Jax's Reviews

Jax Caldwell-Dunn is a bookseller and buyer at Bookshop Santa Cruz who loves table-top roleplaying in addition to books. She cannot resist the urge to make something (like a staff profile) more nerdy when given a chance.


Fast paced and hard hitting, this blend of history and fiction will grab you and refuse to let go. What is the difference between colonization and invasion? For the people of Terra Nullius, aka Australia, this question reverberates through the past and into the future. I found myself surprised and drawn ever deeper by the twists and turns of the plot, while engaging in its historical context. This book is speculative fiction at its absolute best! - Jax

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Terra Nullius Cover Image
ISBN: 9781618731517
Availability: Backordered
Published: Small Beer Press - September 4th, 2018

I am so freaking excited for this book! I love folk tales, and this one is particularly rooted in the Jewish folklore it is drawn from. I hope you, like me, will be eagerly anticipating the book the acclaimed Madeline Miller praised so highly, calling it, “...a gripping, powerful story of family, sisterhood, and two young women trying to find their way in the world.” Sure to appeal to fans of Bear and the Nightingale and Spinning Silver, two of my absolute faves, I can’t wait to get my hands on it! - Jax

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The Sisters of the Winter Wood Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316483254
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Redhook - September 25th, 2018

Oh, Naomi Novik, is there anything you can’t do? This beautifully written blend of Jewish and Russian folklore, fantasy, and faerie tale will absolutely enchant and delight you. Though not a sequel to Uprooted, it has that same unique take on classic faerie stories that Novik is so very good at spinning. Identity and the nature of what makes a villain are thoughtfully explored, as well as how family and tradition shape you in unexpected ways. I have all the love for this book! - Jax

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Spinning Silver: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780399180989
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Del Rey - July 10th, 2018

Everything about this book by Chris Kronner, founder of KronnerBurger in Oakland, is wonderful. First, it has great information about how to make the most magnificent burger. And while there are labor-intensive recipes for the dedicated (roasted bone marrow!), there are also plenty of ideas for adding a cool topping to an otherwise completely store-bought burger. A Burger to Believe In is also written in such a witty and amusing way that I didn’t want to stop reading it. This is how you do burgers. - Jax

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A Burger to Believe In: Recipes and Fundamentals Cover Image
ISBN: 9780399579264
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ten Speed Press - May 22nd, 2018

I love Top Chef winner Stephanie Izard’s cooking, and I am beyond excited about her newest cookbook. While Gather & Graze is not for the novice, it has plenty of basic recipes and simple sauces that anyone can make. Izard is real about what to spend money and time on versus what to cut corners on. I can’t wait to read this. - Jax 

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Gather & Graze: 120 Favorite Recipes for Tasty Good Times Cover Image
ISBN: 9780451495945
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Clarkson Potter - April 3rd, 2018

This is not a “how to” introduction to Zen Buddhism; however, if you’re curious and want to hear about someone’s life experiences as they seek balance and enlightenment, Bow First, Ask Questions Later is well worth reading. I found it to be a fascinating rumination on life, faith, and the practice of caring for oneself. Greenwood’s writing is fun and engrossing, and she impressed me with her ability to look humorously on even the most bizarre situations she finds herself in. - Jax

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Bow First, Ask Questions Later: Ordination, Love, and Monastic Zen in Japan Cover Image
ISBN: 9781614293972
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Wisdom Publications - May 8th, 2018

Whoever you are, whatever your political leanings, I urge you to read this story of two boys who fled their country, El Salvador, for a better life in the United States. Told with honesty and a lot of heart, The Far Away Brothers chronicles their journey, from their harrowing passage through the desert to their battles with the legal system in order to remain in a country where their lives are unthreatened. - Jax

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The Far Away Brothers: Two Young Migrants and the Making of an American Life Cover Image
ISBN: 9781101906200
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Broadway Books - May 22nd, 2018

This book is laugh-out-loud amazing! Ramsey tells her story of being boosted suddenly into the limelight via YouTube and of all of the good (and bad) things she was able to use her platform to discuss. For those who are struggling to learn about the racial morass this country finds itself in, or wanting to find a way to speak compassionately to those who are a little dumb about it, this is the book for you. - Jax

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Well, That Escalated Quickly: Memoirs and Mistakes of an Accidental Activist Cover Image
ISBN: 9781538761038
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Grand Central Publishing - May 22nd, 2018

The charming love story within an epic fantasy world intrigued and beguiled me. Two star-crossed lovers are tasked with affecting the fate of the world, while magic and forbidden knowledge dog their every step. I appreciated especially that the prejudice Jasminda suffers is not only because of her inherent power as a magic user but also related to the color of her skin. Lovely romance with some sharp edges, this is a great. transporting summer read. - Jax

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Song of Blood & Stone: Earthsinger Chronicles, Book One Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250148070
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: St. Martin's Press - May 1st, 2018

Madeline Miller is back, this time with a gorgeous story of Circe, the witch of ancient mythology. The writing is so juicy and delicious that it’s hard to tell if I’m falling under Circe’s spell or Miller’s. In a world so brutal, watching a woman forge her own path despite all odds inspired me and made me think hard about what we accept to be true and what might be known if we listen harder. - Jax 

Don't miss our June 13th, 2018 free book talk and signing with Madeline Miller for Circe.

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CIRCE (#1 New York Times bestseller) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316556347
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Little, Brown and Company - April 10th, 2018



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