Chaos Reigning – Jessie Mihalik

Screen Shot 2020-04-30 at 1.28.32 PMPublisher: Harper Voyager

Date of Publication: May 19th, 2020

Page Count: 416

From the Jacket:

Interplanetary intrigue and romance combine in this electrifying finale to the Consortium Rebellion series.

As the youngest member of her High House, Catarina von Hasenberg is used to being underestimated, but her youth and flighty, bubbly personality mask a clever mind and stubborn determination. Her enemies, blind to her true strength, do not suspect that Cat is a spy—which makes her the perfect candidate to go undercover at a rival House’s summer retreat to gather intelligence on their recent treachery.

Cat’s overprotective older sister reluctantly agrees, but on one condition: Cat cannot go alone. Alexander Sterling, a quiet, gorgeous bodyguard, will accompany her, posing as her lover. After Cat tries, and fails, to ditch Alex, she grudgingly agrees, confident in her ability to manage him. After all, she’s never found a person she can’t manipulate.

But Alex proves more difficult—and more desirable—than Cat anticipated. When she’s attacked and nearly killed, she and Alex are forced to work together to figure out how deep the treason goes. With rumors of widespread assaults on Serenity raging, communications down, and the rest of her family trapped off-planet, Catarina must persuade Alex to return to Earth to expose the truth and finish this deadly battle once and for all.

But Cat can’t explain why she’s the perfect person to infiltrate hostile territory without revealing secrets she’d rather keep buried. . . .

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  • Forced Proximity
  • Only one bed
  • Fake relationship
  • Sarcastic banter
  • Steamy slow burn

Check, check, check, check, CHECK.

Chaos Reigning checks off so many things that I LOVE in my romance books and to top it off IT’S SET IN SPACE! This is the third and final installment of the Consortium Rebellion series and focuses on the youngest of the von Hasenberg sisters, Catarina. You can read my reviews of books books one and two here and here respectively. Each book features one of the sisters but the story builds from book one, so they must be read in order.

It’s hard to say much without spoiling the other two, but Chaos Reigning is just as action packed and fast paced as its predecessors, and full of the family drama and intrigue we’ve come to love and expect from the waring high houses. I had trouble putting it down even for a minute until I reached the end and immediately wanted to start the series over when I finished. In Reigning, Mihalik brings everything to a head and finally provides the answers we’ve been chasing since Polaris Rising. We are introduced to both Catarina and Alex earlier in the series and I was so excited to finally read their story.

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Shorefall – Robert Jackson Bennett

Screen Shot 2020-04-25 at 12.14.39 PMPublisher: Del Ray

Date of Publication: April 21st, 2020

Page Count: 512

From the Jacket:

As a magical revolution remakes a city, an ancient evil is awakened in a brilliant new novel from the Hugo-nominated author of Foundryside and the Divine Cities trilogy.

A few years ago, Sancia Grado would’ve happily watched Tevanne burn. Now, she’s hoping to transform her city into something new. Something better. Together with allies Orso, Gregor, and Berenice, she’s about to strike a deadly blow against Tevanne’s cruel robber-baron rulers and wrest power from their hands for the first time in decades.

But then comes a terrifying warning: Crasedes Magnus himself, the first of the legendary hierophants, is about to be reborn. And if he returns, Tevanne will be just the first place to feel his wrath.

Thousands of years ago, Crasedes was an ordinary man who did the impossible: Using the magic of scriving—the art of imbuing objects with sentience—he convinced reality that he was something more than human. Wielding powers beyond comprehension, he strode the world like a god for centuries, meting out justice and razing empires single-handedly, cleansing the world through fire and destruction—and even defeating death itself.

Like it or not, it’s up to Sancia to stop him. But to have a chance in the battle to come, she’ll have to call upon a god of her own—and unlock the door to a scriving technology that could change what it means to be human. And no matter who wins, nothing will ever be the same.

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Shorefall is the second installment in Robert Jackson Bennett’s The Founders Trilogy. If you have not yet read the first book, Foundryside, you should do that now because it is phenomenal! You can read my review here. Book one was released almost two years ago so I had to refresh my memory on several characters and plot points before starting this one. Waiting for the next installment in a series is very hard for me, so I typically wait until they are almost complete before diving in. The synopsis for Foundryside sounded too intriguing to wait so I made an exception and I am so glad I did. Shorefall was worth the excruciating wait and the homework I had to do to prepare for reading it.

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A Heart of Blood and Ashes – Milla Vane

Screen Shot 2020-04-27 at 10.28.08 AMPublisher: Berkley

Date of Publication: February 4th, 2020

Page Count: 560

From the Jacket:

A generation past, the western realms were embroiled in endless war. Then the Destroyer came. From the blood and ashes he left behind, a tenuous alliance rose between the barbarian riders of Parsathe and the walled kingdoms of the south. That alliance is all that stands against the return of an ancient evil—until the barbarian king and queen are slain in an act of bloody betrayal.

Though forbidden by the alliance council to kill the corrupt king responsible for his parents’ murders, Maddek vows to avenge them, even if it costs him the Parsathean crown. But when he learns it was the king’s daughter who lured his parents to their deaths, the barbarian warrior is determined to make her pay.

Yet the woman Maddek captures is not what he expected. Though the last in a line of legendary warrior-queens, Yvenne is small and weak, and the sharpest weapons she wields are her mind and her tongue. Even more surprising is the marriage she proposes to unite them in their goals and to claim their thrones—because her desire for vengeance against her father burns even hotter than his own…

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Oh my goodness, this book. Where do I even start?! This is the sort of treasure that I never would have discovered if not for my wonderful book community. I do not have a full review prepared for this one, but wanted to share a few thoughts and put it on everyone’s radar.

A Heart of Blood and Ashes is a barbarian romance and my very first in this genre and what a way to start. Yvenne and Maddek are EVERYTHING. Yvenne is one of the bravest, smartest, most resilient heroines I’ve ever read and I want to be her when I grow up. Maddek is honorable, brave, and fierce but also a complete cinnamon roll inside. I loved reading about the culture of the Parsatheans and their code of honesty above all else. Maddek and his warriors are their own family and there are no secrets between them and nothing is too taboo to openly discuss. Whenever it seemed that Maddek was lost in harmful thinking, one of them would ask him, “are you thinking fool’s thoughts” or “do you need counsel”? I love this. Nothing is left unsaid, except for those words which are better left unsaid because they would cause unnecessary pain and would only be said out of some other emotion like grief or rage. 

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