by Karmen Lee
Series: Coffee Shops of Love #2
Publication Date: August 25, 2021
I received an advance review copy of this book from BookSprout. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.My rating:
Julie Kim's life was supposed to be simple. Falling for the gorgeous barista with the enigmatic smile was not part of the plan.
Cameran Davis loves love and her coffee shop, Love & Lattes, reflects that. But, she's starting to wonder if maybe happily ever after isn't in the cards.
A surprise run-in culminates in a ruse leading to acknowledging feelings and steamy nights. When things get real, will they fight for a chance at happiness or go their separate ways?
There has been a plethora of coffee shop romances lately and I love it! This is a sweet sapphic romance novella with a bit of fake dating.
“There was a lot I didn’t know about Cameran, but I hoped to change that.
I was going to be the best fake girlfriend Cameran ever had.”
Cameran may get serious heart-eyes every time she sees a certain customer at her café, but she has no idea how to ask her out. Julie feels the same way about the cute barista, but it isn’t until she needs to distract her ex that she, well, kisses Cameran. Of course, it’s a short path from there to fake dating… but we all know how that ends, right?
“She seemed friendly in a way I struggled with, and her personality—bubbly and effervescent—was like a beacon calling out to those of us who wanted to emulate that. Even in our short interactions, she seemed to be able to coax me out, like a turtle slowly seeing the world beyond its shell. She was warm and friendly, and I wanted to hover around and soak up her rays.”
This novella is told from Cameran and Julie’s alternating first person POVs. Julie proposes fake dating ostensibly to show her ex, Claire, that she’s doing fine without her, but in reality she wants to show Cameran – the “cotton candy princess of her dreams” (isn’t that ADORABLE) – what a good girlfriend she’d make. Cameran’s never dated before, and is very insecure about being too pushy or not pushy enough when it comes to their physical relationship. They’re both initially tongue-tied and shy around the other because they both just want this relationship so much. It’s so sweet and yes, adorable, but also there’s a nice bit of pining and then a very hot resolution to that! The main issue in their relationship, though, is communication. Julie’s not out to her family. Both sides of her family (Black and Korean) are very religious and she worries that coming out will ruin their relationship. She doesn’t want to tell Cameran that she’s in the closet either, though, as she knows plenty of people would see that as a complete non-starter. As you can probably expect, keeping secrets doesn’t work out so well for their relationship, but I loved how Julie handled her apology. As for cons, the situation with the ex pretty much petered out and I would’ve liked a bit more resolution on that.
Overall, this was a sweet and warm novella, and I’m very much looking forward to reading the first book in this series!