Book Review

Moon Reads: Bride of the Tornado

Bride of the Tornado by James Kennedy

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

Nothing is perfect, and as such, the reviews in this blog are chaotic. My main aim is to share my thoughts, joy and opinions on a book, not make a publication perfect review. This blog endorses authenticity, showing up and joy over perfection.

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.


Bride of the Tornado surprised me. I started reading this book on a flight because I wanted to read through and I wasn’t sure how captive I would be to it. Let me tell you, I was caught hard!

The story follows our narrator, who tells of the day the “tornado” season started when things changed for her town. And in it, they are meant to wear funny clothes, meet a tornado boy who is meant to be saving them from the tornadoes building outside town. At first, it seems like a joke the adults are trying to play on everyone. But all of a sudden it becomes real, and slowly it is like they are in a cult where the tornados keep them captive and are somewhat sentient.

And then there is the boy, who for some reason fascinates our narrator. She cannot avoid him and stop trying to find out more about him, while the rest of the teenagers want to party, leave town or continue life without the weirdness of the tornadoes trapping them in this town. But not her, she needs to know more.

What comes next was fascinating, bizarre and mind-twisting for sure.

I think the reason I liked it, and that may have made others not like it as much, is that we have an unreliable narrator. Someone who is telling us the story through a very specific lens, so you question why she is doing it this way, and what the truth is. Will her truth and the real truth match? And why is everything happening?

You also get this weird mix of a cult, teenagers just wanting to be allowed to exist, our narrator who fits and doesn’t fit in and in some ways is trying to figure out where exactly does she fit and who she is. And then you have the adults who definitely have their own secrets.

It was a quick read, and I kept wanting to know more once I got hooked by all the odd action. The beginning chapters are a long setup to explain some of the things that will come next and partly because the narrator has to tell you about these things that marked her, that led her to where she goes.

Now it isn’t super scary in the gore side, but it does deal with some interesting proposals and some weirdness, so it is more uncanny and creepy than properly horrific and therefore was way more my type of read than I initially thought it would be. And it was worth giving it a chance, so I suggest you do too!

Also don’t forget to check out the other blog tour stops!

Book Review

Moon Reads: The Art of Prophecy

The Art of Prophecy by Wesley Chu

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

Nothing is perfect, and as such, the reviews in this blog are chaotic. My main aim is to share my thoughts, joy and opinions on a book, not make a publication perfect review. This blog endorses authenticity, showing up and joy over perfection.

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.


Welcome to a late blog tour entry since the post delivered this a little too late for me to make it on the actual day I was scheduled to post it. But, fear not because I still set up a picture of it and started reading the book, which quickly became a devouring the book (no, I did not stay up until way past 2 am reading, absolutely not…)

Anyway, I shall say that I adore Taishi and the relationship with Jian is full of chaos and I totally loved it.

Now onto more coherent stuff. The book reads a little like a cinematic script, not in a way to say it isn’t fleshed out, but rather that it is written so you can almost see the shots, the way the camera pans in or out, the specific angles, you can hear the voices of the characters in your head. Which leads me to absolutely insist that Michelle Yeoh play Taishi because it is a perfect cast, and in my head a version of her is totally Taishi. This whole casting in my head led to me deciding to rewatch Everything, Everywhere, All At Once (if you haven’t seen this film, stop, and go watch it, mind-blowing, each rewatch just adds extra flavour to it).

In case you hadn’t noticed, I enjoyed this book a lot, it is a fun fantasy book, with a lot going on for it. I do admit there where two things I struggled a little with. One, the Sea Grass. My brain could not for the life of me comprehend it. I would read bits and pieces about it and the scenery and think I understood it, and then a few chapters later go “wait, I thought it worked like this”. I think some of it is because of the whole cinematic style of writing that was so into shots and stuff, that the descriptions and overall way of presenting it could have been a little more cohesive, but once it did click for me, which was about half way through the book, it starts making a lot more sense, and not fully grasping it isn’t the end of the world or takes away from experiencing the book.

The second thing I will admit is that because of how fascinating, funny and everything the whole Taishi and Jian parts of the plot were, the other subplots suffered for it. For example, Sali is super interesting, but by the time she’s introduced, and this isn’t too far into the book, pretty early on, I was wanting to go back to Taishi and Jian than learn about her. And this is not exactly that her story is boring or not good, it is just a very different dynamic and paled in comparison, which felt like treason to her because she is bad ass and doing a bunch of stuff which I do not want t spoil.

But overall the book was really fun to read, I kept wanting to go back to it and really visualising it happening. If you want to summarise it, a lot of it is about asking yourself about your beliefs and what you’ve been brought up to believe about yourself and the culture you are steeped in. Yes, there is a lot of badass fighting, martial arts and magic and interesting prophecies, shenanigans and the lot, but to me, at the core, it explored identity once it is stripped from you and what ends up defining who you are, or how the characters figure who they are when what they thought they knew isn’t truly who they are.

It reminded me of growing up and getting to a point where I had to ask myself what I truly wanted, and if those wants were my own, of what had been planted in my mind from childhood by my parents, culture and expectations from society. It is a crucial point in your life where you truly look inside yourself and have to confront the truth, unravel the you that makes your core from the things that have been said you would do, be or accomplish.

Anyway, I got a little philosophical just from reading a book, so my review is that if you like Michelle Yeoh, Jackie Chan (particularly some more obscure films rather than the super ultra mainstream ones) and similar, you should read this book, it is really fun, and might also hit your philosophical pondering a little.

I can’t wait for the second one and I am really curious what will happen to all of them.

Also go check all the other stops for this tour:

Book Review

Moon Reads: The Luminaries

Friday Crest design by Jessica Khoury, © 2022 by Susan Dennard

Welcome to The Luminaries blog tour, in which you discover all the clans and maybe a new book to entice you into this universe.

The Luminaries by Susan Dennard

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


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.

Nothing is perfect, and as such, the reviews in this blog are chaotic. My main aim is to share my thoughts, joy and opinions on a book, not make a publication perfect review. This blog endorses authenticity, showing up and joy over perfection.


I remember when Susan Dennard was tweeting the follow your own adventure tweets and so when The Luminaries was announced, I was very excited for it! I wondered if it would stick to the ending and the path we had “chosen” for our characters, or if things would change, what would be kept, what would go?

As I read The Luminaries I can say that overall, it retained the same feels of that choose your own adventure twitter thread. However, it lead to character development, and to pondering choices, maybe even lengthening the story or something, and you can see hints of that. The story is the same and yet it is also, very different. This difference was at first hard to adapt to, since I was expecting the same feel of the “snippet” I had read, but a thread on Twitter is very different than a proper book and novel.

However, Winnie and Jay still are the same in their own way, and the overall feel was kept through and I loved that. Once I got past the initial oh this is a little different, I started to fall in love with this story, with how much Winnie was trying and how circumstances just seemed to be and no spoilers, but wow.

The characters were fun to read, there is a big focus on relationships, belonging and peer pressure and in part also on that small town/village feel and that closeness or otherness and what makes one part of it or not.

The ending was quite interesting and leaves a lot to find out plus a lot tied in, at least on of the main plot points that the book starts with is resolved, and the overall running one that will tie the rest of the books is there but we get some more information on it. Believe me that it is hard not to squeal about everything that happens and so the best I can say is “you need to read it!”

Book Review

Moon Reads: Alone With You In The Ether

Alone With You In The Ether by Olivie Blake

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Read before: No

Ownership: Review copy provided upon request from the publisher

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.


If you have read This is How You Lose the Time War, then you will find this book a close and similar read, but also a completely different read all in itself.

It is in itself a story full of stories, where two people, Regan and Aldo, meet up at the Art Institute in Chicago. Partly because both are trying to find answers, and they suddenly appear to find it here.

Without spoiling much, this book deals with big topics including mental heath and other issues, as both characters have their own quirks and challenges. Regan tries to find answers in chaos and being rash and impulsive, whereas Aldo goes into routine and other ways to cope. So their whole meet up is a collision course and also, like a supernova, creates something very interesting.

If you have read Olivie’s books before, then you will be familiar with her style, but if you are not, be aware this is a character driven book, with a lot of heavy “in my own head” chapter or monologue like conversations. There is a lot of thought processing and figuring things out, which is in itself fascinating, but may not be for everyone.

As for the love story part of it, it may not be your conventional love story, which is where it reminds me a lot of This is How You Lose the Time War, even though this is not a book about time travelling or such a complex setup, in this case the complexity comes from the characters and the conversations and interactions.

Overall, an interesting read that makes you think and reflect on things and ponder a lot and very enjoyable.

Book Review

Moon Reads: The Atlas Paradox Blog Tour

The Atlas Paradox by Olivie Blake

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Read before: No

Series: The Atlas

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.


After that massive cliffhanger of a thing in The Atlas Six, we get finally the next one, The Atlas Paradox.

We pick up a little less into exactly the cliffhanger but more of a recap of things. I admit some of it was helpful to refresh but some of it was a little too much and I would have preferred more action and less living in the characters heads.

But then we start seeing how some alliances are being tested as we go into each of the minds of the six and how they perceive others. This was interesting as a first shot, particularly seeing Reina figure it out, but it was also slightly not as interesting as it progressed, probably because you already somewhat know what to expect. After that, we descend into chaos of a story where everyone has to decide if they are sticking with their current allies, if they are actually pro certain things, more secrets are revealed and unlikely or unexpected alliances are made.

Now I will admit I love Reina and have curiosity about Libby and Nico, the rest are not here nor there for me and I could do without, so I avidly read their chapters and less enthusiastically the others. And I will admit as much as aI like being in the mind of characters sometimes, this book had a little too much of that, very little action and very little dialogue, becoming an exposition by thought, which more or less killed some of the greatness of it. Let me see them do what they think and act on their fears and thoughts rather than psychoanalyst themselves first then act on it. The shock or surprise was sometimes lost to this. However there was still quite a bit of fun, some interesting twists and ideas, and it once again left on an interesting cliffhanger.

I am intrigued to know how it will end and how right or wrong Atlas actually is, so my curiosity is still alive. But I am also aware that the way it shows you all of this massive plot is unusual and may be too much exposition for some. However, if you liked some or all of the characters, this is worth reading and figuring out what happens next.

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).

Waterstones: https://www.waterstones.com/book/9781911107507
Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/191110750X
Hive.co.uk: https://www.hive.co.uk/Product/Victoria-Williamson/War-of-the-Wind/27526544
Book Depositoryhttps://www.bookdepository.com/War-of-the-Wind-Victoria-Williamson/9781911107507
Bookshop.org: https://uk.bookshop.org/books/war-of-the-wind/9781911107507

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.

Book Review

Moon Reads: The First Binding Blog Tour

The First Binding by R. R. Virdi

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

Ownership: Review copy provided by publisher but I have been excited to read it for ages.

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.


This is going to be probably the weirdest review first paragraph ever, so you have been warned. Have you ever grown tired of the usual fantasy tropes of clueless hero, lovely stunning lady, lots of worldbuilding, some info dump here and there, potential trigger topics used just for the plot or close to fridging? Well, fear not, because The First Binding somehow is refreshingly none of that!

Do I mean to say our hero, Ari, isn’t a bit clueless? Yes he is but not the usual fantasy trope way. And what about having stunning lady in the story? Yes we do, but she is her own mystery and worth checking out. She is not there just for plot points.

In all honesty, because I am not the wittiest review writer, the one thing I can highly the most about The First Binding is how refreshing it is. Ari is a completely different male hero/villain/grey character. He is incredibly fully fleshed and has so many shades of grey that you can’t help but want to see them all and hear all his stories. The mechanic of worldbuilding and plot deployment as stories told by Ari and sometimes nested storytelling is brilliant and it does not for once feel just as info dump or as odd chapters taken from a different book. You feel as if you are there when Ari is telling his stories, and as things happen in the present.

One of the things I noticed the most and really really appreciated was how Ari treats female characters and how R. R. Virdi writes them. There is respect in there and not just a dump of a character for the sake of needing padding in plot. All throughout the book Ari has a way of approaching things and morality that felt good to read about, to see him live by it and colour his choices, and you can see how he learns from his experiences as he goes through his stories. Eloine is surprised by his way of being, but honestly so was I and I loved it. It is probably one of my favourite things here, and trust me, the stories and adventures are also incredibly good.

I have read many good books this year, but The First Binding climbed incredibly quickly to the top and currently has wiped out every other amazing book I have read. I cannot wait to read the next book and know more.

Book Review

Moon Reads: The Atlas Six

The Atlas Six by Olivie Blake

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

Read before: No

Ownership: Review copy provided kindly by publisher. This does not influence my review, it just means I can read and review before it is published.

If you like Dark Academia, The Atlas Six is definitely a good one to add to your list! I am not someone that hangs out much in TikTok or booktok so this had flown under my radar, however, once the synopsis showed up, it sounded quite a good book.

We meet six chosen ones, each with a specific magical ability that raises them above and beyond the usual magical beings. Making them exceptional, but the Alexandrian Society, offers them an invitation to join, and only five will make it in. The point, in general, is to pit them against each other and yet ask them to work together and at the same time, they are there to learn and study and become better. Sounds like a tall order of the day for all the candidates!

And honestly, some of the plot twists were quite epic and thankfully not as utterly predictable. Most of the characters are not nice people, which is understandable because if you had that much power, you don’t win by being nice or rather it is harder to stay nice. For me, this was both a strength and a weakness of the book. Why? Because some of the characters I genuinely stopped caring or even really wanting to read about them from the first few pages. The only reason I read more was that they had a point of view of certain things others didn’t since obviously they were the ones that hung together or at least had similar things to show. However, it was also a strength as it gave me characters to consider interesting without fully rooting for them, and then there were a few characters that were mysterious or intriguing and some I liked almost instantly despite their flaws and prickly parts.

Overall the book was quite interesting, I very much want to read the next one and know what happens next and there was a lot of interesting pacing going on alongside some interesting takes on powers and magic that was refreshing to see. Recommended because it is a good magical dark academia vibe and we are here for it.

Books

Moon Reads: Cytonic giveaway

Welcome to my stop on the Cytonic blog tour, if you are here to check on Spin, I mean Spensa, then you are in the right place.

Today I have a little treat for you, a giveaway. If you follow Gollancz account and me on Twitter then retweet the giveaway tweet, you’re in for a chance to win a copy of Cytonic, and complete your set!

https://twitter.com/themoonkestrel/status/1466029564484747268

So what are we finding out about the story after all the amazing stuff Spensa has already managed to do? Here is a quick summary of what to expect in the book.

Spensa’s life as a Defiant Defense Force pilot has been far from ordinary. She proved herself one of the best starfighters in the human enclave of Detritus and she saved her people from extermination at the hands of the Krell—the enigmatic alien species that has been holding them captive for decades. What’s more, she traveled light-years from home as an undercover spy to infiltrate the Superiority, where she learned of the galaxy beyond her small, desolate planet home.

Now, the Superiority—the governing galactic alliance bent on dominating all human life—has started a galaxy-wide war. And Spensa’s seen the weapons they plan to use to end it: the Delvers. Ancient, mysterious alien forces that can wipe out entire planetary systems in an instant. Spensa knows that no matter how many pilots the DDF has, there is no defeating this predator.

Except that Spensa is Cytonic. She faced down a Delver and saw something eerily familiar about it. And maybe, if she’s able to figure out what she is, she could be more than just another pilot in this unfolding war. She could save the galaxy.

The only way she can discover what she really is, though, is to leave behind all she knows and enter the Nowhere. A place from which few ever return.

To have courage means facing fear. And this mission is terrifying.