Monday Morning Coffee News

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Happy Monday! Some interesting coffee news: Starbucks is introducing new coffees on the go as well as a new series of single origin coffees, Caribou Coffee chains are leading the way towards Clean Label beverages, and Kitchenaid released a high-priced home cold brew coffee maker, while CUB cold brew launched a Kickstarter campaign for their new cold brew system which claims to cut the brewing time from hours to mere minutes.  Continue reading

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[Book Review] Knit Tight By Annabeth Albert & Philz Coffee Tantalizing Turkish

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Knit Tight By Annabeth Albert

  • Title: Knit Tight
  • Series/Universe: Portland Heat #4
  • Author: Annabeth Albert
  • Publisher: Lyrical Shine/Kensington Books
  • Publication date: April 12th 2016
  • ISBN-13: 978-1-6018-3508-6
  • Format: ebook
  • Page Count: 112 pages
  • Age Rating: Adult (Explicit sexual scenes, language, biphobia)
  • How I got my hot little hands on it: Received a copy to review
  • Publisher’s page: Knit Tight

Description:

It’s no secret that Portland, Oregon, has some of best restaurants, shops, and cafés in the country. But it’s the hard-working men who serve it all up that keep us coming back for more…

One of Portland’s hottest young baristas, Brady is famous for his java-topping flair, turning a regular cup of joe into a work of art. Every Wednesday—aka “Knit Night”—hordes of women and their needles descend on the coffeehouse, and Brady’s feeling the heat. Into the fray walks a tall, dark, and distractingly handsome stranger from New York. His name is Evren, and he’s the sexy nephew of Brady’s sweetest customer, the owner of the yarn shop down the street. He’s also got a killer smile, confident air, and masculine charm that’s tying Brady’s stomach in knots. The smitten barista can’t wait to see him at the next week’s gathering. But when he tries to ask Evren out, his plans unravel faster than an unfinished edge. If Brady hopes to warm up more than Evren’s coffee, he’ll have to find a way to untangle their feelings, get out of the friend zone, and form a close-knit bond that’s bound to last a lifetime…

My Review:

Knit Tight is an emotional romance following two very different men finding love and comfort with one another while going through difficult, seemingly hopeless situations in their personal lives.

Brady is a twenty-three-year-old bearded, long-haired Portland barista working himself ragged trying to support his four younger sibling and keep the family together after the death of their parents. Evren is an elegantly masculine twenty-eight-year-old knitwear designer and blogger of Turkish descent who’s recently left New York and returned home to help his ailing aunt in her battle with cancer.

Despite how outwardly different the two appear, Brady and Evren share an attraction from the moment Evren walks into the door for Knit Night at People’s Cup. Sadly the timing isn’t right as neither really have time for romantic entanglements, and then when Evren finds out Brady is bisexual, he tries to put a kibosh on the whole thing (some bad experiences have left him with an aversion to dating bi guys). It’s a bit of a mess all around, but eventually they both need somebody to lean on in the midst of their individually difficult situations and a friendship develops and then something more.

This book is too short to say it’s a slow burn, and it’s not really, but there are a few false starts for these two where I thought “ok, now they’re going to be together for real”, and then they weren’t. However, although it takes a while for them to get “together” together, the two share plenty of sexy phone calls and stolen moments along the way.

The fading health of Mira, Evren’s aunt, plays a pivotal role in the plot, leading to much shared heartache, not only among Evren and the knitting community, but Brady and his family as well since she’s one of the only people in their neighborhood who knows about his family situation and went out of her way to be kind to them, even knitting ornaments for the kids during the holidays.

All in all, Knit Tight was a semi-short read, that didn’t feel short at all, packed with emotional feels that had me rooting for the main character to find some much needed happiness in each other the whole way through. I loved the coffee shop setting (of course), loved the characters, and loved the writing. Knit Tight read as a standalone, but I enjoyed it so much I absolutely plan on picking up the rest of the books in the Portland Heat series.

   

Evren and Brady have more than a few bumps in the road on their way to HEA. It’s after the first of such bumps that the two reconnect over a cup of Turkish coffee and cake, both prepared by Ev. Now, Turkish coffee is a method of making coffee, not an actual blend or type of coffee itself, but if you want a coffee with similar characteristics to Turkish coffee, and that very much reminds me of the elegantly masculine Ev himself, I recommend Philz Coffee Tantalizing Turkish – a very rich, very dark roast coffee heady with the masculine aromas of cardamom and tobacco.

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[Book Review] You’re Fired By Shaya Crabtree & Stiletto Coffee Ambition Blend

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You're Fired By Shaya Crabtree

  • Title: You’re Fired
  • Series/Universe: None
  • Author: Shaya Crabtree
  • Publisher: Ylva Publishing
  • Publication date: February 15th 2017
  • ISBN-13: 978-3-95533-756-8
  • Format: ebook
  • Page Count: 211 pages
  • Age Rating: Adult (Explicit sexual scenes, language)
  • How I got my hot little hands on it: Received an ARC to review
  • Publisher’s page: You’re Fired

Description:

When poor college student Rose Walsh gives out an inappropriate gag gift at her office Christmas party, it backfires horribly. The gift’s recipient is her boss, the esteemed president of Gio Corp., Vivian Tracey, and the only thing that can save Rose now is her smarts.

Instead of firing her, Vivian blackmails math major Rose into joining her on a business trip to New York to investigate an embezzlement. A week out of state with a woman she can barely stand seems like the last thing Rose wants to do with her winter vacation. Only, maybe Vivian is not as bad as she seems. Maybe they can even become friends…or more.

My Review:

You’re Fired is a snarky, sarcasm-laden romance between Rose, a devil-may-care math major turned temporary office worker, and Vivian, her straight-laced, by-the-book boss.

Sometimes, for whatever reasons, a character just won’t gel with a reader. And that’s what happened to me with Rose. It’s not a reflection on the writing, or the story, both of which I liked and enjoyed, it’s just that I wasn’t feeling the main character. It happens sometimes.

Rose Walsh is a woman born under a lucky star, or something. She’s beautiful, hot, and smart, and everything always turns up, well, roses for her. Give your office secret Santa a sex toy, and that secret Santa turns out to be your boss? You get promoted and an all-expenses-paid trip to New York. Want to get bumped up to first class without paying for it? Just flirt with the sexiest stewardess you can find. Need to find out about the embezzlement going on behind the scenes at your job? Literally only spend minutes looking and find all the answers. Want to get in your boss’s pants, even though she’s kind of involved with someone else? Go for it, there will be no repercussions for you at all, yay!

It was a little more complicated than that, Rose does have useful math skills, but her attitude and outlook, combined with Lady Luck giving her a seemingly free pass in life, didn’t make me her biggest fan for most of the book, which was unfortunate since You’re Fired is told from her perspective. I did really like Vivian though; she was Rose’s saving grace for me. As Rose and Vivian got closer, both physically and emotionally, Rose’s personality softened just enough that I began like her a bit by the end. Rose was also good for Vivian, showing a more adventurous side to the once cold-seeming woman.

Overall, You’re Fired was a quick, not too deep, sexy office romance. While I didn’t feel an affinity for the main character, the actually storyline wasn’t bad and I did find it to be pretty witty in some parts and liked the flippant, brazen writing style, so I’d probably read more books by this author.

   

I love a good office romance, and I love it even more when the love interest is a sexy, sassy, classy boss like Vivian Tracey. Stiletto Coffee’s tag line is “for driven women with exquisite class and a touch of sass” and I feel like that’s a great description for Vivian, so I’m recommending Stiletto Coffee Ambition Blend – a really complex medium roast blend with a mix of citrus, chocolate, and an interesting nutty, toasty flavor – perfect for perking up and stimulating one’s senses while enduring a long, wilting day at the office.

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

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[Book Review] The Cosy Coffee Shop Of Promises By Kellie Hailes & The Tea Farm Rose Peppermint Coffee

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The Cosy Coffee Shop of Promises By Kellie Hailes

  • Title: The Cosy Coffee Shop Of Promises
  • Series/Universe: None
  • Author: Kellie Hailes
  • Publisher: HarperCollins UK/HQ Digital
  • Publication date: February 10th 2017
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-00-824393-7
  • Format: ebook
  • Page Count: 155 pages
  • Age Rating: Young Adult & Up (vague sexual references, vague mention of past near-assualt)
  • How I got my hot little hands on it: Received an ARC to review
  • Publisher’s page: The Cosy Coffee Shop Of Promises

Description:

Curl up in The Cosy Coffee Shop of Promises with a latte and a scone, the perfect antidote to a grey day!

Mel’s dream of opening a coffee shop is finally a reality! A cosy little place turning out the best flat whites and most delicious pastries in Devon. In the picture-perfect town of Rabbit’s Leap no one can stand in her way – especially local pub owner, Tony. She doesn’t care how gorgeous he is, she will not let him steal her customers with his fancy new coffee machine!

There is only room in their small town for one coffee shop…but when Hurricane Val – aka her mother – is due to blow into town, Mel is in desperate need of an instant boyfriend. She can’t face another hunt to ‘find a man’ and while Tony may be her business rival, Mel can’t help but notice he’d make the perfect fake fiancé…

If they can strike a deal all they need to do is stick to it, no falling in love, no real feelings and definitely no dreams of a happy-ever-after!

My Review:

The Cosy Coffee Shop Of Promises is a really cute, sweet romance following two small town business rivals, turned reluctant allies, who tread the fine line between love and hate until the scales finally tip the initially reluctant pair into a picture-perfect Happily-Ever-After.

In the small rural town of Rabbit’s Leap, local pub owner Tony McArthur is struggling to keep The Bullion, the pub he inherited from his father, afloat. He has a brilliant idea to bring in more customers and diversify his offerings – buy a coffee machine and start selling cups of joe to his patrons.

Local café owner Mel Sullivan is none too pleased when she lays eyes on the shiny new coffee machine sitting on the end of Tony’s bar. Mel’s already dealing with an unexpected, and unwanted, visit from her troublesome mother; she doesn’t need to deal with Tony stealing her struggling café’s few customers.

Before all heck can break out, the two business rivals come to an understanding – Mel will help Tony revitalize his pub, without stealing her customers, and Tony will help Mel keep her mother off her back by pretending to be Mel’s loving fiancé.

Tony and Mel are both surprisingly deep characters with Tony’s family obligations hanging like a weight around his neck and Mel’s troubled childhood causing her to be so closed off to allowing anyone in. Watching the two of them fight the unexpected attraction developing between them and their slow, inevitable slide into romantic feelings really had me investing in their happiness. The burn felt sllloooow though, like I was ready to knock some sense into some heads kind of slow, so I was thrilled when it all worked out. Mel’s mom, “Hurricane Val”, was my least favorite part of the book. She added a lot of depth to Mel and her struggles, but as a character she just had no saving qualities to me, as a mother she was disaster, and by the end I just couldn’t buy any kind of redemption for her.

The Cosy Coffee Shop Of Promises was a nice way to spend a comfy afternoon. Once I got over my initial disappointment that there was only a small amount of time spent in the actual coffee shop (I felt like the vast majority of the time was spent in the bar), I really enjoyed this cozy little romance. I would absolutely read more by this author.

   

In The Cosy Coffee Shop Of Promises, Mel wears her all black clothing and her spunky black and pink striped hair like a shield, but her pink-painted café with green trim and fairy lights contains peeks into her true, inner aesthetic: a rose-printed vintage cake stand, a vintage cash register, and a selection of vintage magazine for her customers to read while waiting (a sneak peek into her closet also proves to be rather revealing *wink, wink*). With her love of charmingly feminine touches, I think Mel would absolutely adore The Tea Farm Rose Peppermint Coffee Blend – a beautiful blend of coffee, peppermint, and rose buds that results in a wholly unique experience and a really lovely cup of coffee.

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