Book Review

Moon Reads: A Psalm for the Wild Built

A Psalm for the Wild Built by Becky Chambers

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

Read before: No

Ownership: My best friend threw the book at me because I had to read it, she was right.

Ok, this is a book about a monk and a robot. But it is also a book about tea, about what offering someone a cup of tea is like and what it can provide relief, for listening to them. It is also a book about identity, about what defines humanity, a soul and conscience. It is about duties and expectations.

If you expect a light book, this is not for you despite it being relatively short. Because it is a book that will make you think and reconsider your whole life. You will wonder why you are not doing something else, or if you are truly happy.

Overall, the point of this book is about the purpose and about choices. What do humans need? It depends on who you ask and when. If I am terribly tired, I would say sleep or overall peace. But who knows what we really need. It is hard to talk for the whole of humanity, as much as we are a collective we are also a bunch of individuals and this book will make you think about all of this and more. Honestly, I cannot recommend it enough even though I can barely describe it without retelling the story.

But the main character is non-binary, serves tea and does their own mixes for a living moving around in a little wagon type thing that offers tea services and a friendly ear and delicious mixes to soothe the soul. I just loved the concept of this, and I wish I could do this tea mastery serving to others the right tea, perfect for their needs and the time of their lives.

Subscription Boxes

Moon Hauls: Royal Secrets Illumicrate

Subscription box: Illumicrate

Theme/Month: Royal Secrets, January 2022

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.

This box had two books which is always a gamble because sometimes that means not as good a content, but let us see if it was true this time, starting from the top left corner and going clockwise:

  • We Hunt the Flame jigsaw puzzle, which I love this collection that looks like books in a box
  • This Woven Kingdom, which I still haven’t read but it is gorgeous
  • The Ivory Key, I was excited for it.
  • A pair of super comfy soft fluffy socks
  • A Never Tilting World inspired necklace for both “sides” and I love it.
  • Theme leaflet.
  • Mobile phone stand with a keyhole and “Youre a survivor”. I amdit I prefer the wooden ones over acrylic.

Overall not a bad box, I am still using the socks, love the necklace and the puzzle. Was not crazy about the phone stand but otherwise it wasn’t a bad box, and having too books didn’t really take anything away from it, which is always nice!

Book Review

Moon Reads: Fox & Rabbit Celebrate

Fox & Rabbit Celebrate by Beth Ferry and Illustrated by Gergely Dudas

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

Ownership: Preordered after reading the first two.

Series: Fox & Rabbit

I love this little series of books which remind me a lot of Narwhal and Jelly, and of course you can read my review of the first two books here.

Fox is feeling a bit like fixing things because it is with an F, so obviously, Fox goes around finding things to fix but then it is Robin’s birthday and they want to plan a fun party so they go on an adventure to do so and honestly it was super sweet because they want to make a huge pizza and lots of fun things and honestly I loved reading through it plus the artwork is adorable and it obviously has a fox so win for me!

Subscription Boxes, Uncategorized

Moon Hauls: Secrets & Lies Book Box Club

Subscription box: Book Box Club

Theme/Month: Secrets and Lies, January 2022

Ownership: Subscribed on their 6 boxes option. Alas this is a discontinued subscription box.

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.

Starting from the top and the theme card, we can see the contents slowly and go through it:

  • Theme card, I love the old school type of style
  • Fiction Fan mug with some lovely artwork.
  • Book Lover Lies coaster
  • Promotional bookmark
  • The Revelry, which I had preordered so I ended up with two copies.
  • A Secret Agent pen set, there was a lovely happy squeal when I saw it!
  • The Secrets Act which was also in my wishlist
  • A Mystery Machine soap

Overall I loved that it had a small joyful item and then two books I wanted to read which was a win for me. Definitely loved the box just sad that it has come to an end.

Book Review

Moon Reads: Ghost Talkers

Ghost Talkers by Mary Robinette Kowal

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

Read before: No

Ownership: Bought for myself.

Ok, I was instantly sold when I hear about this book. Ghosts, spirit mediums, secrets, intelligence and WWI? Yes please, right up my absolute street. And probably the only part I was crazy about was that the main character is an American heiress, but the story happens in London so it was a winner.

Ginger is a special Spiritualist force medium in the Spirit Corps, which is a fancy department made of women who basically have set up a process where if a soldier dies, they are to report to the mediums and provide details of their last moments or any intel they may remember that is useful. And I loved the concept of this, it was done so well and in a very interesting way and I don’t want to spoil it but just for the concept this book was worth reading.

But then we get intrigue when it appears that someone is out to get them and there is a traitor or spy and things may be getting out of hand. So Ginger decides to investigate and try for the sake of her fiance to put things right (also for herself too but you know).

I liked how it introduces some concepts on being a proper woman, about race, about privilege and intelligence and how things were a bit of backstabbing even without traitors but also that once you think there is a traitor things get a bit hairy. I also appreciated how being a medium tires the people out and they need a support team that aren’t all mediums so that they are grounded and can do things better, etc.

If you like historical fiction with a bit of a twist that goes into the paranormal, this is definitely one to read and add there because it was really good to read and I enjoyed it a lot.

Book Review

Moon Reads: Fine Print

Fine Print, Volume 1 by Stjepan Šejić

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

Read before: No

Ownership: Bought in Forbidden Planet on a trip to London because ti was a decent price.

I love Stjepan’s art style and so when I saw Fine Print in the shop I had to buy it. It is a bit more out there of my usual reads and styles for sure, but a graphic novel is a graphic novel and I actually had a good giggle reading this.

The story follows several characters through a very slow start, and to be honest, this book is very much a setup volume so read it with care, as in do not expect a perfectly polished story because we know it isn’t. But the next volumes develop more of it. We get a lot of insight even if it is all over the place about each of the characters, the two “gods” of desire that will try to win her contract and give her everything she desires, Lauren who is the main character and an absolute self-destructive being who knows what the right choice is and still does not make it because it is better to choose the worst possible one. And honestly, the story is almost written in that way, like a reflection of her own chaos and bad decisions but told into a story where you are trying to justify your actions and know as you go that there is no way to make them seem better except to try to tell the truth and add some humour because you pretty much messed up so bad there is no coming back from it.

One thing the art does suffer from is a bit of same face syndrome which as the characters have progressed and Stjepan has developed them, does change into more defined the point in part is that everyone is gorgeous and therefore apparently there is only one way. I particularly like the colour work but I am terrible at it so take it with a grain of salt.

Overall, it is a fun comic that if you have high expectations it will fail you, but if you’re here for a silly story about competitiveness, bad decisions and chaos, it will entertain.

Subscription Boxes

Moon Hauls: Cursed Illumicrate

Subscription box: Illumicrate

Theme/Month: Cursed, December 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.

I am slowly catching up, just 6 months behind, right? But let us investigate the contents nevertheless and see what I liked and didn’t like or what my thoughts were, starting from the book at the bottom left:

  • A Marvellous Light with an interesting jacket made of like a plastic see-through version.
  • Starcrossed Lovers calendar, I admit in general I don’t really use wall calendars so this was wasted on me and I am less into quotes but still, I appreciate the free calendar in case it would be used.
  • Gorgeous pin flag, one of my favourite ones sent so far, with a beautiful design, even if I don’t use them. You can totally see a theme of me not hanging things.
  • One of my favourite items in the box, is a pencil tin, I love the tins that protect pencils, and this one is creepy awesome and with a great quote.
  • A Winternight trilogy inspired mug is one of my favourite ones now. But in general, I love the mugs and this is the other favourite item.
  • The collectible pin which is now not a thing but still, lovely to see it.

Lovely box overall, however rnow I am here thinking about how sometimes they don’t consider we don’t all have loads of space to hang things or won our house and therefore in a rented place you cant really fillt he walls of items, so I do wish here were alternatives to hanging things like a desk calendar which would limit the hanging items here to just the one? But this is me just thinking of more possibilities that fit more people.

Book Review

Moon Reads: Gallant

Gallant by V. E. Schwab

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

Read before: No

Ownership: Proof copy provided by the publisher. Also got an Illumicrate copy with the subscription box I have.

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.

Creepy sentient houses and slightly gothic vibes? That sounds right up my street particularly since I loved Mexican Gothic. Now, I admit after reading Adie LaRue and not loving it, I had decided to not go into Gallant with high expectations. This was a good decision, however, I still had skewed ideas of what the book was aiming to do and that did mean I enjoy it less than I might have.

My overall review is that Schwab is now in comfortable quotable prose that writes beautiful phrases in almost every sentence and therefore is very good for selling to fandom and making fandom items of it. However, to me, this means the plot is sacrificed slightly for the aesthetic feel. This isn’t exactly a bad thing but I prefer less pretty words and more story.

Now that that is out of the way, Gallant has a mute orphan at the centre of it, one who longs for a place to call home and then, presto, suddenly the chance appears with an odd letter to invite her to Gallant, her family home. Now this is particularly odd but you don’t look a gifted horse in the teeth and you do not complain. But the house is spooky and there appears to be a second house, like a mirror but dark and spooky and beyond the veil kinda thing. And of course, we have the brooding family counterparts, the loyal servants and the heroine, alongside the characters in the alternative house. All pretty good for a gothic vibe, and yet it felt a little flat on gothic.

If you are not expecting as many gothic vibes it is an interesting introduction to the vibes of it and a fun quick read that has an interesting cast of characters. One thing is that once again we see Death as part of the plot and the longing to find a home and a place to belong when you don’t feel like you do, which is characteristic of Schwab. However, there is less about who makes a monster and more about finding out who the parents are and why they abandoned her.

Overall a quick read with beautiful quotes and phrases and a spooky slightly gothic vibe that will scratch a quick read itch.

Book Review

Moon Reads: Sea Witch

Sea Witch by Sarah Henning

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

Read before: No

Ownership: Bought a while ago or gifted, not even sure but it was in my bookcase for a long time.

I can’t remember why I bought this one but it caught my eye and I think it was mostly that it was a retelling no of the Little Mermaid and focused as much on the mermaid but on the sea witch that provides the favours. And to be fair, that sounds interesting particularly if it is more of a general sea witch view and not a Disney specific one.

The story follows four friends, two princes and two girls, and their adventures near the sea. It appears initially very straightforward and you feel like you know where the story is going, you know you’re familiar with the Little Mermaid, so of course, you know this story, but as you keep going the story branches a little and does some odd twists.

I admit I enjoyed the book, even if it was more or less extremely focused on love and having a crush, and the feeling of being elevated to a higher status which I mean are powerful emotions to turn someone into a witch but still, it was an interesting approach.

At times it waxes too lyrical and tries hard to be mysterious about one of the characters and maybe it is maybe it isn’t, and I do wish it had tried less hard into hiding things and more into explaining why things happened, but overall it felt like a darker odd fairy tale that had modernised.

If you love the Little Mermaid this may be a book for you or if you like fantasy books that read like fairy tales or new takes on them. Like a refresh of stories, this is the book for you!

Subscription Boxes

Moon Hauls: Spellbound Book Box Club

Subscription box: Book Box Club

Theme/Month: Spellbound, December 2021

Ownership: Subscribed on their 6 boxes option. Sadly they have announced they are now on their last box so you can’t buy it anymore.

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.

I am still way behind on unboxings, woops, but this December box was a lovely one to have and I am sad that I am behind because there won’t be any more boxes but also glad I’ll have a few to talk about even once they have stopped. But I digress, let us talk about the context of this one starting at the bottom left and going clockwise:

  • Spellbound theme card
  • Crane pencil holder. I love these for fountain pens or for brushes, very useful and the roll up is kinda fun to do.
  • A Rush of Wings by Laura Weymouth. I love her books, what can I say?
  • Clubhouse invite
  • A little Reading Journal notebook to keep track of that reading goal if you do one every year.
  • Stickers for the reading journal which I thought was a fun approach to encourage you to use it and adorable extra.
  • A hanging wooden sign to say “This is where the magic happens” and its witchy and spooky but cool.
  • I forgot to mention but it obviously came with a cute pencil to put in the pencil roll up case.

Overall, a lovely little box with useful items preparing you for the new year and reading goals but also a little bit of magic and decoration.