Member Reviews

Thank you NetGalley for the ARC. I was looking forward to this book, but I ended up DNF’ing it about 50%. The writing was well done, but this was not really for me. I thought it was a horror anthology and in a way it is, but it’s more a story about one young woman that jumps back and forth in time. I just couldn’t really get into it.

Still giving it a 2 Star because, again, the writing is nice, this just wasn’t for me.

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I absolutely loved this anthology. The cover is just as creepy as the stories within the book! I highly recommend this book!

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Okay so, this is my favorite ARC I've read in a while. I love a good anthology. And man oh man was this good. Thank you so much Netgalley and Jennifer Gordon for letting me read this book.

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Thank you Netgalley and last waltz publishing for the ARC in exchange of an honest review.

I normally don't like to rate books low, coz I know how much a book matters for an author. All the hard with they put into it. And it feels like we are ignoring all that so it's quite rare for me to rate it low.

Japanese box and other stories is my first book by the author and no matter how much I tried to enjoy the book I just couldn't. I would start the book, read the same pages over and over again Coz I just couldn't push myself, couldn't engage myself in the whole thing.

Writing isn't bad but there's something about it that always turned my mind off while reading. The whole book is very deep, dark and twisted , depressing even but that's never my issue as I actually like dark books. I don't know how to describe it but it just didn't grab my attention.

Definitely not for me.

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This is a collection of short stories that cover a wide range of topics. Mental illness of various natures are at the forefront alongside grief and coming of age. Make sure you check the warnings because there are a lot of things that are touched on that could be quite upsetting for many.

I found it so hard to work out my rating for this short story collection, and even harder to try and work out my thoughts on it. This is a very bleak and depressing book. It's very dark, it's haunting in its execution and it touches on a gamut of different things, not sugar coating or shying away from anything. This book was horror of a different kind, and I wasn't expecting it. I knew it was a collection of short stories. But I didn't realise the type of horror that I'd be reading. I actually had a conversation with my bestie while I was 30% through it, and I told her how I was so torn because It's not what I expected, and I didn't know how I felt about it. It made me feel uncomfortable in a weird way. In the way where I feel like there's a strange pressure in my throat, like I used to get as a very young child, I think it's just one of the many ways that my anxiety has liked to present itself over the years. Though I didn't feel anxious. I felt a kinda way, and it's so hard to me to describe it. Uncomfortable is the only word that comes to mind. It made me want to have a shower, brush my teeth, get a good night's sleep. It was such a bizarre feeling. It is currently making me ramble on incessantly, yet not say much. It's the person on the sidewalk, that you avert your eyes from because you know that they're going to ask you for money, or a smoke. It pulls back the curtain and actually allows you to see the dark, dripping parts of the human psyche and how broken it can become.

This was one of those books that I wasn't sure I 'got', to be honest, I'm still not sure that I 'got' it. I feel like a large portion of it went over my head. The majority of the stories, I felt, were interconnected, following the same female character throughout her life from a young age, up into her later years. But after reading over some other reviews, I now believe that I was incorrect in this assumption? It seems that they're not all interconnected, at least, according to others. So I'm still left feeling like maybe it went over my head after all. Maybe it's one of those books that I'm just not meant to 'get'.

One thing that I remember thinking as I finished this story, was that I feel like it gave great insight into the mind of someone with mental illness. I feel like Gordon did a fantastic job of illustrating the potential thought patterns of someone with schizophrenia. The confusion that the female lead (leads?) had throughout the entire collection, was a common factor in all of the stories. Having her grip on reality constantly keep slipping, losing chunks of time, never knowing what was real and what was not. Seeing things in the environment. The more of this book that I read, the more I settled into a comfort that was different. With each story, my brain became more and more comfortable because 'this is just how it is for her' so I found it easier to continue on as I got further through. I found the poem to be heart wrenching and gut churning, and I can't even tell you why. I cannot put into words what this book in its entirety made me feel.

This one is a hard one to review, but I'll try and sum it up in a nutshell. This collection is intense, complex, confusing, violent, dissociative, dark, messy, hopeful, depressing, bleak. It is horror of another form, the horror of being human. The horror of trauma. The horror of loss and grief and broken minds. The horror of reality, of how it could happen to any of us at any time. The horror of being alone, of having no one you can count on, knowing that everyone looks at you with the uncomfortable side eye as they try to slowly and quietly exit your life because you're too much. Too strange. Too out of touch with reality. Too lost. Too broken. It is a bleak journey through a coming of age with mental illness. Of having always known it exists because your mother had it. And her mother. And probably her mother. I can't tell you how I felt about this, because I don't know, I can't put it into words...

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My expectations of this book were quite high and I pictured it differently.

I don’t shy away from depressing, bleak and horror stories but this book was not for me. There’s not any horror (or at least the horror you expect). There is enough of the horrors in life throughout the stories and how horrible life can be and it explored grief, mental illness and trauma.

At first I thought all the different stories would intertwine with each other but that wasn’t the case.

I still think it was very well written and I was able to read it in one setting.

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Rating: 2.05 leaves out of 5
-Characters: 2.75/5
-Cover: 1/5
-Story: 2/5
-Writing: 3.5/5
Genre: Horror
-Horror: 1/5
Type: Ebook
Worth?: Maybe?

Want to thank Netgalley and publishers for giving me the chance to read this book.

This whole book was so depressing. There was not really any horror, maybe how life can be horrible but that's about it. I believe I was confused for a majority of the book because I though the stories intertwined with each other but that wasn't the case, I think 3 stories could be grouped together and the other three could be grouped separately together? Then there was one all by its lonesome? I don't know, it was all a bit messy.

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What a brilliant, original and well written book this is. I enjoyed every single story in this book and found myself immersed in them. I’d love a follow up to this and would snap it up. Creepy and macabre. Just excellent!

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"The Japanese Box & Other Stories" by Jennifer Anne Gordon

This book has intense short stories dealing with themes like grief, anxiety, and mental illness. The first story is about a man realizing the deep impact of a past relationship. Another standout is a dark werewolf tale from the perspective of a troubled wife.

The writing is poetic and haunting, making the stories powerful and thought-provoking. However, due to heavy subjects like trauma and miscarriage, it’s recommended with caution.

Overall, it's a deeply moving and beautifully written collection.

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Thank you Netgalley, Jennifer Anne Gordon and Last Waltz Publishing for the eArc of The Japanese Box and Other Stories.

This is a collection of short stories and a poem touching on the horrors of mental illness, grief and the ghosts that haunt us. I felt connected and they give poetic justice to these horrible elements of our human lives. I felt they were beautifully written in a tragic way. Some may not like to be reminded or have yet to come across the depth that can be found in this book. And that's ok. For me, KI would have liked to of read more of these stories.


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At least it was short. There was so much here that is so commonly a part of maturing that the idea of it overcoming life is just too much.

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I really enjoyed this collection and how it explores grief, trauma, and mental illness. The author did an excellent job introducing us to the characters.

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3.5 stars

I wanted to like this more.
The writer’s craft is curious and I would like to read more books my her.
I enjoyed the style and found the themes extremely interesting. The chapter/story titles were cool.
Though, the plot, the characters and the mood did not live up to my expectations. The horror or the psychological horror did not fully get to me.
I recommend this for those looking for a quick and thought-provoking read. Be mindful of the triggers. The themes are one of the strongest parts of this book. I hope you enjoy it more than I did. Chances are, you will.

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This short collection of stories was moving and stunning. It was amazing how much emotion the author was able to evoke in such a short space. There were so many dark themes, but the well-written prose made it easy to get lost in what was happening. Thanks to NetGalley for letting me read this.

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The stories in this book are not light and fluffy so make sure you check your trigger warnings! They feature heavy themes of mental health, trauma, etc.
they are well written, very lyrical writing that pulls you in and you stay cause each story is so quick to finish. Powerful.

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Wow this was so much better than I thought it would be! It’s a short story collection full of dark but thought provoking stories. The writing was so good. The author created atmosphere and emotionally charged prose that kept me turning pages. They seriously knew how to tell a story, and despite the length, these stories will gut you open with feeling and intensity. I’m excited to read more from the author in the future.

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this was a great collection of horror stories, I enjoyed the overall story being told. It had that element of suspense that I was expecting and enjoyed how different each story was. Jennifer Anne Gordon does a fantastic job writing this and can't wait for more.

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A haunting collection of short stories, “The Japanese Box & Other Stories” by Jennifer Anne Gordon, explores the horror of our own psyches. With unreliable narrators at the helm of most of the stories, you’ll be questioning what’s real to the very last page. Each piece feels like a master study of grief and sadness. Gordon creates such lonely worlds but writes them with such poetry.

Similar Vibes: Come Closer by Sara Gran, and Daniel Isn’t Real (2019)

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Such a beautiful book. It's short, at times a difficult read due to the subject matters - self harm, grief, mental health, abuse, eating disorders and so much more. So go into it with more trigger warnings than a box of faulty guns - as they are loaded and could hurt.

I don't say that lightly. Honestly, it's written so well, and in such a raw and straight-from-the-heart way that it's difficult not to lose yourself in its casual darkness. The train of thought style that permeates the book delivers hammer blows to the psyche whilst kissing your neck.

As the blurb would suggest, it's extremely thought provoking and to be read when feeling sturdy in oneself's mental health. But read it you should - especially men - as I feel you will learn much about women within its pages.

Tough and wonderful. 5 Stars.

Thank you for the opportunity to read this.

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The Japanese Box and Other Stories by Jennifer Anne Gordon

Thank you Netgalley and the author for the copy to read

So I was instantly drawn to this book from the cover, I didn't know what to expect with this short story collection. The stories within this collection are the following:
The Japanese Box
What Stage of Grief is it?
Lithium Moon

For me personally I had a hard time connecting with the stories, but they are all very interesting and weirdly kept me wanting to know more. The writing of Jennifer Anne Gordon was very different from what I'm used to but it was good.

I think if I had to pick a favorite story it would be Lithium Moon, I feel this story could have been longer but it was still so good in the strangest of ways.

This book makes you think, and talks about a lot of serious things that could definitely trigger some people. So please make sure to read the trigger warnings if you need them.

⭐ ⭐ ⭐

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