“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:
A cool-sounding novella by Mira Grant, with a title that gave me an earworm:
When the Imagine Network commissioned a documentary on mermaids, to be filmed from the cruise ship Atargatis, they expected what they had always received before: an assortment of eyewitness reports that proved nothing, some footage that proved even less, and the kind of ratings that only came from peddling imaginary creatures to the masses.
They didn’t expect actual mermaids. They certainly didn’t expect those mermaids to have teeth.
This is the story of the Atargatis, lost at sea with all hands. Some have called it a hoax; others have called it a maritime tragedy. Whatever the truth may be, it will only be found below the bathypelagic zone in the Mariana Trench…and the depths are very good at keeping secrets.
So Liz Bourke has been raving about Elizabeth Bear’s upcoming novel (something like AS GOOD AS ANCILLARY JUSTICE WHAAA) AND I really want it now:
“You ain’t gonna like what I have to tell you, but I’m gonna tell you anyway. See, my name is Karen Memery, like memory only spelt with an e, and I’m one of the girls what works in the Hôtel Mon Cherie on Amity Street. ‘Hôtel’ has a little hat over the o like that. It’s French, so Beatrice tells me.”
Set in the late nineteenth century—in a city a lot like what we now call Seattle Underground—when airships plied the trade routes, would-be gold miners were reading to the gold fields of Alaska, and steam-powered mechanicals stalked the waterfront, Karen is a young woman on her own, is making the best of her orphaned state by working in Madame Damnable’s high-quality bordello. Through Karen’s eyes we get to know the other girls in the house—a resourceful group—and the poor and the powerful of the town.
Trouble erupts one night when a badly injured girl arrives at their door, begging
sanctuary, followed by the man who holds her indenture, and who has a machine that can take over anyone’s mind and control their actions. And as if that wasn’t bad enough, the next night brings a body dumped in their rubbish heap—a streetwalker who has been brutally murdered.
Hard on the heels of that horrifying discovery comes a lawman who has been chasing this killer for months. Marshal Bass Reeves is closing in on his man, and he’s not about to reject any help he can get, even if it comes from girl who works in the Hôtel Mon Cheri.
Bear brings alive this Jack-the-Ripper yarn of the Old Steampunk West with a
light touch in Karen’s own memorable voice, and a mesmerizing evocation of classic steam-powered science.
I saw this creepy title on Edelweiss – looks good and scary:
Romance, friendship, and dark, bone-chilling fear fill the pages of this summertime thriller in the spirit of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.
Twelve years ago Stella and Jeanie vanished while picking strawberries. Stella returned minutes later, with no memory of what happened. Jeanie was never seen or heard from again.
Now Stella is seventeen, and she’s over it. She’s the lucky one who survived, and sure, the case is still cloaked in mystery—and it’s her small town’s ugly legacy—but Stella is focused on the coming summer. She’s got a great best friend, a hookup with an irresistibly crooked smile, and two months of beach days stretching out before her.
Then along comes a corpse, a little girl who washes up in an ancient cemetery after a mudslide, and who has red hair just like Jeanie did. Suddenly memories of that haunting day begin to return, and when Stella discovers that other red-headed girls have gone missing as well, she begins to suspect that something sinister is at work.
And before the summer ends, Stella will learn the hard way that if you hunt for monsters, you will find them.
Kazuo Ishiguro has a new book coming in March and it sound great:
An extraordinary new novel from the author of Never Let Me Go and the Booker Prize-winning The Remains of the Day.
“You’ve long set your heart against it, Axl, I know. But it’s time now to think on it anew. There’s a journey we must go on, and no more delay…”
The Buried Giant begins as a couple set off across a troubled land of mist and rain in the hope of finding a son they have not seen in years.
Sometimes savage, often intensely moving, Kazuo Ishiguro’s first novel in nearly a decade is about lost memories, love, revenge, and war.
I am half way through The Three-Body Problem right now and I already can’t wait for the second book:
With the scope of Dune, and the rousing action of Independence Day, this near-future trilogy is the first chance for English-speaking readers to experience this multiple award-winning phenomenon from China’s most beloved science fiction author.
In the second book in the series, Earth is reeling from the revelation of a coming alien invasion in just four centuries’ time. The aliens’ human collaborators may have been defeated, but the presence of the sophons, the subatomic particles that allow Trisolaris instant access to all human information, means that Earth’s defense plans are totally exposed to the enemy. Only the human mind remains a secret. This is the motivation for the Wallfacer Project, a daring plan that grants four men enormous resources to design secret strategies hidden through deceit and misdirection from Earth and Trisolaris alike. Three of the Wallfacers are influential statesmen and scientists, but the fourth is a total unknown. LuoJi, an unambitious Chinese astronomer and sociologist, is baffled by his new status. All he knows is that he’s the one Wallfacer that Trisolaris wants dead.
On Thea’s Radar:
First up on Thea’s radar, books from this week’s mailbox! This slim illustrated hardcover looks awesome:
The Ice Dragon is an enchanting tale of courage and sacrifice for young readers and adults by the wildly popular author of the #1 New York Times bestselling Song of Ice and Fire series, George R.R. Martin. Lavish illustrations by acclaimed artist Luis Royo enrich this captivating and heartwarming story of a young girl and her dragon.
In the world of A Song of Ice and Fire the ice dragon was a creature of legend and fear, for no man had ever tamed one. When it flew overhead, it left in its wake desolate cold and frozen land. But Adara was not afraid. For Adara was a winter child, born during the worst freeze that anyone, even the Old Ones, could remember.
Adara could not remember the first time she had seen the ice dragon. It seemed that it had always been in her life, glimpsed from afar as she played in the frigid snow long after the other children had fled the cold. In her fourth year she touched it, and in her fifth year she rode upon its broad, chilled back for the first time. Then, in her seventh year, on a calm summer day, fiery dragons from the North swooped down upon the peaceful farm that was Adara’s home. And only a winter child—and the ice dragon who loved her—could save her world from utter destruction.
This new edition of The Ice Dragon is sure to become a collector’s item for fans of HBO’s megahit Game of Thrones.
This thriller also sounds promising:
It’s a beautiful, sunny day. Callie Velasquez holds hands with her boyfriend Jeremy as they follow Callie’s new BFFs Penelope and Lissa up the trail. The four friends are embarking on a camping trip — a trip that immediately goes awry. They lose their way on the trail, and encounter a charismatic stranger with questionable motives. And when Callie stumbles upon a dead body, it becomes clear that the danger that lies in the woods is deadlier than she could have ever imagined. Tensions mount and friendships are tested as these teenagers try to survive the most sinister of circumstances.
This book sounds potentially problematic and overly-simplistic… but I like the idea of blending magic and science.
I used to be one of those girls. The kind who loved to deliver bad news. When I colored my hair, I imagined it seeping into my scalp, black dye pooling into my veins.
But that was the old Lacy. Now, when I cast spells, they are always for good.
16-year-old Lacy believes that magic and science can work side by side. She’s a botanist who knows how to harness the healing power of plants. So when her father dies, Lacy tries to stay with her step-mother in Chico, where her magic is good and healing. She fears the darkness that her real mother, Cheyenne, brings out, stripping away everything that is light and kind.
Yet Cheyenne never stays away for long. Beautiful, bewitching, unstable Cheyenne who will stop at nothing, not even black magic, to keep control of her daughter’s heart. She forces Lacy to accompany her to Sacramento, and before long, the “old” Lacy starts to resurface.
But when Lacy survives a traumatic encounter, she finds herself faced with a choice. Will she use her powers to exact revenge and spiral into the darkness forever? Or will she find the strength to embrace the light?
Also in the mail this week, a collection of science fiction short stories that sounds awesome:
Carbide Tipped Pens is an anthology of new hard SF stories that follow the classic definition of the genre, in which some element of science or technology is so central to the plot that there would be no story if that element were removed. The aim of the editors was to collect stories which emphasize plot, character, science, originality and believability in equal measure, not only to entertain readers but also to educate and to return the sense of wonder of the Golden Age to a new generation of 21st Century readers.
Then, a book that Ana brought for me from the UK–GUNSLINGING NUN. YES.
The year is 1864. Sister Thomas Josephine is on her way from St Louis, Missouri, to Sacramento, California. During the course of her journey, however, she’ll find that her faith requires her to take off her wimple and pick up a gun. Innocent Visitandine nun Sister Thomas Josephine wants nothing more than an adventure-free journey out west. But adventure is what she’ll get – and heaps of it – when she’s taken hostage by a desperate outlaw on the Laramie Plains of Wyoming. Before long she’ll find herself torn between two men, the handsome Union Army Lieutentant Thomas F. Carthy and the mysterious drifter Abraham C. Muir. And soon, one of these men will be staring down the barrel of her gun.
In this exclusive, free, all-new ebook, you’ll meet Sister Thomas Josephine, the innocent Visitandine nun, and travel along the overland trail with her as she meets varmints and scallywaygs galore.
Finally, I recently read and loved Andromeda’s Choice and received this in the mail this week. Gotta read it ASAP.
“Returning to his Legion of the Damned universe, Dietz illustrates why he’s a master of the genre” (RT Book Reviews). And in Andromeda’s War, his heroine will face her ultimate test—as a battle-scarred legionnaire and as an innocent young woman who once lost everything…
Now a platoon leader, Legionnaire Andromeda McKee seems to have successfully left behind her true identity of Lady Catherine “Cat” Carletto, one of the last two surviving members of the Carletto family targeted for death by Empress Ophelia.
After failing at her one shot at vengeance, Andromeda had been questioning her own resolve. But now her uncle has been killed in a government raid back on Earth, leaving her as the last Carletto standing—and the family’s only chance for justice…
A chance that comes when the empress’s ship crashes on a hostile planet and Andromeda is assigned to head up the rescue mission. As a legionnaire, Andromeda McKee has countless kills under her belt. But when faced with her greatest enemy, it will be Cat Carletto who has to pull the trigger on the one who really matters…
And that’s it from us! What books do you have on YOUR radar?