Adult Books, Diverse Books

Chilling Effect by Valerie Valdes – ARC Review

This book had me at psychic cats! Once I started reading I was completely and entirely hooked! Also can we take a moment to appreciate this book cover because it has become one of my favourite covers ever! Complete with space cats!


Rating: 4.5/5

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Captain Eva Innocente and the crew of La Sirena Negra cruise the galaxy delivering small cargo for even smaller profits. When her sister Mari is kidnapped by The Fridge, a shadowy syndicate that holds people hostage in cryostasis, Eva must undergo a series of unpleasant, dangerous missions to pay the ransom.
But Eva may lose her mind before she can raise the money. The ship’s hold is full of psychic cats, an amorous fish-faced emperor wants her dead after she rejects his advances, and her sweet engineer is giving her a pesky case of feelings. The worse things get, the more she lies, raising suspicions and testing her loyalty to her found family.
To free her sister, Eva will risk everything: her crew, her ship, and the life she’s built on the ashes of her past misdeeds. But when the dominoes start to fall and she finds the real threat is greater than she imagined, she must decide whether to play it cool or burn it all down.

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started reading this but it was amazing and took me on a wild ride! This book is fast paced and action packed and every time I thought I had figured things out, I was hit with a plot twist that had me reeling and I loved every second of it!

This book has a wonderfully diverse cast who are all so different from each other yet they work so well together and have become family. I loved how they looked out for each other and protected and supported each other. They each have their own flaws and baggage but are there for each other and help them through it.

The main character, Eva, is a wonderful character who I immediately fell in love with. She isn’t perfect and has a lot of baggage which still haunts her but we see her go through some really great character development. She is sassy and sarcastic and doesn’t tolerate any crap from anyone, though it does get her in trouble at times. She is also bilingual and unapologetically Latinx. I loved how her culture was an important part of her life and how she switched from Spanish to English mid-sentence. Especially as I also switch between Urdu and English regularly when I talk.

Eva already has a lot on her plate, from dealing with her sister being kidnapped and her having to work for a crime syndicate to get her back and on top of that she ends up insulting an alien called Glorious, who is the living embodiment of toxic masculinity and male privilege. It’s something that’s really relatable and made me angry on Eva’s behalf because she was blamed for the mess and there is no consequences for him.

This book has such great world building and takes us to all the far corners of space and it was so great to see different places as it showed how vast the world is. We get to see so much from psychic cats to mind controlling parasites and all the aliens! I had total Firefly vibes reading this and I just loved it so much, from the space drama to family bond and so much more!

I also loved the plot twists, which I did not see coming and left me mind blown! The story itself takes place over a longer period than I thought it would too so that made it even more interesting to see where the story would take us next. One of the things I loved in this book was the chapter titles. I know it doesn’t affect the story but they did make me giggle! The whole story is hilarious, I constantly had a grin on my face reading the book.

This book is a great debut and I am so looking forward to seeing where Eva and her crew go next especially there’s unresolved things at the end of the book. Also I would like to just put it out there that I would love to see more psychic cats, even a whole book about them. Please and thank you.

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