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Publisher's Summary

Sadomasochism. Obsession. Death.

A whirlpool of darkness churns at the heart of a macabre ballet between two lonely young women in an internet chat room in the early 2000s - a darkness that threatens to forever transform them once they finally succumb to their most horrific desires.

What have you done today to deserve your eyes?

©2021 Eric LaRocca (P)2021 Fireside Horror

What listeners say about Things Have Gotten Worse Since We Last Spoke

Average Customer Ratings
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  • 4 Stars
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  • 3 Stars
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  • 2 Stars
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    62

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Meh...

I read so many reviews about it being stomach churning and all this... I didn't really get that. I mean it was gross but it wasn't THAT bad. The reading of the names and such every 13 seconds got super annoying too. It reads more like a long creepy pasta to me though. Not terrible by any means. I think it had a lot of potential but just missed the bar

8 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

should buy physical copy for better experience

this has been recommended to me on my fyp for weeks...is it because i love horror or am a queer millennial? lord knows.

this was extremely well written + a surprisingly slow decent into madness for such a short story. while a good part of me wishes the author did more with the story, the very last part of the book left me with my jaw on the floor.

i will be honest, while it was extremely well worded + entertaining, i didn't believe until the *very* end that it was totally worth the hype.

regardless...i am eagerly anticipating the next work from this author. this story reminded me how delicious a short novella can be.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

What Have You Done Today to Deserve Your Eyes?

Rating: 8.5/10

This is going to be a pretty short and succinct review being that this is a 102 page novella, mostly revolving around text chat and emails – an epistolary novella in better terms.

What have you done today to deserve your eyes?

I’d seen tons of people in the horror community either purchasing copies of this book or talking about how much they loved it, so I figured I would give it a shot. LaRocca, outside of being a mutual on socials, is relatively unknown author to me (hence my hesitancy to believe the hype) but friends whom I trust with book recommendations RARELY leave me disappointed.

What starts out as a seemingly normal email thread for the purchase of an antique apple peeler becomes a shared obsession that borders on possession. It is a tale of loneliness and the feeling of being wanted and loved, to the point where you are willing to risk everything for it. Throughout the back and forth between the two characters, LaRocca gives the reader glimpses behind the screen as to who these women are – though again, we ASSUME based on the synopsis that these are women, but it is the internet (and if it is on the internet, it must be true right?).

Sometimes, you never know if you are in the right audience for a read and this was one of those times. Sadomasochism ain’t really my thing, neither is body horror (thanks a ton, The Troop by Nick Cutter), but there was something about this one that I literally could not set it down. In saying that, if you do chance upon this little story, it is a 1-sitting type read. No way you can set it aside and come back to it. It is one where the pace and intensity continues to ramp up until the very end.
Things Have Gotten Worse Since We Last Spoke is a dark, heavy-hitting novella that is a borderline masterwork in epistolary horror.

5 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Revolting, depressing, and poetic. Loved it!

Things Have Gotten Worse... is a succinct, bite-sized serving of psychological horror full of complex flavor and texture. It's an acquired taste, and not for the weak of stomach (fans of Takashi Miike's AUDITION will be familiar with the flavor profile), but for those who enjoy feeling a little nauseated after finishing a story, it's well worth a listen.

I happen to be one of those people. I thought the pacing was excellent, and the characters played well off of each other. Do these feel like real people? Perhaps not, but that's ok! To me, they feel more like hyper-real, larger-than-life archetypes, condensed and concentrated versions of people you've probably encountered before (online or IRL). They are firmly rooted in reality, enough to empathize with their plight and to make you feel unsettled by the things they get themselves into. But they have an aspect of uncanniness too, which I believe serves the story.

There is excellent use of atmosphere and ominous foreshadowing throughout. I found myself thinking "This does not bode well at ALL and I'm not sure I want to know where this will lead" at several points and yet, despite my anxiety, I found myself unable to tear myself away until I had swallowed every last bite.

Winkel's performance was subtle and effective. Each character had a distinct voice (important when reciting IM conversations without interrupting to state each character's screen name) that fit how I imagined the characters. I have a few very minor qualms with the audio direction (the repetition of the characters full email handles got a bit tedious and it might have been nice to switch to a shorthand at some point) but this didn't dampen my enjoyment of the story.

[Side note: I've always pronounced the "RE" in "RE: Subject Line" as 'Ree' in my head, as opposed to 'Ray', so it took me a minute to figure out what that meant, but I got there eventually!]

Overall, a strong performance that aided comprehension and brought the characters to life.

Can't wait to read more of LaRocca in the future, they are quite talented, and unafraid to face the darkness head on. I love the nasty, disturbing things their brain comes up with.

4 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Just when it got good it ended

I wanted to like this so much more than I did. If you really want to be haunted and disturbed in the best way read To Be Devoured by Sarah Tatlinger (no audiobook available yet)

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

I’m not that easily disturbed

As a fan of horror I’m not usually disturbed by much, but this book left me speechless. Someone on tiktok recommended this book and I decided to listen and I can tell you I’m gonna be thinking about this for a long time. Not for the faint of heart (or stomach) but will keep you hooked the entire time.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

harrowing

this is a tale that shortly becomes a distant terror for both main characters, tragically.

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

I wish I had known about the salamander scene

I honestly loved this story at first, and then it got to the salamander part. I can handle literally anything in extreme horror, but I’m very sensitive to animals and other small creatures in these extreme horror books. From reading other reviews, it seems that this isn’t the only scene like it. Maybe one day I will go back to this book, but I’m giving it a break for now. What a shame. Such an interesting concept and I heard amazing things about this book.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

sorta fun book

kinda fun. the narrator did a great job differentiating the characters despite them being written to have nearly identical voices. fun premise, didn't pay off as much as I had hoped but did spook me out.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Story too quickly paced to build any tension

I read this based off of reviews on TikTok, who said it was deeply unsettling and horrific. The author told the story very quickly, with the relationship moving unnaturally fast. The two women spoke nearly the same, so they didn't read like two individual characters, just a stream of consciousness. There was little character development. It's not what I anticipated and I'm very let down.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Saffron
  • 01-23-22

Strange

Started good, pretty bizarre and gross story. Trigger warning for animal cruelty. Overall a fun listen - I do wish it was a bit longer as I was invested in the characters. Wasn't a great fan of the last 15 minutes.

Winkel narrated well, just a bit monotone at times.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Maddy
  • 01-16-22

Too rushed

It was too rushed and I feel like they did not need to repeat the email addresses every time. Not a very enjoyable listen but I wanted to know the ending

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-13-22

straight up the worst

I don't even know man.
I hope the author is paying for the therapy I'm gonna need after this mess

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-11-22

Shallow queer trauma porn

50 shades of grey is better than this crap. Cannot recommended to anyone for any reason unless you enjoy laughing at bad literature.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Gemz
  • 01-05-22

Not believable

The story was good, very gross in parts but the pace was too fast. It could have been fleshed out a little more.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Eve
  • 01-05-22

Good book but

The ending of the book was left out according to the physical book and I had to turn to the internet to find the rest

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Miss Leonie E. McLauchlan
  • 12-10-21

Unrealistic and gratuitous

I came into this book with an open mind thinking I was going to love it as the blurb was right up my street. Very quickly I realised I would not. It's poorly written, the pacing is awful and there is little to no tension in the story as the relationship between the 2 main characters isn't believable in the slightest. It's like reading an edgy 14 year old pick-me's livejournal entries about the fantasy life they've concocted in their head. No one talks like that and it completely takes you out of the story. It was just... stupid. I'm honestly angry with myself for getting it, I can't believe there's hype surrounding this mess.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-08-21

Interesting Concept

I enjoyed the plot and at some points felt really uneasy due to the concepts and writing style, for that I enjoyed listening. However, I believe the plot developed awkwardly and felt a bit disjointed from the time they were strangers to suddenly lovers. I imagine this was meant to show the extremeness of the two characters? overall the ending was good, bit of a twist, would recommend to those I believe it would be of interest. Narration was good too.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-06-21

what the actual frick

it's not a bad story it's just needs to be developed, alot. there's little to no character development and it's so fast past it seems like it's just wierd and gross for the sake of being wierd and gross.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 11-30-21

This reads very much like a creepy pasta story

The pacing is odd, I feel like much of the story lived inside the authors head rather than the pages.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • simon thompson
  • 01-06-22

Haunting

I felt genuinely sick reading this, for the first couple of parts it reminded me of something a teenager would write on a fan fiction website but as it neared it’s end it got horrifically disturbing and I can’t imagine I’m going to ever forget it.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-19-21

Confusing and disturbing

What starts as a cute exchange via email about an antique apple peeler quickly turns into a sadistic dom-sub relationship gone too far

The ideas in this book are unique and interesting yet the dialogue is so unnatural its unnerving

Would recommend if you like dark things

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Brendan
  • 11-26-21

Wow!

What a crazy journey. I don't know how to feel, and I feel weird for saying this, but, I liked it! Would recommend.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-24-21

wow

wtf did I just read?? pure shock value and nothing more had to stop at points... not for the squeamish