Thursday, February 16, 2012

Sugar is Sweet, Carrie Green (4.5 stars)

From Amazon:  PLAYING FOR KEEPS--Sometimes a mother/daughter bond can be so close that it kills.

LOVED--Being loved is sometimes a fairy tale, sometimes, a nightmare. It all depends on who falls in love with you.

CHRISTMAS IN STRIPES--An ex-con spends his first holiday back home with his family and realizes that you can never go home again.

Sugar is Sweet is a collection of short stories written by Carrie Green. I first met Carrie during a Gratitude Blog Hop through the World Literary Café, then known as the WoMen’s Literary Café. She guest posted on my Depression Cookies blog: Thank You, Stephen King. Carrie was lovely and helpful, but more than that, she encouraged me to try the horror genre and to read Stephen King specifically.

Thanks to Carrie I read Stephen King’s On Writing, find the post here, and joined the Stephen King Project. Just recently, I read two of her short story collections, starting with Sugar is Sweet. There are three stories in the collection: Playing for Keeps, Loved, and Christmas in Stripes.

The short story collection starts with Playing for Keeps, an eerie and unsettling story about Dawn, a little girl with an abusive mother. I cringed most of the tale, realizing what a delicate relationships mothers and daughters have and how easily a mother can use that bond to an unfair advantage. My heart broke while I was internally screaming at the story, hoping Dawn could hear me and have courage. (I’m praying for a cushion for her journey’s end.)
Then, we move into Loved. “Had he died and gone to Hell?” I was wondering right along with Nick Goggin, completely absorbed with all the questions and fears he was facing. I was being pulled with him. This story explores more family issues, gives us more eerie feelings, and offers us another memorable character.
And finally, there’s Christmas in Stripes. The title alone hooked me. Douglas Kuznar, an ex-con who feels the weight of his stripes, is heading to his family’s house for Christmas dinner for the first time since his release. My favorite story in this collection, I was impressed with how much rich family history the author squeezed into so few pages.
What I love about this collection is that Ms. Green mines the depths of relationships. She plays with our sense of fear in the everyday instead of terrifying aliens or vampires, knowing sometimes the most troubling stories are the ones that can be true.
Each story leaves you wanting more, needing more. The suspense builds at a steady pace, and the author manages to successfully develop meaningful characters in a few words. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this collection, and the 4.5 star rating is a reflection of liking Roses are Red (5 stars) even more. My review for Roses are Red will be available Tuesday, February 21.
Many thanks to Ms. Green for encouraging me to give horror a chance. She was right, there’s so much more to it than meets the eye, as she so expertly demonstrated in her two short story collections.

Rating: 4.5 stars

For more about Carrie Green and her books, please visit her Amazon Author page.

When’s the last time you tried, and loved, something new in the world of books?


Carrie Green, said...

I'm so excited that you enjoyed my stories, but I'm equally happy that you have a new found appreciation for Stephen King. Thanks for your wonderful review. Wishing you many years of horror reading enjoyment (Oh, to discover King later in life, and to have all his books be new, is utter bliss)!

Tia Bach said...

I know, so much King to enjoy! So glad we were paired for the Gratitude Blog Hop. I'm looking forward to reading Violets are Blue soon, too!

Morgan said...

I need to read On Writing soooo bad. I've heard it's amazing. And I've only read ONE Stephen King book before. Crazy! :D

Tia Bach said...

Morgan, I know. Carrie did me a huge favor turning me onto Stephen King. First up, 11/22/63. Now to find the time to tackle it!