Rating - ⭐⭐⭐⭐
"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."
Bookshops & Bonedust is the prequel to Travis Baldree's cozy fantasy book Legends & Lattes.
I read Legends & Lattes when it came out in 2022, and I was quite happy that I ended up enjoying myself. I don't feel too drawn to cozy books very often, but since that book was making its rounds on social media I, of course, had to pick it up as well. Having liked it I naturally decided to read the prequel book as well, and was just as equally charmed by it.
In this prequel, we follow a young Viv during her stay in Murk, a small but charming area boasting good books and delicious goods. Or, well, trying to in the case of the former. Stuck in the town while healing from an injury and waiting to rendezvous with the mercenary group, she takes it upon herself to help Fern, the local bookshop owner, to bring their shop to life. Along the way, we meet some interesting and loveable characters in town who you can't help but love, just like the characters in the first book.
This may not resonate with readers as much as the first one since I know some readers don't like books about books, but this charming and cozy read is worth the read even if you don't. This is a great book with a low commitment as it is on the shorter side and thus easy to breeze through. As it is cozy as well it is a good book to curl up in bed with, and there are enough stakes to keep you enthralled.
The only negative comment I have about this book, or rather a wish, is that there were pictures of the characters somewhere in it. Sure, you know what Viv, Potroast and Fern look like as they are on the cover, but as all of the characters are different beings it would be nice to have them visualized for you, something fantasy books don't really do.