Posts Tagged: Retelling

Monday, January 20, 2020

A Mixed Bag: Scavenge the Stars by Tara Sim

Posted by 1 Comment

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

GoodreadsPurchase
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

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…

Potentially the best Pride and Prejudice Adaptation: Ayesha at Last by Uzma Jalaluddin

Potentially the best Pride and Prejudice Adaptation: Ayesha at Last by Uzma Jalaluddin

Posted by on 07/02/2019 • 8 Comments

I’ve been going through a reading slump lately and starting a book takes a lot more effort than I would like. When, I picked up Ayesha a couple days ago, I was really sad I couldn’t get into it so I put it down and continued binging Brooklyn Nine Nine. Because I had it for review though, I decided to pick it up again  and push through. I ended up going to bed at 5:30 AM because I legitimately did not want to put Ayesha at Last down.

I first read P&P in 10th grade and watched the BBC adaptation alongside reading it. I thought the Colin Firth adaptation was the peak of P&P adaptations. Reading Ayesha at Last has made me completely reevaluate that opinion. This thoughtful, creative retelling…

Not the Persuasion Retelling My Heart Desires: The One That Got Away by Melissa Pimentel

Not the Persuasion Retelling My Heart Desires: The One That Got Away by Melissa Pimentel

Posted by on 08/24/2017 • 1 Comment

I’ve always regarded Persuasion as my favorite Jane Austen novel so when I heard about The One That Got Away, I was immediately intrigued. There is something about the angst of a second chance romance that always draws me in and I love seeing the various takes on the classic novel. I dove into The One That Got Away expecting to enjoy it and I am not sure I did? I am also not sure I didn’t.

Retellings don’t have to follow the original storyline word for word but in my opinion a good retelling is at least very aware of the word for word storyline and has a fun take on that story. I felt like The One That Got Away didn’t really do that? It’s biggest tribute to the novel was essentially…

Blog Tour: Teen Frankenstein by Chandler Baker (High School Horror #1) Review and Guest Post

Blog Tour: Teen Frankenstein by Chandler Baker (High School Horror #1) Review and Guest Post

Posted by on 01/18/2016 • 3 Comments

Hello everyone!! I am happy to be participating in the blog tour for this book. Right when I read the synopsis, I knew that I had to read the book. So I will be doing my review and I have a great guest post with a real life high school horror story from Charlotte Huang, a friend of the author who is also an author.

To start, I really liked the characters. They were great. Especially Tor and her best friend Owen. They really were what pulled me into the story. I did enjoy this book, but had to ignore all of the things that just didn’t make sense to me. As with all things fiction, not everything has to make sense or be logical right? I can’t go into…

Review: YOLO Juliet by William Shakespeare and Brett Wright

Review: YOLO Juliet by William Shakespeare and Brett Wright

Posted by on 06/23/2015 • 5 Comments

I admit, I loved reading the original Romeo and Juliet in school, but I know that for some people it isn’t something they enjoyed. I think that this was a fun way to get people interested in the basics of the story in a modern way. I thought the group texts and messages were entertaining. I especially loved all the emojis in it. I do have to say though, this is not a replacement for the original, but it was fun to read.

Everyone knows how the story goes. Star-crossed lovers ending in tragic death, but this book tells the story in a less morbid way. This is a kind of hard review to write since it’s not a typical book. I do think that for kids in school who…

Review: Monstrous by MarcyKate Connolly

Review: Monstrous by MarcyKate Connolly

Posted by on 02/19/2015 • 8 Comments

This was a book that I was really excited to read. I didn’t like it quite as much as I had hoped, but it was really enjoyable. The characters were wonderful, especially Kymera. It was a bit predictable and long, but it was interesting so it kept me from getting bored with it. Even at its slow pace, the way things all came together was great and it was easy to get lost in.

Kym is a creation intended for the purpose of saving the sick girls from the wizard. She is very naive and only knows what her father has told her. She is happy with her mission and truly has a huge heart. She wants to do what is right and she wants to save everyone. She…

Review: Beastkeeper by Cat Hellisen

Review: Beastkeeper by Cat Hellisen

Posted by on 01/22/2015 • 2 Comments

I am always up for a fairytale retelling, so of course I had to read this book. Especially since it has a dark twist to it. This was a book that was so easy to get into and get lost in. I loved uncovering all the secrets and find out how everything would end up. This is middle grade, but it the writing was very mature. the characters were great, though we don’t get to know many of them very well aside from Sarah and Alan. We learn about the other characters, but don’t really know them on an emotional level. Either way, this was a great book.

Sarah is a young girl, but wise beyond her years. She has moved around a lot and she is a bit…