On the Radar

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 saw this book on NetGalley last week and OH MY GOD, the blurb touches on many of my favourite things!

Love and Lament

A dauntless heroine coming of age at the turn of the twentieth century confronts the hazards of patriarchy and prejudice, and discovers the unexpected opportunities of World War I

Set in rural North Carolina between the Civil War and the Great War, Love and Lament chronicles the hardships and misfortunes of the Hartsoe family.

Mary Bet, the youngest of nine children, was born the same year that the first railroad arrived in their county. As she matures, against the backdrop of Reconstruction and rapid industrialization, she must learn to deal with the deaths of her mother and siblings, a deaf and damaged older brother, and her father’s growing insanity and rejection of God.

In the rich tradition of Southern gothic literature, John Milliken Thompson transports the reader back in time through brilliant characterizations and historical details, to explore what it means to be a woman charting her own destiny in a rapidly evolving world dominated by men.

This new book from Sarah Beth Durst sounds like it can be loads of fun. And after loving Vessel so much, reading this is a no-brainer.


Lost your way? Your dreams?


Welcome to Lost.

It was supposed to be a small escape. A few hours driving before turning around and heading home. But once you arrive in Lost…well, it’s a place you really can’t leave. Not until you’re Found. Only the Missing Man can send you home. And he took one look at Lauren Chase and disappeared.

So Lauren is now trapped in the town where all lost things go-luggage, keys, dreams, lives-where nothing is permanent, where the locals go feral and where the only people who don’t want to kill her are a handsome wild man called the Finder and a knife-wielding six-year-old girl. The only road out of town is engulfed by an impassable dust storm, and escape is impossible….

Until Lauren decides nothing-and no one-is going to keep her here anymore.

This MG Fantasy series came highly recommended to me and I am intrigued, I even bought the first book already. Anyone read this?

The Tapestry

MAX MCDANIELS LIVES a quiet life in the suburbs of Chicago, until the day he stumbles upon a mysterious Celtic tapestry. Many strange people are interested in Max and his tapestry. His discovery leads him to Rowan Academy, a secret school where great things await him.

But dark things are waiting, too. When Max learns that priceless artworks and gifted children are disappearing, he finds himself in the crossfire of an ancient struggle between good and evil. To survive, he’ll have to rely on a network of agents and mystics, the genius of his roommate, and the frightening power awakening within him.

Ok, so. DEEP BREATHS. I hate the tagline on the cover – it sounds super cheesy and I will put it down to a marketing choice because the blurb, the fact that this is Norse Mythology AND the author make me want to give it a try.

The Lost Son

Fans of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods and Holly Black’s The Curse Workers will embrace this richly drawn, Norse-mythology-infused alternate world: the United States of Asgard.

Seventeen-year-old Soren Bearskin is trying to escape the past. His father, a famed warrior, lost himself to the battle-frenzy and killed thirteen innocent people. Soren cannot deny that berserking is in his blood–the fevers, insomnia, and occasional feelings of uncontrollable rage haunt him. So he tries to remain calm and detached from everyone at Sanctus Sigurd’s Academy. But that’s hard to do when a popular, beautiful girl like Astrid Glyn tells Soren she dreams of him. That’s not all Astrid dreams of–the daughter of a renowned prophetess, Astrid is coming into her own inherited abilities.

When Baldur, son of Odin and one of the most popular gods in the country, goes missing, Astrid sees where he is and convinces Soren to join her on a road trip that will take them to find not only a lost god, but also who they are beyond the legacy of their parents and everything they’ve been told they have to be.

On Thea’s Radar:

I feel like it has been a while since we’ve done one of these! OK. So first up, a psychological thriller that sounds pretty good:


She thought the evil lived outside the walls.

She was wrong.

In the Community, life seems perfect. The members of this isolated suburban development have thrived under Pioneer, the charismatic leader who saved them from their sad, damaged lives.

Lyla Hamilton and her parents moved here following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, looking to escape the evil in the world. Now seventeen, Lyla knows certain facts are not to be questioned:

Pioneer is her leader.
Will is her Intended.
The end of the world is near.

Like Noah before him, Pioneer has been told of the imminent destruction of humanity. He says his chosen must arm themselves and prepare to fight off the unchosen people, who will surely seek refuge in the compound’s underground fortress-the Silo.

Lyla loves her family and friends, but given the choice, she prefers painting to target practice. And lately she’d rather think about a certain boy outside the development than plan for married life in the Silo with Will. But as the end of days draws near, she will have to pick up a gun, take a side, and let everyone know where she stands.

Then there’s this historical mystery novel about the spread of cholera (and a book with a truly wonderful subtitle – “A Mystery of London, the Blue Death, and a Boy Called Eel”):

The Great Trouble

Eel has troubles of his own: As an orphan and a “mudlark,” he spends his days in the filthy River Thames, searching for bits of things to sell. He’s being hunted by Fisheye Bill Tyler, and a nastier man never walked the streets of London. And he’s got a secret that costs him four precious shillings a week to keep safe.

But even for Eel, things aren’t so bad until that fateful August day in 1854-the day the Great Trouble begins. Mr. Griggs, the tailor, is the first to get sick. Soon it’s clear that the deadly cholera-the “blue death”-has come to Broad Street.

Everyone believes that cholera is spread through poisonous air. But one man, Dr. John Snow, has a different theory. As the epidemic surges, it’s up to Eel and his best friend Florrie to gather evidence to prove Dr. Snow’s theory-that cholera is spread through water-before the entire neighborhood is wiped out.

Next up, a Victorian ghost story:

The Dark Between

A supernatural romance about the powers that lie in the shadows of the mind, perfect for fans of Sarah Rees Brennan, Alyxandra Harvey, and Libba Bray.

At the turn of the twentieth century, Spiritualism and séances are all the rage-even in the scholarly town of Cambridge, England. While mediums dupe the grief-stricken, a group of local fringe scientists seeks to bridge the gap to the spirit world by investigating the dark corners of the human mind.

Each running from a shadowed past, Kate, Asher, and Elsie take refuge within the walls of Summerfield College. But their peace is soon shattered by the discovery of a dead body nearby. Is this the work of a flesh-and-blood villain, or is something otherworldly at play? This unlikely trio must illuminate what the scientists have not, and open a window to secrets taken to the grave-or risk joining the spirit world themselves.

Of course, what would a radar post be without at least one YA dystopian SFF novel? I’ve been meaning to try Anna Jarzab’s writing for a while now:


Fans of Matched, Across the Universe, and The Hunger Games will love this captivating tale of rebellion and romance that spans parallel worlds.

Everything repeats.
You. Your best friend. Every person you know.
Many worlds, many lives-infinite possibilities.
Welcome to the multiverse.

Sixteen-year-old Sasha Lawson has only ever known one small, ordinary life. When she was young, she loved her grandfather’s stories of parallel worlds, inhabited by girls who looked like her but led totally different lives. Sasha never believed such worlds were real-until now, when she finds herself thrust into one against her will.

To prevent imminent war, Sasha must slip into the life of an alternate version of herself, a princess who has vanished on the eve of her arranged marriage. If Sasha succeeds in fooling everyone, she will be returned home; if she fails, she’ll be trapped in another girl’s life forever. As time runs out, Sasha finds herself torn between two worlds, two lives, and two young men vying for her love-one who knows her secret, and one who believes she’s someone she’s not.

And look! The new book in Rachel Caine’s ongoing Revivalist series has a cover!


In New York Times bestselling author Rachel Caine’s latest Revivalist novel, Bryn Davis’s problems quickly turn from dead to worse…

Already addicted to the pharmaceutical drug that keeps her body from decomposing, Bryn has to stop a secretive group of rich and powerful investors from eliminating the existing Returné addicts altogether. To ensure their plan to launch a new, military-grade strain of nanotech, the investors’ undead assassin—who just happens to be the ex-wife of Bryn’s lover Patrick—is on the hunt for anyone that stands in their way.

And while Bryn’s allies aren’t about to go down without a fight, the secret she’s been keeping threatens to put those closest to her in even more danger. Poised to become a monster that her own side—and her own lover—will have to trap and kill, Bryn needs to find the cure to have any hope of preserving the lives of her friends, and her own dwindling humanity…

Zombies x Werewolves x Wes Craven comparison = SOLD.

Bad Hair Day

Kate Grable is geeked out to shadow the county medical examiner as part of her school’s premed program. But after he’s arrested for murder, she’s left with the bodies. And when Kate’s brother, Jonah, stumbles upon a dead gamer girl, Kate realizes that the zombie epidemic she cured last fall was only the beginning of the weirdness taking over her town. Someone-or something-is murdering kids. Something really hairy. And strong. Possibly with claws.

Could it be werewolves, like Jonah and his dorktastic friends think? Kate’s supposed to be a butt-kicking, zombie-killing genius…but if she can’t figure out what’s behind the freakish attacks, the victims-or what’s left of them-are going to keep piling up.

“Readers will get a kick out of this book that reads like a Wes Craven movie. The plot may be a little far-fetched, but the ride is so much fun it doesn’t much matter… what’s not to love?”-Kirkus Reviews

“Kate combines the smarts of Veronica Mars with the attitude of Buffy… a fast-paced read.”-School Library Journal

“Entirely enjoyable.”-Publishers Weekly

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

You Might Also Like


  • Lexa Cain
    May 18, 2013 at 1:25 pm

    These all sound wonderful, especially “Lost” — what a unique premise. And I adore ghost stories and Horror! I can’t wait to read the reviews. 🙂

  • Eliza
    May 18, 2013 at 3:02 pm

    Ana – What’s the next Terry Pratchett book are you going to read? Will it be the 2nd Tiffany Aching book? If you’re looking for a stand-alone and non-Discworld book, I can recommend his latest (2012) YA book Dodger – “In an alternative version of Victorian London, a seventeen-year-old Dodger, a cunning and cheeky street urchin, unexpectedly rises in life when he saves a mysterious girl, meets Charles Dickens, and unintentionally puts a stop to the murders of Sweeney Todd”– Provided by publisher. Also, since Thea seems to be in a Victorian mood based on this week’s choices, it’s right up her alley. Pratchett definitely is one of my comfort reads – one I go to when I want a guaranteed good time reading.

    I haven’t read any of The Tapestry series books though I’ve heard good things about them. I’ll also be interested in hearing what others think of them.

    Love and Lament – Southern Gothic during WWI era? Sign me up!

    The Lost – A new Sarah Beth Durst novel? Yippee. She’s an author I found in the past year and who just keeps getting better with each book. Can’t wait for this one even though it has a handsome mysterious loner dude* and makes me fearful of the obligatory love story.

    The Great Trouble – Victorian mudlark? Urchins on a mission? Count me in. See also above recommendation for Dodger.

    The Dark Between – early 20th century Spiritualism movement? A group of friends solving a mystery? Yup, I’m there.

    Speaking of a group of friends solving a mystery, did any of you watch The Bletchley Circle on PBS? It’s an excellent mini-series (only 3 episodes)about four women who were part of The Bletchley Project during WWII as code breakers. The series starts nine years later. One of the women, Susan, starts applying her pattern recognition skills she learned at Bletchley to a series of murders of young women and gets three of her friends from the Bletchley Project to help. What’s great is that each woman brings a different skill to solving the puzzle. I like that they’re concentrating more on the problem solving than the serial killer. I’m glad about that ’cause it’s the problem solving I find interesting and serial killers freak me out. I read that the show just was renewed for a second series of 4 episodes this time. Lucky UK folks will see it before us in the US. Okay, I know it’s a TV show and not a book but it’s such an excellent show I wanted to give it a shout out as I thought many of the readers here would also enjoy it.

    *Thanks to the lovely ladies at FYA for the term.

  • Shannon @ River City Reading
    May 18, 2013 at 4:25 pm

    Yes! I am so excited about Love and Lament, too! I hadn’t heard of the others before, so thanks for sharing them! I recently reviewed Three Lives of Tomomi Ishikawa (which NetGalley just featured), it seems like one you might enjoy.

  • Linda W
    May 18, 2013 at 8:22 pm

    I agree. All of these sound greeat.

  • Charlotte
    May 18, 2013 at 8:37 pm

    Lost and The Lost Sun would be my choices from this list–I hadn’t heard of either, so thanks for that!

    I have read two books from The Tapestry series, and sadly was not impressed, but I hope you enjoy it!

  • Ana
    May 19, 2013 at 7:44 am

    Eliza: OK, so re Terry Pratchett. Here’s my strategy – I will read the TA books next to finish this mini-series. Then, I think I want to read the Death books, then the Guards books, then The Witches. MAYBE. I have Dodger already as well, sitting on my TBR but I think I prefer to read other books before that one (I heard it was not that brilliant?).

    And I LOVED Bletchley Circle, I saw it when it was on telly here last year and talked about it during our Mystery Aprpeciation Week earlier this year – http://thebooksmugglers.com/2013/02/mystery-appreciation-week-recent-tv-shows-roundup.html/. I am SO glad it got renewed! Yay!

  • Cait H.
    May 19, 2013 at 7:57 am

    The Lost and Tandem sound great, as does The Tapestry!

  • Eliza
    May 19, 2013 at 2:29 pm

    Ana – Sounds like a great strategy. As you know, there are lots of books, so you’ll be able to dip into them whenever you need a comfort read. I lurve DEATH. He’s one of Pratchett’s great characters and so funny in his complete lack of a sense of humor. Other than the Tiffany Aching books, I didn’t read his books in any particular order. Just read whichever one I could get my paws on, so if you feel like mixing it up, don’t hesitate to do so.

    As to Dodger, I really enjoyed it but I know it’s received mixed reactions. I don’t know if that’s ’cause its not a Discworld book and those who didn’t like it were expecting more of a Discworld kind of book. Like Nation, it has a slightly different tone than the Discworld books though the humor is more Disworldly than not.

    Did you know that since he’s been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2007, he now writes his books either by dictating to his assistant or using speech recognition software. Given how complex his stories are, I think it’s pretty amazing.

    I saw him at a book reading for Making Money right after he’d received his diagnosis. Though clearly shaken by the news, he was very charming, funny, and engaging, just like you’d imagine him to be.

    How did I miss your discussion on The Bletchley Circle and other fab TV mysteries? It was just on here in the U.S. I’m so excited it was renewed! I can’t wait to find out more about these fascinating women. I wasn’t sure about Susan’s husband at the beginning but he won me over. He’s a good man.

    I’m so excited. The library FINALLY got in A Face Like Glass and I picked up my copy yesterday. I’m off to read it.

  • The Hipster Owl's Bookshelf
    May 21, 2013 at 2:57 pm

    I want to read “The Dark Between” and “Love and Lament” !! They both have awesome covers as well.

Leave a Reply