Book Review

Moon Reads: I am NOT Starfire

I am NOT Starfire by Mariko Tamaki and Yoshi Yoshitani

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

Read Before: No

Ownership: Preordered because I like Starfire and the art fo Yoshi Yoshitani

Spoilers: Free of spoilers but will discuss plot.

I was really into Teen Titans when I was younger (the original Cartoon Network ones were so cute) and therefore I have a soft spot for them and when I saw Yoshi Yoshitani was the artist for this I had to get it.

The premise is that Starfire’s daughter is most certainly not like Starfire. Mandy is more of an outcast, less of an extrovert, prefers black and darkness and not the fame and bubbly spirit that her mum is. And also, she is keeping secrets form Starfire who is trying to save the world and keep her daughter well.

Things suddenly get in motion when Mandy gets paired up with other class crush, Claire for a project and therefore starts to feel like she’s making friend,s but also, Starfire’s past is catching up with her and may affect Mandy, and Mandy may have to make big decisions before she feels ready.

If anything this comic is a love letter to Starfire, to not knowing fully your identity, maybe of being first-generation and trying to figure out how to fit in the world but also with the expectations of your family. And it is about being mixed and having doubts, cracks in your identity. It was a very interesting exploration of various themes and at the same time you could see it as a very cute romance and fun superhero book. To me it was both and the art was amazing, alongside a very interesting plot.

Recommended for Teen Titans fans, and anyone who wants a wacky fun superhero and family, and identity graphic novel. I sped through this one and then shared with my friends so they could enjoy it too.

Book Review

Moon Reads: Incredible Doom [vol 1]

Incredible Doom [vol 1] by Matthe Bogart and Jesse Holden

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

Read before: No

Ownership: Bought for myself

Content warnings: Violence, domestic abuse, drugs, alcohol, gaslighting, manipulation, bullying, the list is quite long

Accidentally I am doing a theme for the past few weeks of the choice of books to review, and Incredible Doom fits well as a graphic novel counterpart to Run Rebel.

Incredible Doom focuses on four teenagers discovering the power of the internet, old-style forums, and friendship in a harsh world.

If you wonder why a lot of people connected through the internet and it boomed quickly, or if you yourself used to spend your nights messaging virtual friends in forums and finding connections to them, this is a graphic novel for you.

We have Allison who has a manipulative abusive father that tries to keep her as a child and unable to leave, so she finds friends through the internet and her computer while complying with the demand of her father, until ti becomes too much and her new online friend agrees to run away with her, trying to escape her father.

On the other side of the story, we have Richard who has just joined a new school and makes friends with Tina, who is small but fierce and punk, and this will shake his whole world, the place he fits and potentially even more, but in turn, he will shake the world he’s been introduced to back.

A story that is in a way about old times but also that lives through time in the internet and may still apply even if it isn’t now forums but other apps and means to communicate, you may still find the connections that keep you alive while your world falls apart.

Book Review

Moon Reads: Séance Tea Party

Séance Tea Party by Reimena Yee

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

Read before: No

Ownership: Owned

Spoiler Free: Not entirely, major plot points will be mentioned or touched on but not the ending.

I have a fondness for graphic novels, and one about ghosts and tea parties sounded right up my street! Plus just look at the artwork and it becomes clear it was irresistible.

Séance Tea Party is in broad strokes about friendship, identity and that awkward stage between still being a child and becoming a teenager.

Lora is slowly seeing her circle of friends disappear as their interests just do not coincide. She prefers playing on the swings and using her imagination, while her friends suddenly are interested in romance and looks and other things she has no interest in. Tea parties are better, so why not host one for ghosts and maybe try to invite one to the tea party?

When this actually works and Lora discovers Alexa, the ghost of a young girl, her friendship problems are solved, or at least that’s what Lora thinks, but is a ghost that will not be able to grow up ever the kind of friend Lora really needs, or is there maybe more to just tea parties that make up a friendship?

As Lora and Alexa explore their identity, their past, present and future together and on their own, the story takes us through finding our place in that stage of growing up when we don’t want to grow up and yet we also want very much to be a grown up, and such contradictions can wreak havoc.

It is a sweet story with a hint of magic, ghosts and a lot of tea and imagination, which makes it an adorable read that will make you want to bake a cake and invite your friends over for a cup of tea.

Book Review

Moon Reads: Quarantine Comix

Quarantine Comix by Rachael Smith

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

Read before: No

Ownership: Preordered since it sounded interesting and I was ina comic/graphic novel mood.

Quarantine Comix was born out of the dread created by the pandemic and being put into quarantine/lockdown, so Rachael started drawing. The first few comics are more or less about how the pandemic hit her and her life and how much she misses her boyfriend, and to be honest those first few pages weren’t that good or entertaining, but I could understand the feeling behind them and therefore I kept going.

The comics and panels get more relatable and you can see she starts looking back and making it a bit more fun and interesting rather than just staying in bed and being filled with existensial dread. Whcih meant I ended up taking pictures of the pages and sharing them with friends because I found them relatable but also amusing and I could sympatise.

Like for example the above made me laugh, in all honesty I didn’t feel I had to go back to bookshops and have not gone back to one just yet because I do not deem it essential. I do deem essential having books, so I kept well stocked. But I did completely relate with the “what am I meant to read?” and then being surrounded by books. At times nothing I owned seemd to do the trcik but slowly that is getting easier as life becomes its own new normal.

And I think that is what makes the comics work, they shift to a new normal, and you can relate to them in one way or they remind you of a friend or family member and a situation experienced in the last year or so, and therefore I feel like this would be a fun gift to give to some friends as a “meet up after the quarantine” in a share the feelings way, but it is also a nice little graphic novel about how normal has changed and we adapt.

Book Review

Moon Reads: Zatanna and the House of Secrets

Zatanna and the House of Secrets by Matthew Cody and Yoshi Yoshitani

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

Read before: No

Ownership: Preordered

Spoiler free review: Yes

I don’t know how I had slept on Zatanna for so long as superhero kinda thing and I love her.

This little lovely graphic novel is all about her house which is an interesting house full of secrets. Zatanna is a big upset that her magician dad is tired, and suddenly when she comes back form school, Dad has disappeared in the house and been taken by evil lady.

But the house has a personality and mind of its own, so Zatanna has to team up with some interesting “allies” so she can try to save her dad and maybe find out more about all the secrets the house keeps, and maybe, just maybe something about her mum.

Look, I loved the art, Yoshi does amazing work and basically, I can’t say no to anything done by her so I had to preorder this and also it looked really cool. Then the plot reminded me of my dad when he had his magician performer streak/mid-life crisis and had me as an assistant and just how much I enjoyed it and at the same time felt very embarrassed by it, but I still can perform some tricks and things stuck to me and have helped me through life, so you know, win-win. Basically, it was a fun read, which on top of that brought back memories and made it even more significant for me to read and enjoy.

Recommended for children, magician parents, superhero lovers, and just anyone that needs a magic house and some magic in their life, oh plus a cute bunny companion.

Book Review

Moon Reads: Tails of Magicat

Tails of Magicat by magicatchoo

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

Read before: Not as a book.

Ownership: Backed on Kickstarter

Spoiler free review: No

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

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

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

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

Book Review

Moon Reads: Conspiracy of Ravens

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

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

Read before: No

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Book Review

Moon Reads: The Sad Ghost Club

The Sad Ghost Club by Lize Meddings

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

Read before: No

Ownership: Preordered a signed copy form Waterstones

Spoiler free review: Probably. Mild spoilers.

I have been enjoying branching out on graphic novels beyond my usual, and when Waterstones had a sale I popped this in my basket and then read it in an afternoon.

We mostly follow a sad ghost who suffers with anxiety and just sadness and is trying ot do a little bit more, dare a little more, so when they get invited to a party, after a lot of maybe yes maybe not, they decide to go.

Obviously it isnt a case of just going to the party and we see all the mulling and thought that go through their head, but at the party they spy someone else who is lonely and ask if theyd like company. Surprises do happen when you dare a little bit and well, the rest is more left to the reader once they get on the story and for me not to spoil anymore.

Overall, I liked it, but it does have a sad undercurrent not unexpectedly) so its a bit of a double edged sword. I think it is a bit undecided too if it is middle grade or young adult. Part of it feels older than middle grade, but the art style and the way the dialogue happens have a more middle grade vibe to it, so this is probably bordering both genres rather than fitting neatly in one or the other.

Art style is relatively simple since its mostly ghosts and just following the one character for a while, but it does keep you int he world and the dialogue moves it along. And itd be a good graphic novel to gift to someone struggling with loneliness and sadness. Not that this is a solution, but maybe a little bit of hope or to feel seen and identify a little with the characters in it.

Overall, it was enjoyable if sad, but I did hope for a little bit more and maybe that was more my expectations than the book itself, so who knows?

Book Review

Moon Reads: Anti/Hero

Anti/Hero by Kate Karyus Quinn, Demitria Lunetta and Maca Gil (Illustrations)

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

Read before: No

Ownership: Gifted by a sweet friend who saw it on my wishlist and gifted it to me

Spoiler free review: No

Anti/Hero is about two girls who are trying to find their place in their world the way they want. Piper Pájaro is popular but not very smart and she has a secret, she is incredibly strong. So during her free time she tries to be a superhero but her clumsiness and strength work against her most of the time. On the other hand we have Sloane MacBrute who is extremely smart but has the bad rep of her evil grandfather, so everyone treats her as if she was the same. So she does what she needs to make sure her mother is fine and has a decent life.

When an accidental encounter has them have a Freaky Friday kinda of moment and they swap bodies, they have to team up to work it out. But it isn’t just a race to fix the item that caused them to swap bodies, they also have to team up to fight Sloanes evil grandfather and in a way help each other through a competition where they have to rely on what they know plus the strengths of each other.

It was a really cute read, with a fun feel to it, quite a bit of diversity and looking at how people may judge you for what they know about your family without giving you a chance to be more than their expectations and why the expectations may be wrong.

Recommended for fans of superheroes, those that like graphic novels that are self contained and new heroes.

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!