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Thursday, September 30, 2021

Reviews: Comfort Me With Apples & Flowers for the Sea

 I've been on a horror/thriller novella kick lately and these are the latest reads  - novellas are really growing on me lately! Check these out and add to your TBR. Thanks so much to TorDotCom for these gifted books.

Comfort Me With Apples
by Catherynne M. Valente

Publisher: Tordotcom
Publish Date: October 26, 2021
112 Pages
Genre: Horror

Sophia was made for him. Her perfect husband. She can feel it in her bones. He is perfect. Their home together in Arcadia Gardens is perfect. Everything is perfect.

It's just that he's away so much. So often. He works so hard. She misses him. And he misses her. He says he does, so it must be true. He is the perfect husband and everything is perfect.

But sometimes Sophia wonders about things. Strange things. Dark things. The look on her husband's face when he comes back from a long business trip. The questions he will not answer. The locked basement she is never allowed to enter. And whenever she asks the neighbors, they can't quite meet her gaze...

But everything is perfect. Isn't it?

My Review:

It's rare that I sit on a book after I read it to mull over my thoughts before writing my review but I'm still unsure how I feel about this novella.  Arcadia Gardens is the perfect community where Sophia is the perfect wife to her perfect husband.  But over time, she begins to notice things that poke at her perfect balloon of a world.  With only 112 pages, I had no idea what was going on but the writing and the intrigue was there and I couldn't stop myself.

This gave me Stepford Wives and Mother vibes and I'm seriously confused on how I feel about it.  Granted, the last parts brought it altogether and it's really clever... and while the ending leaves us *kinda* knowing what will happen after, I still need more.  I certainly wasn't expecting it to go in this direction and I do love to be surprised. However, I find myself at a loss.  Is this just bizarre? Or is it brilliant? Can't it be both? 

Pay no attention to the back cover where it states this is for fans of Gone Girl - there is absolutely no comparing the two in my opinion and I wish covers would stop using that book as something to draw people in.  This is a very unique and fascinating story.  While I'm still unsure how I feel about it overall, I kind of like that I feel this way.  Beautifully written, a touch of creepy and and ending I wasn't expecting... yeah, pick this up so we can chat about it!


Flowers for the Sea
by Zin E. Rocklyn

Publisher: Tordotcom
Publish Date: October 19, 2021
112 Pages
Genres: Dark Fantasy, Horror

We are a people who do not forget.

Survivors from a flooded kingdom struggle alone on an ark. Resources are scant, and ravenous beasts circle. Their fangs are sharp.

Among the refugees is Iraxi: ostracized, despised, and a commoner who refused a prince, she’s pregnant with a child that might be more than human. Her fate may be darker and more powerful than she can imagine.

My Review:

Woahhhhhhhhhh... what did I just read?! For the majority I had no clue what was going outside of the pregnancy and eventual birth.  But the writing is so lyrical that I was mesmerized into smelling the nastiness of the ark, the flesh, the hunger, hearing the water flush against the walls, the tearing of Iraxi, the taste of pain, betrayal and the salted air. UFFFFFFF.

This dark fantasy novella is worth every single word.  While it is dense in writing in a short 112 pages, Rocklyn powerfully brings us right inside Iraxi's head and I loved seeing her rebellious nature change throughout.  This definitely is graphic in nature and at times I just wanted the birthing to end already but damnnnnnnnnnn Iraxi.... I feel you.  Anger, motherhood and revenge. Let's get ON IT.

I fear anything else I say could potentially spoil it but I absolutely loved the powerful ending and while this may not be a story for everyone, I am highly satisfied with that ending. I'm gonna need to go check out this author's backlist.

"We are a people who do not forget."


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