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.

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Rachel

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What book/s are you excited for this week?

 

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Review: “The Fever King” by Victoria Lee

39897058Title: The Fever King
Series: Feverwake #1
Author: Victoria Lee
Publisher: Skyscape
Publication Date: March 1, 2019
Rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐⭐
TW: Drug & alcohol abuse, violence, torture, genocide, mental health, parental death, death of child death
Get it: IndieBound | Book Depository | Barnes and Noble | Amazon

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

 

 

Debut author Victoria Lee mixes science fiction and fantasy to create an intriguing new world in her series opener The Fever King.

In the former United States, sixteen-year-old Noam Álvaro wakes up in a hospital bed, the sole survivor of the viral magic that killed his family and made him a technopath. His ability to control technology attracts the attention of the minister of defense and thrusts him into the magical elite of the nation of Carolinia.

The son of undocumented immigrants, Noam has spent his life fighting for the rights of refugees fleeing magical outbreaks—refugees Carolinia routinely deports with vicious efficiency. Sensing a way to make change, Noam accepts the minister’s offer to teach him the science behind his magic, secretly planning to use it against the government. But then he meets the minister’s son—cruel, dangerous, and achingly beautiful—and the way forward becomes less clear.

Caught between his purpose and his heart, Noam must decide who he can trust and how far he’s willing to go in pursuit of the greater good.

The Fever King is one of my most anticipated releases of this year. I’ve read a lot of good things about it from other bloggers who had the chance to read it in advance, and it made me just want to get my grabby, impatient hands on it. Needless to say, I pre-ordered my copy early (because I am weak!)

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This book deserved all the buzz it got!

I started reading it immediately soon as I got it on my Kindle and finished it almost in one sitting. Fast-paced and gripping, the story pulled me in and plunged me into this intriguing post apocalyptic world where magic runs rampant. I loved everything about this story – characters, plot, the topics it tackled without reservation, the diversity contained within its pages. The Fever King is easily one of the best books I’ve read so far this year.

Noam as a main character was so easy to love. He had a rough life, the son of undocumented immigrants fleeing magic-infested Atlantia, Carolinia’s neighboring country. After his mother’s death, Noam had to take care of his father who, in his grief, falls deep into depression.

But even his father is taken from him when viral magic hits his neighborhood killing everyone except Noam.

Noam is a complex character. Fierce and good-intentioned, though a little misguided and naive. His story reflects that of many migrants especially in the US. Being part of both worlds, I think he felt guilty, unnecessary but nevertheless there, and it drove him to strive to change things for the Atlantia refugees crossing lines and doing things he never thought he would do in the process. 

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It was a ride reading and tracking his journey knowing that some of the people he has surrounded himself with have hidden agendas. You don’t know how many times I wanted to reach out into the book, grab Noam by his shoulders and shake some sense into him. Frustrating as it was for me as reader, I think Noam’s naivety and moral grayness made him more believable and realistic – more human – and it’s what endeared him more to me.

The Fever King tackles some pretty heavy stuff. Immigration and intergenerational trauma are just two of the most prevalent ones. Victoria Lee pulls no punches and weaves these topics into her narrative. But if you’re worried it will be too message-y, then fret not because it isn’t at all. This partly owes it to Lee’s seamless work, but mostly it’s because, I think, she really meant for this book to have half of its foundations built on politics. It’s one of the things I appreciate the most about this story.

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As if it I need more reasons to love this book, The Fever King also features a diverse cast of characters. Noam is bisexual and Jewish. His father, while not directly stated in the book (I think, so correct me if I’m wrong) is Columbian. He converts into Judaism when he married Noam’s mother.

Dara, beautiful and mysterious Dara who had me trying to puzzle him out until the very end of this installment, is so unashamedly gay. He and Noam have this instant connection, tense at first then developing into something genuine towards the end.

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Like Noam, Dara has been through some tough times. Some of it were alluded to in the book, but I could do with more. And maybe we’ll get that in the next book, but in this one I feel like I only half know him. The same goes for Calix Lehrer, the antagonist and Noam’s and Dara’s mentor.

Overall, The Fever King is an awesome book and a great series opener. Taking elements from both genres, it creates an intriguing balance between sci-fi and fantasy. I am totally in for this series and excited for the next book already. Let’s just hope my brain stops thinking about what might happen to Dara and how Noam’s going to play Lehrer’s game. I absolutely recommend this if you’re into sci-fi and fantasy with a generous peppering of political intrigue and manipulation.

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About the Author:

Victoria LeeVICTORIA LEE grew up in Durham, North Carolina, where she spent twelve ascetic years as a vegetarian before discovering that spicy chicken wings are, in fact, a delicacy. She’s been a state finalist competitive pianist, a hitchhiker, a pizza connoisseur, an EMT, an expat in China and Sweden, and a science doctoral student. She’s also a bit of a snob about fancy whiskey.

Lee writes early in the morning and then spends the rest of the day trying to impress her border collie puppy and make her experiments work. She currently lives in PA with her partner.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

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GIVEAWAY!

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Win a copy of The Fever King by Victoria Lee. US only. Giveaway ends February 31.

Good luck!

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March 18th

March 19th

Moonlight Rendezvous – Review + Favourite Quotes
Morgan Vega – Review + Favourite Quotes
Novelishly – Review + Favourite Quotes
The Layaway Dragon – Review

March 20th

Utopia State of Mind – Guest Post
Phannie the ginger bookworm – Review + Favourite Quotes
Pages Below the Vaulted Sky – Review + Favourite Quotes
A Dream Within A Dream – Promotional Post

March 21st

Living a Hundred Lives – Review + Mood Board
In Between Book Pages – Review + Favourite Quotes < === Hey, you’re here!  🙂
The Book Bratz – Review + Favourite Quotes

March 22nd

Magical Reads – Review + Favourite Quotes
Confessions of a YA Reader – Promotional Post

March 23rd

SepiaReads – Review

March 24th

The Bibliophagist – Interview
Pages and Pugs – Review
Bookish_Kali – Review
Rebecca’s Reviews – Review + Favourite Quotes

 

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.

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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.

Website | Twitter | Facebook

 

Review: Lissa Price’s “Starters”

Lissa Price - Starters

Callie Woodland‘s futuristic Los Angeles is filled with terrible chaos. The Spore Wars killed everyone between the ages of twenty and sixty leaving  the very young, the Starters and the very old, the Enders. Orphaned, Callie must fend and provide for herself and her sickly brother Tyler, and she does just that with some help from former neighbor and fellow orphan Michael. But times become more dire as Tyler’s illness progress for worse. Callie must make hard decisions which eventually led her to Prime Destinations also known as the body bank.

If you’re a moneyed Ender, you go to Prime Destinations to relive being young but if you’re an unclaimed Starter, you go there to temporarily sign off your body for someone else to use and claim in exchange for money.

Desperate, Callie goes to Prime Destinations and becomes one of their body donors. She’s scrubbed and remade, and fitted with a neurochip in her head to enable the renter to control her body. Her first two rentals went well but just when she thought things are going to go smoothly her third and final one goes awry. A week into her supposedly month-long rental, Callie wakes up inside a bar which she knows is entirely wrong. Then she starts hearing a voice inside her head, the voice of the Ender renting her body, warning her not to go back to the body bank. Fearing that Prime may not pay her if they learn about the glitch in her chip, she abides but soon she realizes that her renter has plans of her own and that everything and everyone else around her isn’t what they seem to be. Callie knows she must do something.

Starters is the first book in Lissa Price‘s two-part installment, and for a debut novel it is a good one. It is a fast-paced thriller of a book. Things just keep on happening one after the other. Callie, the protagonist, is likeable and the world she lives is something you wouldn’t want to live in.

Although labeled as a dystopian novel, Starters lean more towards science fiction. I found the whole body renting process interesting. Imagine being fitted with a neurochip in your brain. Imagine your body being controlled by some other person. It’s a fascinating and scary feat both at the same time. Something that can totally happen especially given our advancement in science. (I’ve recently read something about an experiment where one person was able to control another just by thinking what he wants the other person to do.)

The world of Starters is also another thing I like. It’s genuinely scary and very possible. It’s loop-sided in a very sick way. Teens, the Starters become second class citizens stripped off of their rights while the Enders enjoy limitless resources. It’s a vivid illustration of the powerful preying on the helpless with the Starters as the bullied, weaker side and the Enders playing bully. Because of their unfair circumstances, you just can’t help but to root for the Starters.

The novel is at its best when Callie’s stumbling through the truth behind her renter, her motives, Prime Destinations and the government. She’s a smart girl who can piece together the facts she gathers and ultimately does the right thing at the end of the story, which is to shoot down the establishment.

Another thing I like about this novel is its antihero. The Old Man is a formidable opponent – mysterious, powerful, omnipresent. He’s creepy with a capital C. You can keep on guessing what he’ll do next all you want but really he’s unpredictable which makes him dangerous and exciting.

However, Starters it is not without flaws. The love triangle being drawn between Callie, Michael and Blake feels half-hearted and half-baked. Every time the narrative focuses on their relationship, it slows down which ruins the pace of the story.  I just can’t seem to connect with it. Also, there were plot holes that are really noticeable like Callie’s renter, Helena’s will. There’s also that sub-plot which involves Helena’s missing granddaughter but I guess that’s for us to find out in the next book.

Overall, Starters is an enjoyable fast read. It’s a book you’ll keep on reading not minding the time you spend on it. I will definitely get the next book Enders come January 2014.

Rating: 3/5

If you want to know more about the last book in the series, Enders, watch the clip below. Author Lissa Price (@lissa_price) talks about it.

Book Review: Debra Driza’s “Mila 2.0”

Debra Driza / Mila 2.0

No one suspects what she’s made of.

Mila 2.0 is the first book in a planned trilogy by debut novelist Debra Driza. At the beginning of the story we find Mila, the main character, coping up with the after effects of the deadly fire which caused her and mother to move from Philadephia to Minnesota. The fire took his father’s life but that’s all she remembers. Mila can’t recall anything. Then a freak accident reveals to her things she wasn’t supposed to know. She’s an android built by the government as a weapon and she is supposed to be terminated.

Mila 2.0 is an action-packed read. At 400 plus pages, it is quite a long story but it is enjoyable enough for a reader to finish, well, at least for me that was the case.

As a whole, Debra Driza’s debut has its hits and misses. Characterization is first on my list. A character will be introduced, I got to know him a bit but then he disappears from the scene and I am left with Mila’s recollections of this character. That was the case with Hunter and some of Mila’s friends in the story, which is a bummer. It’s hard to connect and feel for a character you don’t know much about. It’s step one in building attachment.

Second, the main character is weak (and, yes, this deserves a whole paragraph to itself). I liked Mila in the first part of the book. She’s sweet, endearingly insecure and, basically, just a teen-aged girl trying to fit in. But her lovable traits start vanishing the moment she discovers that she isn’t human at all. Instead, she turned out to be this overly emotional android with human feelings for a good part of the book after the “discovery”. I know she is supposed to have feelings but it was just too much. She could have spent more time figuring how to get out of the mess she was in instead of wasting it on whining and crying.

The strong point of Mila 2.0 is its action. Driza describes the action scenes pretty well and that made me finish the book. It kept the story interesting enough though still not that unpredictable.

Overall, I enjoyed Mila 2.0 partly because this is the first YA sci-fi book I read and I really didn’t expect too much (something I do with every book I start, yes, even novels written by my favorite authors). It is good but it could have been better. Anyway, this is the first in three books so let’s give Mila a chance to grow up (how you do that when you’re an android, I don’t know). I’ll definitely get the second and third book once they are out.

Rating: 3/5

Wish List: Lissa Price’s “Starters” (and soon… “Enders”)

The cover for Lissa Price‘s “Enders” was recently revealed and it looks awesome. Just look at it. LOOK AT IT!!!

STARTERS-ENDERS-PRICE

I have been meaning to get Starters for quite some time now. The story sounds interesting but I have been reading a lot of YA sci-fi and dystopian literature lately and I need a cleanse of some sort. It’s better that way. It gives my mind a little bit of time to process the stories I’ve read. My head tends to mix plots together when I read books of the same genre so closely together and I don’t want that. I want to fully appreciate every single story I read.

Anyway, enough with the babble. I’ll get the book this weekend. =)

While Enderss release is still on January 7 next year, you can freely salivate over its amazing cover and a bit of an excerpt HERE