Review: “Aurora Blazing” by Jessie Mihalik

Aurora BlazingTitle: Aurora Blazing
Series: Consortium Rebellion #2
Author: Jessie Mihalik
Publication Date: October 1, 2019
Publisher: HarperVoyager
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ 
Get it: IndieBound | Book Depository | Barnes and Noble | Books-a-Million | Amazon | Kobo | Apple Books

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/39863498-the-gilded-wolves

ARC provided by the publisher through Edelweiss. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Jessie Mihalik’s space drama romance continues in the second book in her Consortium Rebellion trilogy Aurora Blazing.

Bianca von Hasenberg did her duty for High House von Hasenberg and ended up trapped in a terrible marriage. When her husband dies unexpectedly and leaves her a happy widow, she vows never to marry again. Instead, she uses her connections to save other young women. Information is power and Bianca has a network that would be the envy of the ‘verse – if anyone knew about it.

After an attack, Bianca’s oldest brother, the House von Hasenberg heir, disappears from Earth without a trace. Determined to find him, Bianca leaves against orders. When she refuses to return, her father ends Ian Bishop, the director of House von Hasenberg security, to haul her home like a recalcitrant child.

Bianca leaves Ian on a merry chase across the universe, but when their paths finally collide, she persuades him that they would be far more successful at finding her brother if they worked together. She will do anything to save her sibling, even if it means spending time alone on a small ship with the handsome, infuriating man who once broke her heart.

As clues lead them deep into rival House Rockhurst territory, Biana must decide if she can trust Ian with the one piece of information that could destroy her completely…

I fell in love with Jessie Mihalik debut Polaris Rising when I read it this year. It had everything I needed in a scif-fi romance: solid worldbuilding, take-no-prisoners action and a steamy romance. Ada and Locke burned the pages – falling into lust then to love all while they jump from planet to planet to escape their pursuers. I gobbled up their story and, greedy reader that I am, I naturally wanted more.

Aurora Blazing gave me that more.

The second book in the Consortium Rebellion trilogy, Aurora Blazing centers on Ada’s older sister, Bianca von Hasenberg, and House von Hasenberg’s director of security, Ian Bishop. Both characters were already introduced and played minor roles in Polaris Rising so readers who have read the first book will already be familiar with them.

I loved Bianca in PR and I grew to love her more in Aurora Blazing. She’s resourceful and intelligent and tough, but broken. It was clear even from the first few chapters of this installment that her marriage wasn’t just terrible, it was traumatic. Clues as to what her husband did to her are dropped throughout the whole book and when the final reveal came, it was equally horrifying. Her past took something from her, making Bianca question her own capabilities. She suffers and endures chronic pain from debilitating headaches, an aftermath of her dead husband’s experiments on her.

Bianca’s character development was one of the things I loved most about Aurora Blazing. She was only gaining some of her own back when AB opens – learning to trust herself again but still guarded, unwilling to let people back i. It was great watching her walls come down bit by bit, for her to reclaim what she lost. It was certainly satisfying (and so fun!) to see her finally stand up to her father.

Ian, meanwhile, took his time with me but, in the end, I grew to love him too. Hiding his own secrets, he is just as closed-off as Bianca. He was just so controlled and infuriatingly proper at the beginning that it felt so rewarding when his facade was finally chipped off.

Bianca and Ian’s romance is so different from Ada’s and Locke’s. Theirs was a slow burn, progressing a step at a time throughout the book. The tension between the two, however, was very much palpable even from page one. They have a shared past, one that is tackled in the book, that further complicated their feelings for one another. When they finally get together though, it was just so right. He and Bianca made a great team – different but similar in all the ways that matter. They’re both protective of the people they love and they will go down the line for them.

Readers who loved the trilogy’s first book will definitely find something in Aurora Blazing. It had everything I enjoyed in Polaris Rising – the political machinations, House politics and rivalries, the mystery of the High Houses’ defunct Genesis Project. The bond between the von Hasenberg siblings came out clearer in this book than in the last. It was definitely funny reading about Ferdinand and Benedict play their brother card against Ian. We also see quite a bit what the PR crew – Ada and Locke, Veronica and Rhys – has been up to. Readers also get a glimpse of the next feature couple of the trilogy – Catarina and Alex – so that’s definitely an exciting bit.

Fast-paced and action-filled, both lovers of sci-fi romance will fall in love with this story. The only drawback, I think, is that you have to read the series in order as you may miss a number of key details. It pays off big time though, so I don’t think that’s much of a sacrifice. I’m definitely in for the last leg of this trilogy. I already can’t wait to see how Catarina and Alex’s story plays out.

about the authorjessie_mihalik_squareJESSIE MIHALIK has a degree in Computer Science and a love of all things geeky. A software engineer by trade, Jessie now writes full time from her home in Texas. When she’s not writing, she can be found playing co-op video games with her husband, trying out new board games, or reading books pulled from her overflowing bookshelves.

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Can’t-Wait Wednesday: “Aurora Blazing” by Jessie Mihalik

Can't Wait Wednesday

Can’t-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted Tressa at Wishful Endings, to spotlight and discuss the books we’re excited about that we have yet to read. It’s based on Waiting on Wednesday, hosted Jill at Breaking the Spine.


Happy Wednesday everyone!

My feature for this week’s installment of CWW is one book that I’m really, really excited for.

9780062802415_c44ddTitle: Aurora Blazing
Series: The Consortium Rebellion #2
Publication Date: October 1, 2019
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Pre-order: IndieBound | Book Depository | Barnes and Noble | Books-a-Million | Amazon | Kobo | Apple Books

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/39863498-the-gilded-wolves

As the dutiful daughter of High House von Hasenberg, Bianca set aside her personal feelings and agreed to a political match arranged by her family, only to end up trapped in a loveless, miserable marriage. When her husband unexpectedly dies, Bianca vows never to wed again. Newly independent, she secretly uses her wealth and influence to save other women stuck in dire circumstances. Information is power and Bianca has a network of allies and spies that would be the envy of the ’verse—if anyone knew about it.

When her family’s House is mysteriously attacked, Bianca’s oldest brother, the heir to House von Hasenberg, disappears. Fearful for her brother’s life, the headstrong Bianca defies her father and leaves Earth to save him. Ian Bishop, the director of House von Hasenberg security—and Bianca’s first love—is ordered to find and retrieve the rebellious woman.

Ian is the last man Bianca wants to see. To evade capture, she leads him on a merry chase across the universe. But when their paths finally collide, she knows she must persuade him to help her. Bianca will do anything to save her sibling, even if it means spending time alone on a small ship with the handsome, infuriating man who once broke her heart.

As the search takes them deep into rival House Rockhurst territory, Bianca must decide if she can trust Ian with the one piece of information that could destroy her completely . . .

I’m really excited for Aurora Blazing! Bianca and Ian were already introduced in Polaris Rising, the first book in this trilogy, and I already loved them then. I can’t wait to get to know these two characters more. I’m pretty sure this book will feed me with all the space drama and hot, hot romance that my heart desires.

💗💗💗

Rachel

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What book/s are you excited for this week?

 

Review: “Polaris Rising” by Jessie Mihalik

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Title: Polaris Rising
Series: Consortium Rebellion #1
Author: Jessie Mihalik
Publisher: HarperVoyager/HarperCollins
Publication Date: February 5, 2019
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐1/2
Get it: IndieBound | Book Depository | Barnes and Noble | Amazon | Kobo | iBooks

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/39863498-the-gilded-wolves

ARC provided by the publisher through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

 

A princess on the run from a political marriage strikes an unlikely alliance with the universe’s most wanted man in this action-filled space opera.

In the far distant future, the universe is officially ruled by the Royal Consortium, but the High Councillors, the heads of the three High Houses, wield the true power. As the fifth of six children, Ada von Hasenberg has no authority; her only value to her High House is as a pawn in a political marriage. When her father arranges for her to wed a noble from House Rockhurst, a man she neither wants nor loves, Ada seizes control of her own destiny. The spirited princess flees before the betrothal ceremony and disappears among the stars.

Ada eluded her father’s forces for two years, but now her luck has run out. To ensure she cannot escape again, the fiery princess is thrown into a prison cell with Marcus Loch. Known as the Devil of Fornax Zero, Loch is rumored to have killed his entire chain of command during the Fornax Rebellion, and the Consortium wants his head.

When the ship returning them to Earth is attacked by a battle cruiser from rival House Rockhurst, Ada realizes that if her jilted fiancé captures her, she’ll become a political prisoner and a liability to her House. Her only hope is to strike a deal with the dangerous fugitive: a fortune if he helps her escape.

But when you make a deal with an irresistibly attractive Devil, you may lose more than you bargained for . . .

As much as I love the genre, I admit that I haven’t read a lot of adult sci-fi. Maybe because I’ve always found it intimidating with those thick-spined volumes. Or maybe it’s because I’ve always felt like it’s a man’s world having grown up to names like Ray Brabury and George Orwell , whose books as good as they were, felt distant to me because I couldn’t identify with and cheer for their characters. So, picking up Polaris Rising I was both excited and wary, not really knowing what to expect or what I’m even getting myself into.

I shouldn’t have worried.

Polaris Rising had me from the very first blaster fire. It was fast-paced, filled with all the daring action my heart desired and, as an added kick, it has real steamy, swoon-worthy romance. Needless to say, I loved it!

The story centers on Ada von Hasenberg, the fifth of six children of House von Hasenberg, one of the three most powerful families of the Royal Consortium. Groomed from childhood to wade the intricate and precarious relationships between three High Houses, Ada knows that her destiny is to be married off to a rival house so she could spy on her husband and his family. But it’s not the life she wants for herself, fate or not, so she escapes before her engagement with Richard Rockhurst could be formally made. For two years Ada eludes capture but, eventually, her luck runs out and she gets taken by a group of mercenaries eager to get their hands on the bounty her father put up for her supposed safe return. This is where Polaris Rising officially starts.

I had tons of fun reading this book. The first page immediately hooked me with its fast-paced action. The plot was also easy to get with, and none of my fears about not understanding the whole tech that runs the world of the story were realized. No info dumps here! Instead, Mihalik breaks it down bit by bit, inserting technical stuff about the world she created into the story and her characters’ dialogues, which was effective and efficient.

But what I really loved about this book was its characters.

Ada and Loch both drive this story – it moves when they do, follows the path they’ve chosen to traverse. It was a treat to trail after their adventures (and misadventures!) I immediately liked Ada, while Loch grew on me as I continued reading. The two of them are similar in a lot of ways – they’re both resourceful, smart and can kick some serious ass. They don’t trust as easily as other people would, which kind of work against them at the beginning since they needed to trust each other enough to form an alliance no matter how tenuous or temporary it was.

Ada and Loch’s romance was also another I unabashedly loved about Polaris Rising. These two got me all heart eyes and swoony for most of the book. The attraction between them were palpable right from the very beginning. Their reluctance to pursue one another only added to the thrill of the chase. And when they finally got together, it lighted up fireworks. It was perfect – the whole hook, line and sinker deal!

I also loved how Mihalik drew her secondary characters. They are all colorful on their own account: there is Rhys, the successful black market dealer who shares Loch’s past, and Veronica, the fence with a secret of her own that could get her in trouble with one of the high houses; then there’s Bianca, Ada’s older sister who’s kind of a master in gathering information and Ian Bishop, House von Hasenberg’s director of security who may or may not (this is just a hunch) know Loch more than he lets on. All these help Ada and Loch providing them with something only they could give and helping the two main character reach their end goal.

While some parts of the story were outlandish, I didn’t much mind because I was having loads of fun reading the book. It was so easy to turn off the skeptical part of my brain. Overall, Polaris Rising was an excellent, entertaining space opera. I’m sure many readers will enjoying this book. I know I did! I’m already so excited for the series’ next book, releasing this October, Aurora Blazing which will be focusing on Bianca and Ian’s story.

🍂 🍂 🍂 🍂 🍂

About the Author:

jessie_mihalik_squareJESSIE MIHALIK has a degree in Computer Science and a love of all things geeky. A software engineer by trade, Jessie now writes full time from her home in Texas. When she’s not writing, she can be found playing co-op video games with her husband, trying out new board games, or reading books pulled from her overflowing bookshelves.

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