Through the Woods Review

Through the Woods by Emily Carroll

‘It came from the woods. Most strange things do.’

Five mysterious, spine-tingling stories follow journeys into (and out of?) the eerie abyss.
These chilling tales spring from the macabre imagination of acclaimed and award-winning comic creator Emily Carroll.
Come take a walk in the woods and see what awaits you there…

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

This book is gorgeous and creepy. Probably the best way to describe it in a single sentence.

The artwork sticks to a very red, white, black and sepia palette (with a few pops of colour) but still manages to convey very well the stories and sometimes the phrase “an image is worth a 1000 words” applies perfectly here.

One of the reasons this hasn’t got more stars is that most of the stories are left open ended or rather, in a confusing ending where you keep second guessing what exactly happened and why. I know that the attempt is to scare you and be creepy, but it also left me very unsatisified at the end of each story. I think if I had known this would be a very “just a tidbit of story, without a proper ending” kind of book, I wouldn’t have minded as much, but from the blurb it seemed to have proper short stories.

My favourite is probably the first one which at least seems to have a start and potential end, but it is still very much in the air with lots of maybe, and what if.

I’d probably say that if you like horror and creepy stuff, this is a nice illustrated book to have around. But if open endings aren’t really your thing, avoid this. Or go at it with caution. The art is still super gorgeous and the stories are different and “refreshing” in their own way.

Your Majesty Illumicrate Unboxing

As you may know Illumicrate are doing monthly boxes now. This is their second monthly box, and they had kind of spoiled the book by sending the signed bookplate for it by mistake in the box (for the previous month). However, I have to say they do not cease to wow me.

Just look at that bounty! Starting from the bottom left corner and going clockwise:

  • Theme leaflet. What I like is that it “sorts” the items into categories. You have the general items, the Book, the Collectible and the Photo Challenge, all neatly inside it.
  • A Once Upon a Time Book tin. This is gorgeous and made me sqeual a little. It is delicate but also beautiful and useful.
  • We Are Blood and Thunder sampler.
  • Descendant of the Crane, the book for this month, and I have been wanting to read it so yay! Plus it has soft deep red sprayed edges that match the red of the book cover.
  • Another sampler, for A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder, which everyone should read.
  • Crown of Power candle, very fruity scent.
  • Moth and Mirth mug. I love this item the most because this type of mug is gorgeous. Plus the artwork is stunning. I love love love this item so much.
  • Scattered around the picture are the character cards. They were also preorder incentives so I had already seen them but they are still gorgeous and are a nice bonus to have.
  • Descendant of the Crane print with author letter on the back.
  • Travel psoters for Three Dark Crowns. I am not into paper bits but this are simple yet stunning and I don’t need to be into the fandom to enjoy them.
  • Iron Throne phone ring. I like the idea of it, but I only have so many phones (work and personal) so yeah, this won’t get used sadly.
  • And to me, the most puzzling item, the collectible. A Magnetic coin. The silly coin kept falling off the “necklace” so I do not recommend wearing it (and that only while I attempted to set this photo up, not actually wearing it, very little movement made it fall). Apparently we get collectible “magnetic coins”. It is an original collectible, I’ll give them that, but I am not into it (we shall see, giving it a chance). And most definitely will not be wearing it as a necklace.

So overall it was a box that gave me two favourite items, one puzzling one and oen I just won’t use btu the rest is good, so not bad at all. Plus it felt full of stuff even if there aren’t that many items (or not many more than usual) and absolutely feels like value for money.

Super Narwhal and Jelly Jolt Review

Super Narwhal and Jelly Jolt by Ben Clanton

Happy-go-lucky Narwhal and no-nonsense Jelly find their inner superheroes in three new under-the-sea adventures. In the first story, Narwhal reveals his superhero alter-ego and enlists Jelly to help him figure out what his superpower is. Next, Narwhal uses his superpower to help a friend find his way back home. In the third story, Jelly is feeling blue and Narwhal comes to the rescue. Ben Clanton showcases the joys of friendship and the power of believing in yourself and others through this irresistible duo.

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

And we’re now on the sequel! Superpowers for everyone!

And yes, that is basically the theme of this book (and waffles, and friendship). Narwhal is a superhero, but what is his superpower? I love that Jelly’s power is to “jolt” others. Makes sense given that Jelly is a jellyfish. And there’s even more superheroes.

Super Narwhal is as cute and loving as can be. And there are a few puns to be had in the book (so yes, adults and children can enjoy, and then enjoy a re-read as you grow up). It made me laugh a lot and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Same advice as with the first Narwhal and Jelly book, go buy it, you need it (but now you also need the first one! so go get both and maybe the next ones that aren’t out yet?)

Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea! Review

Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea by Ben Clanton

Narwhal is a happy-go-lucky narwhal. Jelly is a no-nonsense jellyfish. The two might not have a lot in common, but they do they love waffles, parties and adventures. Join Narwhal and Jelly as they discover the whole wide ocean together. A wonderfully silly, full-colour, early graphic novel series featuring three short stories and a super fun ocean fact page – and joke page too!
The perfect first book for young readers, just moving on from picture books, discovering the joys of friendship, working together and the power of imagination.

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

I found this book thanks to Stephanie Burgis, the author behind The Dragon with the Chocolate Heart book series. She tweeted something about it and it spiked my interest so I ordered this one and the sequel, plus preordered the next two. (Yeah I trust her judgement, this had to be good).

Thankfully it did not disappoint at all. My only qualm is that it is too short. Narwhal is so cute, loving and he makes me laugh so much, and Jelly is such a great contrast friend but not like a super grumpy one, just a different one.

This tiny book made me laugh, want waffles and just fall in love with it. It is highly recommended for children and adults alike, the art is “simple” in lines but still very good and it keeps you in this lovely undersea world.

My advice, go buy them all! Everyone needs this book in their home (and the similar book would be A Polar Bear falls in love.

Born Rebel Litjoy Unboxing

This is going to be my second to last Litjoy. I am trying to keep costs down and it is hard to choose which boxes to keep. Since I’ve been skipping the last few months of Litjoy, I decided it was a good idea to not renew. And this box confirmed it, as I am just not excited about it.

Contents of the box from top left (book) and going clockwise:

  • The Tiger at Midnight. I knew this was the book and want to read it.
  • A book sleeve with a Throne of Glass quote. I am terribly bored of SJM quotes however I like the sleeve because it feels perfect for a tablet.
  • A set of Snake Handle Makeup brushes, makes me think of Slytherin. I don’t really do makeup and alreayd have a set of brushes so this is a cool item that sadly I have no use for.
  • A collectible bracelet Percy Jackson themed. It’s neat, they have sent bracelets of this type before. I like them, do not wear them at all.
  • Aladdin magnetic bookmarks. Super cute, but my issue with magnetic bookmarks is that they break quickly.
  • A fearless rune sticker, assuming it is from Shadowhunters (yes the leaflet says so). It’s kinda meh because it is just a rune sticker, doesn’t mean much to me and it is huge so hard to mix with other laptop stickers. Space is a prime thing.
  • The theem card, I do love the artwork for it.
  • The collectible cards, Infernal Devices trio.

As you can see it wasn’t a bad box, but it just wasn’t for me. The only things I am keeping is the book and the sleeve. Which isn’t worth the price of it for me (considering it costs the shipping to UK). And they’re moving furhter away from themed fully on the book, which is the main reason I loved this. It used to be very thoughtfully curated to match the book but this feels more like a hey thrwo nice stuff in.

The Gamer Tag

I just discovered this over on A Reading Brit and had to do it. Gaming is a huge part of me (as is reading) so this was a perfect tag to try out.


Aloy fights off a Corruptor, drawn by me

1. What is your all-time favourite video game?

I don’t like favourite questions. I can’t pick one. My favourite video game for “it is a work of art” is defnitely Child of Light. My favourite “I spent my childhood on this” is Jazz Jack Rabbit 2, Duke Nukem 2 and Where in the World is Carmen SanDiego? (yes, I have aged myself, haven’t I? I played all of them on Windows PCs…). My favourite “comfort game (think comfort blanket but game)” is Bioshock series and Alice Madness Returns.

2. What is your current favourite video game?

Still difficult to choose. “I am too tired to do anything but don’t want to sleep yet” is Let’s Go Eevee. Mindless open world wandering is Skyrim and Dragon Age. I love Dishonored series and adore Prey (the Bethesda new one, not the old one). I also love Fire Emblem series as a comfort game.

3. What is your favourite video game genre?

Semi open world first person shooters (?). Think Fallout 3, New Vegas, 4 and 76 (but not Multiplayer I suck at multiplayer) Or Bioshock series, or Horizon Zero Dawn, or Prey or anything Bethesda brings out.
Strategy RPG (Fire Emblem only, Final Fantasy drives me nuts somehow despite being initially very similar). and a little of JRPG (Child of Light)

4. How long have you been playing video games?

Very young. My dad was computer crazy (at a time you could build a PC from a weekly magazine…) and he would let us play games. I remember playing Chip’s Challenge. And Mine sweeper and Pinball…

5. What’s the first game you ever played?

Apparently I replied early to this question. Probably Chip’s, or Carmen San Diego.

6. What game have you clocked the most hours into?

Bioshock series and Fallout series.

7. What’s your longest gaming session?

Not sure. I used to game longer during a difficult time in my life, most of the day. But now I play less and divide hours more.

8. Who is your favourite game developer?

Bethesda, specifically Arkane. And I loved Ken Levine and American McGee as game masterminds

9. Who is your favourite hero character from a game?

Aloy from Horizon Zero Dawn. She’s such a personality. I also have a soft spot for Link who keeps getting called Zelda 😛

10. Who is your favourite villain?

The Typhon. (Prey)

11. Who is your most hated character of any game?

I am not entirely sure. I really hated Fontaine from Bioshock series. But do you mean playable character or Ai character? Those are harder to choose which one I hate… I love/hate any Assasin’s Creed main character (but the first two were the worst) because they would easily fall down and commit suicide or break cover with a tiny movement from the controller. It drove me mad.

12. What gaming systems do you own?

PC (custom). PS4, Xbox 360, Nintendo DS Lite, DS and 3DS, Switch, Wii (old one). I also play on my phone.

13. What was your first game system?

Not counting PC. The first I played was Atari, then Nintendo 64. First owned was Nintendo DS Lite. (I always had friends/neighbours who had a console and we would play at theirs, until I got older).

14. What’s your favourite gaming system and why?

I love PC as it usually has all games I want and I can just plug a controller or play with keyboard-mouse, and enjoy PS4 a lot (it is my main gaming console at the moment). Recently the Switch has been winning me over with how portable and versatile it is.

15. Do you prefer to play male characters or female characters?

If given the choice I usually choose female. But if the game has a male character only I don’t mind. For example, Dishonored only lets you play Corvo (male), but Dishonored 2 let’s you play him or Emily (female). I have played both, and prefer Emily mostly because she has new powers that differ over Corvo’s.

16. Do you follow walkthroughs, or do you play through on your own?

I try to play on my own, but if I have spent ages trying to figure something out and I just can’t crack it, then I will look that part up. I like walkthroughs mostly for the “trophies” part (I am a sucker for trophies/achievements, I will replay games until I get as many as I can without being too frustrated by it).

17. Have you ever been to a gaming convention?

No. I would love to attend E3 but it is too far.

18. What game are you most excited to come out in the future?

CONTROL.

19. What’s your best memory of a video game?

One of my favourite things is that I went off videogames for a little bit and my little sister found American McGee’s Alice (the first Alice game he did) and she convinced me to play. I was SO bad at it. But she would coach me through it. And when Alice Madness Returns came out I was in the US so I bought it for her. In my head it was her game. I moved away and ended up playing it and beating it before her, which was a shock to me, but a fun memory because it felt like beating the master.

20. What’s your worst memory of a video game?

I do not want to remember those. But funny worst are the glitches that happen in some games 😛

21. Which video game character do you see yourself as, or if you had to be represented by a video game character, who would it be?

I would probably be a female Morgan (Prey). I would love to say I am an Aloy (Horizon Zero Dawn), but I am more Elisabeth Sobeck (don’t google if you intend to play this game, it is a spoiler to find out who she is) than Aloy.


I tag Justine, Asha, Lauren and Lilly-Beth plus anybody else that wants to do this!

Moonstruck Vol 2. Some Enchanted Evening Review

Moonstruck Volume 2: Some Enchanted Evening by Grace Ellis and Shae Beagle

Werewolf barista Julie and her supernatural friends try to unwind at a party, but a conniving fraternity of fairy bros has other plans for our heroes. With one of their friends trapped in the frat house and the winter solstice (a notable night of magical mischief) looming ever-closer, it’s up to the amorous werewolves and gregarious centaur to save the day.

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

I read the first volume for Moonstruck a while ago, and enjoyed it so much that I preordered the second volume. (And somehow didn’t review it here, oh shame on me!)

They had me at the Newpals (a Neopets alternative in this universe). I loved Neopets, and it was part of my tweens/teens so much, I still go visit my pets (I have a rare Lutari for example, that I worked hard to catch on Lutari day). And basically, there is a small plot line about Newpals, and it made me all soft and reminded me of so many happy times.

But the story in general is about a party they end up with adn complications, plus there is a lot of figuring out how things work and relationships should work between the characters (not just romantic relationships, by the way). But this is all explored in a really cute, funny way. I adore the characters and how unique and special each one is, plus despite not reading the previous volume to 2catch up” or “refresh” I still thoroughly enjoyed this and it jolted my memory without having “recaps”.

There’s some new developments about characters that make it amusing, and there’s the whole take on frat parties but with fairies. Yes, you read that right! It was just a blast to read, a cuddly funny but also very real story (yes, I know it is all in a magical world, but that doesn’t take anything from it).