“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:
A new Greenglass House novel from Kate Milford is coming this year! Described by the author as Greenglass House meets Ocean’s 11! No official description yet but the cover is gorgeous:
Something always goes wrong with space explorations right? So here we have another awesome-looking book just about that:
When an Earth-like planet is discovered, a team of six teens, along with three veteran astronauts, embark on a twenty-year trip to set up a planet for human colonization—but find that space is more deadly than they ever could have imagined.
Have you ever hoped you could leave everything behind?
Have you ever dreamt of a better world?
Can a dream sustain a lifetime?
A century ago, an astronomer discovered an Earth-like planet orbiting a nearby star. She predicted that one day humans would travel there to build a utopia. Today, ten astronauts are leaving everything behind to find it. Four are veterans of the twentieth century’s space-race.
And six are teenagers who’ve trained for this mission most of their lives.
It will take the team twenty-three years to reach Terra-Two. Twenty-three years locked in close quarters. Twenty-three years with no one to rely on but each other. Twenty-three years with no rescue possible, should something go wrong.
And something always goes wrong.
I love A.S. King’s books and her new one sounds great:
The Shoveler, the Freak, CanIHelpYou?, Loretta the Flea-Circus Ring Mistress, and First-Class Malcolm. These are the five teenagers lost in the Hemmings family’s maze of tangled secrets. Only a generation removed from being Pennsylvania potato farmers, Gottfried and Marla Hemmings managed to trade digging spuds for developing subdivisions and now sit atop a seven-figure bank account—wealth they’ve declined to pass on to their adult children or their teenage grandchildren. “Because we want them to thrive,” Marla always says. What does thriving look like? Like carrying a snow shovel everywhere. Like selling pot at the Arby’s drive-thru window. Like a first class ticket to Jamaica between cancer treatments. Like a flea-circus in a double-wide. Like the GPS coordinates to a mound of dirt in a New Jersey forest. As the rot just beneath the surface of the Hemmings’ precious suburban respectability begins to spread, the far-flung grandchildren gradually find their ways back to one another, just in time to uncover the terrible cost of maintaining the family name.
Alternate timelines in a post-apocalyptic novel, oh my.
Wherever Hel looks, New York City is both reassuringly familiar and terribly wrong. As one of the thousands who fled the outbreak of nuclear war in an alternate United States—an alternate timeline—she finds herself living as a refugee in our own not-so-parallel New York. The slang and technology are foreign to her, the politics and art unrecognizable. While others, like her partner Vikram, attempt to assimilate, Hel refuses to reclaim her former career or create a new life. Instead, she obsessively rereads Vikram’s copy of The Pyronauts—a science fiction masterwork in her world that now only exists as a single flimsy paperback—and becomes determined to create a museum dedicated to preserving the remaining artifacts and memories of her vanished culture.
But the refugees are unwelcome and Hel’s efforts are met with either indifference or hostility. And when the only copy of The Pyronauts goes missing, Hel must decide how far she is willing to go to recover it and finally face her own anger, guilt, and grief over what she has truly lost.
Jaclyn Moriarty’s upcoming new book is described as mixing unlikely friendship, unexpected magic and competitive athletics – and I really want it:
The town of Spindrift is frequented by all kinds of Shadow Mages and charlatans.
It’s also home to the Orphanage School, where Finlay lives with Glim, Taya, and Eli. Just outside town is the painfully posh Brathelthwaite Boarding School, home to Honey Bee, Hamish, and Victor, Duke of Ainsley. When the two schools compete at the Spindrift Tournament, the stakes are high, tensions are higher, and some people are out to win at any cost. Before long, the orphans and the boarding school kids are at each other’s throats.
And then the Whispering Wars break out, and Spindrift is thrust onto the front lines. Children are being stolen; witches, sirens, and a deadly magical flu invade the town; and all attempts to fight back are met with defeat.
Finlay, Honey Bee, and their friends must join forces to outwit the encroaching forces of darkness, rescue the stolen children, and turn the tide of the war. But how can one bickering troupe outwit the insidious power of the Whisperers?
On Thea’s Radar:
On my radar, two books I received this week and absolutely cannot wait to dig into. First up, this sequel to one of my notable reads last year (and perfect for getting into the mood for Game of Thrones’s final season):
In the next chapter of a fantasy series featuring five unforgettable sisters—the warrior, the magician, the lover, the zealot, and the gossip—an insidious threat jeopardizes a fragile peace.
Four years have passed since the five royal sisters—daughters of the king—worked together to restore their father to health and to the throne while fracturing the bonds among themselves almost irreparably. Only Bluebell remains at home, dutifully serving as heir to her father’s kingdom. Rose has been cast aside by her former husband and hides in exile with her aunt, separated forever from her beloved daughter, Rowan. Ash wanders the distant wastes with her teacher, learning magic and hunting dragons, determined that the dread fate she has foreseen for herself and her loved ones never comes to pass. Ivy rules over a prosperous seaport, married to an aged husband she hates yet finding delight in her two young sons and a handsome captain of the guard. And as for Willow, she hides the most dangerous secret of all—one that could destroy all that the sisters once sought to save.
I also received this book, which sounds utterly AWESOME:
In a feminist fantasy epic, a revolutionary spell gives women the ability to control their own fertility—with consequences that rock their patriarchal society to its core.
“A compulsive read, riveting characters, life-or-death stakes . . . a smashing book!”—Tamora Pierce
When a nobleman’s first duty is to produce a male heir, women are treated like possessions and bargaining chips. But as the aftereffects of a world-altering spell ripple out physically and culturally, women at last have a bargaining chip of their own. And two women in particular find themselves at the liberating crossroads of change.
Alys is the widowed mother of two adolescent children, and the disinherited daughter of a king. Her existence has been carefully regulated, but now she discovers a fierce talent not only for politics but also for magic—once deemed solely the domain of men. Meanwhile, in a neighboring kingdom, young Ellin finds herself unexpectedly on the throne after the sudden death of her grandfather the king and everyone else who stood ahead of her in the line of succession. Conventional wisdom holds that she will marry quickly, then quietly surrender the throne to her new husband. Only, Ellin has other ideas.
The tensions building in the two kingdoms grow abruptly worse when a caravan of exiled women and their escort of disgraced soldiers stumble upon a new source of magic in what was once uninhabitable desert. This new and revolutionary magic—which only women can wield—might well tear down what is left of the patriarchy. The men who currently hold power will do anything to retain it. But what force in the world can stand against the courage and resolution of generations of women who have tasted freedom for the very first time?
Advance praise for The Women’s War
“Gloriously paced, plotted, and constructed with such elegance that it ceases to feel like a story and begins to feel like the truth.”—Seanan McGuire
“A thrilling and heartwrenching tale that explores the issue of body autonomy, with a middle-aged mom as the heroine . . . I couldn’t put it down.”—Kevin Hearne
“A must-read, with gripping action, a complex plot, and engaging characters . . . I thoroughly loved it!”—Melissa Marr
“The Women’s War is more than a story. It is a roar. And it’s magnificent! The wonderful fierceness of its women will steal your breath and your heart.”—Sarah Beth Durst
Speaking of missing TV shows, this Stranger Things tie-in also is on my list:
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • A mysterious lab. A sinister scientist. A secret history. If you think you know the truth behind Eleven’s mother, prepare to have your mind turned Upside Down in this thrilling prequel to the hit show Stranger Things.
It’s the summer of 1969, and the shock of conflict reverberates through the youth of America, both at home and abroad. As a student at a quiet college campus in the heartland of Indiana, Terry Ives couldn’t be farther from the front lines of Vietnam or the incendiary protests in Washington.
But the world is changing, and Terry isn’t content to watch from the sidelines. When word gets around about an important government experiment in the small town of Hawkins, she signs on as a test subject for the project, code-named MKULTRA. Unmarked vans, a remote lab deep in the woods, mind-altering substances administered by tight-lipped researchers . . . and a mystery the young and restless Terry is determined to uncover.
But behind the walls of Hawkins National Laboratory—and the piercing gaze of its director, Dr. Martin Brenner—lurks a conspiracy greater than Terry could have ever imagined. To face it, she’ll need the help of her fellow test subjects, including one so mysterious the world doesn’t know she exists—a young girl with unexplainable superhuman powers and a number instead of a name: 008.
Amid the rising tensions of the new decade, Terry Ives and Martin Brenner have begun a different kind of war—one where the human mind is the battlefield.
Praise for Stranger Things: Suspicious Minds
“You’re left hungry for more, but in the best way possible, as the book manages the balancing act between interconnected prequel and standalone story.”—Cinelinx
“Suspicious Minds is the prequel story that fans have been waiting for.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Highly recommended for those readers interested in expanding their knowledge of the Stranger Things’ universe, this book is also a dark and captivating story that will stick in the readers’ minds even if they are not fans of the franchise.”—The Unseen Library
Elizabeth Bear’s newest is another book I’ve had my eye on:
A space salvager and her partner make the discovery of a lifetime that just might change the universe in this wild, big-ideas space opera from multi award-winning author Elizabeth Bear.
Halmey Dz and her partner Connla Kurucz are salvage operators, living just on the inside of the law…usually. Theirs is the perilous and marginal existence—with barely enough chance of striking it fantastically big—just once—to keep them coming back for more. They pilot their tiny ship into the scars left by unsuccessful White Transitions, searching for the relics of lost human and alien vessels. But when they make a shocking discovery about an alien species that has been long thought dead, it may be the thing that could tip the perilous peace mankind has found into full-out war.
Energetic and electrifying, Ancestral Night is a dazzling new space opera, sure to delight fans of Alastair Reynolds, Iain M. Banks, and Peter F. Hamilton.
So this kind of sounds like Futureman, and also how can I resist Harry Potter x Terminator?
Harry Potter meets The Terminator in this action-packed adventure about a young man who discovers that everything he believed about his world is a lie.
The year is 2120. The humans are dead. The mages have retreated from the world after a madman blew up civilization with weaponized magical technology. Safe within domes that protect them from the nuclear wasteland on the other side, the mages have spent the last century putting their lives back together.
Nikolai is obsessed with artifacts from twentieth-century human life: mage-crafted replica Chuck Taylors on his feet, Schwarzenegger posters on his walls, Beatlemania still alive and well in his head. But he’s also tasked with a higher calling—to maintain the Veils that protect mage-kind from the hazards of the wastes beyond. As a cadet in the Mage King’s army, Nik has finally found what he always wanted—a purpose. But when confronted by one of his former instructors gone rogue, Nik tumbles into a dark secret. The humans weren’t nuked into oblivion—they’re still alive. Not only that, outside the domes a war rages between the last enclaves of free humans and vast machine intelligences.
Outside the dome, unprepared and on the run, Nik finds Jem. Jem is a Runner for the Human Resistance. A ballerina-turned-soldier by the circumstances of war, Jem is more than just a human—her cybernetic enhancement mods make her faster, smarter, and are the only things that give her a fighting chance against the artificial beings bent on humanity’s eradication.
Now Nik faces an impossible decision: side with the mages and let humanity die out? Or stand with Jem and the humans—and risk endangering everything he knows and loves?
And that’s it from us! What books do you have on YOUR radar?