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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 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. Ghost Bully by Brian Corley
This is a standalone book. This is the author’s first time on our Free Friday list. It’s also the author’s first published novel — on Amazon, at least. His second novel, the sci-fi adventure Space Throne, is also free today.
From Maria Korolov:
Jonah bought his first house at a foreclosure — and finds out, after he and his housemate move in, that the previous owner committed suicide while living there. Oh, and the previous owner is still around, as a ghost, and is a big jerk.
It’s a light, breezy read of a story, and I got a third of the way into it. I won’t give away any spoilers. Let me just say that things don’t go well for Jonah, no matter how many Ouija boards, exorcists, and priests he calls on for help.
Despite the haunting premise, the book isn’t scary or suspenseful, but is mostly amusing. It reminds me a bit of Beetlejuice in tone and style and I recommend it for anyone looking for an amusing and low-stress weekend read.
9. Codename: Bear I: Secret Agent by Geoffrey C Porter
This is the first of three books in the Codename Universe sci-fi adventure series. The other books are $2.99 to $4.99 each, and the series is not in Kindle Unlimited. This is the author’s first time on our Free Friday list.
From Maria Korolov:
Joshua is your typical college student with more than $30,000 in student loans when he’s kidnapped off the street by two men in black suits and taken to a secret government agency that fights alien menaces.
So, Men in Black kind of setup.
Why did they pick this kid? Oh, because he’s an orphan. His foster parents actually work for the agency. If he dies, nobody is going to care. Well, his foster parents will care, right? And his girlfriend? So why did they pick him again?
Anyway, they promise him that he can finish his studies, that his loans will go away, and that he can continue seeing his girlfriend, so he signs up. He gets intensive personal training and firearm instruction.
Then, just as he’s about to propose to his girlfriend, she dumps him because they hardly ever see each other. So he starts dating a hot alien girl instead.
All of this happens quickly in the first couple of chapters, almost in summary form.
Then in the third chapter their training facility is attacked, and Joshua kills three of the attackers. So his training is paying off. Apparently, the aliens have invented a super-addictive drug and humans will do anything to get more of it. One of the victims was one of Joshua’s professors.
In the next chapter, his alien girlfriend dumps him because she’s going to be teaching one of his classes next semester.
I don’t usually complain when the action moves quickly, because I like fast-paced books. But I’m making an exception here. The story moves along so quickly that we don’t have time to get to know any of the characters, understand their motivations, or feel the weight of the impending threat. I don’t think I’ll be sticking with it, but if you like very plot-based stories that move quickly, check it out.
8. Colony East by Scott Cramer
This is the second of three books in The Toucan Trilogy young adult dystopia series. The other books are $5.99 each, but the series is in Kindle Unlimited. Plus, the first book in the series, Night of the Purple Moon, is also free today.
This is the author’s first time on our Free Friday list.
From Alex Korolov:
This series is definitely for fans of apocalyptic dystopian fiction, where things go horribly wrong in the world and the few survivors that are left scramble to survive.
Abby is a 15 year old girl who lives on a small island in Maine with her Dad, older brother and younger sister. Her mom works in Boston, but is supposed to come visit the next day on the ferry that brings people to the island — but things are about to go terribly wrong.
It turns out the comet Rudenko-Kasparov is going to pass the earth late at night and it’s supposed to drop purple space dust as its tail goes through the earth, coloring the sky purple for a couple of weeks and permanently leaving some of its particles in earth’s atmosphere.
At the end of the first chapter, Abby and her family watch the comet through binoculars and she goes to bed.
It’s in Chapter 2 that we find out that dust from the comet kills anyone that’s pretty much older than Abby, so all the adults — including Abby’s dad — are cold and dead in the morning. In this chapter some other kids find Abby and her brother and sister, and they hide out in her house, accessing the radio and computer to find out what’s going on, but things aren’t looking good.
This is as far as I got in my reading. I think this is a cool premise for an apocalyptic story. The first few chapters got my attention and I definitely plan to finish the first book in the series and move on to the second book to find out what happens to the poor kids trying to survive on an earth that’s been decimated by purple comet dust.
7. Spells of Iron and Bone by Sarah Piper
This is the first of five books in Tarot Academy urban fantasy series. The other books are $3.99 to $5.99 each, and the series is not in Kindle Unlimited. This is the author’s first time on our Free Friday list.
From Maria Korolov:
Stevie buried her parents five years ago and, at the one-year anniversary of their deaths, Tarot cards began mysteriously appearing. Under her pillow. In an old shoe. In the washing machine. Inside a bill envelope. She’s out rock climbing and a storm breaks out. She reaches for some chalk and instead of chalk, there’s another Tarot card there. The Tower, with a picture of people falling from a stone structure. The card is a warning of danger. Seconds later, it vanishes as mysteriously as it arrived.
She barely makes to the shelter of a cave, and discovers that it’s already occupied. By an old friend of hers, Luke. He tells her he misses her, which is suspicious — he’s never missed her before. And he’s dry, so he got to the cave before the rain started. She should have been able to see him. Plus, he smells too good to have just climbed up a 200-hundred-foot rock. Also, he’s wearing flip-flops and has no climbing gear.
Then we get some backstory. Magic has been publicly acknowledged for the past fifty years, and Stevie is one of a very small number of people who are natural-born witches. Since people think that witches are dangerous, she was forced to register and get a tattoo at 16.
She uses her magic to figure out that Luke isn’t himself. There’s a dark magic that’s taken him over. They battle, and the mage that’s taken over Luke’s body tries to kill her.
It’s a tense beginning and, to me, this book is perfectly paced. There’s plenty of action, but also enough time to get to know Stevie and to understand the world she lives in, and to get a sense of the threat she’s under. I liked it, and I might stick with it this weekend.
6. The Lost Siren by Raven Storm
This is the first of seven books in Rise of the Drakens paranormal reverse harem romance series. The other books are $4.99 to $5.99 each and are not in Kindle Unlimited. This book has also been on this list before — we also reviewed it in July of last year and again just last week.
From Maria Korolov:
First of all, a disclaimer. I am not a fan of romance, and I’m certainly not a fan of reverse harem romances — those are the ones where the heroine doesn’t have to choose between two equally hot men. Instead, she gets both. Or all three. Or however many there are.
I’m not opposed to the idea in principle. After all, this is escapist fantasy and what’s better than a hot guy? Three hot guys, right?
Unfortunately, all I can think about when reading reverse harem books is how much drama must be involved. It must get so tiring.
Anyway, the book starts out with Wren, who’s a slave of Lord Crullfed, a vampire, in a fantasy world where humans are prey. She’s regularly beaten. Still, she is terrified of being sold off to someone else, like a vampire or demon.
Then a man shows up — a handsome man, of course, and not a vampire though also not human — and gives her a choice. If she wants, she can come with him. She wants, and he carries her away. Oh, and he has wings and can fly.
The story is readable, but it’s not my thing. I’m not going to keep reading.
5. Anchored by Bridget E. Baker
This is the first of four books in The Anchored Series of young adult urban fantasy. The other books are $4.99 each, and the series is not in Kindle Unlimited. This author has been on our list before. This past March, we reviewed Marked, the first of six books in Sins of Our Ancestors post-apocalyptic young adult series. And, in December, we reviewed Displaced, the first book in the seven-book Birthright series.
Seventeen-year-old Alora can Lift — use a telekinesis kind of magic — in a world known as Terra where only men are allowed to use magic. The magic system in this world ended up being a little difficult for me to grasp but basically, in what I managed to read, there’s two types of them: Healers and Lifters. As you can tell by the name, a Healer can heal injured people while Lifters can lift things, move them around and who knows what else.
Only men can have and use magic because women are only meant to produce children, which is the main reason I stopped reading this book a lot earlier than usual. Also, if women are found to have some magic ability they’re either hunted down or taken away and no thanks, that sounds like a terrible world. Thankfully, Terra is a world that Alora can only visit in her dreams.
Yet in these dreams, Alora lives with a caravan of Healers. Said caravan travels to different cities where citizens live and stay there for a few days. They heal their injured while also doing a few acrobatic shows to entertain their citizens and to make some coins so they can buy and trade things and are able to live their lives. What’s interesting here is that Alora is safe. As long as there’s no citizens around, Alora is free to use her magic around the caravan camp and she even does a few special effects for the caravan’s spectacle every time they perform. The only downside to Alora’s magic? Her eyes shine whenever she uses it, making it risky for her to use her powers in public.
In all honesty, I struggled to read the first few chapters of this book. The writing isn’t terrible, but the pacing is a little too slow and it really made me struggle. I wish the magic system was bigger, but it was still pretty interesting. Would’ve loved to see the difference between normal Earth and Terra, but I’m not interested enough to continue reading this.
From Maria Korolov:
I was curious about what happens next, so I picked up the book. When Alora wakes up, she’s back on normal Earth, where she lives with her brother in a normal apartment in Houston, where she works as a dishwasher at a steakhouse.
The thing is, she and her brother know that there’s more to the dreams than just her imagination. After all, if she’s got an injury when she goes to bed, she’s always fully healed when she wakes up.
This is a pretty cool premise. And I like the author’s writing style and Alora’s personality.
4. Shifter School by Gwendolyn Druyor
This is the first of three books in the Shifter School urban fantasy series. The second book in the series is also free today and the third one isn’t out yet — it will be released next week, and is currently available for preorder. This is the author’s first time on our Free Friday list.
From Maria Korolov:
I am not the target audience for this book. I don’t like young people and I don’t like stories set in schools.
So take this review with a large grain of salt.
Laylea is 14, adopted. And she spends some of her time as a dog. She recently read that the average lifespan of a terrier is 13 to 15 years, and is creeped out. She and her brother are on the run, hiding from something called the Consortium. And Laylea has problems controlling her shifting ability.
Also, she’s a member of something called Team Wyrdos.
I’m getting the sense that there’s a lot of backstory here I don’t know.
And yup, apparently there are other series in the Wyrdos Universe. Based on publication dates, it looks like the first book is Dee, the first book in the Wyrdos Tales series. It’s about a police detective who’s also a banshee.
You know what? I like the author’s style very much. It’s not overly full of teenage angst and drama. The action is well-paced. The main character is very likeable and capable. So I think that I’ll not only stick with it, but also go back and read the author’s other books. All of them are in Kindle Unlimited, too — bonus!
3. Rise of the Phoenix by F.D. Fair
This is the first of seven books in The Westwood Pack paranormal romance series. The other books are $.99 to $3.99 each, but they’re all in Kindle Unlimited. This is the author’s first time on our Free Friday list.
From Maria Korolov:
Alaric is the alpha of Ontario’s largest wolf shifter pack. And he’s desperate to find his fated mate. Normally, supernatural beings find their mate between the ages of 18 and 25, and Alaric is 28. He’s traveled to packs all over the world looking for her, but had had no luck so far.
On the way home from a shifter function, he stops by a grocery store for beer when he notices a tasty smell. Like a cinnamon roll. He follows his nose, but instead of the bakery department it take him to frozen foods. And he discovers the source of the smell is not a box of freshly baked goodies, but a hot woman. His fated mate. But she doesn’t seem to notice him at all.
And she’s got two kids with her who call her “mom.” And she’s married. And human.
Then, in the next chapter, we switch to Phoebe’s point of view. She’s the hot human. And, apparently, her husband is a vicious jerk.
Then she notices Alaric and thinks he’s super hot.
So, for me, this book has three strikes against it. First, the whole “alpha” thing. Real wolves don’t have alphas. It’s a long-debunked myth. I get annoyed whenever I see it show up in a story. Second, the “fated mates” thing. I prefer it when people have a choice about who to be with. And, finally, the fact that this story is all drama, practically no action.
Now, I understand that I’m probably in the minority here. So if you like the alpha trope, the fated mates trope, and all the romance — and I think that most people do — you might like the book. It’s certainly very readable and the characters are appealing.
2. The Eighth Excalibur by Luke Mitchell
This is the first of four books in The Excalibur Knights Saga, an urban fantasy and alien invasion mashup. The other books are $4.99 each to $7.99, and the series is not in Kindle Unlimited. This is the author’s first time on our Free Friday list.
From Maria Korolov:
The story starts with Nate climbing up onto a roof to rescue a woman’s corgi. He’s a college student at Penn State, studying computers, and he’s made this climb before. Except this time, the girl he’s got a crush on, walks by and calls his name at just the wrong time and he falls down off the roof.
Then we learn that a mysterious old man has been spying on him.
Later that day, Nate is hanging out with his friends, one of whom is on an alien conspiracy kick. Apparently, all the major government agencies and global observatories are reporting peculiar activity in background radiation, strange seismic activity in the oceans, and odd and unusual animal behavior.
That night, his crush texts him and invites him to a party, so he leaves his video-game playing friends and heads out to the frat where the girl is hanging out. With all her cool new friends and her boyfriend.
Turns out, the girl used to be part of Nate’s nerd gang before she started hanging out with the party crowd. Also, she’s a senior in bioengineering working on a thesis about induced pluripotent stem cells.
That’s when you take a normal cell and hit the reverse button on it and make it go back to its baby stages, where it can turn into any other cell you need. It’s something people are researching in order to grow replacement organs. But I digress.
Apparently, the girl has a brother with muscular dystrophy and she wants to help find a cure.
Anyway, we’re spending way too much time at the frat party, and there’s all kinds of college drama and beer pong and so on. I’m four chapters in and nothing’s happened so far, except that Nate feels humiliated at the party because he’s a giant sad sack. He’s too scared to make a move even with the girl he likes is sitting in his lap and tell him that she doesn’t actually have a boyfriend.
On the way home, he stops at a bar to sulk. As he drinks, he notices a weird old guy, dressed like Gandalf, staring at him. The old guy creeps him out, so he heads home, where the dog is on the roof again.
And, again, Nate falls of the roof, and gets beaten up by a frat bro for spying on him.
And, again, the old man is spying on him, and talking to someone who isn’t there.
I like the old guy. I don’t like way Nate lets himself get pushed around by everyone but at least he’s nice to the dog. Still, the book moves way too slowly for my taste.
Okay. One more chapter. Nate is wandering around alone in the park, at night, feeling sorry for himself. The dog is following him, and Nate is thinking about how he might just keep it, but then he’d have to feed it and he doesn’t have money for dog food. Then an eight-foot-tall monster drops down to the ground and attacks him.
Hey, things are looking up!
I might finish it this weekend.
1. Warbringer by Aaron Hodges
This is the first of four books in the Descendants of the Fall epic fantasy series. The other books are $3.99 each, and the series is not in Kindle Unlimited. This New York Times-bestselling author has been on our list before. Last August, we reviewed Defiant, the first of three books in The Alfurian Chronicles science fiction series. And, in March of 2022, we reviewed Stormwielder, the first of nine books in The Three Nations Nordic myth and legend fantasy series.
The world is being ravaged by powerful human-like monsters known as the Tangata. It is said that these monsters were once greedy humans that got corrupted by magic after trying to steal and take advantage of the magic found on the God’s sacred sites. But after ten years at war with these monsters, humanity can’t deny that they’re on the losing side. The monsters keep coming and destroying their cities, and they can’t do more than try to hold them back for as long as possible–even if they continue to lose people whenever they’re attacked.
From the very beginning, this book is full of tension and manages to give you just enough context of the world, what’s happening, and just how terrifying the enemy is. We start by following Romaine, a seasoned warrior that survived the destruction of his city at the hands of the Tangata. Now he works as a scout and tries his best to protect civilians and get rid of as many Tangata as possible as they try to discover where the enemy is headed to next. But then the unexpected happens when he ends up saving a random girl in the middle of an abandoned forest that now belongs to the enemy, forcing him to wonder if his people are really gone after they were attacked or if they managed to survive.
Then, we meet Erica, an archivist from a neighboring city that has decided to explore different caves that used to be known as the sacred sites of the Gods. It’s only a matter of time before the Tangata attack her city and in order to try to stand a chance against them, she’s hoping to find anything that was left behind by the gods that could help them. Aided by a small group of expeditioners, she explores a new cave and ends up discovering a mysterious door that could hide everything she’s been looking for.
I really enjoyed what I saw in those first few chapters. The fast pace of the story feels great, the characters, the world and their conflict are very interesting, and the writing is great. I will definitely continue reading this book as soon as I can.
Have you read any of these books? Are you planning to? Let us know in the comments!
Or watch Maria discuss all ten books in the video below: