“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. Thus, the Smugglers’ Radar was born. 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!
On Ana’s Radar:
This debut YA novel about a fifteen-year-old Iranian-American sounds interesting:
Daria Esfandyar is Iranian-American and proud of her heritage, unlike some of the “Nose Jobs” in the clique led by her former best friend, Heidi Javadi. Daria and her friends call themselves the Authentics, because they pride themselves on always keeping it real.
But in the course of researching a school project, Daria learns something shocking about her past, which launches her on a journey of self-discovery. It seems everyone is keeping secrets. And it’s getting harder to know who she even is any longer.
With infighting among the Authentics, her mother planning an over-the-top sweet sixteen party, and a romance that should be totally off limits, Daria doesn’t have time for this identity crisis. With everything in her life changing—can she figure out how to stay true to herself?
I am not a huge fan of magical realism, but this LGBT YA sounds pretty awesome so I shall give it a try:
Mercedes Moreno is an artist. At least, she thinks she could be, even though she hasn’t been able to paint anything worthwhile in the past year.
Her lack of inspiration might be because her abuela is in a coma. Or the fact that Mercedes is in love with her best friend, Victoria, but is too afraid to admit her true feelings.
Despite Mercedes’s creative block, art starts to show up in unexpected ways. A piano appears on her front lawn one morning, and a mysterious new neighbor invites Mercedes to paint with her at the Red Mangrove Estate.
At the Estate, Mercedes can create in ways she hasn’t ever before. But Mercedes can’t take anything out of the Estate, including her new-found clarity. Mercedes can’t live both lives forever, and ultimately she must choose between this perfect world of art and truth and a much messier reality.
This book sounds fierce af
Ruth, Magda, and Isabel are different from everyone else. They can see beneath the seemingly perfect, cookie-cutter exterior of their small town of Highbone, Long Island. They know that below the surface, each house is filled with secrets, indifference, and violence.
These girls refuse to become willing participants of these fake lives. Instead, they are determined to fight every condescending comment, every unwelcome touch, and every lie they’ve been told.
When the opportunity to commit the perfect crime appears, the girls finally start to see their way out of Highbone. But for the first time, Ruth, Magda, and Isabel are keeping secrets from each other. As they drift apart, the weight of reality starts to set in. These girls can’t save each other. They might not even be able to save themselves.
This is being described as “Nightmare on Elm Street meets The Matrix in this gripping, psychological thriller “. Give it to me!
Cata Cordova suffers from such debilitating insomnia that she agreed to take part in an experimental new procedure. She thought things couldn’t get any worse…but she was terribly wrong.
Soon after the experiment begins, there’s a malfunction with the lab equipment, and Cata and six other teen patients are plunged into a shared dreamworld with no memory of how they got there. Even worse, they come to the chilling realization that they are trapped in a place where their worst nightmares have come to life. Hunted by creatures from their darkest imaginations and tormented by secrets they’d rather keep buried, Cata and the others will be forced to band together to face their biggest fears. And if they can’t find a way to defeat their dreams, they will never wake up.
Perfect for fans of Madeleine Roux, Danielle Vega, and Kendare Blake, Dreamfall is the first book in a spine-tingling duology full of action, suspense, and horror—and it is sure to keep readers on the edge of their seat until the very last page.
A fantasy novel about sisters, I am always up for that:
All the women in Iris and Malina’s family have the unique magical ability or “gleam” to manipulate beauty. Iris sees flowers as fractals and turns her kaleidoscope visions into glasswork, while Malina interprets moods as music. But their mother has strict rules to keep their gifts a secret, even in their secluded sea-side town. Iris and Malina are not allowed to share their magic with anyone, and above all, they are forbidden from falling in love.
But when their mother is mysteriously attacked, the sisters will have to unearth the truth behind the quiet lives their mother has built for them. They will discover a wicked curse that haunts their family line—but will they find that the very magic that bonds them together is destined to tear them apart forever?
On Thea’s Radar:
First up on my radar, this AWESOME looking new book from Sarah Beth Durst. (YAY!)
Filled with political intrigue, violent magic, and malevolent spirits, the mesmerizing second book in Sarah Beth Durst’s Queens of Renthia epic fantasy trilogy.
Everything has a spirit: the willow tree with leaves that kiss the pond, the stream that feeds the river, the wind that exhales fresh snow . . .
And those spirits want to kill you.
It’s the first lesson that every Renthian learns.
Not long ago, Daleina used her strength and skill to survive those spirits and assume the royal throne. Since then, the new queen has kept the peace and protected the humans of her land. But now for all her power, she is hiding a terrible secret: she is dying. And if she leaves the world before a new heir is ready, the spirits that inhabit her beloved realm will run wild, destroying her cities and slaughtering her people.
Naelin is one such person, and she couldn’t be further removed from the Queen—and she wouldn’t have it any other way. Her world is her two children, her husband, and the remote village tucked deep in the forest that is her home, and that’s all she needs. But when Ven, the Queens champion, passes through the village, Naelin’s ambitious husband proudly tells him of his wife’s ability to control spirits—magic that Naelin fervently denies. She knows that if the truth of her abilities is known, it will bring only death and separation from those she loves.
But Ven has a single task: to find the best possible candidate to protect the people of Aratay. He did it once when he discovered Daleina, and he’s certain he’s done it again. Yet for all his appeals to duty, Naelin is a mother, and she knows her duty is to her children first and foremost. Only as the Queen’s power begins to wane and the spirits become emboldened—even as ominous rumors trickle down from the north—does she realize that the best way to keep her son and daughter safe is to risk everything.
Sarah Beth Durst established a place of dark wonder in The Queen of Blood, and now the stakes are even higher as the threat to the Queen and her people grows both from within and beyond the borders of Aratay in this riveting second novel of the Queens of Renthia series.
Next up on my list, a science fiction novel received in the mail last week:
Cram ten hormonal teens into a spaceship and blast off: that’s the premise for the out-of-this-world reality show Waste of Space. The young cast members are over-the-top, ready to fall to pieces at the drop of a space helmet, and completely ignorant of the fact that the production will be fake. Hidden in a desert warehouse, their spaceship replica is equipped with state of the art special effects dreamed up by the scientists partnering with the shady cable network airing the show.
Waste of Space is a tremendous success. Millions of people tune in. Ratings are through the roof.
And then something goes wrong.
And just as the cast members start to suspect something has gone wrong,
And just as the viewers start to know that something has gone wrong . . .
All communication is severed.
Now no one can tell what’s real and what’s fake, instability and paranoia loom large, and the only way for the cast to figure out what’s going on is for them to work together. The kids stumble closer to the truth, dread seeping into every corner of the ship as they find out what happens when a reality show loses its grip on reality.
And then there’s this anthology that sounds pretty good:
A collection of original, epic science fiction stories by some of today’s best writers—for fans who want a little less science and a lot more action—and edited by two-time Hugo Award winner John Joseph Adams. Inspired by movies like The Guardians of the Galaxy and Star Wars, this anthology features brand-new stories from some of science fiction’s best authors including Dan Abnett, Jack Campbell, Linda Nagata, Seanan McGuire, Alan Dean Foster, Charlie Jane Anders, Kameron Hurley, and many others.
So, this next book is incredibly timely and potentially heartbreaking, with everything going on in the world. I need to read it now.
On the corner of American Street and Joy Road, Fabiola Toussaint thought she would finally find une belle vie—a good life.
But after they leave Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Fabiola’s mother is detained by U.S. immigration, leaving Fabiola to navigate her loud American cousins, Chantal, Donna, and Princess; the grittiness of Detroit’s west side; a new school; and a surprising romance, all on her own.
Just as she finds her footing in this strange new world, a dangerous proposition presents itself, and Fabiola soon realizes that freedom comes at a cost. Trapped at the crossroads of an impossible choice, will she pay the price for the American dream?
In her stunning debut, Pushcart-nominated author Ibi Zoboi draws on her own experience as a young Haitian immigrant, infusing this lyrical exploration of America with magical realism and vodou culture. Unflinching yet filled with joy, American Street is an evocative and powerful coming-of-age story.
And last but not least, a book that I want to read because of the title.
Last Call at Happies! Tonight, 8 P.M. Senior Class Only! Please with the Shhhh .
This is it. Graduation. And Vic Navarro is throwing the most epic party Rancho Soldado has ever seen. She’s going to pull off the most memorable good-bye ever for her best friends, give Happies-the kitschy restaurant that is her desert town’s claim to fame-a proper send-off into bankruptcy, and oh yes, hook up with her delicious crush, Jake Zavala-Kim. She only needs to keep the whole thing a secret so that her archnemesis, Miss Ann Thrope, Rancho Soldado’s nightmare Town Councilwoman and high school Economics teacher, doesn’t get Vic tossed in jail.
With the music thumping, alcohol flowing, bodies mashing, and Thrope nowhere to be seen, Vic’s party is a raging success. That is, until Happies fans start arriving in droves to say good-bye, and storm the deserted theme park behind the restaurant. Suddenly what was a small graduation bash is more like Coachella on steroids with a side of RASmatazz pie. The night is so not going as planned. And maybe that’s the best plan of all.
And that’s it from us! What books are on YOUR radar?