Moon Hauls: Tarot of the Divine and Beneath the Moon

This is a mix “review” of two things I got that I couldn’t really separate just for the sake of posting about them.

The first is the deck of Tarot of the Divine. This was made by Yoshi Yoshitani and the focus was to make it diverse, queer and just full or new meaning. Each card is a story, some deeper meaning and I absolutely love the artwork and the connections made, plus the fact that it features stories and lore from all over the world, not just the usuals or just the European fairytales. It goes beyond that and does an amazing job and the meanings of the story/lore matching the meaning of the card they represent in the deck.

As a tie in, there is a book, Beneath the Moon, which collects the artwork and stories that feature in the deck. It doesn’t collect everything, since it’d be a very thick book if it did, but it features the main ones, and it made me really excited to read the stories and feel like this is a perfect fairytale book to keep coming back to. It has the stories, gorgeous colourful art and a lot of diversity in cultures and countries.

As a coherent couple fo things, I am just in awe at the immense work Yoshi put into making this deck and book. Every card has packed so much detail trying to convey the story but at the same time, to make them tie in with their meaning and with the opening of many possible interpretations.

There are stories from every continent, form every type of story, I don’t even have enough words on how exciting this is for me since it is gorgeous and perfect.

Moon Reads: Once Upon A Dragon’s Fire

Once Upon A Dragon’s Fire by Beatrice Blue

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

I reviewed a while ago Beatrice’s other book, Once Upon A Unicorn Horn, so when I saw this one was coming, I preordered it. It is easy, make a book I enjoyed, I will almost always preorder your next books.

The artwork was top class, but that was no surprise given I enjoy Beatrice’s art a lot. And as per the previous book, this is a book giving things a new “origin” so in this case it is centered around a dragon and fire.

This is about two children that made up adventures and were obsessed with dragon stories so they decide to go search the dragon and thanks to them “fire” is invented.

Look it is way better than I am describing!

In all honesty the story is a great read out loud or act out one, the artowkr and pictures are full of detail and cuteness, and the story is reaffirming and all about tenderness and warmth (and some dragon fire too).

It has a dragon, fire, and a great story, so this is a definite win and I am eagerly awaiting what else we may get as an origin of this thing type of book from Beatrice Blue.

Moon Reads: The Epic Crush of Genie Lo

The Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F. C. Yee

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

This book is loads of fun, action and crazy shenanigans! Genie Lo is a young woman with a bit of a temper and an overachiever that is dedicated to trying to get into an Ivy league university. She is even using her height advantage to totally get a win in volleyball.

But when the yaoguai of lore suddenly aren’t lore anymore and seem to be hellbent on causing mayhem for Genie, what is she to do? Add on top of that the gorgeous new student, Quentin Sun, who is adamant that Genie has to help him sort this weirdness as it is part of her destiny.

Best part is that Quentin isn’t just a student, but actually Sun Wukong, the Monkey King.

Look, I throughly enjoyed this book, the pacing is great and you get both action and quieter moments, plus a lot of humour There were many times when I just giggled thorugh it or laughed out loud to something going on, but I was also concerned. The chemistry of Quentin and Genie is brilliant and their at odds view of the world also was amusing.

And the lore, it’s very well woven into this story.

Honestly, everyone who has been a student, dreamt of being one, and or likes lore, should read this book. It pack s agreat punch!

Moon Reads: Silver in the Wood

Silver in the Wood by Emily Tesh

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

I remember reading about this book, preordering it and then somehow forgetting about it (look, that is the story of my whole TBR, I get excited, watn to read it now, the book doesn’t come out until months later and by the time it arrives I am pining for a different book that will come out in the future).

But given that my life has been a bit chaotic and I have had to steal time to read and do my own things, I put aside a few short stories and books I felt I could tackle with ease, so one Saturday morning I grabbed this lovely book, sat down to read a few pages, maybe a chapter or so. By the time I looked up from the book, I had finished it.

I immediately felt transported to the wood and the mansion and just in this world and knew I was going to stay there for as long as there was a story to tell. And it reminded me of why I love this type of books and how I sorely wish there were more green magic with lore and more, books that can take you into their own “fairy ring” world without even requiring fairies. I wanted to go and read more urban fantasy, or go travel back to Scotland and into the forest, get lost somewhere.

Silver in the Wood weaves a masterful tale and I don’t want to spoil it but honestly, make yourself a cup of coffee, tea or hot chocolate, cuddle up with a blanket and get ready to go visit this particular woods that is rich in fantastical beings that weave into the very fabric of it.

My only complaint is that this was too short and I’d like a longer novel. Or a series, or just more. Which I guess is not a bad thing all in all, right?

Moon Reads: Notes from Small Planets – Blogtour

Notes from Small Splanets by Nate Crowley

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

Well, I was selected to be part of the blog tour of this tour oriented book, and as such I need to make it clear I received a copy of the book so i could participate in it, but this doesn’t affect my review/post about it.

Now that that is out of the way I have to say that Notes from Small Planets is a great humour book. It is meant to give that vibe of a travel guide of “how to get the most out of your trip to X”, but the trick here is that X is a bunch of small planets, each with quirky interesting settings.

In itself, each world is an exploration of fantasy and scifi world tropes, and the usual cliches and expectations we have of them (you know, people expect elves to be good, orcs to be bad, etc). Each planet/world that we visit or rather that we are suggested to visit has their own flaovur and we’re seeing everything from the “eyes” and voice of Floyd, who more or less embodies the white privileged coloniser, but we get the margin notes and foot notes from Eliza, who is adamant on setting things right.

The notes on each planet are fantastic and poke so much fun at books and other stories and yet they are they very own unique thing, that I kept trying to match them to the book they may be inpired by and then wondering if it wasn’t just a bunch of trope books.

And the other shining star is the notes, all those little quips between Eliza and Floyd. They help set the why and how and mood of the travel guide and put you on a “look at what is being written as a travel guide vs what may actually have happened”. The further along in the book the more you realise the planets and travelling may be more than meets the eye, and by the end, well, let’s just say I was a mix of giggling and exclamations on it.

Thoroughly enjoyable guide that has a lot of humour, a bit of sobering truth (maybe more than we’d like at times) and just a very original “welcome to this world, this is your intro the videogame and world” kind of feel.

Moon Hauls: Written in the Stars Owlcrate

The theme for this box was a good one so I had hopes for this box and I have to say I was quite pleased. I had another box that did the same book and similar theme and prefer the items of this one a lot more. So what was inside? Let’s start on the far left and going clockwise:

  • A booksleeve, look it is gorgeous, very celestial and just gorgeous. It is discreet and yet elegant and perfect.
  • The pin of the month, I usually really like them and this is a nice one.
  • I thought the fact they sent push pins in a cute star jar all of them silver was a great thing and also I have my own cork board and this was a perfect little thing that will not only look nice on my desk but be super useful!
  • Theme card, the Owlcrate resident illustrator has a very particular style and I love it.
  • A tie down scarf, this is like the fancy silk scarf version and I love it, it is stunning and came super well presented.
  • A star pen. I felt like a magical girl with it and thought this was just a cute and perfect little thing (the only thing that’d make this better is if it was a fountain pen, I can gleefully imagine a book box including fountain pens and a little pot of ink and I would be super happy!)
  • An A6 (?) clipboard which also super useful for desk notes and very in theme.
  • Star Daughter which is the main book and this edition of the cover is stunning!

All in all the items matched the theme really well, made me feel like I was getting my life in order with powerful stationery and a power scarf and a great book. It isn’t a super “flashy” box and there’s not really any paper items which makes it a great one in my books as I don’t feel like my money was wasted or wasn’t worth it. Every item will be gleefully usef many times.

Moon Reads: Night Shift

Night Shift by Debi Gliori

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

I bought this book as it was on sale and it had dragons and a mental health focus, plus it was illustrated so it sounded like something I’d read and review. Which it is.

The artwork is interesting and there’s deffnitely dragons and it’s mostly black and white. And the focus of the book is how the author sees depression as a dragon that is trying to set her on fire or that sets things she likes on fire, that the smoke fromt he dragon is tiring and draining. And of course, it is about hope, about how the cycles of depression can go and you can see again a little better.

I have to say I liked the metaphor of depression as a dragon and the illustrations did this well, but the prose didn’t really stick in my head or capture my attention enough, it was for the images and the metaphor that I stuck around rather than the way it was written (which is why it doesn’t have a higher rating, as I have seen a variety of comics and ways of representing depression and this was nice but it didn’t hit as well as others had done before).

Still, it is a nice book and the art is great, so I’d still recommend, particularly if you like dragons. As much as it may not have struck as well with me in with the words, it may strike better on you or a loved one to share this with.

Moon Hauls: A Darker Shade of Magic Illumicrate Collections

Any Illumicrate Collections box tends to be really good, so when they announced A Darker Shade of Magic being a box, I jumped at it and got it. And of course, as per usual, it was packed full of goodies (so much I struggled to fit it all on my usual table), so let’s see what it had starting at the bottom right and going clockwise:

  • Contents booklet, mostly it lists what each item is and who the artist/companies behind it are.
  • Underneath most of the goodies is a Four Londons blanket by Yoshi Yoshitani, which I like a lot (usually the blankets are gorgeous)
  • Then we have a booksleeve inspired by Lila’s and Kell “dance”, it’s a good size and slightly plastified so really nice. The artwork is by Laia Lopez and the quote typography design on the other side is by Chatty Nora.
  • Essen Tasch hanging poster, this makes me feel like I’ve been to it and got a memento poster to hang on my wall. Normally I am not crazy about posters but I somehow really like this one. Design by Sylvia Bi
  • On top are some acrylic figures of the characters and one of the author too, which I thought was a cute idea and they’ll look good on a shelf to decorate. Design by Monolime
  • There was also a set of dust jackets for all three books if you’re not that into the naked look. Those were hard to display as they had come rolled in to be protected but difficult to quickly lay flat (they’ll be flat after a few days under some books). Artwork by Rosie Thorns.
  • A pin of Lila’s mask designed by Stacey McEvoy-Caunt.
  • In the middle is a microfibre cloth to clean glasses and gadgets with a design by Victoria Ying.
  • And finally the hardcover book with a foiled naked cover, silver sprayed edges and front endpapers with artwork by Em Allen. It is gorgeous, honestly!

All in all it was a great box, the item I will probably love the least is the dust jackets because I am not normally fond of them in books and prefer naked covers. But they are still gorgeous. And of course all the contents are so well tailored for the trilogy that it is like magic!

Moon Reads: Fence Volumes 1-4

Fence Volumes 1-4 by C.S. Pacat, Johanna the Mad, Joana LaFuente

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

Look, fencing was intriguing to me back when I saw Parent Trap but there wasn’t anywhere I could learn to fence nearby where I lived in Mexico so I dropped that dream fast. And I had forgotten somewhat about it until my friends started talking about Fence and how good it was, and to convince me, one of them gave me the first volume as a gift for my birthday.

I ended reading it during the first few weeks after my husband’s accident since I didn’t feel like reading a full proper book and a graphic novel was the ticket. I think the best review I can give is that immediately after finishing the first one, I ordered the next 3 because I HAD to read them (tragically I received 3 and 4 before the second one so I had to wait longer to binge read them).

The art, the fencing, the drama, the personalities, everything is great about this series. The characters have me in giggles with their antics but also, they all have a very defined personality and their own depth (particularly the main cast) and you slowly get to know why they are so cold or so joyful or so whatever it is that defines them. Bobby wins my heart, but in general it’s hard to chose one since they’re all so much fun and the story is all about a pair of rivals. One of them is the 2nd best national, the other is only just making it through, and how they have to learn to work as ateam along other fencers of the same school to get better, learn from their weaknesses and maybe learn to be better with others.

Honestly, it is not only the fencing, but the interactions that make this book and I had so much joy and such intensity reading I was sad to finish the 4th one and not have the next one already (why can’t I time travel to read them all in one go?!)

I can now understand why my friends were so eager to have me read it, and I can only say, you should read it too!

Moon Hauls: Moonlit Melodies BookBox Club

A slightly moon themed box, as we know Book Box Club tends to be less “popular” books (not that they aren’t good books, but it is the kind of box I’d recommend buying for diverse and not hyped enough kind of books), but the content tends to be nice and you get the benefit of the Clubhouse, so let’s see the contents starting with theme card and going clockwise:

  • Theme card, they have a resident artist that works on making the theme card match both theme and book and they are always lovely.
  • A biscuit, this literally only lasted long enough to have the picture taken and then it was devoured by yours truly. I love that they send a gluten free biscuit so trying to make sure it is a nice experience for even more box recipients.
  • A quote pouch, I like them since they’re quite useful and like that they’re fabric.
  • A sampler for Cinderella is Dead
  • Promotional book mark for Daughter of Lies and Ruin.
  • A playlist and EP from The Bookshop Band. Look to me this was really cool because it means they’re looking at recommending things to go with the theme and the box and just more bookish items.
  • An eye (?) mask or some kind fo facemask.relaxation item with a space motif, which sounds intriguing and good for a relaxing day.
  • Moon Child stickers, they are beautifully themed and I was having a cute moment with them.
  • Clubhouse invite, this is a month or so after the box is delivered and you get to chat with the author alongisde other members. It’s really fun.
  • Door hanger to indicate you’re busy either reading or lseeping for both day and night usage. It is wooden and has gorgeous art on both sides.
  • And finally, the main book, Ghost Wood Song which I had been looking forward to reading and can’t wait to buddy read with friends.

One more thing I want to highlight is that Book Box Club have been super clear when they have had delays, and even then the delays have been minimal. They even managed to get a replacement book for a previous box when the publication date got moved and found a perfect replacement in a short span of time. I can highly recommend them as great customer care, great service and nice little perks.

Moon Reads: All the Stars and Teeth

All the Stars and Teeth by Adalyn Grace

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

I received a review copy from the publishers in exchange of a fair review, however I also had purchased a book box that had the book included, so as much as it is a book given by the publisher, it is also one of my own too. Nothing changes my opinion of it regardless.

The premise of All the Stars and Teeth is that we have several islands each witha different type of magic, and if you learn one type of magic you gotta live in the island of your magic and only use one type because otherwise your soul will be corrupt and your body won’t be able to use all the magics. And obviously, there is a ruling class, a fine line of magic that can kill and can see into your soul, which makes them the rulers.

Amora is the only daughter of the king. She has been preparing her whole life to show off that she can control her magic and will use it for the good of the Kingdom her whole life. But things go wrong in her ceremony, and all her plans to finally see the rest of the islands beyond the one where soul magic is performed goes a bit pear shaped. Instead she ends helping a pirate save an island of rebels and his stolen magic.

And as she sails throught the different islands, she starts to ahve her eyes opened to the fact that maybe she wasn’t allowed to see more of the world because it had all been lies her father had told her. This doesn’t put her on a revenge quest against her father but it only cements the fact she wants to help her kingdom, which I found a refreshing change. It wasn’t a “well I was chosen, lost it, found it and I am still chosen”, it is more of a “oh well, I will still do it even if I screwed up and things aren’t what I was told they were, I still love my kingdom and want the best for it”.

Amora does think quite high of herself and it is interesting to see the relationships in the book unfold as she discovers more fo her herself and how to interact with others, plus the fact that multiple magics are happening and there’s nothing to stop it.

In general I really enjoyed the story and the world at first I wasn’t convinced but it grew on me once Amora actually starts her adventure. And of course I want to read the next book because I want to know what happens next. I recommend this as a fun refreshing fantasy based on the sea but also about being a ruler and what magic is and who decides what and why.

Moon Hauls: We Are the Resistance Illumicrate

The latest Illumicrate had a very scifi feel to it and the contents were as follows:

  • Seven Devils, just look at the gorgeous cover change!
  • A promotional bookmark for Sweet Black Waves.
  • Star Wars sunglasses (these were a bit meh, they feel like a filler item as they have nothing beyond a logo, and it’s not that amazing, plus I can’t use sunglasses).
  • A cute keyring, this will definitely be used soon.
  • Theme leaflet.
  • Another book planter, probably my favourite of the set.
  • A Bone Season notebook.
  • And some character cards.

To be fair, this definitely wasn’t their strongest box, and I wish it had been but it seems to be common that they’re not as strong for Scifi boxes than they are in fantasy boxes. There’s a lot of fun that could’ve been done here, so hopefully the scifi side gets stronger.

Moon Hauls: Ghibli Night In YumeTwins

I get YumeTwins on a one box at a time thing since I like their items lots but wasn’t using them as much so mostly only Ghibli themed boxes for me. This is their May/June box, but it was stuck in Japan for a while (they were super clear on like shipping updates and then when it was meant to arrived they chased and like the next day it was here, so good customer service). So, let’s see what was in this box:

  • A Totoro mini bag. This is SUPER cute and I am swooning over it.
  • The theme mini zine.
  • Ghibli postcard, there was a choice of different options (with YumtTwins boxes it’s always a mini roulette, so you have to be sure you’ll like most of the options offered because you don’t know which one you’ll get).
  • A Spirited Away file folder, which I have been using because it is plastified and so cool!
  • A bamboo toothbrush from My Neighbour Totoro.
  • And finally, stackable tupperware/bento boxes. I have two from a previous Ghibli box so I love stacking them and interchanging lids and boxes.

All in all, I am happy with the box, good things, and a good variety we can get, and yes, it was delayed but it did come and service was good. I shall await for another Ghibli box that tempts me or maybe some other fandom. If you like cute things and you are int Japanese fandoms, then this is a great box to get. They ship early, let you know the items and options, usually have a promotion option to get extra goodies, and if you stay subscribed you get points you can exchange for extra goodies.

Moon Reads: Sheets

Sheets by Brenna Thummler

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

I got a sampler on one of the free comic book day events, and made a mental note to buy it full at some point. That point was a lot later because I don’t have the sampler anymore. But I did buy the book, so it kinda worked to give me a sampler for it? (Honestly I wish there were more demo/sampler options for books and other items, but that’s a discussion for some other day and post).

Sheets is the story of a young girl, Marjorie, trying her best to keep her family, school and laundromat afloat after her mother’s death. And a ghost, Wendell, who isn’t fitting in the ghost world after dying.

Being outsiders and just not fitting right makes for two parallel stories that at some point join when our ghost accidentally ends up haunting the laundromat and causing a lot of issues for Marjorie who does her absolute best ot help.

Thankfully at the breaking point where things are all going wrong and there is no saving grace, Wendell pulls through and works some ghostly magic for Marjorie, changing her life in a great way, plus becoming good friends.

Reading through Sheets was emotional, bittersweet but it was also nice ot read a book about some realities some kids have when the main adult checks out and they have to take adult duties and make it look the adult is still functioning so they care for themselves and any siblings.

Sadly the artwork wasn’t really my style so I wasn’t as keen on ti and it was the story that won my over this time. Still I think this is the kind of book I’d have in a school or kids library available for those that feel like ghosts in their own home and environment.

Moon Hauls: Off the Map Tales by Mail

This is the second Tales by Mail box and I have to say I am still enjoying them a lot. As mentioned before, this is from the same people behind Book Box Club and it is all about the middle grade love. So let’s see what was included in this box:

  • The activity worksheets. Usually they encourage you to write a short review and include some other fun things to do. If you got the starter pack then it fits neatly to go after the previous pack of activities.
  • A woodmark with the theme art.
  • Several promotional pins for Pizzaz and one for the theme card.
  • A cute pencil
  • And the two main books, Wonderscape and Sky Pirates

Both books look very interesting and I am looking forward to reading them. I am also happy that there’s not a lot in the box to clutter, just activities and great reads.