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:

In my continuous effort to read more non-fiction, I got this book:


Robinson presents the eye-opening and inspiring story of the first young women who overcame all the odds to get their education and attend university.

Using the words of the women themselves, ‘Bluestockings’ charts the fight for and expansion of higher education for women from 1869 through to the 1930s.

The author of The Boy With the Stripped Pajamas has now turned to WWI. I got a copy of this book in the post this week and it sounds great:

Stay Where You Are Then Leave

The day the First World War broke out, Alfie Summerfield’s father promised he wouldn’t go away to fight – but he broke that promise the following day. Four years later, Alfie doesn’t know where his father might be, other than that he’s away on a special, secret mission.

Then, while shining shoes at King’s Cross Station, Alfie unexpectedly sees his father’s name – on a sheaf of papers belonging to a military doctor. Bewildered and confused, Alfie realises his father is in a hospital close by – a hospital treating soldiers with an unusual condition. Alfie is determined to rescue his father from this strange, unnerving place . .

Tor UK is relaunching A Stir of Echoes by the late Richard Matheson. I’ve only ever read Somewhere in Time by this author before so I want to give this one a go:

A Stir of Echoes

Tom Wallace lived an ordinary life, until a chance event awakened psychic abilities he never knew he possessed.

Now he’s hearing the private thoughts of the people around him-and learning shocking secrets he never wanted to know. But as Tom’s existence becomes a waking nightmare, even greater jolts are in store as he becomes the unwilling recipient of a compelling message from beyond the grave!

This eerie ghost story, by award-winning author of Hell House and I Am Legend, inspired the acclaimed 1999 film starring Kevin Bacon.

Superhero stories are like kryptonite to me so HELL YES to this anthology:

Super stories of Heroes and Villains

George R. R. Martin’s Wild Cards rampage through unrecorded history! Mike Mignola’s Hellboy battles the fiendish Nuckelavee! Can Camille Alexa’s Pinktastic prevent the end of the world? Will Jonathan Lethem’s Dystopianist cause the end of the world?

In these pages, you’ll find the exploits, machinations, and epic mêlées of these superpowered aliens, undead crusaders, costumed crime fighters, unholy cabals, Amazon warriors, demon hunters, cyberpunk luchadores, nefarious megalomaniacs, daredevil sidekicks, atavistic avatars, adventuring aviators, gunslinging outlaws, love-struck adversaries, and supernatural detectives.

In these twenty-eight astounding Super Stories, join larger-than-life heroes and villains in the never-ending battle of good versus evil!

My BFF Karen Mahoney’s first ever printed comic book is coming out soon. It’s a one-shot comic published by a small Irish house Atomic Diner:

Jennifer Wilde

On Thea’s Radar:

Ana, I highly recommend the Richard Matheson. But down to business! My radar is going to be fun this week. First up is a YA “cabin” story – you know, wherein the protagonists are trapped in a closed setting (like a cabin, due to causes like being snowed in, or set upon by ravenous zombies) and the tension mounts. I’ve enjoyed Chicken House’s books before so I’m excited for this one:


The final exam is survival.

Paul is the new kid at Mortingham Boarding Academy, and he has a dark secret.

Caitlyn admires Paul from afar and resents that he only has eyes for Erika.

Erika thinks that she and Caitlyn are best friends, but she’s wrong.

Adam is a bully with a major chip on his shoulder.

Mark is outgrowing his old friends but doesn’t know how to make new ones.

In a few short hours, none of this will matter.

Without warning, a horrifying infection will spread across the school grounds, and a group of students with little in common will find themselves barricaded in a classroom, fighting for their lives.

Some will live.

Some will die.

And then it will get even worse.

Fast-paced and frightening, SILVER is a tale set on the fringes of science and horror–a story about the struggle to survive in the face of impossible odds.

Next up, another Chicken House science fiction book – this time about a broken moon and the ensuing chaos:

Where the Rock Splits the Sky

The moon has been split, and the Visitors have Earth in their alien grip, but Megan just might be able to free the planet–if only she can survive the deadliest desert crossing.

The world stopped turning long before Megan was born. Ever since the Visitors split the moon and stilled the Earth, infinite sunset is all anyone has known. But now, riding her trusty steed Cisco, accompanied by her posse, Kelly and Luis, Megan ventures out of her Texas hometown and sets off on a journey across the vast, dystopic American West in search of her father. To find him, she must face the Zone. Laws of nature do not apply to the notorious landscape. Flying towns, rivers of dirt, plagues of fishes, ravenous bears: The desert can play deadly tricks on the mind, and the quest will push Megan past her limits. But to solve the mystery of not just her missing father but of the paralyzed planet itself, she must survive it–and a showdown with an alien.

This second book is coming out soon, which reminds me that The Amber House is languishing on my TBR mountain. Must read it soon:


At the end of AMBER HOUSE, Sarah made a choice that transformed everything–and now she must choose it all again.

“I was sixteen the second time I had my first kiss….”

After growing up in the free country of the Pacific Northwest, Sarah Parsons has settled in at Amber House, the stately Maryland home that’s been in her family for generations. But the world surrounding the House feels deeply wrong to Sarah. It’s a place where the colonists lost the 1776 Insurrection, where the American Confederation of States still struggles with segregation, and where Sarah is haunted by echoes of a better world that she knows never existed.

Her friend Jackson shares these visions of a different world–and together, they manage both to remember the way things ought to be, and to plan a daring mission that will reset the universe once again. It will involve objects from the past, knowledge of the future, a leap into the unknown…and in the end, a sacrifice Sarah never imagined.

Next up, this book billed as a new take on The Lord of the Flies. Ok!


Welcome to the Wasteland. At fifteen, the citizens of Prin marry. At seventeen, they reproduce. And at nineteen, they die.

“A Lord of the Flies for future generations. Wasteland is an irresistible page-turner.”-Karin Slaughter, international bestselling author of Criminal

In the wasteland known as Prin, an early death isn’t the only doom waiting around the corner. There’s also the looming threat of rampant disease and brutal attacks by the Variants-hermaphroditic outcasts that live on the outskirts of Prin.

Esther thinks there’s more to life than toiling at Harvesting, Gleaning, and Excavating under the relentless sun, just hoping to make it through another day.
Her best friend, Skar, is a Variant and is considered the enemy. But Levi, who controls the Source, is the real enemy. Esther knows he will send his Taser boys after her if she makes one wrong move.

When Caleb, a brave and mysterious stranger, arrives in town, Esther begins to question who she can trust, and the two outcasts realize that they must team up to fight for their lives and for the freedom of Prin.

Readers, prepare for an adrenaline rush from this heady mix of forbidden friendship, corruption, destruction, rebellion, romance, and heroism.

Then, there’s this book that supposedly blends an Inception-style premise with a virtual world (could be good, could be horrendously dated):


Suspense, thrills, and romance fuel this near-future, Inception-inspired story about the seductive nature of a perfect virtual world and how far one girl will go to uncover the truth behind the illusions.

A new technology called Elusion is sweeping the country. An app, a visor, and a wristband will virtually transport you to an exotic destination where adventure can be pursued without the complications-or consequences-of real life.

Regan is an Elusion insider. Or at least she used to be. Her father invented the program, and her best friend, Patrick, heir to the tech giant Orexis, is about to release it nationwide. But ever since her father’s unexpected death, Regan can’t bear to Escape, especially since waking up from the dream means crashing back to her grim reality.

Still, when there are rumors of trouble in Elusion-accusations that it’s addictive and dangerous-Regan is determined to defend it. But the critics of Elusion come from surprising sources, including Josh, the handsome skeptic with his own personal stakes. As Regan investigates the claims, she discovers a disturbing web of secrets. She will soon have to choose between love and loyalty…a decision that will affect the lives of millions.

AND THEN! Ernest Cline’s new book! I loved Ready Player One and cannot wait for Armada:


Zack Lightman is daydreaming through another dull math class when the high-tech dropship lands in his school’s courtyard-and when the men in the dark suits and sunglasses leap out of the ship and start calling his name, he’s sure he’s still dreaming.

But the dream is all too real; the people of Earth need him. As Zack soon discovers, the videogame he’s been playing obsessively for years isn’t just a game; it’s part of a massive, top-secret government training program, designed to teach gamers the skills they’ll need to defend Earth from a possible alien invasion. And now…that invasion is coming.

As he and his companions prepare to enter their ships and do battle, Zack learns that the father he thought was dead is actually a key player in this secret war. And together with his father, he’ll uncover the truth about the alien threat, race to prevent a genocide, and discover a mysterious third player in the interplanetary chess game he’s been thrown into.

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

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  • Shannon H
    August 24, 2013 at 12:05 pm

    I read an ARC of Elusion and was terribly disappointed. I could see the potential for interesting and exciting moments, but they all petered out or went in the wrong direction, and I found the writing pretty clunky. I probably skimmed the last 150 pages…

  • Shannon @ River City Reading
    August 24, 2013 at 4:41 pm

    I saw Armada while browsing through the new Crown catalog on Edelweiss yesterday and was all “OMGGG HIGHLY ANTICIPATING”. Those first two books are right up my alley, too. Making my list grow and grow!

  • Bibliotropic
    August 24, 2013 at 7:56 pm

    Oh, I very much need to get my hands on “Bluestockings.” I don’t read as much nonfiction as I’d like, but that one’s right in my field of interests, and I’d make the time for it!

  • Gerd D.
    August 25, 2013 at 6:21 am

    Cline’s “Armada” sounds totally “The Last Starfighter”, loved that movie as a kid. Hope the book is equally fun.

  • Linda W
    August 25, 2013 at 10:05 am

    These all sound great! Um, Armada sounds a tad bit like Ender’s Game and definitely The Last Starfighter. Bluestockings sounds awesome.

  • Iris
    August 25, 2013 at 11:19 am

    Bluestockings sounds awesome! I do need that book 🙂 I wish I read more non fiction that is non-study related, but somehow I’m always just so happy to have gotten the whole nonfiction reading over with at work.

  • Victoria Janssen
    August 25, 2013 at 11:44 am

    Thanks for the pointer to the WWI-set book!

  • Thea
    August 25, 2013 at 3:43 pm

    Shannon H – Oh no! Well, thank you very much for the heads up – I might pass on ELUSION then.

    Shannon @ River City Reading – YESSS! I cannot wait, it sounds like such a great nerdy mashup of some of my favorite elements.

    Gerd D. & Linda W – Yes, it totally does, and I think that’s the point! Like READY PLAYER ONE, I think it’s a nostalgia mashup of some sweet 80s science fiction and gamer geekery (the cover feels very Galaga/Space Invaders/Asteroids, too).

  • Aarti
    August 26, 2013 at 9:53 pm

    Bluestockings!! I want!

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