Posts Tagged: YA

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

Dear Haiti, Love Alaine by Maika Moulite and Maritza Moulite

Dear Haiti, Love Alaine by Maika Moulite and Maritza Moulite

Posted by on 10/04/2019 • 1 Comment

Here is the thing, I like this book but it’s simply too long. At 432 pages, it took me days to drudge through. On top of that, I feel like the book is trying so hard to tackle so many things at once that it fails to really examine any of the issues it presents us with in depth. 

After a presentation that goes very wrong, Alaine is suspended. Her parents decide that maybe spending some time in Haiti will help Alaine redirect her energy so she is shipped off to live with her aunt and her mother – who is also licking her wounds. One of the conditions of her suspension involves her doing an internship at her Aunt’s major non-profit organization and so begins several months of Alaine…

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…

Review: The Arrival of Someday by Jen Malone

Review: The Arrival of Someday by Jen Malone

Posted by on 07/09/2019 • 0 Comments

The Arrival of Someday is a very emotional, very realistic novel that has all of the feels – yet has so much charm and wit that you won’t help but find yourself falling in love with all of its characters, no matter the gloom that follows the story. 

Amelia was born with a liver disease that hasn’t ever been an issue until now. Until its become so very real, so very scary, very fast. From the very first page I loved Amelia’s voice. Her personality and wit makes it impossible to dislike her. She’s got a lot of crap to deal with, and you can feel her anger, her despair, and also her passion for life. She wants to live, she has so many plans, so many wants and hopes….

Review: Destroy All Monsters by Sam J. Miller

Review: Destroy All Monsters by Sam J. Miller

Posted by on 06/25/2019 • 0 Comments

I chose to read this book because of the mention of a Patrick Ness-like style, and this is definitely true. It starts out confusing as heck, but in a good way. The kind of confusing that captivates you, and pulls you in fully with the promise of a very odd, gritty, mysterious book.

Told in dual POV, we go through this story with two very different angles. One is Ash who is your typical teenage girl who doesn’t completely fit in, but who’s also not a complete loner. Then there’s Solomon who takes us on a wild ride filled with dinosaurs, monsters, and magic. Which is real, though? Is Solomon just making this all up, or is it Ash who is unable to see the monsters? I found this aspect…

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…