After a lifetime of bounties and bloodshed, Viv is hanging up her sword for the last time. The battle-weary orc aims to start fresh, opening the first ever coffee shop in the city of Thune. But old and new rivals stand in the way of success — not to mention the fact that no one has the faintest idea what coffee actually is. If Viv wants to put the blade behind her and make her plans a reality, she won’t be able to go it alone.
We are definitely thrown straight into this story with Viv coming to this new town and starting the preparations to open her shop. I love how we are juxtaposed with this hulking ork that could kill you in two swings of her sword and wanting to become essentially a barista. She is driven and highly committed to her task and watching her achieve her goal gave me all the warm feels!
Tandri was a great inclusion to the shop and she was a great contrast to Viv. She is definitely more direct and takes control quite well. The slow burn of their romance was soo well done and the evolution from their friendship to something more was just too wholesome and endearing.
All of the other characters in this book all had a purpose and were mostly distinct though not all were that fleshed out. But being as this is just a slice of life kind of book that didn’t bother me at all. The stakes were very low but there was still an underlying mystery that was woven throughout which defintely keeps you entertained and engaged throughout the read.
⭐️4/5 stars The coziest fantasy you will ever read!
As one of the few witches in Britain, Mika Moon knows she has to hide her magic, keep her head down, and stay away from other witches so their powers don’t mingle and draw attention. And as an orphan who lost her parents at a young age and was raised by strangers, she’s used to being alone and she follows the rules…with one exception: an online account, where she posts videos pretending to be a witch. She thinks no one will take it seriously.
I enjoyed Mika as our main protagonist. She is inquisitive, she asks questions about the situation and even though she feels like she is in over her head she doesn’t give up and really tries for the girls. I liked the witchy elements through in, like gathering stardust in the middle of the night and casually mentioning the koi pond she has in her car. She continually questions Primrose why witches have been made to ostracize themselves from each other and doesn’t stick to the status quo.
Now with Jamie, I can understand why he is opposed to Mika coming but the outright rudeness I didn’t think was necessary. He could see just how much his averseness to her being there was affecting her potential relationship with Terracotta and yet didn’t change until something bad happened. In the end once he started coming around and opening up to Mika I was able to garner more affection for him.
All of the other characters were super distinctive and for the most part very wholesome. I loved how Ian kept trying to push Mika and Jamie together even though they were both so against it for so long but he knew they were meant to be. The girls were precious, the teaching scenes between them and Mika really made me appreciate how much patience and understanding she has for them.
I liked the fact that the relationship between Mika and Jamie was a slower burn. They each have issues from their past that they have to overcome before they can see clearly that the person right in front of them might be the one. The way that they naturally progress from enemies to friends and then ultimately end up together was a joy to read.
⭐️4/5 stars this was super cute!
Piper Bellinger is fashionable, influential, and her reputation as a wild child means the paparazzi are constantly on her heels. When too much champagne and an out-of-control rooftop party lands Piper in the slammer, her stepfather decides enough is enough. So he cuts her off, and sends Piper and her sister to learn some responsibility running their late father’s dive bar… in Washington. Piper hasn’t even been in Westport for five minutes when she meets big, bearded sea captain Brendan, who thinks she won’t last a week outside of Beverly Hills. So what if Piper can’t do math, and the idea of sleeping in a shabby apartment with bunk beds gives her hives. How bad could it really be? She’s determined to show her stepfather—and the hot, grumpy local—that she’s more than a pretty face.
I think Piper was a good mix of delusional and realistic. She lives in a completely different world in LA than when she comes to Westport and she is very much aware of her privilege. Seeing her having to deal with the consequences of throwing that party and being arrested when she obviously thought she could get away with it was satisfying. I really enjoyed the gradual shift in her persona as she became more and more interested in Brendon and finally succumbed to her feelings.
Brendon is everything I want in a guy and more. I love the grumpy/sunshine trope in romance and this couple just encapsulated it perfectly. For a man that is so set in his ways for him to be willing to change all of his routines and patterns to make room for Piper was heartwarming.
This started off so nice and soft that by the time we got to the spicy scenes I was taken aback. This got very steamy and naughty pretty quickly once these two gave in to the temptation and it was fun! No fade to blacks here and the language had me feeling a little warm for sure.
⭐️5/5 stars I LOVED THIS!!
By the time Carrie retires from tennis, she is the best player the world has ever seen. She has shattered every record and claimed twenty Slam titles. And if you ask her, she is entitled to every one. She sacrificed nearly everything to become the best, with her father as her coach. But six years after her retirement, Carrie finds herself sitting in the stands of the 1994 US Open, watching her record be taken from her by a brutal, stunning, British player named Nicki Chan. At thirty-seven years old, Carrie makes the monumental decision to come out of retirement and be coached by her father for one last year in an attempt to reclaim her record. Even if the sports media says that they never liked the ‘Battle-Axe’ anyway. Even if her body doesn’t move as fast as it did. And even if it means swallowing her pride to train with a man she once almost opened her heart to: Bowe Huntley. Like her, he has something to prove before he gives up the game forever.
Carrie was so fascinating and entertaining to read from. I loved seeing her throughout the course of her career and her life and how at each of these stages she evolves and grows. She is unapologetic about her success and feels as though she deserves it because she put in the work and isn’t afraid to say that out loud.
Bowe I wasn’t as attached to at the start because he comes in a bit later in the story. I did warm up to him though and I appreciated how he challenged Carrie and he wasn’t afraid to tell her the truth at any turn. He really stepped up when she needed him the most and communicated effectively when he needed it to be reciprocated which was lovely. He was also going through his own emotional and physical journey before his inevitable retirement and I loved the way he ended his career.
Taylor Jenkins Reid so far is the only author that creates historical fiction work that I actually enjoy! This book was absolutely amazing and I loved experiencing Carrie’s comeback. The sheer will and determination she shows even though everyone is doubting her at every turn, having those negative thoughts bouncing around in her head and still prevailing was inspiring. I feel like you have to either like or have an appreciation for tennis to fully become invested in this story and luckily for me it just worked beautifully!
⭐️5/5 stars I loved this, Carrie is a breath of fresh air!
When Louise finds out her parents have died, she dreads going home. She doesn’t want to leave her daughter with her ex and fly to Charleston. She doesn’t want to deal with her family home, stuffed to the rafters with the remnants of her father’s academic career and her mother’s lifelong obsession with puppets and dolls. She doesn’t want to learn how to live without the two people who knew and loved her best in the world. Most of all, she doesn’t want to deal with her brother, Mark, who never left their hometown, gets fired from one job after another, and resents her success. Unfortunately, she’ll need his help to get the house ready for sale because it’ll take more than some new paint on the walls and clearing out a lifetime of memories to get this place on the market.
Neither of our main characters were very likeable in this book. I think because we get Louise’s perspective first we think that she is trying to do the right thing by her parents and Mark is insufferable but as the plot progresses we see things in a different light. She definitely gaslights her brother after we find out what Pupkin made her do at the pond. She keeps trying to dismiss everything that she is seeing first hand and continue in the delusion that her family weren’t weird and everything is fine.
Mark has issues for sure, I think he really needed that admission of guilt from Louise about what happened when they were younger and then telling her in turn how Pupkin also ruined his life. There was just so much miscommunication between the siblings that felt quite natural because of the different kind of upbringing they each got. I do feel like it was nasty of him to not share the inheritance with Louise at the start and have to be manipulated into giving her half so he can get help with all the paperwork.
All of the scenes in the house with all of the dolls and the creepy puppets were a little hard to envision in my mind. It was just too chaotic and frantic and I didn’t get to relish in the fear and horror of the moments, especially the scene with Louise and Pupkin with that sewing needle (omg). I would of liked it to be more drawn out and frightening in those moments. The rest of the book honestly was way too long, slow and kind of boring. All of the family drama though necessary in terms of the plot didn’t really capture my attention and the whole sequence with Poppy dragged on.
⭐️3/5 stars not my favourite from Grady Hendrix