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booktrib review

Strange Stars: A Must-Read For Sci-Fi and Pop Music Fans

in Pop Culture by

Long, long ago, in a movie theater far, far away, a young lad named David Robert Jones watched a London screening of 2001: A Space Odyssey. Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 lost-in-space tale had a life-shaking effect on the person who would become David Bowie. At the time, Bowie was just a skinny singer with a dream, and a penchant for science fiction. After identifying with Robert Heinlein’s novel Starman Jones, about an Ozark farm boy who wants to go to space, Bowie devoured Ray Bradbury, Theodore Sturgeon, Isaac Asimov and all that the Golden Age of sci-fi could provide. Some of his earliest songs were abbreviated science fiction plots of strange worlds, strange creatures, stranger things. And in 1969, five days…

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The Elegance and Beauty of a Struggling Family

in Fiction by

In her heartfelt and elegantly written debut of a beautiful, struggling family, it’s clear that Fatima Farheen Mirza is a gifted writer. She is more than able to make you feel every character’s emotions, while offering compassion for different views, gradually revealing different aspects of each story to create a multilayered tapestry. A Place For Us begins at Hadia’s wedding in California, where the family gathers to celebrate a marriage based on love, rather than one that was arranged. Huda, the middle child, is determined to be like her sister more and more, headstrong and bold. Lastly, Amar, Hadia’s younger brother who ran away three years earlier, has returned for the celebration, taking his place as the brother of the bride.…

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“My Family Was Crazy, So Now I’m a Psychiatrist”

in Non-Fiction by

One day at the age of 10, as a student at a New England boarding school, young Ned Hallowell was told to report to the school psychologist at the request of his mother. Getting right to the point, Dr. Merritt asked, “Well, how about if you tell me about your life so far?” “I remember starting to talk, and out of the blue the floodgates opened,” recalls Hallowell in his new memoir, Because I Come From a Crazy Family (Bloomsbury). “I talked and talked and cried and cried… Dr. Merritt sat there, not saying a word.” What Dr. Merritt said next, according to Hallowell, “makes me believe he was either the best or the worst psychologist on the planet. He…

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Sarah Winman’s “Tin Man” is Heartbreaking and Tender

in Fiction by

A tender and beautiful story, Sarah Winman’s novel Tin Man is heartbreaking and wonderfully moving, focusing on the relationship between two people, first as young boys and then as adults, with an exquisitely written and introspective look into the experiences and intimacies that are shared in a relationship so close. At twelve years old, Ellis and Michael become friends, with shared similarities in their difficult family lives and less than stellar relationships with their fathers. The two spend a lot of time together, having fun and exploring their hometown, learning to swim, and more. Then, their close friendship becomes something much more. Ten years later, Ellis is married to Annie, and Michael is gone from the picture. Burdened with shame stemming from…

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In “Switch and Bait,” Ricki Schultz Spoofs Modern Online Dating

in Romance by

If sarcastic wit and sharp insight into modern dating culture are your cup of exotic tea, then meet author Ricki Schultz. Last year’s debut novel, Mr. Right-Swipe, threw readers into the world of online dating and was relatable to anyone who has ever been on a bad date, which excludes one or two ants that crawled through my kitchen last week and likely no one or nothing else. Fast forward to her latest comic romp, Switch and Bait, out this June from Grand Central Publishing. What has become Schultz’s trademark are irreverent humor and reflections into modern dating. The main character, Blanche Carter, was known as the “Love Doctor” in her sorority (interpret that as you may), but has now…

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Sam Hooker’s “Peril in the Old Country” Is The Perfect, Dark Comedy Escape

in Fiction by

Rare is the author that writes like Sam Hooker. His latest book, Peril in the Old Country, draws the reader into a kaleidoscope of absurdist humor, stunning imagery, and a fantastical plot. Hooker is an expert when it comes to dark humor, and it clearly shows. In a land where rules are everything – also known as the Old Country – Sloot Peril is an accountant who’s really just trying to do the best he can and stay in the realm of mediocrity for as long as possible. That, unfortunately for him, is now what happens. Instead, he fixes an accounting error, gets invited to a high-class dinner party he doesn’t belong at, and finds out that he’s actually from…

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Comic Thriller “Death and Taxes” Pits an IRS Repo Squad Against the Mongolian Mob, Radioactive Cows and a Murderous Eunuch

in Fiction by

Mark Douglas is an IRS accountant, a former Marine content to hide out in his cubicle and audit suspicious tax returns. His latent thirst for action is satisfied by occasional forays into the field, armed with tear gas, a bull horn, and a rental truck to haul in whatever pays the back taxes of the most egregious evaders. Life is good for Mark. After long days at the office courting carpal tunnel syndrome, he joins his co-workers at their local watering hole to relive past glories deciphering fraudulent tax returns, ponder unexpected consequences of tax loopholes, and ogle busty barmaids. Mark’s boss, Lila, is a beautiful and sexy tax prodigy. One day, she discovers “odd jiggles” in three seemingly unconnected…

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“That Kind of Mother” Takes on the Challenges of Race and Motherhood

in Fiction by

Rebecca Stone desperately needs help with her newborn and Priscilla, a La Leche nurse from the hospital comes to her rescue. Having experience being a mother herself when she was a single, teen mother many years ago, Priscilla leaves her job at the hospital to become the nanny for Rebecca’s baby. Rebecca feels extremely close to Priscilla, confiding her fears, the hopes and dreams she had for herself and has for her child. She looks at Priscilla as a source of stability in her life, all while learning how to care for a child, and just what it means to be a mother.  Priscilla ends up changing the way that Rebecca looks on not only motherhood, but also the world…

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Marcia Gay Harden’s Powerful Memoir Honors Her Mother

in Non-Fiction by

A well-known actress from both stage and screen, Marcia Gay Harden tells the story of her life in the context of memories she has with her mother in her memoir, The Seasons of My Mother (Atria Books). Their close relationship is so beautiful and all the more painful as her mother’s memory fades from the effects of Alzheimer’s Disease. But their bond is unbreakable and based on love, and due to the progression of the disease and the author’s fear that all would be forgotten, it became imperative that stories were recorded. Remembering the past with family and friends is how we all stay connected, and I applaud Harden for writing this book honoring her mother, her wisdom, advise, strengths and hobbies…

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‘Anatomy of a Miracle:’ Too Good to Be True?

in Fiction by

After returning to Biloxi, Mississippi a veteran paraplegic from a horrific event in Afghanistan, Cameron Harris lives with his sister Tanya and spends a lot of time drinking, while managing to get around in a wheelchair. From the death of his mother, to the damaging hurricane and the war, Cameron has suffered his share. But one day while waiting for Tanya in the convenience store parking lot, he just stands up and starts to walk.  Was it a miracle, or was there a medical explanation? After a Facebook post about what had taken place goes viral, the local and national media bombard Cameron with questions related to his recovery. Christians believe this was a miracle and proof of God and…

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New York Times Bestselling Author Lisa Genova Returns with Heartbreaking Novel ‘Every Note Played’

in Fiction by

In her latest novel, Every Note Played (Scout Press/Gallery), concert pianist Richard has experienced life’s joys through playing the piano, his expert fingers on the keys his livelihood and his passion. But, when he is given the diagnosis of ALS, Richard starts losing the use of his hands, then arms. His ex-wife Katrina is leading an unfulfilling life, teaching piano to disinterested kids after school. Years ago her career was put on hold for Richard, and she never faced her fear of actually pursuing her dreams.  Feeling like she has little choice, Katrina reluctantly decides to be Richard’s caretaker. Genova expertly explores regret, guilt and forgiveness as we witness the progression of this deadly disease. Richard and Katrina tip-toe around their…

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BookTrib Review: The Last Mrs. Parrish is Addictive, Thrilling and Impossible to Put Down

in Thrillers by

In The Last Mrs. Parrish, Amber Patterson has had a disappointing life. So, when she sets her eyes on a handsome, rich married man, Jackson Parrish, she makes it her goal to make him hers. She befriends his lovely wife, Daphne, and weasels her way into the family, developing relationships with his inner circle, even his young children. Amber’s sisterly connection with Daphne deepens as they have what seems to be unbreakable ties as they bond over similar experiences of loss, and their friendship appears to be genuine and strong.  But Amber is conniving and she works her way into Mr. Parrish’s office, ultimately getting a job as his assistant, and manipulating him into being interested in her and thinking his wife is…

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The Man Who Brought Cherry Blossoms to D.C., and Other Fun Facts

in Non-Fiction by

Each spring, thousands of tourists travel to our nation’s capital to see the Tidal Basin swathed in clouds of cherry blossom pink. Peak bloom this year is predicted to be March 17-20 but festivities will continue for the following four weeks. The first flowering cherry trees were planted more than 100 years ago when a Department of Agriculture employee ordered 125 of them from a Japanese plant nursery, because his new wife liked them. This man, David Fairchild was a shy country boy from Kansas, but he became one of the most adventuresome botanists of all time. His story is told in The Food Explorer (Dutton, 2018), a new book by Daniel Stone that reads like a travelogue, a novel,…

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10 Reasons Why The New York Times Best Seller ‘The Wife Between Us’ is Perfection on Paper

in Thrillers by

If you pick up The Wife Between Us, know you are in for many sleepless nights. This piece of literary perfection will have you hooked from the very beginning. Even the title is fat with unanswered questions. Whose wife? Which wife? Is it Nellie, the wife-to-be? Or Vanessa, the ex-wife who is determined to stop the wedding? And, who can stop reading after bait like this, all in the first chapter: Nellie is jolted from sleep by a vision in white, but the woman she thinks she sees standing in her bedroom is only her wedding dress hanging from the closet door. She has a heavy engagement ring on her finger, and a heavy heart about something that happened when she…

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Women’s History Month: Where Women Are Kings

in Fiction by

It’s Women’s History Month and we are looking forward to all the events and books that celebrate the impact that women have on the world. In addition to bringing you the latest pop culture news and reviews where women are the focus, this month, we are also going to share with you some of the best BookTrib articles of the past that celebrate women and diversity.  Today, we feature this piece from September 11th, 2015 about a young boy who believes his Nigerian birth mother loves him more than anything in all of time, and that he is a wizard.   From the award-winning author of Tiny Sunbirds, Far Away, the story of a young boy who believes two things: that his Nigerian birth mother loves…

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Kimmery Martin’s ‘The Queen of Hearts’ Asks If Friendship and Betrayal Go Hand-in-Hand

in Fiction by

Combine late hours working at the hospital with an irresistible, handsome, charming and persistent doctor, friendships and disasters and you end up with the stunning debut, The Queen of Hearts,  by Kimmery Martin. Zadie and Emma are best friends, from medical school to the present, currently living in North Carolina and both practicing doctors.  But as close as they were and are, there are still deep secrets they haven’t shared with each other, and when an old colleague moves to town, it conjures up the past memories, and they are forced to reveal some painful truths from their youth. Kimmery Martin shows us how relationships evolve and grow overtime, so much so that when lives become intertwined, lifelong friendship can prevail…

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