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Melinda's Reviews

Melinda Powers is the head book buyer at Bookshop Santa Cruz and is therefore responsible for choosing which of the 300,000 titles published each year will make their way to our shelves (not including the children’s section). Formerly at Capitola Book Café, she can’t seem to quit this wonderful community of readers, booksellers, and books. She is okay with this addiction.

A Place in the World: Finding the Meaning of Home by Frances Mayes

A Place in the World is many things—all of them beautiful, rich, and restorative. It is a welcome escape, a travel memoir in Italy, the South, and beyond, a contemplation on place and finding home wherever you are. It is immersive nature writing, a paean to literature, to food, family and friends. There is deep satisfaction here, an enviable pleasure for the life Frances Mayes puts forth and a renewed appreciation of my own. This book is a balm. —Melinda

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A Place in the World: Finding the Meaning of Home By Frances Mayes Cover Image
ISBN: 9780593443330
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Crown - August 23rd, 2022

Heartbreaker: A Hell's Belles Novel by Sarah MacLean

Sarah MacLean’s latest series follows a group of brazen, brilliant Victorian ladies who wield their own justice. Here, meet Adelaide Frampton, once a pickpocket, now an expert thief of high society secrets. While a wallflower to many, she is most definitely seen by the Duke of Clayborn, who is both intrigued and determined to keep his own truths from her. Full of adventure, substance, humor, and so much spice, MacLean builds the best worlds. Start here or with Bombshell, the delightful first book, and fall in love! —Melinda

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Heartbreaker: A Hell's Belles Novel By Sarah MacLean Cover Image
ISBN: 9780063056787
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Avon - August 23rd, 2022

The Rabbit Hutch by Tess Gunty

Gunty’s debut novel is astonishing. Reading it is an emotional, wondrous experience hard to put into words. Beginning with an audaciously troubling event in Apartment C4, it spreads outward to other building residents and beyond, weaving together their stories and struggles, building the narrative back up to this first electrifying moment. Gunty writes beautifully, commenting on our human condition with grace, intellect, empathy, and unnerving clarity. —Melinda

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The Rabbit Hutch: A novel By Tess Gunty Cover Image
ISBN: 9780593534663
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Knopf - August 2nd, 2022

All the Lonely People by Mike Gayle

I was hooked by the premise of this charming novel and fully caught by its immersive setting, wonderful characters, and heartwarming journey of our curmudgeon protagonist. Aging widower recluse Hubert Bird has created a vibrant imaginary social life to delight his daughter during their weekly phone calls, but now she’s coming to visit and he needs to find some real friends fast. Balancing humor and heft, this is for fans of A Man Called Ove, Tin Man, and human kindness. —Melinda

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All the Lonely People By Mike Gayle Cover Image
ISBN: 9781538720172
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Grand Central Publishing - August 2nd, 2022

Dear Wild Child: You Carry Your Home Inside You Written by Wallace J. Nichols & Wallace Grayce Nichols

What a gift. Nichols and his daughter have turned the emotional letter he wrote to her after their family home burned down in the CZU Fire into this special book, celebrating what was built and what will endure. Breckmeyer’s colorful illustrations add reverent intimacy in their many details. While the book’s framework comes from devastating loss, its message of how we create a sense of home and carry it forward is gracious and universal. —Melinda

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Dear Wild Child: You Carry Your Home Inside You By Wallace J. Nichols, Wallace Grayce Nichols, Drew Beckmeyer (Illustrator) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781951836467
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Cameron Kids - August 9th, 2022

The Love of My Life: A Novel Written by Rosie Walsh

Read by Imogen Church & Theo Solomon

When it comes to audiobooks, I’m often looking for the most enjoyable read possible: good narrators, great storytelling, easy to follow, immediately loved. Rosie Walsh has written such a novel, one of a perfect, quirky little family, secrets from the past that threaten to undo it all, British accents, and seaside landscapes. I hope you’re planning on a long walk or a lot of laundry, because this one is too captivating to pause. —Melinda

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The Love of My Life: A Novel By Rosie Walsh Cover Image
ISBN: 9780593296998
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Pamela Dorman Books - March 1st, 2022

Brown Girls: A Novel Written by Daphne Palasi Andreades

Read by Tashi Thomas

This vibrant novel, told in the collective we, translates perfectly to audio form, each chapter a poem, a spoken word song. Through the symphonic voices of a friend group of Brown girls growing up, sometimes leaving, sometimes returning to Queens, Andreades captures myriad truths of living as some shade of Brown, straddling the worlds of family and future, expectation and reality, celebration and struggle. Beautifully written, life affirming. —Melinda

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Brown Girls: A Novel By Daphne Palasi Andreades Cover Image
ISBN: 9780593243428
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Random House - January 4th, 2022

Home Waters A Chronicle of Family and a River by John N. Maclean

Home Waters is more than a graceful ode to fly fishing; it is the sweeping story of one Montana family and its deep ties to the land over four generations. In John’s sure prose, the Macleans become a road map for how one finds home, from his grandfather who built their Seeley Lake cabin, through his writer father (of The River Runs Through It renown), and now in his own evocative memoir. And always at heart is the water, its fish, and the gorgeous surroundings.  —Melinda

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Home Waters: A Chronicle of Family and a River By John N. Maclean Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062944603
Availability: Not On Our Shelves, But Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Mariner Books - June 14th, 2022

We Are the Middle of Forever Indigenous Voices from Turtle Island on the Changing Earth Edited by Dahr Jamail & Stan Rushworth

This collection of interviews with Indigenous leaders, artists, and activists stands out among a wealth of climate change literature for its contributor selection, focus on historical context and current actions, and for the value it places on storytelling. It is immensely readable and grounded in the experiences of each subject, many of whom are local to the area, including editor Stan Rushworth. We have much to learn from the continued resilience of Turtle Island cultures and their relationships with the land—this collection is a worthy start.  —Melinda

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We Are the Middle of Forever: Indigenous Voices from Turtle Island on the Changing Earth By Dahr Jamail (Editor), Stan Rushworth (Editor) Cover Image
By Dahr Jamail (Editor), Stan Rushworth (Editor)
ISBN: 9781620976692
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: New Press - April 12th, 2022

Tales of Al the Water Rescue Dog The Making of a Super Athlete by Lynne Cox

If you’re a fan of dogs, acclaimed open water swimmer Lynne Cox, and/or Running with Sherman, you will find joy in this book. Cox discovers dogs who jump from helicopters to do water rescues and soon we are at the Scuola Italiana Cani Salvataggio in Northern Italy. It would be enough to meet the exuberant Newfoundland Al, her canine classmates, and their passionate instructors, but Cox weaves in her own stories of being in the water, swimming with dogs, and enjoying travel and good food, making for a truly pleasurable read.  —Melinda 

Don’t miss our event with Lynne Cox on June 6th.

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Tales of Al: The Water Rescue Dog By Lynne Cox Cover Image
ISBN: 9780593319376
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Knopf - May 24th, 2022


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