The Bear and the Nightingale Review

This lovely book came as an extra book in December’s Book Box Club, the first in the Winternight Trilogy and we decided to buddy read it so I have enjoyed it doubly.

20180116_132539.jpg

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

‘Frost-demons have no interest in mortal girls wed to mortal men. In the stories, they only come for the wild maiden.’ 

In a village at the edge of the wilderness of northern Russia, where the winds blow cold and the snow falls many months of the year, an elderly servant tells stories of sorcery, folklore and the Winter King to the children of the family, tales of old magic frowned upon by the church.

But for the young, wild Vasya these are far more than just stories. She alone can see the house spirits that guard her home, and sense the growing forces of dark magic in the woods…

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

This is a fairytale full of fairytales in it’s own way and I absolutely loved it. The Russian folklore seeps into you and grasps you with it’s beauty as Vasya and her family grow and find that magic and religion seem to be playing havoc in their little estate.

The forest is full of secrets and “demons” and house spirits inhabit every corner until the priest finds he is faithful and it can’t be this way anymore.

I loved th scenes of the fir-grove and was fond of Sascha, Vasya, Irina and Alyosha. I could understand Anna’s insecurities and issues (not that it makes it right that she did what she did) and Konstantin is one of those despised but well made characters that you love to hate.

I am already reading The Girl in the Tower and can’t wait to see what happens next and how Vasya copes with magic in her life .

Moon recommends

You read this book, don’t miss out. And if you like Russian stories, try The Crown’s Game, it is also a wonderful and magical story.

Advertisements

Into the Jungle, Wildest Dreams Unboxing

If you haven’t heard of Wildest Dreams Box yet, it is created by Zoe and the aim is to be more affordable than the bigger book boxes (it is at the moment, the second cheapest box in my list of over 50 book boxes I have compiled).

20180117_143928.jpg

As you can see it is a more frugal box than the main boxes out there, but you can also see the love put into each one. Starting with the book and going clockwise, here we go:

  • The Extinction Trials by Susam Wilson. I had been looking forward to this book and once I saw the theme for this box I refrained myself from preordering the book as I was already subscribed. (I am all for supporting small businesses).
  • Personalised Note exclusive for us subscribers from the author!
  • A Tea-Rex room/fabric spray from Geeky Clean, it is a charming green tea jungle like smell, with an earthy tone to it.
  • Two chocolate coins, which show how much thought Zoe puts into her boxes and adds little extras.
  • A test tube Dino DNA tea, which I am loving. Also, absolute kudos (you’re my favourite) to Zoe for adding tea bags! I am always complaining that most people don’t have as many loose leaf tea props as I do so it is hard for them to use the lovely teas included in boxes, but both of WDB have had tea bags included.
  • Also we had a signed bookplate and a print out of the contents. Hopefully we will see a theme artwork postcard at some point once this grows more (Hint: I am an artist…)

All in all it is a lovely box, with lots of care put into it and I definitely recommend it. It is the cheapest “YA” box out there (Leafer Box does not have a YA genre).

 

 

 

2018 “Goals”

Hi everyone,

Not late to the party because you know me, but I finally decided to post my goals for the year.  As a caveat, I don’t usually have goals for the year except my reading challenge (2017 was 100 books and I barely made it, woops), so this is a bit new to me.

1. Reading Challenge of 85 books. As I mentioned above, I struggled to read a 100 so I decided to make this goal a little smaller. I am also aware that last year I had a lot of new things going on that meant I had less time to read. Did you set yourself a number of books to read per year?

My boyfriend says that I read books for myself, him and all the street.

IMAGE HERE

2. Eat more vegetarian/vegan (not become either, but just do more veg). It’s not too hard since we don’t do much red meat, just chicken and fish, but we need the vegetables. At the moment we are doing relatively well. Last week was mostly vegetarian and even though this week will have meat there are more vegetables in the menu. Go me!

(I have to say I love my slow cooker and adapting recipes for it.)

3. Try to create a bookmark design per month minimum. This one is going a little not so well. I have two designs in the works but they haven’t come out yet. Hopefully I can finish at least one before the end of January. (And of course, we need a colouring bookmark for Valentine’s in February, right?)

4. Collaborate with more book boxes ( is on the dream list, one can dream). Last year I collaborated with Book Box Club and Leafer Box. This year I am already doing well as I have another collaboration with Book Box Club for this month’s box. Fingers crossed other boxes will notice me, right?

5. Go back to drawing and/or writing almost daily. Already failing epically on this one. I haven’t drawn daily or written daily, but I do try, oh well.

6. Write my novel ( didn’t go too well last time). The thing is I have the story plot done and I have a very old (over 10 years) version of it but I want to clear all those plot holes and all the issues and write it “properly”. I also have a few other novels completed but most of them are not in English so they need translation/editing.

 Those are all my loose goals for the year. Did you make any?

The Art Of Horizon Zero Dawn Review

It is no secret I am a gamer. Not the sexy-lick-a-controller kind, but the “oh my gosh I will scream at the screen because Lara Croft just fell off a cliff after the 12th attempt to do that part”.

I am also a stupidly loyal one, I fell in love with Bethesda’s games (Dishonored and Fallout 3) so now I have all of the Dishonored games on my computer, XBox360 and PS4 (just so I can play them whenever, I’d probably have them on my mobile if it was possible).

Trust me, I can rave about any Bioshock game or one of the previously named ones (also Alice Madness Returns, Batman games, Lego games, etc). But I am also careful of trying new games from developers I have never played a game from before.

However, my love for Horizon Zero Dawn blossomed not because I saw adverts for it as a game, but rather because Loish (Lois Van Baarle) released some of the “concept art” she had done for the design of Aloy.

20180112_132523

I have been following Loish’s work for over 10 years, so I knew that if she had contributed to this game, I would have to play it, even if it was JUST for the artwork. I bought a PS4 just so I could play HZD, my birthday present was buying a bundle of console and game. That much I love her artwork (and gaming).

Needless to say, I LOVE this game. If you haven’t played, you have to. The story poses some very interesting technological questions (and about humanity), the gameplay is interesting and has an “Open World” feel. And of course, the artwork and design are stunning.

(I know this is the weirdest review of a book I have ever made, I promise there is a book review somewhere in here!)

20180112_132425

So much I love this game I preordered Funko’s (Aloy and a Watcher), bought licensed pins of Aloy and a Thunderjaw (they are awesome!), and bought the soundtrack CD for it.

The only thing missing was this book. And I couldn’t have that, so I got the book too.

20180112_132455.jpg

The Art of Horizon Zero Dawn by Paul Davies

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

I have several “Art Of” books and I have to say that the quality of this one is stunning. It does NOT lack artwork (sometimes some of the books say too much and have very little art or nothing new). This is full of artwork and details but also explanations about why they chose to do certain things.

It made me want to draw all the characters + creatures there and then as I was reading it. And it also made me want to play the game again. (And of course, it has some of the sketches/pieces Loish did, so win win).

I just have to say that is one of the best “Art Of” books I have ever had. Blown away by it.

Moon recommends

You play Horizon Zero Dawn, and maybe follow Loish. She has two artwork books (she started them on Kickstarter and the second one is just coming out in March). And of course, if you like books about the art of, buy this one.

 

 

 

Here We Are Now Review

This lovely book was provided to me through bookbridgr. So here is my honest review.

20180110_133931.jpg

Here We Are Now by Jasmine Warga

Despite sending him letters ever since she was thirteen, Taliah Abdallat never thought she’d ever really meet Julian Oliver. But one day, while her mother is out of the country, the famed rock star from Staring Into the Abyss shows up on her doorstep. This makes sense – kinda – because Julian Oliver is Taliah’s father, even though her mother would never admit it to her.

Julian asks if Taliah if she will drop everything and go with him to his hometown of Oak Falls, Indiana, to meet his father – her grandfather – who is nearing the end of his life. Taliah, torn between betraying her mother’s trust and meeting the family she has never known, goes.

With her best friend Harlow by her side, Taliah embarks on a three-day journey to find out everything about her ‘father’ and her family. But Julian isn’t the father Taliah always hoped for, and revelations about her mother’s past are seriously shaking her foundation. Through all these new experiences, Taliah will have to find new ways to be true to herself, honoring her past and her future.

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

The premise of this book is relationships. And in that aspect it excels. It touches on friendships (between Taliah and Harlow), f/f (Harlow and Quinn), what happens when your best and only friend has a girlfriend, mother/daughter (both for Taliah and for Lena, Taliah’s mother), father/son (Julian and Tom, and in a smaller way Toby), father/daughter (Julian/Taliah). It is all in all packed full of the complexity of family and friends, and it is fun to read but also emotional.

However, it starts full of questions, and ends full of questions (different ones to the ones at the beginning) which was not great. The reveals made the ending feel rushed and too open. It left you with more questions than you started with and it isn’t exactly like this is planned as a series.

It was a quick read and I loved the music aspect of it and the whole “dreams and who you are” exploration too.

Moon recommends

I am not a big reader of contemporary mostly because I’d rather escape to another world, but in a way this reminded me a tiny bit of Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, so I’d suggest you read that one and if you have, why not read Here We Are Now?

PS. The props used are not sponsored, they just are the ones I had nearest to me when I took this picture.

 

 

 

Inktober 2017 Roundup

Because I am never late to the party, right?

So the first year I did Inktober was 2016 and I decided to do it last year (it feels so odd to say this about 2017). So here’s my round up of artwork (I did NOT complete the 31 days, but I am pleased with the ones I did do).

20171001_224232

A swiftly jumping Moire Fox (this is kind of a rework of a previous sketch I had made but with a little more detail.

20171002_204744

A cosy fox sleeping and enjoying time off.

20171004_211059.jpg

Underwater kiss between Dalv Le Wot and Rose Vered. I had fun drawing this…

20171005_215825.jpg

Long stretch of a fox.

20171007_225307

I have been on a Horizon Zero Dawn loving rampage and so it took 3 days to actually finish this one (you can see the work in progress) but it was absolutely a pleasure to do it. The only thing is that I drew it in an A5 piece of paper, so the details are tiny!

20171009_211531

This was an easy prompt to play with, Inej from Six of Crows/Crooked Kingdom.

20171011_205805

20171011_213724

Another two day videogame inspired piece, this time it is about bioshock and it included several prompts. As you can see I enjoy steampunk/mechanical/techie bits as part of the challenge. (You can also see how small it is by comparing to the pens on the side).

20171013_215701

This was the first videogame (not PC game) that spurred my love for them. Alice Madness Returns (there is a lot of violence, and difficult topics so it is for rated M/R).

20171016_211205

This was a piece I had sketched in 2014 after some difficult events in my life, and it took a few days to complete too. It is meant to be me surrounded by my characters, the creations and stories that helped me stay sane and keep going.

20171021_144855

See if you can name all of the characters found in this piece. A prize for the person that does.

The Memory Trees Review

This book was part of November’s Book Box Club and we just had the Clubhouse meeting last week.

20171118_165444

The Memory Trees by Kali Wallace

 

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

I struggled with this book. It was a slow-burn, the prose was beautiful but it left me with so many questions and the ending just made me wonder what happened next. I don’t mind books that leave me some questions, but this one left me wanting to know so much more as if there was a next book and I don’t think there is meant to be another one.

However, the way it portrays mental illness is impressive and it was a wonderful thing to read in that sense. And it has a very ethereal feel to it that makes it hard to place.

Also, one of my favourite things is that there isn’t a “forced” romance between characters. It was very refreshing to not have to deal with that aspect of a book when it wasn’t necessary.

Moon recommends

This book has a very distinctive feel like The Disappearances. So if you liked this one, then definitely recommend you read The Disappearances or the other way around. The orchard was a delightful place, even if there was a lot going on.