Karena's Reviews

Karena is in a non-monogamous relationship with Speculative Fiction, Romance, Feminist manifestos and any other little ARC that catches her eye. Snarky heroines are her weakness. She spends her nonreading time playing video games, traveling, and hanging out with her family (but really still thinking about what she could be reading).

 

 

 

 

 

 

Right off the bat, I felt a connection with Paul, who keeps a journal to track her books. I’m fantastically obsessed with doing this (I have a database! she admits nerdily). Each chapter is centered around a book that has made a difference in her life at one time or another. What I particularly enjoyed is that you don’t have to have read each mentioned book to relate. Perfect for any bibliophile. - Karena

Staff Pick Logo
My Life with Bob: Flawed Heroine Keeps Book of Books, Plot Ensues Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781250182548
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Picador USA - May 1st, 2018

Roxane Gay has put something together here that is almost indescribable. The very essence of rape culture has permeated our society so subtly that we often don’t think of rape other than in the most physical sense of the word. But in this collection of essays, writers of all backgrounds talk about how their lives have been affected by rape culture. It is a masterful collection, unflinching and relatable. - Karena

Staff Pick Logo
Not That Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780062413512
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper Perennial - May 1st, 2018

I am always on the lookout for fantasy novels that aren’t based in medieval Europe, so when I discovered this story with its Chinese influence, I was immediately intrigued. It is a vividly told narrative about a young girl who, despite being an orphan without connections, lands a place in a military academy and vows to make a name for herself. In the process of going through the difficulties that follow, she learns more about herself and the country she calls home. - Karena

Staff Pick Logo
The Poppy War: A Novel Cover Image
$26.99
ISBN: 9780062662569
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper Voyager - May 1st, 2018

I think I raved to everyone who would listen about how much I loved this book. Lockwood is hilarious, yet her words are thoughtful and heartfelt as she describes her ‘walking warning label’ of a mother and her priest father who has a habit of dropping his collar (and pants) at the door. Families aren’t perfect and Lockwood’s is no different. - Karena

Staff Pick Logo
Priestdaddy: A Memoir Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780399573262
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Riverhead Books - May 1st, 2018

I’m pretty sure I read this with my jaw clenched. Wariner tells a difficult story about being raised in a polygamist colony by her mother along with several siblings. Wariner’s stepfather is particularly hard to read. It is a survival tale that you makes you rage at times and sob in others, but in the end will make you all the more better for reading it. - Karena

Staff Pick Logo
The Sound of Gravel: A Memoir Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781250077707
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Flatiron Books - April 25th, 2017

I love a good hot mess and this was one in the best way possible. It feels so realistic you might think it’s actually a biography. I know people like Belden’s main character Allie (but I’m not naming names). The adulting that she has to do to cover for her trash fire of a boyfriend is astounding and exhausting. This would make an excellent movie. - Karena

Staff Pick Logo
Hot Mess Cover Image
$15.99
ISBN: 9781525811418
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Graydon House - March 20th, 2018

I have really liked the romances written by this duo of writers (who write under the single pseudonym Christina Lauren), so when I saw they were trying contemporary fiction I was willing to try it out. I usually side-eye books with constant flashbacks, but this was done so effortlessly (and charmingly) I actually looked forward to the flashbacks. - Karena

Staff Pick Logo
Love and Other Words Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781501128011
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Gallery Books - April 10th, 2018

This book reminds me of Jackie Collins back in the day, only in Singapore. Kwan describes the paradox of a culture where people with more money than they know what to do with save the tiniest amount of leftovers but then drop millions on a diamond necklace. Once you get passed their designer clothes, the characters are just as naked as the rest of us. - Karena

Staff Pick Logo
Crazy Rich Asians Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780345803788
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Anchor Books - May 20th, 2014

Right away I knew I was going to love this book. This is one instance where you should judge the book by its cover because of how lovely it is. Naledi is a capable, intelligent woman who really had zero time for Thasibo's privileged nonsense. Cole layers her sexy smooches with real world issues, smart dialogue, and just a fun plot. Life hack: Read this after you watch Black Panther, because then you’ll picture T’Challa as Thasibo and it’ll be that much better. - Karena

Staff Pick Logo
A Princess in Theory: Reluctant Royals Cover Image
$7.99
ISBN: 9780062685544
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Avon - February 27th, 2018

Reminiscent of the French Revolution with a thread of magic (sorry not sorry), Torn is a fantastic tale of a woman who can stitch charms into her creations and is caught in the middle of her brother and his dreams for revolution and her own connections to the nobles who buy her services. I went in expecting a light fantasy and ended up in something that was complex and inspired conversation about how romance, politics, friendship, and loyalty can make us question who we are. - Karena

Staff Pick Logo
Torn (Unraveled Kingdom #1) Cover Image
$15.99
ISBN: 9780316478625
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Orbit - March 20th, 2018

Pages

 

Other Services:

 

 
 
 
 
All titles are subject to availability. Prices subject to change. Please call 831-423-0900 to confirm.
Copyright © Bookshop Santa Cruz
(831) 423-0900 · 1520 Pacific Ave · Downtown Santa Cruz · Santa Cruz, CA · 95060