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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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:

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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