Book Review

Moon Reads: Agent Zaiba Investigates The Poison Plot

Agent Zaiba Investigates The Poison Plot by Annabelle Sami. Illustrated by Daniela Sosa

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

Read before: No

Ownership: Preordered.

Spoiler free review: Yes

Series: Agent Zaiba Investigates

The second book in the Agent Zaiba series, you can read the review for The Missing Diamonds here, and now that we have the Snow Leopard Agency UK branch setup, Zaiba is ready for more things to be resolved and any mystery or good investigation that may come up.

The best part is that is the sumer fete time and Zaiba has a detective “murder mystery” course setup as one of the features of it. But things turn interesting when in the middle of a baking competition, there appears to be poison added to the cupcakes and causing one of the judges to be ill.

Zaiba, Poppy and Ali waste no time in trying to find out who put the poison in the cupcake and why.

One of the things I like a lot in the book is how the foreshadowing puts the clues and items nicely there for the reader to find if they are paying enough attention but they are also not screaming “I am the clue”. It is just done well through the story, so little hints of “hey this may be what the poison was made of” that show up early in the book, help and show that sometimes data you get before the actual incident happens can be quite useful. As Zaiba and her aunt put it, powers of observation.

Overall, another good mystery for Zaiba and her friends to solve, more development on the relationships of the family, and a better view into the world Zaiba inhabits and the story of her ammi, which is nice to see. You get continuity but you could also read each on their own and it would be alright without needing to read the previous one.

Highly recommended diverse detectiving classic to be!

Book Review

Moon Reads: Agent Zaiba Investigates The Missing Diamonds

Agent Zaiba Investigates The Missing Diamonds by Annabelle Sami. Illustrated by Daniela Sosa

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

Read before: Yes

Ownership: Preordered.

Spoiler free review: Yes

Series: Agent Zaiba Investigates

First book in the Agent Zaiba series! I have been meaning to review it for ages, and then packed the house, got the second one, then got the third and ended up rereading it so I could do a review of each of them consecutively.

I would class the whole series as something to become a classic, like Baby Sitters Club, or Fantastic Five. But with a more diverse cast! We have Zaiba, her little brother and her best friend, Poppy. All of them really into detectives and investigating, so when at the engagement party for the wedding of a cousin of Zaiba, some diamonds go missing from a famous actress,,,,, alongside the dog that had the diamong collar, Zaiba takes it into her hands to find out the truth and maybe just maybe crack the case fo who stole the diamonds.

Overall, it had a lot of culture, but adventure wrapped in one, and I loved just following the trio of friends around the hotel while they find clues and make notes and figure things out, some by accident and luck and some by using the powers of observation and memory.

Highly recommend it if mystery is the game and you want something with adorable drawings and cute notes and just something that makes you feel like you are part fot he fun and the adventure.

Subscription Boxes

Moon Hauls: Matcha Moments Sakura Co

Subscription box: SakuraCo

Theme/Month: Matcha Moments, April 2021

Ownership: Subscribed on their 3 boxes option. If you are interested in purchasing a Sakura Co subscription, you can do it on their website.

SakuraCo is a new box that focuses on Japanese tea, sweets and snacks from local makers for you to enjoy. And the idea is that you take a unique snack journey around Japan with the contents of the box.

A matcha focused box sounded awesome, so of course happy to have it and also, it is the second box so curious about how well it will keep on performing and making me feel for it. So let’s unbox, starting at the bottom right corner and going clockwise:

  • Strawberry and cream cake, it was absolutely delicious. Not too sweet, not too bland, just right.
  • Postcard, which I am enjoying as an extra treat, they are gorgeous and delicate.
  • Gold plum tea, which is very much a sweet and sour mix. Probably my least favourite item, surprisingly.
  • Match Kinsuba, delicious red bean jelly which was a nice surprise.
  • Match pudding, also nice but not much to write home about except it was like a gelatin pudding and nice.
  • YamechaMonaka, I find the whole something inside fragile wafer fascinating.
  • Plum Yokan, one of my favourites with a soft crumbly buttery feel and delicate plum flavour.
  • Matcha Mochi, which was super sticky and hard to eat but delicious nonetheless.
  • Matcha waffle, toasted slightly and absolutely perfect!
  • Matcha Senbei, these surprised me with a delicate wafer like but also biscuit quality.
  • Sakura Yunomi, a cup for your tea. to match the plate on the previous box.
  • Sakura Karinto, like fried dough bits and I don’t know why but utterly loved them, could eat bags and bags of them.
  • Sakura Sugar Cube, it mixes agar jelly and sugar foamy mousse and loved them. Very delicate
  • More monaka cuteness.
  • And finally a matcha roll, I expected them to be bigger but they were lovely, again, not too sweet, not bitter.

Overall really enjoyed the contents of the box and finding my way around the flavours a little better. Some real gems here that I would absolutely keep as staples if I could keep getting them, like the karinto, the waffle and the yokan. I had been worried it would be too boring just everything matcha, but I had still an explosion of flavours, textures and choices. Still very worth it for me.

Book Review

Moon Reads: Zatanna and the House of Secrets

Zatanna and the House of Secrets by Matthew Cody and Yoshi Yoshitani

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

Read before: No

Ownership: Preordered

Spoiler free review: Yes

I don’t know how I had slept on Zatanna for so long as superhero kinda thing and I love her.

This little lovely graphic novel is all about her house which is an interesting house full of secrets. Zatanna is a big upset that her magician dad is tired, and suddenly when she comes back form school, Dad has disappeared in the house and been taken by evil lady.

But the house has a personality and mind of its own, so Zatanna has to team up with some interesting “allies” so she can try to save her dad and maybe find out more about all the secrets the house keeps, and maybe, just maybe something about her mum.

Look, I loved the art, Yoshi does amazing work and basically, I can’t say no to anything done by her so I had to preorder this and also it looked really cool. Then the plot reminded me of my dad when he had his magician performer streak/mid-life crisis and had me as an assistant and just how much I enjoyed it and at the same time felt very embarrassed by it, but I still can perform some tricks and things stuck to me and have helped me through life, so you know, win-win. Basically, it was a fun read, which on top of that brought back memories and made it even more significant for me to read and enjoy.

Recommended for children, magician parents, superhero lovers, and just anyone that needs a magic house and some magic in their life, oh plus a cute bunny companion.

Book Review

Moon Reads: Lycanthropy and Other Chronic Illnesses

I had no werewolves at hand but puppy was happy to pose for book pictures in exchange for belly rubs.

Lycanthropy and Other Chronic Illnesses by Kristen O’Neal

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

Read before: No

Ownership: Review copy provided by Black Crow PR/publisher so I could be part of the blog tour but this was on my radar beforehand. (Why will make sense as I review this book)

Spoiler Free Review: Technically yes, since we know Brigid is a werewolf…

Normally I give a little introduction on why the book caught my eye, but it isn’t a secret that I suffer chronic pain due to, up to very recently, undiagnosed causes which kept moving the goalpost on why and how to fix it. I mean, I am not a werewolf or a werefox for that matter, and as much as I joke about being a vampire due to photosensitivity, I am alas not one.

But as I read this book, I couldn’t help but keep seeing myself in it a lot more than I expected.

I can’t speak for all the conditions listed in the book fully, but I do have part of one, hypermobility, and a lot of what they discuss about symptoms, trying to live a “normal” life, and making the best out of it was interesting. Then thre’s Brigid who is chaotic as hell and adorable, a bonanza of fun and intense that made me want to smush her and mother her and befriend her all at the same time! And Priya herself is trying her best to deal with her own diagnosis, her friendship and how to focus her energy and deal with feeling like she’s failed at normal life.

If I have to summarise in a few words I would say this is peak chaotic friendships of early social media teens with a little bit f urban fantasy, a lot of humour and just a book that makes you either see a side you hadn’t seen of how those with an illness that affects their daily life and is chronic may feel and manage it, or you feel a little bit seen and end up with a lot of laughs at the little hints of things that remind you of your own journey.

For me it was just fun to read, find myself in it, and feel seen. So if you like urban fantasy, friendship, family, wholesome stories and chaos, this is the book for you, also werewolves and chronic illnesses!

Subscription Boxes

Moon Hauls: The City is Ours Illumicrate

Subscription box: Illumicrate

Theme/Month: The City is Ours, February 2021

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.

February had an interesting theme that reminds me of several books so I was intrigued by it. Lets see what was inside starting top left:

  • A triket dish for Gilded Wolves which I think is absolutely stunning!
  • A hard shell card holder, which honestly I didn’t like the design on it so it immediately went into the “not keeping” pile. I think if it had had a different desing I might have kept it but I generally use softer card holoders.
  • A Crescent City umbrella, I still have their Laini Taylor umbrella so I can say they are good ones but this one is red and a fandom I don’t follow so I passed it on to someone who likes it.
  • A gorgeous postcard from The Last Falconer for Edinburgh.
  • The monthly pin, which was stunning!
  • Another great item, a gorgeous skull wooden coaster which is being proudly displayed in my office because it has my vibes.
  • And finally the book, with pink sprayed edges, A Dark and Hollow Star.

Overall it had some strong items and some not so strong ones, I think the biggest issue is we keep having items from the top 5-10 main fandoms, and not as many from others so I end up not being that into the SJM things etc,, as useful as they may be. I probably would have kept the umbrella if it fit a little better with the colours I like and I didn’t have the other one still, they are good umbrellas.

Book Review

Moon Reads: So You Think You’ve Got It Bad? A Kid’s Life in the Aztec Age

So You Think You’ve Got It Bad? A Kid’s Life in the Aztec Age by Chae Strathie and Marisa Morea

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

Read before: No

Ownership: Bought for myself since it sparked my curiosity

Series: So You Think You’ve Got It Bad?

I saw Nosy Crow talking about this book when it came out and it made me curious. If you don’t know, I am Mexican and had my education in Mexico, so I learned a lot about Aztecs in the “it is part of our history, good and bad” way, and I had a fascination with it so I even tried to learn more. So I had to check this book out.

The premise of the series overall is that it comapres a modern life of a child with what children would have as a life in a specific culture or period. This one compares schools, food, family, entertainment, sports, etc. I found it amusing, the artwork is pretty good and fits nicely, and for the most part the data matches what I know.

I can’t recall the exact details but there were some places where I felt at odds with what they said, it was too much of a joke or a little exagerated, or it didnt match anything of what I had learned on my own, so its partly why I didn’t rate it high and as much as it was interesting, it was also at times either trying hard to be funny or trying hard to give you a LOT of information, the balance could have been better on that frnt. Not that I dislike one or the other but rather there was a lot to say and not all said in the best way.

But it did pass the time well and it reminded me of my own time in school and devouring lots of extra curricular books on Aztecs and other Mexican cultures and what they did with their lifes. Oh yes, just reminded that thepart that was too clinical and tidy was the part about the conquest and what the Spanish did, because of course it would be. Conquerors don’t like to admit too much about how bad those actions were. And there is a bit of judgement on some traditions as thought more barbaric or wild, it isn’t using those words but the way it is phrased wasn’t ideal.

I mean, if it is for a kid, buy it, it is fun, it does convey a LOT of data about the Aztecs and regular life, but it may be worth finding more sources if it is a particular itnerest of the child or an adult. Still, fun little book with cute drawings.

Book Review

Moon Reads: 44 Tiny Acrobats

44 Tiny Acrobats by Sylvia Bishop and Ashley King

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

Read before: No

Ownership: Preordered because I enjoyed the first one

Series: 44 Tiny…

I really enjoyed 44 Tiny Secrets, and you can read my review here, so I pre-ordered the sequel and have no regrets.

44 Tiny Acrobats is giving us a little more on the circus side of the family story and a lot more on the mysterious grandma that grandpa loved so much. It all starts when Grandpa is not acting as normal and Betsy’s parents are acting even more strange than usual. This is because the circus Grandma used to be a part of is in town just really close to their house.

This puts Betsy in an interesting position because she wants to go to the circus and also learn more, but then doesn’t want to offend or hurt her Grandpa. In the end she goes and things get a bit difficult because she has all her lovely tiny acrobatic mice and they put on a show in the circus.

This leads to some very interesting fun, including a bad and terrible contract, a bit of extortion and finding out a lot more about the past of each family member alongside meeting some of Grandma’s old friends.

As someone who does aerial circus arts, this was a very cute and fun book to read and I liked the connections it had to the story from the first book, and that it is in itself a story but it also has a lot of extra parts to learn about if you read the first one. The artwork is cute and adorable and honestly I can’t wait to see what fun adventure Betsy and her pigmy mice come up with.

Subscription Boxes

Moon Hauls: Sisters of the Coven Book Box Club

Subscription box: Book Box Club

Theme/Month: Sisters of the Coven, February 2021

Ownership: Subscribed on their 12 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 unique and not in other book boxes so very few chances of duplicate books and a lot of new reads discovery power.

A witchy little box, February looks interesting, so let’s unbox it, starting from the theme card on top right and going clockwise:

  • Theme card.
  • Unchosen sampler.
  • Scattered around you will find a small set of tarot cards illustrated for them, sadly there were only a few rather than a full deck because they are gorgeous!
  • Witches brew coffee, which I still need to sample after I finish the currently open bag of coffee.
  • A wooden spoon with a cute little cauldron engraved at the top. I love the fact that the decoration isn’t in the spoon part and more on the handle meaning it isn’t as hard to clean.
  • Lavender shortbread recipe, I had hopes that we would be getting cute theme related recipes per box like this one *hint, hint*
  • We Played with Fire by Catherin Barter, which I of course had preordered before I got the box and ended with a duplicate.
  • Magical “Hubble, bubble, toil and trouble” binder, which I thought was for the recipe collection *still hinting*
  • All Our Hidden Gifts by Caroline O’Donoghue, this was an early copy as the book release was pushed.
  • A cute pair of emerald heart earrings. They are stunning and have little swirls of gold in them.

Overall, fitting the theme well and I loved how the items complimented each other, plus the vibes to go make some recipes, enjoy a cup of coffee and maybe have an afternoon meeting with your coven were great. Really good box honestly!

Book Review

Moon Reads: Dragon World

Dragon World by Tamara MacFarlane. Illustrated by Alessandra Fusi

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

Read before: No

Ownership: Bought it on a big order because it looked interesting.

Ok, I have a fondness for dragon books. It doesn’t matter the age, I will have a look and may read or buy or both. In this case, it looked like a fun compendium, and I guess the best way I can describe it is like an enclyopaedia of dragons to go alongside books like Dragonology.

It isnt as fancy as that, but the illustrations are good, the content is well divided by regions, not focuisng just on Western dragons or focusing more on them but rather giving a wider range of data on each type of dragon and how to find them, the tales it has caused, etc.

The illustrations are also lovely and the colour scheme makes me think of an adventure book, bright and colourful but not too mcuh in your face. This little compedium feels like a small treasure and I am sure it would delight many a dragon knowledge hungry child or adult. It will also make a lovely coffee table book for those that like to give variety or a topic of discussion with them.

Overall, quite enjoyable and a cute little guide, worth adding to the collection.