Samhain’s announcement that they are closing (I raved about my publisher, editor, and cover artist here) kicked off a stroll down memory lane via my Kindle library. I thought it would be fun to do a blog post with some of my favorite Samhain books, because I’ve been buying from them for years and they publish a lot of my favorite authors. Little did I know this would be a project that would take me until 4am last night…
Samhain published some damn good books, my friends. HAVE AT THEM.
(I know this closing has kicked off a lot of Amazon criticism, and fairly so, but I want you to buy these authors’ books and I don’t much care where you do that. Samhain is having a massive ebook sale on their website on 2/29, so I’m linking there. You should absolutely drop the equivalent of a rent check there on Monday. And I’m also linking to Amazon because this list is way too long for me to do links to all 3rd party retailers and if one-clicking will get your money in these authors’ pockets that much faster, rock it out. You can, of course, find all of these books at iBooks, Kobo, Google Play, ARebooks, etc.)
Heidi Cullinan’s Love Lessons series is both a personal favorite and a stellar example of why our cover artist Kanaxa is a genius. I love these stories and I love these covers. I also adore Heidi’s holiday romance series with Samhain, her historical novel A Private Gentleman, the wonderful Carry the Ocean, and her new steampunk book! All the love.
If you haven’t heard me rave about Joanna Chambers’s Enlightenment series, you haven’t been listening. Exquisitely written, intensely researched, and absolutely fascinating to read, the trilogy begins with Provoked. There’s a spinoff book too! I’ve reread the entire series several times now and I’ll do it again.
There is nothing KJ Charles writes that I will not buy immediately and stay up all night reading. Her books are witty as hell, fan-yourself hot, and full of adventure. Whether pure historical or historical paranormals, Charles is an autobuy author for me. Think of England was my favorite book last year, and I reread the Magpie series on a regular basis. (ETA: Charles’s new book, RAG AND BONE, is out today!)
Whenever I think of Barbara Elsborg’s With or Without Him, I remember it first for the smoking hot sex. I mean, SMOKING HOT. And then when I start to reread it, I’m reminded instantly of how damn funny this book is too. I love Elsborg’s voice.
One of the earliest m/m romance novels I read was Scrap Metal by Harper Fox. This book is a perfect example of Fox’s lyrical prose, mastery of the setting so atmospheric it becomes its own character, and heartwarming romance. I have bought everything Fox has published since reading this book. She’s a wonderful writer.
Audra North wrote a book about a submissive SWAT dude and a Domme? And my editor was her editor? These are all the things I like in one lovely place. I am highly in favor of more smart femdom in the market, yes please.
You absolutely cannot go wrong with Rose Lerner. I could have picked any of her Samhain books for this list, but I have a weakness for historical novels that are not about royals. This story about a butler and a maid made me happy dance as soon as I saw it.
I love JL Merrow’s books, and the Plumber’s Mate series in particular is a favorite of mine. My grandpa was a union carpet layer in Chicago and every time I read a romance that features a blue collar worker, I’m happy to see that population represented. Plus, Merrow walks a terrific line with the psychic element, making it both fascinating and not too woo-woo for me. I love it.
Edie Danford’s Unconvering Ray brings non-binary to romance. It’s also a roommates romance, and that is one of my favorite tropes. I love forced proximity like whoa. Edie, by the way, is also a fantastic editor! I worked with her for the How We Began charity anthology and very much enjoyed her insight and story sense.
I had the privilege of betaing Rebecca Grace Allen’s The Hierarchy of Needs and its super sexy ménage sequel. Rebecca is another one of my editor Christa’s authors. We are a lucky bunch.
Piper Huguley writes books that fascinate me. I first came to know her through her self-published series, and her Samhain series has continued to mesmerize. Historical romance featuring African American couples, Piper’s books are must buys.
Cost of Repairs is book one of one of AM Arthur’s Samhain series. Arthur writes intense, emotional small town romance about guys who are just trying to make it through. I’m a fan.
Okay. I freely admit that I did not even care what Teresa Noelle Roberts’s book was about when I first saw it. All I knew was that it was the best title/cover combo I’d ever seen in my entire life. BAD KITTY. But it’s fun, sexy sci fi, and that’s even better.
Summer Devon & Bonnie Dee write m/m historical romance together (they may write other things too? it’s the historicals that are stacked up on my Kindle) and their titles always describe a couple that intrigues. I started with The Nobleman & The Spy last year and went on quite a binge form there.
ZA Maxfield re-released a bunch of books with Samhain, including one of my favorites, Crossing Borders. The cop and the skate-boarding college student have a lot of challenges in this book, but I love the way their very different personalities fit together. I also love their respective family members, which is always a plus for me in LGBTQ romance.
Gah. This book. Kaje Harper is a favorite author of mine, but with Sole Support she absolutely outdid herself. Broke my heart too. This book is as much about the struggle to take care of an aging parent as it is about the romance and it’s brilliant. Highly recommended.
One of my favorite historical romances ever, with a heroine who stutters and a hero who is known as the “molly comte”. Edie Harris’s The Corrupt Comte is brilliant. Someday she will put out a sequel and I will squeal with happiness.
Oh, hello, virgin in my m/m romance. Get on my Kindle right now. LA Witt’s The Closer You Get tell a terrific story about a guy who’s done the whole gay scene (and by “done”, we mean literally) and a newly out man from a conservative hometown. I love the development of trust between these too and the seriously hot UST. HELLO, TENSION.
Suleikha Snyder’s Bollywood romances are favorites too. I’m a Bollywood fan and I loved finding books set within that industry. I also really enjoyed the mix of gay and straight relationships within this book and the big cast of characters.
Alex Beecroft’s books fascinate me. This is an epic Viking historical romance, and I’ve been clear, I think, in my desire for more Viking romance. LGBTQ Vikings in particular, thank you, Alex Beecroft.
Big Boy by Ruthie Knox is one of the best portrayals of single parenthood in romance that I’ve read. It’s also a magical story of two people who are playing a game of pretend that becomes real, despite their best efforts.
Meg Maguire is also Cara McKenna, one of my favorite writers in the genre. Out of the genre. Just one of my favorites. Her Samhain books are complicated stuff. In Headstrong, I honestly wasn’t sure who the heroine would end up with for most of the book. In Trespass, the heroine does her best to steal from the hero and run away. The loner Montana vet doesn’t let her, of course, but their relationship suffers. It’s Maguire/McKenna. Trust me. You’ll love it.
I love this book! A menage story on a spaceship about a bounty hunter couple chasing a thief they want almost as much as they want to turn him in? Count. Me. In. I love all the books in the Slipstream Con series actually.
Vivian Arend writes hella sexy books. I started her Rocky Mountain series with Rocky Mountain Freedom, which is, I believe, book six in the series. What can I say? My attention was grabbed by the m/m/f ménage romance in the series! But I’m working my way through the rest of the books from the first in the series, because she’s all kinds of fun to read.
I’m a big fan of snarky characters and Jae Sun and Shane really hit the right spot. I love KA MItchell’s cowboy scuba instructor and uptight trauma surgeon. Their relationship is screwed up and complicated and I’ve probably read this book a half dozen times, so that clearly works for me. Plus, they’re damn hot. And an Asian hero! Yay!
Holy dirty fighter pilots, Katie Porter! Yeah, this series is a lot of high adrenaline fun and sexytimes. It’s possible I might over-identify with the desire to bang an aviator. I’m just saying, Top Gun came out when I was fourteen. It was a game changer.
So many fantastic Josh Lanyon books came from Samhain, including one of my favorite holiday novellas, The Dickens With Love. But I will forever hold a spot in my heart for Come Unto These Yellow Sands, one of the earliest m/m romances I read. It’s portrayal of someone living sober as an addict is absolutely brilliant, and the relationship between the addict professor and the small town police chief is pitch perfect.
Phew. There. Go shopping, y’all. I know I forgot people. I’ll come back and add stuff later, no doubt, when I am awash with regret for having skipped someone I adore. But it’s 4am and I’m super tired, so this is where I’m stopping. For now…
I’m gonna shove my fabulous cover artist Kanaxa’s work in front of your face one more time too. Both she and my wonderful editor Christa Desir freelance and I highly recommend working with them. They are the bomb diggity. And super decent human beings too.
Thanks for the love, Samhain. It’s been quite a ride.
ETA: I just realized that one of my favorite books of all time is from Samhain and I didn’t know it. JL Merrow’s Muscling Through is a Master Class in narrative voice. It’s funny and sexy and sweet, with a narrator unlike any other I’ve read. It’s wonderful. You should buy it. 🙂