Book Review

Moon Reads: Space Battle Lunchtime A Dish Best Served Cold

Space Battle Lunchtime Volume Three: A Dish Best Served Cold by Natalie Riess

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

Read before: No

Ownership: Bought immediately after finishing Volume One.

Spoiler free review: No. In general illustrated or graphic novels may contain spoilers otherwise I end up just waxing lyrical about art and not much else.


After we finish the competition for Space Battle Lunchtime, coming second in the final, Peony goes back to “normal” life, but she is now going out with Neptunia and her success in the show has now invited her to make desserts for a royal catering gig for a space empress! We even get a small adventure trying to source some ingredients for the fancy desserts Peony is making.

But as the gala happens, and everyone is enjoying themselves, there’s trouble a foot with someone poisoning the empress as she samples the desserts that Neptunia helped Peony make. But is it that Neptunia is not trustworthy or is there something more going on that may be why the empress was poison?

Once again shenanigans and crazy trying to save people on time ensues while we also try to find out who poisoned the empress and how to save the whole party!

This was probably a much slower and less action packed book, but it is also laying a lot of groundwork on backstory for characters. We learn quite a lot about Neptunia and a little more about other characters as we go and partly also a bit more about the whole “space” dynamics, so less action and a lot of it packed tightly into it. And definitely a bit less food making and pacing a little different, but still interesting and worth reading. I hope it means there will be more to learn and come on the next volume.

Still recommended for those that love cooking shows, probably also good for murder mystery fans and revenge plots, and cute food and space shenanigans!

Book Review

Moon Reads: Space Battle Lunchtime: A Recipe For Disaster

Space Battle Lunchtime Volume Two: A Recipe For Disaster by Natalie Riess

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

Read before: No

Ownership: Bought immediately after finishing Volume One.

Spoiler free review: No. In general illustrated or graphic novels may contain spoilers otherwise I end up just waxing lyrical about art and not much else.


Peony was about to start the final for Space Battle Lunchtime when she was stolen away to the Cannibal Coliseum which is a competitor show where you not only cook but you may end up being cooked or rather, it is very much the end point of the competition, cook or be cooked and try to present a final dish.

Neptunia realises that something is definitely wrong since Peony didn’t make the “date” they had set up for the night before, so she enlists the help of the camera man to create a distraction while she figures out how to rescue Peony. Chaos, shenaningans, and more ensue, including Peony desperately trying to cook and avoid being cooked in Cannibal Coliseum, plus finding a way to escape and get back to Space Battle Lunchtime or at the very least away from Cannibal Coliseum.

As per the previous Volume, this has a lot of mood colouring and artwork. And the artwork is super cute, the new Cannibal Coliseum competitors are interesting and the “main” enemy that Peony is competing against is extra bundles of cuteness. I had so much joy out of reading and desperately wanted to go join a cooking contest, definitely NOT a cannibal one, or bake and cook new food and items.

Overall, as previously I highly recommend it for anyone that likes food competitions, queer relationships, fun space shenaningans and great characters. Have something yummy ready while you read, as this will make you hungry!

Book Review

Moon Reads: Space Battle Lunchtime: Lights, Camera, Snacktion!

Space Battle Lunchtime Volume One: Lights, Camera, Snacktion! by Natalie Riess

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

Read before: No

Ownership: This was a gift from Kellybee who is an awesome friend but it was in my wishlist as something I definitely wanted.

Spoiler free review: No. In general illustrated or graphic novels may contain spoilers otherwise I end up just waxing lyrical about art and not much else.


We start our scene with our heorine, Peony, who is a baker at a small cafe on Earth gets whisked away to a space TV show to be emergency replacement of a chef that was actually going to compete. Peony has zero clue what this is except that it is a cooking show and that she cant just give up. So she cooks and bakes and does her best.

The competition is fierce and someone is most certainly sabotaging things, but Peony’s upbeat cheer, her helpful nature and stubbornness help her out so that she makes it to the final.

Look, for starters, the art is really good. The author went for a “go for colour vibe and feel then draw the thing” and it works SO well with the story. The story flows really well, the food made makes me hungry and it is also cool to see a take on different places of space where each of the competitors comes from.

I would totally watch this show if it existed!

As for the characters, Peony steals the show for sure but Neptunia also has some points there and just the whole cast is varied enough and it fits well. I won’t spoil the actual ending or where this gets to, but I immediately had to order the next two books because I couldnt wait to read more.

I think one of the key parts of this is that it is a cooking show comic and it is about food in a positive and competitive way alongside the whole space fun and the artwork and characters just add that extra flavour and layers to it that make it chef’s kiss quality.

Recommended for those addicted to watching Master Chef, The Great British Bake Off, and anything of the kind, if you like space, queer relationships, aliens, cooking or cute graphic novels, this one is definitely for you!

Book Review

Moon Reads: Horizon Zero Dawn The Sunhawk

Horizon Zero Dawn – The Sunhawk by Anne Toole, Ann Maulina, Bryan Valenza and Jim Campbell

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

Ok, when I found out that there was a Horizon Zero Dawn comic, I preordered the hell out of it. So much I have all individual issues in at least 3 different versions of the cover, plus this one and the Forbidden Planet edition of the full volume. I genuinely love the game and have played it many times, so this was a natural add on to my shelves.

But what about the actual story?

It is very exciting and makes me want the Forbidden West game to come out today or as soon as I started reading the comics. I fully appreciate getting a comic while we wait which like an appetiser of what is to come.

Mostly it is a story about Talanah going on a mission/quest to hunt a new machine that looks dangerous and the slight scrapes and adventures she gets into. We also meet a few other characters that I suspect will show in-game and I can’t wait to play it! It is also nice to see a comic and the drawings of the machines and the adventures plus new areas. And it makes me want to draw some fanart and replay the main game. You definitely get less Aloy in it but I liked the focus on Talanah and how she’s faring being the Sunhawk of the Hunter’s Lodge, since the game will still focus on Aloy.

Overall, I recommend it for fans of the game and series and if you can’t wait to play the second game, you should totally read this.

Book Review

Moon Reads: Sera and the Royal Stars Vol. 1

Sera and the Royal Stars by Tsuki, Mok, Angulo & Campbell

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

I can’t remember why I chose this book at some point but it obviously caught my eye and I had it just gathering dust somewhere (I put aside my graphic novels those moments of the year when my brain just cannot engage with a novel and needs the pictures and not as many words).

Thinking for some odd reason that this was a single volume kind of graphic novel I set to read it, and I have to say I like the artwork, reminds me a lot of old, or should I say traditional, comic style, with the colouring and the artwork, in a nice way. It is like the art was given a new lease in life keeping all the good of old styles but making the art better and just nicer to read through, a good middle ground between old fashioned and modern.

As for the story, it is really interesting, with a lot of myth, a lot of heroics and great characters making this something to sink your teeth into. Not superheroes but with a grander than just you storyline, gods, constellations, big stakes and more, it has all the elements of a big saga to happen and Sera is well fleshed to be the main heroine of the story with her own personal goals, but also being swept into needing to do more for the world and trying to figure out what is right and what the right things to do are when there are many paths but technically only one that will suceed.

Now, I do admit, this didn’t make grab me so much that as soon as I finished I wanted the next volume, but I think if I found the volumes in the library I’d try to get them and read through the whole series. But I did not feel like I wanted to buy all the volumes as it was not hitting me as much as other books have. I do know I am less into grand sweeping arcs that are too close to traditional superhero stories and I think that is where the fault is for me with this book, which is more of a palate one than of the story or execution.

Still, if you like traditional comic superhero stories but want a more fantasy view with gods and other interesting items, this may be the series for you, and it has a very interesting main character, so I can recommend you to look into Sera and the Royal Stars.

Book Review

Moon Reads: The Oracle Code

The Oracle Code graphic novel on top of a Spirted Away jigsaw

The Oracle Code by Marieke Nijkamp (writer) and Manuel Preitano (illustrator)

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

I have been on a graphic novel strike since they have been easy to read when my brain is extremely tired. This particular one caught my eye as I really like the character of Oracle in Batman (and the relationship between Batman and Oracle is a very interesting one) so I felt like I had to read this one and see what I could make of it.

For starters, this appears to completely change Barbara’s backstory (that she was Batgirl, and shot by Joker, etc) and figuring that out caused me a bit of issues to get into the beginning of the story. But once I realised it was a different “canon” and not the one I was fmailiar with, I found it intriguing. I think part of it is that this is a younger more teenage version of Barbara than the one I am familiar with (the Oracle/Barbara I love is Arkhamverse lore).

The story does some interesting mixing of items with it being about Barbara figuring out who she is after the accident and gun shot which is all about identity and what defines you, but it also covers how things around you change as a “disability” changes your life. On top fo that it has a mystery to solve and a slightly creepy haunting vibe, and includes osme fairytales, so it is doing a lot in a relatively small space. Because of that at times it leaves lots of gaps to make the mystery more mysterious or uses the tales as an aide rather than provide a clearer path, which is nice but also at times I wanted more substance.

Overall the effect is nice and I enjoyed it very much, I could read many more adventures after the end of this one in this universe/canon for Barbara, as here she isn’t really Oracle yet but more figuring out the parts of her that will make her into who she is as Oracle. It reads very much as a pre Oracle and after BatGirl kind of book but does nothing to talk about her being Batgirl, so as I said, some confusion ensued for me.

If you’re a massive fan then this may confuse you a tiny bit, but if you’re not that into the lore of Batman and Arkham, etc, then this is a lovely graphic novel with a lot of female rep, disability rep and itneresting topics. Obviously give the topics there may be some triggers, particular about institutionalising and mistreatment of people wiht disabilities, and amybe even a little about eugenics and “fixing” and failures. I’d say, the book deals with it decently (could be better, could be worse). Still, worth a read and I can recommend it.

Book Review

Moon Reads: Fence Volumes 1-4

Fence Volumes 1-4 by C.S. Pacat, Johanna the Mad, Joana LaFuente

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

Look, fencing was intriguing to me back when I saw Parent Trap but there wasn’t anywhere I could learn to fence nearby where I lived in Mexico so I dropped that dream fast. And I had forgotten somewhat about it until my friends started talking about Fence and how good it was, and to convince me, one of them gave me the first volume as a gift for my birthday.

I ended reading it during the first few weeks after my husband’s accident since I didn’t feel like reading a full proper book and a graphic novel was the ticket. I think the best review I can give is that immediately after finishing the first one, I ordered the next 3 because I HAD to read them (tragically I received 3 and 4 before the second one so I had to wait longer to binge read them).

The art, the fencing, the drama, the personalities, everything is great about this series. The characters have me in giggles with their antics but also, they all have a very defined personality and their own depth (particularly the main cast) and you slowly get to know why they are so cold or so joyful or so whatever it is that defines them. Bobby wins my heart, but in general it’s hard to chose one since they’re all so much fun and the story is all about a pair of rivals. One of them is the 2nd best national, the other is only just making it through, and how they have to learn to work as ateam along other fencers of the same school to get better, learn from their weaknesses and maybe learn to be better with others.

Honestly, it is not only the fencing, but the interactions that make this book and I had so much joy and such intensity reading I was sad to finish the 4th one and not have the next one already (why can’t I time travel to read them all in one go?!)

I can now understand why my friends were so eager to have me read it, and I can only say, you should read it too!

Book Review

Moon Reads: Sheets

Sheets by Brenna Thummler

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

I got a sampler on one of the free comic book day events, and made a mental note to buy it full at some point. That point was a lot later because I don’t have the sampler anymore. But I did buy the book, so it kinda worked to give me a sampler for it? (Honestly I wish there were more demo/sampler options for books and other items, but that’s a discussion for some other day and post).

Sheets is the story of a young girl, Marjorie, trying her best to keep her family, school and laundromat afloat after her mother’s death. And a ghost, Wendell, who isn’t fitting in the ghost world after dying.

Being outsiders and just not fitting right makes for two parallel stories that at some point join when our ghost accidentally ends up haunting the laundromat and causing a lot of issues for Marjorie who does her absolute best ot help.

Thankfully at the breaking point where things are all going wrong and there is no saving grace, Wendell pulls through and works some ghostly magic for Marjorie, changing her life in a great way, plus becoming good friends.

Reading through Sheets was emotional, bittersweet but it was also nice ot read a book about some realities some kids have when the main adult checks out and they have to take adult duties and make it look the adult is still functioning so they care for themselves and any siblings.

Sadly the artwork wasn’t really my style so I wasn’t as keen on ti and it was the story that won my over this time. Still I think this is the kind of book I’d have in a school or kids library available for those that feel like ghosts in their own home and environment.

Book Review

Moon Reads: Taproot

Taproot by Keezy Young

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

I have a soft spot for botanical graphic novels, and if it involves ghosts, or grief, I am extra into it. I got this as a gift fromt he wonderful Lauren (aka The Bookihs Fairy) who is a bundle of sunlight.

Taproot is a story about a gardener, Hamal, who can see ghosts. This makes him a bit of a weirdo, as he may look like he’s talking to himself (to others) and also, the ghosts affect his reality a little, particularly Blue, who just can’t seem to go away.

That is until things start working a little weird wonky in the ghost world and the ghosts reach out to Hamal. Blue notices that maybe he needs to figure this out as he doesn’t want to move on and also, Hamal may be in trouble.

I loved the artwork as it made me want to live in a botanical garden type of home (I do wish I had a wonderful green thumb, which sadly I do not have), and the fact that it touches on death, grief, and hope is all up to my street and made this book even mroe precious. Plus there is some romance, some fun investigative work done by Hamal, and Blue’s story that we slowly discover (plus a few other ghosts make a story appearance too).

I kinda wanted the story to be longer, not because it was lacking but rather because I enjoyed reading it too much and wanted to hold on to it for longer. Highly recommended as soft gentle read if you’re okay with grief/death as part of a normal story.

Book Review, Books

Giant Days Volume One

Giant Days Volume One by John Allison, Lissa Treiman (Illustrator), Whitney Cogar (Colors)

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

At some point I got a sampler for this and then on a whim bought the first volume. Completely forgot about it. And recently I was doing a clear up and organising of my graphic novels/comics and this one popped up. I decided that since it looked short I’d give it a read and decide if I was actually into it or not.

You can guess what the result was… (I have somehow now purchased up to volume 13).

The three girls that share a dorm room/area are as interestingly differnet as can be. Innocent ray of sunshine, “normal” and drama queen. And well, this is a delightful mix. I giggled a lot and also I found it refreshing that the drama queen isn’t trying to be one and even bets against causing drama intentionally or not (it doesn’t go well for her bet), our normal girl isn’t that normal (woops, even if she tries) and the cute innocent sunshine has a bit of gloom and bad luck around her.

I like their weird adventures and the relationship between them which made this a fun read, the artwork worked well to give a laidback college vibe and keeping it fun even fi topics range from lighthearted crushes to mental health and drugs.

I obviously will keep reaidng once the next volumes arrive, so expect more reviews to come about Giant Days!