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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. Something Wicked by Emma Dean
This is the first or nine books in the University of Morgana: Academy of Enchantments and Witchcraft paranormal romance series. The other books are $3.99 to $5.99 each, but the entire series is in Kindle Unlimited. Emma Dean has been on this list before, we reviewed her book Alpha Wolf back in September 2021, and her book Spotted Her First just this last November.
From Romel Madray:
Mika Marshall is a witch and she is headed off to college, or more precisely the University of Morgana. Mika is one of the remaining members of the disgraced Marshall Clan, which is one of the oldest witch clans in San Francisco and is part of the Bay Coven. The clan became disgraced when her father and brother tried to overthrow female witches in the Bay Coven.
Right now Mika’s not in a good place. She’s had a massive blowout with her sister, Claire, with Claire being set to become the new heir to the clan when their grandmother passes and it’s a job that Mika definitely doesn’t want.
Mika is hoping to find a new start at college and hopefully time and space will help ease the family strife.
I enjoyed the clarity of the story and its establishing set up but it does not strike me as anything out of the ordinary and I don’t feel the need to stick around.
However, the book’s blurb does mention that it is a slow burn, so maybe it will pack up later. I would suggest this book for those you are familiar with the genre and at 282 pages it would be a fast, comfortable read.
9. A Silvery Moon by Luís Falcão de Magalhães
This is the first of three books in the Legends of Elessia classic fantasy series. The other books are $0.99 and $3.99 each, but the entire series is in Kindle Unlimited.
From Maria Korolov:
Oskar is struggling through the snow. He’s holding an enormous crossbow as a beast is chasing him. There’s fool moon out, and it’s foggy. It’s also cold — there’s a chilling wind heralding the coming of winter. His cart and horse and far behind him. So is the hitchhiker he picked up earlier, a young priest.
There’s a battle and Oskar is about to be killed by the beast when there’s an explosion. It’s the priest — he’s shown up to save the day.
The priest’s name is Lucius, Oskar find out when they resume their journey. Turns out, the priest has some skill with alchemy. Namely, the kind of skill that lets him blow stuff up. And Oskar has a mine just past town. He could use someone handy with explosives.
Turns out that Oskar is actually a clockmaker, and inherited the mine from his father. Then the mine’s foreman sent a message that everyone at the mine had stopped work, and that Oskar should come and take a look at things personally. That’s why Oskar is now traveling by horse and cart. He’s coming to visit his mine.
I like the beginning here. I like the fantasy setting very much, and I like both Oskar and the priest, and the banter between them. Plus, the world is fully realized. I’m getting immersed in this story, and am looking forward to coming back to it this weekend.
8. Cobweb Bride by Vera Nazarian
This is the first of three books in in the Cobweb Bride epic fantasy trilogy. The other books are $3.99 and $5.99 each, and the series is not in Kindle Unlimited. Vera Nazarian has been on this list before, we reviewed her book Qualify back in January of this year.
From Romel Madray:
Death wants his bride and they’ll be hell to pay if he doesn’t get her. Well that’s one way to avoid a whole lotta swipe rights and a monthly subscription fee to Match.com.
Set sometime in the middle ages, Death first visits the dying Queen of Lethe in her Winter Palace, his ultimatum is simple — find and deliver his Cobweb Queen to his kingdom or else no one dies.
There is ensuing chaos, soldiers get arms hacked out, stabbed in the liver, beheaded and yet they live — as the undead.
Pushing on, we meet Percy. She is our Cobweb Bride. Unfortunately, she’s not much of a looker and her Gran is on her death bed and worried about her prospects for marriage. She gets a glimpse of Death, literally at the door of the cottage and know that something’s up and that death is not claiming anyone.
I enjoyed reading the first chapter of this book, it is not my typical genre, but it is well written. Once I have some time will definitely continue on.
7. Shortcake by Christopher Gorham Calvin
This is the first of two books in what will be The Shortcake Trilogy technothriller series. The second book is currently available for pre-order and will be coming out December 22, 2022. The first book is in Kindle Unlimited. The third book is scheduled yet.
From Terrence Smith:
This book focuses on two siblings: a young girl named Amanda, and her brother, Evan, who are artificially created human beings created by the government-funded Helix Foundation as part of Project Impulse, whose goal is to create genetically modified super soldiers.
Amanda is showered with warmth and affection by Joseph, one of her creators, and her surrogate father. Evan ends up jealous of all the love that Amanda gets, so he becomes cold and emotionally isolates himself. This hardened nature makes him a success in the eyes of Project Impulse’s funders, while Amanda, who does show signs of weakness, is considered a failure, but is only kept alive because too much money was invested in her.
Genetic engineering has been a controversial topic for some time now, and the implications for human development raises moral and theological questions. The opening chapter examines these implications, with the genetically modified childrens’ parents, Mary and Joseph, vouching for their humanity, while the Foundation’s leadership sees them as merely experiments, a means to an end.
Fans of The X-Files will feel at home here. The plot calls to mind the super-soldiers arc, where alien “Terminators” are introduced. The debate over the humanity of the two characters also echoes a story arc from Star Wars: The Clone Wars, where a Jedi general does not even see the Republic’s army of clones as beings worthy of any level of respect.
Shortcake has me intrigued, and with the second book in the trilogy coming out later this month, now is a good time to look into it.
6. First Strike by Angela Haas
From Alex Korolov:
This book is an alien abduction sci-fi story that starts out in present day New York.
If you like stories about regular humans dealing with aliens and advanced technology far beyond what we have on earth, this book might be one you’ll enjoy.
Dr. Stella Jayne Walsh is a trauma surgeon at New York City’s Mercy General hospital, and she’s having a bad day.
In her five years as a surgeon, Dr. Walsh had never lost a patient — until today. A five year old boy who was in an accident dies on her table, and she goes home to recover from the shock.
That night, a weird short man in an ugly orange tie knocks on her door, saying he’s a detective who wants to talk about the accident. She’s creeped out, since he’s knocking on her door at 1 a.m., so she doesn’t let him in.
That doesn’t stop creepy orange tie man, and suddenly he and some other guy with big bulky arms are in her bedroom. They inject her with a sedative and teleport her to their spaceship.
I don’t want to ruin what happens next, but Dr. Walsh is definitely no longer on earth, and her alien space adventure has begun.
I think this is a fun take on an alien abduction story, and I plan to keep reading.
5. Fae Wolf by Aimee Easterling
This is the third of three books in the Samhain Shifters urban fantasy series. The first two books are $4.99 each, and the series is not in Kindle Unlimited. This isn’t the first time Aimee Easterling has been on this list. We reviewed her book Moon Glamour back in May of 2021.
Although this is the third book in the series, the books can be read in any order.
From Carla Nordlund:
Skye is a changeling – a werewolf shifter who has been raised by her adoptive fae mother, Aiti, in the cruel Unseelie Court of Faery. Skye is visiting the human world – stocking up on books at the library – when she runs into a stranger, a fellow werewolf. He responds explosively at first, but Skye cloaks herself with fae magic to hide her werewolf identity from him. Her cloak slips and she runs away from him, realizing that her and Aiti’s magical boat is threatening to leave and cut them off from Faery.
Aiti tells her that the borders are closing, and that Skye must make a choice to embrace her true heritage and leave Aiti and the Faery world, where she is unsafe. Although Skye feels a tug of attraction towards the strange werewolf, her love for Aiti is stronger, and she chooses to cross over to Faery, even if it means she is trapped there.
Six months on, Skye is at the mercy of the cruel fae queen of the Unseelie Court, who pulls on Skye’s energy as a resource to spy on her son, who willingly chose to run away to the human world. Using Skye’s energy, she scries into the human world to see her son in a fight alongside the strange werewolf Skye encountered. Skye tries to hide her recognition, but her lies and bravado pull the Queen’s attention to her, and she threatens to torture Aiti if Skye doesn’t fall in line.
The opening of this book grabbed me, and hasn’t let go – I’m typing this review as fast as I can, so I can get back to reading. I love that we are introduced to both the love interest — our sexy, mysterious werewolf — and the external stakes — torn identity, and a threat of personal danger to Skye and her adoptive mother from the Faery Queen — right away in the first few scenes. Skye’s narrative voice is excellent, and I’m excited to see how the romantic and fantasy elements pull together into this fated mates romance.
4. Midnight Moon by Samantha Britt
This is the first of three books in the Alpha Games paranormal romance series. The other books are $4.99 each, but the entire series is in Kindle Unlimited.
From Maria Korolov:
I’m not a fan of romance, and I’m particularly not a fan of the alpha trope. There are no alpha wolves — that story has been repeatedly debunked. The trope seems to say that some people are just born better than others. They have special skills, special powers, and are destined to be leaders. That bugs me. Sure, everyone is born with advantages and disadvantages, but I believe that people can change their fate. I also hate the “chosen one,” trope, for the same reason. It’s unearned privilege, that’s what it is. Just like the secret princess trope, or the sudden inheritance trope. Suddenly, you get all this stuff, without having to do any work for it. It’s just handed to you. You’re special.
Okay, I can see the wish fulfilment element here. And, to be honest, the tropes that I do enjoy make no sense when you look at them closely, either. I mean, it’s called escapist reading for a reason.
You want to get away from reality.
Anyway, on to the book.
Blair and her best friend, Stephanie, are werewolves. The book starts out with a game of capture the flag, where all the players have to remain in human form. She makes a bad call and loses the game and her father, the pack’s alpha, is disappointed. The Alpha Games are coming up, and their pack won’t do well if she can’t learn to recognize her limitations and find other ways of achieving her goals.
Blair is destined to become her pack’s alpha and take over leadership. The problem is that there’s never been a female alpha before. Her father supports her, especially if she mates with the beta’s son, Hunter. She doesn’t like the idea, but it’s growing on her. Plus, she’s only 21. She’s got a little time — at least four more years before she takes over as alpha.
There’s a lot of pack drama in this book. And, though Blair isn’t technical a teenager, the writing style reminds me of teen romance novels.
I’m going to pass, but if you’re a fan of young adult romance, you might enjoy this book quite a bit. The author is a USA Today bestseller, and from the writing style, I can see why — it’s very engaging and fun to read.
3. When Vamps Bite by Nicole Zoltack
This is the first of eight books in the Bedlam in Bethlehem vampire suspense series. The other books are $4.99 to $6.99 each, and the series is not in Kindle Unlimited.
From Maria Korolov:
It’s a week after Halloween and Clarissa is walking through a cemetery. She’s there to visit her parents’ graves. They were murdered exactly nine years ago, a week after she turned 18.
The murderer is now on death row, and Clarissa is now a cop herself.
Clarissa tells her parents about her life. Work, friends, lack of romance.
Then someone shows up at the cemetery, creeping her out. She pulls out her gun and tells the guy to come out into the light so she can see him. Instead, he vanishes into thin air. Confused, she leaves the cemetery and goes to a bad, where her coworkers are already drinking, telling cop stories.
It’s a slow beginning and I normally like cop banter, but this time there’s too much relationship drama and not enough blood and gore for my taste. For example, Clarissa is fighting over a man with another woman on the force. There’s a lot of spiteful insults being flung back and forth. I’m not a fan of drama, so I’m going to pass.
But if you do like drama, this book will also some supernatural action later on, judging by the fact that it has “vamps” right in the title. So it might be a fun read.
2. League of Vampires by Rye Brewer
This is the first three books in the nine-book League of Vampires series. The other books are $2.99 each and are not in Kindle Unlimited. This box set has been on our list before — we previously reviewed it in May of 2021.
From Maria Korolov:
The book is about Anissa Garnet, a vampire who kills other vampires, and she’s assigned to kill Jonah Bourke, leader of a rival vampire clan. But instead of her killing him, he winds up saving her life.
In the first couple of chapters, we learn that Anissa turned into a vampire when she was a teenager several decades ago. Two and a half years ago, she started doing her clan’s dirty work because they’ve got her sister captive. So she’s got a bit of a beef with her own clan’s leadership, but she hates the other clan even more, because they set the fire that killed her mother and stepfather fifty years go, making her and her sister orphans. If she kills the rival clan leader, her clan would be able to take over the other clan’s territories and members.
We see her interacting with the other members of her own clan, and surveilling the club where Jonah Burke likes to hang out.
Then we switch to Jonah’s point of view. Which, to me, means that he and Anissa are going to get together at some point.
Jonah sees three werewolves attacking Anissa, and rushes to help, thinking he’s defending some helpless person. The werewolves had somehow sneaked up on her without her noticing because she was too focuses on Jonah. Now both of them are taken captive. Anissa doesn’t fight back because she doesn’t want the other clan to know she was spying on them. And now she feels guilty about having to kill Jonah because he defended her. Plus, she’s attracted to him. While the wolves are busy tying up Jonah, she pulls out one of her hidden weapons and attacks, and they both escape. She has the opportunity to kill him now, but she can’t force herself to do it.
I’m not going to keep reading, because neither of the characters really grabbed me. The book is certainly very readable though, and someone more interested in romance and in stories involving vampire politics might enjoy it.
1. Legacy of the Lost by Lindsey Sparks
This is the first of six books in the Atlantis Legacy urban fantasy series. The other books are $4.99 each and are not in Kindle Unlimited. The sixth book in the series is currently available for pre-order and will be coming out in July of 2023. The author has been on this list before. We previously reviewed this book this past June. And we reviewed Ink Witch, the first book in the six-book Kat Dubois Chronicles, this past July.
From Maria Korolov:
The book starts out with plenty of action… but it turns out to be virtual reality. In real life, Cora is sick and can’t go anywhere or do much of anything. She has seizures whenever anyone touches her.
But she’s getting a new virtual reality toy to play with, a full-body virtual reality suit. not just a helmet.
Then she gets a package from her mother, with a mysterious artifact in it, and an even more mysterious note. Did something her mother do cause Cora to have the seizures? Is there some kind of magical aspect to them? How is virtual reality going to play into it?
I’m kind of curious, but the book has a slightly more serious tone than what I’m in the mood for right now. The virtual reality, though — that’s definitely going to bring me back this weekend.
Have you read any of these books? Are you planning to? Let us know in the comments!
Or watch Terrence, Romel and Maria discuss all ten books in the video below: