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Sugar Skulls Paperback – November 10, 2015
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About the Author
When not working on puzzles for Penny Press or writing about them for PuzzleNation, Glenn Dallas is an author of short stories and at least half of one novel. After appearing in the acknowledgments of several outstanding novels, he looks forward to returning the favor in the future.
Lisa Mantchev is the acclaimed author of Ticker and the Théâtre Illuminata series, which includes Eyes Like Stars, nominated for a Mythopoeic Award and the Andre Norton Award. She has also published numerous short stories in magazines, including Strange Horizons, Clarkesworld, Weird Tales, and Fantasy. She lives on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington State with her husband, children, and horde of furry animals. Visit her online at www.lisamantchev.com.
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The bravery doesn't stop there though. These writers also show courage--and respect--for their audience by never dumbing things down and never faking it, despite what they must have known would be some objection from fools. This is a book likely to have a largely female audience, from YA readers and beyond and it features teens who aren't treated like children. They swear. They lust. The love. They live. And they do all of this unabashedly and without excuse. Again, more hive-mind philosophies in publishing surely would have toned these artists down, but the books vividness and verve come from it's reality and it's rawness and it's truth. The suspension of disbelief is easy because of how gritty and real the characters act.
And thank the Maker for some realistic love scenes. Mantchev & Dallas managed to make things racy and hot without ever crossing over into cheese. They succeed where so many fail. They told a love story that wasn't contrived and sappy. They may be guilty of some love-at-first-sight treatment, but they respect the reader enough to sell it. They don't just gloss over it and ignore what they've done. They take the time to construct the content of the love and make the instant spark it begins with plausible and real.
The pace is fantastic. The point of view switches between the two main characters, Micah and Vee with breakneck pace and expert precision. There was no feeling of a baton being passed between the writers, everything was smooth and careful and the result was a steady Hum that led to a Buzz and ended with all out Thrum.
The characters are excellent and well drawn. One of my many issues with most first-person novels is that the writer(s) don't take the time to properly develop the supporting cast. That mistake is not made here. The supporting cast is excellent, from Treble and Trouble to the book's many antagonists, the time was taken to craft them with care and give them shape and reason and purpose for being who and what they were.
Finally, the plot was spot on. It's an intricately written book with so many seemingly minor plot points and conversation topics coming back to be of absolute importance later in the book. The story is engaging and interesting and fun. And best of all, unless I miss my guess, while this book was complete with a very satisfying ending, there was just enough meat left on the bone for the hint of a sequel. I certainly hope it comes about. I happily recommend this book and would be eager to read a sequel.
Told from alternating points of view, this is a fast-paced, heady mix of sex, drugs, & rock-n-roll. New Adult genre means mature content - some parts may not be for the faint of heart (drugs, violence, casual sex). Will appeal to older teens/young twenty-somethings, and those who've enjoyed Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash and other cyberpunk novels. Amazing cover art!
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