Romance series & authors recommendations - Kindle Unlimited
May 5, 2020 12:22 PM   Subscribe

Looking for Kindle Unlimited series or author recommendations in the Regency romance genre (though other romance genres also OK). Descriptions of authors/series I like, and why I like them, inside.

Authors I like
Emma V Leech - Rogues and Gentlemen series, Girls Who Dare series
Eva Devon - The Dukes Club series, The Duke's Secret series
Wendy Vella - she is a bit hit-and-miss for me, though I enjoyed the Langley Sisters
Ava Devlin - The Somerton Scandals

Authors I dislike - For this list I basically read a Christmas edition where ~25 authors each have a short story. I figured this was a good way to quickly find out if an author writes in a style that I like, or not. BUT if an author listed here has a title/series that fits my likes anyway, pls let me know! Maybe I just haven't discovered it yet!
Scarlett Scott
Tessa Candle
Bianca Blythe
Kristi Caldwell
Keira Montclair
Amy Sandas
Linda Rae Sande
Beverley Oakley

What I like
Lots of banter between the characters. This is the most important part. I've stopped reading many books when I realize that, after one character says "Good morning," there's a full page or two of inner musings and decor descriptions before the other character actually responds to that greeting. I guess this is a classic "show, don't tell" kind of problem, but for the written word? For me, the relationship builds based on their banter and interaction, not based on what they are each thinking in their heads.

A series where side characters introduced in earlier books end up becoming main characters in later books.

Strong women characters. Maybe this is an oxymoron since it's the Regency genre, and women were literally property at that time, but I'm interested in how women in that time period carve out an identity beyond wife/mother.

And of course interesting characters/plot in general. Some of the more memorable ones: a hero with PTSD from the war, a hero who has some form of compulsive disorder (paints all day, must have all of their paintbrushes evenly spaced), a heroine who dresses as and "lives as a man" because life as a woman just doesn't feel like it fits, a heroine with epilepsy that society shuns for being "unnatural"

The characters actually have sex. However this is described - whether euphemistically or graphically - are both OK.


I'm open to other genres outside of Regency, and also to other types of pairings/relationship dynamics (doesn't have to be just straight man + woman pairing all the time). Not really into fantasy + romance combo, though. As long as it's on Kindle Unlimited, I'll try it!
posted by tinydancer to Writing & Language (15 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Deanna Raybourn and the Lady Julia Grey series.

C.S. Harris, Sebastian St. Cyr (this series develops and there is a female lead who ticks ALL your boxes)

And it's late, late Victorian but you might like the Laurie R. King series, which again ticks all your boxes except era.
posted by DarlingBri at 12:45 PM on May 5, 2020 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Two of my fav romance authors are Eloisa James and Tessa Dare. They should tick all those boxes. In case you haven't found it yet, the best website for romance readers is Smart Bitches Trashy Books. It's the only place other than Metafilter where I actually recommend reading the comments.
posted by bijou243 at 1:25 PM on May 5, 2020 [2 favorites]

Georgette Heyer is classic for a reason, and the reason is banter. Avoid the Grand Sophy - brief but horrible anti-Semitism - but the Nonesuch or Unknown Ajax are both pretty good places to start. Edited to say that I’m not sure these are on Kindle Unlimited, but they’re likely available via your local library’s ebook program.
posted by scyllary at 2:38 PM on May 5, 2020

Response by poster: Thanks all for the suggestions so far. Unfortunately, looks like a lot of these are not available on Kindle Unlimited, or only has one book in the series available under the Unlimited subscription.

My local library does not support borrowing e-books to my Kindle e-ink reader, and I don't like reading on other screens (like my phone) as much. There is also the matter of cost. If I pay for each book, Sebastian St. Cyr for example shows as $17 per book for the Kindle edition. I can't afford to drop $17 every ~3 days for a new book! And I read pretty fast, so this would get expensive really quickly.

If there's a different way/subscription to access those titles that lets me read them on my Kindle, I'm open to suggestions! Happy to pay up to $25/month, just not $17 per book every few days.
posted by tinydancer at 3:12 PM on May 5, 2020

A lot of better-known authors who do self-publishing will make older books or novellas for free. Courtney Milan's The Governess Game is a novella set in the regency; Cecilia Grant's A Christmas Gone Perfectly Wrong ditto. Alissa Johnson has put a bunch of her books on KU; her more recent books are Victorian rather than regency but may hit some of the same notes for you.

In terms of other subscriptions, if you're located in the US $50 annually will get you a Brooklyn Public Library card; all the books they have available via Overdrive can be downloaded to Kindle (I assume this holds true for all models of Kindle but really don't know). I think there are a few other library systems that will give cards to out-of-state residents for a fee but there is a limit to how many library cards I need so I haven't investigated.
posted by posadnitsa at 4:34 PM on May 5, 2020 [2 favorites]

I came to recommend Julia Quinn, but it doesn't look like Julia Quinn has much if anything on Kindle Unlimited. Maybe search for similar authors?
posted by Schielisque at 4:46 PM on May 5, 2020 [1 favorite]

Best answer: On kindle unlimited: The Sisters of Woodside Mysteries. I read them a while ago and remember liking them. I'll try to think of more, I read crazy fast and am totally undisciplined about keeping track of what I read when I'm reading for fun.

You do know you don't have to read on a kindle, you can read on a computer with a free kindle reader from amazon, right? And that you might be able to read your library's ebooks on a computer too? My public library uses something called RBDigital and I've been able to download an app on my chromebook for that and read them on a PC with Adobe Digital Editions. Incidentally, I'm a librarian and if you want to mefimail me with the name of your library I cn poke around their site and see if I can maybe find options you might have missed.

On Internet Archive you can read books for free by Mary Balogh, Grace Burrowes, and Mary Jo Putney who are all quite good.
posted by mareli at 5:08 PM on May 5, 2020 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I have some recommendations. I didn't figure out how to see if someone is on KU until I wrote some of this, and most of the authors weren't. (I know a bunch of authors pulled out because of some serious financial issues with Amazon's terms.) However, there were a few who aren't on KU have at least one book on deep discount right now (99 cents or free in most cases!) so I thought I'd leave them in JIC. I'm truly sorry I don't have more KU recommendations but hopefully the below gives you something to read!

Bria Quinlan writes contemporaries, which I don't normally read – but I was asked to review one for a book blog. I loved it and steamrollered through all of her books the next week. Smart women, banter-y dialogue, people with interesting stuff going on, it's the full package. Her Brew Ha Ha series is definitely available on KU.

Others that don't seem to be KU but have at least one book that is cheap/free on Amazon:
Jackie Lau writes hilarious contemporaries set in Toronto and one of them is FREE right now on Amazon.. They are funny but also deal with complex issues. For example, in one book the main female character has major depressive disorder; she's between episodes but doesn't want to be in a relationship because she's worried about what will happen when she has her next depressive episode. Another one has a main character who had to leave her job due to sexual harassment. And all of them deal with the complexities of family. (I don't read a lot of contemporaries; I wouldn't drop this in if she wasn't notable.)

Rose Lerner is a personal fave for Regency books. Lots of banter, strong female characters. I don't know how to tell if books are available with KU but her novel True Pretenses is $1.99 right now and is amazing. It's about a woman who is trying to get her hands on her inheritance (which requires her to be married), and a con artist who attempts to get her married off to his brother so his brother can have a good life on the right side of the law. A Lily Among Thorns is loaded with banter. The swashbuckling heroine runs a house of ill repute; the hero is a tailor and chemist who is a super-supportive cinnamon roll. Lerner rarely writes about nobility, her books are mostly about everyone else in the Regency era.

Scarlett Peckham's books are much naughtier, but full of witty banter and strong characters. The first book, "The Duke I Tempted," is about a self-trained female botanist and a man who rescued his dukedom from ruin. But he has a secret...

Joanna Bourne writes novels about spies during the French Revolution and Regency, set in both France and England. The banter is amazing, the women are astounding, the adventures are exciting, and she really knows her history. I gave my mom one of these (The Spymaster's Lady) on Sunday night and she's stayed up until 2am two nights running reading it. And she doesn't even like romance.
posted by rednikki at 10:05 PM on May 5, 2020 [1 favorite]

And hey! Those authors may be more in your budget range anyway; many of them run around $2.99 for a book vs. the $17 you'd mentioned.
posted by rednikki at 10:06 PM on May 5, 2020

And last but not least! Often even if your local library doesn't support e-lending, there may be a larger library in your region that will give you an e-card.

For example, the Boston Public Library gives cards to any resident of Massachusetts. Any resident of California can apply for an LA Public Library card, although you must physically go to a branch to do so. (But if you do, they are good for years and their e-library collection is ginormous.) Your region may have a similar option. My examples are from the US, but I also know Toronto allows out-of-city people to get a card for $30 for 3 months or $120 per year, and the State Library of NSW (Australia) offers e-cards to any state resident and has a huge collection. There's a decent chance that there is a larger library system in your region that would offer you similar access.
posted by rednikki at 10:17 PM on May 5, 2020

Response by poster: Thank you all sooooooooo much for the wonderful suggestions! I'm excited to have such a long list of titles to delve into!

Sounds like a lot of folks get books via the library; the main issue for me is that I am in Canada, and for Kindle e-readers specifically, OverDrive only supports Kindle Books in the US. So I assume getting a library card from TO or NSW will not work. But I will see if there are US libraries I can use. I do not want to read on my phone or laptop as I'm on my screen all day for work, and the e-ink of the Kindle is sooooo nice (plus no distractions like Facebook or work email!).
posted by tinydancer at 7:57 AM on May 6, 2020

A good friend recommends Lynn Messina who has a bunch of books on Kindle Unilimited. I haven't read any but my friend is very brainy and well-read.
posted by mareli at 8:05 AM on May 6, 2020

Best answer: You might also check out this: What Should I Read Next.
posted by mareli at 8:09 AM on May 6, 2020

I really liked Eva Leigh's Forever Your Earl. It looks like she has a few others available in KU. I think it hits nearly all of your likes.

I'm pretty sure I found this book via Sarah McLean's recommendations here or via Fated Mates podcast show notes.
posted by thatquietgirl at 9:14 AM on May 6, 2020

On Kindle Unlimited: The Friendship Series by Julia Donner.
posted by mareli at 5:48 AM on May 30, 2020

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