#bookreview – ‘But First, Coffee’ by Sarah Darlington

📖  I received an arc of this book for an honest review. Contain Spoilers. Age 18+

SDButFirstCoffeeBookCover6x9_HIGH She’s the boss.
I’m only a barista in her company.
I really don’t give a f**k about her one way or the other.

And then there’s Doug Maddox, a man with a lot of power over me. He’s blackmailing me. Making me spy on her. I’m supposed to find her weaknesses and destroy her. But the closer I get, the more the lines between us start to blur.

She’s sweet. She’s kind. She’s sexy as hell.
Why am I the only man who see’s this?

So now I’m stuck—between keeping my sister safe against Doug, because that’s what’s really at stake here, and these feelings I can’t deny for a woman who shouldn’t mean anything to me.

I know what I have to do. I’ll destroy her.
It doesn’t matter if I have to destroy my own heart in the process.


When I first started reading this book I thought that it was going to be a light read, I was quite wrong there, because the topics that this book touches are quite dark and serious. So, be warned that this book talks about drugs and rape, and that these topics could be in triggering for some people.

What drew me to this book was the tittle, it had the word “Coffee” in it, so, when I was offered the opportunity on Instagram to get an arc and take part of the bookstragram tour, I jumped at it of course.

I quite liked this book, even though it didn’t have that much coffee in it – it had just enough I guess, there will never be enough coffee for me.

First of all, I cannot get over the name of Joe Coffee. I can’t decide if it’s an awesome name or too cheesy. It definitely helps Joe fit in with the plot and the tittle of the book more, but it does seem a bit too much. His name did add a certain levity to the books at times because it is a cheesy name (oh, I guess I have decided). However it did trick me into thinking that this book was going to be a light read, so, the name ended up being quite awesome because of it.  With a character with the name of  ‘Joe Coffee’, who’s also a barista, and the whole book is about a coffee company, you don’t expect it to go that dark, as the book sometimes did.

Joe and Lana’s relationship was really interesting. It had that ‘forbidden love’ aspect to it, so of course it made me want to cheer for them. The only thing that I didn’t enjoy of it was the ‘insta love’ that they had, they straight away fell in love with each other, and that was a little unrealistic. It’s a trope that I never really liked, and as I grew older, I been liking it even less. It is a personal preference bear in mind, and it’s what stopped my complete enjoyment of the book. By the end of the book their relationship did move past that, so, I did enjoy it more.

Joe is a rape victim and I really appreciated that this book has male victim representation (I’m not saying that rape is excusable in any way just FYI), many books when they have rape in the plot it’s mainly women that are represented, and male rape is rarely (in my experience) shown any representation, unless it’s a specific book such as m/m (gay) books. That said, it was a little unrealistic how quickly Joe got over his issues with it. At the point that him and Lana slept together, they had only meet for a few days. I think that this might be going back to the insta love troupe that I mentioned – they meet and pretty much feel in love straight away, and that love helped them move past the issues that they have, blah, blah, blah…

Lana is a really strong female character. She’s a business woman who wont take any BS from anyone, specially not Joe. I liked that she fought for what she wanted in both her business and personal. Though with her relationship with Joe, I think that she took a little time to feel confident enough to fight for Joe, specially to support him with his addiction at times. At the end, I really liked how she stood up to Doug and didn’t let him bully her into swapping their business. Even if she did end up selling her business, it was on her term and no one else.

I was not expecting this book to have suspense as it did. I did like that about the book- Joe having to spy on Lana because he was being blackmailed by Doug because of his sister, Kitty. Then however, Doug went away really easily – there was no straight on confrontation with him about the blackmail, and the quick confrontation that Lana did have with him about the business wasn’t that exciting. Also, why didn’t Joe go to Doug in the first place? Their revenge plot that they had ended up being useless. Kitty got her videos back just by asking, why did’t they try that before?

I don’t understand why Doug gave up his blackmail materials so easily, the reasoning that he did it because he might like Kitty, I though was really weak. The ending confused me a little too, but it made me excited that maybe we might get a better reasoning why Doug did what he did. Though Kitty, annoyed me. I mean, her brother has been blackmailed by this guys for years, he was miserable, all to protect her, and then she goes to Dough and shows up with him to the inauguration of their new business? What? How selfish can a person be? If she is together with Doug, she’ll be throwing everything that her brother did for he in his face. Kitty was portrayed as an spoiled girl, but event then…

Even with the point that I didn’t like, I did enjoy reading this book. The romance was okay, and the sexy parts are not fit to be read in public. I really like the dual P.O.V. and Sarah did it really well. I really enjoyed reading her writing style, it was very easy to read, it didn’t have to think to hard about what I was reading, I could just enjoy the reading.

Thank you Sarah Darlington for allowing me to receive an arc of this book and to take part of the bookstragram tour.

Go follow Sarah Darlington ( @_sarahdarlington )  on Instagram – and follow the #BUTFIRSTCOFFEETOUR for the giveaway

How to Win: Comment on any of the Bookstragram hosts post with the hashtag #ButFirstCoffeeTour and tag a friend on any of the tour photos. Follow the hashtag, because the more photos you comment on, the more chances you have to win.
Giveaway Prize: $20 Amazon GC and signed Paperback copy of BFC • Winners chosen by September 25.


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