Moon Reads: Technically, You Started It

Technically, You Started It by Lana Wood Johnson

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

Technically, You Started It has a very interesting format to tell the story. It is all presented as a text conversation. There are no paragraphs, nothing except the “chat history” of the texts between Martin Nathaniel Munroe II and Haley.

For starters there are two Martin Nathaniel Munroe II in class and one is to Haley’s eyes the good one and the other one the bad one. She isn’t sure which one is texting her but it has to be good one, right?

I really enjoyed the format of the story, it was easy to read and kept it refreshing as there is that kind of freedom of not needing to describe mucha nd onyl exchange certain bits of data. And to me it was believable as a conversation between two teenagers who know about each other but don’t really know each other.

And then as the become more acquainted with each other, do they acknowledge the friendship in school or just keep it over text?

Honestly, I enjoyed this way more than I thought I would, it was funny, it made me remember to my first few internet friends way back when but also the awkwardness of meeting in person. Plus I really liked both characters and how they each have certain perceptions of things and other people, particularly people they both interact with.

Honestly I don’t want to spoil the experience of reading this but if you enjoy a sweet romance, some comedy and funny nerd moments, then this is a great read, plus format is a big winner when you want a good story but your brain can’t engage enough (to me this was a slump breaking book and gosh I finished and was just like “I am so happy, this is so fun and so cool”).

Moon Reads: Splinters of Scarlet

Splinters of Scarlet by Emily Bain Murphy

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

This book was part of Book Box Club’s box a few months back and even though had had the book on my want to read list, I wasn’t sure what to expect beyond a bit of a fairytale feeling.

I think Splinters of Scarlet definitely hits the spot on having a fairy tale feeling and vibe all over it, but at the same time it is like a modern fairytale. And yet it feels lost in time. I’d say it has a more “The Girl and the Bear” kind of feel than “A Curse so Dark and Lonely”, like a happy middle between those two kinds of fairytale.

I think my most favourite thing was the magic system, the fact that you get a very unique way of using your magic and that it is literally in your blood so using it too much “freezes” your veins and kills you. From things like being good at glass blowing, or being able to sew perfectly and so fast, or just being able to detect lies, it has a lot of fun ways of being used and it was fascinating to see the interaction of those that have it and those that don’t, since as much as it is a blessing it is also a curse. Sadly, this part wasn’t explored as much as it could’ve but it was still fascinating.

The second best thing was that it touches on both dance and clothes making, and it was delightful to see those woven through the whole story. It gave it that extra magical fairy tale feeling for me even if technically none of those things are specific to fairytales.

And I really liked how the characters develop and interact. To be fair at the beginning it wasn’t as interesting because it is just before we move to where the main story happens, but it gives a precedent setting. It gets so much better when we meet the full cast and start interacting with more and more people. I liked the interactions, the resentment, the ways of living contrasting between them, and the hidden story plotline feels (though for me there was little guesswork almost from the very first chapter of what the “aha moment” would be).

Given that I knew what the main revelation would be I still enjoyed the book a lot and it didn’t annoy me. So I can say that if you want a fairytale kind of story with an interesting magic system, this is one to read for sure!

Moon Hauls: Tarot of the Divine and Beneath the Moon

This is a mix “review” of two things I got that I couldn’t really separate just for the sake of posting about them.

The first is the deck of Tarot of the Divine. This was made by Yoshi Yoshitani and the focus was to make it diverse, queer and just full or new meaning. Each card is a story, some deeper meaning and I absolutely love the artwork and the connections made, plus the fact that it features stories and lore from all over the world, not just the usuals or just the European fairytales. It goes beyond that and does an amazing job and the meanings of the story/lore matching the meaning of the card they represent in the deck.

As a tie in, there is a book, Beneath the Moon, which collects the artwork and stories that feature in the deck. It doesn’t collect everything, since it’d be a very thick book if it did, but it features the main ones, and it made me really excited to read the stories and feel like this is a perfect fairytale book to keep coming back to. It has the stories, gorgeous colourful art and a lot of diversity in cultures and countries.

As a coherent couple fo things, I am just in awe at the immense work Yoshi put into making this deck and book. Every card has packed so much detail trying to convey the story but at the same time, to make them tie in with their meaning and with the opening of many possible interpretations.

There are stories from every continent, form every type of story, I don’t even have enough words on how exciting this is for me since it is gorgeous and perfect.

Moon Reads: Once Upon A Dragon’s Fire

Once Upon A Dragon’s Fire by Beatrice Blue

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

I reviewed a while ago Beatrice’s other book, Once Upon A Unicorn Horn, so when I saw this one was coming, I preordered it. It is easy, make a book I enjoyed, I will almost always preorder your next books.

The artwork was top class, but that was no surprise given I enjoy Beatrice’s art a lot. And as per the previous book, this is a book giving things a new “origin” so in this case it is centered around a dragon and fire.

This is about two children that made up adventures and were obsessed with dragon stories so they decide to go search the dragon and thanks to them “fire” is invented.

Look it is way better than I am describing!

In all honesty the story is a great read out loud or act out one, the artowkr and pictures are full of detail and cuteness, and the story is reaffirming and all about tenderness and warmth (and some dragon fire too).

It has a dragon, fire, and a great story, so this is a definite win and I am eagerly awaiting what else we may get as an origin of this thing type of book from Beatrice Blue.

Blogtour: The Great Revolt Review

The Great Revolt by Paul Dowswell

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

Due to some technical issues (aka, my husband was in hospital) no pretty jigsaw picture this time! And as a disclaimer I was provided a free copy by the publishers so I could review the book for this tour. This doesn’t affect my review or views on it.

The Great Revolt made my reenactor and history buff heart all happy inside. We get to meet Matilda (usually goes by Tilda in the book) and her father Thomas. And let me start by saying that this is a book where both the father and the child are part of the story and it is done well. I found this refreshing to read since normally the parents get killed or out of the picture, but Thomas is part of the story as much as Tilda is.

And both have their own motives, personalities and ideas, which makes this a book with well fleshed characters, several interesting points of view and conflicting ideas and just a lot to read about in a relatively short book.

At first I felt like I wanted desperately to get to teh juicy parts of the revolt but then I just wanted to learn more and more about the characters and their world, so bonus points on making this a world I can feel I am a part of. It was also good to read Thomas being okay with his life and seeing it as “better than what other options could be”. Yes, maybe it could be better but he is content, and again, usually everyone is unhappy or if they aren’t, they’re the villain, but that is not the case here and the dynamics of interactions and relationships are a lot more grey than just black and white.

Obviously, revolution comes at a cost and Tilda gets in some interesting adventures and makes some new friends. I kinda felt happy to read all the variety of the book and to feel part of that revolt and march to London to talk to the king.

I’d say if you are into history, into sweeping tales and wonderfully interesting books this is one for you. It has a lot of interesting points I don’t see often executed this well in a book. (If you want anything to compare to, I’d say it reminded me of Sally Nichols books or that style of historical but putting in the middle of the action but not from the safe point).

Blogtour: Dangerous Remedy

Dangerous Remedy by Kat Dunn

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

For my stop in this blogtour, I will do a spoiler free review of the book. This will be hard since there’s so much going on in the book.

As a disclaimer, this book was provided to me by the publisher so I could be part of the blog tour. This does not affect my views of it (and I also have a hardcover copy of it that wasn’t from the publisher).

French Revolution, interesting abilities, aristocrats in hiding trying to make a difference, and lots of schemes, yes, please!

You will find all of that, plus a lot of treason, intrigue, and interesting characters in Kat Dunn’s Dangerous Remedy. We start with a grand escapade which is set in a prison. The mission is to recover a prisoner that they’ve been told shouldn’t be. Will they be able to pull such an intense mission or not?

And what happens once they realise that what they had been told about the mission wasn’t true at all, putting them into an interesting dilemma?

My favourite part of the book was the characters, they have these grand ideas and all the secrets and motives. The ones they share with the group and the ones they keep close to their heart (and the question is if the heart ones are good for the group). Obviously, this causes some interesting questions and there is also the romance between two of the main characters that will cause some interesting disruptions in decision making, clouding judgement sometimes. All good elements to consider for the group dynamics.

It was also fascinating to see the concept of “but what if reality wasn’t exactly as it is but just a tiny bit more interesting in such a way that it involves almost a human Frankenstein experimenting part into it and it throws our cast into a bit of backstabbing, doubting and pondering where trust should be while they’re at the same time trying to fight off the outside?” Trouble not just from others but in their own ranks is like adding an extra dollop of mischief to the mix.

Oh and don’t forget that there is bi representation, that one of the characters has some interesting electric/electricity powers (I want to know more of this part) and that there’s a lot of trying to save the day when the day refuses to be saved.

If you are intrigued by the French Revolution, Frankenstein kind of ideas, heists, treason and high stakes, then this is a book for you to look into and enjoy. I recommend getting some pastries and coffee to go along with your read to set up the mood.

Burn Review

Burn by Patrick Ness

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

This was included in a Book Box Club box and I was cautious. I have read The Chaos Walkign trilogy and did not like it, so wasn’t sure how to go about this one but I mean it has dragons, so I had to give it a fair chance.

My best summary is that this is a conspiracy during the Cold War with a very American/US view of the world, but with magic and dragons. If you like conspiracy theories and that type of books, this is definitely up there, it has a lot of the elements for it, which is probably why I wasn’t so keen. And obviously the outlandish things can actually exist in the book because dragons and magic.

The writing style still didn’t sit too well with me as it isn’t character driven yet it requires you to be with the characters for it to move through the plot, so it’s hard as you can’t engage as much and it just the magic, dragons and cosnpiracy taking it through and it wasn’t enough for my liking.

However, the whole dragons and magic concept was fascinating and it was probably my favourite part of the book same as the whole prophecy and the little twists regarding the main character around it (without spoiling, it is not about our main character). It did take me a while to get into liking them because it starts with an obvious “it’s Russian, it’s evil or spying on us” view and that wasn’t a great start to get me liking it (I did give it the benefit of the doubt but it still kinda fell flat).

I probably would’ve enjoyed it more if this was a full fantasy, not based on the Cold War and America vs Russia and more just nations warring and the dragons caught in the middle. That would’ve been probably my favourite approach and given this a star more.

Giant Days Volume One

Giant Days Volume One by John Allison, Lissa Treiman (Illustrator), Whitney Cogar (Colors)

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

At some point I got a sampler for this and then on a whim bought the first volume. Completely forgot about it. And recently I was doing a clear up and organising of my graphic novels/comics and this one popped up. I decided that since it looked short I’d give it a read and decide if I was actually into it or not.

You can guess what the result was… (I have somehow now purchased up to volume 13).

The three girls that share a dorm room/area are as interestingly differnet as can be. Innocent ray of sunshine, “normal” and drama queen. And well, this is a delightful mix. I giggled a lot and also I found it refreshing that the drama queen isn’t trying to be one and even bets against causing drama intentionally or not (it doesn’t go well for her bet), our normal girl isn’t that normal (woops, even if she tries) and the cute innocent sunshine has a bit of gloom and bad luck around her.

I like their weird adventures and the relationship between them which made this a fun read, the artwork worked well to give a laidback college vibe and keeping it fun even fi topics range from lighthearted crushes to mental health and drugs.

I obviously will keep reaidng once the next volumes arrive, so expect more reviews to come about Giant Days!

The Secret Loves of Geek Girls Review

The Secret Loves of Geek Girls. Edited by Hope Nicholson.

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

I bought this on a whim, because I consider myself a geek (and nerd) “girl”. And my curiosity was picked. This did not disappoint.

The anthology starts with a set of cartoons from Margeret Atkinson and it goes on with a mix of short stories, essays, comics and illustrations about the many aspects of being a girl and geek. It is about the spaces we made, and then got taken and had to reclaim. But it is also about gleefully enjoying going into a comic store and being the odd one out but still loving the comics loads.

The book covers a wide range of experiences and of course not all of them rang for me but I could still enjoy them, and there were some I read and felt like they had been watching me as I grew up. Giggles, concern and sometimes a lot of nostalgia ensued.

And part of me wished I had seen this book when I was younger, I would have felt less like the only one going through it and more like part of a bigger thing, in a better way. It’s hard to capture all the stories into a single review but I had a soft spot for some of the comics in it and just enjoyed reading about others visiting shops, conventions, and more.

It is nice to know that some things never change, but that others do and they can be better, more open to others, more accepting.

I can recommend this anthology as a pick and mix read that you can read one or two stories, maybe a comic or two, and drop then come back to it for some more fun stories later on.

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!

Fox and the Box Review

Fox and the Box by Yvonne Ivinson

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

I got this book gifted by a friend frm my wishlist, and I loved it. I can review it here but I think the best review you will get is my reading it aloud.

I absolutely adored the story and the artwork to match, it is easy, sweet but such a delight to read as you can see from the video. It is a gorgeous fun book that I would recommend as a joy to read to anybody who wants a bit of kindness and niceness in their lives or who wants a cute book to read to their children.

Come on, it has a fox in 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.

A Mouse Called Julian Review

A Mouse Called Julian by Jow Todd-Stanton

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

Look, picture books that have sneaky foxes in the cover or involved foxes as characters, I will most probably add to my wishlist, and this was not the exception.

I needed a small filler book while I waiting between budyd reads and this fit the bill perfectly. It made me feel good and surprisingly goes well with the whole avoiding others and staying inside because of lockdown.

Julian likes to keep to his own company and has learned how to avoid his neighbours, until a sneaky fox shows up and things change for Julian. The artwork is extremely cute, and the story was sweet for a moment making you think something may happen and then it gets better whcih was nice to read.

I liked the concept behind it and feel like feel good books about those that keep their own company are rare, but this one was cute, fun and just worth reading.

So if you like mice, foxes, cute stories or just something to cheer up, I can recommend this book!

The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse Review

The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy

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

This was a gift from the lovely Justine on one of those wishlist shares, and I had heard a lot of good things about the book.

It was tempting me since it has a fox in it, it is ink drawings and just a positive type of book, so it felt like a book to have at hand when sadness hits and when life just feels a bit not great.

I have to say, it is an easy soothing read with heavy pages and a lot of care, so I can see a lot of care in making it. As it says, you can technically read without an order and I didn’t try it this time round but as I read I noticed it does lend to an orderly or disorderly reading.

I think what got me the most was that the art is simple and yet so emotive and there’s a lot of detail and care. I was fascinated by it and the words go along well.

For some reason it reminded me a lot of Winnie the Pooh and old artwork in the books but also that kind of timeless quotes about life and friendships and just everything. It has a poetic way to it and I just found it soothing, a bit short if anything.

If you want a book that is art, coffee table material but also will make you feel good for reading it, then this is the one for you. Plus it has cute animals, particularly a fox…

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!