Posts Tagged: Historical

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

A Soft, Low-Stress Book: Some Like it Scandalous by Maya Rodale

A Soft, Low-Stress Book: Some Like it Scandalous by Maya Rodale

Posted by on 07/05/2019 • 0 Comments

I will fully admit to not reading book 1 in this series but I have read Maya Rodale before and when I saw that Some Like it Scandalous was hate to love, I was sold. I did go in expecting good romantic tension but I was a little surprised by how much I was taken in by this book. Rodale must have done a lot of research to help immerse us within the gilded age. 

I wouldn’t categorize it as a true love to hate because their dislike is based on misunderstandings and apologies are made quite early on but… their relationship is still amazing. It is founded on their mutual agreement that they do not want to get married, then they become business partners and finally something more. They…

Read It So You Can Read the Sequel: Dark of the West by Joanna Hathaway

Read It So You Can Read the Sequel: Dark of the West by Joanna Hathaway

Posted by on 02/13/2019 • 2 Comments

I think it was the comp to The Winner’s Curse that drew me to Dark of the West (which is funny because I still haven’t read that series) but I dove into this book with not many expectations. The only one I remember having was that Dark of the West was a fantasy but it became abundantly clear very early on that it was not. The main reason I bring this up is because it very much felt like false advertising. There are no fantastical elements to this book. In fact, calling it a historical novel would be way more accurate since it seems to draw inspiration from the World Wars of the early 20th century. A lot of the technology we have exists in this world too: planes,…

Dear Great-Grandma

Dear Great-Grandma

Posted by on 03/20/2018 • 3 Comments

Dear Great-Grandma,

I am not the best at writing letters that are also going to be on display but you know, I am trying. I recently read The Night Diary, which is currently the only book I am calling a favorite of this year and I’ve read 86 books so far. Reading it has made me incredibly pensive because the entire time I was reading it, I kept thinking that I was reading your and grandma’s story too. Sometimes its disheartening that something that impacted my family and 16 million other people so much isn’t really talked about. Everyone always talks about the liberation of India with pride or the end of a colonial rule but they always forget about the 14 million people who were displaced. The 14 million people…

A Fierce Adventure: The Mad Wolf’s Daughter by Diane Magras

A Fierce Adventure: The Mad Wolf’s Daughter by Diane Magras

Posted by on 03/05/2018 • 0 Comments

I am garbage for a good middle grade adventure so when The Mad Wolf’s Daughter was pitched to me, I was on board and wanted to gobble this book up. Good thing it wasn’t disappointing, amirite?

Here is the thing, among the sea of commercial fiction that dominates Middle Grade books, The Mad Wolf’s Daughter doesn’t necessarily stand out but thats not really a good or bad thing? Familiar tropes and adventures are good things and just because The Mad Wolf’s Daughter isn’t necessarily //different// doesn’t mean that it is a bad book or a mediocre book?

The thing about tropes (at least in my opinion) is that it all comes down to how the author uses them to enhance their story. You’re never going to read a book that is free of tropes…

E.K. Johnston’s Favorite Victorian Woman

E.K. Johnston’s Favorite Victorian Woman

Posted by on 10/13/2017 • 2 Comments

Hey everyone! Welcome to Xpresso Reads’ blog tour stop for The Inevitable Victorian Thing! E.K. Johnston won my heart over last year with Exit, Pursued by a Bear and I’ve been a fan ever since! While I haven’t had the chance to read The Inevitable Victorian Thing yet, I am sure it will be amazing and I am sure I will be a FAN. Anyway! Today! We have the lovely E.K. Johnston over on the blog talking about her favorite victorian woman.

E.K. Johnston’s Favorite Victorian Woman

Okay, so my serious answer to this question is Ada Lovelace for a bunch of reasons that you can look up on tumblr.

But my actual answer is a little different.

The year is 1886. At Oxford, four students and one woman (who is a student in…

Playlist for The Dark Days Pact by Alison Goodman + Giveaway

Playlist for The Dark Days Pact by Alison Goodman + Giveaway

Posted by on 02/02/2017 • 6 Comments

Hello and welcome to Xpresso Reads’ tour stop for The Dark Days Pact by Alison Goodman AKA the book I created my goodreads OTP OF PAIN shelf for. I thoroughly enjoyed The Dark Days Club last year but fell head over heels for The Dark Days Pact. In this book, Goodman really upped the stakes and basically put me through hell :’) It was great. Basically, you need this series on your TBR and to help you do that, I put together a playlist that ~I~ think describes the book/series.

THE PLAYLIST

Feat angsty music + some songs that might not be the best fit BUT SINCE I AM MAKING THE PLAYLIST, you’re stuck with them 😉 Also making playlists is H.A.R.D. If you click on the little thing on…

Review: Every Hidden Thing by Kenneth Oppel

Review: Every Hidden Thing by Kenneth Oppel

Posted by on 09/30/2016 • 2 Comments

The Airborn series was one of my favs ever growing up so I was immediately like YAAS to Every Hidden Thing but then I saw it was pitched as Indiana Jones meets Romeo & Juliet and was like double YAAS. WHO CAN RESIST THE COMBO of a childhood fav author and INDIANA JONES MEETS ROMEO & JULIET? Not me obviously. Anyway, I loved this book and that is all you’re ever going to need to know in your life. BYE NOW. See you again someday.

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*comes back reluctantly to finish reviewing this book*

Every Hidden Thing is fucking amazing brain candy but just because it was brain candy does NOT mean it was easy to read. This book is set sometime in the 19th century (probably late 19th…