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review 2020-01-02 18:43
Aurora Blazing Jessie Mihalik
Aurora Blazing: A Novel (The Consortium Rebellion Book 2) - Jessie Mihalik

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

 

Lady Bianca von Hasenberg still emotionally and physically deals with the trauma her first marriage caused. Now a widow, she works to help other girls and women through her network of spies and her technological skills. When her brother Ferdinand and the von Hasenberg heir disappears, she won't be patted on the head and told to stay home by her father or their Director of Security, Ian Bishop.

Ian shut down Bianca's flirting when he was her bodyguard and even now as the Director of Security, he still doesn't think he is worthy of her, but he can't stop his protective feelings for her. Bianca manages to get information he needs and she won't take no for an answer when it comes to rescuing her brother. Ian needs to rescue the heir, keep his own secrets, and never let Bianca know how deep his feelings really go.

 

Softly, he asked, “Why do you have to fight me on everything?”

 

Second in the Consortium Rebellion series, Aurora Blazing stars Bianca von Hasenberg, the sister of the heroine from the first book, Polaris Rising. The first book gave us glimpses of Bianca as she helped her sister and a few glimpses at the tension between Bianca and the Director of Security Ian Bishop. The author makes good on the tension and slow burn she hinted at in the first. Polaris Rising was a debut and one of the complaints I had was about the story needing a lot of fat trimmed, Aurora Blazing had none of those problems, the author did a great job shoring up the story and fulfilling on the promise I found in the first.

 

The Consortium series, so far, follows two main characters threads, one has readers following one of the three major ruling houses, the von Hasenbergs. Aurora Blazing is told solely from Bianca von Hasenbergs' point of view. The second is about soldiers that were part of the Genesis Project (soldiers who were experimented on to create “super” soldiers), Ian Bishop is hinted at being tied into that. These two threads are swirled into plot threads that involve the three ruling houses conspiring, maneuvering, and possibly going to war with each other for power and resources. This creates a fun, absorbing, and intriguing space opera/scifi ride.

 

I promise I won’t ever use any of your secrets against you,” I said quietly.

 

As I mentioned, the romance is a slow burn, as in you won't see the (soft) snap in the fraying rope between these two until around 50%; the space opera aspect controls more of the attention in this series with the romance being more of a very important secondary character. I loved the dynamic and tension between Bianca and Ian, I could feel the emotion bubbling underneath. For the most part, I enjoyed how the author didn't blatantly spell out Ian's emotions but towards the end of the story, when we're supposed to get the big payoff, I felt like things were rushed. The ending sex scenes also felt out of place, they felt graphic and jarring placed at the end because the preceding 90% of story had a different tone between the couple.

 

His gaze was scorching, his eyes hot with desire. “We are not done,” he said, his voice a low command.

 

Without Ian's point of view and more of a look into his background, I found Bianca to be the stronger of the two characters. Learning about her first marriage and how her health issues causes her to lie to her family, thus isolating her even further, was heartbreaking. It was immensely satisfying to watch her not gain emotional and mental strength from what was done to her but instead use the strength that she already had but had been a bit too young to mature to. The times she refused to back down because she knew she had the skills and know-how to get the information quicker than Ian made me cheer for her even harder.

 

I was engrossed in the first half of this story and while I was locked into the space opera plots, the romance was too rushed for a satisfying payoff. I would love if Bianca and Ian got a second book as I think their story definitely supports it and the series would benefit from it. I don't know if it is due to the first person pov structure but there were at times I felt like I was only getting half the story on some things, scenes felt left out, and more background was needed. Overall, though, I found this an amazing continuation of the series and the author has dangled threads (the leak in the von Hasenberg house, the war between the three houses, and Ferdinand and his romance with the daughter of an enemy house) that I'm fully on board and can't wait for the next in the series.

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text 2019-12-30 23:35
Reading Update: 30%
Aurora Blazing: A Novel (The Consortium Rebellion Book 2) - Jessie Mihalik

The issue I had with the fat needing to be trimmed in the first is fixed here; much tighter story.
I’m about 30% in and loving this so far!
Slow burn couple with Tension

 

Aurora Blazing by Jessie Mihalik purchase link

 

S'mores Popcorn Balls recipe

What are the holidays without popcorn balls?? This was a fun, yummy, and easy twist on them.

 

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review 2019-12-30 20:07
Needs the fat trimmed
Polaris Rising (Consortium Rebellion #1) - Jessie Mihalik

This definitely had a The League series by Sherrilyn Kenyon vibe, scifi/space opera/warring factions, if you liked that series, you'll want to give this one a go.

This was a debut and I felt like I could tell with how the overall story needed to be tightened up more. This was first person pov by the heroine Ada and while I enjoyed her voice and character, there was too much talk of going through the motions of menial tasks. 20-50% and around the 70% mark, my eyes glazed over a couple times. I just thought the fat needed to be trimmed and the story tightened up.

This was very much a first in the series with the world building and setting up of plot threads, like I said, I enjoyed Ada's character but her love interest, Loch, was only a pencil sketch to me. Not having his pov probably added to this but only hinting at and introducing the Genesis Project plot, instead of investing some time on it, kept me from fully knowing his character.

Ada and Loch spend a lot of time together and their attraction is very much a part of the story but at the same time, not really the focus. Their attraction and relationship never matured enough for me to feel it was solid and therefore wasn't very emotionally investing for me.

The strength here was the setting up of plot threads, warring Houses, modifying human DNA, faked death, political intrigue, teasing of future romance couples, and what, I'll intelligently, call space stuff/atmosphere.

The writing has a smoothness and, like I said, there are some intriguing threads set-up, that I'm on board for reading the second in the series.

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text 2019-12-30 00:42
Reading Update: 50%
Polaris Rising (Consortium Rebellion #1) - Jessie Mihalik

Why were the attractive ones always criminals?

 

This has a definite The League series vibe by Sherrilyn Kenyon to it.

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review 2019-06-08 01:11
Polaris Rising by Jessie Mihalik - My Thoughts
Polaris Rising (Consortium Rebellion #1) - Jessie Mihalik

Disappointing. 

Just about my whole Romancelandia Twitter feed was over the moon about this book.  Best thing ever!!  Kickass heroine!!  Awesome hero!!! Action galore!!  Romance!!  Sexytimes!! 

Nope.

If you're looking for all those things, try the excellent Conspiracy of Whispers by Ada Harper.

So here's the thing, a 23 year old heroine who can do everything and get out of scrape after dangerous scrape, time after time, thanks to some training we're just hearing about that she had when she was young.  TWENTY THREE IS YOUNG!!!  She's just so darned perfect all the time.  No one is at that age, but seriously, this gal, who amusingly enough, is named Ada doesn't have a single fault or flaw.

And the hero?  Loch, who frowns and growls and grunts his way through the book until just about the very end where he declares his devotion to Ada.  But do we SEE this relationship kindle and grow?  Nope, we see a lot of hot sex and lusty glances and panting after each other, but aside from this overpowering physical attraction to each other, I don't think I saw much emotional growth. Loch is just a lump of growly muscle and abs as far as I can tell, one who seems to think that Ada belongs to him.  His property.  I can't tell you how that put me off every time it was mentioned - and that was a lot. 

The action.  Well, there was a lot of that, but it mostly spun the same way.  There's some trouble, Ada pulls out some great weapon or defense and manages to rescue them, much to Loch's amused surprise. Or, Ada gets captured, she's threatened with DIRE consequences, and by some special quirk of hers or SURPISE, growly man, she or they manage an escape.  There are politics involved by they're basically only given surface attention.  They could be very interesting and maybe we'll get there at some point in the series, but not here. 

Romance?  Not much here!  Mutual admiring of weapons and abs and lusty looks and thoughts and deeds and that's about it.  I don't know why Ada loves Loch and I don't know why Loch loves Ada.  I'm told they're in love, but... I have no clue why or how.

There were a few scenes I really liked.  The scenes where Ada, Loch and their friends plotted and planned and teased each other.  Felt a lot like Nora Roberts' gang of friends characters.  And that's my catnip, as they say.  *LOL* 

Of course we've been introduced to the next couple in the series, I'm pretty sure.  Ada's sister and her family's House security guy (who I think is one of Loch's friends, but that's in the future.)

Oh, and one last thing...  I found the characters very 2019ish as opposed to the hundreds of years in the future people they are supposed to be.  Just the way they spoke, the terms they used, it just all felt somehow contemporary to me. 

Anyway, I went into this with high hopes and was quite frankly, disappointed.  I don't understand what the huge fuss is about.  The basic ideas are good, but the execution and the meat of the story are lacking, in my opinion.  So it's another book that so many people found wonderful and I found it rather ordinary and pedestrian. 

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