Book Review

Moon Reads: 44 Tiny Acrobats

44 Tiny Acrobats 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: Preordered because I enjoyed the first one

Series: 44 Tiny…

I really enjoyed 44 Tiny Secrets, and you can read my review here, so I pre-ordered the sequel and have no regrets.

44 Tiny Acrobats is giving us a little more on the circus side of the family story and a lot more on the mysterious grandma that grandpa loved so much. It all starts when Grandpa is not acting as normal and Betsy’s parents are acting even more strange than usual. This is because the circus Grandma used to be a part of is in town just really close to their house.

This puts Betsy in an interesting position because she wants to go to the circus and also learn more, but then doesn’t want to offend or hurt her Grandpa. In the end she goes and things get a bit difficult because she has all her lovely tiny acrobatic mice and they put on a show in the circus.

This leads to some very interesting fun, including a bad and terrible contract, a bit of extortion and finding out a lot more about the past of each family member alongside meeting some of Grandma’s old friends.

As someone who does aerial circus arts, this was a very cute and fun book to read and I liked the connections it had to the story from the first book, and that it is in itself a story but it also has a lot of extra parts to learn about if you read the first one. The artwork is cute and adorable and honestly I can’t wait to see what fun adventure Betsy and her pigmy mice come up with.

Subscription Boxes

Moon Hauls: Sisters of the Coven Book Box Club

Subscription box: Book Box Club

Theme/Month: Sisters of the Coven, February 2021

Ownership: Subscribed on their 12 boxes option. If you are interested in purchasing a Book Box Club subscription, you can do it on their website.

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.

A witchy little box, February looks interesting, so let’s unbox it, starting from the theme card on top right and going clockwise:

  • Theme card.
  • Unchosen sampler.
  • Scattered around you will find a small set of tarot cards illustrated for them, sadly there were only a few rather than a full deck because they are gorgeous!
  • Witches brew coffee, which I still need to sample after I finish the currently open bag of coffee.
  • A wooden spoon with a cute little cauldron engraved at the top. I love the fact that the decoration isn’t in the spoon part and more on the handle meaning it isn’t as hard to clean.
  • Lavender shortbread recipe, I had hopes that we would be getting cute theme related recipes per box like this one *hint, hint*
  • We Played with Fire by Catherin Barter, which I of course had preordered before I got the box and ended with a duplicate.
  • Magical “Hubble, bubble, toil and trouble” binder, which I thought was for the recipe collection *still hinting*
  • All Our Hidden Gifts by Caroline O’Donoghue, this was an early copy as the book release was pushed.
  • A cute pair of emerald heart earrings. They are stunning and have little swirls of gold in them.

Overall, fitting the theme well and I loved how the items complimented each other, plus the vibes to go make some recipes, enjoy a cup of coffee and maybe have an afternoon meeting with your coven were great. Really good box honestly!

Book Review

Moon Reads: Dragon World

Dragon World by Tamara MacFarlane. Illustrated by Alessandra Fusi

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

Read before: No

Ownership: Bought it on a big order because it looked interesting.

Ok, I have a fondness for dragon books. It doesn’t matter the age, I will have a look and may read or buy or both. In this case, it looked like a fun compendium, and I guess the best way I can describe it is like an enclyopaedia of dragons to go alongside books like Dragonology.

It isnt as fancy as that, but the illustrations are good, the content is well divided by regions, not focuisng just on Western dragons or focusing more on them but rather giving a wider range of data on each type of dragon and how to find them, the tales it has caused, etc.

The illustrations are also lovely and the colour scheme makes me think of an adventure book, bright and colourful but not too mcuh in your face. This little compedium feels like a small treasure and I am sure it would delight many a dragon knowledge hungry child or adult. It will also make a lovely coffee table book for those that like to give variety or a topic of discussion with them.

Overall, quite enjoyable and a cute little guide, worth adding to the collection.

Discussion

Moon Reappears

In case you hadn’t noticed, I seemed to disappear into a short hiatus at the beginning of April.

If you were wondering where I have been and why the reviews and unboxings seem to have stopped, wonder no more!

We have moved house.

For those that have followed the drama, we basically have been trying to move since August last year and we have won the “moving house” bingo so many times in the category of “what can go wrong”. I had scheduled posts up until a few days after moving house, but the bingo card/luck wasn’t done with us. We had dodgy unreliable internet for a few weeks, and then the exhaustion of unpacking and sorting and returning to work was a lot. Plus I finally got a diagnosis for my chronic pain.

I am not ready yet to talk a lot about that because I am still trying to process it myself and what it means for me, my lifestyle and my future. There is a lot to think about.

But, the good news is that now that a big chunk of the stress has gone away, more blog posts will come soon and you can read about the books that have kept me sane through all the madness.

Hoping you are all still here reading. Thank you for your support!

Book Review

Moon Reads: The Animal After Whom Other Animals Are Named

The Animal After Whom Other Animals Are Named by Nicole Sealey

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

Read before: No

Ownership: Bought for myself

Sometimes I impulse buy chapbooks of poetry when a poem hits me deeply, and that is the case here.

I came across Nicole Sealey through the poem Even the Gods and the analysis provided under Ordinary Plots. Even weeks after reading it, the words of it are still dancing in my head and living there rent-free. As Devin, see the linked blog post, explains, the word even does a lot of work in the poem but it was fascinating what it was trying to do and how much the little poem says in a few lines.

Everytime I read it, I get a little more, a little different from it, and therefore, I had to buy the chapbook. So I did. And I have to say not all the poems in it are as powerful, or at least not as powerful to me personally, but there are still quite a lot fo good ones and it was inteeresting to read and just try to see what the author was trying to say but also the way the words were used to say things. That is one of the things I enjoy of poetry, the use of words and how they can have a lot of meaning in a single one.

This is not a long post, but I do want to feature the chapbook because it is worth checking it and also getting the powerful poems in it.

Subscription Boxes

Moon Hauls: Lotus Merkababox

Subscription box: Merkababox

Theme/Month: Lotus, February 2021

Ownership: Bought January and February. If you are interested in purchasing a subscription, you can do it on their website.

Merkababox titles itself as a holistic mystic box and comes with a selection of items to help nourish your mind, body and spirit. I was quite intrigued by the contents of previous boxes, particularly the Forager’s one, and thought to give it a go.

So lets see what was inside it, going clockwise and starting top right:

  • Lotus theme card. On the back it has a ritual to follow using all the items and not in the picture there is a smaller part that includes all the ingredients, value of each item and a few more details and how to if you need which I appreciate a LOT.
  • A rhodonite.
  • Chill out Fragrance Oil, which has lotus and hyacinth that is meant to help you calm and feel nurtured.
  • Another item from Pulvers Apothecary, this time a Love Elixir which is meant to be a bit of happiness and heart in it.
  • Love Spells book.
  • Damask Rose Hydrolat, which is a herbal distillate for your skin that is meant to be soothing and toning.
  • And finally a brass heart tea infuser from Sass and Belle.

I liked the box this time but it was once again not a 100% my thing. It is more of a “the box contents do not fit what I want and need right now” rather than that the box is bad or not worth it, which is quite hard to review. However I do think it is worth it if it fits for you.

Book Review

Moon Reads: Tails of Magicat

Tails of Magicat by magicatchoo

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

Read before: Not as a book.

Ownership: Backed on Kickstarter

Spoiler free review: No

I had read some of Tails of Magicat before on Tapas and when the kickstarter popped up I knew I wanted it. It did take a long time to get it, but the quality of the book is absolutely stunning. The paper is thick and gorgeous, the book is full colour and it is a chonky one. And obviously the art is extremely cute.

It mostly follows the story of a little cat as he learns magic, makes new friends and explores the forest, plus slowly grows up. It is ADORABLE and made me both smile, and laugh and be emotional and the story is varied. For example, he goes hunting and makes frineds with a frog, and then he makes friends with his bullies and things like that.

Magicat lives with his grandma who cooks delicious meals and is the elder in magic to him, so she teaches him too. This means we get illustrated recipes throughout the books. The first one is just for carrots, but as the story goes through it gets more complex and with fancier recipes, including bear claws and a roast. Each of the recipes also features as part of the story so your mouth is already watering by the time you get to read the full recipe and then it even shows variations and ideas to make it more of your own at the end.

Honestly, it was a slow joy to read this one and it cheered me up plus it made me want to cook a lot too. I want to make those bear claws soon. I can highly recommend it, and if you’re interested in a cute black cat learning magic and making friends and taking care of his community, then you can buy it here.

Book Review

Moon Reads: Conspiracy of Ravens

Conspiracy of Ravens by Leah Moore, John Reppion and Sally Jane Thompson

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

Read before: No

Ownership: Bought a while ago and forgot to read it.

Conspiracy of Ravens is a bit of a gothic magical girls story based on the corvid family. And I mean come on that’s pretty cool as a premise. But does it hold to it?

We start with Anne who inherits her long lost aunt’s English mansion and a mysterious locket alongside a maid/caretaker. As she tries to decide what to do with her inheritance that is conveniently close to her boarding school, she starts finding a few other girls who also have mysterious lockets, and those lockets start unlocking superpowers related to each fo the corvid family birds shown in them.

However, no everyone that has superpowers is using them for good or even wants to be involved in this whole thing, so it is up to Anne and her friends to try to do the best.

I have to say I struggled initially to identifiy the characters because they all looked way too similar and changed slightly as the story developed, and as much as it was a fun magical girl story it had a few holes in it I couldn’t see why they were there.

I did like the powers they get from each bird and the mini stories of each of the characters, but they felt missing and rushed and at times it was all over the place, more like it should have been several volumes or stories rather than compile it into a single one, or maybe not add as much side stories to the main one.

So I guess it has room for improvement however I kept rushing through it once I got into the story. So if you like magical girls and gothic vibes plus a bit of steampunk and corvids, then give this a try.

Subscription Boxes

Moon Hauls: From Olympus With Love Owlcrate

Subscription box: Owlcrate

Theme/Month: From Olympus With Love, January 2021

Ownership: Last box of my subscription. If you are interested in purchasing an Owlcrate subscription, you can do it on their website.

Owlcrate was my first ever subscription box way back in 2015, and usually features young adult books in a variety of genres alongside a few bookish items. Sadly due to import fees and shipping, I have had to cancel my subscription and won’t be getting any further boxes.

However, I am happy to have had this as my last box, and I’ll start with the bottom right going clockwise:

  • A letterboard, which obviously I decided to use by setting the theme there. I did feel a bit sad that the frame had no decorations or anything, felt like a missed opportunity.
  • It also came with a cute pouch to hold all the letters and symbols of the letterboard.
  • A tapestry that is a lunar calendar featuring Artemis and Athena.
  • A pin banner, I like that they are usually decorated and thick fabric so they just dont tear.
  • A wooden bookmark, which looks like somoenes been biting it, and has two different sides.
  • Nectar of the Gods tea, which is peppermint tea and sadly nothng more interesting.
  • Theme card
  • And the book, Lore. I’ve heard mixed reviews on it so I am curious, however not high expectations since I am not huge on greek mythology based books.

Overall I enjoy this box, it had some confusing items like the bookmark but I enjoyed a lot the letterboard since I have been wanting one for a while, just sad it didnt have a design on the eadge, but still a good item and the lunar tapestry/calendar is also cool.

As mentioned above, it was a nice last box and the only reason to cancel was mostly that shipping charges went up a lot due to political climate and being in the UK and all that, so not their fault.

Book Review

Moon Reads: Paradise Kiss

Paradise Kiss (20th Anniversary Edition) by Ai Yazawa

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

Read before: Yes, just not this particular omnibus presentation

Ownership: Bought as a treat once I found it existed.

Spoiler free review: No

Series: Paradise Kiss, this edition contains the full series.

Content warnings: Nudity, mild violence, mild sadomasochism, sexuality/sex

Paradise Kiss was one of my first mangas I ever read and to this day I still love it. It is about a young student, Yukari, who is trying to find meaning in her life and is doing her best to fulfill expectations, until she accidentally gets “discovered” by a group of fashion design students who think shed make the perfect model for their final project.

The full story follows Yukari and George, alongside the rest of the atelier and Yukari’s own friends and family as she initially rejects the proposal to be a model and then realises that this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. So she “joins” the atelier as their model and starts spending more and more time with them, which also means more time with George, with whom she establishes a relationship.

The manga is full of fashion desing, lots of amazing looks, a lot of relationships happening and things going on and it is just a delight to read, or at least it was to me. One thing ot mentionis that George has an interest in sadomasochism and can be manipulative nad abusive at times to Yukari, but it is part of the story that their relationships develops as it goes. There is also the relationship of the other atelier members and how they visualise George.

Overall, it has a special vibe and the young me that wanted to be a fashion designer loved it, plus it explores bisexuality, has a queer character and a lot of representation and alternative ways of life that show that it isnt all one way to make it and way to live. On top of that, the story doesn’t end when Yukari models for them, instead it suddenly opens a world of opportunities for her and a modelling career, so it is a good interesting show of what choices one can make and opportunities that we take or not.

I cannot recommend this enough as a manga to read, however, as per above I do highlight that it has some interesting topics and some content warnings that are there for a reason. This isn’t all honey and fashion and good vibes. It has a lot of tough topics and a lot of hard moments.

If manga isn’t your thing, you can always go the anime or live action way. I have watched the anime a few times but still haven’t the live action. It is good fun and only 12 episodes long. And overall, regardless of format, it is a well contained story that shows many sides of a coin and about making choices and taking opportunities.