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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. Kingdom of Chains by Tanya Bird
This is the first of two books in the Kingdom of Chains romantic fantasy series. The other book is $5.99 each and is not in Kindle Unlimited. This is the author’s first time on our Free Friday list.
From Tobey Patton:
Isabel Maddock is trapped. The story begins with her releasing her pet golden eagle in hopes it can be free in her stead, even if allowing it outside its cage is against the express wishes of her betrothed, the dislikeable Lord Hodge, who’s resentment is growing at her constant delay of their wedding.
She has to marry him soon, even if she hasn’t grown to love him in the last five years. It’s what’s best for her family. That’s what her mother always tells her, at least. Love comes after.
But Isabel can’t quite get herself to believe that. Instead she thinks of home, of the place it used to be before famine and drought remade the land into the region now commonly known as the Wastelands. Not to mention the fact that every time she sets her eagle free she comes back with new things tied around her ankles, like a message from someone from the past. Something is calling her home.
Ryder Blackmane follows orders. So when he and his comrades are sent over the wall to defend Lord Hodge on an exploratory mission in the Wastelands, he doesn’t think twice. Duty and sacrifice for his people and his friends are all he knows. That is, until he meets Lady Maddock.
A star crossed romance appears imminent, betrothals and oaths the only things separating their growing interest in each other. Blackmane has to discover the meaning of loyalty in an increasingly gray world beyond the wall.
If you like medieval romance, witty dialogue, or fast paced action across a dystopic backdrop, this ones for you. I think there was some dialogue that clunked and I wanted a bit stronger voices for the protagonists, but I was really drawn in by the world building. I think I’ll keep going with this in the future.
4. Call Sign: Cupid by M Guida and Michael Anderle
This is the first of six books in the Paranormal Mercenary Corps urban fantasy series. The other books are $4.99 each, but they’re all in Kindle Unlimited. The sixth book is due out later on this month. Both of the two authors are regulars on our Free Friday list.
From Maria Korolov:
I’m a fan of both of these authors, and love urban fantasy, so I’m definitely the target reader for this book.
Chelby’s foster dad is a retired general. She’s almost ready to follow in his footsteps. She’s also going to join the Army, specifically, Army intelligence. She’s a tomboy who never had a date in high school — even though she’s got an uncanny talent for finding everyone else’s perfect guy. After having breakfast with her foster family, she takes a bus to the Military Entrance Processing Station, gets a physical, hearing test, and a blood draw. Then the woman who took her blood tells her to run if she doesn’t want to become a lab rat, and she’ll delay filing the results as long as she can to give Chelby time to get away.
Chelby is understandably confused, but takes her advice and runs. When she stops to catch her breath, she checks out the paperwork that the woman gave her. It has the word “failed” across the top, and a small box is checked — “not human.”
That is an awesome beginning! I think I’ll stick with this book, and probably the whole series.
But before I move on to the next book, I’ll read ahead a little bit in the next chapter.
A guy shows up. The woman from the Army’s intake center sent him. He claims to be the head of an organization that specializes in people with unique abilities. He tells her that she’s in danger and, since she refused to go with him — a good decision! — he gives her his card.
She gets on a bus to go home, because she thinks that her foster dad will be able to tell her what to do. But when she gets home, he’s off playing poker with friends and won’t be home until late. Shortly afterwards, the military police show up at the door, looking for her. She sneaks out her bedroom window, jumps the fence, runs through some yards, and finally hides in a culvert.
Not knowing what else to do, she finally takes out her phone and calls the weird guy who gave her his business card.
When he shows up to rescue her, he tells her that the pursuers aren’t military police at all they’re a private militia group whose mission is to wipe out supernaturals. And she’s a supernatural.
It’s cheesy. And cliche. But I love it anyway and plan to stick with it.
3. Witches, Histories, & Murders by Scarlett Moss
This is the first of three books in the Paisley Island Cozy Mysteries magical mystery series. The other books are $4.99 each, and are both in Kindle Unlimited. This is the author’s first time on our Free Friday list.
From Maria Korolov:
I love cozy magical mysteries. They’re the perfect comfort reading. So I’m definitely the target reader for these books.
Phoebe has just been served with divorce papers — after a 28-year-long marriage. Then she got laid off from her job. Then she got a call from a lawyer — a famous woman writer has died and left her an inheritance. Even though she’s never met the woman. She figures it’s a scam, but the lawyer sent her a plane ticket, so, hey, free trip.
After the funeral, she learns that the famous author was actually her distant relative. And that witchcraft runs in the family. And she learns a lot more backstory, involving a murderous witch hunter, and another relative being framed for murder.
And then we get to the will. Turns out, the famous author owned an island off the coast of North Carolina and she left it to Phoebe and two other relatives, Georgia and Samantha. The wants the three of them to develop and maintain the island and turn it into a retreat for authors. And Georgia inherited the money she’d need to maintain the island. Oh, and there’s also a recipe book — also known as a grimoire. The three of them march up into the attic of the house they inherited to look for this grimoire — and find the body of the man who had earlier framed the famous author for murder. Ah ha! The plot thickens!
They now have to clear the author’s name, and solve the guy’s murder before they themselves are arrested for killing him.
They discuss hiding the body — or calling a magical security firm to make the body disappear. Apparently, that’s something else that happened previously, maybe in a prequel. Or they can call the police.
I did some more research, and it looks like there might be a prequel book, Witches, Mysteries, & Legacies, which is $3.99 on Amazon and is not in Kindle Unlimited. But I don’t think you have to read that book first.
I like this story so far. It reminds me of Charmed, except that the protagonist is a bit older. I think I’ll stick with it.
2. Wolves and Daggers by Melanie Karsak
This is the first of six books in The Red Cape Society gaslamp fantasy series. The other books are $2.99 to $4.99 each, and are all in Kindle Unlimited. The author has been on our Free Friday list before. This past March, we reviewed Shield-Maiden: Under the Howling Moon, the first of five books in The Road to Valhalla myth and legend fantasy series.
From Romel Madray:
Set in early twentieth-century London, this book immerses us in a steampunk world, replete with references to the Realm, Guilds, coal-powered automobiles, and peculiar mechanical optical night vision eyeglasses. Supernatural — or more accurately, preternatural — entities inhabit the dark and dank corners of London, creating a general otherworldly commotion.
In this intriguing setting, we are introduced to Clem and her partner, Quinn, who are on a stakeout at the Clockmakers Guild within the cathedral. Quinn received a tip-off suggesting potential trouble for Professor Jamison. They are members of the Red Capes, a supernatural quasi-police force. Clem is a plucky, petite go-getter with a heart of gold, while Quinn is a hard-nosed, burly veteran sporting a formidable beard.
The action begins when a bomb detonates, and an attempt is made to kidnap Professor Jamison. Our dynamic duo springs into action, thwarting the kidnapping attempt and discovering that it was orchestrated by a werewolf named Fenton. Fenton, the second-in-command of one of the most powerful wolf packs, is acting alone—a departure from the usual cooperative nature of wolf packs.
Clem and her partner successfully rescue the professor from the bomb, and Fenton, although initially poised for a confrontation with Clem, ultimately retreats, leaving her unscathed.
Back at headquarters, our two battered Red Capes have a meeting with their boss who tells them that this is unusual behavior for werewolves — they are typically involved in brawling, whoring, and robbing. Kidnapping is an aberration from their usual modus operandi and he feels there may be more to it than just one werewolf acting on his own.
What’s even more unusual for him is that werewolves are selectively kidnapping academics and stealing their papers. This is perplexing because the majority of werewolves can’t read.
Her boss decides that Clem needs to investigate further and he instructs her to talk to Sir Richard Lionheart, a werewolf. He is not only the alpha of a unique wolf pack that can read, but they are staunch royalists who uphold the status quo.
I enjoyed reading this book so far, it’s a nice procedural and what I would consider a fast read. I will finish it off later when I have some time. For those into this genre of magical fiction procedurals I would give it a recommendation and even of those who are not into the genre because it is such a quick read I would say give it a go.
1. Breaker Marine by James David Victor
This is the first of nine books in Star Breaker space opera series. The other books are $3.99 each but are all in Kindle Unlimited — and are on sale today for $0.99. The author is a regular on our Free Friday list.
From Terrence Smith:
In this book, giant mega corporations run everything. So, basically, modern-day America.
The story begins with a routine asteroid mining operation from one of these mega corporations’ teams of underlings, which seems to promise a big payday. When the asteroid is cracked open, however, it seems to reveal not just gems, but inorganic structures as well, seemingly built by intelligent beings.
The story then shifts to Holly Cropper, a member of the Earth Alliance Marines, essentially the future space Marine Corps. She is stern with her three-man crew when focused on a mission, but nonetheless they have her respect, trusting her even though they may not openly agree with her orders. After responding to a distress call from a malfunctioning mining ship, she receives an emergency mission to find the missing vessel Tethra, which has not been heard from in over 48 hours.
The writing brings to life the asteroid mining crafts from the future, with a gritty industrial aesthetic. They also have mechanics and machinery that are quasi-plausible, with rock-grinding mechanics and thrusters that actually obey the laws of physics.
Holly seems to be a jaded individual who has dealt with corporate and military politics one too many times. She knows that the family her crew rescues at the start of the story will be sued by the corporation from which they rented their vessel, and possibly be the ones charged for recklessly endangering them.
This one is going onto my ever-growing to-read list.
Have you read any of these books? Are you planning to? Let us know in the comments!
Or watch Maria and Terrence discuss all five books in the video below: