On the Radar Smugglivus

On the Smugglers’ Radar: Most Highly Coveted Books of 2012 (Part 1 of 2)

On The Smugglers’ Radar” is a feature for books that have caught our eye: books we have heard of via other bloggers, directly from publishers, and/or from our regular incursions into the Amazon jungle. Because we want far more books than we can possibly buy or review (what else is new?), we thought we would make the Smugglers’ Radar into a weekly feature – so YOU can tell us which books you have on your radar as well!

As 2011 comes to a close, we have decided to start the countdown of the 20 books (each, obviously!) we are the *most* excited for in the coming year. This weekend, we each present you with our most highly coveted top 20 books of 2012. This is the first of two posts – listed below are numbers 20 through 11 from both Smugglers. (Tomorrow, we’ll give you our top 10 most highly coveted books of the coming year!)

On Ana’s Radar:

Ah, 2012!!! You are approaching so fast! And there are so many of your books I want to read. I will tell you, coming up with this meagre list was no easy task but I tried my best – and I know some of these books will be on Thea’s list as well! Please note that some of the covers below are not final and whenever a Most Anticipated Bbook didn’t have a final cover yet, I used a placeholder (like a previous cover from the same author).

In no particular order, here are numbers 20-11 of my most coveted reads of 2011:

One of my favorite writers, Seanan McGuire, has two of my highly anticipated reads coming out next year as well (yeah, I am grouping them as one and totally cheating on the list. I am a scoundrel smuggler). One of them is Toby Daye’s book #6, Ashes of Honor (no cover and no release date yet) and the other, Discount Armageddon is the first in a brand new series (out in March).

Discount Armageddon (March 6th 2012, DAW) introduces us to Verity Price, journeyman cryptozoologist, ballroom dancer, and former reality television star. She’s on assignment in Manhattan, researching the local cryptid community while she pursues her dance career. It’s a cushy assignment…at least until local cryptids start disappearing, and all signs start pointing to a man from the Covenant of St. George. But is Dominic De Luca really to blame? And if she casts her suspicions in the wrong place, is she going to survive the experience?

Harbinger by Sara Wilson Etienne (out in February) is on this list purely because – I am not ashamed to say – of its cover. It is so striking, I don’t even care what the book is about, I just want to read it. This is probably my fave 2012 cover thus far.

When sixteen-year-old Faye arrives at Holbrook Academy, she doesn’t expect to find herself exactly where she needs to be. After years of strange waking visions and nightmares, her only comfort the bones of dead animals, Faye is afraid she’s going crazy. Fast.

But her first night at Holbrook, she feels strangely connected to the school and the island it sits on, like she’s come home. She’s even made her first real friends, but odd things keep happening to them. Every morning they wake on the floors of their dorm rooms with their hands stained red.

Faye knows she’s the reason, but what does it all mean? The handsome Kel tries to help her unravel the mystery, but Faye is certain she can’t trust him; in fact, he may be trying to kill her – and the rest of the world too.

Rich, compelling writing will keep the pages turning in this riveting and tautly told psychological thriller.

One of my favourite books EVER is The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon and now he has another book in that same world (already our in Spain, just waiting for the official translation) and featuring the same characters of that book. Not even the fact that I didn’t like AT ALL any of his other books will prevent me from reading this one. It is called The Prisoner of Heaven and will be out here in the UK in June. Also, this is another historical novel.

Speaking of historicals, Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein has been on my radar for a while and it’s about two women during the Second World War – Air Transport Auxiliary pilot, the other a wireless operator with the WAAF. I love WWII stories featuring women working for the War Effort, so yeah, another no-brainer.

Code Name Verity, which will publish in Spring 2012,is the story of two young women from totally different backgrounds who are thrown together during World War II.

Only in wartime could a stalwart lass from Manchester rub shoulders with a Scottish aristocrat, one an Air Transport Auxiliary pilot, the other a wireless operator with the WAAF. Yet whenever their paths cross, they complement each other perfectly and before long become devoted friends.

But then a vital mission goes wrong, and one of the friends has to bail out of a faulty plane over France. Almost immediately she is arrested by the Gestapo, and it seems her mission may be over before it’s even begun. The story begins in “Verity’s” own words, as she writes her account for her captors…

Elizabeth Wein is a member of the Ninety-Nines, the International Organization of Women Pilots. She was awarded the Scottish Aero Club’s Watson Cup for best student pilot in 2003 and it was her love of flying that partly inspired the idea for Code Name Verity.

Another book I won’t be reviewing but which I can’t WAIT TO READ is Fair Game by Patricia Briggs (out in March), the third book of the Alpha and Omega series. (The reason I won’t be reviewing? This is Thea’s turf and I think this is quite possibly the one series that is a me-series, I read it for fun, without worrying about reviewing it).

They say opposites attract. And in the case of werewolves Anna Latham and Charles Cornick, they mate. The son-and enforcer-of the leader of the North American werewolves, Charles is a dominant alpha. While Anna, an omega, has the rare ability to calm others of her kind.

Now that the werewolves have revealed themselves to humans, they can’t afford any bad publicity. Infractions that could have been overlooked in the past must now be punished, and the strain of doing his father’s dirty work is taking a toll on Charles.

Nevertheless, Charles and Anna are sent to Boston, when the FBI requests the pack’s help on a local serial killer case. They quickly realize that not only the last two victims were werewolves-all of them were. Someone is targeting their kind. And now Anna and Charles have put themselves right in the killer’s sights…

I recently read and loved to the point of adoration This is Shyness by Leanne Hall. The sequel, Queen of the Night is going to be out really soon but only in Australia (*sobs*) and I want it soooooo bad it hurts.

The dark is dangerous. So is the past. So are your dreams.

For six months Nia—Wildgirl—has tried to forget Wolfboy, the mysterious boy she spent one night with in Shyness—the boy who said he’d call but didn’t.

Then Wolfboy calls. The things he tells her pull her back to the suburb of Shyness, where the sun doesn’t rise and dreams and reality are difficult to separate. There, Doctor Gregory has seemingly disappeared, the Darkness is changing and Wolfboy’s friend is in trouble. And Nia decides to become Wildgirl once more.

The sequel to the 2009 Text Prize-winning This Is Shyness is about the difficulty of recreating the past—about how the Darkness no longer sets Wolfboy and Wildgirl free.

Moving toward Fantasy, UF and Paranormal reads, I loved Fury by Elizabeth Miles very, very much so of course the sequel, Envy (out in October) HAD to be here. No cover yet though.

The awesome Neesha Meminger has a YA time-travel novel coming out next year. Into the Wise Dark is her first SF book and I am very intrigued.

Another great-sounding book I’ve heard about for the first time during Smugglivus is The Knife and the Butterfly by Ashley Hope Pérez (out in February). It is a ContempYA that I cannot wait to read:

After a marijuana-addled brawl with a rival gang, 16-year-old Azael wakes up to find himself surrounded by a familiar set of concrete walls and a locked door. Juvie again, he thinks. But he can’t really remember what happened or how he got picked up. He knows his MS13 boys faced off with some punks from Crazy Crew. There were bats, bricks, chains. A knife. But he can’t remember anything between that moment and when he woke behind bars.

Azael knows prison, and something isn’t right about this lockup. No phone call. No lawyer. No news about his brother or his homies. The only thing they make him do is watch some white girl in some cell. Watch her and try to remember.

Lexi Allen would love to forget the brawl, would love for it to disappear back into the Xanax fog it came from. And her mother and her lawyer hope she chooses not to remember too much about the brawl—at least when it’s time to testify.

Lexi knows there’s more at stake in her trial than her life alone, though. She’s connected to him, and he needs the truth. The knife cut, but somehow it also connected.

Ship of Souls by Zetta Elliott is on my top 20 because of how much I loved A Wish After Midnight and I have been waiting for another book from this author ever since. No cover yet, so here is the cover for A Wish with the blurb from Ship.

Set in New York City, Ship of Souls features a cast of three African-American teens: D, a math whiz; Hakeem, a Muslim basketball star; and Nyla, a beautiful military brat. When D’s mother dies of breast cancer, he is taken in by Mrs. Martin, an elderly white woman. Grateful to have a home, D strives to please his foster mother and succeeds—until Mercy arrives. Unable to compete with a needy, crack-addicted baby, D disappears into the nearby park and immerses himself in bird watching. At school, he unexpectedly makes friends with Nyla and Hakeem, but just when D thinks he has finally found a way to belong, an unexpected discovery in the park changes everything. A mysterious bird leads D and his friends on a perilous journey that will take them from Brooklyn to the African Burial Ground in lower Manhattan, and into the very realm of the dead. Their courage and loyalty are tested every step of the way, but in the end, it is D who must find the strength to fulfill his destiny. Steeped in history and suspense, this inspiring urban fantasy provides an enriching experience that readers will find hard to forget.

On Thea’s Radar:

I’m telling you, trying to narrow down the books I am excited for is a cruel, terrible ordeal (never mind that it was a joint decision to limit ourselves to 20 books each). There are so many awesome looking books in 2012, so whittling the list down to 20 titles was an immensely painful experience! It had to be done, though, and after many hours of agonizing, here are my top 20 most coveted books of 2012 – numbers 20 through 11, that is (and I’ll try not to duplicate too much what Ana has listed!).

First up is The Demi-Monde: Winter, a title that I spied and scored at NYCC this year. I’ve heard mixed reviews about this ambitious novel – but I’m a fan of big ambition. The Matrix/Tron meets some of the vilest murderers and dictators in human history, with a touch of humor, steampunk, and cyberpunk elements all thrown together?!?! Yes, it could be a mess but I’m hoping for awesome.

EXPERIENCE THE ULTIMATE IN VIRTUAL REALITY.

The Demi-Monde is the most advanced computer simulation ever devised. Created to prepare soldiers for the nightmarish reality of urban warfare, it is a virtual world locked in eternal civil war. Its thirty million digital inhabitants are ruled by duplicates of some of history’s cruellest tyrants: Reinhard Heydrich, the architect of the Holocaust; Beria, Stalin’s arch executioner; Torquemada, the pitiless Inquisitor General; Robespierre, the face of the Reign of Terror.

But something has gone badly wrong inside the Demi-Monde, and the US President’s daughter has become trapped in this terrible world. It falls to eighteen-year-old Ella Thomas to rescue her, yet once Ella has entered the Demi-Monde she finds that everything is not as it seems, that its cyber-walls are struggling to contain the evil within and that the Real World is in more danger than anyone realises.

The third and final novel in Mira Grant’s Newsflesh trilogy has to be on my list. Even though I was disappointed with Deadline, I have the utmost faith in the wicked awesome Ms. Grant to finish out the series strong.

Rise up while you can. -Georgia Mason

The year was 2014. The year we cured cancer. The year we cured the common cold. And the year the dead started to walk. The year of the Rising.

The year was 2039. The world didn’t end when the zombies came, it just got worse. Georgia and Shaun Mason set out on the biggest story of their generation. The uncovered the biggest conspiracy since the Rising and realized that to tell the truth, sacrifices have to be made.

Now, the year is 2041, and the investigation that began with the election of President Ryman is much bigger than anyone had assumed. With too much left to do and not much time left to do it in, the surviving staff of After the End Times must face mad scientists, zombie bears, rogue government agencies-and if there’s one thing they know is true in post-zombie America, it’s this:
Things can always get worse.

BLACKOUT is the conclusion to the epic trilogy that began in the Hugo-nominated FEED and the sequel, DEADLINE.

I had the pleasure of listening to the charming and well-spoken Veronica Rossi at NYCC this year, which only added to my anticipation for her debut novel – a dystopian YA book (of course!).1

Aria is a teenager in the enclosed city of Reverie. Like all Dwellers, she spends her time with friends in virtual environments, called Realms, accessed through an eyepiece called a Smarteye. Aria enjoys the Realms and the easy life in Reverie. When she is forced out of the pod for a crime she did not commit, she believes her death is imminent. The outside world is known as The Death Shop, with danger in every direction.

As an Outsider, Perry has always known hunger, vicious predators, and violent energy storms from the swirling electrified atmosphere called the Aether. A bit of an outcast even among his hunting tribe, Perry withstands these daily tests with his exceptional abilities, as he is gifted with powerful senses that enable him to scent danger, food and even human emotions.

They come together reluctantly, for Aria must depend on Perry, whom she considers abarbarian, to help her get back to Reverie, while Perry needs Aria to help unravel the mystery of his beloved nephew’s abduction by the Dwellers. Together they embark on a journey challenged as much by their prejudices as by encounters with cannibals and wolves. But to their surprise, Aria and Perry forge an unlikely love – one that will forever change the fate of all who live UNDER THE NEVER SKY

The first book in a captivating trilogy, Veronica Rossi’s enthralling debut sweeps you into an unforgettable adventure

I have heard nothing but praise for this next author and with a blurb from Sharon Shinn and a main character named Sunday, how could I not be ridiculously excited for this book? (Even though I’m really not crazy about the cover.)

It isn’t easy being the rather overlooked and unhappy youngest sibling to sisters named for the other six days of the week. Sunday’s only comfort is writing stories, although what she writes has a terrible tendency to come true.

When Sunday meets an enchanted frog who asks about her stories, the two become friends. Soon that friendship deepens into something magical. One night Sunday kisses her frog goodbye and leaves, not realizing that her love has transformed him back into Rumbold, the crown prince of Arilland—and a man Sunday’s family despises.

The prince returns to his castle, intent on making Sunday fall in love with him as the man he is, not the frog he was. But Sunday is not so easy to woo. How can she feel such a strange, strong attraction for this prince she barely knows? And what twisted secrets lie hidden in his past—and hers?

Oh my GOD I cannot freaking wait for the next Rachel Morgan book. Ever since I had the immense honor of interviewing Kim Harrison at NYCC (I’m sensing a comic con trend here) – and making a complete foolish fangirl of myself I might add – I have been salivating, aching, dying for A Perfect Blood. Is it February yet?!

Ritually murdered corpses are appearing across Cincinnati, terrifying amalgams of human and other. Pulled in to help investigate by the FIB, former witch turned day-walking demon Rachel Morgan soon realizes a horrifying truth — a would-be creator is determined to make his (or her) own demons. But it can’t be done without Rachel’s blood.

As a bounty hunter, Rachel has battled vampires, witches, werewolves, demons, and more. But humanity itself might be her toughest challenge.

This next title has been a favorite on many of our Smugglivus guest posts, and count me in as another eager fan. I truly enjoyed Megan Crewe’s debut novel, Give up the Ghost, so when we learned she was writing a dystopian/SF YA title, I was ecstatic. (And while we are talking covers, I *loved* the galley cover for this one – while I’m kinda sad it isn’t the final cover, I do like the new one, too).

It starts with an itch you just can’t shake. Then comes a fever and a tickle in your throat. A few days later, you’ll be blabbing your secrets and chatting with strangers like they’re old friends. Three more, and the paranoid hallucinations kick in.

And then you’re dead.

When a deadly virus begins to sweep through sixteen-year-old Kaelyn’s community, the government quarantines her island—no one can leave, and no one can come back.

Those still healthy must fight for dwindling supplies, or lose all chance of survival. As everything familiar comes crashing down, Kaelyn joins forces with a former rival and discovers a new love in the midst of heartbreak. When the virus starts to rob her of friends and family, she clings to the belief that there must be a way to save the people she holds dearest.

Because how will she go on if there isn’t?

Megan Crewe crafts a powerful and gripping exploration of self-preservation, first love, and hope. Poignant and dizzying, this heart-wrenching story of one girl’s bravery and unbeatable spirit will leave readers fervently awaiting the next book in this standout new series.

I, shallowly, love the cover for this next book. Plus, it’s Kim Stanley Robinson! I miss science fiction – real, gritty, hard science fiction. I’m excited for this one.

The year is 2312. Scientific and technological advances have opened gateways to an extraordinary future. Earth is no longer humanity’s only home; new habitats have been created throughout the solar system on moons, planets, and in between. But in this year, 2312, a sequence of events will force humanity to confront its past, its present, and its future.

The first event takes place on Mercury, on the city of Terminator, itself a miracle of engineering on an unprecedented scale. It is an unexpected death, but one that might have been foreseen. For Swan Er Hong, it is an event that will change her life. Swan was once a woman who designed worlds. Now she will be led into a plot to destroy them.

I’ve been waiting a year and then some for the next book in Mary Robinette Kowal’s Shades of Milk and Honey series, so I am on tenterhooks for the release of Glamour in Glass.

Mary Robinette Kowal stunned readers with her charming first novel Shades of Milk and Honey, a loving tribute to the works of Jane Austen in a world where magic is an everyday occurrence. This magic comes in the form of glamour, which allows talented users to form practically any illusion they can imagine. Shades went on to earn great acclaim and become a finalist for the prestigous Nebula Award, leaving readers eagerly awaiting its sequel, Glamour in Glass, which continues following the lives of beloved main characters Jane and Vincent, with a much deeper vein of drama and intrigue.

In the tumultuous months after Napoleon abdicates his throne, Jane and Vincent go to France for their honeymoon. While there, the deposed emperor escapes his exile in Elba, throwing the continent into turmoil. With no easy way back to England, they struggle to escape, but when Vincent is captured as a British spy, Jane realizes that their honeymoon has been a ruse to give them a reason to be in Europe. He has been using a new technique to capture glamour folds in glass in order to send vital information back to England, where the court has great interest in the political unrest in the region.

Left with no outward salvation, Jane is left to overcome her own delicate circumstances and use her glamour to rescue her husband from prison…and hopefully prevent her newly built marriage from getting stranded on the shoals of another country’s war.

After the Snow is set in a brutal post-apocalyptic world that has been plunged into another ice age, and written in a style that has been compared to Patrick Ness’s Chaos Walking books. SOLD.

Fifteen-year-old Willo was out hunting when the trucks came and took his family away. Left alone in the snow, Willo becomes determined to find and rescue his family, and he knows just who to talk with to learn where they are. He plans to head across the mountains and make Farmer Geraint tell him where his family has gone.

But on the way across the mountain, he finds Mary, a refugee from the city, whose father is lost and who is starving to death. The smart thing to do would be to leave her alone — he doesn’t have enough supplies for two or the time to take care of a girl — but Willo just can’t do it. However, with the world trapped in an ice age, the odds of them surviving on their own are not good. And even if he does manage to keep Mary safe, what about finding his family?

Finally, the last spot on my “#20-11” list is a bit of a cheat – these are the books that don’t have covers yet, but which I desperately, hopelessly want! The second Revitalist in Rachel Caine’s ongoing series. The new Juliet Marillier. The second Fairyland book from Cat Valente. The second Fury book from Elizabeth Miles. The new Mercy Thompson (I am stubbornly holding out for a new installment in 2012)! I want them all, precious.

So there you have it! Our Most Highly Coveted Books of 2012. How about you? What are YOUR most anticipated reads of 2012?

  1. Of course, I’m sad I won’t be getting this amazingly, eye-bleedingly heinous gem of a cover…but what can you do?

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9 Comments

  • Ana
    December 24, 2011 at 6:37 am

    HA! Thea, you are fiendishly clever with your last spot. I should have thought of that myself, damn you! *fist*

  • KMont
    December 24, 2011 at 6:52 am

    Hey, psst! Discount Armageddon is pretty darn good! Heehee! *scampers off*

    CANNOT WAIT for A Perfect Blood, too! 😀 It may not be February yet, but we’re in the home stretch! I know I’ve seen it on Amazon Vine and I bet it’s available at NetGalley, too.

  • Jorge Claro
    December 24, 2011 at 9:51 am

    Ya. This is some post. I`m waiting for a Perfect Blood, too.

  • Ashley Hope Pérez
    December 24, 2011 at 11:17 am

    Thanks for the love for THE KNIFE AND THE BUTTERFLY! So glad it’s on your radar. 🙂

  • Mary Preston
    December 24, 2011 at 8:23 pm

    I am immediately drawn to GLAMOUR IN GLASS.I must read.

    marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

  • Chachic
    December 25, 2011 at 4:29 am

    Glad to see Code Name Verity included in this list! I’m going to wait for the third book to be released before I read Feed and Deadline because I hear the second book ends on a major cliffhanger. And I really can’t wait for the next Marillier too. Even if I haven’t finished reading the rest of her backlist.

  • Smugglivus 2011: Week 5 Schedule | The Book Smugglers
    December 25, 2011 at 9:40 am

    […] On the Smugglers' Radar: Most Highly Coveted Books of 2012 (Part 1 of 2) […]

  • Audra Holtwick
    December 25, 2011 at 9:50 am

    It is ENCHANTED for me — please pick me I did not get a kindle for Christmas *POUT*
    audie(at)wickerness(dot)com

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