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Old 26 June 2018, 06:06 PM
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Default Kindle Unlimited books worth reading

So, a thread over in Rantidote was discussing how hard it is to find a decent book on Kindle Unlimited, specifically in the Sci-Fi/Fantasy genres. I'm starting this thread so that if anyone has a KU account and is looking for something to read, we can help each other find things.

I read mostly Sci-fi/Fantasy, as well as some horror, thrillers, and mysteries. Other things, too, but those are the categories I am usually looking for in KU. If anyone has any good choices in those, please let me know.

And, I'll start with a few recommendations.
First, if you like The Dresden Files, there is the Daniel Faust series. Modern day, magic exists in secret, the main character is a wizard who does some PI work. Major difference is that the wizard is also a criminal, and as time goes by he becomes more and more involved in that. This has spun off into several different series, all of them pretty good. The author is Craig Schaefer, and a search for him should get a long series.

Next, some space farce. I've read through the Rex Nihilo adventures, and they were entertaining enough. Not HHGttG, but entertaining. Lightweight, fairly forgettable, but I got some good laughs out of it at the time. The author is Robert Kroese, and he has a number of books there as well. I'm just about to start on his Mercury books.

If anyone gets any use out of this, I'll post more that I've found. And if anyone else has found some good ones, please share.
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Old 26 June 2018, 06:54 PM
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I just updated my Excel spreadsheet of books read 2010-present last night with my KU experiences for the last 6 months; I'm at work now or I'd post the good stuff. Have a ceremony after work; hopefully I'll get some time tonight to do so. It's not completely bleak in KU land!

Yes, a spreadsheet, because it helps me find what I've read before a lot faster, and helps me make recommendations to friends who ask me for genre or author specific advice. The little handwritten note I used to carry around in my wallet for trips to Waldenbooks has long been overwhelmed!
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Old 27 June 2018, 03:23 AM
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OK, so: Kindle Unlimited books that I found weren't terrible. Some of this will be more or less a repeat of my list in "What Books Have You Been Reading" some months ago.

Yes, the "LitRPG" subgenre is also very prevalent in the searches for reading material, and a good deal of what I've sampled is not very readable. However, I did find one or two that were.... good enough? I guess. And yes, there is a hell of a lot of military SF. Again, much crap, but some good stuff as well (assuming g-you enjoys milSF, of course). What I've found so far:

Alanson, Craig: Expeditionary Force (series): military SF, but a fair amount of humor; pretty well written, 5 books so far plus at least one novella.

Bujold, Lois McMaster: "The Flowers of Vashnoi", a short story set in the Vorkosigan universe. SF.

Chandler, Mackey: Neither Here Nor There, and Paper or Plastic?. Two unrelated standalone SF novels, well-written and engaging, in the libertarian wish-fulfillment fantasy mode. Competent hero tries to escape the evil government via lucky discovery.

Currie, Evan: Superhuman (first novel in a superheroes series), and the Odyssey One milSF series, 7 books and counting. Good writing, fast-paced and enjoyable. The Odyssey One series has a LOT of action, mostly fleet combat but also ground, and has a significant.... supernatural? maybe? element that comes to the foreground in the last few books.

Ellis, Timothy: The Spacemage series, two books so far. An unusual combo of fantasy and SF. This one is on the lower tier of writing in the "acceptable" range; just good enough plus just interesting enough to make the cut.

Foner, E. M.: the Union Station series, at least 14 volumes so far, although I have only read the first 3 (the EarthCent Ambassador sub-series, I believe). SF/humor, very lighthearted and character driven in a kind of comedy of errors way, possibly reminiscent of those old Doris Day comedy movies.

Gualtieri, Rick: the Tome of Bill series, at least 8 books, plus some ancillary material that I haven't gotten to yet. Fantasy/horror/humor. Nerd gets turned into a vampire, is thrust into the weird underworld of fantasy monsters in the modern world. I am not much of a vampire fiction fan (that is, not at all), but I found this to be funny and well-written.

Haskell, Jeffery: the Arsenal superhero series. 5 books and counting. This is probably the best superhero series I've found, with a strong SF feel and a fair share of nerdy references.

Howard, Jonathan L.: "Mojito Doomsday: A Russalka Chronicle". A standalone short story in Howard's Russalka series, of which I have read none so far. Good SF.

Kloos, Marko: the Frontlines series, milSF, at least 6 books so far. Follows protagonist from life in crapsack world slum to officer in space forces. Well written, was also made into a comic book, apparently.

Krout, Dakota: the Divine Dungeon series, 3 books. LitRPG, "dungeon core" subgenre. Another one that is better in concept than in writing, but enough in both to keep it "acceptable". Unusual in not having any porn elements, or being completely first person (dungeon).

Nuttall, Christopher: the Angel in the Whirlwind series, milSF. Reads like pared-down David Weber's Honor Harrington series, with a lot less emphasis on the female protagonist and more time given to other characters. If you like Weber, but dread wading through hundreds of pages of prose to get tens of pages of story, this could work for you. Series also includes a standalone novel set in the same universe, The Hyperspace Trap, which is non-military.

Stewart, Glynn: the Duchy of Terra series, 3 volumes to date. Basically milSF, but it really reads more like straight SF that happens to have military elements. Well, to me, anyways. Very well written.

Taylor, Dennis: the Bobiverse series, 3 volumes to date. SF, humor. Modern guy becomes future AI and then von Neuman shenanigans ensue. The title of the first book, We Are Legion (We Are Bob), is a major clue as to the premise.


That's the free Kindle Unlimited stuff that passed my Threshold of the Worthwhile. Obviously, YMMV, depending on personal tastes.

Here's some print books that I have purchased the e-versions of, and were excellent; I think they count because I got them at a significant discount as a KU member:

Chambers, Becky: The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, and A Closed and Common Orbit. SF, the first two volumes in the Wayfarer series. Just excellent writing, very character-driven.

Gould, Stephen: Exo, the fourth book in the Jumper series. Good conclusion to the series.

Liu, Cixin: The Three-Body Problem and The Dark Forest. First two books in the Remembrance of Earth's Past trilogy. Incredible.

Miller, Jonathan R.: gravity breaker and the sequel, tallah. Not actually superhero, though it has the super powers element. Racial themes, excellent story, characters.

Miller, Tom: The Philosopher's Flight. Alternate history fantasy, gender role reversal.

O'Brien, K. M.: The Sculpted Ship. SF. Woman tries to bootstrap herself and her new spaceship into space and a career in trading. First in a proposed series.

O'Malley, Daniel: The Rook. Already read it in hardcover, but now own it on Kindle. SF/F/H/humor/spy/supers?? kind of? Breakout first novel, a bit hard to define. X-Men meets secret agents, maybe.

Scalzi, John: Head On. Second in his "Lock In" universe. SF.

Stross, Charles: The Delirium Brief. 8th in his Laundry series, SF/F/H/humor/spy/Lovecraft.

Tchaikovsky, Adrian: Children of Time and The Private Life of Elder Things (anthology; editor and main contributor). The former is hard SF and mind-blowing; the second contains several Cthulhu mythos stories by Tchaikovsky and two other writers.

Weekes, Patrick: the Rogues of the Republic trilogy (The Palace Job, The Prophecy Con, and The Paladin Caper). Fantasy/heist pastiche/humor.
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Old 27 June 2018, 11:46 AM
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I've enjoyed the Starship Mage books by Glynn Stewart.

Also the Magician books by Charlie Holmberg. The Paper Magician is the first.

Sufficiently Advanced Magic and its sequel are enjoyable LitRPGs.

If you've never read H M Hoover, her stuff -YA science fiction- has been released on kindleunlimited. I recommend This Time of Darkness.
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Old 27 June 2018, 03:02 PM
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I too love Sci-Fi and KU. I also have read just as many non-KU so I may end up listing some of those:

The Simpleton (book 1) - Mark Wayne McGinnis
The Simpleton Quest (book 2) - Mark Wayne McGinnis
Boy Gone - Mark Wayne McGinnis
Space.Man - Robert F. Phillips
The Wrong Unit - Rob Dircks (LOVED this)
Scythe, Thunderhead (Arc of a Scythe series) - Neal Shusterman

There are some others but I'll have to come back and post them!
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Old 27 June 2018, 03:05 PM
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I too love Sci-Fi and KU. I also have read just as many non-KU so I may end up listing some of those:

The Simpleton (book 1) - Mark Wayne McGinnis
The Simpleton Quest (book 2) - Mark Wayne McGinnis
Boy Gone - Mark Wayne McGinnis
Space.Man - Robert F. Phillips
The Wrong Unit - Rob Dircks (LOVED this)
Scythe, Thunderhead (Arc of a Scythe series) - Neal Shusterman

There are some others but I'll have to come back and post them!

Edit to add:

The Recognition Run: Recognition Book 1 - Henry Vogel
The Recognition Rejection: Recognition Book 2 - Henry Vogel
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Old 27 June 2018, 04:29 PM
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Can any of you recommend more authors who don't write series? I find I'm pretty over every new book I pick up being part of a series.

Seaboe
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Old 27 June 2018, 04:52 PM
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Joe Hart writes a number of stand-alone novels (and some series). They tend towards to horror/thriller genre with some dystopian themes.
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Old 27 June 2018, 07:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seaboe Muffinchucker View Post
Can any of you recommend more authors who don't write series? I find I'm pretty over every new book I pick up being part of a series.

Seaboe
What genre are you looking for? I can't think of one in sci-fi/fantasy. If you are looking for suspense/thrillers, Rhys Bowen has some good ones that I don't think are part of a series, but she also does a bunch of series, so they may just be the first books in new series. For horror, I've enjoyed a standalone books by Christian Galacar (Gilchrist), and am planning on another one of his once I finish a few others in line.
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Old 27 June 2018, 07:50 PM
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For nonfiction, a few of Timothy Egan's books are available on Kindle Unlimited. IIRC, The Worst Hard Times about the Dustbowl, The Big Burn about a major wildfire that led to the creation of the BLM, and Short Nights of the Shadowcatcher about the photographer Edward Curtis are all available.
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Old 27 June 2018, 08:46 PM
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Darth: I read a lot of SF & Fantasy. I'm looking for new authors, which is part of why I don't want series. I don't read horror.

Crocoduck, thank you. I've become very fond of non-fiction. I really wanted to download The Black Death by Philip Ziegler, because I read it when I was a kid, but although Kindle claimed it was available, it wasn't really. Just a short essay summarizing the book.

Seaboe
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Old 28 June 2018, 05:50 PM
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Huh. I was going to recommend Please Don't Tell My Parents I'm A Supervillain by Richard Roberts as a funny teen superhero story, but it looks like the author's taken all his stuff off Kindle Unlimited.

If you still want to check it out, I only recommend the first book: the rest never manage to be as good and the plot becomes increasingly bizarre and badly implemented with obvious filler and shocking swerves just to drag things out longer.
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Old 30 June 2018, 01:06 PM
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If, like me, you can't stay away from true Bigfoot stories, Rusty Wilson has some of the best stories out there. But stay away from the one on Bigfoot runes.
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Old 02 July 2018, 01:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seaboe Muffinchucker View Post
Can any of you recommend more authors who don't write series? I find I'm pretty over every new book I pick up being part of a series.Seaboe
Of the authors I posted that I had read only series books, the following have at least one standalone book on KU (note that I have not read any of the following, at least as of yet; this is just simple research on Amazon. Also note that not all of these books are free):

Alanson, Craig - Aces (SF)

Currie, Evan: Steam Legion (F/alt history), Seal Team 13 (mil Horror), and Thermals (future technothriller)

Foner, E. M.: Turing Test (SF), and Meghan's Dragon (F)

Nuttall, Christopher: Thunder and Lightning (milSF), Team Omega (supers), maybe more. Very prolific, 14 pages of books listed! but almost all series, a fair number coauthored as well.

Stewart, Glynn: City in the Sky (F), Children of Prophecy (F)


I think part of what we're seeing here is that some of the series authors are writing shorter books to get published faster to make money/gain publicity faster so they can write more. If they didn't have to grind it out so quickly, I'd bet that some of these series would be shorter or nonexistant - just a thick book, maybe two. A lot of the "books" I've read have been fairly short, as books go. On the other hand, some of the series are so popular with readers, that the authors kind of have to keep cranking out new entries to please the fans and bring in the bucks.

Last edited by Crius of CoH; 02 July 2018 at 01:53 AM.
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Old 02 July 2018, 03:58 AM
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Yeah, I've seen a lot of stuff on Kindle Unlimited that's a "trilogy" that's three short books that in a more traditional format would likely have been edited into a single volume were they published as a physical book ten or twenty years ago.

Also, way, way too many books that end on cliffhangers.
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