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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

Blog Tour Review - Bridget Vanderpuff and the Baked Escape

 Blog Tour Review - Bridget Vanderpuff and the Baked Escape

Bridget Baxter is the very last orphan at the Orphanage for Errant Childs, left at the mercy of the awful Miss Acrid and her foul-smelling fish sandwiches. Miss Acrid's mission is to make Bridget's life a misery. But Bridget is more than a match for her. When kindly Mr Vanderpuff arrives at the Orphanage in search of a child to care for, Bridget thinks her luck has finally turned. Mr Vanderpuff is the village baker, and his shop is a world of wonders. 

But they soon discover that Bridget is absolutely terrible at baking. When Miss Acrid returns for the ultimate revenge, Bridget must open the Locked and Secret Door, navigate Miss Acrid's spiderweb of booby traps and use her unique baking skills to save herself - and Mr Vanderpuff - from certain disaster. 

Join Bridget as she dons her chef whites and gets the kwassongs at the ready... Baking isn't such a piece of cake.

Bridget Vanderpuff and the Baked Escape is so much fun! I absolutely loved this, the first book in an exciting, madcap new series.

It starts off in the most completely terrible and awful orphanage, ruled over by a new and utterly despicable villain to join the ranks of truly horrible middle grade villains, Miss Acrid. I can't even begin to tell you how completely vile and cruel and wicked she is! Wonderful for the readers, not so much for the Errant Childs in her care. But Bridget is smart, resourceful and incredibly capable, and is more than able to stand up to the wicked Miss Acrid and come out on top! 

Before long, she's running away to a new life in Mr Vanderpuff's bakery. And this is where the story takes a really interesting turn. Bridget is one of those people who has always been good at everything she tries. Things seem to come easy to her, from exploring to inventing. But at the bakery she comes face to face with something she's never experienced before, failure.

I thought this was a fascinating aspect of the novel. The way it treated Bridget's failures at bakery was patient and compassionate, and was actually really reassuring. We can't all expect to be brilliant at everything we try, and Bridget's lack of baking ability is truly epic. But Mr Vanderpuff is never anything but kind and compassionate. There's a lot to be picked up here about what it means to fail, and to keep trying. 

There's also a lot of magic between these covers. Some of it is in that vague borderland between great skill and cleverness and true magic, but some of it is nothing else but pure enchantment and I adored these elements of the story. The bedsheets alone are an absolute delight. 

But more than anything else, Bridget Vanderpuff and the Baked Escape is a story about love, and it is gorgeous. It's a story about the love we have for our friends and our family, about what it means to become part of a family filled with love. It's about the love we still bear for those we've lost, and how we cope with continuing to carry that love every day. And it's about the love of baking, of sharing that experience and passing on the products of that love, spreading happiness with every crumb. It's a joyous book that left me with a full heart.

It's a very sensory read too. As I was reading it I could smell every scene, from the disgusting fishy sandwiches of Miss Acrid to the reassuring warm, buttery scents of the bakery and every cake and pastry within. It adds an extra layer to the story, really pulling me into this wonderful world it creates. 

The illustrations by David Habben throughout are really lovely, and add yet another layer to the story. Miss Acrid looks particularly horrible and I love the drawings of the elf, Pascal.

It's exciting too! The peril feels real, thanks to the truly dreadful Miss Acrid, and the stakes feel really high for Bridget. It shows us that what we feel is a failure might actually be just what we need sometimes, an important message.

Bridget Vanderpuff and the Baked Escape is a gorgeous, sensory treat of a story, full of love and danger and a wonderful new heroine.


Bridget Vanderpuff and the Baked Escape is written by Martin Stewart, with illustrations by David Habben. It's out now from Zephyr Press.

I was given a copy of the book in return for an honest review and participation in this ed pr blog tour. 

Don't forget to check out the rest of the tour!


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