Book Review

Moon Reads: A Magic Steeped in Poison

A Magic Steeped in Poison by Judy I. Lin

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

Read before: No

Ownership: Somehow I ended with 3 copies of it because I preordered it twice and also had one from the publisher.

Apparently, if you say your book is about tea and magic, I might end up accidentally preordering it twice (Waterstones had a sprayed edges version that is absolutely stunning). In case anyone had doubts, I really wanted to read it. And I have no regrets.

A Magic Steeped in Poison follows the story of Ning, as she makes her way to the capital city so she can compete and maybe become the kingdom’s greatest shennong-shi—masters of the ancient and magical art of tea-making so she can earn a favour from the Princess and save the life of her sister.

I absolutely loved the magic system in the book, come on, it is all about tea and herbs but it is also about intent and connections and Ning is genuinely a country bumpkin who just wants to save her sister and accidentally ends up in the middle of a big political conflict plus a fierce competition. And obviously the rich people that are all fancy pansy do not want Ning, the peasant to win a competition and be the greatest, so she also has to survive that chaos of prejudice and people fighting dirty during the competition.

Alongside that, there is a lot about political scheming, Ning being used and having to play her cards close to her chest while battling the feelings in her heart and her main goal of saving her sister. She keeps accidentally being in the right place wrong time or right place right time and listening to things she should not or being involved accidentally and I loved it. Her character was refreshing and I enjoyed reading the whole story.

If you like tea, magic, meet cutes, conflict, competitions in the midst of political scheming, then this is totally the book for you.

Subscription Boxes

Moon Hauls: Matcha Moments Sakura Co

Subscription box: SakuraCo

Theme/Month: Matcha Moments, April 2021

Ownership: Subscribed on their 3 boxes option. If you are interested in purchasing a Sakura Co subscription, you can do it on their website.

SakuraCo is a new box that focuses on Japanese tea, sweets and snacks from local makers for you to enjoy. And the idea is that you take a unique snack journey around Japan with the contents of the box.

A matcha focused box sounded awesome, so of course happy to have it and also, it is the second box so curious about how well it will keep on performing and making me feel for it. So let’s unbox, starting at the bottom right corner and going clockwise:

  • Strawberry and cream cake, it was absolutely delicious. Not too sweet, not too bland, just right.
  • Postcard, which I am enjoying as an extra treat, they are gorgeous and delicate.
  • Gold plum tea, which is very much a sweet and sour mix. Probably my least favourite item, surprisingly.
  • Match Kinsuba, delicious red bean jelly which was a nice surprise.
  • Match pudding, also nice but not much to write home about except it was like a gelatin pudding and nice.
  • YamechaMonaka, I find the whole something inside fragile wafer fascinating.
  • Plum Yokan, one of my favourites with a soft crumbly buttery feel and delicate plum flavour.
  • Matcha Mochi, which was super sticky and hard to eat but delicious nonetheless.
  • Matcha waffle, toasted slightly and absolutely perfect!
  • Matcha Senbei, these surprised me with a delicate wafer like but also biscuit quality.
  • Sakura Yunomi, a cup for your tea. to match the plate on the previous box.
  • Sakura Karinto, like fried dough bits and I don’t know why but utterly loved them, could eat bags and bags of them.
  • Sakura Sugar Cube, it mixes agar jelly and sugar foamy mousse and loved them. Very delicate
  • More monaka cuteness.
  • And finally a matcha roll, I expected them to be bigger but they were lovely, again, not too sweet, not bitter.

Overall really enjoyed the contents of the box and finding my way around the flavours a little better. Some real gems here that I would absolutely keep as staples if I could keep getting them, like the karinto, the waffle and the yokan. I had been worried it would be too boring just everything matcha, but I had still an explosion of flavours, textures and choices. Still very worth it for me.

Subscription Boxes

Bookish Teas Writerverse

It is no surprise to anyone that I like tea (I mean, even the customer support of Fairyloot knows this about me!), and that my two favourite places to get tea is Adagio Teas and Bookish Teas.

Zilan (Bookish Teas) is a lovely lady that lives in Germany and makes wonderful tea mixes that are a delight to drink. She is also very careful in making sure her ingredients are fresh from farms and places like that, so the tea is very high quality.


The Writerverse box was the last one of the year, but they tend to do special boxes frequently and they have all been a delight. This one included several lovely things:

  • Four tea blends.
  • Signed book plate from the author of Stalking Jack The Ripper and Hunting Dracula.
  • Goodies from the Corr sisters.
  • A Darkling bookmark by .
  • A Godsgrave ribbon bookmark by .
  • A comic page art postcard by
  • A postcard inspired by Stalking Jack the Ripper.
  • A Tric perfume by behindthepages (it smells delicious).
  • The Bookish Teas Tealicious “zine” with recipes and details about the box.

We were spoiled in signed and exclusive goodies in this box and the teas are all so delicious I can’t choose my favourite one (though I admit my most favourites have been the London teas inspired by ADSOM).

Subscription Boxes

Warbringer SpecialTea Bookish Tea Box

As you may know, I am a tea drinker. And not just have a cuppa now and then, but the kind of tea drinker that has a lot of loose leaf tins, pesters tea companies to help her find alternatives to tea bags or make their tea available (if you liked FairyLoot’s Warriors & Legends tea, look for Blend No. 66 here). And I am always looking out for new tea blenders and tea providers that care about their customers and specially about your tea.

This brings me to Zilan and Bookish Teas. She comes from a family that blends tea and has been blending tea since she was a child, and it shows, trust me. Every single one of her tea blends that I have tried has blown me away.

So today, I am unboxing one of her Bookish Tea Boxes, one inspired by Warbringer.


As soon as I opened the box, the fragance of the teas welcomed me. Delicious as usual. The contents were:

  • 3 tea blends. Sisters in Battle (it was the one that had the most inviting smell and I couldn’t resist it, so I made a cup of tea almost as soon as I had unboxed it). Warbringer and Steve’s Gift. (I have yet to try this other two blends but they smell delicious).
  • Two delightful Warbringer pins by eachchronicles illustration.
  • A Themyscira lip balm by Behind The Pages.
  • A Wonder Woman bookmark with a lovely quote by wordsbyjasmine.
  • Themyscira bath salts by The Bookish Beauty Court (this made me very happy and I proudly boasted about them to my boyfriend).
  • A gorgeous illustration by LisyCorner showing Diana as a child and as Wonder Woman, it definitely catches your eye and makes you want to display it somewhere.

I admit I had actually missed out on getting this beforehand, or before first shipping, but once I saw an unboxing of it, I knew I had to have it and I do not regret this at all. Absolutely worth it.