Biblioshelf Musings – The Grimrose Girls by Laura Pohl

Hey Bibliofriends!

This week’s Biblioshelf Musings are about The Grimrose Girls by Laura Pohl. This book had me sold at ancient fairytale curses and an elite school setting so I was thrilled when my ARC request was accepted! It’s put me right in the mood for this spooky Halloween season!
Huge thanks to NetGalley, Laura Pohl and the publishers SourceBooks Fire for providing me with a complimentary e-ARC in exchange for this honest review.

Book: The Grimrose Girls by Laura Pohl
Genre: Teens and YA / LGBTQIA+
Publication Date: October 26th 2021 (UK release: November 26th 2021)
Publisher: SourceBooks Fire
Pages: 400
Rating: 📚📚📚📚

Synopsis (from Goodreads)

Once Upon a Time meets Pretty little liars.

Four troubled friends, One murdered girl… and a dark fate that may leave them all doomed.

After the mysterious death of their best friend, Ella, Yuki, and Rory are the talk of their elite school, Grimrose Académie. The police ruled it a suicide, but the trio are determined to find out what really happened.

When Nani Eszes arrives as their newest roommate, it sets into motion a series of events they couldn’t have imagined. As the girls retrace their friend’s last steps, they uncover dark secrets about themselves and their destinies, discovering they’re all cursed to repeat the brutal and gruesome endings to their stories until they can break the cycle.

This contemporary take on classic fairytales reimagines heroines as friends attending the same school. While investigating the murder of their best friend, they uncover connections to their ancient fairytale curses and attempt to forge their own fate before it’s too late. 

My Musings

My university dissertation was based around fairytales so I absolutely jumped at the chance to be able to review this book straight from the mention of ancient fairytale curses. The Grimrose Girls is a fast-paced adventure set in a highly prestigious boarding school; it gave me all of the dark academia vibes and its links to some of the more ancient, classic fairytales gave this story a powerfully dark and gripping atmosphere.

For me, the best thing I loved about The Grimrose Girls was that Laura Pohl sort to showcase the original fairytale stories in all of their dark, twisted glory and break the glass slipper mould of ‘Disney-fied Happy Endings’. From The Little Mermaid and Snow White to Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty, the ancient curses connecting this group of characters revealed the origins of these stories in their most brutal forms. It was quite a refreshing take on a genre which I love so much.

The characters themselves were each intriguing in their individual ways. I had so much fun working out which fairytale fate each character was destined to take up, some were slightly more obvious than others. Through Yuki, Ella, Rory and Nani, we are given a range of identities and representations to connect to. Be it parental expectations, grief, sexual identity or just working out who the hell you’re supposed to be whilst growing up – there were plenty of cultural and lifestyle character facets here to bring about diversity amongst this group of girls. It was interesting to see the range of emotions each one went through as they dealt with the death of a friend and sought to reforge and re-establish their fractured friendships. Even though the setting isn’t actually a single-sex girls’ school and there a couple of male characters in the story, sometimes the catty dialogue and humorous interactions between the girls sent my mind right back to my own education at an all-girls’ school!

I have to admit, I wasn’t totally aware that this book was going to be a series when I first started reading so the cliffhanger ending right at the end was abrupt in the best possible way. Although one or two mysteries get solved within the final pages, there’s still so much more to come from this fantastic plot. I’m already eagerly awaiting the sequel as it feels like these girls are just getting started on their epic fairytale-debunking quest!

Why Should I Read This?

For the representation of original fairytales in all their twisted, brutal glory.
For a diverse range of fierce female characters who bond together to overcome an ancient evil.
For the dark academia vibes of The Grimrose Académie setting.

Find out more about this book here:

Amazon | Waterstones | | Goodreads | Author’s Website | Sourcebooks Fire | NetGalley

Connect with me here:

Twitter | Goodreads | Book Sloth: @thebiblioshelf |Email:

#Friday56 – Twelve: Poems Inspired by the Brothers Grimm Fairy Tale

Happy FriYAY Bibliofriends!

This week’s Friday 56 comes from Twelve: Poems Inspired by the Brothers Grimm Fairy Tale by Andrea Blythe which I received as an eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to Andrea Blythe and Interstellar Flight Press for the copy. It was a bewitching, fresh retelling of a classical Brother Grimm story of the Twelve Princesses.

Hosted by Freda’s Voice, the Friday 56 is a weekly bookish prompt. It’s quite easy to do and could cover no end of different books and genres so seems great if you’re looking for a quick snippet to discover something new!


*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader (If you have to improvise, that’s ok.)
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don’t spoil it)
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post here in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url.
*It’s that simple.

The Black Fox could steal anything – jewels hidden inside castle keeps, entire towers full of gold or the tower itself, kisses and secrets and lives.

This is such a wonderfully short and sweet read. If you’re a fan of fairytales and modern retellings which give the protagonists their own identity and voice then there’s sure to be a lit for you to like in Twelve. If you want to find out more about Twelve: Poems Inspired by the Brothers Grimm Fairytale then you can check out my full review here.

Amazon | Interstellar Flight Press| Author’s Website | Twitter | NetGalley

Are you a fairytale fanatic? What’s your favourite fairy tale retelling? As always, drop me a comment to chat!

T xx

Connect with me here:

Twitter | Goodreads | Book Sloth: @thebiblioshelf |Email:

Biblioshelf Musings – Twelve: Poems Inspired by The Brothers Grimm Fairytale

Aloha Bibliofriends,

Fairytales have always had a special place in my heart. I love reading and analysing them so much so that my university dissertation was based on the tale of Sleeping Beauty and a whole section of my bookshelves are dedicated to fairytale theory books from the likes of Jack Zipes, Bruno Bettelheim and Marina Warner. When I came across Twelve: Poems Inspired by The Brothers Grimm Fairytale by Andrea Blythe as an eARC on NetGalley I was immediately captivated and wanted to read it. Thank you to Interstellar Flight Press, Andrea Blythe and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

Book: Twelve: Poems Inspired by The Brothers Grimm Fairytale by Andrea Blythe
Genre: Fairytales / Poetry
Publication Date: September 7th 2020
Publisher: Interstellar Flight Press
Pages: 64
Rating: 📚📚📚📚

Synopsis (from Goodreads)

Twelve is a poetic retelling of the Brothers Grimm fairytale “The Twelve Dancing Princesses.” Bewitching and beguiling, this short series of linked poems takes the reader to the underground realm and back, following the stories of twelve princesses and their life after the magic shoes.

My Musings

To me, fairytales are the original story. With elements of folklore and oral-storytelling passed on from generation to generation until they are finally written down and published for anyone to read, it’s no wonder that each of these amazing stories have different variations and attributes linking to a myriad of cultures across our planet. Modern-day retellings often seek to gender-bend or feminise these tales, questioning the traditional roles of the obedient princesses who require a loving stereotypical marriage as their happily ever after.

In Twelve, Andrea Blythe manages to pull off a modern retelling in spectacular fashion whilst retaining the elements of fairytales and storytelling which all of its fans love. Taking each sister one by one, Blythe dedicates each of the Twelve Princesses with their own unique voice and identity giving fresh substance and purpose to the once subservient, archaic damsels-in-distress in search of their prince.

As characters of their own, we see the ringleader whose decision it was to condemn their failed suitors to death; the sister whose stubbornness and obstinance defied punishment and carried on her dancing regardless of the King’s ruling; the wannabe-baker who despite being told to stay out of the kitchen ends up finding more than one passion in the pantry; the Belle-like book-lover who managed to camouflage herself amidst the stacks.

Twelve was not quite poetry in the form I was anticipating and represents more of a prose-style narrative, however the writing was lyrically beautiful just the same. Language and imagery contribute to a huge part of my enjoyment in a book and, for something shorter than what I’m used to reading, Blythe brought this in spades! The haunting imagery of the Third Sister’s tale is sure to resonate with any bibliophile who has ever been lost and caught up in their own little bookish world.

The Author’s Note at the end seeks to clarify Blythe’s inspiration for writing these wonderful poems. It gives credence to the fact that she is well-versed in the genre and this tale in particular. It was interesting to read her motivations for writing Twelve and take on board her own viewpoint in bringing these stories to life.

Favourite Quotes:

Her blood spit within her veins like dragon fire.

The library became her realm. She slept on the nests of old discarded pamphlets and nourished herself on the pages she consumed.

She might read you and find in your flesh the story that shapes you.

Any small fraction of magic could have settled itself under her skin.

Why Should I Read This?

For the bewitching storytelling.
For a fresh uplift on a classical fairytale.
For the diverse representations and identities of the Twelve Princesses.

Any reader with a passion for fairytales is sure to find something to enjoy in this short and sweet collection of poems based on tale of The Twelve Princesses from The Brothers Grimm.

Find out more about this book here:

Amazon | Interstellar Flight Press| Author’s Website | Twitter | NetGalley

Connect with me here:

Twitter | Goodreads | Book Sloth: @thebiblioshelf |Email:

Biblioshelf Musings – The Beholder

Hi Biblioshelf Friends,

How is your week going? I have had lots of exciting book mail this week so I finally have enough to make a book haul post at the end of the month (for what feels like the first time ever!).

At the end of April, I finished reading The Beholder for the OWLs Magical Readthon last month (wrap post here if you’re interested!). I was so intrigued to get into this book and not just because my copy was the Fairyloot Exclusive edition with pink sprayed edges and rose gold foiling on the front. The idea of sailing off to different kingdoms to look for a suitor on a big ship sounded perfect for the prompt of a book set on the seas/coast. If you want a little sneak peek of the book then check out my #Friday56 post here!

Book: The Beholder by Anna Bright
Genre: Fantasy (YA)
Publication Date: 4th June 2019
Publisher: Harper Teen [FairyLoot Exclusive]
Pages: 429
Rating: 📚📚📚.5

Synopsis from Goodreads
Selah has waited her whole life for a happily ever after.
As the only daughter of the leader of Potomac, she knows her duty is to find the perfect match, a partner who will help secure the future of her people. Now that day has finally come. But when the night of Selah’s engagement ends in an excruciatingly public rejection, her stepmother proposes the unthinkable: Selah must set sail across the Atlantic, where a series of potential suitors awaits—and if she doesn’t come home engaged, she shouldn’t come home at all.
From English castle gardens to the fjords of Norge, and even beyond borders of the dreaded Imperiya Yotne, Selah’s quest will be the journey of a lifetime. But as she searches for her future husband, she realizes that her stepmother’s schemes aren’t the only secrets hiding belowdecks… and the stakes of her voyage may be higher than any happy ending.

The Beholder is a tale which revolves around the main character, Selah, having to travel throughout the world on her ship (The Beholder) to try and find a suitor to marry. Selah is the Seneschal Elect who hopes to take over the running of the Ptomac community after her father. Unfortunately, she also has an evil, pregnant stepmother who wants to be rid of her whilst her father is getting increasingly ill. Selah hopes that by finding an appropriate suitor to take home, she will be able to assume her place as her Father’s successor before it’s too late.

This wonderful tale serves as Anna Bright’s ode to fairytale heritage. Chapter dividers and inserts offer little instalments and snippets from well-know folk and fairytales which foreshadow the events coming forth. To add to that, some of the main companions on Selah’s journey are named after some of the most well-known storytellers such as Perrault and Lang. I loved these little touches.

I was intrigued that the main heroine hailed from Ptomac as I haven’t read many mainsteam novels from that part of the world. The Arbor hall seemed to emphasise the ways the Ptomacs value the land and this is echoed in Selah’s agricultural upbringing as she looks after her community as one alongside her people. Selah’s character was honest and genuine throughout the start of the book. Her determination and will to not be beaten and take up her rightful role to aid her father was the driving force throughout her narrative. Her experiences of far-off places and the new world unfolded as she travelled to each destination. It was clear to see her turmoil and naivety through the way the potential suitors each individually influenced her attitudes and decision making.

For me, the first part of the book was really intriguing. I enjoyed the sense of journeying through different lands to find a suitor. But somewhere between the first and second/third kingdoms, I got a little lost along the way. Whether it was because I found things slightly repetitive or needed a few extra plot twists and turns to keep me going, I’m not sure. The extent of the story in a snapshot, is a good one; however, the big build-up I was waiting for from the third kingdom, which was feared so much that Selah didn’t even want to journey there, didn’t seem to fully reveal itself. Maybe it will in the sequel.

Either way, Anna Bright’s writing is immersive and lyrical, characters have enough depth, mystery and suspicion for your allegiances to keep shifting and the insights into different territories draws up a brilliant fantasy world based on our own familiar planet. For me, the novel seemed to split itself into two parts. The first half of the book was exceptional and really pulled me into the story, the second half didn’t quite balance with that but I’m still very keen to see where Bright takes this story next.

Have you read The Beholder? Is it on your TBR? Or do you feel like you really need a sailing trip around lots of new kingdoms right about now? As always, drop me a comment to chat!

T xx