On the Smugglers’ Radar

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 have been waiting in tenterhooks for John Scalzi’s next Interdependency novel, which will be out only NEXT YEAR WOE IS ME

The collapse of The Flow, the interstellar pathway between the planets of the Interdependency, has accelerated. Entire star systems—and billions of people—are becoming cut off from the rest of human civilization. This collapse was foretold through scientific prediction… and yet, even as the evidence is obvious and insurmountable, many still try to rationalize, delay and profit from, these final days of one of the greatest empires humanity has ever known.

Emperox Grayland II has finally wrested control of her empire from those who oppose her and who deny the reality of this collapse. But “control” is a slippery thing, and even as Grayland strives to save as many of her people form impoverished isolation, the forces opposing her rule will make a final, desperate push to topple her from her throne and power, by any means necessary. Grayland and her thinning list of allies must use every tool at their disposal to save themselves, and all of humanity. And yet it may not be enough.

Will Grayland become the savior of her civilization… or the last emperox to wear the crown?

I love the sound Jeff Vandermeer’s new novel:

A messianic blue fox who slips through warrens of time and space on a mysterious mission. A homeless woman haunted by a demon who finds the key to all things in a strange journal. A giant leviathan of a fish, centuries old, who hides a secret, remembering a past that may not be its own. Three ragtag rebels waging an endless war for the fate of the world against an all-powerful corporation. A raving madman who wanders the desert lost in the past, haunted by his own creation: an invisible monster whose name he has forgotten and whose purpose remains hidden.
Jeff VanderMeer’s Dead Astronauts presents a City with no name of its own where, in the shadow of the all-powerful Company, lives human and otherwise converge in terrifying and miraculous ways. At stake: the fate of the future, the fate of Earth—all the Earths.

It is a good day when I find out that Rebecca Stead has a new book coming soon!

When life takes a new direction, it’s comforting to know that some things will not change. A brilliant and touching story about navigating big family shifts, from the masterful Newbery Medal winning author of When You Reach Me.

When Bea’s parents got divorced, they told her about two big changes: Dad is gay. Mom and Dad will have different apartments, each with a room for Bea. They also gave her a special notebook to record the list of things that will not change. The first and most important: Mom and Dad will always love Bea, and each other. They are still a family, just different. Bea’s days are split between her parents; school remains the same. She still goes to Dad’s family’s lake house every summer. Only now, no one mentions Mom.

Then, Dad announces that he and his boyfriend Jesse are getting married. Bea is thrilled. She loves Jesse—and he has a daughter her age, Sonia. Bea has never met her, but she’s sure that she and Sonia will be the perfect sisters. Behind her joy, though, something she did last summer is haunting Bea.

This warm story is a testament to a modern family, and to the kind of love that doesn’t ask you to be anyone but who you are.

I loved Girls with Sharp Sticks and can’t wait for the sequel:

Make me a girl with a razor heart…

It’s been weeks since Mena and the other girls of Innovations Academy escaped their elite boarding school. Although traumatized by the violence and experimentations that occurred there, Mena quickly discovers that the outside world can be just as unwelcoming and cruel. With no one else to turn to, the girls only have each other—and the revenge-fueled desire to shut down the corporation that imprisoned them.

The girls enroll in Ridgeview Prep, a private school with suspect connections to Innovations, to identify the son of an investor and take down the corporation from the inside. But with pressure from Leandra, who revealed herself to be a double-agent, and Winston Weeks, an academy investor gone rogue, Mena wonders if she and her friends are simply trading one form of control for another. Not to mention the woman who is quite literally invading Mena’s thoughts—a woman with extreme ideas that both frighten and intrigue Mena.

And as the girls fight for freedom from their past—and freedom for the girls still at Innovations—they must also face new questions about their existence…and what it means to be girls with razor hearts.

I came across this thriller on Edelweiss and it sounds so good:

An egomaniacal movie director, an isolated island, and a decades-old murder—the addictive new novel from the bestselling author of Dear Daughter

Marissa Dahl, a shy but successful film editor, travels to a small island off the coast of Delaware to work with the legendary—and legendarily demanding—director Tony Rees on a feature film with a familiar logline.

Some girl dies.

It’s not much to go on, but the specifics don’t concern Marissa. Whatever the script is, her job is the same. She’ll spend her days in the editing room, doing what she does best: turning pictures into stories.

But she soon discovers that on this set, nothing is as it’s supposed to be—or as it seems. There are rumors of accidents and indiscretions, of burgeoning scandals and perilous schemes. Half the crew has been fired. The other half wants to quit. Even the actors have figured out something is wrong. And no one seems to know what happened to the editor she was hired to replace.

Then she meets the intrepid and incorrigible teenage girls who are determined to solve the real-life murder that is the movie’s central subject, and before long, Marissa is drawn into the investigation herself.

The only problem is, the killer may still be on the loose. And he might not be finished.

A wickedly funny exploration of our cultural addiction to tales of murder and mayhem and a thrilling, behind-the-scenes whodunit, Pretty as a Picture is a captivating page-turner from one of the most distinctive voices in crime fiction.

On Thea’s Radar:

First up on my radar this time, a book about a haunted house… with a twist?

Dark, gripping, and utterly unique, this atmospheric historical fantasy from critically acclaimed author Laura E. Weymouth is perfect for fans of The Hazel Wood and Caraval.

Violet Sterling has spent the last seven years in exile, longing to return to Burleigh House. One of the six great houses of England, Burleigh’s magic kept both the countryside and Violet happy.

That is, until her father’s treason destroyed everything.

Now she’s been given a chance to return home. But Burleigh isn’t what she remembered. Wild with grief, Burleigh’s very soul is crying out in pain. As its tormented magic ravages the countryside, Vi must decide how far she’s willing to go to save her house—before her house destroys everything she’s ever known.

A house left unchecked will lead to ruin.
But I will not let it ruin me.

I’ve been in the mood for a good military sci-fi novel, and just picked up Cry Pilot this past weekend, hoping it will hit the spot.

A devastated Earth. Rogue bio-weapons. And a recruit with secrets. In this explosive new military science fiction novel, a tight-knit infantry squad is thrown into battle against a mysterious enemy that appears without warning and strikes without mercy.

There’s only one way for a man with Maseo Kaytu’s secrets to join the military: by volunteering for a suicide mission as a ‘cry pilot’. He cheats the system to survive, but you can’t fake basic training. Assigned to a squad of misfits, Kaytu learns how to fight, how to obey, and how to trust. Yet the more he bonds with his fellow recruits, the more he risks exposure of his criminal past. 

Keeping his secret is about to become the least of his problems. Kaytu discovers that his platoon is being deployed against a new kind of rogue bio-weapon. One that has torn apart every military force it’s ever faced . .

I’ve been truly meaning to get into Tessa Graton’s The Queens of Innis Lear and vow to do that soon–but in the meantime, I’m going to covet this forthcoming (also Shakespearean) fantasy novel:

Tessa Gratton’s Lady Hotspur is a sweeping, heart-stopping Shakespearean novel of betrayal and battlefields and destiny.

STRIKE FAST, LOVE HARD, LIVE FOREVER

This is the motto of the Lady Knights–sworn to fealty under a struggling kingdom, promised to defend the prospective heir, Banna Mora.

But when a fearsome rebellion overthrows the throne, Mora is faced with an agonizing choice: give up everything she’s been raised to love, and allow a king-killer to be rewarded–or retake the throne, and take up arms against the newest heir, Hal Bolingbrooke, Mora’s own childhood best friend and sworn head of the Lady Knights.

Hal loathes being a Prince; she’s much more comfortable instated on the Throne of Misrule, a racous underground nether-court where passion rules all. She yearns to live up to the wishes of everyone she loves best–but that means sacrificing her own heart, and so she will disappoint everyone until the moment she can rise to prove those expectations wrong.

And between these two fierce Princes is the woman who will decide all their fates–Lady Isarna Hotspur, the fiery and bold knight whose support will turn the tides of the coming war.

This next book doesn’t have the most exciting cover, but I’m a sucker for a generation ship saga that pits religion against politics, especially when gender politics come into play, so this could be interesting…

The sisters of the Order of Saint Rita captain their living ship into the reaches of space in Lina Rather’s debut novella, Sisters of the Vast Black.

Years ago, Old Earth sent forth sisters and brothers into the vast dark of the prodigal colonies armed only with crucifixes and iron faith. Now, the sisters of the Order of Saint Rita are on an interstellar mission of mercy aboard Our Lady of Impossible Constellations, a living, breathing ship which seems determined to develop a will of its own.

When the order receives a distress call from a newly-formed colony, the sisters discover that the bodies and souls in their care—and that of the galactic diaspora—are in danger. And not from void beyond, but from the nascent Central Governance and the Church itself.

And finally, a book I am *very* eagerly awaiting, the new Theodora Goss, following the daughters of turn-of-the-twentieth-century English literary monsters.

Mary Jekyll and the Athena Club race to save Alice—and foil a plot to unseat the Queen, in the electrifying conclusion to the trilogy that began with the Nebula Award finalist and Locus Award-winner The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter.

Life’s always an adventure for the Athena Club…especially when one of their own has been kidnapped! After their thrilling European escapades rescuing Lucina van Helsing, Mary Jekyll and her friends return home to discover that their friend and kitchen maid Alice has vanished—and so has Mary’s employer Sherlock Holmes!

As they race to find Alice and bring her home safely, they discover that Alice and Sherlock’s kidnapping are only one small part of a plot that threatens Queen Victoria, and the very future of the British Empire. Can Mary, Diana, Beatrice, Catherine, and Justine save their friends—and save England? Find out in the final installment of the fantastic and memorable Extraordinary Adventures of the Athena Club series.

And that’s it from us! What books do you have on your radar?

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