SKULK ARC Review: Read it if…..

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Pleasant afternoon to you, thrill seekers! Today’s Read-it-if is just a little bit special – it’s my first ever ARC (that’s Advance Reading Copy for the uninitiated…but of course, you already knew that…) review.  Many thanks to  Strange Chemistry for the opportunity to get my paws on this one pre-release!

Skulk is a new urban fantasy tale by Rosie Best, to be released on the 1st of October in e-version, and print version in the US and Canada, and on the 3rd of October for the UK and the rest of us Outlanders.

In Skulk we are introduced to Meg Banks, an ordinary lass who suddenly becomes extraordinary during a standard, run-of-the-mill, after-hours excursion to deface her school grounds with social-commentary-oriented graffiti.  Meg is interrupted during this mission by the entrance of an injured fox, who promptly morphs into a human male before dying in front of her.  Later, Meg discovers that she has somehow inherited the ability to shape-shift into fox form and at this point, things begin to go seriously pear-shaped for all concerned. But mostly for Meg.

Cue a crazy, sadistic sorceress, a merciless army of pigeons, a menagerie of urban shape-shifters and a creeping, flesh-eating fog!

skulk

Read it if:

* you have long harboured a sneaking suspicion that the particularly hirsute gentleman who sits opposite you on your daily commute may actually be a gorilla in human form

* you have a strong aversion to foggy weather – both for its natural potential to reduce visibility for motorists, and its supernatural potential to explode the heads of the unwary

* you are attracted to pretty, glittering objects….like egg-sized gemstones that have the power to alter your perception and/or assist in your plans for world domination

* you believe the words “pigeon” and “sky-vermin” are roughly interchangeable

Skulk is the perfect choice for your entry-level explorer of urban fantasy.  It has a nice spread of fantasy elements and the history behind the fantasy is explained in enough detail to keep the reader immersed in the story, but without so much complexity that one requires a wall-mounted genealogical tapestry to follow how the situation came to be.  In case you’re wondering about appropriate reader age, I would definitely keep this one in the “older teens” section, due to graphic violence, mentions of drug use and parental abuse.  Having said that though, Skulk is also a great option for adult readers who want a slightly lighter read in the style of Ben Aaronovitch or Mike Shevdon.

Can I also mention how much I love the cover art? How good is it? Well done to all concerned for proving it is possible to have a young adult novel featuring a teen female lead character, without resorting to the tired and over-used “long-haired girl with vacant expression” option for the cover.  Plus, that fox symbol would look fantastic on a t-shirt!

If I’ve whetted your appetite for all things foxy, stay tuned, because Rosie Best will be guest posting here at the shelf on Monday – that’s September 2nd for the calendar buffs among you.  And you can check out my Goodreads review here!

Until next time,

Bruce
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Fiction in 50 August Challenge: Famous Last Words…

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Fi50 number three is on, and the prompt this month is *cue slow, deep, booming voice*: FAMOUS….LAST….WORDS…..

fiction in 50

 

To join in, all you have to do is compose a piece of fiction in 50 words of less in the next week and post a link in the comments so others can drop by and compliment your fantastic wordsmithery!  For more detailed instructions and prompts for coming months, click on the attractive button above or the link on my header.

My contribution this month is titled:

Told You So

Christmas Eve:  Westfield carpark.  Air-con busted, sweat dripping, radio tinkling….

*…Snow is fallin’, all around me…*

The boyfriend guns toward a free space…

*…’tis the season…love and understanding…*

“You won’t make that, they’ve parked right on the line.”

“Nah, there’s plenty of room.”

Screeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaak. Scraaaaaaaaaaapppeee.

*…Merry Christmas, everyone….*

Obviously, being a southern hemisphere blog, I tend towards uniquely southern hemispherical experiences…such as ridiculous snow-themed Christmas songs providing the backdrop for heat-stroke induced parking-lot rage.  And to really up the ante, here’s the video for the song featured in my Fi50:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZeyHl1tQeaQ

YOUR TURN!

Bruce

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Reminders and Teasers: A Smorgasboard of Bookish *Stuff*…

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Good afternoon shelf-buddies!  I bring to you today a veritable picnic basket overflowing with tempting and exciting reading-related delicacies! Hopefully by the end of this post you will find yourself filled to elegant sufficiency, slightly drowsy from the richness of your bookish repast and with any luck, not covered with crumbs or being stalked by the inevitable trail of ravenous ants.

First up, REMINDERS:

kid-lit-blog-hop-button-sep-2012-e1349976901756

Kid Lit Blog Hop #22

In case you missed my last post (and related fancy hat), I am currently tickled pink to be co-hosting the Kid Lit Blog Hop, home of all things child and literacy related. Click the button to join in the fun!

Fiction in 50 Challenge: August

fiction in 50It’s on again! For those who love to write but can never get past the first few sentences of your epic novel, this is the challenge for you! Create a piece of fiction in 50 words or less, and post it on your page in the last week of August.

This month’s prompt is: FAMOUS LAST WORDS

Click on the button for more info, and for upcoming prompts!

Second up, a TEASER!

I’m a little ashamed to admit that we shelf-dwellers have all been having a little trouble with skulkreigning in overblown egos in the last week or two.  The reason behind our sudden inflatedness of head is that we were recently approved to review our first ever ARC – for SKULK, by Rosie Best and published by Strange Chemistry!

Check out that cover – doesn’t it just suck you in? Skulk introduces us to Meg, an ordinary young lass who witnesses the death of a fox…who shapeshifts into a man.  Meg then discovers that she has inherited this power….and things go downhill for her from there!  Skulk is a great example of young adult urban fantasy, but I won’t say too much here because…..

…..In preparation for Skulk’s release on the 1st  (US/Canada/ebook) and the 3rd (UK) of September, I will be reviewing Skulk next week and then on the 2nd of September, the shelf will be honoured with a post from the author herself – Rosie Best!!

And finally, a bit of RETAIL THERAPY!

winterowls fox toy

In order that you are fully prepared when you rush out and order your copy of Skulk, I also have a little bit of foxy goodness from my crafty mate WinterOwls.

This darling little fox friend is available at her etsy shop here:

http://www.etsy.com/au/listing/155720293/handmade-fox-toy-fox-plush-upcycled-fox

It would make a great cuddle buddy to accompany the scarier bits of Skulk!

So there you have it – plenty to ponder over a lazy weekend.

Until next time,

Bruce

 

 

 

 

Kid Lit Blog Hop #22: Join in if…..

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klbh pimpin shotEveryone get your glad rags on because it’s time once again for the Kid Lit Blog Hop!

As you can see, I’m a bit excited because I have donned my special, first-time-ever, KLBH Co-Hosting Hat! For those of you who have never participated before, the KLBH provides a platform for any blogger who has ever had anything to say about children’s books (or literacy, or literacy-related activities) to hitch their post to the hop, so others can share in their wisdom (or wit, or wonder, or wordiness).  In the same vein, the hop is a great place to visit if you have any interest in children’s books (or literacy, or literacy-related activities, or wit or wonder or wordiness!).

SO JOIN IN IF:

you get a little thrill every time a new visitor pops by your blog

– you can’t go past a good linky party without considering how you can bend at least one of your posts to fit the rules

– you want to be part of a cheerful, all-species-inclusive, community of bloggers with an interest in kid lit!

Now that I’ve convinced you, you can read more about the hop and its guidelines below, and right at the end of the post is the linky so you can toss your own funky, fashionable, kid-lit-related hat in the ring!

See you round the hop!

Bruce (KLBH Co-Host. With hat to prove it.)

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Welcome to the 22nd Kid Lit Blog Hop. The Kid Lit Blog Hop takes place on the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays of each month. We have managed to create a dynamic and engaged community of children’s books bloggers, authors, publishers, and publicists, as well as parents seeking out their next great read. So, you are more than welcome to link in and take some time to make some new friends.

Please join me in welcoming back our co-hosts for this Hop, Bruce from The Bookshelf Gargoyle, Victoria Simcox – author of The Magic Warble and The Black Shard, Stacie from BeachBoundBooks. A big, big welcome to all of you! Please be sure to give each of our hosts a visit to say a quick hello and we’ll be sure to visit you right back!

Happy Hopping everyone and enjoy the Hop!

Kid Lit Blog Hop
<div align="center"><a href="http://motherdaughterbookreviews.com/category/kid-lit-blog-hops/" title="Kid Lit Blog Hop"><img src="http://motherdaughterbookreviews.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/Kid-Lit-Blog-Hop-Button-Sep-2012-e1349976901756.jpg" alt="Kid Lit Blog Hop" style="border:none;" /></a></div>

Kid Lit Blog Hop Rules *Please Read*

1. We ask that you kindly follow your hostesses and co-hosts. You can follow us any way you choose (Email, GFC, Twitter, Facebook, G+, Pinterest, etc.), but we’ve added our preferences below. If you could just give us a quick “follow” or “like” that would be much appreciated! Make sure to leave us a message if you are following us (i.e., on Twitter or Facebook or on our websites) and we will be sure to follow you back. Thanks! 🙂

Hostesses:

Renee @ Mother Daughter Book Reviews Twitter * Facebook

Jaymie @ Snacks for Max Twitter * Facebook

Sue @ Kid Lit Reviews Twitter * Facebook

Katie @ Youth Literature Reviews Twitter * Facebook

Julie Grasso, Author/Blogger Twitter * Facebook

Cheryl Carpinello, Author / Blogger Twitter * Facebook

Co-Hosts:

Bruce @ The Bookshelf Gargoyle Goodreads * Facebook

Victoria Simcox, Author Twitter * Facebook

Stacie @ BeachBoundBooks Twitter * Facebook

2. Link up any Kid Lit related post. This can be a link to a children’s book review, a discussion about children’s literature/literacy, or a post on a recently-read children’s book or one that you love from your childhood.

* Don’t link directly to your blog, it must be a specific post*

* For Authors, we prefer you to link to your blog if you have one *

* Make sure you include an image relevant to the POST (e.g., book cover), not your blog button or photo of yourself.*

* Feel free to link more than one post.*

3. Please visit AT LEAST the TWO LINKS directly ahead of your own and leave them some love in the form of a comment. We are trying to build a community of bloggers, readers, parents, authors, and others who are as passionate about children’s literature as we are so please CONNECT and follow any or all of the blogs that interest you!

4. If you like, grab the button above and put it somewhere on your blog, preferably the post you’re linking up. If you’d prefer, you can just add a text link back to this Hop so that others can find it and check out all these great book links!

5. It would really help us get the word out about the Kid Lit Blog Hop if you would be so kind as to tweet, share, and spread the word about the Hop!

Interested in co-hosting the Kid Lit Blog Hop? Please email renee @ motherdaughterbookreviews (dot) com and put Co-Hosting Blog Hop in the subject line.

Happy Hopping!

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Bad Poetry Contest: Am I too late to enter?????

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Bad Poetry Day

Good evening lovelies!  I have just this second found out about a bad poetry contest being hosted over at Oz the Terrier’s blog and at Haiku by Ku, having been alerted by a post from the lovely (and fluffy!) Misaki! Unfortunately I have only just found out about this, and I think the contest closes tonight, so time prevents me from doing a really terrible effort….but on the other hand, perhaps the short timeframe will provide the perfect gestational conditions for the creation of something truly awful.  I have decided, in keeping with my love of written pieces for those with tiny attention spans, to create for this contest a mini-Ode. Or Odette, if you like.

I have titled my entry:

Ode to a Yodel

Yodel-ay-hee-hooooooooo – ray!

I’ve added in the linky at the end of this post so you can hop around and appreciate (and vote for!) the brilliance and the badness in the other entries…enjoy!

And just for weirdness’ sake, as this is primarily a book blog, here’s the weirdest yodelling-related book I could find on such short notice. I think you’ll agree it’s a cracker:

the-yodel-of-cthulhu

Adios amigos!

Mad Martha

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What’s In A Name Challenge: Absent in the Spring…

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So here we are again, Obstacle Number (insert accurate number here) in the What’s in a Name Reading Challenge: Absent in the Spring by Mary Westmacott (aka Agatha Christie)…

Taken from: the Christie Listie (as a late and rather sneaky replacement)

Category: Six – a book with lost or found (or it’s equivalent) in the title

So it turns out Agatha Christie, cheeky little dame that she is, penned some romance novels under the name Mary Westmacott, and thought we wouldn’t notice.  Well, I didn’t actually, until it was pointed out to me.  But I’m glad I found out because it gave me a bit of scope to widen out the Christie Listie for this challenge.

Absent in the Spring centres on Joan Scudamore, an upstanding citizen and all-round walking moral compass, who finds herself waylaid by a flooded track on her train journey home from looking after her sick grown-up daughter.  During this period of unwanted exile, she reflects on her relationships so far and discovers some not altogether pleasant home truths about herself and the way others see her.  But how will she use this newfound knowledge?  One never knows when Ms Christie is at the pen….

absent in the springThis Book’s Point of Difference:

I must say, I’m not really one to go in for romance novels.  Luckily for me, this novel has absolutely no romance in it at all.  It’s more of a psychological portrait of the main character and in that regard is gripping in a not too demanding way.

Pros:

– I was surprised at how engaging this book actually was.  Despite the fact that most of the book is essentially a one-woman show, the strength of old Joan as a character and her willful denial of the painfully obvious really drives the book along.  Having said that, it’s also the type of book that you can pick up and put down and is light enough to be a great choice for a beach read…although given my aversion to, and lack of experience with, beaches, perhaps you’ll have to make that call yourself

– The style and voice are typical Christie.  By the end of the first page I was comfortable in the knowledge that I was with an old friend and master storyteller

– The ending has a twist.  I wasn’t expecting one, given that this isn’t a mystery story, but there is one nonetheless and I think it really adds to the post-reading, thought-inducing factor of the book

Cons:

– The style and voice are typically Christie. So you may spend the first few chapters (or indeed the whole book, depending on the level of your fandom) expecting someone to be discovered having been horribly murdered.

– There are no Belgians in this one, detective-like or otherwise

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this book.  I will definitely make it a point to read more of “Westmacott’s” back catalogue at some point.

Until next time,

Bruce

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Litera-tees: Tees for Readers (#3)…

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Afternoon all – I present you with a lazy, consumerist post for a lazy Tuesday afternoon….here are some more tees for the literary-minded, plus some very convenient information on who designed them and where you can spend your hard-earned cash purchasing them. You’re welcome, shoppers!

First up, some Harry-related loveliness:

master-of-death

—we have Master of Death by Catch A Brick, available at RedBubble….

Just-As-Sane-As-I-Am

…and Just As Sane As I Am by the unnecessarily talented Megan Lara, also available at RedBubble…and if you like Megan Lara’s nouveau art, she has produced a whole range of tees in this style with various characters – Hermione and many of the recent Doctor Who companions to name a few.

For the Tolkien fans, apparently it is possible to simply walk into Mordor, if this tee is anything to go by:

simply-walk1

It’s titled Simply Walk, is designed by Tom Kurzanski and is available at RedBubble

For those who like to express their opinions on the classics:

moby dicky…we have Moby Dicky by Budi Satria Kwan available at threadless

For those who like a bit of film with their bookery:

read-a-book

…here’s Vader Read A Book available at WeLoveFine shop…

movies-ruining-the-book1

…and Movies: Ruining the Book since 1920 by Jayson Dougherty, available at threadless

And finally, just because I love it and want someone to buy it for me (Att: Santa Claws!):

grim-readers

It’s the Grim Readers’ Book Club by WinterArtwork, available at Shirt.Woot

Layby now for Christmas!

Until next time,

Bruce

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