The Two Doctors Górski – Isaac Fellman

When Annae moves to England to complete her PhD, she meets Dr Górski, both of them. Having experienced academic abuse by her former supervisor, Annae is wary, using her ability to read people to feel safe.

Annae was the subject of fascination when she was an undergraduate, using magic to remove fear in rats.

“But with magic like this, it would theoretically be possible to edit our response to trauma, to cure mental illness of all kinds – just a little change in the way we feel and that makes all the difference.”

While the premise fascinated me, the intersection of magic with mental illness and trauma, and the exploration of consent didn’t captivate me like I’d hoped. I somehow managed to hover on the surface of the story, feeling disconnected from the characters.

I wanted Annae’s science themed knitting patterns to endear her to me. I wanted to know more about the two Górski’s and the process of making a homunculus. I’m still not entirely sure why I couldn’t connect with any of them.

It’s become a habit for me to send test emails to any email addresses mentioned in fiction I read. There were two in this story; neither currently exist.

Content warnings include academic abuse, mental health, self harm and suicidal ideation.

Thank you so much to NetGalley and Tor for the opportunity to read this novella.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

Annae, a brilliant graduate student in psychiatric magic and survivor of academic abuse, can’t stop reading people’s minds. This is how she protects herself, by using her abilities to give her colleagues what they each want out of their relationship with her.

When Annae moves to the UK to rebuild her life and finds herself studying under the infamous, misanthropic magician Marec Górski, she sees inside his head a dangerous path to her redemption. Annae now faces two choices – follow in Dr. Górski’s lead, or break free of a lifetime of conditioning to follow her own path.

Legends & Lattes – Travis Baldree

After twenty-two years of adventuring, Viv had reached her limit of blood and mud and bullshit. An orc’s life was strength and violence and a sudden, sharp end – but she’d be damned if she’d let hers finish that way.

It was time for something new.

If you’d told me a couple of days ago that I’d be recommending a cozy fantasy book to everyone who crosses my path, I doubt I would have believed you. But here we are.

An orc walks away from her old life to open a coffee shop.

“Oh, and hey! What in the eight hells is coffee?”

In a city where almost no one has even heard of “exotic bean water”.

And that’s pretty much the crux of the story, give or take. At face value it sounds kinda cute but nothing I’d expect to be enthusiastically shoving in people’s faces, telling them how much they’ll love it.

Viv’s story felt like a comfort read from very early on and I can easily see this being a go to read when I need some time out.

I adored Viv, Tandri, Hem, Thimble, Pendry and Cal individually but together this diverse group of kindred spirits felt like home (the good kind).

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I love that Viv was able to let go of the life that was expected of her and find a bunch of supportive friends who could see beyond her past to who she truly was, friends that encouraged her in her new venture and who had her back.

“If mortal danger threatens us, I promise to hide behind you. Deal?”

While Tandri was my favourite character, I also had a soft spot for Pendry. I enjoyed cheering them on as they gained the confidence to step outside their comfort zone.

I absolutely need a dire-cat in my life.

Favourite no context quote:

“Things don’t have to stay as what they started out as”

I’m giving this book however many hm’s it takes to fill five stars and can’t wait to meet more of Thune’s inhabitants in the author’s next book.

In the meantime, I’d like to order a bean water with milk and a heavenly frosted cinnamon pastry please.

Thank you so much to NetGalley and Tor, an imprint of Pan Macmillan, for the opportunity to read this book.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

High fantasy, low stakes – with a double-shot of coffee.

After decades of adventuring, Viv the orc barbarian is finally hanging up her sword for good. Now she sets her sights on a new dream – for she plans to open the first coffee shop in the city of Thune. Even though no one there knows what coffee actually is.

If Viv wants to put the past behind her, she can’t go it alone. And help might arrive from unexpected quarters. Yet old rivals and new stand in the way of success. And Thune’s shady underbelly could make it all too easy for Viv to take up the blade once more.

But the true reward of the uncharted path is the travellers you meet along the way. Whether bound by ancient magic, delicious pastries or a freshly brewed cup, they may become something deeper than Viv ever could have imagined.

Ninja Kid #10: Ninja Heroes! – Anh Do

Illustrations – Anton Emdin

Grandma’s new invention can bring book characters to life, which sounds amazing, unless you’re thinking of bringing Annie Wilkes to life. Or you intend to use it to make another crossover possible in two series that can really shine when they tell their own stories but whose characters have no business being in the same universe.

In this next instalment of Anh Do’s crossovers with his other series, Ninja Kid crosses over with Pow Pow Pig. Conveniently, Pow Pow Pig is the favourite series of Nelson’s class and they’re putting on a play based on it.

Anyway, so Nelson and Kenny use Grandma’s invention and not only release Pow Pow Pig and the rest of Z team but also a man-insect called Muzzkito. Apparently Z team battle Muzzkito in Nelson’s favourite Pow Pow Pig book, which must have been released in his world before this one because this is the first I’ve heard of him.

And with that, my favourite Anh Do series has been ruined. At this point I don’t know why I’m still reading his books. They started out so well and I loved them so much. Now they just frustrate me, so I think it’s time to bid them farewell.

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

Nelson and Kenny are rehearsing for the school play. But thanks to Grandma’s new invention, they accidentally bring all the characters to life! Can they zap everyone back in their book before the whole town is overrun by a giant buzzing mosquito army?!

Arc of a Scythe #2: Thunderhead – Neal Shusterman

“Well, then,” said Supreme Blade Kahlo, raising her hand in a grand dramatic gesture, “let the wild rumpus start!”

I tend to be one of those people who read the next book in a series I’m following as soon as it’s published (earlier if I can get my hands on an advanced copy) and then spend the next year hanging precariously over a cliff while I wait to find out what’s going to happen next. All I can think after finishing this book is how grateful I am that this time, I’m late to the party.

I read Scythe for the first time shortly after it was released and began this book soon after it was published. Then something happened, which I can’t even remember now, that took me away from it before I finished and unfinished it’s remained. Until now. I don’t know how I would have managed if I’d had to wait a year to see how everything unfolds from here but it wouldn’t have been pretty. This is a series you definitely need to binge.

I love vigilante Rowan, AKA, Scythe Lucifer. He’s not just making corrupt scythes deadish; he’s making sure they don’t come back. As he researched his potential targets and stalked them prior to taking their lives, he reminded me of the Green Arrow. I wanted his kills to come with a catchphrase … You have failed this Scythedom.

Meanwhile, Citra (now Scythe Anastasia) did me proud as a junior scythe. Taking on the best of what both of her mentors taught her but making it her own, Citra’s scythe MO was compassionate and thoughtful, and everything I expected from her.

“She is a fresh voice of reason and responsibility. She can make the old ways new again. Which is why they fear her.”

However, it was her strength, tenacity and courage that really captivated me. It’s one thing to do the right thing but it’s another thing entirely when the right thing isn’t the easy thing and your decisions come with consequences you can’t necessarily predict and aren’t always in your favour.

The big surprise for me, though, was Greyson. I didn’t expect much from him, even though it was clear from the beginning that his role in this series was going to be significant. I enjoyed watching as he began to transform into Slayd. His journey introduced me to unsavouries, whose particular brand of rebellion I found fascinating.

I need to live in the restored Great Library of Alexandria. It contains 3.5 million volumes of scythe journals!

Favourite no context quotes:

Permission is the bloated corpse of freedom.

“We are forever impaled upon our own wisdom.”

“Deadish men tell no tales for a while.”

To borrow a new favourite phrase, this book was “fun-and-a-half”. I’m starting The Toll immediately.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

Humans learn from their mistakes. I cannot. I make no mistakes.

The Thunderhead is the perfect ruler of a perfect world, but it has no control over the scythedom. A year has passed since Rowan had gone off grid. Since then, he has become an urban legend, a vigilante snuffing out corrupt scythes in a trial by fire. His story is told in whispers across the continent.

As Scythe Anastasia, Citra gleans with compassion and openly challenges the ideals of the “new order.” But when her life is threatened and her methods questioned, it becomes clear that not everyone is open to the change.

Old foes and new enemies converge, and as corruption within the Scythedom spreads, Rowan and Citra begin to lose hope. Will the Thunderhead intervene?

Or will it simply watch as this perfect world begins to unravel?

Arc of a Scythe #1: Scythe – Neal Shusterman

Hope in the shadow of fear is the world’s most powerful motivator.

This book became one of my favourite reads of all time when I met Citra and Rowan five years ago. Since then I’ve wanted to visit them again but, like all of the books I’ve fallen in love with as an adult, I’ve procrastinated my reread. I wanted to hold onto the love at first read that I experienced. I was concerned that the shine wouldn’t be there the second time around.

I needn’t have worried. I didn’t think it possible but the reread shone even brighter for me. The characters I knew and loved, and those I loved to hate, came to me fully formed; I didn’t need to reacquaint myself with them, even after all of this time.

Citra and Rowan have been selected to undertake an apprenticeship. They will be spending the next year competing against one another for a job neither of them want. Ironically, this makes them the perfect candidates. Although they are both going to be trained by Scythe Faraday, their apprenticeships will be vastly different.

Theirs is a world of splats and revival centres, where nanites can dull your pain but also limit the spectrum of your emotions. It’s also a world where serial killers are not only sanctioned but revered. Here they’re called scythes and their kills aren’t murder; they’re gleanings.

Scythes have a quota of 260 gleanings per year. While this sounds like death is around every corner, your odds of being gleaned in the next 100 years are only 1 in 100.

On the one hand, I have trouble imagining living in a world where we know everything there is to know and have conquered disease and mortality itself. On the other hand, I was fully immersed in Citra and Rowan’s world. I believed.

I imagined the joy of having time to learn everything I wanted to learn, read all of the books on my TBR list and experience everything I’ve ever dreamed of. But because time’s no longer finite, the urgency of our world doesn’t exist in Citra and Rowan’s. There’s nothing left to strive towards, nothing new to discover.

With nothing to really aspire to, life has become about maintenance. Eternal maintenance.

I adored Scythe Faraday, with his thoughtful, compassionate approach. I loved the excerpts from scythes’ journals that caused me to think more deeply about their world as well as our own. I’m still chewing on the philosophical and moral issues raised in this book.

Favourite no context quote:

Well, she could learn self-control tomorrow. Today she wanted pizza.

This remains one of my favourite books of all time. I can’t wait to binge the rest of the series.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

Thou shalt kill.

A world with no hunger, no disease, no war, no misery. Humanity has conquered all those things, and has even conquered death. Now scythes are the only ones who can end life – and they are commanded to do so, in order to keep the size of the population under control.

Citra and Rowan are chosen to apprentice to a scythe – a role that neither wants. These teens must master the “art” of taking life, knowing that the consequence of failure could mean losing their own.

Nick the Sidekick – Dave Whamond

Nick has super hearing and believes he’s ready to become a superhero. Currently, though, Nick is a sidekick. He’d much prefer you refer to him as a superhero assistant.

Nick was recruited by Super Fantastic Guy, who is big on superhero clichés. Nick hates superhero clichés.

Nick also isn’t a fan of doing all of the work and getting none of the credit.

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I expect young readers will enjoy the action sequences and Nick’s superhero training fails. This story is full of superhero clichés, often pointed out by Nick. The ending would have worked better for me if Super Fantastic Guy had realised the error of his ways and voluntarily given some credit to Nick.

Thank you so much to NetGalley and Kids Can Press for the opportunity to read this graphic novel.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

When Nick signed up to be a superhero, it seemed like a terrific idea. He was flattered to be chosen by Super Fantastic Guy – picked for his intelligence, his investigative skills and his super-amazing hearing abilities. But as Super Fantastic Guy’s assistant, Nick (who, by the way, hates being called a sidekick) didn’t realise that he would have to do all of the work – and get none of the credit. All Nick wants is an opportunity to prove himself. So, when he overhears a group of criminals planning an enormous bank heist, he knows his big chance to save the day has finally arrived. Or has it?

Afterlife #3: A Sucker For You – Marlene Perez

“I should have staked you when I had the chance”

Tansy, vampire queen of California, is going on a road trip. She’s bringing an eclectic bunch with her: her best friend (the only human), her two assassin sisters, her boyfriend (a werewolf who’s trained as a vampire slayer) and his pack (minus the one who stayed behind to study). They’re headed to Vegas to stop a wedding.

Besides the obvious ickiness associated with the idea of their parents being married, Tansy’s mother, Vanessa (AKA, the Executioner), has compelled Vaughn’s father, so it’s not exactly a free will decision as far as Adam Sheridan is concerned. Tansy and Vaughn are determined to prevent this happily ever after.

“Do you think it’s a coincidence that I follow Vanessa to Vegas and all hell breaks loose?”

It’s been six months since Tansy attended the worst part of her life and became a striga vie, a witch/vampire hybrid, and her witch is at war with her vampire. Granny’s tonic isn’t working as well as it used to so her allergy to the sun has been getting worse.

Tansy has the Blood of Life ruby with her but she doesn’t know what it does yet or even who gave it to her. All she knows for sure is she needs to do whatever it takes to ensure Vanessa doesn’t get her hands on it. Besides the priceless gemstone, Tansy has brought along her parasol and her trusty drumstick (all the better for slaying vampires).

It’s family reunion time in Vegas. While Vanessa is doing her best to evade her daughter and get on with her dastardly deeds, Tansy finally gets to meet her absentee father. Mason Alicante, the head of the Paranormal Activities Committee, is also Rose and Thorn’s father. He’s one character who certainly lives up to his reputation. Rose and Thorn need their own series.

The Drainers, who reinvented themselves in the sequel as the Thirsty Thieves, are at it again. This time, they’re the Bleeding Hearts and they’re trying another new style of music, pop.

Hecate, the best hellcat ever, makes an appearance. She’s such a good kitty.

Granny and her Old Crones Book Club stayed home for this adventure but Granny still has her part to play. She’s my favourite character of the series, not that it was ever a close call.

My main question mark in this book related to Wanda, the healer. When we first meet her, she says she’s not going to be around for the next few weeks because she’s going to a deserted island. In the next chapter, the group have dinner at Wanda’s World and chat to Wanda, who is clearly not on holiday.

This book has action scenes where vampires meet their doom via drumstick, parasol and other lethal means. There are werewolves with ginormous appetites. The characters stay in luxury accommodation and visit specialty hidden world stores. There are mushy lovey doves scenes and mysterious tattoos.

This is my favourite book of the series. It’s unusual for me but I enjoyed each book more than the one that preceded it.

I’m not usually into books that feature vampires and I don’t generally read romance novels but this series hooked me. They’re light reads but they were fun and a great escape. I’m definitely keen to read more books by this author.

Content warnings: Readers with emetophobia may have trouble with some scenes.

Thank you so much to NetGalley and Entangled Teen, an imprint of Entangled Publishing, for the opportunity to read this book.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

Vampire-witch hybrid Tansy Mariotti has exactly one goal: to stop her mother’s Vegas wedding.

It’s not because she hates weddings. It’s not because the groom is her boyfriend’s dad (although yuck). It’s not even because Vegas weddings are cliché as hell. It’s because her mum is an evil incarnate vamp known as the Executioner. Nothing good can come of someone marrying a person named the Executioner. Nothing.

With the help of her werewolf boyfriend, her bestie, her granny’s no-crave-blood tonic, and her favourite stake – a drumstick – Tansy is Vegas-bound and ready to raise hell, all while hoping her witch side can keep her fangs at bay. Only suddenly, her witch side is fading … fast.

Tansy’s running out of time to stop her mum and save herself – before what happens in Vegas stakes in Vegas. 

Afterlife #2: I’m With the Banned – Marlene Perez

Tansy got way more than she bargained for when she and friend/crush Vaughan set out to save her best friend, Skylar, from Travis, lead singer of The Drainers, a band that sucks both literally and figuratively.

Tansy, a Mariotti witch, is now a striga vie, a witch/vampire hybrid. Not only that, shortly after acquiring her vamp abilities, she got a serious promotion: queen of the California vampires. The job comes with a surprising amount of admin.

Meanwhile, Skylar has returned to being human, which considering she’s the one who got Tansy into this mess in the first place, doesn’t seem especially fair. I’m not a fan of Skylar; she’s not the best friend that Tansy deserves.

One really good thing happened during the road trip: Vaughan has graduated from crush to boyfriend. Only he’s been MIA recently, learning to become a vampire hunter. Oh, and he’s a werewolf now. So are all of his new friends.

The Drainers have reinvented themselves. They now call themselves Thirsty Thieves and are singing country and western. Badly.

I found Rose and Thorn, who work for the Paranormal Activities Committee, intriguing during the first book but they didn’t seem to do much. In this book their potential becomes more evident and I want to spend much more time with them. They’re training Tansy to become a badass and they’re big on motivational speeches.

“There are other things to worry about besides vampires,” Thorn said.

I stopped moving. “Like what?”

“Werewolves, banshees, Medusas, Narcisi, and stupid people,” she said, “Just to name a few. All of whom can run faster than you. Your granny can run faster.”

Vanessa, Tansy’s mother, comes back onto the scene for the first time since she abandoned her as a baby. Vanessa is doing her best impression of a loving mother but she’s the vampire known as the Executioner so may not be as trustworthy and caring as she’d like Tansy to believe.

“You know she’s about as stable as a toddler on a sugar binge, right?”

I’m absolutely obsessed with Granny. She’s amazing! Her tonic helps Tansy manage her newfound sun allergy, she’s a librarian and her coven is called the Old Crones Book Club. She also knows when to be a sweetheart and when Tansy need a loving push.

“Now, are you going to sit there like a lump or are you going to get off your tush and handle business?”

Unlike most series, I enjoyed the sequel more than the first book. I’m looking forward to meeting Tansy’s father and can’t wait to see where Vanessa’s storyline takes us.

Thank you so much to NetGalley and Entangled Teen, an imprint of Entangled Publishing, for the opportunity to read this book.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

I never wanted to be a vampire queen.

But on the bright (if not sunny) side of the debacle, I’ve got a super-hot new boyfriend. And he just might be the perfect guy.

Well, if the perfect guy ghosts you for a month and then comes back to school with a new look, a pack of friends, and a secret. But we have bigger problems.

The Drainers are back. They’re singing a different song, but have they really changed?

Even worse, werewolves’ hearts are being ripped from their bodies – which is putting the people I love in danger. I need to figure out who is behind the murders before there’s an all-out vampire-werewolf war.

No one is going to mess with my friends, even the ones who like to get wild and howl at the moon.

Sometimes, all a girl can do is grab her tiara and start kicking some supernatural ass…

Pow Pow Pig #3: On the High Seas – Anh Do

Illustrations – Peter Cheong

Pow Pow Pig, Kung Fu Duck, Cha Cha Chicken and Barry the Goat have made it out of Ancient Greece and are on their way to 2030 to save the world. Well, they would be if their time machine worked properly. It got the 30 right this time but they’ve landed in the middle of the ocean in 1630. And they’re wearing pirate clothes.

Before their time machine finds its way to the bottom of the ocean they’re met by the Super Show Ship (SSS), whose circus crew include Grizzo, a grizzly bear in a tuxedo. It’s not all fun, though, because theirs isn’t the only ship in the ocean. Pretty soon the Purring Pirates make an appearance and they’re not the cuddliest cats you’ll ever meet.

There’s treasure and the threat of walking the plank but a surprisingly small amount of pirate talk. Z team and the SSS crew work together to prevail against the fearsome felines and one character discovers they’re happier when they stop hiding and find the courage to be themselves.

I’m not sure how many adventures it’s going to take before Z team finally wind up in the correct year but the target audience are going to love all of the detours. I still love the stickers included at the end of each book.

I was going to talk about how much I enjoyed reading an Anh Do book that didn’t feature a crossover with one of his other series. It was a refreshing change but unfortunately my relief is short lived. I’ve looked ahead and the next book is a crossover with Ninja Kid…

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

Pow Pow and the crew are back, and this time there arrrrrrrre pirates!

Ahoy, me hearties! It’s Pow Pow Pig.

Me and the Z team are on a mission.

We’re trying to the save the world!

But somehow we’ve ended up on the high seas instead…

It’s going take a swashbuckling effort to get out of this mess!

Before the Coffee Gets Cold – Toshikazu Kawaguchi

Translator – Geoffrey Trousselot

It takes courage to say what has to be said.

I recently ventured into a bookstore for the first time since COVID and proceeded to go into what can only be described as a book frenzy. I was only looking for one particular book but wound up adopting six. Half were this series. When I picked up this book I didn’t think it would be coming home with me. Then I learned it contained two of my very favourite things: coffee and time travel.

‘Please send me back to the past!’

Cafe Funiculi Funicula opened in 1874. It’s small, there’s no air conditioning and, at Nagare’s insistence, only serves mocha. If you sit in one specific seat, though, and follow a very specific set of rules, you can travel to the past.

The Rules

🪑 You can only meet people who have visited the cafe.
🪑 Nothing you do when you’re in the past will change the present.
🪑 You have to sit in a specific seat to time travel and you must remain seated when you’re in the past.
🪑 You have to drink the entire cup of coffee before it gets cold.

After my initial excitement at finding a time travel book I’d never heard of before, I settled in to read the first of the four stories contained in this book.

The Lovers had me questioning all of my life choices, primarily my rashness in buying three books in a series I knew nothing about other than their blurbs. Had I only read this story, I probably never would have wanted to read the other books. It made me so mad!

A week ago, Fumiko’s long term boyfriend, Goro, told her over coffee he was moving to America for work. When he was on his way to the airport! If he was my boyfriend I’d be incensed! No way would I want him back. Fumiko clearly sees this situation differently than I do because she’s our first time traveller. I questioned more than one of Fumiko’s life choices; she has a limited time in the past but decided to add milk to her coffee, making it cool even quicker and shortening her time there. Ugh!

In the first page it’s said that Fumiko is Goro’s “girlfriend of three years” but later it’s said (twice) that Fumiko met Goro two years ago. I wondered if three years was a typo. Then, because time was so important in this book, I questioned if the discrepancy was simply two people with different perceptions of time in their relationship. Maybe the relationship felt to Goro like it dragged on a year longer than it actually did?

Despite my early frustration, I persevered. I enjoyed the second and third stories more than the first and by the time I finished the fourth story, I wanted to continue with the series and reread this book to see what details I may have missed the first time around.

In Husband and Wife, Fusagi has a letter in the present that Kohtake hopes to receive in the past. I wondered if Kohtake received the letter in the past and brought it back with her to the present, would that result in there being two letters in the present? Kohtake tiptoes around her conversation with Fusagi in the past, which disappointed me.

In The Sisters, one sister goes back in time to speak to her sister one last time. I loved how the mystery visitor to the cafe in this story helps complete another story.

Mother and Child made me cry and is the main reason I’m remembering this book with fondness rather than my initial disappointment.

My favourite character was Hirai, who fascinated me. She seemed to openly delight in Fumiko’s misery and has a backstory I learned more about throughout the book. I most want to learn the full story of the woman reading the book.

I had some time travel question marks.

Some travellers returned to a time when their past self was at the cafe. Encountering yourself in the past is generally a time travel no no. None of our travellers meet their past selves so I wondered whether the future self replaced the past self in this world.

Why doesn’t everyone get the stick that sounds the alarm just before the coffee gets cold? That would be so helpful.

One of my big takeaways from this book isn’t the details of any one story but the concept of emotional gravity, which was explained in a beautiful way and holds such truth.

Water flows from high places to low places. That is the nature of gravity. Emotions also seem to act according to gravity. When in the presence of someone with whom you have a bond, and to whom you have entrusted your feelings, it is hard to lie and get away with it. The truth just wants to come flowing out. This is especially the case when you are trying to hide your sadness or vulnerability. It is much easier to conceal sadness from a stranger, or from someone you don’t trust.

I haven’t read many books that have been translated from Japanese but the ones I’ve encountered have a gentle quality to them. They don’t seem to be in a hurry to get where they’re going and I don’t feel any urgency when I’m reading them. It’s like I’ve been invited to witness a snippet of someone’s life and I leave with a sense of calm, regardless of how emotionally charged the content is. I’m not sure how that works but I’ve started seeking it out.

About the cover image: The seat that transports you through time is upholstered in moss-green fabric on the seat and back. I wish that had matched one of the seats on the cover.

Handy hint: Pay attention to the background characters and the details of what’s happening outside of the main storyline. They may be relevant later in the book.

But Kazu still goes on believing that, no matter what difficulties people face, they will always have the strength to overcome them. It just takes heart.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

What would you change if you could go back in time? 

In a small back alley in Tokyo, there is a café which has been serving carefully brewed coffee for more than one hundred years. But this coffee shop offers its customers a unique experience: the chance to travel back in time.

In Before the Coffee Gets Cold, we meet four visitors, each of whom is hoping to make use of the café’s time-travelling offer, in order to: confront the man who left them, receive a letter from their husband whose memory has been taken by early onset Alzheimer’s, to see their sister one last time, and to meet the daughter they never got the chance to know.

But the journey into the past does not come without risks: customers must sit in a particular seat, they cannot leave the café, and finally, they must return to the present before the coffee gets cold …

Toshikazu Kawaguchi’s beautiful, moving story explores the age-old question: what would you change if you could travel back in time? More importantly, who would you want to meet, maybe for one last time?