Genre: Fantasy


Monday, January 20, 2020

A Mixed Bag: Scavenge the Stars by Tara Sim

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A Mixed Bag: Scavenge the Stars by Tara Sim
Scavenge the Stars
Tara Sim
Series: Scavenge the Stars #1
Genre: Historical, Retellings, YA
Publication date: January 7th, 2020
by Disney Hyperion

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When Amaya rescues a mysterious stranger from drowning, she fears her rash actions have earned her a longer sentence on the debtor ship where she’s been held captive for years. Instead, the man she saved offers her unimaginable riches and a new identity, setting Amaya on a perilous course through the coastal city-state of Moray, where old-world opulence and desperate gamblers collide.

Amaya wants one thing: revenge against the man who ruined her family and stole the life she once had. But the more entangled she becomes in this game of deception—and as her path intertwines with the son of the man she’s plotting to bring down—the more she uncovers about the truth of her past. And the more she realizes she must trust no one…
-A copy was provided by Disney-Hyperion for review-

Scavenge the Stars wasn’t entirely what I expected it to be. I think it is being marketed as a fantasy which it was decidedly not. I am not sure I can even pinpoint any fantastical elements? But I am making an educated guess here and assuming that the sequel will have a lot more of those elements. 

Reading this book was fine. Just fine. I liked the story enough and kept flipping the pages but always felt like there was something missing that would draw me more to these characters and make me feel more invested in what was happening. It wasn’t until the last 20% of this book where I actually felt like I couldn’t stop reading, which is also why this book ended up being a three star read instead of 2 or 2.5 stars. 

I think one of the biggest reasons I struggled with falling in love with this book was I had trouble immersing myself within the world Sim had constructed. I couldn’t quite visualize it and my brain would keep trying to fill those gaps with images that did not match the story. There wasn’t much work done not just to visually build the world, but also to give it a background. Like there is history of war and territorial disputes mentioned and I wished we’d dwelled a bit more on that.

There also wasn’t a lot happening in the book. It’s a slow book that takes its time peeling back the layers of the mystery, secrets, lies, etc. That isn’t to say that the book was boring? Just slow. There is a lot happening aside from plot stuff – character development, etc. 

Except that I also felt like Amaya was not the best at her disguise as the countess. She kept making choices that put her disguise at risk!!! That said, I did actually like her as a character. I enjoyed how driven she is; even if that drive occasionally led her to make frustrating choices. She was also compassionate and smart, and just generally fun to follow.

Cayo, for all his past and present vices was an innocent, sheltered baby who truly learns SO much over the course of the book. Watching him deal with all the obstacles that came his way, and come out a better, more rounded person was gratifying. 

The two together made a good team and while I wasn’t 100% aboard this romantic ship, I did love their easy friendship and banter. 

More than the main characters though, its the wide array of well-rounded secondary characters that I loved. There are so MANY, with so many different alliances, and they are all so very well written. 

It’s really how everything comes together at the end though that makes Scavenge the Stars a book worth reading. Like I said earlier, the last 20% of this book is truly something. I love a good mystery and I especially love a good twist. Suffice to say, THERE ARE SOME GOOD TWISTS happening and the consequences of those twists…well… 

Even though Scavenge the Stars ended up not being what I expected, I finished the book quite satisfied and very excited to see what awaits us in the sequel. Hopefully there won’t be too much waiting to be done.

3 Stars
3 Hot Espressos

An Adventure Worth Reading: Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

An Adventure Worth Reading: Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Posted by on 08/23/2019 • 2 Comments

It’s been a while since I finished Gods of Jade and Shadow and yet its managed to linger in my mind. I start every single review I’ve written this year of a fantasy book by stating that I’ve been struggling with fantasy lately but I don’t think that statement truly encompasses how much I’ve been struggling. Part of it is my mood but I think a huge part of it is that fantasy these days is just not the kind of fantasy I grew up loving? I love journeys and adventures through foreign lands. I love fantasies that have strong plots driving them forward. I love fantasies that are fairy-tale-esque. 

When Casiopea’s father died, her mother and her were forced to move in with relatives. Of course, in exchange for…

Great World Building But A Little Slow: The Magnolia Sword by Sherry Thomas

Great World Building But A Little Slow: The Magnolia Sword by Sherry Thomas

Posted by on 08/07/2019 • 0 Comments

With the upcoming release of the live action Mulan, there has been an upsurge in Mulan retellings and I whole-heartedly welcome it. I fell in love with Spin the Dawn so I was pretty excited to dive into The Magnolia Sword. I went into it hoping that I would be blown away the same way I was with Spin the Dawn but I was not. Having said that, I loved the world building SO SO MUCH and enjoyed the building romantic tension between the main characters.

Let me clear, I am not trying to compare The Magnolia Sword to Spin the Dawn. I only mention the latter because both these stories adapt Mulan and I love Mulan (I’ve only been exposed to the Disney version of this story.)  They may…

Revived My Love for Fantasy: Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim

Revived My Love for Fantasy: Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim

Posted by on 07/23/2019 • 1 Comment

Spin the Dawn is the book I didn’t know I needed and I want to cry from how happy I am that I read it and that it could revolutionize my life. As a baby blogger, I rarely read contemporary. I exclusive read fantasy. These past few years though, fantasy has not really been holding my attention and I find myself avoiding it for the most part except for a few books here and there. Before Spin the Dawn, the last high fantasy I read was Wicked Saints back in April. I rated in 4 stars at the time but in retrospect it was not a 4 star read given that for half the book, my attention wandered. For the first time in literal years, I don’t want to read…

Review: House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig

Review: House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig

Posted by on 07/16/2019 • 1 Comment

A truly cinematic and unique novel, House of Salt and Sorrows begins during a funeral where we learn that one by one, the Thaumas sisters have been tragically dying. Soon our MC, Annaleigh, starts to wonder if Eulalie’s death was not accidental after all. This novels starts off fresh with a lot of faces, a ton of personalities, and plenty of mystery. I found myself engrossed from really early on, and looking forward to the wild ride this was bound to be. 

After the intriguing beginning, though, I found the pacing to be a little off. The story would lag in places until I was getting close to being bored. However each time that happened, the plot would suddenly jump forward to reveal something new, something exciting, even horrific, saving…

Gritty Characters: Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan

Gritty Characters: Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan

Posted by on 04/09/2019 • 1 Comment

CW: Self-harm and manipulative romantic relationship

I was told Wicked Saints would destroy me but I still didn’t realize what that would mean until I read the last couple pages of this book. If you enjoy happiness at all, you will stay far away from this book. If you love gritty characters, none of whom are particularly good (and some who might just be PLAIN EVIL), you will love Wicked Saints.

Right off the bat, we are pushed into the middle of a war with an opening scene where one of our MCs has to watch as many people important to her are murdered. So no, there are no rainbows and puppies in this book. Honestly though, having such a powerful scene was helpful to me because I’ve been struggling…

Breathes Life Into a Genre I Thought I Was Done With: We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia

Breathes Life Into a Genre I Thought I Was Done With: We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia

Posted by on 02/28/2019 • 0 Comments

Currently, I am staring at a blank document trying to figure out how words work because I am not entirely sure how to even begin to describe We Set the Dark on Fire? When I first started hearing about the book, I thought it was a fantasy but then my friend, Shannon said it was more dystopia so I really didn’t know what genre I was diving into. I did go in expecting some badass girls and I GOT SOME BADASS GIRLS.

Upon finishing, I think I can say that while this book isn’t like a futuristic sci-fic novel, labelling it dystopia is not wholly inaccurate. WHICH, if you like me stopped reading dystopia half a decade ago because it was all bland, I promise We Set the Dark…

Entertaining: Warrior of the Wild by Tricia Levenseller

Entertaining: Warrior of the Wild by Tricia Levenseller

Posted by on 02/07/2019 • 0 Comments

I really enjoyed Tricia Levenseller’s Daughter of the Pirate King duology and I had no doubt that I would at least like Warrior of the Wild. And I did! But overall Warrior of the Wild doesn’t hold a candle to the Daughter of the Pirate King books. It’s a fast, entertaining read but it is the kind of book that if you looked at it too closely, it kind of just falls apart. Everything about the plot line almost feels too easy. I love a fast paced book but this might have just been a LITTLE too fast.

Warrior of the Wild follows a privileged village leader’s daughter as she is exiled from her village and has to embark on a quest that involves killing an oppressive, abusive God…