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story

Fireworks Ensue When Past Meets Present in ‘The Distance Home’

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During the holiday season, many of us will be heading back to a place we think of as home. Orly Konig’s debut novel shows us that, no matter how many miles you’ve put between you and your formative experiences, they’ll still beg for attention when you reach that heart-tugging, familiar turf—and maturity may not be enough to counter returning feelings of awkwardness. Emma Metz isn’t necessarily interested in nostalgia. She’s all business these days, and plans a quick return to put her deceased father’s affairs in order. But as if of its own accord, the wheel of her rental car turns in at Jumping Frog Farm, where secrets and old wounds rise to greet her. The home world of this story…

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Tall Poppies Review: ‘Perennials’ Unfolds Beautifully

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Julie Cantrell has long been one of my favorite authors, a writer whose pages I know I can turn to for stunning language, heartfelt stories and flawless character development. Her latest, Perennials, is no exception, and I found myself completely invested from the very first page. Lovey Sutherland’s Arizona life, complete with her successful career as an advertising executive, her centering yoga routine and her supportive, loving friends, is, on the surface, what she has always wanted. Free from the past she left behind in her hometown of Oxford, Mississippi—and the blame she faced when a fire in her childhood, perceived to be her fault, changed everything—in many ways Lovey has created the future she has always imagined. Even still,…

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Danzy Senna’s ‘New People’ Explores Race, Identity and More

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I really enjoyed New People and was intrigued by who the description, “new people”, referred to. Maria and Khalil are a seemingly happy, engaged couple living in Brooklyn, both light skinned, mixed race. Khalil, a technology consultant, comes from a solid, intact family unit and is close with his parents and sister who is darker skinned than he is. Maria has no relatives; she was adopted by a black woman who was hoping to raise a “mini me” and has since passed away. She is spending her time writing her dissertation on Jamestown and busy learning about the mass suicides, how this could happen, and how those people kept going as long as they did. Maria’s previous boyfriend was white and…

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‘White Fur’: Is Love Really More Powerful Than Money?

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The more I think about this novel, the more I love White Fur by Jardine Libaire. It’s the 1980s and Elise, a school dropout and recently homeless young girl is living in New Haven with a friend she met on the street. Jamey is one of the white, privileged and wealthy guys in the apartment next door; the longtime buddies are students at Yale and everything material has been given to them on a silver platter. The unlikely attraction between Elise and Jamey is powerful, lustful and trepidatious on Jamey’s part, as Elise is from low-class, poor, unsophisticated stock, and although she has big love for her family and knows what she wants out of life, his fancy and pretentious family and…

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‘The Eves of MY Destruction’ Alerts Many to Devastating Cyber Crimes

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My new book, The Eves of My Destruction is entirely a work of fiction but it has many kernels of truth. The technology explained in the story is real and while I took care not to reveal too many insider secrets, be aware if you read my book that similar events are taking place in the real world that should give you pause. In my novel, the protagonist in the story is accused of using his deep knowledge of the banking system to pull off a massive cyber-crime, stealing billions of dollars from multiple banks. I did extensive research as I wrote my book and Mark Twain’s old adage “Truth is stranger than fiction,” often came to mind. As an…

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Adapting One Historical Novel to Another: How to Make It Work

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BookTrib is partnering with Bookish to bring you more great content. We’ve all been there: We read a novel, and wonder “How did the author do that?!” Sophfronia Scott has written just such a novel. Her book Unforgivable Love is a retelling of Dangerous Liaisons that will enchant and entertain readers with its historical flair. Here, she tells Bookish readers just how she went about adapting the original. Ideas are a dime a dozen—they exist in multitudes and any creative thinker knows there is no shortage of good ideas. Still there’s a fascination with ideas and they are considered scarce—that’s why authors consistently get asked how they found the idea for their latest work. But the idea is only the beginning. Two writers can start…

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Berenson’s ‘The Prisoner’ Strikes a Delicate Balance Between Fear and Paranoia

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In this age of great distrust, when even the most open-armed neighbor turns out to be a blood-thirsty sleeping cell waiting to enact some extremist cause, suspicion becomes the first natural line of defense, a secondary reflex when culture forces us to internalize the prevalence of danger. The Prisoner will feel like a fresh twist. The setting works in reverse, as the choice of story attempts to excoriate layers upon layers of phobia and paranoia. You could even venture to whisper that the story has a cleansing effect. In this case, John Wells, the main protagonist, is a Muslim convert who goes into hiding in the very epicenter of al Qaeda jihadist world, and so to infiltrate ISIS. Even though…

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Redemption and Second Chances in Thomas’ ‘The Future She Left Behind’

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A story of new beginnings in old places – with baggage. Unwanted baggage. Katelyn ran from her small-town roots as soon as she could. Don was everything she wanted: ambitious, caring, safe. After nineteen years, the kids have left for college, and she’s just beginning to realize her life has been on autopilot when her husband serves her divorce papers. She decides to go home to Little Springs Texas to visit her mother and regroup. Through a series of mishaps and misinformation, she ends up having to take her mother-in-law with her. She’s a doozy: uppity, opinionated and memory-challenged. And she doesn’t think much of her son’s wife, either. Everything in Little Springs is the same, so maybe its Katelyn…

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Ella Joy Olsen’s Take on Grief and Redemption in ‘Where the Sweet Bird Sings’

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A wonderful group of writers has come to our attention at BookTrib.com and we want to share this fantastic find! The Tall Poppies are not only writers, but avid readers, who on a weekly basis introduce us to many wonderful books! We never know how we’ll handle grief until we’re forced into it. In Where the Sweet Bird Sings, Ella Joy Olsen takes us to that deep place and gives the reader a beautifully rendered story that will alternately break your heart and make you hopeful. Emma Hazelton is frozen by grief. She’s just lost her beloved grandfather a year after losing her young son to a rare genetic disease. Her husband wants to move forward with their lives and have another…

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Common Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them: Advice for Writers of Fantasy

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Where do you get your news? If you’re like me, it’s a combo of Twitter, Colbert, and as little TV as I can get away with. (And then, the shower-crying.) As we continue to build and populate our fantasy world, it’s worth thinking about where your beekeepers, wenches, and princesses get their information. Does your agrarian worker’s paradise have the internet? (Trick question: by definition paradise has no internet.) Is your steampunk city (so many gears!) equipped with a brass and glass version of telephones? Does your underwater domed kingdom communicate with its neighbors by courier-fish? As always, that’s one of the pleasures of a DIY world–there aren’t any wrong answers. However, there must be answers. (And some of them will…

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A Teen Girl’s Journey: Learning to Love Iran Through its Food

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What happens when a teenaged American girl is uprooted from her Brooklyn home and moved to Iran right after the fall of the Shah? I shish you not, when I first stepped foot in Iran my jaw dropped to the sandy floor because of the Third World foods being prepared for sale in restaurants and kiosks. In my mind, the odors of intestines, brains and tongues of sheep could possibly cause nerve damage. I could hear people smelling this repugnant odor and saying “Piffff peefff!” (which is also similar to the name of a pest control killer in Iran). The odors are a perfect match! I would put it down in the “disgusting national dish” category. After tasting pig feet…

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