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: Happy Narwhalidays

Happy Narwhalidays by Ben Clanton

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

Read before: No

Ownership: Preordered as I love this series.

Spoiler free review: No

Before the year ends and the holiday season is behind us, I had to share my review for the fourth Narwhal and Jelly book, which is all about their version of the holidays. There is a magical mermaid unicorn that brings gifts just for giggles to the sea creatures and as per usual Jelly is skeptical but ends up wanting to give a gift to Narwhal, and Narwhal is the cheerful bundle of joy as usual.

I had a lot of fun reading this just before setitng the Christmas tree up and while trying to finally get a feel for the Christmas spirit which I wasnt feeling very much this year due to circumstances *points at world and situation*. But Narwhal is so chirpy and so hopeful that you just can’t resist it and suddenly you feel a little bit more cheerful, a little bit more into the holiday spirit and maybe even wishing a magical mermaid unicorn had brought you a gift or something to spread the holiday cheer.

The artwork is simple but it doesnt take away anyting from it, as it is very expressive and fits well the story, there are still waffles and a lot of sea creature friends alongside Jelly and Narwhal and I can recommend it as a feel good cheer up read where you need all the books from this series because one is just not enough, in a good way.

Recommended for those who love sea facts, narwhals, jellyfish, friendship and cute cartoons. It is a read on your own, or just look at the pictures or share a giggle with someone kind of book.

Book Review

Moon Reads: Once Upon A Dragon’s Fire

Once Upon A Dragon’s Fire by Beatrice Blue

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

I reviewed a while ago Beatrice’s other book, Once Upon A Unicorn Horn, so when I saw this one was coming, I preordered it. It is easy, make a book I enjoyed, I will almost always preorder your next books.

The artwork was top class, but that was no surprise given I enjoy Beatrice’s art a lot. And as per the previous book, this is a book giving things a new “origin” so in this case it is centered around a dragon and fire.

This is about two children that made up adventures and were obsessed with dragon stories so they decide to go search the dragon and thanks to them “fire” is invented.

Look it is way better than I am describing!

In all honesty the story is a great read out loud or act out one, the artowkr and pictures are full of detail and cuteness, and the story is reaffirming and all about tenderness and warmth (and some dragon fire too).

It has a dragon, fire, and a great story, so this is a definite win and I am eagerly awaiting what else we may get as an origin of this thing type of book from Beatrice Blue.

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, Books

The Shadow Glass Review

The Shadow Glass by Rin Chupeco

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

It is done! Completed. I knew this book was going to be intense as it had a lot of questions to answer, starting with what happens to Kalen (I’ve been biting my nails about it since book one!), and then there’s the whole changes in dynamics of the characters. Why is Tea doing all of what she has done? And who is traitor, maybe more than one? Will we ever find out Druj?

I kept reading and going “I am not sure how we’re going to get all the answers to everything I need to know” until suddenyl all the ribbons, hints and little things made sense. My suspicions on some characters turned out to be true (it was also fun to buddy read this and have a theory and suggest it but not be fully sure and doubt yourself and then have it confirmed) and new things kept coming that still managed to surprise me but made sense.

I think that is one of the beauties of this series. There is a LOT going on. And you get most of the answers at the end, in the last book, but they all make sense because you can remember scenes in previous books and even in the one you’re reading, and the dots connect. It takes skill to write and make all those dots connect and do so in such a way, so I can only admire Rin’s ability to write this story.

//Spoilers for content in the two previous books ahead but no spoilers for this one//

Tea and Kalen. I adored the scenes that happened between them including drunk Tea which was one of my favourite parts. And we had the relationship develop well so it felt right, it worked and the chemistry. Honestly, I was just like cooing and wanting more of them.

I also had a lot fo love for the other pairings happening in the book and how they slowly come to fruition. It was wonderful to see old characters keep up.

The one thing I would’ve loved, was a list of names and who they were plus which country they originally belong to (as at some point I had to stop and remind myself that X was actually from so and so and not the other country). But this is more due to the sheer size of the world and the amount of characters and me desperately wanting to understand it all and not miss a thing.

Honestly I can babble incoherently for a while, but all I can say is that the book shows Rin’s ability to weave a tale and bring it to completion breaking and mending your heart along the way.

Book Review, Books

The Heart Forger Review

The Heart Forger by Rin Chupeco

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

After reading The Bone Witch, I ordered the next two books, then continued a buddy read. Life got in the way for both of us so it took us a while to coordinate again, but once we did, we flew through it.

One of my favourite things so far is the world building. You get so much in this world and it just keeps expanding more and more. The style of having Tea in the present talking to the Bard about her story of the past and what made her what she is, does a really good job in presenting items cohesively despite being different moments and different reveals.

The last 100 pages or so, they went by so fast because there was so much going on and slowly being revealed and surprisingly a lot of what I thought would happen, didn’t and things I didn’t expect did. As I reached the end I needed to know more.

The characters keep developing their layers and showing more of how grey they are and how difficult it is to know someone’s true intentions and what is going on behind closed doors but in figurative and literal sense. I have a big soft spot both for Khalad and Likh, and for their stories. But new characters also join in and add to the “team”, Mykkie is still a big part of the story and Tea keeps showing us more of who she is, what she has held inside and slowly revealing the secrets and motives that she carries as a heavy burden.

I am in awe of the story. It is deep and full and rich, and I cannot recommend it enough. Also, it is incredibly hard not to spoil it while reviewing because there is SO mcuh I’d like to say but it’d spoil it and it’s worth not doing that.

I can only say, go read The Bone Witch and have The Heart Forger ready to keep going because you will want to know more!

Book Review, Books

Bookish and the Beast Review

Bookish and the Beast by Ashley Poston

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

First, I got a review copy for free from the publisher in hope of a review. And it doesn’t influence my review of it at all.

So this is the third book of the Once upon a Con series. And I will admit I did not enjoy Geekerella very much because all I could picture in my head was Hilary Duff as a ginger and “A Cinderella Story”. It was a little too close to the film for me to be able to enjoy it fully. However, I enjoyed The Princess and the Fangirl more, and so I had to give Bookish and the Beast a fair go.

And it was a fun read, it definitely follows the Beauty and the Beast plot, but in a very unique way, and I had fun identifying key moments throughout the plot. It felt less like something else I’ve read/seen and more standing on its own. Some of it may be that the universe already exists and that there’s returning characters (not as main characters but they’re around), so it has the chance to stand on its own more and less of trying to be too familiar.

Still, I liked the way it was written and the bookish aspect. And Rosie’s dad had won a soft spot for me all the way through this book. Absolutely won it. In general, the spin on characters was well done and it was quite fun to read and see it develop.

And of course, the ending really got to me, it was sweet and it made me think “awwww” and feel good after I finished it. A happy ending indeed. The character growth was interesting and the miscommunications made it feel more contemporary and real than a fairytale (so I guess that helps? there’s no magic, just money that kinda helped things be where they needed to be but in truth it was the characters and chance, no magic). Makes you believe that maybe a fairy tale can happen to you too.

I’d recommend this is Beauty and the Beast is one of your favourite stories and you enjoy a good retelling with its own spin on it. Plus it has a feel good vibe that is very welcome in the current times.

Book Review, Books

The Midwinter Witch Review

The Midwinter Witch by Molly Knox Ostertag

The acclaimed graphic novel world of The Witch Boy and The Hidden Witch comes to a thrilling conclusion in this story of friendship, family, and finding your true power.
Magic has a dark side . . .

Aster always looks forward to the Midwinter Festival, a reunion of the entire Vanissen family that includes competitions in witchery and shapeshifting. This year, he’s especially excited to compete in the annual Jolrun tournament-as a witch. He’s determined to show everyone that he’s proud of who he is and what he’s learned, but he knows it won’t be easy to defy tradition.

Ariel has darker things on her mind than the Festival-like the mysterious witch who’s been visiting her dreams, claiming to know the truth about Ariel’s past. She appreciates everything the Vanissens have done for her. But Ariel still craves a place where she truly belongs.

The Festival is a whirlwind of excitement and activity, but for Aster and Ariel, nothing goes according to plan. When a powerful and sinister force invades the reunion, threatening to destroy everything the young witches have fought for, can they find the courage to fight it together? Or will dark magic tear them apart?

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

I was very excited to read this and had it on preorder. The two previous books had me hooked and I wondered where this one was going to take us and what interesting adventures were coming.

The focus of it is Ariel, and the internal fight she has on being a good with rather than just evil and ruining everything. I wanted to enjoy it as much as the other two, but there was a lot of making the adults do things that didn’t go very well with their characters for the sake of making the plot a bit more intense and more confusing. I didn’t want to try to rethink my whole view of a character that I thought was good for the last two books and is now giving bad vibes (worse part, the reason for the shifty behaviour is silly, something a child might do not an adult and not the character that does). So I guess, that made it less good to me.

I still liked seeing their friendship finding new spaces and figuring out what is best and how to go along with having a new witch that is adept next to Aster. Good competition. There is still a lot of Aster having to prove himself which detracted a little from Ariel’s story. I can see the reason behind wanting to explore that part, but it meant you split the story too much between Ariel and Aster and their conflicts and tried to pack it all one book. Maybe it would’ve been better to have it be a set of four books rather than a trilogy. That way there’ll be more space to explore both things, including Ariel’s past and family and all that.

The big reveal about Ariel’s family is too short and rushed, which felt like a shame. However, their friendship between the three of them is still strong and they’re a good team of friends.

The art is still good, the world was nice to go back to, I just wished it had been done a little better, as it left me feeling like “oh, it finished already? This is the end of this story/trilogy? Really? That’s it?” rather than with a bang or at the very least some internal satisfaction of seieng htem grow into themselves (which they kinda do, but it is rushed and it feels a little forced).

Still, the trilogy itself is fun, I enjoyed it and it was an interesting concept. Wish there were more to come.