Thursday, 22 May 2014

Review: Grim (Anthology) edited by Christine Johnson

Grim {Anthology}
Released: March 2014
Genre: Paranormal, Fantasy
Publisher: Harlequin Australia
Buy Me: Amazon  |  Fishpond  |  Book Depository
At the Other End:
Step into a world of dark and twisted fairy tales, with stories by Julie Kagawa, Amanda Hocking and more...
In the days when fairy tales were first spun, they weren’t the sweet and cheerful stories we tell today. Back then, fairy tales were terrifying. They were a warning to the listener to stay out of the night, to keep away from the mystical and ignore the mysterious. Prepare to open a treasure box of the unusual and the macabre.

Grim features some of today’s best young adult authors, sharing their own, unique retellings of classic fairy tales from around the world. These talented writers, many of them New York Times bestsellers or award-winners, put their own spin on these magical worlds. 
Featured Authors:
Ellen Hopkins: Ellen Hopkins is the New York Times bestselling author of CrankBurnedImpulseGlassIdentical,TricksFalloutPerfectTrianglesTilt, and Collateral. She lives in Carson City, Nevada, with her husband and son. Hopkin's Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Pinterest pages get thousands of hits from teens who claim Hopkins is the "only one who understands me"

Amanda Hocking: I live in Minnesota, and I write young adult paranormal romance and urban fantasy mostly. The My Blood Approves series is about vampires in Minneapolis, and its available now. I also wrote the Trylle Trilogy, which is a paranormal romance without vampires, shifters, mermaids, fae, angels, dragons, ghosts, or ninjas.

Julie Kagawa: 
Julie Kagawa, the New York Times bestselling author of the Iron Fey and Blood of Eden series was born in Sacramento, California. But nothing exciting really happened to her there. So, at the age of nine she and her family moved to Hawaii, which she soon discovered was inhabited by large carnivorous insects, colonies of house geckos, and frequent hurricanes. She spent much of her time in the ocean, when she wasn’t getting chased out of it by reef sharks, jellyfish, and the odd eel.

Claudia Gray: I live in New Orleans. So far, in life, I've been a disc jockey, a lawyer, a journalist and an extremely bad waitress, just to name a few. I especially like to spend time traveling, hiking, reading and listening to music. More than anything else, I enjoy writing. 

Rachel Hawkins: Rachel Hawkins was born in Virginia and raised in Alabama. This means she uses words like "y'all" and "fixin'" a lot, and considers anything under 60 degrees to be borderline Arctic. Before deciding to write books about kissing and fire (and sometimes kissing while on fire), Rachel taught high school English for 3 years, and is still capable of teaching you The Canterbury Tales if you're into that kind of thing. 

Kimberly Derting: Kimberly is the author of the BODY FINDER series (HarperCollins), THE PLEDGE trilogy (Simon & Schuster), and THE TAKING trilogy (coming April 29th from HarperTeen). She lives in the Pacific Northwest, the ideal place to write anything dark or creepy...a gloomy day can set the perfect mood. She lives with her husband and their three beautiful (and often mouthy) children who provide an endless source of inspiration.

Myra McEntire: 
She is the author of the Hourglass trilogy which has been nominated for two RITAs and a YALSA Teen Top Ten and was chosen as a SIBA Okra Pick.

Malinda Lo: Malinda Lo is the author of several young adult novels including the sci-fi thriller Adaptation; the sequel, Inheritance, will be published Sept. 24, 2013. Her first novel, Ash, a retelling of Cinderella with a lesbian twist, was a finalist for the William C. Morris YA Debut Award, the Andre Norton Award, and the Lambda Literary Award. Her novel Huntress was an ALA Best Book for Young Adults and a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award. Malinda is co-founder with Cindy Pon of Diversity in YA, a project that celebrates diversity in young adult books. Malinda lives in Northern California with her partner and their dog.

Sarah Rees-Brennan: Sarah Rees Brennan is Irish and currently lives in Dublin. For a short stint, she lived in New York and became involved with a wide circle of writers who encouraged and supported her, including Holly Black and Cassandra Clare. She has developed a wide audience through her popular blog,, where she writes movie parodies, book reviews and some stories.

Jackson Pearce: Jackson Pearce currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with a slightly cross-eyed cat and a lot of secondhand furniture. She recently graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in English and a minor in Philosophy and currently works for a software company even though she auditioned for the circus (she juggled and twirled fire batons, but they still didn’t want her). Other jobs she’s had include obituaries writer, biker bar waitress, and receptionist.

Christine Johnson:  I live in an old house in an old neighborhood with my husband and kids. I have too many books and a weakness for anything sweet. I love yoga and cooking, but I’m not much of a movie person. I like watching soccer, and always look forward to the first sweater-worthy days in the fall. But mostly, I like making things up and writing them down and having people read them.

Jeri Smith Ready: Jeri Smith-Ready has been writing fiction since the night she had her first double espresso. A steady stream of caffeine has produced twelve published novels for teens and adults since 2001.

Shaun David Hutchinson: Shaun is a major geek and all about nerdy shenanigans. He is the author of The Deathday Letter, fml, and the forthcoming The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley. He currently lives in South Florida with his partner and dog and watches way too much Doctor Who.

Saundra Mitchell: Saundra Mitchell is a longtime screenwriter and author. Random House's Delacorte Press published her debut novel, Shadowed Summer, on February 10th, 2009. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children's will publish her next novel, The Vespertine in Spring 2011, with its companion novel, The Springsweet, following in Spring 2012.

Sonia Gensler: My debut novel, THE REVENANT (Knopf 2011), is a ghostly mystery set at a Cherokee girls' school. My latest book, THE DARK BETWEEN (Knopf, August 2013) is a Gothic murder mystery set in Cambridge, England. 

Tessa Gratton: Tessa Gratton has wanted to be a paleontologist or a wizard since she was seven. Alas, she turned out too impatient to hunt dinosaurs, but is still searching for a someone to teach her magic. After traveling the world with her military family, she acquired a BA (and the important parts of an MA) in Gender Studies, then settled down in Kansas with her partner, her cats, and her mutant dog. She now spends her days staring at the sky and telling lots of stories about magic.

Jon Skrovon: Jon Skovron has been an actor, musician, lifeguard, Broadway theater ticket seller, warehouse grunt, technical writer, and web developer. Now he is a father and the author of Young Adult novels Struts & Frets, Misfit and the forthcoming Man Made Boy (Fall, 2013), as well as many short stories and essays. He generally likes stories that are dark, strange, and occasionally funny.
Anthology Average Rating
The Key
Author: Rachel Hawkins
Retelling of: Bluebeard
Behind 24 Pages
This short story was ok. Different bits of information were told to us after we started to get confused about what was actually happening. We don’t even know if Lana survived. It’s a cliffhanger to a short story, and I felt disappointed because the story fell short. I felt like it should have been longer, so that we can actually come to terms with what is happening, and what the story is actually about, instead of being let down and feeling incomplete. I’m not sure where to go from here, I feel so confused about the overall story that I just want to read the next, in the hope that it’s better. It was getting interesting and was catching my attention when we found out exactly what Lana could do. But like I said, the end of this let it down completely, as well as getting confused. It seemed like the author writes about something that happens (like Skye randomly kissing her when he first gets a chance alone with her), and then suddenly remembers that we have no idea what is going on and we think he is some sort of psychopath, so she then includes it! Grrrr, frustrating, and this happens a few times too….
Author: Jeri Smith-Ready
Retelling of: Puss in Boots
Behind 36 Pages
Honestly, just plain weird. Not in a good way either. It was strange and not in any way entertaining. I was confused from the start, but I only continued to find out what the actual thing was. And even then, when I found out what it was, it didn't exactly grab my attention. And the most annoying thing was that the boy hardly denied what he was hearing. It was annoying because he believed so easily in something that should be impossible. I give up on this story. I'm can't explain any more, but it didn't capture my attention and I was just bored.
The Twelfth Girl
Author: Malinda Lo
Retelling of: 12 Dancing Princesses
Behind 34 Pages
Another just ok story. It felt pretty pointless to me, and it frustrated me as well. I liked the actual plot, it had potential to be a really good story, but it just wasn’t executed correctly. Liv states that she doesn’t like to do what she is told, and is basically the kind of strong heroine that we all know and love in YA novels. WRONG! This girl is the complete opposite. She is all, wimpy, (very) needy and acts completely childish. She reminds us that she is the persona of a strong YA heroine, but just as she says it, we get shown otherwise. Seriously, Liv is so frustrating. And then there is the random things that happen as well, like randomly kissing a guy, and almost having sex with the ‘leader’ of the group. Ummmm, okayyyy, whatever floats your boat, sweetheart! From the beginning, Liv is the epitome of a needy character. She goes on saying how amazing she is, and that she NEEDS to be part of the popular crowd, because she and her so-called awesomeness belong there! ME. ME. ME! Then after she talks about that load of bull, she completely contradicts herself by practically jumping all over them to become part of her group! Sorry, but this girl needs a serious slap in the face. Multiple times. For a few hours.
The Raven Princess
Author: Jon Skovron
Retelling of: The Raven
Behind 28 Pages
I hope this is a sign that I’m starting to get to the really good stories. This book wasn’t as bad/annoying/frustrating as the others, but it was in the middle. I liked the overall story, the characters were a bit in the middle for me. The human boy who will do anything just to make someone else happy? Please, humour me. In the kind of world that this is set, I honestly don’t believe that he could be, what feels like, naivety. Especially when he leaves his town because they all thought that he was a priss and couldn’t kill. Then the Princess who is practically doing all of this for her own fun and games. The Queen/old woman who is doing what the Princess wants her to do. Then there is the happily-ever-after ending. I’m having a hard time wondering if I would like to see this short story go longer, but then, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t like it at all. I’m definitely caught in the middle with this book.
Thinner Than Water
Author: Saundra Mitchell
Retelling of: Cat-Skin
Behind 26 Pages
Holy Shit! This short story had me on the edge of my seat the entire time. I absolutely loved the writing style, as well as the plot. Even though this is such a short story, I instantly connected with Merula, as the life she once loved, and the father she once loved betrays her and their lands laws. I couldn’t get enough of this story! I was shocked at parts, I was horrified at others, but most of all, I was triumphant that Merula goes through with it and delivers the price for treason, when she fought so hard from breaking herself. She came out on top at the end of the book, and she is definitely Queen material. She does everything that she can to bring justice and a fair ruling, no matter if you are the King, Queen or Princess. She is devious and manipulative to be able to get herself out of the situation she finds herself in, but from reading her story, that’s exactly how she needed to be, to be able to have succeeded in tricking her monster of a father. P.S. I absolutely love the last sentence of this story. P.P.S. Liv (The Twelfth Girl), this is what a strong YA heroine is, LEARN the difference.
Before the Rose Bloomed
Author: Ellen Hopkins
Retelling of: The Snow Queen
Behind 36 Pages
This short story is practically the definition of Love Conquers All. Greta's love for K takes her across the country/land and to the Snow Queen's lair. It was an ok story, and good length for what happened. What weighed it down for me, was that every would-be dangerous situation, she glides through it with ease. Her story brings tears to the eyes of everyone she tells it to, and even makes the Snow Queen thaw (in a way). It had its ups and downs, but the ending when Greta and K were reunited was brilliant.
Author: Tessa Gratton
Retelling of: Beauty and the Beast
Behind 28 Pages
Not too sure what to say about this one. It was good, better than most of the others in this anthology. I liked the story, and the characters as well (both Beast and Beauty). It started pretty quickly, and didn’t waste any time getting into the actual story with Beast. It was a little confusing to begin with, but then I got used to it and it all became easier. Beauty is a strong female character, she tries to fight her way out multiple times, no matter how bloody or bruised she gets. She holds onto herself, even when she feels she is turning into a beast, and her right to want to choose her present and future, makes her all the more likeable and relatable. Like most of the other stories, I wanted the story to continue. I felt it left at the worst possible moment! We don’t even know if they broke the spell, or if she wants to marry him or anything!!

Damn... A good story, minus that unfinished ending.
The Brothers Piggett
Author: Julie Kagawa
Retelling of: The Three Little Pigs
Behind 26 Pages
I feel robbed. This is JULIE KAGAWA, yet this story is far from what I expected from her. The only redeeming thing about this story was the ending. That was pretty cool, and very Julie. This is the only story (other than Thinner than Water) that has an ending I’m happy with. The ENTIRE story was predictable. Seriously, the whole story!! When I first started reading it, I guessed what would happen, and found out that I was right. I was right about Maya and who she was, and about the three brothers and what they did. It’s not too hard to figure this out, it’s actually pretty obvious. I didn’t like any of the characters, especially Percival. I wanted to slap him and his multiple chins because he was so annoying and childish. I wish that this story was told from Maya’s perspective, it would have been a whole lot more interesting, instead of some whiny and pathetic man. If only this story was as good as the ending was!!
Author: Sonia Gensler
Retelling of: The Shroud
Behind 16 Pages
If you are unfamiliar with the original story, then before you read this re-telling, let me warn you. You must read this story carefully. I had to read this one twice, because I got confused the first time around. Not in a bad way confused, but in a “no way did that happen” way that I didn’t know if I believed it or not. It is because of this massive plot twist, that completely ties this story together and makes it as good as it really is. The second time I read the story, I read it more carefully, and I realised that this major thing that happens, is actually true! And when you read it, you get hints that it is, but don’t realize it until the end when it all comes together to completely screw your mind over. I only wish we got more insight as to exactly what happened in the accident, other than just that one simple sentence that is supposed to cure our curiosity. Other than that, it was really good (even though I had to read it twice to fully understand what was going on).

Damn... A good story, minus that unfinished ending.
Author: Shaun David Hutchinson
Retelling of: The Pied Piper
Behind 28 Pages
This one was really good. It held a different voice than the others, and the ending gave the whole story a different tone, and made you look back and realize just how inhuman Pip and Levi are. There are points that make me think that the Dr is in denial about Pip being able to have feelings, and doesn't realize the truth in the depth of what and who Pip is. She has grown and developed human feelings, it made her feel more and want to care. It felt like it was missing something, but it was just a gnawing feeling. But it was a really good story and the ending was just, wow.
Light It Up
Author: Kimberly Derting
Retelling of: Hansel & Gretel
Behind 24 Pages
This was a good retelling of Hansel and Gretel in a completely modern day scenario. The overall story was ok, and the characters had a unique voice to them, making them easy to connect with. It felt a bit slow for me though, and we don't even know if they actually make it back to civilisation or their family. Greta was a strong female lead, and she held herself up for her brother so they could get home. The ending was exciting, and held its own spark (lol!).
Sharper Than a Serpent's Tongue
Author: Christine Johnson
Retelling of: Diamonds and Toads
Behind 18 Pages
Meh, it was ok. I didn’t really get into it, and Clara gave me the shits. She doesn’t have any sort of backbone, and that makes people think that she is perfect etc. The mother annoyed me a lot, but Dina was pretty cool. She stood up for her sister, when no one else would, and wanted to keep her safe, not because of what was coming out of her mouth, but because she was her sister.
A Real Boy
Author: Claudia Gray
Retelling of: Pinocchio
Behind 28 Pages
This one was a great retelling. I enjoyed the future world that was created, and was perfectly suited to Pinocchio, who, in this story is a ROBOT! pretty cool :)

Blue is a easy character to like, even though we don't know her real name until the end of the book. She speaks of love and being selfish with love from the choices that you need to make because of it. I kind of fell asleep while reading this, so I read it in two sittings. The ending is bittersweet, and so cute!
Skin Trade
Author: Myra McEntire
Retelling of: The Robber Bridegrom
Behind 18 Pages
WTF. Literally, that is all I can say about this story. Just, WHAT.THE.FUCK.
Beauty and the Chad
Author: Sarah Rees Brennan
Retelling of: Beauty and the Beast
Behind 30 Pages
Literally struggled through this one. It was so weird, and I hated the two different periods that it was set in. The Beast was from modern day America, and Beauty was from the Olden day world, where there was courtship and people believed in witches. Beast’s language didn’t fit at all to this story, and it really annoyed me in general. It would have been better if he was from Beauty’s time. I might have actually enjoyed this story then.
The Pink
Author: Amanda Hocking
Retelling of: The Carnation
Behind 32 Pages
A good light-hearted story, complete with a happily-ever-after that you see coming from miles away. What I didn’t understand, was that when Brenn was kidnapped, it took days for Fyren to get to the top of the mountain. Didn’t Brenn wake up? Even though he would have been 2 or 4ish, he wouldn’t have slept that long, especially in the cold. Other than that, this was a good story. I wish that we saw what happened to the mother and father after Brenn was taken. 
Sell Out
Author: Jackson Pearce
Retelling of: Snow White
Behind 13 Pages
I was confused the whole way throughout this book. It was a good idea, but because it was such a short story, it was like there was so many things crammed into just a few pages when there should have been so many more. If we had more detail on the world that this was set, as well as more information on what they actually do, then this would be really interesting. I mean, I did eventually understand what was going on, but it was too late for me to be able to salvage what was left of the story and be able to enjoy it like I wanted to.

This novel was received for review via Harlequin Australia. This review is entirely my own, no bribery or any deals have been made to sway this review or change my personal opinion of the novel.


  1. Oh no, I loved Figment, it was my favourite story, I found the little pimped out Cat super cute. The start is confusing, but once you get into it, I didn't want it to end. Skin Trade was horrifying, my goodness, I skimmed, it was just too disturbing and found it odd that it was in there. It was just too creepy and dark and brought the book down.

    Awesome review. I actually quite like these short stories and have bought a few more here and there to read when I hit my next book funk.

    1. Damn. I should have continued reading it! Yeah, the start was really confusing, but I kept thinking that, if it's a short story, it should be blunt and to the point. Not really messing around. But oh well! OMG it was just........... I can't even finish.. Maybe if they put it at the end? Then it wouldn't have made the rest of the book compare to that.


Thanks for leaving a comment, I love hearing what you have to say and talking to you all!