Before the Coffee Gets Cold
by Toshikazu Kawaguchi
GOODREADS – AMAZON
Released: 19th September 2019
Keywords: Adult, Time travel, Grief, Loss, Alzheimer’s
“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?”
I ordered this book on a whim after seeing it pop up on Amazon and I’m glad that I did! Originally written as a play, this novelisation is charming and precious and hit me right in the feels many times.
This short novel is split up into 4 parts or chapters, each focusing on a different character traveling through time but all of them interconnect, it did take me a while to get all of the characters down as you get introduced to a lot at once.
When you travel back (or forward) you can not change the present so some deem the ability to be pointless, but as we see from this story, it is far from pointless and can still change lives.
I really really enjoyed this and would recommend if you’re looking for a short novel that’s heartfelt with great characters and humour and also tackles some serious subjects.
(Spoiler: there is infact no cat, but there is a ghost woman)
My rating: 5/5 stars
‘Charles Hayden has been fascinated by a strange Victorian fairy tale, In the Night Wood, since he was a child. When his wife, Erin – a descendant of the author – inherits her ancestor’s house, the couple decide to make it their home. Still mourning the recent death of their daughter, they leave America behind, seeking a new beginning in the English countryside. But Hollow House, filled with secrets and surrounded by an ancient oak forest, is a place where the past seems very much alive.’
Released: 7th February 2019
A dark fairy tale within a dark fairy tale, this book is a very atmospheric gothic thriller based in Yorkshire. Charles and Erin move in to Hollow House which is a huge mansion which has previously been burnt down by its previous owner and rebuilt. A tall wall has been built around the whole house, to keep the forest out? but why. Charles is obsessed with finding out more about the previous owner who was said to have been driven mad by the forest and committed suicide. When they move in, there are already staff working there to maintain the house, some more suspicious than others. A young girl has gone missing from the village that looks remarkably like their deceased daughter Lissa, both Charles and Erin see visions of a young girl and a dark horned figure in and around the forest, are they just visions?
This book kept me guessing to the very end about what was actually real, the truth, and who was responsible for the missing girls. It shows how people handle grief differently, some distract themselves and obsess over something else, others are completely consumed by the grief with no way out. Murder, adultery, betrayal, guilt. The only criticisms I have from reading this book is that it took me a while to get used to the writing style and I sometimes found myself lost in it and having to reread some parts. Overall I enjoyed this thriller and was satisfied with how it ended.
My Rating: 3.5/5 Stars
eARC provided via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review
‘Martha can tell things about a person just by touching their clothes, as if their emotions and memories have been absorbed into the material. It started the day she fell from the tree at her grandma’s cabin and became blind in one eye.
Determined to understand her strange ability, Martha sets off to visit her grandmother, Mormor – only to discover Mormor is dead, a peculiar boy is in her cabin and a terrifying creature is on the loose.
Then the spinning wheel starts creaking, books move around and terror creeps in . . .’
This is by far the creepiest book I’ve read in a while and it caught me off guard, I wasn’t expecting it to be so paranormal but it was an extremely chilling read. The atmosphere was written so well and I regretted having this as my night-time read! It also features a lot of Norse mythology which was fun. Watching the relationship between Martha and the boy in the cabin ‘Stig’ evolve was really nice but it kept the thought in the back of my mind whether he could really be trusted or not, seeing as we don’t really know him.
There is a certain part in the story that sets all hell loose and left me truly shocked and scared to continue reading (in a good way). The only criticism I have is that towards the end the writing seemed a bit messy and I found it hard to keep up with what was happening as it was so fast paced. Overall I would definitely recommend, especially to fans of YA horror/thrillers and Norse mythology. This was also a debut book which makes it that more impressive! I can’t wait to read more by Rachel Burge in the future.
My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars
eARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review