Free Friday: Today’s top free Amazon sci-fi and fantasy books for June 28, 2024

Reading Time: 9 minutes
Free Friday: Today’s top free Amazon sci-fi and fantasy books for June 28, 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. Summer Tales From Cozy Vales #2 by L.A. Scott

This is the second of two books in the Cozy Vales cozy fantasy story anthology. The other books is normally $0.99 but is free today as well. In addition to L.A. Scott, there are seven other authors who contributed to this book — G Clatworthy, Bonnie Axton, Cassandra Stirling, Rebecca Buchanan, Miranda Herald, Phillip Sanderson, and Elle Steward.

From Maria Korolov:

This is a collection of short stories from the shared world of Cozy Vales, focusing on summer holidays — the two-week Summer’s Tide festival and the High Summer celebration on its final day, which occurs on the summer soltice.

The first story, by cozy fantasy writer L.A. Scott, is about a peace-loving and extremely shy gnome who enjoys inventing machines. His name is Petrovius, and he plans to go to war — an all-out war against his next-door neighbor, another gnome. He suspects her of being responsible for the surprising number of acorns that had mysteriously appeared on his patio. Acorns he slipped on.

So, after he picks up all the acorns, Petrovius writes an extremely polite letter to his neighbor and sets off to hand-deliver it. He checks that she’s not home, since he’d hate to have to speak to her directly, and slips the letter under her door. But when he comes back to his house he discovers that all the acorns that he picked up the previous day and collected into a metal bin were now scattered all over his lawn again. So he decides to build a machine to gather them up instead of doing it manually every day.

Before he starts building, though, he gets a letter from the neighbor. It’s also extremely polite, and she says that she had nothing to do with the acorns. But she does request that he keep his inventions from crossing into her garden and damaging her plants.

This makes him even madder, since his inventions have never done that. So he builds the machine, and the first test goes well — and then he gets another letter from the neighbor. Her tulips have been mutilated, and she suspects his machine. But the machine has never been out of his sight.

And then the situation escalates even further.

I do have to say that I’m caught up in this very low-stakes story.

The writing style reminds me of Terry Pratchett’s Tiffany Aching stories, which I enjoyed quite a bit. I’m looking forward to reading the rest of this book and have also picked up the first book in the series, which is free today as well. There’s also a paperback version, which I’m highly tempted to buy.

Get the Kindle ebook free from Amazon here.

4. Destined Magic by Ruby Raine

This is the first two of seven books in the Wilde & Witchy sexy magical mystery series. The other two box sets are $6.99 each, and are not in Kindle Unlimited. The author has been on our Free Friday list before.

From Maria Korolov:

The book starts with Marni talking to her three cats about the fact that her sister has recently been murdered, and Dani, her niece, doesn’t know that her dead mother was actually a witch. Marni doesn’t have any children, so Dani is the last of their magical bloodline. Eventually, Dani will come into her powers. But now Dani is on her way to visit Marni, so maybe Marni can fill her in on all the witchcraft stuff.

Then something unexpected happens. I’m not going to tell you what it is, because it came as a surprise to me and I don’t want to spoil it. Let me just say that the mystery gets going quickly, and we meet the villain of the story.

Then we switch to Dani’s point of view. She’s on the ferry to Blueberry Island, where her aunt Marni lives. She’s looking forward to a few peaceful weeks soaking up the sun and the sea breezes, eating homemade ice cream and lobster and blackberry dumplings and drinking blueberry mojitos in Marni’s gardens.

She’s 28 and has been bouncing around from job to job, one location to another, but she hasn’t found the missing something that would make her happy. She’s also covered in tattoos, and swears a lot.

Her ferry arrives on the island, but before anyone can disembark, the local police chief shows up. There’s been an accident. Oh, and the police chief is her old crush, from when she used to spend her summers and vacations on the island as a kid. And he still has a crush on her, too. Plus, he knows that her family is all witches.

They have sex pretty much immediately after they meet. Graphically and explicitly.

That was unexpected.

In your usual cozy mystery, all the sexy stuff is behind closed doors.

Anyway, I prefer my books with more action and less mushy stuff, so I don’t think I’ll be sticking with it. But if you want a magical mystery with a gorgeous setting and plenty of spice, check it out.

Get the Kindle ebook free from Amazon here.

3. Safe Passage: Shelter in Place by Clay Wise

This is the last of five books in the Safe Passage: EMP Survival in a Powerless World EMP survival series. The other books are $4.99 each, but are all in Kindle Unlimited. The author has been on our Free Friday list before. In fact, a couple of the other books in this series have also made our list.

From E.S. Foster:

The story begins with Lori and her group trying to survive in the countryside. Since this is the fifth book in the series, the EMP has long since happened, but the characters are still reeling from the obstacles ahead and the loss around the world.

Lori and the others have discovered a ranch and some horses that will make travel easier. They’re all eager to keep moving to avoid any threats. But they’re also looking for the dad of one of the girls.

They take shelter in an old house, but after a few hours, they witness a lone traveler riding through the woods toward the house. Two men on ATVs attempt to gun him down, but the man successfully kills them. Lori orders the man to halt, but he explains that the others planned to steal from him. Also, there are more on the way.

The man warns them of a nearby settlement, but after he leaves, Lori confesses that she doesn’t trust him. However, it turns out the man told the truth. The settlement Lori and her group were planning to get to has burned to the ground. Now they need to find another way to escape the opposing settlement.

I’ve never read an EMP story before and being dropped into book five definitely made for an interesting review experience. I will say that the stakes were high right from the start, and even though there were a lot of characters to get to know, I appreciated Lori’s resourcefulness and character.

Since I don’t typically read EMP stories, I won’t continue with this one. But if you want another EMP series to read, check out this one.

Get the Kindle ebook free from Amazon here.

2. Wormwood Abbey by Christina Baehr

This is the first of four books in The Secrets of Ormdale gaslamp fantasy series. The other books are $3.99 each and are not in Kindle Unlimited. This is the author’s first time on our Free Friday list.

From E.S. Foster:

Edith Worms lives in a quaint house with her clergyman father, her mother, and her siblings. After her father receives a letter from mysterious relatives at Wormwood Abbey, she discovers that her family has inherited the estate because her estranged uncle recently passed.

They begin a long and difficult journey through the desolate countryside. When they arrive at the ruinous estate, the remaining daughters come to greet them. But the oldest, Gwendolyn, doesn’t seem to like the fact that Edith exists, for whatever reason.

Suddenly a neighbor, tall, dark, and handsome Simon Drake, appears at the door. Edith spends plenty of time trying to figure out what his intentions truly are because, in her words, she’s suspicious of eligible men.

Afterward, Edith asks Gwendolyn if she would ever consider selling the abbey. But her cousin insists the property will never be sold. It’s also clear that Gwendolyn feels threatened by Edith’s presence.
Despite all the mystery and conflict, Edith begins to settle into the abbey. But one day, something strange falls out of the fireplace. When she goes to investigate, Edith discovers a tiny salamander, one with powers and abilities she never would have expected.

This immediately read like Jane Austen to me, and also a little like a cozy mystery. I enjoyed Edith’s voice, especially when she spoke directly to the reader. Her being a writer and just wanting to find a comfortable place to write was also incredibly relatable. I will say that the prose came across as just telling information at times, but I can’t wait to keep reading to see what happens next!

Get the Kindle ebook free from Amazon here.

1. Earthrise by Daniel Arenson

This is a box set of the first three books in the 15-book Earthrise space opera series. The other books are $0.99 to $4.99 each, but the entire series is in Kindle Unlimited. There are also other series by the same author set in the same universe. Oh, and the author has been on the USA Today bestseller list. The author has been on our Free Friday list a couple of times before.

 

From Maria Korolov:

The aliens have arrived and destroyed much of the planet before the humans were able to stage a successful counterattack. It’s now decades later, and humanity is still fighting a war of slow, painful attrition against the invaders.

In the first chapter, we watch Marco’s mother die. He’s a kid, and the aliens are still randomly attacking cities for no apparent reason. Then we jump forward in time, when Marco is 18, and we see his last day at home — and his last night with his girlfriend — before he goes into the military. We see him getting ready to go, saying goodbye to his father, then the trip to the recruitment terminal with his adopted hockey-playing sister, then the suborbital shuttle trip to the training center in Chile.

He’s a reluctant soldier. He’d rather stay at home, in the library, working on his novel, to mourn his mother instead of avenging her. But service is mandatory — either you spend five years battling the aliens, or five years in prison.

He’s sent off to a holding camp with other recruits then — several chapters later — to boot camp. Yup, we don’t get to boot camp until chapter nine. For a book about a war with aliens, we spend an awful lot of time on kitchen duty.

And latrine duty. And fights between the recruits. And more cleaning. And target practice and pushups. I’m 17 chapters in, and Marco still hasn’t even left Earth. And there doesn’t seem to be any plot, either.

The book reminds me a bit of Robert Heinlein’s Starship Troopers, except the aliens are giant centipedes instead of insects. And it is much, much, much slower. I thought I would stick with it, because it’s my kind of book, but it takes much too long to get going.

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 and Emma 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.

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.

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