“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!
After a long Smugglivus break, we are back with a Radar post! Yesterday we talked about our highly anticipated 10 SFF books of 2014 over at Kirkus. Today, we talk about 10 more picks each – because it was impossible to stick to only 10 picks.
On Ana’s Radar:
Oh. My. GOD. There are so many books I am anticipating in 2014, it was SO hard to pick only these 10 (well, 15 if you count the five I picked for Kirkus). But here it goes, in no particular order…
ETA: OK, scrap that. I lied. THERE IS A NEW FRANCES HARDINGE BOOK COMING OUT IN 2014 so there right there, is my TOP 1 Highly Anticipated book of 2014:
Cuckoo Song by Frances Hardinge:
The first things to shift were the doll’s eyes, the beautiful grey-green glass eyes. Slowly they swivelled, until their gaze was resting on Triss’s face. Then the tiny mouth moved, opened to speak. ‘What are you doing here?’ It was uttered in tones of outrage and surprise, and in a voice as cold and musical as the clinking of cups. ‘Who do you think you are? This is my family.’ When Triss wakes up after an accident, she knows that something is very wrong. She is insatiably hungry; her sister seems scared of her and her parents whisper behind closed doors. She looks through her diary to try to remember, but the pages have been ripped out. Soon Triss discovers that what happened to her is more strange and terrible than she could ever have imagined, and that she is quite literally not herself. In a quest find the truth she must travel into the terrifying Underbelly of the city to meet a twisted architect who has dark designs on her family – before it’s too late . .
And now, without further ado…in no particular order…10 titles I am looking forward to in 2014:
Unwrapped Sky by Rjurik Davidson: because I can’t get over the awesome cover featuring a WoC and a minotaur.
Caeli-Amur: an ancient city perched on white cliffs overlooking the sea; a city ruled by three Houses, fighting internecine wars; a city which harbours ancient technology and hidden mysteries. But things are changing in Caeli-Amur. Ancient minotaurs arrive for the traditional Festival of the Sun. The slightly built New-Men bring their technology from their homeland. Wastelanders stream into the city hideously changed by the chemical streams to the north. Strikes break out in the factory district.
In a hideout beneath the city, a small group of seditionists debate ways to overthrow the Houses. How can they rouse the citizens of the city? Should they begin a campaign of terror? Is there a way to uncover the thaumaturgical knowledge that the Houses guard so jealously? As the Houses scramble to maintain their rule, it becomes clear that things will change forever in Caeli-Amur.
The Cracks in the Kingdom (The Colors of Madeleine #2) by Jaclyn Moriarty: because I loved the first book in the series and Jaclyn Moriarty is one my favourite writers
Princess Ko’s been bluffing about the mysterious absence of her father, desperately trying to keep the government running on her own. But if she can’t get him back in a matter of weeks, the consequence may be a devastating war. So under the guise of a publicity stunt she gathers a group of teens — each with a special ability — from across the kingdom to crack the unsolvable case of the missing royals of Cello.
Chief among these is farm-boy heartthrob Elliot Baranski, more determined than ever to find his own father. And with the royal family trapped in the World with no memory of their former lives, Elliot’s value to the Alliance is clear: He’s the only one with a connection to the World, through his forbidden communications with Madeleine.
Through notes, letters, and late nights, Elliot and Madeleine must find a way to travel across worlds and bring missing loved ones home. The stakes are high, and the writing by turns hilarious and suspenseful, as only Jaclyn Moriarty can be.
In a far distant future, Tucker Feye and the inscrutable Lia find themselves atop a crumbling pyramid in an abandoned city. In present-day Hopewell, Tucker’s uncle Kosh faces armed resistance and painful memories as he attempts to help a terrorized woman named Emma, who is being held captive by a violent man. And on a train platform in 1997, a seventeen-year-old Kosh is given an instruction that will change his life, and the lives of others, forever.
Tucker, Lia, and Kosh must evade the pursuit of maggot-like Timesweeps, battle Master Gheen’s cult of Lambs, all while they puzzle out the enigmatic Boggsians as they search for one another and the secrets of the diskos. Who built them? Who is destroying them? Where — and when — will it all end?
We Were Liars by E. Lockhart: because Lockhart is a favourite YA writer of awesome stories with GIRLS and this one is already generating so much positive buzz!
A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from National Book Award finalist and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart.
And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.
The Islands of Chaldea by Diana Wynne Jones and Ursula Jones: because Diana Wynne Jones. The very last Diana Wynne Jones…
The brand new and final novel from the magical and whimsical pen of ‘the Godmother of Fantasy’, Diana Wynne Jones; co-authored with her sister Ursula Jones.
Aileen was supposed to grow up magical – just like the other women in her family. Unfortunately, she’s just found out that the magic seems to have skipped a generation… but that’s not her biggest problem right now.
In her world, there are four Islands of Chaldea. The largest and most magical island has been cut off from the other three for decades – and is slowly draining the magic from them.
But now a prophecy has come to light. Someone from Aileen’s island will gather a man from each of the three islands, bring down the magical barrier, and unite them with the fourth island again. And according to the king, that someone is Aileen’s Aunt – who insists on dragging Aileen along. AND the boy Aileen is sure she’ll marry (one day); AND the local boy with more brawn then brain. Someone seems to want to stop them too… someone with an interest in keeping the Islands apart. But still, with magic on their side, nothing can go wrong. Right?
The Castle Behind Thorns by Merrie Haskell: because I love middle grade Fantasy and Haskell excels at writing them
When Sand wakes up alone in a long-abandoned castle, he has no idea how he got there. The stories all said the place was ruined by an earthquake, and Sand did not expect to find everything inside-from dishes to candles to apples-torn in half or slashed to bits. Nothing lives here and nothing grows, except the vicious, thorny bramble that prevents Sand from leaving. Why wasn’t this in the stories?
To survive, Sand does what he knows best-he fires up the castle’s forge to mend what he needs to live. But the things he fixes work somehow better than they ought to. Is there magic in the mending, granted by the saints who once guarded this place?
Unexpectedly, Sand finds the lost heir, Perrotte, a girl who shares the castle’s astonishing secrets and dark history. Putting together the pieces-of stone and iron, and of a broken life-is harder than Sand ever imagined, but it’s the only way to gain their freedom, even with the help of the guardian saints.
With gorgeous language and breathtaking magic, Merrie Haskell’s The Castle Behind Thorns tells of the power of memory and story, forgiveness and strength, and the true gifts of craft and imagination.
The Lost by Sarah Beth Durst: Durst is another author whose work has consistently impressed me so she is an auto-buy
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.
The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North: because I am just SO intrigued by the sound of it.
Harry August is on his deathbed. Again.
Every time Harry dies, he is reborn in exactly the same time and place, a child with all the knowledge of a life he has already lived a dozen times before. No matter what he does or the decisions he makes, when death comes, Harry always returns to where he began, and nothing ever changes. Until now.
As Harry nears the end of his eleventh life, a little girl appears by his bedside. “I nearly missed you, Doctor August,” she says. “I need to send a message back with you. It has come down from child to adult, child to adult, passed back down the generations from a thousand years forward in time. The message is that the world is ending, and we cannot prevent it. So it’s now up to you.”
This is the story of what Harry August does next — and what he did before — and how he tries to save a past he cannot change and a future he cannot allow. It is a story of friendship and betrayal, of love and loneliness, loyalty and redemption, and the inevitable march of time.
The Shadow Hero by Gene Luen Yang: Let me count the ways this sounds great: it is a funny comics for kids about superheroes, published by the always excellent First:Second and written by Gene Luen Yang, author of the incredible Boxers/Saints. I mean, seriously.
In the comics boom of the 1940s, a legend was born: the Green Turtle. He solved crimes and fought injustice just like the other comics characters. But this mysterious masked crusader was hiding something more than your run-of-the-mill secret identity… The Green Turtle was the first Asian American super hero.
The comic had a short run before lapsing into obscurity, but the acclaimed author of American Born Chinese, Gene Luen Yang, has finally revived this character in a new graphic novel that creates an origin story for the Green Turtle.
With artwork by Sonny Liew, this gorgeous, funny comics adventure for teens is a new spin on the long, rich tradition of American comics lore.
Friendship: A Novel by Emily Gould: because it sounds great and it comes it recommended on this Smugglivus post by Bennett Madison
A novel about two friends learning the difference between getting older and growing up.
Bev Tunney and Amy Schein have been best friends for years; now, at thirty, they’re at a crossroads. Bev is a Midwestern striver still mourning a years-old romantic catastrophe. Amy is an East Coast princess whose luck and charm have too long allowed her to cruise through life. Bev is stuck in circumstances that would have barely passed for bohemian in her mid-twenties: temping, living with roommates, drowning in student-loan debt. Amy is still riding the tailwinds of her early success, but her habit of burning bridges is finally catching up to her. And now Bev is pregnant.
As Bev and Amy are dragged, kicking and screaming, into real adulthood, they have to face the possibility that growing up might mean growing apart.
Friendship, Emily Gould’s debut novel, traces the evolution of a friendship with humor and wry sympathy. Gould examines the relationship between two women who want to help each other but sometimes can’t help themselves; who want to make good decisions but sometimes fall prey to their own worst impulses; whose generous intentions are sometimes overwhelmed by petty concerns.
This is a novel about the way we speak and live today; about the ways we disappoint and betray one another. At once a meditation on the modern meaning of maturity and a timeless portrait of the underexamined bond that exists between friends, this exacting and truthful novel is a revelation.
On Thea’s Radar:
I also would like to echo the excitement for Sarah Beth Durst, Gene Luen Yang, and Merrie Haskell’s new books! One note: I’m only picking titles which have revealed covers, but there are a few books releasing in late 2014 that I would totally include on this list (Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner’s This Shattered World, Claire Legrand’s Winterspell, for example). Without further ado, here are the top 10 (excluding the 5 over at Kirkus and books without covers) that I am very excited to read in 2014:
Independent Study by Joelle Charbonneau – first up, chronologically, this is the second book in Charbonneau’s Testing series (which I enjoyed immensely!). I cannot wait for this second installment:
In the series debut The Testing, sixteen-year-old Cia Vale was chosen by the United Commonwealth government as one of the best and brightest graduates of all the colonies . . . a promising leader in the effort to revitalize postwar civilization. In Independent Study, Cia is a freshman at the University in Tosu City with her hometown sweetheart, Tomas—and though the government has tried to erase her memory of the brutal horrors of The Testing, Cia remembers. Her attempts to expose the ugly truth behind the government’s murderous programs put her—and her loved ones—in a world of danger. But the future of the Commonwealth depends on her.
Death Sworn by Leah Cypess – I loved Leah Cypess’s Mistborn books, so I am thrilled to read her new series. Doesn’t this book sound fantastic?
When Ileni lost her magic, she lost everything: her place in society, her purpose in life, and the man she had expected to spend her life with. So when the Elders sent her to be magic tutor to a secret sect of assassins, she went willingly, even though the last two tutors had died under mysterious circumstances.
But beneath the assassins’ caves, Ileni will discover a new place and a new purpose… and a new and dangerous love. She will struggle to keep her lost magic a secret while teaching it to her deadly students, and to find out what happened to the two tutors who preceded her. But what she discovers will change not only her future, but the future of her people, the assassins… and possibly the entire world.
Tin Star by Cecil Castellucci – I’m a big fan of Cecil Castellucci’s, and her new science fiction novel Tin Star looks and sounds fantastic (and is already getting awesome reviews):
On their way to start a new life, Tula and her family travel on the Prairie Rose, a colony ship headed to a planet in the outer reaches of the galaxy. All is going well until the ship makes a stop at a remote space station, the Yertina Feray, and the colonist’s leader, Brother Blue, beats Tula within an inch of her life. An alien, Heckleck, saves her and teaches her the ways of life on the space station.
When three humans crash land onto the station, Tula’s desire for escape becomes irresistible, and her desire for companionship becomes unavoidable. But just as Tula begins to concoct a plan to get off the space station and kill Brother Blue, everything goes awry, and suddenly romance is the farthest thing from her mind.
Earth Star by Janet Edwards – Speaking of science fiction, is anyone else excited for the sequel to Janet Edwards’ Earth Girl, Earth Star? I loved the first book (with minor reservations) and have high hopes for this second novel in the series:
Sequel to Earth Girl.
18-year-old Jarra has a lot to prove. After being awarded one of the military’s highest honours for her role in a daring rescue attempt, Jarra finds herself – and her Ape status – in the spotlight. Jarra is one of the unlucky few born with an immune system that cannot survive on other planets. Derided as an ‘ape’ – a ‘throwback’ – by the rest of the universe, Jarra is on a mission to prove that Earth Girls are just as good as anyone else.
Except now the planet she loves is under threat by what could be humanity’s first ever alien contact. Jarra’s bravery – and specialist knowledge – will once again be at the centre of the maelstrom, but will the rest of the universe consider Earth worth fighting for?
In the End by Demitria Lunetta – Speaking of sequels, I just finished reading Demitria Lunetta’s exceptional YA science fiction/post-apocalyptic novel In the After and I *loved* it wholeheartedly. In the End is the concluding half of the duology and I am very, very excited/impatient for its release.
The thrilling conclusion to In the After, the survival story of Amy and Baby, set in a near future where Earth has been overrun by vicious, predatory creatures.
It’s been three months since Amy escaped New Hope, and she’s been surviving on her own, like she did in the After. Until one day, her former fellow Guardian’s voice rings out in her earpiece. And in a desperate tone, Kay utters the four words Amy had hoped she would never hear: Dr. Reynolds has Baby.
Now it’s a race against time, for Baby is in imminent danger, her life threatened by the malevolent doctor who had helped start the end of the world. In order to save Baby, Amy must make her way to Fort Black, a prison-turned-survivor-colony, where she will need to find Ken, Kay’s brother. He alone holds the key to Baby’s survival.
One small slip-up on this quest could spark a downward spiral that would not only cost Baby and Amy their lives, but threaten the very survival of the people in the After.
Dangerous by Shannon Hale – Did I mention that Shannon Hale has a new book coming out next year? Can I get a woohoo?
Maisie Danger Brown just wanted to get away from home for a bit, see something new. She never intended to fall in love. And she never imagined stumbling into a frightening plot that kills her friends and just might kill her, too. A plot that is already changing life on Earth as we know it. There’s no going back. She is the only thing standing between danger and annihilation.
From NY Times bestselling author Shannon Hale comes a novel that asks, How far would you go to save the ones you love? And how far would you go to save everyone else?
The Three by Sarah Lotz – Requisite horror novel for 2014 – this eerie sounding apocalyptic fable has Thea written all over it.
Four simultaneous plane crashes. Three child survivors. A religious fanatic who insists the three are harbingers of the apocalypse. What if he’s right?
The world is stunned when four commuter planes crash within hours of each other on different continents. Facing global panic, officials are under pressure to find the causes. With terrorist attacks and environmental factors ruled out, there doesn’t appear to be a correlation between the crashes, except that in three of the four air disasters a child survivor is found in the wreckage.
Dubbed ‘The Three’ by the international press, the children all exhibit disturbing behavioural problems, presumably caused by the horror they lived through and the unrelenting press attention. This attention becomes more than just intrusive when a rapture cult led by a charismatic evangelical minister insists that the survivors are three of the four harbingers of the apocalypse. The Three are forced to go into hiding, but as the children’s behaviour becomes increasingly disturbing, even their guardians begin to question their miraculous survival…
Nightingale’s Nest by Nikki Loftin – I only recently learned about this Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale retelling of The Nightgale (THANKS, SMUGGLIVUS GUESTS!) but I am already salivating for it.
Twelve-year-old John Fischer Jr., or “Little John” as he’s always been known, is spending his summer helping his father with his tree removal business, clearing brush for Mr. King, the wealthy owner of a chain of Texas dollar stores, when he hears a beautiful song that transfixes him. He follows the melody and finds, not a bird, but a young girl sitting in the branches of a tall sycamore tree.
There’s something magical about this girl, Gayle, especially her soaring singing voice, and Little John’s friendship with Gayle quickly becomes the one bright spot in his life, for his home is dominated by sorrow over his sister’s death and his parents’ ever-tightening financial difficulties.
But then Mr. King draws Little John into an impossible choice—forced to choose between his family’s survival and a betrayal of Gayle that puts her future in jeopardy.
Inspired by a Hans Christian Andersen story, Nightingale’s Nest is an unforgettable novel about a boy with the weight of the world on his shoulders and a girl with the gift of healing in her voice.
Horizon by Jenn Reese – I love this middle grade series with a passion (Mirage was SO good). Seriously, if you haven’t read this series yet, what are you waiting for?!
In this third and final adventure in the Above World series, Aluna and her friends finally face their most terrifying enemy, Karl Strand.
Aluna and Hoku, Kampii from the City of Shifting Tides, and their friends, Equian Dash and winged Aviar Calli, are determined to stop a war. The maniacal ex-scientist Karl Strand is planning to conquer the world with his enormous army of tech-enhanced soldiers . . . unless the four friends can get to Strand first. Aluna’s plan is dangerous: pose as Upgraders and infiltrate the army. But the enemy isn’t what they expected and the strategy begins to crumble. When the friends are torn apart by conflicting allegiances, their slim chance of avoiding war seems to disappear completely. For Aluna and Hoku, what began as a quest to save their own people has become a mission to save the world. But do Aluna and her friends have any hope of defeating Strand if they can’t take him on together?
The Summer I Wasn’t Me by Jessica Verdi – I recently saw this book and was immediately drawn to it. A novel about a young queer girl, who is sent to a “conversion therapy” summer camp by her own mother. I cannot wait to read this book.
Lexi has a secret…
Ever since her mom found out she was in love with a girl, seventeen-year-old Lexi’s afraid that what’s left of her family is going to fall apart for good.
You are on the road to truth. Help is on the way.
The road signs leading to New Horizons summer camp promise a new life for Lexi—she swears she can change. She can learn to like boys. But denying her feelings is harder than she thinks. And when she falls heads over heels for one of her fellow campers, Lexi will have to risk her mother’s approval for the one person who might love her no matter what.
And that’s it from us! What books do you have on YOUR radar for 2014?