“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 The Epic Crush of Genie Lo which I read earlier this year and can’t wait for the sequel, The Iron Will of Genie Lo
Genie Lo thought she was busy last year, juggling her academic career with protecting the Bay Area from demons. But now, as the Heaven-appointed Guardian of California, she’s responsible for the well-being of all yaoguai and spirits on Earth. Even the ones who interrupt her long-weekend visit to a prestigious college, bearing terrible news about a cosmos-threatening force of destruction in a nearby alternate dimension.
The goddess Guanyin and Genie’s boyfriend, Quentin Sun Wukong, do their best to help, but it’s really the Jade Emperor who’s supposed to handle crises of this magnitude. Unfortunately for Genie and the rest of existence, he’s gone AWOL. Fed up with the Jade Emperor’s negligence, Genie spots an opportunity to change the system for the better by undertaking a quest that spans multiple planes of reality along with an adventuring party of quarrelsome Chinese gods. But when faced with true danger, Genie and her friends realize that what will save the universe this time isn’t strength, but sacrifice.
I can’t remember who was talking about this book on Twitter but the moment I saw it, I bought it. This cover! The premise! The author!
Something’s happening to the girls on Denton Street.
It’s the summer of 1980 in Cleveland, Ohio, and Phoebe Shaw and her best friend Jacqueline have just graduated high school, only to confront an ugly, uncertain future. Across the city, abandoned factories populate the skyline; meanwhile at the shore, one strong spark, and the Cuyahoga River might catch fire. But none of that compares to what’s happening in their own west side neighborhood. The girls Phoebe and Jacqueline have grown up with are changing. It starts with footprints of dark water on the sidewalk. Then, one by one, the girls’ bodies wither away, their fingernails turning to broken glass, and their bones exposed like corroded metal beneath their flesh.
As rumors spread about the grotesque transformations, soon everyone from nosy tourists to clinic doctors and government men start arriving on Denton Street, eager to catch sight of “the Rust Maidens” in metamorphosis. But even with all the onlookers, nobody can explain what’s happening or why—except perhaps the Rust Maidens themselves. Whispering in secret, they know more than they’re telling, and Phoebe realizes her former friends are quietly preparing for something that will tear their neighborhood apart.
Alternating between past and present, Phoebe struggles to unravel the mystery of the Rust Maidens—and her own unwitting role in the transformations—before she loses everything she’s held dear: her home, her best friend, and even perhaps her own body.
I also saw this one on Twitter and everything about it screams READ ME
Pet is here to hunt a monster. Are you brave enough to look?
There are no monsters anymore, or so the children in the city of Lucille are taught. Jam and her best friend, Redemption, have grown up with this lesson all their life. But when Jam meets Pet, a creature made of horns and colors and claws, who emerges from one of her mother’s paintings and a drop of Jam’s blood, she must reconsider what she’s been told. Pet has come to hunt a monster—and the shadow of something grim lurks in Redemption’s house. Jam must fight not only to protect her best friend, but also uncover the truth, and the answer to the question—How do you save the world from monsters if no one will admit they exist?
In their riveting and timely young adult debut, acclaimed novelist Akwaeke Emezi asks difficult questions about what choices you can make when the society around you is in denial.
I am here for this retelling of the myth of Orpheus with two girls:
Abandoned by a single mother she never knew, 16-year-old Raya—obsessed with ancient myths—lives with her grandmother in a small conservative Texas town. For years Raya has hidden her feelings for her best friend and true love, Sarah. When the two are caught in an intimate moment, they are sent to Friendly Saviors: a re-education camp meant to “fix” them and make them heterosexual. Upon arrival Raya vows to assume the mythic role of Orpheus to save them both and to return them to the world of the living, at any cost.
In a haunting voice reminiscent of Sylvia Plath, with the contemporary lyricism of David Levithan, Orpheus Girl is a mythic story of dysfunctional families, first love, heartbreak—and the fierce adolescent resilience that has the power to triumph over darkness and ignorance.
I saw a video with the author of With the Fire on High about changing the perceptions on teen pregnancies and I got intrigued. And the cover looks great too:
With her daughter to care for and her abuela to help support, high school senior Emoni Santiago has to make the tough decisions, and do what must be done. The one place she can let her responsibilities go is in the kitchen, where she adds a little something magical to everything she cooks, turning her food into straight-up goodness. Still, she knows she doesn’t have enough time for her school’s new culinary arts class, doesn’t have the money for the class’s trip to Spain — and shouldn’t still be dreaming of someday working in a real kitchen. But even with all the rules she has for her life — and all the rules everyone expects her to play by — once Emoni starts cooking, her only real choice is to let her talent break free.
On Thea’s Radar:
First up, a courtesan turned sorcerer story:
A ragtag crew with forbidden magic must pull off an elaborate heist and stop a civil war in An Illusion of Thieves, a fantasy adventure from Cate Glass.
In Cantagna, being a sorcerer is a death sentence.
Romy escapes her hardscrabble upbringing when she becomes courtesan to the Shadow Lord, a revolutionary noble who brings laws and comforts once reserved for the wealthy to all. When her brother, Neri, is caught thieving with the aid of magic, Romy’s aristocratic influence is the only thing that can spare his life?and the price is her banishment.
Now back in Beggar’s Ring, she has just her wits and her own long-hidden sorcery to help her and Neri survive. But when a plot to overthrow the Shadow Lord and incite civil war is uncovered, only Romy knows how to stop it. To do so, she’ll have to rely on newfound allies?a swordmaster, a silversmith, and her own thieving brother. And they’ll need the very thing that could condemn them all: magic.
I have yet to read an Adrian Tchaikovsky book, but I have many on my TBR. This newest novella looks awesome:
She was good at making friends.
Coppelia is a street thief, a trickster, a low-level con artist. But she has something other thieves don’t… tiny puppet-like friends: some made of wood, some of metal. They don’t entirely trust her, and she doesn’t entirely understand them, but their partnership mostly works.
After a surprising discovery shakes their world to the core, Coppelia and her friends must reexamine everything they thought they knew about their world, while attempting to save their city from a seemingly impossible new threat.
I’ve had the first book in this series on my shelf for a while, and book 2 is now out:
All sorcerers are evil. Elisabeth has known that as long as she has known anything. Raised as a foundling in one of Austermeer’s Great Libraries, Elisabeth has grown up among the tools of sorcery—magical grimoires that whisper on shelves and rattle beneath iron chains. If provoked, they transform into grotesque monsters of ink and leather. She hopes to become a warden, charged with protecting the kingdom from their power.
Then an act of sabotage releases the library’s most dangerous grimoire. Elisabeth’s desperate intervention implicates her in the crime, and she is torn from her home to face justice in the capital. With no one to turn to but her sworn enemy, the sorcerer Nathaniel Thorn, and his mysterious demonic servant, she finds herself entangled in a centuries-old conspiracy. Not only could the Great Libraries go up in flames, but the world along with them.
As her alliance with Nathaniel grows stronger, Elisabeth starts to question everything she’s been taught—about sorcerers, about the libraries she loves, even about herself. For Elisabeth has a power she has never guessed, and a future she could never have imagined.
This next book–a tale of female ancestors and visions and power–sounds right up my alley:
Rebecca Podos, Lambda Literary Award–winning author of Like Water, returns with a lush, dark, and unforgettable story of the power of the past to shape our futures—and the courage it takes to change them.
Ruby Chernyavsky has been told the stories since she was a child: The women in her family, once possessed of great magical abilities to remake lives and stave off death itself, were forced to flee their Russian home for America in order to escape the fearful men who sought to destroy them.
Such has it always been, Ruby’s been told, for powerful women.
Today, these stories seem no more real to Ruby than folktales, except for the smallest bit of power left in their blood: when each of them comes of age, she will have a vision of who she will be when she dies—a destiny as inescapable as it is inevitable.
Ruby is no exception, and neither is her mother, although she ran from her fate years ago, abandoning Ruby and her sisters. It’s a fool’s errand, because they all know the truth: there is no escaping one’s Time.
Until Ruby’s great-aunt Polina passes away, and, for the first time, a Chernyavsky’s death does not match her vision. Suddenly, things Ruby never thought she’d be allowed to hope for—life, love, time—seem possible.
But as she and her cousin Cece begin to dig into the family’s history to find out whether they, too, can change their fates, they learn that nothing comes without a cost. Especially not hope.
Lastly, this Good Omens sounding story about a cowboy and a biker who are going to stop the apocalypse…
A biker and a cowboy must stop the apocalypse in the first book of the Blood and Bone modern western fantasy series.
“The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.“ —Baudelaire
He is, after all, the master of lies.
But is it lies when a man comes calling and says the End of Days is nearing? That you must do everything within your power to stop it? Even when you have no powers. You are, after all, just a human.
Or do you have no powers? Are you just a human? And what the hell are you supposed to do about preventing hell-on-earth when you’re fresh out of prison, a biker ex-con who can’t even vote?
But the man who bears the message, the mission, is not a stranger shouting on a street corner while hoisting a sign promising death and damnation. He is someone you’ve known since boyhood, someone you trust implicitly. Someone who has never, ever lied to you. He’s Grandaddy.
But who is he really? And who are you? Are you truly a weapon meant to be wielded against the devil’s return? Against the End Times. The End of Days. Apocalypse and Armageddon.
Demons, Grandaddy says, are now loosed upon the earth in the first spasms of a most unholy war. Demons inhabit and make real the beasts and characters of fiction, folklore, fairytales. Gods and goddesses walk the earth. The minotaur. Murderers. A horseman without his head. Myth becomes reality. Legends—and lies—are truths.
And maybe the man you’ve always trusted isn’t entirely human.
And that’s it from us! What books do you have on your radar?