If you’re anything like me, you read. A lot. So, you probably spend more than you should at the Amazon store on your Kindle. (Damn you, innovation! I used to have to get off my couch to go buy a book!) Maybe you did what I did and figured Kindle Unlimited was the way to go. Discounts on quality items! Free books! Borrowing power!
Yeah, not so much. Kindle Unlimited has an enormous amount of books to choose from, but here’s the unfortunate rub: Most of them are crap. Crapola. Crapitty-crap. Craptastic. Crap-squared.
You get the drift. Many KU free books are really bad. Especially the romance ones. Titles like Suck It! and Mine turn off someone who wants to read an entertaining plot with few grammatical errors. (If these are actual titles of romance novels, I apologized…or maybe the author should?)
But being the discerning (ahem!) reader that I am, I have found a few KU free books that are worth the time and even the money to make them part of your permanent collection of romance, rather than just a loaner from Kindle.
Here’s some of my criteria for my keeper shelf from Kindle Unlimited books:
- Few, if any, grammar errors. Umm, proper grammar, people! I’m sure your English teachers tried to instill grammar in writing, but in some cases, it just didn’t stick. It’s shocking that these people actually write books, I know, but they do. And they end up on Kindle Unlimited’s pile of, well, you know. (See second paragraph for a list.) If I come across a freebie and it has distracting issues with grammar, I lose interest because I think the author can’t write and because the constant errors pull me out of the story.
- Entertaining plot. Those same English teachers tried to teach about the importance of plot and how it can affect the BIG IDEAS and THEMES, probably. And guess what? Plot, while not necessarily important in a Virginia Woolf tale, is important in a romance novel, yes-siree-bob. The story needs to have a SERIES OF EVENTS, not characters that just meet, argue, screw, repeat until the end of the book. Also, it’s worse when it’s a step-brother or barbarian in a nice suit who we’re told is educated but acts like a Neanderthal.
- Excellent minor characters. Good romance novels have intriguing minor characters whom we want to get to know better, like, say, in a later book, perhaps. If the minor characters are non-existent, the author has a problem because heros and heroines in romance novels don’t live on islands with just themselves and Wilson to keep them company. Additionally, if the minor characters are just imitations of the lead characters, the dialogue and plot becomes stilted without the minor characters helping the H and h analyze their feelings for each other. Don’t we all need friends, after all?
So, after many, and I do mean many, duds, here are some authors whose books are currently free on KU but are still worth the money you would pay for their books if you didn’t have KU.
- Cassandra Gannon. For those of you who enjoy otherworldly beings in your romance, look no further than Gannon. She has two series, A Kinda Fairy Tale and The Elemental Phases books. Her fairy tale stories take an interesting spin on the Big Bad Wolf and Beauty and the Beast. The bad characters, such as Wolfie and Beast, know who their true love is and want them desperately, but the good characters–their true loves–have no clue and have to be convinced. Then, there are the Phases books. The characters have powers, almost mythological in their development, and can control air, earth, fire, and water, with other elements mixed in, like metal and dust. The characters have “matches” who are their equal, but with their world in chaos (something big happens in the first novel), it makes it harder for them to find those matches. Plus, some of the matches are villains in the world. What’s not to love? BEST OF THEM: Beast in Shining Armor and Exile in the Water Kingdom
- Marysol James. I’m seriously baffled as to how ALL of her books are free. She writes the typical alpha hero, who quickly turns into a pile of mush after meeting THE ONE. It’s the women who are harder to convince, more often than not, a plot device that I adore. The men are rough and tumble, wanting to protect the heroines from the bad guys. Often though, the women are the ones with the real strength. James has several series, including the Fighting for Love, Open Skies, Dangerous Curves, and Unseen Enemy series. BEST OF THEM: Hard Curves and Enemy Outside
- Linsey Hall. A relatively new discovery of mine, Hall deals with immortal guardians who find the women they love and hold on. Often, the lovers have a past history that mucks up the works as the new evil rises. What is awesome is that, reminiscent of Kresley Cole, the women are just as badass as the men. A powerful women with an immortal guardian? Sign me up! BEST OF THEM: Rogue Soul and Master of Fate
These are all books that I ended up buying so that I could have them in my collection because KU is really just for borrowing. But the brilliant thing about Kindle Unlimited is that it doesn’t hurt to try. At least not your wallet…just sometimes your brain. These three authors are some whom I’ve tried and made permanent because of their quality. Regardless of whether or not you have KU, I would definitely recommend trying these budding romance authors!