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Free Friday: Today’s top free Amazon sci-fi and fantasy books for July 2
Did you know that Amazon has a list of the top-selling and free sci-fi and fantasy books?
The list changes constantly — authors set their books to free temporarily to promote their work, and, of course, books move up and down in the rankings. But are any of the books actually worth reading? Well, I read the first few chapters of each to find out, so you don’t have to.
This week’s list is completely different from those of the previous weeks. So if you’re a fan of free books, it looks like there are going to be new things to read all the time.
I’ve noticed that if you try to open the list on a mobile device, it will take you to the listings that cost money, instead. I’ve found that by switching to the “desktop site” in the mobile browser, the free list comes up.
Oh, and if there’s a book that catches your eye, grab it quickly, since the books are often free for only a short time. And, Amazon allows you to lend your e-books, for free, to your friends. Even free e-books. Here are the instructions.
Most of these books are the first book in the series, and in each case, I’ve checked to see whether the rest of the books are free as well, or whether they’re in Kindle Unlimited. Learn more about Kindle Unlimited here.
The list is accurate as of the time of writing but may have changed since the story was posted.
1. Warrior Fae Trapped by K.F. Breene
This is the seventh book in the ten-book Demon Days, Vampire Nights World series. The first eight books are all free today. The ninth book is $4.99, but is in Kindle Unlimited. The last and tenth book is due out on July 30.
From Maria Korolov:
Well, this is unusual. Eight of the top ten books on today’s free sci-fi and fantasy book list are all by the same author, and, on top of that, are all in the same series.
I’m guessing that this is because the last book in the series is scheduled to come out at the end of the month, and the author is hoping that we’ll grab the earlier books, fall in love, and buy the new one. Sounds like a decent plan to me. And we get a ton of free books in a series with literally thousands of five-star reviews.
I’m going to skip ahead to the eighth book on today’s top ten list, which is the first book in the series, and then figure out how I’m going to review the rest. I don’t want to read the first couple of chapters in every book since that would give away the ending of the previous book. What to do… what to do…
Okay, I’m back. First of all, I loved the start of the first book in this series — scroll down for my review. Judging by what I’ve read so far, K.F. Breene is a great author, and there’s a very good chance that I’ll read all of these books. And will probably check out her other series as well, starting with Leveling Up, a five-book paranormal humorous romance series.
She also has a few other series. A couple of series feature naked male chests on their covers, another series features a woman warrior, and there’s also a sci-fi series about corporations enslaving human minds for use in their supercomputers. They’re all in Kindle Unlimited, too.
According to her author bio, Breene has sold more than 4 million books so far and has hit the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Washington Post bestseller charts.
Anyway, back to Warrior Fae Trapped. This is the seventh book in the series, but it has a different protagonist from the others. I don’t know if you can read it independently from the other books, but I’m going to dip my toe into the first chapter and hope I don’t see any spoilers for the previous books.
The story starts with Charity, She’s a college student in Santa Cruz and is awkward around guys. Then a mysterious dark-haired man shows up on campus, watching her and creeping her out. She’s tiny and slight and grew up in a bad area, so she knows the signs of an attacker. She’s a fighter but doesn’t think she can take this guy on. But she makes it home okay. Then her spoiled rich housemate wants Charity to come to a fancy party with her so she doesn’t have to go alone. Charity’s crush is going to be there, too. As they pull into the driveway of the Internet mogul’s isolated house, they’re warned not to go in by some guy named Devon. The girls ignore him and go to the party.
All normal so far. A little creepy — I can just about hear the foreboding music playing. But normal.
But then as the girls drive off, Devon turns to one of the other guys with him and they talk about vampires. Oh, and they’re werewolves. Okay, so that’s what’s happening here.
I like Charity, she’s poor but smart and is working hard to make something of herself. Plus, she’s good at martial arts. I like where this is going. Her spoiled rich friend is appropriately annoying. The werewolf is appropriately hot. And there’s something mysteriously attractive to him about Charity. She smells good.
Yes, this all sounds very cliche. But you know what, cliches can be fun. Just because you know where things are going, doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy the ride. Plus, it might surprise me.
Devon is worried that Charity is going to be trapped in a house full of hungry vampires. But he can’t go in yet. They have to wait until the vamps actually do something bad — just throwing a party isn’t against the law. And they need the vampires to be at their weakest so that they have a chance of winning the fight. I’m having trouble pulling myself away from the book but I must, I must. The description says that the main characters from the other books are going to show up, and I don’t want any spoilers.
2. Warrior Fae Princess by K.F. Breene
This is the eighth book in the ten-book Demon Days, Vampire Nights World series. The first eight books are all free today. The ninth book is $4.99, but is in Kindle Unlimited. The last and tenth book is due out on July 30.
From Maria Korolov:
The immediate sequel to the previous book on this list, Warrior Fae Princess is the last of the free books in the series. According to the description, Charity’s fate is on the line in this book, and Devon is still around.
So they survived the previous book. See, I didn’t want to know that!
Ugh. Why did I read the description.
Anyway, this book has an average score of 4.7 stars and more than 1,000 reviews, and is second from the top on the list of top paranormal and urban fantasy ebooks and second in the paranormal demons and devils romance.
3. Natural Dual-Mage by K.F. Breene
This is the sixth book in the ten-book Demon Days, Vampire Nights World series. The first eight books are all free today. The ninth book is $4.99, but is in Kindle Unlimited. The last and tenth book is due out on July 30.
From Maria Korolov:
The sixth book in the whole series, Natural Dual-Mage is also the final book of the three-book set featuring Penny and somebody named Emery. I haven’t read that far in these books yet, so I don’t know who Emery is. When I do, I’ll come back and update this review and tell you what I think of their relationship.
I’m trying not to read too much of the description, so as not to spoil anything for myself.
Let me just say that this book has an average review score of 4.7 stars and more than 1,000 reviews. It currently holds the number one spot in all of Amazon’s sword and sorcery ebooks and the number one spot in vampire suspense.
People are snapping it up. If I come back and read this book, after reading the others in this series, I’ll update you guys with what I thought about it.
4. Fused in Fire by K.F. Breene
This is the third book in the ten-book Demon Days, Vampire Nights World series. The first eight books are all free today. The ninth book is $4.99, but is in Kindle Unlimited. The last and tenth book is due out on July 30.
From Maria Korolov:
I have only started reading the first book in this series — scroll down to item eight on today’s list for the review — and don’t want to jump ahead to review this one.
I did glance at the description, and now I’m sorry, because it gave away the ending of the previous book.
Let me just say that Reagan is still in Seattle, and things are getting worse for her.
Good, that’s just the way I like my urban fantasy books.
Also, this book has an average score of 4.7 stars and more than 2,000 reviews. I’m definitely reading this.
5. Natural Mage by K.F. Breene
This is the fifth book in the ten-book Demon Days, Vampire Nights World series. The first eight books are all free today. The ninth book is $4.99, but is in Kindle Unlimited. The last and tenth book is due out on July 30.
From Maria Korolov:
We’re back with Penny, and, from the description, she’s done hiding in broom closets. I like the sound of that.
But I’m not going to keep reading just yet — I don’t want to spoil the ending of the previous book!
I’ll just say that this book has an average score of 4.7 stars and more than 1,000 reviews, and is in the “young adult” category. The ratings are staying high with each book, though the total number of reviews is falling. That could be because some readers drop off from one book to the next. Or it could just be that people haven’t gotten around to reading the later books yet.
I fully expect to be reading this book soon enough. If I do, I’ll come back and revise this review.
6. Natural Witch by K.F. Breene
This is the fourth book in the ten-book Demon Days, Vampire Nights World series. The first eight books are all free today. The ninth book is $4.99, but is in Kindle Unlimited. The last and tenth book is due out on July 30.
From Maria Korolov:
So the way this series works is that the first three books are a set, starring Reagan, the bad-ass bounty hunter.
The next three books, starting with this one, feature a witch named Penny.
According to the description, you don’t have to read the first three books, and can just start with this one. So I’m going to risk being spoiled and jump right in.
It starts out in New Orleans. Penny is far from home, and had spent all her savings to go there, to attend a retreat. Penny knows that she has magical powers, despite her mother denying it, and wants to find out how her father died. This retreat had great reviews on Yelp, and promises to be an ideal retreat for beginners to learn about magic.
When she gets to the church where the retreat is being held, she’s a little worried. It looks like there’s a cloud of doom hanging over the building, and she has a very bad feeling about it. But what’s the worst that can happen, right?
Oh, looks like there’s been confusion about the date. The retreat was a week ago. She showed up in the middle of some kind of conclave of senior witches doing some kind of evil-sounding magic. Juicy.
A spell goes wrong. A battle breaks out. Penny hides in a closet. Then a rescuer shows up. The woman is dressed in leather from head to toe, has hard, crazy eyes, a gun strapped to her leg, and a sword on her back.
Oh, I know who that is! It’s Reagan from the other books. I better stop reading now, to avoid learning any spoilers.
From what I’ve seen so far, Penny isn’t as bad-ass as Reagan. But then again, who would be? And she’s not quite as funny. And she’s much too obsessed with her mother. Even though she’s 24, this is the first time she’s really gone off on her own. If this was a different author, I’d be on the fence about continuing to read this book because Penny is coming off as a little wimpy. But from I’ve read so far of the first book in this series, I’m going to bet that things will turn around for Penny in a big way. I’m going to stick with it.
7. Raised in Fire by K.F. Breene
This is the second book in the ten-book Demon Days, Vampire Nights World series. The first eight books are all free today. The ninth book is $4.99, but is in Kindle Unlimited. The last and tenth book is due out on July 30.
From Maria Korolov:
I’m not going to read the second book right now, because I haven’t finished the first one yet. (See the next item on this list for my review of the first chapter of that book.)
But I can tell you that the book has an average rating of 4.7 out of five stars with more than 2,000 reviews. So yeah, it’s a good book.
From the description, it looks like Reagan is back, and this time she’s on assignment in Seattle. There’s a powerful demon in the city and she has to stop it from going back to hell with information about what she is. Her life hangs in the balance.
I’m in. The book is already loaded on my Kindle reader and queued up.
Oh, while I’m in the Kindle app, might as well check to see if Alexa can read the book out loud, in case I want to listen to it while driving. If you don’t know this, if you use the Kindle app on your smartphone, you can have Alexa read it out loud to you, without buying the audiobook. Just download the Alexa app, go to the “Play” tab — it’s in the navigation panel at the bottom of the screen — then scroll down to your Kindle library and tap the book you want. Then Alexa will ask you to choose what device you want to listen on. I just have the phone, but you can also have it play on any connected Alexa device. Alexa will start reading out loud at the exact point where you left off in the book. Then once you’re out of the car or back from your jog, you can go back to your Kindle reader, and resume reading on the screen from where Alexa left off.
It’s a cool feature, and I really like Alexa’s reading voice. It’s not as good as a human narrator, but I’d put it at 95 percent of the way there, and it’s getting better all the time.
8. Born in Fire by K.F. Breene
This is the first book in the ten-book Demon Days, Vampire Nights World series. The first eight books are all free today. The ninth book is $4.99, but is in Kindle Unlimited. The last and tenth book is due out on July 30.
From Maria Korolov:
This is actually the first book I looked at this morning because it’s the first in the series.
Reagan is a New Orleans bounty hunter. She wears black army boots and black leather pants, has a gun strapped to her leg, and a sword on her back. She’s a bad mama-jama. And she’s literally my favorite type of main character.
She’s got a magic power that she’s keeping secret from the local supernatural community, and the local pack of shifters is following her trying to figure out what kind of magical being she is. This annoys her, because it gets in the way of her bounty hunting. Her targets get skittish when there’s were-beings around.
See, the weres are the local representatives of the magical realm here on earth, policing things to make sure that the existence of supernatural creatures stays secret.
Meanwhile, Reagan works for the human authorities, a secret government agency that is also working to keep that same secret, but the two groups aren’t playing nicely with each other.
She’s after a vampire dealer today, and some other vampires showed up from the other realm, also looking for the same guy. She bags him first. Of course, she does. She punches him out, throws him over her shoulder, and heads out. But the other vampires catch up to her, there’s a big fight, and they grab the dealer away from her.
She needs that dealer. Badly. She wants to buy an air conditioner and was really looking forward to that paycheck.
I totally sympathize with her motivation. Especially now, with that heatwave we’re all in. Plus, she must be really hot in all that leather she wears. I feel her pain.
I love love love this book. Reagan reminds me of Mazikeen, the demon bounty hunter played by Lesley-Ann Brandt in the Netflix show Lucifer. God, I love that show so much.
I can already tell what I’m doing this weekend. I’m reading the rest of this book, and the other books in this series.
Update: I finished the book almost immediately. The novel moved well, the setting was rich and compelling, the characters fun to be with, and the big reveal about who the main character really is was very juicy. I wish there was a little less vampire romance — just once, I’d like a main character who says that she’ll never sleep with that horrible evil vampire and actually means it. I mean, is it so hard not to sleep with vampires? I haven’t slept with a single one. It’s super easy.
But anyway, that quibble aside, there’s a lot of shooting, stabbing, and other types of killing in this book. Oh, and Reagan also makes a point of kicking in her boss’ office door when she visits to complain about something work-related. She’s kicked a lot of doors off their hinges. I love that about her. Oh, and there’s a little call-ahead to an opening scene from one other book on this list, so I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the series. I’m already in the middle of book two, where’s she’s killing things right and left in Seattle. I am enjoying this so much.
The series reminds of Laurell Hamilton’s Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series, though with less sex and relationship drama. To be honest, as I got further into the Anita Blake series, there was less and less killing and more and more of Anita trying to maintain the peace between all her boyfriends. See, this is why bad-ass killers shouldn’t do long-term relationships, especially multiple long-term relationships. It seriously cuts down on your killing time. That’s definitely my plan for my next career as a hot, leather-pants-wearing international assassin. In fact, just to make sure I don’t get tied down and have all the goopy stuff get in the way, I’ll just kill everyone after I sleep with them…. and there’s the plan for my next book series. Give me a sec while I go draft some outlines…
Okay, I’m back. Other series that Demon Days, Vampire Nights World reminds me of include Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thompson series, Kim Harrison’s The Hollows series, Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files, Ilona Andrews’ Kate Daniels series, Seanan McGuire’s October Daye series, Kelley Armstrong’s Otherworld series, Eileen Wilks’ World of the Lupi, Faith Hunter’s Jane Yellowrock series, Jane Estep’s Elemental Assassin series, Benedict Jacka’s Alex Verus series, and Kevin Hearne’s Iron Druid Chronicles.
So once you finish Born in Fire and the other books in this series, and want more, go check those out.
9. New Witch on the Block by Louisa West
This is the first book in the six-book Midlife in Mosswood series. The other books are $0.99 to $2.99 but are all in Kindle Unlimited. The last book isn’t out yet, but is due this September.
From Maria Korolov:
And now for something completely different.
Rosemary has just escaped from Randy, her abusive husband of 22 years. She packed up what belongings she had, grabbed her ten-year-old daughter Maggie, fled to a strange town, and rented a small furnished cottage on the outskirts of town.
With the money she stole from Randy, she’s only got enough for a month’s rent and the bare essentials. She needs a job, but doesn’t have any experience — not even a high school degree. Except for one part-time job working a register years ago, when she first moved in with Randy.
They have to walk to town because she doesn’t have any money for a car.
Then her ex texts her, threatening her — and her phone explodes. Weird! Plus, some pushy church ladies show up and her neighbor is super weird. But she gets a job at the local convenience store, so things are looking up.
The book starts slowly. It has a gentle kind of small-town pace, which fits the setting.
I might come back to it after I’m done with all the murder and mayhem of the other books on this list.
10. Between Mountain and Sea by Louisa Locke
This is the first book in the Caelestis Series trilogy. The other two books are $4.99 and are not in Kindle Unlimited.
From Maria Korolov:
In 2025, a new planet has been discovered in the Andromeda Galaxy which can sustain human life. The Paradisi Project group uses breakthroughs in wormhole technology to carry ten founding families and a few thousand other people to the planet, called New Eden. They take off in 2092.
The story starts 165 years after their arrival in New Eden. Mei Lin Yu landed in the hospital after botched laser eye surgery, missing her academy entrance exams.
People now have brain implants to connect them to the Internet. Mei’s is temporarily removed because of the botched surgery, and she’s recovering in Mynyddamore, a family place that looks like a medieval fortress and is home to about 300 people. There’s also a telepathic monkey living there. Even though Mei’s never been to Mynyddamore before, she feels at home.
There’s a lot of gorgeous world-building here, but also a lot of family drama. I don’t know yet how old Mei is, but she sounds like an angsty teenager. She had failed her preliminary exams, doesn’t have any friends, and is a disappointment to her parents.
The book is extremely slow-paced, but seductive. I can easily see myself finishing it, even with the angsty teenage protagonist, if I didn’t have that bad-ass bounty hunter series waiting for me.
Do you have other free books for us to check out? Email me at [email protected].