Chelsea

After three years away, selling books at Third Place Books in Lake Forest Park, Washington, I am back at home doing what I love in my favorite bookstore. When I'm not trying to formulate an event schedule and market the hell out of it, I am reading a mixed bag of genres and titles. I tend to prefer fiction with a thread of mystical realism or full blown surrealism. I also enjoy reading history, psychology, autobiographies and occasionally new age and graphic novels.
 
I am a poor cook, a terrible gardener and I rarely can identify what sport someone is referring to when they mention a team name and am very little help in those sections, but I am proficient in google and will try all I can.
 
When I'm not reading or trying to convince you to read The Sasquatch Hunter's Almanac (which you really should, it's FANTASTIC) I am hanging out with my Corgi-mutt Gideon trying to convince him that there is nothing intrinsically evil about white trucks and white vans.

 

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Henna House Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9781476740270
Availability: Special Order
Published: Scribner Book Company - August 12th, 2014

Henna House is a rich, beautiful account of young Adela Damari, a Yemenite Jew growing up in the 1920s and 1930s. Her story begins at five when, in the wake of her father's worsening illness and to avoid being confiscated under the Orphans Decree, her parents must quickly find her a husband. Adela is plagued by misfortune with potential husbands and chooses to instead find solitude in the delicate and mesmerizing henna that her Aunt Rahel and cousin Hani bring into her life.

This book is packed with beauty, heartbreak, love, harsh reality and wonder that carries you away to Yemen to experience something new and wonderful.


Natural Histories Cover Image
$18.95
ISBN: 9781609805517
Availability: Special Order
Published: Seven Stories Press - June 10th, 2014

This book is chocolate. This book is your favorite red wine. In this short story collection Nettel manages to seduce you with five stories of human struggle mirrored in the natural world. In the first story you're hooked as one couples subtle feuding is mirrored in the struggles of their fish. Nettel traps you with subtle similarities to each natural element and deep human emotion. Perfect for those in need of a decadent literary treat.


While Beauty Slept Cover Image
$25.95
ISBN: 9780399166235
Availability: Special Order
Published: Amy Einhorn Books - February 20th, 2014

To anyone, like myself, who drooled over Gail Carson Levine's fairy tale brilliance, this is your book. While beauty slept is a wonderfully written version of Sleeping Beauty for adults. Written from the perspective of a poor farm girl turned Queen's attendant, Elise, you learn the "truth" of the tale of sleeping beauty as she recounts the story to her granddaughter. Following in her mother's footsteps, Elise leaves her grim life behind and seeks out a job at the castle. Thanks to her mothers experience and training, Elise finds herself as the Queen's chambermaid. In this position she is privy to all the royal secrets and the shame of the still childless Queen and uses her charms to quickly rise through the ranks to Queen's attendant. Elise must make many decisions regarding her position at the castle, manipulative members of court, the truly wicked Aunt Millicent, friendship and love. With a far more realistic and believable series of events than the original fairy tale, this is a tale you can truly get invested in.


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The Kept: A Novel Cover Image
$25.99
ISBN: 9780062236739
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Harper - January 7th, 2014

Wow. There really are no words for The Kept that could really do it justice. It is the most disturbing yet beautiful book I have ever read. Set in the winter of 1897, midwife Elspeth Howell returns home from months away at work to find her husband and four children murdered in their small country home. By some shred of luck, Caleb, her twelve-year-old son survives and the two must endure the most devastating experience of their lives so far and venture out into the world to find their family's murderers. Over the course of the story you learn that Elspeth may not be everything you think she is and Caleb learns more about himself than he would ever bargain for. This is a story of obsession, retribution, redemption, loss and love. Despite all of its rough and disturbing exterior, this book is beautifully written and definitely worth the time.


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The Snow Child Cover Image
$15.99
ISBN: 9780316175661
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Reagan Arthur Books - November 6th, 2012

The snow child is beautiful. Set in a wild Alaska in the 1920s, this is the story of Jack and Mable and the magic that Alaska offers them. The weight of never having had children weighs heavily on them both, driving them away from the pitying and prying eyes of their friends and family and consequently deeper into despair into the lonely wilderness. In a rare moment of playfulness they decide to build a snow man, or rather a snow girl which helps to bring the distant couple back to one another and helps to set the stage for something a little more mystical.  The next day after discovering their destroyed snow girl the couple notice a stranger in their forest, a young girl and her pet fox.
Filled with such a pure and wild magical realism, this book is nothing but sweetness and wonder.
Eowyn Ivey has created something beautiful in this story and I look forward to reading more of her work in the future.


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The Vanishing Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781401341947
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Hyperion Books - January 21st, 2014

What a fun read! A little mystery, a few ghosts, overlapping lives and memories, there is so much happening in this book it should never leave you bored. Julia Bishop is going through a rough patch... to put it lightly. About three months prior to the beginning of our story her late husband is outed as being the "mid-western Bernie Madoff" and after ruining the lives of everyone around them he takes his own life leaving Julia to pick up the pieces. Deep in her well of depression she is surprised when a strange man arrives at her door offering her a job and a new life. With nothing left to lose she is taken away to a remote mansion in northern Minnesota and starts anew as the companion to the famous horror authoress, Amaris Sinclair, one of Julia's literary heroes.
Upon arrival at her new haven in the woods, aptly named Havenwood, Julia finds herself overrun with deja vu and creepy coincidences. Is this all just a side effect from coming off her medication or is there something more sinister at work at the mansion?
With a cast of characters you are dying to love but not sure if you're supposed to, this is a light yet enthralling mystery that blends the old with the new seamlessly and wonderfully.


Sunflowers Cover Image
$15.99
ISBN: 9780061765278
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: William Morrow Paperbacks - October 13th, 2009

This is a book about love, passion, art and madness. Set in the last few years of his life, this is a book about Vincent Van Gogh and a woman who loved him. Told from the perspective of Rachel, a prostitute in Arles, France who imagined something better from her life, Sunflowers tells the story of the two lovers fighting against obsession and oncoming madness. Rachel struggles to keep her love and the hope it has given her afloat as the eccentric artist becomes more engrossed and depressed with his art and lack of success.
Beautifully written and well researched, Sheramy Bundrick does a great job in writing one of my favorite novels. This book would be great for fans of historical fiction similar to The Paris Wife and Call Me Zelda.


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Two Old Women, 20th Anniversary Edition: An Alaska Legend of Betrayal, Courage and Survival Cover Image
$14.99
ISBN: 9780062244987
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Harper Perennial - November 5th, 2013

Two Old Women is based on an Athabascan Indian Legend from the upper Yukon River Valley in Alaska. This is the legend of two old women who were abandoned by their tribe in the middle of a desolate winter to die in the cold Alaskan wilderness. The tribe felt the women were slowing The People down in their journey to a new camp. Left to their own devices this is the story of how two women, betrayed by their family and friends  and left in the wilderness to die, decide to live instead. Aged 80 and 75 years old, Ch'idzigyaak and Sa' realize that they may still have the power to survive and do. This legend is a parable for not only respecting the wisdom of your elders but also for elders to respect the young and themselves. Sa' says it perfectly, "Yes, in their own way they have condemned us to die! They think that we are too old and useless. They forget that we, too, have earned the right to live! So I say if we are going to die, my friend, let us die trying, not sitting." It's quick and worth it, read it.


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The Night Guest Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780865477735
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - October 1st, 2013

Ruth is seventy-five years old and managing pretty well in her ocean side Australian home, that is until one night when she wakes from sleep completely convinced there is a tiger in her house. She can smell it's musky jungle smell and hear it sniffing outside her door. Her cats stand alert and when the sniffing comes closer to her bedroom they escape. Ruth is thrilled. What could be more exciting than being eaten by a tiger?
The next day, she is caught off guard by a visitor, a woman who claims to be a government carer, there to look after her and her home. To everyone in Ruth's life, this woman, Frida, appears to be a godsend but as Ruth gets to know her she starts to wonder what Frida's motives are.
Frustratingly written with an unreliable narrator, the Night Guest is wonderful. The buildup in suspense and the frustrating lack of certainty are welcome, not to mention Fiona McFarlane's beautiful writing style.
If you are looking for a beautifully rendered thrill, a touching look into aging, or perhaps a sweet brief moment of romance, you should read this.


Crooked Tree Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780472031528
Availability: Out of Print
Published: University of Michigan Press - May 8th, 2006

So by saying, Crooked Tree is the Scariest thing I've ever read, it may not mean much because I don't LOVE scary. In fact I usually avoid it. I read Crooked Tree because both my Grandmother and my Sister recommended it to me and since you don't know my family, this is something that my brain cannot even conceive of. What is this bizarre book that drew such different people with such different tastes to agreement?Crooked Tree is a fictional spin on the local lore of the Petoskey area. It takes a look at how, when nature is pushed too far, it can sometimes fight back. Even if you aren't looking for something so thrilling, just try it. It is insanely good...just ask my Grandmother.


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Margot Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781594486432
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Riverhead Books - September 3rd, 2013

In the blistering heat of the Philadelphia summer, Margie Franklin works hard to resist the urge to remove her sweater. Her friends try to convince her to come out to a movie, a drink, something, but she declines. A single woman working in a small Jewish law firm in 1959, few of her peers would suspect that quiet Margie from Poland was not what she seemed. The truth of her past, her secret fears and former identity, her everything was hid just under her sleeve in a small sequence of faded numbers. Jillian Cantor, in her historical fiction Margot, tells the story of Margot Frank and her new life in America after escaping her torment in Nazi Germany. Margot, or Margie's, carefully constructed walls to keep her past out of her present are shattered with the publication and movie adaptation of her younger sister Anne's Diary and Margot is forced to face her fears, her resentments and herself. Margot is a beautiful story and a fun yet humbling read. Honestly, I couldn't put it down.


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Doomed Cover Image
$24.95
ISBN: 9780385533034
Availability: Special Order
Published: Doubleday Books - October 8th, 2013

SPOILER WARNING!The much anticipated sequel to Damned, Doomed is just as mouth-wateringly delicious as Damned. Finding herself trapped with the living until the next Halloween, Maddie Spencer goes back to her old haunts and learns just how much her telemarketing exploits in Hell have  altered the natural state of good and evil. Given her parents bizarrely influential role in society and radiating confidence, they have developed a new religion based around being rude, bad language, and bad hygiene, promising that these things would most assuredly get you into heaven and thus condemning you to hell. Maddy must stop her parents from condemning the world to Hell and continue her battle against the Devil. 

THIS BOOK CONTAINS EXTREMELY CRUDE LANGUAGE AND VULGAR SEXUAL REFERENCES AND IT IS AWESOME....if you're into that, if you're not don't read it.


Call Me Zelda Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780451239921
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Berkley Books - May 7th, 2013

There are a lot of books out now about Zelda Fitzgerald and THIS is my favorite. The story is told from the perspective of Zelda's psychiatric nurse while she undergoes treatment for her mental illness. Anna, Zelda's nurse, finds peace and purpose in her work but upon Zelda's admittance to her hospital, Anna's life would change forever. Zelda's larger than life personality is intoxicating and terrifying as she teeters on the edge of sanity. Anna and Zelda become fast friends helping each other cope with their pasts and make the necessary steps toward their futures. If you are looking for a great story of friendship or if you loved The Paris Wife, read this!


Choke Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780385720922
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Anchor Books - June 11th, 2002

Choke compiles multiple story-lines into one strange web of Palahniuk literary perfection. Victor works as a historical reenactor by day and subtle con artist by night. Victor plays on the ego's of others and allows himself to choke at multiple restaurants a night knowing that at least one person will be able to save him and develop a bond that would quite literally pay off in the long run. in his free time he picks up girls at sex addiction meetings and tries to pry the secrets of his father out of his former anarchist, now mentally unsound, mother, who is convinced he is her lawyer and not her son. This is a book that will have you confused until you realize how awesome it really is.


Invisible Monsters Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9780393319293
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - September 17th, 1999

Invisible monsters begins with a former supermodel adjusting to life as an "invisible monster" after losing the bottom half of her face in an accident to be left, undescribed. She is swept into the intoxicating world of the beautiful Brandy Alexander.
To fully describe this book would be a feat of which I am not capable. Invisible Monsters is the kind of book that keeps you reeling, the kind of book that makes you wonder why it's 3:00 AM and you are still reading something you don't understand.


Damned Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780307476531
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Anchor Books - October 2nd, 2012

Damned tells the story of Madison Spencer, a thirteen year old girl who finds herself in hell. Palahniuk's hell is far more disturbed than any images of hell I could muster, and if you are a sucker for imagery this guy will do the trick. Maddie winds up in some sort of bizarre John Hughes inspired group of friends adventuring around hell before finding herself a job as a telemarketer. Through her position as a telemarketer she is able to increase numbers of damned souls, ensuring the living populace the perks of hell most certainly outweigh those behind the heavenly gates. Damned can be grotesque, perverse and awkward but it is most certainly a fun and unique read.


Bloomability Cover Image
$6.99
ISBN: 9780064408233
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: HarperCollins - December 4th, 2012

I first read Bloomability when I was about ten and instantly fell in love. My copy is a tattered wreck from years of re-reading again and again.
Bloomability is the story of Dinnie Doone, a girl who learns about opportunity whether she wants to or not. Taken hostage by her aunt and uncle, or at least that's what she thinks of it as, she is taken to Switzerland to attend a boarding school and learn about all the things her path would have never offered her back home. Dinnie goes fishing in crisp Swiss streams, skiing in the Alps, she learns about life, friendship, and a little about young love. This is a story about a girl coming into her own and seeing the world unfold around her.
In my mind this is just as fantastic as Walk Two Moons (Sharon Creech) if not better.


Absolutely Normal Chaos (Walk Two Moons #2) Cover Image
$7.99
ISBN: 9780064406321
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: HarperCollins - April 24th, 2012

Mary Lou Finney has plenty to do without having to do her summer reading and journaling for school. Aside from hanging out with her friends or unlocking the mysteries behind boys and boyfriends. Despite what she expected this is a story of a girl who learns about first love, vocabulary and a guy named Odysseus and his trip home.
This would be great for a girl whose not too keen on reading or perhaps isn't ready for the Young Adult section.


The Two Princesses of Bamarre Cover Image
$6.99
ISBN: 9780064409667
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: HarperCollins - April 24th, 2012

For lovers of Ella Enchanted, PICK ME!!
In a Kingdom far far away a King and Queen have two young daughters. Princess Meryl is fierce, wild and craves adventure, Princess Addie is prim and proper and more than happy to stay in the warm castle where everything is safe and spider free. Despite their differences the sisters are best friends and would do anything for the other.
When the Gray Death sweeps through the Kingdom and Princess Meryl is struck with the illness, it is up to quiet, adventure averting Addie to go out in search of a cure before it's too late. Addie goes up against Dragons, Gryphons and meets a handsome young Wizard with stunning white eyelashes.
This is the best sort of fairy tale, fraught with courage, perseverance, magic, love and girls who can kick butt!
P.S. did I mention there are no spiders...awesome!


The Transall Saga Cover Image
$7.99
ISBN: 9780375873232
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Delacorte Press - March 8th, 2011

For lovers of Gary Paulsen AND lovers of a bit of sci-fi this is it. Transall Saga is a thrilling tale of a boy named Mark who goes out on a solo camping trip in the desert and ends up getting sucked into a mysterious beam of light. Mark is transported to a strange world with a new set of rules and is forced to survive. Mark spends years as a stranger in this world learning about the cultures and creatures that fill it and attempting to find his place as returning to Earth, as he knows it, seems impossible.
Transall Saga is a great story and would be great for boys and girls alike.

 


Sing Down the Moon Cover Image
$7.99
ISBN: 9780547406329
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Houghton Mifflin - September 13th, 2010

From the author of Island of the Blue Dolphins, this is the story of Bright Morning growing up in her tribe and her resilience in the face of the near apocalyptic encroachment of White Settlers in her region. More than an honest and well written historical fiction, Scott O'Dell gives us a beautiful story and a beautiful heroine with enough spirit and beauty to withstand overwhelming change and still find beauty in the world.

Just read it. Trust me.


Growing Up Psychic: My Story of Not Just Surviving But Thriving--And How Others Like Me Can, Too Cover Image
$15.00
ISBN: 9780307956743
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Harmony - April 3rd, 2012

Having spent many nights in college staying up with my roommates to watch Paranormal State marathons and re-runs on television, when I heard Chip Coffey was coming to NMU I knew I had to go. For those of you who are not familiar with him, Chip Coffey is a Psychic/Medium who works with paranormal investigators and even had his own show, Psychic Kids. I wasn't sure what to expect when I went to his Coffey talk but after walking out I was convinced that this man had something. If you are not a believer in the paranormal this may not be your cup of tea, but I doubt you would have read this much if you weren't.

In Growing Up Psychic, Chip weaves through stories of his life and his experiences with the paranormal. He writes this book, not to entertain so much as to educate. In writing about his own life and his support system, growing up as a psychic kid, he hopes to help other psychic kids and parents of psychic children cope and manage their own abilities.

Even if you are not psychic or linked to a psychic (like myself) it is a great memoir of Chips life, full of his humor, strength and confidence as well as a great resource for information on the paranormal realm of psychic/mediums.

I will never forget how much I enjoyed seeing Chip speak at my university and I feel like through reading his book I've learned so much more about such an interesting character.


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Mother, Mother Cover Image
$24.00
ISBN: 9780385347235
Availability: Special Order
Published: Crown Publishing Group (NY) - September 17th, 2013

Does anyone remember the movie, The Good Son (1993) with Macaulay Culkin and Elijah Wood? If you do, and you loved it, you will love this. Keywords for Mother, Mother; dysfunctional families, emotional abuse, recreational drug use, bad therapists, identity theft, terrifying mothers. This is the story of a family that should be perfect but is thrown into chaos after the eldest daughter, Rose, runs away from home. The younger daughter Violet turns to extreme fasting and LSD to solve her problems and William becomes even more enamored and corrupted by his mother. This is a story of emotional abuse and torment, not physical violence or outright terror. This is a great story for someone looking for a thrill rather than obvious horror. Zailckas writes in a way that keeps you moving, keeps you yearning for what will happen next.


The Farm Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780446550734
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Grand Central Publishing - June 3rd, 2014

The Farm is a spooky, suspicious book set between rural Sweden and London concerning the spoken and unspoken in familial dramas.
Dad says Mom is crazy and violent.
Mom says Dad is corrupt and plotting against her.
Mom is pledging to disown you if you side with Dad.
Dad is on a plane heading toward you, risking all the trust you've gained with Mom thus far.
The Farm deals with unreliable narrators and newly unreliable parents.The protagonist, Daniel, must decide to either believe that his father is involved in a sex trafficking conspiracy in Sweden or believe that his mother is suffering from severe paranoid delusions. Unraveling this secret takes more than blind faith in any of the stories being told, Daniel must then go to Sweden, meet his Mother's enemies and seek out the mystery of her allies and her own tormented past.


 

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