Title: Hardened Hearts
Authors: Gwendolyn Kiste, Somer Canon, Calvin Demmer, Theresa Braun, John Boden, Eddie Generous, Tom Deady, J.L. Knight, Madhvi Ramani, Scott Paul Hallam, Robert Dean, Jennifer Williams, Leo X. Robertson, Laura Blackwell, Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi, Sarah L. Johnson, Meg Elison
Date of Publication: 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.
Honestly, I hate reading most story collections by different authors because the writing styles are so different. Then most of the time I only like a few. This didn’t happen here, though. I definitely liked almost all of the stories! My favorites have to be… Canon’s, Demmer’s Braun’s, Deady’s, Blackwell’s, and Al-Mehairi’s!
What I also liked was that there was a variety in genres, even though I prefer ones that have supernatural stuff, which most of them did!
40 Ways to Leave Your Monster Lover by: Gwendolyn Kiste – I’ll admit I’m usually not a big fan of second person, like at all. But this one was actually good. I’ll still say that I will never be a fan of second person, though!
It Breaks My Heart to Watch You Rot by: Somer Canon – Loved this one! It even caused me to tear up! The real scenario of when an immortal loves a mortal is a heartbreaking thing.
What is Love? by: Calvin Demmer – Calvin is the master at writing short stories. So, I wasn’t surprised at all that this one was amazing! Loved the ending!
Heirloom by: Theresa Braun – I found this one extremely addicting and kept wanting to know what the heck was going on! Braun’s writing is flawless, and the story is intriguing!
The Recluse by: John Boden – This was a short, fun story and a freaking heck yeah from me!
Dog Tired by: Eddie Generous – Nice character development, and I’ll just say it has my favorite creature ever!
The Pink Balloon by: Tom Deady – Let me go cry myself to sleep after reading this one, no, seriously!
It’s My Party And I’ll Cry If I Want To by: J. L. Knight – This one was extremely relateable, especially if you have lost anyone that means more than anything to you.
Consumed by: Madhvi Ramani – The main guy was ridiculous—which made me like it!
Burning Samantha by: Scott Paul Hallam – I really liked that this put me in Samantha’s head about a boy who feels like a girl. And how the pressure of what other people feel can have an affect on one’s happiness. The thing is, as hard as it is to brush out the world, you have to do what you feel, otherwise, you will live in misery.
Class of 2000 by: Robert Dean – This one felt a little too lifetime for me. I think it was a very important story, but it just didn’t blend in well with the others.
Learning to Love by: Jennifer Williams – Short, but I could feel the emotions from the MC!
Brothers by: Leo X. Robertson – I’m sort of lost by the ending of this one, but it got really, really good with each page!
Porcelain Skin by: Laura Blackwell – This one had a very whimsical feel to it, and I was thoroughly captivated!
The Heart of the Orchard by: Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi – Loved, loved, loved this one! The setting, the tone, the writing—all of it was great!
Meeting the Parents by: Sarah L. Johnson – This one was extremely odd, but equals cool!
Matchmaker by: Meg Elison – I felt this was a good way to end the book!
Overall, a great read where happily ever afters don’t exist, but the reader still feels like they get what they wanted in the end!
Do you like short stories?