Today we bring bring back our feature, “What She Said…” in which we both review books that the other has previously read and reviewed. This feature arose because of a very serious dilemma we faced at Casa de Smugglers: what happens when one of us reads and reviews a book that the other desperately wants to read and review? We can’t really post about the same book AGAIN, right? WRONG! Thus, “What She Said…” was born. Thea read The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein last year and has been talking it up ever since – she even included it as one of her top 10 reads of 2018. When the time came for us to resurrect (pun intended) our long-lost What She Said feature, this was the first book that came to mind. The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White September 25th 2018, Delacorte Press, 304 pages Elizabeth Lavenza hasn’t had a proper meal in weeks. Her thin arms are covered with bruises from her “caregiver,” and she is on the verge of being thrown into the streets . . . until she is brought to the home of Victor Frankenstein, an unsmiling, solitary boy who has everything–except […]
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First up, a book that looks and sounds incredible and which I already own and will be reading soon: Satire meets slasher in this short, darkly funny hand grenade of a novel about a Nigerian woman whose younger sister has a very inconvenient habit of killing her boyfriends. “Femi makes three, you know. Three and they label you a serial killer.” Korede is bitter. How could she not be? Her sister, Ayoola, is many things: the favorite child, the beautiful one, possibly sociopathic. And now Ayoola’s third boyfriend in a row is dead. Korede’s practicality is the sisters’ saving grace. She knows the best solutions for cleaning blood, the trunk of her car is big enough for a body, and she keeps Ayoola from posting pictures of her dinner to Instagram when she should be mourning her “missing” boyfriend. Not that she gets any credit.A kind, handsome doctor at the hospital where Korede works, is the bright spot in her life. She dreams of the day when he will realize they’re perfect for each other. But one day Ayoola shows up to the hospital uninvited and he takes notice. When he asks Korede for Ayoola’s phone number, she must reckon […]
Title:Sadie Author: Courtney Summers Genre: Contemporary YA Publisher: St. Martin’s Press Publication date: September 2018 Paperback: 311 pages A missing girl on a journey of revenge. A Serial?like podcast following the clues she’s left behind. And an ending you won’t be able to stop talking about. Sadie hasn’t had an easy life. Growing up on her own, she’s been raising her sister Mattie in an isolated small town, trying her best to provide a normal life and keep their heads above water. But when Mattie is found dead, Sadie’s entire world crumbles. After a somewhat botched police investigation, Sadie is determined to bring her sister’s killer to justice and hits the road following a few meager clues to find him. When West McCray?a radio personality working on a segment about small, forgotten towns in America?overhears Sadie’s story at a local gas station, he becomes obsessed with finding the missing girl. He starts his own podcast as he tracks Sadie’s journey, trying to figure out what happened, hoping to find her before it’s too late. Courtney Summers has written the breakout book of her career. Sadie is propulsive and harrowing and will keep you riveted until the last page. Stand alone or […]
I included The Epic Crush of Genie Lo in my top 10 of the year but I had not reviewed it – UNTIL NOW. I am over at Kirkus with a full review of the funnest book of 2018. Go over there to check it out.
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“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: Happy New Year! I am so glad we are bringing the radar back! First up is this amazing-looking book Fantasy YA that mixes Project Runway and Mulan.
We are over at Kirkus today for our regular column! It’s Thea’s turn today with a review of Furyborn by Claire Legrand. The first book in a new series from Claire Legrand, Furyborn tells the story of two different women, separated by a thousand years, but united by a single prophecy. Get the full scoop over at Kirkus.
Old School Wednesdays is a regular Book Smuggler feature. We came up with the idea towards the end of 2012, when both Ana and Thea were feeling exhausted from the never-ending inundation of New and Shiny (and often over-hyped) books. What better way to snap out of a reading fugue than to take a mini-vacation into the past? Logo designed by the wonderful KMont Title: A Matter of Oaths Author: Helen S. Wright Genre: Science Fiction Publisher: Bloomsbury Caravel Publication date: First published 1988 (new editions, 2017) Paperback: 330 pages When Commander Rallya of the patrol ship Bhattya hires Rafe as their new Web officer, she knows she is taking a risk. As an oath breaker, Rafe has suffered the ultimate punishment – identity wipe – but luckily for him, there’s no one else around qualified for the job. Shunned by his previous shipmates, Rafe is ready to keep his head down and do his job, but his competence quickly earns him respect, admiration, and, in one particular case, love. It’s difficult to maintain the glow of acceptance however, when his past is chasing him across the galaxy in the shape of an assassin, intent on dealing once and for […]
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In which we Book Smugglers present our top 10 books of 2018 and other assorted goodies… Another year, another top 10 list! 2018 was one of huge developments and change for us Book Smugglers–in 2017 we ran our very first kickstarter, and in 2018 we began the daunting task of fulfilling all of our kickstarter rewards and work. Our reviewing output, naturally, went down as a direct effect–but our reading still continued. Today, on this first day of 2019, we are delighted to present you with our Most Excellent Books of 2018! MOST EXCELLENT BOOKS OF 2018 Ana’s Most Excellent List I read across a multitude of genres and categories and I think my top 10 shows that beautifully. Here are my favourite reads of the year, in no particular order: 10. Tess of the Road by Rachel Hartman I read Tess of the Road by Rachel Hartman as early as March and I already knew then it would be part of this list. A YA Fantasy set in the same world as Hartman’s Seraphina, Tess of the Road is a fantastical road trip that ends up being less fantastical and more realistic as it offers an examination and a deconstruction of rape culture as experienced by its main female character. […]
“Where to Start With” is our ongoing series of essays detailing where one can start with any number of SFF/popgeekery topics, from where to begin with the morass of X-Men comics to diving into the expanded Star Wars canon. Today, we’re thrilled to present guest writer Lulu Kadhim’s point of view, on where to start with SFF board games. Board games are currently in their golden age. While most people have played Monopoly or Clue, over the past ten years, modern board games have become a blossoming industry. These days, board games are as complex and different from each other as novels, though they might share different genres. While we think of science fiction, fantasy, and horror in speculative fiction writing genres, board games are largely split between the affectionately named “Euros” and “Ameritrash.” (While “Ameritrash” is sometimes seen as a bit pejorative, it is a tongue-in-cheek designation.) Euros truly drove the board game industry resurgence. tend to be heavy on mechanics, don’t rely on luck or combat, and stereotypically have very dry themes. Lots of Euros have a reputation of being “multiplayer solitaire”–the lack of combat mechanics means you can usually only affect other player’s indirectly (by taking the […]
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Trash & Treasure is a miscellany of monthly opinions on SFF, fandom and general geekness from Foz Meadows. Last month, I read two excellent novellas – Between the Firmaments by J.Y. Yang and In the Vanishers’ Palace by Aliette de Bodard – that struck me as being in conversation with one another. In terms of worldbuilding, both works blend magic, mythology and science fiction into a seamless new whole, while thematically, each story uses that backdrop to discuss the impact of (alien) colonisation, and the dislocation of the (mythical) traditional, through the lens of queer romance. And yet, at the same time, each narrative is deeply original: while Yang’s work is set in a wholly invented setting, de Bodard’s is drawn from Vietnamese traditions and stories. In Firmaments, Bareigh the Hunter is a god reduced to hiding among mortals, working as a labourer in an impossible sky-city ruled by the invading Blasphemers, who use the divinity of captured gods and other magical beings to fuel their powerful sunmetal devices. The Blashphemers come from another world, and the yoke they hold over Bareigh’s planet has seen his god-siblings and their mortal descendants either killed or scattered, the land itself wracked with […]
Finding excellent short SFF can often feel like hunting for buried treasure. Sometimes it takes a guide to help fill in the map, connecting readers with fantastic fiction and showing where X Marks The Story–a new monthly column from Charles Payseur. It seems this column has reached its X-piration date. For a year now it’s been my honor and privilege to play guide on these X-cursions through the wilds of short SFF. This will be the final X Marks the Story, and I feel it’s fitting that it comes in December, when many consider the year to end—as the holidays move into full swing, and celebrations attempt to find a bit of joy even in the coldest of climates. Which is what I’d like to focus on in. Not celebrations, but rather characters pushing back against the cold, against forces that seem pervasive and harsh and unstoppable. And how, against all that, sometimes all a person has is another person. A single connection that makes all the cold seem warm. It might be a family member, or a stranger, or a partner against a broken world. But sometimes all it takes is two candles burning against the night to make […]
We are over at Kirkus today for our regular column! It’s Thea’s turn today with a review of Empire of Sand by Tasha Suri. The debut novel from Tasha Suri, Empire of Sand is a historical fantasy novel inspired by the Mughal Empire–and it’s a lot of fun (with some reservations). Get the full scoop over at Kirkus.
Non-Binary Authors To Read is a quarterly column from A.C. Wise highlighting non-binary authors of speculative fiction and recommending a starting place for their work. Welcome to December’s Non-Binary Authors to Read! Before I jump into the recommendations, a minor housekeeping note. In 2019, Women to Read and Non-Binary Authors to Read will become quarterly at The Book Smugglers, alternating between the two columns. That may mean I highlight more titles with each installment, I’m not sure yet, but what I do know is I love writing both columns, and they will continue, just at a slightly slower pace. Now, on to the reviews! Lane Waldman is a short fiction author, and my recommended starting place for their work is “Tam Lim” published in Capricious 8. The story re-imagines the classic ballad of Tam Lin, who is stolen away by the Faerie Queen and must be won back by his lover, Janet. Waldman sets the story in the world of dreams. Instead of Janet trying to keep a grasp on the shifting forms of her lover, the unnamed protagonist is caught in a series of twisty and shifting dreams, trying to keep a grasp on reality and find the man […]
We are over at Kirkus! Today, Ana takes a look at The Boneless Mercies by April Genevieve Tucholke Norse Mythology, Beowulf retelling with ladies seeking fortune and fame. Go over to Kirkus to read the whole review.
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In which we reveal the cover and open preorders for The Anthology–a limited edition printed collection of the first four years of short stories from Book Smugglers Publishing. Today, we are utterly delighted to share with you the publication of The Anthology, our last collected print edition from Book Smugglers Publishing, containing twenty-one short stories across our first four years of publishing: Fairy Tales, First Contact, Superheroes, and Gods and Monsters. In 2017 we ran a kickstarter campaign to level-up The Book Smugglers website, contributors, and to fund our 2018 season of short stories. We were ecstatic and speechless when we not only met our funding goal, but also our stretch goals–which included brand new serialized short fiction from JY Yang as well as the creation of this mega-anthology, comprising the first four seasons of all of our short stories. About The Anthology The Anthology is a mega-tome, collecting twenty-one short stories over seven hundred pages and four years. Year One: Fairy Tales Hunting Monsters S.L. Huang In Her Head, In Her Eyes Yukimi Ogawa Mrs. Yaga Michal Wojcik The Mussel Eater Octavia Cade The Astronomer Who Met The North Wind Kate Hall The Ninety-Ninth Bride Catherine Faris King Year […]
We are over at Kirkus today for our regular column! It’s Thea’s turn today with a review of Nightflyers by George R.R. Martin. Originally published in 1980 as a novella, and now fodder for a brand new SyFy original series, Nightflyers is GRRM’s take on sci-fi horror, complete with an alien species, a haunted ship, and loads of telekinetic/psionic twists. Get the full scoop over at Kirkus.
Trash & Treasure is a miscellany of monthly opinions on SFF, fandom and general geekness from Foz Meadows. I was four when I first – and, to my best recollection, last – watched the original She-Ra. I loved her as a preschool-aged kid, and then, because it was the very early 90s and you couldn’t rewatch anything unless it was live-to-air or you’d taped it to VHS, I lost access to her completely. Even so, I was excited when I heard about Netflix’s plans to reboot the show, not least due to the showrunning involvement of Adventure Time alum Noelle Stevenson, whose graphic novel Nimona I profoundly enjoyed. Given that I haven’t seen the original She-Ra in nearly thirty years, it’s fair to say that my memories of it are thin at best: what I recall most strongly isn’t so much the show itself, but how it made my child self feel. I remember lofting a pretend sword at preschool as I invoked the power of Grayskull to become She-Ra, tunelessly singing the theme song, and I remember colourful, disconnected flashes of the show itself, most clearly about an episode where one character was revealed to be the mother of […]
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Summer has turned into fall, the weather still hot and sticky in Southern Illinois, and I’m in grad school. I’m the only person of color in the Fiction half of my MFA. One of two, maybe three in the entire program. The only international student. One of very, very few brown faces in this little college town. The fractions of otherness are a depressing equation, and it never solves in my favour. I’m a long way from home. I am alone in my matchbox-sized studio, playing What Remains of Edith Finch. Videogames, always a delight, have become my last bastion of sanity in grad school, a way to refill my creative well while taking a break from the written word. Edith walks through an empty house haunted by memories of her once-large, once-beloved family. All dead. All gone. She adds to a hand-drawn family tree in a notebook, inking in faces to match the names tucked between branches and leaves as she visits each abandoned bedroom. When we find our way to her mother’s room, the first thing that catches my eye is the familiar colours and geometric shapes of the wall hangings. We look through her mother’s dusty belongings—photos, […]
Sorry about the super dramatic title but it’s Monday, we are over at Kirkus, the year is almost OVER and I HAVE SO MUCH TO READ WELP *doom* Go over to Kirkus to check out everything that MUST BE READ.
We are delighted to share an excerpt from the second novel in Tade Thompson’s highly acclaimed Wormwood trilogy science fiction series, The Rosewater Insurrection. About the Book The second volume in a vibrant and compellingly told trilogy by one of science fiction’s most engaging new voices – perfect for fans of N. K. Jemisin’s The Fifth Season, Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Justice and Jeff Vandermeer’s Southern Reach trilogy. The year is 2067. The city of Rosewater is chaotic, vibrant and full of life – some of it extra-terrestrial. The charismatic mayor, Jack Jacques, has declared Rosewater a free state, independent to Nigeria. But the city’s alien dome is dying. Government forces await its demise, ready to destroy Rosewater’s independence before it has even begun. And in the city’s quiet suburbs, a woman wakes with no memory of who she is – with memories belonging to something much older and much more alien. The Excerpt Chapter One Rosewater, 2067 Alyssa I am. I write this for you, so that you can understand the futility of your position. I have already seen the future of my endeavour, and I com- plete my mission at the expense of your survival. I win. Were you […]
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Finding excellent short SFF can often feel like hunting for buried treasure. Sometimes it takes a guide to help fill in the map, connecting readers with fantastic fiction and showing where X Marks The Story–a new monthly column from Charles Payseur. It takes a great deal of strength to defy X-pectations. To fight back against the pressures pushing people into the strict confines of their roles. Roles that offer no relief or reward, but merely make it easier for corruption to spread and prosper. In the stories we’re X-ploring today, things are not X-actly going great. It’s a tour of broken worlds, ripe with deception and pain and people struggling to get by. To find meaning and a reason to keep fighting when it seems useless. When resistance feels futile in the face of the corruption, greed, and omnipresent violence. For all the bleakness that the settings might imply, however, the stories are very much about resistance, revolution, and hope. Both on a scale of governments and realities themselves, and on a much more intimate level, the characters must navigate personal identity and trust amid the possibilities of destruction, violation, and betrayal. And while teetering on the brink of the […]
Earlier this year we published six original short stories online for free and as standalone ebooks, all under the theme of “Awakenings.” Today, we are thrilled to announce that we have collected each of these short stories in an anthology, so you can get ’em all in one sweet package! An unlikely volunteer in a magical war. A young African American girl who “wins” a competition to host an extraterrestrial. A girl with ice in her heart, and another with an ancestor on her back. A cybernetic detective, and an Empress facing the first Choice of her life.Awakenings collects six short stories of different revelations, including: “When the Letter Comes” by Sara Fox “Nussia” by Michele Tracy Berger “The Girl With The Frozen Heart” by Y.M. Pang “Running” by Itoro Udofia “Phantom Limb” by Reiko Scott “Timshala” by Leah Cypess All stories originally edited and published by The Book Smugglers. Get your copy of Awakenings by visiting any of the following retailers! Buy the Book: Kindle US |
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Women To Read is a monthly column from A.C. Wise highlighting female authors of speculative fiction and recommending a starting place for their work. C.L. Polk writes fantasy and romance, and my recommended starting place is her brilliant debut novel, Witchmark, which combines both. Like Justina Ireland’s Dread Nation, which I recommended in last month’s column, Witchmark grabbed me with its stunning cover and more than delivered with its contents. Dr. Miles Singer is a veteran working at a hospital for soldiers recovering from the war. During one of his shifts, a man enters the hospital carrying a dying man in his arms. The dying man is Nick Elliot, who claims he’s been poisoned. He calls Miles by the name Sir Christopher, and begs him to uncover some truth the soldiers need to know. In addition to being a doctor and a former soldier, Miles is also a witch. When he touches Nick in an attempt to heal him, he sees fragments of Nick’s life, learning that he is a witch as well. Despite Miles’ best efforts, Nick dies. Only then does Miles realize the man calling himself Tristan Hunter who brought Nick in witnessed their entire exchange, including Miles’ use […]
We are over at Kirkus today for our regular column! It’s Thea’s turn today with a review of Umbertouched by Livia Blackburne. The second and concluding novel in the Rosemarked duology, Umbertouched is beautifully characterized, self-contained, and full of both action and hope in equal measure. Get the full scoop over at Kirkus.
Hello everybody! Courtesy of Tor Publishing, we have five copies of City of Broken Magic by Mirah Bolender to giveaway! ABOUT THE BOOK Five hundred years ago, magi created a weapon they couldn’t control. An infestation that ate magic—and anything else it came into contact with. Enemies and allies were equally filling. Only an elite team of non-magical humans, known as sweepers, can defuse and dispose of infestations before they spread. Most die before they finish training. Laura, a new team member, has stayed alive longer than most. Now, she’s the last—and only—sweeper standing between the city and a massive infestation. ABOUT THE AUTHOR Mirah Bolender graduated from college with majors in creative writing and art in May 2014. A lifelong traveler, she has traveled and studied overseas, most notably in Japan, and these experiences are reflected in her work. City of Broken Magic is her debut fantasy novel. THE GIVEAWAY Enter the form below to win one of five copies of City of Broken Magic. Good luck! a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Title:The Defiant Heir Author: Melissa Caruso Genre: Fantasy Publisher: Orbit Publication date: April 2018 Paperback: 515 pages Across the border, the Witch Lords of Vaskandar are preparing for war. But before an invasion can begin, they must call a rare gathering of all seventeen lords to decide a course of action. Lady Amalia Cornaro knows that this Conclave might be her only chance to stifle the growing flames of war, and she is ready to make any sacrifice if it means saving Raverra from destruction. Amalia and Zaira must go behind enemy lines, using every ounce of wit and cunning they have, to sway Vaskandar from war. Or else it will all come down to swords and fire. Stand alone or series: Book 2 in the Swords and Fire series How did I get this book: Review Copy from the Publisher Format (e- or p-): Print Review Lady Amalia is the last person one would expect to be a falconer. The daughter and heir to the powerful Cornato family, one of the ruling council members of the Raverran Empire, Amalia has been raised to follow in her formidable mother’s footsteps. All of that changes, though, when Amalia meets Zaira–an exceptionally […]
It’s Friday and we are over at Kirkus! Today, I look at the latest (final!!!!!) Murderbot novella by Martha Wells. It is OF COURSE, super good! Go over there to check it out.
We have some important news to share with regards to Book Smugglers Publishing. As of December 31st 2018, we will be shifting our business away from for sale short stories, novellas, and novels. We started our publishing venture in 2014 with big dreams and goals for our little company. Over the course of these past five years, we have been digital editors and publishers–we have acquired short fiction and commissioned essays, created print on demand and limited print edition titles, and expanded our offerings to novellas and novels. The last five years have taught us how to be flexible and innovative, as we’ve pivoted our business several times to react to the marketplace as well as our readers, in search of balance. The entire time, we’ve pretty much managed all of this work between the two of us and in addition to our full-time jobs: from reading submissions to commissioning work, editing manuscripts to creating marketing and social media campaigns, and managing every part of workflow from layout to distribution. One of the biggest items we’ve grappled with from the start is the problem of scale–as a small indie press, we’ve found breaking into traditional book sales really tough. And […]
We are over at Kirkus today for our regular column! Thea takes over today with her review of Empress of All Seasons by Emiko Jean. A standalone YA fantasy novel set in a fictional Japanese-inspired world, Empress of All Seasons blends some familiar tropes–to-the-death trials, star-crossed and unrequited love, rebellion against injustice–through the perspectives of three very different main characters. Head over to Kirkus to get the full review.
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О чём может рассказать первый главный редактор российского Vogue, основательница русской версии Andy Warhol's Interview, легендарная московская красавица, чьё имя стало синонимом качественной глянцевой журналистики? О том, как она вывела в свет Наталью Водянову? О том, чего стоит дружба Наоми Кэмпбелл и Леонардо ДиКаприо? О том, каково это - держаться на олимпе не один десяток лет, оставаясь при этом настоящим человеком?
Дочь знаменитого хирурга С.Я. Долецкого, внучка первого директора ТАСС Я.Г. Долецкого со свойственной ей иронией и пронзительной искренностью покажет, что скрыто за маской сказочной dolce vita.