User menu

Shopping cart

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.


Son of the Storm by Suyi Davies Okungbowa

This was an enthralling ride through a fantastical version of Africa, with characters I loved despite their flaws. Danso is a student of stories who longs to be the author of his own, despite the rigidity of color and class within his city. A mystery brought to light threatens to upend everything, forcing questions of what is truly worth saving. It’s been a while since I gave myself fully over to the creation of a fantasy world, and Okungbowa made sure it was worth the time. — Jax

Staff Pick Badge
Son of the Storm (The Nameless Republic #1) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316428941
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Orbit - May 11th, 2021

Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line by Deepa Anappara

Take a deep dive into the slums of India, where this story is told from the perspective of the children who live there. Life is hard but there is a wonder too, and an optimism in Jai, our young protagonist, that causes his friends and him to start investigating when a classmate goes missing. Anappara doesn’t skimp on the sensory details, which makes it hard to put down and impossible to escape. A truly gorgeous and challenging debut. — Jax

Staff Pick Badge
Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780593129289
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Random House Trade Paperbacks - May 11th, 2021

Phoenix Extravagant by Yoon Ha Lee

I don’t often think of calligraphy and traditional art as the basis for a fun, beautifully rendered fantasy, but Phoenix Extravagant is all of that. Automata and fox spirits roam the streets while subjugated people fight for their freedom, and dragons turn out to be far less monstrous to face than is contending with humanity’s greed. I particularly admire Lee’s ability to navigate the nonbinary gender of his protagonist with a light touch. I haven’t devoured something like this since Uprooted. Don’t miss out! — Jax

Staff Pick Badge
Phoenix Extravagant Cover Image
ISBN: 9781781087947
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Solaris - October 15th, 2020

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab

While this one may not be entirely traditional fantastical fare, Schwab’s latest novel is utterly magical. Addie is given as much time to experience life as she wants but in exchange, she has become forgettable...until hundreds of years later, she meets a man who, against all odds, remembers her name. Immersive and transportive, The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue makes you think about what price you would pay to keep what you want, and what deals with devils are worth making. — Jax

Staff Pick Badge
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue Cover Image
ISBN: 9780765387561
Availability: Not On Our Shelves, But Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Tor Books - October 6th, 2020

The Essential Dykes to Watch Out For by Alison Bechdel

What an absolute treat! I was so excited to finally read Bechdel’s seminal work, and even more surprised by how relevant and relatable it is still. I adore the lovably neurotic Mo, who is as concerned by the state of the world in the 1980s as we are now, and the hilarious and diverse cast of her friends. If you’re a fan of Dykes to Watch Out For or are perhaps looking for a supportive and affirming group of queers, you need this collection in your life. — Jax

Staff Pick Badge
The Essential Dykes To Watch Out For Cover Image
ISBN: 9780358424178
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Mariner Books - September 1st, 2020

Welcome to the New World Written by Jake Halpern Illustrated by Michael Sloan

My favorite thing about graphic novels is how much they can convey within a frame, and in Welcome to the New World, I felt the poignancies, laughter, and desperate desire for home on every page. Meet the Aldabaans, a family fleeing war-torn Syria only to land in the US on the eve of the election in 2016. Now the rest of their family is left behind and the Aldabaans must assimilate and carve out a life as best as they can. A fascinating look at modern immigrant life that is both heartbreaking and uplifting. — Jax

Staff Pick Badge
Welcome to the New World Cover Image
By Jake Halpern, Michael Sloan (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9781250305596
Availability: Not On Our Shelves, But Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Metropolitan Books - September 22nd, 2020

The Colorwork Bible: Techniques and Projects for Colorful Knitting by Jesie Ostermiller

As a knitter I am confident in many techniques, but one that baffles me to no end is colorwork. I need something that teaches me step by step, as most patterns are either too simple or extremely complex and leave me floundering. That’s why I’m so excited about Ostermiller’s new book, which walks you through different color techniques and lovely patterns with which to try them. If you’re ready to take your knitting to the next level, this promises to be the perfect fit. — Jax

Staff Pick Badge
The Colorwork Bible: Techniques and Projects for Colorful Knitting Cover Image
ISBN: 9781632506658
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Interweave - October 6th, 2020

The Making It Guide to Crafting by the Creators of Making It

Do you find yourself longing to be one of those DIY people who can make anything? Are you a crafter already wanting to branch out? Look no further than this charming book, the perfect inspiration to “Make It!” Fans of the show will enjoy the forward by Nick Offerman and the profiles on past contestants, and anyone interested in crafts will enjoy the various crafting techniques taught here. So get out there and create!

Staff Pick Badge
The Making It Guide to Crafting Cover Image
ISBN: 9781419743481
Availability: Not On Our Shelves, But Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Abrams - April 21st, 2020

Chicano Eats Recipes from the Border by Esteban Castillo

What can I say? I love this queer Chicano chef and this cookbook! Castillo’s fun and delicious recipes are presented alongside stories of his life and family, making the book a joy to cook from. I also appreciated how easy the recipes were to use and how patiently Castillo explains how to do things. If you’ve never cooked Mexican food, this is the perfect primer, and if you’re looking for some playful variations on these flavors, you’re in for a real treat. 

Staff Pick Badge
Chicano Eats: Recipes from My Mexican-American Kitchen Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062917379
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper Design - June 30th, 2020

Spirits of Latin America by Ivy Mix

This ambitious book is the perfect starting place for anyone who is curious about spirits south of the border. Each section deals with a different source: agave, sugarcane, and grape. Mix gives the history behind these delicious drinks as well as information on the ethics of buying them, and doesn’t shy away from the less savory aspects of the drinks. While most of her cocktails match her status as world-class bartender, there are a few (hello, caipirinha) that are a simple and elegant, the perfect introduction to these amazing spirits. ¡Salud!

Staff Pick Badge
Spirits of Latin America: A Celebration of Culture & Cocktails, with 100 Recipes from Leyenda & Beyond Cover Image
By Ivy Mix
ISBN: 9780399582875
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ten Speed Press - May 26th, 2020


Subscribe to RSS - Jax's Reviews