Cover Image: Of Literature and Lattes

Of Literature and Lattes

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Member Reviews

It's a cute, none steamy read for summer. I was a bit disappointed with the lack of setting? a very small home town feel but it didn't deliver the same punch as those nostalgic ones always do
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I really, really like Winsome. I loved the Printed Letter Ladies…but I had a harder time connecting with this book. I pretty actively despised Alyssa and her spoiled brat attitude for 3/4 of the book, and honestly felt that Becca was more mature than she was most of the time. I liked Jeremy but again, really felt like there wasn’t much development in the way of their romance, and it took us a long while to get to know him beyond the surface. The fractured family issues just seemed very dragged out to me, with a resolution that was just too little too late. Another issue I noticed was that there are just SO many people in Winsome to keep straight that it got confusing at times, but I hope it makes sense down the road when book 3 is published (please tell me there will be a book 3 to love!) I think my favorite part of the book was the continuation of Janet and Seth’s HEA and getting to know some of the other characters from The Printed Letter even better. As it happens, I read this on audiobook and I heartily disliked the narrator. The British accent didn’t make any sense for a book set in the Midwest and I detested the character voices, particularly for the men (Chris sounded like he had chronic allergies which made no sense for a landscaper). There were many good things to enjoy about this book, but it missed the mark on being especially memorable.
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I have love every book by this author, including this one. Great plot and characters! I cant wait to read more by her soon.
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This book was super cute. I would recommend it to any fan of Katherine Center. Perfect for summer days ahead!
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Tha'ts book is so cute, the characters are cool, but I miss something, I don't know, but I recommend for pass your free time with a cup of tea or coffe.
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DNF - Did not finish. I decided not to read this title because it is the second in a series. Thank you, publisher, and NetGalley for the early title!
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I enjoyed this book. It’s a great follow-up to The Printed Letter Bookshop.

Every character had their own little drama, and those little dramas added up to make an intriguing melting pot of stories. It was lovely to see how those stories interacted and overlapped and bumped against one another.

I was so glad to see Janet come back! She might have been the snarkiest, most sarcastic of the gals in book one, but she was still a great character that I enjoyed getting to know. It was wonderful, in Lit and Lattes, to see the next chapter of her story.

This may be Mrs. Reay’s first official series, but I have a feeling it won’t be her last.

Content: replacement expletives, alcohol, marital affairs, sexual terms, unwed pregnancy (mentioned)
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Thank you so much to NetGalley and Thomas Nelson for my copy of Of Literature and Lattes by Katherine Reay in exchange for an honest review. It published May 12, 2020.
I 100% regret not reading this sooner! I adored The Printed-Letter Bookshop, so I don't know why I waited so long. I ADORED this! I adore the folks in Winsome, and cannot wait to go back! I loved how characters from the first book were still in here, but not necessarily all the main ones. There was room for new main characters. I love how the world continued to build.
I thought the real-life issues, foster care, co-parenting, FBI investigations were really well-written and interesting. Did I mention that it took me less than 48 hours to read this? I absolutely devoured it! I don't necessarily think you *have* to read the first book, but why wouldn't you? This is just too delightful of a series, I cannot wait for more!
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Of Literature and Lattes is the second book in the Winsome series but can be read as a stand-alone (but read the first book, it is really good, too!)

In this book Alyssa comes home after her work is shutdown due to a federal investigation.  At best, she is a pariah no one wants to hire.  At worst, she is under suspicion and my be arrested any moment.  She is staying with her mom who she resents for cheating on her dad and finds out she has celiacs disease which she mistook for ulcers (understandably).  When her car breaks down, she thinks she has hit the bottom.  

But she wants to work.  She makes a deal with the garage to fix her car in return for work.  Along the way, members of the business community seek out her expertise for one reason or another and help her rebuild her confidence while she helps them survive small town retail realities.  One coffee-shop owner in particular also kindles a small flame.  

This book is beautifully written.  While it is about fresh starts, it is also about healing old wounds and rebuilding relationships.  I really hope there is a book#3 soon!  Four stars.  

I am thankful for the electronic copy of the book that I received from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.  The audible version I purchased on my own.
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I received a free digital copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The characters are my favorite part of this book. Very well written!

Thank you kindly to the author, the publisher, and NetGalley for this review copy.
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I picked this book based on the beautiful cover and the evocative title. I.didn't realize it was the second in a series, so I would need to read the first one and then come back to this one.
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When I started this book, I was unsure where it was going. There were SO many storylines and characters all with their own POV's that I struggled to find the common threads and understand the point of the story.

But despite the mildly confusing nature of its start, the story eventually found its focus and was molded into a heartwearming tale that resounded with a chorus of timeless themes and uplifting moments. I enjoyed it in so many ways as I experienced the heartache of the unique divisions between a mother and her daughter, the loss of hope for the future, the grief of loss both physical and emotional, and the glimmer of new beginnings and rich futures.

One last thought...while Katherine Reay stories are normally though-provoking and clean, they tend to have a more general market bend, so I was so pleasantly surprised to find somewhat strong faith moments in this one--it was truly delightful.
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This is a tough review to write. Of Literature and Lattes by Katherine Reay did not meet my expectations. 

I was initially drawn to the book because I have enjoyed Reay's other work in the past, the premise, and adorable cover. 

However, I had a very hard time focusing with this book. I found it jumpy and all over the place. There are also a ton of characters. I know this is the second book set in the town, and I am wondering if the reader read them in order if it would be more clear. I am also wondering if staying more focused on the two main characters and less on subplots would have helped me more.

I usually enjoy small town, sweet books. I really wanted to love this book, and I was so excited for it, but it just was not for me. 

I received an eARC from Thomas Nelson through NetGalley. All opinions are 100% my own.
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This was a sweet, quick read that honestly made me miss going to coffee shops. I can't say I was super invested in the story but because of everything stressful with the world right now, I. didn't mind it.
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Of Literature & Lattes is Katherine Reay’s follow-up to The Printed Letter Bookshop, which I really enjoyed. I was looking forward to that same quirkiness, friendship and community as the first book. Well, much of that was there but this book did not give me the same feels. We do return to the town of Winsome, Illinois and some of the same characters are there, but there are new ones and the quirkiness didn't seem to be here. First we deal with the return to Winsome of Alyssa, who is coming home with her tail between her legs after a disastrous stint in Silicon Valley. The other main character is Jeremy, a man looking to spend more time with his daughter and investing everything in a new coffee shop. From the start, I figured they would end up together, but the journey is always the interesting part. Once I figured out where this story was going, I enjoyed it.

This is a story that deals with relationships. Alyson and her mom have an extremely difficult relationship and they need to take time to understand each other if they want to make it work. Jeremy is dealing with his relationship with Krista, his ex-wife. She has allowed him back into her and their daughter's life, but is worried that he will not follow through. Of course, she doesn't want to live with her parents either, so they are dealing with the possibility of life changes there. The one relationship I loved was the one between Jeremy and his daughter. The community is also a huge part of this story. The coming together of the people and businesses to make the coffee shop viable was beautiful. Overall this was a heart warming story with a lot of love, friendship and community, which I enjoyed. It just didn't seem to have all the feels that I was hoping for. I definitely recommend you read the first book in this series, The Printed Letter Bookshop, not only because I think it is the better book, but it will give you the true feel of the town and characters.
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I DNF'd this one because I didn't know it was the second in a series! I got about 30% through before I couldn't do it anymore. I quickly realized it wasn't really meant to be read as a standalone, but I imagine if I had already read the first book, I would be so happy to return to this quaint town and cute bookshop and people who already know each other. I hate that feeling of not having the same starting information as everyone else, so I decided to put this one down and hopefully come back to it after reading the first book.
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Set in a small town called Winsome, Illinois, we find Alyssa Harrison and Jeremy Mitchell. Both have come from the West Coast for different reasons and are trying to find their next path. Alyssa is escaping the implosion of a tech agency where she worked on data crunching. Jeremy brought his dream of a gourmet coffee shop to Winsome, in the hopes of being near his young daughter who lives there with his ex.

Alyssa is a tough character who is shaken to her core by the goings-on of her prior firm. She is quite unsettled and snippy, taking out the majority of her frustration on her mom with whom she is living.

Jeremy brings an old friend with him, to help run the new shop. In his stress, Jeremy casts blame on his friend instead of seeing the bigger picture.

As for elements of faith in the story, I would say they were subtle. There’s a lot about forgiveness and there are a couple people helping out at the church.

I liked the story because the situations of the characters seemed relatable although a bit overblown.
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Katherine Reay's second book set in Winsome, Illinois was also 5 stars for me (my first one in 2021).  Of Literature and Lattes is immersive, cozy but realistic, satisfying, and a need to read one more chapter page turner (but not in a cliffhanger kind of way, I just wanted to stay a little longer).  One repeating element in this book is about jobs and working – whether as small business owner, artist, or business consultant.  I enjoyed the background of Alyssa’s former job in a Silicon Valley startup working with data and writing predictive analytics algorithms and also her ability to sift through small business financials to help owners find issues and efficiencies.   I also enjoyed the barrista knowledge detail (and I’m not even a coffee drinker).  On an emotional level this book is also packed with mother/father and child relationships.  There is a strong sense of place; I want to “go back” to Winsome so hope there is another novel on its way.   Thanks to the publisher Thomas Nelson and Net Galley for providing an electronic copy to read and review; all opinions are my own.
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My initial response to Katherine Reay’s Of Literature & Lattes was: “this book is a mess”. Structurally, it’s all over the place. It opens in fictional-small-town Winsome, Illinois, from the point of view of the local bookstore owner, Eve Parker … whom we barely meet again. At first, I thought she was the heroine, given this is labelled a romance. She isn’t. A plethora of troubled and/or sad small-town characters show up. It was hard to keep track of what made them sad/troubled. Then, all of this within the first 20 pages, we’re catapulted to Palo Alto, CA, where one Alyssa Harrison is being investigated by the FBI because the company she worked for took clients’ medical information, ostensibly to predict future illnesses as a preventative exercise, but sold the info. Alyssa, her FBI interview still pending, gets into her car to make her way home, a journey and destination holding nothing but dread and failure. Home is, of course, Winsome, and there await her mother, Janet, an artist who works at the book shop, and father, Seth. Janet and Seth are divorced because Janet cheated and Alyssa, never sharing an easy mother-daughter relationship, has blamed Janet for her parents’ break-up. But Janet and Seth are dating again, forgiveness is in the air … and Alyssa walks right into it and hates it. We leave Alyssa and her troubled relationship with her mother to meet the new owner of the town coffee-shop, Jeremy Mitchell. He moved to Winsome and invested everything he owns in the town, sharing business responsibilities with his friend, Ryan, because he wants to be closer to his seven-year-old daughter, Becca. His marriage broke up soon after Becca was born and his ex-wife, Krista, is hell to deal with. His coffee-shop is not the success he’d hope because he doesn’t have the community spirit, as Ryan tells him over and over again.   

Every page brings new troubles, new ways God pummels these characters, and new ways they have to figure out how to be better people. Sadly, they do a lot of backsliding: Alyssa fights with her mother; her mother is contrite, but proud, and fights back; Jeremy fights with Krista … neighbours die, funerals are held, new characters show up: some propose, some are happily married, some die, most are sad and no one seems able to have a light-hearted moment. Not even the plot moppet, Becca. There is also this strangely corporate high moral ground held throughout, with Alyssa’s talent with numbers and business-know-how made virtuous, as are all business ventures, as long as they’re operating in a small-town full of sinners trying to be better people. If there’s one thing I can say for Reay, for an inspie writer, at least her characters occasionally have a brew, or mimosa and they do serious sinning, like infidelity and copious anger.

I stuck to this to the bitter end, if for no other reason than I wanted one iota of humour, one ray of warmth, possibility, or ROMANCE. Which, by the way, if this is why you pick up this novel, there isn’t any. Alyssa’s head for numbers sees her being recruited to help with struggling businesses and ends up helping Jeremy and the in-the-red new coffee-shop (there be reasons and they include some high school Golden Boy employee selling drugs … where did THAT come from?). Jeremy and Alyssa share two lacklustre kisses and end up together by the last page, not committed, or declaring eternal love, but Alyssa is serving coffees at Jeremy’s new book club hosted at the coffee shop (hence the title, I guess). They seem to like each other, but there isn’t any attraction and they barely spend more than, oh, two pages together. In sum, Of Literature and Lattes has a lot of broken people in it. I think there are lessons about God’s grace and sheer human will, despite the constant backsliding, to do better and be better. Having an small-town entrepreneurial spirit is a virtue. There’s healing for Alyssa and her mother, reconciliation between Janet and Seth, and a spark of hope for Jeremy’s coffee venture. Many moral lessons are taught through literature, like Steinbeck’s lugubrious Of Mice and Men. In the end, like my previous read, I was just glad this book was over. With Miss Austen, we deem this was “downright labour,” Emma.

Katherine Reay’s Of Literature and Lattes is published by Thomas Nelson. It was released in May and may be procured at your preferred vendor. I received an e-galley from Thomas Nelson, via Netgalley.
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This is a book I would feel confident recommending to pretty much anyone. It is heartwarming, moving, at times heartbreaking, but though it all gives us a snapshot into the lives of the residents of Winsome, Illinois as each person navigates their storm. The characters are relatable, genuine, and human. They make mistakes, see what they want to, and can hurt each other, but they all have ambitions, love, and connections. Weaving in and  out of people's perspectives, Reay paints a full picture of the town, highlighting how stories are connected even when the characters do not realize. 

Alyssa Harrison moves back to Winsome after losing her job and everything she owns. Her company is under criminal investigation and she has no other place to go. Moving back means confronting her mother and their relationship, and and not hiding what she has been doing. One of the first people she runs into is Jeremy Mitchell, the new owner of the local coffee shop - one who has recently renovated everything and doesn't seem to be earning as much as anticipated. Will Alyssa be able to help him save the business, and will that help her move on at the same time?

If you are looking for a clean, small-town community based read that is compelling to read and keeps you turning the page... here you go!

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
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