Book Review

Moon Reads: Minority Monsters!

Minority Monsters! by Tab Kimpton

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

Read before: No

Ownership: Bought for myself, after it was recommended by a friend (thanks Kayden)

Minority Monsters is like an adventure dive into a new world, where you get a two page comic of one of the “monsters” and then two pages on the particular minority this is focusing on.

The first thing you find is a map to Alphabet Soup Land where all the monsters exist and then a nice foreword followed by the very first two-page comic where you meet the not-so-invisible Bisexual Unicorn in all its glory and it is wonderful! From there you get to meet many more LGBTQ+ creatures, each with a small comic and then a helpful “encyclopaedia” mixed with “field notes” on that particular identity and what it means.

Honestly, the comics are awesome, the artwork is delightful, the details of each creature and their story, alongside the descriptions and more in-depth explanations are just the icing on the perfect cake of a good introductory book to queer identities.

I cannot recommend this enough to everyone as a wonderful book to have in your library!

*Our dog would not move and instead required copious belly rubs so he was added to this picture, he is the mythical belly rubs monster ūüėČ

Book Review

Moon Reads: Tales from the Ocean

Tales from the Ocean by Chae Strathie and Erin Brown

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

Read before: No

Ownership: Provided by the publisher after I requested it for review

Disclaimer: Receiving a review copy from the publisher does not affect my opinion of the book. If you think I review it highly it is due to me knowing my taste well and therefore not requesting books I won’t enjoy. And I am not obligated to review the book if I do not like it, so you may not see bad reviews due to me preferring not to hype down a particular book. I only do reviews of books I disagreed with if I think it is worth bringing a topic or warning to light.

Tales from the Ocean is a lovely collection of stories that may seem familiar alongside some new ones that each focus on at least one type of marine life. We have little seahorses crying Stingray when there are none and then not being believed when there is truly one, which is a familiar tale for many with a little boy that cries wolf. And yet the book not only tells a lovely tale but also shows the delightful camouflage abilities of the seahorse alongside their natural enemy, and this is just one of the 20 tales included in the book.

Each of the pages is beautifully illustrated and the whole book is a full-colour experience into many tales and marine life. And the familiar tales woven with true facts about the marine life or just new tales made to fit the particular place that creature plays in the ecosystem and making it a fun story. It was delightful to read. So much I basically didn’t put this book down until I finished all of them and then was left wanting even more stories to feature more creatures.

As such, I recommend this for anyone with a child interested in the ocean and fish and anything that has to do with water, or if you want to use it as educational but fun material, or just nighttime short stories to be read together or out loud to the child. It is a gorgeous book and worth having at hand.

Subscription Boxes

Moon Hauls: Explore Okinawa Sakuraco

Explore Okinawa SakuraCo

Subscription box: SakuraCo

Theme/Month: Explore Okinawa, August 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. I’ve been subscribed since the first box and so far enjoyed the journey.

This box was all about purple potato, and interesting more savoury flavours. So let’s see what was inside, starting from the top left and going clockwise:

  • Kombu Arare Crackers, crispy and with sea flavours.
  • Beni Imo Pie, which has a crispy puff pastry and a potato sweet paste inside, it is odd but tasty.
  • Sanpincha Tea
  • Beni Imo Tart, this looks like they had just made you a little pastry and poured the fresh pastry on it. Tastier than the pie.
  • Owan Bowl with a sakura pattern, currently have mine willed with sweets.
  • Brown Sugar Shisa Candy, perfection. Hard shell, soft caramel sugar goodness inside.
  • Okinawa Tofu Chips, nice chips and crispy.
  • Lightly Salted Red Bean, a bit dry but delicious.
  • Yuzu Monaka, citrusy and delicious.
  • Kogane Shikuwasa Manju, also a bit dry but not too sweet or sour or bitter.
  • Shikuwasa Jelly, refreshing.
  • Apple and Mango Melange Jelly, delicious, I want more of this please!
  • Brown Sugar Manju, I am probably not the fondest of manju but the brown sugar part was delicious.
  • Issa Cracker, they are more refreshing and light than I expected. Seaweed flavoured.
  • Snow Salt Chinsuko, very soft and flaky, almost melt in your mouth.
  • Sata Andagi Beni Imo Doughnuts, very nice, wished for more because it is like little doughnut holes filled with a sweet potato paste.
  • It also came with a postcard and the leaflet with a description of everything alongside more details about why they included them, etc.

Probably not my favourite one as it was a bit repetitive and a lot of manju therefore a bit too dry and not as tasty but still quite good.

Book Review

Moon Reads: A Marvellous Light

A Marvellous Light by Freya Marske

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

Read before: No

Ownership: Proof copy provided by publisher upon request

Disclaimer: Receiving a review copy from the publisher does not affect my opinion of the book. If you think I review it highly it is due to me knowing my taste well and therefore not requesting books I won’t enjoy. And I am not obligated to review the book if I do not like it, so you may not see bad reviews due to me preferring not to hype down a particular book. I only do reviews of books I disagreed with if I think it is worth bringing a topic or warning to light.

A Marvellous Light has an intense start about the circumstances that place our pair of main characters into the plot. Robin has been given a new job and has to make the most of it, even if it appears to be the wrong job and he is way out of his depth. He seems to have a lot of family drama and the book in this sense feels like a very Downton Abbey kinda thing but make it gay.

Then we have Edwin Courcey who is the liaison for the magical world and therefore has to work with Robin. Edwin is prickly and a bit not amused by how little Robin knows but slowly warms up to him. He gives the impression that he has better things to do than his actual role and therefore is just doing it out of politeness.

The plot centres mostly on the romance developing between Edwin and robin, which is probably where I went wrong with this book. I was looking forward to a historical kinda fantasy with romance, whereas the best way to describe A Marvellous Light is that it is a romance with some historical fantasy happening around it.

The magic system and the world are interesting and being dropped in as Robin does was also quite a good way to learn. We also have Miss Morrisey and her sister who are probably the best characters in the book and are the most developed secondary characters of this book outside of the main characters, which again is a shame because, given the development of the characters, it could’ve been something I liked more.

Overall, if you want a sweeping romance with plot and magic happening around it, with a lot of angst and romance and things to force the characters to make quick decisions and maybe have to put their lives on the line, that may read a little like good Downtown Abbey fan fiction with magic and gay, this is the absolute book for you. If instead, you’d like a magical fantasy set in a historical world with some romance in it that is gay, then this may not be exactly for you. You end up getting less of the plot as the book goes and more romance, which I felt sad about because the magic sounded very interesting and I would’ve liked more of that.

Book Review

Moon Reads: Diary of an Accidental Witch

Diary of an Accidental Witch by Perdita and Honor Cargill. Illustrated by Katie Saunders.

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

Read Before: No

Ownership: Copy gifted by the publisher once it was requested from the newsletter.

Disclaimer: Receiving a review copy from the publisher does not affect my opinion of the book. If you think I review it highly it is due to me knowing my taste well and therefore not requesting books I won’t enjoy. And I am not obligated to review the book if I do not like it, so you may not see bad reviews due to me preferring not to hype down a particular book. I only do reviews of books I disagreed with if I think it is worth bringing a topic or warning to light.

We’re into October and I felt like Diary of an Accidental Witch is one of those books that is great for this season.

Bea Black has just moved into Little Spellshire with her very distracted father who is a weather scientist, and there has been a mixup on which school she should be going to! Instead of going to the Academy school, she ends up enrolled at The Spellshire School for Extraordinary Arts, and well, you can definitely say they are extraordinary!

And of course, the whole book is written as Bea’s journal where she records the start of her journaling and her move to this place alongside her new school adventures.

From funny quirky remarks about being alone and having no friends or maybe just the one, to how to navigate odd homework assignments, tripping over brooms, being assigned frog duty and then learning you can actually do spells, or ride a broom [without tripping anymore]. The illustrations on the book make this amazing, and even better than it already is, with the fun adventures making it through the pages, and all that magic showing up in the words, and the adventures.

If you like young witches having adventures, or young ordinary not a magical child at all that may or not actually have magical powers in a cute and fun way, this is the book for you.

Writing

Moon Writes: forgive and forget

The first to seek forgiveness
admitting wrongs
deeper vesting in love
can it be?

“I’m sorry!”

My existence, whispering apologies
shouldering responsibility
for all the wrongs
guilt-ridden, self admonished.

“It’s my fault! “

Just a way to show
my love for you
a way to let you know
you mean more than you know.
I don’t want you to think¬†
I’m always this wrong.¬†

“I’m so sorry!”

Caught in my own web,
guns backfiring inside my head.
piling up the failures
apologizing for things beyond my control, 
taking responsibility for others wrongs 

“Forgive me”

For I have loved the most…
loved everyone so much, that I forgot 
to love the one who needed it more.
Myself. 

“Sorry.”

For-give. 
what am I giving? 
For-get. 
what am I getting?

Forgiving.
Forgetting. 
To live, to love,
I am not alone in this,
not everything is my wrong.
And you can’t see I’ve grown.


Old poems come back again, apparently, I had a lot to say about self-love and apologies back in 2014. Which in all honesty was a tough period of time for me, but it helped me grow and we’re here for the better.

Subscription Boxes

Moon Hauls: The Stranger The Better Tales by Mail

Subscription box: Tales by Mail

Theme/Month: The Stranger the Better, for August 2021

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.

With a very interesting theme, let’s see what was in the box, starting on the top left corner and going clockwise:

  • A Raven Heir promotional bookmark.
  • Crowfall by Vashti Hardy, which looks very intriguing to me.
  • The activity pages for the month which go into the collectible ring binder.
  • The most adorable keyring, which is the mascot for the box and I was so taken by it.
  • The Tentacle Boy which wasn’t in my radar but looks intriguing and creepy weird.
  • Promotional bookmark for The Tentacle Boy and Pizazz
  • The collectible pin

It was a very cute choice and maybe not my favourite box of the year but my absolute favourite was that keyring which I thought was super sweet and honestly, it won my heart.

Book Review

Moon Reads: I am NOT Starfire

I am NOT Starfire by Mariko Tamaki and Yoshi Yoshitani

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

Read Before: No

Ownership: Preordered because I like Starfire and the art fo Yoshi Yoshitani

Spoilers: Free of spoilers but will discuss plot.

I was really into Teen Titans when I was younger (the original Cartoon Network ones were so cute) and therefore I have a soft spot for them and when I saw Yoshi Yoshitani was the artist for this I had to get it.

The premise is that Starfire’s daughter is most certainly not like Starfire. Mandy is more of an outcast, less of an extrovert, prefers black and darkness and not the fame and bubbly spirit that her mum is. And also, she is keeping secrets form Starfire who is trying to save the world and keep her daughter well.

Things suddenly get in motion when Mandy gets paired up with other class crush, Claire for a project and therefore starts to feel like she’s making friend,s but also, Starfire’s past is catching up with her and may affect Mandy, and Mandy may have to make big decisions before she feels ready.

If anything this comic is a love letter to Starfire, to not knowing fully your identity, maybe of being first-generation and trying to figure out how to fit in the world but also with the expectations of your family. And it is about being mixed and having doubts, cracks in your identity. It was a very interesting exploration of various themes and at the same time you could see it as a very cute romance and fun superhero book. To me it was both and the art was amazing, alongside a very interesting plot.

Recommended for Teen Titans fans, and anyone who wants a wacky fun superhero and family, and identity graphic novel. I sped through this one and then shared with my friends so they could enjoy it too.

Book Review

Moon Reads: RWBY The Beacon Arc (Full Series)

RWBY: The Beacon Arc (Full Series) by Bunta Kinami

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

Read Before: Yes, I tried to read the first volume but wasn’t in the mood, apparently, later on I was.

Series: RWBY The Beacon Arc

Ownership: Bought and preordered respectively.

Another Full Series review and this was a short series. For some reason, I had high hopes for it and I struggled a lot to get on with the art of it mixed with the writing. I did enjoy the characters a lot but they were a little too similar in the manga to be able to distinguish them as much as I would have liked, which is why it didn’t get a high rating. It also assumes you have watched the anime, which is all fine but there is no catch-up, nothing beyond “hi, welcome to this story where we gloss over 90 of everything and just do action scenes”.

The story is basically about Ruby getting to the Beacon Academy because she is very talented and can become a Huntress against the Grimm which are monsters in this world. As she starts, she defeats a big villain no one else can and then becomes the captain of her team because she wins a challenge, and then goes on about hunting the big villain and making her way as a team with her enemy.

It felt a little too much of a “perfect one heroine” that does no wrong and if she does, the day still gets saved, her clumsiness is cute and basically it is a collection of all the possible cliches and Mary Sue like things you’d expect but in drawn form in a fantasy world, plus a lot of fan service in how the characters are dressed nad how they show in the manga. It was still an interesting plot and the world is interesting but it was too much a “perfectly perfect cute lady that wow, does no wrong, saves the day can think better than the best adults ever, and wow, so young, much amazing”.

Still, it was a good waste of time and therefore I decided to review it.

Writing

Moon Writes: i raise the glass

The Loss of the Self in Sickness and Pain by Moon Kestrel

to the ghosts of my illness,
who come and put a sympathetic hand on my shoulder,
reminding me of what it was like to have them
around in the flesh rather than just in glimpses.

to their randomness,
for they do as they please.
weather changes or tiredness
will draw them near with ease.
the thumping inside my head as they knock
to let me know i lived through it all.

to their humming in my ears,
recounting the past and the tears.

sometimes they make me cry,
taking advantage of my sensitivity,
but they’re not evil
they’re just ghosts.

here’s to the phantoms
that keep reminding me how bad it was
but instead, succeed at making me grateful.

i raise my glass,
to them all,
for i am alive
i survived.


A toast. Because sometimes old poems and pieces of artwork speak better than new words (this was written in May 2016), and the artwork is from 2013. Some ghosts are persistent, some are here to stay.

I hadn’t done a Moon Writes post in a while and given that I’ve had a small regression and remembering how bad the pain can be, this felt applicable, and hey, maybe it will speak to others, even if it is a toast made for my specific ghosts.