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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
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: LGBTQ+

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

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    3 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

11 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

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    4 out of 5 stars
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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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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.

5 people found this helpful

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Critical Fail... Short and Interesting

WRITING: The writing is just okay. The characters feel like echos of each other, and the story moves too fast to have a proper impact. The 'instant messenger' format gets dauntingly repetitive in audio format.

STORY: I came here expecting an urban-legend type horror story with things that go bump in the night. Instead, I was confronted with an all too real description of mental illness and domestic abuse. This is more emotionally disturbing rather than thrilling.

The good news is that this story is short and interesting enough that it's difficult to regret for a serious horror fan.

2 people found this helpful

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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

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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

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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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Very disturbing and lowkey traumatized

I saw this review of this book on tik tok to begin how I got this dark dark place. I just wanted to prove whoever posted that video wrong as I’m that type of person. I’m not going to lie to you right now I’m very traumatized by the contents it’s so detailed and violent. This almost feels like something a psychopath with too much time wrote the author isn’t one but it sure as hell feels like it. This is literally a sadist wet dream I’m telling you read at your own caution. It’s kinda ironic I read through all of IT and a steven king book about a elementary school getting blown up and somehow this tiny story pushed me past that limit. I’m just shocked this was even able to be released my god I hope whoever wrote this or had any hand in this got therapy and I mean the expensive kind because you need it.✌️😎

1 person found this helpful

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Not quite horror, but gross/tragicomic

Despite the great narrator, I thought the story itself was better. Still giving it the benefit of the doubt though. (it might just be my taste?!)

1 person found this helpful

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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

1 person found this helpful

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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.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-20-22

Had the potential to be an incredible read

The story is decent but way too short for the effect it should've had. If you want to read this book I strongly recommend you actually read it rather than listen to the audio because email addresses and usernames of the characters are constantly repeated and it ruins the feel of the book. Was a good story, great idea as it's very different to other horrors I've read, but the length of the book really limits how good this could've been.

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  • phr_123
  • 07-07-22

Didn't live up to the hype

Well that was not worth the hype, at all. The endless reading of the user names and email addresses was tedious also

  • Overall
    3 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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  • Lelfah
  • 07-03-22

Such a let down after the hype!

Wish I had read the book instead of listening so that I could avoid the same 2 sentences depicting online interaction taking up half the listening time.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Kerry
  • 06-18-22

odd, but kind of pointless

iIt was ok, I wasnt bored, but it felt odd for the sake of being odd. it was short and held my attention, I just didnt feel there was any actual plot or point to it, and I found both characters unbelievable.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • C
  • 06-09-22

It's Fine

I found that there are glimpses of some really rich and intriguing themes that, for me, don't get explored in enough depth. I think that there's a bit too much reliance on the shock value of the story, and not enough time spent deepening our investment and understanding of either character. Without a sturdy understanding of why the characters are they way they are, the events come off as a bit cartoonish.

Additionally, I don't think that there's enough justification for the story being told through email and messenger history, and I don't think the use of this format has been handled all that creatively. Rather than heightening the sense of the reality of the story, it invites room for skepticism (it's fortunate both characters write so nicely, right?).

The reader does a decent job of differentiating between the two characters, but I think the audio adaptation needed to find a better way to convey the email information. As it stands, having all the details repeated is incredibly tedious, and it's read at the same speed as the rest of the text. Truth be told, I personally found the narrator's tone a bit too prim and cheery, but perhaps that's just me - she was at least very clear.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Paige
  • 06-04-22

very weird

loved it, gonna find more like this. decided I'd use it as something to listen to at the gym but after the session I didnt want to stop listening. didn't know where it was gonna go. glad I judged this book by it's cover cause that cover art had me intrigued and the story was just as unsellting yet interesting

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    1 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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  • Lily
  • 05-12-22

Absolute Garbage

I can't put into words how unfathomably bad this book is. Ludacris plot to take place online and laughably bad writing.

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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
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  • naomi jones
  • 03-13-22

Ok but dont hold out hope for a good end

Just as it seemed to be going somewhere it ends. while it was nice little story over with in a short time it felt more like the beginning of a book that was never finished

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 02-05-22

would you still love me if I was a worm?

this was such a wild ride, although it's a shorter listen I urge everyone to take the time to listen in in one sitting. The only negative comment I can make is that having to listen to the email info at the start of every. single. email. was annoying as hell.

1 person found this helpful

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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
Profile Image for Laura Morkel
  • Laura Morkel
  • 08-24-21

wow

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