(I'm sorry for the blog title. It's relevant, I promise.)
I was a little late to the Legends and Lattes bandwagon, but I am fully on the train now! Thankfully, NetGalley and Macmillan understood my needs and granted me advanced copies (both Kindle and audio!) of Bookshops and Bonedust by Travis Baldree.
Bookshops and Bonedust is a prequel to Legends and Lattes, and gives us a glimpse into Viv's life before she comes to settle in Thune and opening the infamous coffee shop we've all come to love. In Bookshops and Bonedust, Viv has been injured while on the job for Rackam's Ravens and is forced to recover in the quiet beachside town of Murk. To assuage the boredom of a life without battle, Viv wanders into an admittedly struggling bookshop where she befriends the owner, Fern. Just like in Legends and Lattes, this younger version of Viv immediately finds ways to help Fern improve sales, and hopefully, save the bookshop. There's still a necromancer on the loose, however, so there's no shortage of adventure, and even a little romance!
[STOP READING HERE IF YOU HAVEN'T READ LEGENDS AND LATTES. THERE BE SPOILERS AHEAD!]
I really enjoyed this prequel! Just like Legends and Lattes, it's a pretty low-stakes, cozy fantasy that is a refreshing break for someone who loves epic fantasies and romantasy. So much of this series feels like you're in a back corner of the bookshop (or the coffeeshop) watching everything unfold in a town that you love, knowing that everyone will be safe and happy at the end of the day. It's pure contentment in a way that's hard to explain other than to just reiterate that this is a very, very cozy fantasy.
So much of Fern and the bookshop in general will be relatable to book lovers; she has relatable relationship with books--even with books she didn't/wouldn't read or enjoy herself. There's a reverence in her that book people will find kinship with, and it's beautiful. I found myself whispering, "oh, me too, girl" quite frequently at Fern.
We know that Viv and Tandri end up together in Legends and Lattes, so it tracks that we know that the romance between Viv and Maylee is a bit bittersweet; we know it's "doomed." That being said, it's still sweet, and just because flings don't work out, doesn't make them not worth the time you spend together when things are good. Viv and Maylee both know that Viv's time in Murk is temporary, and they're both okay with that, even if they know that there will be some pain at the end.
There's also an adorable fuzzy companion in Pot Roast! He's my gryphet baby angel and I will die for him if needed.
The audiobook, narrated again by Travis Baldree himself, was wonderful. Honestly, I don't think there's anyone quite as suited for narrating a book as the author. They know, far more than anyone else, each character's voice and how to properly represent them. I know that narrating a book is nowhere near as easy as "just reading the words out loud," so I think it's really cool that Travis Baldree is able to both write and narrate his own books. Clearly, Travis' talents know no bounds!
Seriously, if you need a cozy, low-stakes palate cleanser that will capture your heart, you need the Legends and Lattes series by Travis Baldree. You can grab copies of Legends and Lattes here or here before preordering Bookshops and Bonedust here or here ahead of its November 7 release.
Love and blind books in the "moist" genre,
Disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of this book, and audiobook, from the publisher via NetGalley and have voluntarily written this review with my honest feedback. If you purchase a copy using my Bookshop.org affiliate link above, I will receive a small commission and you'll support local indies! If you purchase a copy using my Amazon affiliate link above, I will receive a small commission which I will use to justify my literary addictions and to spoil my dogs (probably).