Unexpecting by Jen Bailey

Juno meets Heartstopper in this poignant and emotional story about found family, what it means to be a parent, and falling in love.

Benjamin Morrison is about to start junior year of high school and while his family is challenging, he is pretty content with his life, with his two best friends, and being a part of the robotics club. Until an experiment at science camp has completely unexpected consequences.

He is going to be a father. Something his mother was not expecting after he came out as gay and she certainly wasn’t expecting that he would want to raise the baby as a single father. But together they come up with a plan to prepare Ben for fatherhood and fight for his rights.

The weight of Ben’s decision presses down on him. He’s always tired, his grades fall, and tension rises between his mom and stepfather. He’s letting down his friends in the robotics club whose future hinges on his expertise. If it wasn’t for his renewed friendship (and maybe more) with a boy from his past, he wouldn’t be able to face the daily ridicule at school or the crumbling relationship with his best friends.

With every new challenge, every new sacrifice he has to make, Ben questions his choice. He’s lived with a void in his heart where a father’s presence should have been, and the fear of putting his own child through that keeps him clinging to his decision. When the baby might be in danger, Ben’s faced with a heart wrenching realization: sometimes being a parent means making the hard choices even if they are the choices you don’t want to make…

I received this from the publishers and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Release date: August 22, 2023.

Oh boy…Let’s start from the beginning….In the synopsis it states its Juno meets Heartstopper. No, absolutely not. There is one part that could say Juno but it’s nothing like Heartstopper. I’ve read Heartstopper.

I’m not the biggest contemporary fan but I will give a book a try. Sometimes I do find some I like. This one was not one of those. I believe this is Jen Bailey’s debut novel. At least that’s what it looks like on Goodreads. You can tell. The story line is not unique. I didn’t care for any of the characters. They were very flat and boring. The story line seems like it jumped in some spots with no good transition. It was like one minute there was a conversation happening and then it would end and jump somewhere else and I feel like there was no conclusion to the conversation that was happening. I knew how this was going to end barely 50% in. But it does have a pretty cover. Some people may like this but it was not for me.


In the Lives of Puppets by TJ Klune

In a strange little home built into the branches of a grove of trees, live three robots–fatherly inventor android Giovanni Lawson, a pleasantly sadistic nurse machine, and a small vacuum desperate for love and attention. Victor Lawson, a human, lives there too. They’re a family, hidden and safe.

The day Vic salvages and repairs an unfamiliar android labelled “HAP,” he learns of a shared dark past between Hap and Gio-a past spent hunting humans.

When Hap unwittingly alerts robots from Gio’s former life to their whereabouts, the family is no longer hidden and safe. Gio is captured and taken back to his old laboratory in the City of Electric Dreams. So together, the rest of Vic’s assembled family must journey across an unforgiving and otherworldly country to rescue Gio from decommission, or worse, reprogramming.

Along the way to save Gio, amid conflicted feelings of betrayal and affection for Hap, Vic must decide for himself: Can he accept love with strings attached?

I received this book from TOR publishing and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Release date: April 25, 2023

I was soooooo happy when I got approved for this ARC. I have read both The House in the Cerulean Sea and House Under the Whispering Door and I have falling in love with TJ Klune. So when I found out he had a new book coming out I rushed to Netgalley to see if there was an ARC. I don’t even need to know what his books are about anymore. He is an auto-buy and auto-read author.

This book was fun from start to finish. The world was fun, the characters were fun, the plot/story line was amazing. I haven’t read a lot of Sci-fi books but if they are written like this then GIVE THEM TO ME!!!

You have a mix of characters and let me tell you I loved them all but Nurse Ratchet was my favorite. She is me. I am her! She made me laugh out loud, she gave me new material for when dealing with the public. And her relationship with the other characters was just great. I don’t have a blood family, besides my kids, just a found family. So when I get an amazing found family story it just sits so well with me. Vic and Hap are so adorable, Gio makes me want to have him as my dad and Rambo, oh little Rambo! He would be the best little brother ever!

I also love the queer. All his books I’ve read so far have queer in them and its AMAZING. TJ Klune does an amazing job mixing in a queer story line with the rest of the book. It’s there but not over powering.

I want more. I want more of these characters, more of this world, more of it ALL!!!


Doña Quixote: Rise of the Knight by Rey Terciero, Monica Magaña (Illustrations)

Middle Schooler by Day. Monster Hunter by (K)night.In this action-packed and hilarious contemporary graphic novel retelling of Don Quixote, a young girl in Texas is obsessed with becoming a modern-day knight and thwarting supernatural evil—for fans of Mighty Jack, Zita the Spacegirl and Amulet.

“Folklore, fun, and adventure at its best.” —Max Brallier, #1 New York Times–bestselling author of The Last Kids on Earth

Lucia Castillo dreams of being a hero like her grandfather. But to the people in their Texas town, he was just a strange old man who dressed up as a knight and claimed to save the world from monsters only he could see.

Now years later, when Lucia and her best friend—and trusty squire—Sandro discover the town mayor is secretly a shapeshifting beast of Mexican lore, her parents think she’s imagining things like her “Abuelo Loco.” Only Lucia, wearing her grandfather’s magical helmet, can see the hidden threat. Can she and Sandro prove others wrong and stop the mayor from unleashing evil on their town—and beyond?

I got an ARC copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. When I first saw this pop up I got so excited. Back in Uni we covered Don Quixote in my Western Lit class. It was my first experience with that piece of literature and I immediately fell in love. So when I saw this I knew I had to read it. It was the cutest story. The illustrations were amazing as well. I love the Don Quixote reference. Lucia is an adorable young girl just wanting to be just like her abuelo and help rid the world of evil by being a strong knight. Sadly others did not see it the same way she did. Except for her trusty sidekick, and best friend, Sandro. I love Sandro. I think he was my favorite character in the story.

This graphic novel is definitely geared for young children/young middle grade. Only thing some might struggle with is the Spanish throughout the story. I am not fluent in Spanish but was able to get a gist of what was going on when a character spoke their part in Spanish. With this being a story with lots of Mexican culture and families in it it made sense to keep their native language mixed into the story line.

As someone who is a lover of cryptid/mythical creatures this graphic novel was great. It taught me about a lot of legends and folklore from Mexican culture and that got me wanting to research and read more into some of these stories I was unaware of. I think this would be a great book to read to your class and to have fun learning about all the different legends and folklore.

I also loved that the author added a little background of himself at the end of the book. How he came about writing this story. As a young child he would watch a TV show called Don Coyote and Sancho Panda (I need to check out this show). His Abuela took him to the library to learn all about the story of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza. I love that he took that from his childhood and turned it into this story.

This graphic novel is set to be published in Sept 2023.


The Stranded by Sarah Daniels Review (Small Spoiler at the end of the blog)

Welcome to the Arcadia.

Once a luxurious cruise ship, it became a refugee camp after being driven from Europe by an apocalyptic war. Now it floats near the coastline of the Federated States – a leftover piece of a fractured USA.

For forty years, residents of the Arcadia have been prohibited from making landfall. It is a world of extreme haves and have nots, gangs and make-shift shelters.

Esther is a loyal citizen, working flat-out to have the rare chance to live a normal life as a medic on dry land. Nik is a rebel, planning something big to liberate the Arcadia once and for all.

When events throw them both together, their lives, and the lives of everyone on the ship, will change forever . . .

Oh man, this book. When I love a book sometimes it’s hard for me to get out my words and have any of it makes sense. I finished this book a few days ago and I’m still trying to write this review. But we are going to make a go of this because this author deserves a review. My Parabatai, Sarah, stumbled across this, read the description, it sounded interesting so she requested an ARC and read it back in November 2022. And she said it was a fantastic surprise. So I finally decided to read it. I checked it out from my library via the Libby app. It did not disappoint me either. It was a fun and wild ride. This is Sarah Daniels debut novel. I haven’t read too many dystopian books, but looks like I might need to start reading more.

This book is told from multiple points of view. You have the three main POVs, Esther, Nik and Hadley. Then you have some side characters that are important to the story but don’t get their POV.

Esther – She’s an interesting character. She is training as a medic to hopefully get into medical school in the Federated States. She is a strong character. She has never been on land. You can tell she wants to do what is write and protect her family but she ends up being a badass!

Alex – If you could see the look on my face right now. I hate Alex with ever being of my body. But that isn’t a bad thing. In the book world that is actually a good thing. I don’t want to say anything and spoil stuff but I have never been so mad at a character. He gave me anxiety! If you have read this and wanna talk more about Alex then we can do so in the comments

May – Oh May. We didn’t get that much with May. I would have loved to have her POV but she was more of a side character. But still a strong side character.

Nik – Nik was a main POV. At first I wasn’t sure about him but ended up loving him in the end. He is part of the rebellion. For a non-villain he is my favorite for sure.

Hadley – Oh Mr. Hadley. I loved hating him. He was a good villain. He was vicious and evil and took no shit from anyone. Look at him wrong and you would die. It was so great that we got to see this from his POV. I love me a good villain,, a good villain story told from their POV. So if you know any good ones drop them in the comments. I did like that we got a little glimpse into why Hadley became Hadley

I really enjoyed the setting for this book. I haven’t read a lot of dystopian books. I would like to read more. I’ve enjoyed the ones I’ve read so far. Having this set on a cruise ship was interesting. It would be cool if the physical book had a map of the ship. Like a layout of how everything works. Different levels mean different things. With the top being the most exclusive and the bottom being the ghetto, where the Neath’s live. I think that way my favorite part was learning about all different levels. I do wish we got more of that.

There were a few things I wish we got more of. We did get some info on how it all started and why these people were stuck on the ships but I wanted more. I am a sucker for backstories. It would be cool to eventually get a novella on what exactly happened in Europe. I do wish the characters were a bit more fleshed out. I did feel like we got to know them but I would have liked to see a bit more emotion in them.

For a debut novel this was FANTASTIC! If Sarah keeps up with this she will become an auto-buy author for sure. I do plan on getting a physical copy for my bookshelves and I’ll be buying book 2 which looks like it’s supposed to be published in July 2023. I can definitely see myself rereading this series.



This was my back and forth conversation with my Parabatai while reading the last 100-150 pages of the book. It was hilarious!

Favorite Horror Books & Authors

So for this week’s podcast chapter (Anatomy of a Bookworm Podcast ) we decided to do our favorite horror books & authors. Since this Friday is Friday, the 13th! So here is my list….

NOS4A2 by Joe Hill: This was my second book by Joe and it is AMAZING! I do need to read the rest of his books. I’ve only read Horns and this one. This was the perfect book for me. Horror, winter, Christmas, vampires! I really need to reread it. Maybe this Christmas I will tackle that

Off-Season by Jack Ketchum: OMG! This book. The ONLY horror book to ever give me nightmares. It was fantastic! I recently found out that the hardcover edition that got released back in 2004 (the original publication year is 1980) is the unedited version. Apparently the publishing company couldn’t handle the content of the book and had him edit it. I plan on buying the unedited version to see what was left out. There are two other books in the series I still need to read, Off-Spring and The Woman. Both turned into movies. I watched The Woman without even realizing it was part of that series and the movie was really good. I will probably read the entire series, watch the movies and blog about it. Such a fun, creepy, dark and twisted story line

Needful Things by Stephen King: Ok so Stephen King is listed as a horror author. Most of his books are horror, some are not. I remember loving this book when I first read it. That was a really long time ago, I really need to reread it to see if my opinion has changed at all. This is definitely up there with the spooky, creepy, paranormal stuff King likes to do

Brother by Ania Ahlborn: This was the first book I ever read by Ms. Ahlborn and let me tell you, she quickly became a favorite author. So dark, so creepy, and it’s got cannibalism in it. I know! I would call her the female version of Stephen King. Girl knows how to knock your socks off! Man Now I want to reread this book as well!

Within These Walls by Ania Ahlborn: Yes, the queen of creepy made the list twice. This is my favorite book of hers so far. With Brother being a very close second. Within These Walls is a mix of the movie Sinister and Charles Manson cult with some paranormal mixed in. So amazing! And that ending! Whooo, yes! That’s how I like an ending done to a horror book. Great stand alone but could definitely have a sequel!

Here are a few authors that are like borderline horror. Like that are listed as horror but are more thriller, mystery, paranormal type horror but are ones I recommend

  • Zoje Stage – I have read Baby Teeth and it was good. I own Wonderland and still need to read it
  • Simone St. James – I have read The Sundown Motel and The Broken Girls. Can’t wait to read more of her books
  • Justine Larbalestier – I read her book My Sister Rosa and it made me look at my kids differently. I do need to read more of her books.

What are some of your favorite horror books & authors?

2023 Reading Goals

Well another year has past by and here we are looking into 2023. It’s strange to say 2023 when I was born in 1981. Yes you saw that right…19…Kind of proud I have made it this far. Specially with how things have gone over the last 3 years. But I am going to keep pushing forward. That’s all we can do.

So I am here to talk about what I would like to happen as far as reading goes. How much of it I will accomplish or stick to is up in the air. I try not to beat myself up if I don’t get to everything on my list. I see all these fun reading challenges but I have learned that I will NEVER stick to them. I am a mood reader. So I decided to just let those go and focus on other things. So let’s get into this….

So I will probably set my Goodreads Reading Challenge goal like I do every year. Won’t be anything huge. I ended up setting my goal for 40 books for 2023. I am hoping to start college in the fall so I don’t want to set anything outrageous.

I also would like to finish two more series that I have started or at least continue with the series. Some are long and I’ve only read the first book. I did good and finished up two series in 2022. (Throne of Glass series by Sarah J Maas and Cassidy Blake trilogy by V.E. Schwab)

Book series I need to finish:

  • The Mistborn Series by Brandon Sanderson (Need to finish last book in original trilogy and read the spins offs)
  • Renegades Trilogy by Marissa Meyer (Have only read book one)
  • King of Scars Duology by Leigh Bardugo (Part of the whole Grishaverse)
  • A Court of Thornes and Roses Series by Sarah J Maas (Need to read A Court of Silver Flames)
  • Villains Series by V.E. Schwab (Have only read the first book)
  • Old Kingdom Series by Garth Nix (I have read the original trilogy, Abhorsen, and now I need to continue with the spin off books)

I also want to read more of my non-fictions books (true crime, history, biography/autobiography). I also want to read more self-help type books. Like motivational books. I found a few on a trip to Target that I wouldn’t mind checking out,

I plan to continue with my Harry Potter reread. In 2021 I reread Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. And in 2022 I reread Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. I haven’t been enjoying my reread. It’s like revisiting old friends.

I want to start utilizing my library more. Whether I use the Libby app or check out physical books. I want to try in 2023 to only buy books that is part of a series I am reading or by an author that I love, aka auto-buy author.

I will also continue my reread of the Shadowhunter Universe. This, like Harry Potter, has been a fun adventure. I just finished up with the original trilogy in the Mortal Instruments Series. I am reading them in the order Cassandra Clare suggested.

That’s pretty much it when it comes to reading goals for 2023. I try not to make things too complicated. While I do like to be organized, I am also a go with the flow at times. Specially when it comes to reading. I don’t want to loose the joy in reading because I am to concerned about how much I am reading and what I am reading.

I hope everyone has a fabulous 2023 reading adventure!!!

I wrote this blog up a few weeks ago and have it saved as a draft for when I was ready to post it. Eleven days into 2023 and I have 8 books finished. I have been in a manga and graphic novel kick and devoured a ton already this year.

2022 Reading Wrap-up

How are we finished with 2022 already. I feel like each year is getting quicker and quicker. I feel like I had a really good reading year. Of course just like any bookworm, I wish I could have read more but life gets in the way. But I did read and that is what counts. So here how things went….also some answers might have a few spoilers in them so read at your own risk

Number of Books You Read: 27

Number of Rereads: 7

Genre You Read the Most From: Fantasy

Favorite Books You Read in 2022?

When I think about this question the first two books to pop into my head are Legends & Lattes by Travis Baldree and The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune. I mean of course anything I read by Sarah J Maas and V.E. Schwab will always be favorites!

Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going to Love More but Didn’t?

Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J Maas. Now don’t yell. I did love this series and I did like this book. But I did have a few issues. For one, it did NOT need to be almost 1000 pages. And it was too happy of an ending. Like I know that no one wants their favorite characters to die but this ending was felt rushed and very underwhelming. So I was hoping I would have loved it more but sadly I didn’t. Still a great series. Still love Sarah J Maas and man I can’t wait for the next books in both Crescent City and ACOTAR series.

Best Series you started in 2022?

Good job Tera! For once I did NOT start a new series. I knew I had too many series I started but haven’t finished yet. So I focused on those. And I actually finished two series! Which I will get into later!

Best Sequel?

House of Sky and Breath by Sarah J Maas. I think so far this is my favorite series of hers. I do need to reread ACOTAR (Still need to read A Court of Silver Flames) because at one point that was my favorite series of hers. I think it will be a close race and I do love how she has intertwined the two. That ending of HoSB was jaw dropping! I can’t wait for more of both series

Best Series Ender?

So I finished two series this year. Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas and Cassidy Blake by V.E. Schwab. As you know from a few questions above that the ending of Throne of Glass just didn’t do it for me. Now Cassidy Blake was amazing. I loved each book. Bridge of Souls (the last book in the trilogy) was the perfect ending to a series.

Favorite New Author You Discovered in 2022?

I have two actually. TJ Klune and Travis Baldree. I can’t wait to read more of their books!

Best Book From a Genre You Don’t Typically Read/Was Out of Your Comfort Zone?

I want to say Layla and Verity by Colleen Hoover. I read four Colleen Hoover books this year. I am not a huge fan of contemporary. I feel like Layla and Verity are a different kind of contemporary and I really hope she writes more books like those two.

Most Action-Packed/Thrilling/Unputdownable Book of the Year?

I feel like there is a couple books that will be repeat offenders in this questionnaire. I pick House of Earth and Blood (reread) and House of Sky and Breath by Sarah J Maas! OMG even though HoEB was a reread it was still just as amazing as the first time I read it. I can’t wait for book three!

Book You Read in 2022 That You Would Be Most Likely to Re-read Next Year?

Legends & Lattes by Travis Baldree and The House In the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune. Loved loved both these books so much!

Favorite Cover of a Book You Read in 2022?

OOOOO this will be more than one. I can’t pick just one. There is Legends & Lattes, The House in the Cerulean Sea, House of Sky and Breath….

Most Memorable Character of 2022?

I really loved Talia from The House in the Cerulean Sea. Honestly I loved all the kids from that book. But I loved how honest Talia was. She just told it like it was.

Book You Can’t Believe You Waited Until 2022 to Finally Read?

Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J Maas. Only took me four years to finally read it and finish that series. It was published back in 2018. But hey better late than never I say!

Shortest & Longest Book You Read in 2022?

Shortest: Man Eater by Ryan Green. It’s a true crime about a lady in Australia and the title tells it all. It was 158 pages (according to Amazon) and it was good.

Longest: Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J Maas. 980 pages…a couple hundred too long in my opinion but still a good book.

Book That Shocked You The Most (because of plot twist, character death, left you having with your mouth open, etc.)

I have a few. As far as plot twist goes, Verity & Layla by Colleen Hoover. And a book that left my mouth hanging goes to House of Sky and Breath by Sarah J Maas. It was a wild ride all the way through but man that last sentence!

OTP of the Year

Arthur and Linus from House in the Cerulean Sea

Viv and Tandri from Legends & Lattes

Favorite Non-romantic Relationship of the Year?

Cassidy and Jacob from the Cassidy Blake Trilogy by V.E. Schwab. I would love more of them!

Best 2022 Debut You Read?

Legends & Lattes by Travis Baldree. I really didn’t know what I was going into with this book. Wasn’t sure if I was going to like it or not but man it was AMAZING! I could also add House of Sky and Breath by Sarah J Maas to this list but I already knew going in that I would love it.

Book That Put a Smile on Your Face/Was the Most Fun to Read?

The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune. This book was so magical. It made me laugh, it made me tear up. More laughs than tears and most of the tears were tears of joy. I can’t wait to reread this book and I can’t wait to read more of Klune’s books. He is a wonderful storyteller.

Book That Made You Cry or Nearly Cry in 2022?

Bridge of Souls by V.E. Schwab. There was a couple parts of that book where I almost burst into tears and chucked the book across the room. Schwab almost had me.

Hidden Gem of the Year?

Seed by Ania Alhborn. I haven’t read one of her books in years. Honestly I don’t know why because I love her. But it seems like lately I’ve been having a hard time with horror. Not because it’s scary, more so the lack of scare and originality. But this one was a winner for sure. I loved the not so happy ending

Book That Crushed Your Soul?

Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J Maas was the first to come to mind. For a couple different reasons. One because all but one of the Thirteen dies. That was soul crushing. It also crushed my soul in a not so good way….I felt that with this being the conclusion book of the series it was a bit underwhelming and anticlimactic.

Book That Made You the Most Mad (in a good or bad way)?

The Life and Tryals of the Gentleman Pirate, Major Stede Bonnet by Jeremy R. Moss. Man I was soooooooo excited for this book. I love pirates, I had watched the HBO series that is loosely based off him and was so ready to learn more. Man was this a big let down….Here were my thoughts I put on Goodreads: DNF about the halfway mark. This book was ridiculous. If there isn’t enough info on someone, don’t write a book about them. Most of this book was information on cities and ports, other pirates. Most info was just quotes from other books. Makes me sad because I absolutely loved seasons one of Our Flag Means Death, which is loosely based off Major Stede Bonnet, so I was excited to find a book on him. But I’ll be on the hunt for other books. So I am still on the hunt. I did find a few others on Amazon about him but I will be checking them out from the library to make sure they are good first.

A Year in Review

Anatomy of a Bookworm Podcast – Chapter 4

TBR Book Tag

My Parabatai and I started a new podcast last month and instead of episodes we are calling them Chapters. For Chapter 4 we decided to a book tag and also blog about it. So here goes!

How do you keep track of your TBR pile?

Hahaha when Sarah first sent me this book tag ‘like a monster’ just popped into my head. Why? I have no idea and there is no rhyme of reason for it either. Now I say ‘Like a boss!’ Honestly I have no particular way I do things. I do have a TBR shelf on my Goodreads. I typically only add books I own to that shelf. As to not get overwhelmed. I just kind of go with whatever I feel like at the moment.

Is your TBR mostly print or e-book?

Print…..yea so there’s that….

How do you determine which book from your TBR to read next?

All depends on my mood. I am a mood reader for sure. I do have a wheel I spin with various genres of books I own and then I’ll go to those books and see what interests me. Sometimes I ask Sarah or Cat what I should read.

A book that’s been on your TBR the longest?

According to my Goodreads TBR shelf that would be In the Heart of the Sea by Nathaniel Philbrick. It was added to my shelf on January 5, 2013. And I still own the book

A book you recently added to your TBR?

According to my Goodreads TBR shelf that would, Demon in the Wood by Leigh Bardugo. Added to my TBR shelf on November 23, 2022. Still need to buy that one. While looking through I noticed I had not added Vengeful by V.E. Schwab. So I added that on December 9, 2022. I do own that one.

A book on your TBR strictly because of its beautiful cover?

The first one to pop into my head is The Priory of the Orange by Samantha Shannon. All I know is that the cover is breathtaking and it has dragons in it. There is a prequel, again with a breathtaking cover, coming out February 2023 and I will buy it.

A book on your TBR that you never plan on reading?

Honestly, the ones that come to mind are Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte and Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. I have had these books for 5+ years and who knows if I will ever read them. But we will see. But the covers are so pretty that I can’t part with them.

An unpublished book on your TBR that you’re excited for?

Upcoming books that V.E. Schwab said she is writing and/or close to publishing

The next books in the Cresent City and ACOTAR series by Sarah J Maas

Hell Bent by Leigh Bardugo (even though I haven’t read The Ninth House yet)

A book on your TBR that everyone has read but you?

A Court of Silver Flames by Sarah J Maas. I know I know. Hell it took me like 4 years to finally read Kingdom of Ash after it was published. I will get there

A book on your TBR that everyone recommends to you?

I really only ask two people about books. Sarah and Cat. And recently Sarah read King of Scars and Rule of Wolves by Leigh Bardugo and now she says I NEED to read them.

A book on your TBR that you’re dying to read?

The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson. It is the last book in the original Mistborn Saga. And I am scared it will crush me. But I just need to DO IT!

How many books are on your Goodreads TBR shelf?

103 at the moment. But that will change. I need to go through my selves and add recent books I bought but need to still read.

Legends & Lattes by Travis Baldree

High Fantasy with a double-shot of self-reinvention

Worn out after decades of packing steel and raising hell, Viv the orc barbarian cashes out of the warrior’s life with one final score. A forgotten legend, a fabled artifact, and an unreasonable amount of hope lead her to the streets of Thune, where she plans to open the first coffee shop the city has ever seen.

However, her dreams of a fresh start pulling shots instead of swinging swords are hardly a sure bet. Old frenemies and Thune’s shady underbelly may just upset her plans. To finally build something that will last, Viv will need some new partners and a different kind of resolve.

A hot cup of fantasy slice-of-life with a dollop of romantic froth.

I believe this is Travis’s debut novel. If I am wrong let me know. I do know he has narrated a lot of audio books. Anywho, this was fucking BRILLIANT! I finished this book in less than two days. I could not put it down. I absolutely loved everything. I want more, I need more. Anyone I saw talk about this book had nothing to say but amazing things. So what is a bookworm to do? Buy it of course! I really did not know much going into this. I like to go in blind. I did know that it was supposed to be a Dungeons & Dragons atmosphere. Which as a D&D player that made me very excited. The cover definitely gave me D&D vibes. So let’s get into this…

Viv…I love Viv. I love that she wants to change and be better. I do love that we get a glimpse into her past both in the story and the prequel that came with the re-release. Her idea of the coffee shop is what made me fall in love with her. I have always dreamed of opening a cozy little place. Serve coffees, teas, pastries, other goodies as well. Have tables and chairs for people to sit and talk, drink, eat, study, whatever. Also have a corner with a fireplace and a couch and chairs around it to hang out at. Have a wall that is floor to ceiling in bookshelves! I can just picture people snuggling up in front of the fire with a good book, a drink, with the snow falling ever so lightly outside. Ok I better stop or I will keep going. Viv is living my dream.

Cal…the hob! He is so adorable and a talented carpenter. I think he is my favorite character. Not that the others are not amazing as well. He just tops it a little more. He helps Viv build her business. I love that she gave him a chance when hobs kind of get shunned by certain crowds. I love how he calls the coffee bean water and lattes are bean water with milk.

Tandri the succubus. I love that she always knows what Viv needs. I love watching their relationship blossom. She takes such good care of Viv

Thimble is a rattkin and an adorable one. He is considered a genius when it comes to baking and by the descriptions in this book I would agree. I wish I had a Thimble to bake for me in my dream cafe.

There are so many more characters in this book that are just absolutely amazing. I didn’t hate any of them. Even the villains. They were all well written.

It was amazing for a debut novel. While I wish we had a bit more world building cause this did remind me of a fantasy book, I understand where he went with this. It was more about the friendships that were built. It’s definitely a contemporary book but also could be considered fantasy because of the world and characters. So I guess contemporary fantasy. Is that a new genre? If it isn’t I am going to need you guys to recommend more books for me. I have never read a book like this before. I usually have issues with contemporary. It’s a hit or miss for me. Mostly miss, but I think I can hang with more contemporary if it is written like this. I did see on Travis Baldree’s Goodreads page he has, or is currently writing, another book set in this world. Which I will preorder the minute I can. He did state he is making them so they can be stand-alones. Makes me wonder if we will see any characters from Legends & Lattes in the upcoming book. I hope they make a brief appearance but have the main story be about new characters


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