Book Review: Served Hot (#1 Portland Heat) by Annabeth Albert

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I picked this one up on a whim, saw the cover (to be exact the “Served Hot” typography) and decided to give it a try. I’ll be honest I was mostly attracted to the coffee theme. I had also picked it up because it was a short piece, at the time I wasn’t up for long reads. 

On another note, I’ve decided to add the book covers, so readers can also understand what I’m talking about when I talk about book cover designs (sometimes I could go on and on about them) 😀

Summary from Goodread

In Portland, Oregon, the only thing hotter than the coffee shops, restaurants, and bakeries are the hard-working men who serve it up—hot, fresh, and ready to go—with no reservations…

Robby is a self-employed barista with a busy coffee cart, a warm smile, and a major crush on one of his customers. David is a handsome finance director who works nearby, eats lunch by himself, and expects nothing but “the usual”—small vanilla latte—from the cute guy in the cart. But when David shows up for his first Portland Pride festival, Robby works up the nerve to take their slow-brewing relationship to the next level. David, however, is newly out and single, still grieving the loss of his longtime lover, and unsure if he’s ready to date again. Yet with every fresh latte, sweet exchange—and near hook-up—David and Robby go from simmering to steaming to piping hot. The question is: Will someone get burned?

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This is a short story about two guys who has been hurt in their own way by their previous relationship and have found one another; both are trying in their own ways to navigate through this relationship. What I like about this story, it was a slow burn sort of relationship, sure they were attracted to one another, but they also took their time coming together.This is my first exposure to Annebeth Albert’s work, and I like the way she approached this relationship. Both Robby and David had both come from relationships where they had to hide themselves in the closet; they were both given a set of rules which they had to abide by, and in their own way brought those restrictions into their relationship with each other, which caused its own set of problems for them.

David was pretty native and clueless on how to be in a relationship, this was because he was moving according to what he knew from his one and only past relationship. Despite having been outed after the death of his lover, he was buried so deep in the closet he didn’t know how to be out. He just carried a lot of emotional scars and baggage from his previous relationship and it really affected the one he was trying to build with Robby.

Robby on the other hand, had enough of being the hidden lover, he wanted to be with someone who he could have a real future with. His insecurities and worries about where his relationship with David were understandable. Especially how he was always second guessing himself yet trying not to voice his insecurities and fears. Despite that, he still made the effort in being patient with David, waiting till he felt comfortable enough to come out from his shell. This made me appreciate Robby.

I can understand trying to runaway from having a emotional conversation with the fear that if you put it out there it might drive the other person away, so the non-communication issue they had didn’t really bother me, because it did not become a drawn out “miscommunication” angst filled drama.

The characters were a little plain, and could come off as a boring and overly cheesy at times but it wasn’t that big of an issue for me, although I know that it could totally be one. I think I just appreciated that the drama level was quite low, I know how some stories could take a more dramatic angle and we could have gotten a crazier cast, but I think the way the couple managed to resolve their situation and move towards their HEA in such a subdue manner was good.

I know I said it was a short read, but at the same time…it ended a little too abruptly. I felt it was because the author tried to cram quite a bit of back story despite it being a short piece, that when it got to the ending it was just “BAM! THE END!” I think that could have been done a little better.

I wanted to keep this for a book quote post but decided to just put it in the review as well, because Robby’s view of David is so sweet and cheesy; plus, I love how it comes back to the coffee theme 😀

Since David had come into my life I’d learned a lot more about hope. It looks like ivory sheets and stacks of paint cans and two pairs of shoes next to the bed. It sounds like rustling bedcovers and murmured endearments. Hope tastes like skin and soap and victory and coffee. And I can say now with absolute certainty that hope does come in a paper cup and smells an awful lot like a vanilla latte to go.

Overall, I felt the book was ok I didn’t LOVE it but it was breezy and I would probably keep reading the series. Would I recommend this book? Honestly, I don’t think its for everyone; there really wasn’t a lot of climax points, so I could see it being boring to some readers, but if you’re looking something sweet and easy, go for it. Plus, did I mention that I really like the coffee theme? 😉

The base photo for the graphic above is by Padurariu Alexandru taken from StockSnap.

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