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Bookshop Ambassador Laurel's Reviews

Laurel Maxwell loves reading historical fiction, poetry, and books that incorporate magical realism. Her first book love was "Little House in the Big Woods." She grew up in Santa Cruz and has multiple years of teaching experience in local K-12 schools. When not curled up with a book Laurel is outdoors running, hiking, backpacking, experimenting with a new recipe, traveling, or practicing poetry. While traveling Laurel finds herself getting lost in bookstores as often as she takes wrong turns.  Her favorite finds have been Powell's Books in Portland, Oregon, Aunties Bookstore in Spokane, Washington, and the Scottish Poetry Library in Edinburgh, Scotland.  She is looking forward to being a Bookshop Ambassador to learn about what the community likes to read and connecting with fellow bibliophiles.

Fruit of the Drunken Tree

In this faced paced novel, Contreras draws upon her life to create a novel that reads like a thriller and coming of age story set in her native Columbia. Chula is drawn to her live-in maid, Petrona who comes from a guerrilla-occupied slum. As the relationship between Petroana and Chula grows, so does the danger they find themselves in. I felt I was reading a diary of both Chula and Petrona's everyday lives. This only added to the depth of the story for me. The last half of the book I was rushing to devour every word. I was left heartbroken with the taste of reality both faced.

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Fruit of the Drunken Tree Cover Image
ISBN: 9780525434313
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Anchor - June 4th, 2019

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine

Have you ever felt like the world just didn’t make sense? That the world was confusing? So did Eleanor Oliphant in Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman. What makes this book a choice for any book group is its relatability. At some point we have all felt the pain of being socially awkward. This fast paced novel unfolds in a realistic style adding to it’s quirky nature. As Eleanor shares her soul it is seemingly obvious she needs help.  Enter Raymond. Eleanor is skeptical of him as a human being. Yet what Raymond has to offer is just what Eleanor may need to open her heart.

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Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780735220690
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books - June 5th, 2018


Seedfolks is one of those books that leaves you wishing you could be part of the community garden around which it revolves. Told through the eyes of multiple characters, this slim novel tackles issues of belonging, judgement, and acceptance. How does a community form? What and who sustains it? I found it hard to not love each character equally, but Curtis became my favorite.  Knowing little about gardening, he knows his estranged girlfriend loves tomatoes. A choice for young adults and grown-ups this book may make you want to reconnect with the earth, or a neighbor down the road. Community grows where it is planted.

Seedfolks Cover Image
By Paul Fleischman, Judy Pedersen (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780064472074
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: HarperTeen - December 14th, 2004

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