Review copy provided in exchange for an honest review
Hardened Hearts is a collection of heartbreak that can, and probably will occur in every way imaginable. Including lost love and in a few cases difficult or impossible love. 40 Ways to Leave Your Monster Lover from Gwendolyn Kiste showed the sad and not uncommon side of heartbreak caused by an affair. I loved the way the story progressed showing the characters slowly slipping off the edge of rational actions and ultimately ending up in the danger zone. I loved the next short story It Breaks my heart to Watch You Rot by Somer Canon. I’ve read Somers work many times and really dig what she is throwing down. This story crushed me as a women watches her lover slowly lose his ability to recognize her or anything. This story hit close to home, but drawing this kind of emotion from the reader is what makes it a great story. Watching love try to survive in the apocalypse in Dog Tired by Eddie Generous was a fun ride while it lasted. I held out hope for the characters until the end, but hope doesn’t always cut it, in love or the apocalypse. The Pink Balloon from Tom Deady is an excellent story and a parent’s worst nightmare come true. This little story will take your breath away. Good luck reading it without dying a little inside.
Other shorts I found enjoyable were Consumed by Madhvi Ramani, it had a frantic pace and a conclusion I couldn’t imagine. Burning Samantha by Scott Paul Hallam, a tale I hadn’t expected to like but was brave and timely, as was Class of 2000 by Robert Dean and the final story, Matchmaker by Meg Ellison, which was a really fun and cleaver story.
Length: 176 Pages
Release date: December 4th 2017
17 stories of difficult love, broken hearts, lost hope, and discarded truths. Love brings pain, vulnerability, and demands of revenge. Hardened Hearts spills the sum of darkness and light concerning the measures of love; including works from Meg Elison, author of The Book of the Unnamed Midwife (Winner of the Philip K. Dick Award), Tom Deady, author of Haven (Winner of the Bram Stoker award for Superior Achievement in a First Novel), Gwendolyn Kiste, author of And Her Smile Will Untether the Universe and Pretty Marys All in a Row, and many more.
Hardened Hearts dips from speculative, horror, science fiction, fantasy, into literary and then out of the classifiable and into the waters of unpinned genres, but pure entertainment nonetheless.
FOREWORD – James Newman
IT BREAKS MY HEART TO WATCH YOU ROT – Somer Canon
WHAT IS LOVE? – Calvin Demmer
HEIRLOOM – Theresa Braun
THE RECLUSE – John Boden
40 WAYS TO LEAVE YOUR MONSTER LOVER – Gwendolyn Kiste
DOG TIRED – Eddie Generous
THE PINK BALLOON – Tom Deady
IT’S MY PARTY AND I’LL CRY IF I WANT TO – J.L. Knight
BURNING SAMANTHA – Scott Hallam
CONSUMED – Madhvi Ramani
CLASS OF 2000 – Robert Dean
LEARNING TO LOVE – Jennifer Williams
BROTHERS – Leo X. Robertson
PORCELAIN SKIN – Laura Blackwell
THE HEART OF THE ORCHARD – Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi
MEETING THE PARENTS – Sarah L. Johnson
MATCHMAKER – Meg Elison