Expand Your Mind – We Read Box Unboxing

When I heard there was going to be a book box for The Strangeworlds Travel Agency, I had to get it, so that is why I have We Read Box.

The theme was Expend your Mind, and the contents, going, clockwise and staritng on top right were:

  • A booklet with more details of the items and a few other articles/things about the theme.
  • A literary Passport (such a cute idea)
  • A glittery stunning pin to match the book.
  • The Strangeworlds Travel Agency by L. D. Lapinski, which I am very excited to read!
  • A travel tag (luggage tag?) which is in the shape of a suitcase on wheels which I thought was super cute and made me smile.

All in all it was a lovely little box, I know they intended to include a book sleeve but the world had other plans for what 2020 was going to be doing (oh well), but they did reduce the price fo the box and it is still a nice one.

Roller Girl Review

Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson

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

When I was a teenager I went from artistic rollerblading to inline hockey and loved it. Derby sounded fun but it just wasn’t an option so I did the ones I had available and loved them. This meant that when I saw this book pop up in suggested reads I got curious and bought it because it sounded fun.

We start with Astrid being bullied a little about the fact she’s rollerblaidng and that it is something for little kids rather than teens/older kids (she’s 12 years old) by someone she doesn’t like and her used to be best friend.

Their friendship soured over summer camp as Astrid had fallen starry eyed for roller derby and wanted to do a roller derby summer camp whereas Nicole (the ex best friend) is a ballet dancer and didn’t tell Nicole she wasn’t going to go with her, just kinda let her assume she would join and then told her she was actually going to ballet camp. (Is there a camp for everything?)

Astrid sees this as a betrayal and this adds up to the fact that roller derby isn’t as easy as she thought it’d be and the camp is hard work.

The story is very much a “becoming a teen and dealing with confusion, new emotions and changes in your whole social life” which I got so well as it went along. Astrid has to navigate making new friends, evaluating who she is and what type of friend she wants to be versus what she used to be and relationship dynamics (not just friends but what about her relationship with her mother?).

It is a lovely graphic novel dealing with a lot of interesting topics, particularly bases of changes as you slowly turn into a teenager and hormones start making you a bundle of confusion (plus how we all do things at a different pace, and how some do it due to peer pressure whereas others just do their thing and become outcasts).

I’d happily give this book to teen me as she struggled to comprehend and deal with all the sudden changes, it would’ve made it a little easier. As Astrid did, I found skating was a wonderful activity and gave new friendships and new things to do outside of school.

All in all, it kept me in the story, I felt for Astrid but also wanted at times to shake some sense into her but at the end felt very proud of where she got to. And now I want to do some rollerblading too…

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.

Natural Magic WeReadBox Unboxing

I managed to get a nice deal for the WeReadBox of November 2019, since there was some issues with the one for The Strangeworlds Travel Agency. As expected, as soon as I saw the fox theme I had to have it (what else, right?). So to unbox what is inside, let’s start on the top right:

  • A jigsaw puzzle for the image on the box. This is to match both books, and I love it.
  • The Clockwork Crow and The Velvet Fox, as the two featured books by Catherine Fisher.
  • A bookmark that is two sided one per book.
  • A super gorgeous fox enamel pin (it is inbetween the books).
  • A tiny acorn phone charm (it’s on top of the black piece of paper)
  • And the final item is a craft to make an ornament with an origami fox and crow and a cog.

This was my first WeReadBox and I am glad I got it, plus the theme was wonderful and it has a lot of foxes. The craft intrigues me, but you need to go to their website to find instructions and I kinda wish there had been instructions on the leaflet that comes with the books just in case, but otherwise I like the contents of the box and can’t wait to get the one for Strangeworlds!

Narwhal’s Otter Friend Review

Narwhal’s Otter Friend by Ben Clanton

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

This is the fourth book in the Narwhal and Jelly series and it is as delightful as the previous ones have been.

The artwork is “simple” but it still manages to convey a lot of emotion and environment, plus the text is big and eays to read. Tehre is a lot of cuteness and humour and you get some true facts about the characters (or rather, the animals behind the characters).

In this book, we encounter an otter who insists it has had all sorts of adventures, one crazier than the other, and Jelly is very skeptical about this. But also, Jelly is a little jealous of how easily Narwhal seems to have replaced their friendship for Otter.

So Jelly sets out to find a new friend.

As per usual, the level of cuteness, amount of necessary waffles (yum, this is always a perfect thing), plus the superhero mini comic and the facts we get make it a fun easy read. It is also great for children and I find it a great read as an adult when I want something to give my brain a respite from work or a tedious/intense task. It is a little bit of sunshine and joy in the day.

The only complaint is that the books are too short, I wish they were longer, but they definitely are great and I will keep getitng thema s they come out (I certainly hope for more of them). Highly recommended!

Witch in Winter Review

Witch in Winter by Kaye Umansky. Illustrated by Ashley King

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

This is the last one of the Elsie Pickles books that are out there for now, and I just wish there were more. I had such a blast reading through the series as part of the #Februwitchy readathon. They are magical, fun and really cute.

I would’ve loved them as a child and read them over and over until the book fell apart. That kind of delightful and fun that they are.

Some of my faovurite things about them, and it applies particularly well for the things that happen in Witch in Winter, is that Elsie has a very small repertoire of magic, she only knows a few spells and none of them are the kind of spells that are impressive or anything special. They’d be classified as “child’s play” type of things. But somehow, she finds creative ways of making use of them and leveraging them to help her friends.

In Witch in Winter, it seems winter has been to long, there is just too much snow and Magenta has gone missing. And someone seems to be wanting to take over the Tower, so Elsie gets involved to try to see how to help. And she does very well, once again, making the best of the things she has at hand and her customer service skills.

Aggie/Silvine does well in this one too, leveraging her odd parts accidentally (everything is technically an accident with her) to make new friends and somehow get things to work out way better for everyone while Elsie saves the Tower from the mysterious one that may have caused Magenta to disappear.

Don’t want to spoil all the fun but I enjoyed it, thought it was a great follow up to Witches (Un)Welcome! and just want to know more fun and more adventures with Elsie and her crew of friends.

Each character is developing better into their own space and identity with their specific strengths and weaknesses and it is nice to see them not being cookie cutter characters but unique and very “human” in their own way (or as human as they can be).

Once again highly recommended for all ages!

Witches (Un)Welcome! Review

Witches (Un)Welcome! by Kaye Umansky. Illustrated by Ashley King.

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

The third book in the series of Elsie Pickles. If you’ve been following my reviews, I read them for #Februwitchy. I had bought the first two and wasn’t sure if I’d like them, but I did, so after finishing the first I ordered this and the fourth one (that’ll be the next review out).

The whole series if lighthearted and fun and witchy but also it is about customer service and how to interact with others.

In this particular book, Magenta, who in the previous one had her shop almost close, decides that a better way to deal with having a shop is to have a physical one rather than mail order. Less complaints through the mail, less postage, etc. But she’s not really a people person.

She doesn’t take this into consideration, and using a gift from her sister that allows her to do a shortcut for magic, sets up a magical shop in Smallbridge, where Elsie lives.

This is not exactly welcome news for the villagers who have a split in their views towards witches. And so chaos and crazy things ensue. The fact that the shop is there means it attracts magical folk, and they find the town quaint and decide to set up shop too, maybe offer their own wares, which is quite disruptive and confusing for the people in town.

Of course, Elsie, being a people person and knowing her customer service rules saves the day and surprisingly, Silvine/Aggie does too in her own chaotic clumsy way.

It was lots of fun, with a tiny bit of cringe for Silvine (I don’t think I’ll ever not feel a bit of “oh gosh, damn” for her), but still, I read it in an afternoon after dinner and enjoyed it thoroughly.

Can still recommend it alongside the previous two. Fun for read aloud, fun for young readers, fun for older readers…