This review is based on a complimentary book I received from Author, Theresa Braun. It is an honest and voluntary review. The complimentary receipt of it in no way affected my review or rating.Hardened Hearts by Calvin Demmer, Eddie Generous, Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi, Gwendolyn Kiste, J.L. Knight, James Newman, Jennifer Williams, John Boden, Laura Blackwell, Leo X. Robertson, Madhvi Ramani, Meg Elison, Robert Dean, Sarah L. Johnson, Scott Hallam, Somer Canon, Theresa Braun, Tom Deady
Also by this author: Dead over Heels
Genres: Crime and suspense, Literary Fiction, Romance, Science Fiction
Release Date: December 4, 2017
Source: Author, Theresa Braun
Purchase at: Amazon ◊ Barnes & Noble ◊ Book Depository
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
In this day and age, love and love stories in fiction has become in some cases quite formulaic. Hardened Hearts has seventeen short stories that break the mold! Love is not always sunshine and rainbows, love can be passionate, desperate, painful, dark, as well as twisted and disturbing. With each story in this book I found a new idea of love and these stories crossed across many different genres as well. There are many stories to choose from but my favorites were:
- It Breaks my Heart to Watch You Rot by Somer Canon: I read a lot of paranormal romance with long lived creatures, sometimes immortals, and I loved reading a story that made me consider what it would be like for an immortal to take a mortal lover that was not also given the gift of immortality. It’s one thing to grow old with someone but to watch them wither, just heartbreaking! I loved it!
- Heirloom by Theresa Braun: I loved that I was captivated by the main character, the ring, and the mirror. The story kept me guessing from the start and I would love to see this short story turned into its own full-length novel. It was dark, disturbing, and engaging. The writing was spot on and I was invested in the plot from beginning to end.
- The Pink Balloon by Tom Deady: This story is utterly heartbreaking and every parent’s nightmare. Hits so close to home with our fears and the ending is so sad but a reality for some after the loss of their child. Such a good read!
- Burning Samantha by Scott Hallum: This short story started out so wonderful for the main character Samantha but quickly turned into a heart wrenching dream crusher for Samantha. I hate that this sort of thing still happens in our society and I just wanted to tell Samantha’s character to stay true to herself.
This compilation of stories has a taste for every palate. They all elicited an emotional response from me, some were positive emotions others were negative but overall, I appreciated the spectrum of views on love that were brought forth in these short stories. I would highly recommend Hardened Hearts to anyone looking for a diverse view on the emotional subject of love!
*Thank you to Author Theresa Braun for this complimentary copy of Hardened Hearts*