Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Sometimes We're Cruel by J.A.W. McCarthy | Book Review

Today Cassie & Teresa recommend SOMETIMES WE'RE CRUEL and other stories by J.A.W. McCarthy. We hope you'll check it out!


Sometimes We're Cruel and other stories by J.A.W. McCarthy

"A town where people go missing and inexplicably return as cruel versions of themselves.

A not-quite-human mother races against time to build a new body for her ailing daughter.

Lovesick ghosts inhabit the body parts of living people in a world where the only other choice is amputation.

Obsession. Selfishness. Cruelty. Doppelg√§ngers. In these dark, speculative stories—six reprints and six never before published, including the novelette “Girls Tied to Trees”—J.A.W. McCarthy explores how far humans and the not-quite-human will go to tame the darkness in their world and within themselves."

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Cassie's Review

I absolutely LOVE stories focused on women - their friendships, their traumas, their flaws, their discoveries. I especially love when stories are focused on women friendships, especially toxic or tragic ones - and this collection has so much of all that, omg. This was like HEAVEN to read, which is possible strange since the collection is so dark.

There's a little something for everyone here, too - body horror, cosmic horror, ghosts, possession. Each story started off in a way that had me immediately hooked, and I ended up finishing the entire collection in like 2 sittings 'cause I was so impressed with each story and couldn't wait for the next one.

Another thing I loved was that none of these stories were ones you'd expect - each one had me on my toes, not knowing where they'd go or what would happen as I read. Being able to nail that sort of tension without giving anything away until the author wants to takes skill.

Overall such a great collection, def gonna be one I recommend from here on out!

Teresa's Review

I am not really the best short story reader. I have trained my brain to read epic fantasy, to wait for the payout, to let the anticipation build. I am trying to be a better short story reader. Sometimes We’re Cruel by J.A.W. McCarthy is a collection that makes it easy for me to be a better short story reader. Every story in this collection is phenomenal. They are full of the little things we do- sometimes intentionally, sometimes not-that hurt people and ourselves, because sometimes we are cruel. The stories are like the little paper cuts we add to our psyche, the little words that wound, the little forgetful or selfish things that leak out, no matter how we try to correct them. Personally, my favorite is When Your Ghost Comes In, but I really enjoyed every story so much. I would try and review each story, but I do not want to risk spoiling anything, so I will leave it at that. Every story fits into the collection title so well. I am looking forward to future collections!

Thank you for joining us today! Please share your thoughts about SOMETIMES WE'RE CRUEL and other stories as well as any recent reads in the comments below.

We are currently accepting horror fiction and horror adjacent fiction written by diverse authors in print and epub format ONLY. If this is you, please visit our review submission page here.

Cassie is one of our contributing reviewers. Find her online at her website, Twitter as @ctrlaltcassie, Instagram as @readinginaprism, or over at her Etsy store, where she has amazing original art prints, cross stitch kits, bookmarks, and more!

Teresa creates the Shelf Edition posts and is a contributing reviewer at Horror Spotlight. You can find Teresa on Goodreads, and on Twitter.

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