Dumplin

Book Review: “Grim” by MULTIPLE authors

Book Review: “Grim” by MULTIPLE authorsGrim by Christine Johnson, Kimberly Derting, Sonia Gensler, Tessa Gratton, Claudia Gray, Rachel Hawkins, Amanda Hocking, Ellen Hopkins, Shaun David Hutchinson, Julie Kagawa, Malinda Lo, Myra McEntire, Saundra Mitchell, Jackson Pearce, Sarah Rees Brennan, Jeri Smith-Ready, Jon Skovron
Published by Harlequin Teen on February 25th 2014
Pages: 480
Goodreads
four-stars

Inspired by classic fairy tales, but with a dark and sinister twist, Grim contains short stories from some of the best voices in young adult literature today:

Ellen Hopkins, Amanda Hocking, Julie Kagawa, Claudia Gray, Rachel Hawkins, Kimberly Derting, Myra McEntire, Malinda Lo, Sarah Rees-Brennan, Jackson Pearce, Christine Johnson, Jeri Smith Ready, Shaun David Hutchinson, Saundra Mitchell, Sonia Gensler, Tessa Gratton, Jon Skrovon

Ringing-in at 480 pages, Grim is a compilation of suspenseful and dark short stories, by 17 of today’s hottest young adult authors. Even though the stories only span between 20-30 pages each, the authors; such as Kimberly Derting, Tessa Gratton, Julie Kagawa, and Rachel Hawkins, all manage to create vivid worlds with solid characters that you find yourself instantly rooting for. In a lot of cases, you’re rooting for the character’s survival of a potential, grim fate…

All the stories in Grim, were entertaining, but there were a couple in particular that really struck me. The Key for instance, is the opening story in Grim and really sets the bar. The tale was short but provocative. Once the plot built-up steam and I got a sense of the direction of the story, I couldn’t read fast enough. If you like high stakes and suspense, this will instantly become a favorite of yours.

Light It Up, another favorite of mine, is a twist on a morbid and well-known fairy tale. I’ll leave it up to you to figure out which one, because I hope you’ll be as delighted as I was when it clicks. In Light It Up we have two abandoned siblings in the woods. I got a huge ‘Wrong Turn’ vibe when reading this story which made the creeped-out factor skyrocket. This story is action-packed and fast.

A Real Boy stands out among the rest because it takes place in a dystopian future where robots are very common and utilized. Although not at the top of my favorites list, I enjoyed A Real Boy for its change of pace. It wasn’t eery or gross or another dark-like adjective, mostly just suspenseful.
The final story I’ll comment on is Skin Trade. This story was all-kinds of eek and made me squeamish. Which I loved of course. When it ended, I really had no clue what had transpired, just that intense feelings of horror stuck with me. Skin Trade is a whirlwind story, graphic and chock-full of Poe-like macabre.

If you’re a fan of Poe, HP Lovecraft, or just like short, dark and twisty stories, checkout Grim. It’s a great way to past the time and get a little horror-loving fix.

A copy was provided by Harlequin Teen.

four-stars
Dumplin

The Thousand Dollar Tan Line by Rob Thomas & Jennifer Graham

The Thousand Dollar Tan Line by Rob Thomas & Jennifer GrahamThe Thousand-Dollar Tan Line (Veronica Mars, #1) by Rob Thomas, Jennifer Graham
Published by Vintage Books on March 25th 2014
Pages: 324
Goodreads
five-stars

From Rob Thomas, the creator of groundbreaking television series and movie Veronica Mars, comes the first book in a thrilling new mystery series.

Ten years after graduating from high school in Neptune, California, Veronica Mars is back in the land of sun, sand, crime, and corruption. She's traded in her law degree for her old private investigating license, struggling to keep Mars Investigations afloat on the scant cash earned by catching cheating spouses until she can score her first big case.

Now it's spring break, and college students descend on Neptune, transforming the beaches and boardwalks into a frenzied, week-long rave. When a girl disappears from a party, Veronica is called in to investigate. But this is not a simple missing person's case. The house the girl vanished from belongs to a man with serious criminal ties, and soon Veronica is plunged into a dangerous underworld of drugs and organized crime. And when a major break in the investigation has a shocking connection to Veronica's past, the case hits closer to home than she ever imagined.

SPOILER ALERT: If you aren’t up-to-date with all the Veronica Mars TV episodes or more importantly, haven’t seen the Veronica Mars movie, you might not want to read this review.

My first question after finishing Thousand-Dollar Tan Line: When can we expect the next Veronica Mars book?!! Minus the briefly mentioned Dick Casablancas spin-off web series, and the fact that a movie sequel, which hasn’t been confirmed, would take 1+ years, the book(s) are what’s going to keep the Veronica Mars flame alive and current.

Thousand-Dollar Tan Line was great, bafflingly so. I tend to avoid books that spring from TV shows, say, Buffy, because they aren’t exactly cannon. Although I can appreciate a good fanfic, I have a hard time believing in or loving anything that doesn’t come straight from the creators or writers of the show. Which, Thousand-Dollar Tan Line luckily doesn’t suffer from, because it was plotted by Veronica Mars creator, Rob Thomas.

Taking place about 2 months after the Veronica Mars movie, Veronica is working small and boring cases in the absence of her recovering father. Mac, the brainy and always witty sidekick, is now a sort of joint receptionist-hacker for Mars Investigations. Thousand-Dollar Tan Line sees Veronica jumping on the case of a missing girl who happened to have gone MIA during Neptune’s busiest season: Spring Break. Thousands of students flock to Neptune this time of year, which makes the search for the missing girl, even harder. I won’t get into the details, but trust me, this book was just as good as any episode of the Veronica Mars TV show. The author Jennifer Graham, got the character’s mannerisms and dialogue down perfectly. Reading this book was like sitting down to an episode of Veronica Mars. The case(s) were original and intricate with twisty leads and shocking reveals.

Unfortunately some of our (read: mine) favorites didn’t get much line-time like Weevil and Logan, but at least in the case of the latter, if you’ve seen the Veronica Mars movie you’d understand why. Although I loved the movie, it was apparent that Rob Thomas tried to cram in as many show-favorites as possible, unlike Thousand-Dollar Tan Line, which treated the story like a regular episode of the original show, where only the essentials or characters that made sense, appeared.

Overall I was very pleased with this book. I hope it’s the first of many more to come, just as long as they remain nail-biting and true to the show. If you’re an old Marshmallow or semi-new Marshmallow like myself, you’re going to speed right through this book.

five-stars
Dumplin

Ruthless by Carolyn Lee Adams

Ruthless by Carolyn Lee AdamsRuthless by Carolyn Lee Adams
Published by Simon Pulse on July 14th 2015
Pages: 256
Goodreads
three-stars

Ruth Carver has always competed like her life depends on it. Ambitious. Tough. Maybe even mean. It’s no wonder people call her Ruthless.

When she wakes up with a concussion in the bed of a moving pickup truck, she realizes she has been entered into a contest she can’t afford to lose.

At a remote, rotting cabin deep in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Ruth’s blindfold comes off and she comes face-to-face with her captor. A man who believes his mission is to punish bad girls like Ruth. A man who has done this six times before.

The other girls were never heard from again, but Ruth won’t go down easy. She escapes into the wilderness, but her hunter is close at her heels. That’s when the real battle begins. That’s when Ruth must decides just how far she’ll go in order to survive.

Back home, they called her Ruthless. They had no idea just how right they were.

Ruthless is a contemporary thriller that reads fast and packs one hell of a punch. It’s definitely not a book for younger children because of the violent and dark nature of Ruth’s abduction.

Ruth, a.k.a. “Ruthless,” is a complicated character. Her family’s ranch has been in danger of running aground for as long as Ruth can remember. The constant financial woes have strained Ruth’s parents’ marriage. When Ruth was 12 she won her first horse show, which came with a whopping $40,000 cash prize. After that moment, Ruth changed. She gave away what she deemed toys, determined to be the one who could keep the farm and family in working order. Ruth grew up way too fast.

Then you have Jerry, an ex-farmhand who’s addicted to kidnapping and “teaching” what he believes are insolent young girls. Jerry is extremely volatile and twisted, yet I still felt a sliver of pity for him at points. This book gives us snapshots into Jerry’s childhood, which unsurprisingly included an abusive parent.

Like the description says, at one point in story, Ruth turns the table on Jerry. She begins calling the shots. However, even though the roles change, Ruth endures a lot before, and definitely after, she gets her chance at making Jerry suffer. Ruth is a force to be reckoned with, but Jerry is larger, stronger, and has been doing this for a lot longer…

Throughout this book, as Ruth experiences hellish experience after hellish experience, she comes to terms with how she’s been living her life. Ruth realizes the mistakes she’s made as well as, if given a future, the changes she wants to make. Her self-evaluation throughout the story is incredible and captivating.

Ruthless isn’t just a dark thriller. It’s also a story about discovering who you are, what in life means the most to you, and how far you’re willing to go for the ones you care about.
three-stars