“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:
Sarah Kuhn’s Heroine Complex was a delight and I can’t wait for the sequel:
Once upon a time, Aveda Jupiter (aka Annie Chang) was demon-infested San Francisco’s most beloved superheroine, a beacon of hope and strength and really awesome outfits. But all that changed the day she agreed to share the spotlight with her best friend and former assistant Evie Tanaka—who’s now a badass, fire-wielding superheroine in her own right. They were supposed to be a dynamic duo, but more and more, Aveda finds herself shoved into the sidekick role.
It doesn’t help that Aveda’s finally being forced to deal with the fact that she’s been a less than stellar friend to Evie. Or that Scott Cameron—the man Aveda’s loved for years—is suddenly giving her the cold shoulder. Or that the city is currently demon-free, leaving Aveda without the one thing she craves most: a mission.
All of this is causing Aveda’s burning sense of heroic purpose—the thing that’s guided her all these years—to falter.
In short, Aveda Jupiter is having an identity crisis.
When Evie gets engaged and drafts Aveda as her maid of honor, Aveda sees a chance to reclaim her sense of self and sets out on a mission to make sure Evie has the most epic wedding ever. But when a mysterious, unseen supernatural evil starts attacking brides-to-be, Aveda must summon both her superheroine and best friend mojo to take down the enemy and make sure Evie’s wedding goes off without a hitch—or see both her city and her most important friendship destroyed forever.
I only just found out about this book on Twitter and it has been described as Queer AF so I am there for that:
Set in a near-future world where the British Empire never fell and the United States never rose, That Inevitable Victorian Thing is a novel of love, duty, and the small moments that can change people and the world.
Victoria-Margaret is the crown princess of the empire, a direct descendent of Victoria I, the queen who changed the course of history two centuries earlier. The imperial practice of genetically arranged matchmaking will soon guide Margaret into a politically advantageous marriage like her mother before her, but before she does her duty, she’ll have one summer incognito in a far corner of empire. In Toronto, she meets Helena Marcus, daughter of one of the empire’s greatest placement geneticists, and August Callaghan, the heir apparent to a powerful shipping firm currently besieged by American pirates. In a summer of high-society debutante balls, politically charged tea parties, and romantic country dances, Margaret, Helena, and August discover they share an unusual bond and maybe a one in a million chance to have what they want and to change the world in the process —just like the first Queen Victoria.
In our review of The Last Colony by John Scalzi, I expressed dissatisfaction with the novel’s main character and an undying love for Jane Sagan. The author himself reminded us of this:
Fans of John Scalzi’s “Old Man” universe, prepare yourselves: there’s a long new story in that universe, told from the point of view of one of the series’ most intriguing characters. Subterranean Press is proud to publish The Sagan Diary, a long novelette that for the first time looks at the worlds of the Hugo-nominated Old Man’s War and its sequel The Ghost Brigades from the point of view of Lieutenant Jane Sagan, who in a series of diary entries gives her views on some of the events included in the series… and sheds new light into some previously unexplored corners. If you thought you knew Jane Sagan before, prepare to be surprised.
I was browsing Edelweiss and I am really keen to read this book:
The Closest I’ve Come is a raw and funny novel that is at once heartbreaking and heartwarming, a must-read from talented debut author Fred Aceves.
Marcos Rivas wants to find love.
He’s sure as hell not getting it at home, where his mom’s racist boyfriend beats him up. Or from his boys, who aren’t exactly the “hug it out” type. Marcos yearns for love, a working cell phone, and maybe a pair of sneakers that aren’t falling apart. But more than anything, Marcos wants to get out of Maesta, his hood—which seems impossible.
When Marcos is placed in a new after-school program for troubled teens with potential, he meets Zach, a theater geek whose life seems great on the surface, and Amy, a punk girl who doesn’t care what anyone thinks of her. These new friendships inspire Marcos to open up to his Maesta crew, too, and along the way, Marcos starts to think more about his future and what he has to fight for. Marcos ultimately learns that bravery isn’t about acting tough and being macho; it’s about being true to yourself.
On Thea’s Radar:
First up on my list, this awesome-sounding YA fantasy duology with a gender fluid protagonist.
Perfect for fantasy fans of Sarah J. Maas and Leigh Bardugo, the first book in this new duology features a compelling gender fluid main character, impressive worldbuilding, and fast-paced action.
Sallot Leon is a thief, and a good one at that. But gender fluid Sal wants nothing more than to escape the drudgery of life as a highway robber and get closer to the upper-class—and the nobles who destroyed their home.
When Sal steals a flyer for an audition to become a member of The Left Hand—the Queen’s personal assassins, named after the rings she wears—Sal jumps at the chance to infiltrate the court and get revenge.
But the audition is a fight to the death filled with clever circus acrobats, lethal apothecaries, and vicious ex-soldiers. A childhood as a common criminal hardly prepared Sal for the trials. And as Sal succeeds in the competition, and wins the heart of Elise, an intriguing scribe at court, they start to dream of a new life and a different future, but one that Sal can have only if they survive.
This next book had me at Gamer, Nerd, Sorceress.
An omnibus of the first seven books in the USA TODAY bestselling fantasy series—collected together for the first time in one volume. Jade Crow is a sorceress hiding from the most powerful sorcerer in the world: her ex-boyfriend.
Gamer. Nerd. Sorceress.
Jade Crow lives a quiet life running her comic book and game store in Wylde, Idaho, hiding from a powerful sorcerer who wants to eat her heart and take her powers—her ex-boyfriend Samir. Yet when dark powers threaten her friends’ lives, Jade must save them by using magic. But as soon as she does, her nemesis will find her and she won’t be able to stand up against him when he comes.
This is the collection of the first seven volumes of the Hugo Award nominated series: Justice Calling; Murder of Crows; Pack of Lies; Hunting Season; Heartache; Thicker Than Blood; and Magic to the Bone.
This next book sounds like just the right SFF detective fix:
Inception meets True Detective in this science-fiction thriller of spellbinding tension and staggering scope. The Gone World follows a special agent into a savage murder case with grave implications for the fate of mankind.
Shannon Moss is part of a clandestine division within the Naval Criminal Investigative Service. In Western Pennsylvania, 1997, she is assigned to solve the murder of a Navy SEAL’s family–and to locate his teenage daughter, who has disappeared. Though she can’t share the information with conventional law enforcement, Moss discovers that the missing SEAL was an astronaut aboard the spaceship U.S.S. Libra–a ship assumed lost to the darkest currents of Deep Time. Moss knows first-hand the mental trauma of time-travel and believes the SEAL’s experience with the future has triggered this violence.
Determined to find the missing girl and driven by a troubling connection from her own past, Moss travels ahead in time to explore possible versions of the future, seeking evidence or insight that will crack the present-day case. To her horror, the future reveals that it’s not only the fate of a family that hinges on her work, for what she witnesses rising over time’s horizon and hurtling toward the present is the Terminus: the terrifying and cataclysmic end of humanity itself.
Luminous and unsettling, The Gone World bristles with world-shattering ideas yet remains at its heart an intensely human story.
This next book sounds very sad, but one I’d like to give a chance.
Wake up. Wake up, Boy.
I’m bored. Time passes slowly in here, just you and me. It must be lunchtime. He will let us out soon.
The kennel has been JC’s and his dog Boy’s home, ever since JC’s new foster father locked them inside.
They share food and water when they can get it, play, and talk. JC tells Boy about how he came to his country and his life in Haiti beforehand: his family; the orphanage; the hurricane that swept everything away. That’s when his adoptive mother Melanie rescued him and brought him to America.
Life was beginning to look good again until JC did something bad, something that upset his new father so much that he and Boy were banished to the kennel. But as his adoptive father gets sicker, JC and Boy realize they have to find a way out. And so begins a stunning story of a boy, a dog, and their journey to freedom.
Last, this forthcoming post-apocalyptic SFF novel sounds particularly moving:
In a breathtakingly vivid and emotionally gripping debut novel, one woman must confront the emptiness in the universe—and in her own heart—when a devastating virus reduces most of humanity to dust and memories.
All Jamie Allenby ever wanted was space. Even though she wasn’t forced to emigrate from Earth, she willingly left the overpopulated, claustrophobic planet. And when a long relationship devolved into silence and suffocating sadness, she found work on a frontier world on the edges of civilization. Then the virus hit…
Now Jamie finds herself dreadfully alone, with all that’s left of the dead. Until a garbled message from Earth gives her hope that someone from her past might still be alive.
Soon Jamie finds other survivors, and their ragtag group will travel through the vast reaches of space, drawn to the promise of a new beginning on Earth. But their dream will pit them against those desperately clinging to the old ways. And Jamie’s own journey home will help her close the distance between who she has become and who she is meant to be…
And that’s it from us! What books do you have on YOUR radar?