Book Review

A Jigsaw of Fire and Stars Review

This gorgeous book (*swoon over the cover*) was part of Book Box Club’s Outlaws box, and it was actually signed by the author (no bookplate) plus it had a lovely yellow ribbon bookmark as part of the book (why won’t all books have one?).


A Jigsaw of Fire and Stars by Yaba Badoe

Fourteen-year-old Sante isn’t sure where she comes from, but she has a recurring dream of escaping a shipwreck in a sea chest as a baby with her lifelong companion, golden eagle Priss. In the chest was an African bamboo flute, a drum and a dagger inlaid with diamonds. Sante was found and raised by Mama Rose, leader of a nomadic group of misfits and gypsies. They travel around contemporary southern Europe, living off-grid and performing circus tricks for money. Sante grows up alongside two twins, knife-thrower Cat and snake-charmer Cobra, whom she is in love with. During a performance in Cadiz, Sante recognises two men from her dream. They come after her to retrieve the treasures from the sea chest. Sante finds out that she is an Ashanti princess, whose parents probably perished in the shipwreck. After Cat rescues a beautiful red-haired girl called Scarlett from a gang, Mama Rose’s band are forced to flee the city. But Sante and Cobra stay behind, determined to find out more about her family and where she came from.

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

This book was really hard to review. The premise of the story is very interesting and it touches on prostitution, human trafficking and it is written by an author from Ghana/Britain, which gives it even more richness. And come on, it has a travelling circus and even a hawk! (Find the hawk in the picture)

However, the pacing was strange, it was very character driven but it wanted to be a plot driven book and with the plot it has, it should’ve moved faster than it actually did. Instead there is a lot of flashbacks, dreams, magic and a lot of musings that don’t move much, and they also don’t change the characters much.

I can say the book has a lot of potential and it required a bit of a tidy up regarding how the plot and writing flowed through the book.

I found the plot intriguing but didn’t particularly enjoy the writing or the book (but I loved listening to Yaba read the first chapter, it was so amazing! She should totally read audiobooks because that voice is a treasure).

Moon recommends

I don’t have many African reads that come to mind right now, though this was actually set in Spain, and I can’t think of many books I have read dealing with the topics in this one. The closest I can relate to is the game Alice Madness Returns which is technically a retelling of Alice in Wonderland+Through the Looking Glass. I guess this means I should go read more books, of course I shall comply!

If you’d like to buy this gorgeous book, you can find it here.

Disclaimer: There is an Amazon Associates link, but if you choose to use them and buy from them, know that you’re just helping me buy more books and feed my reading needs. Book synopsis is from Good Reads.

Subscription Boxes

Quests & Legends Book Box Club

After that long 101 for book boxes, let’s do some unboxings, starting with Book Box Club.

The theme was Quests & Legends and I was really hoping the book would be the one they actually sent since it was one I really wanted to read (and the author is such a dear).


Let me tell you that boxes with edibles in them usually make me want to take the unboxing picture there and then because yummy must be eaten NOW (I am not the only one, right? RIGHT?).

As per usual, let’s do clockwise, starting on the theme card.

  • Gorgeous Quest & Legends theme card. I saw it and loved it, there’s such a simple beauty in it, so dreamy and makes me want to be all cosy.
  • Dragon stickers by Wild Sally, I squealed when I saw them, they are so cute and they are stickers! I am torn between adding them to my laptop or my drawing clipboard.
  • Mountain earrings by Kate’s Little Store, they are wooden and really pretty but alas my double piercings are too close together for them to work with double earrings except hanging ones. This did not stop me from wearing them a few times (but I will reserve them for special wear rather than my go to pair for everyday).
  • Wooden bookmark by Hughes Laser Designs, this is probably the only item I have issues with and it is because the bookmark is so thick it’d damage books which is such a shame because the wood is beautiful (so it is more decorative than useful).
  • Bookish postcards & bookmarks by publishing houses.
  • The book, A Shiver Of Snow and Sky by Lisa Lueddecke which is such a fantastic story and I really want to read, also the book is sparkly and beautiful.
  • Narnia Hot Chocolate Spoon/Stirrer by Maple Molly’s. Another squeal and I was so happy about this, it is such a beautiful one and has a quote on the label and it is just perfect.
  • And of course, no hot chocolate should go without a mug, so we have a mug inspired by the heroine of the book by Four Season Fox. I love the fact that the mug and chocolate go so well together. And then the mug also matches the book…

Absolutely delightful cosy box, with a gorgeous book, wonderfully matching extras and I am just loving it. I usually complain* when book boxes send tea/coffee/chocolate and no tea strainer/mug/etc or vice versa, but the girls did it and sent both. I am SO happy about this.

In case this is the first time you pop over to my blog, you can use code MOON17 to get 5% off your subscription with them. *wink wink*

*Nevermind the fact that I have more mugs than I need, enough tea to go around well and a tea strainer that is perfect for all my needs (it fits mugs, tea pots and has handles so you don’t burn your fingers when taking it out of the mug, plus fine mesh for complicated teas like rooibos or a few others that love escaping most tea strainers). I do think about subscribers that may not be as crazy about their tea as I am and will wonder what to do with either the tea or the strainer without the other.


Subscription Boxes

101 on Book Subscription Boxes

I love subscription boxes. This is not a secret.

I have been subscribed to at least one since 2015 (before Owlcrate was so popular I was subscribed to them). And I have tested a huge quantity of them as my first post about them shows (there is a second one in the making, I am just waiting on a couple more to arrive so I can review them).

So I will try to do a 101 on them to help those trying to decide which box to start off with, and what to consider.

What is a book subscription box?

It is a box full of magic. On the most basic level, it is a box with a book inside and some extra goodies (usually bookish merchandise). It can be simple and cheap (like Leafer Box, starting at £12.99 + shipping) or expensive and custom made (like Bookish Land, €40.00 + shipping, which sadly I can’t recommend to you anymore due to quality issues with the last boxes).

Clockwise from top left: My Bookish Crate (out of business), Bookishland, Lit-Cube and Illumicrate (Hermes are bad in my area so they tend to mistreat my boxes but I know it is just the particular drivers I get).

How do I get one?

In general, they will open subscriptions for a box a month ahead and close for that month near shipping date (most ship between 15th-20th of the month). Some sell out quickly, so be prepared to miss out on subscriptions or having to wait until the subscriptions renew and they have some available (from those subscribers that skipped or didn’t renew). A select few will be available the whole month and you can buy any day of the month to get that month’s box.

If you are unsure when subscriptions open, usually their website or social media will say (or you can contact order support).

How do people afford them?

I have a full time job, so I use some of my income for it. What helps is I try to buy a 3 month subscription for a box (A) one month. This is because most will have discount codes if you subscribe and also the more months together you buy the “cheaper” it is (there are exceptions to this like Fairyloot, which costs the same regardless of how many months you choose). Next month I will subscribe to another box (B) for 3 months (which means I don’t have to pay that month for box A, but yes for box B), and so forth the next month (which means I’ll be able to get A,B & C all in one month). I know I am paying for all of those boxes but it is easier for me to pay one lump sum once and not have to worry about it each month. Also, by the third month, I have made up my mind about the box and if I will subscribe again or not.

Also, discount codes are your best friends. Find them! Most boxes have Reps who will have codes for 5-10% off.

For example, if you use code MOON17 on Book Box Club, you get 5% off. Or you can use KESTREL10 for 10% on a Leafer Box.

The best way to find these codes is check for their reps on Instagram. (You can also try to become a rep, but this is tricky since despite them saying followers DO NOT count, they don’t usually choose people with less than 1k followers).

And finally, you can always cancel renewal/subscription. Most won’t refund you, but will send boxes due to you.

When does the payment happen? And you mentioned renewal day?

So, if this is the first time you subscribe, it is usually paid the day you subscribed (if you subscribed before renewal day, it is possible it’ll be on renewal day rather than the day you subscribed). Again, this will be on the website of the box. If you buy it on Etsy, it will be paid immediately regardless of when the box is sent. If you are renewing, most boxes have a renewal day which is when the next payment will be taken.

In most cases, you can see when it is due to be renewed on your Cratejoy account or the box’s account website.

One-Off vs Subscription?

Some sell one-off purchase boxes as a choice. This is if you do not want to subscribe but want that particular box. I use this option when there’s no discount code and I really don’t want the hassle of subscription. Subscriptions have the bonus of being able to use a discount code so it may be cheaper for you.

One-Off boxes will always be paid when you buy them, subscriptions can wait until renewal day.

Past Boxes? No Book Box? Other options?

Some will make available past boxes from previous months on their shop. This gives you a chance to buy a specific box if you missed out and really want it. Sometimes you can also get a no book box from their site. Or you can check online on Facebook or Instagram to see if someone is selling items from the box or the full box (they subscribed and didn’t like it, etc, it happens).

I see a lot of YA, are there boxes for adults?

There a lot of YA ones, but there are also adult options (and I am not referring to Erotica and XXX content). And also junior or children’s options. Check my post or feel free to ask me about recommendations for a specific genre you’d like to find a box about. There are also a few options in country of origin language (there are a couple of Dutch boxes sending books in Dutch, for example).

Now tell me all about shipping, please…

This is probably the worst part about the book subscription boxes. Some boxes include shipping to the country they are located in for free, others have shipping aside.

Most book boxes are located in the US, so there’s a bigger variety there. If you live in the country the box is located, shipping will be straight forward (either already included or flat rate). However, if you are international, you may find they do not ship to your country (Uppercase only ships to US/Canada, for example). It may also be the shipping is costlier than the box. Or you will find a customs charge note left at your address rather than your box. This are all possibilities, so it is a good idea to check with someone who has already got the box what the shipping will be like, and if there will be the dreaded customs charges. (Note: I do not mind paying the customs charges, but it is not a pleasant surprise when you really just want your box and usually the post offices add a charge to the customs charge as a “handling” fee which usually means it doubles up and may cost as much as the box. This is NOT fun at all specially if  you already spent £30 on box + £30 shipping + £15-20 on customs, as an example).

As I mentioned before, most boxes will ship between 15-20th of the month, with a few exceptions. If the company is big enough, they will do staggered shipping so some may ship a little earlier and others later. Give it a few days before you freak out about getting a shipping email. (Stressing about when your box will arrive and if it has been shipped and going all over social media about it, just adds stress. If you are worried, contact support, and they will probably reply. If you know someone who also subscribes to that box, ask them how shipping usually goes and how long it takes for it to arrive to your area/country).

Why does my box add VAT/Tax when I purchase?

This is an interesting one. See, if you are in the EU and the book box company is also located there, VAT may be displayed as extra charge. (Not all boxes do this). Or it may happen if you are in the US and the box is located in the US. However, international customers will not see this charge, so prices can vary between customers. This charges are to accomodate the law, so yes, they may not make it great to see extra charges (some are just a breakdown of what is VAT/Tax without additional charges) but it means you’re a lawful citizen, howdy! (this always makes me think of westerns and cowboys… don’t know why).

What about the contents of the boxes?

You will find a book in all the book subscription ones, there are bookish merchandise subscription boxes and some that allow the option of book or not book, and some that only include a signed/first edition book. But let’s go with a book box in the most generic terms.

You will find a book in the genre/style of the box. This may be YA Fantasy, YA general, Horror, ChickLit, etc. It may be a new very hyped release, or a “not released this month but this year” book with less hype. Make sure you are aware which kind of books the box you choose tends to feature. There is a group in Facebook called Book Box Sherlocks that guesses which books will be in each different box, which usually gets it right, so if you don’t mind getting spoiled about what book is in the box, you can check out the possible guesses there. Heck, you can even get an annotated by the author (with sticky notes) book from Page Habit.

Most boxes will include 2-6 bookish items alongside. The amount will depend on the box you choose and also on the month. Usually if you get costlier items in a box, there will be less of them that month. Most book boxes reveal a few suppliers so you have a hint of what kind of possibile items may be in the box. Social Media is your friend.

In general, expect a more female based approach (there is a huge possibility there will be jewelry or items that cater more for females but it isn’t always the case). Check all my unboxing posts if you’d like to get an idea of contents of book boxes.

Just so you get an idea of contents. PageHabit, Novel Tea Club (out of business), Magic Chest, FairyLoot, Leafer Box.

Spoilers? Unboxings? What are you talking about?

Unboxing is when you show the contents of the box. You can do this in so many ways but the usual ones are Instagram Stories, Instagram posts, Blog posts and Facebook posts/comments on groups.

Spoilers is when the contents of the box are revealed before you have received your own.

As a good base policy (this is not forced, just courtesy to other subscribers), warn people you are starting an unboxing in your stories (I add a picture of the box unopened and add a “Unboxing ABC Box” then another one with a countdown before actually showing the contents). If you decide to post on Instagram or a blog, you can either wait at least two weeks, or the start of the 5th of the next month before doing a full unboxing (showing ALL the contents without warning), or you can add a featured image without spoilers (say a picture of the box closed). Or you can do both. This is just a policy I use. I don’t mind spoilers in general, but understand others do, so I try to be polite about it and respectful.

Ok, so why buy them?

I buy them for several reasons. I started to help me deal with PTSD and depression. It was something to look forward to, and there is something lovely about receiving a box of goodies in the post. I also just love books and appreciate bookish merchandise. They also help me find small businesses (which I love supporting) and discover things I didn’t even know where made or that existed. They give me joy when I open them. (I admit if a box makes me sad every box and I am not feeling happy with it, I do consider not renewing subscriptions, and I have it for some boxes).

Reasons can be very varied.

But what if I don’t like all the items in my box? What do I do?

This is normal. Remember, this is a box curated by the person behind it. You’re different to that person. And we don’t all like the same things. I usually have at least one item per box I won’t keep or that I don’t like. (I get concerned when I only liked one item from the box, and disliked most of it).

Once again, there are a lot of options. You can use the items as giveaway prizes. You can use those items as gifts for someone else. There are also groups on Facebook specifically to trade book box contents, so you can buy/sell/trade there. You can also donate to charity.

After unboxing a box, I will make separate piles (book to bookcase, items to decorate bookcase, things that go to certain rooms in my house, etc, and a pile of items I don’t want ot keep). Once I have a “I won’t keep pile” I set it aside. I check trade groups to see if someone if searching for that particular item and offer to send it if they are interested. Sometimes I will post on them offering them for sale. Most of the time I will either send to friends, or to my mum who teaches English to poor orphan children (where English isn’t their mother tongue) so she can give them out as prices and incentives to the children. Trust me, they LOVE it and my mum is very happy to have this extras to encourage her students.

What about repeat/duplicate books?

Most boxes will try to get exclusivity to a book in their country (or they may have an exclusive cover), so this shouldn’t be a big issue, unless you choose to subscribe to several of them that do not guarantee this. It is a risk you take. If you buy international boxes, there is a higher risk of this happening.

In the two years and all the different boxes I have tried, I have only had duplicates 3 times. Two of them were because UK box had exclusivity to the UK edition and then a US box also did the book. If you are into collecting different editions, this is a “bonus”. This also applies for exclusive covers (at the moment only OwlCrate and Fairyloot do exclusive cover books in their boxes, and Fairyloot isn’t every box). The other time was when a publisher had given exclusivity to box A, but box B bought the books from a bookshop rather than directly from publisher. This is rare, since most boxes will try to contact publishers directly rather than buy through third-party. Of course, box A had a signed bookplate which box B didn’t.

You will most probably NOT get a refund if this happens. The very first few times this happened, the boxes involved did a discount and offered some incentives, but this was back then. Now they try to make sure to keep things clear with publishers.

Last but not least, a list of book subscriptions I know about.

If the box is in bold, I am currently subscribed to them. If it is strikedthrough, it is out of business (these do not include further information). Cursive means I have yet to try it (this is probably due to shipping costs). Underlined is that I have tried it already but I am not currently subscribed (it doesn’t mean it is a bad box, I have to be selective, can’t afford all of them). If it is just normal text it means it is not possible for me to try because of my shipping/other restrictions. An asterisk (*) alongisde it means it has a special focus (diverse, indie, gives back, sends books in language other than English, etc). A plus sign (+) means they have recently launched or are about to launch.

Alongside it, I will state genre (if there is a / it means it does separate boxes, one for each part), country of origin, a link if it is available, code if I have one available, if box isn’t a monthly one, I will also include what kind of schedule it does. I am not including boxes that do not include a book in this list, but you can find those in my Collection of Subscription Boxes posts.

  • Book Box Club – YA, website, UK.
  • FairyLoot – Fantasy YA, website, UK.
  • Leafer Box – Various box per genre, website, UK, No subscription but can buy for 3 or 6 months in one go.
  • LitJoy Crate – YA/Children’s, website, US.
  • Owlcrate – YA, website, US
  • Owlcrate Jr. – Children’s, website, US
  • Unicorn Crate – YA, website, US
  • Hootloot Box – YA, website, US, bi-monthly
  • The Bookish Box – YA/Adult, website, US
  • Enchanted Book Box – YA, website, US
  • The Bookie Box – YA, website, US
  • Shelflove Crate – Fantasy and Sci-fi YA/Children’s, website, US
  • Shelflove Reads (+) – Part of Shelflove Crate, but does general YA.
  • Whimsify Box – Fantasy YA, website, US
  • Uppercase – YA, website, US (only ships to US/Canada)
  • Illumicrate -Usually YA but has exceptions, website, UK, quarterly.
  • Once Upon a Book Club Box – YA/Adult, website, US
  • Spearcraft Book Box – YA, website, US
  • The YA Chronicles – YA, website, Australia
  • Celebrate Books (*) – YA, website, Netherlands (also does Dutch editions)
  • LitCube – Adult Fiction, website, US
  • Book of the Month Club – Various, website, US
  • Nocturnal Reader’s (*) – Horror, website, US
  • Coffee and a Classic (*) – Various/Classic, website, US
  • My Book Box – Adult, website, US
  • Cozy Reader Club (*) – Adult(women’s fiction), website, US
  • Magic Chest -YA, website, Germany
  • Romance Reveal Book Box -Romance, website, US
  • Book Case Club – Various/Children, website, US
  • The Bookworm Box –  Various, website, US
  • Ninja Book Box (*) – Indie, website, UK, quarterly
  • Wildest Dreams Box (+) – YA, website, UK
  • Rainbow Book Box (+,*) – Diverse reads, website, UK
  • Bookish Land (*) – Various, website, France   *See Note at end of list
  • The Book Matchmaker (*) – A mystery book, website, UK
  • DragonBookBox (+) – Adult Fantasy, website, UK
  • Page Habit – Various, website, US
  • Mark the Page – YA, website, Australia
  • Blue Spiders Attic (*) – Secondhand various, website, US
  • My Guilty Pleasures Book Crate (*) – Various, website, US
  • Bookmarked Box – YA, website, US
  • Mirror Book Box (*) – Diverse, website, US
  • Send me Swooning – Romance, website, US (only ships to US)
  • Novel Editions – Various, website, Canada (only ships to Canada)
  • The Book Crate – YA, website, Australia (only ships to Australia)
  • Never Never Book Box (*) –  Spec Fiction, website, Australia
  • The bookstabox (+) –  YA, instagram, US
  • Absolutely Booked –  YA, website, Pakistan, bi-monthly
  • Story Trunk – YA, website, India
  • The Big Book Box – Various, website, India
  • I Am A Kid (IAAK) (*) – Funko+T-shirt/Book, website, India
  • Aurora The Box Of Dreams – YA, website, India
  • Book Box – Various/Short Stories & poems, website, India (only ships to India)
  • Books N Beyond  – Various, website, India
  • Yureka Books (*) – Book Match/Various, website, US
  • Pop Reads Box (*) – YA+Funko Pop, website, US
  • Parnassus Next (*) – YA Signed Book, website, US
  • The Book Hook Up (*) – Various Box per genre , website, US
  • Goldsboro Book of the Month(*) – Signed Book, website, UK (only book)
  • Willoughby Book Blub – Various, website, UK (only books)
  • And the Story Begins –  Various, website, US
  • Nerdy Bookworm Box
  • My Bookish Crate
  • NovelTea Club
  • Blue Tome

Last month I would’ve recommended Bookish Land Box since they had sent a fun box to me, it was a bit pricey but it was fun and lovely. So I encouraged Maja to try a custom made one and we both asked for one centered around An Enchantment of Ravens (I mean, fairies, wonderful magic, enchantments, it sounds good, right?). However we were both sent Halloween themed boxes, with cheap items (Maja’as book was damaged, mine wasn’t but it was the only item that matched what we requested), both of us were blocked by the account and told different stories about it (To me she was never in hospital until this week when her story changed when I asked for a partial refund because this was definitely not what I had paid for, to Maja it was a ping pong you can read more about in her blog post, our experiences are basically almost the same).

Neither of us has got their money back, and we both tried several times to contact them about it and making amends privately. A “discount” for the next box means I have to spend into something I can’t trust (which they insist was offered but it was never offered to me, no discount, no refund, no nothing). We were told owner was sick, but I would’ve appreciated an email warning us our orders would not be customised as expected, then I could’ve decided to wait until it was all good again or to cancel my purchase. I wasn’t offered this opportunity. So I just make you aware that if you buy from Bookish Land, you are going to receive an overpriced box full of cheap things, bad customer service and get blocked if you complain.

As you may have noticed, I buy a lot of book boxes out of my own pocket, no one sponsors me, so it is difficult when something like this happens. And I do not wish it on anyone.

20171029_160245.jpgClockwise from top left: Leafer Box (sideways), LitJoy Crate (sideways), Book Box Club, Nerdy Bookworm (out of business), SpearCraft Book Box, and FairyLoot.

Have any more questions? Feel free to comment them here or use the Contact form. I am happy to answer all your questions if I can.

Book Review

Blackbird (Proof) Review

So during YALC we were standing just next to the HQ stand while they were unpacking the Proofs for Blackbird so by fluke we were the first in line for it.  Then, as we were in line for a signature from another author, I saw ND Gomes was signing next to us, so we queued to have our Proofs signed. Talk about being lucky!


Blackbird by N.D. Gomes

My name is Alex. I am fifteen years old, and I don’t know where my sister is. Or if she will ever come back.

On New Year’s Eve 5,000 blackbirds dropped dead. The same day Olivia McCarthy went missing from a small coastal village in Orkney.

Now Her younger sister Alex is on a mission to find out just what happened to Olivia. But does she really want to know all the answers?

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

I keep saying this was an easy, light read and then everyone (bookish friends and non bookish boyfriend) corrects me to say the topic isn’t light and fluffy. But the writing is the kind of writing you can read quickly, without needing to re-read, or having to think too much. It is perfect for when you’re feeling a bit down and don’t want to struggle through a very complex read (LOTR anyone?).

Story wise, I do not understand the relevance of the blackbirds, except that it happened the same day and once or twice Olivia is compared to one, there is no connection with the murder or the events otherwise.

But that is my only real complaint. The murder flows well without going too slow or going too quick, and I liked how it explores the wreckage in the family, people forgetting Alex is kinda still alive and around, but also, the rest of the world is moving on, so this is well displayed.

I did guess soon enough who was the murderer but I didn’t know why, and a few other small twists, so that was good.

Moon Recommends

I don’t read many thrillers, suspense and such books in YA genre, but I do in adult fiction and the queen for me is Mary Higgins Clark. It is very hard for me to pick just one, since they are extremely amazing, so I will suggest Weep No More, My Lady mostly because it introduces her writing style but some of her characters that appear more than once (each book is usually standalone but some characters reappear in a few of them).

Of course, if you haven’t read Blackbird, go ahead and give it a go. You can find it here.

Disclaimer: There is an Amazon Associates link, but if you choose to use them and buy from them, know that you’re just helping me buy more books and feed my reading needs. Book synopsis is from Good Reads.

Book Review

Everless (Proof) Review

During YALC (Young Adult Literature Convention), I managed to get a proof copy of Everless (not the fancy one they are recently sending out and which I wish I had a copy of) by Sara Holland.

Picture by the delightful Nikki, idea by me.

Everless by Sara Holland

In the land of Sempera, time is extracted from blood and used as payment. Jules Ember and her father were once servants at Everless, the wealthy Gerling family’s estate, but were cast out after of a fateful accident a decade ago. Now, Jules’s father is reaching his last hour, and she will do anything to save him. Desperate to earn time, she arrives at the palace as it prepares for a royal wedding, ready to begin her search into childhood secrets that she once believed to be no more than myths. As she uncovers lost truths, Jules spirals deeper into a past she hardly recognizes, and faces an ancient and dangerous foe who threatens her future and the future of time itself.

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

I should’ve posted this review sooner, but after I finished reading Everless, I was in a slump. I couldn’t make myself read another fantasy book that had anything similar to it because I’d compare it, and it was a struggle tofind a book to read.

When I got the copy of Everless, I wasn’t sure what to expect from it, it sounded fun but light and I didn’t expect it to be a wow book. As seems to be the case, books I underestimate, blow me away.

The first few chapters introduce you to the world of Sempera, the Gerlings, blood iron, the myth of the Sorceress and the Alchemist, and of course Jules and her own world. It is a slightly slow introduction but it doesn’t feel too much like an info dump and I was glad for that.

Without spoiling anyone, I was quite pleased with all the sudden plot twists (the only one I could see miles away was the one regarding Liam) since they weren’t that predictable but they also weren’t illogical. I didn’t feel like the plot had been useless now that the twist was revealed. Instead it slowly fit like a good puzzle.

One other thing I really loved about this is that there is no insta romance, no crazy love triangles and any hints of romance are just that, hints. Romance doesn’t take main stage and it doesn’t fill in plot gaps (and if you take it away you don’t really loose anything plot wise).

So all in all, a good fantasy, with interesting concepts, refreshing story and ideas, no insta romance and love triangles, good plot twists. Worth the read. (The sad part is that the book hasn’t even come out yet and then add to that that I already want to read the next one!).

Moon recommends

You read this book then curl up in bed until the next one comes out because you need to know what happens next. Go watch In Time film with Justin Timberlake, it’s like it but also totally not like it, but somehow my mind linked them and it is a fun link. Read some high fantasy, or something unrelated. I started Warcross to cure my book hangover, but you can also read some Trudi Canavan (like Thief’s Magic) or Robin Hobb (like Assasin’s Apprentice)and you’d be in great magical territory.

If you’d like to pre-order/buy Everless, you can find it here.

Disclaimer: There is an Amazon Associates link, but if you choose to use them and buy from them, know that you’re just helping me buy more books and feed my reading needs. Book synopsis is from Good Reads.


Meet the Character + Inktober Art

Keeping up with Meet The Character, I know I promised more Wig Bag Trio on my previous post, but I recently drew a “collection” of my characters so I thought it’d be a good quick introduction to them.

This piece shows all the characters that pop up most in my drawings (there are several missing).

First, let me show you a sketch. I drew this in October 2014, after a series of events that meant my first ever “I am unable to draw or create anything” (not artist’s block, but shock and PTSD). This particular sketch alongisde a counterpart where some of the first drawings I did once I could draw again..


And of course, I deviated from my Inktober prompts (the deviation started with drawing characters from games like Horizon Zero Dawn and Bioshock…) and had to sketch, and ink a fresh take on this.


This is the finished piece (it may be coloured at some point):


And now let’s meet the Characters!

The girl in the middle with a bee tattoo and glasses is actually me (so this is also a “meet the artist”). The idea is I am backed by all the characters and stories inside my head.

To the left, you can see Star Fawn kneeling. She is a Fasquee, part of the native species of Deema.

Behind her are Dalv and Naj (recognise them?) from Wig Bag Trio storyline. And then there’s Knit, Mischief (the lamb/sheep) and The Captain. Mischief is very mischievous so it keeps getting in the way, there’s a reason that it has that name.

Conjuring souls in the middle over my head is Cyx Red, The Collector. She featured in 2016’s Halloween-HQ event on DeviantArt (Sadly, you can’t play last year’s adventure but you can do this year’s. She features in several storylines so she is more of an “omniscient” flitting character.

Then you can see Child Knit, she doesn’t really feature in the main WBT storyline but appears in my sketches, usually wearing The Captain’s jacket which is a paradox since she couldn’t have met him as a child.

Then under Child Knit, are the Lestrange triplets. They do not feature as much in my sketches, but are part of the Eveniengate and Deema storylines (Eveniengate occurs within Deema). They are probably the oldest characters in this drawing (they came to life around 2004-2006).

The “archer” is Moire Fox, another Fasquee. She is the second oldest here, as her story came to me around 2007. She is the character that has had the most name changes since her conception. At first she was “Fox Girl”, then Unay, which became She Without A Name, then Ella, and finally Moire Fox.

Underneath Moire is Vixy/Little Fox, this is one of the position I first tried as a logo, but that slowly evolved into my logo. She is also quite old, 2007-2008 I think.

Missing in this picture are most of Eveniengate storyline characters (very few of them have actually been drawn), MD the queen of the dream world, Yves Oswald, Oniria & Insomnio, Kit (Black Cat design for a video game), Rose Vered and Ava from WBT, and Moire’s younger sister Roisin.

So there we go. Which character are you most excited to learn more about?


Book Review

Six Of Crows Review

I had been reluctant to read this book after having read the Grisha trilogy. I did not like that. And I am still confused as to why they are called little Gregory, but that is just me knowing cultural bits of Russia (my little sister dreamed of marrying a Russian and moving there -don’t ask me why, we never really understood why- so she made sure we knew about the culture and the language, and you know, stuff… She does seem to have desisted of this venture, by the way).

Anyway, less family tales and more review, here it is.


Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker has been offered wealth beyond his wildest dreams. But to claim it, he’ll have to pull off a seemingly impossible heist:

Break into the notorious Ice Court
(a military stronghold that has never been breached)

Retrieve a hostage
(who could unleash magical havoc on the world)

Survive long enough to collect his reward
(and spend it)

Kaz needs a crew desperate enough to take on this suicide mission and dangerous enough to get the job done – and he knows exactly who: six of the deadliest outcasts the city has to offer. Together, they just might be unstoppable – if they don’t kill each other first.

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

I gave this book a chance because Nikki suggested I should and she loved it. So I did. I can thankfully say I don’t regret it.

The book is a big jump from the Grisha trilogy and it is better written and the plot is more refreshing, it is more unique and there are less cliches. The characters are quite varied and it is all in all interesting. Of course, I have a soft spot for Inej (the rest are okay).

Story wise, I was a little annoyed that most of the book is them getting ready or looking back and making the journey to the actual heist, which feels like a filler and I wanted more of the actual action. And then we get to the heist and there is so little of it, it feels rushed.

It gets three foxes because I felt for the characters and I found this “world” better than her previous trilogy (I know this is a duology). I did enjoy it but it didn’t leave such a mark on me that I’d give it the extra foxes, so 3 it is.

Moon recommends

To give this book a chance if you, like me, didn’t swoon (or anywhere near that) for the Grisha trilogy. It is not a bad book and that is a good thing. I am not entirely sure which other book to recommend alongside this one. I don’t have many heist books in my repertoire that come to mind and the only books that came to mind as I read this was the previous trilogy. However, now I need to read Crooked Kingdom and maybe then I may suggest something else.

In all fairness, I can think of Spellslinger by Sebastien de Castell as an interesting read if you liked Six of Crows, or maybe if you are into grim dark (caution because this is grim and dark), Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence (or anything by Mark Lawrence, you may enjoy Red Sister more, as it is a little less dark and grim). This second book is definitely all about anti-heroes, so make sure you know what you are getting into when you decide to read it.

Side Note: I did draw Inej for Inktober this year, so that tells you at least character wise there was a win for this book.

Disclaimer: There is an Amazon Associates link, but if you choose to use them and buy from them, know that you’re just helping me buy more books and feed my reading needs. Book synopsis is from Good Reads.




Subscription Boxes

October’s Fantasy & Sci-fi Leafer Box

As you may know, Leafer Box is one of my “permanent” boxes. There are a lot of good reasons why I love it:

  1. It’s cheap, each box costs £12.99 plus shipping (UK is £2.99) and you can use code KESTREL10 for 10% off so even cheaper!
  2. It doesn’t have a crazy hype and there’s like zero chance you’ll get a repeat with another book box.
  3. You can buy the box of the month any day of the month! No missing out because it sold out in a few hours and you couldn’t connect at the time, no problems if you only get paid until the end of the month. As long as you order during the month, you get that box.

My list could go on but I’d rather just show you my bundled Fantasy & Sci-Fi box.


Starting from the chocolate bar because chocolate and going clockwise:

  • A Galaxy chocolate bar, this is one of the big ones and that makes me so happy, they don’t go small on chocolate and yummy goodies.
  • Sci-Fi book, Champion of Mars by Guy Haley. I don’t know why but it makes me think of mythology despite knowing it isn’t exactly that…
  • Botanical bookmarks (they are not part of the box but rather a thank you gift from them because I rave so much about them)
  • Glow in the dark constellations! I always wanted glow in the dark stars on my ceiling but never got my parents to get some for me, and as an adult forgot, but now I do!
  • A space/Mars pen (usually their pens are fine point and have beautiful ink and write lovely)
  • An Alien necklace that made me laugh when I saw it, it is cool.
  • Now for the Fantasy box contents, a summer wax melt tart thing that definitely smells like summers and picnics and just good!
  • A thunder and lighting necklace, also quite lovely and cool.
  • A golde twig/branch hair pin which looks amazing on my hair and people have been complimenting when I wear it.
  • And the book, The Fifth Season which was already on my “I’d like to read that book” list so I was very happy to get it in this box.

As you can see, the box(es) was packed full of goodies and it is a great bang for your buck. Absolutely recommend it and there are several other genres you can try.



Meet the Character: WBT

I know I haven’t done one of these in a while, but life has kept me a bit tangled up and I wanted to give my characters a good post rather than a rushed one.

In this edition we meet the WBT (Wig Bag Trio).

The WBT are a trio of friends who receive a mysterious package (one for each) that has a strange bag that looks like a wig. Included with the bag is a note mentioning some cryptic responsibilities and warnings.

Page 1 by MoonKestrel

Turns out that once they wear the bag, they receive some “superpowers”. Mind you, not the usual super hero powers, but rather powers that can be blessings or curses all in one. Their story follows the trio as they try to figure out how to use their powers (there is quite a bit of humour about this). Of course, with the superpowers comes a strange Headquarters base that is basically set in another planet/dimension. As such, the base sends them out on missions to help out all kinds of creatures and through time.

So let’s meet the trio (there will be a separate edition for each character):

Knit Anele is the youngest of the group, and her superpowers grant her tale records, a mischievous lamb called Mischief, and the power over dreams.

Then there is Dalv Le Wot, he is Knit’s older brother and both and artist in his real life and as part of his superpowers. He receives a magic paintbrush and a squid companion.

Finally, we have Naj Reyals, his superpowers challenge his moral compass, as he is the only one who receives a weapon, arrows that will always fly true, and an ocarina he can play to control nature.

The trio was born out of crazy skype chats with two of my friends, and confusing a backpack for a wig. It was meant initially just as a joke, but we all loved the idea so much it had it’s own life pretty quickly.

The plan was to make their comic and have it online, sadly life has been in the way so the comic is just in draft form at the moment. But, the characters appear frequently in my sketches (specially Knit and the Captain) so part of their story is revealed as I draw them more and more.

Hopefully they have intrigued you enough so you’d look out for the next Meet the Character edition, where I’ll talk about Knit Anele.



Harry Potter Spells Book Tag

Anyway, I was tagged by  Taiwo @ Stuffed Shelves. You should go check out her own post on this tag and her blog as is 🙂

This tag was created by Kimberlyfaye Reads. All spell graphics are credited to her.



This one is hard to answer with just one. I have a huge list of books I want to get my hands on. There is: More Than We can Tell by Brigid Kemmerer, Renegades by Marissa Meyer, The Invasion by Peadar Ó Guilín, The Beast’s Heart by Leife Shallcross, … the list really is long…



I love A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L’Engle. It starts off with the line “It was a dark and stormy night” because Madeleine thought she could pull it off despite it being so “cliche” and she did.




This is a very hard one for me. I rarely ever read warm fuzzies books (and it is only when you ask me to name one that I realise this). I guess the Redwall saga has a lot of moments when I’d love to be part of their banquets and be tasting their food and it has adventure and animals and it is just amazing, so I’ll go with that.





This is an easy one to answer. The one that always makes me cry is A Ring Of Endless Light by Madeleine L’Engle. It focuses on grief and death. The other one I would say is up there with ARoEL is Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer.



Can I choose someone like Aragorn or Eowyn? My life isn’t that crazy that the hero needs to be so amazing. I guess in a way, I’ve always wanted The Captain to be there which is why I created him, but he isn’t exactly a hero but he also isn’t an anti-hero.




Does reading the book and going like “I am sure this is going to happen” then skipping some chapters and “yes it is! see? I am sure now this will happen” and keep doing this until the end count? Because this happened most accutely with Daughter of the Burning City by Amanda Foody. I generally can guess plot and plot twists but this was one where I was like “nope, it can’t be” and it was every time, so I spoiled it for myself.




After the Fire by Will Hill. It is blunt and it is brutal but it is also beautiful and amazing and so human and I just wish everyone would read it and try to see life a little bit different.



Dragonriders of Pern. I love Anne McCaffrey’s books and they are amazing, I wish she was still around and could keep on writing. I mean, it is dragons, it is space, there is time travel, there is a “shoulder” dragon (fire lizards), it is amazing!




There are several of them, I am trying to think of one I haven’t mentioned here already (because several on this post would also be candidates for this spell). I think I will say, Franklyn’s Flying Bookshop was an amazing ending and it made me happy.




There are few and far between and I can’t remember one I wish I hadn’t read though I am sure there are a few. But I probably have forgotten them already.




There’s 3 amazing ladies: Anne McCaffrey, Madeleine L’Engle and Robin McKinley.



I love both Corlanth and Harimad in The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley. And Aerin is kind of a hero in her own being for me (The Hero and The Crown by Robin McKinley).




There are so many of them, but the most recent one was Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer. I had meant to read just a couple of chapters before bed and somehow stayed up late until I had finished it in one go.




Lies Like Love by Louisa Reidd made me very thoughtful. It was kind of scary and at the same time, it could be true. Books with topics that are too close to some traumas in my life sometimes make it hard for me to keep reading but I try to keep up with them.



Comics, I recently read Mikki’s Comic Book by Mikiko and it is so cute and funny, but of course, it isn’t the only one.




Given to the Sea. Too many POV and not all of them in first person, and one of them is basically just filler because it is irrelevant to plot (part of plot but it could’ve done without it and not made a difference). The ending was atrocious and I kept trying to read and to like it but I just couldn’t.




Pern. Damar. Deema.




Everless by Sara Holland. It was more unexpected and it actually was a pleasantly “oh wow” twist.



I don’t think any character death has destroyed me. I like characters but it doesn’t destroy me if they die.



Would it be too geeky to say Return of the King by Tolkien? I think he ties things up amazingly, and specially for some of the characters like Faramir and Eowyn. It was a good mix of different endings, an ending that isn’t all the same for everyone but that “fits” each character. I liked that.

So now I’ve made all these book spells. Would you like to do some? (I will tag some of you on Twitter)

Please do tag me in your post and if I didn’t tag you but you’re interested in doing this, remember to link me to your post too!