Book Review

Moon Reads: Shades of Fear

Shades of Fear. Edited by Allison O’Toole

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

Read before: No

Ownership: Backed on Kickstarter

As much as I am not into horror somehow I decided to back this project a while ago, and honestly I will say it was indeed terrifying, a little too much for me.

There are several mini stories in graphic novel form, each from a different artist and with a different focus one after the other.

One of the things I liked was the variety in this book and that each short story is intense and packs a lot into a few pages, but on the other hand, some would have benefitted from being a lot longer than they were as part fo the horror effect was lost on them or it came too fast as it was trying to do a lot. But over all, it was a good book, quite scary and horrific.

Some of the stories really stayed with me, one of them about an engineer in space, and some others more chaotic are still sometimes in the back of my mind, so if you like horror and scary books, this is definitely one to look out for, as it has a lot to offer and a variety of “genres” all of which are horror focused.

Book Review

Moon Reads: The Annual Migration of Clouds

The Annual Migration of Clouds by Premee Mohamed

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

Read before: No

Ownership: Bought for myself

I read Premee’s Beneath the Rising a while back and so this felt like a nice extra to read plus it is a novella, and those edges are stunning. It was hard to resist, and at some point it was the exact book I needed to read for my brain.

We follow the story ofReid, a young woman who lives with her mother in a post climate disaster version of Alberta, Canada. Part of the new “world” is that there is a mind-altering parasite like fungi that they call Cad that basically invades the human boies and slowly takes over. It is slightly unpredictable and has some odd effects on each body so as mcuh as it is predictable it is also very particular.

And as a post disaster world, communities are closely knit and into a somewhat symbiosis so that they can survive, so when an opportunity that is rare presents itself for Reid to leave she has to counter in her mind if it is worth leaving what she knows for some unknown that she might not even make, or to stay and stick with her community that needs her and her mother, who is also infected by Cad.

The story is short but packs a punch and it deals with some interesting effects of the fungi, but also has a good look at what would come if the world had to be remade and who would survive wher and how that would look. As usual I really enjoyed the book and the writign of Premee so this is a climate advocating and decision making good book to read and you should add it to your list.

Subscription Boxes

Moon Hauls: In the Dark Illumicrate

Subscription box: Illumicrate

Theme/Month: In the Dark, May 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.

I have to admit themes like the one for this month always give me hope for good items. The unboxing will go from the featured book a the top and clockwise:

  • The Book of Night by Holly Black, which is apparently the first adult book from her and I am still to read it but curious. This edition is utterly stunning.
  • A replica “Gravebone” dagger, I have mixed thoughts about these because they are cool but Id like them to be longer so I could use them as hair sticks or some other use beyond a fancy enamel looking blade. But they look cool.
  • I love fancy bookmarks and this one is stunning, plus it it for Monstress which rarely features as part of the merch and I am loving how graphic novels are being included more into fandom items.
  • Nyx, Goddess of the Night teacup and saucer. The photo does not do it justice but it is a gorgeous one again.
  • Dark the Night blackout journal which looks cool and gorgeous and I am hoarding it until I have a use for it. because that is how it is with notebooks and journals.

Overall the contents were very good, fitting the theme well but also being useful and probably my least favourite is the dagger, but the rest I am quite happy with and will get some use out of all of the even if I am precious about the teacups and saucers, because they are fancy.

Book Review, Books

Moon Reads: Horizon Zero Dawn Peach Momoko Poster Book

If you saw me review the comics as they came out for Horizon Zero Dawn , then you’ll know I loved the artwork of Peach Momoko so a poster book with all of the art, yes please! This was just too hard to pass when I am so in love with both the games and the artwork used in the comics and their covers. Honestly, they’ve done so well with artists involved in the project.

The poster book itself is relatively simple. It contains a bunch of posters alongside a couple of extra pages to provide details of the posters and overall feel. But mostly you get a solid poster collection inside a book, and you know what is the best part?


You can detach the posters easily and then display them. My Lego Tallneck had some fun scanning them alongside the watchers that had cornered Aloy…. I tried to be creative, ok? I have a lot of merch but not enough space for all the beautiful posters in a single surface.

As a heads up that those are not ALL of the posters, I just ran out of space to display them all together the rest are on another bookcase side). And I had a lot of fun figuring out how to match them and make them look cute together. I also tried to add the collectable figures I have from the preorders but again, not enough space, so please enjoy some of my chaos in trying to create a cute scene and display the great content of this book.

If you are now intrigued and want to see the missing posters or collect them for yourself, you can preorder via the following links:

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.

Book Review

Moon Reads: The Wildest Hunger

The Wildest Hunger by Laura Laakso

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

Read before: No

Series: Wilde Investigations

I have been loving Laura’s books since Fallible Justice, and each time I love each one more and more. The overall story follows Yannia, one of the Wild Folk, living in London and solving magical crimes/investigations. It has mental health, chronic illness EDS/Hypermobility), a bisexual main character and various other representations in it.

The Wildest Hunger is probably one of the hardest adventures for Yannia, as it is about confronting what makes a Wild Folk one of them, and also, more than anything she has to deal with Dearon. As she investigates if it is indeed a Wild Folk and things get harder and harder to resolve, the book gets deep into what living with pain and illness.

As I read it, I kept finding several parts of chapters that struck me deep. There is one where Dearon treats Yannia in a way that I wish I would be treated, and I felt both seen and unseen because I have not had that I felt for Yannia because she was so unaware of how lucky she was in having that response from Dearon.

Then there was a conversation with Lady Bergamon which once again, struck deep on how we have expectations of ourselves, how living with a body that doesn’t cooperate sometimes makes you hide this and you know, make do, and so on, but again, it was very interesting to see and read.

So the main review is that I want more books, because the ending left me wanting more and needing to understand more, but also I love the books because the representation, the way it is written is amazing.

Oh and last but not least, I am in the acknowledgements and I love it and I am so happy to have been part of fueling this story in some way.

Book Review

Moon Reads: The Girl from the Sea

The Girl from the Sea by Molly Knox Ostertag

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

Read before: No

I read the whole Witch Boy series and enjoyed it a lot. So it felt natural to buy this and read it.

Morgan has a little secret, she is ready to leave her idyllic life. The island may be perfect, but she wants to run away from the sadness of her family after the divorce, her little brother that seems extremely needy and dramatic, or her friends demanding her attention and not understanding her. But wanting to leave her life isn’t the biggest secret she has, her biggest secret is that she wants to kiss a girl.

So when she is saved from drowning after slipping on a rock, by a cute mysterious girl named Kelpie, at first she finds her annoying and frustrating, but then they become friends and suddenly she’s enjoying her life a lot more, or at least life around Kelpie.

The story follows basically both girls keeping secrets and at the same time trying to slowly build a relationship that has to be a secret.

I admit I liked this one less than the Witch Boy series, I think partly because the story is trying to do way too many things at the same time and deal with way too many secrets that it kinda slowly unravels a little bit and I think that was felt through the story.

The art is still adorable, there are a bunch of tiny details put into the scenes and mini kudos to things, but it doesn’t save the chaos of too much trying to be covered by the story, which is why it is not a 5 fox read.

Overall, if you like graphic novels, sea life and other little things, and liked Witch Boy then this is worth reading, and it is a cute story.

Book Review

Moon Reads: A Magic Steeped in Poison

A Magic Steeped in Poison by Judy I. Lin

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

Read before: No

Ownership: Somehow I ended with 3 copies of it because I preordered it twice and also had one from the publisher.

Apparently, if you say your book is about tea and magic, I might end up accidentally preordering it twice (Waterstones had a sprayed edges version that is absolutely stunning). In case anyone had doubts, I really wanted to read it. And I have no regrets.

A Magic Steeped in Poison follows the story of Ning, as she makes her way to the capital city so she can compete and maybe become the kingdom’s greatest shennong-shi—masters of the ancient and magical art of tea-making so she can earn a favour from the Princess and save the life of her sister.

I absolutely loved the magic system in the book, come on, it is all about tea and herbs but it is also about intent and connections and Ning is genuinely a country bumpkin who just wants to save her sister and accidentally ends up in the middle of a big political conflict plus a fierce competition. And obviously the rich people that are all fancy pansy do not want Ning, the peasant to win a competition and be the greatest, so she also has to survive that chaos of prejudice and people fighting dirty during the competition.

Alongside that, there is a lot about political scheming, Ning being used and having to play her cards close to her chest while battling the feelings in her heart and her main goal of saving her sister. She keeps accidentally being in the right place wrong time or right place right time and listening to things she should not or being involved accidentally and I loved it. Her character was refreshing and I enjoyed reading the whole story.

If you like tea, magic, meet cutes, conflict, competitions in the midst of political scheming, then this is totally the book for you.

Subscription Boxes

Moon Hauls: Powerful Me Tales by Mail

Subscription box: Tales by Mail

Theme/Month: Powerful Me, June 2022

Ownership: Subscribed on their 6 boxes option. If you are interested in purchasing a Tales by Mail subscription, you can do it on their website. They have a new owner and I did not resubscribe because I am curious to see what happens.

Tales by Mail is a bi-monthly middle-grade book box that comes with two books, some activity pages you can collect, or copy or use in various ways, a pin and one or two items.

I think this is their last box and so let us unbox starting from the left and going towards the right:

  • Onyeka and the Academy of the Sun promotional bookmark
  • Onyeka and the Academy of the Sun, which looks really awesome as a book and I am excited for it.
  • Underneath it there is a Tales by Mail patch
  • Powerful Me activity pages
  • Make Every Day Brilliant notepad, with little mood-boosting boxes to tick and fill, Cute idea and does help cheer up a bit or at least have a more positive spin on things.
  • The Unmorrow Curse, which looks intriguing and I am very curious about.
  • Promotional bookmark for The Unmorrow Curse
  • Promotional bookmark for Magicborn
  • The Light Thieves promotional postcard
  • and somehow missing form the picture, the collectible pin.

Overall, I think it was a lovely last box from their old way and I am loving the positivity and empowering look of this box.

Book Review, Books

Moon Reads: War of the Wind Blog Tour

War of the Wind by Victoria Williamson

Because we’re part of the blog tour, instead of a review, we’re doing a little excerpt to get a taste of the book and what it is like.

The last sound I ever heard wasn’t what I expected.
If I’d been on one of those stupid game shows risking a million pounds on the final question, I’d probably have guessed it would be the cry of gulls.
Those monsters haunted the skies above the island like pale ghosts, swooping down to steal fish from the trawlers coming home to the harbour before the teams could unload. Dive-bombing in unison, they tore at the nets bulging with fresh-caught herring, snatching the silverfish and swallowing them whole as they wheeled back into the sky for the next attack. They kept circling right up until the last crates had been loaded into the packing sheds. Then, once their bellies were full and their wings were straining to stay airborne, that’s when they started to laugh.
I could still remember that noise clearly. It was a deep throaty sound that echoed across the scrublands of Pykeman Fell all the way up the slopes of Scarpa Brae. At night I used to hear the gulls circling our clifftop house before turning inland to hunt the burns and rain-swelled backwaters for smaller prey. They were always hungry, always calling out for food with their raw, mocking cry. So if I’d had to guess the last thing I’d ever hear, the cry ofgulls would be the sound I’d have picked to answer the million pound question.
But I wasn’t on a game show when it happened. I was on my dad’s fishing boat.
It was just a training run to try out the new deckhand who’d arrived from the Scottish mainland. No way would Dad ever let me out on a real deep-sea trawl till I was old enough to help haul in the net during a storm or steer the boat through a fog whiteout if the sat-nav failed. Too dangerous, he said. The Atlantic waters were too cold and deep, and when sudden squalls rose up, the heavy boat was tossed about like a leaf on a windy day. I was a good head taller than the other boys my age on the island, but still Dad shook his head and said I was too young to be a deckhand. Back then he had hopes of bigger and better things for my future. 
That day the Bay was calm, the wind whispering round the masthead like it had a secret to share. Maybe it was trying to warn me what was coming. I wished now I’d listened. The gulls were quiet for once, watching us lazily from the rocks that gaped from the entrance of the Bay like jagged teeth in the mouth of a stone giant. I turned away from the scarred cliffs, shading my eyes against the summer sun and gazing out across the open sea. Dad was leaning over the winch drum, pointing out the controls to the new guy as the trawler net disappeared below the waves.
That was when it happened. 
There was a sharp crack, then a harsh whooshing noise, and the winch line suddenly went crazy. One minute it was uncoiling steadily from the drum, the next it was snaking across the deck at a million miles per hour as the heavy net was sent into freefall. Next came the high-pitched shriek of the warning siren, and the rumble of dying machinery as Angus cut the power in the engine room. Uncle Stuart came tearing down from the bridge just in time to see the broken winch cable whip across the deck, snatching at everything in its path and dragging a water pump, a twenty-litre storage barrel, and a spare net over the side with it.
The last thing the cable wrapped itself around before it disappeared below the waves was my leg. And that was when I heard it. It wasn’t the gulls or the waves or the trawler’s dying engine.
The last sound I ever heard was my dad screaming my name.

War of the wind by victoria williamson

That last line of the excerpt gets me everytime.

If that has made you want to read more and find out what happens next, you can order the book at any of these retailers (none are affiliate links, so don’t worry).

Book Depository

Book Review

Moon Reads: Wolfsong Blog Tour

Wolfsong by T J Klune

Read before: No

Ownership: Review copy provided by the publisher so I could be part of the blog tour.

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.

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

I like wolves. I like stories about werewolves though I am very picky about them because I am not huge on the whole Alpha Beta Omega dynamics and how it is used. But hell yeah for urban fantasy type of things, which to me this is very much one of those urban fantasy werewolf stories I like.

Ox has had a hard life and his dad leaves telling him he’ll get shit all the time, etc. But thankfully, in the small town, people are looking out for him and are fond of him, so he quickly finds a job to help pad the income his mum can bring in, even as an kid. But then the Bennetts move in and things get interesting, because they are quickly almost taking him and his mum as part of their family.

And well, there are a bunch of secrets and Ox accidentally finds them out and becomes part of them.

This book was an experience to read. First because as I read it, the mannerisms, and some of the phrases Ox says and uses reminded me of someone I love very much. But at times Ox also reminded me of myself. And the story is very tender and emotional, and very intense. There is a lot going on, and again, because it tugged at my heartstrings already, I couldn’t put it down and it just dug deep into my heart.

It was also really nice that the parental figures here are for the most part involved, or as much as a parent in real life normally is. This is not one of those stories where the parents and parental figures just kinda are nowhere to be seen. Here they are part of it throughout all of the story.

I don’t really want to spoil the plot because I enjoyed it very much and what happens was just a thing that if you talk much about it, it doesn’t have the same impact, but what I can say is that it is slightly spicier than I expected it to be, that it is very urban fantasy like. It also requires several content warnings, including various types of abuse and bodily parts and harm, violence, threats, and a few other things which I can’t remember off the top of my head.

If you enjoyed TJ Klune’s previous works, this is a lot spicier than his previous works. There is more confrontation and tugs and pulls than in other works and it is a lot less of a gentle cosy book, even if it is still an easy read and for me it was still a cosy read, but compared to The House in the Cerulean Sea, for example, it is a lot less. I still recommend it loads and I cannot wait for the next book.