Bookishly Happy

Pre-Loved Books | Timeless Adventures

Bookishly Happy

Pre-Loved Books | Timeless Adventures

Bookish Reviews

Any book not in store can be found on our BookShop site(most of the time):


TITLE: “The Man Who Loved Books Too Much”

AUTHOR: Allison Hoover Bartlett

Overall Thoughts: Another great book recommend from my friend Terry! A few months back I read an article on a large book heist and brought this piece of knowledge up in conversation with Terry. He brought me this book to borrow and share in the world of book thieves. This true story follows the paths of an at large book thief in California and a book loving ABAA member who strives to hunt the thief down. Bartlett uses her news sleuthing prowess to contact both men and tell both sides of this story equally and honestly. As a bookseller this story gave me valuable insight to this world I entered only a few years ago. I now have a MUCH greater appreciation for those who specialize in rare books only and the level of security and knowledge they protect. This story not only looks at books as objects but gates to history, our future and humanity itself. Definitely a recommend for any bibliophile out there! This book was borrowed so it is not in store currently but can be found on our BookShop page!

TITLE: “The Bear and the Nightingale”

AUTHOR: Katherine Arden

Overall Thoughts: I have been wanting to read this book for SO LONG. I finally picked it up from my friends @well_read_moose and am so glad I did! A dark Russian fantasy tale of a girl who has powers that decide the fate of her land. Arden blends reality and the fantastical seamlessly. Her imagery pulls the reader into dark woods with frozen winds whipping around them, the sound of distant hoof beats echoing all around. A slower moving fantasy story that builds character wonderfully and makes almost every character relatable. Definitely recommend! This is a series and I cannot wait to read book number two! Book is available on our Bookshop site (this copy is being added to my home library!). And yes, we still are on vacation but I had to show that I read a book with my time off! 🙌🏻

TITLE: “The Burning Light”

AUTHORS: Bradley P. Beaulieu and Rob Ziegler

Overall Thoughts: First, yes I did indeed finish this book at my gym @fuelfitness_cda ! Second, what a fast paced exciting read! Less than 200 pages but full of mirky canals and vengeful cops (think ex-military vigilantes that call themselves cops). For a novella style story this held my attention and built character backstory well! The main story lines are easily related to and the characters are honestly more realistic in their mannerisms than many. Definitely recommend! 

TITLE: “Epitaph for a Peach”

AUTHOR: “David Mas Masumoto

Overall Thoughts: A while back my brother-in-law recommended this book to me. It finally fell into my hands and I had to read it. A sweeping story filled with ripe peaches, farm life and the reality of running a business based on principle rather than profit. Masumoto tells of life on his peach farm and what practices he has chosen and why. This book reads like the vapor of a summer rain, telling of times swiftly changing in an industry as old as modern man. A truly poetic work I would recommend to anyone searching for purpose in their professional life. I stopped and questioned myself multiple times while reading. Why do I do what I do? If the future seems bleak could I continue? What is the purpose of my trade? A wonderful dense read, if you want a though provoking memoir this is the book for you.

Title: “Seven People You Find In Bookshops”

Author: Shaun Bythell

Overall Thoughts: I love when shop customers bring books in for me to read. Thanks Terry for letting me borrow this gem! Bythell paints a satirical yet extremely realistic picture of the people that come into our book worlds. Being mainly a one-woman shop can be lonely sometimes. This compilation made the world smaller for me. Having another bookseller describe some of the exact situations I have been in made me laugh and almost cry at the same time. Customers make the world go ‘round and this caricature of almost every person is hilarious and humanizing. Definitely recommend if you want a light fun book describing potentially yourself, ha! 

TITLE: “The Bridge”

AUTHOR: Karen Kingsbury

Overall Thoughts: Christmas, books and a long lost love. The perfect setting for a Hallmark-esque book! This story made me appreciate the bookseller occupation I have chosen. This is my first time reading Kingsbury and I totally understand why people enjoy following along with her characters!

Definitely a great easy holiday read (I completed it in an hour and a half!).

Title: “The Book of Lost Things”

Author: John Connolly

Overall Thoughts: Get swept up into a magically dark world along with a boy named David. Set during World War II, this story is timeless and relatable to most readers. David’s mother has passed away and his family is changing. As he moves into a new home and struggles with having a half brother, twelve year old David gets lured into a dark land that still captures his sense of wonder. Connolly uses classic fairy tales to move the story along and in doing so reveals much about the main characters. By the end of the book my hear was aching for our adult world, and the loss of childhood that comes with growing up. Even though this is a fairy tale for adults, it will call to your inner child.

Disclaimer: This book does deal with death and darker themes, some that may be difficult to read. Feel free to reach out for more clarity on this book. I will definitely recommend!

A great retelling and in true form to how some of our favorite tales were originally intended.

Title: “Used and Rare”

Authors: Lawrence and Nancy Goldstone

Overall Thoughts: WOW! As a bookseller this true story gave me so much insight into the book world that I have joined. The couple tells their story of book buying and how it morphed into more for them. This thin book is full of info about famous authors and some of the most renowned booksellers. If you love collecting books this is a great story to inspire and to glean knowledge from! The Goldstones tell their tale in a light yet informative tone. I laughed out loud in some parts. Total recommend for that bookish person in your life!

Title: “Howl’s Moving Castle”

Author: Diana Wynn Jones

Overall Thoughts: This title is probably familiar because of the Studio Ghibli film, which was GREAT but had some major differences from this children’s book. The world that is built has some great magic and wonderfully memorable characters. Calcifer being one of the most iconic. The quirky attitude of the main character Sophie is hilarious and something to be modeled after. If I had to categorize this story I would definitely choose a comedy of errors. Which is how life often is. Each character has their own set of issues to overcome, combine that with the “Who’s on First” situation going on and fire demon magic and you have a great modern fairy tale. The plot builds and you learn quite a bit about each of the characters if you really pay attention. This book is categorized as a chapter book, and I would definitely say it is a great book to stretch comprehension in young readers. Characters change names, looks, and the writing conveys so much that you cannot rely on the descriptions alone to see what is truly happening. Where the book became confusing, I re-read and was able to catch on to what Jones was doing. Definitely a recommend for readers young and old!

Title: “Sorcery of Thorns”

Author: Margaret Rogerson

Overall Thoughts: It has been a moment since I have read a YA/Teen book! What a wondrously fantastic book lovers dream. A girl grows up in a library that holds grimoires, books that hold the secrets to her worlds sorcerers. I did not need to know anything but that and I was hooked. Rogerson builds a world dripping with magic and possibility. The plot is simple but completely engaging. It reads well and avoids some of the plunders many books written for younger audiences make. The descriptions used vibrant language and it made for lovable characters. Definitely recommend!

Title: “Dracula”

Author: Bram Stoker

Overall Thoughts: This book is definitely not on my to read list for this year but I am so glad that I did! Stoker creates a gritty yet hopeful world where vampires are real. The horror does not lie in jump scares but the unknown. If you struggle reading classics because the language is difficult, do not fear when you read this book! The voice is direct and easily followed. As usual, some parts of the plot seem to drag on, be sure to pay attention as every journal entry or letter is a clue! Definitely recommend, especially for non-classics readers who want to dabble in pre-1900’s literature. Book will be in store on Tuesday! See you then!

Title: “The Muse”

Author: Jessie Burton

Overall Thoughts: I do not often buy books solely on their cover but this one such occasion. The typewriter surrounding by items that carry deep meaning to this story evoked mystery and intrigue. The story jumps between Spain at the beginning of times of unrest and London in the mid-sixties. Two stories paralleling the mystery of an artist and the work that is changing the life of a young man. The voice of the more current timeline is a Caribbean woman working at an art gallery stumbling through her own life until she meets a man with a mysterious painting with mainly unknown origins. The earlier timeline follows a family living in Spain at the time of their civil war in the 30’s into World War II. Both stories gain momentum and the book begs to be finished in as few sittings as possible. I enjoyed all of the characters and felt for everyone who was brought into “The Muse’s” frame. The world of lost art during the Second World War put me on pins and needles as I tried to figure out this puzzle. Definitely recommend if you love historical fiction. This book made me research Spain and artists of that time more extensively. 

Title: “The Last Wish”

Author: Andrzej Sapkowski

Overall Thoughts: This book is one of the rare times that I have watched a show before reading the books, so I feel like a bit of a poser. ANYWAY, the story of Geralt of Rivia is one that is eludes to commonly known fairy stories as it tells the gritty tale of the Witcher’s life. Read the books you will find out all that being a Witcher entails! Geralt often finds his cantankerous self in situations that force his hand into taking a moral stance, which he hates, but ends up wholly involved. Sapkowski intersperses humor that cuts through Geralt’s serious nature and juxtaposes the nicely to this savage world. This first installment truly “introduces” us to this fantasy world and sets up a plot that draws you in. Great characters, with a wonderfully built world make for a great story!

Comparing book to movie/show often ends in despair for book lovers. I feel the series did justice to the books(at least from what I have read and seen). Of course there were flairs added that I felt unnecessary but these books lay a wonderful groundwork for this show. To make a story that is easily related via screen I understand why some liberties might have been taken. Well done Henry Cavill you make a marvelous Geralt!

I was left with many questions, and can’t wait to return to the world of Slavic creatures and mutants. 

TITLE: “The Stand”- Complete & Uncut

Author: Stephen King

Overall Thoughts: Congrats to me! This is my first read of a King novel! What a rush of humanity and horror! I chose this book because I had heard that it is one of the best battles between good and evil. King makes you feel for EVERY character (human characters that is). The premise of the story is a superflu kill over 90% of the population. A dark man is rising in the west and amassing an army. People are dreaming of a good woman called Mother Abigail, or the Dark Man. Everyone chooses their own fate and it is a wild ride as you follow characters along paths of redemption, despair, and insanity. “The Stand” gave me perspective on people and how I do not know their full story and should be aware of that at all times. Overall, for someone who is afraid to read scary books at night this book was fantastic! There were thriller elements that got the heart pumping but also a great plot to navigate as well. 

Title: “Where the Crawdads Sing”

Author: Delia Owens

Overall Thoughts: This novel has been acclaimed as one of the best in recent years. Being who I am I resisted reading it initially. WAS I SURPRISED. Owens paints the story of Kya with the tones of the South. This story plods along with the ease of a summer wind and holds your attention at every turn. A family torn apart, a murder mystery and a grand comparison of nature within our human world. The detail in the marsh land contrasting with the struggle of the human heart makes this one of my favorite books this year.

Title: “Ella Minnow Pea”

Author: Mark Dunn

Overall Thoughts: One of my quickest reads! Completed within two and half hours of literary wonder! This light-hearted story is focused around the pangram “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog”. Ella lives on the fictitious island of Nollop. Through various events letters from the pangram displayed in the town square begin to fall. As the story goes on the use of various letters is prohibited. This is displayed in the correspondence that makes of the whole of the book. The characters are lovable, relatable and quirky like real people. I found myself feeling melancholy as the townspeople lose control of their language and livelihoods. This was a quick read that had a more vast vocabulary than some seven hundred page books. Definitely recommend for an afternoon read!

Title: “Firebrand”

Author: Kristen Britain

Overall Thoughts: The Green Rider series has been a favorite of mine for years. I FINALLY was in the mood for this almost 800 page book and loved it. The characters feel real emotions and go through so much peril in their kingdom. I love pretty much all of the main characters(and that’s saying something). Britain is not an author I would consider “high fantasy” but what I truly love about her stories is their ability to take me away to Sacordia, allowing me to forget any of my troubles. The stories are not totally predictable but I keep coming back for more! This book is the sixth installment of the series.

Book is available on our Bookshop list “Books We’ve Reviewed!”

Title: “The Last Unicorn”

Author: Peter S. Beagle

Overall Thoughts: Before i has read this book I watched the animated film with a friend in high school and loved it’s quirky magic and whimsy. When I found the book I knew I needed to finally see what the true story was. Beagle creates a magical world that is believably lived in. Definitely recommend and would like to leave you with a couple of my favorite lines. ‘ “What could we have done to save the unicorns?...”One word might have been enough...You’ll never know now.”


Speak up. Speak out. Until we all roar like the sea change will seem impossible.

Title: “The Four Agreements”

Author: Don Miguel Ruiz

Overall Thoughts: This Book gives for basic principals to live by. They are broken down in such a way that you are empowered to incorporate them into daily life. The imagery used to describe how we use our words is fantastic. Especially during these times of unrest I enjoyed receiving the tools to let people’s opinions and pain move beyond me. I have a new perspective on people and that their fear and anger drives many reactions. Knowing this I can look at people with compassion and am learning to let go of my own fears.

Title: “Little Bee”

Author: Chris Cleave

Overall Thoughts: I cannot give too many details as that is one of the conditions of reading this book. All I can say is 10/10 I recommend. Cleave paints a realistic and well-crafted world and characters to believe in. 

Title: Brave Not Perfect

Author: Reshma Saujani

Overall Thoughts: I loved the sisterhood this book brings about! As far as definitions go, I do not define myself as a feminist. With that said, even if I do not fully back all of the movements Saujani is passionate about I love her main message. A fulfilling life does not come from projecting a perfect facade but from taking fish and celebrating our imperfections. The book focuses on women and how culturally we get pigeon-holed into not ultimately taking a stand for ourselves. She gives great insight into over the fear of imperfection and how to deal with failure in a positive manner. Recommend!

*This was a borrowed copy so this book is not in store currently*

Review by: @rbkinney15

Title: “Where the Crawdads Sing”

Author: Delia Owens

Overall thoughts: Rarely do I find a book that I want to devour after the first chapter, and this was surprisingly one of those books! WTCS was a book that was loaned to me by a friend, and I was hesitant to pick it up because I typically choose my own reads. This reads as a coming of age/murder mystery/historical fiction/romance novel. Lots packed in! But it’s never overwhelming. It feels real, almost like reading a dramatized memoir. The author does a wonderful job of capturing emotions surrounded by a realistic and scientifically correct setting. I truly appreciate the details. There are many instances where the clothing of individuals are described, and what impressed me the most in those paragraphs is that it was not juvenile. I didn’t feel like I was reading a fan fiction that just had to describe an outfit, because the descriptions had purpose. What status does that show about the character? Or maybe it showed a new development or improvement in ones life. If I were to sum this book up in one word, it would be; thoughtful. I can’t wait to buy my own copy to read over and over! *Book is not in store at this time. Check out Bookshop to order, link in bio!*

 Visitor Review: Austin S.

Title: A Man Called Ove

Author: Fredrick Backman

I had no expectations going into this book. I heard the title once upon a time ago and knew it was one I wanted to read... and it definitely was. It was the perfect read for this crazy time - deep enough to keep you engaged but with enough light-heartedness to pull you out of the sadness of the current times. Ove is the man who is perfectly awful at dying, who is grumpy and short and has a bit of an anger problem. Navigating through Ove's relationships with the people in the neighborhood - identified by names such as "The Blonde Weed", "Mutt", "The Lanky One", etc - had me rolling with laughter and bawling in the same chapter. The book goes back and forth in the timeline of Ove's life, from present to his childhood and back, without skipping a beat. It also builds on itself, and while you may feel at first some details are being repeated to death, Backman draws upon those details to add more depth to the story. Highly recommend!!!

Visitor Review: Elizabeth C.

Title: The Rules of Civility

Author: Amor Towles

I really enjoyed the storyline of “The Rules of Civility”, but due to the way it was written, I occasionally had a hard time telling who was speaking and if they were speaking aloud or thinking. 4/5 for content, 3/5 for writing style.

Title: Austenland

Author: Shannon Hale

Overall thoughts: Confession. I watched the movie adaptation before I read this book. 😬 After loving this adorable rom-com for years I finally snatched a copy of Austenland! Hale is is author to one of my most beloved books “The Goose Girl”. So deciding to read this was exciting. The premise is delightful and a light read. Less than 200 pages of wistful(ha! Read the book and you’ll get the joke) fun and Jane Austen romance in a modern day setting. This book also touches on the difficulty of finding love and the expectations that we not only place on ourselves but what others put in our path. DEFINITELY RECOMMEND FOREVER.

*Book is not in the store at this time*

Title: Educated

Author: Tara Westover

Overall thoughts: First, I have to say for such an emotional story this is one of the most well-spoken and neutral stances on family and the search for one’s self. I am stunned to tears by the raw truth that Tara speaks of her rural Idaho upbringing. I will not go into details in this true story but I have a few thoughts that specifically come from having my own heart stirred as I read her story. In no way will my thoughts be saying this is true for every circumstance. Life gives us many moments to turn to our loved ones and forgive and heal. We have the choice to reach back with no strings attached and grab ahold to one another again. Everyone has those people in their life. I sit here heartbroken for the faces I would hardly recognize, and I want you to know my love has not changed, it just looks different. For those family who life has carried on with us walking separate paths, I still miss you and wish there was no barrier between us. This review has turned more into a letter, but with all of that, I recommend every person to read and think on this amazing memoir. It will change how I look at people and my family from now on. If you would like more information on the content of this book please message us! *Book in store today*

Title: The Wise Man’s Fear

Author: Patrick Rothfuss

Overall thoughts: I could not help but purchase this book immediately as I finished the first in this series! Great second novel, the pacing stayed consistent with book one. Rothfuss again did an outstanding job of simple interactions and made the fae really come alive. Kvothe goes on more adventures and I only felt the story slow slightly in the last half of the book. I am ready for the third installment! *Book was finished in store but is staying in my personal library*

Title- The Name of the Wind

Author- Patrick Rothfuss

Overall thoughts- WHAT TO SAY. I have had multiple friends stare at me aghast when I tell them I have not read this book until now. Honesty time, I have been resisting this book and have truly doubted that it is a good read. With that said Rothfuss painted an amazing fantasy world that feels real enough to walk into with cultures near enough our own to be believable. The story of Kvothe is one that truly took my breathe away. Rothfuss does an amazing job giving great detail in an readable and relatable fashion. The story ebbs and flows with tasteful pacing. The perfect mix of magic and realism. He creates moments between people so real that the feelings between them are tangible like smelling grass or a caress the wind. Recommend one hundred times over and I am going off my book list to read the second installment! 

Title: The Secrett of the Irish Castle

Author: Santa Montefiore

Overall thoughts: This book capped off the Deverill Chronicles nicely! Sometimes when a series ends there is a nice cozy feeling that accompanies finishing the book, that definitely happened here! Montefiore keeps the same level of drama to her last installment. We continue following the Deverills, O’Learys and Doyle’s figure out the wild web of intrigue that was spun within the first two books. The story starts off in 1939 and does a little time traveling to explain some plot points. I enjoyed watching these characters grow and develop into completely new people. Sometimes I didn’t know who I really wanted to have a good ending! Recommend!

Title: Red Seas Under Red Skies

Author: Scott Lynch

Overall thoughts: The second installment of the the Gentleman Bastards series did not disappoint! Locke and Jean are two of my favorite characters in all of literature. Their Robin Hood like escapades are full of twists, turns, and laughs. Lynch does a great job with dialogue and creating relatable characters. The long and short of the story is about our favorite thieves getting thrust into the world of sailing and commanding a ship. The sailing jargon slowed the story down for me but that is my only qualm with this book. DEFINITELY recommend this read.

Title- The Waking Land

Author- Callie Bates

Thoughts- A book I definitely picked for its cover! The premise follows a young woman who has lived in the keeping of an enemy kingdom most of her life. She finds her magic, family and love through seeking the truth. Overall, the book flowed well. I kind of wish there was a bit more to the characters in terms of development. I always want more back story though. The cultural issues this book brings up are important and always relevant. How do you right the wrongs of the past without using barbaric methods that created the original wrongs? How do you find yourself when everything you’ve known is a lie, and you hold the key to your country’s salvation? Recommend?- I do recommend! This is a different style than I am used to but it was a wonderful read!

Title: Crazy Rich Asians

Author: Kevin Kwan

Overall Thoughts: This book is a whirlwind! For being a 500+ page novel it reads quickly! The story is follows multiple characters so you get a full picture of the scope and culture Rachel finds herself immersed in. Kwan writes believable feelings and reactions for all of the drama. I learned much about small customs and vocabulary by the helpful annotations he includes as well. What a fun read, and the movie really does the book justice!

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