Adult Books, Diverse Books

Prime Deceptions by Valerie Valdes – Book Review

Thank you to Orbit books for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

I loved Chilling Effect and Prime Deceptions was even better! Here is my review for Chilling Effect.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Captain Eva Innocente and the crew of La Sirena Negra find themselves once again on the fringe of populated space—and at the center of a raging covert war. When Eva’s sister asks for help locating a missing scientist, promises of a big paycheck and a noble cause convince Eva to take the job despite lingering trust issues.

With reluctant assistance from her estranged mother, Eva and her crew follow the missing scientist’s trail across the universe, from the costume-filled halls of a never-ending convention to a dangerous bot-fighting arena. They ultimately find themselves at the last place Eva wants to see again—Garilia—where she experienced her most shameful and haunting failure.

To complete her mission and get paid, Eva must navigate a paradise embroiled in a rebellion, where massive forests and pristine beaches hide psychic creatures and pervasive surveillance technology. Can she find her quarry while avoiding the oppressive local regime, or will she be doomed to repeat past mistakes when her dark deeds come to light?

This book will take you on a wild ride and I was here for it! I actually liked that this was set over a shorter period of time and about one mission as it gave us more time to spend with Eva and the crew and see more of their relationships with each other. I love this crew so much! We also delve more into Eva’s past so we can see just how much she has changed and grown and learn more about things mentioned in Chilling Effect.

Eva is snarky and sarcastic as ever but we also see a more vulnerable side to her when she has to face the consequences of things she did in her past, things which she is not proud of and would rather forget. It made her more complex and I really liked how she navigated all the conflicting feelings she had about it. She knew what she did was wrong, she knew that there would be people who would hate her for it and not be able to forgive her for it. She doesn’t wallow in self pity though, she tries to find a way to help the people she has wronged and not make the same mistakes again. She tries to better while also accepting that she cannot change the past. It was really great to see this discussion in the book. And I really liked how it was handled.

One of the themes throughout the story was the relationship between the crew. I loved seeing the friendship between Eva and Pink and how they looked out for each other and knew each so well but also calling each other out when they did something wrong. I loved how Eva looked out for Min and Sue and also knew how capable they were and didn’t hold them back from achieving their potential. It was also interesting seeing their dynamic compared to the strained relationship Eva has with her sister and Mum.

I loved seeing more of Eva and Vakar and honestly they are adorable! Vakar is the sweetest and an absolute cinnamon roll who will always be ther for Eva but also won’t make decisions for her even when he might not agree. Also I love that his scent changes depending on how he’s feeling and the number of times he feels bashful is adorable! Look I know he is a highly trained soldier, an elite called a wraith but he is a cinnamon roll, maybe just a deadly one. The scene where he ‘surprises’ Eva is one of my absolute favourite scenes! I loved their dynamics so much.

Of course I could not write this review and not mention Mala! My favourite psychic space cat who is an absolute diva and I am here for it! We get to see a lot more of her and her interactions with Eva were some of my favourite things ever! Her sassing Eva and Eva threatening her and Mala calling her bluff. Eva may be captain but Mala is absolutely in charge. I would read a whole book from Mala’s perspective!

I loved the ending so much, just when we think Eva and her crew finally have some time to rest, out came that plot twist which left shook! We get hints about the alien technology that no one really knows much about but we finally get a glimpse of what they are capable of in that ending and it left me needing the next book immediately.

Everyone needs to read these books they are incredible and will have you on the edge of your seat, reading late into the night. These books are full of sassy and sarcastic characters and of course a diva space cat. I loved the found family and how well they work with each other and have built such great relationships with each other.

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.