Review: Bookshops & Bonedust by Travis Baldree


Read Shazzie’s review
Buy Bookshops & Bonedust HERE

I love stories, and I love telling them.

I’m the author of Legends & Lattes, a low-stakes cozy fantasy novel. I’m a narrator too, and I’ve loved the art since I first heard Frank Muller’s legendary work. I’ve lent my voice to hundreds of books (including my own). I live with my wife, two kids, and dog in Washington State, and I get up every morning excited and grateful to do this job.

I’m also an erstwhile veteran game developer, and it’s possible you’ve played something I’ve made. Torchlight, Fate & Rebel Galaxy have sold millions of copies on desktops and consoles. I remain the co-owner and CEO of Double Damage Games.


FORMAT/INFO: Bookshops & Bonedust will be published November 7th, 2023 by Tor Books. It is 352 pages and is told in third person from Viv’s POV. It is will be available in paperback, ebook, and audiobook.

OVERVIEW/ANALYSIS: When a sudden injury sidelines Viv from her team of mercenaries, she is absolutely miserable. She had a chance to bring down a dangerous necromancer, but instead she’s stuck in a small town, barely able to walk, half-convinced her team won’t come back to retrieve her when the contract is complete. But when she stumbles across a rundown secondhand bookshop, Viv discovers a love of reading. Suddenly, Viv has a new mission: save Thistleburr Booksellers.

Have you ever fantasized about running a bookshop, of having a space where people come sit and read, where you always have the perfect recommendation for every customer? If so, live that life secondhand in Bookshops & Bonedust, the cozy fantasy prequel to Legends & Lattes! And if you’d rather spend your time in bookshops instead of coffee shops, you can skip right to this latest installment without worry. Bookshops & Bonedust is set 20 years in Viv’s past, and absolutely no knowledge of her adventures in Legends & Lattes is required.

The worst thing I can say about Bookshops & Bonedust is that in many ways, it’s more of the same things you saw in Legends & Lattes: Viv builds up a business, and at the same time, creates a community. There is something incredibly soothing about the process though, of watching a dilapidated shop become something more. It’s the same kind of feeling I get from games like Stardew Valley, where you watch a ramshackle farm become a thriving business. If that kind of storyline appeals to you, you will absolutely love Bookshops & Bonedust.

I will say that I liked Bookshops & Bonedust has a little more sense of danger and adventure than its predecessor. There’s a mystery afoot in town tied with that mysterious necromancer Viv was hunting at the book’s beginning, and Viv has to prove her fighting skills before the day is done.

CONCLUSION: But despite having a bit more action than Legends & Lattes, this is still a cozy fantasy, without a grimdark notion in sight; here, even the skeletons are charming. I settled down with Bookshops & Bonedust over a vacation and it was exactly what I needed: a charming, engaging story about the perfect little book shop, with plenty of friends to keep you company along the way.

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