Jun 21, 2024

Cat Lovers, Coffee Shop, and Other Novels in International Settings

 There's a full moon this weekend - the Strawberry Moon, coffee lovers! 

The Full Moon Coffee Shop by Mai Mochizuki, translated from the Japanese, August 20, 2024; Ballantine Books
Genre: fantasy, astrology, Japanese fiction

This special coffee shop appears only to those who seem to need the guidance of a tortoise shell tabby cat to get their messy lives back on track. The cat gives astrological advice depending on the individual's circumstances and the time, date, and place of their birth. 

Many Japanese authors love their cats and coffee shops and use these themes and settings to reveal a larger truth about life in their stories. How the individuals benefit from the tabby's astrology advice is the interesting part of the book. I also liked the explanations about an astrology term I've always heard but never fully understood - Mercury in retrograde. It seems things can go wacky for about three weeks when Mercury is in this mode. 

An interesting and entertaining book, whether or not you believe in astrology, the pull of the full moon, fortune telling cats, or magical coffee shops. 

I'm reading this book partly for the setting - Indonesia and its capital, Jakarta

Darkness Falls in Jakarta by Louise Soraya Black
July 4, 2024; Muswell Press
Genre: mystery/thriller, women's fiction

Description: The death of Claire’s parents triggers traumatic memories of her past life in Jakarta, a time that Claire has been running away from ever since.

Haunted by guilt and the terrible misunderstanding that forced her to leave the city she loved as a teenager; she embarks on a journey back in the hope of finding answers and perhaps a path to forgiveness.

Louise Soraya Black perfectly captures the heartache of lost chances and the fragile hope of making amends.

My review on goodreads.

Crime, Croissants, and Lots of Humor on this Bike Tour in the Eastern Pyrenees of France

A Cyclist's Guide to Crime and Croissants by Ann Claire, May 21, 2024; Kensington CoziesGenre: cycling, travel, cozy mystery, Southern France

Setting: Pyrénées-Orientales in France, along the Mediterranean Coast near the Spanish border

I love the humor in the main character's telling of her story. Sadie's observations and descriptions along the bike route are original and clever and you want to meet her in person. An example: Her description of imminent and unwanted downpour starting on their bike tour goes: " a raindrop the size of a grape fell on my nose."  Ha, ha, I say. 

The crimes, vandalism, and subsequent murders along the tour route may be due to at least two persons. I like that this mystery storyline does not prevent the reader from armchair travel of a very good kind through the Pyrenees mountains and villages and sights. 

The visit to a giant grocery store with a whole section devoted to multiple varieties of French yogurt, custards, and puddings was new and appealing. French pastries also play a large part in the routine of the tour group.

I loved taking this nine-day cycling tour through hills, mountains, and very scenic villages and towns. Not only for the travel, but the food and the humorous and interesting characters, plus a mystery with a surprise culpritOf course, there is also a handsome gendarme to spice up Sadie's bike tour.

What are you reading/watching this week?  

Memes: The Sunday Post hosted by The Caffeinated BookreviewerAlso, It's Monday: What Are You Reading, Sunday Salon, and Stacking the Shelves 


  1. I like the sound of the Ann Claire book. Hope you are having an excellemt week!

  2. The Coffee shop book sounds quirky and interesting.

  3. Several fun ones here! I'll look into both the Japanese one and the cycling one. :)

  4. I'll be adding 'The Full Moon Coffee Shop' to my 'interest' list. [grin]

    I expect to finish my statistics book on Monday. I'll then read 'The Jungle Book' by Rudyard Kipling, followed by 'The Assassination of the Archduke - Sarajevo 1914 and the Murder that Changed the World' by Greg King & Sue Woolmans.

    1. Hope you get hooked on Japanese "cat" and coffee shop novels after reading this one.
      My kids grew up watching Disney's version of The Jungle Book, the cartoon film. I enjoyed it as well, as the songs and antics of the animals were endearing.

  5. The Full Moon Coffee shop sounds good. I'm going to add that to my Goodreads Want To Read List.

    Have a great weekend!

    Emily @ Budget Tales Book Blog
    My post:

  6. Yeah I got to go for the cycling novel first ... we've done a couple of these trips ... but the Jakarta novel I'm a bit curious about too.

  7. The Full Moon Coffee Shop sounds interesting -- I'll have to keep an eye out for it!

  8. Friday was the full moon and the beginning of a period known as the major lunar standstill that only happens every 18.6 years. I enjoyed learning about this phenomenon and how it relates to Stonehenge and the Calanais Standing Stones. Like "Mercury in retrograde," I have limited understanding of how things appear in our sky.

  9. The Full Moon Coffee Shop sounds like a wonderful place to visit when problems pop up in your life. Who wouldn't like a coffee shop with a wise cat?!

    And I always enjoy a book that includes good food and travel like A Cyclist's Guide to Crime and Croissants.

  10. Oooo I have been wanting to read The Full Moon Coffee Shop!! I am glad to hear it was so good!

  11. I do like the look of your books. Coffee shops make a great setting. Enjoy!

  12. The Full Moon Coffee Shop sounds SO fun! I totally want to read that one. Enjoy your week. :D

  13. Anything set in France will always appeal to me!

  14. All of the books look so good, but of course The Full Moon Coffee Shop has my attention. I'm adding it to my list right now.

  15. Oooh! All of these books sound interesting!

    Here’s my Sunday Post

    Rabbit Ears Book Blog: WORLD’S WEIRDEST BOOK BLOG!

  16. I love how they are set in different places. Have a great week!

  17. I read a review for The Cyclists Guide to Crime and Croissants somewhere else and now I can't remember where, lol! It does sounds like a fun, armchair traveling kind of mystery!

  18. Interesting that Japanese authors commonly use cats and coffee shops in their work. I have never heard that.

    1. A select group only. Cat novels are popular now and bookstore settings also

    2. See The Travelling Cat Chronickes or The Goodbye Cat

  19. I enjoyed Crime and Croissants too. I would love to visit that grocery store in person!

  20. Looks like you have a good variety. Happy reading.
    sherry @ fundinmental

  21. Adding Full Moon Coffee Shop to my TBR. That sounds wonderful. I have A Cyclist's Guide to Croissants and Crime on my TBR and I'm so glad to see you enjoyed it!


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