Free Friday: Today’s top free Amazon sci-fi and fantasy books for June 14, 2024

Reading Time: 10 minutes
Free Friday: Today’s top free Amazon sci-fi and fantasy books for June 14, 2024

Did you know that Amazon has a list of the top-selling and free sci-fi and fantasy books? The list changes constantly — authors and publishers set their books to free temporarily to promote their work, and, of course, books move up and down in the rankings. Read on to find your fun free read for this weekend! And grab the books quickly because they don’t always stay free for long.

This week’s list is completely different from those of the previous weeks. So if you’re a fan of free books, there are going to be new things to read all the time. If you want to get this list in your inbox every Friday afternoon, subscribe to the MetaStellar weekly newsletter.

There are a lot of books to go through, so this week I’m being helped out by a couple of other members of our MetaStellar community. If you’d like to join me in doing these reviews — and taping our regular Free Friday videos — email me at [email protected].

5. Twisted Pretty Things by Ariana Nash

This is the first of five books in the Shadows of London urban fantasy series. The other books are $4.99 each, but are all in Kindle Unlimited. This is the author’s first time on our Free Friday list.

From Maria Korolov:

We meet Dom in London, in a bar, his usual haunt. But this time, he isn’t drinking alone on a Friday night for personal reasons — he’s there for work. Dom works for some kind of private detective agency. and he’s keeping an eye on a recently-divorced sleazebag with a dangerous magical artifact in his pocket.

He plans to follow the sleazebag to a location with fewer innocent bystanders, take the artifact, and escort the guy to the local police station.

But once the sleazebag leaves the bar, someone else gets in the way — another investigator, an American — and the target makes a run for it. Dom corners the sleazebag in an alley and is about to talk him into handing over the architect and going quietly when the American shows up and shoots the target through the head. Dom and the American fight, and have a weird little moment, and then sirens sound in the distance and the American takes off. Dom searches the dead guy for the artifact but doesn’t find it before the cops show up.

The next morning — after an overnight stint in a jail cell before he’s finally released — Dom is back at work, and we find out that he’s an authenticator, able to see echoes of the traumatic event that turned a formerly ordinary object into a magical artifact.

We also learn that Dom has a bit of a crush on his boss, a mysterious rich guy. The boss has a plan to find the American. He’s expected to go to a posh art party, so he has Dom put on a tux and the two of them head over to the event. Dom’s assignment is to get close to the American and learn more about him. Since the artifact wasn’t on the dead guy, and the cops didn’t find it anywhere between the bar and the alley, Dom’s thinking is that the American assassin must have taken it at some point.

And Dom and the American flirt over drinks and caviar and things get a little… personal. A little overly so. I don’t like romance and hot sexy times in my urban fantasy detective novels. I prefer action and lots of murder. This book does have action, and high society hijinks, but I could do without the flirty banter and the various feelings in various nether regions. If it was just one or two sex scenes, at the end of the book, or somewhere in the middle to break up the action, I don’t mind too much. But when it starts right out with the sexy times… I start suspecting that the romance is going to play a bigger role in the plot than I’d like.

Though I do applaud the fact that a gay romance is on the bestseller list.

I know I’m probably not in the majority here, but I’m bitter and hate love. But if you like your action mixed with some hot and sweaty action, I think you might like this book.

Get the Kindle ebook free from Amazon here.

4. The Black Box by Paul Carr

This is the fifth of five books in the Sam Mackenzie Thrillers private eye series. The other books are $2.99 each, but are all in Kindle Unlimited. This is the author’s first time on our Free Friday list.

From Maria Korolov:

From the description, this book series seems to be about a regular run-of-the-mill private eye, Sam Mackenzie, in the hard-boiled tradition of all private eyes. Except that in this particular book, the fifth in the series, there some kind of a UFO connection.

But I don’t care. I love private eye books, with or without UFOs, and the whole series is in Kindle Unlimited, so I’m in.

The book starts at 3:15 a.m. with a chime of Sam’s security alarm. He gets up, puts on pants, gets his gun, and looks through the door’s peephole. The guy outside has tried to kill him a few times in the past, but what’s a little attempted murder between acquaintances? Sam lets the guy in.

The guy limps in. He’s a killer for hire who lost his leg to an alligator in the Everglades — something he blames Sam for — and wears a prosthesis. He’s in trouble. He tried to steal a briefcase from some rich dude, and now some guys are after him. They’ve already taken his partner, Carla, a beautiful former CIA agent. She was fired from her CIA job as a result of previous shenanigans that Sam was also involved in — probably in one of the previous books.

Oh, and the rich dude is connected to a mob boss, someone Sam has also had run-ins with in the past. Apparently, Sam has been making enemies all over the place.

Sam is thinking about whether to help or not. Mostly not. And then a text comes in, from Carla, asking her partner to meet her at a dock because she’s chartered a boat. The limping guy goes off to meet her, even though Sam thinks it might be a trap. Sam doesn’t care about what happens to the guy, but he does care about Carla. So he puts on a shirt, looks up the meet address on his phone, and borrows a boat. He can get to the rendezvous in five minutes. By car, it will take twenty minutes. So he can probably beat the limping guy to the meet.

Sam does in fact get to the meet early, and finds the boat with Carla on it. But she’s tied up, with duct tape on her mouth, and bad guys standing guard.

I’m going to stop giving away the plot now because it gets good. This is exactly my type of book. I love all the characters. I love all the action. I love all the shootouts and explosions. I’m going back and reading the first book in the series and plan to work through the rest of them this weekend.

Get the Kindle ebook free from Amazon here.

3. Transmission by Morgan Rice

This is the first of four books in The Invasion Chronicles alien first contact series. The other books are $3.99 to $5.99 each, and are not in Kindle Unlimited. This author has been on our Free Friday list before.

From Tim McHugh:

This book is a modern-day science fiction story that follows a thirteen-year-old boy who might be the link between our world and another. I am a big fan of this genre, but don’t usually like middle- or high-school protagonists, so it’s a bit of a mixed bag for me.

The story starts with the young boy, Kevin, receiving some bad news from a doctor. He’s been having hallucinations of alien worlds and seeing coordinates in his vision — very much like The Three-Body Problem — so he was taken in for tests. The doctor finds that Kevin has a rare brain disease that will kill him in six months. The hallucinations are simply a symptom.

Kevin’s mom is destroyed by the news but Kevin handles it pretty well. They both agree to try and carry on normally, so Kevin continues with school. Back in his classroom, he has another episode where Kevin sees an alien world being destroyed and feels a pulse that he interprets as a countdown. To his classmates, it looks like he’s having a seizure.

Kevin begins seeing a therapist to help cope with the diagnosis. They go through some typical conversation until she suggests Kevin try to draw what he’s been seeing. He takes the pen and paper and zones out as he draws his vision. When he looks down, it’s the blueprints for a futuristic space shuttle. So clearly something funky is going on here. I stopped at this point but it seems that Kevin and his hallucinations are foreshadowed to be transmissions from an alien race that has fled their planet for Earth.

I found myself liking the writer’s style. She does a great job showing the emotions of a terminal illness, her dialogue has dimensions, and the plot is very interesting. The pace is a bit slow, but as long as it picks up in the next couple of chapters, I think it works for this type of story. My only real complaint is that Kevin lacks a personality in the first three chapters. He does come off as an introvert which definitely works, but we don’t really see much emotion — after his death sentence, I would expect him to have some more complex thoughts.

Regardless, this is a great start to the book and I would suggest it to fans of the alien transmission storyline who like young adult protagonists.

From Amira Loutfi:

Kevin has a mysterious illness that might not be an illness at all. It might instead be foresight or telepathic communication with an alien planet. The doctor says that he’ll be dead before the school year is over. He collapses at school the next day. He has a session with a therapist who encourages him to talk to his best friend about what has been happening.

There is also a mother in this story who is constantly crying.

In chapter five, Kevin and his mother go to the SETI Institute. By the end of the chapter, Kevin has overcome the resistance of the SETI staff by demonstrating his clairvoyance. They initially thought he was just nuts.

I am not coming back to this story. It’s too slow for me. I want to see the aliens! Stop teasing me!

Get the Kindle ebook free from Amazon here.

2. The Fire of Winter by Talia Beckett

This is the first of two books in the Winter epic fantasy series. The other book is $5.99, but it is in Kindle Unlimited. This is the author’s first time on our Free Friday list.

From E.S. Foster:

The story begins in a demonic kingdom, where a young girl, Little Mutt, is forced to stand before her father, a demon. Little Mutt has absolutely no love for her father since he had abused her half-elven, angel mother and she was the product. That day, her father announces that he wants her to start learning how to use the powers she naturally has as a half-demon. But the process of learning her powers looks and sounds a lot more like torture.

Three years later, Little Mutt vows to try to escape the stronghold she’s been trapped in her entire life. Her father explains that she is close to being ready to put her powers to good use, but not yet. She must continue her training while he leaves on a mysterious journey. Seeing it as a way to escape, she decides to try to go with him.

Her attempts lead to serious injury, but Little Mutt refuses to give up. Her father leaves, and it turns out that he left to engage in war against the elves. One night, Little Mutt has a dream that her father is overwhelmed in battle once and for all.

The next morning, she wakes up and discovers that she’s the only one left in the stronghold. She finally escapes, extorting information about her father’s death from one of his remaining underlings. Finally free, but with nowhere to go, Little Mutt sets out toward the battle, hoping to find the elves and be reclaimed by her mother’s people.

From the beginning, I enjoyed the premise of this story. The idea of elves fighting against demons and the protagonist being on the other side of that sounded so cool! I also enjoyed Little Mutt as a character, since she remained strong and determined despite being broken, and she valued finding the good in herself above all else. I would definitely recommend this series for a weekend read.

Get the Kindle ebook free from Amazon here.

1. The Billionaire Orc by Lilith Stone

This is the third of five books in the Motham City Monsters fantasy romance series. The other books are $2.99 to $3.99 each, but are all in Kindle Unlimited. The fifth book isn’t out yet, but it is scheduled to be released later this month and is currently available for preorder. This is the author’s first time on our Free Friday list.

From Maria Korolov:

I’m not a fan of monster romance — any romance, really — because I have a cold, cold heart. As a result, I have no qualms against reading the third book in the series. I’m sure I won’t be reading the first two, so I’m not going to spoil anything for myself. But I will try to avoid spoiling things for you.

Tor is an orc, and an owner of a successful mineral exploration company. He’s due to a party with investors and his management team, to celebrate a big win. Then his sister calls him. His father fell of a ladder, broke his leg, and is in the hospital. Tor needs to come home and visit him. He tells her that he’ll be there in a couple of days.

His parents have visited him, but he hasn’t been back to his home town ever since he left because he hates it back there. Instead, he’s been sending his parents money to assuage his guilt over not visiting.

Also, even though this world has orcs — and ogres, goblins, dragons, gargoyles, elves and fae — it also has airplanes, cell phones, computer chips, and spaceships. But if he has to go back to his home town, he’ll at least find someplace nice to stay. So he calls a realtor.

Then, in the next chapter, we switch to the point of view of Shona, who owns a real estate agency. She’s doing a photo spread for a local magazine.

Then Tor’s assistant calls to schedule an appointment. And she refused to bow to Shona’s schedule. His boss is a billionaire, and he’s going to be there the next morning, and Shona will just have to make time.

Shona looks him up, and even though he’s an orc, she finds Tor incredibly handsome.

So that’s the premise. I’m not going to keep reading, but I do have to say that the book is extremely readable and both of the main characters are interesting and sympathetic. If this was a rom-com, I’d watch it. But in book form… I prefer a little bit more action and violence.

Get the Kindle ebook free from Amazon here.

See all the Free Friday posts here. Do you have other free books for us to check out? Comment below or email me at [email protected].

Have you read any of these books? Are you planning to? Let us know in the comments!

Or watch Maria, Emma and Tim discuss all five books in the video below!

YouTube player

MetaStellar editor and publisher Maria Korolov is a science fiction novelist, writing stories set in a future virtual world. And, during the day, she is an award-winning freelance technology journalist who covers artificial intelligence, cybersecurity and enterprise virtual reality. See her Amazon author page here and follow her on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn, and check out her latest videos on the Maria Korolov YouTube channel. Email her at [email protected]. She is also the editor and publisher of Hypergrid Business, one of the top global sites covering virtual reality.

Tim McHugh writes sci-fi and fantasy. Though he currently works full time in the software industry, he has a love for stories with grey characters and moral ambiguity that tell us something about the world. His book A Voice for the Scavengers is now available on Amazon.

E. S. Foster is a writer and graduate student at the University of Cambridge. Her work has been featured in a variety of literary journals and small presses. You can find out more about her and what she does at her blog, E. S. Foster.

MetaStellar reviews editor Amira Loutfi is an author and web designer. She is on a mission to craft excellent fantasy fiction that is inspired by late antiquity Arabia. You can join her monthly newsletter where she shares insider info, wips, and tons of cool stuff.

1 thought on “Free Friday: Today’s top free Amazon sci-fi and fantasy books for June 14, 2024”

  1. That Black Box book? Yup, I read it. In fact, I read the entire series this past week. (It was too hot to go outside and do anything.)

    The first four books were straightforward thriller. It reminded me most of the show Burn Notice, a little of the Travis McGee novels, a little of the Jack Reacher series.

    In other words, all my favorite things.

    The main character doesn’t evolve over the course of the books. He’s a former Seal who now lives on a boat in Florida and solves people’s problems. Usually, via some extreme violence. The action is completely over the top. The plots are roller-coasters full of criminals, conmen, government agents, disgraced spies, and all sorts of other low-lives and action novel staples.

    I loved it.

    Not speculative fiction, but still a great read. Except for book five. It had all the same elements of the previous four books — boat chases, shootouts, airplanes and helicopters and government conspiracies — but with sci-fi stuff thrown in. I’m not going to say whether the aliens are real or not — you can find out for yourself — but I will say that the book goes completely off the rails and out of its genre and I loved it. I have no idea how the author can possibly top it, though!

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