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Blog Tour Review - A Power Unbound by Freya Marske

 Blog Tour Review - A Power Unbound by Freya Marske Secrets! Magic! Enemies to. . .something more? Jack Alston, Lord Hawthorn, would love a nice, safe, comfortable life. After the death of his twin sister, he thought he was done with magic for good. But with the threat of a dangerous ritual hanging over every magician in Britain, he’s drawn reluctantly back into that world. Now Jack is living in a bizarre puzzle-box of a magical London townhouse, helping an unlikely group of friends track down the final piece of the Last Contract before their enemies can do the same. And to make matters worse, they need the help of writer and thief Alan Ross. Cagey and argumentative, Alan is only in this for the money. The aristocratic Lord Hawthorn, with all his unearned power, is everything that Alan hates. And unfortunately, Alan happens to be everything that Jack wants in one gorgeous, infuriating package. When a plot to seize unimaginable power comes to a head at Cheetham Hall―Jack’s ancestral fam

Review - Alice Éclair, Spy Extraordinaire! by Sarah Taylor Todd

Review - Alice Éclair, Spy Extraordinaire! by Sarah Taylor Todd

Alice Éclair, genius baker by day and talented spy by night, is on a dangerous mission aboard France’s most glamorous train, the Sapphire Express. Alice must sneak on board disguised as a pastry chef and discover which passenger is a duplicitous enemy agent. But everyone on the train seems to be hiding something…

Armed with only her wits, her whisk and her will to succeed, the pressure is on for Alice to crack the case!

I adored Alice Éclair, Spy Extraordinaire!

Alice is a young girl in a Parisian bakery, and from our first meeting her it is clear that she is incredibly talented at patisserie work. The descriptions of her creations are unbelievable and mouth-watering.  But there's so much more to Alice than just incredibly elaborate cake and pastry baking. She's also a spy!

It's a weird combination of ideas, to be sure, but somehow Sarah Taylor Todd makes it work brilliantly and the whole thing just comes across as truly inspired. There are links built in throughout, from Alice mapping out a floorplan for a heist style mission in icing on her workbench to using her patisserie skills to secure access to suspects in a spy chase across France! These links feel natural and organic and just incredibly clever. Her knowledge of baking helps her to be a better spy in some often quite surprising ways. 

The spy elements are thrilling too. Some real nail-biting escapes and a thoroughly intriguing mystery, as Alice is sent to track down a dangerous spy smuggling vital paperwork on a train. As with all good spy mysteries there are twists and shocks and double-crosses and surprises the whole way. 

The train itself, the Sapphire Express, is just gorgeous. I love how sumptuously it is described to us, as Alice explores more of its extravagant luxury. It really helps evoke the atmosphere of that pre-war period in vivid detail. 

Alice herself is a really endearing heroine, the cast of characters around her are vivid, well depicted and fun, and this whole book just works really well, taking an odd little idea and making something really fun and unique out of it. 

Alice Éclair, Spy Extraordinaire est un triomphe! (does that make my early copy an arc de triomphe?)

Spies, mysteries and cake? A definite five moons!


Alice Éclair, Spy Extraordinaire! by Sarah Taylor Todd is published on 4th August 2022 by Nosy Crow.

I was given a review copy via Netgalley in return for an honest review.


  1. I've just started my copy and suddenly I found I was 13 chapters in. A delightful read as you say. Equisite descriptions and a flare, nay, passion for style, music and, dare I say cakes, that clearly comes from Sarah's own experiences. I can see why you gave this a 5 rating!


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