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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. 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 Friday videos — email me at [email protected].
10. Ellie Jordan, Ghost Trapper by J.L. Bryan
This is a collection of the first three of nineteen books in the Ellie Jordan, Ghost Trapper urban fantasy series. The other books are $3.99 to $4.99 each, and the nineteenth book is currently available for pre-order and will be coming out February 14, 2024. The rest of the book are in Kindle Unlimited.
From Maria Korolov:
Ellie specializes in getting rid of unwanted ghosts. She’s 26, works as a senior investigator for Eckhart Investigations, and has a 22-year-old assistant, Stacey. As the book starts, they’re driving to the Treadwell house, located in an old area of town near empty brick warehouses and old abandoned factories.
Ellie got into ghosts after her parents died when she was fifteen, but most of the time there aren’t any ghosts there when she goes out on a call. Instead, there’s just a clunky air conditioner making weird noises, or squirrels running around in the attic. She’s hoping this one will turn out to be a real ghost. She could use a decent paycheck.
And this case turns out to be juicy. And creepy. I’m very much enjoying reading about it. I also like the banter between Ellie and her assistant. The tone of the book reminds me quite a bit of the Ghostbusters movies.
I particularly like the fact that this series has so many books in it. That’s always a great sign. Plus, it means that I’ll have lots of fun reading where I don’t have to learn all the characters’ names from scratch. Even better — they’re all in Kindle Unlimited.
I will definitely be sticking with this book.
9. Werebear Scare by Nova Nelson
This is the first of three books in the A Ruby True Magical Mystery cozy mystery series. The other books are $4.99 each, but the entire series is in Kindle Unlimited.
From Maria Korolov:
Ruby died when she was 29, but instead of becoming a ghost, or moving on, she wound up in the small town of Eastwind. She’s now 46, but some other residents of the town are in their hundreds, and some are immortal. She’s also a psychic, can see ghosts, and has big red dog named Clifford, who’s actually an albino hellhound. Clifford is her familiar, and communicates with her telepathically.
When the book starts, she’s on her way to the library to return a few books. Then she plans to get some tea and pick up some necromancy supplies before meeting a potential client. On her way through the town, she runs into Ted, the grim reaper, who turns out to be a pretty nice and optimistic guy. At the market, she bumps into another witch, one who has an angry ghost strangling her. The witch doesn’t realize that it’s a ghost that’s been giving her a pain in the neck, and Ruby takes the ghost off her hands. Now she’s stuck with the ghost, but she knows where to get the supplies she needs to get rid of it. At the necromancy supply shop, she bumps into a handsome werebear and learns about a mysterious attack.
This book is charming. The writing style is old-fashioned, but also in a very charming way, and the world is quaint and richly detailed.
It reminds me very much of the The Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter series by Susan Wittig Albert. I’ve read all of those books, and loved them, and will probably be reading this book as well.
8. Keep on Asking by Jeffrey Mcclain Jones
This is the first of three books in The Prayer Rider Christian fantasy series. The second book is $5.99, and the third book is currently available for pre-order and will be coming out March 5, 2024. The entire series is, or will be in Kindle Unlimited. This isn’t the first time this author has been on this list. We reviewed his book The Girl Who Sees Angels back in February.
From Tim McHugh:
This book is a supernatural Christian book that takes place in modern times. As a lover of sorcery and dragons, distant planets and deep space battles, it’s safe to say this one is a bit out of my wheelhouse.
We start with Josiah, a ten-year-old boy whose family is reeling from a tragic accident. His younger brother was hit by a car and now is in a coma. They are unsure whether or not he will survive.
The first three chapters move very slowly. Josiah walks around the house, doing what a ten year old boy does. He interacts with a few of his family members, plays on his computer, and cleans up the blood from the street outside. Josiah begins to think of religion and whether or not prayer could help.
I stopped here, but eventually, Josiah will pray and be taken into the spiritual realm, where he will go on a journey in which his brother’s life hangs in the balance. The plot seems like it will show the reader how valuable God can be.
The writing is good but the author does spend a lot of time in Josiah’s head. There are strings of pages without dialogue in which it is difficult to tell where he is. Besides that, I have no complaints.
Regardless of my personal beliefs, I can’t see myself reading a religiously charged novel. I feel like that just puts boundaries on what the author can accomplish. I also don’t like the idea of following a ten-year-old protagonist because I am not a fan of young adult novels. This is a very niche genre, but if it fits your interests, you’d probably like this one.
7. Elvish by S.G. Prince
This is the first book in the three-book The Elvish Trilogy series. The other books are $5.99 each but are in Kindle Unlimited.
From Maria Korolov:
Venick, a fighters and a hunter, is up against a mama bear. He’s accidentally caught his foot in a bear trap and the bear is mad at him for trying to stab her in the throat.
He’s mortified that this is how he’s going to die. Except — someone shoots the bear with an arrow. It’s the elves. Turns out, he’s a trespasser in their lands, forced to hunt further and further because food in the mountains was scarce.
The elves are about to kill him, and he doesn’t want to die. So he lies and tell them that he crossed the border because he’s been sent to Evov, a secret elven city. He claims to be on a mission for the elven queen. He speaks elvish but pretends he doesn’t. In elvish, he wouldn’t be able to tell a lie. The language is magical and won’t allow it. He suggests that the elves teach him elvish, so that he can prove that he’s speaking the truth, or leave him, and let fate decide what happens to him. Teaching him elvish would take years. Instead, one of the elves frees him and, when the scent of his blood draws wolves, defends him from the wolves. Then the same elf stitches up his wound. Clearly, she’s not a good judge of character.
She decides to take him with them, and teach him the elvish language along the way.
I’m not a fan of either of these characters, but do have to the say that the world building is extremely compelling. I wouldn’t mind spending more time there.
6. Even Pretty Things Rot by Farah Ali
This is the first of eleven books in the Deerleap Hollow psychic thriller series. The other books are on sale for $0.99 each but usually they’re $2.99 each. The entire series is in Kindle Unlimited.
From Terrence Smith:
Even Pretty Things Rot by Farah Ali will be very comfortable territory for anyone who is interested in paranormal shows like Twin Peaks or the video game Alan Wake. The town of Deerleap Hollow sits beside a forest and a mountain, whose concentration of metals makes cell phones and compasses useless. Everyone is polite to everyone else. The town holds a dark past, built upon the aftermath of the massacre of a deer-worshiping tribe, whose final survivor allegedly put a curse on their invaders. Each building hangs deer antlers out front in reverence to the spirits of the people who, according to legend, live in the deer.
In this town will intersect the lives of two people. Lila, who is now 23, suffered a head injury as a little girl, when her father allegedly killed her family, then turned the gun on himself. Since then, she has had nightmares, visions, according to her, relating to those events, believing that there is more to the story. Jack Montague is the town’s new sheriff, who moved there after Deerleap Hollow’s previous sheriff committed suicide, and is trying to leave behind a tragedy for which he feels responsible.
This is going to be a dark and grisly mystery, as indicated by Lila’s vision in the first chapter, with blood splattered everywhere, and murdered bodies laying on the ground, then reanimating and chasing after her. The fall of the forest’s tribal people implies the most inhumane destruction, and their souls can be felt being tortured and writhing in agony.
Any fan of nature will appreciate the forest setting and the ancient people’s respect for the natural world. One only need walk into the forest to experience its divinity, to know that something transcendent of the forest is present.
This is a book I hope to continue reading in the future.
5. The Duchess and the Orc by Finley Fenn
This is the first of eight books in the Orc Sworn romantic fantasy series. The other books are $2.99 to $5.99 each, but the entire series is in Kindle Unlimited. Finley Fenn has been on this list before. We reviewed The Librarian and the Orc back in July of 2022.
Maria-Anita Bassala is the second Duchess of Warmisham. She is married to the Duke Warmisham, the ruler of Preia, but he is an abusive, manipulative and cheating husband who never truly cared about her. Apparently, he only cared about her money and now that he managed to get his hands on the inheritance her father left behind he doesn’t bother pretending to care about her. His excuse? The orcs, whom they signed a peace treaty with not long ago in order to end their war, enjoy kidnapping wealthy women of status and using them to bear their monstrous children. He said that he married her to protect her from being kidnapped and he would use them to help their kingdom, but the truth is that he’s simply trying to protect his own reputation.
Little did he know that his wife would rather be kidnapped by orcs than spend another year of her life under the same roof as him knowing all about his infidelities and being pitied by the palace staff. Now, Maria might’ve lost her inheritance money but she still manages to escape the palace and plan her revenge against her husband. She’s not running away to another city to hide, she’s going straight toward Orc Mountain, where she offers to bear an orc child in exchange for protection and money. Why? Because she wants to make sure her husband’s reputation as the Duke is completely destroyed…and being with the enemy might be the perfect way to do so.
I’m not a big fan of orc romances or monster romances in general, but I have to admit that the beginning of this book was pretty impressive. I loved the writing style and how you’re able to connect with Maria from the very beginning. I loved how we got to witness what her last straw was and how crazy her plan for revenge might be the moment she reaches Orc Mountain and comes face to face with her first orc. I sadly won’t be continuing this book since I’m not a fan of the genre, but I definitely recommend it if you’re into steamy monster romances since it sounds like a very promising and fun read.
4. Magical Renaissance Faire Mysteries by Erin Johnson, Nova Nelson, and Trixie Silvertale
This is a collection of the entire Magical Renaissance Faire Mysteries humorous fantasy series. Usually it’s $6.99, but today it’s free. This collection is in Kindle Unlimited.
From Maria Korolov:
Adelaide has just had a bad breakup and is on an equally bad date — at a Renaissance fair — when she runs into her ex and his new girlfriend. Both are horrible people and she wishes that a bird would poop on them — and one does. Then she goes off alone, gets drunk, and eats some cursed cookies, even though a handsome stranger warned her not to eat them.
Now she’s magically trapped at the fair. It’s as though there’s a forcefield around it and she can’t leave. In fact, everyone at the fair is trapped. And they all have magical abilities, just like she has. Except she didn’t know she had magical abilities. One of the fair denizens forces her to be a slave. Then, when she wakes up, her captor is dead — stabbed with a sword through the heart. She’s the obvious suspect.
Also, the fair’s authorities are lazy and corrupt. The only other person who tries to help her, other than the first mysterious stranger, is another woman who’s been captured by the curse, though she doesn’t know what her magic skill is. If she even has one, at all. Adelaide promises to help figure out what her skill is.
I’m not happy with the fact that both Adelaide and her new friend let people push them around. Also, that so many of the people she comes into contact with at the start of the book are bad people. I like my cozy mysteries to be quaint and charming, with everybody nice and kind-hearted. Except for the villain, of course.
But the premise of the story, and the light, fun writing style is keeping me engaged, and I think I’ll stick with this one this weekend.
3. Sons of Olympus: Storm Chaser by Eden Royale
This is the first of four books in the Sons of Olympus urban fantasy series. The second and third books are $3.99 each, and the fourth book is currently available for pre-order and will be coming out this July.
From Maria Korolov:
Zephyr is an immortal servant of the Olympians. As the book opens, the goddess Hera calls him into her office, where she’s working late at her desk. There’s an emergency — the fire in the hearth at the center of the palace has died. This means that Olympus will fall and the world will fade to darkness.
Zephyr suggests fetching Zeus, but the guy’s on vacation with his brothers. Plus, both he and Hera know that he’s completely useless. And Hera already knows how to solve the problem. The answer to darkness is love. Zephyr has to track down a group of men called the Sons of Olympus, direct descendants of the gods, and help them find true love.
Zephyr suggests borrowing Cupid from the Roman gods to do the job, but Hera says that it has to be true love, not something forced by magic. No, Zephyr has to do it himself, to change circumstances so that each of the men comes into contact with their fated true love — and help them fall in love naturally.
If he succeeds, Hera will name him a hero. He’ll be able to openly go to the Hero’s Bar, instead of sneaking in, and flirt with the Muses.
So that was the prologue.
In chapter one, we meet Zed, son of Zeus. His hobby is chasing storms on his motorcycle. But he feels lonely. Chasing storms on magical roads doesn’t give him the same thrills as it once did.
Then, as he and his friends are racing through the sky, they see a mortal motorcyclist down below, nearly keeping up with them, almost leaping directly into the storm itself but instead managing to stop it in its tracks. He’s intrigued. It’s against the rules for him to get involved with a mortal, but there’s something about her…
Then, in chapter two, we meet Tempest, that woman. Turns out, when she’s not riding her motorcycle through storms, she’s a librarian. She works for her uncle and is frustrated with her boring life. Even worse, her best friend is trying to set her up with the town hunk. But what she really wants to do is run away and join the Stormchasers.
The book is definitely readable, and Tempest reminds me quite a bit of Belle in Beauty and the Beast.
But there’s a bit too much romance here for me, so I won’t be sticking with it. I have a cold, cold heart. I don’t mind a little bit of romance in a book, as long as its wrapped up in mayhem and violence.
2. Transient by Zachry Wheeler
From N.T. Narbutovskih:
Transient is a story about a persecuted group of individuals that live just beneath the surface of society in a future version of Seattle. We are dropped directly into the action with our lead character walking through the streets, trying desperately not to be identified. We shortly find out why this is so important, as another of his kind is identified by local police and engages in the standoff. It doesn’t end well.
Although I love the concept of this urban near-future sci-fi action, there was an issue with long and drawn out, almost slow motion, action sequences. This made me skip a lot of the flowery prose to figure out what happened next. Overall, the author slams the tension level up to 11 and simply leaves it there. This quickly results in a good bit of drama fatigue.
The world building is clearly thought out, however I was disappointed that the foreign language inserts were not set apart visually for the reader. I found myself running into a Russian or Ukrainian word, attempting to pronounce it in English, realizing that it was not in fact an English word, and then having to go back and reread it in the appropriate accent.
Finally, while I’m all for good detail, a lot of the detail that was included seemed unnecessary and detracted from the flow of the story. I felt that certain specific details could have been left out without me losing the thread or significantly reducing my visualization and enjoyment of the universe that the author portrays.
Overall, the storytelling of this book is very solid, and does a good job dropping you directly into the action and making you want to find out what happens next. The author also does a good job strategically, that is they create some great empty spaces in the overall narrative that the reader wants to see filled.
For example, I was very happy to see that the motivations of the characters on all sides were left as relatively ambiguous. Though I read a few chapters, I am not entirely sure if the main point of view character is a good or a bad guy, or if the society is structured for justice, and so on. These questions leave me wanting to know more, and I will likely continue this book.
1. Ocean’s Justice by Demelza Carlton
This is the first book in the six-book Siren of War fantasy series. The other books are $2.99 to $4.99 each and are not in Kindle Unlimited. This is the second time this book has been on our list. We previously reviewed it in December of 2021.
Demelza Carlton is a frequent flyer on this list. A month ago we reviewed Stone Guardian. In July of last year, we reviewed Broken Chains, the first of three books in the Heart of Stone paranormal romance series. Also that July, we reviewed Embellish: Brave Little Tailor Retold, one of the books in the 27-book Romance a Medieval Fairytale series. We also reviewed many other books in that same series, as they hit a free price promotion. Hunt: Red Riding Hood Retold we reviewed in April, and, also that month, we reviewed Blow: Three Little Pigs Retold. Then, in May, we reviewed Melt: Snow Queen Retold and, in September, Dance: Cinderella Retold.
From Amira Loutfi:
This is a retelling of the Little Mermaid. Demelza Carlton’s books tend to be oddly structured and fast-paced. This one is giving me reverse harem vibes, to be honest.
Judging from the dialogue in the first chapter, which is only one page long, I am guessing that a few people were angry with Maria and decided to throw her into the ocean on a raft. A hundred words later, she is rescued by a few kind strangers in a boat.
In the next scene, there is a boy, Charlie Seaborn, who is basically telling us what happened. He helps her get dressed and is so embarrassed, but she’s cool with it.
The Captain confronts Maria — saying that the crew believes her to be a monster who sank the last ship she was on. Because I read the blurb, I know that Maria is a monster of sorts, but I’m still unclear on what kind.
If you like to read fast, oddly structured stories with reverse harem vibes, then I say buy!
But I won’t be back. Although I am kind of curious about what type of monster Maria is!
Have you read any of these books? Are you planning to? Let us know in the comments!
Or watch Maria and Terrence discuss all ten books in the video below: