Book Review

Moon Reads: The Sad Ghost Club

The Sad Ghost Club by Lize Meddings

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

Read before: No

Ownership: Preordered a signed copy form Waterstones

Spoiler free review: Probably. Mild spoilers.

I have been enjoying branching out on graphic novels beyond my usual, and when Waterstones had a sale I popped this in my basket and then read it in an afternoon.

We mostly follow a sad ghost who suffers with anxiety and just sadness and is trying ot do a little bit more, dare a little more, so when they get invited to a party, after a lot of maybe yes maybe not, they decide to go.

Obviously it isnt a case of just going to the party and we see all the mulling and thought that go through their head, but at the party they spy someone else who is lonely and ask if theyd like company. Surprises do happen when you dare a little bit and well, the rest is more left to the reader once they get on the story and for me not to spoil anymore.

Overall, I liked it, but it does have a sad undercurrent not unexpectedly) so its a bit of a double edged sword. I think it is a bit undecided too if it is middle grade or young adult. Part of it feels older than middle grade, but the art style and the way the dialogue happens have a more middle grade vibe to it, so this is probably bordering both genres rather than fitting neatly in one or the other.

Art style is relatively simple since its mostly ghosts and just following the one character for a while, but it does keep you int he world and the dialogue moves it along. And itd be a good graphic novel to gift to someone struggling with loneliness and sadness. Not that this is a solution, but maybe a little bit of hope or to feel seen and identify a little with the characters in it.

Overall, it was enjoyable if sad, but I did hope for a little bit more and maybe that was more my expectations than the book itself, so who knows?

Book Review

Moon Reads: Fireheart Tiger

Fireheart Tiger by Aliette de Bodard

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

Read before: No

Ownership: Preordered because how could I resist?

Spoiler free review: Probably, will try not to spoiler.

Content warnings: abuse, attempted rape (not graphic, implicit, trauma is dealt with but it’s still there), violence, colonialism

I really like Aliette’s writing, her way with words is like no other, as you can see from my review of In the Vanishers’ Palace and the F/F February exclusive interview for Beyond a Bookshelf. And then you comp this book with The Goblin Emperor and Howl’s Moving Castle.

I’ll start this review with my biggest complaint. It is not long enough. I mean by novella standards it is perfect, but I do wish this was a bigger book. That is in itself I guess also a compliment? Because I’d read a much longer book with Thanh and mischievous fires.

Now, this is a book about a negotiation, of Thanh trying to be a diplomat and help save their country as it is being colonised, seen as an exotic cute small country being fought over by other countries. It reminds me of various countries that had different colonisers and how that went on in actual history, so it was interesting to see the little signs, which I suspect some might miss if you’re not from a background that pays attention to those signs. And then there’s the whole relationship with Eldris, who is very interested in Thanh, but the question is why? It is a fun romance but is it worth becoming more?

In such a small book it packs a massive punch and I highly recommend reading it, since you can not only see Thanh trying to navigate the diplomacy task and knowing that in a way they are doomed and have to find a way out and choose the lesser evil. It is a tricky situation. Plus the slight magic touches and fire that seems to stick to Thanh no matter what is causing her to question her sanity, which is absolutely a delight and also a curious little thing opening up new choices to Thanh.

We also see Thanh navigate her relationship with her mother and in a way, how she sees herself and her abilities to navigate the world and find her own place in it. I am trying to avoid spoilers, so will stop here, but I do recommend you read it.

One last thing I do have to note is that for survivors and those of us who have lived through some of the things Thanh does, the red flags are extremely obvious, but for others they may not be, and my point to that is that yes, it is easy to overlook them if you don’t know. Do not judge without knowing.

Finally, as I said, as a survivor, the power in the words behind this book was inmense, and I felt extremely emotional as I read and as I saw the story develop, my heart soared, and hoped and hurt and it was intense, but so worth it. Hope you find it as good as I did or even better.

Book Review

Moon Reads: Arthur and the Golden Rope

Arthur and the Golden Rope by Joe Todd-Stanton

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

Read before: No

Ownership: Wishlist gift from Jenn who is a sweetheart.

Spoiler free review: No

Series: Brownstone’s Mythical Colletion, Book 1

I love fun adventure illustrated stories, and this one is one that falls into the “child reads on their own but still wants fun illustrated books rather than more words than pictures” and it is gorgeous. The artwork makes me smile and is full of fun details that add to the story.

But overall the story starts with an introduction about the Brownstones who are adventurers by blood, and yet the very first Brownstone was anything but adventurer material, and that was Arthur. He was a smart curious boy who was most certainly not an adventurer, until his curiosity saved him from mishap and he was the only elegible one for one adventure to save their town and recover the golden flame.

Chaos, shenanigans, and lots of fun ensue as Arthur tries to get some of the Norse gods involved to help him recover the flame and capture the one who took it away. The story is sweet, full of adventure and challenges Arthur by making him use his intellect and problem solving in unusual ways.

Obviously after reading this, I added all the rest of the series to my wishlist because it was a delight to read and I would like to have more adventures with the Brownstones.

Recommended for kids who want adventures or are curious about Norse or other mythology.

Book Review

Moon Reads: What Cats Want

What Cats Want by Dr. Yuki Hattori

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

Read before: No

Ownership: Bought as a mood treat when I was a little annoyed. Who can resist cat illustrations?

Spoiler free review: No

What Cats Want is a fun format guide to cats, but also a collection of cute cat illustrations. I basically read it cover to cover even though I do not have a cat nor am I planning to have one any time soon.

I think it makes the how to make sure you take good care of your cat accessible given that it has a lot of illustrations, comes with small paragraphs, and more of a basic guide but at the same time it is quite comprehensive from what to do, where to touch a cat, how to deal with certain behaviours or understand their body language amongst a myriad of other details.

It was a case of opening the book going “oh, its a cat owners manual but cute and illustrated” and then I suddenly had finished the book and knew what to do about litter boxes, and how to make sure the cat is not bored and one interacts well with a cat, etc. It has a lot of common knowledge items but it also has little details or things one takes for granted or may not know how to navigate when choosing and owning a cat.

Id say, if you know of anyone wanting to have a cat for the first time, or someone who likes cats or someone getting a cat already who could do with a handy guide then this is the book for them.

Book Review

Moon Reads: Adulthood is a Myth

Adulthood is a Myth by Sarah Andersen

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

Read before: No I have read some of the single comics before

Ownership: Bought for myself to cheer me up

Spoiler free review: No

Series: Sarah’s Scribbles

Ok, I have read some of Sarah’s comics before on and off from instagram and blogs and the ones people share. I used to follow her on tubmlr and then stopped being so into tumblr, so probably why. But I still like them and I found a copy of the book really cheap second hand so thought you know what? Let’s find some funny good things in life and buy the book and read it and enjoy and giggle.

Of course, being part of the Sarah’s Scribbles series, this is hilarious, has a lot of “relatable” comics, I think I spent most of the time take screenshots and either sending them to my husband or sending them to my friends to what matched our relationships or anecdotes or stories and have a giggle with them.

Which is to say that probably the best review I can give for this book isn’t a very long one but can be summarised into the fact that this book will probably contain at least one strip or comic that will resonate with one or many friends and family members so you will want to share it around and make other smile or laugh or go “do you remember?” or maybe do a “this is us/me/you” to someone as you share and maybe you will also want to make others read it after you have finished because it made you smile and feel like the world wasn’t just you against it but others struggle too and we all try to make fun or it and make the most out of it, and just get on by.

Book Review

Moon Reads: The Magpie Society: One For Sorrow

The Magpie Society: One For Sorrow by Zoe Sugg and Amy McCulloch

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

Read before: No

Ownership: I had ordered a signed copy from Waterstones, plus a copy came in Book Box Club Secret Societies

Spoiler free review: Yes

Series: The Magpie Society, Book 1.

Content warnings: Some adult grooming and relationship between adult and underage girl implied.

Obviously this one caught my interest a lot initially because I wanted to read it and got two copies. However I have to say the lower rating is partly because I really struggled to get on with the main characters up until probably the very end.

The mystery, the murder, I was loving that and the whole Illumen Hall atmosphere alongside the rules and you know, the feeling of it being a boarding school and how the students interact and have ways around rules but also how they follow certain rules to a specific point, it was fasicnating and that part I loved, alongside the interview/podcast we get in some chapters which added to the mystery and also moved the story along with new insights.

But as much as I could understand a bit where Ivy was coming from, she had been working super hard to achieve a single person room, and to achieve so many things, and then Lola’s death crumbled some of those plans, and obviously, she’s also grieving. Like a lot has happened to her and is out of her control and also, Audrey doesn’t make it easy to fit in, but rather easy to not get along too much. However, despite understanding her, I wasn’t initially too much into her character and struggled to connect, the writing just wasn’t doing it for me. I did get there once we get more into the action and less just for the sake of, and I have to say, what happens at the boat was pretty fun and helped me like the characters more.

And we have Audrey, who was too American, too meh and just a bit self centered and trying too hard to keep her mystery to herself. Once again, I kept reading the chapters of her and just could not be interested in her except to go “oh you poor dear who is trying so hard to not fit and be trendy and fit at the same time”. Maybe I could not relate because I have never been the popular girl demoted from popularity and seeking it again, but given that I was struggling to get along with both of them, I assumed it was more to do with how the story was being presented rather than specifically the characters.

It does get a lot better as the story goes, but I was sad that barely anything happens in the book, and I think partly it was those starting chapters that could have made it much bette rif they had been trimmed down and maybe had less of them. But overall, I want to know more, want to see who the Magpie Society are and how you join them, and we still don’t know who killed Lola or why or anything.

As I said, overall, it was a good boarding school read but could have been a lot better.

Book Review

Moon Reads: I Don’t Like Books. Never. Ever. The End.

I Don’t Like Books. Never. Ever. The End. by Emma Perry and Sharon Davey

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

Read before: No

Ownership: It was a cheer up gift from my best friend.

Spoiler free review: No. Due to it being short and illustrated, this may contain spoilers.

With a title like that, I couldn’t resist adding the book to my wishlist and I assume that is why it was what Nikki sent me. This is the story of a girl called Mabel who keeps getting books as gifts, all the time. And her response is that she doesn’t like them so could people please stop gifting her more books?

However, she still uses the books, to make towers of books, as sleds, as coasters, whatever you can imagine that is not reading the book, she’s probably done it to the book and used it for it! Very creative book uses, but still she does not read them, until one night the books have had enough!

And as she explores stories and falls from book into book without actually getting the full story but just her interest piequed, she decides maybe she might just try reading one, just the one, maybe she doesn’t dislike books that much?

You can imagine where this goes so I’ll leave it there but needless to say I had a lot of fun reading this and the illustrations make it even better, starting from the many alternative book uses t the stories Mabel is missing out on. It was a good cheer up gift and I can recommend it is a funny story or a book to read aoud to kids and let them even try some of the safer alternative book uses for a giggle or something.

Recommended for kids who don’t like books, and those that do, and anyone that may not be a kid but that loves books and illustrations and fun short stories.

Book Review

Moon Reads: How It All Blew Up

How It All Blew Up by Arvin Ahmadi

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

Read before: No

Ownership: Christmas gift from my husband

Spoiler free review: Yes

As someone who has been stopped at the border simply because my residence permit is unusual, this was a book that caught my eye and also, a little bit of contemporary can be fun every now and then. As a disclaimer, reading contemporary is not my thing and I am picky about it.

Our story starts at the airport as Amir and his family had a confrontation on the airplane back from Italy. So we get the story told in an interesting format which is probably why I enjoyed it as much as I did. Basically you get a round robin of Amir and his family talking to the interrogators about what happened during the flight and what led them to that point in time.

The story is basically about Amir impuslvely moving to Italy and living his best gay life, but it isn’t just about figuring out his sexuality and experimenting, but it is a huge step in his own independence and trying to figure out what he wants from his life, and if italy maybe is a permanent thing rather than just a phase.

Now, overall, I enjoyed the stroy as it is a coming out and growing up story, but I was a bit put off by how easily Amir just manages to make hisi life in Italy, rent a flat and you know, set his new life, because my own experiences of moving to the UK I know, not italy, but still) were very different and it was a bit weird how lackadaisy he was about it.

Otherwise it was interesting to see him explore the city, and find other people who slowly teach him new things and how he encounters different personalities and has to decide what he will risk and who he wants to keep around and not, while at the same time we are learning about his own home life and how much his family cares for him but they do it in their very own way rather than the “American” way and therefore Amir doesn’t realise how much they love him.

Still, I enjoyed it. It was a quick read due to the format plus the adventures in Italy felt decadent and just nice to read for the most part of it. I’d say it is worth reading if you’re into stories that break the usual format of novel telling and you are into love stories and coming out stories.

Book Review

Moon Reds: Space Detectives Blog Tour

Space Detective by Mark Powers and Illustrated by Dapo Adeola

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

Read before: No

Ownership: A copy was provided by the publisher so I could participate in the blogtour but this doesn’t influence my opinion of it.

Spoiler free review: Yes

Space Detectives is a really cute “mystery” middle grade. It is set in a space city orbiting the Earth were our two main characters are spending their summer helping in the ice cream shop. There is a fun cast of alien species making their appearance and odd flavours of ice cream.

But the main event is that as they make friends, they stumble upon a big mess where the space city is on a collition course to the Moon! Our brave pair then decide they can’t let it just stand and they should try to solvethis mystery. They are even joined by their new friend and so chaos ensues as they try to find a way in to investigate and help fix the course of the station.

Overall, I enjoyed the fun story and there were a lot of funny moments however two “science” fails really struck to me, one related to their smart suits and the other related to the actual plot of the collition course being set and “fixed” but there is also a lot of encouragement towards science and computers so I just hope it helps encourage kids to those fields rather than put them off.

The artwork is extremely cute and I had so much fun seeing how the alien species appeared in the illustrations, specially the bat rats which I kinda wanted as pets and also at the same time found slightly terrifying!

Recommended for anyone wanting a wacky space adventure with a quick mystery and save the day story.

Book Review

Moon Reads: The Mist Monster

The Mist Monster by Kirsti Beautyman

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: No

Ok, a mist monster sounds cute and the artwork looked sweet so I had to get it, I have a soft spot for friendly monsters (did anyone ever watch Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends?).

Anyway, this is a story about Penny after she moves to her new house which she isn’t sure she likes, but then she goes out to play and bumps into Morris, a mist monster that joins her in an adventure and as they adventure they discover new friends.

Obviously as the mists recede, Morris disappears but that doesnt mean Penny is on her own anymore and she meets Morris every misty day.

I mean, the story is cute, its about adapting to new places and giving things a chance, but also about making friends and being open to finding them even if we’re not in our usual place, a good book to gift to a child moving house or just one who wants to make friends or feels a bit lonely.

The artwork wins and is very fitting to the story so I was super happy with reading it.