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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! 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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