Thank you to Tor Books for sending me a copy of Legends & Lattes in exchange for an honest review!

After years of hard living, battles and general mayhem, Viv, the orc barbarian, decides to hang up her sword. She settles down in the city of Thune to start a new adventure: opening a coffee shop. However, her dreams of a fresh start are easier said than done, especially when she can no longer solve problems with her fists. Old enemies team up with new ones, and the city’s underbelly might just be as dangerous as the battlefield. If Viv wants to build something that lasts, she must assemble a crew and buckle down for a new sort of adventure.

Legends & Lattes is the cozy, slice-of-life fantasy you’ve been looking for. The book’s tagline describes it as a story of “High Fantasy and Low Stakes,” which perfectly sums things up. This book has the energy of a D&D session played by people who love Animal Crossing instead of combat.

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Author Travis Baldree tells a simple story here, and a familiar one, even if it takes place in a fantasy world. At its core, Legends & Lattes is about starting something new. It may be difficult and feel like it’s too late, but it’s never impossible. Baldree shows the benefit of getting out of your comfort zone through Viv and her shop. This is primarily an internal story; we rarely step outside the shop, and that’s okay. The stakes revolve around Viv’s livelihood and the cafe’s well-being, making this more of a slice-of-life story than a full-fledged fantasy adventure.

Despite her past as a warrior for hire, Viv is genuinely good. She actively works to change her way of thinking and approaching problems. She literally hangs up her sword as a decoration in an effort not to attack every issue with violence. With their shop, Viv and her new friends try to create something special for the people around them, with very little expectation of reward.

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Another real standout in Legends & Lattes is the descriptions of the food and drinks. I’m one of those people who somehow doesn’t like coffee, but this book made me crave it. And I dare you to read Legends & Lattes all the way through without buying yourself a cinnamon roll!

When the world feels like a bad place, sometimes you need a quiet, comforting book to take your mind off things. Legends & Lattes is that book. It’s perfect for when the weather gets cold; read it curled up with a warm drink, preferably at your favorite local cafe. If audiobooks are more your speed, the author narrates this one himself, and I’ve heard it’s fantastic!

Legends & Lattes is out now and available from your local independent bookstore or Bookshop.org.

TW: alcohol, extortion, fire, injury, stalking, violence

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