Mooncakes Review

Mooncakes by Wendy Xu and Suzanne Walker

A story of love and demons, family and witchcraft.

Nova Huang knows more about magic than your average teen witch. She works at her grandmothers’ bookshop, where she helps them loan out spell books and investigate any supernatural occurrences in their New England town.

One fateful night, she follows reports of a white wolf into the woods, and she comes across the unexpected: her childhood crush, Tam Lang, battling a horse demon in the woods. As a werewolf, Tam has been wandering from place to place for years, unable to call any town home.

Pursued by dark forces eager to claim the magic of wolves and out of options, Tam turns to Nova for help. Their latent feelings are rekindled against the backdrop of witchcraft, untested magic, occult rituals, and family ties both new and old in this enchanting tale of self-discovery.

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

You want a book about witches? You’ve got it. You want representation? This book has it in spades, not just for LGBTQ+ but also for disabilities. You want a cute love story? Mooncakes has it. And if the title sounds like there should be food in it, why yes, there is also food!

Seriously, Mooncakes is a bunch of cute. Nova and Tam are fully fleshed out with worries, individual challenges and stories that still mix together by their past, present and potential future. And the grandmothers are awesome. There is so mcuh to say about all the characters and the value they add, even if some are there you make you smile and that is all, but still.

The world sounds very intriguing and I wanted to know more of how it is, and how magic and non magic coexists, as I do want to know what else they do at the bookstore/coffee shop thing Nova’s grandmothers have.

And the artwork is wonderfully detailed and you can see the care that went into making it become more than just words in a page, but to make the story and characters real and unique. At the end there is a “how this becomes a comic” and it was awesome to see the progress of the description and then how it becomes a full page.

I cannot recommend this enough because it is incredibly cute, awesome and I just need everyone to enjoy it!

Deadly Secrets Book Box Club Unboxing

First Book Box Club of the year and it had two books! So let’s see what the contents were, starting from the bottom with the theme card:

  • I don’t usually think of January as a red month but the theme card fits the theme well.
  • Voldermot magnetic bookmark. It is cute, just not my thing because they’re obnoxious to use.
  • The first book was The Good Hawk, which I had on my preorder list so I am very excited to read it.
  • The second book is The Pure Heart, and this one was not on my radar at all.
  • The secret Clubhouse invite, personalised which is one f my favoruite things.
  • Promo bookmark for another book.
  • Mi Corvere candle, I am not sure what it is meant to smell like but it is interesting.
  • A cute pouch bag. It is of very nice material
  • A Deadly Secrets skull bath bomb I am totally looking forward to treating myself with!

All in all it was a nice box with a pamper item and nothing I hated or disliked loads. Even the item I won’t really use is cute, so all good.

Chilling Effect Review

Chilling Effect by Valerie Valdes

A hilarious, offbeat debut space opera that skewers everything from pop culture to video games and features an irresistible foul-mouthed captain and her motley crew, strange life forms, exciting twists, and a galaxy full of fun and adventure.

Captain Eva Innocente and the crew of La Sirena Negra cruise the galaxy delivering small cargo for even smaller profits. When her sister Mari is kidnapped by The Fridge, a shadowy syndicate that holds people hostage in cryostasis, Eva must undergo a series of unpleasant, dangerous missions to pay the ransom.

But Eva may lose her mind before she can raise the money. The ship’s hold is full of psychic cats, an amorous fish-faced emperor wants her dead after she rejects his advances, and her sweet engineer is giving her a pesky case of feelings. The worse things get, the more she lies, raising suspicions and testing her loyalty to her found family.

To free her sister, Eva will risk everything: her crew, her ship, and the life she’s built on the ashes of her past misdeeds. But when the dominoes start to fall and she finds the real threat is greater than she imagined, she must decide whether to play it cool or burn it all down.

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

Full disclosure, I finished this book last year but because Orbit was publishing in the UK this month, I delayed my review to make it coincide with its birthday week! (Also, I bought my own copy, because seriously, psychic cats in space).

What I had kinda forgotten, was how much Latinx rep this book has which had me in sittches at all the nuance. If you read it not being Latinx, it will be a fun space opera, but knowing the meaning behidn the title chapters and the little phrases Eva keeps throwing when she’s angry or in a pickle, it was really fun.

Basically this book is bonkers and it is exactly the kind of crazy space opera that I haven’t seen or read in a long time and had been missing. It is the throw everything and the kitchen sink in just for good measure but instead of being a complaint about the fact there is so much going on, it is one of the strengths of the book.

Because the thing is that Eva is having so much happening and so many things going on that it is a bit hard to keep moving forward and she’s trying real hard to keep everything a bit sane rather than just unravelling into chaos (which does happen, because life and yeah, poor Eva). There is a lot of crazy, a lot of aliens, not a crazy amount of explaining the world to you (think how you go to Star Wars in a pub and there’s all the species and you have no clue about it but they’re there and you accept it at face value, that’s what it is like in this book). Things are and you just go along, and suddenly as you move through the book you go “oh wait, this thing, previously it was there and it was like part of it, but now it means something, I understand better”.

And there are the psychic cats, with the “boss” cat being called Mala which basically means Bad so it was real fun to have them in the mix (I want one).

All in all, if you like space opera with a lot of crazy, lot of drama and one thing after the other so you’re left with a “what now?” then definitely give this a go!

The Strength Within Illumicrate Unboxing

First box of the year, and I am still struggling to decide if it is worth keeping. Don’t get me wrong, it is a nice box, the problem is I’ve been subscribed to their box for long and it feels like the boxes have less unique things and less content in general. I am still giving it a bit longer to decide if I should cancel subscription or not.

But now unto contents, going clockwise and starting on the theme card at the bottom:

  • Theme booklet and collectible coin.
  • The Sisters Grimm, this was the main book and it is gorgeous. Looking forward to reading it.
  • A cute print inspired by Girls of Paper and Fire, it is holographic and the artwork is cute (but I am not crazy about prints and also they’re never the size of the book so that I could have them together)
  • Infinity Son. I had an ARC of this one and wasn’t too keen on it, so alas, despite it being a “hyped” book it isn’t something that makes me think “awesome” but rather “oh no, not this one that I already read and didn’t like”.
  • Probably the coolest item of the box, a booklight! It is a clip on one and it is a wonderful portable size.
  • A beanie, that in my opinion is a bit boring. I really like Daughter of Smoke and Bone but the emrboidery is tiny and the beanie is just a blue beanie. Can’t we have a different type of hat? How about a beret? Or a cap? Or something else that isn’t the same beanie everyone gets just embroidered with something different? (because other boxes also get Beanies and they are almost all the same exact type).
  • An ultra thick wooden bookmark, that everyone in the office immediately said “this will damage your books if you use it” and I couldn’t help but nod in agreement because it is really pretty but it is too thick.
  • Gideon the Ninth mini purse, I think meant for coins? It is nice.

All in all the items I liked was main book, booklight and coin purse (which I may never use) so it felt a bit disappointing sadly. I so deeply wish for a box as full of wonderful surprises as the first 4-10 boxes were when they were quarterly. Alas, I am just a subscriber that’s been with them for so long…

Picklewitch and Jack

Picklewitch and Jack by Claire Barker

The dreadful strangers moved in on a wild and windy Thursday.
‘Fudgenuts,’ cursed Picklewitch, adjusting her cracked binoculars to get a better view of the comings-and-goings. ‘This won’t do at all. I bet they haven’t even bought me any cake.’

Picklewitch is, quite literally, out of her tree. She has a nose for naughtiness, a taste for trouble and a weakness for cake. And unluckily for brainbox Jack – winner of the ‘Most Sensible Boy in School’ for the third year running – she’s about to choose him as her new best friend . . .

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

This was an odd cute book I read for Februwitchy. I got wind of it thanks to Asha and decided to puy and had had it on my shelves for a while.

My absolute favoruite thing was all the illustrations on it. They are super fun and have so many details that as you read and see the illustrations you go “ohh look at that tiny detail, and that one and that one too”. Gorgeous, seriously.

The story is fun but it had me struggling to like Picklewithc as she is causing poor Jack so much grief and he already has enough complications as it is. But her antics were funny and I also had a soft spot for her, so it was a very contradictive read where I wasn’t sure what I wanted exactly to happen and was torn between rooting for him or her.

The friendship part was nice and that school can be better with frineds and colleagues, and it touches a little on bullies. In general a fun read however for me the biggest struggle was that some of the things Picklewitch did, if she had done them to me I would’ve been devastated and questioned the whole concept of her “friendship” and just wanted to run away. But Jack somehow stoically keeps going on. Poor Jack.

Hex Vet: Witches in Training Review

Hex Vet: Witches in Training by Sam Davies

In a world where magic is an ordinary part of daily life, two young apprentice veterinarians pursue their dreams of caring for supernatural creatures. 

Have you ever wondered where witches’ cats go when they pull a claw? Or what you do with a pygmy phoenix with a case of bird flu? Nan and Clarion have you covered. They’re the best veterinarian witches of all time—at least they’re trying to be. But when an injured spectral wolf beast from another realm stumbles into their lives, Nan and Clarion have to put down their enchanted potions and face the biggest test of their magical, medical careers…outside of the clinic. 

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

This was the first book I read for #Februwitchy. And of course didn’t add it to my TBR because completely forgot. I thoguht it’d be a good start to get me wanting to read more. Start easy so I pick up and feel like I can do it.

So far that tactic has worked.

I found this book while browsing for other graphic novels and thought the premise was cute, veterinarian withces for mythical and fantastic creatures, yes please.

It did not disappoint, I want a bugbear and I just really enjoyed seeing all the critters they have in the clinic. The artwork was fitting to the story, it felt magical and cute and just a tinge scary when it needed to be. I can see that there’s a lot of more story to come and that there is potential for many plots and things alongside the already revealed interesting personal plot points of the two apprentices.

The only thing I had issues was that some panels and bubbles have grammatical errors which kept breaking the immersion that had happened. And it was short, I wish it had been longer because I was enjoying it too much and wanted to know more of the world, of the creatures, of their worlds and who they are.

All in all, a cute enjoyable graphic novel about magic, friendship, teamwork and critters.

#Februwitchy TBR

It is with great trepidation that I am saying this, but I joined a readathon! I have tried joining them before but have basically been unable to stick to them. Either they’re too constrictive (one book that has a title of three letters and a unicorn in it) or they just feel like I need to read too many books or I just don’t know.

As much as I am a person that likes the security of rules and all that, I also knee jerk at them and in reading I do not like being told what to read/do (I am the one person who before school even started they would’ve read all the school books and end up reading something else during class).

Anyway, this time I have decided to join because it is hosted by Asha, and it is a topic I actually have enough books for without having to make an effort. They’re already in my shelves, or it gives me the excuse to treat myself to some books.

So without further ado, I am joining Februwitchy, which is all about witch main characters and magic. You can find the full post about it here.

Obviously, me being me, I completely forgot I needed a TBR or to look at my shelves (I knew I had the books, Compendium of Witches has been next to my laptop for ages), so on the 1st of February I haphazardly pulled witchy books out of my shelves and this (plus a couple more I have found over the last few days) is my TBR:

  • Wish for a Witch by Kaye Umanksy (they are either Stephanie’s fault or Asha’s)
  • Witch for a Week by Kaye Umansky
  • A Most Magical Girl by Karen Foxlee (this one is one of those that somehow ended up in my shelves, preorder or Waterstones shelves most probably)
  • Picklewitch & Jack by Claire Barker (this one is totally Asha’s fault)
  • The Price Guide of the Occult by Leslie Walton (preorder done way way back that I just hadn’t felt like reading)
  • The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco (this was one of those “oh, might as well treat myself to it because it is for the readthon and has been in my wishlist for a long time”)
  • These Witches Don’t Burn by Isabel Sterling (preorder)
  • Witchy by Ariel Slamet Ries (I like graphic novels, follow artists on Twitter, this happened)
  • Mooncakes by Suzanne Walker and illustrated by Wendy Xu (preordered because it sounded great then wanted it more after following Wendy on Twitter)
  • Compendium of Witches by Nataša Ilinčić(I stumbled upon this one, managed to get a signed sketched on edition, it was a treat I bought for myself last year).

I think it is a decent list and I may add more as I go, depending on my speed. We shall see. I am hoping this goes well and I stick to it (so far so good).