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 😉

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.

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.

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.

Book Review

Moon Reads: 44 Tiny Chefs

44 Tiny Chefs by Sylvia Bishop and Ashley King

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

Read before: No

Ownership: Copy provided for review upon request by the publisher

Series: 44 tiny…

Disclaimer that even though I got gifted a copy of the book but the publisher, I would’ve still reviewed it because I enjoy the series and it is on my radar all the time.

Look, I’ve been a fan of the tiny pygmy mice and Betsy and her family since the first book, 44 Tiny Secrets, and every time there’s a new one I am just utterly excited to read it. So far we learned about the pygmy mice and that they can play the piano, but then we also learned they can be marvellous acrobats since they were trained by someone that was in the circus, Betsy’s grandma.

44 Tiny Chefs now looks at Betsy’s dad and his new hobby, baking! So when the opportunity to open a bakery presents itself, the family is super happy as they have been filled too much with all the baking that has been trialled and done. And then, some interesting parts happen and they get invited to host a royal gala, but can they actually cook for so many people successfully and not fail for the Queen?

Honestly, the whole book was funny, I could imagine the distress, the confusion and all the over the sweetness of it and of course, I love the family Betsy has and the adventures they get into, and the cute little mice.

I can recommend this if you want cute musical, baking and animal shenanigans, and a family that isn’t absent for most of the book.

Book Review

Moon Reads: What Big Teeth

What Big Teeth by Rose Szabo

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

Read before: No

Ownership: Review copy from the publisher and preordered

Content warnings: There’s a lot of types of violence, manipulation, gaslighting and abuse, alongside disturbing scenery, basically this is a horror book and it should be read with that in mind, it is not a cute story.

I have seen this compared a lot to the Addams family and as much as it is about a family of monsters and misfits and the value of family, that is as far as it goes in the similarities. For the most part, Eleanor is unsure of her place in the family, and she is not even sure if it was worth coming back or if they are welcoming her, afraid of her or just don’t care at all. This means that the book is mostly very dark humour set into horror and creepy mode.

Because Eleanor is trying to piece together why her family is reacting to her the way they are, and why they first sent her away, there is also a lot of internal retrospection and the book at times can seem quite intense in how Eleanor feels, but that is part of the charm of it since we’re very much into her head and trying desperately to discover the truth against time and against forces trying to get rid of the family from outside and inside.

What Big Teeth relies a lot on atmosphere, a narrator that is trying to piece her life together and many elements of what sometimes can make you love your family but at the same time make it toxic and therefore it deals with very intense topics even if you take away the fantastical and horror part of it. It is the strength and probably weakness of the book, as it means it won’t be for everyone due to the particular way it depicts things and how it portrays the not so good parts quite heavily.

It is not that there is no love in the family, it is more a case of many secrets crashing against each other, some due to selfishness and some done in what a family member may have thought was a way to save the family or to protect them, and it shows that love sometimes is hard to show and it gets tangled with a lot of things when you live with your family for most of the time and it is the only thing you know.

Book Review

Moon Reads: The Raven Heir

The Raven Heir by Stephanie Burgis

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

Read before: No

Ownership: Bid for the proof copy in aid as it was annotated.

As a fan of Stephanie’s books, and knowing the Raven Heir was in the making a few years ago, it was inevitable I’d bid and bid until I got this proof. Which then I promptly devoured and enjoyed thoroughly.

In the same delightful fun fantasy adventure style as The Dragon with the Chocolate Heart, The Girl with the Dragon Heart and, The Princess who Flew with Dragons, The Raven Heir explores the power of the character’s internal magic and what makes them be unique and therefore magical or the heroine that is needed.

We meet Cordelia and her triplets, Giles and Rosalind, who are much more well-behaved than she is, and a lot less wild. She can feel it in her bones, in her being, that the woods call her, the shape-shifting is ever so tempting and it is hard to obey the rules. But Cordelia tries hard and does her best, even if sometimes this doesn’t work out.

But when the safety of her home is at stake and the triplets are suddenly in the run for their lives, it is Cordelia who seems to know more than her triplets and who will have to make very tough decisions.

Overall the book explores the power of being siblings, friendship and the weight of responsibility and knowing something. But it also has a lot of animals, and nature involved, and all the elements of a perfect Disney/Pixar film, or a good animated series that will stay with you for years to come. Actually, if it was to be made as a film, I’d say give it to the studio behind The Secret of Kells, or Wolfwalkers, because it would fit so beautifully in that style. If you have watched either film or any of their films, The Raven Heir has that magical quality and fantasy epic that is also heavily tied with nature and living and the power and weight of choices made.

As per usual, the author has made an amazing book and there is layers and layers of it to look into, starting with the world and then coming to Cordelia, her magic and the magic of her triplets, alongside her identity and the adventure they have to set off to save the kingdom.

Highly recommended to readers of all ages, anyone that loves a good story, one that will stick with you forever, this is the one to pick.

Book Review

Moon Reads: Last Night at the Telegraph Club

Last Night at the Telegraph Club by Malinda Lo

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

Read before: No

Ownership: Bought for my personal collection

Lily Hu has questions, particularly about herself and why the idea of two women falling in love makes her heart race, or why she clips certain butch female looks, but she is Chinese-American in the 1950s where it is dangerous to seem a little too different and to risk her father’s deportation.

So Lily keeps her questions quiet until she starts hanging out with Kathleen Miller, who is not afraid to go to the Telegraph Club with Lily and hang out there to watch a show. As her world and friendships shift, and priorities change, Lily suddenly is asking more and more questions and saying no to things she might have just shrugged away, and yes to things she would have just wished she did say yes to before.

Last Night at the Telegraph Club, is a trip through the US at the time of red-scare paranoia, and particularly what it means to be defining your sexuality alongside your identity and how you fit in this world and country. The story is written with that everyday type of writing that makes you go through the day of Lily and through things as they happen and it all feels luscious and mundane at the same time.

There are so many details about what being in a country that sees you as different in not only one way feels, and what finding the deep secrets you didn’t even dare admit you kept suddenly are more accept or have somewhere to be not a secret anymore and how liberating that can be but also the risks of letting the truth show.

Wonderful read, and highly recommended overall. It is a very different feel to Malinda Lo’s fantasy books but it still ahs the beauty of being an easy read and yet telling a big story, like an epic poem that everyone knows the lines to and can recite as if it was what everyone does.