The Boy who Dreamed of Dragons Review

The Boy who Dreamed of Dragons by Andy Shepherd. Illustrated by Sara Ogilvie.

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

I discovered The Boy who Grew Dragons a while back and adored it so I ended up buying all three books. And then they announced there would be a fourth one and I immediately preordered it because between the cute illustrations and the adorable story, I was sold (plus, dragons, very important part).

The best way I can summarise what the book is all about is to say that it is a transition story, from what happened in the previous three to what is to come if there are more books (which I hope there are). There a lot of changes for the superhero squad, and some new characters added.

Tomas is struggling to cope with the changes and feels like things are moving too fast, but there are ways around them and change brings growth which is a lesosn he definitely has to learn in this book. Plus one of the new characters brings potentially lots of new stories to the game (and I am hoping they will come in more books for sure). We see more Flicker and more dragosn whcih was enjoyable, I just was sad that my original idea of what dreaming of dragons meant wasn’t what happened but I still liked what the title implied to (and it was more fo a “I went expecting/guessing this and something else happened but I still wish this one thing was something in this universe” maybe it will be at some point…)

One of my favourite things is the cute dragons and how unique they are which was wonderful to see here. And the relationships of family like how Tomas and his sister Lolli get along and I love that, or when he interacts with his grandfather. It is lovely to see some family around and the dynamics behind them.

As I mentioned before, the artwork is great and very enjoyable, giving the story a little bit more fun and depth. So go get the first one, or maybe the whole set, because maybe you will suddenly find an interesting fruit and need to know how to deal with the little dragon that may pop out of it!

The Shadow Glass Review

The Shadow Glass by Rin Chupeco

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

It is done! Completed. I knew this book was going to be intense as it had a lot of questions to answer, starting with what happens to Kalen (I’ve been biting my nails about it since book one!), and then there’s the whole changes in dynamics of the characters. Why is Tea doing all of what she has done? And who is traitor, maybe more than one? Will we ever find out Druj?

I kept reading and going “I am not sure how we’re going to get all the answers to everything I need to know” until suddenyl all the ribbons, hints and little things made sense. My suspicions on some characters turned out to be true (it was also fun to buddy read this and have a theory and suggest it but not be fully sure and doubt yourself and then have it confirmed) and new things kept coming that still managed to surprise me but made sense.

I think that is one of the beauties of this series. There is a LOT going on. And you get most of the answers at the end, in the last book, but they all make sense because you can remember scenes in previous books and even in the one you’re reading, and the dots connect. It takes skill to write and make all those dots connect and do so in such a way, so I can only admire Rin’s ability to write this story.

//Spoilers for content in the two previous books ahead but no spoilers for this one//

Tea and Kalen. I adored the scenes that happened between them including drunk Tea which was one of my favourite parts. And we had the relationship develop well so it felt right, it worked and the chemistry. Honestly, I was just like cooing and wanting more of them.

I also had a lot fo love for the other pairings happening in the book and how they slowly come to fruition. It was wonderful to see old characters keep up.

The one thing I would’ve loved, was a list of names and who they were plus which country they originally belong to (as at some point I had to stop and remind myself that X was actually from so and so and not the other country). But this is more due to the sheer size of the world and the amount of characters and me desperately wanting to understand it all and not miss a thing.

Honestly I can babble incoherently for a while, but all I can say is that the book shows Rin’s ability to weave a tale and bring it to completion breaking and mending your heart along the way.

Rebels with a Cause Owlcrate Unboxing

As I mentioned on ym previous unboxing, there was another box doing Incendiary and I was curious to see what was included instead for items, so let’s see what Owlcrate did (also, the theme is different). Starting on Incendiary top left corner and going clockwise:

  • Incendiary, Owlcrate edition.
  • Stickers, whcih I usually enjoy becuase stickers are fun, bonus points if they are the kind you can unstick. The ones here are less exciting as they are quotes and I prefer more image stickers than quotes.
  • The collectible pin, I think it’ll make more sense once I read the book.
  • Theme card.
  • 10 metal straws, in a cute pouch with cleaning brushes. 5 of them with a bend and 5 straight ones. I like this because it gives you enough straws to have around.
  • Witchy, which I have reviewed before but for a different press, and this cover is also gorgeous. Great choice.
  • The pouch for the straws.
  • Pot holders, probably the most boring one of the items since they are just quotes rather than something fun, but I like they’re brihgt as it makes them easier to find!
  • A gorgeous wooden magnet that immediately went on the fridge because it is so elegant and simple yet beautiful.

All in all I liked the contents of the box and was happy with it. I would’ve liked less quote items and more image ones but that’s more personal prefernece rather than thinking the items aren’t great.

Memories Fairyloot Unboxing

April’s Fairyloot arrived quitelate this time, so it felt as if it was the May box rather than the April one. Oh well, this is the oen for April, and it left me with some opinions. Let’s unbox starting from the top right and going clockwise:

  • Tote bag, this is a thick quality one which is nice but the deisgn is very much quotes and small reading so it doesn’t shine much.
  • Emoji sticky tabs which is very much NOT my thing. Starting by it being emojis and then sticky tabs.
  • Theme bookmark
  • An enamel pin for a Memory Vial.
  • Wahsi tape for Daughter of Smoke and Bone, though it could be for many thing, however it is cute and blue so I like it.
  • A Secret Book Volume 3. I like the idea but it does look quite “fake” (whereas I already have a few other secret books that look more like books), so shall compare but I like the idea.
  • Theme card.
  • Tarot cards, not been collecting them so a bit meh about them.
  • A pin banner thing, which I am not keeping but I know of some people who would love it.
  • The main book, Incendiary which I am intrigued by it and looking forward to reading.

All in all it felt a bit not cohesive, and some items felt like fillers and add ons just to pad it rather than to really want ot be in theme and with the book. But shall compare later on to the other box doing the same book and we can decide…

The Heart Forger Review

The Heart Forger by Rin Chupeco

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

After reading The Bone Witch, I ordered the next two books, then continued a buddy read. Life got in the way for both of us so it took us a while to coordinate again, but once we did, we flew through it.

One of my favourite things so far is the world building. You get so much in this world and it just keeps expanding more and more. The style of having Tea in the present talking to the Bard about her story of the past and what made her what she is, does a really good job in presenting items cohesively despite being different moments and different reveals.

The last 100 pages or so, they went by so fast because there was so much going on and slowly being revealed and surprisingly a lot of what I thought would happen, didn’t and things I didn’t expect did. As I reached the end I needed to know more.

The characters keep developing their layers and showing more of how grey they are and how difficult it is to know someone’s true intentions and what is going on behind closed doors but in figurative and literal sense. I have a big soft spot both for Khalad and Likh, and for their stories. But new characters also join in and add to the “team”, Mykkie is still a big part of the story and Tea keeps showing us more of who she is, what she has held inside and slowly revealing the secrets and motives that she carries as a heavy burden.

I am in awe of the story. It is deep and full and rich, and I cannot recommend it enough. Also, it is incredibly hard not to spoil it while reviewing because there is SO mcuh I’d like to say but it’d spoil it and it’s worth not doing that.

I can only say, go read The Bone Witch and have The Heart Forger ready to keep going because you will want to know more!

Thorn Review

Thorn by Intisar Khanani

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

Thron was included in one of the recent Book Box Club boxes. However, I had it on preorder and didn’t catch that it was the same book, so I got duplicates and gifted a copy to a friend.

Obviously means I was eager to read it, right?

From the start, there is a fairy tale undertone to the story (I know it is based on the story of the goose girl, but some books that are based on fairy tales do not read like one) and it sets the tone for the rest of the book in a wonderful way.

We meet Alyrra as she is preparing to meet her future husband’s family. She is in general a resigned unhappy princess that would rather have a different life. However, she doesn’t want an adventure as one would expect. What she wants is just peace, to be able to be insignificant in a way. And she wants to not have her cruel family over her. As much as she is unsure about the alliance through marriage and who the prince is, she sees this as a way out of her family and country to somewhere that may be better.

What she doesn’t expect is to end up as the lady in company of the princess rather than the actual princess, which puts her into the position of a goose girl as ajob. Which she finds delightful. It is hard work, but it is work and she is gettign exactly what she wants. Plus there’s a wonderful talking horse, Falada, that she has for ocmpany.

The story follows the bones of the goose girl fairy tale but adds to many beautiful layers on top. One of my favourite lines is the concept of family and unity, of found family rather than the given one (which really spoke to me). Another one is the concept of justice and what that may mean. Can justice be truly fair? What does that mean and how is it decided? There is also the way Alyrra starts to figure out who she is outside of the obligations of being a “princess”. And it is interesting to see how she views herself as something but in truth she is ahead of how she sees herself. She calls herself a coward often, but has a lot of courage, and it takes her time to understand that and to see what she is doing as courageous.

I think those layers and the many characters that are very defined in the story, like Sage, Violet, Ash, Oak and Joa make it even better as a fairy tale on it’s own. Vety enjoyable, feels old and as if it has existed for so long and yet it is fresh and has a lot of questions. Probably the best way to describe Thorn is to say that this is what a fairytale ought to be in 2020. Something to become a classic read over and over and seen as a comfortable uncomfortable story with magic woven through it.

Highly recommend reading it and giving it a chance.

The Library of Ever Review

The Library of Ever by Zeno Alexander

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

I had The Library of Ever on preorder so it was a nice surprise the day it arrived in the post. I opened, started reading it and was hooked. Alas, I had to go work, so it was put aside until later.

The story starts with Lenora being very bored and unhappy until they end up in a library and she stumbles upon The Library of Ever. This is the coolest library ever and I loved the concept of it. It is a library will all knowledge and is accesible by librarians from all over the world and time and it is based on the motto that Knowledge is Light.

As Lenora accepts a job as fourth assistant, she gets assigned to different areas the more she grows her rank. Each time she has crazy adventures and my favourite part is that in each of them, a lot of knowledge and facts make part of it. Including challenging the concept that sometimes “common” knowledge isn’t correct (like the longest name for a place isn’t that one in Wales, for example, it may be one fo the longest one word names for a place but not the longest)

It was a joy to read and to be in the adventures with Lenora, plus learning new things at the same time (I did pause a few times just to go find out more about what Lenora was learning/doing in her adventure). Outside of those pauses, it was a fast delightful read and I highly recommend it and can’t wait to read the next one.

There Will Come A Darkness Review

There Will Come A Darkness by Katy Rose Pool

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

A little disclaimer, I have had this book on preorder for ages (1st of August 2019 apparently) but I also got a review copy from the publisher. Given how far back I preordered, it is pretty obvious they can’t really influence my review at all because I was already hyped for it.

And it was good and worth it. It did take me ages to read but it was mostly because it was the book I had with me while waiting in the queue for going into the shop weekly. It was a good read that kept me engrossed and made the wait not that difficult and helped it not feel like it was long or dragging. (I mean not what you want on your cover, but a book that helps pass a stressful moment and long wait much faster is always a good win).

Our story follows several POV from different characters who are linked by a Prophecy (and some in ways you didn’t expect at all, there’s definitely a few surprises that kept coming). This is a setup and build up book and not in a tell way. It is a book to know each of the characters, their personal stakes and why they are part of this end of times prophecy that isn’t even very clear.

One of the things I liked was that the characters are so varied but they each have something unique and something to move towards (or to run away from, right?). This means we have several subplots going on for the characters and as they start to intersect the stakes get higher and higher.

The concept of Graces at first I was like “meh, whatever” it felt like any other concept but as I read, the more I understood how entrenched, how much they defined the world yet at the same time, you didn’t feel like they were alien or odd in it. Probably the moment to sayt he worldbuilding was great. There’s so many places, and each has their thing but as you move through it in the eyes of the different POVs you start to see all the parts that make it what it is and why it definitely feels like the end of times.

Ephyra, Beru and Anton were my favourites out of them all (and technically Beru doesn’t really get a POV, but I am sure she will be getting one later in the next book, she has to!) even if they are completely different. Gosh, it is hard to explain why without ruining the plot much.

Another thing I liked was that gender isn’t as defining or limiting on how characters act and react. It is a corrupt world and with it a lot fo stuff is wrong and not great, but I didn’t feel like the male characters were stronger/had more agency than the female ones (given the circumstances) which was nice to see.

So in summary, I enjoyed it a lot and want to read the second book now because I need to know what will happen with each of them and also what now? The stakes were high enough as it was and now they are even higher. It is a really well written book with wonderful worldbuilding and great characters, so go read it!

The Snow Dragon Review

The Snow Dragon by Abi Elphinstone & Fiona Woodcock

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

I don’t know why, but I expected a much younger book (that is my bad, nothing with the book), so it took me a little bit to get into it. It is still an illustrated young children’s book, but it is on the more wordy side than not.

The story is extremely sweet and kept me thinking of some of my favourite stories as a child, including The Rescuers or Madeleine. This felt like those stories made me feel but it stands on its own well.

Phoebe hopes for a miracle day of her own and to be able to leave the orphanage, but it may never be. However she does her best to hope, and to be happy alongside her sausage dog Herb. A little miracle is all she may need when it is close to Christmas.

I finished the book and felt uplifted and happy. I guess it can be classed as a Christmas story but I definitely didn’t read it with that vibe, but it’d fit fine.

All in all, a snowy story of an orphan full of hope. And there’s a dragon, who can say no to stories with kind nice dragons that give you hope?

Hotel Dare Review

Hotel Dare by Terry Blas and Claudia Aguirre

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

Not entirely sure how this book got under my radar, but the amazing Bec sent it as a gift form my wishlist and I couldn’t wait long to get into it and read through. (She also sent an awesome super soft fox eye mask and I love it!)

Three adoptive siblings are sent to visit their grandmother at her hotel, who is slightly enstranged for their father (her son). The siblings each ahve their own personal things to work through and it doesn’t help that grandma Lupe seems to be just giving them chores and not much more.

But one day while cleaning, they discover that the rooms are portals to other worlds! Each of them ends in a differnet world and when grandma finds out, chaos ensues.

I like the mysticism in the book and the idea of the different portals and how they came to be. However as much as I enjoyed it, at the beginning it was too confusing and wasn’t grasing my attention enough and instead it just felt like it was trying hard to be mysterious and not saying things just to have a plot (which to be fair, given the actual plot and what happens, was a little unnecessary and I wish it had been approached differently).

However I liked the way things slowly fall inot place for each of the siblings and their own personal issues, plus the secrets grandma Lupe keeps and why there are portals in the old hotel. It places family at the core of the story, not just blood/biological but family that is found or made through life, which sometimes isn’t valued at the same value in books and I felt like this did it justice.

A fun graphic novel to read and have a crazy adventure with portals and family at the core of it.

Cursed Kingdoms Book Box Club Unboxing

One thing I admire about the girls is that somehow they’ve maanged to make a great box despite the delays in deliveries other boxes seem to be struggling with (and delayes in delivery, etc). The box even suffered from a change of the main featured book, but somehow they still made it on time. So, let’s unbox this, starting from the top center:

  • Zelle inspired soap.
  • The invite to the Clubhouse.
  • Framing both sides of the picture, are set of gorgeous prints that I can’t stop admiring.
  • A patch that says “Rule the World” (I am not big on patches, but I like this one is not iron on but more like “sew on”).
  • Seven Endless Forest, which is by the same author of Boneless Mercies and I am so excited to read it!
  • A sampler to The Book of Longings. I got hooked on Sue’s books with The Secret Life of Bees so was excited for this.
  • An eye mask to give you the best sleep out of a 100 year curse 😉
  • A biscuit, which was yummy and my husband even recognised which fairytale this was from without a hint from me.
  • Thorn, which I am utterly excited to read and heard great things about it.

There was also a promotional for Tales by Mail their middle grade box that will start soon.

All in all, I enjoyed the contents, the box doesn’t feel like less quality than usual (I’ve been feeling this with another book box so I highly appreciate all the care of this one) and one thing the girls get right is how the box looks all together not just each item. I am very pleased with it.

Hold Back The Tide Review

Hold Back THe Tide by Melinda Salisbury

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

I’ll start by saying that this is my favourite book by Melinda so far (and that is not to say I didn’t like the previous ones, I did, this one is just better).

We meet Alva and her rules for living with a murderer, who is in this case, her Father. She is 110% sure he killed her mother and will kill her if she does something wrong or something. But she has a plan to leave and do her life the way she wants and not have to deal with her Father.

All good so far, except that suddenly some supernatural beings appear and wreak havoc and well, Alva has to make some choices.

Now, I liked Alva. She is scared, trying to make her life something more than be and survive. And she has been planning this for a while. And not just that, but living with her Father and taking care of the loch, means she’s well prepared and trained well. Obviously, she’s the daughter of the loch keeper and there’s stigma and dislike for him so she is a little bit of a loner and a stranger in the town that relies on the loch.

Then there’s Ren, who seems to be a friend who also feels shunned because who knows who his father is. And he has helped her accidentally with her plans to have a life outside of the town.

As Alva gets closer and closer to the day she is meant to leave for good, things start getting scarier and scarier and weirder. Until she sees this creature outside of her house and can’t deny that something real bad is going on.

In general I liked this as Alva is confronted with a lot of choices and sometimes it feels like she has NO choice and still she makes a choice or gives herself the option to do so. The lore was interesting and it has a very “small town” feel in the vibe of how things suddenly happen, there’s a lot of secrets, lies and cohersion or manipulation that has kept the town running the way it was, which wasn’t great.

As the supernatural beings start attacking and killing some of the villagers, obviously things slowly fall away and truth comes out, including the truth about what happened the night Alva’s mother disappeared and a gun was shot.

Book is intense but engrossing, and the writing gets you going and you forget what time is and just keep reading, which was very enjoyable even if there was a lot of scary in it and at times I had to pause.

Some trigger warnings just in case: attempted rape, murder, violence and abuse of others (non sexual). The one that got me a bit surprised was the attempted rape/sexual assault because I was most certainly not expecting that.

Oh and the ending is quite something. That’s all I can say without spoiling it!

The Bone Witch Review

The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco

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

Bought The Bone Witch after reading The Never Tolting World and enjoying a lot, then thought I should read it for #Februwitchy readathon, but didn’t manage to fit it in, so in the end buddy read it for #ConquerAChonker.

At first I wasn’t sure terribly into it, not that I didn’t like it, but didn’t know where the story was going. However as it progressed I started loving it more and more. I don’t have a better way of describing this but it gave me geisha house vibes with added necromancy and magic, and I absolutely love it!

It was interesting to see her tell her story and have that “break the 4th wall” kinda view on her own past, the wiser Tea telling the story of how she got to where she is but keeping some of the mystery and giving us a potential hint as to what she is attempting to do next.

The world was richly built and the characters had a lot of personality. I was rooting for them and also wanting things to happen (some did, some didn’t) plus I was kept guessing about the two loves she had (not that I couldn’t guess who, mroe I was wondering who they’d be and what happened with each.

Now I can’t wait to see what happens next because that ending left me wanting more (plus those last few chapters of her past were definitely an interesting surprise and I loved it).

I have to say, writing a good review is hard given that I don’t want to spoil the plot and that it was a really good read!

Woven in Moonlight Review

Woven in Moonlight by Isabel Ibañez

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

A book based on Bolivian history with moon magic? yes please! And that is just the short premise of it. We have Ximena who has been the Condesa’s decoy for most of her life, to the point she’d die for her. But she doesn’t have to die, only marry the enemy King who is intent on destroying the few leftover Illustrians and has taken over the country.

But King Atoc is corrupt and obsessed with a drug and using it to make money while makignthe population addicted to it and slowly destroying what he built after de-throning the Illustrians.

At first I was incredibly annoyed by Ximena and Catalina (the true Condesa), but the plot was what kept me wanting to find out. I could see bits of where the inspiration for the made up things in the story came from and it made it richer and more interesting.

I never really ended up caring too much about Ximena, though she does grow a lot through the book which helped as she realises not everything she has been told and knows is actually the full truth.

We get a lot about food, weaving and clothes but not enough about the politics, history or the magic. Moon magic, come on! I was dying to know more about it, but we only really find the weaving magic and what Catalina is meant to do via the stars. Not much more is mentioned other than some healing abilities and hiding things, but not detailed enough and it is almost as if magic is an afterthought and yet it is incredibly significant to the story, so it didn’t sit well in my head the disconnect between the importance of the magic and how easily it was brished off to the side unless it was plot important. Or got Ximena out of a pickle.

The animals were cute and having El Lobo be this kind of Robin Hood/Zorro figure was fun but it was easy to guess who was behind it and it felt a bit frustrating that his part in the story is only to prompt Ximena to do things or challenge her when she’s out doing the things. We only know of him as folk hero, and again, the book feels like it only birngs certain things in as needed without any concept, and given how Ximena is that felt not right that she wouldn’t do more about it before she’s “forced” to do something about it.

A few other choices of actions for some of the characters felt odd but otherwise it was interesting and I enjoyed the story and the ideas behind it. It was fun to read and it went by fast (it didn’t feel like a drag or a struggle to read).

Roots of Corruption Review

Roots of Corruption by Laura Laakso

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

I am a big fan of The Wilde Investigations series. You can find my review for Fallible Justice here and for the second book, Echo Murder, here. The general thing I like is how big the magical world is and how it mingles with the non magical world in the books. Another great thing si the amount of representation here of so many things (class divide, EDS, chronic illness, familiar pressures, duties, LGBTQ+, etc.) There’s a lot to explore and a lot to learn in each of the books.

Now specifically for Roots of Corruption, it is focused on Lady Bergamot (who despite the fact that it centers around her, is actually off page for a big part of the book) and it is a window into a little bit more about who she is, and the mystery of her garden.

When Lady Bergamot is attacked in her own garden, Wishearth reaches out to Yannia for help. What they find is not exactly what they expected, and Yannia starts having to do some quick decisions and trusting Wishearth a LOT. (And breaking some rules).

What seemed likean attack to Lady Bergamot becomes a race to try to find a serial killer with a purpose. Each kill brings the killer closer to something and they all seem to point at Lady Bergamot, but is she innocent or playing Yannia for a fiddle?

Karrion, Wishhearth and even Dearon make an appearance in the book, and we get to learn a little more about the politics of Old London, a little about the Fae Court, Selkies and Lady Bergamot. But Yannia is also trying to find who to trust and how far she does. It is hard to investigate objectively when it is a friend that has been ttacked and who may be the one behidn the crimes!

Of course, I had theories and theories about who it was and what was going on, and I still didn’t figure it out completely, but I enjoyed the whole story and it went by too fast. Partly because the way Laura writes is so immersive that you are instantly there in Yannia’s world and that’s it, you go along as part of the team, as if you were just strolling with them and riding in the car, beign a part of it. It isn’t just happening to them, you’re in it too.

Higly recommend this botanically focused book with murder, mystery and a heckload of magic!