sapphic reads of 2023?

Luckily our readers like to share! We look forward to passing along these recommendations to you daily into the new year.

It’s not too late to submit your own top reads and get in on the fun. Click here for the form. Our only rules are that authors may not submit their own books and your list needs to be new-to-you books that were read (not necessarily published) in 2023.

Here are Mary’s top sapphic reads of 2023:

1. The Lowest Healer and the Highest Mage by Hiyodori

In a mageocracy, the non-magical healers tasked with keeping the mages’ powers from consuming them and endangering everybody else are, by law, a cruelly indentured class. Kraken-class mage Wist and exceptional healer Clem may change all that. Fantastic worldbuilding, vivid narrative voice, true romance, very slow burn, the entire series is top-notch, but the first two books are especially good.

2. The Singing Hills Cycle Series by Nghi Vo

A set of enthralling novellas set in a magical version of ancient China: my favorite is When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain. Non-binary Cleric Chih travels the land gathering historic/legendary intel for the archives of their monastic order, frequently accompanied by a neixin, a hoopoe endowed with human intelligence and an infinite memory. The writing is exquisite, the world is amazing.

3. If I Were a Weapon by Skye Kilaen

After an alien flotilla crash-lands in various locations across the US, survivors exposed to a nanite cloud are mysteriously gifted with inexplicable powers. Deneve flees her home and finds her way to Austin, TX, driven by the nanites in her system, but also compelled to help people her newly-awakened precognitive gifts recognize to be in danger. They lead her to the beautiful and prickly Jolie, owner of a small stationery shop, who is hiding lethal gifts of her own. This series is extraordinarily compelling. Kilaen’s MCs are difficult yet attractive, sharply drawn, desperately attempting to shield themselves in a country they no longer trust, and figure out what larger process is afoot in the wake of the nanite exposure that has altered them.

4. Love Kills Twice by Rien Gray

Non-binary contract assassin Campbell falls hard for their newest customer, Justine, who also happens to be their newest target. The attraction is mutual. This is an extremely sexy series, for all that the MCs are well beyond conventional morality. The writing is razor-sharp.

5. Shipwrecked by Juniper Butterworth

This is a sort of YA but sexy fantasy romp set in a universe where goats have magic and are in the care of goblins endowed with irresistible feline qualities. Amiable pirate goblins get involved when their ship is damaged on the island shoals. Cheese features prominently, there is an infant goblin that causes no end of trouble, and the love stories are very sweet.

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About Mary

Retired art history prof in Italian Renaissance, in NC.

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