Publisher: Disney Hyperion


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

Pulls No Punches: Deadly Little Scandals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Pulls No Punches: Deadly Little Scandals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Posted by on 10/24/2019 • 0 Comments

HOLY FUCK THIS BOOK. Omg. What the fuck are words anyway??? This book does not pull any punches whatsoever. There are many many MANY twists and my head is still spinning from trying to figure out what I just read. Jennifer Lynn Barnes is known for her mysteries and her mysteries are why I keep coming back to her. Deadly Little Scandals, in my opinion, is unlike some of her previous stuff in terms of how major plot points unfold and the punches we are thrown. I cannot quite decide if this is a good thing or a bad but it is definitely a thing.

Little White Lies took me a while to get invested in but by the time I was 10% into Deadly Little Scandals, my eyes were…

Cute But The Science is Lacking: Blastaway by Melissa Landers

Cute But The Science is Lacking: Blastaway by Melissa Landers

Posted by on 07/15/2019 • 1 Comment

While I never got the chance to read Alienated, I have read Lander’s romance novels so when I heard about Blastaway, I was immediately onboard. I expected something akin to Alienated (even though I hadn’t read it) and in my excitement, missed that Blastaway wasn’t YA. It is middle grade. I read middle grade so that didn’t really turn me off but this book wouldn’t really hit the mark for adult middle grade readers the way it would for middle grade middle grade readers – aka the intended demographic of the book.

Blastaway is incredibly cute and I love that it uses its sci-fic setting to draw attention to very real world issues in an accessible manner to younger readers. My biggest issue – keeping in mind that I was…

Best of Dogs and Humans: The Lovely and the Lost by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Best of Dogs and Humans: The Lovely and the Lost by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Posted by on 06/19/2019 • 0 Comments

I truly feel blessed anytime I finish a book by Jennifer Lynn Barnes. Over the past year, she has quickly shot up to one of my favorite authors. Her talent for writing some of the best relationships to grace YA draws me in and I cannot help but finish any book I read by her with my mouth hanging open and desperate for a sequel. If flawed characters, found family, trauma handled well, the best of dogs and a bit of a mystery are your thing, The Lovely and the Lost is the book for you.

Kira does not trust many people except for her family. It took years after Cady rescued her for Kira to learn how to trust again and now she is following in Cady’s footsteps…

Atmospheric With Well-Written Characters: The Devouring Gray by Christine Lynn Herman

Atmospheric With Well-Written Characters: The Devouring Gray by Christine Lynn Herman

Posted by on 04/04/2019 • 1 Comment

The Devouring Gray is a book that requires patience. There is no getting around it. It’s slow, and for the first quarter of the book I could not tell you what the fuck was going on except that the kids were sad, felt betrayed, maybe were trying to take each other down, it was a mess. I stuck with it though because my friends loved it and it turned out to be absolutely worth it.

Violet is new in town, Justin and Harper used to be bffs but Justin betrayed Harper, Issac is a soft boy with a world of hurt inside him. Together, the four of them make up the new generation of the founding families of the Four Paths and are sworn to protect the town from the…

An Emotional Rollercoaster: Sal and Gabi Break the Universe by Carlos Hernandez

An Emotional Rollercoaster: Sal and Gabi Break the Universe by Carlos Hernandez

Posted by on 03/22/2019 • 0 Comments

Rick Riordan Presents is probably the only imprint I can say I want to read EVERY SINGLE BOOK FROM. I saw the synopsis mentioned a raw chicken inside a locker and was immediately sold. I WANTED IT and I READ IT and YEAH. I am not really sure if Sal and Gabi Break the Universe has mythology vibes??? But what I can say is that it is truly a work of art.

There is a good chance I’ve said that about another book or two before but I don’t know how else to describe how truly well written this book is. Carlos Hernandez knows how to pace a book, he knows how to pull at your emotions and he knows just how to crack and build tension. There were so many…

Extremely Addicting: Little White Lies by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Extremely Addicting: Little White Lies by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Posted by on 11/19/2018 • 5 Comments

Not to be extremely dramatic or anything but I’d kill to read the sequel to Little White Lies (and to The Long Game but that’s a whole other story.) This is probably an odd sentence to start a review with but honestly, that’s just how J Lynn Barnes’s books make me FEEL. Barnes has a knack for writing addicting novels that you cannot stop reading even if they are over 400 pages long. Little White Lies is not only addicting but it reads like a puzzle, clues dispersed everywhere that you need to connect to form the bigger picture.

Sawyer Taft’s life changes when her grandmother shows up on her doorstep and offers her a deal she is unable to resist. Soon she is drawn into the world of…

The Book I Wish I Had When I Was in Middle School: Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi

The Book I Wish I Had When I Was in Middle School: Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi

Posted by on 03/14/2018 • 7 Comments

I never read Rick Riordan’s books. The short story is that there was no real reason to why I didn’t pick the books up. The longer (and a little pointless) story is that when The Lightning Thief first came out, it had a completely different cover then what it has now. I was in the middle school and our librarian told us all about it. I grew older but it stayed in the corner of my mind, I was in eternal search of the book with the white cover and never realized until a year ago (seriously!!!) that that book was the same one written by Rick Riordan that was so beloved now. Anyway, long pointless story short, I am weird and specific about what I read.

So I missed Rick…