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Chorel's Reviews

Chorel is the Events Director at Bookshop Santa Cruz. Mostly she reads books by women. Not intentionally. They're just usually better.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Riviera Gold by Laurie R. King

Tantalizing, dreamy, fresh, and absorbing, the newest installment of the Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes series will be a welcome escape for Laurie R. King fans this summer. Set in the Riviera in the Jazz Age, Riviera Gold features real-life power couple Sara and Gerald Murphy, legendary hosts of many a sparkling party for the Lost Generation, as well as a fascinating cast of players. Longtime readers will love the dive into a familiar character’s past (never underestimate the white-haired ladies!), King’s enthralling portrayal of Holmes, and the clearheaded Russell’s continuous curiosity. 

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Riviera Gold: A novel of suspense featuring Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780525620839
Availability: Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Bantam - June 9th, 2020

The Confessions of Frannie Langton by Sara Collins

This riveting historical page-turner is complex, unexpected, and empowered. Sara Collins’s Frannie Langton will linger in your mind, and Collins holds a mirror to the white reader’s embedded expectations—demands, even—of black stories and black suffering. Beautifully written, powerfully told, this debut is a standout.

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The Confessions of Frannie Langton: A Novel Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780062851802
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper Perennial - June 23rd, 2020

The Knockout Queen by Rufi Thorpe

The Knockout Queen wrapped its fist around my heart and then squeezed. I mean this literally—the sensation was physical. Rufi Thorpe writes with breathtaking grace and creates a slow build that explodes: the loveability, failings, and deficiencies of everyone, the drift and splintering that time deals to even our closest relationships. The Knockout Queen also has pockets of profundity, both in the adolescent narrator’s wise, shattering musings, and in the grim realities this story contains. Thorpe’s skill makes the experience a pleasure: the effortless dialogue, the wry and funny scenes, and the complex, unforgettable characters that are so human (though it may hurt to admit that humanness can contain a person like the Knockout Queen’s father Ray, who is cut from the same cloth as con man-in-chief Donald Trump, utterly self-serving, with a casual brutality that is beyond redemption. Thorpe reflects our world back to us. I was completely captivated by The Knockout Queen—rushing to consume it but wanting at the same time to savor the rare experience of a book this close to perfect. I wanted it to last and last.

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The Knockout Queen: A novel Cover Image
$26.95
ISBN: 9780525656784
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Knopf - April 28th, 2020

Essays One: Reading and Writing by Lydia Davis

I first learned about Lydia Davis at one of my favorite bookstores, Dog-Eared Books in San Francisco, when I overheard the booksellers there waxing poetic about her. Reading Break It Down was a revelation, and I’ve been a fan ever since. In Essays One, the first in a two-volume set, Davis has gathered essays dating back to the 1970s, revealing her influences as a reader and an early writer/student and discussing process at length, most deliciously in her “Thirty Recommendations for Good Writing Habits.” There’s a reason Davis is considered a “writer’s writer”—this book is an education you didn’t know you needed. - Chorel

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Essays One Cover Image
$30.00
ISBN: 9780374148850
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - November 12th, 2019

Welcoming the Unwelcome by Pema Chödrön

Pema Chödrön is not afraid of difficult emotions and she wants you not to be, either. In Welcoming the Unwelcome, Chödrön offers an array of insights that blend beautifully with contemporary reality and help us to deepen the experience of living by cultivating regard for those around us and practicing acceptance for things just as they are. This is complex and surprising work, yet at its heart it actually is fresh and simple. You won’t know until you try it, so go ahead—start today, and make the world a better place. - Chorel

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Welcoming the Unwelcome: Wholehearted Living in a Brokenhearted World Cover Image
$24.95
ISBN: 9781611805659
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Shambhala - October 8th, 2019

Sex and Rage by Eve Babitz

The silky/sinister LA novel always captivates me, and this joy of a read is also loaded with the protagonist’s precarious drinking, her avoidance of adulthood, and her dance with her true potential. Perfect for lovers of Joan Didion’s Play It As It Lays and Nathaniel West’s Day of the Locust. Just ignore the publisher copy on the back of this book; our “dreamy young” heroine doesn’t move between Los Angeles and New York City, she exists stubbornly on the Best Coast. But The New York Times Book Review has it right: “This novel is studded with sharp observations… Babitz’s talent for the brilliant line, honed to a point, never interferes with her feel for languid pleasures.” - Chorel

 

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Sex and Rage Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781619029354
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Counterpoint LLC - July 11th, 2017

The Honey Bus by Meredith May

The Honey Bus is immersive and gripping, a heart-soaking experience. May tenderly lays forth the intricacies of bees and beekeeping (just as her grandpa presented them to her); the glories of Big Sur are delicately rendered; and the girl saved by bees is courageous, lovable, and fierce in the face of heart-piercing pain. May has written a page-turner for all readers. - Chorel

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The Honey Bus: A Memoir of Loss, Courage and a Girl Saved by Bees Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780778307785
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Park Row - April 2nd, 2019

Aerialists: Stories by Mark Mayer

Mark Mayer’s stories are astonishingly good, and Aerialists is a genuine pleasure to read. With absorbing characters and elegant writing, Mayer proves himself a richly developed, sensitive writer. Whether he’s writing in an adolescent voice or at the other end of the spectrum, with men looking back on their lives, the gems in this gorgeous collection will settle into your mind and heart, not to be forgotten. - Chorel

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Aerialists: Stories Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9781635572179
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Bloomsbury Publishing - February 19th, 2019

The Story Prize: 15 Years of Great Short Fiction ed. by Larry Dark

This collection is nothing short of essential for all lovers of fiction. The range in material is excellent, featuring longer pieces (“Memory Wall” by Anthony Doerr is a standout), classics of the canon (George Saunders’s “Tenth of December” and Tobias Wolff’s “Bullet in the Brain”), and new discoveries from all your favorites; Claire Vaye Watkins, Daniyal Mueenuddin, Mary Gordon, Edwidge Danticat, and Adam Johnson are all here. The Story Prize deserves a place on your bookshelf, and is a volume you’ll return to for pleasure, study, and an immersion into new worlds of the human experience. - Chorel

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The Story Prize: 15 Years of Great Short Fiction Cover Image
By Larry Dark (Editor), Anthony Doerr (Contribution by), Elizabeth Strout (Contribution by)
$16.95
ISBN: 9781936787630
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Catapult - March 5th, 2019

Retablos by Octavio Solis

A retablo is a devotional painting, often laid on tin and depicting, as Solis describes in his introduction, “some terrible rift in a person’s life that they survive thanks to the intercession of the Divine.” This memoir-in-vignettes from the celebrated playwright and poet Solis is a series of treasures: absorbing, vivid, sensitive, and sorrowful. Solis, who grew up in El Paso, deftly and humbly depicts individual formative moments (an encounter with a young border-crosser in a field near his home, excruciating first loves, a venture south of the border). The divine in these retablos is not always visible, but the retablos themselves are full of grace. - Chorel

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Retablos: Stories from a Life Lived Along the Border Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9780872867864
Availability: Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: City Lights Books - October 23rd, 2018

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