“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:
I loved Children of Blood and Bone and can’t wait for the sequel. The cover is truly STUNNING:
The conceit for this novel sounds out of this world awesome: “A determined young woman sets out to rescue her kidnapped girlfriend by stealing a dragon from the corrupt emperor”
Raised among the ruins of a conquered mountain nation, Maren dreams only of sharing a quiet life with her girlfriend Kaia—until the day Kaia is abducted by the Aurati, prophetic agents of the emperor, and forced to join their ranks. Desperate to save her, Maren hatches a plan to steal one of the emperor’s coveted dragons and storm the Aurati stronghold.
If Maren is to have any hope of succeeding, she must become an apprentice to the Aromatory—the emperor’s mysterious dragon trainer. But Maren is unprepared for the dangerous secrets she uncovers: rumors of a lost prince, a brewing rebellion, and a prophecy that threatens to shatter the empire itself. Not to mention the strange dreams she’s been having about a beast deep underground…
With time running out, can Maren survive long enough to rescue Kaia from impending death? Or could it be that Maren is destined for something greater than she could have ever imagined?
This one, The Library of the Unwritten, also sounds absolutely great:
In the first book in a brilliant new fantasy series, books that aren’t finished by their authors reside in the Library of the Unwritten in Hell, and it is up to the Librarian to track down any restless characters who emerge from those unfinished stories.
Many years ago, Claire was named Head Librarian of the Unwritten Wing– a neutral space in Hell where all the stories unfinished by their authors reside. Her job consists mainly of repairing and organizing books, but also of keeping an eye on restless stories that risk materializing as characters and escaping the library. When a Hero escapes from his book and goes in search of his author, Claire must track and capture him with the help of former muse and current assistant Brevity and nervous demon courier Leto.
But what should have been a simple retrieval goes horrifyingly wrong when the terrifyingly angelic Ramiel attacks them, convinced that they hold the Devil’s Bible. The text of the Devil’s Bible is a powerful weapon in the power struggle between Heaven and Hell, so it falls to the librarians to find a book with the power to reshape the boundaries between Heaven, Hell….and Earth.
Claire North’s has an upcoming new book that sounds right up my alley:
The World Fantasy Award-winning author of The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August presents a mesmerizing tale of a gambling house whose deadly games of chance and skill control the fate of empires.
Everyone has heard of the Gameshouse. But few know all its secrets…
It is the place where fortunes can be made and lost through chess, backgammon – every game under the sun.
But those whom fortune favors may be invited to compete in the higher league… a league where the games played are of politics and empires, of economics and kings. It is a league where Capture the Castle involves real castles, where hide and seek takes place on the scale of a continent.
Among those worthy of competing in the higher league, three unusually talented contestants play for the highest stakes of all…
There are so many Time Travel books this year and here is one more:
Jewels and their lapidaries and have all but passed into myth.
Jorit, broke and branded a thief, just wants to escape the Far Reaches for something better. Ania, a rumpled librarian, is trying to protect her books from the Pressmen, who value knowledge but none of the humanity that generates it.
When they stumble upon a mysterious clock powered by an ancient jewel, they may discover secrets in the past that will change the future forever.
On Thea’s Radar:
First up on my radar this week, a science fiction novel that caught my eye:
Dazzling space battles, intergalactic politics, and rogue AI collide in Velocity Weapon, the first book in this epic space opera by award-winning author Megan O’Keefe.
Sanda and Biran Greeve were siblings destined for greatness. A high-flying sergeant, Sanda has the skills to take down any enemy combatant. Biran is a savvy politician who aims to use his new political position to prevent conflict from escalating to total destruction.
However, on a routine maneuver, Sanda loses consciousness when her gunship is blown out of the sky. Instead of finding herself in friendly hands, she awakens 230 years later on a deserted enemy warship controlled by an AI who calls himself Bero. The war is lost. The star system is dead. Ada Prime and its rival Icarion have wiped each other from the universe.
Now, separated by time and space, Sanda and Biran must fight to put things right.
Then there’s this YA novel that promises to be a mix of Code Name Verity and Shadow and Bone. I’m intrigued.
Two girls use forbidden magic to fly and fight–for their country and for themselves–in this riveting debut that’s part Shadow and Bone, part Code Name Verity.
Seventeen-year-old Revna is a factory worker, manufacturing war machines for the Union of the North. When she’s caught using illegal magic, she fears being branded a traitor and imprisoned. Meanwhile, on the front lines, Linné defied her father, a Union general, and disguised herself as a boy to join the army. They’re both offered a reprieve from punishment if they use their magic in a special women’s military flight unit and undertake terrifying, deadly missions under cover of darkness. Revna and Linné can hardly stand to be in the same cockpit, but if they can’t fly together, and if they can’t find a way to fly well, the enemy’s superior firepower will destroy them–if they don’t destroy each other first.
We Rule the Night is a powerful story about sacrifice, complicated friendships, and survival despite impossible odds.
Then there’s this thriller/horror novel that sounds awesome:
Inspired by a true story, this supernatural thriller for fans of horror and true crime follows a tale as it evolves every twenty years—with terrifying results.
Ella Louise has lived in the woods surrounding Pilot’s Creek, Virginia, for nearly a decade. Publicly, she and her daughter Jessica are shunned by their upper-crust family and the Pilot’s Creek residents. Privately, desperate townspeople visit her apothecary for a cure to what ails them—until Ella Louise is blamed for the death of a prominent customer. Accused of witchcraft, both mother and daughter are burned at the stake in the middle of the night. Ella Louise’s burial site is never found, but the little girl has the most famous grave in the South: a steel-reinforced coffin surrounded by a fence of interconnected white crosses.
Their story will take the shape of an urban legend as it’s told around a campfire by a man forever marked by his boyhood encounters with Jessica. Decades later, a boy at that campfire will cast Amber Pendleton as Jessica in a ’70s horror movie inspired by the Witch Girl of Pilot’s Creek. Amber’s experiences on that set and its meta-remake in the ’90s will ripple through pop culture, ruining her life and career after she becomes the target of a witch hunt. Amber’s best chance to break the cycle of horror comes when a true-crime investigator tracks her down to interview her for his popular podcast. But will this final act of storytelling redeem her—or will it bring the story full circle, ready to be told once again? And again. And again…
Then there’s this middle grade novel:
From the author of Goldeline, an ALA Booklist Top 10 First Novels for Youth pick, comes a middle-grade fantasy about a boy searching for his father in a world where a magical card game determines the fate of all who play.
Buddy Pennington is headed to river country. He’s determined to find his daddy, a wandering soul and a legend for his skills at Parsnit, a mysterious card game of magic, chance, and storytelling. Buddy hopes his pop might teach him the game, or at least that he can catch some of his pop’s famous good luck. But no sooner are Buddy and Pop reunited than some of Pop’s old enemies arrive to snatch him up. Boss Authority, the magical crime lord who has held the rivers in his grasp for years, has come to collect on a debt.
Now Buddy must embark on a dangerous rescue mission, learning to play Parsnit with the best of them as he goes. The stars are aligning for one last epic duel—one that will require a sticky-fingered ally, a fortunate twist of fate, and the hand of a lifetime.
This book is billed as literary fiction, but it sounds like genre and I’m kinda into the cover:
A tender and terrifying literary horror novel–the author’s debut–that tells the story of a family (creators of a haunted house attraction called the Wandering Dark) and the hereditary monsters–both metaphorical and all-too-real–that haunt them.
Monsters both figurative and very literal stalk the Turner family. The youngest child, Noah, narrates the family history: how in the late ’60s, his bookish mother Margaret marries Lovecraft-lover Harry against her better judgment. The couple has two daughters–Sydney, born for the spotlight, and the brilliant but awkward Eunice, a natural writer and storyteller. But finances are tight, Margaret and Eunice are haunted by horrific dreams, and Harry starts acting strangely. He becomes obsessed with the construction of an elaborately crafted haunted house attraction, christened the Wandering Dark. The family tries to shield baby Noah from the house’s faux horrors, but unbeknownst to them, he’s being visited by a furry beast with glowing orange eyes–the same ghastly being glimpsed by both his mother and sister. However, unlike them, Noah decides to let the creature in . . .
As he approaches the conclusion of his family’s tale, it becomes more and more apparent that there’s only one way the story can end: with Noah making the ultimate sacrifice.
And that’s it from us! What books do you have on your radar?