Some articles may include Amazon affiliate links. All proceeds go to helping us pay for original stories and to support writers of speculative fiction. Read more here.
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].
10. Twisted by N Gray
This is the fourth of eleven books in the paranormal romance series Shifter Days, Vampire Nights and Demons in Between. All books in the series are stand-alone stories and can be read in any order. The other books in the series are $1.99 to $4.99 each and are not in Kindle Unlimited. This is the first time this author has appeared on our Free Friday list.
From Maria Korolov:
This book starts with trigger warnings — mental and physical abuse, sexual assault, violence, and murder.
I don’t know how I feel about these trigger warnings. I mean, if the violence is cartoonish, I don’t mind it. But if the violence is very realistic and vivid, I do — I can’t read horror novels, for example, or watch horror movies. But I’m totally fine with the Fast & Furious franchise.
Maybe the trigger warnings could include some sense of degree — is the violence highly realistic or silly and over the top?
Anyway, let’s get reading.
Julia wants to send a birthday card to her cousin, and starts hunting around in Desmond’s office for it. But instead of an envelope, she finds some documents filled with information she shouldn’t know — and that could get her killed.
Then Desmond comes in and catches her. He’s angry and Julia fears that he’s going to beat her. She still has bruises from the last time. And, lately, he’s been getting angrier and angrier.
Later, she puts makeup on over her bruises and goes out to meet with a friend. Her friend knows that something is going on. Her friend is a witch, who casts revenge spells for people, mostly targeting adulterers and bullies. She gives Julia a spell to help protect her.
Oh, and Desmond is a blood servant to a vampire. And both he and the vampire are criminals.
I don’t like the way that Julia is trapped in this relationship. It creeps me out, and I don’t like being creeped out.
But I understand that other people do enjoy creepy things. And suspenseful situations. Those people might enjoy this book, which is extremely readable.
9. Sister Witches by Felicia Jedlicka
This is the first of three books in the paranormal, urban fantasy series Sister Witches. The other books are $2.99 to $3.99 each and are not in Kindle Unlimited. This is the first time this author has appeared on our Free Friday list.
From Tobey Patton:
Hennie is in pain. Stripped of her mother due to a brutal car crash three years prior and forced to attend a renovated church for her schooling, she’s angry at the world, at her father, at herself.
Following a fight with a classmate, she’s sent to sit down with Sister Aggie, a cigarette-smoking nun who is one of the only people to tell her she’s normal for feeling so angry. The problem is Sister Aggie follows up this acknowledgement with a trancelike declaration that soon she’ll lose her father to cancer. Hennie is dragged screaming from the office, left only with Sister Aggie’s final promise: “I’ll be waiting for you.”
Three years later, her father is dead, and Hennie is on the brink of suicide. Vicious voices invade her consciousness, urging her to draw her own blood, demanding she take her own life. And she’s ready to submit to them, but not before she takes her revenge on Sister Aggie.
She finds the entire convent where she expected: kneeling in the old church, chanting their prayers. But forces that can only be described as magic stop her attack mid-strike. Sister Aggie tells her that if she continues down the path she’s on, she will burn in the fires of hell. The only way she can avoid this fate is to let go of her expectation and hate, and join their group.
Hennie is launched into a double life, appearing to the outside world to be subscribing to the convent’s values of poverty, chastity, and obedience, while in secret working with her sisters to hunt down and exorcize the evils of the world.
If you get into witchcraft rituals, magical realism, and can handle emotionally dense reading, this one’s for you. I don’t think I’d keep going because it’s a shade outside my preferred genre, and has a few too many content warnings for me.
8. Witch Unexpected by Debbie Cassidy
This is the first of five books in the paranormal, romantic fantasy series The Thirteenth Sign. The other books are $4.99 each but are all on Kindle Unlimited. This author has appeared numerous times in our Free Friday list, with the most recent being this past February, when we reviewed Shadow Caster, the first of four books in The Nightwatch Academy urban fantasy series.
From Terrence Smith:
Cora is a witch who was not born, but rather created, by her best friend. Cora is a tulpa, a thoughtform, an entity created out of sheer will. She exists in a world where the presence of ghosts is known by the human race, but other magical creatures are still keeping out of the spotlight.
Cora struggles with dating and her work investigating paranormal cases. What makes things more complicated is that she is bound to a spirit named Jasper. She agreed to bond with in order to save his friends, and so her best friend would not have to make the deal with him. The catch is he has to draw upon the energy of other beings to survive, and one way that he does this is through sexual intercourse with her. This is why she wears an amulet to ward off his advances. It doesn’t stop him from being a royal pain.
The writing, like other paranormal romances, is sexually charged. The first chapter alludes to Cora’s desire to be filled, and her simultaneous revulsion towards and desire for Jasper.
The blurb on the book’s Amazon page also indicates that she will be responsible for keeping the peace between three tribes of werewolves and keep an ancient evil at bay.
I personally will not be continuing with this, but anyone who is a fan of paranormal romances, explicit language, and toxic hot ghosts will be at home here.
7. A Low Country by Morgan Shank
This is the first of two books in the Low Country Trilogy dark fantasy series. The second book is $2.99 and is in Kindle Unlimited and the third book hasn’t been released yet. This is the first time this author has appeared in our Free Friday list.
From Sophie Gorjance:
This is a fantasy Western set in the land of Benania.
It opens with Sharla, a young woman who recently arrived in the small town of Opek. She seems to be running from her past, including a large cache of blood money she buried in the desert.
During a horse dance in the town square that Sharla and her lover Renn are participating in, there is a sudden, brutal attack from the Claw people, an indigenous desert-dwelling tribe who use bone axes and apparently have some control of the weather. They maim and slaughter many people and kidnap even more, including Renn. Sharla, heartbroken and furious, decides to dig up her blood money to hire enough toughs to attack the tribe and get Renn back.
The third chapter introduces us to the point of view of Dormun Redskull, the leader of the tribe who led the attack on Opek. He wants to reclaim his people’s lands — the titular Low Land — from the northern invaders, including Opek and other little towns like it.
He has hired a mystical shaman who, from what I could tell, is using human sacrifice to power his magics. Dormun’s aims are sympathetic, but his methods seem reprehensible so far. The fourth chapter brings us to the third and — I believe — last point of view character, Colonel Kine Tarroful, a Watchman of Benania who has some kind of history fighting the Claw people.
By that point however, I was already kind of checked out of the book and didn’t read his section, so I can’t say what kind of character he is. None of the characters were in any way sympathetic to me and the problems they are trying to solve — Dormun somewhat excepted from this — are too vague to get me invested. There are also a lot of rather carelessly used stereotypes being thrown around, and all in all, I won’t be continuing this book.
6. Time of Death by Nathan Van Coops
This is the first of four books in Paradox P.I. a sci-fi time travel mystery series. The other books are $4.99 each but are all in Kindle Unlimited. This is the third time that the book has been on this best seller list. We previously reviewed it in May of 2022.
From Maria Korolov:
I like this book from the first line. It has a film noir kind of private eye feel to it, but set in the present day. Gayson Travers, the private eye, has an AI assistant named Waldo and lots of cool gadgets. You would too, I guess, if you were a time traveler.
A wealthy, beautiful woman comes in and hires him to prove that her husband didn’t kill himself. He can’t stop the death, because it already happened, but he can go back in time and get the real story.
I love this book. Travers is cynical and funny, knows his job, and doesn’t agonize over it.
I will enjoy spending time with him this weekend. In fact, I’m having a hard time putting the book down to go on to the next one.
5. The Power Within by Nicole R Taylor
This is the first of four books in the Australian Supernatural: Goldfields urban fantasy series. The other books are $4.99 and are not in Kindle Unlimited.
This author has appeared in our Free Friday list numerous times with the most recent being this past June, when we reviewed her book Outback Spirit, the first of five books in the Australian Supernatural: Origins urban fantasy series.
From Tim McHugh:
This book tells the story of supernatural war between witches and vampires set in modern day Australia. I’m not usually a fan of vampires, unless they’re done well, but I love magic so this one fits pretty well into my niche.
The story starts with Hannah Burke, a middle-aged witch, deeply involved with the war against the vampires. She is casting a spell in her cabin, but she knows the end is near for her, so she uses the time she has left to leave a note for her niece. Once her affairs are in order, she goes out into the night and accepts her fate.
We then cut to her niece Holly, who has a boring corporate job and knows nothing about her magical bloodline, aside from flashes she has occasionally. She gets a call that her aunt has passed from a heart attack and left her everything. Holly takes this as an opportunity to leave her terrible job and go to the town of Dunloe and accept her inheritance.
The next couple of chapters has Holly getting her bearings in the town, but the whole time the vampires are watching her. They are analyzing who she is, how powerful, and they’re planning soon to pounce on her. Holly is positioned to become deeply embroiled in the witch-vampire war.
I will admit, when I saw the cover of this book I assumed we had another mystical romance book and I went in expecting some shallow relationships and a bad magical system, but I was proved wrong. The writing is very good, and the war between the vampires and witches is done very well, at least up to the point when I stopped reading.
The book however, was not without its flaws — namely, the dialogue. Aunt Hannah’s final stand off with the vampires was ripe with tension, until they started a corny banter. The town of Dunloe was unique and interesting, until Holly talked to a bartender about its history and he sounded more like a brochure than a human being. The descriptions and tension is beautifully done and the dialogue pulls you right out of it.
Despite my complaints I liked this book, and if you are interested in this genre, I bet you will like it too.
4. Psy by Cara Bristol
This is the third of six books in the Alien Castaways sci-fi romance series. The other books in the series are $3.99 and are not in Kindle Unlimited. We reviewed the first book of this series, Chameleon, back in June of 2021. She’s had other books on our list, as well. In December of 2021, we reviewed Braxx, the sixth of seven books in the Dakonian Alien Mail Order Brides romantic sci-fi series.
From Maria Korolov:
First, a disclaimer: I’m not the target audience for this book. I typically don’t like books with naked male chests on their covers. I prefer women who stab their enemies with sharp sticks instead of falling in love with them. And I prefer men who aren’t mooning around waiting for their fated mate to show up. Again, I prefer that they are out there, killing things, and if they do happen to sleep with someone, that person turns out to be a Russian spy sent to steal secrets from them, and one of them winds up dead at the end. I’m not saying that this is healthy, mind you!
But anyway, on to the book!
Cassie, who’s mute, works in an antique shop. She communicates by writing notes in her notebook. She’s 23 and her overprotective mother was worried that she wouldn’t be able to handle the job because she can’t talk to customers, but it’s been three months, and she’s doing fine.
But, sometimes, when she touches an object, she gets a vision.
One day, a handsome stranger enters the shop. She loses herself is his eyes, and says “gaah.” Her boss explains that she can’t talk, but can hear and can write, then leaves her alone with the stranger.
In the next chapter, we switch to the guy’s point of view. His name is Psy and he’s a mind-reader. He was pulled to the shop by her emotions — her loneliness and isolation. He’s a refugee who fled his home planet after it was destroyed, and their ship crashed on Earth.
After a little bit of back-and-forth, he asks her out, and, after she agrees, he tells her that he’s an alien.
She doesn’t believe him.
Then we switch back to Cassie’s point of view. To prove he’s an alien, Psy asks to touch her head — and then they’re communicating telepathically. He shows her the trip to Earth, and she now believes him.
This book is cute, and I like Cassie. But I’m four chapters in and it doesn’t look like she’s going to stab anyone anytime soon, so I don’t think I’ll keep going. But it is extremely readable, and if you’re looking for a cozy sci-fi romance, I think you’ll like this story.
3. The Fire Prophecy by Megan Linski
This is the first of six books in the Hidden Legends: Academy of Magical Creatures series of romantic young adult urban fantasy. The other books are $7.99 each and are not in Kindle Unlimited. This is the second time this book has been on the Free Friday list — we previously reviewed it in September of 2021.
From Amira Loutfi:
There is a character with a rare disease in this book. I wonder how that ties in. The cover looks like a lot of fun — a gorgeous young girl with an electric orb about her, a feline-looking creature peeking out of her right armpit, glowing purple flecks, a castle, and two dragons! That’s a lot for one cover!
It’s another magical school book.
Liam comes from a magical world with dragons and elemental magic. He’s angry. He has water magic, but lost interest in it. He says he’s on the brink of life and death. He is different from how he used to be — ever since the thing occurred. There is a lot of mystery in this prologue.
Sisters Sophia and Amelia are hiking. Amelia just graduated college and got a job on a cruise ship and Sophia is about to start college. She doesn’t know what she wants to major in. It’s getting a little dark and suddenly, Amelia gets spooked. She grabs Sophia without explaining.
The two sisters make a mad scramble for the car. In the car, Sophie doesn’t explain anything, but then suddenly decides to stay instead of run away. She gets out of the car and yells out to someone named “Naomi.”
It’s a giant cat.
It attacks Amelia. Sophia fights it. A burst of fire shoots out of her. And they both run back into the car. That’s how we find out that Sophia has fire magic.
Amelia tells Sophia that their parents always said that she was adopted — and that she was human. The rest of the family has water magic.
Liam walks around the magic school castle, and meets the dean, who has a giant dragon familiar. Ah, and now we learn that the giant cat Naomi is the familiar of Madame Doya, one of the deans.
I’m guessing that the elder sister went to this school, upset Madame Doya, and is not really going to work on a cruise ship.
Why were the parents trying to keep her magic from her? Clearly they didn’t want her going to magic school, right?
The viewpoint character switches between Sophia and Liam, so I’m guessing they will fall in love. Or else it’ll be some variation of a buddy-cop movie!
There is a prophecy about a powerful fire witch who is hidden. Liam is charged with going to find her. This will help his social standing with the other elemental magicians. It also might explain why there had to be so much secrecy in Sophia’s family.
I can see why others like it. It’s cute and uses a lot of elements from the first Harry Potter book.
2. The Cursebound Thief by Megan O’Russell
This is the first of three books in the Fracture Pact young adult urban fantasy series. The second book is $5.99 and is not in Kindle Unlimited, and the third book will be released in September and is available for pre-order. This is the first time that this author has appeared in our Free Friday list.
From Lou Lyons:
After just the two chapters of this book, I was hooked. The writer wastes no time in diving straight into the action.
The book starts out with Jerek, who’s on a computer in a library, where pictures of his family are on a mantle. He’s on the computer, talking to his friend Ari. They’re discussing a heist and Jerek mentions a journey he will take. The element of danger and adventure is introduced immediately, and I think that the author begins to lay the foundation of the story well.
There is little information on the world around them, or the setting, but I think this is good because it forces the reader to focus on the interaction and the premise of action and danger, drawing us in to learn more.
The second chapter ends with Jerek straightening pictures carefully on the mantle, hiding away some file folders and arranging others. Ari also mentions that the Maree won’t be happy and I wonder if this is the person, or people, that Jerek is preparing for.
Already, I have many questions.
Then Jerek blows up a car.
I’m intrigued to see where this book will go, and I’m already excited at the prospect of the promised danger, adventure and action. I will be continuing with this book and I’d recommend it to someone who is looking for an action-packed story, which is what this looks like it is going to be.
1. It Ain’t Over… by Robert M. Kerns
This is the first of four books in the Cole & Sprexx space opera series. The other books in the series are $3.99 to $4.99 each and are not in Kindle Unlimited. This is the first time we have seen this author on our Free Friday list.
From Tobey Patton:
Captain Bartholomew James Coulson and the crew of his battle carrier have been hunting Draketh Lindrick across the galaxy for months with no luck. While command wants Lindrick for his attempted coup, Captain Coulson — Cole, to his fleet — wants the ex-general captured for much more personal reasons: Lindrick massacred Cole’s family and home planet while thirteen year-old Cole watched from the surrounding asteroid belt, vowing to one day hunt Lindrick down and make him pay.
Finally, Cole has his chance. Lindrick and his armada appear from the nearby space-gate. They demand that Cole turn over the Thyrray family, including their daughter, who is the ship’s first officer. Taking only a minute to inform command and ignore their reservations about engaging the armada, Cole launches his attack, aided by Srexx, the ship’s resourceful AI.
The ensuing epic battle spans the entirety of the second chapter, where Cole is forced to take on the leadership responsibilities he’s always been hesitant to fully accept, leading his first major tactical assault with impressive success — Lindrick is captured, a third of his fleet damaged or destroyed, and his crew is left begging to join Cole’s fleet.
Now Cole must decide what to do with the ships, the crew, and most importantly, Lindrick. If you love action-packed science fiction, space operas, or headstrong, rule-breaking protagonists, this is the novel for you. It definitely hooked me and I just might move it higher up my “novels to read next” queue.
Have you read any of these books? Are you planning to? Let us know in the comments!
Or watch Maria, Tobey and Terrence discuss all ten books in the video below: