On the Radar

On the Smugglers’ Radar

On The Smugglers’ Radar” is a new 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 really enjoyed Andrea K. Host’s Champion of the Rose and keep meaning to read her other books. This one sounds really good:

Ash Lenthard doesn’t call herself a vigilante. She’s merely prone to random acts of derring-do, and occasional exhibitions of tomfoolery. Her friends, the Huntsman, have never stepped over the line while patrolling the streets of Luinhall.

But that was before the murder of Ash’s beloved guardian, Genevieve.

Now, Ash Lenthard is out for blood and even when the hunt sends her to the palace, on a collision course with a past identity she would do anything to forget, Ash cannot, will not, back down.

I love MG books and this one sounds cool (love the title):

When Lorelei’s old school mysteriously burns down, a new one appears practically overnight: Splendid Academy. Rock-climbing walls on the playground and golden bowls of candy on every desk? Gourmet meals in the cafeteria, served by waiters? Optional homework and two recess periods a day? It’s every kids’s dream.

But Lorelei and her new friend Andrew are pretty sure it’s too good to be true. Together they uncover a sinister mystery, one with their teacher, the beautiful Ms. Morrigan, at the very center.

Then Andrew disappears. Lorelei has to save him, even if that means facing a past she’d like to forget – and taking on a teacher who’s a real witch.

What Lorelei and Andrew discover chills their bones – and might even pick them clean!

Ghost stories! I have a love-hate relationship with them but this one sounds deliciously creepy. I am in!

Does an abandoned asylum hold the key to a frightful haunting?

Everyone’s heard the stories about Graylock Hall.

It was meant to be a place of healing – a hospital where children and teenagers with mental disorders would be cared for and perhaps even cured. But something went wrong. Several young patients died under mysterious circumstances. Eventually, the hospital was shut down, the building abandoned and left to rot deep in the woods.

As the new kid in town, Neil Cady wants to see Graylock for himself. Especially since rumor has it that the building is haunted. He’s got fresh batteries in his flashlight, a camera to document the adventure, and a new best friend watching his back.

Neil might think he’s prepared for what he’ll find in the dark and decrepit asylum. But he’s certainly not prepared for what follows him home. . . .

Scary, suspenseful, and surprising, Dan Poblocki’s latest ghost story will keep you turning pages deep into the dead of night.

And look! This is a most anticipated sequel as I loved Skyship Academy!

After the events that transpired in Seattle, the faculty at Skyship Academy have kept Jesse a prisoner in his own home, fearful of his ability to break Pearls. Cassius has escaped to the Polar Cities of Canada, fleeing the Unified Party — the very organization he’d once counted himself a part of.

But when Jesse manages to smuggle onboard the Academy a mysterious red Pearl, he sets forth a destructive chain of events that leads him back to the Fringes and to a reunion with Cassius. It’s there that the brothers meet Madame’s newest protégé, a troubled youth with a dangerous secret waiting to be unlocked.

But a larger threat looms in the stars. Together, Jesse and Cassius must race against the clock, and those they thought they could trust, to prevent extermination at the hands of their ultimate enemy — an enemy hatched from crimson and ready to strike.

On Thea’s Radar:

I also cannot wait for the sequel to Skyship Academy! SO up on my radar, first there’s this novel that promises to be a mashup of Kazuo Ishiguro’s haunting Never Let Me Go and Philip Pullman’s epic His Dark Materials trilogy. Those are BIG shoes to fill, and I’m intrigued to see how well What’s Left of Me does.

Eva and Addie started out the same way as everyone else—two souls woven together in one body, taking turns controlling their movements as they learned how to walk, how to sing, how to dance. But as they grew, so did the worried whispers. Why aren’t they settling? Why isn’t one of them fading? The doctors ran tests, the neighbors shied away, and their parents begged for more time. Finally Addie was pronounced healthy and Eva was declared gone. Except, she wasn’t…

For the past three years, Eva has clung to the remnants of her life. Only Addie knows she’s still there, trapped inside their body. Then one day, they discover there may be a way for Eva to move again. The risks are unimaginable–hybrids are considered a threat to society, so if they are caught, Addie and Eva will be locked away with the others. And yet…for a chance to smile, to twirl, to speak, Eva will do anything.

This next title comes from Tor UK, and is a feudal Japanese inspired fantasy novel. YES.

The Shima Imperium verges on the brink of environmental collapse; decimated by clockwork industrialization and the machine-worshipers of the Lotus Guild. The skies are red as blood, land choked with toxic pollution, wildlife ravaged by mass extinctions.

The hunters of Shima’s imperial court are charged by their Sh?gun to capture a thunder tiger – a legendary beast, half-eagle, half-tiger. But any fool knows thunder tigers have been extinct for more than a century, and the price of failing the Sh?gun is death.

Yukiko is a child of the Fox clan, possessed of a hidden gift that would see her executed by the Lotus Guild. Accompanying her father on the Sh?gun’s hunt, she finds herself stranded: a young woman alone in Shima’s last wilderness, with only a furious, crippled thunder tiger for company. Even though she can hear his thoughts, even though she saved his life, all she knows for certain is he’d rather see her dead than help her.

But together, the pair will form an indomitable friendship, and rise to challenge the might of an empire.

Next up on the list, this forthcoming title from Elizabeth Bear. I’m on the fence because I really was not a fan of Blood and Iron (or all the subsequent fallout)…we’ll see.

Temur, grandson of the Great Khan, is walking away from a battlefield where he was left for dead. All around lie the fallen armies of his cousin and his brother, who made war to rule the Khaganate. Temur is now the legitimate heir by blood to his grandfather’s throne, but he is not the strongest. Going into exile is the only way to survive his ruthless cousin.

Once-Princess Samarkar is climbing the thousand steps of the Citadel of the Wizards of Tsarepheth. She was heir to the Rasan Empire until her father got a son on a new wife. Then she was sent to be the wife of a Prince in Song, but that marriage ended in battle and blood. Now she has renounced her worldly power to seek the magical power of the wizards. These two will come together to stand against the hidden cult that has so carefully brought all the empires of the Celadon Highway to strife and civil war through guile and deceit and sorcerous power.

Ok, how freaking AWESOME is this cover, a throwback to the tattered penguin classics of yesteryear?! I am shallow and SOLD (ok but the synopsis sounds fantastic too, though!)

Meet Sam Thornton. He collects souls.

Sam’s job is to collect the souls of the damned, and ensure they are dispatched to the appropriate destination. But when he’s sent to collect the soul of a young woman he believes to be innocent of the horrific crime that’s doomed her to Hell, he says something no Collector has ever said before.


I just discovered this backlist title via goodreads, and it sounds…interesting.

Zoya Kundara has lived on the space vessel Star Road for two hundred fifty years. As its Ship Mother, kept alive in a state of pseudoimmortality, she has provided wisdom and counsel to succeeding generations of its crew, self-exiled survivors of earth’s great plague.

But now, to escape the ravages of space radiation, the giant starship has returned to earth, only to discover a world on the verge of extinction, its barren surface blanketed in a crystalline substance that resembles ice and that is slowly, inexorably encapsulating the planet. Zoya is chosen as emissary to this strange new earth, and now she must approach its denizens and find a suitable home for her desperate crew among the shrinking lands.

But what she finds shakes Zoya to her core: groups of humans huddled like moles in underground techno-warrens called preserves, and a pseudospiritual order known as the Ice Nuns, who seek control of the physics-defying crystals and enslave their disciples in their crazed quest for truth. For on this once green land, Ice and the science behind it are now the only God–and mastering this grand ecology of information the only higher calling. Allies are few and far between, but somehow Zoya must uncover the secrets of Ice and halt its expansion.

That is, if the snow witches don’t get her first…

And finally, this last book sounds amazing and I need to get my hands on a copy IMMEDIATELY (too bad it comes out in August! Argh!).

2788. Only the handicapped live on Earth. While everyone else portals between worlds, 18-year-old Jarra is among the one in a thousand people born with an immune system that cannot survive on other planets. Sent to Earth at birth to save her life, she has been abandoned by her parents. She can’t travel to other worlds, but she can watch their vids, and she knows all the jokes they make. She’s an ‘ape’, a ‘throwback’, but this is one ape girl who won’t give in.

Jarra invents a fake background for herself – as a normal child of Military parents – and joins a class of norms that is on Earth to excavate the ruins of the old cities. When an ancient skyscraper collapses, burying another research team, Jarra’s role in their rescue puts her in the spotlight. No hiding at back of class now. To make life more complicated, she finds herself falling in love with one of her classmates – a norm from another planet. Somehow, she has to keep the deception going.

A freak solar storm strikes the atmosphere, and the class is ordered to portal off-world for safety – no problem for a real child of military parents, but fatal for Jarra. The storm is so bad that the crews of the orbiting solar arrays have to escape to planet below: the first landing from space in 600 years. And one is on collision course with their shelter.

And that’s it from us! What books are on YOUR radar?

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  • Justin
    March 31, 2012 at 5:44 am

    RANGE OF GHOSTS is tremendous. I’d point out NK Jemisin’s THE KILLING MOON which is due out May 1 as another to look for… similar tone to RANGE.

  • StoryLoverX
    March 31, 2012 at 5:49 am

    What’s Left of Me is on my list too.
    The Ghost of Greylock sounds interesting! It’s going to my TBR.

  • Lindsay Smith
    March 31, 2012 at 6:00 am

    I am seriously looking forward to Max Gladstone’s THREE PARTS DEAD, which will be out from Tor in October. Corporate necromancy! POC main character! God murders!


  • Chris F. Holm
    March 31, 2012 at 6:10 am

    Thanks for the mention! Happy to be on the radar! (Oh, and I”m pretty fond of my cover, too.)

  • Kristen
    March 31, 2012 at 8:50 am

    Depending on why you didn’t like Blood and Iron you still may like some of Elizabeth Bear’s other books. I really liked Blood and Iron, but I do know other people who didn’t like that one but still like some of her other books. If it was the story that didn’t work for you and not something like the prose style or the way she just throws readers into the deep end without much explanation, you might have better luck with some of her other books.

    Since I haven’t had much time to read lately, I haven’t gotten that far into Range of Ghosts yet, but it is very different from Blood and Iron so far.

  • Estara
    March 31, 2012 at 10:09 am

    ANAAAAAAAA!! *excited hopping in chair* Since The Hunting most likely will be out late this year or early next year please READ the Touchstone trilogy instead – it is just soooo YA sciene fiction opera planetary romance with a bookish geeky heroine and psychic space ninjas!

    I mean I came across the author due to your review of Champion of the Rose (thank you for that!) which I also enjoyed (incidentally Stained Glass Monsters is very different fantasy but also great, but shouldn’t be read too soon after the Touchstone Trilogy because the love interest is somewhat similar to the one in that)… but this 822 page ebook (it is the whole trilogy in one) well it just grabbed me like my first read of Mercedes Lackey’s Arrows of the Queen, or discovering Diane Duane or discovering Sherwood Smith! I immediately sent recommendations to everyone in my GR friends list who I thought might enjoy this ^^

    Li from Bookdaze picked the book up and also loved it and is now reading all the author’s books and so will I most likely (The Silence of Medair sounds a bit grim to me).

    The single titles covers tell much more of the real story, I guess the collection cover was an experiment with what is more enticing to the target audience.

    I have a huge spoilery squee at GoodReads, of course.

    And because this week has been hell, I’ve been on a reread of the book and can confirm that it makes a perfect comfort reread if you like the heroine’s voice – because she writes this as diary entries looking back at the end of days with interesting events. There are long excerpts available at Smashwords or GoodReads, etc.

  • Estara
    March 31, 2012 at 10:13 am

    Addendum: And there’s a free novella-sized Gratuitous Epilogue at Smashwords, which is just perfect if you don’t want to be separated from the characters for a while yet.

  • Estara
    March 31, 2012 at 10:20 am

    And another vote for N.K. Jemisin’s The Killing Moon from me ^^ *has calmed down somewhat*

  • Jackie Kessler
    March 31, 2012 at 11:45 am

    DEAD HARVEST sounds amazing. And I don’t think I’ve seen a better cover than WHAT’S LEFT OF ME. My God, that’s phenomenal.

  • April Books & Wine
    March 31, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    The Sinister Sweetness sounds awesome. Middle grade FOREVER!

    Also? I love that cover of Storm Dancer and Feudal Japan! AHHH!

  • kara-karina
    March 31, 2012 at 9:56 pm

    I’ve got Dead Harvest! It’s just waiting to be read 🙂 and yep, cover definitely sold the book to me :))) I’m also very interested in Stormdancer and recommend looking at Sarah j Maas upcoming book Throne of Glass 🙂

  • Christa @ Hooked on Books
    April 1, 2012 at 10:49 am

    Earth Girl sounds really good! Thanks for putting it on my radar 🙂

  • draconismoi
    April 1, 2012 at 10:41 pm

    No, no, no! You can’t keep showing me awesome books that I have to wait MONTHS for! Why can’t Earth Girl come out in May? May is so much closer.

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