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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 - Libby and the Highland Heist by Jo Clarke

Review - Libby and the Highland Heist by Jo Clarke

After a tumultuous term in Paris, Libby and Connie are looking forward to a quiet holiday at Connie’s family home. But before long they find themselves caught up in another mystery, this time set against the dramatic backdrop of the Highlands and Edinburgh.

I love Becka Moor's illustrations. Look how big Connie's hair is!

Libby and the Highland Heist is such a fun crime story.

I really enjoyed the first book in this series, where Libby settled into her new travelling school in Paris, but I've always loved the Highlands and have been anticipating this second book since it was announced. It didn't disappoint!

Connie takes a much more significant role in this one, as they initially head to her Scottish home, a very impressive near-castle like residence. However it soon becomes clear that things are not quite as they should be there. One of the major storylines in this book is Connie's family's financial troubles and they're readily apparent from the number of staff they've let go and the spaces on the walls where pictures used to hang. I liked this real world problems grounding the story, but this is a mystery so clearly it's going to be about more than their bank balance! 

In Libby and the Highland Heist, Jo Clarke has really captured the spirit of the old Enid Blyton Adventure novels I used to love as a child. The old house and its grounds are full of ghost stories, secret passages, mysterious sightings of people where they shouldn't be. It's intriguing and exciting as we follow the girls on their exploration of this old building, and the Christmas setting around it is very charming.

Then it's off to Edinburgh and the Travelling School. Here the mystery element is cranked up several notches as we get more mysterious sightings and tales of forgers and fraudsters. The Scottish setting is really brought into the book with the preparations for a Highland dance and explorations around the streets and gardens of Edinburgh, and I love how the changes in setting are used to really help make each book in this series feel distinctive. There are plenty of connections back to the first book though, and it's nice to see some returning characters and a sense of an overall story running through the series. 

The actual heist is the climax of the book, and I felt like it really pulled all of the different elements of the story together into a satisfying conclusion, albeit one with a few loose ends still to tie up.

Becka Moor does gorgeous illustrations throughout too. I love how her style fits the story so well.

A fun, thrilling Scottish mystery story.


Libby and the Highland Heist by Jo Clarke is published on 19 January 2023 by Firefly Press.

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


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