‘Eclairs for Tea and Other Stories’ spoiler-free review!

Hello everyone! You may remember I included this book in my September wrap-up but I’m only just getting round to reviewing it because I wanted to only post spooky reviews in October 😉

Eclairs for Tea and Other Stories is written by indie author, Julia Blake, whom I discovered through Instagram. Julia has quite a selection of published books to choose from but I decided to pick up this collection in order to get a taste for her writing across a variety of genres. Before I begin dissecting, take a look at the Goodreads blurb!


What the book was about…

Eclairs for Tea and Other Stories is a wonderful, eclectic, mix of short stories, flash fiction and poetry, to be dipped in and out of, and enjoyed at your own pace.

Eclairs for Tea – There was something very important Kevin had told her not to forget. If only she could remember what it was…

Taproot – As war raged in the skies above, Meg fought her own battle against growing up, and her fears for her brother… 

Do You Believe? – Susan was never one for flights of fancy, so what is she to think, when her daughter tells her a fairy has taken up residence at the bottom of the garden..? 

Vicious Circle – As far as DI Cass Sawyer is concerned, the past should remain firmly in the past, but, it seems time may have a different idea…

Lifesong – If there is life on other worlds, what would it be like? What would they make of us?

Along with many other heart-warming, surprising tales, interspersed with the author’s quirky poems about modern life, this is a book you’ll want to read again and again…


What I thought of it…

This was a wonderful introduction to Julia Blake’s work and really accessible for anyone not sure where to start.

Blake here clearly demonstrates the meaning of the phrase ‘quality over quantity’. She manages such exquisite storytelling in so few pages; I am in awe. Taproot was really lovely and surprisingly powerful for a mere 11 pages. Then came the titular story Eclairs for Tea and WOW. Only 2 pages long but what an impact. It was really dark considering the fluffy-sounding title!

There really is something for everyone here. Dinner Party highlighted Blake’s ability to write superbly realistic dialogue and her talent for humour as well as the more hard-hitting stuff. Other stories were more sweet. Strange Kind of Love even had a Gaiman-esque vibe which I really enjoyed. Blake’s fiction ranges from romantic and ethereal to dark and gruesome, but it is always captivating.

The stories in the book are also interspersed with Blake’s unique poetry, which really captured an aspect of modern life that many authors steer clear of. I related to so many of them! I really appreciated the subtle links between each short story/poem. I would say my favourite poem in the collection was This is Heaven; I found it very evocative.

And of course, I have to mention the novella Lifesong which brings this collection to a close. Blake’s writing really shines in this longer tale and has ensured that I will be giving her full-length novels a try! I loved the whole concept and the ending blew me away.

My only *tiny* gripe is that occasionally commas would be used where I personally would have put semi-colons. However, this is genuinely the most nit-picky thing I could say and I thoroughly recommend this anthology!

 

eclairs for tea and other stories julia blake

If you are interested in trying Blake’s writing for yourself, her latest novel The Forest has just been released!

October Wrap-Up! (In which significant life changes hinder my spooky reading)

Hello all! I can’t believe it’s wrap-up time again. October ended up being a much busier month than I had expected as I got a last-minute invite onto a diploma course (and obviously, I jumped at the chance!) So I’m now back studying as well as working full-time and, unfortunately, that leaves less time for reading. But I still managed to get through some good books. So without further ado, let’s take a look at what I read in October!

 

Classics

rebecca du maurier

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

This was one of my most anticipated reads. I bought this book back in January but wanted to save it for the dark Autumn nights as I just knew it would be so atmospheric. And I was not disappointed. This is a Gothic masterpiece and the characters were absolute works of art.

 

Review books/Books I was sent

The Black Prince by Adam Roberts

I struggled a little with this one as it felt quite disjointed and the battle scenes were very visceral, but it was an interesting take on a period in history that I knew virtually nothing about.

 

Perfect Death by Helen Fields

The third instalment of this thriller series was just as fantastic as its two predecessors and kept me up reading far too late. I particularly enjoyed the exploration of gender roles that the author tackled in this one.

 

Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand

A strange but compelling story that was quite dark at times, I really liked this powerfully feminist read. Some of the descriptive writing was gorgeous and the rep was awesome.

 

Books from my TBR

Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor

By far my favourite read of the month, if not the year, Muse of Nightmares didn’t just live up to all of my gigantic expectations but surpassed them. Laini Taylor is a true queen of words and I will be eagerly awaiting news of her next book.

 

The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury

This was a great little coming-of-age story about the origins of Halloween. My only complaint was that I wanted it to be longer!

 

Sweet Pea by C. J. Skuse

This thriller written from the perspective of a female psychopath was absolutely hilarious. Its twisted humour had me laughing out loud at every page and I will definitely be picking up the sequel at some point.

 

The Book of the Unnamed Midwife by Meg Elison

I thought this was a really gripping and original dystopian. The author got across some excellent points about birth control, sex positivity, sexuality and consent, while painting a terrifying picture of a world where 99% of the female population has been wiped out.

 

The Witchfinder’s Sister by Beth Underdown

This book had the unfortunate position of following Muse of Nightmares; I don’t think I enjoyed it as much as I could have because I was in the biggest book hangover! I thought it was an interesting premise but it was very slow in pace, though it was still impressive for a debut and I genuinely think it was just a case of bad timing.

 

Small Spaces by Katherine Arden

I adored this spooky middle grade with a heart. I felt a real connection with the protagonist, Ollie, and was so invested in her story. Arden’s portrayal of childhood grief was superb.

 

The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton

This was an interesting story but not really what I was expecting. I can’t honestly say that I liked the protagonist but I still found it to be compelling, and I’d like to maybe revisit it in the future to pick up on all the foreshadowing I undoubtedly missed this time round.

 

Stats

Total pages: 4001

Average pages per day: 129

Longest book: Muse of Nightmares (528 pages)

Shortest book: The Halloween Tree (145 pages)

Favourite read of the month: Muse of Nightmares

Biggest disappointment of the month: The Black Prince

Male authors: 2

Female authors: 9

Books read towards Pop Sugar Reading Challenge: 1

 

october 2018 reading wrapup paperbackpiano.jpg

Those of you who are eagle-eyed might notice that Toil and Trouble features in this picture. Unfortunately, I overestimated my ability to get through it in time! So just pretend that it’s The Book of the Unnamed Midwife instead, since I didn’t have a physical copy of that 😉

Have you read any of these? What was your favourite book that you read in October? x