The Leaning Pile of Books is a feature where I talk about books I got over the last week – old or new, bought or received for review consideration (often unsolicited). Since I hope you will find new books you’re interested in reading in these posts, I try to be as informative as possible. If I can find them, links to excerpts, author’s websites, and places where you can find more information on the book are included.
There were more books than usual this week since my Black Friday order from the Book Depository showed up in addition to some ARCs. I have a lot I need to do to prepare for the holidays so this is just going to be some of the books, and I’ll write about some of the rest over the next few weeks. (I may not be able to write a post next week since I will be very busy with holiday plans.) This week’s post also includes a couple of e-ARCs I got a few weeks ago but didn’t write about immediately since the books weren’t yet on Amazon, Goodreads, or Librarything.
On to (some) of the books!
A Crown for Cold Silver (Book 1 of 3) by Alex Marshall
A Crown for Cold Silver will be available on April 14 (hardcover, ebook). I’ve heard really good things about this book, and it sounds like a book I would like.
An outstanding, game-changing epic fantasy debut featuring an unforgettable female warrior.
FIVE VILLAINS. ONE LEGENDARY GENERAL. A FINAL QUEST FOR VENGEANCE.
Twenty years ago, feared general Cobalt Zosia led her five villainous captains and mercenary army into battle, wrestling monsters and toppling an empire. When there were no more titles to win and no more worlds to conquer, she retired and gave up her legend to history.
Now the peace she carved for herself has been shattered by the unprovoked slaughter of her village. Seeking bloody vengeance, Zosia heads for battle once more, but to find justice she must confront grudge-bearing enemies, once-loyal allies, and an unknown army that marches under a familiar banner.
A CROWN FOR COLD SILVER is an outstanding epic fantasy debut featuring an unforgettable warrior.
Zircons May Be Mistaken (Ghosteria Volume 2) by Tanith Lee
This short novel was released earlier this month (paperback/ebook). I haven’t read Volume 1, but since the first installment is a short story collection I suspect the second volume stands alone well.
Sometimes when people die, it comes as a great shock. Even to them…
A group of the dead linger here, in the yellow dwelling on the hill – once a castle, then a stately home, now falling into ruin.
These ghosts drift and mingle, and brood on their lost lives. Death can be caused by so many things – war, pandemics, ordinary murder – even suicide or accident. Even time. But after death, surely, one could hope for peace? Not any more.
For with 2020 the New Apocalypse began. Civilisation crashed, and outside this ancient building things terrible, predatory, mindless and unkillable roam and bellow.
Now all the lights have gone out for good –
Where do you turn?
The Invisible Library (Book 1 of 3) by Genevieve Cogman
This debut fantasy novel is currently available as an ebook in the UK and will be released in paperback there on January 15. I don’t usually take the time to take pictures of the books, but I did in this case since the presentation was interesting. I’m looking forward to reading this one since it sounds like fun—it had me at “librarian spies”!
The first installment of an adventure featuring stolen books, secret agents and forbidden societies – think Doctor Who with librarian spies!
Irene must be at the top of her game or she’ll be off the case – permanently…
Irene is a professional spy for the mysterious Library, which harvests fiction from different realities. And along with her enigmatic assistant Kai, she’s posted to an alternative London. Their mission – to retrieve a dangerous book. But when they arrive, it’s already been stolen. London’s underground factions seem prepared to fight to the very death to find her book.
Adding to the jeopardy, this world is chaos-infested – the laws of nature bent to allow supernatural creatures and unpredictable magic. Irene’s new assistant is also hiding secrets of his own.
Soon, she’s up to her eyebrows in a heady mix of danger, clues and secret societies. Yet failure is not an option – the nature of reality itself is at stake.
The Moonshawl (A Wraeththu Mythos Novel) by Storm Constantine
A new Wraeththu book by Storm Constantine is always a cause for celebration! This is a stand alone Wraeththu Mythos novel, but it is related to The Hienama and Student of Kyme and takes place after these two books. The Moonshawl is currently available in paperback and ebook, and you can read what Storm Constantine had to say about the inspiration for the Wraeththu and this book here.
Ysbryd drwg… the bad ghost
Ysobi har Jesith embarks upon a job far from home, where his history isn’t known – a welcome freedom. Hired by Wyva, the phylarch of the Wyvachi tribe, Ysobi goes to Gwyllion to create a spiritual system based upon local folklore, but he soon discovers some of that folklore is out of bounds, taboo…
Secrets lurk in the soil of Gwyllion, and the old house Meadow Mynd, home of the Wyvachi leaders. The house and the land are haunted. The fields are soaked in blood and echo with the cries of those who were slaughtered there, almost a century ago. In Gwyllion, the past doesn’t go away, and the hara who live there cling to it, remembering still their human ancestors. Tribal families maintain ancient enmities, inspired by a horrific murder in the past.
Old hatreds and a thirst for vengeance have been awoken by the approaching feybraiha – coming of age – of Wvya’s son, Myvyen. If the harling is to survive, Ysobi must help him confront the past, lay the ghosts to rest and scour the tainted soil of malice. But the ysbryd drwg is strong, built of a century of resentment and evil thoughts. Is it too powerful, even for a scholarly hienama with Ysobi’s experience and skill?
The Moonshawl, an artefact of protection, was once fashioned to keep Wyvachi heirs from harm, but the threads are old and worn, the magic fading, and its sacred sites – which might empower it once more – are prohibited. Only by understanding what the shawl symbolises and how it once controlled the ysbryd drwg can Ysobi even attempt to prevent the terrible tragedy that looms to engulf the Wyvachi tribe.
‘The Moonshawl’ is a standalone story, set in the world of Storm Constantine’s ground-breaking, science fantasy Wraeththu mythos.
The Brides of Rollrock Island by Margo Lanagan
This young adult fantasy book has been on my wishlist for awhile so I couldn’t resist purchasing it when I found a signed copy! I’ve heard it’s beautifully written.
On remote Rollrock Island, men make their living–and fetch their wives–from the sea.
The Witch Misskaella knows how to find the girl at the heart of a seal. She’ll coax a beauty from the beast for any man, for a price. And what man wouldn’t want a sea-wife, to and to hold, and to keep by his side forever?
But though he may tell himself that he is the master, one look in his new bride’s eyes will transform him just as much as it changes her. Both will be ensnared–and the witch will look on, laughing.
In this magical, seaswept novel, Margo Lanagan tells an extraordinary tale of desire, despair, and transformation. With devastatingly beautiful prose, she reveals characters capable of unspeakable cruelty, but also of unspoken love.
Blood of Dragons (Rain Wilds Chronicles #4) by Robin Hobb
Robin Hobb’s Farseer/Liveship Traders/Tawny Man trilogies are among my favorites so I’ve been collecting the books in this related series even though I haven’t yet read the first one. This final volume in the quartet is available in hardcover, paperback, ebook, and audiobook. The previous books in the series are as follows:
- The Dragon Keeper
- Dragon Haven
- City of Dragons
The dragons’ survival hangs in the balance in the thrilling final volume in the acclaimed River Wilds chronicles fantasy series
The dragons and their dedicated band of keepers have at last found the lost city of Kelsingra. The magical creatures have learned to use their wings and are growing into their regal inheritance. Their humans, too, are changing. As the mystical bonds with their dragons deepen, Thymara, Tats, Rapskal, and even Cedric, the unlikeliest of keepers, have begun transforming into beautiful Elderlings raked with exquisite features that complement and reflect the dragons they serve.
But while the humans have scoured the empty streets and enormous buildings of Kelsongra, they cannot find the mythical silver wells the dragons need to stay health and survive. With enemies encroaching, the keepers must risk “memory walking”- immersing themselves in the dangerously addictive memories of long-deceased Elderlings – to uncover clues necessary to their survival.
And time is of the essence, for the legendary Tintaglia, long feared dead, has returned, wounded in a battle with humans hunting dragon blood and scales. She is weakening and only the hidden silver can revive her. If Tintaglia dies, so, too, will the ancient memories she carries – a devastating loss that will ensure the dragons’ extinction.
Death Sworn (Death Sworn #1) by Leah Cypess
I’ve had my eye on this young adult fantasy since before it’s release earlier this year (hardbook, ebook, audiobook with a paperback release in March 2015). The sequel, Death Marked, completes the story and will be available on March 3, 2015.
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.
Riveted (A Novel of the Iron Seas) by Meljean Brook
I’ve heard that the Iron Seas novels are excellent, and I couldn’t resist buying this when I found a signed copy! Technically, Riveted is the third book in this steampunk romance series but I’ve heard that each installment stands alone. It’s available now in paperback, ebook, and audiobook, and a fourth Iron Seas book, The Kraken King, was released last month after originally being published as a serial. The first two books are The Iron Duke and Heart of Steel, respectively, but Meljean Brook has also written some novellas and short stories set in the same world.
An excerpt from Riveted is available on the author’s website.
The New York Times bestselling author of The Iron Duke and Heart of Steel returns to the Iron Seas with a riveting new adventure of steampunk and passionate romance . . .
A century after a devastating volcanic eruption forced Iceland’s inhabitants to abandon its shores, the island has become enshrouded in legend. Fishermen tell tales of giant trolls guarding the land and of seductive witches who steal men’s hearts. But the truth behind the legends is mechanical, not magic—and the mystery of the island a matter of life and death for a community of women who once spilled noble blood to secure their freedom.
Five years ago, Annika unwittingly endangered that secret, but her sister Källa took the blame and was exiled. Now Annika serves on the airship Phatéon, flying from port to port in search of her sister and longing to return home . . . but that home is threatened when expedition leader David Kentewess comes aboard.
Determined to solve the mystery of his own origin, David will stop at nothing to expose Annika’s secrets. But when disaster strikes, leaving David and Annika stranded on a glacier and pursued by a madman, their very survival depends on keeping the heat rising between them—and generating lots of steam . . .