Forged Under Fire follows Amelia who, at eighteen, decides to fulfill her duty to her fledgling nation and answer the call to Mandatory Civil Service. Her best friend Bethany is going along with her, but this doesn’t make things easier. Amelia has to hide her love for her or else be arrested by the same country in which she serves. When Amelia comes in contact with a terrorist organization called the Coalition her life takes an unexpected, and dangerous, turn.
Author Kyra Anderson creates a repressive totalitarian government in a dystopian future that is deftly created with simple yet impactful language. The world created here reminds me of Gilead from Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaids Tale. In Atwood’s book we only get a glimpse of the larger governmental, and terrorist, forces at play. Kyra Anderson places her audience in the trenches of a war on terror, and a governments war on its people.
To me, this novel succeeds at telling a thought-provoking story only because the protagonist is so compelling. Amelia’s story is something of a coming-of-age story, if you were coming of age under the yoke of an oppressive regime. The feelings Amelia has for Bethany are authentic and relatable. In riveting fashion Forged Under Fire explores themes of love, family, and sacrifice while never losing focus on entertaining the reader.
Forged Under Fire explores one characters emotional turmoil in a time where her sexuality is a crime. This social commentary is done lightly but effectively. Forged Under Fire is a thrilling dystopian fiction novel that sets the bar high for Kyra Anderson’s The Coalition series.
Pages: 305 | ASIN: B07TJJZ1D3
Tags: author, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books to read, ebook, fantasy, fiction, Forged Under Fire, goodreads, kindle, kobo, Kyra Anderson, lesbian romance, lgbt, lgbtq, literature, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, romance, science fiction, scifi, story, suspense, thriller, writer, writing
Christian Cura’s Dreams of Thunder, the follow-up to Dreams of Fire, follows a familiar cast of characters – Daniela, Kara, Selene, and the rest of the Council – as they undergo life-altering revelations and fight off a vengeful demon army that threatens to endanger humanity.
Dreams of Thunder has two major plot lines – Daniela learning that she is a mystic being, alongside Saba Qureshi’s devious plot to avenge the wrongs done to her family by the Council.
The storyline involving Saba’s plan for revenge, and the Council’s response to the threat against humanity, is where the bulk of the action lies. The classic good versus evil struggle comes to life. Saba, a mystic who is hell-bent on creating a world devoid of mortals, wants to begin her conquest by using an army of demons and Canadian ex-convicts to wreak havoc in the greater New York City area. The Enforcers of the Council, many of whom hold official posts in government, see this threat and take it upon themselves to protect the mortals with whom they coexist. There are many battle scenes involving various Enforcers and demons, leading up to a final battle filled with carnage, revelations, and a final resolution for peace.
The only part that fell short for me was the character development surrounding Daniela Rivera. The story is so focused on the fight between Saba’s army and the enforcers that Daniela’s involvement in the plot feels more like an afterthought. Given the significance of her finding out that she comes from a line of particularly powerful mystics, I as a reader would have wanted her to play a more integral role.
There are depictions of violence and sexual acts so be warned, but it’s not over the top so I still recommend the book. Overall, Dreams of Thunder is a well-written young adult novel that anyone interested in magical and fantasy themes is sure to enjoy.
Pages: 155 | ASIN: B08JQRVS9H
Tags: author, book, book review, bookblogger, Christian Cura, Dreams of Thunder, ebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, kindle, kobo, lgbt, lgbtq, literature, mystery, nook, novel, paranormal, read, reader, reading, story, supernatural, suspense, thriller, writer, writing, young adult
Farm Boy to City Girl is a unique, historical retelling of Gene’s (Miss Gina’s) discovery of their sexuality across decades. What makes this LGBTQ+ biography truly special is that it’s told in 3 parts – Farm Boy (1931-1949), Transition (1950-1959) and City Girl (1960-). Instead of getting just a glimpse of what life was like for LGBTQ+ people several decades ago, or in current times, we get what is truly a rare treat – following Gene’s (Miss Gina’s) story through many very important shifts in society and its acceptance, understanding the rights surrounding the LGBTQ+ community.
Farm Boy to City Girl is essentially two life stories connected by a transition. It begins with Gene’s life growing up on rental farms in Iowa during the depression as a strict catholic farm boy. It’s here that we get an understanding of not only the time period but of Gene’s family life and how that eventually plays into the story of his sexuality and the struggle he has with acceptance. From there we enter the transition years, where Gene moves to Cedar Rapids and eventually St. Louis, which is where he begins to fully accept his sexuality and gender identity, exploring gay bars and drag shows, lovers and friends and ultimately begins living his life in the city as Miss Gina. Life as Miss Gina is suddenly put on hold after a sudden death that sends him back to Iowa to live on his family’s farm and face the difficult family drama that waits for him there. Gene eventually returns to city life in Cedar Rapids and St. Louis and dives fully into his identity and life as Miss Gina, through the ups and downs of what faced and continues to face LGBTQ people in the Midwest. We see just what courage it takes to live unapologetically in a world that will do everything to make being truly yourself harder.
I absolutely loved the rare glimpse into what it meant to be gay and gender-fluid in the 20th century. We get so many stories of what it is to be LGBTQ in our modern day but rarely do we get to see a story that not only sheds light on the depression-era 20th century but also every era between then and now. My only issue is that the first part (Farm Boy) can be a little difficult to follow as there are lots of names being thrown around given Gene’s large family, but if you take the time to flip back to his explanation of the family tree in the very beginning of the book it becomes easier to grasp who he’s talking about and how they play into the story and the family as a whole. Overall, this is such an important book.
Pages: 260 | ASIN: B088JVPBJ5
Tags: author, book, book review, bookblogger, City Girl: From Gene to Miss Gina, ebook, Farm Boy, gay, goodreads, John "Gene" E. Dawson, kindle, kobo, lgbt, lgbtq, literature, memoir, nonfiction, nook, read, reader, reading, sociology, story, transgender, writer, writing
Panorama: The Missing Chapter is a heartfelt memoir of your journey working and living in South Korea. What inspired you to share your experiences in a book?
In 2019, I wrote and published my first book, Views from the Cockpit: The Journey of a Son. The residual effect of publishing the book made me feel at peace with myself and the relationship I had with my father. Readers have also told me that Views from the Cockpit inspired them to take a different approach with their father or become more interested in forgiveness.
As I wrote my first book, I began to comb through my background of relationships. The story of Panorama bubbled up, and the time I spent living abroad in Seoul. I felt that if I shared it, someone could relate and benefit. Perhaps they could relate to escaping from problems, having secret relationships, or figuring out where they belong in the world. Not only was it interesting to reflect on these moments from my life, but in the real-world, a lot of stories surrounding bisexuality are not featured or appropriately categorized.
I appreciated the candid nature with which you told your story. What was the hardest thing for you to share in the book?
The hardest thing to share would be my social-political opinions about identity politics in America and how they’ve made me feel. Everyone can criticize anyone for anything, so I knew that I was opening myself up. When it comes to relationships and how people exist outside of heteronormativity – sometimes people just can’t understand anything else outside of that. Panorama not only exists outside of mainstream heteronormativity but also mainstream LGBT culture, which typically spotlights gay male voices. I was terrified to share a story from a minority group and criticize larger socio-political structures and members of those groups.
What is one thing you hope readers take away from your story?
There are a few things – Bi people are real – we exist and not only in a suggestive, explicit connotation. Bi people are a whole demographic of people, mostly invisible, in mainstream media and day-to-day social discourse.
Additionally, I hope people take away the importance of building bridges between communities. At the end of the book, I write about thought islands. We all want to feel safe and protected where we are. We all want to be seen and heard, and have our views get the most clicks and attention.
My goal is to build bridges, lift others, and make sure there are seats at the table for others who share in building. I also hope that people realize that the way people live, think, and behave does not put each of our identities and beliefs at risk. Somehow, if we can all get to a point to coexist, be slow to judge, we will have achieved something. I know that this is very optimistic, but I think bisexuality, in and of itself, focuses on people (men and women) and the things that make them unique.
You have another book, Views from the Cockpit. What can readers expect in that book?
Views from the Cockpit is a book born from pain. Father-son memories of plane watching at LAX quickly morph into familial dysfunction that ranges from divorce, resentment, to elder abuse. Views from the Cockpit uses airplane metaphors to tell a boy’s coming of age story into a man by reflecting on the living memory of my father – Claude B. Victory. Panorama is “the missing chapter” of Views from the Cockpit. However, both books can be read separately.
In The Empath’s Lover: A Sci-Fi MM Romance Novella by Sidonie Savage, Davon Pax is the Chief Medical Officer and Microbiologist on the Explorer 2. Davon wakes from cryo-sleep after a ten year journey from Earth and is excited to be one of the first humans to explore Neptune and its moons. But before the crew can complete the mission, their research vessel is attacked. They are saved by an alien named Tulq’on, a Kyphomi Intelligence Officer who has been studying humans. He is injured, and Davon heals him. The two find themselves feeling unexpected emotions for each other. But unless Tulq’on can convince the Kyphomi that humans are worthy of life it will be the end of all humanity.
This short novella was a quick and engaging read. I enjoyed the meeting of two worlds and reading about how Davon and Tulq’on interacted together when they first met and as they learned to communicate and discovered more about each other, both their differences and the ways that they were the same. I liked that they had compassion and respect for each other, acting selfless in putting the other before themselves, as they worked together to prove that their species could coexist. Due to the short length of the book, I felt that the conflict was resolved quickly, but I liked that the story had a happy ending for Davon and Tulq’on even though they came from different worlds.
It was interesting to learn the details of the Explorer 2’s mission at the beginning of the book, but I think this level of detail would have been better suited to a longer story, or for a story that was sci-fi fiction rather than romance. For a romance novella, the heroes should have met sooner in the story. This did not happen until after the first quarter of the book, which didn’t give the heroes much time to come to know each other before declaring their love. I felt that this was too rushed, and I would have liked the book to be a bit longer to allow for more focus on this aspect of the story. I also wanted to see how Davon adapted to life among the Kyphomi, and how Earth reacted to the introduction of the alien species. There was not much world-building and I would have liked to know more details about the Kyphomi and their society.
Pages: 76 | ASIN: B08H4W2YHF
A true story of love, loss, and finding one’s true self, Panorama: The Missing Chapter from the Memoir Views from the Cockpit by Ross Victory is remarkable. We follow our author Ross Victory while he is in Seoul, South Korea, on a work abroad program. While in Seoul, Ross meets Alveré and slowly a romance blooms. Ross and Alveré are both masculine bisexual men trying to find their way in a world that denies their existence.
The stunning writing is what sets this book apart! Victory has a talent for taking life events and turning them into a page-turning work of art. While the author is going on his journey, you feel as if you are along for the ride with him; the scenes where Ross is in distress, you feel his pain.
Victory touches on sensitive topics with truth and grace, male bisexuality, toxic masculinity, and trauma, just to name a few. Victory seeks to not only educate himself through his life experiences but the reader as well. We learn the importance of finding and having someone in your life who understands you.
My favorite section is Panorama The Essay. Victory discusses in-depth the previously mentioned topics on a social-political level, while still captivating you with his writing. This is a memoir and self-help book combined into one! There is personal growth to be found among the pages. Quick but informative, Panorama: The Missing Chapter from the Memoir Views from the Cockpit by Ross Victory is a thought-provoking and engaging read.
Pages: 81 | ASIN: B08719F8CC
Tags: A Bite Of The Past, author, biography, bisexual, book, book review, bookblogger, ebook, gay, goodreads, inspiraitonal, kindle, kobo, lgbtq, literature, love story, memoir, nonfiction, nook, Panorama, read, reader, reading, relationship, romance, Ross Victory, self help, story, true story, writer, writing
Back in the 1980’s when the LGBTQ community was severely marginalized. Back when AIDS was called GRID (Gay Related Immune Deficiency). Dustin Thomas struggled with his identity. Unbeknownst to him the place his parents likened with Sodom would be the beginning of his journey to understand his true self. At the age of 20, he gained the courage to walk through those doors. This would lay the foundation for the relationship he would later have with Gauge Paulson. How will they survive with only their restored 1949 Indian Motorcycle and hope? How will they navigate the complexity of their relationship? Will their Fort Lauderdale past follow them down the California Coast?
This book tells a very important story in the history of the LGBTQ community. There is a lot that people do not know about the struggle before members of the community could openly fight for their liberation. If for nothing else, read this book to truly understand the struggle. It provides an accurate albeit bleak picture of what life was like for the LGBTQ community in the 1980’s as well as the lengths they had to go to simply exist in the society.
This is a well written book and a moving tale. The style of writing is fitting for a story of this intensity and magnitude. It is emotive and gut wrenching. You find yourself rooting for young Dustin to overcome all the hurdles on his path.
The grammar is spotless with a flair that is just right, never feeling inappropriate for the tragic undertone of the story. The author has an uncanny ability to create a full dimensional mental picture with both his creative use of language and unique tone, giving an artistic feel to his writing.
This is a very informative book. There is a story to enjoy sure, but at the core of it is a lesson for human kind. At the end of it all you wonder why human beings cannot coexist in peace without judgement and creation of restrictive societal codes. What would really happen if everyone was accepted just as they were? This book is thought provoking in this way. You will also learn that love truly is powerful; against ignorance and debilitating superiority complexes.
Craig Moody has broken into the genre with a powerfully poignant book. This book tells a story that many need to hear.
Pages: 252 | ASIN: B06XD51X19
There are different beliefs when it comes to religion, but when discussing all things spiritual, just know these two are completely different. In that, we all can relate to the familiarity of metaphysical or spiritual events, which allows us to be more open-minded in all aspects of life. In The LGBTQ Meditation Journal, authors Christopher Stone and Mary Sheldon are allowing their readers an experience on a higher level than what can be “perceived by the five physical senses”. By doing these meditation exercises, or any kind of meditation session will indeed be the start of a foundation of the eternal peace both Christopher and Mary stated as our birthright. It starts off by explaining self-acceptance, as that is the first step to moving forward in progress to loving yourself. The most challenging thing that can be conquered is self-love and that way no one else can attempt to rob you of your value.
I, myself am not of the LGBTQ community, but reading this enabled me to continue being my open-minded self, having a better understanding of how those within the community must feel, which invoked such empathy towards them. Unfortunately, the world we’re living in many people aren’t open-minded or empathetic to others and that upsets my very being. Even though the entirety of this book said many things that are relatable, there was one thing that stood out the most to me. What stood out was “self-love never includes arrogance, conceit, narcissism, smugness, and vanity”, which will bring clarity to everyone who tends to think otherwise. We are all people who need to learn to love ourselves more, in doing so I hope the world can turn around for the better.
I learned so much from reading this book, it allowed me to use my empathy and truly understand how individuals within the LGBTQ community feel living in this world. I already view them as another individual living life and don’t want to be viewed as anyone less. It’s not meant to bash anyone, but to enlighten others in hopes that they will change their perspective and treat everyone, especially LGBTQ people with respect as they would want for others to treat them. The spiritual aspect of this book doesn’t label us, it encourages us to not see the next person as another species, but as another human with feelings. I truly enjoyed reading this book and it will be an eye-opener to closed-minded individuals or those wanting to learn more on how to accept it. I highly recommend this book for everyone, there’s a lot one can learn.
Pages: 91 | ASIN: B075K69CKR
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