Book Review

Moon Reads: Anti/Hero

Anti/Hero by Kate Karyus Quinn, Demitria Lunetta and Maca Gil (Illustrations)

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

Read before: No

Ownership: Gifted by a sweet friend who saw it on my wishlist and gifted it to me

Spoiler free review: No

Anti/Hero is about two girls who are trying to find their place in their world the way they want. Piper Pájaro is popular but not very smart and she has a secret, she is incredibly strong. So during her free time she tries to be a superhero but her clumsiness and strength work against her most of the time. On the other hand we have Sloane MacBrute who is extremely smart but has the bad rep of her evil grandfather, so everyone treats her as if she was the same. So she does what she needs to make sure her mother is fine and has a decent life.

When an accidental encounter has them have a Freaky Friday kinda of moment and they swap bodies, they have to team up to work it out. But it isn’t just a race to fix the item that caused them to swap bodies, they also have to team up to fight Sloanes evil grandfather and in a way help each other through a competition where they have to rely on what they know plus the strengths of each other.

It was a really cute read, with a fun feel to it, quite a bit of diversity and looking at how people may judge you for what they know about your family without giving you a chance to be more than their expectations and why the expectations may be wrong.

Recommended for fans of superheroes, those that like graphic novels that are self contained and new heroes.

Book Review

Moon Reads: The Art of Bioshock Infinite

The Art Of Bioshock Infinite by Ken Levine and Nate Wells

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

Read before: No, but I have played the game several times before.

Ownership: Ordered through Abe Books as you can only get the German version here for some reason

Spoiler free review: No, art of books are all about the game the art is of, so spoilers may be included.

Bioshock as a series of games is one of my favourite comfort games (yes, I know it is not actually a sweet fun game) and the pushing the boundaries and asking but what if this was taken to the extreme with DNA modification and in this particular period of time, what would happen?

Which is part of the interesting part because the Art of Bioshock Infinite explores what could have happened if America had gone more religiously extreme and designated themselves and whiteness as better than others. On top of that it adds the theory of multiple universes and it was great to have a good AI character to help you through your journey.

The book has a lot of the “we knew we wanted to explore this topic, so we tried so many iterations of this and then figure we liked some parts of it and not others or had to redo some other parts”. For example, the concpet of Songbird was initially too close to another Big Daddy and you get sketches of it or way too far away mythical mechanical feel creatures that when you look at the game did not fit as well.

I always enjoy seeing some of the things that didn’t make it into the game and how they coloured the final product, for example the scene below of Elizabeth’s room gives that idea of her being a dreamer and wanting more, and how that ties to her innocence and loss of it throughout the game.

Overall, it was worth trying to get the book from the US as a version here is too expensive or only in German unsure why), but realising it was hard to get meant I ahve started prioritising Art Of books more now.

Recommended for fans of Bioshock, and for those that like Art Of books or if the topic suits your drawing isnpiration style.

Book Review

Moon Reads: A Deadly Education

A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik

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

Read before: No

Ownership: Included in Illumicrate box.

Spoiler free review: For the most part, key plot points may be touched on.

Content warnings: Violence in many ways, murder, gore, etc; several character deaths (it is a school that is trying to kill the students, it is part of the plot, if this is an issue, this is definitely NOT the book for you); black magic and use of others life force; suicide mentioned; parental deaths mentioned.

Starting this review with a few disclaimers: I am aware of the whole drama about the dreadlocks mentioned and as much as yes, probably not the best choice, context is absolutely key here and in the context it fits the character, the world and the story. Which brings me to my second point that this is a book that is probably not going to be one for everyone, it is particular in how it presents a twist on magical schools and it is all about the contradictions held within, so it requires in a way a critical view to enjoy it at its fullest.

Now on to the proper review. I really enjoyed A Deadly Education. As mcuh as Harry Potter was formative to my teenage years, I was happier in my alternative universe based on it than with the actual original story, it felt too removed from my reality and too white and British, so it was a fun “hey how would life be in the UK with magic but still class and all that stuff?” [the fact that I ended up living in the UK is another story] but it wasn’t as special as it could have been.

Enter A Deadly Education. El is holding universes in her, and I loved her flawed conflicted being. She has planned how to survive, is desperately fighting against her “nature” and what the Scholomance wants her to become while everybody around her assumes she is exactly what the appearances say she is and should be. And yet, she doesn’t want to prove that she isnt what they think of her, because in a way it is an advantage to her.

On top of that, the “white savior” comes in to save her and she just can’t seem to get rid of him which starts ruining her plans and carefully crafted status.

And then theres the whole Scholomance, a school that is trying to kill the students and eat them up and their magic while the students learn by surviving through the school. And as much as I probably wouldnt want to have to attend it, I loved the concept of this world where magic is a complicated thing.

A Deadly Education is also a full critique of magical schools, the trope of the chosen one and villains having it in their nature to be bad, but not only that. It touches on privilege and private schools and how those with money have power and aren’t even aware of the cost of the power because it is what they know and it is so natural they don’t even consider beyond their reality. Honestly, the layers of critique and poking at tropes in this book are half of the reason I loved it and then El’s constant fight to try to be more than the expectations and contradictions she is, was the other part.

As much as there is death and violence and havoc everywhere, I also had a lot of laughter and giggles and could see the humour and takes for it, and I loved it, plus the ending leaves you wanting to read the next book immediately!

Recommended for those that were left with an itch from Harry Potter never going to classes and having everything handed to him in his heroics, this book will fill you up on the magical world and not only that but will add other countries and cultures rather than just the UK. It is also for those that like a book with lots of layers and delicious content that you can read and see one more thing and read again and get more out it each time.

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!

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.

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.

Book Review

Moon Reads: Happy Narwhalidays

Happy Narwhalidays by Ben Clanton

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

Read before: No

Ownership: Preordered as I love this series.

Spoiler free review: No

Before the year ends and the holiday season is behind us, I had to share my review for the fourth Narwhal and Jelly book, which is all about their version of the holidays. There is a magical mermaid unicorn that brings gifts just for giggles to the sea creatures and as per usual Jelly is skeptical but ends up wanting to give a gift to Narwhal, and Narwhal is the cheerful bundle of joy as usual.

I had a lot of fun reading this just before setitng the Christmas tree up and while trying to finally get a feel for the Christmas spirit which I wasnt feeling very much this year due to circumstances *points at world and situation*. But Narwhal is so chirpy and so hopeful that you just can’t resist it and suddenly you feel a little bit more cheerful, a little bit more into the holiday spirit and maybe even wishing a magical mermaid unicorn had brought you a gift or something to spread the holiday cheer.

The artwork is simple but it doesnt take away anyting from it, as it is very expressive and fits well the story, there are still waffles and a lot of sea creature friends alongside Jelly and Narwhal and I can recommend it as a feel good cheer up read where you need all the books from this series because one is just not enough, in a good way.

Recommended for those who love sea facts, narwhals, jellyfish, friendship and cute cartoons. It is a read on your own, or just look at the pictures or share a giggle with someone kind of book.