Tag Archives: science fiction romance

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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Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b60e8d47219/?


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.

Author Website: http://www.lexiander.com

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