Legends & Lattes

Legends & Lattes by Travis Baldree


Readability Age Range



Year Published

Book Review

All her life, Viv has been a fearsome orc warrior with a snarl in her throat and a blade in her hand. But when one adventure led her to a delightful gnome concoction called “coffee,” Viv suddenly decided it was time for a career change.

Plot Summary

When Viv first plods heavily into the little town of Thune, those who catch sight of her suddenly decide that duty calls them elsewhere—anywhere other than where this large, heavily muscled orc is, in any case.

Under normal circumstances, that would be a very wise choice. Up to this point in her life Viv has been every bit as fearsome and, dare I say, deadly as her fanged countenance and huge sword might suggest. In fact, fearsomeness is all this muscular female warrior has ever known—besides adventure, heated battle, and hard-fought bounties, that is.

But Viv’s trip to little Thune is for something completely different, something completely unexpected even for her, truth be told. Viv is in pursuit of a new career. And all the research she has undertaken, and the witching rod she has followed, has led her to the front of an old livery sorely in need of repair.

Viv’s dream all started when one adventure took her to a distant gnome shop that served an exotic bitter brew called “coffee.” When this concoction first hit her tongue, the massive orc warrior was transformed. Its smell calmed her and its substance sat well with her—sharpening her thoughts, energizing her in a non-bloodlust way.

It was then that Viv began dreaming and scheming for a life without razor-sharp swords, battle roars and new crisscrossing scars. She had already bought a shipment of coffee beans and a coffee-making machine from the gnomes. And now she had found the perfect building to restructure into her shop. Her … café.

Of course, even with good fortune there are no guarantees. After all, the simple townsfolk of Thune have likely never heard of coffee. And then there are always shady elements that want to control new money-making efforts. And let’s not forget old enemies who might come seeking a large green foe from their past.

But Viv is undeterred. She’ll hang up her sword and start pulling shots. And let the coffee mugs fall where they may.

Christian Beliefs


Other Belief Systems

This is a fantasy world filled with humans and many fantastic creatures such as orcs, succubi and gnomes, along with magically imbued animals. Spells are used here, too, such as one that sets a building on fire with green flames that cannot be quenched by water.

A rare artifact that Viv obtained after killing a massive beast is said to give the holder well-being and good fortune if kept near powerful ley lines in the Earth. (Viv’s building is built on top of several intersecting ley lines.). Its magical properties do appear to help Viv’s new business. But later, she realizes that that the artifact may have altogether different properties.

Authority Roles

Viv hires a young succubus named Thandi. This attractive, horned woman has a succubus’ ability to charm others and control their actions, but she always keeps that ability in check. In fact, she only uses the power during an emergency at one point. The two women become very close as co-workers and friends, and Viv comes to rely on Thandi for wise business advice.

Most other townspeople are solid people who, though slightly wary of Viv at first, come to appreciate her and her business. A few, such as a hobgoblin carpenter named Cal and a mouse-like baker named Thimble, work for Viv and became good friends. In fact, after Viv’s business is set aflame, many locals step up to help her rebuild. Some of Viv’s old adventuring teammates show up to earnestly help her, too.

That said, some characters don’t always wish Viv well. A local “protection” outfit run by “the Madrigal” push and threaten her. And a former acquaintance named Fennus is willing to go to any length to steal something of great value from Viv.

Through all of this, Viv steps forward to try and deal with the threats as productively as possible without relying on her former deadly tendencies—though that doesn’t always work in her favor.

Profanity & Violence

There’s more profanity here than you might expect in a fantasy novel, including uses of several s-word variables and uses of the f-word,  “h—” and “a–hole.” The fantasy curse “gods-d–ned” shows up once.

Characters drink brandy and beer.

Viv’s shop is set on fire and Viv must struggle to not only save Thandi, but rescue as many valuable shop items as possible. She’s badly burned by the magical flames and loses nearly everything.

An early chapter depicts Viv’s bloody battle with a huge monster. After defeating it, she jams her fist into its head and removes a crystal lodged there. A man escapes harm from a human battling with a blade and then is attacked by a huge tiger-like dire-cat (we’re left to imagine the results as the narration cuts away).

Sexual Content

Viv and Thandi’s relationship develops into a very strong, respectful friendship. But then after the intense fire disaster, they step, hesitantly, even further as they brush lips while embracing. The women then kiss more fully at the end of the story—suggesting a burgeoning romantic relationship.

Discussion Topics


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Additional Comments

This popular fantasy book veers away from typical fantasy fare adventures and battles. Instead, it delivers something much more gentle: the search for small-town new beginnings and loyal friends.

That said, Legends & Lattes still reads as a very fantasy focused tale, with involving, character-driven action. Readers should note that some same sex attraction, and a later suggested relationship, are part of the slow-burn equation.

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Review by Bob Hoose