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Blog Tour Review - Service Model by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Blog Tour Review - Service Model by Adrian Tchaikovsky To fix the world they first must break it further. Humanity is a dying breed, utterly reliant on artificial labor and service. When a domesticated robot gets a nasty little idea downloaded into their core programming, they murder their owner. The robot then discovers they can also do something else they never did before: run away. After fleeing the household, they enter a wider world they never knew existed, where the age-old hierarchy of humans at the top is disintegrating, and a robot ecosystem devoted to human wellbeing is finding a new purpose. There is so much to love in Service Model, but one of the things I most love about it is the peculiar blend of charming innocence and insightful cynicism. Uncharles the domestic robot is such a simple soul (though he would state that he has no soul and this is an inaccurate description). He approaches the end of the world with optimism and hope, or whatever equivalent to these emotions h

Review - Alice Éclair Spy Extraordinaire: A Spoonful of Spying by Sarah Todd Taylor

Review - Alice Éclair Spy Extraordinaire: A Spoonful of Spying by Sarah Todd Taylor

Alice Éclair, genius baker by day and talented spy by night, has been sent undercover to the World Fair, where France’s top aeroplane engineer has disappeared. Kidnapped? Or working for the enemy? And what does this disappearance have to do with a fabulous fashion show?

With a half-baked plan and a dash of daring, Alice must foil the enemy’s devious plot before the whole thing boils over!

With her signature combination of delicious patisserie and daring spycraft, Sarah Todd Taylor has definitely risen to the technical challenge of writing a sequel to match, and exceed, book one. Alice Éclair Spy Extraordinaire: A Spoonful of Spying is a showstopper!

I adored the first Alice Éclair Spy Extraordinaire book, A Recipe for Trouble, and so much of what I loved about it is also present in this, the second book. Alice is still brave and bold, diving in to the life of a spy. This time it's more organised, and she has support and direction from the very start. This means we get straight into the adventure. 

We still have the beautiful, mouth-watering descriptions of cakes and pastries and other sweet treats. Alice is off to the Paris World Fair to show off her baking skills, and there are more descriptive passages of the most incredible patisserie to tease the senses. But there's more than just baking to arouse delight here. Alice finds herself thrown into the world of high end fashion, and the descriptions of the dresses and outfits is every bit as ambitious and delicious as that of the cakes. 

One thing I loved in book one is that it isn't two separate worlds, the spying and the baking. They're cleverly woven together right through the book as Alice uses her baking skills to help her navigate the world of international espionage. There's more of that here, as every different element is skilfully woven together into an intricate piece of lacework. 

As well as cakes and dresses, we have planes, science and engineering. These books are set at a wonderful time for invention and innovation, and with the World Fair setting it's the perfect opportunity to really show that off. I loved the contrasts and connections between the catwalk and the hangers, as the World Fair, and this book, celebrates so many different areas of achievement. 

And Alice is right in the middle of it all, trying to track down some spies responsible for taking out some other agents and trying to get away with vital secrets. She really is the most engaging heroine, and I adore her determination and her creativity. I also love how she doesn't have that silly hero thing of trying to do everything on her own and pushing other people away. Alice knows how and when to ask for help, and how to use the people around her for support and assistance and I really admire that about her. The plot is exciting, building slowly and steadily up from a mystery to a puzzle to a dramatic, daredevil conclusion with perfect pacing. 

A deliciously plotted and paced novel, with a very sweet heroine.


Alice Éclair Spy Extraordinaire: A Spoonful of Spying by Sarah Todd Taylor is out today, published by Nosy Crow.

I was given a copy via Netgalley and a proof from the publisher in return for an honest review.


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