On the Radar

On the Smugglers’ Radar: the Post-BEA Edition

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!

What’s up everybody! BEA is finally over and as tradition demands, we will talk about the 10 unexpected books – 5 each – that we picked up at the show.

On Ana’s Radar:

OK, first up is a book I suspected might be at BEA but didn’t know for sure. I was walking around the publisher’s booth and someone literally just asked me if I wanted a copy and handed me one gently as I squeed. This is a thriller, set on an alternate world where Hitler won WWII.


1952. Twelve years have passed since Churchill lost to the appeasers, and Britain surrendered to Nazi Germany after Dunkirk. As the long German war against Russia rages on in the east, the British people find themselves under dark authoritarian rule: the press, radio and television are controlled; the streets patrolled by violent auxiliary police and British Jews face ever greater constraints. There are terrible rumours too about what is happening in the basement of the German Embassy at Senate House. Defiance, though, is growing. In Britain, Winston Churchill’s Resistance organisation is increasingly a thorn in the government’s side. And in a Birmingham mental hospital an incarcerated scientist, Frank Muncaster, may hold a secret that could change the balance of the world struggle forever. Civil Servant David Fitzgerald, secretly acting as a spy for the Resistance, is given by them the mission to rescue his old friend Frank and get him out of the country. Before long he, together with a disparate group of Resistance activists, will find themselves fugitives in the midst of London’s Great Smog; as David’s wife Sarah finds herself drawn into a world more terrifying than she ever could have imagined. And hard on their heels is Gestapo Sturmbannfuhrer Gunther Hoth, brilliant, implacable hunter of men . . .

This next one is a new book from Matthew J Kirby. I had NO IDEA he had a new book coming out and when I saw this I was super happy, having loved Icefall so much.

The Lost Kingdom

A remarkable adventure by award-winning author Matthew J. Kirby brings a fantastical American West filled with secrets and spies and terrifying creatures to vivid life.

In this extraordinary adventure story, Billy Bartram, his father, and a secret society of philosophers and scientists venture into the American wilderness in search of the lost people of the Welsh Prince Madoc, seeking aid in the coming war against the French. Traveling in a flying airship, the members of the expedition find their lives frequently endangered in the untamed American West by terrifying creatures, a party of French soldiers hot on their trail, and the constant threat of traitors and spies. Billy will face hazards greater than he can ever imagine as, together with his father, he gets caught up in the fight for the biggest prize of all: America.

THE LOST KINGDOM is an epic journey filled with marvelous exploits, courage and intrigue, and a bold reimagining of a mythical America. Matthew J. Kirby brings his signature storytelling prowess and superb craft to this astonishing story of fathers and sons, the beginnings of a nation, and wonder-filled adventure.

I’ve had I’ll Be There by Holly Goldberg Sloan on my radar for a while because reviews in our corner of the blogsphere were amazing but never got around to reading it. Her new book was featured on the MG Buzz listing and it sounds SO GOOD.

Counting by 7s

In the tradition of Out of My Mind, Wonder, and Mockingbird, this is an intensely moving middle grade novel about being an outsider, coping with loss, and discovering the true meaning of family.

Willow Chance is a twelve-year-old genius, obsessed with nature and diagnosing medical conditions, who finds it comforting to count by 7s. It has never been easy for her to connect with anyone other than her adoptive parents, but that hasn’t kept her from leading a quietly happy life . . . until now.

Suddenly Willow’s world is tragically changed when her parents both die in a car crash, leaving her alone in a baffling world. The triumph of this book is that it is not a tragedy. This extraordinarily odd, but extraordinarily endearing, girl manages to push through her grief. Her journey to find a fascinatingly diverse and fully believable surrogate family is a joy and a revelation to read.

EVERYBODY loves Eleanor & Park (I will be reading it VERY VERY SOON) and so I was super pleased to get a copy of Fangirl which sounds SO AWESOME.


Cath is a Simon Snow fan.

Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan . . .

But for Cath, being a fan is her life — and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words . . . And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this? Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?

Or will she just go on living inside somebody else’s fiction?

And finally, I have two words about my last title: DRAGONS and TERMINATOR. That’s right. Someone went there.


Don’t leave me here… It starts with a whisper. At first Trinity thinks she’s going crazy. It wouldn’t be a big surprise–her grandpa firmly believes there’s a genuine dragon egg in their dusty little West Texas town. But this voice is real, and it’s begging for her protection. Even if no one else can hear it…

He’s come from a future scorched by dragonfire. His mission: Find the girl. Destroy the egg. Save the world.

He’s everything his twin brother Connor hates: cocky, undisciplined, and obsessed with saving dragons.

Trinity has no idea which brother to believe. All she has to go by is the voice in her head–a dragon that won’t be tamed.

On Thea’s Radar:

This BEA was a tough one for me – between work, events, and meetings, it was tough to get out there and find books. That said, thanks to the wonderful Ana Banana (and to the snatches of free time I had to roam the floor between meetings), I was able to pick up some truly AWESOME titles. First up, a book that I’ve been very excited for since I first saw its deliciously gorgeous cover reveal by Orbit books online a few months back:


A decade in the future, humanity thrives in the absence of sickness and disease.

We owe our good health to a humble parasite – a genetically engineered tapeworm developed by the pioneering SymboGen Corporation. When implanted, the tapeworm protects us from illness, boosts our immune system – even secretes designer drugs. It’s been successful beyond the scientists’ wildest dreams. Now, years on, almost every human being has a SymboGen tapeworm living within them.

But these parasites are getting restless. They want their own lives… and will do anything to get them.

Next up, a completely unexpected and previously unheard of book called The 100 – about expendable juvenile delinquent teens sent out to a distant planet to test out its conditions. YES PLEASE. This is already being turned into a television show (on the CW) for fall 2013 and I cannot wait to dive in.

The 100

n the future, humans live in city-like spaceships orbiting far above Earth’s toxic atmosphere. No one knows when, or even if, the long-abandoned planet will be habitable again. But faced with dwindling resources and a growing populace, government leaders know they must reclaim their homeland… before it’s too late.

Now, one hundred juvenile delinquents are being sent on a high-stakes mission to recolonize Earth. After a brutal crash landing, the teens arrive on a savagely beautiful planet they’ve only seen from space. Confronting the dangers of this rugged new world, they struggle to form a tentative community. But they’re haunted by their past and uncertain about the future. To survive, they must learn to trust – and even love – again.

While we are on the YA science fiction theme (a Big Thing this year, FYI!), there’s this book by debut author Amy Rose Capetta was pitched to me as “Firefly for YA.” Say no more.


Alone was the note Cade knew best. It was the root of all her chords.

Seventeen-year-old Cade is a fierce survivor, solo in the universe with her cherry-red guitar. Or so she thought. Her world shakes apart when a hologram named Mr. Niven tells her she was created in a lab in the year 3112, then entangled at a subatomic level with a boy named Xan.

Cade’s quest to locate Xan joins her with an array of outlaws—her first friends—on a galaxy-spanning adventure. And once Cade discovers the wild joy of real connection, there’s no turning back.

I confess that I picked up this next book in passing because of the SF sounding title: The Daughters of Mars. But then, I read the back of the book and HOLY MOLY – this is the new novel from the author of Schindler’s List about two sisters during WWI. I immediately grabbed a copy (and got one for Ana, too).

The Daughters of Mars

From the acclaimed author of Schindler’s List, the epic, unforgettable story of two sisters from Australia, both trained nurses, whose lives are transformed by the cataclysm of the first World War.

In 1915, two spirited Australian sisters join the war effort as nurses, escaping the confines of their father’s farm and carrying a guilty secret with them. Used to tending the sick as they are, nothing could have prepared them for what they confront, first near Gallipoli, then on the Western Front.

Yet amid the carnage, Naomi and Sally Durance become the friends they never were at home and find themselves courageous in the face of extreme danger, as well as the hostility they encounter from some on their own side. There is great bravery, humor, and compassion, too, and the inspiring example of the remarkable women they serve alongside. In France, where Naomi nurses in a hospital set up by the eccentric Lady Tarlton while Sally works in a casualty clearing station, each meets an exceptional man: the kind of men for whom they might give up some of their precious independence—if only they all survive.

At once vast in scope and extraordinarily intimate, The Daughters of Mars brings World War I to vivid, concrete life from an unusual perspective. A searing and profoundly moving tale, it pays tribute to men and women of extraordinary moral resilience, even in the face of the incomprehensible horrors of modern war.

And finally, for a change of pace, Ana was able to snag me a copy of this next book – a sequel to The Dark Unwinding. I had NO IDEA there was a sequel in the works, and considering how much I loved that book (also a pickup at BEA last year), I was ecstatic.

A Spark Unseen

The thrilling sequel to Sharon Cameron’s blockbuster gothic steampunk romance, THE DARK UNWINDING, will captivate readers anew with mystery and intrigue aplenty.

When Katharine Tulman wakes in the middle of the night and accidentally foils a kidnapping attempt on her uncle, she realizes Stranwyne Keep is no longer safe for Uncle Tully and his genius inventions. She flees to Paris, where she hopes to remain undetected and also find the mysterious and handsome Lane, who is suspected to be dead.

But the search for Lane is not easy, and Katharine soon finds herself embroiled in a labyrinth of political intrigue. And with unexpected enemies and allies at every turn, Katharine will have to figure out whom she can trust–if anyone–to protect her uncle from danger once and for all.

Filled with deadly twists, whispering romance, and heart-stopping suspense, this sequel to THE DARK UNWINDING whisks readers off on another thrilling adventure.

And that’s it from us! What books are on YOUR radar (or did you scoop up at BEA this past week)?

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  • Ashleigh Paige
    June 1, 2013 at 8:58 am

    A Spark Unseen? MUST GET. -starts writing review request-

    My coblogger gave me Entangled a few weeks ago and I honestly had no idea it was one of the YA Buzz books. She’s a Firefly fan, but I’m not. Not a sci-fi fan in general, really. All the science goes right over my head. I also ended up with Scorched because someone left their ARC at my favorite used bookstore (likely after TLA). Weird, but I’ll take it. DRAGONS!

    From the moment I saw Fangirl, I knew I needed to have it because any novels centering on fan fiction and the people who write them? So much potential. What I’m waiting for is a novel about the DARK side of fan fiction: sockpuppets, bullying, plagiarism, BNF drama, and all. Like the Inner Circle of Harry Potter fandom from the early ’00s. If there’s already a book like that, I’ll promptly die of squee. Then I’ll come back to life and buy that book.

    Enjoy all these books and the many, many others you surely picked up, ladies! And thank you for all your tweets during/about BEA Bloggers Con and some of the panels during BEA. Even though I was green with envy over the past few days because money kept me from attending, I liked hearing about all that.

  • Eliza
    June 1, 2013 at 1:22 pm

    Ana & Thea – first, I’ll join Ashleigh in thanking you for all your tweets during BEA. They were so much fun for all of us who didn’t get to go. Loved seeing pics of the books you picked up at BEA and The Strand. I’m looking forward to your report and how your talk went. BTW – super excited for you meeting Elizabeth Wein and getting not only a copy of Rose Under Fire but an autographed one as well. Well done. Really, I’m not jealous, not jealous at all. And, no that’s not a green tinge to my skin. That’s an allergic reaction to . . . something. Nothing related to books.

    All of those books sound so great.
    Dominion – sounds so scary in a real life evil way, not the paranormal way. The cover is suitably ominous.

    The Lost Kingdom – a new Matthew Kirby book. I didn’t know there was one coming out and I can’t wait. I enjoyed The Clockwork Three and loved Icefall. He’s one of my automatic read authors.

    Counting by 7s – I have this one on my list to snag a copy when it’s released even though it seems like one that I’ll have to keep a box of tissues close at hand – and not read in public for fear of the ugly cry.

    Fangirl – I can’t wait for this one. I’m new to Rainbow Rowell’s books even though I’ve only heard raves about them. I finally read Attachments about a month ago and really, really enjoyed it. It was so much fun. Anyone looking for a good summer read should grab a copy. I’m Number 12 on the hold list for Eleanor & Park so it will be several more weeks before I can read it. Her books have awesome covers.

    Scorched – DRAGONS! The Terminator aspect adds an interesting note. Definitely will add this one to my TBR.

    Parasite – okay that one literally made my skin crawl – just like when someone talks about bed bugs or lice, you have to scratch. Eeek.

    Entangled – sounds interesting. I look forward to your review to see if it’s worth picking up. While I liked Firefly,. It was a little to flawed for me to love it (okay, dodging fruit now). I’m more of a Buffy fangirl.

    The Daughters of Mars – WWI era! I’m a sucker for books in that era. Sign me up.

    A Spark Unseen – SQEE!!!!! Oh my gosh. I LOVED The Dark Unwinding so much. I can’t wait to read more about Katharine and Uncle Tully. Uncle Tully – all you want to do is keep him safe so he can continue his genius ways and he’s so kind and lovely. Can you tell I have a mad literary crush on Uncle Tully?

    Oops, another (overly)long post. Sorry about that. I’ll try to be more economical in future posts.

  • Linda W
    June 1, 2013 at 2:57 pm

    WANT Entangled so bad it hurts.

  • Sarah
    June 1, 2013 at 6:56 pm

    I’ve just finished Daughter of Mars and can recommend it highly. I felt like I lived with these characters and miss them already now it’s over. I listened to the audio book though and I’ve heard that the print version can be irritating because of a lack of punctuation. I haven’t read Dominion but I have really enjoyed other CJ Samson books so will be looking forward to this one!

  • Thea
    June 1, 2013 at 9:33 pm

    Thanks so much for all of the comments, everyone!!!

    Ashleigh Page – RIGHT?! I was so SHOCKED when I saw A SPARK UNSEEN (how did I miss that there was going to be a sequel!?). I cannot wait to dive into this book – it’s going to be tough to hold off until September!!!

    Eliza – “Oops, another (overly)long post. Sorry about that. I’ll try to be more economical in future posts.” NOOO!! Don’t say that! Ana and I were just saying at lunch today how much we love your thoughtful and amazing comments :mrgreen:

    Linda W – It sounds amazing, right? I confess I overlooked it initially because of the cover, but after hearing the pitch for the book and meeting the author I am SO sold.

    Sarah – YAY! I am so excited to read THE DAUGHTERS OF MARS and am happy to hear that you loved it so much. It’s coming out in the US on my birthday, so should make for a good early reading present 🙂

  • Dana Shepard
    June 2, 2013 at 4:40 am

    I have just finished this novel and have mixed feelings about it. I am a big fan of the Shardlake novels and came to this book with high expectations. Not altogether met unfortunately.
    The biggest problem for me was that because it is an invented history Sansom has to spend a lot of time shoehorning in various facts which the reader needs to know. This means that the book is sometimes static when I felt the plot should be moving on. There is also a fair amount of exposition in clunky dialogue. I agree that Sansom’s central premise is excellent but the actual plot was too weak for me and some of the characterization is a little superficial. I’m not sure if that last observation is a fair one as I do acknowledge that this sort of novel isn’t driven by characterization. Having said all that there are some excellent set pieces which do really hit home and the book did make me think very hard about what might have happened if we had made peace in 1940. It is also, more or less, a page turner in the best Sansom style.

  • Eliza
    June 2, 2013 at 11:11 am

    Thea – Thank you for the kind words. However, if you ever feel like I’m getting too long-winded, feel free to shut me down!

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