Cover Image: Hunt the Stars

Hunt the Stars

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Member Reviews

This book was really good. It feels more like the Rogue Queen series than the Consortium Rebellion series, both of which are good. 

Ship captain Octavia Zarola fought in the war against the alien Valoffs with her squad, Eli, Kee and Lexi. With an unsteady peace agreement between the Federated Human Planets(FHP) and the Valovian empire, Tavi and her crew are bounty hunters. When she is offered a lucrative job to retrieve a stolen item by a Valoff General Torran Fletcher, Tavi is reluctant to take it, but with a crew to feed and ship to repair she agrees. But nothing about this job is what it seems and the chemistry between her and Torran is not helping. Stuck in unfriendly territory, Tavi is going to have to think fast to get her crew and possibly her heart, out alive. 

I really enjoyed this book. Tavi is a character that takes responsibility and wants to get everyone home. She is also super tough and takes no crap.  I enjoyed watching her and Torran try the navigate a working relationship and the coils of possible romance and deal with what happened during the war. The side characters were also interesting so I'm hoping for more. 

I look forward to the next book in this series.
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I chugged this book down like lemonade on a hot day. It was exactly the cool wash that I needed, and cool and refreshing. I am very demanding of SF romance--I need the adventure the carry the story, and I have limited tolerance for pining. 

The romance was perfect--attractive, competent people who have circumstantial reasons not to like each other work together for plot reasons (which are maybe thin but okay) and develop grudging respect and also pantsfeelings and continue to work together and become friends and have adventures and solve problems and become lovers. There are circumstances that make them unlikely, but nothing to keep them apart. 

There is a TON of caretaking here--the number of cooking scenes is almost ridiculous, but also warm and fuzzy. Everyone likes to hang out in the garden. Everyone is just lovely, and also very good at being mercenaries.  

It reminded me of the feel of Ilona Andrews, especially the Innkeeper book about Maud (Sweep of the Blade), to the point where I had to keep reminding myself that the Valoff characters are not blonde space vampires in fiddly vampire armor. 

To be clear, this is an enormous compliment. I loved this book very much.
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I received a free copy from the publisher through Netgalley and voluntarily reviewed it

I really enjoyed Jessie Mihalik's books so far and was excited to start this new series. I really enjoyed Hunt the Stars. It has an awesome slow burn romance, a solid plot and great characters. The story grabbed me from the start and I stayed invested and engaged for the whole book. Now I finished the book I am sad I finished it already and wish the next book was here already.

Hunt the Stars follows the point of view of Octavia, she's the leader of a small bounty hunting crew. There is peace now in the galaxy, but she used to fight in the war that just ended. When an alien from the other faction asks for her ask she wants to say no, but the money he offers is something she can really use. So she grudgingly agrees. The two crews have to work and live together and slowly they starts to feel more like friends than enemies. I liked the bounty hunting plot as they have to find a stolen ring. And the way the plot got more complex the further we got. There are some interesting reveals and I liked seeing how it all played out.

I liked Octavia as a main character. She was capable and smart and cared a lot about her crew. I also liked her crew and seeing them all interact. Everyone had their own personality and it was easy to remember who was who. Even when the group grows bigger as the alien crew also joins them. I really liked the way they are such a close knit crew and how slowly the alien crew also becomes part of that. The way they have each other's back was great to read about. There also is a cool alien animal that lives aboard their ship who was fun to read about.

The romance is quite the slow burn and I thought the slow progression was done well. Octavia basically sees Torran as the enemy and slowly she grows closer to him. I liked seeing how this took time and also how their initial hostility made sense as they fought on opposites sites of the war. And even later in the book there are sometimes still moments when those nasty memories from the war raise their head. I really liked Octovaia and Torran together. There is some clear mutual attraction as well as deeper feelings that slowly progress.

Another thing I really liked about this book was the world building and the way the culture of the alien Valoffs was established. I liked the way their different cultural habits made them feel like a different species and made sense too. From the way their social obligations and oath work to the way they apologize. It was interesting to read about and it gave them their unique culture and feel. I thought it was done really well and with just a few of those things they already feel like an entirely different species. Then there are their slightly different looks and telepathic powers as well.

To summarize: I really enjoyed Hunt the Stars. It had a solid set up and I liked seeing how the plot progressed. There are some interesting reveals later on and I was excited to see how it all played out. This book kept me engaged the whole time and I wanted to keep reading. I really enjoyed the romance and seeing Octavia and Torran slowly grow closer. They slowly forge a deep connection and there's plenty of attraction too. I like how the romance progressed slowly and also how their initial hostility made sense. I liked reading about the crew and how close knit they are. Everyone had their own personality and it was easy to remember who was who. I liked the way the author established the world building and the culture of the Valoffs. I want to spend more time reading about these characters and look forward to book 2!
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I received a copy of this work from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Jessie Mihalik's Hunt the Stars is a true genre blending experience. This 1st novel in her new trilogy is a Sci-fi/Romance/Space Opera/Political thriller that satisfies on all fronts. Good character development, decent plotline with some very clever bits, quality relationship arc, and excellent pacing make this one of the best novels I've read in a long time. 10 out of 10.
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Note: I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own. Beware of SPOILERS.
I do not normally read "space opera," but something about the way Jessie Mihalik weaves a story gets me. I've been a fan since her Consortium Rebellion trilogy. You can imagine how excited I was to read this book. The first thing that caught my attention was the backstory and worldbuilding. The book starts after an intergalactic war between the Valovians (humanoid beings with telepathic abilities) and the Federated Human Planets (a mix of normal humans and enhanced humans). Given the vastness of space, traveling from one end to the other end is made easier by wormhole-like gates that are highly prized. Captain Octavia Zarola (aka Tavi) and her team are working as bounty hunters after leaving the FHP military. Unfortunately, bounty hunting was not as lucrative as one might think. In need of cash, Tavi and her team are approached by the former general of the Valovian army, Torran Fletcher, with a job opportunity. Torran needs Tavi and her crew to locate a heirloom that was stolen from Fletcher's home. While the circumstances of the job are not ideal and peace between the two races is tenuous at best, Tavi and her crew agree to the job for the promised payout.  

During this job, the human crew and the Valovian crew get to know each other and build grudging respect for each group. The prejudices and opinions of each other's races slowly dissipates. Subtle and some not so subtle hints of romances make themselves known. The romance between Torran and Tavi is more of a moving subplot to keep the story interesting. The main plot is about the alleged theft and subsequent retrieval with a big-ish plot twist near the end. I'm not a fan of the insta-love trope. The attraction between the two is obvious, but each are strong-willed characters with their priorities in check. I did appreciate that their relationship was a slow burn that was built of mutual respect. The character development for Tavi and insight into her military career provides readers with a better picture into who she is as a person. While she is a tough-as-nails captain, she's also smart, kind, generous, protective, and stubborn. The  end of the book leaves much room for the secondary characters to continue the story. I look forward to it.
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Jessie Mihalik's Hunt the Stars was lots of fun and I'm looking forward to the next one in the series. I went back to read Mihalik's previous series (starting with Polaris Rising) and I liked it too, but I think the writing has improved in this one. It's sci-fi romance that holds its own as a space opera adventure and as a romance, which is rare. I really appreciate the ways Mihalik's "feminine" lens informs the space opera aspect, with attention paid to food, interior design, clothing, gardening, etc, which adds dimension to the story and has obviously been undervalued in sci-fi traditionally. There is a psychic alien pet creature on board and that was a highlight for me too!
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Hunt the Stars needs to be the next big sci Fi with a touch of romance and adventure. The book was a medium paced read for the first 30% and then was a can't put it down or stop thinking about it book. The characters are so well developed and their interactions with each other really drove the story forward. The element of found family was an added bonus. Truly enjoyed reading this story and I cannot wait to find out more. 5 stars
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A delightful book full of adventure, action, and thrills. Fun to read, engrossing world building, and very descriptive imagery made it feel like it was cinematic. It's hard to resist the story as it drives forward. Would recommend.
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Brought to you by OBS reviewer Omar

Hunt the Stars is the first book in the Starlight’s Shadow series by author Jessie Mihalik. It tells the story of Captain Octavia Zarola, or Tavi to her friends, of the Starlight’s Shadow ship and a group of bounty hunters that are just trying to get by in the vast universe. The inhabitants of this universe have entered a recent time of peace, as the major war between the humans and the Valoffs has ended, and a treaty has been set. Valoffs are similar to humans but with eyes, hair, and skin a bit brighter, and with mental abilities to read minds and control objects. But some wounds are still fresh, and the peace is still fragile, one wrong incident and the war can start again.

Tavi meets Torran Fletcher, a diplomate of the Valovian Empire in a space station on the outside of the FED – Federated Human Planets. Torran with his diplomatic immunity has been interviewing bounty hunter groups in the station for a job he has for them. Once they arrive at Tavi’s ship, they clash at first for being war enemies, but also both Torran and Tavi have high bounties over their heads by other nations.

After a long negotiation and a high price set for the job, Tavi agrees to try to find a ring stolen from Torran’s house in Valovia by some humans. But there is a condition, Torran’s team will be traveling with them to Valovia to safeguard their passage, and Tavi is not yet comfortable with Valoffs that close to them. After some convincing by her team and the need to finance the repairs of the ship, they accept the conditions.  Tavi’s crew is made up of Eli and Kee but knowing that they will be having four Valoffs in their ship for the two weeks of travel, Tavi hires Anja, a mechanic, and Lexi, another bounty hunter, and friend of the ship.  

 As the teams travel through space, they get to know one other a bit. Tavi wants to learn more about the Valoffs and their abilities in case this is a trap and more about the mission. But as time flies by, some secrets are revealed. Among them is the truth about the robbery and the value of the ring.

I liked Hunt the Stars, it was a good space opera story, and the characters were interesting to follow along on their travels. Tavi and Torran make a nice couple, both of them have baggage from their time in the military and the distrust they have on the other species. But still, they manage to get past those prejudices and learn more about one another. Apart from Tavi, her crew is made up of Eli Bruck the first officer, and Kee Ildez the system engineer and navigator, they are later joined by Lexi Bowen that was part of Tavi’s squad, and Anja Harbon a mechanical engineer that is trying to leave the space station on which Tavi accepts the Valoffs job offered.

Compared to other space opera series from author Jessie Mihalik, this new series has added the element of mental powers to some of their characters. I liked that the Valoffs have abilities that humans feared and want to also learn. It was great how the reader and the human crew got to learn together that the Valoffs have more abilities that they hide during the war and will be great for the humans to know about.

While the romance storyline is centered around Tavi and Torran, as the narrative progresses, we can see other relationships flourishing while the mission is happening, and I can’t wait to read how they end.

This story was a fast-paced read, perfect for a weekend. A good recommendation if you are looking for a new read this spring.

If you are a fan of author Jessie Mihalik, I recommend Hunt the Stars. It starts as a high-profile job for the crew of the Starlight’s Shadow but then becomes even more dangerous with the Valoffs on the ships because they can protect their minds but not their hearts.
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I enjoyed this! I have a hard time getting into sci-fi, so it just took me about 50 or so pages to get into the story and be able to imagine what the world looked like.

I did think that the pacing and the writing was a little off, but that could have just been because this is an arc and the writing was polished off in the final version. But this is also a debut so it didn't really annoy me. I thought that the story was really interesting and I thought that the romance was really cute. It was a little insta lovey but I just took it for face value. I am interested in seeing where the story goes and what else the author has in store with future works
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i am not a sci-fi romance reader but this book worked for me and I can't wait for what is next in the series.
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The first book in the series. Tavi and her crew end up in Valovia to fulfill a bounty only to get more than they bargained. ARC from NetGalley.
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I loved Jessie Mihalik's previous series but this starter sadly fell flat for me. I was expecting an adventurous romp through space but what I got was repetitive descriptions of cooking, eating, and going to the gym. Things picked up a bit once the crew got on-planet but by then I'd lost interest.
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I just loved this book, and though it’s a shameless mash-up of a “Girl meets Prince” romance and space opera, it worked for me on all levels. You’ll have as much fun with this novel as I did, so go ahead and grab it! 

For the slow burn Girl Meets Boy plot, we have bad-ass fearless Octavia Zarola, who’s ex-military turned bounty hunter and is surrounded by her deeply loyal crew who served on her military squad and whose lives she saved. She’s got PTSD flashbacks to the brutal war between the alien race and humanity. She’s also got animosity towards the human military leadership who she believes betrayed her unit. Then there’s Torran Fletcher who served as a Volaff General in the war, and who leads his devoted crew with stoicism and mental prowess. But did I mention how handsome he is and how irresistible sparks start flying between the two? Of course a lack of trust keeps getting in the way. 

For the space opera thriller: Torran offers Octavia a fortune to bounty hunt for something’s that been stolen from him by humans on the Valovian home planet. Tavi needs the money, for critical fixes to her ship, but is taken back to discover that Torran and his crew insist on accompanying her on the mission to see it carried out as well as to ensure safe passage for the humans in Valovian space. And Torran’s been holding back some critical pieces of information, that end up putting all of them in jeopardy. 

As sparks fly, both romantically as well as in the tension of the humans and Valovians getting comfortable with each other, a larger plot emerges that threatens the delicate peace between the races. 

Just how long will we have to wait for the sequel?!  I’m already imagining popping a fresh batch of popcorn and settling in for a delicious ride as the plot continues. 

Thanks to NetGalley and Avon & Harper Voyager for an advanced reader’s copy of this book. All the candid views expressed here are my own.
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This was a great book and a lot of fun to read, a nice blend of romance, science fiction adventure, and found family.  The romance is technically enemies to lovers because Torran and Octavia fought on opposite side of the war so she does have a bit of distrust towards him, but Octavia works hard to make her ship a respectful place for everyone and treated Torran and his companions well. And speaking of respect, I really loved how much Mihalik cared about consent in this book. Torran has some special abilities and he consistently asked Octavia for permission to use them on her every step of the way, regardless of if it was for tactical or sexual reasons. The romance didn't feel rushed or unearned at all, I was really pleased with it. 

I also loved the found family dynamic of the ship, Octavia and Eli and Kee ARE family and even though Octavia is captain she rarely makes big decisions without consulting them and making sure that everyone is on board with it.  They weren't as developed as I would have liked but it is a series with them presumably getting their own books so I look forward to reading more about them. My main quibble with the book is that I didn't really feel the vibe that Octavia and all of them are bounty hunters even though that's basically their background'/the premise of the book. 

Octavia has this alien "pet" named Luna who absolutely stole the show for me, I need more Luna!
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4.5/5 Stars

I have been looking forward to picking up Jessie Mihalik's next series since I finished the Consortium Rebellion back in 2020. I loved that series so you can imagine how excited I was when her new series features a female bounty hunter captain and an enemies-to-lovers romance! And y'all! I love this series even more than the Consortium Rebellion and it has definitely earned a spot for Jessie Mihalik on my list of auto-buy sci-fi authors! 
 
I loved so much about this book that I could rave about it for days! I was totally on board for the slice-of-life, twisty mystery, enemies-to-friends-to-lovers romance vibe this book had going on and I need more! The characters! The world building! The politics! The back story! The found family! The romance! The psychic alien race! I seriously loved everything about this book!
 
It's fun to read an author's work from their debut because you can see how their writing is growing and changing. Jessie Mihalik is definitely getting better at writing those plot twists that you can only partially see coming. She totally surprised me several times while reading this book because I thought I had things figured out and than wham! plot twist! It made this such a fun story to read!

I quickly fell in love with Tavi and her crew! Kee and Eli are polar opposites with Kee being the sunshine and Eli being the grump but they are highly protective of each other and Tavi. I especially loved Luna! It was intriguing to see the crew interact with Torran and his team, their once sworn enemies! I loved how Tavi's plan to keep her enemies close turned into both teams finding some common ground. 
 
The one thing I will say I wish this book had (and it's something I wanted in Mihalik's other series) was multiple POVs or just a dual POV with the love interests. While I came to like Torran's team, I didn't come to love them as much as the Tavi's crew because Tavi's POV was the only one we had. I get why the author didn't because some of the plot twists wouldn't have worked with a dual POV but it is something that I find myself wanting every time I've read one of her books.
 
I cannot wait to read more in this series as Tavi, Torran, and their teams start to hunt down who is trying to restart the war between humans and the Valoffs! I will admit that I am shipping some of Tavi's and Torran's crews together. I have my fingers crossed for a certain doctor and first officer pairing but we'll see if that happens. The seeds are there for that romance though! The next book is Kee's and I can't wait because the love interest looks to be a specific Valovian weapons expert and I ship it!
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this is one of my favorite writers. I love her space world-building and how they all feel different from each other. I also really enjoyed watching these people, who were enemies learn to forgive and get the truth of a situation before they judge.
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Ok, so I was disappointed when Mihalik announced that her next trilogy would be unconnected to her first one, because I really needed the rest of the Hasenberg siblings to get their HEAs. And the pitch as a gender-crossed Mandalorian meant nothing to me since I hadn't seen the show yet at the time and knew very little about it. So while I was excited for this book, I wasn't exactly dying for it the way I was with her previous two books.

So it makes me all the more happy to say that this book is amazing!! I loved every minute of it.

Tavi was a military hero in the human war with the Valoffs, an alien species similar to humans but with telepathic and telekinetic abilities. But now that the war is over, all she wants to do is protect her crew. Taking a bounty job from Torran, a general in the Valoff military, to recover a missing item is the last thing she wants to do, but she and her crew need the money, and so they agree to take Torran's job. But the farther they go into enemy space and the more they learn about what they're hunting, the higher the stakes become. And while she wants to trust Torran, she's not sure if she can.

I had so much fun with the premise of this book, and it was just so delightful seeing Tavi and her crew slowly let their guard down and bond with Torran and his crew, expanding their little circle of found family.

I also really loved all of the twists and turns with the plot. I loved how everything was slowly revealed and just kept upping the stakes higher and higher. It was an intense book! It was so difficult to put it down to go to sleep because I needed to know what happened next, and I really liked how Mihalik used the plot of this story to lay out the plot of future books.

I also really loved the budding romance between Tavi and Torran and how they came to see past their prejudices and get to know each other. I especially appreciated how he made amends when he screwed up and how seriously he took Tavi's trust.

Honestly, my only complaint is that I wish there'd been a bit more romance. Even just a few more scenes at the end where they talk about what they mean to each other and more firmly finalize their plans for the future would have been perfect. I could have used a bit more confidence in their HEA (there's definitely one set up, but I wanted them to discuss their life together a bit more) and more intimate, soul-bearing scenes to go back and reread, because as soon as I finished this book, I just wanted to go back and reread all the pivotal scenes in Tavi and Torran's relationship. And I think a few more scenes between the two of them with their guards down would have helped me get to know him a bit better, too. Obviously we know all the important parts, but I want to know everything!!

All in all, this was another great action-packed scifi adventure from Mihalik with an excellent romance to go along with it. And while I do think everyone in the two groups was paired off just a little too neatly, I still can't wait for the others in the crew to get their own romances! I love a good sequel bait, and Mihalik definitely delivers on that front.
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This review was originally posted on <a href="https://booksofmyheart.net/2022/02/17/%f0%9f%8e%a7-hunt-the-stars-by-jessie-mihalik/" target="_blank"> Books of My Heart</a>
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<i>Review copy was received from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.</i>

If you enjoy this author's other series, you will enjoy <strong>Hunt the Stars</strong>.  I was thrilled to start the <a href="https://www.goodreads.com/series/319729-starlight-s-shadow" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em><strong>Starlight's Shadow</strong> </em></a>series.    While the overall story arc might be urban fantasy style, there is a new couple in each book.  It feels like fantasy romance.  The situations are very much military,  space opera with plenty of tech.   The romance lightens the story and I love this author's style. Her female characters are strong leaders.

Our main characters are Tavi,  a human and bounty hunter, who led her team on the human side during the war.  Torran, is a Valoff, and a general on the Valoff side.  So we begin with no trust, a desperate situation for each of them, which moves along into attraction.  It's an intense version of enemies-to-lovers.

Both of their teams are talented and compassionate.  Both have suffered loss and changes from the war.  They are united in this finding mission.  However, the truth is tough to pin down.  Slowly, with trust, some truth is shared.  But it's easy to feel betrayed when details are omitted.  The battle is hard fought to complete their joint mission, which turns out to be more far reaching and consequential than first known.

I loved this exciting story with strategies and battles,  as well as a surprising romance.  I believe in these characters and am looking forward to more.  The ending makes it clear where things will be heading next in <strong>Eclipse the Moon </strong>releasing in July
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I read Jessie Mihalik’s last science-fiction romance series and absolutely loved it. So I was really excited that she was writing another sci-if romance series set in a new world. Plus I always am a fan of the enemies to lovers trope!

I’d recommend Hunt the Stars if you like
1) Enemies to lovers
2) Found families
3) Action-packed mysteries (that also have some adorable slice of life scenes)
4) Political intrigue (but not too much!)

The only reason I gave this book four stars instead of five was because literally every member of both crews ended up coupled up (or at least with the suggestion of romantic interest) by the end of the book. I just would have preferred to see the relationships really develop over the course of a few books.

I can’t wait for the next book in this series, Mihalik’s books are some of my favorite comfort reads. Definitely one of the best sci-if romance writers out there!
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