REVIEW: Love and Lattes by Karis Walsh
Bonnie James has built her life around her passions—cats, coffee, and community. She rejected her family’s narrow visions of success and instead chose the non-lucrative, fur-filled life of a cat café owner. So what if her decision means she works way too much to have time for true love? She has plenty of friends and cats to keep her company.
Wedding planner Taryn Ritter has a knack for making impossible dreams come true. She might not understand the appeal of getting married in a cat café, but if that’s what her clients want, then she’ll make it happen. She’s not about to let the reluctant café owner stand in her way, so she makes Bonnie an offer she can’t refuse—give her the venue for one day and she’ll find a way to get more cats adopted into happy homes.
When Bonnie and Taryn join forces to help a bunch of shelter cats find their forever homes, they just might discover forever for themselves as well.
Dear Ms. Walsh,
Cat on the cover, especially if it’s such a cute kitten as this one is, and I’m there. Double yay that the cat isn’t just there to lure helpless cat lovers like me into reading the book. Cats play a fairly big role in the story. It’s too bad that the romantic relationship plays less of a role.
Bonnie has fallen back on owning and running a cat café after her disastrous exit from non-profit work. Her family might not be thrilled that she hasn’t followed their mandate of having either a large family or a job with a large paycheck, but Bonnie is happy. She’s still doing good in the world by helping cats find homes plus she enjoys baking and cooking as well. So if she’s not exactly pushing the café forward, she’s still making enough of a profit to stay in business.
When wedding planner Taryn shows up to discuss the town mayor and his fiancé having their nuptials in the café – after all they met there and adopted two of Bonnie’s cats – she’s surprised at Bonnie’s immediate refusal. This is publicity! The rental fee alone will cover a month’s expenses. Taryn knows she’s going to keep gently pushing and not take “no” for an answer yet when Bonnie shows up in her office, Bonnie’s ready to sign the contract – having rethought her objections with the help of a good friend. Taryn doesn’t even need the enticement of helping set up a “speed adoption dating” for some of Bonnie’s cats, as well as those of a few other rescues, to sweeten the deal.
As the two mull over and plan the adoption event and meet with the fiancés to taste test pumpkin yummies, they talk and eventually dive deeper into why two women with a lot to offer another woman aren’t even dating anyone. Can they understand what is holding them back and then move forward?
I’ve got to be honest and say that as women’s fiction, this book is lovely. Bonnie and Taryn are great people, they care passionately about their jobs and work hard to give the best to their customers and clients. Taking care of my number of cats is enough daily work so the thought of Bonnie caring for 24 cats (plus kittens, plus her own three at home) astounds me. Oh, and bake and manage the rest of the café, too. Yeah, that. Seeing to the details of the personalized weddings that Taryn tries to help her clients envision and then make happen needs her detail oriented work ethic. I enjoyed the bits and pieces of all of this that are presented.
I like the idea of the wedding in the café and the cat adoption event but wow, too much planning. I realize that this is a fraction of what people actually doing this would go through but it slowed the pacing and made the book drag a bit. The infusions of scenes with the cats at the café perked me up again but then we’d be back to lists and Bonnie deciding on cat placements during the event. This was not so interesting.
But where I had the most trouble was the romance. There isn’t much of one. Taryn and Bonnie get awkward around each other and Taryn gets sexually antsy when Bonnie has to repeatedly remove cats from her lap whose claws have sunk into Taryn’s pants. There are some glances and light touches but when Taryn drops the relationship bomb on Bonnie and pushes her away although I could understand Taryn’s reasoning due to her upbringing, my first thought was “Taryn’s pulling the plug on what romance?” They’ve only sorta dated twice, kissed once, held hands just a little. There’s no relationship to pull back from.
The final chapter zips forward to the HEA of the relationship I would love to have seen unfold a bit more. The cats are fabulous, the secondary characters add some punch to the story, the MCs are fine people but the romance let me down a bit. B-/C+