Legends & Lattes: A Novel of High Fantasy and Low Stakes

by Travis Baldree (Autor)

Paperback, 2022


On hold

Call number



Pan Macmillan (2022), 316 pages


Fantasy. Fiction. Romance. HTML: "Even nonfantasy listeners will enjoy hanging out at the intersection of coffeehouse culture and Dungeons & Dragons, and hope that Baldree fails to shake his new writing habit." - The Seattle Times This program is read by the author. The much-beloved BookTok sensation, Travis Baldree's Legends & Lattes is novel of high fantasy and low stakes. Come take a load off at Viv's cafe, the first & only coffee shop in Thune. Grand opening! 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 filling mugs 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. A Macmillan Audio production from Tor Books..… (more)

Media reviews

Legends & Lattes, by Travis Baldree, is a sweet and gentle story about what happens after your orc heroine kills all the bad guys and gets all the treasure. It’s the D&D / coffeeshop AU mashup that I didn’t know I wanted to read about.

User reviews

LibraryThing member murderbydeath
I first heard about this book from H.C. Newton at The Irresponsible Reader, and while it sounded interesting, it didn't really seem like my kind of thing. And then I read about it again somewhere else (I can't remember) and thought ... maybe. So when I saw it at the shop, I just picked it up and
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thought what the hey?

It wasn't at all what I feared it would be - a former adventurer trying to retire but being forced out of retirement for reasons. Instead it's a very ... gentle book. Even sweet. There's very little plot in the obvious sense; the book is entirely about friendships and how they can often develop in the most unexpected ways.

On the surface this might make it sound like a dull book, but it's very readable and the characters all offer something interesting. There's a dire-cat named Amity that's fabulous, and I'd have liked more of her (him?), and there's a gnome whose cryptic comments about time left me wanting more explanation, or at least more information about him. But overall the characters are all well fleshed out and likeable. There's a low-key, back burner romance that would qualify this book as a diverse read.

Overall, a surprisingly enjoyable read. Yes, all the typical obstacles just melt away in a way that's usually catnip to a critic, but somehow, that's ok. It just works - and maybe I was just looking for the literary equivalent of a serotonin drip. If you enjoy fantasy and are looking for a happy read, you might enjoy this one.
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LibraryThing member krau0098
Series Info/Source: This is the first book in the Legends and Lattes series. I borrowed this on ebook from my library.

Thoughts: I absolutely loved this book, it was everything I hoped it was going to be and then some. I was hoping for a fun, cozy, fantasy read and I got that plus some intriguing
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magic, amazing characters, and a bit of a mystery.

The story follows Viv, an orc who is tired of battling things and wants to retire to something else. She decides to open up the first ever coffee shop in the small town of Thune. This is quite the endeavor since no one in Thune has even heard of coffee. The way she ends up drawing some quirky but passionate people together to make her dream a reality, is hilarious, heartwarming and just pure fun.

This book has it all; humor, friendship, love, mystery, magic, and some action. The characters in here are amazing and this was just such a feel good book. This is the definition of cozy fantasy and I enjoyed every second of reading this. At its heart this book is about everyone finding a place to belong, even if they don't follow society's expectations.

This was very well written and hard to put down. I ended up reading this very quickly. It's easy to relate to and engage with the characters. I definitely wanted to go and visit Viv's coffee shop by the time this was all done! There is a short story included at the end of the book as well that delves into Viv's life before she left fighting.

My Summary (5/5): Overall this was an incredibly fun fantasy read and I enjoyed every minute of it. I loved the characters here, the humor, the mystery, the magic, it was all such a wonderful story. This story leaves you feeling happy and hopeful. I would recommend it to anyone who's looking for a cute and fun cozy fantasy read. I am eager to see what Baldree comes up with next.
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LibraryThing member N.W.Moors
This book has been hyped a lot and deserves every good word said about it. It's a fun read about an Orc warrior, Viv, who lays down her sword to open a coffee shop. Along the way, she makes various friends who help her remodel an old livery stable into a cafe to sell that new Gnomish delicacy
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coffee bean water.
The reader can decide whether this happens due to a 'good fortune' stone or Viv's hard work. All the characters are interesting and not the usual fantasy favorites, so I liked that diversion to type. There's some conflict, but all and all, it's the kind of book one can enjoy if you like a simple but good story.
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LibraryThing member Smith.erin71
I really loved this one. A nice low stakes fantasy novel. I think cozy fantasy might be my new favourite genre.
LibraryThing member beserene
Legends and Lattes by Travis Baldree is a cozy fantasy in which the stakes are low, the characters charming, and the coffee piping hot. It's firmly in fluff territory, so if you're looking for epic battles or swords that do more than hang on walls, go elsewhere. But if you like thinking about how
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fantasy worlds might operate on the everyday level or if you just kind of need a hug right now, read this!
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LibraryThing member admiralfinnegan
A charming and relaxing "cozy fantasy" with little to no stakes but lots of charm and heart. Could have used a bit more romance, but I enjoyed it. I originally dismissed it after reading a sample, so I think you need to be in the right mood to enjoy it.
LibraryThing member Stevil2001
An orc decides to give up adventuring and open up a coffee shop. Apparently this is the standard bearer for "cozy fantasy." If this is the epitome of cozy fantasy, then apparently cozy fantasy is an utterly boring genre where nothing happens. I've read some discussion of the book, and often people
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stereotype its detractors as needing big battles and epic adventures... but unlike many readers of fantasy, I read outside of the genre as well and know how much a good writer can do with seemingly little. One of my favorite books is Julian Barnes's The Sense of an Ending, which is about a guy who realizes he's getting old, that's it. The problem isn't that this is a novel of "low stakes," it's that it's a novel of no stakes.

Viv opens her coffee shop... and basically encounters no problems that aren't resolved within about ten pages. There is almost no interpersonal conflict—everyone she meets is instantly helpful all the time—and very little internal conflict as well—having decided to do this thing, she does it. I couldn't help but keep thinking what Terry Pratchett would do with an orc running a coffee shop. It would be hilarious, of course (whereas I remember laughing about once here), but more importantly, there would be some kind of conflict from what the protagonist was expected to be (a violent orc) and what the protagonist wanted to be (a coffee shop owner), both internally and externally. There's none of that here, the rich potential of this idea goes completely unmined. You never have a sense that Viv could fail, even though most new restaurants in our world close within a year because they can't turn a profit. This is still trueeven when her shop burns down! It comes across as a minor, temporary setback.

There's just no depth of character here. I hate for a review to be "how I would have written it," but if I'd written it, the orc would have had to struggle to put away her old mindset, struggle to make connections, even struggle to do basic customer service. Because, who wants to read 250 pages of someone easily doing everything they want to do? (Apparently lots of people.) I love stories where groups of disparate people overcome their differences to accomplish something... but these people don't overcome anything, much less their differences!some kind of struggle. I had a friend in college would used to complain there weren't more "slice of life" stories. When quizzed, it turned out she meant a story where a woman met a man and lived happily ever after with no issues coming up. I thought it was pretty self-evident why stories like that didn't exist, but maybe I should send her a copy of Legends & Lattes.
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LibraryThing member Gena678
A fun comfort read that subverts some tropes and reinforces others. A cozy Dungeons and Dragons where you open a coffee shop instead of slaying a dragon.
LibraryThing member bookworm12
I would sip coffee at Viv’s place any day of the week. I’m not sure exactly what I was expecting from this, but warm and fuzzy and delightful is what I got. A cozy story about second chances and finding friendship in unexpected places. The fact that the characters are mythical creatures is
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really secondary. Thimble may have been my favorite. I hope to get to visit these characters again soon if the author writes more.
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LibraryThing member MillieHennessy
Ohmygourd I LOVED this book. It's so charming and cozy and homey and just what I needed to help me get through the winter season and the general state of the the world right now. Cozy fantasy is a genre I never knew I needed in my life. Here we have a retired orc warrior who decides to start a
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coffee shop in a city that not only has she never lived in, but one that's never heard of coffee.

If you've ever dreamed of opening your own coffee shop, you might get some ideas from Viv. If you haven't, this book might make you start dreaming about how you'd plan your own coffee shop! It might sound boring, but honestly, I was so invested in the development of this shop from start to finish - the building renovation, the space planning, the menu (drinks and treats!), and even the staff. I swear I could smell the lattes.

The characters are what make this book. The focus is on new beginnings, found family, community, and just a tad of slow-burn, queer romance. I was heavily invested in everyone, especially Viv. I was even surprised to find myself tearing up near the end when the sort of "major" plot point happens.

This is definitely a book I'll be coming back to. I pre-ordered the e-book and read it right away, but I'll definitely be buying a physical copy and I look forward to reading it while drinking coffee and having a pastry - maybe even ~in~ a coffee shop someday!

If you just need a quiet, cozy read, I urge you to check out this book!
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LibraryThing member StarKnits
This book makes me want to go to an indie coffee shop and eat cinnamon buns and drink coffee (and knit)
LibraryThing member shelleyraec
Regular blog readers might think this is an odd title for me to be enthusiastic about, but I’m a fan of Dungeons & Dragons, currently working my way through Campaign 1 of Critical Role’s stream, while keeping up with Campaign 3 (and the animated series of Campaign 1 ‘Vox Machina’ on Amazon
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Prime). My son has been playing with a group fortnightly for five years and in the meantime we’ve accumulated a lot of D&D board games, books and resources.

So when I spied a post for the upcoming title Legends and Lattes by Travis Baldree on my Twitter feed I immediately added it to my TBR, curious about how the combination of cosy mystery and D&D themed fantasy would work. Then the author announced he was looking for reviewers and I signed up with my fingers crossed.

In Legends and Lattes, Viv, an orc-barbarian, has had enough of murder and mayhem and after tearing a stone reputed to bring luck from the cleaved head of a Scalvert Queen, leaves her adventuring party and sets off to the town of Thune. Relying on the pull of a dowsing rod, Viv is led to a near derelict livery, and after haggling with its owner, finally has a place she can call her own. Viv plans to introduce coffee to Thune by establishing the city’s very first coffee shop and, hiring a taciturn hob named Calamity as her carpenter, sets about transforming the property.

The business gets off to a slow start, but with the help of Tandri, a savvy succubus looking to be taken seriously, and a ratkin, Mr Thimble, who produces the most divine pastries, ‘Legends and Lattes’ soon attracts regular customers. As the menu grows, so does the cafe’s popularity, but Viv can’t quite let go of the worry that she’ll lose it all.

There’s not a lot of subtlety when it comes to the story’s themes, but I was charmed by the way in which this group of disparate but delightful characters come together, accepting one another for who they are, and encouraging each other to be who they want to be. There’s also a sweet romance that develops between Viv and her assistant Tandri, with just a little angst stemming from their own insecurities as an obstacle.

There’s not a mystery per se in Legends & Lattes, but there is a little well paced, light suspense and drama when the neighbourhood gang insist Viv pay them for the privilege of operating in their territory, and a former party member decides he wants Viv’s reward from their last bounty. Though tempted, Viv is determined to not revert to her old ways of dealing with problems, even when it threatens to cost her everything.

As promised on the cover, Legends & Lattes is a novel of ‘high fantasy and low stakes’, a winsome, heart warming, feel good read to enjoy with your favourite brew and pastry.
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LibraryThing member quondame
A brisk and well paced, this is a fun exploration of one adventurer's retirement plan as the first coffee shop proprietor in a city. New friends and old connections mix as she deals with some usual and some very unusual challenges to the new business owner.
LibraryThing member Constant2m
This book made me so happy. It's straightforward. An orc wants to walk away from her past life and start a coffee shop. But within the simplicity is the genius of the story. We get to slow down and enjoy countless delightful, quirky characters. Even the suspenseful bits were non-violent. Travis
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absolutely deserves to have his book picked up by Tor. And hopefully, maybe, that means we'll get more books like this one from him someday. I am already looking forward to reading them.
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LibraryThing member jennybeast
I see why this is a booktok sensation -- what a delightful read! Cottagecore D&D, slice-of-life adventure for those of us who remember the intoxication of the settings of the thieves' world books, or who'd rather live in the city's of a video game and build a farm than rampage through looting the
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monsters. It could so easily be a boring book, but the characters pull you in from word one, and the gently self-mocking 'discoveries' they make as they create the ultimate in coffee shop culture are pretty hilarious. Like any great role-playing game, the joy is in getting to spend time with friends as the story unfolds -- this time the friends are already there and waiting for the reader to join in.

Advanced Reader's Copy provided by Edelweiss.
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LibraryThing member JanesList
A delicious coffee date of a a book, it lives up to the description and then some. I'm looking forward to more by this author.
LibraryThing member jjmcgaffey
Wow, this is a first book? I want more from him. Beautifully written, complex characters with complex interactions, nice hints about the sort of world they live in without huge amounts of detail (so there's room for lots more stories!). I loved the details of setting up the shop, and the
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interactions with various customers. Really nice solution to the problem with the Madrigal, too. And then the disaster, and the solutions, and the rebuilding... And a lovely retribution for the villain (such as he was). I would love to see more about Viv and her shop; I would equally love to read about completely different people who just happen to pass by the shop, or otherwise establish they're in the same world. Side note - I didn't catch a single typo or wrong word or similar error (actually, any errors) - very rare! Excellent, more please!
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LibraryThing member theWallflower
Well, it delivers what it promises–it’s a cozy story with little danger or tension. It’s just about a female orc who builds a coffee shop from scratch. People are skeptical at first, as anyone would be when a giantess wants to start a small business instead of eat babies. But everyone loves
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it. She encounters troubles but they’re all minor–a complaining customer here, a gang boss who wants a cut there. But everyone falls in love with her and wins them over. Like a DCOM but without attempts at funny.

It doesn’t go into much detail around the world-building–it seems very based on World of Warcraft or Dungeons and Dragons. All the material is G-rated (no disembowelments). But it’s kinda neat how the author integrates fantasy elements into Starbucks (e.g. the cappuccino machine is a steam-powered gnome invention) and I personally like reading fantasy that’s not a doorstop epic. I hate how the publishing industry thinks they all have to be world-building bricks like Mistborn or Song of Ice and Fire. It taught me an important lesson on how important stakes are in a story.

Do I recommend it? I’m not sure. I’d say to try an excerpt–that’s what I did. I didn’t exactly fall in love, but I was intrigued, especially as someone who likes to write this kind of material.
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LibraryThing member Pepperwings
What a fun read! This was an oddly entertaining and comforting story, it just felt very cozy and a little mysterious. Just what I needed from a book while recovering, it was quite nice.
LibraryThing member foggidawn
Viv is an orc, and she knows how her story's going to end if she stays with her adventuring party: someday, maybe soon, a blade will slip through her defenses, and that will be it for her. What the rest of the party doesn't know, however, is that Viv has dreams -- and, moreover, plans -- that don't
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involve being struck down in the heat of battle or ambushed along the side of the road. She takes her life savings, a stone that is rumored to bring good fortune, and the research she's done along the way, and strikes out for a new town to open a coffee shop. As an unknown entrepreneur selling an unfamiliar product, she'll need all the luck she can get -- but she's not the only one who wants the good fortune the stone can bring...

I knew I would like this book the first time I heard about it, and guess what? I was right! It's a cozy fantasy read that never feels low stakes, despite the tagline. I was totally invested in Viv's venture -- and I don't even like coffee! It seems that this sort of gentle fantasy is having a moment, and I am here for it. I hope Baldree has more stories for us soon.
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LibraryThing member tapestry100
Well, @travis_baldree’s LEGENDS & LATTES is fucking delightful. I read it in two sittings, which almost never happens these days, and I loved every page. Viv’s desire to create something special and defy societal norms about who a person is viewed as vs. how they view themselves is something I
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think a lot of people will appreciate. The other characters in TBR story are just a thought out and watching Viv create her own found family was exactly what my #queer little heart needed right now. If the world is exhausting you right now, take a moment, pour your favorite coffee (or beverage of choice), and let this delightful, quick, cozy fantasy warm your heart. @torbooks, great job on picking this up and publishing it!

#queerbookstagram #alphabetmafia #books #bookstagram #book #booklover #reading #bookworm #bookstagrammer #bookinfluencer #read #booknerd #bookaddict #bookreview #booksofinstagram #torbooks #readingtime #bookblog #blogger #bookrecommendation #booksbooksbooks #readersofinstagram #reader #booklove #instabooks #fantasy #travisbaldree #frommybookshelfblog #frommybookshelf
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LibraryThing member ecataldi
What's better than a fantasy novel centered on a coffeeshop!?!? Talk about world building that I can get behind. When Viv, a battle hardened orc has finally saved up enough coin, she decides to put down her blade and venture to a new city to open a coffee shop. It doesn't matter to her that no one
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has ever heard of coffee or that she knows nothing about running a business - it's what she wants to do, and by golly she is going to do it. She soon assembles a motley crew to help build and run the joint - a succubus to tend the counter, a hob to build the shop, and a rattkin to bake the goods. It's a bit of a bumpy ride as they all get their bearings, it is after unchartered territory they are entering in - but a certain magic (or is it just the coffee?!) seems to be binding them together. I so hope there are more books set in this universe!
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LibraryThing member lavaturtle
What a sweet, cozy, delightful read! I loved this gentle story about a retired adventurer and her journey to building the life and community she dreams of.

Some of the "modern inventions in a classic fantasy setting" elements (e.g. the biscotti, the electric guitar, the college student who sits in
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the coffee shop all day and never pays) reminded me of Discworld in the best way.
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LibraryThing member hcnewton
This originally appeared at The Irresponsible Reader as part of a Quick Takes Catch-up post, emphasizing pithiness, not thoroughness.
Opening a coffee shop has to be hard—period. Especially if you happen to be an ork, tired of the adventuring and killing, who wants to retire to a quiet
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community (instead of dying in battle). Harder still if no one in this part of the world has ever heard of coffee. But Viv's not known for backing down, she's going to give it her all.

This is possibly the sweetest Fantasy story ever written. It's just pleasant—as pleasant as whiling away an hour or two in a comfy coffee shop chair with some great beverages. I've got nothing else to say, everything else would just be a rewording or unnecessary expansion on that.

Baldree's narration was as good as his text—sometimes I wonder about the ego involved in an author doing their own narration, when they just shouldn't. But Baldree absolutely should've.
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LibraryThing member Razinha
Just good fun. And I really liked the crossover elements. Although, without crossing, I guess there’s no over. I’d like to see what happens next.


Original publication date



1035007312 / 9781035007318
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