‘Legends & Lattes’ by Travis Baldree

“I wonder what would happen if someone crossed Dungeons & Dragons with a Hallmark movie?” is a thought that has never once crossed my mind. At least, that was the case before I heard of Travis Baldree’s 2022 novel, Legends & Lattes.

In this widely loved addition to the increasingly popular ‘cozy fantasy’ genre, we follow the opening of (what else) a coffee shop by an unlikely individual: a battle-hardened orc barbarian named Viv who longs to retire from her days of adventuring and finally realize her dream of reinventing herself and building a peaceful existence.

One of the first problems she faces? No one else in the city has the slightest clue what “coffee” is. From the book description:

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.

Legends & Lattes is high fantasy with low stakes, and in place of epic battles and dark twists, you instead get a lot of wholesome friendship building and the tiny slice-of-life moments that all business creators can relate to — not to mention enough descriptions of delectable pastries to throw anyone off their diet.

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