Tales from the Cafe, Before the Coffee Gets Cold Book #2: a review

The first book in this series, Before the Coffee Gets Cold, absolutely broke my heart and I adored it. I knew I needed more instantly. When I found out that there were 3 books already published in Japanese I immediately went to see if translations were going to be made! Thankfully they are doing so and Tales from the Cafe is the second book in this beautiful series!

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Rating: ★★★★★ 5/5

Author: Toshikazu Kawaguchi, translated by Geoffrey Trousselot

In returning to Café Funiculi Funicula we get four more tales. Four more life stories which explore in even more depth the grief and regret these characters feel. I enjoyed that in comparison to each other and also to the first book, each individual had a different reason for sitting in the fated chair. Each of them had a different story leading up to this point, leading them to want to explore another time. Although the overall base themes of regret still run throughout each tale, as is expected when the subjects are wishing to play with time, the reasonings behind each feel unique and personal to them.

We do get to learn more about characters we have already met in the first book. I don’t wish to give too much away on this point, as I personally enjoyed discovering this for myself, but seeing some of our repeat characters get their turn in the chair as well as learning more about how their lives have progressed and developed was another aspect of the story I loved. It really adds to the overall feeling that the Funiculi Funicula presents to the reader and fleshes out the world around this impossible chair.

As with the first book the writing is very slow and intentional throughout. Also as with the first book, however, I read through this book so quickly and was loath to put it down when I had to! The pacing is very methodical and purposeful which leads one story into another. I have seen in another review someone stating that they did not like the repetitive nature of the rules each time. For me, personally, these repeated instructions add more texture to the world of the café, as I’m sure those words have been said within it many times. It also is part and parcel of the process. Just as in Doctor Who, the Doctor races around the TARDIS pressing buttons and flicking levers, just instead this method of time travel is more certain and informed. You know what to expect, as much as you can, and you know the rules laid out for you and the consequences if they aren’t followed.

I am incredibly excited for the third book to be translated! I already know that I will be so sad when there are no more books for me to read from this little series. I can’t wait to learn more about… well let’s just say the last character mentioned (I don’t want to give anything away!) as well as seeing the café family develop and how they react to new time travellers. I really do recommend picking this series up, there’s a reason that Before the Coffee Gets Cold was such a hit and I recommend diving into this beautiful and meditative world.

Thank you to NetGalley and Picador for a free eCopy of this book in return for an honest review.

Beautiful and heart-wrenching

Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi is a novel translated from Japanese about a small little cafe which seems to have a secret. If you sit in one seat, you can travel in time.

This book has absolutely gorgeous writing, if you are at all familiar with other Japanese media you’ll also likely feel that the translation by Geoffrey Trousselot has kept the emotion and feelings of the original work. It is a style unique to that culture, and it works so well for this concept.

We follow four different people through their journey to wanting to time travel and their experiences with it, whilst the back drop of the cafe and its staff remains constant. The reasons are all unique, profound, and the results are not what the individual expects but are just so perfectly imperfect.

This quickly became one of my favourite books of 2019 and in fact one of my favourite books of all time. This short novel packs a beautiful punch, and I absolutely recommend it. General fiction with touches of fantasy are always fun, and this one just does it spectacularly.

Thank you to NetGalley for a electronic ARC in return for an honest review.

The Time Travel Handbook by Wyllie, Acton and Goldblayt

I spotted this bright orange hardback book randomly one day in a discount store called The Works that we have here in the UK, and I’m really glad that I picked it up as it ended up being such a unique and interesting concept for a book.

If you couldn’t tell from the book’s title, this is one on time travel. But it’s done with a twist. Instead of being a work of fiction, this is technically a non-fiction book! Let me explain. This is more of a holiday brochure, a holiday guide, it tells you where you’ll be going (and when 😉 ), as well as what to wear, how to behave and where to go to get the most out of your day. It just happens to be taking you to renowned events from the past. From the eruption of Mount Vesuvius to the fall of the Berlin wall, it takes you through history. Showing you the little parts that you might not pay attention to but that are incredibly interesting and bring these events more into real life, rather than something that is distanced from yourself.

If you’re at all interested in recent or distant history, I definitely recommend this book. It’s fun, it’s informative and it’ll look great on your shelves!

Wayfarer by Alexandra Bracken, a review

In March of this year I posted a review of Passenger, which you can find here, and I found Wayfarer to be quite similar. I will start this review by saying that I gave it 4/5 stars, and that I did overall really enjoy it. However, this book did struggle from the overly slow pacing that was present in the first book.

I do absolutely adore Etta and Nicholas, and the plot points were so interesting and are what kept me reading, along with the great characters. I was constantly really annoyed by Etta’s parents as they kept so much from her and weren’t much help overall (this is a compliment, as I feel that Alexandra Bracken intended to write them both this way). Li Min is such a great character and I loved her interactions with Sophie and the LGBT aspects incorporated. I also liked that the only special point of the LGBT relationship was that one character was married to a man due to the constraints of the time that she lived in.

There are many different groups of people, and their personal stories are well developed, to just the right point where you know enough but not too much. There is one specific scene where these groups have congregated, and I greatly enjoyed this and the interactions that were then had.

However, sadly again this book suffered from really slow pacing. As it’s such a large book, it makes it feel even slower and also intimidating to the reader. It’s such a pity as everything else about this duology is great and I get so absorbed into the world. I just wish it wasn’t so… lethargic?

I loved the time zones that we jumped through within this book, and the various different plot points with different characters. It’s such a fun story and I would still read more in the world, so I’m hoping that Alexandra Bracken will release a novella or a collection of short stories (these also may then be faster paced due to their shortness which would be perfect!).

Overall, I really good book and duology that just didn’t quite hit the mark. However, I still do love the world and the characters within it. Maybe give Passenger a go and borrow it from the library?

Have you read this duology? Do you agree or disagree with my views? Let me know in the comments!

The End of Mr Y, a review

You might not have heard of this book, it’s not exactly well known. The only reason I picked it up was that it had a very unique design when I saw it in the charity shop. It was taller and wider than most paperbacks, had black sprayed edges and looked interesting. Once I’d read the blurb I knew I had to get it.

We follow our protagonist Ariel, as she discovers a rare book in a secondhand bookshop. It’s said to be cursed, and it’s also supposed to be impossible to find. As she reads the book she becomes more invested in what it has to say, following recipes and directions and ending up traveling in time and risking her own death. This is not a normal novel, it’s wacky, insane and definitely not for kids. There are a variety of mature themes explored and developed within this book, so if that’s not something you feel comfortable with I recommend giving this novel a miss.

It took so many turns and directions that I was not expecting, the time travel was a shock to my system and the mysterious black dot has me suspicious of any dots I see around me! Definitely one to make your brain work and encourage you to think more about your surroundings, as well as more about what is actually going on inside the crazy world of this book.

I liked the way the fantasy was handled in a realistic manner so that you can imagine it happening in the real world very easily. I felt that the ending of the book was rather sharp, however, I think that is by the authors’ design and it did mean it stayed in my head for quite a long time.

If you’re wanting something weird and odd and you’re fine with death, sex and violence, definitely pick this one up! I’m glad I spotted it one day… in a secondhand bookshop 😉

Who-Ology, a review

I’m a Doctor Who nerd, a Whovian, and God Damn It I need the new series out now!!! So excited for the Christmas special this year! (I’m aware it’s September, don’t dampen my joy!). As a lot of my family and friends know that I love DW and reading, I’ve had many presents of DW related books and they’re such a fun and interesting thing to read through if you’re a fan of the show.

This one is filled with facts about the show, and behind the scenes knowledge about the actors and their lives when pertaining to Who. I found it really interesting. This book goes right from the beginning with William Hartnell, all the way up to Matt Smith, so it’s a little old, but the information is still accurate! I haven’t been able to watch all of the old episodes as of yet, I’ve watched some of Hartnell but it’s a little daunting to think of watching 50 years of Doctor Who so I’ve not gotten very far through. Because of this, I did skim over some bits of the book, for the bits that we talking about specific events in Old Who that I know I want to watch but haven’t gotten around to yet. But this just means that I get to go back through it once I’ve watched the older episodes!

This is definitely a fun little book, I read it all in one sitting so it’s also a quick one and something that I think is great for any fan of the show of any age. I’m looking forward to rereading it again in a few years when I’ve watched the show in its entirety!

My stupidly large August TBR! Aaand, my last catch up post!

I have definitely set the bar a little toooo high this month! So I’m likely to not manage all of these, but at least I’m aiming high… right? This should also be my last “catch up” post after the hecticness of the readathons and my Gran coming to visit. Fingers crossed I can stay up to date from now on! Also, I’m not going to be including the remainder of my BookTubeAThon tbr (which continued into the beginning of August), if you’d like to see that tbr then click here, and my wrap up for that is here!

Finally, into the tbr!

Of Blood Exhausted by Jemahl Evans

This one doesn’t have any cover art as yet, as I am reading it as a beta reader. I keep putting it off as it feels like a bit of a daunting challenge (and it’s on my laptop which is just awkward). But hopefully, placing it within my tbr will encourage me to actually get to it! It is the 3rd book in the Blandford Candy series (link to book #1 here) which I adore and go on about frequently! I really am so excited to get to it! Just a little daunted!

kingsevenlakesKing of the Seven Lakes by A. B. Endacott (Legends of the Godskissed Continent #2)

I absolutely fell in love with Queendom of the Seven Lakes, book one in the series (link here!), and am so pleased that the series is continuing on (book 3 is already out! I need to read, read, read!). This is an amazing fantasy series, with great character and world development and this should be such a good read!

aaruAaru by David Meredith (The Aaru Cycle #1)

I was sent a copy of this self-published book by the author, and the dystopian synopsis really intrigues me. I’m hoping that I really enjoy this, as there is already a sequel out and I can jump into it!

mysteryofthreequartersThe Mystery of the Three Quarters by Sophie Hannah (New Hercule Poirot Mysteries #3)

I got this book to review from NetGalley, and although I haven’t read much from her, I really love Agatha Christie’s writing so I’m hoping that Sophie Hannah can match it! Many of Christie’s books could be read individually so I’m hoping that I won’t be at too much of a disadvantage having not read the first two books.

shatteredShattered by Teri Terry (Slated #3)

I’m finally getting round to finishing this series!! I started it so many years ago and am so ready to see the conclusion, although I’m 100% not ready for it to end! I’ve loved the first two books in this series so this should be a good one!

universe betweenThe Universe Between Us by Jane C. Esther

A book I acquired through NetGalley that I should’ve read a long time ago. I don’t remember what it’s about, I’m assuming it’s a Sci-Fi. I hope I enjoy it but only time will tell.


orchardThe Orchard by Anne Frasier/Theresa Weir

Another book I got through NetGalley that looked interesting. This is an autobiography of fighting for love and changing her life dramatically. I don’t actually know of the author but she has written fiction so I am expecting it to flow well and be interesting!

throneofglassThrone of Glass by Sarah J. Maas (Throne of Glass #1)

Does this need an explanation? No, I’ve not read it yet. Yes, this is my first time through it. I really hope that I enjoy this! The hype is intense for this book so fingers crossed!


sabrielSabriel by Garth Nix (Abhorsen #1)

Another well known YA book that many have read, although this one is a little older! I only bought this relatively recently, so it’s not toooo bad… right? Again, hoping I enjoy this one!


knifeofneverlettinggoThe Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness (Chaos Walking #1)

There seems to be a bit of a theme going on here… another older YA book that so many people have read. I intend to join their numbers!


dark placesDark Places by Gillian Flynn

Booksandlala (in her older videos) goes on about Gillian Flynn so much that I had to pick up a couple of her books! This is the one that has the most intriguing synopsis to me so it’s up first!


empathy problemThe Empathy Problem by Gavin Extence

Look at how pretty this cover is! This was a total cover buy, along with The Universe Versus Alex Woods, but I absolutely loved that book and the synopsis sounds really interesting so I’m expecting to really enjoy this one!

truth sisterTruth Sister by Phil Gilvin

I got this book as an ARC (Advanced Readers Copy – pre-publishing with a few minor tweaks to be made to the finished book) at NYALitFest (see my haul here!) and at the time it wasn’t on Goodreads and there was no date on my copy so I didn’t know when it came out. Fast forward months later and it turns out it was released on the 1st July so I need to get reading! This is a novel that, as far as I can tell from the synopsis, revolves around a matriarchy with a severe class system, knowledge, and corruption. Should be a good one!

time travel handbookThe Time Travel Handbook by Wyllie, Acton and Goldblatt

I already started reading this during the 7in7readathon (vlog here) and I’m really enjoying it. It’s essentially a travel guide to 18 historical events, both very recent history (the fall of the Berlin wall) and ancient history (such as the eruption of Vesuvius) and is written in a really engaging and interesting way. Excited to finish it!

And that’s it! Fourteen books! Like I said I probably won’t get around to all of them but I can try! I’ll be going off to a different University next month to start a Masters so I probably won’t have too much free time, hence the massive reading goal for my last month of freedom for another year! Let’s see how much I manage!

The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August

This. Book. Needs. More. Love. *clap emoji*

This is an absolutely amazing book ❤️❤️ I genuinely have no idea why this book isn’t more popular or well known in the online book community because it’s amazing 😍


Okay, so moving on from my fangirling just a little. This book was picked up on a whim, when I saw it in the Works for £4 and really liked the cover. I never expected this to become one of my favourite books ever… but here we are. I had presumed from the cover I have that this book was a YA, and therefore set certain expectations. But it definitely isn’t a YA read and the book surpassed all these expectations with ease, being deeper, grittier and less cliche than I was expecting.

The world building for this book was done incredibly well, with the fantasy side beautifully integrated into the “normal” world. The vastly different social etiquette in place due to the drastic lifestyle differences and knowledge that they possess is incredibly interesting to delve into and experience, especially with the differences shown between personality styles and experiences.

The tension, the drama, the edge of your seat feeling is just absolutely done perfectly and I would kill for a sequel just so I can dive back into this world again and live there for a while. I’m so sad that there isn’t one or even a TV or film adaptation, as I think not only does this story need to be heard by more people, but that it would also transition so well onto a screen.

I really don’t want to say too much more because this book is absolutely fantastic and I want you to go into it and experience everything brand new! No spoilers, nothing. Because that way you won’t know what to expect, and isn’t that just the way to do it sometimes?

The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August is definitely now within my list of all time favourite books! Pick it up if you want a sci-fi fantasy book with timey-wimey elements!

Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

I was lent this book by someone who thought I would enjoy it, and it took me a while to get through it but I’m glad I read it. I liked this book and definitely want to read the sequel, the romance hooked me (unusually for me, I’m not keen on romance normally) and I liked the plot and many of the characters. I liked that Nicolas had plenty of flaws and realistic traits, although I feel Etta is slightly too perfect and could do with some more flaws of her own.

At some points I was struggling to get through the book, with it going very slowly and seeming uninteresting. However, the overall plot line pushed me through. In contrast to these sections, the end of the story seemed to conclude quite abruptly and I had been expecting a slower run down, hopefully when I read the next book it’ll end in a more satisfying way.

If it sounds interesting to you then I recommend picking it up, as I did enjoy it. Sadly it didn’t blow me away but I am definitely invested in the world and I’m hoping that Wayfarer will be amazing!