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Not all love stories have happy endings. For those having more of an anti-Valentine’s feeling about the holiday this year, recommends these dark, twisted books that visit the underbelly of love — where hopes are dashed, psychosis is unleashed and liars and indiscretions run rampant.

Give Me Everything You Have: On Being Stalked by James Lasdun

A chilling, true life account of a writer and professor who was stalked by one of his students. Lasdun brutally opens up matters of the male psyche and sexual attraction that aren’t often covered in memoirs in conjunction with a detailed recounting of the woman who threatens to ruin his life. The ways she manipulates his digital footprint will make you want to quit the Internet and the powerlessness victims of stalking are put in by the legal system paints a harrowing picture. It’s not love, it’s obsession. And it has gone very, very wrong.

Recommended if: You wonder how both men and stalkers think.

The Kissing List by Stephanie Reents

A compilation of short stories that follows a group of girlfriends (Sylvie, Anna, Frances, and Maureen) and their lives after college,  each chapter is a new tale that vividly details a character dealing with a new problem. These girls have commitment issues, overbearing boyfriends and exes they just can’t shake out of their lives. Tales of desperation, heartbreak, and endless questions of where they’ll all wind up are embodied within each chapter. As each story is told the characters within the book become more familiar and you can’t help but to root for them as if they were your own best friends. From awkward first dates, unexpected pregnancies and creepy bosses, each character comes to life with Reents’ vivid dialogue.

Recommended if: You’re a fan of HBO’s Girls and uncomfortable situations.

Indiscretion by Charles Dubow

Some girls are looking for love. Some girls need something else entirely. Heavy on lusty affairs, this book is steamy. But it’s not love that our main character Claire is in. It’s a dangerous desire to possess the lives of the seemingly perfect rich couple she’s become enamored of. In the end, the consequences of their choices are what make this affair a juicy read — but goodness,

Recommended if: You liked the Great Gatsby and you also like Revenge — with a dash of 50 Shades of Grey.

The Comfort of Lies: A Novel by Randy Susan Meyers

The title tells you everything you need to know of this tale about what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive. It’s a hard romance for Tia, who is in love with and finds herself impregnated by the married Nathan. Their affair gets back to his wife, Juliette, who finds her life is not at all what she thought. And when Tia gives the child up for adoption, the web opens for Caroline, who is ambivalent about motherhood — to a degree that even time won’t change. Three women from three different walks of life prove that neither money or influence can buy you love.

Recommended if: You need a cathartic cry.

-Courtney E. Smith and Annie Reuter,


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