Book Review

ARC Book Review: Hunt the Stars (Starlight’s Shadow #1) by Jessie Mihalik

Rating: ☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: Sci-Fi/Fantasy Romance
Length: 400 pages
Author: Jessie Mihalik
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Release Date: February 1st, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

The critically acclaimed author of Polaris Rising takes readers on an exciting journey with the start of her brand-new series about a female bounty hunter and the man who is her sworn enemy.

Octavia Zarola would do anything to keep her tiny, close-knit bounty hunting crew together—even if it means accepting a job from Torran Fletcher, a ruthless former general and her sworn enemy. When Torran offers her enough credits to not only keep her crew afloat but also hire someone to fix her ship, Tavi knows that she can’t refuse—no matter how much she’d like to.

With so much money on the line, Torran and his crew insist on joining the hunt. Tavi reluctantly agrees because while the handsome, stoic leader pushes all of her buttons—for both anger and desire—she’s endured worse, and the massive bonus payment he’s promised for a completed job is reason enough to shut up and deal.

But when they uncover a deeper plot that threatens the delicate peace between humans and Valoffs, Tavi suspects that Torran has been using her as the impetus for a new war. With the fate of her crew balanced on a knife’s edge, Tavi must decide where her loyalties lie—with the quiet Valoff who’s been lying to her, or with the human leaders who left her squad to die on the battlefield. And this time, she’s put her heart on the line.

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for an eARC.

PROGRESSIVELY BETTER.

A new to me author with an enjoyable first read from them! I liked the progression of this story and how the second half of it really leaned in well to the plot and romance aspects.

I liked Tavi as the main character. A heroine with a past who fiercely loves her crew and wants to protect them at all costs. Having to join up with her enemy to make some much needed credits (money) wasn’t in her plans, but sparks ignited between the two. At first I wasn’t that into Torran. He was too quiet. I wasn’t getting much background or interaction with him. As the story moved along I liked that he took a larger role and after some silly plot defects were out of the way he could speak more freely. I liked the chemistry between Torran and Tavi. I think there’s a higher chance of me loving them even more in book two.

One of the things I didn’t love was the weird obsession with food? Practically every meal was specifically covered. Preparation, cooking and eating. If it really played into the plot, cool. This was not the case and I skipped over many paragraphs of filler about their meals. I didn’t need that.

The second half was much faster and actually discussed (with action scenes at last) the true reason Torran needed Tavi and her crews help. I was happy to finally see some of the antagonists and what the larger viewpoint is regarding the series. I’m curious what the second book will hold. It wasn’t a bad start to a new series.

Overall audience notes:

  • Sci-Fi/Fantasy Romance
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: two brief open door
  • Violence: gun/weaponry violence, magical and physical altercations
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: a kidnapped child, loss of loved ones, war themes

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Book Review

ARC Book Review: Steelstriker (Skyhunter #2) by Marie Lu

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Fantasy
Length: 384 pages
Author: Marie Lu
Publisher: Roaring Books Press
Release Date: September 28th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Explosive action and swoon-worthy suspense collide in this riveting conclusion to the Skyhunter duet from #1 New York Times–bestselling author Marie Lu

As a Striker, Talin was taught loyalty is life. Loyalty to the Shield who watches your back, to the Strikers who risk their lives on the battlefield, and most of all, to Mara, which was once the last nation free from the Karensa Federation’s tyranny.

But Mara has fallen. And its destruction has unleashed Talin’s worst nightmare.

With her friends scattered by combat and her mother held captive by the Premier, Talin is forced to betray her fellow Strikers and her adopted homeland. She has no choice but to become the Federation’s most deadly war machine as their newest Skyhunter.

Red is no stranger to the cruelty of the Federation or the torture within its Skyhunter labs, but he knows this isn’t the end for Mara – or Talin. The link between them may be weak, but it could be Talin and Red’s only hope to salvage their past and safeguard their future.

While the fate of a broken world hangs in the balance, Talin and Red must reunite the Strikers and find their way back to each other in this smoldering sequel to Marie Lu’s Skyhunter.

Thank you to Macmillian Audio and Netgalley for an ALC.

WHAT I WAS HOPING FOR.

Duologies are a fickle beast. I have been disappointed quite a few times this year. Thank goodness, Steelstriker was not one of those books.

As I received an ALC I wanted to first mention the audio book. I listened to Skyhunter via audio and Steelstriker had the same narrators. LOVED IT. Seriously fantastic. I was able to listen at 2.5x speed and had no trouble with the narration. They did an incredible job and would highly recommend!

Now the book itself, ohhhhh the ACTION [and the pain]. This book is not light-hearted or for the feint of heart. Full of drama and intrigue as page by page I wasn’t sure who would survive. With that, there were some times I felt the book was slow (most of the middle). Some scenes and portions of the plot didn’t seem to work towards fulfilling the ultimate goal that was set-up in book one. It came noticeable enough to mention, but luckily the rest of the book carried over well.

And I would have desperately loved even more romance. I adore Red and Talin. These incredible brave, tough and scarred souls who found each other amidst everything crumbling around them. Wow I couldn’t get enough of their connection and the handful of moments I got with them on the same page.

Gratefully, those needed taken down are and the world can start grappling with all that has befallen their nations. I’m glad for an epilogue (that was necessary) to tie up some plot points and give a glimpse at the future.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Fantasy
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: kisses to one implied closed door
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: war themes, mutilation and medical experimentation, torture, poisoning, blood and gore depiction, executions

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