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Waif

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Angela has everything she thought she ever wanted—a successful husband, a lavish house, and a bottomless fortune. But the sight of a strange man in a grocery store one night reawakens her dormant sexuality and soon Angela embarks on a dangerous descent into the world of underground pornography and back-alley plastic surgery. As the stakes get higher, long-buried memories r Angela has everything she thought she ever wanted—a successful husband, a lavish house, and a bottomless fortune. But the sight of a strange man in a grocery store one night reawakens her dormant sexuality and soon Angela embarks on a dangerous descent into the world of underground pornography and back-alley plastic surgery. As the stakes get higher, long-buried memories resurface and Angela finds herself enamored with Reena, a fetish film performer. With some help from a queer gang called The Waifs, Angela is forced to make the decision between her unhappy upper-class life and the treacherous world of underground film.


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Angela has everything she thought she ever wanted—a successful husband, a lavish house, and a bottomless fortune. But the sight of a strange man in a grocery store one night reawakens her dormant sexuality and soon Angela embarks on a dangerous descent into the world of underground pornography and back-alley plastic surgery. As the stakes get higher, long-buried memories r Angela has everything she thought she ever wanted—a successful husband, a lavish house, and a bottomless fortune. But the sight of a strange man in a grocery store one night reawakens her dormant sexuality and soon Angela embarks on a dangerous descent into the world of underground pornography and back-alley plastic surgery. As the stakes get higher, long-buried memories resurface and Angela finds herself enamored with Reena, a fetish film performer. With some help from a queer gang called The Waifs, Angela is forced to make the decision between her unhappy upper-class life and the treacherous world of underground film.

30 review for Waif

  1. 4 out of 5

    Edward Lorn

    In an age of cookie cutter horror, this novella is a breath of fresh air. Stories like this are rare. Wholly original, bonkers as fuck, and utterly disturbing.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Sadie Hartmann

    What the—wow! Review soon!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Catherine McCarthy

    I must begin by saying that Samantha Kolesnik's previous novella, True Crime, was one of my top reads last year, so I eagerly anticipated her new release, Waif. Though very different from True Crime, Waif is equally as powerful. The writing is immaculate; the plot character driven and current. What strikes me most about Waif is the unexpected twists and turns it takes. Just when you think you know where it's going it takes a startling turn, then another, and another. It has so much action and dr I must begin by saying that Samantha Kolesnik's previous novella, True Crime, was one of my top reads last year, so I eagerly anticipated her new release, Waif. Though very different from True Crime, Waif is equally as powerful. The writing is immaculate; the plot character driven and current. What strikes me most about Waif is the unexpected twists and turns it takes. Just when you think you know where it's going it takes a startling turn, then another, and another. It has so much action and drama for a novella. Kolesnik is so clever at peeling back the skin of her characters and allowing the reader to immerse themselves in the subcutaneous tissue, the layer which is there to protect our internal organs from shock. Expect no such protection here; Waif is a 'no holds barred' read. Not a scrap of doubt remains in my mind that Waif will achieve great things in the world of horror, and deservedly so.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Brandon Baker

    Full review to come later. One of the better extreme horror novellas I’ve read.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Laurie

    Holy shit this book. Go in blind if you can. It is beautifully disturbing and if it doesn’t land on every horror fan’s best EVER list I will despair for us all. Lots of horrors happening in this story but the author skillfully manages to give the reader just enough information so your mind is left to fill in the blanks which can be truly horrifying and also the best kind of writing.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Paul Ataua

    Angela is married to Matt, a wealthy and successful man who is able to give her everything material that one could possibly want, but he is also abusive. Following an argument that ends with him slapping her, Angela finds herself in the local grocery store where she catches sight of Ben, and Ben immediately becomes the new object of her desire. This is a story of desire , and how desire itself is never satisfied. She desires Ben, and her husband Matt is willing to go to any length to redirect he Angela is married to Matt, a wealthy and successful man who is able to give her everything material that one could possibly want, but he is also abusive. Following an argument that ends with him slapping her, Angela finds herself in the local grocery store where she catches sight of Ben, and Ben immediately becomes the new object of her desire. This is a story of desire , and how desire itself is never satisfied. She desires Ben, and her husband Matt is willing to go to any length to redirect her desire back to him. What follows is an uncomfortably disturbing horror of back alley plastic surgery, of underground extreme porn, and of girl gangs. I came here after loving Kolesnik’s True Crime, and must admit that 20 minutes in I wondered if I had wasted my money. Suddenly, however, it just took off. Wow! Loved it, but don’t go there if you if you are not used to extreme horror.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Richard Martin

    Samantha Kolesnik’s novella ‘True Crime’ arrived with a big splash in 2020 to almost universal critical and reader acclaim. Its bleak and gritty tale of two siblings escaping an abusive home to embark on a series of brutal murders was one of the most talked-about books of the year, and with good reason. Kolesnik has followed this up with ‘Waif’, a novella that is markedly different to ‘True Crime’, but no less worthy of the same praise that the latter enjoyed. Angela is a less than happily marrie Samantha Kolesnik’s novella ‘True Crime’ arrived with a big splash in 2020 to almost universal critical and reader acclaim. Its bleak and gritty tale of two siblings escaping an abusive home to embark on a series of brutal murders was one of the most talked-about books of the year, and with good reason. Kolesnik has followed this up with ‘Waif’, a novella that is markedly different to ‘True Crime’, but no less worthy of the same praise that the latter enjoyed. Angela is a less than happily married woman who, to the outside world at least, has everything a person could ever want. Behind closed doors, she tolerates, but cannot abide, her brutish husband for all the things he can provide, but she still finds herself craving the things he cannot. A chance encounter at a local market begins her slow descent into obsession as Angela begins to discover a strange and disturbing world lying just beneath the veneer of her suburban status quo. Encountering back-alley surgeons, underground fetish videos, all-women gangs and extreme body modification, Angela's journey will take her to some strange and dangerous places, for amongst society’s misfits and outcasts, she may just find the thing that is missing from her life. I can’t say that I was remotely expecting ‘Waif’ to go the places it did. It is a very different book to ‘True Crime’ for a lot of reasons. It is a little less bleak (although it still does get very dark in places) and a lot more surreal, and certainly more grotesque. The book leans a lot more heavily into themes of sex and body horror, so much so that the synopsis reads like something Clive Barker could have written. The result on the page is very uniquely Kolesnik’s voice though. She is laser-focused on her characters and how they react to and experience the bizarre goings-on around them, and they are nothing if not a colourful cast, with Angela’s surgery obsessed husband, undergoing extreme procedures as a passive-aggressive marital power play, or her new friend Reena, who has worked for a niche, underground pornographer after having body modifications to transform herself into a mermaid. It may get a little odd at times, but it is incredibly engaging and you can hardly accuse Kolesnik of a lack of original ideas. While the content may be a little more outlandish than ‘True Crime’, the book still tackles an array of challenging subject matter and does so using characters who are each flawed in their own way, often to the point of being irredeemably unlikeable. It is a disturbing journey and we don’t necessarily have the most pleasant of company to guide us on it, meaning the book may not be to everyone’s tastes, but I’m firmly of the opinion that the most challenging books tend to be the ones with something worthwhile to say, and the themes of feminism, trauma, control and desire come through strongly and leave a lasting impact. Waif is completely insane, and I loved every minute of it. It reads like a Jack Ketchum reimagining of Alice in Wonderland at times and if that isn’t a hell of a selling point, I don’t know what is.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Renée

    Ugh. This was so damn good. Totally gripping, unique and batshit crazy. Brilliantly written. I would’ve rated it 5 stars but I was left wanting more.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Brad

    With only two novellas under her belt Samantha Kolesnik has already carved out a bloody space for herself in the horror world. Spinning unflinching tales with her unique voice and distinctly recognizable style. Kolesnik’s sophomore outing WAIF is a vastly different beast than her hard hitting debut TRUE CRIME; though equally as gripping and powerful. WAIF taps into inner feelings and secreted away desires that are more than surface level, more than just skin deep (quite literally). Through the le With only two novellas under her belt Samantha Kolesnik has already carved out a bloody space for herself in the horror world. Spinning unflinching tales with her unique voice and distinctly recognizable style. Kolesnik’s sophomore outing WAIF is a vastly different beast than her hard hitting debut TRUE CRIME; though equally as gripping and powerful. WAIF taps into inner feelings and secreted away desires that are more than surface level, more than just skin deep (quite literally). Through the lens of our main character Angela we experience a world that is a facade. A social media snapshot curated towards the masses to show how perfect and happy one's life is, but reality is something much darker. Concealing the mental scars and physical bruises hidden just out of frame. A chance encounter with a complete stranger at a grocery store ignites a deep seeded passion within Angela, a lust that has lain dormant, sending her life as she knows it spiraling into a chaotic world of back-alley plastic surgery and underground pornography. Wait. Hold up a minute. That all sounds completely wild doesn’t it? Why yes, yes it does. Something that I have now come to expect with Kolesnik’s work is to expect the unexpected. I know how cliche that is, but it is the truth. You may come to think that you know where the story is headed only to be blindsided as Kolesnik veers sharply into oncoming traffic leading you on a danger-filled journey into the unknown. WAIF is an odd odyssey of body horror and sexual fetishes. An unhealthy look at toxic relationships, unstable obsessions, and the possessive lengths a person would be willing to go to maintain a semblance of control and dominance. Peel back the layers and you'll also uncover themes of feminism and the exploration and discovery of one's own attractions, desires, and self worth. Unapologetically unhinged, frenetic, and at times introspective. WAIF by Samantha Kolesnik is brilliantly disturbing and grotesque. A tale of surviving traumas and being reborn into the person you are meant to be. I highly recommend checking out Kolesnik’s work if you haven't done so already. I received an eARC of this book from the author for review consideration. Video review: https://youtu.be/YrREwEpvMI0

  10. 4 out of 5

    Leighanna

    Waif is the last book I'm star-rating because it feels like a reductive practice for me. FOR ME. I don't dislike star ratings as a concept, but I find that I get lazy in my review or just outright don't write one when I can click some stars instead. Moving on. Angie is married to a startlingly rich and abusive man. She's not attracted to him anymore, so it's no surprise when she sees a man at the grocery store who appears to be everything she's ever fantasized about. When she tells her husband abo Waif is the last book I'm star-rating because it feels like a reductive practice for me. FOR ME. I don't dislike star ratings as a concept, but I find that I get lazy in my review or just outright don't write one when I can click some stars instead. Moving on. Angie is married to a startlingly rich and abusive man. She's not attracted to him anymore, so it's no surprise when she sees a man at the grocery store who appears to be everything she's ever fantasized about. When she tells her husband about this encounter, he starts making changes that send them both down into a world that's impossible to leave. Like so many other people have already done, let me start by saying that Samantha Kolesnik is one hell of a writer. Books that include domestic violence can easily go sideways, but Waif never does. This book is tamer than her previous book, the equally excellent True Crime also published by Grindhouse Press, but it's also more finely crafted and refined. Kolesnik uses the novella form in such a skillful way, giving the reader as much as they need and then pulling back and moving on. It doesn't weigh heavily in one place but moves through the story at a satisfying pace. There is a lot of justified anger in this book, mostly at how women suffer at the hands of men, and the ways that anger plays out is super gratifying. I really can't wait until more people I know read this so I can talk with them about it. There's a lot going on in here about gender and sexuality and The Body™ and compulsive heterosexuality that just screams for someone smarter than me to unpack and think on. I might as well mention that I loved this book so much that I read it in one day and couldn't get it out of my head. I tried to read something else afterward but just picked this up instead and reread it a few days later. I was in the world of men alone, as my mother had warned me I would eventually be. The world of men requires certain sacrifices of me and I had simply tired of making them. It was high time for men to sacrifice for me. To give generously for my affection—to give of their bodies, not just of their wallets. Paying for dinner was easy. Paying with your flesh, as women have been expected to do since the dawn of time? That was hard.

  11. 5 out of 5

    David

    Well…absolutely everything about that was unexpected!

  12. 4 out of 5

    The World According To J!

    Video Review https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gKnuj... First let me give a special thank you to Samantha Kolesnik for an advance copy of this new book. Waif. Waif is my introductory to Samantha Kolesnik. I do have a nice signed copy of True Crime. I just haven’t had a chance to read it yet. No worries. I plan to fix that issue before the year is over, hopefully. A good thing about not reading it yet, I am going into WAIF with a clean slate. So I won’t be swayed or expect it to live up to the expectat Video Review https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gKnuj... First let me give a special thank you to Samantha Kolesnik for an advance copy of this new book. Waif. Waif is my introductory to Samantha Kolesnik. I do have a nice signed copy of True Crime. I just haven’t had a chance to read it yet. No worries. I plan to fix that issue before the year is over, hopefully. A good thing about not reading it yet, I am going into WAIF with a clean slate. So I won’t be swayed or expect it to live up to the expectations True Crime has created. I really liked WAIF. It has a good amount of grimy, slimy, sleazy, despicable people, doing dirty things. A real gritty feel overall. The kind where there is just so much dirt, you need to take a shower after reading it. We meet Angela. She’s the main character. She is in this loveless marriage, but she’s afraid to leave because her husband’s family is rich. She has everything she could possibly want. But she runs into this guy who she becomes totally smitten with. Head over heels. This leads to weird interactions and conversations with her husband, and actually leads him to do some off-the-wall things that are just mind-boggling. Talks of plastic surgery arise. And as if that wasn’t enough, we go into the world of underground porn. These are naughty movies. But the dirty kind of naughty movies. If video stores still existed, you would have the back room for the naughty movies. These movies would be in the next back room. You may have to do a secret knock on the door too. What we get from all of this, from the world Angela has entered, is one big weird acid trip of a journey. It becomes a journey of survival for Angela. She enters the new world, leaving the past behind, but is still visited by memories, and past relationships and past romances, and wonders how or where it all went wrong. Kolesnik’s writing is direct. It’s bold. It’s fierce at times. Very sharp. And it has just enough of that underlying dark feel to it. Enough to set the overall tone. Where you almost feel guilty taking pleasure from reading what’s happening on these pages. And she is sly too. You may think you know what’s happening, or what is about to happen, but I think the writer put in a couple of intentional misdirects, to throw you off the trail. That’s sneaky. I like it. This almost feels like 2 different stories. We have a first act, a quick intermission, and before we know it they are flashing the lights telling us to get back to our seats for the second act. Overall, the story is fast paced and gripping. Beautiful prose throughout highlighted with brutal and devastating conversations between Angela and her husband. Some of the things she says to him is enough to make any man roll around in the fetal position over in the corner. It’s a story that may make you realize how lucky your current life is. It may make you realize you need to be happy with what you have.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Huntington

    I loved this very much. It's disturbing, dark, and extremely unique. I've never read a book like this and the only downside was finishing it. This is a book about a woman finding her true self, or rediscovering herself. Illusions shatter, only to be replaced by more illusion. There are lots of subtle intricate threads inside this book, running parallel to the main story and you can't help but become hooked. Samantha Kolesnik reminds me very much of Clive Barker, the writing isn't similar ( She is I loved this very much. It's disturbing, dark, and extremely unique. I've never read a book like this and the only downside was finishing it. This is a book about a woman finding her true self, or rediscovering herself. Illusions shatter, only to be replaced by more illusion. There are lots of subtle intricate threads inside this book, running parallel to the main story and you can't help but become hooked. Samantha Kolesnik reminds me very much of Clive Barker, the writing isn't similar ( She is better imo) but still, that creepy feeling of going off down into chaos and darkness is the same. You cannot help but fall into the plot and you know you might return different. This book goes straight into my top ten reads this year.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Vin - bookcadaver

    Mark me down as obsessed. Kolesnik really went “I’m gonna destroy all expectations you have for books and then some.” I’d love to be able to go into every little nook and cranny with Waif, but this book is something you don’t want to know anything about when you finally dive in. Waif felt personal, raw and emotional, which in-turn, made me feel affected and noticed. There’s so many moments in this novella that were so entirely real. When I read books, I try to put myself in the main character's Mark me down as obsessed. Kolesnik really went “I’m gonna destroy all expectations you have for books and then some.” I’d love to be able to go into every little nook and cranny with Waif, but this book is something you don’t want to know anything about when you finally dive in. Waif felt personal, raw and emotional, which in-turn, made me feel affected and noticed. There’s so many moments in this novella that were so entirely real. When I read books, I try to put myself in the main character's shoes, I want to feel how the character feels and understand their experiences, which in Waif’s case, wasn’t hard. Our main character, Angela, was so complex, she has her own demons and behaviours, which is shown completely unapologetic to the reader. Kolesnik didn’t hold back or try to hide the horrors in this novella, instead she pulled you into them and held you there to the end. She managed to create a story that puts you, as a reader, in a very dark and brutal position, and in my case, made me reflect on a lot of things that I tend not to think about. As a queer person, who has had moments of doubt, repressed sexuality, internalised phobic behaviors and experienced the cruelty of men for years, this book was a gift to read. I felt utterly attached to the story, to the characters and the trauma the tale holds. Waif is a novella you don’t want to miss and Samantha Kolesnik is an author you should be keeping a very close eye on. For it being only her second book, I’m terrified of what’s to come. BLOG | INSTA | TWITTER

  15. 4 out of 5

    Whimsy Dearest

    Angela is stuck in an unhappy marriage with a wealthy husband, so she finds herself fantasizing about an attractive man she ran into at the grocery store. She confesses this to her husband, and to her surprise, he asks her to describe her dream man so that he can get plastic surgery to look like him. However, no trustworthy doctor wants to undertake the extent of procedures he’s requesting, so they resort to a back alley doctor and find themselves caught up in the underbelly world of underground Angela is stuck in an unhappy marriage with a wealthy husband, so she finds herself fantasizing about an attractive man she ran into at the grocery store. She confesses this to her husband, and to her surprise, he asks her to describe her dream man so that he can get plastic surgery to look like him. However, no trustworthy doctor wants to undertake the extent of procedures he’s requesting, so they resort to a back alley doctor and find themselves caught up in the underbelly world of underground adult films. Waif by Samantha Kolesnik presents an intimate and unflinching portrait of a dysfunctional marriage. The writing is beautifully poetic and introspective and does an excellent job at placing us inside Angela’s head. However, some interesting parts of the story feel like they were cut too short perhaps due it its length as a novella. For instance, I wish both the aspects of extreme plastic surgery and Angela joining a gang of queer adult film actors could have been explored further. Nevertheless, this novella is a powerful and cutting examination of trauma and what it’s like being stuck inside an abusive relationship—packing one big emotional punch. Lastly, special thanks to the author for sending me this novella in exchange for an honest review.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Kristina aka

    ✨📹 Book Review - WAIF by Samantha Kolesnik📹✨ I really enjoyed this book and the wild ride it takes you on. It was definitely not what I was expecting. It's a story about a woman who is in an abusive marriage and then she becomes obsessed with a man that she meets at a supermarket. Soon she is on a feral adventure while her needs and wants evolve. She is a survivor and goes to any length to survive. I really loved the representation of the strong, LGBTQ+ rep in this. WAIF oozes the type of feminism ✨📹 Book Review - WAIF by Samantha Kolesnik📹✨ I really enjoyed this book and the wild ride it takes you on. It was definitely not what I was expecting. It's a story about a woman who is in an abusive marriage and then she becomes obsessed with a man that she meets at a supermarket. Soon she is on a feral adventure while her needs and wants evolve. She is a survivor and goes to any length to survive. I really loved the representation of the strong, LGBTQ+ rep in this. WAIF oozes the type of feminism I crave to read and want to experience. The character growth in this is also superb. The ending scene mirrors the opening scene of the book so well; this alone shows that Kolesnik is a talented author who fleshes out her characters and their emotions. There is a lot of violence in this and the plot goes to the edge of complete ridiculousness at times but it made it unpredictable and entertaining. I really didn't have an idea where it was going and was caught off guard by some of the twists. The ending was good but I wasn't ready for it to end. Kolesnik takes you on a savage experience that will make you care for an unlikable MC and leave you wanting more. If you liked her other book TRUE CRIME, you will probably get a kick out of this one as well. *TONS of CW/TW so do your research if you have any. *Thank you to the author for an e-arc in exchange for my honest review.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Brennan LaFaro

    True Crime was one of my favorite books in 2020 and a well-deserved recipient of a Splatterpunk award. Samantha Kolesnik can write. That said, Waif is every bit as good as Kolesnik’s debut, but it is wildly different. The reader spends a lot of time inside the first-person POV head of Angie, getting to know her daily life, routine, and deepest, most private inner thoughts. The first few chapters have a ring of familiarity to them, and the reader may think they are in for a simple story of empower True Crime was one of my favorite books in 2020 and a well-deserved recipient of a Splatterpunk award. Samantha Kolesnik can write. That said, Waif is every bit as good as Kolesnik’s debut, but it is wildly different. The reader spends a lot of time inside the first-person POV head of Angie, getting to know her daily life, routine, and deepest, most private inner thoughts. The first few chapters have a ring of familiarity to them, and the reader may think they are in for a simple story of empowerment and independence. It feels like intentional misdirection on Kolesnik’s part, because what follows takes the reader to unexpected and frightening places. Waif kicks the door down and readers will struggle to make it last more than a sitting or two. Bold, brutal, and at times heartbreaking, expect to see this book on more best-of-year lists and award shortlists.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Hailey Piper

    Samantha Kolesnik's latest keeps knives beneath its skin in a book both intoxicating and unflinching from beginning to end. A blend of dysfunctional marriage and muscle-deep brutality, Waif threatens with immersive, subtle horror, offering front-row seats to the much-needed mutilation of the domestic American nightmare. It is lovely to see queer horror lensed through Kolesnik's gorgeous prose and unrelenting approach. Samantha Kolesnik's latest keeps knives beneath its skin in a book both intoxicating and unflinching from beginning to end. A blend of dysfunctional marriage and muscle-deep brutality, Waif threatens with immersive, subtle horror, offering front-row seats to the much-needed mutilation of the domestic American nightmare. It is lovely to see queer horror lensed through Kolesnik's gorgeous prose and unrelenting approach.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Sjgomzi

    2nd read of the year is complete! Wow! I feel like I need a shower after finishing this. Original, insane, horrifying and emotional. Can’t wait to see what she cooks up next! 📚📚📚

  20. 5 out of 5

    Layton

    4.5 stars!! Such an amazing and original read. I am honestly at a loss for words. So excited to read this author’s other novella soon. Highly recommended.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Barnett

    4.5. A lot to admire here. A lot to process, too. Compulsively readable, thoroughly gripping, and bleaker than the last thing you read - you can bet on it.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Betsy

    Can a marriage be transformed by a plastic surgery? This is the question this novel explores. Waif is a novella that is a portrait of a troubled marriage. It does have a lot of the components expected with this subject matter: domestic abuse, rape, adultery. The exploration is compelling, provoking interesting questions about identity and fidelity. Samantha Kolesnik approaches this in a style that makes it difficult to stop reading this splatter-punk horror novella. Since it's a novella it is ea Can a marriage be transformed by a plastic surgery? This is the question this novel explores. Waif is a novella that is a portrait of a troubled marriage. It does have a lot of the components expected with this subject matter: domestic abuse, rape, adultery. The exploration is compelling, provoking interesting questions about identity and fidelity. Samantha Kolesnik approaches this in a style that makes it difficult to stop reading this splatter-punk horror novella. Since it's a novella it is easy to read quickly. Thanks to the author for my advanced reader's copy. I am also posting this review on my blog: http://glamorousbookgal.blogspot.com/...

  23. 4 out of 5

    Ben Arzate

    Full Review Kolesnik is clearly a talented author. Her prose is vivid and affecting. She explores vividly the conflicts desire causes internally when they’re weighted down by the world. She even works in the strange plot of the underground surgeon mutilating her husband well and creates a dark and oppressive atmosphere. However, Waif would have benefited from being much longer. It ends up reading as rushed and the fantastic elements end up swallowing the central themes rather than complementing t Full Review Kolesnik is clearly a talented author. Her prose is vivid and affecting. She explores vividly the conflicts desire causes internally when they’re weighted down by the world. She even works in the strange plot of the underground surgeon mutilating her husband well and creates a dark and oppressive atmosphere. However, Waif would have benefited from being much longer. It ends up reading as rushed and the fantastic elements end up swallowing the central themes rather than complementing them.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Entazis

    Okay, so, I have no words to properly explain how deeply uncomfortably disturbingly good this queer horror novella is. It cuts deep and it doesn't care. It's subtle and quiet but brimming with anger. I love it and I'm so glad I pre-ordered it as soon as I saw the first mention of this book. Okay, so, I have no words to properly explain how deeply uncomfortably disturbingly good this queer horror novella is. It cuts deep and it doesn't care. It's subtle and quiet but brimming with anger. I love it and I'm so glad I pre-ordered it as soon as I saw the first mention of this book.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Quinn (GingerlyShelved)

    There were a couple of plot points that I would have loved to been more fleshed out, and felt rushed at times - especially when working with such a short page count. But this being my 2nd novella by Kolesnik, I know for sure she can write so beautifully about wildly strange and disturbing subject matter.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Abraham Phillips

    A very interesting and striking Novella of emotional horror. Not as good as her 1st novella True Crime which I thought was a masterpiece, but this 1 still grabs the reader and sends them on a wild Grindhouse style smack of insanity. Very different and very strange and most of all a trip of acid to the mind.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Becca

    Thank you to Grindhouse Press & Samantha Kolesnik for providing me with a review copy of Waif in exchange for an honest review! Let's get directly to the point: I love women. Probably not a surprise to some, but when it needs to be said it needs to be said. & in the case of Waif, it needed to be said. If you've read Samantha Kolesnik's debut novella, True Crime, you already know that her writing is incredible. Her writing feels bleak & truly puts you in this weird mind-setting that may feel uncomf Thank you to Grindhouse Press & Samantha Kolesnik for providing me with a review copy of Waif in exchange for an honest review! Let's get directly to the point: I love women. Probably not a surprise to some, but when it needs to be said it needs to be said. & in the case of Waif, it needed to be said. If you've read Samantha Kolesnik's debut novella, True Crime, you already know that her writing is incredible. Her writing feels bleak & truly puts you in this weird mind-setting that may feel uncomfortable, but gives you the full experience needed to enjoy (but using that word loosely, because hello emotions) it. Waif is Weird, which is exactly what I look for in a book. I like when authors push the boundaries & make you say "wtf?" multiple times during your read. There were scenes in this book that made my mouth drop, because really?! It was absolutely insane & I absolutely loved every second with it. Kolesnik's character writing & exploration is insanely good. When I liked a character, I loved them & when I hated a character -- welp -- I was okay with all of the bad things happening to them. The journey we're taken on, along with development? Chef's kiss. Let me end this with, this book is Queer & we love to see it.

  28. 5 out of 5

    M.

    THEN CAME SATURDAY, WHEN THINGS started to get downright bizarre. As I write this review, my first one of 2022, I'm going to be figuring out what I want to rate this. I keep on debating between a 4 and a 5, but I also promised myself I'd be stricter on 5 stars this year. But, wow, did I like this, and I think I'll think about it for a long time to come, like I still think about and can get lost in thinking about Okay, well, it's a 5. Angie is in an abusive, profoundly unhappy marriage with Ma THEN CAME SATURDAY, WHEN THINGS started to get downright bizarre. As I write this review, my first one of 2022, I'm going to be figuring out what I want to rate this. I keep on debating between a 4 and a 5, but I also promised myself I'd be stricter on 5 stars this year. But, wow, did I like this, and I think I'll think about it for a long time to come, like I still think about and can get lost in thinking about Okay, well, it's a 5. Angie is in an abusive, profoundly unhappy marriage with Matt. She goes to the grocery store to give her husband a chance to cool down, and a chance encounter with a stranger who looks like her dream man starts Angie -- and her husband -- down an unforeseeable path heavy on the body horror, back alley plastic surgery, and extreme porn. Angie makes a few things clear from the beginning. Her husband has the capacity to kill her. If we lived in a lawless world, Matt would have already murdered me. That was the scary part about men like Matt. They let their rages go so far before teetering over the edge of a cliff, looking at the consequences, and deciding to step back. and once she sees this other man, Ben, that's the final coffin in the nail of her marriage. The Angie who walks into the store seems resigned and tired, trained to be meek and compliant. She walks out transformed by the emergence of her long-suppressed contempt and anger There are no heroes here, no good guys. I felt a lot of sympathy and empathy for Angie, but she is not without her less admirable traits. However, the only thing keeping Matt from being THE worst is the company he keeps. The story is quick, leapfrogging forward at times, but we also spend time in the past, finding out secrets from Angie's past that shaped and will shape her choices. This story goes to very bizarre places, but they also -- strangely! -- make sense. The world of men required certain sacrifices of me and I had simply tired of making them. At the heart of it all, is female rage. The stuff that makes cis men say, "Why is she SO angry?" and "Ya know, men have it rough too," and the rage-inducing in its own right, "Not all men." Waif in it's angry heart is feminist AF, but so am I. Angie has been wronged by men, and has no tolerance for any man outside of her fantasies. The only one I didn’t hate with a burning fiery pit of disgust was Ben Landry. Because I was sure God had created him for me. He was everything I wanted a man to be. The thing I had dreamt men were when I was a little girl and they hadn’t yet hurt me. The exception. This is not a book to be read in the wrong mindset, though. It goes to dark places, and if you're feeling dark it might be overwhelming. There's the aforementioned body horror, as well as sexual assault. I know there are times where this would be an unhealthy read for me. I'd love to read more from the author, like .

  29. 5 out of 5

    Patrick R. McDonough

    When an author's debut knocks you (your peers and big names in the industry) off your feet, on top of winning an award for it's excellence, you can't help but expect great things from their next book. Waif delivers just that with a brutal gash slashed across your heart. My experience with Samantha Kolesnik's writing and the very reason why I am magnetized to her work (be it writer, editor, or publisher) is her focus on character-driven stories. I'm the type of reader who, if you hook me with at le When an author's debut knocks you (your peers and big names in the industry) off your feet, on top of winning an award for it's excellence, you can't help but expect great things from their next book. Waif delivers just that with a brutal gash slashed across your heart. My experience with Samantha Kolesnik's writing and the very reason why I am magnetized to her work (be it writer, editor, or publisher) is her focus on character-driven stories. I'm the type of reader who, if you hook me with at least one character, you can put them through practically any scenario and I'm all in. Kolesnik's characters often focus on females put through literal hell, only to come through to the other side with enough collected scars to bind the very stories of their creator. Angela, our protagonist in Waif, seems completely "normal" on the outside. But, like every other human, it's not the framework of the person that we feel connected to... but rather, the inner workings: gears, pulleys, circuity, etc. Angela's thoughts are raw, even taboo in a lot of social circle, but I'd be damned to say we all don't have similar thoughts as her to some degree. The tribulations that lead her to explore her desires of great sexual depth was both enlightening and induced a great deal of adrenaline in me. I'd love to go into details about the time Angela and her husband meet a fork in the road (as all married couples do at some point) and the solution they reach. I'd love to tell you about the aftermath of a man who had everything given to him on a silver platter but could never get the one thing he truly desires, and I'd LOVE to tell you about the ending, but... we'll reserve that portion for when you've read and finished Waif. The film inside my head this book created can be summed in three words: gritty, fast-paced, and uncomfortably satisfying. Kolesnik is the real deal, and proved to be such when True Crime was released. This ain't True Crime. It's Waif--the second world in the expanding Kolesnikverse.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Ayre

    Sam Kolesnik reached out to me and asked if I'd be interested in reading Waif. A wealthy socialite is unhappy in her marriage and a random encounter at a grocery story leads to fetish pornography. Say no more I'm sold. As implied by grindhouse press being the publisher this is a bit of a horror novel. Angela is a character I cant relate to but I was so drawn in by how she was written and the bizarre shit that is her life. The body horror is just the right kind of creepy. I love the social comment Sam Kolesnik reached out to me and asked if I'd be interested in reading Waif. A wealthy socialite is unhappy in her marriage and a random encounter at a grocery story leads to fetish pornography. Say no more I'm sold. As implied by grindhouse press being the publisher this is a bit of a horror novel. Angela is a character I cant relate to but I was so drawn in by how she was written and the bizarre shit that is her life. The body horror is just the right kind of creepy. I love the social commentary in this book and how everything "socially acceptable" is turned on its head. I don't want to say too much because this book is short and should honestly just be EXPERIENCED. Highly recommend with a caveat for the following trigger warnings: Domestic Abuse, body dysmorphia, sexual assault, mutilation, stalking. I received a copy of this book from the author. I was not required to leave this review

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