Ava Twist, Scientist Review

Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty and Illustrated by David Roberts

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

I got this lovely little book from Faye from my wishlist and it did not disappoint.

Ada Twist is a very curious little one and that may get her into trouble. the artwork is wonderful, the relationship of the family and how they try to help Ada, figure out how to answer her questions (because she is absolutely crammed full of them) and just be there.

Obviously at times Ada may get into trouble and still you can feel the love from her family, the curiosity from Ada and how much she has a scientific hypothesis approach in everything.

I think this is a wonderful book to give a curious kid that has all the questions and keeps looking for answers, and to the parents too as it wil show both sides and maybe afterwards add a book about the kids best interests because I just felt like researching and diving deep into a book after reading this.

The Enigma Game Blog Tour

The Enigma Game by Elizabeth Wein

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

A few disclaimers before I launch into my review of The Enigma Game. I was provided a free copy of the book for reviewing purposes, however this doesn’t influence my review at all.

The second disclaimer is that that I have most of Elizabeth’s books (including non fiction) and as you can guess from the picture, have a soft spot for World War II bombers and cryptography (yes, I was at those Turing events). So be aware that this makes this book a quick runner for a good review due to contents.

The Enigma Game is another winner by Elizabeth Wein. It depicts so many things about how life during World War II was back then and does so with her unique way that makes you want to know more of the world and how it came to be.

We get a few points of view from different characters as they each give us a little of their world to see. We start with James (Jamie, Scotty) who is the one in charge of a B-flight squadron of Blenheims in Scotland and he is feeling hit in all places by the disadvantages they have (starting with old bombers, and just not great decisions on tactics). He is technically a character that appears in some ways in other of the books so he was familiar (and it kept nagging at me why I felt like I knew who he was but couldn’t place him at the same time, obviously now I want to reread The Pearl Thief and Code Name Verity).

Then we have Louisa, who is mixed race and struggling to find a place in London as she is too young, alone and not the right skin colour. But she finds a job helping Aunt Jane in Scotland and makes the most of it. With her point of view we get Aunt Jane who is a character as is and I absolutely adored the old woman. She’s old but she’s so cunning and so full of ideas and fight, it was wonderful to read her and she reminded me of other old ladies I’ve known (none as mysterious and interesting as her but still).

And we have Ellen who is part of the WAAF as a driver for the RAF airfield but who is hiding the fact she is a traveller. Her point of view was a refreshing sight and a connection between two pieces of the story at first.

Our story centers around them coming unto an Enigma machine (the only one) and due to circumstances, they are able to decode messages and give Jamie’s squadron a secret advantage, but with doing so, they put themselves at risk and potentially everyone.

I adored the story, the characters were so unique and the ambience and setting of the world is done beautifully with tiny details that help put you right there and then with them. It is not just a story about courage but about perceptions, about wanting to be brave and how rules soemtimes are meant to be broken, or in most of the case in the book, just bent rather than broken. I am actually having a hard time writing a very coherent review due to this book hooking me in and making me feel so much and be so invested into the characters and what happened.

As for historical accuracy, at the end you get a note regarding what it is based on and what is “real” and not which it still feels wonderfully well painted and I couldn’t help but be reminded of the author’s gift for writing fiction and making it feel like it is non-fiction.

If you enjoy historical fantasy, are an aircraft nerd or just curious about cryptography or the Enigma, this is a wonderful read. Or if you just want a good story about World War II and friendship, then this is also for you.

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!

Bookish and the Beast Review

Bookish and the Beast by Ashley Poston

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

First, I got a review copy for free from the publisher in hope of a review. And it doesn’t influence my review of it at all.

So this is the third book of the Once upon a Con series. And I will admit I did not enjoy Geekerella very much because all I could picture in my head was Hilary Duff as a ginger and “A Cinderella Story”. It was a little too close to the film for me to be able to enjoy it fully. However, I enjoyed The Princess and the Fangirl more, and so I had to give Bookish and the Beast a fair go.

And it was a fun read, it definitely follows the Beauty and the Beast plot, but in a very unique way, and I had fun identifying key moments throughout the plot. It felt less like something else I’ve read/seen and more standing on its own. Some of it may be that the universe already exists and that there’s returning characters (not as main characters but they’re around), so it has the chance to stand on its own more and less of trying to be too familiar.

Still, I liked the way it was written and the bookish aspect. And Rosie’s dad had won a soft spot for me all the way through this book. Absolutely won it. In general, the spin on characters was well done and it was quite fun to read and see it develop.

And of course, the ending really got to me, it was sweet and it made me think “awwww” and feel good after I finished it. A happy ending indeed. The character growth was interesting and the miscommunications made it feel more contemporary and real than a fairytale (so I guess that helps? there’s no magic, just money that kinda helped things be where they needed to be but in truth it was the characters and chance, no magic). Makes you believe that maybe a fairy tale can happen to you too.

I’d recommend this is Beauty and the Beast is one of your favourite stories and you enjoy a good retelling with its own spin on it. Plus it has a feel good vibe that is very welcome in the current times.

Ghosts Review

Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier

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

The premise of ghosts is a family that moves to a new city due to the younger sister (Maya) having cystic fibrosis (CF). Catrina, the older sister, is very unhappy because it is disrupting her life, plus the town they’re moving to apparently has a lot of ghosts and she doesn’t like this.

Maya is a bundle of joy that is trying to live her life to the max and then has issues due to CF. Catrina is being a difficult teenager, afraid of ghosts, tired of having to share everything with her sister and that her life revolves around Maya.

The idea of the story is about confronting the fact that Maya may die soon and the old traidtions of their family. It also tries to bring Day of the Dead into it, and this caused some odd feelings about it.

Catirna is terrified and also not really wanting to make friends or anything, so the story works on her being gloomy and it being spooky. At the same time we have super hapy Maya, things randomly happening to her and the neighbours and suddenly everyone is Mexican or has Mexican ancestry and wow, look, Day of the Dead exists. Everythign just kinda happens, everyone accepts the traditions and everyone participates in them.

The artwork for the celebration scenes was great but they still had some weirdness happen through it and the best way I can describe it, is that it didn’t feel genuine. It reads and looks like the author had friends who celebrate Day of the Dead, or liked the idea of it and applied to her idea of trying to accept the potential death of a family member. So I really liked the approach of how to deal with death but I am not sure trying to make it about Day of the Dead was the right choice, maybe it won’t matter that much for those that don’t have it is as their tradition or aren’t confused by it but to me, it took some of the joy of reading it, and a lot of the wonder of the intention of the story from it.

So I can’t really recommend this for the Day of the Dead value, but for the family and friendship value it does great things.

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!