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!

The Guinevere Deception Review

The Guinevere Deception by Kiersten White

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

This book was one that came in Tales of Trickery Owlcrate, and a few of us decided to buddy read it. Now, from previous reading of the author’s books, I was a bit unsure if I’d like it as I haven’t really clicked much with her books. But this is a book about Guinevere, and Arthurian legend which automatically makes me want to give it a chance (which I did).

Guinevere is one of those “naive, don’t know much about the world and the reader discovers through my eyes”. This kinda works but at the same time it doesn’t. Maybe because I’ve read other books about King Arthur and watched Merlin and all that, that the whole “oh, discover the world” wasn’t as intriguing and got old relatively fast. But it did help see the interpretation of the Arthurian world int he book, and how magic is banned and there’s some magic supporters but it is a tough decision for Arthur and he’s sticking by it.

Now, we know little of Guinevere except that she isn’t actually her and has another name she has to forget (mild spoiler alert: we never really find out her name, she conveniently forgets it, somehow, which really put me off because it is solely for the purpose fo making you read the next book). And she knows magic and is being married of to Arthur so she can protect him and make sure everything is fine. I found the concept of the whole she isn’t who she is, and the “is magic good or should it be banned, but there’s bad magic?” intriguing.

However, this quickly became a guide to “knot magic” without actually even telling you how to do the know magic. What do I mean by this? Her magic is knots, and she makes them for everything. So every few pages, she decides she needs magic to protect Arthur or set a warning or some odd thing and goes on about needing knots and how the knot makes magic but it isn’t like Merlin’s magic. And it gets old fast as there is nothing new there except what we already know from fae lore and from Arthurian legend.

In general, the book feels like it dragged to try to make a full book just to sell more books into the story. Some fo the twists on characters were refreshing and made me like the book, but it just felt like it dragged and some of the twists felt like they went against everything and were plot characters rather than actual fleshed out characters and solely relied on you being familiar with Arthurian legend (or maybe not so you don’t care) to fill in the gaps.

All in all, I just really wish this had been a duology or a better fleshed book. There’s not enoguh of the magic explained, and just barely anything explained to move the plot forward much except sending Arthur on adventures to keep him busy so Guinevere can do more knots (I ended up rolling my eyes at this all after a while), and getting cryptic chapters to fill int he gaps with more useful information (that only really gets useful closer to the middle-end).

Not sure if I will buy the next one or read it. Depends on if someone thinks it is great and redeems the story.

Wish for a Witch Review

Wish for a Witch by Kaye Umansky. Illustrated by Ashley King.

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

Wish for a Witch is the second book in the Elsie Pickles series. I reviewed Witch for a Week here. As with the first one, this was read for #Februwitchy and it was an absolute delight of a book.

In this book, Magenta has already figured out Elsie is very good at customer service and sales, so she is her first pick when she is in a particular trouble. Magenta’s shop has gotten her in the bad books since she isn’t keeping up with orders, or with complaints or anything really.

Elsie comes tot he rescue and helps organise the complaints, make a list fo things that need to be made and sent, etc. She definitely has her own kind of magic. But Magenta doesn’t have all the ingredients to make the things she has to sell and send so that means a trip to a magical bazaar!

This part was very exciting and Elsie still comes to the rescue and does wonders while Magenta does her best to try to me amicable (as little as possible) and ends up buying a mirror, some clothes for a mirror genie, and a few other things (she did promise one for each of them).

All in all, this had me giggling, with a tiny bit of cringing at some of Silvine’s antics and Magenta’s want to do things but not committing to it.

I still highly recommend this series and that you check the first book. Totally worth it!

Witch for a Week Review

Witch for a Week by Kaye Umansky and Illustrated by Ashley King

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

More #Februwitchy books, and this oen was definitely one I saw Asha talk about and bought the first two, forgot about them in my middle grade shelf and dug them out for the readathon.

What a great gem they are! Once I finished Witch for a Week, I ordered books 3 and 4 so I could keep reading them, because I needed more. That good was it.

Elsie Pickles lives a “boring” simple life helping her dad in their shop and living by Customer Service rules. I have done customer service and I loved the rules. They were just so eprfectly encompasisng of the whole how to deal with customers. It made this book dearer to me. But then she gets to “house sit” for the local witch.

The house is actually a tower with a personality, and it comes with a snarky obnoxious raven, and some fun visitors who befriend Elsie. And then there is the fact that part of the offer meant more books for Elsie to read, and maybe some magic may happen. Even if Elsie isn’t too sure about it.

It was just very fun to read the story, meet the characters who come to the door and do some shenanigans. It was great to just escape to the tower (I want a tower that gives me cake or whatever I want when I knock on the larder/cupboard). The perfect mixture of cute and fun and magical in a book.

Picklewitch & Jack and the Cuckoo Cousin Review

Picklewitch & Jack and the Cuckoo Cousin by Claire Barker

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

This is the sequel to Picklewitch & Jack, I read both for #Februwitchy, and I have to say I enjoyed this one a little more than the first one. Maybe because Jack and Picklewitch have eased into a better interaction and relationship.

And they are getting into a pattern, despite Picklewitch being unpredictable and easily bored still. But she is fun and Jack is ahppy they are friends, and she respects his boundaries better. But then she gets a letter about her cousin visiting and she gets all excited and ready to be with the cousin.

Jack gets a little jealous and also terribly worried because if Picklewitch was enough to handle, a cousin can only mean more trouble, right? So it is a big surprise when the cousin turns out to be a very well behaved boy who is also very knowledgable and seems to fit almost perfectly at the school.

He doesn’t disrupt things like Picklewitch, barely uses magic and seems to good to be true. And that is exactly what it is, too good to be true.

It was fun to see the creative and clever plans Picklewitch and Jack devise (some on the spot) to try to fix the chaos that is happening due to the truth behind who the couisn is. And it just made their relationship more valuable to both of them as they each got jealous of the other having a better friendship with the cousin.

I can happily recommend this as a fun witchy book which made me laugh and feel happy after finishing it.

Witchy Review

Witchy by Ariel Slamet Ries

In the witch kingdom Hyalin, the strength of your magic is determined by the length of your hair. Those that are strong enough are conscripted by the Witch Guard, who enforce the law in peacetime and protect the land during war. However, those with hair judged too long are pronounced enemies of the kingdom, and annihilated. This is called a witch burning.

Witchy is a comic about the young witch Nyneve, who is haunted by the death of her father and the threat the Witch Guard poses to her own life. When conscription rolls around, Nyneve has a choice to make; join the institution complicit in her father’s death, or stand up for her ideals?

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

Another one that I had bought a while ago, had put aside for a rainy day and ended up brinign out for #Februwitchy. And at least in this case it is exactly perfect. The title and the main character fit well the readathon.

I started reading Witchy when it came out as a webcomic, then lost my craze for webcomics and forgot about it. But then saw the book, it caught my eye and here it is.

Witchy is set in a world where your magic is stated by how long your hair is and how long it manages to grow. Nyneve’s dad was killed because of his hair (to her understanding) and she despises the rules and the world that can have a loyal subject and kill him the next moment. So she hides the length of her hair and uses a charm to make it look shorter.

It helps that her magic is a bit unreliable and not very good, even if her hair is long enough that it shouldn’t be this bad. But when she is discovered to have great strategies and that it has all been a glamour, things come into question and she makes a terrible and hard decision.

I remember being surprised by her decision and sacrifice, and it was more or less as far as I had gotten on the webcomic, so it was nice to read some more. The artwork has an interesting colour palette that works with the world it represents and it changes to show different parts of it.

It’s hard to describe everythign that is going on in the world and there’s still a lot left pending, but one thing that defines Witchy is how “human” Nyneve is. She is not a hero, and she’s just trying her best to go forward and do what can bring her joy. She is interesting as a character as she’s not predictable and when you thnk “this is going to go this way” it turns out it isn’t.

There is LGBTQ+ representation, lots about magic and spells and a diverse cast of characters and creatures. I can only recommend this and hope for the next volume.

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!