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Sugar Skulls

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  361 ratings  ·  88 reviews
Welcome to Cyrene, a city where energy is currency and music is the lifeblood of its young citizens. Everyone lives on the grid, and the residents of the world’s largest playground are encouraged to pursue every physical and emotional pleasure imaginable.

Vee is the lead singer of the Sugar Skulls, an all-girl band that is Corporate’s newest pet project. Micah haunts the ci
Paperback, 333 pages
Published November 10th 2015 by Skyscape
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Mistermistake Not that I’m aware of, the ending seems quite self-sufficient.

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Average rating 3.86  · 
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 ·  361 ratings  ·  88 reviews

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Heather *Undercover Goth Queen*
3.5 stars, maybe 4.

This is a story about Vee...

"Yeah, I'm well aware she'd stab you in the back, midfuck if it suited her.

and Micah.

Except for the guy leaning against the bar. Separate from the others. Motionless. Gaze latched on me like he's dying and I have the cure in my pocket.

Vee sings in a band controlled by Corporate, the Sugar Skulls (THE coolest corporation-controlled band I ever heard of), and Micah is a runner, dropping off packages and picking others up. These two live in a c
Erin Dunn
Oct 14, 2015 added it
Shelves: dnf
Another book DNF'd. :( I couldn't get into this one it was boring and I could not figure out what exactly was going on. It's super confusing and not for me I suppose. ...more
This book wasn’t for me. Perhaps I’m just getting too old for this kind of storyline.

I didn’t really connect with the characters. On this occasion I don’t think I got on too well with the narration. It’s like the voices of the narrators didn’t really match my idea of how the characters should sound. However, I did reach the end, as I’m a determined little soul when I want to be, so it can’t have been that bad. Also, it may be a dodgy drug, but I’ve discovered I adore the word “applejack”.

I’ve a
Jan 05, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: dnf
When I saw Sugar Skulls I was immediately drawn in. The cover was beautiful and the synopsis sounded promising. How awesome is an all girl band named Sugar Skulls? I was so excited to read this and was even more thrilled when I won the Goodreads giveaway for a copy. However, this book fell a little short.

It was an okay book and for many people it may be their cup of tea, but it just wasn’t mine. I couldn’t get into the story. It started off rather shaky at the beginning and I had absolutely no
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
MY BLOG: Melissa Martin's Reading List


I love anything sugar skull related. I was so stoked when I saw the cover of this book and read the blurb about the all girl band, but unfortunately I was confused during a lot of the book. I didn't get a feel for a lot of what was going on.

I loved Vee and Micah as love interests though.

There is a lot going on with these people keeping people drugged up and what not so they can monitor them and make things all nice or bad if they want to... if I understood
Oct 27, 2015 rated it it was ok
Although I found the world interesting and unique - it took some getting used to. I wasn't sure what was going on at first. The build up of these energies and soundwaves kind of stuff was odd but interesting. The writing, however, was dense. It was overly descriptive and just seemed like too much. The story tried too hard to be deep and edgy and interesting. I love this cover, absolutely love it, but the story - although interesting - wasn't as great as I'd hoped. ...more
Oct 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites

I got a copy of this book to review from NetGalley. I really enjoyed Mantchev’s Theatre Illuminata series and also read her book Ticker, which was okay but not great. I was very curious to read what sounded like a cyberpunk story by her. The story started out a bit slow but once it got going was very engaging and entertaining. This is more of an adult read than a YA read; there is quite a bit of swearing, drug use, sex, and violence.

Cyrene is a city where energy is currency; the more you generat
Bailey Skye
Oct 06, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015-reads, arc
I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

As I read through some of the other reviews posted about the book, I realize that I'm not alone on the fact that I'm not completely sure where exactly I stand on this book. I'm really struggling with whether this is a 3 or 4 star rating for me. I guess lets give it a 3.5 and call it a day.

I can honestly say that this incredibly detailed dystopian society was unlike anything I have read before. I really appreciated the originality in
Albert Riehle
Nov 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow! What a ride! There are so many things about this book I'm truly high on. I love that it's set in a not-so-distant, but not-at-all dystopian future. It's so easy to follow along with the trends in writing and so difficult to forge new paths but that's exactly what happens here. Kudos to both the writers, Mantchev & Dallas and to the publishers and team they put around themselves for having the bravery to take a different angle.

The bravery doesn't stop there though. These writers also show c
"What would I give for just one taste of you? What would I trade to fall straight into you?"

Book Title: Sugar Skulls
Author: Lisa Mantchev and Glenn Dallas
Publisher: Skyscape
Source: Netgalley Arc

My Pick for Book Theme Song: With Me Now by Blacklight District ( It captures the gritty intensity of this world)

Vee and Micah's song. Pretty but Intense…perfectly describes Vee and her lyrics.


Plot: 4/5 --Drugs, sex and rock n roll, I can’t help it, it gets me…I am an 80's child, after all. With a Monst
Oct 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgallery
This first book I ever read by Lisa was Eyes Like Stars, to say its an amazing piece of work is an understatement (If you have never read it, I recommend you do). I wasn't sure whether I'd like Sugar Skulls namely as I'm not the biggest fan of dystopia books, but wanted to give it a go.

Vee was actually a great character to read about, I loved how she was, her thoughts, there wasn't much I didn't like about Vee just because she was refreshing to read about. Micah was pretty cool too and I had no
Oct 06, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley, 2015
While I was reading this wonderful new book by Lisa Mantchev, I got this image in my mind - imagine that Monsters inc. has branched out into human world and to young people, that they do not collect just scream and laughter energy, but all kind of activity and pleasure energy that young people create while doing sports, compete with each other in games, dance, sing, have sex and all of it is intensified with legal drugs but also with illegal drugs. To keep the young people healthy and alive desp ...more
Hannah (jellicoereads)
Oct 16, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: dystopia
This was one of those books where there were specific things I enjoyed, and very specific things I didn't - I suppose at least that makes it easier to review!

The writing is certainly very edgy - and it very much depends on your personal tastes as to whether you'll enjoy it or not - I got some Leah Raeder-ish vibes from this one. While at some points the prose was bordering on pretentious, I think the authors did a great job at at portraying the trippy, hazy, overly-stimulated nature of this utop
Lauren Gladding
Oct 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thank you to Netgalley, who sent me an advanced e-book version of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I'm just going to start by saying that when I first started reading this book, I didn't think I was going to like it. It's very technology driven with a lot of vulgar language, which are two things that I typically don't like to read. However, I decided to keep reading and am SO glad I did! This turned out to be one of my favorite reads of the year!

Sugar Skulls is a dual-perspective story
*MystGrrl Reviews*
What an intense, fun ride Sugar Skulls is. Though I am previously familiar with the literary concept of a young adults utopia where your main goal in life is just to party and have fun (The Uglies Series by Scott Westerfeld and Night Creatures Trilogy by Marianne de Pierres), this has a fresh spin to it which I quite enjoyed.

In this dystopian world where regular energy sources are depleting, people are searching for a new sustainable energy. Cyrene is a unique pioneer city which is harnessing th
Oct 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
Often we feel we need half stars. For me this is one of those weird ones where maybe a half star would help but really I just feel torn between 3 and 4 and believe I’d stand behind either rating… depending on the day you asked me and the reading mood I was in.

This is a sort of but not really dystopian future where there is an evil (or are they?) corporation and they do kind of run things but only in voluntary beta testing kinds of cities. Instead of being evil slave-driving overlords they’re mo
❀ Crystal ✿ -  PEACE ☮ LOVE ♥ BOOKS
THis has got to be one of the most fucked up books I’ve read and I certainly would not recommend this as YA. The amount of drug use is insane. Cyrene, the setting for the book is a city within the real world, thrives off energy. Energy created by the cities inhabitants who are encouraged to basically party and live life to the fullest. There’s no couch potato’s here. Drugs, music, exercise, sex, anything that gets your blood pumping and resonates energy feeds the world, or better yet powers the ...more
Dec 03, 2017 rated it liked it
Waffled between a 3 and a 4 for a while, but went with the three because of the setting. I didn't really understand the world, and there wasn't much by way of exposition, but I did like the plot and characters. It's a really fun story, there's a lot of music and technology and parties and drugs, plus a steamy romance. Everything was mildly hardcore, and at times I would have liked it to be more graphic to really make it gritty and real, but overall it was done pretty well. The writing left thing ...more
Josh McNown
Apr 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book has a really cool concept
This is so much FUN. Kind of Westerfeld's The Last Days mixed with The Coldest Girl in Coldtown mixed with a novelization of the peerless parkour movie District B13, but with incredible clothes, 2015 raver sensibilities, and a hell of a thriller plot. I loved every second of it.

Bonus points for managerial lesbians and their anxious yet proactively affectionate hacker girlfriends. (It's a subplot, but a lovely one.)
This was a random request - based on the cover and the interesting as all get out premise. I honestly had not seen this one around that much, and it was fun going in completely blind. While it didn't blow me away - it does have its good parts.

Vee is the lead singer of the top band in the city, and Micah is a runner; off the grid and with a past. Both have past really. Told in dual POV, we learn about Vee, Micah, the rest of city and just how far they go to keep their hold on Vee.

What I loved mos
Sara G
I received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I read this book for the A Book A Day Keeps the Boredom at Bay challenge. 21 – Is the legal age for drinking. Read a book where someone has a drinking problem, is an ex-alcoholic or overcome some addiction. 21 can also be Black Jack. Read a book set or where the character goes to Las Vegas, or has a casino or a game of Black Jack or vingt et un is involved.

This book is definitely a hard one for me to review. T
Oct 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley, ebooks
Sugar Skulls is an interesting YA novel, to say the least. At first, it appears to be a dystopian story but that's not the case. Cyrene is a city in which you need to fill out an application to get in. If you are accepted, and you help the city collect energy, you are guaranteed a job on the outside once your time is complete.

This city has found a new way to generate electricity. No coal. No windmills. They take the Monsters Inc. approach, gathering energy through the use of thrum collectors. V
Kristina Aziz
Oct 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
I received this e-book from Skyscape Publishing via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Let's talk shop, fellow readers. Here we have a book that wins on many levels but falls short on some others.
Cover: Beautiful. Enticing. I love when realistic depictions of characters are put on the cover, front and center. Which brings us to...
Characters: This book had insta-lust on Micah's part but it was easy enough to wave it away to creative license. I'm sure the story would have survived just fin
Dave Olsher
Cyberpunk faerie tale LOGAN'S RUN

Like everything else that Lisa Mantchev has a hand in, the world of the story draws you in immediately and makes you want to go back and explore all the nooks and crannies. This sci-fi offering blends sweetly all of its various genres like a fine mixed drink in a bass-thumping bar.
Jan 01, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2015-2016-read
This was a weird fucking book.

Could have been very entertaining, but instead was muddy and clunky.

I don't think Mantchev books are for me.
Tiffany Michele (BookAndCoffeeAddict)
Sugar Skulls by Lisa Hantchey and Glenn Dallas is kind of like Jem and The Holograms meets the plot from Monsters Inc. But in a darker, grittier, electronic neon punk way.

In the world of Sugar Skulls, energy is harvested as “thrum” which is produced by young adults engaging in sex, drugs, and rock & roll – all highly managed, monitored, and regulated by “Corporate”. Cyrene is the city where this all takes place, a playground of excess, but the city is also pretty much like a giant power plant an
Jan 26, 2019 rated it liked it
Three and a half stars rounded up to four.
I liked this book. It was fun.
This read to me more like a new adult book and not a young adult book. A lot of sex, drugs, excessive cursing, and new-adult-y trauma in the love “triangle” (technically a triangle? The villain loves the main girl). I have read plenty of dark YA with sex and drugs and cursing and trauma. However I found myself trying to remind myself that these were teens and not new adults. It really struck me as a new adult novel. Other
Nov 28, 2017 rated it liked it
I spent a good chunk of this book thinking I'd only give it 2 stars because the characters were not very likeable and the casual drug use wasn't very fun to read about.

This is one of the most bazaar books that I have ever read... A goth/rock girl group called the Sugar Skulls who is being used/promoted to fuel the power supply through their fans emotional energy...A society that encourages hedonistic behavior so it can syphon off as much energy as possible to produce power and make $$$. Then an
Feb 03, 2020 rated it it was ok
I received this as an ARC from NetGalley long ago and am just now getting to reading it. Thank you NetGalley for my free copy in exchange for an honest review.

Not my cup of tea. AT ALL ... And by that I don't mean the YA love story. This book was ridden with drug use that was not only acceptable but also encouraged. I feel like it sends a terrible message to YA's. There was one drug that was deadly , but all the other drugs were ok. So not cool. And the constant sex that the band members were in
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Lisa Mantchev is a temporally-displaced Capricorn who casts her spells from an ancient tree in the Pacific Northwest. When not scribbling, she is by turns an earth elemental, English professor, actress, artist, and domestic goddess. She shares her abode with her husband, two children, and three hairy miscreant dogs.

She is best known as the author of the young adult fantasy trilogy, The Théâtre Il

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