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love

Tall Poppies Review: Freedom From a Fractured Family

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Fractured family, deadly secrets, and a woman on the run in L.A.   I’m a sucker for broken families–well, stories about them, anyway. Throw in secrets, especially L.A. secrets, and I’m in with both feet.   Most of the cast in Fallout Girl (Blue Crow Publishing) are twenty-somethings. It’s the age of becoming: choosing a career and a place to live, figuring out what sort of a person you want to be and who you want to be with. It’s like being a teenager, only this time the choices you make are for real. But twenty-something is still young. The best thing about being young is believing you can replace your supremely messed-up family with a group of friends. The worst…

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‘Fall In Love With You’: The Guaranteed Path to More Love & Happiness

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You were made to experience unconditional love and happiness without limits, not to suffer, struggle, and strive – and you are designed to be able to manifest this ideal life regardless of the things you’ve been through or the conditions you face. We’ve been conditioned to believe in an outside-in model of life that says we are intrinsically lacking and have to attract, achieve, or fill ourselves up with something more in order to be enough. This has led us to develop all manner of coping and controlling mechanisms to get what we think we don’t have (and won’t survive without), or hold on to what we’re afraid someone else might take away. The problem with this is two-fold: 1)…

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The Freedom to Love is Paramount in Ariana Mansour’s ‘He Never Deserved Me’

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For most American women, we cannot conceive of marrying a man we don’t love, much less marrying a man our parents and community chooses for us. Not to say that this doesn’t happen in some regions and/or faiths, or that it wasn’t a more common phenomenon in another time and place, but since the women’s liberation movement of the 1960s and the mainstreaming of modern feminism, American women have been fighting for respect; not just respect of our persons, but of our needs, desires, passions and our choices. We won’t always make the right choices as life is overwrought with bad mistakes that began with the purest of intentions. But, we should be allowed to make those mistakes in a…

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Second Chance at Love: How a New Man Turned a Writer’s Nightmare into A Dream Come True

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My whole life I dreamed of what it would feel like to fall in love. Listening to love songs and watching romantic movies as a teenager, I was excited to find my own love story. But the realities of my society slammed hard in my face. I was told that I had to chose someone that would be able to support me properly, someone who was from the same social class as me (or higher), and someone I could get along with. Whether we were in love or not, was immaterial. Over the years, I would look at people on the streets: I saw happy couples holding hands, hugging each other or even giving each other a peck on the…

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The 10 Most Memorable TV Weddings That Inspired Jasmine Guillory’s Romanctic Debut

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We’ve got weddings on the brain lately. Between the upcoming royal wedding Prince Harry and actress Meghan Markle AND the epic double wedding on The CW crossover last week, who can blame us? It may be late fall (and not traditionally wedding season), but there’s clearly never a wrong time to get into the wedding-spirit. With so much love in the air, we’re rounding up our favorite TV weddings of all time. Gif via dailydcheroes.tumblr.com Prince Charles & Princess Diana, July 29, 1981 While Prince Harry prepares for his own wedding, he will no doubt get a lot of advice on royal matrimony from his father Prince Charles whose 1981 wedding to Harry’s mother, Princess Diana, was watched by 750 million worldwide.  Often referred…

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Arranged Marriage Gone Wrong: Not A Love Story

in Non-Fiction by

When we were writing the book, the subject came up of how I ended up marrying my husband. My best friend kept on saying that it was an arranged marriage and I would explain to her that it wasn’t. Then finally, she asked me, “Why don’t you be the judge of that?” In my society, it was understood and never questioned by anyone that a potential husband should be from a specific social class, the same as mine or higher and of the same ethnic group as me. He had to be older than me because that meant he was financially settled and had the capabilities to support me in the way I was accustomed to or at an even higher…

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Jesmyn Ward’s Beautiful but Sorrowful ‘Sing, Unburied, Sing’

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Sing, Unburied, Sing is a beautifully written, character driven, heartfelt novel that takes place in the steamy Mississippi Gulf Coast. The story is about a young black girl, Leonie who has two children, Jojo who is thirteen and Kayla, who is a toddler. The children’s father, Michael, is white and in prison. Michael’s family is hopelessly racist and rejects Leonie and the children, so they live with Leonie’s parents. Leonie is a drug addict and she is rarely around so Mam and Pop have stepped in to raise the kids. However, Mam is dying of cancer and a broken heart due to her son’s death and spends all of her time in bed, and Pop is quiet, strong, and teaches Jojo…

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‘He Never Deserved Me’: Marrying for Culture, Not Love is a Recipe for Disaster

in Non-Fiction by

Sometimes, things are not exactly what they seem to be. When we were writing He Never Deserved Me, the subject came up of how I ended up marrying my husband. My best friend kept on saying that it was an arranged marriage and I would explain to her that it wasn’t. Why don’t you be the judge of that? In my society, it was understood and never questioned by anyone that a potential husband should be from a specific social class, the same as mine or higher and of the same ethnic group as me. He also had to be older than me because that meant he was financially settled and had the capabilities to support me in the way I…

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A ‘Red-Haired Woman’ Turns Lives Upside Down in Pamuk’s New Book

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I really enjoyed this short but dense book, The Red-Haired Woman written by Turkish Nobel Prize winning author Orhan Pamuk. In the 1980s, a teenage, fatherless boy is an apprentice to Master Mahmut, a well digger. They dig for water in the hot sun, and tell stories to pass the time. As time goes on, they develop a tight relationship and grow to rely on each other as co-workers and as father and son. However, everything is turned upside-down when, one evening, the boy observes a beautiful red-haired woman twice his age and daydreams about her to get through the difficult days of work. She is an actress in a traveling theater production and he becomes overwhelmed with a desire to…

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Tall Poppies Review: Brandi Megan Granett’s ‘Triple Love Score’

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Life is really a bunch of scrambled words—love, loss, joy, zest, quest (note to self: I possess the high-scoring j, z, and q tiles) and figuring out how they fit into our journey. In her page-turning love story Triple Love Score, Brandi Megan Granett introduces us to the smart and sexy Miranda, a complicated protagonist who is equally Old School and modern woman. In her late 20s, she teaches poetry by day, and by night she is secretly the social media sensation known as the “Blocked Poet”—whose visual poems about life, love, and special occasions are comprised of Scrabble tiles. And yes, Hallmark is jealous. In her heart, Miranda holds a burning candle for Scott, ‘The Boy Next Door,’ her…

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‘The Best of Us’: Joyce Maynard’s Memoir on Love, Loss and Life

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I highly recommend reading Joyce Maynard’s The Best of Us, but just make sure you have a box of tissues. Maynard finds the love of her life in her 50s, many years after being divorced and raising her children as a single mother. She and Jim, her new love, had a wonderful connection and were enjoying life to the fullest. And then their future was shattered when he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. She stood by him, provided hope and continued to look for treatments and solutions until the end. Her love story is beautiful and devastating as she chronicles the time before she meets Jim, during their love affair and his battle with this devastating disease, and afterward when she…

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Elliot Ackerman Has Endless Inspiration for ‘Dark At the Crossing’

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Here is an author whose fiction cannot be separated from his life, or, if you indulge me, whose novels are based on his life. Once a marine, with an impressive five tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, Elliot Ackerman is now a journalist based in Istanbul, from where he has been covering the Syrian Civil War since 2013. Dark at the Crossing, Ackerman’s sophomore novel, after his much-heralded debut novel, Green on Blue, like its predecessor, deals with characters trapped in the middle of a brutal conflict. The conflict here is not just the obvious Syrian debacle, but also the one of a failed marriage. Ackerman comments on the genesis of the novel as an insight he had while…

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Abduction and Raw Emotion in ‘The Atlas of Forgotten Places’

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Don’t let this exceptional new novel fall under the radar! Based on war-torn Africa and the innocent people caught in the middle, the stunning debut of The Atlas of Forgotten Places by Jenny D. Williams takes us to Uganda where a young girl, Lily, goes missing. The authorities are hard to come by and disorganized, so her aunt Sabine, a former aid worker, travels from Germany to the village where she was last seen. She intends to trace Lily’s steps and try to understand if she was in danger and kidnapped, or if she had a motive to disappear. At the same time a Ugandan woman, Rose (who was previously kidnapped and abused by the Lord’s Resistance Army but now back in…

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True Love ‘Blooms’ in This Week’s AuthorBuzz

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  Dear Reader, Before Hitler, there were the Pashas… It is 1913 and late summer in the Ottoman Empire. The sun rises, full and golden, atop a lush, centuries-old village tucked into the highlands where the blood-red poppies bloom. Outside the village leader’s home, the sound of voices carries past the grapevines to the lane where Anno, his youngest daughter slips out unseen. She heads to a secret meeting place. She forgets that enemies surround her village…. Enter to win your free copy at [email protected] http://www.maralboyadjian.com  

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Bad Boys Make the Best Books in This Week’s Author Buzz

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Dear Reader In the spirit of writing about bad boys and the women who love them, it’s my pleasure to bring you the first stand-alone book in my Bodyguard Bad Boys series, Rock Me. My bodyguard bad boys are sexy, hot and oh so protective. First up is Ben Hollander, who has a past he doesn’t want to remember with pop star Summer Michelle. But when he’s assigned to be her bodyguard, he can’t help but remember why he couldn’t keep his hands to himself in the first place. She’s on the verge of ultimate fame and he’s not looking to get his heart broken again. Join them on their emotional journey! Want to win one of five copies of…

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Science and Humor Explode in Weike Wang’s ‘Chemistry’

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I was pleasantly surprised at how much I loved the book Chemistry! Author Weike Wang’s unnamed narrator, a Chinese-American Ph.D. student, lives with her redheaded boyfriend behind her traditional parents’ backs. Despite the high expectations for their daughter to become a chemist, she is unable to be successful in her research, losing interest in her male dominated field and having difficulty making decisions regarding her career and her relationship. The boyfriend proposed but she is just not feeling it enough to say yes, yet she doesn’t immediately say no. Caught in ambiguity, with nonscientific questions of the heart on her mind, and confusion about her future hanging in the balance, she searches inside herself to understand who she is, flaws and…

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