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Allure of Oartheca

Allure of Oartheca, the first book of The Oarthecan Star Saga by author James Siewert, is the galactic tale of the rogue Captain Rowland Hale of Earth. On the score of a lifetime, with his crew on their ship Luck of the Draw, Hale is ambushed by the dreaded Pryok’tel, who takes his crew, and a world-altering technology, as the injured captain can only hide and watch.

Coming to his rescue is the disgraced Captain Toar Grithrawscion of the Oarth race of Oartheca. Along with his mining crew of Lurcaster’s Claw, they try to aid Rowland in the retrieval of his crew and the dangerous technology they stole. It’s an instant attraction between the captains, but can they overcome their broken pasts, Oarth laws, and biological difficulties to be together?

This thrilling and fast-paced novel reminded me of Firefly and Star Trek combined. This captivating book is over three hundred pages, and Siewert’s pacing of the novel is perfect. While the book only takes place over a few days, the action scenes and attention to detail keep the story moving and readers engaged. Siewart’s descriptions are beautiful, and when he presents a concept that is not the norm for humans, he explains them perfectly. The author’s tone for the story is light and fun, even in the dark moments.

It was funny reading the thoughts of what an alien species make of humans, and likewise for the human Rowland’s observations of the Oarths. The author’s creativity really shines when he describes how a species eats. I would’ve liked to have the Under explained sooner in the story, but it didn’t take away from my overall enjoyment.

The romance is done well in this book, and I applaud the author for making the protagonist gay. The relationship is an Alpha and Omega kind of love that is balanced while keeping both characters as strong individuals. In addition, I appreciated that the author gave both male protagonists a realistic body type. Rather than use the overdone chiseled abs and the perfect body, the characters are relatable to a broader range of readers.

Allure of Oartheca is an exhilarating space opera with intriguing LGBTQ+ characters. This science fiction novel is filled with action and adventure as the characters race across space trying to save the galaxy.

Pages: 365 | ASIN : B095S3V2S1

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Boys’ Secrets and Men’s Loves: A Memoir 

Boys’ Secrets and Men’s Loves: A Memoir by David A.J. Richards is a personal life account revolving around the secret self and individual awareness of both straight and gay men. In this memoir, Richards takes a thoughtful approach to discover the psychology behind the patriarchy and traumas that shape men. He explains why they have become hidden and how they can be brought to light.

Richards combats the oppressiveness of traditional patriarchy and how it silences young men from questioning and straying from the mainstream status quo. He challenges how and why men act the way they do and points to societal pressure and the dismissal of the vulnerability of men. In discovering his sense of self, Richards expresses disdain and disgust for the length of how things have been and offers insight into how things can change. Addressed are various components of trauma revolving around the body, mind, sexuality, political opinions, and experiences of love and empathy. This book sheds light on guilt, shame, voice, injustice, abuse, democracy, resistance, and the complex American idea of masculinity. 

I thought that the arguments were well thought out and portrayed. It was eye-opening and fascinating to see the plights that men encounter daily and throughout their lifetimes, particularly in their formative years of young adulthood. The commentary was easy to read, and I enjoyed how this was from a first-person point of view. The thoughts of one man over a variety of hot-button topics and issues that are not often addressed were crafted insightfully and tenderly to bring about real change. 

Boys’ Secrets and Men’s Loves: A Memoir is recommended for anyone looking to expand their mindset on the ideas of traditional masculinity. This compelling personal story gives readers a unique look at these topics from the view of personal experience and the view of an educator of law.

Pages: 414 | ASIN : B07SXKHBHW

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Tombstone: The Superhero of the West

Tombstone: The Superhero of the West brings to life the adolescent journey of Morgan, a transgender person (born as a male who identifies as a female) finding her truth in the 1860-70s. Growing up with two sisters, a stereotypically masculine dad, and a loving mother, Morgan always felt something about her identity and sexuality didn’t feel right. Perpetually confused about why she feels the way she does and why she likes certain things. In this eye-opening, insightful read, author Missy M exquisitely explores the innocent musings and journey of an adolescent who just wants to live her truth without worrying about disappointing her family and crossing swords with society.

Initially, Morgan innocently questions gender stereotypes—why should having a particular body part make you enjoy a certain activity less?—and we get insight into her inner battles and conflicts. Since Morgan thrives on education, she turns to books for answers. Later in the story, through heroic adventures, we see how her knowledge comes in handy, which helps her family view her in a new light and thus become more accepting of who she truly is.

This beautifully written story has captured the inner voice of an adolescent coming to terms with her gender and sexuality. As a cisgender, I genuinely believe people who don’t respect gender identity and sexuality as struggles could really learn a thing or two from the author’s narrative of Morgan’s journey. However, I thought some musings and insights were repeated in the book, for example, her sadness about her father not accepting her and her confusion regarding why she liked the things Jenny did. Nonetheless, intrigue is born in the first chapter, which Waldron keeps ignited throughout the book. I’ll definitely be picking up the second book to get more insight into the life of the LGBTQ+ community in the 19th century. While this novel follows the journey of an LGBT young adult, this novel contains language that I think is better suited for an adult audience. Containing mature language and provocative scenes, I think this book is appropriate for mature readers.

Tombstone: The Superhero of the West is a captivating story combining stories of the old west with contemporary issues revolving around gender identity and gender stereotypes. This work of fiction will give readers a new look at a common story while opening their minds to non-traditional viewpoints.

Pages: 405 | ASIN : B09J8V76YS

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Under an Azure Sky

Under an Azure Sky is a fantasy novel written by Wil Chan. It is Book One in the Elysia Dayne series, of which I immediately became a fan. The main protagonist is Elysia, a tortured soul who has lived a highly traumatic life. She harnesses her hatred for dragons to become a dragon slayer, which turns out to be a less-than-ideal career choice for the young woman. However, she develops a specific skill set that allows her to pursue other thrilling adventures. Her heroic nature finds her responsible for rescuing Princess Isabella, who was kidnapped and held hostage by goblins. The two find themselves on a very tense journey back home which eventually develops into a beautiful love story.

Wil Chan is a highly talented author with an exciting writing style. His imagery and ability to create an immersive world will impress readers. He has clearly put a lot of effort into this project. He also composed the music for the book trailers, which shows that he is an all-around talented person.

The storyline has elements of fantasy, sword and sorcery, and adventure wrapped up in a complex journey Elysia must navigate. Her feelings of loss and betrayal run deep, and it is dragons, the creatures she once loved, that have caused this change. Readers see and feel what Elysia endured and will want to root for her as she starts to develop feelings for Isabella.

Chan’s worldbuilding is thorough; he gives readers detailed information allowing them to be fully engaged in the storyline. While the beginning of the book instantly hooks you in with the traumatic events that unfold, the main plot takes a slow burn approach while remaining entertaining all the way through. The LBGTQ+ representation is excellent, especially in tandem with the theme of goblin culture in this creative book.

Under an Azure Sky evokes emotion in the reader, and the quality of the author’s writing is one to praise. Fantasy readers will love the familiar elements; those looking for action and adventure will not be disappointed.

Pages: 448 | ASIN : B09MSMJ3F7

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Rebuilding in the Aftermath of War

Andri E. Elia Author Interview

Worldmaker of Yand – Polaris follows a family who seeks a new life on a new planet after their home is destroyed by war, only to have trouble find them anyway. What were some new ideas you wanted to explore in this book that were different from book one?

Yildun tells the destruction of war, Polaris tells the war’s aftermath, the rebuilding, showcasing the family’s strength and resilience. It features character development of the kids, each one of them individually and in their relationships. In terms of storyline, Polaris explores the colonization of a new moon, Yanara’s backstory and her family’s previous entanglements with the K’tul, and her struggle to find a solution to the null so she can see her daughter again.

Yanara, Frost, and Mandolen have a unique relationship with each other. What was your process in writing the character’s interactions to develop the bond they have?

I wanted to explore non-exclusivity in marriage in a paradigm where taboos of exclusivity and gender preference do not exist. But even in this society, people come with complex emotions and wired preferences. So, I allowed the characters to lead me. What developed is this very complex, delicious relationship, where Yanara is bonded with both her spouses, while the two of them can’t even bare to inadvertently touch each other. Frost is insanely jealous of Mandolen, with good reason because Yanara loves Mandolen more. A thing that helps is that Frost and Mandolen had been friends in the military for a couple hundred years before marrying Yanara.

What were some goals you set for yourself as a writer in this book?

I wanted to reveal more of Yanara’s backstory; more about how magic happens, how a celestial wizard forms wormholes; expound on the concept of the null and if it can be controlled. I also wanted to bring out the kids’ distinctive characters and abilities. And to write it all with vivid scenes and extensive dialog, to immerse the reader and transport him/her to this word. I’d love to see it in film.

What can readers expect in book three of the Worldmaker of Yand series?

In Eltanin the theme transitions from defense and survival to offense and revenge. Of course, twists happen as a result. There will be two new star systems introduced and a new species of humanoids. I’m still writing it, so many more exciting things can come into play. Stay tuned.

Author Links: Amazon | GoodReads

Savage invaders from space, the k’tul, all but destroyed her homeworld of Yand. Fleeing the aftermath of that war, Yanara, Worldmaker and Celestial Wizard, brings her wife Mandolen and her husband Frost to a bronze moon orbiting the fifth planet of the star Polaris B. In this idyllic place of three suns, the three of them only sought to lick their war wounds and to survive. Instead, with their family joining them, they find themselves starting a new life and a new colony. Filled with magic and new adventures, the challenge of colonizing their new home blends with unraveling threads of Yanara’s darker past… tying her to the k’tul…? What secrets will they discover? And will they finally find the peace they so crave, or will the vengeful k’tul find them again, pursuing their trail across the galaxies?

Worldmaker of Yand – Polaris

Worldmaker of Yand-Polaris, by Andri E. Elia, is the second book in the spellbinding Worldmaker of Yand series. In this book, Yanara builds a new city in the aftermath of war. The story begins with Yanara, Frost, and Mandolen on a new planet after the war. While they recover from their injuries, they begin to make a new life in a place they name Tuncay.

There are so many revelations in this book that will appeal to fans of the series. Yanara’s backstory continues to get deeper and more intriguing as we discover more about her lineage while she is creating a new life for herself. She has a brother who was in love with the Queen, Stardust, and finds out her son can also wormhole. The leader, Wolf, uses another to get to Yanara and her family. On top of all those tantalizing revelations, we also discover that the k’tul leader, although shot in the head with an arrow during the war, had his body preserved in a pod.

Andri Eli’s writing style in this vibrant story has improved since the first book, which allows readers to appreciate the depth and creativity of the world and characters. With a much better pace and flow to the story, I feel like this book is very easy to read, even with its sometimes weighty ideas. The first book in the Worldmaker of Yand series built-up tension slowly and revealed the plot at a methodical pace while using a lot of descriptions along the way to give readers a clear idea of the events taking place. But this entertaining book places readers right in the middle of the action, which makes for a much more intriguing read.

The dialogue between characters is fluid and engaging, allowing readers to connect with the characters. I admire Yanara for her strength and her selflessness, and I really appreciated how well these character traits are drawn-out in the story. This book has an ensemble cast of interesting characters that sometimes make it hard to keep track of who is who but certainly adds to the epic nature of the overall story and shows how many people are involved, but I would have appreciated a little more clarity on who they were and what they wanted.

Worldmaker of Yand-Polaris tells the compelling story of the Worldmakers life after war with the k’tul. I enjoyed seeing Yanara build a new world and how she finally rids herself of the k’tul. This is a fascinating epic fantasy story with plenty of action to keep readers entertained and plenty of romance to keep you emotionally invested in this stimulating story.

Pages: 446 | ASIN : B09MF797VR

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Worldmaker of Yand – Yildun

Worldmaker of Yand-Yildun, by Andri E. Elia, is the story of Yanara of Yand, a spellcaster. She is the Worldmaker, the only one of her kind until she gives birth to a daughter. She is tasked with keeping Yand safe from invaders. The story begins with Yanara narrating her life, what she has accomplished, and the people who surround her. Yanara is ranked the Queen and the savior of Yand. Much of the novel is about Yanara’s personal life, her marriage to multiple men and one woman, and wanting to start a family. An interesting focus for a book with humanoids and unimaginable powers. Yanara, alongside her family, saves Yand once again from an army of foreign invaders through the use of spells, telepathy, and her falcon Blackhawk.

This novel has a slow-burn style in the beginning. Elia spends a lot of time on Queen Yand’s back story, explaining how she arrived at the place the novel starts. There are a lot of different character interactions that go into this story and if readers rush through the opening chapters they may miss key information. One element of the story is the polyamorous relationships and the LGBTQ+ relationships. This non-traditional family structure is a key element to this coming-of-age novel. As the story continues, Yanara and Frost start building a relationship. This relationship advances the dialogue and storyline into something meaningful and engaging. The development of their relationship, and of their non-traditional family is an element that readers will enjoy discovering.

The writing style in this new-age book is extraordinary and irregular. The dialogue is written as though you were sitting in on the conversations watching it all unfold. The combination of artistic an writing style and a mysterious landscape will delight readers looking for something new to try.

Worldmaker of Yand-Yildun is the narration of the Worldmakers life. Readers of fantasy, action, romance, and other-worldly life with an LGBTQ+ twist will find this fantastic world unforgettable.

Pages: 299 | ASIN : B09BDGT47B

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