Title: Love Bites: A Collection of Short Stories
Author: Valeria Kogan
Genre: Contemporary dark romance, women’s fiction, dark read
Release date: March 1st, 2013
Released by: Wattle Publishing
Length: 133 pages
Blurb: Love Bites is the provocative debut collection of short stories by Valeria Kogan. From heartbreak to redemption, Love Bites provides a spellbinding interpretation of love and friendship, glamour and guilt, secrets and deceit.
Each story provides a captivating insight into the world of love; its profound impact and effect; and how women relate to their partners.
This cleverly constructed collection of short stories will leave you tantalized and yearning for more. Love Bites is a must-read for every modern woman, reader of romance and romantic enthusiast.
Love Bites is an assortment of eleven short, dramatic stories. Most are told from the female perspective, whilst some are told from the male point of view. In this book, love certainly does bite as each story shows the effect love can have on us as an individual. It explores the state of the mind during grieving and hard times, or even as new love sprouts without us realising until it falls upon us in an instant.
Valeria Kogan explains in the preface that she is providing the reader a taste of how far she can take her characters, or rather how far they take her. This makes for a more natural process of where she feels the characters are going, rather than always having an intended ending in mind. Thus, making it an unpredictable read.
There are some real eye-opening moments as we read about each individual’s state of mind and follow the way that they are thinking. Some of the stories are very touching, especially the last story, ‘End of a Story’ as we realise the true depth that a man can love a woman. This story in particular reached me as it was so beautifully written and packed with so much emotion – it will bring tears to your eyes!
There are some characters with psychological issues, whilst philosophical musings are also present in others. For instance, in ‘Tonight’ we follow a woman, a prostitute, who has always been used to her way of working, and working for big bucks! After promising her boyfriend she’d stop, she begins to think deeper about her situation. Should she begin a 9 to 5 job with little money, or stay working fairly flexibly for a few hours a week for more money?
There are many questions to be asked of the characters, but I love how the author has written it in such a way that the reader, too, will ask themselves these questions about the story. Some of the stories left me wondering, what next? The author hints at certain endings, but I like the idea that the reader can decide, or elaborate the story in their own mind.
The characters are stretched in their emotions and are overwhelmed with their experiences in many of the stories. There were moments when I felt that there were some realistic aspects as the characters are flawed, just as we all are, and at other times I felt disconnected to the story. This left me a little torn with some of the stories.
Love Bites is not a typical, refreshing and heart-warming romance read. However, it is powerfully dark, emotional and gritty, leaving the reader a great deal to ponder over. I was left feeling that – love may be the most powerful and emotional feeling of all, which is why it brings us so much bliss and yet so much pain!
Love Bites was provided by Wattle Publishing for the purpose of a fair and honest review.
Love Bites: A Collection of Short Stories by Valeria Kogan is available at Amazon UK and Amazon US.
Reviewed by Caroline Barker