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Sunday, September 15, 2013

Blog Tour: Skulk by Rosie Best - Review with Guest Post!

by Rosie Best
Publisher: Strange Chemistry, imprint of Angry Robot Books
Publishing Date: October 1, 2013
Length: 387 pages
Editions: ecopy and print
Source: ARC from publisher for honest review 

When Meg witnesses the dying moments of a shapeshifting fox and is given a beautiful and powerful stone, her life changes forever. She is plunged into the dark world of the Skulk, a group of shapeshifting foxes.

As she learns about the other groups of shapeshifters that lurk around London – the Rabble, the Horde, the Cluster and the Conspiracy – she becomes aware of a deadly threat against all the shapeshifters. They must put aside all their enmity and hostility and fight together to defeat it

***Blogger has been giving me grief lately about editing the images so that when you click them, it takes you to that site. So just in case it is deciding to act foul again, the links are under the images! :) ***
A_TiffyFit's Review:
Boy, I don't know how they do it, but Strange Chemistry (and Angry Robot Books) has this knack for finding brilliant writers who know how to tell a good story! I'm wishing I could search by publisher on amazon...
SO!  A few words to describe this book before we get into the details! Everyone loves categories and labels so I would label this as: young adult, paranormal, romance, mystery, urban fantasy, magic using, action, FABULOUS!
Meg Banks is a graffiti artist (I like the nod of her name to Banksy!). She's a teenager whose parents are wealthy hoity toities, her mother in Parliament. She sneaks out at night to tag, signing her work with Thatch97. She may come from a rich family, but money doesn't make up for the abuse and lack of love. She is tortured by her mother, ignored by her father, and even at the mercy of two vicious servants, her mother's cronies Gail and Hilde. Her mother smacks her around, locks her in a wardrobe, starves her, padlocks the pantry, and the two servants treat her as if she is worse than dog poop. In a few short lines smattered throughout the beginning of this book, I was LIVID. Amazing characterizations in such little description because I really wanted to reach through the book and strangle Meg's mother, Gail, and Hilde. So instantly, my sympathy has been won for the main character. 
When Meg is out tagging, she comes across an injured fox, who turns into a man at her feet, dying and only has a few words of warning...the fog. He gives her a stone and she takes it and runs off after he dies, eager to get back home as she processes what the heck she just saw. Later...she turns into a fox. As we follow Meg's journey, we become aware of the shifters. Always in groups of six, we have the Rabble (butterflies), the Skulk (foxes), the Horde (rats), the Conspiracy (ravens), and the Cluster (spiders). I thought this was SO cool. How often do you read paranormal fantasies where shifters are spiders or butterflies?! As Meg meets her Skulk members and others from the other groups, we learn of their origination. Each was created to guard a specific stone of power, to keep them separate. The Skulk was given dominion over the Hands stone, the Rabble over Sight, the Horde over Spirit, the Conspiracy over Mind, and the Cluster over Shadow. But there is evil lurking...someone is looking to unite the stones and have that ultimate power... 
After new friends are dying left and right and her parents are murdered before her eyes, Meg has taken it upon herself to go after the wicked Victoria. She tries to gather help, but is turned down by many, except...the Rabble.
While this book seemed to have started slowly, once it picked up (and that's after only a few short pages), it FLEW. She's compassionate and brave and at times flighty. She's gung-ho about how something is wrong, and then seems to forget about it for a moment as she's enamored of Mo, but she gets back on track. A fun read whose ending left me with my jaw dangling as I turned the page only to find a blank one staring at me. You will hate a few of the characters (deservedly so), you will smile as you encounter others, and cheer on Meg as she soldiers on. I'd definitely recommend to anyone who appreciates YA urban and paranormal fantasy. I'm looking forward to more!  ~Tiffany

About Rosie Best:
Rosie Best lives in London and loves all things nerdy. She is an editor at Working Partners Ltd, working on a huge variety of projects from first chapter books about unicorns to dark YA journeys through the land of the dead.

She’s also written for Working Partners on a freelance basis, on series published by Usborne and Hot Key Books.

The opening of Skulk won a place in the 2012 Undiscovered Voices anthology. When not writing or indulging a passion for video games, she sings with the Crouch End Festival Chorus.

You can connect with Rosie at her [ Blog ]  and on [ Twitter  ]

Guest Post! I asked Rosie to give us a peek at some more personal information about herself. Here are ten things you won't find in any author bio on her! 

10 Things About Me You Won’t Find In My Author Bio

1. My iPod is named Aethelbert
After the obscure Saxon king. There was a reason I picked this at the time, but I can’t completely remember what it was. My phone is called Joan, after the terrifyingly competent and gorgeous character from Mad Men - because she is beautiful and she runs my life.

2. My favourite comfort movie is Sleepy Hollow
Johnny Depp hamming it up and fainting all over the place! A whole ensemble of giant hams like Michael Gambon, Richard Griffiths and Jeffrey Jones! ‘The head was not found buried... the head was not found at all!’ Christina Ricci running through the woods in amazing dresses! Miranda Richardson just being splendid as usual! Horse stunts! Lots and lots of blood! I absolutely love this movie.

3. I’m a white belt senior at Choi Kwang Do
It’s a variation on Taekwondo - I’m only one step up from complete beginner, but I do have quite a mean front knee strike.

4. Summer Glau once said she liked my shirt
I went to get my DVD of Firefly signed, when the cast were over in the UK for the premiere of Serenity. I wore a home-made Firefly t-shirt which I’d painted and embroidered myself (see point 8) and Summer Glau said she liked it, which pretty much made my year.

5. I daydream about writing really terrible romance novels
You’d think that someone who complains so much about badly done romance in stories wouldn’t want to write entire stories about romance, but every so often I’ll spot a cheesy Mills and Boon on a shelf and think, I could throw one of those together and I bet it’d be incredibly fun. It would be bad in so many ways - I don’t pretend that I could just throw together a good romance novel, because those are very tricky and I have a lot of respect for people who write romances well! But for some reason the idea of writing a hasty, badly-plotted, inconsistent mess of a romance novel appeals to me whereas doing the same with fantasy, sci-fi or even contemporary realism just makes me cringe.

6. I’m always on the lookout for tattoo ideas, even though I will probably never actually get one
I am far too afraid of pain, and not sufficiently happy about my body, to actually do this. But that doesn’t stop me thinking about it! At the moment, the front-runner is the final line from the Wendy Cope poem The Orange []: ‘I love you, I’m glad I exist’. In the past I’ve seriously considered ‘Don’t Panic’ in large, friendly letters, Alphonse Mucha’s painting ‘La Plume’ [], and the symbol from the cover of Skulk!

7. If I ever decided to start cosplaying, I’d be Agatha Heterodyne from Girl Genius
She’s just so cool - and so fun. I would make a whole bunch of her little minion inventions and drag them along after me on tiny wheels.

8. I am intermittently crafty
I love to sew, draw, and make fanvids - but I tend to take quite a long time to finish projects and sometimes forget I started them at all. Currently I’m cross-stitching the house banners from Game of Thrones as a present for a friend, which is good because it means I have to finish them sometime. I’m thinking about embroidering the Skulk symbol on something when I’ve finished, because I love it that much and I’m just that much of a nerd.

9. I really, really, really love the sea and boats
I have a serious romantic weakness for them. I put it down to having Cornish blood, and I spent a lot of time in my childhood by the seaside at Gorran Haven or Mevagissey or on my Granddad’s little fishing boat. And also to the fact that the sea and boats are completely awesome. (My second favourite guilty pleasure Johnny Depp film? Pirates of the Caribbean. I even loved the third one. Don’t judge me.) I don’t know how to sail, but one day I’m going to learn and then go on one of those holidays where you crew a proper old-fashioned galleon up and down the coast.

10. I can be heard singing on the soundtrack of this moment in television history:
Not the soloist who comes in first, but the choir. That’s my choir! That’s me! This is a cheat, because I mention the choir in my bio and I also crowbar this fact into conversation as often as I possibly can, but I don’t care. I’m ridiculously proud of it.

Thank you, Rosie! I must say that 

  1. I'm a Firefly fan, too!
  2. I totally empathize with you on #8
  3. I love the sea, but I get motion sick so I have to admire boats from afar! :) 

Don't forget! SKULK comes out OCT 1, 2013! 
You can pre-order today!

Don't miss the other stops on this tour! 
Click here to check them out!

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Thanks for taking the time to connect with me! Happy reading!