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Recommendation: Marlena, by Julie Buntin

I just finished reading Julie Buntin’s Marlena.

The novel tells the story of Cat and a dark bond she shared with her friend, Marlena, when they were high schoolers in Minnesota. As an adult living a swank life in New York City, Cat thinks she’s left it all behind—until one day, someone from their shared past asks to meet. As those unsettling months resurface, Cat learns that, thankfully, it really is true that you can’t go home again—but sometimes, just remembering is bad enough.

Oddly, the reason I found this book was because I was working on a short story, and I needed a novel that my main character could read that would contribute to my piece’s single effect. My plan was just to grab a title that’d make sense, but I popped open the Amazon preview and was sucked right in (I know this book has been listed for prizes and has also been named Book of the Year in several media outlets, but honestly, I don’t go by that. Suck me in and keep me there. That’s the only thing, for me, that counts).

Marlena flows Read the rest of this entry

Recommendation: DOLL CRIMES, by Karen Runge

Cover of Doll Crimes by Karen Runge (Crystal Lake Publishing)

If you’ve read my novel Bad Apple and enjoyed it, then don’t miss out on Karen Runge’s Doll Crimes.

This is a gorgeously written, terrifying examination of the complicated mother-daughter relationship; how they love and respect each other despite flaws; how they can damage each other no matter the depth of that love. This is real-life horror that reaches into the very bones of any woman who has loved her mother or daughter despite emotional crimes, big or small. Rife with sharp, stunning details and strong internal narrative, it’s possibly one of the most moving, visually beautiful–and yet accessible–books I’ve ever read, fraught with tension, sadness–and a strange kind of joy, because no matter where we are in our relationships with our mothers or daughters, their men, and the people who have done them wrong, we know that we are not alone. If you love dark fiction and are a mother, daughter, or both; or, if you have struggled with that emotionally fragile, yet seemingly unbreakable, bond between you, then this book is for you. High recommend.

Doll Crimes is published by Crystal Lake Publishing. It’s available everywhere, but here’s the Amazon link for ease: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1646693140/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_U_aRO5DbJF27VPK

Still haven’t read my book Bad Apple? You can get it here: http://bit.ly/BadAppleKPS

Mom and I 1978 -- 2019

My mother (left) and I didn’t have the easiest relationship. She died when she was 39 and I was 15. DOLL CRIMES really spoke to me.

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