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My ARC review of The Barista’s Guide to the Perfect Steam, by Valerie Pepper

Book #2 in Valerie Pepper's Guided to Love series, The Barista’s Guide to the Perfect Steam is possibly even better than her debut, which is no small feat! Pepper is an up-and-coming author to watch, and Barista releases on September 3rd, so add it to your TBR!



Setting:


📍Talladega, Alabama

⏰ Present day


Pluses from my perspective:


❤️ Laugh-out-loud funny, in a distinctly Southern voice.

❤️ Diversity (ethnic / racial / LGBT+) in side characters.

❤️ Already-strong entrepreneur FMC who doesn’t yet grasp how worthy she is, but discovers it over the course of the story, and consequently gets even stronger.

❤️ Lovable “golden retriever” / “cinnamon roll” MMC.

❤️ Healthy relationship dynamics between MCs.

❤️ Mutually respectful, loving, core-of-the-sun-level spicy scenes.


Other notes:


🤔 I occasionally wanted to throttle the FMC Jodi for letting her family walk all over her. A deeper delving into her back story might have shed light on how her fears could hold SO much power over her. 


🤔 My family has deep roots in the South, and I myself was born, raised, and spent 33 years there. I do not say this lightly when I admit I have a love-hate relationship with my own culture. As a result, I was alternately charmed and triggered by much of what I read in this book (and it’s predecessor, The Widow’s Guide to Second Chances). 


😍 Did I mention how freaking sweet and lovable the MMC is? I double-dog-dare you not to fall head over heels in love with Price.


Spice rating by my own scale:


🌶️🌶️🌶️🌶️🌶️ Open door / on-the-page sex scenes. Sex acts, body parts, and/or bodily fluids and their movement are described in explicit, graphic detail and with the prolific use of naughty words.


Content advisories:


⚠️ Small-town BS (everybody up in each other’s bidness).

⚠️ Toxic dynamics within the MCs’ families. ⚠️ Parental abandonment and/or death (discussed,  not shown).

⚠️ Sibling death (discussed, not shown).

⚠️ Displacement from home.


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🙏 Thank you SO MUCH to @authorvaleriepepper for my ARC copy! 

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