Cover Image: Of Literature and Lattes

Of Literature and Lattes

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this book was just a little too boring for me. i wanted tolike it but i just couldn't like it as much as i wanted to like it. you know what i mean jelly bean?
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Being a huge Katherine Reay fan ever since she wrote my favorite book, Dear Mr. Knightley, I was anxious to get my hands on her newest work as early as possible so I was very happy to receive a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley before its publication date! I was even more excited to find that it was set in the same town as her last book, The Printed Letter Bookshop, which I loved. I always love to revisit beloved characters in new books. I was a little puzzled when I saw on the promotional material that even though it was set in the same town, it could be read as a stand-alone, and now that I've read it, I can say that I strongly disagree with that statement! Please read The Printed Letter Bookshop first! This book is a breathtakingly beautiful continuation of the transformation that began in Janet, one of the characters in The Printed Letter Bookshop, and I would hate to think that anyone missed out on experiencing her full transformation by skipping the first one!

While I enjoyed getting to know Jeremy and the new characters involved in his story, it was the relationship between Alyssa and Janet that touched my soul throughout this book. Their mother-daughter relationship journey is so raw, so poignant, and moved me to tears several times. It brought out over and over again how our perceptions, expectations, and patterns of interacting influence various relationships in our lives. I hope that I will be able to apply some of the things I learned while reading this book and strengthen some of my own relationships.

I will add that, though Jeremy's story didn't really capture me for much of this book, he did a few things towards the end that were so shocking in their generosity and humility that they made me feel his story of transformation was as beautiful in its own way as Janet's.

I also want to mention that I found the POV odd and, at times, a little jarring in this book. It's very fluid and slides from one person to another mid-scene but then stays with the new person until it slides to another character altogether. It's kind of like a TV show. I lost count of how many different people's POVs there were. There are definitely more than one in each chapter, and they weren't set apart in any way. (I was reading an ARC from NetGalley so it is possible that these POV switches are made more clear in the actual book. When I get my own copy, which I will be purchasing, I will try and come back and update this review if the final layout somehow makes it less jarring for me.) It didn't read like an omniscient narrator nor did it feel like an inexperienced writer flopping back and forth. This felt very intentional, but I can't say I particularly liked it. I daresay some people will love it though, and perhaps, I can get used to it with time. It was just something I haven't experienced before, and I personally felt like it took away just a little from my enjoyment of the book because my flow kept getting interrupted as I had to stop and think about whose head I was in now.

My only other complaint is that I wish the author had been a little more explicit about the spiritual nature of the transformations experienced by her characters. I know some people like it to be really subtle so this is totally a personal preference, but I prefer it when it's very clear that the source of real heart transformation is a relationship with Jesus. This can definitely be inferred from this book if one already knows the Lord, but I just wished it was less subtle and more clearly shown. Its subtlety does make it a good candidate for those who wouldn't ordinarily read Christian fiction or are put off by perceived preachiness as it is definitely not that.

Despite these few complaints, this book really is breathtakingly beautiful, and I know that I am better for having read it. I will certainly be purchasing my own copy and it will undoubtedly be reread a time or two whenever I need to remember that people really can change, and it's worth it to keep giving, keep loving, and keep forgiving.
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Of Literature and Lattes is the second book by Katherine Reay set in the mythical outside of Chicago suburb of Winsome, Illinois. In the first book we met Madeline Cullen and the ladies of The Printed Letter Bookshop. This edition focuses on artist Janet Harrison, but more precisely, her estranged daughter Alyssa.

Alyssa left the area three years ago, when the family was shattered, her mother to blame.  Alyssa had jumped at the chance to work with Vita XGC, writing algorithms for their predictive health app.  But when the bottom fell out and the FBI closed the company’s doors and began investigating employees, she was jobless and under a dark cloud of suspicion.  After six months of being out of work and seemingly a pariah in the industry, Alyssa reluctantly heads cross country with her few belongings, which are stolen along the way.  Upon arrival at her Dad’s apartment, while happy to see her, he says she must stay with her mother rather than him, hoping for a healing between mother and daughter.  

With Alyssa’s best friend, Lexi’s, help, she is able to come to terms with her return home, meet exciting new people, and move toward something she thought would never happen, forgiveness.  This is a lovely second installment set in this lakeside small town and I enjoyed it every bit as much as the first. I do recommend this book!
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What an adorable, small-town, Hallmarkish book!
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I love the characters and the small town setting. I didn't love how the story jumped around so much and I felt like there were too many characters and story lines happening at one time. Alyssa was a great main character and Jeremy grows so much throughout this book. This sweet book made me want to make scones and good coffee. I could see this book being turned into a hallmark movie. 
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This was a good light read for this time in my life. I wasn't very compelled to pick up this book if I wasn't reading it but I'm glad I read this book.
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Of Literature and Lattes is a modern-day novel written by Katherine Reay, and is a follow-up book to the The Printed Letter Book Shop.

Summary: Alyssa Harrison is returning home to Winsome with her tail between her legs and a chip on her shoulder. Her job is gone, her money and possessions are gone, and her only choice is to go back to Mom and Dad-a place she swore to never return. Will she be able to get past all of the bitterness with her mother, or will history repeat itself over again?

Jeremy Mitchell has given up everything to move to Winsome and take over a coffee shop with his friend Ryan. Anything to be closer to the daughter he barely knows. He does know coffee though, and is determined to make a go of his new business. But when the numbers start not to add up, he leans on Alyssa’s expertise-will she be able to help him figure out why his business is failing?

My Thoughts: I have mixed feelings about this book. I liked that the story showed the characters working through past regrets and trying to change their family dynamics. And, I liked the characters and the quaint little town-I thought they were both interesting and complex.

What I didn’t like, was that there were several times where the book abruptly switched to a different character, and I found it a bit difficult to follow who was thinking/feeling what at times.

I also would not recommend reading this as a stand-alone book. There were several times where previous events were referenced, and I felt a little lost.

Overall though, it was a good book-definitely not a light read, maybe more of a counseling session between characters much of the time-but I stayed interested in the characters and the storyline from start to finish, so that was good.

I would like to thank Thomas Nelson for providing me with a free digital copy of this book in exchange for my review. Thank you.
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I love a lot of books and a lot of authors. But there is really something special about Katherine Reay and her books. The Printed Letter Bookshop was one of my favorite books last summer.

I didn't even read the book blurb on the back of Of Literature and Lattes before I started reading it. So it took me a few minutes to realize it's a sequel to The Printed Letter Bookshop.

One of the main storylines in Printed Letter was Janet and her broken relationship with her husband and children. When the book ended she seemed to be on track to make amends with her husband and son. But her daughter, Alyssa, was having none of it. 

Of Literature and Lattes picks up not long after The Printed Letter Bookshop ends. Alyssa has finally admitted defeat in her life in California. She has no choice but to return to Winsome, Illinois, to her mother's house.


The town of Winsome has had some changes with new businesses being added. Jeremy left the city and bought a coffee shop in Winsome so that he could be closer to his daughter. But he's losing money, and can't understand why.

Alyssa starts using her skills to help Jeremy fix his business. Janet is also hoping to rebuild her relationship with Alyssa, even as Alyssa and Jeremy grow closer.

But there are a few surprises in store for Alyssa and Jeremy. Neither of their lives is turning out like they hoped...But maybe it could be better than they hoped?

Ah, the relationship between mothers and daughters. Can there be too many books? Watching these two find peace was an amazing story. It was so well-written that I could feel the emotions of both. I think most mothers and daughters could relate to their struggles.

I love how Katherine writes transitions in her books. The scenes change quickly moving from one point of view to another. It makes the story flow so smoothly.

There are also short glimpses of life from other points of view. It gives the story so much depth.

None of Katherine's books really go together, so I was surprised that Of Literature and Lattes was a continuation of The Printed Letter Bookshop. But it was a nice way to keep the story going.

It seems from the end that there might be more coming from Winsome soon. And I can't wait to read it!
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Of Literature and Lattes
By Katherine Reay
I delight in books whose characters or plots surprise me.  However, this book did neither.  From the first moment that Alyssa met Jeremy, it was obvious that they would end up in love, and Alyssa would never leave Winsome.  This was true in every single story line.

Alyssa, one of the main characters, never grew on me.  She seemed way too old to be that whiny and unforgiving.  Janet, Alyssa’s mom, was my favorite character.  I found her story to be the most interesting and the mother-daughter relationship felt heartbreaking and realistic.  However, there were a lot of characters revolving around the shops in the center of Winsome, many who were mentioned and not fully drawn out.  I found myself sometimes confused about who was who and had to look back at the book to remind myself of their story.  Some of those characters could have been eliminated, and it would not have negatively affected the story.  

I did enjoy the many literary references; however, I did not realize that this book was meant as a follow up to The Printed Letter Bookshop and perhaps that was the problem.  For me, it did not work as a standalone story. And it did not leave me wanted to read the Printed Letter.  I also really disliked the  ending of the book, as it was too neat and tied up in a bow for my taste. 

My thanks to NetGalley for an Advanced Readers Copy of this book. All opinions are my own and not biased in any way.
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I started this book with great anticipation, as I really enjoyed Reay's book, The Printed Letter Bookshop. I struggled to get into this one.  There were so many characters, it was sometimes confusing and the story just never really got my attention.  I would like to thank you to Netgalley and Thomas Nelson for allowing me an ARC of the book to read, for an honest review.
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n this book, we return to the fictional Chicago, Illinois suburb of Winsome. Alyssa has returned there as a last resort. The Silicone Valley company she worked for is being investigated by the FBI, and no other companies there will hire her. So, she returns to her childhood home and all the relationship issues included in it. At the same time, Jeremy has relocated to Winsome to open the coffee shop of his dreams and be closer to his daughter. All is not roses there either.

I was looking forward to returning to Winsome. This isn't necessarily a sequel to The Printed Letter Bookshop (which I really enjoyed), but it was helpful to have read that one to have more context for Alyssa.

I really wanted to love this book, and I just didn't. It was okay.  I didn't enjoy any of the characters, and there seemed to be a lot of repetition in informational details about some of them. Additionally, there were random characters that were just thrown in occasionally with very specific details about them. I'm assuming to set up for a third book in Winsome, but it just irked me a bit to have tidbits dropped and no follow through.

Also, the whole plot and relationships and drama seemed to happen really quickly. I did like some of the interactions between Alyssa and her mom, but then other interactions seemed to come from left field.

I felt overall there was a lot of telling and not so much showing when it came to everything in this book.

Not my favorite of hers. I loved some of here other books much more.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher. I received a complementary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.
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4.25 Stars 

The premise:  Two people destined to meet come together in a small town each with their own baggage they need to work through before finding their happily ever after.

Alyssa is broke and has no job or job prospects after her employer was fingered for doing inappropriate things with the medical information of their clients. Alyssa is good with numbers and making them talk and make sense. When she moves back home to Northern Illinois, she gets to work helping her friends and their businesses. But she has a little issue with her Mom and having a real conversation that doesn’t end up in an argument.

Jeremy, however, moves to Winsome to be with his young daughter after a breakup with his wife which came before the book began. He wants to set up roots here for them both but his ex isn’t making it easy for him. He just wants a great family life and a business that can keep him in enough money to make it month to month.

This book is tough at times. It speaks of the difficulty of friendships and family and how it isn’t always a piece of cake. Alyssa and her mother don’t see eye to eye. Jeremy and his friend Ryan are at odds with his new coffee shop business. Trust is hard to come by in this book and communication  is even harder. 

This book is about how the family you choose may not only be bound by blood but by heart. This isn’t really a romance or a mystery. It is more like life lived out with all its messy parts and unhappiness and successes. It speaks of family, community and how that is what can really heal your soul.

Not sure if this is a standalone since it was left on a bit of a cliffhanger at the end. Great read. Definitely want to know more.

I received this as an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) in return for an honest review. I thank NetGalley, the publisher and the author for allowing me to read this title.
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Alyssa, Jeremy, Janet, Seth, Ryan, Claire, Madeline, Jill, Ryan, Krista, Becca, Brendon, Lexi, Liam, Jasper, Chris, Luke and Eve are among many of the people we see in this story.  Plus a few others.  Alyssa’s job has come to an abrupt end, and she finally gives in and decides to head home to Winsome, a beautiful sounding town, near Lake Michigan.  She carries a lot of hurt and anger towards her mom as well as the job situation.  Jeremy and his friend Ryan have purchased the old coffee shop in town, yet when he opens up again after a remodel his sales aren’t what they used to be.  Alyssa and Jeremy both have things to work through in this story.  A smaller, yet caring town, lots of helpful people and some strong caring friends help turn thought processes around so the healing can begin.  
A complimentary copy was provided by Thomas Nelson via NetGalley.  A review was not required and all thoughts and opinions are my own.
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Winsome and its residents captivate hearts. Reay does a phenomenal job of developing the main character or storyline, while ensuring the other character developments have you wanting more stories to follow. You could liken this to Debbie Macomber's "Blossom Street" series. Here's hoping there's more to come!

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
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Thank you to Netgalley and Thomas Nelson for a gifted copy of this ARC. All opinions are my own. 

DNF'd at 19% because it isn't working for me. I normally enjoy small town books but this one has way too many characters to keep track of and it jumped all over the place. The characters and plot also could not hold my interest. Sad to say, but I enjoyed The Printed Letter Bookshop a lot more.
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If you loved The Printed Letter Bookshop, you’ll love Of Literature and Lattes. The setting remains the same—Winsome, Illinois. But this time the main characters have changed. This book features Alyssa, Janet Harrison’s estranged (and very angry) daughter, and Jeremy Mitchell, a newcomer to Winsome.

Three years ago, Alyssa promised herself she’d never return to the home her mother wrecked. But now, with no job, no money, and no prospects, she figures she can wait for her interview with the FBI in Winsome more cheaply than in California.  Alyssa tucks her tail between her legs and returns to Winsome and a hostile relationship with her mom. Only her mom doesn’t seem as hostile. 

Alyssa can’t figure out what’s going on with her mom, and why her dad won’t let her stay with him. She’s tired of running and doesn’t know where to stop.

Jeremy Mitchell has transplanted from Seattle with his buddy Ryan to take over a coffee shop in quaint Winsome, Illinois. He’ll live near enough to his daughter to take part in her life, and fulfill his dream of owning a coffee shop and snugging into a community. 

Even though his shop looks like his dream come true, he can’t figure out why it fails to thrive. Even though he gets to see his daughter more, he can’t understand his ex-wife’s anger toward him, nor why everyone seems so resistant to change. 

Reay introduces new characters and picks up threads of stories from the first book in this second book set in Winsome. You’ll love the gentle pace of a small town as well as the delicate way Reay tackles relationships that matter the most in our lives.
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I turn to Katherine Reay whenever I need a comfort read that is just well crafted enough not to be too sappy. I grabbed the opportunity to read a review copy on NetGalley because I couldn't wait for the release of this book after reading "The Printed Letter Bookshop." And just like "The Printed Letter Bookshop," I read this book over two days, staying up to finish it because I wanted to know what happened to the characters, especially Becca. 

Although it's not meant to be a sequel, I would still recommend reading "The Printed Letter Bookshop" first, just because having the backstory on some of the characters is helpful for keeping all the stories straight. That being said, I think I enjoyed "Of Literature and Lattes" even more. It could be because I love both books and coffee (making this kind of book such a comfort read for me) but I also think it's because this one had some more suspense.

I also liked that not every character's problems were the result of deep seated trauma, that some characters problems were  dysfunctional family relationships that occur in many families. Watching the mother daughter relationships play out was painful at times, but those struggles are just as important as the external struggles her characters were having.

If you have read "The Printed Letter Bookshop," you will enjoy this book. And if you haven't, you will enjoy both!
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I loved it!  If you read The Printed Letter Bookshop, I think you will love this one as well.  Some of the same characters are in this book.  There are definitely some complicated relationships going on!  This story deals with several different issues that people deal with in our world today, and I think it does a good job of it.  
Thanks, Katherine Reay, for another great story!

I received an advance e-copy of this book from NetGalley, so thank you for that!  All opinions in this review are my own.
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Known for her novels filled with an adoration of all things bookish, Katherine Reay returns with a tale that teaches us the power of story; how books can teach us about God, about life, and about ourselves.
	
I absolutely loved this book. Returning to the town of Winsome with its quaint Main Street lined in twinkle lit trees was a treat for me. I felt right at home in this Stars Hollow-esque town and am ready to pack up and move there! The town is so vividly and lovingly described that it feels like Winsome is a character itself. Having read and adored Reay’s prior release, The Printed Letter Bookshop, I loved reconnecting with familiar characters while meeting new ones. In the vein of Jan Karon’s Mitford series, we’re offered several threads of story where everyone has their moment, even if only briefly. I absolutely love this style of storytelling.

The message of grace is a steady theme throughout the book and is wrapped in beautiful prose. Most in want of grace is our heroine, Alyssa. At times, she could be a hard character to love. There were moments when I wanted to shake her when it came to her attitude toward her mom, as well as her less than desirable prospects in Winsome. But upon reflection, if I were her, I suppose I wouldn’t be a very happy camper, either. I was delighted by the growth for this character and found her development very well done. I also loved the message of grace extended to Janet, Alyssa’s mother and a familiar character from The Printed Letter Bookshop. The story of a second chance is a heartwarming thread that readers across the board will appreciate.

And while I’m not a coffee drinker, I loved the new coffee shop in town, as well as its owner, Jeremy. He was a nice, stand-up guy. I was so charmed by his idea of a book club for the coffee shop. I would totally want to be a part of this club!

Obviously I adored this book. Honestly, I would recommend it to anyone. Get out your cozy blanket, pour yourself a cup of something warm, and get ready to be entranced by Of Literature and Lattes.

All opinions expressed in this review are my own. Many thanks to Thomas Nelson and NetGalley for the complimentary copy of this book.
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Of Literature and Lattes tells the story of a small town in Illinois and Jeremy and Alyssa, two people who have found their way "home" to Winsome. Alyssa is forced to return home when she is caught in a huge company scandal that renders her unemployed and under FBi investigation, while Jeremy moves to Winsome to be closer to his daughter and to start his new coffee shop. The story follows them as they struggle with issues of family and forgiveness and try to figure out where they belong in the world.

The good:
I love the setting and the small town feel to the story, and I like the nuanced perspective of the characters. No one is perfect and this makes them very well-rounded, believable, and relatable characters.  I love the focus on family, both for better and for worse, and the understated romance is sweet.

The bad:
Head hopping. So much head hopping. The story bounces between the perspectives of several characters in just one scene, and all of the different characters and their struggles made it hard to keep track of them and hard to care about some of the more minor characters. There was just too much going on and I think it would have been better if the author had focused on just the main plot lines.

Final rating: 3.5 stars!
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This book really wasn’t for me. First, I wouldn’t consider this a romance. It had romantic elements, but if you’re looking for a story centered around a couple falling in love this is not the book. Second, I didn’t really like Alyssa. She was very childish and self-centered. Third, there are way too many stories to follow at once. Too many POVs muddle a story for me and are distracting. The writing isn’t bad, but this story didn’t grab me like I was hoping. I’m glad things worked out for Jeremy though.
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Alyssa Harrison is returning to her hometown with her tail between her legs after the company she worked for is closed by the FBI and multiple arrests have been made.  She hasn't been arrested and she didn't knowingly defraud anyone, but she has been warned she needs to stay close by so the FBI can interview her.  Jeremy Mitchell moved from Seattle to Winsome, where he bought a coffee shop.... all in order to be close to his young daughter.  Unfortunately, that business is failing miserably and he has no idea what he is doing wrong.  Then Alyssa steps in and offers to go over his books for him and run the numbers and see what is going on.  Not only do they work well together, but they also develop feelings for each other.  Together they discover the magic of second chances.
I loved this book.  I read the previous book, The Printed Letter Bookshop, that also took place in Winsome and really enjoyed it.  Each book focuses on different characters so they don't need to be read in order.  Winsome is a small town and the characters all seem like someone you might know if you live in a small town yourself.  This is a quick read that will leave you with a good feeling.  I highly recommend it!
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