Book Review

Moon Reads: August Kitko and the Mechas from Space

August Kitko and the Mechas from Space by Alex White

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

Read before: No

Ownership: Review copy provided by 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 like mechas, epic battles, music and music theory, chaos and the end of the world, then this is the book for you! The best way I can summarise it is if you took Evangelion, tossed it with music and music theory, a pinch of today’s world and then fast-forwarded it a 1000 years, you might get this book.

August is having a mini pity party at the end of the world because mechas are coming to destroy humanity and he messed up his big plans for the end of the world. So when he starts hearing the mechas battle it out and it sounds like music to him so he plays a Magnus opus kinda piece, he is playing for himself not to save the world, and yet that is kinda what he does!

OK that is super summarised, but this is a story about how being the hero doesn’t always involve glamour, and there’s a LOT going on with the mechas, the world, August and his plans and music. For me, the music twist was one of my absolute favourite things to add to the idea of mechas and end-of-the-world epic battles, it made me look forward more to the battles than in other books of this style. I do admit I like music and it was just fascinating to have August’s process described and how he would communicate with the mechas and be a “pilot”. Very different to Evangelion but still cool and with in a way similar vibes.

Oh and there is a romance going on, a slight heist, a lot of government officials being themselves, and a lot more about music and people. Honestly, it was a fun chaotic read.

Subscription Boxes

Moon Hauls: Illumicrate Archives Presents The Bone Witch

Illumicrate Archives Presents are a branch or version of Illumicrate, a book subscription box, that do special editions of books that have already been published but they think could do with some extra love or special editions and usually come with gorgeous little extras.

I have a very soft spot for The Bone Witch so when this was announced I knew I would buy it and so I did. I am a special little thing and forgot I had done so until the lovely box arrived and it cheered me up a lot. So now to proceed to the unboxing, starting from the leaflet about the box on the right and going clockwise:

  • The Bone Witch leaflet, it has details on the contents and I love the look of it, plus it was a great preview of how the books would look.
  • Underneath everything there is a gorgeous daeva scarf that I died when I saw it, it is perfect and matches a little kimono jacket I have.
  • Hard to see but next to the leaflet there is a gorgeous heartglass chain bookmark that again, nailed the little charms and just the vibes perfectly.
  • A foiled print from a scene in the first book which is just amazing and I liked it very much.
  • The Bone Witch in a glorious purple, with creepy edges and a skull.
  • The Heart Forger, now a white and red one which again glorious and a little heart motif on the edges
  • The Shadow Glass in a black, deep navy kinda look

Overall really loved that they are naked hardbacks with foiling and those edges are glorious, the inside of the book is also stunning and I loved how simple the items are in a way and yet elegant and fit the story really well. There is that mix of elegance and also not being too much, just perfect.

Book Review

Moon Reads: Fox & Rabbit

Fox & Rabbit and Fox & Rabbit Make Believe by Beth Ferry and Gergely Dudas

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

Series: Fox & Rabbit, first two volumes

Read before: No

Ownership: Found the first in Forbidden Planet, could not resist, read it ordered the second one and third.

This was an impulse buy because it had a fox and a rabbit on the cover and they are the main characters, plus they are relatively small books and easy to read. What can I say? In the same line of comics like Jelly & Narwhal, we have Fox and Rabbit who are best friends and have adventures together.

The very first one has a few episodes of stories of them having adventures and it also introduces us to other friends like the robin who is always thinking about food. I really loved the robin. Or the turtle that is always late and asking what they have missed. But overall the adventures are wholesome and sweet, and they just were a nice pause and lovely to read.

The second book picks up a little after the first and is all about using your imagination and having adventures in a variety of ways which was adorable, a bit more “fast” paced than the first book but still good.

As much as they are simple books and easy to read, they are good at touching on confidence, friendship and how to navigate certain situations, so it was lovely to read, plus I accidentally shared this with my best friend and there was a chapter that was perfect for our friendship so it felt particularly fated to be a good book.

Book Review

Moon Reads: Doves in the Dining Room

Doves in the Dining Room by Laura Laakso

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

Read before: Not the finished version, and not complete.

Ownership: Preordered a copy because I cannot resist anything from Laura

Series: The Wilde Investigations

Am I reviewing the short story or just sharing a picture of Finn or maybe both?

What I do have to say is that if you want a murder mystery that is all wrapped up with a bow and feels like you are playing Clue but even more brilliant, alongside a good main character that has EDS, Ehler-Danlos Syndrom, is bisexual and a bad ass, then this book is for you. And if you have read any of the books in this series, this is a book with a lot of Wishearth in it and totally worth it.

When Yannia gets invited to a wedding and suddenly gruesome accidents start happening that seem like someone is trying to boycott, she comes to the rescue and to the investigation of it. But the question is who did it and why?

I enjoyed it way more than I thought I would, it is very self contained in that ti all happens at the wedding venue in a very small set of suspects and it slowly becomes more and more interesting, alongside a good cast and a lot of good times next to a fire, because otherwise it wouldn’t be the same story.

If you need something to fill the gap between Roots of Corruption and The Wildest Hunger which is coming out in October, then this is a good gem to do so, it will leave you hungry for more but also happy to have read it and enjoying a good mystery.

Book Review

Moon Reads: Yuzu the Pet Vet (Vol 1 & 2)

Yuzu the Pet Vet Volumes 1 and 2 by Mingo Ito

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

Read before: No

Series: Yuzu the Pet Vet

Ownership: Bought it on a shopping trip to London because they looked cute.

Yuzu the Pet Vet starts quite slow, with Yuzu having to move to live with her uncle since her mum is sick and in hospital, but her uncle is a vet and she has to help a little with the animals. But the catch si that she is afraid of animals. However, as you read, the little adventures mean that Yuzu starts paying more attention to the animals and gains confidence.

Each volume was a bunch of short stories, each focused on a visitor to the vet and how Yuzu helps, but it also overall includes more plot like her adapting to her new life, a new school, and dealing with her feelings of how to cope with having her mum being sick in the hospital and not being able to see her much, or feeling it is difficult to see her and not wanting to. They also encourage taking good care of animals and loving your pets, alongside learning from each interaction between the owners of the specific pet and the pet, and it is very cute.

The art style is adorable and the animals are always very cute, and the stories are soft and very child-friendly while at the same time dealing with hard topics at times like illness, death and other challenges but also fear and nicer things like making friends or gaining confidence.

Overall, a nice manga to read with children or to give to children to enjoy on their own. Very soft and lovely, but may cause people to want a pet and to want to be involved more with animals.

Book Review

Moon Reads: Diary of an Accidental Witch – Flying High

Diary of an Accidental Witch – Flying High by Perdita and Honor Cargill

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

Read before: No

Series: Diary of an Accidental Witch, book 2.

Ownership: Review copy provided by the publisher upon request, this does not affect my review and honestly I had this on my wishlist anyway because I enjoyed the first one a lot.

As per above, I really enjoyed the very first book don’t he series, which you can find a review for it here. Flying high picks up more or less after the end of the first book. We find Bea starting a new diary to tell us all about Winter solstice, a special task for her and relating to magical creatures, and some fun events for the Winter Solstice.

There is a lot of flying to be made and competitions and then suddenly things take an odd turn kinda because of her but also not entirely her fault.

The story is quite funny, with a lot of pointers to the previous book, however, it also explains again the rules of games like Go or other magical things you may not have picked up from the first book if you somehow missed it. And the story is once again focused on values and learning to treat others well, and you know, Bea adapting to being a witch secretly, or how to balance her friendships between magical and non-magical friends.

There are some very good moments of considering that not everyone approaches things the same way and that maybe we all do it a little differently and still manage it and how easy it is to forget your privilege or that your view may be quite narrow. And obviously, there is a good party at the end because apparently, witches love parties.

Oh and I read this for #Februwitchy which I forget to say I have been doing because I am a distracted being, but yeah.

Anyway, I recommend you buy this one and the prequel because you’ll have a good laugh with adorable illustrations and it reads just like a diary, good for young readers and slightly older readers, or maybe an adult like me who loves to read and sometimes needs fun soft stories with low stakes and a lot of childhood bliss.

Book Review

Moon Reads: Every Heart a Doorway

Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire

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

Read Before: No

Ownership: Gifted by a friend from my wishlist

Do you ever wonder what happens to the children that went through the looking glass, or down a rabbit hole, and came back? If you had gone into some kind of Wonderland and then came back to your regular life, how would you cope? Could you manage real life, or maybe have odd powers and be too changed to have a normal life again?

This series of the Wayward Children asks those questions and poses a place for them with the School for Wayward Children, which is sold as a way to rehabilitate children that disappeared and came back with odd stories, but in truth is in a way a refuge for them and to learn to harness their powers.

Every Heart a Doorway was my first book by Seanan McGuire and I enjoyed it a lot. It follows a set of friends such wayward children as a newbie joins and suddenly a lot of deaths start happening in the school and things get a little hairy and difficult. It is easy to blame the new arrival, but is it really her fault or is there more to it?

One thing that this definitely is that this is a chaotic book that relies in a way of the reader perception on what going to a wonderland is. It is not a book that will hold your hand but rather it will entice you to come and stab you in the back, then whisper sweet nothings at you while still holding a knife carefully concealed. And yet, it is a wonderful read that I couldn’t put down and had to finish in a night.

I think for me, it felt like the kind of ideas I want to explore and like to explore in media about what happens to the dreamers when they come back. It falls right there with my love for Alice Madness Returns and American McGee’s Alice, that push the limits of what is a well behaved returning child from a Wonderland and how they adjust. It asks some interesting questions, like what if the child still wants to return and prefers Wonderland?

An absolute delight to read and now I need to read the rest!

Book Review

Moon Reads: Nevermoor

Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend

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

Read before: No

Ownership: Part of my library and had been there for ages

I read this in January because it was part of the bookclub from Wonder and honestly, I felt it was long overdue to read.

The story follows Morrigan as she expects to die on her birthday because she is a cursed child that brings bad luck. This is definitely an interesting premise but turns out she gets offered an opportunity to participate in some trials and show her magic, but she is sure her only magic is to curse people and bring bad luck, and that is definitely not special enough magic to pass trials. Unless the plan is to curse everyone with bad luck so she wins?

I enjoyed the humour of it, which is slightly dark but also quite funny and touches on harder topics. [Why is it that children’s books sometimes can touch on topics of death, bad luck and bad stuff in such a way that it leaves a mark and yet it feels light and not too bad?] And the place of Nevermoor is awesome, and her sponsor who is trying to get her to win the trials, and honestly, it is a cute interesting story, I think the main key thing is that it is about trusting yourself, and seeing yourself how others see you.

Morrigan was on top of it all,a good character to go along with, she isn’t perfect but then she isn’t obnoxious or trying too hard. she had accepted her fate in life and was doing her best and suddenly everything changes, and I understood in some level that,it was a fresh opportunity, like a breath of fresh air for her and it takes her a while to figure out what to do with this opportunity and change.

Overall, a recommended book about magic, friendship, self confidence, and making the most of life. You could give this you middle grade readers, read it aloud with your little ones or en joy it yourself as a teen or adult and it is basically a book that hopefully becomes a classic.

Book Review

Moon Reads: 44 Tiny Chefs

44 Tiny Chefs by Sylvia Bishop and Ashley King

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

Read before: No

Ownership: Copy provided for review upon request by the publisher

Series: 44 tiny…

Disclaimer that even though I got gifted a copy of the book but the publisher, I would’ve still reviewed it because I enjoy the series and it is on my radar all the time.

Look, I’ve been a fan of the tiny pygmy mice and Betsy and her family since the first book, 44 Tiny Secrets, and every time there’s a new one I am just utterly excited to read it. So far we learned about the pygmy mice and that they can play the piano, but then we also learned they can be marvellous acrobats since they were trained by someone that was in the circus, Betsy’s grandma.

44 Tiny Chefs now looks at Betsy’s dad and his new hobby, baking! So when the opportunity to open a bakery presents itself, the family is super happy as they have been filled too much with all the baking that has been trialled and done. And then, some interesting parts happen and they get invited to host a royal gala, but can they actually cook for so many people successfully and not fail for the Queen?

Honestly, the whole book was funny, I could imagine the distress, the confusion and all the over the sweetness of it and of course, I love the family Betsy has and the adventures they get into, and the cute little mice.

I can recommend this if you want cute musical, baking and animal shenanigans, and a family that isn’t absent for most of the book.

Book Review

Moon Reads: Goodbye, my Rose Garden (Full Series)

Goodbye, my Rose Garden by Dr. Pepperco (Full Series)

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

Read before: No

Ownership: Bought for my personal collection

Series: Goodbye, my Rose Garden, 3 volumes total.

I have been reading a lot of series, particularly graphic novels and manga, and sometimes it is hard to review a single book without adding spoilers, so now I will be adding some Full Series reviews.

Today I will talk about Goodbye, my Rose Garden. It is a female to female (F/F) series set in semi Victorian era England and focuses on Hanako, who dreams of becoming a novelist. Of course, this is not an easy path so she finds a job as a personal maid to a young noblewoman/lady. This seems to be a wonderful job since the lady, Alice Douglas, likes reading and encourages Hanako’s dream until she makes a very unusual request. Hanako has to kill Alice and end her suffering as she doesn’t deserve to be alive.

Initially, Hanako refuses but agrees to consider it if necessary. And so the story develops into a slow burn romance where Hanako feels it is not suitable to fall for her employer and therefore should tread lightly, but also, she is her personal maid and as such should do her best to help her lady. Alongside this, she has to figure out if she can convince Alice to bail out of the request to kill her, or why she thinks she should be killed. Add to that the path of attempting to become a novelist, Alice’s jealous fiance, and Hanako’s own past, and it is a soft romance with some high stakes.

I usually try the first volume of a series and decide, and wasn’t sure what to expect, but honestly, as I read I knew I had to get the rest. Goodbye, my Rose Garden packs a lot in very little space and it also does a good job of keeping all the plot lines and subplots going rather than abandoning them or half forgetting they are there, which was part fo what made it much dearer for me.

If you want a soft F/F manga set in early twentieth-century England, that focuses on the love of reading and on roses and just being dedicated to living life, this is the one for you.