Book Review

Moon Reads: Far From the Light of Heaven

Far From the Light of Heaven by Tade Thompson

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

Read before: No

Ownership: Review copy provided by the publisher and preordered too.

Spoilers: No, but will talk about the plot vaguely.

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.

Far From the Light of Heaven is a heavy hitter in the space opera, thriller and murder mystery categories. And it has stuck to me, even months after having read it initially. I want everyone to read it because it is brilliant and like a good dish, it has layers upon layers of flavour that you slowly discover as you turn the pages and keep reading.

One of my favourite things in the book was the way Tade made the existence in space so real. It isn’t a perfect idea like Star Wars and Star Trek where somehow the only times there are technical issues it is for the plot. In this case, you can see the training, the pressure, the many things that may go wrong, and the inconvenience of doing long journeys (the characters don’t get a magic pass at how to go into deep sleep and wake up the same age as they went to sleep as if nothing had happened, for example). The best way to summarise is to say that he asked the question of “this is where we are now with space travel, how would it be to deal with a bunch of stuff going wrong, with a murder mystery, with AI and just have to deal with it?” and honestly, the answer to it is fascinating.

Ragtime as the AI and spaceship is an interesting and nuanced exploration of what AI can be and is at the same time, like a present and future all in one. And that is all I will say about the AI in the book even though I honestly could write an essay on it because it was also another favourite part (yes, apparently this is a review full of favourite parts, ok? the five foxes should have given you a hint).

Finally, I will say that the cast is relatively small even though there is a wider cast of secondary characters that mostly help place the main cast, but even they seem to have a life of their own even if we are not privy to it through the main story. The book also touches on what identity may be and what it is to be alien, or a foreigner, and the way you may be perceived by different groups of people. And finally, it touches on religious beliefs, not in a religious way but more as an exploration of what it is to believe or not and what you believe in.

This is probably Tade’s best work to date and my engineering heart is satisfied.

If you haven’t preordered or ordered it yet, it is coming out on the 29th of October so make sure you grab a copy and maybe read it for a wonderfully spooky and atmospheric horror/thriller feel.

Subscription Boxes

Moon Hauls: A Legacy to Protect Illumicrate

Subscription box: Illumicrate

Theme/Month: A Legacy to Protect, December 2020

Ownership: Subscribed on their 6 boxes option. If you are interested in purchasing an Illumicrate subscription, you can do it on their website.

Illumicrate is a book subscription box, it usually features fantasy and sci-fi but not exclusively young adult, sometimes it features adult too. It usually contains a new release, a pin and several bookish goodies.

Decembers theme was anything but festive but it was still a box packed full of goodies I do admit to feeling nostalgic about the boxes that used to be actually crammed full with items and had way more items than we tend to get nowadays). But let’s unbox it and see starting on the top left and going clockwise:

  • The Cousins by Karen McManus, so far I have enjoyed her books a lot and this one has black sprayed edges, excited to read.
  • The monthly collectable pin inspired by The Ravens.
  • No Peak Clan photo magnets, the idea is interesting the problem is that I don’t see a huge appeal to have these around on my fridge.
  • A Daevabad inspired mug which is super exciting to see as I don’t have a lot of items form this fandom and I like it.
  • Yip Yip nail file, my husband needed one so this was perfect timing and he’s a happy man.
  • Destiny is a myth notepad inspired by Poppy War and I like the feel of it.
  • The Ravens with pink sprayed edges, another exciting read!
  • And finally a print album. I like the idea behind this as I sometimes don’t know what to do with prints but I was confused by it initially and also it’ll depend on having a standard size for all the prints preferably or not too big ones.

Overall I liked the box, it felt a tiny bit disjointed in the contents and not as theme focused as others have been and I was less excited by the items but I have learned that boxes with mugs usually aren’t that exciting otherwise and to be fair this had two books and a mug which is like double nice bonus. Those are my favourite things from it!

Book Review, Books

Wilder Girls Review

Wilder Girls by Rory Power

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

I had seen very varying reviews of the book, but the premise had caught my eye a couple of years ago so I got it. I don’t regret it.

The book straddles the line of horror slightly and makes for a difficult one to place in a neat category. We meet Hetty, who is doing her best to survive in Raxter and to not succumb to despair. And she only really has two friends, Byatt and Reese.

Even before Byatt disappears, the panorama of how the girls are “infected” by the Tox and have this odd changes in their bodies, and they get ill and some die (and some have already died). Plus, it is hard to know who to trust out of the limited adults left taking care of them. As much as they still live in a school, there’s little of the school as a system left and it is all about survival.

There are a lot of secrets, a lot to learn about the Tox and as Hetty ends up being able to see odd things ahppening that are harder and harder to explain each day and to make sense fo them given their cirucmstances, tough choices have to be made.

And then Byatt disappears. This opens the point of view of Byatt, who shows us where she has been taken and what is going on in her world.

I found there was a lot left as secret but if you look back it slowly makes sense as you discover the truth. The idea is to make you feel as lost as Hetty and Byatt do when they’re going through. Which I did.

I did not like the ending being a bit open and not really getting much anywhere, it felt at first like it had ended and then suddenyl not sure. Are there more books to come? I don’t like having books play the “maybe a next book at some point” game.

But still, it was a good read and interesting concept.

Book Review, Books

A Danger to Herself and Others Review

A Danger to Herself and Others by Alyssa Sheinmel

Only when she’s locked away does the truth begin to escape…

Seventeen-year-old Hannah Gold has always been treated like a grown up. As the only child of two New York professionals, she’s been traveling the world and functioning as a miniature adult since the day she was born. But that was then. Now, Hannah has been checked into a remote treatment facility, stripped of all autonomy and confined to a single room.

Hannah knows there’s been a mistake. What happened to her roommate that summer was an accident. As soon as the doctor and judge figure out that she isn’t a danger to herself or others, she can get back to her life of promise and start her final year at school. Until then, she’s determined to win over the staff and earn some privileges so she doesn’t lose her mind to boredom.

But then she’s assigned a new roommate. At first, Lucy is the perfect project to keep Hannah’s focus off all she is missing at home. But Lucy may be the one person who can make Hannah confront the secrets she’s avoiding – and the dangerous games that landed her in confinement in the first place.

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I have a soft spot for unreliable narrators done well, and for psychological narratives that keep you on your toes. This book ticks everything quite well in those aspects.

We meet Hannah as she’s starting to tell us her story. She’s in a mental facilty as she has been labelled “a danger to herself and others”, after what Hannah insists was an accident that put her best friend in a comma.

I didn’t put down this book, just read thriough it all. We go between memories Hannah has of the time before the accident, some memories around the accident (just little hints, little bits, for some reason Hannah seems to only do bits and pieces around it) and her time at the facility.

The book leaves enough hints so that when the twists come, you don’t feel sucker punched, just punched in the gut. And it does so very well. I kept having a slight idea of “this doesn’t sound right” but I couldn’t put my finger on the exact reason or anything beyond that.

However, as the time in the facility lengthens, the more we learn, the more it makes sense and at the same time, the more it unrabbles. It was a delight to read and I was hooked. And once I finished, I went back to find those parts where hints had been dropped to read them with fresh eyes.

I’d say it is the type of book you need to read twice. Once to get the full shock and to savour that surprise, the second time to find all the hints and see the “oh, so that’s it/why”.

All in all, an ejoyable thrilling read that kept me guessing and pondering and trying to figure out what was the truth and how many secrets hannah was keeping.

Book Review, Books

What She Found in the Woods Review

What She Found in the Woods by Josephine Angelini

Running from a scandal at her New York private school, Magdalena heads to her family home to recover under the radar.

Over-medicated and under-confident, she’s fearful she’ll never escape her past.

Until she meets Bo out hiking. Wild, gorgeous and free, he makes her believe she might finally be able to move on.

But when a mutilated body is discovered in the woods, Magdalena realises she can’t trust anyone.

Not even herself.

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

I enjoyed Josephine’s Worldwalker series a lot, and therefore this seemed like a no brainer on getitng it. And I wasn’t wrong.

Lena is just trying to move through life, and stop things going a bit awry. Just a clean slate, nothing like what happened in New York and the scandal that seems to follow her around.

But her grandparents want her to have a social “normal” life, even if she is here to try to fly under the radar, so she does and ends up volunteering at a drug rehab center kinda thing.

But also, she just really enjoys walking in the woods (with them being next door to her grandparent’s house, why not?). But very soon after she arrives, bodies start to be discovered in the woods, and there are rumours flying around.

Who can Lena trust? Who is going around on a killing spree? Could it be Bo, the young man she met in the woods that seems to know his way around too well? Or could it be something more sinister?

This book takes you for a ride, and with Lena being the main point of view and the one telling us about her past and why she is where she is, but also, with her wanting to find out why someone is murdering people and who the murderer is, you keep wondering and asking yourself, could it be x?

I had an inkling of a theory about who the killer was and refused to believe one of the hints to another potential killer, but in general the book kept me guessing and wanting to understand and learn better. Lots of “maybe? what if?” and I didn’t want to put the book down. Raced through it and at the end, the hints had slowly been there all along so you don’t feel hit int he face by the revelations, but also, they are so subtle you can easily miss it all and end up being quite surprised at them.

Highly recommend for an intense fast paced murder thriller kind of book.

Book Review, Books

This Splintered Silence Review


This Splintered Silence by Kayla Olson

Lindley Hamilton has been the leader of the space station Lusca since every first-generation crew member on board, including her mother, the commander, were killed by a deadly virus.

Lindley always assumed she’d captain the Lusca one day, but she never thought that day would come so soon. And she never thought it would be like this—struggling to survive every day, learning how to keep the Lusca running, figuring out how to communicate with Earth, making sure they don’t run out of food.

When a member of the surviving second generation dies from symptoms that look just like the deadly virus, though, Lindley feels her world shrinking even smaller. The disease was supposed to be over; the second generation was supposed to be immune. But as more people die, Lindley must face the terrifying reality that either the virus has mutated or something worse is happening: one of their own is a killer.

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This book came in December’s Book Box Club box, and I wasn’t sure how keen I would be about it. For some reason I kept thinking it might be similar to “The Loneliest Girl in the Universe”, and I wasn’t really up to reading a similar book.

On the good side, it was a buddy read, so it was easier to get going and it was thankfully not the same feel. Instead we meet Lindley and we learn a little about her small world (quite literally, because all she’s known is the station she’s in, so yeah).

They’ve just come out of a terrible epidemic where all the humans that were native to Earth died and were affected by it, whereas the ones born in the station have survived. ut that means that they are not older than 19, which is a bit of a tricky situation as they’ll have to “grow up” a little bit faster. The station still needs to be kept working, they all need food, and oh wait, someone’s dead and it looks almost as if the same virus is back!

Poor Lindley starts investigating it and keeps finding it just doesn’t add up, maybe it mutated? Plus there’s a lot of other issues going on in the station (I found this good, because yes, there would be and it is annoying sometimes when things just go smoothly on the vessel/place that would need people to keep it going).

Slowly, as the deaths pile up and the upkeep of the station gets too high, Lindley realises it isn’t a virus that’s killing them, because what’s killing them isn’t an “it” but rather a who. Someone in the station is killing them, but who? why? how? are very big questions and very difficult to answer when you’re also desperately trying to keep everyone alive (by providing food, water, ensuring they sleep, etc.)

For the mystery part I wasn’t that surprised, as I suspected who it was, but I wasn’t sure of the motive (I had a few theories), but despite guessing the culprit, it was still wuite good at keeping you hooked, and wanting to keep on reading, and it has a good flow so you don’t feel bored about it, or have too slow parts.

My least favourite part was the romance bits, but there were some good details about it that saved it. And it isn’t the main focus of the story, so all good.

Moon recommends

I’d give this a go, or maybe The Loneliest Girl in the Universe (because it isn’t the same but it gives a good similar vibe) or maybe any of the recent thrillers I have reviewed.

Disclaimer: All links either link back to other review posts, or to an Amazon affiliates link. You don’t have to buy it, I just do it because I was still going to try to link it to amazon so you’d know what it looks like, or if you wanted to buy it, so decided to give the Affiliates a go, which yeah, doesn’t bring me anything of revenue, but now it’s a habit.

Book Review

Blackbird (Proof) Review

So during YALC we were standing just next to the HQ stand while they were unpacking the Proofs for Blackbird so by fluke we were the first in line for it.  Then, as we were in line for a signature from another author, I saw ND Gomes was signing next to us, so we queued to have our Proofs signed. Talk about being lucky!


Blackbird by N.D. Gomes

My name is Alex. I am fifteen years old, and I don’t know where my sister is. Or if she will ever come back.

On New Year’s Eve 5,000 blackbirds dropped dead. The same day Olivia McCarthy went missing from a small coastal village in Orkney.

Now Her younger sister Alex is on a mission to find out just what happened to Olivia. But does she really want to know all the answers?

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I keep saying this was an easy, light read and then everyone (bookish friends and non bookish boyfriend) corrects me to say the topic isn’t light and fluffy. But the writing is the kind of writing you can read quickly, without needing to re-read, or having to think too much. It is perfect for when you’re feeling a bit down and don’t want to struggle through a very complex read (LOTR anyone?).

Story wise, I do not understand the relevance of the blackbirds, except that it happened the same day and once or twice Olivia is compared to one, there is no connection with the murder or the events otherwise.

But that is my only real complaint. The murder flows well without going too slow or going too quick, and I liked how it explores the wreckage in the family, people forgetting Alex is kinda still alive and around, but also, the rest of the world is moving on, so this is well displayed.

I did guess soon enough who was the murderer but I didn’t know why, and a few other small twists, so that was good.

Moon Recommends

I don’t read many thrillers, suspense and such books in YA genre, but I do in adult fiction and the queen for me is Mary Higgins Clark. It is very hard for me to pick just one, since they are extremely amazing, so I will suggest Weep No More, My Lady mostly because it introduces her writing style but some of her characters that appear more than once (each book is usually standalone but some characters reappear in a few of them).

Of course, if you haven’t read Blackbird, go ahead and give it a go. You can find it here.

Disclaimer: There is an Amazon Associates link, but if you choose to use them and buy from them, know that you’re just helping me buy more books and feed my reading needs. Book synopsis is from Good Reads.