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Comfort Me with Apples

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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 wond 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?


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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 wond 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?

30 review for Comfort Me with Apples

  1. 4 out of 5

    Yun

    Wow, what a fascinating little book this turned out to be! Sophia was made for him, her husband. He is perfect, her life is perfect, their house is perfect, everything is perfect. Or is it? For a quick read, this sure kept me guessing at every turn. Just when I thought I'd picked up a clue and have slotted it into my mental picture, something happens that has me reconfiguring everything again. And this kept going until the very end. I was absolutely riveted. From the moment this book showed up on t Wow, what a fascinating little book this turned out to be! Sophia was made for him, her husband. He is perfect, her life is perfect, their house is perfect, everything is perfect. Or is it? For a quick read, this sure kept me guessing at every turn. Just when I thought I'd picked up a clue and have slotted it into my mental picture, something happens that has me reconfiguring everything again. And this kept going until the very end. I was absolutely riveted. From the moment this book showed up on the scenes, it's been generating so much buzz. It's not often a book has such polarizing reviews, with readers either enthusiastically loving it or passionately hating it. I knew I had to read it for myself to see where I landed. If you're at all curious and you're in the mood for something unusual, I think this is worth a try. It's a short read (I got through it in less than 2 hours), and I guarantee you'll walk away with something you haven't seen before. Or have you? My heartfelt thanks for the advance copy that was provided for my honest and unbiased review.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Regina

    Here’s a running list of comparisons that crossed my mind while immersed in the world of Catherynne M. Valente’s novella, Comfort Me With Apples: - The Stepford Wives - Animal Farm - Margaret Atwood - Lauren Groff - The bible - Greek mythology - Dante’s Inferno Clearly, this is quite a bonkers read. In the span of 112 pages (or 2 hours 20 minutes on audio), readers are kept on their toes while trying to place what is happening, why it’s happening, and where it’s happening. I think(????) I figured out Here’s a running list of comparisons that crossed my mind while immersed in the world of Catherynne M. Valente’s novella, Comfort Me With Apples: - The Stepford Wives - Animal Farm - Margaret Atwood - Lauren Groff - The bible - Greek mythology - Dante’s Inferno Clearly, this is quite a bonkers read. In the span of 112 pages (or 2 hours 20 minutes on audio), readers are kept on their toes while trying to place what is happening, why it’s happening, and where it’s happening. I think(????) I figured out the answers to those questions by book’s end, but man, it sure was a strange trip to get there. Ultimately it comes together in the most brilliant fashion, in such a way that will keep me pondering the feminist statement I believe Valente is trying to make. Comfort Me With Apples definitely will not be the right read for everyone - but if you’re up for a lovely cup of apple-flavored WTF, you’ll drink this one up like I did. My thanks to Dreamscape Media and the author for the advance listening copy via NetGalley. Karis Campbell’s moody audiobook narration is pitch perfect, and I’d recommend the format for those who are open to it. Blog: https://www.confettibookshelf.com/

  3. 5 out of 5

    Cindy

    Super quick read and has a strong stylistic voice suited for horror. I didn't feel much from the story though - no discomfort or stomach churning moments that one would want from this genre, not even unsettled. It wasn't my thing, but I can see how others might enjoy it and get that eerie, mystical feeling. Super quick read and has a strong stylistic voice suited for horror. I didn't feel much from the story though - no discomfort or stomach churning moments that one would want from this genre, not even unsettled. It wasn't my thing, but I can see how others might enjoy it and get that eerie, mystical feeling.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Lala BooksandLala

    reading all the goodreads horror nominees https://youtu.be/XGfWQh5Ou_c reading all the goodreads horror nominees https://youtu.be/XGfWQh5Ou_c

  5. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    Anyone here that knows me well knows that I have been dying to get a copy of this book and that it was one of my most anticipated books this year. I was declined a physical arc, I was declined a digital arc, but I did manage to snag an audio version this morning so I set everything aside to get started. WHAT. A. DISAPPOINTMENT. And it breaks my heart to say that. 💔 The best word to describe this book is: NONSENSE. The one positive I took away from this was that I enjoyed Valente's prose. Everythi Anyone here that knows me well knows that I have been dying to get a copy of this book and that it was one of my most anticipated books this year. I was declined a physical arc, I was declined a digital arc, but I did manage to snag an audio version this morning so I set everything aside to get started. WHAT. A. DISAPPOINTMENT. And it breaks my heart to say that. 💔 The best word to describe this book is: NONSENSE. The one positive I took away from this was that I enjoyed Valente's prose. Everything else, not so much. Had I of known that this was some sort of Adam and Eve biblical bullshit I would have never been interested in this. So damn you beautiful cover and damn you vague synopsis for seducing me into believing I did need this. I did not. I also can't believe that Amazon is charging $10.99 for a kindle copy. This is a 112 page novella so that's almost a buck a page and I can assure you that you can spend your money better elsewhere. Of course I'm an outlier so maybe this utterly bizarre story will be money well spent for you and I sure do hope that it is! Thanks to NetGalley and Dreamscape Media for my complimentary copy. Praying to the NetGalley and Macmillan-Tor/Forge book gods that I am granted an arc of this because this sounds like my kind of Kool-aid! 🤪🤞

  6. 4 out of 5

    Farrah

    First I'd like to thank Dreamscape Media and NetGalley for the very quick approval of this audiobook. I kept seeing so many and such varied reviews that I was twitchy with the desire to read this! My husband and I listened to it over the course of two of our evening walks and ohhhh the irony that THIS is the book we chose to read together. I'd like to mirror what I've heard others say - if I'd known in advance where this story was headed I probably wouldn't have decided to read it but I'm glad I First I'd like to thank Dreamscape Media and NetGalley for the very quick approval of this audiobook. I kept seeing so many and such varied reviews that I was twitchy with the desire to read this! My husband and I listened to it over the course of two of our evening walks and ohhhh the irony that THIS is the book we chose to read together. I'd like to mirror what I've heard others say - if I'd known in advance where this story was headed I probably wouldn't have decided to read it but I'm glad I did as I found it stunningly written and uniquely unsettling. It makes a strong statement so now I understand why it's caused strong reactions. I asked my husband what he thought I should rate it and he said 'at least 4 stars' so either he enjoyed it too or he was worried I'd serve him a huge slice of apple pie if he didn't!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jayme

    As with “The Last House on Needless Street” (Catriona Ward) earlier this year, (a very different story) I was so INTRIGUED by the reviews of this book-the lack of description-the reviewers at a loss for words of what to say about it-still processing if they enjoyed it or NOT. As you begin to learn about the tranquil, gated community of Arcadia Gardens (of Eden?), you will wonder about Sophia. She wakes up each morning pleased with the fact that she was made for her husband-and perfect for him. S As with “The Last House on Needless Street” (Catriona Ward) earlier this year, (a very different story) I was so INTRIGUED by the reviews of this book-the lack of description-the reviewers at a loss for words of what to say about it-still processing if they enjoyed it or NOT. As you begin to learn about the tranquil, gated community of Arcadia Gardens (of Eden?), you will wonder about Sophia. She wakes up each morning pleased with the fact that she was made for her husband-and perfect for him. She was born without dissatisfaction. She tells herself that she is well fed, well housed, busy and loved. ❤️ Could she be AI? She believes all of this UNTIL she finds a locked drawer which contains something that will make her question everything. Drawers are locked for a reason. The MANY, very STRICT rules of Arcadia Gardens are divulged throughout the narrative. Rules designed to keep everyone happy and safe from…..temptation? And, with the taste of apples on her lips, innocence will be lost and her neighbors will ask her: Are you happy? DO YOU UNDERSTAND? The answer to that, may determine her fate. An UNSETTLING listen from Dreamscape Media available October 26, 2021. 2 hours, 19 minutes I am glad that I now know what EVERYONE is talking about. I received a gifted copy through NetGalley and it was my pleasure to offer a candid review!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Fran

    "Welcome to a new world of luxury living in Arcadia Gardens an exclusive, upscale gated community, the ultimate in amenities, privacy, serenity and security...the outside world cannot trouble you here." The house is luxurious. Sophia wants for nothing. Her world is bright, beautiful...perfect. Her husband spoils her. Often however, she must sleep alone. His very important job requires him to be on call. Sophia doesn't mind. "The world flows in that direction. Him to her. A river of forever...I wa "Welcome to a new world of luxury living in Arcadia Gardens an exclusive, upscale gated community, the ultimate in amenities, privacy, serenity and security...the outside world cannot trouble you here." The house is luxurious. Sophia wants for nothing. Her world is bright, beautiful...perfect. Her husband spoils her. Often however, she must sleep alone. His very important job requires him to be on call. Sophia doesn't mind. "The world flows in that direction. Him to her. A river of forever...I was made for him." She has perfect neighbors who look out for her. Sophia will be thrilled when the cellar is completed because it will include a workspace just for her. For now, it is dangerous and she could get hurt. The basement door is locked. It is off limits to her. Sophia keeps a precise schedule. Linens and bath towels are pinned on the clothesline from exactly 11:00 AM to 1:00PM. "Everything she does reflects upon him." She is happy. Her husband is happy. The world is theirs, until it is not. She makes a discovery. Something is off-kilter. "Comfort Me With Apples" by Catherynne M. Valente is a short novella that begs to be devoured in one sitting. Arcadia Gardens is tightly gated, the HOA rules and regulations are extensive including no overnight guests and tranquility hours after 10PM. Sophia is perfectly lovely, perfectly good, perfectly sweet and perfectly happy. "I was made for him"...but..."she wishes so desperately that she'd never done it...". This creepy, uncomfortable novella will make the reader squirm. A highly captivating read that is highly recommended. Thank you Macmillan-Tor/Forge, Tordot.com and Net Galley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Robin

    ↠ 4 stars The gated community of Arcadia Gardens may seem perfect, but within the confines of the neighborhood, a poisonous truth begins to fester, threatening the very serenity promised to its inhabitants. At surface level, adoring housewife Sophia couldn't ask for a more perfect circumstance. Her life in Arcadia Gardens, her house, and her increasingly absent husband provide her with everything she could possibly imagine. Still, there are things that beg to be questioned, like the strange lock ↠ 4 stars The gated community of Arcadia Gardens may seem perfect, but within the confines of the neighborhood, a poisonous truth begins to fester, threatening the very serenity promised to its inhabitants. At surface level, adoring housewife Sophia couldn't ask for a more perfect circumstance. Her life in Arcadia Gardens, her house, and her increasingly absent husband provide her with everything she could possibly imagine. Still, there are things that beg to be questioned, like the strange lock of hair decidedly not hers, or the sliver of bone expertly placed in her knife block. It seems that things might not be as splendid as they seem, and when Sophia goes digging she unearths something that could destroy her seemingly perfect life in seconds. Comfort Me With Apples is a fantastically dark thriller that delighted and surprised me in unexpected ways. With a bit of The Yellow Wallpaper vibe interspersed throughout this strange mystery, Valente crafts a story made to be questioned at its core. A slowly decaying fruit of a novel that becomes harder and harder to ignore. While not everyone will love the twist of the knife designed, nor the lack of an accurate Gone Girl comparison, those that enjoy being unsettled will love where this novel takes them. Catherynne Valente has always excelled in her prose and Comfort Me With Apples demonstrates that clearly, with gloriously strange, and utterly imaginative language. The rules of the gated community, partnered against the actual storyline cultivates a sense of unease that preys upon the mind until right up at the end. An atmosphere that becomes increasingly more and more ominous. Where the story takes an unanticipated turn, is in the biblical elements included. These surprised me more than I thought they would, but thought they ultimately flushed out the commentary and made the reveal at the end all the more horrific. It really makes me want to go back and read the story all over again to see where the paving was laid. A lot of people have already commented on the incorrect marketing surrounding this book, and while I don't think this was anything like Naomi Novik's Spinning Silver, or Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl, the domestic thriller and fantasy vibe is definitely present here. The only thing that really irked me with Comfort Me With Apples was the length. There was a lot of build-up in the first two-thirds of the novel, and then the confrontation at the end left me with so many questions that could have been avoided had time been taken to draw out the reveal. Key opinion with this one: I just wanted more. Catherynne Valente certainly knows how to write an idyllic story with otherwise sinister undertones, however, something that will be perfect for the upcoming Halloween season. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing this arc in exchange for an honest review. Trigger Warnings: death, murder, gaslighting

  10. 4 out of 5

    karen

    NOW AVAILABLE!!! i was not expecting this ARC, it just showed up at my place decked out in that delicious cover, and i was intrigued enough to read the author's letter accompanying the book, which begins: As always, it's tremendously difficult to talk about Comfort Me With Apples without giving away the whole game. From the jump, we ruefully laughed about how hard it would be to market a book with such a massive twist that we can only vaguely tell anyone what it's about beyond: You just have to re NOW AVAILABLE!!! i was not expecting this ARC, it just showed up at my place decked out in that delicious cover, and i was intrigued enough to read the author's letter accompanying the book, which begins: As always, it's tremendously difficult to talk about Comfort Me With Apples without giving away the whole game. From the jump, we ruefully laughed about how hard it would be to market a book with such a massive twist that we can only vaguely tell anyone what it's about beyond: You just have to read it. Trust us. well, consider that effective marketing, because that paragraph alone was enough to make me put Matrix on hold for a day in order to see what this massive twist was all about. rereading the letter after reading the book made me laugh out loud (man, if only there were a shorter way to type out that phrase), because something she wrote after this paragraph is such a marvelously sly instance of I SEE WHAT YOU DID THERE! and, no, i won't type that part out. it's a little Bluebeard, a little The Stepford Wives, and a lot ████████, and while i didn't find it "terrifying," it was delicately unsettling and a finely wrought little splinter of a novella. "I am happy, ████████*. How could I be otherwise? I am fed, I am housed, I am busy, I am loved." Her voice catches on the last word. sincere apologies to Lauren Groff for temporarily putting you in the corner, but i don't regret being part of a small handful of readers who know ALL THE SEEKRITS! * name redacted to avoid potential spoilers for those of you with specific BACKGROUNDS. come to my blog!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Tina

    I decided to check out all the hype with this one. Well...I must say I really did not enjoy it much. It's an odd book. The audio did catch my attention at the very beginning but it did not last long. The narrator was very slow and pronounced but I did feel okay with that in the beginning as everything was being set-up as being, "perfect." Then...it started to grate on my nerves. I know many have enjoyed this story and feel it took a clever turn. For me it was just strange and not very entertaining. I decided to check out all the hype with this one. Well...I must say I really did not enjoy it much. It's an odd book. The audio did catch my attention at the very beginning but it did not last long. The narrator was very slow and pronounced but I did feel okay with that in the beginning as everything was being set-up as being, "perfect." Then...it started to grate on my nerves. I know many have enjoyed this story and feel it took a clever turn. For me it was just strange and not very entertaining. I'd like to thank NetGalley and Dreamscape Media with granting me access to this Advance Audio Copy.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Michael David

    I got to 65%, and found absolutely no enjoyment. I wasn't into the monotonous narrator, and would've preferred being on the treadmill in silence. This is a hot mess, but many trusted friends love it...so check out other reviews. I'm not the best source when it comes to audio...but I don't think I'd enjoy it more in print either. 2 stars since I read a good chunk of it without finishing. Thank you to Dreamscape Media and Macmillan Tor for an ALC in exchange for an honest review. I got to 65%, and found absolutely no enjoyment. I wasn't into the monotonous narrator, and would've preferred being on the treadmill in silence. This is a hot mess, but many trusted friends love it...so check out other reviews. I'm not the best source when it comes to audio...but I don't think I'd enjoy it more in print either. 2 stars since I read a good chunk of it without finishing. Thank you to Dreamscape Media and Macmillan Tor for an ALC in exchange for an honest review.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Holly B

    Strange, evil patriarchy theme. I can't say more without giving away too much. I tried to keep an open mind while listening to this novella. I'm not quite sure what message the author was trying to send. I have an idea, but if I'm right, then it failed(a feminist angle). It is listed as Sci-fi/ Fantasy, okay definitely fantasy. It wasn't thrilling or suspenseful and I wouldn't classify it as horror either (nothing scary), although there are some horror elements. I guess there was a mystery, but you Strange, evil patriarchy theme. I can't say more without giving away too much. I tried to keep an open mind while listening to this novella. I'm not quite sure what message the author was trying to send. I have an idea, but if I'm right, then it failed(a feminist angle). It is listed as Sci-fi/ Fantasy, okay definitely fantasy. It wasn't thrilling or suspenseful and I wouldn't classify it as horror either (nothing scary), although there are some horror elements. I guess there was a mystery, but you will figure it out ahead of time. I did get impatient while listening and started to lose interest because there wasn't enough substance. The narrator's voice went from straight forward reading to very robotic (was it intentional)? to slighty animated with some of the characters, never adding much emotion. All of these characters were rather bland and flat, except maybe, Ms. Fish and her gossipy friends. I did like the setting of an ideal blissful, restful community with the diehard H.O.A. rules, but the direction the novel takes and the re-telling aspect didn't work for me. If you'd like to give it a listen, it is just over 2 hours. Narrated by Karis Campbell Thanks NG and Dreamscape for my audio copy, OUT October 26, 2021

  14. 4 out of 5

    megs_bookrack

    I can't do it. I dislike this story with deep passion. Pulling the plug at 64% because I just can't take it anymore. 😫 For those of you who care, I am changing the dates read to 1996, so it won't count towards this year's reading challenge, as I didn't complete it. Nothing could make me. Thank you to the publisher, Dreamscape Media, for providing me with a copy. It was an epic failure for me, but I'm sure someone, somewhere out there will enjoy this one. I can't do it. I dislike this story with deep passion. Pulling the plug at 64% because I just can't take it anymore. 😫 For those of you who care, I am changing the dates read to 1996, so it won't count towards this year's reading challenge, as I didn't complete it. Nothing could make me. Thank you to the publisher, Dreamscape Media, for providing me with a copy. It was an epic failure for me, but I'm sure someone, somewhere out there will enjoy this one.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Terrie Robinson

    "Comfort Me With Apples" by Catherynne M. Valente is perfectly written with perfectly lovely prose! For 2 hours and 20 minutes I wondered what the heck am I listening to? I wanted to know more. I listened to every word for clues, hints and innuendo and you know what? It was all there! The cover art is perfect. The writers prose is perfect and the narrators voicing is, well...just perfect! It's a perfect community and everything about it is designed to perfection. There are rules and they are long "Comfort Me With Apples" by Catherynne M. Valente is perfectly written with perfectly lovely prose! For 2 hours and 20 minutes I wondered what the heck am I listening to? I wanted to know more. I listened to every word for clues, hints and innuendo and you know what? It was all there! The cover art is perfect. The writers prose is perfect and the narrators voicing is, well...just perfect! It's a perfect community and everything about it is designed to perfection. There are rules and they are long but they are very perfect rules. If you break any of these perfect rules, you're out! This is one crazy a$$ ride, for sure, and totally worth the hype! I enjoy different, quirky, out-of-the-box kind of reads and this one fit me just perfectly! I recommend you go in completely blind for this one. The pleasure is in not knowing anything at all! Would I listen to it again? Yes, and I did! And, I loved it even more! I find apples so perfectly comforting, don't you? Thank you to NetGalley, Dreamscape Media and Catherynne M. Valente for an ALC of this book. It is my pleasure to give my honest and voluntary review.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Debra

    Well, that was UNEXPECTED! This one was peculiar and yet, I could not stop reading it. Everything is perfect in Arcadia Gardens. There are, of course, rules one must live by. They seem very homeowner assosiation-ish in the beginning but then the rules take on a certain slant. But what can you expect from a place that is so perfect? I mean everything is perfect (It MUST be perfect). Sophia is happy. She has the perfect husband, the perfect house, the perfect life. But her husband goes away at ti Well, that was UNEXPECTED! This one was peculiar and yet, I could not stop reading it. Everything is perfect in Arcadia Gardens. There are, of course, rules one must live by. They seem very homeowner assosiation-ish in the beginning but then the rules take on a certain slant. But what can you expect from a place that is so perfect? I mean everything is perfect (It MUST be perfect). Sophia is happy. She has the perfect husband, the perfect house, the perfect life. But her husband goes away at times and comes home in a dark mood. He works so hard, it must be rough on him, but she is there to make sure everything is perfect. But things don't look so perfect when she begins finding horrible "things" and why is everyone so worried about her happiness? She is happy, isn't she? This book is polarizing readers and I get why. When you get to then end, some will enjoy where the book takes you and the reveals, others will not be as pleased. I'm happy I went in blind, and I am also happy that this was a novella and not a novel. I think this would have been even more enjoyable with parts cut out. I thought there were some characters and scenes that were not necessary. But I enjoyed this peculiar and out there kind of book. I am happy I went in blind. I agree with others who recommend doing the same. 3.5 stars Bizarre, kooky, and original. Thank you to Macmillan-Tor/Forge, Tordotcom and NetGalley who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All the thoughts and opinions are my own. Read more of my reviews at www.openbookposts.com

  17. 5 out of 5

    Kaceey

    Well….. I’m really at a loss for words. 😬 This was one of the strangest, most bizarre books I have ever read! Like ever!😂 Did I enjoy it…. Umm…yes…sort of. Did I hate it…. Well yes, that too! Did it leave me speechless…absolutely! Sophia is living her best life. She couldn’t be happier. She lives in the most exclusive neighborhood. And her husband is is everything she dreamed of. She feels she was made for him. But hey... why does everyone keep asking her if she is happy? Careful how you answer that Well….. I’m really at a loss for words. 😬 This was one of the strangest, most bizarre books I have ever read! Like ever!😂 Did I enjoy it…. Umm…yes…sort of. Did I hate it…. Well yes, that too! Did it leave me speechless…absolutely! Sophia is living her best life. She couldn’t be happier. She lives in the most exclusive neighborhood. And her husband is is everything she dreamed of. She feels she was made for him. But hey... why does everyone keep asking her if she is happy? Careful how you answer that question Sophia! Do I recommend this book? Maybe?😉💁🏻‍♀️ A super-fast buddy read with Susanne! Posted to: https://books-are-a-girls-best-friend... Thank you to NetGalley and Macmillan Tor/Forge

  18. 5 out of 5

    Susanne

    Review to be posted to blog: https://books-are-a-girls-best-friend... Well, that was Wild! Comfort Me with Apples might just be the Weirdest, Wildest, Strangest Book I have ever read. Engaging, Interesting, and Wholly Captivating, this is one storyline that is wholly new, refreshing, and to be frank, eye-popping! At first, I wasn’t even sure what I was reading and once it all came to light, well, my first reaction was WTF! Yep, you heard me right, I thought, WTF is this?! Sophia is married and li Review to be posted to blog: https://books-are-a-girls-best-friend... Well, that was Wild! Comfort Me with Apples might just be the Weirdest, Wildest, Strangest Book I have ever read. Engaging, Interesting, and Wholly Captivating, this is one storyline that is wholly new, refreshing, and to be frank, eye-popping! At first, I wasn’t even sure what I was reading and once it all came to light, well, my first reaction was WTF! Yep, you heard me right, I thought, WTF is this?! Sophia is married and living in Arcadia Gardens with her husband. Everything is perfectly perfect. Why wouldn’t it be? Her husband is away all of the time for work and they miss each other a lot, but their lives and their love for each other is perfect. Sophia however questions things from time to time. Not that she questions things aloud, she wouldn’t dare! Such things are not allowed. This sounds kind of like The Stepford Wives doesn’t it? What I can tell you is that the premise is nothing like it. It is in fact, freaking cuckoo crazy and if it’s on your tbr, you’re in for a wild ride. This was a buddy read with Kaceey that left us both reeling. Kudos to Catherynne M. Valente for coming up with something so utterly refreshing. You definitely beat all. 3.5 Stars Thank you to Macmillan-Tor/Forge and NetGalley for the arc. Published on Goodreads, Twitter, and Instagram.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader

    3.5 apples 🍎 🍎 🍎 💫 Wow, this was really unique! A “bite-sized” review for this creepy novella. Technically a novella at 112 pages, Comfort Me With Apples’ release is timed just right for spooky season- out November 9! This is a book you need to go into blind, so this will be a quick review. Genre-wise it’s a fantasy with a touch of horror, though not an overall horror feel. It only took a couple hours to read it, and it definitely held my attention and interest. If you are looking for something q 3.5 apples 🍎 🍎 🍎 💫 Wow, this was really unique! A “bite-sized” review for this creepy novella. Technically a novella at 112 pages, Comfort Me With Apples’ release is timed just right for spooky season- out November 9! This is a book you need to go into blind, so this will be a quick review. Genre-wise it’s a fantasy with a touch of horror, though not an overall horror feel. It only took a couple hours to read it, and it definitely held my attention and interest. If you are looking for something quirky and out of the ordinary this fall, check this one out! I received a gifted copy. Many of my reviews can also be found on my blog: www.jennifertarheelreader.com and instagram: www.instagram.com/tarheelreader

  20. 5 out of 5

    Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽

    On sale now! Full review, first posted on FantasyLiterature.com: Sophia finds life in Arcadia Gardens beautiful and luxurious and wonderful. Certainly, her husband rarely sleeps next to her nowadays and seems preoccupied even when he is around, but of course his work is terribly important, and he gives her so much. And she doesn’t mind all of the rules and restrictions of the Homeowners Association, who are only looking out for the residents’ best interests. The neighbors all love her and respect On sale now! Full review, first posted on FantasyLiterature.com: Sophia finds life in Arcadia Gardens beautiful and luxurious and wonderful. Certainly, her husband rarely sleeps next to her nowadays and seems preoccupied even when he is around, but of course his work is terribly important, and he gives her so much. And she doesn’t mind all of the rules and restrictions of the Homeowners Association, who are only looking out for the residents’ best interests. The neighbors all love her and respect her husband. She’s really so very lucky. The world is theirs. But then, for no real reason — and it’s an impulse Sophia desperately regrets later — this morning she pulls open the top left-hand drawer of her vanity. And doesn’t know what to make of what she finds in that drawer. When a tale about a young wife keeps emphasizing how everything is SO PERFECT and she is SO HAPPY … you know things are going to go south in a big way. And the creepiness and tension keep building and you’re not sure exactly what is going on until the light blinks on in your head and you’re all, OHH, so that’s what this was building toward this whole time. But then it’s too late. Catherynne Valente does a fascinating mashup of various stories, folktales and tropes — old tales with some current elements and a feminist spin — in this wickedly sharp novella. Comfort Me with Apples weaves in not just the Bluebeard folktale but much more that only becomes apparent as you get deeper into the story. It’s easy to get lost in Valente’s evocative, lyrical prose, but every detail is significant and even symbolic: places, objects and character names (I particularly liked Mr. Semengelof, Mrs. Palfrey and Cascavel). Even the chapter names come into play: each a different type of apple, many of which I’d never heard of before, like Black Twig and Northern Spy. I didn’t really love Comfort Me with Apples, I think mostly because I don’t care for its troubling worldview (you'll know what I mean), but I’m in awe of Valente’s craft in this disturbing allegorical story. My two co-reviewers at FanLit really loved it - see the link above for their takes. Thanks to the publisher for the ARC! Content advisory: It's on the gruesome side of creepiness, and religion and (view spoiler)[and the Bible story used as the basis of this story (hide spoiler)] are given an ugly twist here.

  21. 5 out of 5

    JaymeO

    “Are you happy?” Well, I am glad that this audiobook was super short, because the answer to that question is no. No, I am not. I am not happy that 1. I fell for it hook, line, and sinker 2. I debated what this was about because I was correct from the start 3. The audio sounded like a robot 4. I read this book, because it’s really not a thriller Comfort Me with Apples lures you in with the premise that it won’t be what you think it is. But it is just that. I listened to the audiobook, where every spe “Are you happy?” Well, I am glad that this audiobook was super short, because the answer to that question is no. No, I am not. I am not happy that 1. I fell for it hook, line, and sinker 2. I debated what this was about because I was correct from the start 3. The audio sounded like a robot 4. I read this book, because it’s really not a thriller Comfort Me with Apples lures you in with the premise that it won’t be what you think it is. But it is just that. I listened to the audiobook, where every speed sounded robotic. So…I thought that was the intention. It was really irritating and I wasn’t sure how I was going to finish it. After fiddling with the speed later in the day, it all of a sudden lost the robotic tone. It was so incredibly odd. Freakishly so, considering what I was reading. This was a really strange read and I am glad that I didn’t spend too long on it. This subject was not for me, but may appeal to others who enjoy the genre where this belongs. 2/5 stars Thank you to NetGalley and Dreamscape Media for the ARC of Comfort Me with Apples in exchange for an honest review.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Lucy

    With all the hype this book is getting, I was intrigued. Well, at least I now know what the story is about. Unfortunately, I didn't care for it. It’s a bizarre retelling of a biblical story. I listened to the audiobook, and as others have mentioned the narration is slow. Speeding it up helps get through the story faster, but obviously doesn't change the patriarchal theme of the story. Had this not been a novella, I wouldn't have finished it. With all the hype this book is getting, I was intrigued. Well, at least I now know what the story is about. Unfortunately, I didn't care for it. It’s a bizarre retelling of a biblical story. I listened to the audiobook, and as others have mentioned the narration is slow. Speeding it up helps get through the story faster, but obviously doesn't change the patriarchal theme of the story. Had this not been a novella, I wouldn't have finished it.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jasmine from How Useful It Is

    Definitely a fantastic read! This book is unlike anything I have read recently and I loved it. I go into this book without knowing anything like I always do and I got a surprise every step of the way. I loved the story, very unexpected and interesting. Sophia was a well liked character. I also liked that she has a mind of her own and questioned things when things don’t seem right. That play the neighbors put up was unexpected and like Sophie, I didn’t see what was coming. The ending was a big su Definitely a fantastic read! This book is unlike anything I have read recently and I loved it. I go into this book without knowing anything like I always do and I got a surprise every step of the way. I loved the story, very unexpected and interesting. Sophia was a well liked character. I also liked that she has a mind of her own and questioned things when things don’t seem right. That play the neighbors put up was unexpected and like Sophie, I didn’t see what was coming. The ending was a big surprise for me. I didn’t see it coming and I loved it. This book started with an agreement from Arcadia Gardens Homeowners Association, an upscale gated luxury community to its residents. These rules were spread out throughout the book. Then the story began with Sophia as she woke up feeling blessed that she was made solely for her husband. He spoiled her with a big house and a big bed. She’s a small woman who needed step stools to get down from the bed and sit on 3 pillows to see herself in the mirror at her vanity table. Before she go downstairs to clean the house and do the laundry, she decided to open a drawer on her desk normally left alone and found a lock of hair that isn’t hers. At dinner she ate alone because her husband didn’t come home and after washing she put away the knife to discover a bone hidden in the knife block. She started to question her surroundings only to discover more horrors than she ever knew. Comfort Me with Apples was very well written and a fast paced read! I loved the author’s writing. It flowed well and I was hooked. I read slowly to savor this one of a kind story. There were some horror parts but luckily I didn’t feel scared. When I first unbox this book, a fellow bookstagrammer told me that I was lucky to read this author’s new release. Now I agreed. I will definitely look up the author’s previous books to read because I enjoyed her writing greatly. I highly recommend everyone to read this book! xoxo, Jasmine at www.Howusefulitis.com for more details Many thanks to Tor.com for the opportunity to read and review. Please be assured that my opinions are honest.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Melissa (LifeFullyBooked)

    Crazy pants story, but I totally appreciated the beauty of the allegory in the end. I'm glad I went into the reading of this book with no preconceived ideas, I had not even read the synopsis, which is highly unusual for me. That helped, because this was a very short, quick read. I listened to it as an audiobook, which was a fantastic way to experience it. Karis Campbell narrates, and she is "perfect" as Sophia. The way she conveys Sophia's naiveté in the beginning and her dawning realization that Crazy pants story, but I totally appreciated the beauty of the allegory in the end. I'm glad I went into the reading of this book with no preconceived ideas, I had not even read the synopsis, which is highly unusual for me. That helped, because this was a very short, quick read. I listened to it as an audiobook, which was a fantastic way to experience it. Karis Campbell narrates, and she is "perfect" as Sophia. The way she conveys Sophia's naiveté in the beginning and her dawning realization that all is not the perfection she believes it to be is beautifully done. This is definitely not a book for everyone. I fully got on board with this trippy feminist take on a very familiar story, but I know it won't connect with all readers as much as it did for me. My best advice is to just go with it--it's short enough that maybe you will love it and maybe you will hate it, but you'll want to find someone to talk to about it after you're finished regardless. It would make a very intriguing book club choice. I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book, all opinions are my own.

  25. 4 out of 5

    aly ☆彡

    The fact that I read this in a car when I have a terrible motion sickness to exist showed how hard to put down this book is. The writing made this easy to read, and I was hooked from the start though I was a little skeptical on how Valente would pull this one. However, it was incredible to see how she was more than capable with a shorter length book with each word being significant and placed just where it should be. I have to say I was taken aback by the revelation as I'm expecting anything but The fact that I read this in a car when I have a terrible motion sickness to exist showed how hard to put down this book is. The writing made this easy to read, and I was hooked from the start though I was a little skeptical on how Valente would pull this one. However, it was incredible to see how she was more than capable with a shorter length book with each word being significant and placed just where it should be. I have to say I was taken aback by the revelation as I'm expecting anything but that! How this book does not sell as (view spoiler)[Adam and Eve retelling (hide spoiler)] is the surprise element itself. The repeated ups and downs of what amounts to gaslighting, the manipulation from reality — from the very first page of the book, we were suspended in a space of uncertainty followed by chagrin; it is nearly enough to make a reader sick to one's stomach. The plot was well constructed and the clues were placed out in such a way that you won't see them until later, making the whole time reading this tantalizing. Not to say, the resolution haunted me but because I'm not a big fan of disconsolate ending — I rated this with three stars! It just messes with my head. I think the author could be more explorative than putting a finish as it was. Still doesn't diminish that admittedly, this book is brilliant and horrifyingly delightful.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Christina

    What a delicious and evil little surprise this was, like a tasty apple pie with chicken bones in it. I went into this totally blind, which is what I would recommend for you as well, because the eventual revelation of the topic of the story was very fun. Also, if I had known what this story was based on, I would probably have skipped it based on the topic, and that would be a shame, because this is a really neat story. This story will definitely be divisive for a few reasons. As you can see by the What a delicious and evil little surprise this was, like a tasty apple pie with chicken bones in it. I went into this totally blind, which is what I would recommend for you as well, because the eventual revelation of the topic of the story was very fun. Also, if I had known what this story was based on, I would probably have skipped it based on the topic, and that would be a shame, because this is a really neat story. This story will definitely be divisive for a few reasons. As you can see by the reviews, people either really love it or really don’t love it. It has an extremely unique and lyrical writing tone, almost like a fairy tale. I think the writing style Is something you will either connect with or not, and you will probably know whether you like it early in. I personally really enjoyed the writing style, even before I figured out what the story was about. Without giving away the topic, if you like the writing style, this story will appeal a lot to feminists, and it tries to answer a few of the biggest questions feminists have about the world. It answers these questions in a totally creative and, dare I say, beautiful way. As with most feminist stories, this one isn’t always cheerful, but it has many delightful moments with some extremely unique characters. I completely enjoyed being immersed in the totally unique and picturesque world Valente created, and I loved the “moral” of the story as well. I would say, before reading this, try to pick it up somewhere first and see what you think of the first few pages. If you like the writing, you’ll be good to go from there. I’m very interested to read more from this author even though fantasy/fairy tale is not my usual genre. Her words and message really connected with me. Sorry to be so cryptic, but I really don’t want to ruin the topic of the story because I loved slowly figuring it out. Thanks to Dreamscape Media and NetGalley for the ARC! 4* stars 🌟

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jordaline Vulva

    Omfg I loved EVERY MOMENT

  28. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    3.5 stars: “Comfort Me with Apples” is an incredibly strange strange story. I listened to the audiobook, narrated by Karis Cambell. The story opens with a list of rules for living in Acadia Garden. The protagonist, Sophia, loves her husband and feels she was made for him. This is repeated much in the story. Her voice is pleasant and she happily defers to anything and everything her husband tells her to do, which adds a strange vibe. But everything about Acadia Garden alerts the listener to “somet 3.5 stars: “Comfort Me with Apples” is an incredibly strange strange story. I listened to the audiobook, narrated by Karis Cambell. The story opens with a list of rules for living in Acadia Garden. The protagonist, Sophia, loves her husband and feels she was made for him. This is repeated much in the story. Her voice is pleasant and she happily defers to anything and everything her husband tells her to do, which adds a strange vibe. But everything about Acadia Garden alerts the listener to “something is awry”. But, what? It’s a quick story, there are clues. And when the story got to the end, I couldn’t believe what I did not pick up in clues. This is a very bizarre story. I’m conflicted because I didn’t like the story from the start. Yet, I kept listening, and kept not liking it. Yet…..I listened to the end…and I was duped! I give it 5 full stars for duping me in such an open way. Most of the story though…it’s like an uncomfortable Twilight Zone episode!. I get why this has been rated lower, but I did enjoy the nuances of the story. I will be remembering it for a while.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Sue

    What happened?!? This is the worse mixed up book I’ve read with such an intriguing cover. The writing was fine if I could make head or tale of the story. Confused, it’s bizarre, I’m moving on.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Rachel (TheShadesofOrange)

    3.5 Stars This is an incredibly unique thriller that blends in light SFF elements. The religious themes were a little "on the nose" for my tastes, but otherwise I generally liked the story. I was able to generally predict the twist but I don't think the author's intention was to fool the reader. I would recommend this one to readers looking for a fresh take on the domestic thriller genre. Disclaimer I received a copy of this book from the publisher. 3.5 Stars This is an incredibly unique thriller that blends in light SFF elements. The religious themes were a little "on the nose" for my tastes, but otherwise I generally liked the story. I was able to generally predict the twist but I don't think the author's intention was to fool the reader. I would recommend this one to readers looking for a fresh take on the domestic thriller genre. Disclaimer I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

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