4 More Free Science Fiction and Fantasy Books

Starstruck Cover

Introduction:

And we’re back with more fantasy. This time, I’m chucking in the science fiction option too.

YA Paranormal Romance: Starstruck by Brenda Hiatt

Arguably one of the few genres that fit in the “not my thing” category, but they’re popular. Oh, so popular. I do love the cover.

Epic Fantasy: Slumbering by C.S. Johnson

While we’re judging books by their covers … this one looks dark, foreboding, and awesome. Love the angel wings or are they demon wings?

Fantasy not your thing? Try Science Fiction.

Nothing says Scifi like Time travel: Knot in Time by Alan Tucker

This one’s definitely going to have a distinct voice. You get that much from the blurb. Some people love time travel books and some don’t. If you’re in the “do” category, give this a go.

Bonus:

Nyssa Glass and the Crisis Caper by H. L. Burke

Steampunk novelette.

Conclusion:

This collection hits multiple flavors: epic, lighthearted, and romantic. If you’re a reading omnivore, I’d love to hear your thoughts on all three.

(associate links to follow)

Kindle Unlimited

Anybody ever tried this? What do you think of Kindle Unlimited? When I retire in like 60 years, I’m totally signing up.

 

Amazon Prime

Free Kindle Reading App

Audible


Awesome Audiobooks 4.5/5: Swim Season by Marianne Sciucco

4.5/5 High School Sports Drama

Summary:

There’s drama in and out of the pool for the Two Rivers’s high school girls swim team. Aerin Keane’s been on a ton of teams in the last few years, but she’s spending her senior year living with friends of her mother so she doesn’t have to live with her father and his new family. She’s the outsider who just wants to fit in. Meanwhile, there’s a high-stakes challenge with a $50K scholarship on the line …

Additional Comments:

– I’m not sure about some of the details concerning school attendance and sports laws. Most public and private high schools have some sort of anti-recruiting rules in place. Meaning, I’m not sure Aerin would have legally been allowed to join the Two Rivers high school team. I’m not even sure how she would attend the school, though there might have been an exception given her family situation. (Doubtful because she could have lived with her father.)
– Another nitpicky point – quizzes do not get taken and graded in a day if they’re on paper. They “might” get graded instantly if they’re on the computer, but if somebody’s got to handle paper, there’s about a .0001% chance of that paper getting graded same day. Trust me. I’m a high school chem teacher. Also, why does Mel’s twin brother drive and she doesn’t?

Point by Point:

– Length 4/5: It’s long. Very long. Probably could have been slimmed down by 200 pages and been fine.
– I HIGHLY recommend the audiobook version because then the length doesn’t mean much, somebody’s reading the story to you. The narrator’s very believable and gave a solid performance.
– Main Character 4.5/5: The main character’s likeable for most of the book. The first third or so she annoyed me, but you knew she’d come around.
– Side Characters 4.5/5: Erica (sorry about spelling if that’s wrong; friend), Mel (new best friend), Tatiana (rival), and Jordan (mean girl) are a tad cliche, but high schools tend to have them, so in that sense it’s realistic. I really liked Aerin’s background. It might be cliche, but it works very well.
– Plot 4/5: While one could probably predict the outcome if you’ve read enough of these sorts of books, it’s still satisfying. The Allison Singer Challenge is kind of cool. I liked how the whole community really got into the swim team’s season. That sort of fervor’s usually saved for football in most towns.
– Swim details 4/5: In audio form, following the competition times got a tad difficult.
– Themes 5/5: I loved that the book contained a bunch of YA themes: fitting in, dealing with bullies, finding yourself, discovering your potential, pushing yourself, pressing on, the flightiness of popularity, etc.

Conclusion:

Swim season delivers an enjoyable high school sports drama.

The Ebook is only $0.99. That’s an awesome deal for a 600+ page book.

As Always …

If you want the chance to get the audiobook for free, please join Audiobook Readers’ Edge.

If you’re an author (or a narrator) with an audiobook you’d like featured, sign up for Audiobook Authors’ Edge.

Thanks for your time.

Sincerely,

Julie C. Gilbert

Audiobook Edge is completely free, but if you wanna donate anyway, go for it 😉

Please, just do it as a friend b/c otherwise, you’re basically just paying paypal.

Prime Student – Oh, how I wish I was still a student.

Kindle Unlimited – Keep that Kindle Happy. 30 FREE trial

5 Fun, Free Clean Reads – Fantasy

Hall of Heroes Cover

Introduction:

Tired of hearing nothing but negativity? Let me share some free books that will take your mind off the “real world” and its problems. And give you new heroes and villains to wrestle with.

First and Second up: Anthologies Hall of Heroes by various Fellowship of Fantasy authors.

This is the second anthology. The first being Fantastic Creatures. Get introduced to a whole slew of new authors. I really wish this could be on audiobook, but that would take like 19 hours.

Fantasy Retelling: Beauty’s Curse by C.S. Johnson

Beauty's Curse (Once Upon a Princess Series)

Love this cover. Retelling’s aren’t usually my thing, but I’ve read some excellent ones. Will have to put this on the “to read” list.

What’s Fantasy without Dragons?

Dragon’s Future by Kandi J. Wyatt

I heard this one on audiobook. All books should be on audio 🙂

How About Fantasy with some Romance?

An Ordinary Knight by H.L. Burke

Conclusion:

Let’s stop there for today. I’ve got a whole bunch of books to add, but I’ve learned that things get lost in the shuffle if too many are mentioned at once. If you’ve read any of these, please chime in with your thoughts. If you want to read any of them, go grab them. These are all permanently free.

If you don’t have a kindle yet, there’s an app here that will let you read on your computer. There’s also one for the iphone/ipad. I do most of my reading on that. (Head’s up. They’re associate links. This really doesn’t affect you in any way, shape, or form, but legally, I think I’m supposed to let you know that I benefit if you partake in the free trials below.)

Kindle Unlimited

Amazon Prime

Free Kindle Reading App

Audible


Fantastic Fall Freebies and Fun Stuff

First up – Paperbacks

Don’t miss this grand opportunity to grab some awesome books. Ebooks are lovely things, but let’s be old fashioned and pick up the real thing. Join over twenty indie authors and enter for your chance at one of 10 prize packs full of swag and paperback books. (Full details available at this site. Also, go there to check out the goods.)

8 Scifi, YA, and Fantasy Books

Official giveaway ended a couple of days ago, but I was told the offers should still be good so grab ’em while they’re hot.

7 Free Romance, Mystery, and Dystopian Books

Oh, look, preview. Technically, this one isn’t running yet, but I twisted some arms and gotcha a sneak peek. Seriously, people, if you can’t find something to love within this oddball (I mean awesome!) collection, dunno what to tell you. Pretty sure 90% of the genres are covered by at least one of these giveaways.

 

The usual litany of Amazon affiliate links.

 

Prime Student – Basically, Prime is awesome but super expensive, so if you’re a student, take advantage of the lovely opportunity to save big.

Kindle Unlimited – Never tried it, but then my personal reading time is severely limited by that the need to work for a living. Why can’t anybody just pay me millions for being cute?

Amazon Prime – Okay, so all those of use who are official adultified, here’s the real deal.

Free Kindle Reading App – Got nothing to lose on this one. Just a way to READ MORE BOOKS.

Audible – And for those of us addicted to stories who don’t have reading time, there’s always Audible.

Audiobook Reviews: 4/5 Argentum by Debbie Manber Kupfer

4.0/5 Magic, Mystery, and Destiny

Summary:

Miri Katz, a student at P.A.W.S. has a lot more to deal with than mere classes. Her father’s a semi-immortal psychopath of sorts. That’s enough to give you grays even if you don’t have the ability to turn into a cat.

Additional Comments:

  • Although this story can be read and understood without listening or reading book one, I’d recommend doing this series in order.
  • Tons of cool concepts can be found in here. I like the idea of magic schools, powerful pendants, the quest for immortality, moral questions, and stuff like that.

    Content Warning:

There are also some pretty disturbing elements involving multiple forms of abuse of a minor. The book is categorized as YA. I know teens deal with stuff like this. The tough content is handled reasonably well, but I just don’t like it in fantasy stuff. It makes stories way less kid-friendly, meaning I can’t recommend it to the target audience. (Everything else fits a 13-ish age bracket splendidly, except that.)

  • The narrator performede with heart.
  • Alas, I didn’t like certain characters. I don’t think you’re meant to like the particular character I had in mind, but it’s really annoying to actively hate story characters. (On the flip side, that means they’ve got some depth to them.) This could just be the voice used for the character, it grated on the nerves. Pretty sure that’s exactly what it’s supposed to do …
  • There’s not a great deal of closure. It’s very much a part two of multiple stories. I would have liked a few more threads to be tied up. I’m sure they will be, but that will have to wait for book 3.

Conclusion:

If you’re okay with slightly depressing themes like sexual abuse of a kid and can get past that, then it’s actually a really good book.

As Always …

If you want the chance to get the audiobook for free, please join Audiobook Readers’ Edge.

If you’re an author (or a narrator) with an audiobook you’d like featured, sign up for Audiobook Authors’ Edge.

Thanks for your time.

Sincerely,

Julie C. Gilbert

Audiobook Edge and it’s Matchmaker Program are completely free now, but if you wanna donate anyway, go for it 😉

Er, just do it as a friend b/c otherwise, you’re basically just paying paypal.

Prime Student – Oh, how I wish I was still a student.

Kindle Unlimited

Free Kindle Reading App

Audiobook Reviews: 3.5/5 Empty Threat by Danny Bell

 

Summary:

Elana Black can hop into the pages of a book and save people.

Additional Comments:

  • This is the second time I’ve seen this premise. The idea of entering stories to save characters. It’s very cool. The first time was in a children’s book.
  • First person narratives lend themselves very strongly to conveying character voice. Elena’s voice is very strong. She’s uses self-deprecating humor all over the place.
  • Plot was all over the place, but that’s to be expected in a fantasy of this nature. You’re literally hopping into and out of books.
  • The bad guys made no sense to me at certain points. (I’m told that there’s a lot of stuff in here that will be explained in future, but that doesn’t really help the stand alone work.)
  • Elana’s big end strategy doesn’t seem like it would work as described.
  • The pacing is weird. I’ll leave it at that to avoid spoilers.
  • Performance was nicely handled by Whitton Frank.

Conclusion:

There are a lot of story seeds that will likely be expanded in later books of the series. I’m pretty sure that I missed quite a few things along the way. Might have been easier to pick up on in the kindle version. Not sure. I’m on an audiobook kick. If you’re looking for a quirky female character with neat powers, this is a great book for you.

Only $0.99 !

 

 

As Always …

If you want the chance to get the audiobook for free, please join Audiobook Readers’ Edge.

If you’re an author (or a narrator) with an audiobook you’d like featured, sign up for Audiobook Authors’ Edge.

Thanks for your time.

Sincerely,

Julie C. Gilbert

Audiobook Edge and it’s Matchmaker Program are completely free now, but if you wanna donate anyway, go for it 😉

Er, just do it as a friend b/c otherwise, you’re basically just paying paypal.

 

Audiobook Reviews: 4/5 Meritropolis by Joel Ohman

 

Summary:

Charley can’t abide by the system that would condemn innocent people to certain death.

Additional Comments:

  • Typical fun dystopia. The hero’s flat but he was never meant to be more. He’s perfect. A great fighter. A High Score. A compassionate kid. His justification for everything is what they did to his brother.
  • Side characters. Only Charley’s female counterpart had any depth to her. I liked her. Sven’s development didn’t go very far. It reads like this: he was a nice guy then he saw horrors in the tower and turned into a sullen violent jerk.
  • No ending… or very little ending. There’s a giant exciting battle at the end but it doesn’t really get resolved. It might as well have ended with the big, fat “TO BE CONTINUED” sign. There’s talk of a bigger, badder, meaner threat coming and then the book just ends.
  • I probably would have given it a much higher rating for the fun premise if it had a ton more closure, but as is it reads like a part 1.
  • Narrator did a decent job.

Conclusion:

Fantastic start but doesn’t stand on its own. If you are willing to invest in the whole series, you will likely enjoy it. If you like closure to your story, it’s not for you.

 

As Always …

If you want the chance to get the audiobook for free, please join Audiobook Readers’ Edge.

If you’re an author (or a narrator) with an audiobook you’d like featured, sign up for Audiobook Authors’ Edge.

Thanks for your time.

Sincerely,

Julie C. Gilbert

Audiobook Edge and it’s Matchmaker Program are completely free now, but if you wanna donate anyway, go for it 😉

Er, just do it as a friend b/c otherwise, you’re basically just paying paypal.

 

Movie Reviews: 4/5 Stars Spiderman Homecoming

Note: I don’t own the rights to the movie poster. You can find it here.

Introduction:

I enjoyed this movie. It’s an origins story for Spiderman, but it gets past the stuff we’ve seen before and dives into Peter’s struggle to balance school and life as the webslinger. He’s frustrated because Tony Stark/Iron Man’s treating him like a kid. He’s also crushing on a girl who’s head of the Academic Decathlon team. He’s a genius but unreliable when it comes to competing.

Additional Comments:

  • I loved how doing the right thing didn’t always make everything better.
  • Much of the movie turned into typical Marvel action fare – how many buildings and vehicles can we destroy in the next two hours?
  • Tom Holland fills the role nicely. Aunt May works. Her last line’s perfect. I like how they worked MJ in.
  • I’m never a fan of home videos so the beginning was annoying. I like the idea, but the shaky cam style messes with my head.
  • There’s a good balance between ups and downs for the hero, sentiment, growing pains, and action. And comedy. I don’t think there were quite as many funny lines as other Marvel movies, but they worked in some situational comedy like the gangster giving him interrogation advice.
  • I wonder how many Death Stars they broke for that one scene?
  • They’re definitely shooting for a sequel, but there’s enough closure to feel like you’ve seen a complete story.
  • Except the stinger. It’s a stinker. (Okay, so mildly amusing but leaves one feeling annoyed nonetheless.)

Conclusion:

They’ve successfully passed along the Spiderman torch, yet again. Not even sure I saw the Andrew Garfield version. Last Spidey I remember was Toby…and that was a very long time ago. Definitely the sort of movie worth seeing in theaters and adding to your blu ray collection if you have such a thing.

In the mood to splurge on your Spiderman Obsession?


Awesome Audiobooks: 4.5/5 Quest of the Dreamwalker by Stacy Bennett

Disclaimers: Forgive any spelling issues I heard the audiobook. And I don’t own the rights to the pic. Got it off of audible.com.

Summary:

Cara’s a dreamwalker who’s practically raised by an evil sorcerer bent on gaining immortality. Captain Mason Khourey and Archer are mercenaries who get caught up in a tangled web of danger and intrigue. (Totally was not picturing the name spelled like that.)

Additional Comments:

– The world-building is fun, but a few aspects aren’t really fleshed out. Cara’s abilities aren’t really fully realized. I think that’s probably because this is book 1 of a longer story, but still, we’re told she’s a dreamwalker and then given maybe 2 glimpses of this at at play. Could be because it’s part one of a longer story.

– The characters are great, though I will say Cara kind of got annoying. I ended up liking Falin a lot more than Cara and she came into the book like 8 hrs into the story. There were a few points when she does something massively stupid that made me raise an eyebrow, but I can understand to some extent the necessity in moving the plot forward that way. It’s just not pretty.

– Several plot points fall under “well, that’s convenient” but it’s still a very compelling story.

– The end twist is excellent. But then the book continues, opening up a new aspect to the journey, which really messes with the sense of closure that could have been had.

Content warnings: at least 2 “adult” content scenes; graphic violence and disturbing images

– The narrator’s performance worked wonders in bringing the story to life. It’s a long story, but he handled it well. The voices are distinct and pleasant to listen to.

Conclusion:

If you’re a fan of the genre, this is definitely a series to snap up.

 

As Always …

If you want the chance to get the audiobook for free, please join Audiobook Readers’ Edge.

If you’re an author (or a narrator) with an audiobook you’d like featured, sign up for Audiobook Authors’ Edge.

Thanks for your time.

Sincerely,

Julie C. Gilbert

Audiobook Edge and it’s Matchmaker Program are completely free now, but if you wanna donate anyway, go for it 😉

Er, just do it as a friend b/c otherwise, you’re basically just paying paypal.

 

 

Audiobook Reviews: 3.5/5 Derelict by LJ Cohen

3.5/5 Derelict by LJ Cohen

Summary:

Ro and a motley stow-away crew find trouble on a derelict ship.

Additional Comments:

What I Didn’t Enjoy:

  • There’s a LOT of strong language in here, which is weird because the book otherwise seems aimed at young adults. I work with teenagers. Some of them curse, but very strong languages loses its impact when used this casually.
  • There’s not one fleshed-out, competent, sympathetic adult. The adults here come in three flavors: overbearing jerks or manipulative, overbearing jerks or manipulative, overbearing, psychopathic jerks.
  • The friendships and rivalries seemed genuine but there’s also a bizarrely paced, subtle (F/F) romance.

Neutral:

  • At its heart, the plot’s actually rather simple. (Girl wants to get away. Girl and acquaintances get into trouble. Runaway ship nearly kills ’em all.)
  • The purpose of Deadilus (sorry about spelling, I heard the audio version) was never really made clear. Is the station strictly for research or survival?

What I Enjoyed:

  • The technology aspects of this book were pretty cool. The computer programming aspects were nicely described.
  • The music integration and purpose where Halycone is concerned rocks.
  • Bill Burrow’s performance fits very well.
  • The four main characters are both well-developed and likable. I enjoyed how their names unfolded piece by piece. Their nicknames work.

Conclusion:

If you’re okay with a lot of strong language and quite a bit of adult-bashing,  you would probably enjoy this book.

As Always …

Note: this book will not be on the regular Audiobook Readers’ Edge, but it is available via the matchmaker program.

If you’re an author with an audiobook you’d like featured, sign up for Audiobook Authors/Narrator’s Edge.

Thanks for your time.

Sincerely,

Julie C. Gilbert

Audiobook Edge and it’s Matchmaker Program are completely free now, but if you wanna donate anyway, go for it 😉

Er, just do it as a friend b/c otherwise, you’re basically just paying paypal.