A huge thank-you to NetGalley and the publisher for this advanced reader copy of Bookshops & Bonedust (Legends & Lattes #0.5) by Travis Baldree.
The moment that I found out Legends & Lattes was getting a prequel, I squealed for joy. Bookshops & Bonedust is a much-anticipated 2023 release, but did it live up to my expectations?
It’s always a little terrifying when a book you love gets a prequel, sequel, spin-off, or adaptation. If you’re anything like me, you usually go into it with high hopes–maybe high expectations too–and a lot of trepidation. Legends & Lattes is a book that I knew I would love the moment I first found out about it. While it took me much longer than I had hoped to actually read it, once I did, I was obsessed. So naturally, Bookshops & Bonedust was a prequel I was greatly looking forward to but also totally anxious about reading.
I didn’t need to be worried in the slightest! I inhaled this adorable story over the course of a weekend and loved every second of it. It actually gave me a terrible book hangover. Nothing else that I picked up after it was quite as satisfying, but that just confirmed how much I absolutely adored Bookshops & Bonedust! Now, I’m thrilled to share my full review with you.
Bookshops & Bonedust comes out on November 7, 2023, in the US and November 9, 2023, in the UK. I highly recommend pre-ordering a copy of it to read right away. Check out the author’s Instagram for some really awesome special editions of both books.
LOOKING FOR MORE BOOK REVIEWS?
My honest review of Bookshops & Bonedust by Travis Baldree.
When an injury throws a young, battle-hungry orc off her chosen path, she may find that what we need isn’t always what we seek.
Set in the world of New York Times bestselling Legends & Lattes, Bookshops & Bonedust takes us on a journey of high fantasy, first loves, and second-hand books.
Viv’s career with the notorious mercenary company Rackam’s Ravens isn’t going as planned.
Wounded during the hunt for a powerful necromancer, she’s packed off against her will to recuperate in the sleepy beach town of Murk—so far from the action that she worries she’ll never be able to return to it.
What’s a thwarted soldier of fortune to do?
Spending her hours at a beleaguered bookshop in the company of its foul-mouthed proprietor is the last thing Viv would have predicted, but it may be both exactly what she needs and the seed of changes she couldn’t possibly imagine.
Still, adventure isn’t all that far away. A suspicious traveler in gray, a gnome with a chip on her shoulder, a summer fling, and an improbable number of skeletons prove Murk to be more eventful than Viv could have ever expected.
Content Warnings: (major) Cursing, (moderate) Blood, Injury/Injury detail, Death, and Violence, (minor) Animal cruelty and Gore
Let’s start with the most important things, shall we? I absolutely adored the heck out of Legends & Lattes. It took me far too long to actually get my hands on it, but once I did, I inhaled it–never wanting it to end. It provided precisely what I wish every single “cozy fantasy” book would. It’s low-stakes perfection and ideal for coffee-loving fantasy readers both young and old (and everything in between).
So naturally, when it comes to the books that I love with all my heart, it can be a little bit nerve-wracking picking up a sequel, prequel, spin-off, and the like. Once you’ve put that initial book on a pedestal, you don’t want anything related to it to fall flat…
…let me reassure you right this very second that Bookshops & Bonedust lived up to every single expectation I set for it (and then some). It was precisely what I hoped a prequel to Legends & Lattes would be!
In my opinion, these books should be read in publication order rather than chronologically. My first reason for that has to do with the fact that this is a younger Viv than we meet in Legends & Lattes, and so she isn’t the same, mature character who wants a life of peace, calm, and coffee.
She has growing up to do and she does a lot of it in Bookshops & Bonedust–but I only appreciated the character development because I’d already read Legends & Lattes. My second reason is due to the epilogue, which actually made me get a little weepy! That final chapter wouldn’t hit the same way if you haven’t read the first book, but it’s so incredibly precious if you have.
While the first book felt like it was written with coffeeholics in mind, this book was definitely written for the bookworms. My, oh my, the quotes about books, reading, and escapism got me in my feels (in the best way possible). I found myself highlighting and making notes like crazy in my Kindle copy!
A few reasons why you should pick up Bookshops & Bonedust:
• It’s so funny! I can’t count the number of times that I laughed aloud at Viv’s sarcasm, Fern’s surprising potty-mouth, Satchel’s stoicism, Potroast’s… well, just Potroast himself… and all of the bizarre scenarios the whole gang found themself in.
• It’s filled with so much warmth! Travis Baldree is an expert at the found family trope, that’s for sure. There were moments that really made my heart swell with happiness and I may or may not have had to wipe a stray tear once or twice.
• I don’t care if you already think you love books, it is possible to love them more and you will find yourself doing just that by at least the halfway point in this book.
• It has ALL the cozy vibes you could possibly ask for. Reading this was like getting a big hug, having a warm cup of coffee, and sitting by a beach campfire all at once. It was just completely wonderful.
If I had to think of one word to describe this book, it would be “precious.” When I set it down after spending an entire weekend wrapped in its embrace, I was (understandably) sad to return to reality, but I also found myself sporting the cheesiest grin because it just made me so dang happy the whole time I was reading it! There’s simply no way you could possibly regret reading Bookshops & Bonedust, so do yourself a favor and dive into this world as soon as you can!