Subscription Boxes

Moon Hauls: Miracles at Midnight Book Box Club

Subscription box: Book Box Club

Theme/Month: Miracles at Midnight, December 2020

Ownership: Subscribed on their 6 boxes option. If you are interested in purchasing a Book Box Club subscription, you can do it on their website.

Book Box Club is a young adult subscription box, the unique thing is the Clubhouse where you can chat to the author a month (or so) after the box was shipped and ask questions and just chat around. It also includes several goodies and usually the choice of book is one that is unqiue and not in other book boxes so very little chances of duplicate books and a lot of new reads discovery power.

I like the December boxes because they usually have a treat feel to them and this is not the exception, starting on the top left and going clockwise, lets go through the contents:

  • A sampler of eight awesome reads, there is a link to them and also just a bit of info on them. I like this one as it gives me an idea of new reads and when to expect them.
  • Theme card.
  • Personalised clubhouse invite, which I think is a lovely detail!
  • Cute star pin
  • Night circus inspired ornament which went straight to the Christmas tree.
  • Bibbidi bobbidi boo soap
  • Mystery proof, I like that you get a random one out of a choice if a few so you never know which one you will get and then asking others which oen they got!
  • A cute calendar full of quotes for 2021
  • Reading socks! I love socks in book boxes.
  • The main book, Paris in Starlight by Robert Dinsdale, the author of Toymakers which was interesting so quite intrigued by it.

Overall, I enjoyed the box, it had a festive quality to it and it was full of midnight and miracle vibes so I felt it matched well the theme. I totally recommend it as it has the bonus of the clubhouse, and it was through them I found a lot of friends.

Book Review

Moon Reads: Space Battle Lunchtime A Dish Best Served Cold

Space Battle Lunchtime Volume Three: A Dish Best Served Cold by Natalie Riess

Rating: MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px Grey

Read before: No

Ownership: Bought immediately after finishing Volume One.

Spoiler free review: No. In general illustrated or graphic novels may contain spoilers otherwise I end up just waxing lyrical about art and not much else.

After we finish the competition for Space Battle Lunchtime, coming second in the final, Peony goes back to “normal” life, but she is now going out with Neptunia and her success in the show has now invited her to make desserts for a royal catering gig for a space empress! We even get a small adventure trying to source some ingredients for the fancy desserts Peony is making.

But as the gala happens, and everyone is enjoying themselves, there’s trouble a foot with someone poisoning the empress as she samples the desserts that Neptunia helped Peony make. But is it that Neptunia is not trustworthy or is there something more going on that may be why the empress was poison?

Once again shenanigans and crazy trying to save people on time ensues while we also try to find out who poisoned the empress and how to save the whole party!

This was probably a much slower and less action packed book, but it is also laying a lot of groundwork on backstory for characters. We learn quite a lot about Neptunia and a little more about other characters as we go and partly also a bit more about the whole “space” dynamics, so less action and a lot of it packed tightly into it. And definitely a bit less food making and pacing a little different, but still interesting and worth reading. I hope it means there will be more to learn and come on the next volume.

Still recommended for those that love cooking shows, probably also good for murder mystery fans and revenge plots, and cute food and space shenanigans!

Book Review

Moon Reads: Space Battle Lunchtime: A Recipe For Disaster

Space Battle Lunchtime Volume Two: A Recipe For Disaster by Natalie Riess

Rating: MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px Grey

Read before: No

Ownership: Bought immediately after finishing Volume One.

Spoiler free review: No. In general illustrated or graphic novels may contain spoilers otherwise I end up just waxing lyrical about art and not much else.

Peony was about to start the final for Space Battle Lunchtime when she was stolen away to the Cannibal Coliseum which is a competitor show where you not only cook but you may end up being cooked or rather, it is very much the end point of the competition, cook or be cooked and try to present a final dish.

Neptunia realises that something is definitely wrong since Peony didn’t make the “date” they had set up for the night before, so she enlists the help of the camera man to create a distraction while she figures out how to rescue Peony. Chaos, shenaningans, and more ensue, including Peony desperately trying to cook and avoid being cooked in Cannibal Coliseum, plus finding a way to escape and get back to Space Battle Lunchtime or at the very least away from Cannibal Coliseum.

As per the previous Volume, this has a lot of mood colouring and artwork. And the artwork is super cute, the new Cannibal Coliseum competitors are interesting and the “main” enemy that Peony is competing against is extra bundles of cuteness. I had so much joy out of reading and desperately wanted to go join a cooking contest, definitely NOT a cannibal one, or bake and cook new food and items.

Overall, as previously I highly recommend it for anyone that likes food competitions, queer relationships, fun space shenaningans and great characters. Have something yummy ready while you read, as this will make you hungry!

Book Review

Moon Reads: Space Battle Lunchtime: Lights, Camera, Snacktion!

Space Battle Lunchtime Volume One: Lights, Camera, Snacktion! by Natalie Riess

Rating: MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px Grey

Read before: No

Ownership: This was a gift from Kellybee who is an awesome friend but it was in my wishlist as something I definitely wanted.

Spoiler free review: No. In general illustrated or graphic novels may contain spoilers otherwise I end up just waxing lyrical about art and not much else.

We start our scene with our heorine, Peony, who is a baker at a small cafe on Earth gets whisked away to a space TV show to be emergency replacement of a chef that was actually going to compete. Peony has zero clue what this is except that it is a cooking show and that she cant just give up. So she cooks and bakes and does her best.

The competition is fierce and someone is most certainly sabotaging things, but Peony’s upbeat cheer, her helpful nature and stubbornness help her out so that she makes it to the final.

Look, for starters, the art is really good. The author went for a “go for colour vibe and feel then draw the thing” and it works SO well with the story. The story flows really well, the food made makes me hungry and it is also cool to see a take on different places of space where each of the competitors comes from.

I would totally watch this show if it existed!

As for the characters, Peony steals the show for sure but Neptunia also has some points there and just the whole cast is varied enough and it fits well. I won’t spoil the actual ending or where this gets to, but I immediately had to order the next two books because I couldnt wait to read more.

I think one of the key parts of this is that it is a cooking show comic and it is about food in a positive and competitive way alongside the whole space fun and the artwork and characters just add that extra flavour and layers to it that make it chef’s kiss quality.

Recommended for those addicted to watching Master Chef, The Great British Bake Off, and anything of the kind, if you like space, queer relationships, aliens, cooking or cute graphic novels, this one is definitely for you!

Subscription Boxes

Moon Hauls: Spellbinding Stories Illumicrate

Subscription box: Illumicrate

Theme/Month: Spellbinding Stories, November 2020

Ownership: Subscribed on their 6 boxes option. If you are interested in purchasing an Illumicrate subscription, you can do it on their website.

Illumicrate is a book subscription box, it usually features fantasy and sci-fi but not exclusively young adult, sometimes it features adult too. It usually contains a new release, a pin and several bookish goodies.

Today we can go through the November box, which was all about spellbinding stories and how they capture you. It even had a surprise book! So let’s see the contents starting on the top right with the theme card:

  • A book sleeve for the Great Library of Zosma which is officially licensed.
  • The monthly pin which is quite cute.
  • A Forgotten Fables and Folklore ceramic book pot, I like these but haven’t been collecting them as I don’t have a specific sue and as cute as they are I decided to pass them on, however, I did enjoy the look of this one and it was a gift to a friend who can complete her collection/
  • A reusable face mask with a herblore print. I was very pleased to see this in the box as it is a way to provide a fabric mask for everyone and it fits the whole set up and theme, so it felt right to have it there.
  • The Once and Future Witches, which I reviewed a few months back when it came out as I had had a proof copy for it (and I knew I’d end up with more copies of it via preordering and also book boxes like this one).
  • Letters in Bottle ornament (it doesn’t show great on the picture because it is shiny but it is utterly gorgeous on the Christmas tree, my only sadness is that the writing is still illegible and it just looks like an hourglass).
  • Starless Sea bookplate set, they’re golden, shiny and gorgeous!
  • Legendborn which is a highly anticipated read (I still need to get to it, I’ve been a slow reader recently, life just got a bit too much and I didn’t read as much as I normally would), so I am happy to have it and looking forward to reading it.

Overall I liked the contents, it felt like a solid box with useful and decorative items being equally distributed rather than just things I wouldn’t keep or dust gatherers. And the book is a great choice, powerful, witchy and intense, and fits well with the rest of the items.

Book Review

Moon Reads: The Art of Concrete Genie

The Art of Concrete Genie by Pixelopus

Rating: MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px Grey

Read before: No

Ownership: Bought for myself.

Spoiler free review: Yes

Concrete Genie is a very underrated game that is probably one of the games that own the PS4 motion sensors of the controller. I absolutely loved it, it did take me a while to get used to the controls but once I did, I was hooked and didn’t want the game to end because it was so good.

But this isn’t a review of the game, that is to come, instead, I found that there was an art of book and HAD to buy it. The whole premise of Concrete Genie is that our main hero slowly brings back the town by drawing and creating “genies” in the concrete and clearing the bad graffiti and bad stuff from the town with them. Basically, the make something ugly pretty premise with a sweet story. So a book for that, yes, please!

And the book doesn’t disappoint, it is crammed full of the concepts and explanations of the details they wanted to include for each character, the concepts for the town and different areas, and many other things. For example, you get an idea into how Luna, the main genie that starts the genie thing, developed as a concept and why they chose the version of Luna you get in-game.

Overall it is the perfect kind of Art of book, with commentary, conceptual art, discussions of it, and art that influenced the final game, alongside little extras that didn’t make it into, but that would have been fun or something and yet don’t make it any less.

Recommended for gamers, if you are interested int he game but don’t want to play it, or if you like the concpet of saving a town and remaking it with beautiful art and art genies. Or you just enjoy Art Of books.

Book Review

Moon Reads: Your Heart is the Sea

Your Heart is the Sea by Nikita Gill

Rating: MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px Grey

Read before: No

Ownership: Bought after reading Amanda Lovelace and wanting something similar

Spoiler free review: Yes

Content warnings: abuse, violence, heartbreak, manipulation, trauma

Generally, I am not someone who reads a lot of poetry, but I try to read some in between books and this book just felt like one I wanted to read.

Your Heart is the Sea is very much about how hearts heal and feel and break and process trauma and heartbreak/heartache due to relationships. It seems to cover mostly lovers rather than other kinds but also touches on family.

Some of the poems are short and sweet, and some are more complex. Some will be like “oh those words sounds nice together” and then as I read more and more, I felt them more and more, they hit closer to home, to what I had lived or felt and I could make them mine rather than just words on a page they became part of what was in my heart.

The book is divided into sections, each dealing with a particular part of relationships, like pain or recovery or other parts, and they poems seem to slowly tell a story of a relationship that breaks apart, the back and forth and then the recovery, finding you are a whole person, and you can do this on your own.

As for the poetry part, some of the poems are rhymes, others are more a single line or paragraphs, almost like micro or mini fiction, short stories interwoven between poems that complete the picture. At first I wasnt convinced by the change of pace but as the book goes along they felt better placed, not sure if it was just I got more used to the style or they were better.

When I finished I had to pause and just let it all sink in and wash over me like waves of nostalgia, or memories over me.

Recommended for lovers of heartfelt poetry, for those who had bad relationships or suffered heartbreak and abuse and want some healing balm poetry or are okay to dive back into memories of the good and the bad with a new view on it. Or if you just like pretty words making pretty poems.

Subscription Boxes

Moon Hauls: Whimsical Worlds Tales by Mail

Subscription box: Tales by Mail

Theme/Month: Whimsical Worlds for December 2020

Ownership: Subscribed on their 6 boxes option. If you are interested in purchasing a Tales by Mail subscription, you can do it on their website.

Tales by Mail is a bi-monthly middle grade book box that comes with two books, some activity pages you can collect, or copy or use in various ways, a pin and one or two items.

Today I am showing you what the Whimsical Worlds box had inside and what I think about the contents, starting from the theme card/activity pages in the bottom left and going clockwise:

  • Whimsical Worlds activity pages, as per usual there’s space for a short review of each book and a few other activities.
  • The Marvellous Land of Snergs which claims to be the story that inspired the Hobbit so I am curious to find out more about it and also it is setting me for high expectations…
  • “A bookworm lives here” sticker, I have a soft spot for awesome stickers so this is a great item.
  • Small & Wild tea, it came with two bags and I was extra excited to see one is called Snoozy Fox! They’re both delicious and kid-friendly.
  • A Christmas wooden ornament, which promptly went on my tree.
  • Three promotional bookmarks for other middle-grade books.
  • The House at the Edge of Magic, this one has a different vibe, more like a Narnia feel to it and I am intrigued by it.

This book brought me great joy between the foxy tea, the Christmas ornament and just the interesting reads that came inside. So far, I can highly recommend the box for anyone with children, teachers or those like me that enjoy reading middle-grade books even if there are no children around to share them with.

I also really like that it packs two books and non clutter items in it. The tea was promptly brewed and enjoyed, the ornament went on the tree, the sticker will be put on a surface soon and the books read and enjoyed. No complaints there at all. And a lot to say for packing a punch in the contents.

Book Review

Moon Reads: The Marvellous Moon Map

The Marvellous Moon Map by Teresa Heapy and David Litchfield

Rating: MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px

Read before: No

Ownership: Gifted by a friend from my wishlist.

Spoiler free review: No.

Mouse is excited to set off and find the moon following the Marvellous Moon Map, but his friend Bear worries about how he will manage and if he is well prepared. Mouse starts the adventure in high spirits but as the time goes by, the woods get darker, the weather gets worse and suddenly a map isn’t enough to get by and find the moon.

Thankfully Bear was worried and so prepared a way to save Mouse. They do make it to the moon and Mouse realises how valuable true friendship is and how having friends makes discoveries and things more fun and better, plus easier to deal with.

This is one of those books that are good for read aloud or just letting a young reader go through. The pictures tell most of the story but it has dialogue so also quite fun either way. The artwork is stunning and I was happy to read it and pause to see all the details of what is happening to Mouse, and Bear once he joins the adventure.

Recommended for those wanting a book about friendship for children, a nice read as an adult, something about the moon or cute artwork of animals, it is very soft in colours and feeling.


Moon Hauls: 2K UK Switch Kit

What is this? The promised gaming content suddenly appearing in 2021?! What?!

Yes! After promising gaming content when I launched the rename of the blog to The Constellation of Moon, here we are. And what better way to start than to show you the awesome kit I won from 2K UK when they did their 12 days of Christmas giveaways on Twitter?

The box was banking on three of their gaming franchises: Bioshock, XCOM and Borderlands. Now, I have never played XCOM, and I am still not hooked on Borderlands, but Bioshock is one of those pillar games for me, so I was eager to open the box and see what was inside.

The big box had three smaller boxes inside, each one with a symbol to represent the game and then content that tied in with the game in some way, so lets see what the big haul was:

  • At the very top and inside the Bioshock box, a switch case with the Big Daddy logo. It is a nice sturdy case and I have a similar one so this is like a level up of tHe design of my usual one.
  • Underneath we also have a cleaning cloth with the lighthouse design (Bioshock). The only thing that would have made it better was if it had the quote on it.
  • A Memory Infusion to mimic the Plasmids, but is actually an SD memory card (Bioshock).
  • Little Sister socks, we all know I love getting socks with cool motifs and this one definitely is great. (Bioshock)
  • Coasters with all the games symbols.
  • A Nintendo Switch Pro Controller, which is really good and after using a non branded one for almost a year, this is definitely worth the price, it feels more sturdy and is a lot more comfortable. (Bioshock)
  • Bath Salts in a “test tube” for XCOM.
  • Decals based on Borderlands for the Switch. This is probably the one item I was the least excited about but it is mostly because I am not brave enough for them.
  • A Borderlands beanie.
  • XCOM neck warmer with lavender, it is quite perfumed and made the whole box smell of relaxation or like being in a spa.
  • ATOM headset, it is very customisable which is awesome and came in the Borderlands box as it has a slightly industrial feel that fits that game best.
  • A waffle fabric bathrobe for XCOM.
  • And finally a tote bag with the XCOM symbol too.

Overall, the boxes had a theme for them. Bioshock was about empowering your gaming and protecting your switch with the case, cloth, SD card and controller. XCOM was all about relaxing and papmering yourself with bath salts, neckwarmer, bathrobe, tote bag, it was only missing some slippers and it wouldve been the pack you get at a spa. And finally Borderlands box was about levelling up and customising the gaming experience. I have to say the items are pretty good and it made me want to try XCOM after opening it all and to replay Bioshock for the nth time… (I have lost count of the replays by now).

Pretty good early Christmas box win that made the whole being in Tier 4 and having to spend it home more bearable. Bonus points to 2K.

Disclaimer: I am not sponsored by 2K, this was just something I won on a competition randomly, so I thought to share the cool things it had inside.