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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].
5. Druid Magic by C. S. Churton
This is the first of three books in the Druid Academy young adult academy fantasy series. The other books are $3.99 each and they’re not in Kindle Unlimited. We previously reviewed this book in December of 2022 — and it was also the top book on last week’s Free Friday list.
From Romel Madray:
Druid Magic is intended for teens, young adults and is a coming of age urban fantasy book.
The book is written in first person point of view. It opens with Lyssa Eldridge, the heroine, receiving a rejection letter from Bristol University, which escalates into a “What are you doing with your life talk?” from her dad.
At the end of the first chapter she receives a mysterious letter from Dragondale Academy of Druidic Magic, accepting her into their Academy.
It starts out similar to the Harry Potter or Percy Jackson series and follows the standard hero’s journey plot. Having a standardized plot makes the book very immersive, and along with fluid and clear writing, creates an easy read.
I would give it a seven out of ten and would continue with it once I have some spare time.
4. First Shadow by P. R. Adams
This is a box set of the first three of seven books in The War in Shadow Saga, a space opera series. The other books are $3.99 to $8.99 each, and the series is not in Kindle Unlimited.
From Alex Mueller:
Oh, how do I describe this story?
It’s kind of like Star Trek if Star Trek was completely devoid of any intelligent characters.
There’s a headstrong captain whose attitude towards everything is “It’s my way or no way.”
There’s a chief engineer who’s basically Frank Burns in space; all talk and ego with no life skills and who is basically a five-year-old throwing a temper tantrum in a grown man’s body.
The one character with a semblance of redeemability is the first officer, a character with some native intelligence who knows how to do their job, but is so lacking in backbone that they just get pushed around by everyone else.
Take these sparkling gems of humanity, trap them on a derelict ship, push them towards another derelict ship, and then things start to get interesting.
Characters aside, the story itself is actually quite engaging. We’ve got a compelling mix of space exploration and murder mystery. There’s enough drama and suspense to keep the reader engaged until the action starts, and the action does take a while to get started.
I don’t have anything against slow burns, but this story really feels like it’s dragging its heel in places.
I can see science fiction fans who like a more deliberate pace thoroughly enjoying this story.
As for me, it takes too long to get going, and there aren’t enough likable characters to latch onto to compel me to keep reading.
3. Rogue Coven by Renee George
This is the second of five books in the Witchin’ Impossible Cozy Mysteries series. The other books are $.99 to $3.99 each, and the series is not in Kindle Unlimited. Renee George is a USA Today-bestselling author and a regular on our Free Friday lists.
From Maria Korolov:
Since this is the second book in the series, and since I love cozy mysteries, I went ahead and bought the first book, which is $0.99 today: Witchin’ Impossible. I don’t usually pay money for books I review since I’d go broke tomorrow if I did that, but I love the author, I love the genre, I love the cover — so why not! Also, it’s only 99 cents.
So. I love everything about the book. The protagonist, Hazel, carries a Glock and an FBI badge, and has witchy powers that help her save cases — and a wise-cracking, girlfriend-stealing talking flying squirrel for a familiar.
She hasn’t been back home in nearly 20 years when her childhood best friend calls her. There’s been a murder. Her friend’s little brother, a shapeshifter, had every bone broken in his body and then was stabbed through the heart. Hazel gets permission from the witch council to investigate, takes a leave of absence from her job, packs a couple of suitcases, and she and the squirrel hop in the car and drive home.
When she gets there, she finds that the town has gone downhill quite a bit since she left, and the worst cop in town is now the police chief. This is a cozy mystery, but I love the fact that our main character has real investigative skills — and a real reason to investigate. Oh, and her childhood crush is all grown up and a police officer.
I’m a third of the way in now and am having an exceedingly difficult time putting this book down. I guarantee that I will finish it tonight, and all the other books in the series, as well — probably, before the end of this weekend.
Update: I had a break between work calls this afternoon and finished the first book in the series. It was exactly what I hoped for — funny, fast-paced, romantic but not too mushy, and with some fun twists and turns around the way. Now onto book two!
2. Dragon His Heels by Tami Lund
This is the first of five books in the Taming the Dragon paranormal romance series. The other books are $0.99 to $3.99 each, and the series is not in Kindle Unlimited. This award-winning author has been on our Free Friday list before. We reviewed Of Love & Darkness, the first of three books in the Twisted Fate paranormal romance series, this past June.
From Terrence Smith:
This is yet another fated-mates story in the ever-expanding lineup of fated-mates stories with shirtless supernatural creatures on their covers. This is a genre I normally wouldn’t touch with a 39-and-a-half-foot pole, but I do have to admit I found the premise for this story amusing.
Gabe, the reluctant ruler of a dragon clan hiding out in modern-day Detroit, has discovered that he has a daughter from another dragon colony, and she is heavily addicted to drugs. He tries as hard as possible to avoid commitment to any woman, so this throws him, and his PR manager, Talia, through a loop. To help raise the child, whom he sees as a potential heir to take his place, he asks, practically begs, Talia to move in with him.
Talia essentially acts as Gabe’s mom, constantly trying to manage him and make him look good. Gabe would rather party and make love endlessly to other women, never having wanted the role of clan leader in the first place, so they are constantly at odds with each other. Underlying this tension, though, is a level of mutual respect. Talia manages to put up with him, and Gabe drives her crazy, simply because he knows she can handle it. He admits to himself that she would make a better dragon leader than him.
Of course, Gabe discovers that Talia is supposed to be his fated mate, and the embers of an attraction to her begin early on. They are most likely going to end up becoming a wholesome family unit by the story’s end.
What this book amounts to is a supernatural version of a cheesy Hallmark movie, which is totally okay in my book. Can I say I will continue reading this one? Maybe. Would I recommend this to others who like Hallmark and dragons? I can confidently say yes.
1. Blackthorn Manor Haunting by Cheryl Bradshaw
This is the third of five books in the Addison Lockhart supernatural mystery series. The other books are $5.99 each, and the series is not in Kindle Unlimited. Cheryl Bradshaw is a New York Times-bestselling author, and if you’re looking for a haunted series to read this spooky season, the investment will be worth it.
From Maria Korolov:
It’s very unusual for the third book in a series to be free while the rest aren’t, but the timing is good, with Halloween coming up. And this year, around the same time, the fourth book in the series was free — and also made our Free Friday list.
I don’t want to spoil anything for those of you who plan to read the whole series, so instead of reviewing this book, I’m going to look at Grayson Manor Haunting, the first book in the series. It costs $5.99, which I’m too cheap to spend, so I’ll read the “look inside” chapters instead.
The cover is creepy, and I suspect that it’s not going to be my kind of book. I dislike horror and suspense. It’s too scary and suspenseful for me. I’m a big coward. Not in real life — I’ve been shot at, bombed, and had a death squad show up at my door once in Central Asia. Meh.
But reading a scary book — I’ve read some stuff that still sticks with me and creeps me out. And getting me to watch a scary movie? Yeah, right.
Still. I’m nothing if not committed to this Free Friday thing. So. The book starts out with Addison Lockhart watching her cab drive away, leaving her in front of an abandoned old house that badly needs work. She’d been left the house in her mother’s will. And not just any house — a manor in Rhinebeck, New York that she didn’t even know her mother owned. It previously belonged to her grandmother. It takes a couple of weeks to get the house habitable enough for her to stay there overnight, and months of work still ahead.
The book starts very slowly. And, from the cover and title, I’m guessing that it’s going to get creepy, so I’m reading with a sense of foreboding. It’s readable, and I like Addison, but I’m not going to stick with the book. But if you’re looking for a scary read for the spooky season, check it out.
Have you read any of these books? Are you planning to? Let us know in the comments!
Or watch Maria, Terrence and Alex discuss all five books in the video below: