Subscription Boxes

Moon Hauls: Whimsical Worlds Tales by Mail

Subscription box: Tales by Mail

Theme/Month: Whimsical Worlds for December 2020

Ownership: Subscribed on their 6 boxes option. If you are interested in purchasing a Tales by Mail subscription, you can do it on their website.

Tales by Mail is a bi-monthly middle grade book box that comes with two books, some activity pages you can collect, or copy or use in various ways, a pin and one or two items.

Today I am showing you what the Whimsical Worlds box had inside and what I think about the contents, starting from the theme card/activity pages in the bottom left and going clockwise:

  • Whimsical Worlds activity pages, as per usual there’s space for a short review of each book and a few other activities.
  • The Marvellous Land of Snergs which claims to be the story that inspired the Hobbit so I am curious to find out more about it and also it is setting me for high expectations…
  • “A bookworm lives here” sticker, I have a soft spot for awesome stickers so this is a great item.
  • Small & Wild tea, it came with two bags and I was extra excited to see one is called Snoozy Fox! They’re both delicious and kid-friendly.
  • A Christmas wooden ornament, which promptly went on my tree.
  • Three promotional bookmarks for other middle-grade books.
  • The House at the Edge of Magic, this one has a different vibe, more like a Narnia feel to it and I am intrigued by it.

This book brought me great joy between the foxy tea, the Christmas ornament and just the interesting reads that came inside. So far, I can highly recommend the box for anyone with children, teachers or those like me that enjoy reading middle-grade books even if there are no children around to share them with.

I also really like that it packs two books and non clutter items in it. The tea was promptly brewed and enjoyed, the ornament went on the tree, the sticker will be put on a surface soon and the books read and enjoyed. No complaints there at all. And a lot to say for packing a punch in the contents.

Book Review

Moon Reads: Midnight Magic

Midnight Magic by Michelle Harrison and Elissa Elwick

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

Midnight Magic is all about magic and black cats born at midnight.

It is also one of those books that as a child you love and will read over nad over again and keep thinking it would be amazing to have a cat like Midnight and be so lucky to have magic around. I remember feeling like this with The Little Leftover Witch, and I got the same little hope of magic and things just coming to happen with a pinch of magic in them.

Midnight is born exactly at midnight on a stable and she is a very lucky cat but also, it means a lot of trouble, but she will soon find her way around life.

I had a lot of joy reading this book, the illustrations make it even nicer to read and the rhyming verses to go through the story are delightful. I can highly recommend this book to read, both for your own enjoyment or for your childre, or your niece/nephew, or if you’re a teacher, then for your classroom. There will be a lot of fun and imagining how life would be if you had Midnight come to your house and you adopted her. I cant wait to see if there will be more adventures for Midnight and her family.

Overall, great read for all ages, and full of magic. Highly recommended.

Subscription Boxes

Moon Hauls: Magic Menageries Tales by Mail

Unboxing spread of Tales by Mail "MAgic Menageries" box

A great little box not focused on young adults, or even adults but actually on Middle Grade reads is Tales by Mail by the same people behind Book Box Club). One of my favourite perks is that it is focused on the books and activities that don’t require more than imagination, some time and something to fill them in. They even have a siblings option just in case you have two little ones in the same household.

So enough raving about it and lets go straight into the contents! Starting on the far left bottom with the theme pages and going clockwise:

  • The set of pages to add to your folder with space for reviewing the books included alongside some activities. These fit nicely in the binder you can get from them I love adding them to their binder once the box arrives).
  • This time we also got a patch to show off were part of Tales by Mail, which I think is a really cute touch. You’d get this when you start your subscription as far as I understand).
  • A super cute magnet with the flying tiger from the theme card.
  • The pin to match the theme.
  • Temporary tattoos of fantastical creatures. I used to love temporary tattoos as a kid and these are so cute and fun!
  • A collection of promotional items for A Clock of Stars, this includes a postcard/print, a bookmark and a sampler, it does sound super exciting and I am intrigued.
  • Another promotional bookmark but for a different book.
  • Book 1, being The Creature Keeper by Damaris Young, this sounds so intriguing and magical.
  • Book 2, which is a more wonderful tale called the The Midnight Guardians by Ross Montgomery.

I love middle grade and Tales by Mail basically makes my life better by giving me two fun middle grades matching a cute theme every other month and with some extra goodies plus some promotional items that make me curious for more books if I like the ones included usually I do, so I end up wanting more books. My pile of books that I want to read is growing exponentially!

If you have children or if you e njoy middle grade, I can highly recommend this box!

Subscription Boxes

Moon Hauls: Off the Map Tales by Mail

This is the second Tales by Mail box and I have to say I am still enjoying them a lot. As mentioned before, this is from the same people behind Book Box Club and it is all about the middle grade love. So let’s see what was included in this box:

  • The activity worksheets. Usually they encourage you to write a short review and include some other fun things to do. If you got the starter pack then it fits neatly to go after the previous pack of activities.
  • A woodmark with the theme art.
  • Several promotional pins for Pizzaz and one for the theme card.
  • A cute pencil
  • And the two main books, Wonderscape and Sky Pirates

Both books look very interesting and I am looking forward to reading them. I am also happy that there’s not a lot in the box to clutter, just activities and great reads.

Book Review

Moon Reads: 44 Tiny Secrets

44 Tiny Secrets by Sylvia Bishop and Ashley King

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

I saw this book on Twitter and it felt very tempting to read and buy, so I preordered and lo and behold, it did not disappoint.

For starters the house where Betsy lives is full of ferns and it has a piano and she’s the daughter of two famous pianists, so she has to become the next one, like them. Her very patient grandfather is happily teaching her despite the potential failures.

Betsy tries so hard to make her parents porud but something just doesn’t work, instead she gets a letter on the post with the promise of a secret way to be able to play the piano like her parents. It comes free, but the only thing is, she has to keep the method a secret.

She accepts and oh, the delightful brilliant madness of this comes true. I loved the secret method and it just made me feel happy to read the book.

There was a lot of “want to hug you and reassure you” feelings towards Betsy as she is doing her best to impress her parents. It highlights how conversations adults have can make a big impression on a child and affect their perception of themselves and of their future.

And of course there’s a lot of humour and things to make you smile and the sweetness of a good children’s book that will leave you feeling like you’ve just had a nice plate of warm cookies, your favourite kind.

I recommend this book if you like music, fun families, crazy stories and lots of little giggles, and of course, if you are curious about what the 44 tiny secrets are.

Book Review, Books

Blogtour: The Great Revolt Review

The Great Revolt by Paul Dowswell

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

Due to some technical issues (aka, my husband was in hospital) no pretty jigsaw picture this time! And as a disclaimer I was provided a free copy by the publishers so I could review the book for this tour. This doesn’t affect my review or views on it.

The Great Revolt made my reenactor and history buff heart all happy inside. We get to meet Matilda (usually goes by Tilda in the book) and her father Thomas. And let me start by saying that this is a book where both the father and the child are part of the story and it is done well. I found this refreshing to read since normally the parents get killed or out of the picture, but Thomas is part of the story as much as Tilda is.

And both have their own motives, personalities and ideas, which makes this a book with well fleshed characters, several interesting points of view and conflicting ideas and just a lot to read about in a relatively short book.

At first I felt like I wanted desperately to get to teh juicy parts of the revolt but then I just wanted to learn more and more about the characters and their world, so bonus points on making this a world I can feel I am a part of. It was also good to read Thomas being okay with his life and seeing it as “better than what other options could be”. Yes, maybe it could be better but he is content, and again, usually everyone is unhappy or if they aren’t, they’re the villain, but that is not the case here and the dynamics of interactions and relationships are a lot more grey than just black and white.

Obviously, revolution comes at a cost and Tilda gets in some interesting adventures and makes some new friends. I kinda felt happy to read all the variety of the book and to feel part of that revolt and march to London to talk to the king.

I’d say if you are into history, into sweeping tales and wonderfully interesting books this is one for you. It has a lot of interesting points I don’t see often executed this well in a book. (If you want anything to compare to, I’d say it reminded me of Sally Nichols books or that style of historical but putting in the middle of the action but not from the safe point).

Book Review, Books

The Boy who Dreamed of Dragons Review

The Boy who Dreamed of Dragons by Andy Shepherd. Illustrated by Sara Ogilvie.

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

I discovered The Boy who Grew Dragons a while back and adored it so I ended up buying all three books. And then they announced there would be a fourth one and I immediately preordered it because between the cute illustrations and the adorable story, I was sold (plus, dragons, very important part).

The best way I can summarise what the book is all about is to say that it is a transition story, from what happened in the previous three to what is to come if there are more books (which I hope there are). There a lot of changes for the superhero squad, and some new characters added.

Tomas is struggling to cope with the changes and feels like things are moving too fast, but there are ways around them and change brings growth which is a lesosn he definitely has to learn in this book. Plus one of the new characters brings potentially lots of new stories to the game (and I am hoping they will come in more books for sure). We see more Flicker and more dragosn whcih was enjoyable, I just was sad that my original idea of what dreaming of dragons meant wasn’t what happened but I still liked what the title implied to (and it was more fo a “I went expecting/guessing this and something else happened but I still wish this one thing was something in this universe” maybe it will be at some point…)

One of my favourite things is the cute dragons and how unique they are which was wonderful to see here. And the relationships of family like how Tomas and his sister Lolli get along and I love that, or when he interacts with his grandfather. It is lovely to see some family around and the dynamics behind them.

As I mentioned before, the artwork is great and very enjoyable, giving the story a little bit more fun and depth. So go get the first one, or maybe the whole set, because maybe you will suddenly find an interesting fruit and need to know how to deal with the little dragon that may pop out of it!

Books, Subscription Boxes

Mansion House Mysteries Unboxing Tales by Mail

Tales by Mail is a new book box subscription that happens bi monthly, has a podcast and is focused on 8-12 years old! The people behind it are the masterminds behind Book Box Club so of course I had to try this one and as is evident by my blog posts, I read Middle Grade and other children books so it felt right up my street.

This is the very first box of Tales by Mail and the theme was Mansion House Mysteries (makes me think of my own young self watching Scooby Doo!), and starting on the top right and going clockwise, let’s see what was included:

  • Not included in the box but can be bought separately is a binder to hold the pages of activities and “reviews” that get sent with each box. I decided to get it alongside the box as it felt more organised to myself that way and a simple way to collect them in a designated place.
  • A sampler of The Train to Impossible Places.
  • A tote bag for The Strangeworlds Travel Agency which I am super happy to find in the box.
  • Promotional bookmark for Tran to Impossible Places.
  • Mini notebook to write all the notes on mystery solving with the theme artwork on the front.
  • On top fo the books, are two pins, one makes you an official member of the Postal Express and the other has the theme art for the box.
  • The House to Hoarder Hill. This looks spooky like and I am super itnrigued.
  • Jack’s Secret Summer, which feels more like a fun adventure with a bit of mystery and no spooky (but I may be wrong)
  • The theme cards and activities, it has a couple fo pages for a review of each book but it also has activities and ideas so it’sa fun supplement!

As you can see it is jam packed with things to read and do and it’d be a good kickstarter for a childs’ creativity and adventures, so I was excited by it. There is also nothing in the box that I felt was just added for bulk, but instead it shows the focus of the subscription. Activities, fun little things that can be kept and lots of adventures to be. So far I can highly recommend it as a wonderful thing to get for children to enjoy and if you’re like me, for adults too.

Books, Subscription Boxes

Expand Your Mind – We Read Box Unboxing

When I heard there was going to be a book box for The Strangeworlds Travel Agency, I had to get it, so that is why I have We Read Box.

The theme was Expend your Mind, and the contents, going, clockwise and staritng on top right were:

  • A booklet with more details of the items and a few other articles/things about the theme.
  • A literary Passport (such a cute idea)
  • A glittery stunning pin to match the book.
  • The Strangeworlds Travel Agency by L. D. Lapinski, which I am very excited to read!
  • A travel tag (luggage tag?) which is in the shape of a suitcase on wheels which I thought was super cute and made me smile.

All in all it was a lovely little box, I know they intended to include a book sleeve but the world had other plans for what 2020 was going to be doing (oh well), but they did reduce the price fo the box and it is still a nice one.

Book Review, Books

Roller Girl Review

Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson

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

When I was a teenager I went from artistic rollerblading to inline hockey and loved it. Derby sounded fun but it just wasn’t an option so I did the ones I had available and loved them. This meant that when I saw this book pop up in suggested reads I got curious and bought it because it sounded fun.

We start with Astrid being bullied a little about the fact she’s rollerblaidng and that it is something for little kids rather than teens/older kids (she’s 12 years old) by someone she doesn’t like and her used to be best friend.

Their friendship soured over summer camp as Astrid had fallen starry eyed for roller derby and wanted to do a roller derby summer camp whereas Nicole (the ex best friend) is a ballet dancer and didn’t tell Nicole she wasn’t going to go with her, just kinda let her assume she would join and then told her she was actually going to ballet camp. (Is there a camp for everything?)

Astrid sees this as a betrayal and this adds up to the fact that roller derby isn’t as easy as she thought it’d be and the camp is hard work.

The story is very much a “becoming a teen and dealing with confusion, new emotions and changes in your whole social life” which I got so well as it went along. Astrid has to navigate making new friends, evaluating who she is and what type of friend she wants to be versus what she used to be and relationship dynamics (not just friends but what about her relationship with her mother?).

It is a lovely graphic novel dealing with a lot of interesting topics, particularly bases of changes as you slowly turn into a teenager and hormones start making you a bundle of confusion (plus how we all do things at a different pace, and how some do it due to peer pressure whereas others just do their thing and become outcasts).

I’d happily give this book to teen me as she struggled to comprehend and deal with all the sudden changes, it would’ve made it a little easier. As Astrid did, I found skating was a wonderful activity and gave new friendships and new things to do outside of school.

All in all, it kept me in the story, I felt for Astrid but also wanted at times to shake some sense into her but at the end felt very proud of where she got to. And now I want to do some rollerblading too…