#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).

End of year (and decade) Wrap-Up

Closing the year with lots of foxes, Vixy, my family, art and books.

2019 is coming to an end and to be fair, it doesn’t feel like anything so far. Today is just another day, the last one in the calendar and apparently the last one of the decade (we’re approaching the twenties, what fun crazy parties are there to come?!) but so far, the hype, the excitement is not there for me.

This year and decade have been dissonant and odd. And as much as I used to plan ahead like crazy and overplan and have everything “perfect”, that is one of the lessons learned this decade. Even the best laid plans can go awry and not turn out to be the best. You can plan and plan and plan, I had plan A to Z and still, somehow that wasn’t enough for some of the things that happened this decade.

And you know what? That is actually fine. I still plan and I am known to be that person who you approach when you need something. You need sewing supplies in the office, or different types of glue, or food, or whatever, I’ve got it. I am still very much a planner. But I am also aware I can’t cover everything and plans don’t always go the way you planned.

If the plans I had at the beginning of the decade had worked out I’d be married to a first husband, with kids, a successful research career and potentially a high level job as manager or close to CEO of something. And so far I have none of those things. (Yes, to those gracefully pointing out, I did get married this year, but this was not my first rodeo).

Instead, I on my second marriage, no kids (just Vixy and some chickens), on a job that was as far away from my dream job as I could consider that is turning out to be even better than my dream job, and in a country where I am a stranger, an immigrant and unwanted and at the same time, I am not.

Heck, during this decade, I got married twice, had a divorce (something I never expected to have to do, one of the few things I never planned for), became homeless, had all my money stolen away, fought a massive legal battle to be able to have a life and be my own person, survived mental illness, moved countries and moved so many times in a new country. Went from speaking my native language the most, to barely using it.

And relationships. I broke away from my biological family (and then we agreed to come back). Found a new family (where I fit a little better). Tested old friendships (in a few days I will be seeing a friend I have known since we were 13-14 years old, one of my oldest friendships), made new ones. Some of them broke, some never stuck, some have become a massive blessing and grown my network.

In this decade, I have been scared as I had never been before, but I have also exprienced joy and gratitude like never before. I have grown so much.

Even my looks have changed, and my confidence.

I have no big plans for 2020 or the full decade. I do have little (and big) things I’d like to accomplish, but we shall see how they come to fruition:

  • Complete writing a novel.
  • Publish it
  • Write the WBT comic and illustrate it.
  • Draw more
  • Read more

Things I plan to do this coming year is to draw almost everyday. I used to and then got out of the practice for many reasons, and now want to get back into it.

And I am going to be better at choosing books I spend my money on. I had been on a rampage to support as many authors as possible and I end up not reading them all (for example, Contemporary Romance is something I rarely read and yet I had preordered so many). So my intention is to think better what I purchase. In the end, all my efforts to support authors feel like they’ve been mostly wasted (I know in a way they haven’t) and I would rather do this with more care.

I also went on a rampage of bookboxes, but I am slowly culling that down as some are loosing the shine and spark. It is a tough world and there’s only so many *insert overused item in bookboxes here* you need. I just wish there were ways to customise or tailor it a bit better. And I would love a UK version of what PageHabit did (annotated books by the author, with post it notes).

A thing I won’t stop is the generosity and kindness I have. This has been used against me (I have been considered a threat or “evil” for being nice, or that I have an ulterior motive, or that my kindness is a way to mistreat people) but I still won’t stop. I like helping and being nice to others.

What are you musing on today? (If you are musing at all)

I am now off to finish working for the day, then have some pizza with my husband and watch a film and some documentaries.

Happy Holidays!

If you followed the saga of “I just realised it is the 23rd and I urgently need to draw an elaborate holiday cheer thing for the 25th” on Twitter, you know I only finished this after midnight and well…

But I did finish it!

Merry Christmas if you celebrate it, if not, whatever you do celebrate, may it be good and peaceful and bring generosity and comfort to you.

Thanks for reading this blog and being part of it and interacting with me throughout that time. ~I truly appreciate it and I hope I managed to share of my love for books and book boxes with you all.

Dragon Physician Review

Dragon Physician by Joyce Chng

How is a boy going to succeed in a world of dragon-racing dominated by women and girls? When Jixin finally becomes a dragon physician to the wonderful dragon breeds, his world begins to change.

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

I pestered Joyce for a way to buy this book. And so I have a copy (bought, not gifted or anything) and somehow forgot to review it (in my head I thought I had done it, fail).

But now unto the book, it is a really cute story set in a world I really liked and found interesting. For starters the useful people here are women. Men are the ones “relegated” to certain tasks because they aren’t that good for the tasks women do. It was interesting to see this “change” of roles so drastically but not into a “polar opposites of how they tend to be in our world”.

And we have Jixin’s story, but he is also taken by the daughter of the owner of the racing house he works in. This brings him into the opportunity of fulfilling his drea of becoming a dragon physician like his mother (there seems to be a space for the story of her mother here, but this is the first book, and I do want to know that story).

There is also the story of the racing houses, and then the troubles and “adventure” that ensues as he accepts some interesting proposals from the daughter of the racing house.

I found the racing houses and dragon lore fun and wanted to know more. And there was also a lot of questions regarding what being LGBTQ+ means, and how to consider and react to it, but also the questions it brings.

I haven’t read many books that ask this kind of questions and I was pleased by having them posed the way they were here, as they are part of the story and make part of the plot, but they are also not a detractor of it or to say it is “driving” an agenda. It just is.

All in all, I enjoyed it, wish it was a series and there were more, and I would be even happier it was illustrated or had some illustrations (that cover is super cute and so galactic lovely!).

I would suggest you check Joyce’s books out, she has some more on dragons and werewolves (not together if I remember correctly), so there’s something for everyone.

YALC 2019 Wrap-up

As many of you know (and for those that don’t) I went to YALC this year. All the times I’ve been at YALC, I’ve done cosplays, so this year was no different. Though I did bring in two new cosplays (Previously I have done Hermione, Death from Book of Life and of course Moon dress).

Friday’s cosplay was as Cat Noir from Miraculous Ladybug (a cartoon for children, you can find it on Netflix, and this is no promo as I don’t even have Netflix but I do like the cartoon).

Saturday was Knit Anele aka Moon dress (because it is iconic and everyone recognises it). This was the costume that gave me the most problems as the corset shifted (yes it is a corset) and I couldn’t sit, so after lunch I took it off (it is designed to be used with or without it, but obviously it is more stunning with it).

And finally, on Sunday I dressed up as Menolly (with blue hair) from Dragonsong by Anne McCaffrey. This was a very interesting cosplay because I got a lot of children asking for pictures (also some teenagers and adults), but no one really knew who I was dressed up as(I think the exception would be Steph from GeekyClean). My favourite part was that when I said who I was, there were two very distinct reactions “oh yes, of course” (on the older side of the scale or those that do a lot of SFF and not just YA) or blank faces of “no idea”. One person even asked me to write down the book and author so they could look it up. The dragon(firelizard) has now been baptised as “Pern” in honor of the planet where he comes from. Oh and yes, I wasn’t “holding” him, attached him to my shoulder with the help of Josie Jaffrey and my friends.

Now to the part about the books! This is my haul:

From left to right:

  • Brought 23 books. All except Lauren James’ book got signed (I mean puppy needed her, good priorities there).
  • Bought 17 books. Some for the wedding favours pile. The new edition of After the Fire (to complete my collection), and some early copies of books plus books that caught my eye. I behaved much better this year and didn’t go on a crazy buying spree.
  • 7 Books that were free or swapped. I did bring about 10 for the book swap so this didn’t go too bad (and only one of those was from the book swap directly). Some publishers did a “buy a book get one free” so some of those are in this pile.
  • And I won 10 books/proofs. Wilder Girls, Chinglish and Kingdom of Souls were high priority and I was so pleased to win them. Sanctuary was “fated”. The first person who drew won, so I went next thinkign that the odds of me winning the other prize were too small (they were), and yet still won.

I won’t talk about every single book here as I will review them at some point. But I tried to only enter those I would read (or a friend was eagerly wanting) and I also didn’t go too crazy on freebies and ended up with a small stack of them rather than a crazy amount.

I have read most of the samplers and started my list of “preorders” that are to come next (for those that follow the preorder spreadsheet, I had paused it on the buildup to YALC so I wouldn’t shoot myself in the foot and buy doubles, but it will continue in the next few weeks).

As per usual, things could be better, but they were better than last year (I am being positive and small improvements are better than no improvement). The biggest issue is lack of suitable chairs to sit for those of us who struggle sitting on the floor (I have been working wiht my physio to help me cope with this better but by Sunday I really really would’ve loved having a chair as I was struggling). And it isn’t a thing that is particularly hard to fix either.

I was also super glad to make new friends, and put faces to names and to have the chance to chat with people (I kinda want to tag everyone but I am also afraid I’d forget someone and I just don’t want to forget anyone!). You know who you are since we talked.

For me this YALC was better and easier because I made myself enjoy it more and go less into a rush and manic hype. And it was about friendships old and new. Community was interesting to see.

My biggest wish would be that people in general are more polite and considerate of others. There was a lot of madly crushing people despite asking not to. (And becauseof this I made an extra effort to not push on people and to not be too close to them in the queues, giving them space to be).

I finish with that YALC sign picture and our squad which keeps growing!

Nightlights Review + YALC Ramble

I got this gorgeous colourful book from my birthday elf box (we do a birthday box like a secret santa) Tracey, and I was really happy.

This is the paperback version as there is a hardback one, but I am a paperback human through and through. The book is big and colourful and full of imagination.

It is like the perfect imagination box inside, and with a story about a little girl who prefers to doodle than do her homework or pay attention in class (I was the kind of person who needed to doodle to pay attention or she just couldn’t concentrate). And then she meets a new girl at school and she seems to like her drawings. But maybe it isn’t all good…

It has a creepy/scary element in it but it reminded me a little of the Book of Kells style of artwork (it isn’t the same I know) and type of story. Highly recommended as a story book and just to enjoy the artwork.


I am at YALC this weekend so hopefully if you are around you can find me (bright blue hair, cosplaying each day).

My short tip list is to:

  • Be kind. Your attittude will help you get the help you need.
  • Hydrate. It is hot and you are excited and you forget. A few of us “veterans” are well prepared, so reach out to us.
  • Eat. Snacks are the very least but there’s places to eat or bring your own food (again, find veterans who can help if in a pinch).
  • Do a recon of the area. I sometimes go a bit crazy and do everything the first day. Depending on which days you’re going, try to make it last as long as you’re there.
  • Don’t rush. Yes, there’s a lot to see and do, but you’ll enjoy it more if you take it easy rather than rushing around.
  • Sunday near closing time is when crazy offers happen (stock is too small to take home, etc). If the risk is not too big for you, it may be worth waiting. I snagged some wonderful deals on Sunday that I wouldn’t have otherwise.
  • Authors sometimes walk the area and will happily chat to you and sign books (not all of them, be polite when you approach them and don’t expect them to be at your beck and call, they’re humans too). So don’t over fret.
  • Divide and conquer. If you’ve got friends (or made queue friends) who can help you queue or get a ticket or something, ask. Most of us are a friendly bunch and diviing bits and asking for your highest priority and helping others get theirs is win win.

I could go on and on but there are other helpful guides around, so I’ll leave it there. I will be posting a selfie or some kind of picture of my costume each day so you can find me (I am very bad at names, so I forget, even if I recognise your face don’t take this badly). Be aware that at social gatherings I go on overdrive and I am talkative and overly extroverted (my Mexican side shows up). I am not trying to be annoying.

Hope you have lots of fun! 🙂

Skyward Review

Informal review, because today’s my birthday. And I thought I’d review the earliest birthday gift I received this year, by a lovely twitter peep who granted me a birthday wish.

Skyward was fun to read, and it went by very quickly from a chirpy kinda thing to a more dramatic one. I did enjoy a lot the way humans adapt to the low gravity environment (I mean, there’s a lot of other things that wouldn’t work but not going into the nitty gritty, this is a comic).

There are many creaive ways of “moving” and of staying “grounded” rather than being blow away by a movement that would propel you out of the atmosphere. I guess the best way of describing it is having the same atronaut “space” feel but all here on Earth without the “oxygen tank and protection from stuff” problems real space has.

I enjoyed it a lot and it was a good thing to read on a day I was feeling sad and a bit in too much pain (I don’t talk to much about pain, but that’s a journey too long to say here). So thank you very much! I can’t wait to get the next volume!


As for my birthday baloon day, it’s going to just another day. Work, then I treated myself to an aerial sling class, then a haircut/dye.

What do I want from this next year? I want to strengthen my body slowly, to cope better with the causes of my pain (I can only manage it, not fix it). Do more art, I haven’t done much art this last year as I changed jobs and then planned a wedding (it takes SO much of your time). I also want another critter…