Tag Archives: sci-fi book review

Hobson’s Void by Simon Jones Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

The consequences surrounding one’s choices become the central theme of a story about a young woman and her friend who find themselves questioning their place in a brutal society and the fate that will put their world in their hands in author Simon Jones’s “Hobson’s Void”.

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The Synopsis

Picking fruit on a farm one day, deciding the fate of humanity a few days later. A harrowing journey of discovery in between.

Leena is a young, small-town woman, known for her questioning nature yet destined to live out her life like the others: in servitude to the Bright One, under the guidance of the Vicar.

Suffused with holy purpose, the Vicar demands the neighboring towns be ‘cleansed’, for through him the Bright One speaks. His townspeople are faithful and will follow.

Mord, a hard, hard woman, head of the Vicar’s Blackcoats, leads the way without hesitation or mercy.

Floss, Leena’s best friend, has doubts. These doubts will run them afoul of Mord and the Vicar.

Over the next few days, Leena will be tested to the limits of her body and spirit, discover secrets unknown to humanity, and come to understand the nature of her world.

Because the world wants her to make a choice.

The Review

This was such a powerful and incredible sci-fi and YA read. The author perfectly captures the almost feverish mob mentality that small, rural religious townspeople can pitch themselves into when their everyday life and wellbeing are dependent on the words of their local religious leaders. The commentary on blind faith versus awareness and the consequences of our actions and choices that this novel makes was truly phenomenal. The balance found between the religious fervor and the scientific discovery and sci-fi tropes the author blended beautifully into the narrative was divine, pun intended. 

The character development was exceptional in this novel, especially concerning the protagonist Leena and the character Mord. Each of these women seemed to be reflections of the same coin, with Leena showing the struggles of a lifetime of faith clashing with her own moral compass and the discovery of the truth behind the blind faith she’d been told to exhibit, and then Mord, who revealed the consequences of blind faith and the dark path it can lead towards when one’s conviction in their faith ironically brings them closer to the darkness they are so sure they are combating. 

The Verdict

Entertaining, thought-provoking, and powerful, author Simon Jones’s “Hobson’s Void” is a must-read novel of 2022 for all fans of sci-fi and YA action reads! The depth of the character development elevates the sci-fi action and tropes. The incredible world-building and mythos that the author constructed perfectly captured the powerful and soulful themes of blind faith, choices, and consequences. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Simon is a writer, conversationalist, and author (not always in that order) of the new novel Hobson’s Void. 

With three decades of dreaming while on the job, Simon has amassed a multitude of science fiction and fantasy stories. Working in a hospital laundry (for example), mindful to avoid flinging around the blood of dead people while sorting through their used bedsheets, offered ample opportunity for inspiration. Some of those mental wanderings even turned into completed stories. 

Sitting at a computer, writing his next novel or, sometimes, actually working for a living, is usually where you will find him. Sometimes, bravely, Simon will venture outside with his wife, two kids, and a dog, for a play on their lifestyle property. Resolutely ignoring the lengthening grass. 

https://gibbonstales.com/

Spark by Pat Daily Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A young man searching for answers finds himself searching a virtual world for gamers that harbor a dark secret beneath the surface in author Pat Daily’s “Spark”.

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The Synopsis

In his mother’s last letter, she wrote, “Find me. Save me.” And Will Kwan had heard those words before. He’d heard them in a video game.

Solar Prime Augmented Reality Park, or SPARK, is a theme park for gamers: a sprawling virtual reality complex with quests and games that appeal to all ages. But beneath the surface, SPARK harbors many a secret.

When sixteen-year-old Will has to escape the foster system, SPARK, is his destination. “Find me. Save me.” What had his mother meant? At SPARK, he runs headlong into the force of nature known as Feral Daughter, another runaway who has chosen to make SPARK her home and her life. As their friendship grows, Will beigins to walk a path that will unveil not only the secrets of SPARK, but also a whole new perception of his world.

So, when terrorists threaten his new home and new friend, Will cannot stand idly by. Can Will finally get his closure? Or will SPARK be destroyed, along with the new life he has built?

The Review

If you were to combine West World, Ready Player One and Peter Pan’s Never Land into one story, it would be author Pat Daily’s “Spark”. The expertly woven narrative does an incredible job of balancing out the themes of finding family and the hero’s journey to find one’s place in the world with the action and suspense of the narrative. The imagery and detailed deep dive into this futuristic technology and the near-future really did a great job of giving readers a clear picture of the story unfolding.

The thing that stood out to me was the depth of character development that the author was able to flesh out throughout this narrative. In such a grand and tech-heavy narrative, the balance that was struck between the action and the personal histories and emotions these characters evoke made this a wonderful story. In particular, Will’s story is so heartbreaking and engaging, and even the history of the second Korean War that the author introduces and how it impacts everyone involved felt like a much-needed call-back to the aftermath of the first Korean War around the world. 

The Verdict

Brilliant, captivating, and engaging, author Pat Daily’s “Spark” is a must-read sci-fi narrative. The heart-pounding action and shocking twists and turns in the story will keep readers on the edge of their seats, while the emotional character growth each character faces will have readers emotionally invested throughout. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Pat Daily is an engineer and former Air Force test pilot who worked at NASA’s Johnson Space Center on both the Space Shuttle and International Space Station programs. 

When not writing or trying to bring new airplane designs to life, Pat can be found gaming online. He is a fan of role-playing games—particularly, open worlds with engaging storylines where actions have consequences. 

Pat and his wife spent twenty years in Houston before moving to Central Washington. 

https://feraldaughters.wordpress.com/

Mixed Realities: 7 Stories That Will Make You Question the Universe by Naomi Augustine Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

In a reality in which reality itself is proven to be a simulation and parallel worlds coexist with one another in the “system”, author Naomi Augustine explores the most puzzling, challenging, and captivating sci-fi and true scientific theories of our time in the book “Mixed Realities: 7 Stories That Will Make You Question the Universe.” 

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The Synopsis

Get ready for a mind-bending thriller that will make you question reality as you know it. “Mixed Realities” is a collection of stories that poke at the squishy parts of our universe, human understanding, and our relationship with technology. Illustrated QR codes are embedded throughout the book to let you listen to the soundtrack on the fly.

Don’t trust your senses. Don’t even trust your measuring equipment. Reality is not what it seems.

Physicists were right. It turns out we live in a giant computer simulation and our world isn’t the only one. There are many others. In one world, climate change threatens humanity. A 10-year old refugee befriends an artificial intelligence in a city full of holograms and works together to solve the crisis. In another, an anti-social college student becomes suspicious of the existence of parallel worlds and figures out how to cross over. With the help of his new online friends, they set out to unravel the mystery behind the simulation and its mischievous architect. The perfect book for readers of science-fiction, “Mixed Realities” will challenge and entertain readers with each page.

The Review

What a powerful and moving collection of sci-fi short stories. The blend of technological marvels and themes of what it means to be human, the importance of real connections, and the definition of reality, all come together in a beautifully woven collection that spans over the course of a mind-bending narrative landscape. The characters are the perfect way of infusing humanity, hope, and emotion into the story as well, as each short story finds the right harmonious chord between the theme and the emotional connection the reader has to the people within these stories. 

The ideas and concepts that this narrative explores are not only unique but scientific theories and concepts that have fascinated me in particular for years. From the real-world impact, AR and AI technologies are already having on our modern world, to the idea behind the Multiverse and how it relates to our understanding of the universe as a whole, these themes are not only interesting but thought-provoking in their approach to the genre.

The Verdict

A beautiful and captivating road filled with hope, tragedy, and endless possibilities, author Naomi Augustine’s “Mixed Realities” is a must-read collection of short stories. The perfect balance of character development and theoretical exploration, this twisty navigation of the possibilities that exist within the confines of the sci-fi genre makes this collection just so entertaining to read. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Naomi Augustine grew up in Japan and has a bachelor’s in physics from the University of California, Berkeley. She has spent the last 15 years as a physicist, game producer, and Augmented Reality R&D Lead at companies such as Raytheon, Riot Games, and Magic Leap. There she led the research, envisioning, and design of city-scaled use cases of AR. Her work has been deployed in areas of urban planning and climate change in partnership with the United Nations Development Program. She is currently the co-founder of QXR Studios, specializing in augmented and extended reality (AR/XR) storytelling in Los Angeles.

https://www.naomiaugustine.com/mixedrealities

Kwelengsen Storm: Logan’s World, Book One by David M. Kelly Review Due

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A brutal attack on a lone settlement on an alien world leaves one man struggling for survival and fighting against a powerful enemy in author David M. Kelly’s “Kwelengsen Storm: Logan’s World, Book One”.

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The Synopsis

You can turn your back on war, but sometimes it refuses to let you go.

When Logan Twofeathers takes on the job of head of engineering on Kwelengsen, the first habitable planet discovered by Earth, he thinks he’s leaving conflict far behind. But when he investigates the loss of a deep-space communications relay, his ship is attacked and crash-lands back on the planet.

With his new home destroyed by the invaders, Logan is stranded deep in the frozen mountains with an injured sergeant who hates him almost as much as the enemy. Against the ever-present threat of capture, he must battle his way through icy surroundings in a treacherous attempt to find his wife.

And when he’s forced to ally himself with a disparate group of soldiers and their uncompromising captain, Logan must face the reality that he may have lost everything—and everyone—he loves. Will he choose to fight? And what will it cost him?

Kwelengsen Storm is the first in a gripping, new sci-fi thriller series from the author of the Joe Ballen novels.

The Review

This gritty and captivating sci-fi read was so engaging from the outset. The balance of sci-fi action with emotional storytelling was perfect to read. When an invasion story takes place, the sci-fi narrative focuses on Earth as the invaded world, but it was so refreshing to see this alien world become the home that was being fought over, and the “invaders” were a lot more similar to the people of the settlement than most invasion narratives. 

The author really did an excellent job of crafting a narrative that felt vibrant and alive while developing such a rich protagonist that readers could root for while feeling the emotional depth of their plight. Logan Twofeathers is a fantastic character that helps explore some of the novel’s deeper themes, from the impact of violence on a person’s mind, the need for hope in desperate situations, and the harm that comes from those who cannot look beyond the things that keep people divided. 

The Verdict

An incredibly well-written, entertaining, and brilliant piece of deep sci-fi reading, author David M. Kelly’s “Kwelengsen Storm” is a must-read novel. The perfect start to Logan’s World Series, the novel pushes the protagonist to his limits and highlights the weight that survival can bring to a person. The action and suspense surrounding the reason behind this invasion will have readers on the edge of their seats, and by the book’s final pages, the cliffhanger ending will leave readers desperate for more. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

David M. Kelly writes fast-paced, near-future sci-fi thrillers with engaging characters, cynical humor, and (mostly!) plausible science. He is the author of the Joe Ballen series (Mathematics of Eternity, Perimeter, Transformation Protocol, and Intersection), the Logan’s World series, and the Hyperia Jones sci-fi humor series.

David’s interest in science and technology began early. At the age of six his parents allowed him to stay up late into the night to watch the television broadcast of Neil Armstrong stepping on to the surface of the moon. From that day he was hooked on everything related to science and space.

An avid reader, he worked his way through the contents of the mobile library that visited his street, progressing through YA titles (or ‘juveniles’ as they were known back then) on to the classics of Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, and Harry Harrison.

David worked for many years in project management and software development. Along the way his interests have included IPSC combat (target) pistol shooting, crew chief on a drag racing team, and several years as bass player/vocalist in a heavy rock band. He also managed to fit in some real work in manual jobs from digging ditches and work on production lines to loading trucks in a haulage company.

Originally from the wild and woolly region of Yorkshire, England, David emigrated to Canada in 2005 and settled in Northern Ontario with his patient and supportive wife, Hilary. Foot surgery in 2014 temporarily curtailed many of his favourite activities – hiking, camping, piloting his own personal starfighter (otherwise known as a Corvette ZR-1). But on the plus side, it meant a transition from the world of IT into life as a full-time writer—an opportunity he grasped enthusiastically.

David is passionate about science, especially astronomy and physics, and is a rabid science news follower. Never short of an opinion, David writes about science and technology on his blog davidmkelly.net. He has supported various charity projects such as the Smithsonian’s Reboot The Suit and the Lowell Observatory Pluto Telescope Restoration. He also contributes to citizen science projects such as SETI@home.

After Io by Elliot Wink Review

A routine mining expedition turns deadly and the fight for survival turns friends into foes in author Elliot Wink’s sci-fi novel, “After Io”, the first in the Far Light series!

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The Synopsis

Bryn Michaels is a pilot on the spaceship Persika and she has just killed her captain.

The crew of the Persika was hired to mine platinum ore on Io, but the simple job becomes complicated when their drill malfunctions. Although the crew agrees to head back to the space station with the job unfinished, they don’t make it far before something greater threatens the safety of the ship and its crew.

Bryn is determined to survive, but as she takes steps to ensure her rescue, she begins to wonder if the cost of survival is too great.

After Io is the first book in The Far Light Series by Elliott Wink.

The Review

The suspense and intrigue are felt immediately with the author’s very first sentence. The tension and haunting quality of the character development are prevalent as the opening chapter sets the stage for the direction the novel is going. The character growth was crucial to this novel’s narrative, as the closeness and emotional bond the captain has for her crew elevates the danger and sadness of the ship’s situation, while the fear and chilling nature of isolation in space and the need to survive make Bryn a tragic figure. 

The way the author leaned so heavily into the sci-fi genre was not only entertaining but was well-balanced with characters that were relatable and themes of survival that readers could become invested in. Forgoing any alien themes or more heavy AI-style sci-fi for well-developed characters and a narrative that could fit in any genre actually made the setting and tone of the sci-fi-themed story feel more vibrant and engaging to the reader.

The Verdict

Emotional, haunting, and captivating, author Elliot Wink’s “After Io” is a must-read sci-fi novel! The twists and turns in the novel that bring Bryn to the breaking point of killing her captain will have readers entranced, while the heartfelt bond the captain had with the crew will keep readers invested as the final pages play out. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

I’m a science fiction and fantasy writer with a day job. I’ve been teaching English for nearly a decade, so I spend my days analyzing writing with my students and my nights putting my own pen to paper.

I have a master’s in psychology and I find people fascinating, so I usually spend a lot of time in my characters’ heads. Whether that character is drifting through outer space, navigating through a dystopian future, or in another universe entirely, they are unlikely to escape the nature of the human condition when it comes to my stories. We are human, even when we are forging through the unknown.

I live with my very supportive husband and tri-color collie-pit mix in Northern California. When I’m not writing or watching movies, you might find me on the golf course or cooking elaborate, celiac-friendly meals.

https://www.elliottwink.com/

Flotsam (Peridot Shift Book 1) by R.J. Theodore Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

What promises to be a simple and easy payday turns into a planetary battle for survival as a small crew aboard an airship discovers an ancient ring and a deadly secret that brings an armada of different enemies knocking on their doors in author R.J. Theodore’s “Flotsam”, the first book in the Peridot Shift series.

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The Synopsis

A fantastical steampunk first contact novel that ties together high magic, high technology, and bold characters to create a story you won’t soon forget.

Captain Talis just wants to keep her airship crew from starving, and maybe scrape up enough cash for some badly needed repairs. When an anonymous client offers a small fortune to root through a pile of atmospheric wreckage, it seems like an easy payday. The job yields an ancient ring, a forbidden secret, and a host of deadly enemies.

Now on the run from cultists with powerful allies, Talis needs to unload the ring as quickly as possible. Her desperate search for a buyer and the fallout from her discovery leads to a planetary battle between a secret society, alien forces, and even the gods themselves.

Talis and her crew have just one desperate chance to make things right before their potential big score destroys them all.

The Review

I absolutely loved this book. As a sucker for genre mashups, I truly enjoyed getting to see this blend of sci-fi, steampunk, and fantasy all blended into one epic story of adventure, secrets, and camaraderie. The world-building the author utilized here was fantastic, giving readers a great sense of imagery as this world was brought to life while still leaving enough room for readers to want more backstory and history in future installments. The balance of mythos that went into the story with the character’s personal growth was amazing to watch unfold here and gave readers so much to absorb as the story went on.

The characters themselves were so diverse and fantastic to read. The complicated history and pasts of these characters were well fleshed out in the novel, and never felt like the exploration of these pasts ever took away from the main plot. The action was great, as the narrative took on a very cinematic quality and made this first book feel like the first season of a new streaming show steampunk and sci-fi fantasy fans are craving right now.

The Verdict

A memorable, entertaining, and brilliant steampunk and sci-fi fantasy novel, author R.J. Theodore’s “Flotsam” is the perfect first novel in a brand new series! The rich history and mythology the author built here with a cast of characters readers can’t help but care for and brilliant action makes this genre-bending novel a true standout. If you haven’t yet, be sure to preorder this novel or grab your copy on February 1st, 2022. 

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

R J Theodore is an author, graphic designer, podcaster, and all-around collector of creative endeavors and hobbies. She enjoys writing about magic-infused technologies, first contact events, and bioluminescing landscapes.

Her love of SFF storytelling developed through grabbing for anything-and-everything “unicorn” as a child, but she was subverted by tales of distant solar systems when her brother introduced her to Star Trek: The Next Generation at age seven. A few years later, Sailor Moon taught her stories can have both.

She lives in New England, haunted by her childhood cat.

https://rjtheodore.com/

Wind Master (Elementals of Nordica Book 2) by T.C. Marti Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A young man with powerful abilities must learn to harness and control his gifts as his friends and allies are captured on various worlds housed by powerful foes in author T.C. Marti’s “Wind Master”, the second book in the Elementals of Nordica series.

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The Synopsis

Welcome to the Five Worlds…

…Where notorious global superpowers have full control

Sion Zona narrowly escaped Tamuria’s wrath. But the empire has taken some of the brewing war’s most important elementals prisoner. Sion was told Tamuria’s prisons were unplottable. What he didn’t realize was that unplottable indicated different worlds.

And each prison within those worlds belongs to their respective global superpowers.

Fighting one superpower was hard enough, and it didn’t end well for Sion. Fighting multiple superpowers singlehandedly to rescue those allies is a death sentence. So unless he learns a thing or two about his evolving gifts, not everyone will survive the encounter.

Wind Master is Book II in Elementals of Nordica, an exciting speculative fantasy fused with science fiction. If you love elemental magic, genre-bending, complex plots, and sword and sorcery with a contemporary twist, Wind Master is a MUST READ.

The Review

Immediately, I am struck by how seamless and natural the genre mashups the author deployed in this narrative felt as the story progressed. The world-building and the layers of mythology the author added and peeled back for the reader to behold was truly awe-inspiring, and did a tremendous job of creating an atmosphere of fantasy and sci-fi that felt like the natural progression this fictional world deserved. 

Yet it was the way the author managed to balance out this stories more fantastic elements with emotional, personal, and relatable character growth and development, especially from characters like Sion, Cora, and others. The revelation of the Nine’s purpose and their goals against the government’s schemes was so fascinating to read, and getting to see the infusion of these various stylistic elements into the narrative made it feel very cinematic in its delivery.

The Verdict

The X-Men meets The Witcher, author T.C. Marti’s “Wind Master” is a must-read sci-fi fantasy and the perfect sequel. The author did a great job of building upon the bones of the first novel while keeping the story and characters fresh and well balanced. The twists and turns in the narrative and the brilliant imagery the narrative held made this story come to life in such a vivid way. If you haven’t yet, be sure to preorder or grab your own copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

TC Marti has been an avid reader/writer for over three decades. He is the author of the Elementals Universe, a shared speculative fiction universe spanning multiple series. He is also a workout fanatic and a fan of Arizona sports teams.

White Ops (White Ops Book 1) by Declan Finn Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

The galaxy’s most dangerous human must gather a group of heroes to face an impending threat from behind the shadows of the known universe as war breaks out and a powerful race begins its deadly test against the galaxy in author Declan Finn’s “White Ops”, the first book in the series of the same name.

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The Synopsis

The Pharmakoi rampaged across dozens of star systems, taking on the toughest races in the Galaxy in their campaign of conquest. But they are only the beginning.

Sean Patrick Ryan sees that another race is behind the Pharmakoi expansion ; a race that wants to test our galaxy for weakness, and who needs to be eliminated from within. To fight the enemy in the shadows, Sean will put together a strike team to light up the darkness— with nukes if necessary.

They will get the job done at any cost.

They will be White Ops.

The Review

I can only describe this book as the ultimate sci-fi opera meets space western meets sci-fi military action-adventure all blended into one epic sci-fi tale. Simple, right? For such a lengthy read, the author did such an incredible job of writing in a way that allowed the action and mythos that the author created for this universe to flow smoothly and keep the reader on the edge of their seat, eager to jump into the next chapter of this story.

The balance the author found between the humorous dialogue and observations in the narrative with the rich sci-fi mythos and fully-developed character arcs of several characters made this story so brilliant. The exploration of not just a single moment but several years of this growing war effort and the infusion of both politics and action allowed readers to feel connected to the setting and the narrative’s atmosphere overall, creating a very cinematic quality that readers will fall in love with.

The Verdict

An entertaining, adrenaline-fueled, and breathtaking sci-fi epic, author Declan Finn’s “White Ops” is the perfect opening chapter of a new sci-fi saga. With a memorable cast of characters, a developing shadowy evil threatening the universe still, and a cliffhanger of an ending, readers are going to be eager to learn more about the book’s sequel ASAP. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Declan Finn is the NYC based author of books ranging from thrillers to urban fantasy to SciFi, including the 2016 Dragon Award Nominated Novel for Best horror, Honor at Stake, 2017 for Live and Let Bite, and 2018 for Codename: Unsub in best Apocalypse. He is known for “his strong fight scenes and is romance novels are sexy without being dirty, providing enough sexual tension to curl toes.”

He hosts the Catholic Geek Radio show, and can be found wherever someone is starting trouble. He also writes thrillers, video game reviews, and works for several blogs.

He is one of a legion of writers over at The Catholic Geeks blog (a legion, for we are many). Other books he has written includes the comedy-thriller It Was Only on Stun! where he blows up a sci-fi convention (no, not this one). He co-authored the science fiction espionage novel Codename: Winterborn. However, he is most proud of The Pius Trilogy – which includes “A Pius Man,” “A Pius Legacy,” “A Pius Stand,” and an anthology, “Pius Tales.”

http://www.declanfinn.com/

Cherish (The Valespian Pact Book 4) by Lexi Ander

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

TRIGGER WARNING: violence, captivity, experimentation/not shown, physical trauma, death of unnamed character/not shown, talk of suicide, suicide not on page, death of chicks when eggs go cold

The history of Destin and the GyrFalconi Society are explored as fans of The Valespian Pact series are sent over a century into the past in author Lexi Ander’s “Cherish”, the fourth book in this sci-fi romance series.

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The Synopsis

Saving a life can change the course of history.

Destin is torn away from his chicks and his bonded when the Terrens invade Aries 7. Experimented on in Terren labs, and made to work their mines, the GyrFalconi struggle to survive. Destin becomes their caretaker, endeavoring to save as many as possible, despite the emotional toll. Amidst the battle for survival, the universe shines on him and he bonds with not one but four people who give him a reason to keep fighting. When Valespia sends its Legions to the GyrFalconi’s aid, Destin and his bonded are eventually freed, only to face new cruelties from their own people.

Freedom comes with its own trials, though, as a divide forms in GyrFalconi society between the winged and the wingless. Destin and his bonded are given a chance at true happiness and they keep what they claim, no matter what.

Tags: The Twenty-Year War where Terrens really mucked things up, so many hatchlings, Love not Lust (yes, using caps there seemed necessary), survivors, bisexual characters, all the cute hatchlings, talking to spirits, low heat, protective chantelle, evil empress, courageous stags, polyamorous, Destin keeps collecting bonded, avian species screech… a lot, non-human ace spectrum characters, found family, underestimated batore, so many stags, Mar’Sani mentor, did I mention the cutest chicks ever?

CHERISH is the fourth book in the award-winning Valespian Pact series. Trigger warnings can be found in the Author’s Note. Please download a sample of this book or use the Look Inside feature. 196,000 words.

The Review

This was such an emotional and tumultuous roller-coaster of emotions as a reader. The author did such an amazing job of delving into the depths of the soul and exploring both the best and worst life has to offer. The world-building and vast amount of cultural development the author deployed into this narrative was astounding, really fleshing out the history of series-established characters like Destin and finally witnessing events hinted at in the series. Now I definitely think readers will be better off having read previous entries into the series so that these events and characters are better understood in the context of this fictional universe. However, the author did an amazing job conveying enough emotion and storytelling for these characters to make the reader feel invested in their journeys. 

While this novel definitely starts out as a slow-burn kind of storytelling, the second half of the novel ramps up the twists and turns that allow readers to suddenly sit up in their seats and do a double-take, as the connection with these characters becomes more gripping as the plot thickens. As seen at the beginning of this review, there are some hard subject lines in this novel, but the author does a great job of handling them with care and showing the importance of these issues without being too graphic in detail, striking an important balance between a story’s theme and narrative that is so important and found often in the sci-fi romance genre.

The Verdict

A memorable, heartfelt, and engaging sci-fi romance, author Lexi Ander’s “Cherish” is a must-read novel. The mythos and LGBTQ-driven character development, along with truly important themes and explorations of finding hope and family in the darkest of times is something truly special, and readers will not be able to put this book down once they really sit down and get into it. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

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Now here is an exclusive guest post from author Lexi Ander on the tropes found in “Cherish”

Thank you for having me today! I’m absolutely thrilled about Cherish’s release. I was asked about what tropes Cherish used and I blanked for a moment because I don’t intentionally write to cover specific tropes. I actually had to look for a list of tropes to see which ones were in Cherish because I could only come up with Found Family.

I seem to write a lot about found family. Zeus’s attachment to the crew of the Oethra 7 is found family. He wanted to keep them with him and ended up finding a way for most of them to return with him to Atlainticia. Sohm’lan has parents who love him, but the Vondorians also claim his love and loyalty. Destin finds part of his future family in captivity. This finding people to love is something I write into most if not all my stories. For me, it’s just a part of life and living—though Destin does seem to collect more people than any other person I have written about. He has a big heart and a lot of love to give.

What are some other tropes found in Cherish? Big Character / Little Character. Batores are shorter/smaller than chantelle and stags. Second Chances is another trope that can be found in the book. This is a pretty strong theme throughout the story that touches several different situations. Egg-preg (an Mpreg trope) is also in the book but it’s not the same thing that you find in a lot of shifter/omegaverse stories. It’s very different and isn’t typical of the stories that use this particular trope. Forbidden Love… GyrFalconi have very traditional ideas of what a family nest looks like, and Cherish breaks down the boundaries because the survivors no longer care about society’s expectations. The Badass Hero trope. You know, I really like writing some variation of that trope. Sohm’lan really fits that trope, but in Cherish, the badass heroes were more subtle. It was the ‘small’ things they did that made them heroes and not because they were swashbuckling their way through the plot. 🙂 The Families/Raising Kids trope. It’s sort of hard to have the egg-preg trope and not have the Family/kids trope. They usually go hand-in-hand. And I think that is all the tropes you can find in Cherish. I might have missed one though. LOL

Reading-wise, I like to read Friends-to-Lovers, Arranged Marriages/Marriage of Convenience, Mpreg outside the omegaverse especially if its tipped on its head, and I always love a Badass Hero… oh, there’s a new trope that I heard about, the Badass Cinnamon Roll. I really like that one because I love sweet characters and when they get all protective and growly it’s the cutest thing ever, in my opinion. 

I hope you found this interesting! This is a bit of geeky-fun for me. Check out Cherish and don’t forget to enter the giveaway. 

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Cherish - Lexi Ander

Lexi Ander has a new LGBTQ+ space opera out, The Valespian Pact book 4 (Ace, Demi, Bi, Poly): Cherish. And there’s a great giveaway!

Saving a life can change the course of history.

Destin is torn away from his chicks and his bonded when the Terrens invade Aries 7. Experimented on in Terren labs, and made to work their mines, the GyrFalconi struggle to survive. Destin becomes their caretaker, endeavoring to save as many as possible, despite the emotional toll. Amidst the battle for survival, the universe shines on him and he bonds with not one but four people who give him a reason to keep fighting. When Valespia sends its Legions to the GyrFalconi’s aid, Destin and his bonded are eventually freed, only to face new cruelties from their own people.

Freedom comes with its own trials, though, as a divide forms in GyrFalconi society between the winged and the wingless. Destin and his bonded are given a chance at true happiness and they keep what they claim, no matter what.

Warnings: violence, captivity, experimentation/not shown, physical trauma, death of unnamed character/not shown, talk of suicide, suicide not on page, death of chicks when eggs go cold.

Amazon | Tolino | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | QueeRomance Ink | Liminal Fiction | Smashwords


Giveaway

Lexi is giving away three $20 Amazon gift cards with this tour:

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Excerpt

Cherish meme

Dashing tears from his eyes, he finished packing a small but heavy satchel. Alaina and Paxx waited for him in the receiving room holding large, overstuffed bags. At least they were not flying any great distance. The door was open to the balcony and the sight beyond confirmed their reality like nothing else could. Transports large and small zipped between the tall spires of this residential quarter of Skylight. The buildings were hundreds of floors tall with every roost boasting a balcony or three for landing. Usually, municipal transports flew above the spires, but these originated from the base of the buildings where the personal transports were stored.

The aircraft were not the only traffic. GyrFalconi flew everywhere, either singly or in small flocks, and there was a lot of swerving and near collisions, the people too panicked to pay attention. A lead weight formed in Destin’s stomach and a sense of urgency whispered that they needed to hurry. At least his parents’ rookery was only a couple spires over.

“Stay close to me,” he warned. The fledglings’ eyes were round with dawning fear as they observed the chaos. Paxx and Alaina nodded vigorously.

Clutching the pack to his chest, Destin sprinted and leaped off the balcony, his wings spread as he tested the air for a wind to glide on while he waited for his fledglings to catch up. They carried more, so they dropped quicker and had to flap hard to reach him, their burdens clutched to their chests. Destin spiraled down to the building’s lower floors, hoping that the air there would be less travelled, and he was right. As long as they stayed above the storage levels, they would not cross many individual flyers.

A few minutes later, they reached his parents’ building. Destin searched for his mahen’s storage garage where she and his dahen would be waiting. All the bay doors were open and the interiors empty. He did not need to read the labels, since his mahen, Akela de la Zudora, stood in the opening to her bay watching for them. Her golden-brown feathers were streaked with a darker brown that made her look severe when her feathers were clapped tight to her crown. Her brown-ringed black eyes held a wealth of worry as well as a touch of fear, which abated when her gaze landed on them.

Destin circled around behind his fledglings and made them land first. Both immediately went to Akela when their feet touched the floor. She wrapped them in a calming embrace as she clicked her nose-plate to theirs. His dahen, Imrie, rushed from the transport when Destin set down. Imrie’s long, sweeping gray-tipped pink feathers were ruffled in the strong breeze that pushed into the bay. The pink contrasted beautifully with his ebony skin. Of all the Aries collectives, Destin thought his dahen’s feather coloring the prettiest. His own were red feathers dusted with the broody black of Aries 1. When he was much younger, he’d wished he had the pretty pinks of Aries 4 like his da. Destin had outgrown such vanities and he was content with his coloring, though he still thought the red and black was somber.

Imrie grabbed his face and clicked his hard yellow nose-plate against Destin’s. “Where is Dena?” he asked softly enough that the chicks did not hear.

Destin refused to answer, not wanting to bring to the fledglings’ attention that he and their mahen were at odds. Imrie’s blue eyes narrowed with comprehension, and Destin did not envy the dressing down that his dahen would give Dena when he saw her next.

His parents’ personal transport was a modest five-person pipit. Glancing inside, food stores were crammed into every available space, leaving just enough room in the back for Destin’s fledglings. They would be holding their overstuffed burdens in their laps since there was no other room to store the bags.

“I think we can make room for you,” Mahen said, coming up behind him. But they could not and still eat. There were questions about whether the sky-cities receiving refugees would have enough foodstuff to feed everyone. Destin would not have his family going hungry when there was a seat for him on another transport.

“Dena made arrangements for me,” he replied. Akela pursed her lips, sweeping her gaze over him and the fledglings as if to say, ‘yes, my son, I can see the accommodations your bonded has made.’ He forged on. “Speaking of, they are waiting on me. I am already several minutes late.”

His chicks made frantic noises. They were all talk about building a nest of their own, but here they were, not wanting to be separated from him. It warmed Destin’s heart more than it should have. Perhaps Dena was correct, and he was holding onto the fledglings too tightly. He wrapped each chick in his arms, reminded of how much larger they were when he tilted his head up so they could click their nose-plates against his.

“Do what you are told and help your granden and granhen with what they need. They will rendezvous with your bondeds’ families. Together, they will all work to keep you safe.” Destin waited for them to nod before he stepped away.

“When will you and Dena be joining us?” Mahen asked, pushing the fledglings toward the transport.

“The de la Bao flock are meeting up with some of their extended family. I will make my way to you once we stop,” he replied, hoping that the fledglings did not notice he said nothing about their mahen. The fact was that he did not know what her plans were, especially after their argument.

Imrie pulled out his data pad and demanded Destin give him the location where he would end up.

“I will come and get you myself once we have settled Alaina and Paxx,” Akela stated, her expression telling him not to argue with her. Destin nodded, saying hurried farewells to his parents before sprinting to the open bay door and leaping into flight.

He was not exaggerating when he said he was late. He owed the neighbors many apologies when he arrived. They were kind, patient people but the stress of fleeing to safety could make anyone terse, especially when waiting on someone who delayed their safe departure.

The weight of his bag seemed heavier than before, which Destin was sure it was just in his mind. There were more individual fliers clogging the airways. With great care, he dodged a couple of near collisions before reaching the correct building. The bay door was open, and Destin pulled up from his dive to land on the edge… of an empty storage slot. He double checked the name and number to make sure he had arrived at the correct place. This was where he was supposed to meet up with the neighbors.

Destin stared at the bare floor, his mind stalled for a few precious seconds as he tried to comprehend what it meant. Again, he double checked the ID to make sure he was at the right location, and he was, but they were gone. They had left. He was only a few minutes late, but the bay was not even warm from the aircraft’s engine, so they had been gone much longer than he was late.

Had Dena cancelled his seat, thinking he would be travelling with her? He could not imagine the neighbors leaving without him. They were close friends of Destin’s and if they were leaving, they would have contacted him, and there were no waiting messages on the data pad. If Dena told them he did not need the seat, then why did she not say something to him? Did she forget since they had fought? Was—

Destin shook his head, trying to clear his mind. This was not the time to allow emotional turmoil to take over. He would broach the questions with her later, after he reached safety. He considered flying back to his parents’ bay, but they were probably gone already, and he could not waste the time. He would have to fly.


Author Bio

Lexi Ander

A two-time Rainbow Award recipient, Lexi has always been an avid reader and started reading (secretly) her mother’s romances (the ones she was told not to touch) at a young age. She was the only teenager she knew of who would be grounded from reading. Later, with a pencil and a notebook, she wrote her own stories and shared them with friends because she loved to see their reactions. A Texas transplant, Lexi now kicks her boots up in North Carolina with her Yankee husband and her 80-pound puppy named after a vacuum cleaner.

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