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The 24 – Hour Café by Libby Page – Blog Tour Book Review 

About the Book
Welcome to the café that never sleeps. Day and night Stella’s Café opens its doors for the lonely and the lost, the morning people and the night owls. It is many things to many people but most of all it is a place where life can wait at the door. A place of small kindnesses. A place where anyone can be whoever they want, where everyone is always welcome.

Meet Hannah and Mona: best friends, waitresses, dreamers. They work at Stella’s but they dream of more, of leaving the café behind and making their own way in life.

Come inside and spend twenty-four hours at Stella’s Café; a day when Hannah and Mona’s friendship will be tested, when the community will come together and when lives will be changed…

About the Author
Libby Page previously worked in marketing, moonlighting as a writer. She graduated from The London College of Fashion with a BA in Fashion Journalism before going on to work as a journalist at the Guardian. THE LIDO is her first novel. It was pre-empted within 24 hours of submission for six figures in the UK, pre-empted for six figures in the US, and will be published in 2018 by Orion UK and Simon & Schuster US, followed by eleven other territories around the world. 

Libby has been a leading campaigner for fairer internships and has spoken on TV and in parliament in support of fair pay for interns. Libby has been writing from an early age and when she was 16 she wrote an illustrated book called Love Pink to raise money for Breast Cancer Care.

After writing, her second passion is outdoor swimming. Libby lives in London where she enjoys finding new swimming spots and pockets of community within the city.

What I Thought


This book is such a slice of life. 24 hours (plus a jump forward) in a 24-hour cafe in London following Hannah and Mona, waitresses who long to be something more. But, who are already more to the customers who come through the doors into this refuge, and to each other. 
Bursting with humanity author Libby Page had me feeling for each individual she writes (I nearly used creates but it feels like she draws them from real life). At first the style felt a little distant like we were simply observers but this mix of point of views cleverly weaved us into each of the character’s lives. It’s like she draws us into a modern day version of the painting Nighthawks by Edward Hopper. 
There’s one character in particular that I was anxious to see again but we never really knew if they would come back. In some ways it might have been more realistic to have them not show back up, but that wouldn’t necessarily have been as satisfying to the reader. 
I love that the main focus is on friendship between women in its many complexities, from jealousy to true care, from forming to breaking. It was simply beautiful. 
Life in Stella’s cafe was peaceful and frantic, celebrated beginning and endings, saw heartbreak and joy. Above all it this is one those stories that reminds us to be kind because we never know what someone is facing. 
I did manage to get gifted a copy from #orionontour which Libby kindly signed but when I found out about the blog tour I waited to read it and it feels like it popped into my life as I needed it. There were aspects of the story that touched me very personally and I shed a tear or two. 
I would definitely recommend and am glad I now have Libby’s first novel The Lido lined up to read soon. 

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo – Book Review #NinthHouse

Synopsis

For nearly two hundred years, eight secret societies of Yale University have operated from the shadows – serving the interests of the elite and shaping the course of history.

The Ninth House is tasked with policing them – until the murder of a young woman throws this carefully hidden world of privilege, power and the occult into chaos …

Publishes 1st October 2019

ISBN: 9781473227965

Author

Leigh Bardugo is a No. 1 New York Times bestselling Author of fantasy novels and short stories. She was born in Jerusalem, grew up in Los Angeles, and graduated from Yale University. These days she lives and writes in Los Angeles.

@LBardugo

What I Thought

I was super lucky to get to read this hotly anticipated adult novel by Leigh Bardugo way before its October release. Thanks go to the superstars from #Orionontour in Dorchester. What follows is my honest review.

Having enjoyed Leigh’s Grisha series and being oddly fascinated by secret societies, especially since watching the film The Skulls 19 years ago! I went in expecting to enjoy this. And I did.

Our main protagonist is Alex “not short for Alexandra” Stern, who has been invited to enter the Ninth House. Head hunted if you like, thanks to her unique ability to see Grays (ghosts) without the need to ingest toxic concoctions.

The story is based at Yale University where their real life secret societies have long been shrouded by mystery and have produced an influential person or twenty.

Bardugo imagines that the occult is behind their success (or does she 😉🤐) and the Ninth House – Lethe – is the society that polices the others. They make sure rules and rituals are followed and ensure that hopefully no one dies.

Lethe has its own hierarchy, and Alex – codename Dante, works most closely with her Virgil, Darlington and their Oculus, Dawes. There’s also Turner a member of the police who gets his eyes wide opened whilst working the murder.

The book switches forward and back in time and contains a number of mysteries that both Alex, and us as readers, must solve.

What happened at Alex’s Ground Zero? Who killed the town girl on a society ritual night? What does the murderous ghost called the Bridegroom want with Alex? Where did my favourite character go?

I found it straightforward to follow what was happening, but it is a gradual unpicking so those that like quick answers might get a little frustrated as all the different threads are weaved over the course of many years.

Alex is also a student so she has to attend classes, write papers, earn money, keep her secret life hidden from her buddies and sometimes even go to parties. Note: Trigger warning for rape and sexual assault and some fairly satisfying, if gross revenge for the latter.

I really enjoyed the relationships Alex has with those around her, in particular how her and Dawes start working together after a frosty beginning. Alex herself is complex, and is definitely hiding things. Is she a hero or an anti-hero?

My only slight complaint was the absence of a character I wanted more of in the present narrative, but hey I’m definitely up for impatiently waiting for book two’s release.

Vibes I got from this book: The Skulls, Flatliners, a much darker Ghost Whisperer, Dollhouse, Supernatural, Shadowhunters, Vicious. All things I love.

Ninth House opens up an exciting new urban fantasy world for an ongoing series full of privileged and unprincipled societies, ghosts, the occult and complex characters. I was invited. I’m staying.

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