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 on my feed reader this week, a LGBT fairytale retelling:

Rose and Spindle

Boy meets boy. Boy hates boy. Each swears never to have anything to do with the other, forever after.

Unfortunately for Prince Hamlin and Prince Edouard, history has a bad habit of repeating itself, and worse, each time the two boys run across each other, things get a touch muddier as well. Destiny and free will go head-to-head, the princes’ dilemma echoing the more baffling curse that’s been placed on Edouard’s young cousin, Princess Roderika. Doomed to prick her finger on a spindle on her fifteenth birthday and fall asleep for a hundred years as a result, Roderika’s rapidly dwindling time becomes an inescapable tapestry into which Hamlin and Edouard’s own fates are woven.

With the help of a magician princess and a crotchety talking raven, Hamlin and Edouard not only have to outgrow prejudices, but also find the courage and the will to define their destinies, even if it were to take them a hundred years.

Thea is a huge Lisa Shearin fan and I never got into her first series – but this new book sounds like it could be a good place to start for me?

The Grendel Affair

We’re Supernatural Protection & Investigations, known as SPI. Things that go bump in the night, the monsters you thought didn’t exist? We battle them and keep you safe. But some supernatural baddies are just too big to contain, even for us?

When I moved to New York to become a world famous journalist, I never imagined that snagging a job at a seedy tabloid would change my career path from trashy reporter to undercover agent. I’m Makenna Fraser, a Seer for SPI. I can see through any disguise, shield, or spell that a paranormal pest can come up with. I track down creatures and my partner, Ian Byrne, takes them out—usually saving my skin in the process.

Our cases are generally pretty routine, but a sickle-wielding serial killer has been prowling the city’s subway tunnels. And the murderer’s not human. The fiend in question, a descendant of Grendel—yes, that Grendel—shares his ancestor’s hatred of parties, revelry, and drunkards. And with New Year’s Eve in Times Square only two days away, we need to bag him quickly. Because if we don’t find him—and the organization behind him—by midnight, our secret’s out and everyone’s time is up.

Back in 2011 we reviewed After the Golden Age and we both enjoyed it. And now there is a sequel coming out!

Dreams of the Golden Age

I got this UK book in the post this week and it looks VERY CREEPY so I am keeping it for our upcoming Halloween Week:

The Orphan

The truth is more terrifying than you can imagine.

Darren and Beth Lynwood always dreamed of having a son, but when young amnesiac runaway Adam enters their lives, he brings with him a creeping darkness that threatens to engulf their family and everyone around them.

When Adam’s memories claw their way to the surface, Darren finds himself haunted by thoughts of his own childhood – and of a boy very much like Adam who was done an unspeakable wrong.

As buried secrets are unearthed, the Lynwood’s happy home becomes the hunting ground for a relentless evil and an obsession that will not die.

There’s no point locking the door.

There’s no use shutting out the night.

Because the orphan is already inside.

Dare you read to the end of The Orphan? Discover the chilling new novel from the author of The Birthing House and The People Next Door.

Caught some UK folks tweeting about this book last week. I am intrigued – and I love the simplicity of the cover:

The Moon King

In an island city dominated by the influence of the moon and ruled by a benevolent king, nothing has changed for centuries.

But now something is disturbing the long-established patterns of life in Glassholm. Luck monkeys, forgotten technology and mysterious, whispering children abound, and a rebel engineer is called upon to fix an ancient machine, a retired policeman feels duty-bound to investigate a series of brutal murders and an outsider artist is drawn into the social unrest now bubbling at the heart of the city under the moon.

On Thea’s Radar:

OOOH! THe new Carrie Vaughn and Lisa Shearin both look fantastic, and I’m eager to get my hands on ’em. First up on my radar, a science fiction thriller from Ben Bova that sounds promising:


A scientific thriller by six-time Hugo Award-winner Ben Bova
Luke Abramson, a brilliant cellular biologist who is battling lung cancer, has one joy in life, his ten-year-old granddaughter, Angela. When he learns that Angela has an inoperable brain tumor and is given less than six months to live, Abramson wants to try a new enzyme, Mortality Factor 4 (MORF4), that he believes will kill Angela’s tumor.

However, the hospital bureaucracy won’t let him do it because MORF4 has not yet been approved by the FDA. Knowing that Angela will die before he can get approval of the treatment, Abramson abducts Angela from the hospital with plans to take her to a private research laboratory in Oregon.

Luke realizes he’s too old and decrepit to flee across the country with his sick granddaughter, chased by the FBI. So he injects himself with a genetic factor that will stimulate his body’s production of telomerase, an enzyme that has successfully reversed aging in animal tests.

As the chase weaves across the country from one research facility to another, Luke begins to grow physically younger, stronger. He looks and feels the way he did thirty or forty years ago. Yet his lung cancer is not abating; if anything the tumors are growing faster.

And Angela is dying.

I’m on the fence with this next novel because it sounds at first glance like yet another tepid paranormal romance, in which a magical and probably beautiful creature falls in love with a mere human for no discernable reason. That said, I do like that the powerful immortal creature is a woman.


One moment. One foolish desire. One mistake. And Corinthe lost everything.

She fell from her tranquil life in Pyralis Terra and found herself exiled to the human world. Her punishment? To make sure people’s fates unfold according to plan. Now, years later, Corinthe has one last assignment: kill Lucas Kaller. His death will be her ticket home.

But for the first time, Corinthe feels a tingle of doubt. It begins as a lump in her throat, then grows toward her heart, and suddenly she feels like she is falling all over again-this time for a boy she knows she can never have. Because it is written: one of them must live, and one of them must die. In a universe where every moment, every second, every fate has already been decided, where does love fit in?

This next book on its face seems utterly ridiculous (“after the sun goes ‘Red Giant'” – aka, some 5+ billion years from now? And humanity is STILL around and planet bound? And building subterranean bunkers when the sun’s expansion phase will almost certainly absorb and obliterate the Earth – this is even under the shaky proposition that life is still possible on this planet? Mmmkay.)… but I’m very curious to read an excerpt. Who knows? Maybe it’s very well written and researched and I’m judging a book by its marketing copy…

Burn Out

A futuristic blend of Beth Revis’s Across the Universe and Lenore Appelhans’s Level 2, Burn Out will satisfy the growing desire for science fiction with a thrilling story of survival, intrigue, and adventure.

Most people want to save the world; seventeen-year-old Tora Reynolds just wants to get the hell off of it. One of the last survivors in Earth’s final years, Tora yearns to escape the wasteland her planet has become after the sun turns “red giant,” but discovers her fellow survivors are even more deadly than the hostile environment.

Holed up in an underground shelter, Tora is alone-her brilliant scientist father murdered, her mother and sister burned to death. She dreams of living on a planet with oceans, plants, and animals. Unfortunately, the oceans dried out ages ago, the only plants are giant cacti with deadly spines, and her pet, Trigger, is a gun-one of the bio-energetic weapons her father created for the government before his conscience kicked in.

When family friend, Markus, arrives with mercenaries to take the weapons by force, Tora’s fury turns to fear when government ships descend in an attempt to kill them all. She forges an unlikely alliance with Markus and his rag-tag group of raiders, including a smart but quiet soldier named James.

She is shocked when James accidentally fires one of her father’s bio-weapons-weapons designed to work only for her. She’d felt a strange pull to James from the start, but the odds of someone sharing her energy vibration are statistically miniscule. Tora must quickly figure out who she can trust, as she must choose between saving herself by giving up the guns or honoring her father’s request to save humanity from the most lethal weapons in existence.

Next up, a book about a diet drink that has turned its consumers into zombies. YES please.


After the Contamination—an epidemic caused by the super-trendy diet drink ThinPro that turned ordinary citizens into violent, uncontrollable creatures—the government rounded up the “Connies” to protect the remaining population. Now, two years later, the rehabilitated are being allowed home, complete with shock collars that will either control, or kill, them.

Velvet Ellis has struggled to care for her ten-year-old sister since her parents were taken in the round up. When she finds her mother in one of the “Kennels,” Velvet resolves to do whatever it takes to put her family back together. But the danger isn’t over. It’s beginning all over again…

Gritty and grabbing, Velvet is a harrowing, emotionally charged novel for fans of Carrie Ryan and The Walking Dead.

This next book, let’s face it, sounds very Running Man x Hunger Games (with a kind of funny Harry Potter-esque whimsical name for the show – can’t you see “Brimstone Bleed” as one of the Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes?). But I like that. And I’m interested…

Fire & Flood

Time is slipping away….

Tella Holloway is losing it. Her brother is sick, and when a dozen doctors can’t determine what’s wrong, her parents decide to move to the middle of nowhere for the fresh air. She’s lost her friends, her parents are driving her crazy, her brother is dying–and she’s helpless to change anything.

Until she receives mysterious instructions on how to become a Contender in the Brimstone Bleed. It’s an epic race across jungle, desert, ocean, and mountain that could win her the prize she desperately desires: the Cure for her brother’s illness. But all the Contenders are after the Cure for people they love, and there’s no guarantee that Tella (or any of them) will survive the race.

The jungle is terrifying, the clock is ticking, and Tella knows she can’t trust the allies she makes. And one big question emerges: Why have so many fallen sick in the first place?

Victoria Scott’s breathtaking novel grabs readers by the throat and doesn’t let go.

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

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  • Linda W
    August 17, 2013 at 10:11 pm

    Yay! Glad Lisa Shearin has a new series. I’m sorry you didn’t get into the first one. I hope you’ll like this one. I enjoyed her first series, especially the humor. This one sounds like it also has humor.

  • Rosario
    August 18, 2013 at 3:43 am

    The Brimstone Bleed sounds a lot like the Talisman’s Hie, in Kresley Cole’s No Rest For The Wicked…

  • Emily
    August 18, 2013 at 9:16 am

    Lisa Shearin’s new series sounds like it could be cool and extremely funny. I love the simplicity of the Moon King’s cover also, and it sounds like it could be a partly-tribal island kind of story, if that makes any sense. Trans-Human also sounds awesome, with all the diseases and the medicines. I also want to read Fates–a new paranormal romance with the FATES from GREEK MYTHOLOGY? Burn Out does sound utterly ridiculous, but who knows? It’s 5+ billion years from the present so the author must’ve thought of something. So, it could be potentially GOOD or potentially TERRIBLE. Contaminated has an awesome premise–a drink that turns people into ZOMBIES?? Fire and Flood sounds an action-packed journey as well, and I can’t wait to read it.
    Overall, awesome books, Book Smugglers!

  • Bibliotropic
    August 18, 2013 at 12:12 pm

    Hmm, that ben Bova novel really does sound interesting. And when even the summary kept taking other directions than expected it to, I suspect that means it’ll be a book to keep me engaged and hooked on the plot when I read it. And I’m making that a ‘when’ and not ‘if’ because medical science in my sci-fi is something I really love and don’t see enough of.

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