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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. But are any of the books actually worth reading? Well, I read the first few chapters of each to find out, so you don’t have to.
This week’s list is completely different from those of the previous weeks. So if you’re a fan of free books, it looks like there are going to be new things to read all the time.
I’ve noticed that if you try to open the list on a mobile device, it will take you to the listings that cost money, instead. I’ve found that by switching to the “desktop site” in the mobile browser, the free list comes up.
Oh, and if there’s a book that catches your eye, grab it quickly, since the books are often free for only a short time. And, Amazon allows you to lend your e-books, for free, to your friends. Even free e-books. Here are the instructions.
Most of these books are the first book in the series, and in each case I’ve checked to see whether the rest of the books are free as well, or whether they’re in Kindle Unlimited. Learn more about Kindle Unlimited here.
The list is accurate as of the time of writing, but may have changed since the story was posted.
1. Beyond the Sapphire Gate by R.V. Johnson
This is the first of three books in The Flow of Power first contact science fiction series. The other books are $4.99 each and are not in Kindle Unlimited.
From Amira Loutfi:
Crystalyn’s job is to transfer information from physical sources into digital ones, which she calls “dot mapping.” One day, she finds a beautiful book with enticing beautiful symbols on the cover. She can’t seem to pull away from it — and then one of the symbols starts whirling! Whoa. She feels guilty for having spent so much time on this one book. And then she worries about going crazy.
Her boss then appears and is alarmed that she got her hands on that particular book. It’s supposed to be locked away.
If Crystalyn’s boss gets mad at her she could easily be replaced. This makes Crystalyn worry about her family back home — they need her to keep this job.
The boss says they are getting a precious shipment the next day, which is usually a holiday for Crystalyn. Drat. So she agrees to work this holiday.
The setting seems to be far-future science fiction. I don’t usually read this genre, but I’m liking it. It’s well-written. I imagine the setting looks like a spaceship in an anime. In the next chapter, Crystalyn tells her sister about what she saw and then her sister admits to having seen something similar. It seems like the sister can see people’s auras. Personally, I’m not super into that trope, so I probably won’t be back.
2. Enchanted Dusk by Skye Jones and Marissa Farrar
This is the third of four books in the Wicked Monsters urban fantasy series. The other books are usually $0.99 to $2.99, but they are also free today. The entire series is in Kindle Unlimited.
From Maria Korolov:
This is a reverse harem romance, meaning that the woman has multiple boyfriends all at once. I mean, if you’re reading a romantic fantasy, might as well go all the way, right? What’s better than a hot guy than a bunch of hot guys — and not having to choose between them?
Personally, it seems to be that it would be way too much work. But that’s why it’s a fantasy, right?
But when I started reading, it became clear that we’re picking up in the middle of the story. Oh, right — it’s the third book in the series.
Luckily, the first book, Night Captive, is also free today. I suggest that you start with that one first. That’s what I’m going to do.
So, in the first book, we meet Aisha, approximately nineteen. She lives in the Pit, an inaccessible mountain valley, and has been there since she was brought in as a three-year-old. Soon, she’ll be old enough to be interesting. She’s already been getting better food than the other prisoners.
Aisha is good with plants. She has learned from another woman captive, but also has an instinctive ability to tell what plants would be good for.
The captors are the Keepers, creepy monsters with pale skin and elongated limbs.
Then, she’s taken away from the Pit. Her new captor is extremely muscular, and has the ability to fly. Oh, and he doesn’t look like a monster, like the other Keepers. He looks like a very handsome man.
The book is extremely readable, but the premise is not for me.
3. Dead Ringer by Kat Ross
This is a gothic mystery fantasy, part of the eight-book Gaslamp Gothic Victorian Paranormal Mystery series, which doesn’t seem to have its own series page. The other books are $3.99 to $4.99 each and are not in Kindle Unlimited. Kat Ross has been on this list before. Last month, we reviewed City of Storms, the first book of four in the Nightmarked fantasy series. In April, we reviewed A Bad Breed, the third Gaslamp Gothic book, and, last November, we reviewed A Feast of Phantoms, the first of three books in Lingua Magika steampunk fantasy series.
From Maria Korolov:
The story begins in the summer of 1889 in Brooklyn.
Harry works for the American Society for Psychical research, and regularly cooperates with the Night Squad, also known as the Ninth Detectives Division. That’s the police unit that investigates bizarre cases.
Now Harry is looking for a monster that comes out the sewers to attack people. She and best friend John have spent weeks looking for the monster. In the sewers.
I really like the start of this book. The tone is light and I like Harry very much. This feels like a perfect weekend read. I’ll probably stick with it.
Update: As I got further into the book, I realized that I knew the main character. I’ve seen her before. Turns this is not a stand-alone book at all, but fifth book in the Gaslamp Gothic series. The first book is The Daemoniac, which I reviewed in April and enjoyed very much. I read the whole book. I recommend that you start with that book, first. Plus, it’s free today as well.
Once you finish that one, read The Thirteenth Gate, then A Bad Breed, then The Necromancer’s Bride, then Dead Ringer, then Balthazar’s Bane, then The Scarlet Thread, and finally the eighth book is The Beast of Loch Ness. I got the full list on Kat Ross’s website.
4. Marked Omega by Lizzy Bequin
This is the first of five books in the Quarantine Omega dystopian romance series. The other books are usually $3.99 but today the first two books are both free and the third and fourth are $0.99 each. The fifth book in the series is currently available for pre-order and will be coming out at the end of this month. The entire series is in Kindle Unlimited.
From Maria Korolov:
Judging by the cover, this is one of those sexy books where the woman has multiple lovers. This isn’t my favorite genre, but, hey, why not?
The book starts with Lily’s point of view. She’s behind a wall, in a quarantine zone. Outside there are horrible mutants ready to tear her from limb to limb. Or worse.
She’s a 21-year-old research assistant for SynerGen. Her boss is a handsome man, but manipulative. These days, the men have all the money and power and the women are left with scraps.
She’s on her way outside. Her boss is with her, and a co-worker, and a three-man security team. They’re in a transport vehicle, all wearing protective gear.
They’re on a rescue mission to find Eva, another researcher, who’s been missing several weeks while on another excursion.
But it turns out the rescue mission is just a ruse. Her boss is there to capture zombies. She and the other researcher aren’t there to assist him — they’re the bait.
The book is extremely readable. I don’t normally like zombie apocalypse stories, but this one is sucking me in.
5. Mountain of Fangs by Carlo Hart
This is the first book of three in the Mountain of Fangs horror suspense series. The other books are $2.99 and $3.99 each and the entire series is in Kindle Unlimited.
From Alex Korolov:
If you like fantasy horror books featuring creepy supernatural creatures, this book might be for you — but it takes a while to get going.
Failed Hollywood writer Kevin Murphy has moved to a tree-covered mountain in California with his girlfriend, where he’s growing medical cannabis to make ends meet.
He keeps seeing some creepy flying man-creature with red eyes, but I got as far as chapter seven and it hadn’t done much but scare him a little.
For people who like the suspense to build up, this would be a great read, but I like my action right at the start. I wouldn’t keep reading.
6. Shared Omega by Lizzy Bequin
This is the second of five books in the Quarantine Omega dystopian romance series. The other books are usually $3.99 but today they are free or $0.99. The fifth book in the series is currently available for pre-order and will be coming out Jun. 30, 2022. The entire series is in Kindle Unlimited.
From Maria Korolov:
I’m not going to read the beginning of this book, just in case I’m going to finish the first one.
So I’ll tell you about the plague, instead. It happened a century before. Nobody knows where it came from. Maybe it was a biological attack. Maybe aliens. But it hasn’t abated despite all the time that’s passed.
Most people affected by the contamination became beasts. Mindless zombies with pale skin. They died within days.
Then the alphas were a small subset of the afflicted. They became hyper-masculine beasts. And some women became omegas, desperate to have sex and reproduce.
I’m not a fan of this premise. So I don’t think I’ll be sticking with it.
7. Autumn Winters by J.S. Malcom
This is the first of four books in The Realm Watchers urban fantasy series. The other books are $3.99 each, and the entire series is in Kindle Unlimited.
From Maria Korolov:
Autumn’s husband died in a car crash. She almost died with him – she saw the bright light, the tunnel, the whole thing — but something told that she was needed back on Earth. Now she’s severely depressed. Drinking all the time. And she sees ghosts everywhere.
The ghosts don’t know they’re dead. And since she’s the only one who can see them and hear them, they keep latching on to her. The drinking helps.
Then she sees one of her ghosts on the news. It’s a young woman, and she’s missing. If Autumn could talk to the ghost, convince her that she’s dead, she might be able to find the body and at least give the parents some closure. But now that she wants to find the ghost, the ghost is gone.
The book starts slowly and I wouldn’t have thought that it was my kind of book, but it’s really pulling me in. I think I’ll stick with it.
8. London by Frank Tayell
This is the first book of nineteen in the Surviving The Evacuation post apocalyptic series. The next two books in the series are also free today. The other sixteen books are $2.99 to $3.99 each. The series is not in Kindle Unlimited.
From Alex Korolov:
If you like zombie apocalypse books, this one might be for you. The book has thousands of five-star reviews on Amazon.
Bill Wright broke his leg and so watched the zombie apocalypse happen right outside his house. London is evacuated, but Bill’s stuck in a cast, can’t reach anyone by phone, and ends up getting left behind.
I read about a fifth of the book, but I honestly found it kind of boring. The book is written as a series of journal entries by Bill which include the date and time, and a count down of how many days he has until he can take his cast off, which starts at 76.
He apparently has access to a source over the Internet who’s given him a bunch of information about what’s happening in the world, so you get a glimpse into the apocalypse itself.
But most of the book is about the inconvenience of not having electricity or good food around and trying to fight off boredom as the main character’s stuck at home.
While it’s an interesting take on a zombie story, I’d rather read a book about a person who’s actually out in the world trying to fend off zombies and get to safety, but that’s just my opinion.
9. The Discovered by Maggie Sunseri
This is the first of five books in The Lost Witches of Aradia urban fantasy series. The next two books are $5.99 each. The fourth and fifth books are currently available for pre-order and will be coming out this coming July and October. The series is not in Kindle Unlimited.
From Maria Korolov:
Áine has just turned 22. She’s always had the ability to read people’s emotions, but a bracelet around her wrist has kept her from using more of her powers. But on the way from a bar with her friends, she turns to her magic to save the life of one of her friends. But the bracelet hasn’t just been keeping her powers under control. It’s also kept her from being found by her enemies. Now that the bracelet is gone, they can track her.
I think I’ve seen this premise before a few times. That doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t like the book. After all, I’ve watched God-knows-how-many episodes of Law & Order.
But I’m not a fan of young adult stories. Plus, the other books aren’t in Kindle Unlimited.
However, the book does have a strong beginning, and if you enjoy seeing your heroines with magical powers coming into their own, check it out.
10. By Moon by T. Thorn Coyle
This is the fifth book of nine in The Witches of Portland urban fantasy series. The other books are $0.99 to $4.99 each. The series is not in Kindle Unlimited.
From Maria Korolov:
Since this is the fifth book in the series, I would normally skip it and go to the first book. But the first book, By Earth, isn’t free, and isn’t in Kindle Unlimited, so I’m going to read the “Look Inside” portion of it and see if I want to keep going.
Cassiel is a pretty 22-year-old red head with a nice life, even though she worries all the time. She works at a cafe, where her boss is a member of her coven.
So, this is another 22-year-old witch. Except her power is that she can talk to ghosts. Police call her on cases, and she had to testify, at fourteen, in murder cases. The pressure got to be too much and she left her home town and moved to Portland.
In a vision, she sees a tower on fire and a mysterious woman, a ghost, tells her to go to the tower.
Then we switch to Joe’s point of view. Joe also lives in Portland, and he’s a plumber. In his spare time, he rehabs classic homes with his brother.
Ever since his girlfriend killed herself a year and a half ago, he’s been having the same nightmare, once a month, like clockwork.
The book begins slowly, and the main characters don’t really grab me. Plus, the books aren’t in Kindle Unlimited, so I’ll probably pass.
Have you read any of these books? Are you planning to? Let us know in the comments!
Or watch Maria talk about all of these books in the video below: