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. 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.

This week’s post is rather large because a) I included last week’s books since I didn’t do this post last week in order to spend my weekend time on finishing a book/writing a review and b) a lot of books came in this week. They are all ARCs/finished copies from publishers, except the first which is an ARC I got from the author, who happens to be a friend of mine.

For reviews, I did almost get one finished last week, but I wasn’t able to finish it since last week was CRAZY and I wasn’t home very much last week because of it. But the review is really close to wrapped up so I’m hoping to get it up this week!

On to the books!

Celtic Moon by Jan DeLima

Celtic Moon (Celtic Wolves #1) by Jan DeLima

Celtic Moon will be released in mass market paperback/ebook on September 24, and two more books in the series will follow. A brief excerpt can be read on the author’s website, and you can also read more about it in a guest post Jan wrote for Women in SF&F Month last April. This will be her first published novel.

Jan is a friend of mine so I’ve heard some about both this and book two and am pretty excited about reading it!


Like father, like son…

Sophie Thibodeau has been on the run from the father of her son for more than fifteen years. Now her son, Joshua, is changing, and her greatest fears are about to be realized. He’s going to end up being just like his father—a man who can change into a wolf.

Dylan Black has been hunting for Sophie since the night she ran from him—an obsession he cannot afford in the midst of an impending war. Dylan controls Rhuddin Village, an isolated town in Maine where he lives with an ancient Celtic tribe. One of the few of his clan who can still shift into a wolf, he must protect his people from the Guardians, vicious warriors who seek to destroy them.

When Sophie and Dylan come together for the sake of their son, their reunion reignites the fierce passion they once shared. For the first time in years, Dylan’s lost family is within his grasp. But will he lose them all over again? Are Joshua and Sophie strong enough to fight alongside Dylan in battle? Nothing less than the fate of his tribe depends on it…

She Walks In Darkness by Evangeline Walton

She Walks In Darkness by Evangeline Walton

Evangeline Walton’s first novel was published in 1936, and she received the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award and the World Fantasy Lifetime Achievement Award. Sadly, I hadn’t even heard of her work before She Walks In Darkness showed up in the mail. I’m glad I have now since it sounds very interesting!

She Walks In Darkness, written in the 1960s, is being published for the first time in September (trade paperback/ebook). Evangeline Walton died in 1996, but it’s possible some of her other unpublished work may be made available as well.

A brief excerpt from She Walks In Darkness is on the publisher’s website.


A gorgeous Tuscan villa harboring a terrible secret houses this original harrowing adventure of ancient mystery and modern intrigue.

Archaeologist Richard Keyes and his resourceful young bride, Barbara, are expecting a blissful honeymoon in a welcoming new country. But from the moment they arrive in their secluded new home, circumstances conspire against them. A car crash leaves Richard lying unconscious in a bed surrounded by frescoes of a benevolent goddess, while a far more sinister deity in the courtyard seems to gain power in the night.

Meanwhile, in Barbara’s hour of need, a beautiful, young Tuscan appears, and she is drawn to his seductive charms. A conflict has been reawakened after generations of sacrifice, betrayal, and madness, and the key to the mystery lies in the catacombs under the villa.

This first publication of newly-discovered novel from classic fantasist Evangeline Walton (The Mabinogoion series) is sure to please fans of all genres.

Shadows of the New Sun: Stories in Honor of Gene Wolfe

Shadows of the New Sun: Stories in Honor of Gene Wolfe edited by Bill Fawcett and J. E. Mooney

Shadows of the New Sun will be released on August 27 (hardcover, ebook, and audiobook). It’s a tribute to the respected author Gene Wolfe, who has won Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy Awards. There are some stories by some excellent authors in this one, including Neil Gaiman and Nancy Kress. In addition, there are two new stories by Gene Wolfe.


Perhaps no living author of imaginative fiction has earned the awards, accolades, respect, and literary reputation of Gene Wolfe. His prose has been called subtle and brilliant, inspiring not just lovers of fantasy and science fiction, but readers of every stripe, transcending genre and defying preconceptions.

In this volume, a select group of Wolfe’s fellow authors pay tribute to the award-winning creator of The Book of the New Sun, The Fifth Head of Cerberus, Soldier of the Mist, The Wizard Knight and many others, with entirely new stories written specifically to honor the writer hailed by The Washington Post as “one of America’s finest.”

Shadows of the New Sun 
features contributions by Neil Gaiman, David Brin, David Drake, Nancy Kress, and many others, plus two new short stories by Gene Wolfe himself.

The Waking Dark by Robin Wasserman

The Waking Dark by Robin Wasserman

This creepy-sounding young adult novel will be released on September 10 (hardcover, ebook, audiobook). An excerpt containing the first 31 pages is available.


They called it the killing day. Twelve people dead, all in the space of a few hours. Five murderers: neighbors, relatives, friends. All of them so normal. All of them seemingly harmless. All of them now dead by their own hand . . . except one. And that one has no answers to offer the shattered town. She doesn’t even know why she killed—or whether she’ll do it again.

Something is waking in the sleepy town of Oleander’s, Kansas—something dark and hungry that lives in the flat earth and the open sky, in the vengeful hearts of upstanding citizens. As the town begins its descent into blood and madness, five survivors of the killing day are the only ones who can stop Oleander from destroying itself. Jule, the outsider at war with the world; West, the golden boy at war with himself; Daniel, desperate for a different life; Cass, who’s not sure she deserves a life at all; and Ellie, who believes in sacrifice, fate, and in evil. Ellie, who always goes too far. They have nothing in common. They have nothing left to lose. And they have no way out. Which means they have no choice but to stand and fight, to face the darkness in their town—and in themselves.

The Exodus Towers by Jason M. Hough

The Exodus Towers (The Dire Earth Cycle #2) by Jason M. Hough

This science fiction novel will be released on August 27 (mass market paperback, ebook, audiobook). The Darwin Elevator, the first book in the series, is now available. The third book in the trilogy, The Plague Forge, is scheduled for release on September 24. (These are the US release dates. The UK release dates are 3 days later for both books.)


The Exodus Towers features all the high-octane action and richly imagined characters of The Darwin Elevator—but the stakes have never been higher.
The sudden appearance of a second space elevator in Brazil only deepens the mystery about the aliens who provided it: the Builders. Scavenger crew captain Skyler Luiken and brilliant scientist Dr. Tania Sharma have formed a colony around the new Elevator’s base, utilizing mobile towers to protect humans from the Builders’ plague. But they are soon under attack from a roving band of plague-immune soldiers. Cut off from the colony, Skyler must wage a one-man war against the new threat as well as murderous subhumans and thugs from Darwin—all while trying to solve the puzzle of the Builders’ master plan . . . before it’s too late for the last vestiges of humanity.

Frozen by Melissa de la Cruz and Michael Johnston

Frozen (Heart of Dread #1) by Melissa de la Cruz and Michael Johnston

Frozen, the first book in a new YA fantasy series, is written by New York Times bestselling author Melissa de la Cruz and her husband Michael Johnston, who has worked with her on other books she has written (with the creation of the Blue Bloods and Witches of East End books and also with writing the Wolf Pact series). It will be published on September 17 (hardcover, ebook). An excerpt from Frozen is available on USA Today.


From New York Times bestselling author Melissa de la Cruz and Michael Johnston comes this remarkable first book in a spellbinding new series about the dawn of a new kind of magic.

Welcome to New Vegas, a city once covered in bling, now blanketed in ice. Like much of the destroyed planet, the place knows only one temperature—freezing. But some things never change. The diamond in the ice desert is still a 24-hour hedonistic playground and nothing keeps the crowds away from the casino floors, never mind the rumors about sinister sorcery in its shadows.

At the heart of this city is Natasha Kestal, a young blackjack dealer looking for a way out. Like many, she’s heard of a mythical land simply called “the Blue.” They say it’s a paradise, where the sun still shines and the waters are turquoise. More importantly, it’s a place where Nat won’t be persecuted, even if her darkest secret comes to light.

But passage to the Blue is treacherous, if not impossible, and her only shot is to bet on a ragtag crew of mercenaries led by a cocky runner named Ryan Wesson to take her there. Danger and deceit await on every corner, even as Nat and Wes find themselves inexorably drawn to each other. But can true love survive the lies? Fiery hearts collide in this fantastic tale of the evil men do and the awesome power within us all.

Transcendental by James Gunn

Transcendental by James Gunn

This science fiction novel by Hugo Award winner James Gunn will be released on August 27 (hardcover, ebook). An excerpt from Transcendental can be read on


Transcendental, an epic, high-concept space opera, is a Canterbury Tales of the far future in which beings from many planets hurtle across the universe to uncover the secrets of the legend of Transcendentalism. Riley, a veteran of interstellar war,  however, is not journeying to achieve transcendence, a vague mystical concept that has drawn everyone else on the ship to this journey into the unknown at the far edge of the galaxy. His mission is to find and kill the prophet who is reputed to help others transcend. As the ship speeds through space, the voyage is marred by violence and betrayal, making it clear that Riley is not the only one of the ship’s passengers who is not the spiritual seeker they all claim to be. As tensions rise, Riley realizes that the ship’s journey is less like the Canterbury Tales and more like a harrowing, deadly voyage on a ship of fools. Looking for allies, he becomes friendly with a mysterious passenger named Asha, who, like so many others on the ship, is more than she appears. But while she professes to be just another pilgrim, he comes to realize that like him, she is keeping secrets could be the key to Riley’s assignment, or might make him question everything he thought he knew about Transcendentalism and his mission to stop it.

This long-awaited novel is a grand space adventure of exploration, intrigue, redemption, and the universal spirit that unites all beings.  This is a real departure for Gunn, a novel of grand scope and high concept, a capstone to the career of this Grand Master of science fiction.

A Dance of Cloaks by David Dalglish

A Dance of Cloaks (Shadowdance #1) by David Dalglish

The Shadowdance trilogy has been self-published, and the first book be released in paperback by Orbit Books in October. The second and third books (A Dance of Blades and A Dance of Mirrors) are scheduled for release in November and December of this year. You can learn more about the differences between the self-published editions and the upcoming Orbit editions on the author’s blog. There have been some changes, but they are looking into arranging it so those who bought ebooks of the earlier version can update to the new one without paying for it a second time.


Thren Felhorn is the greatest assassin of his time. Marshalling the thieves’ guilds under his control, he declares war against the Trifect, an allegiance of wealthy and powerful nobles.

Aaron Felhorn has been groomed since birth to be Thren’s heir. Sent to kill the daughter of a priest, Aaron instead risks his own life to protect her from the wrath of his guild. In doing so, he glimpses a world beyond poison, daggers, and the iron control of his father.

Guilds twist and turn, trading allegiances for survival. The Trifect weakens, its reputation broken, its money dwindling. The players take sides as the war nears its end, and Thren puts in motion a plan to execute hundreds.

Only Aaron can stop the massacre and protect those he loves…

Assassin or protector; every choice has its consequences.

Children of Fire by Drew Karpyshyn

Children of Fire (Chaos Born #1) by Drew Karpyshyn

Children of Fire will be released on August 27 (hardcover, ebook, audiobook). An excerpt starting at chapter 9 is available at Suvudu.


Drew Karpyshyn has made his mark with imaginative, action-packed work on several acclaimed videogames, including Mass Effect and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, as well as in a succession of New York Times bestselling tie-in novels. Now Karpyshyn introduces a brilliantly innovative epic fantasy of perilous quests, tormented heroes, and darkest sorcery—a thrilling adventure that vaults him into the company of such authors as Terry Goodkind, Brandon Sanderson, and Peter V. Brett.

Long ago the gods chose a great hero to act as their agent in the mortal world and to stand against the demonic spawn of Chaos. The gods gifted their champion, Daemron, with three magical Talismans: a sword, a ring, and a crown. But the awesome power at his command corrupted Daemron, turning him from savior to destroyer. Filled with pride, he dared to challenge the gods themselves. Siding with the Chaos spawn, Daemron waged a titanic battle against the Immortals. In the end, Daemron was defeated, the Talismans were lost, and Chaos was sealed off behind the Legacy—a magical barrier the gods sacrificed themselves to create.

Now the Legacy is fading. On the other side, the banished Daemron stirs. And across the scattered corners of the land, four children are born of suffering and strife, each touched by one aspect of Daemron himself—wizard, warrior, prophet, king.

Bound by a connection deeper than blood, the Children of Fire will either restore the Legacy or bring it crashing down, freeing Daemron to wreak his vengeance upon the mortal world.

Dark Shadows: Wolf Moon Rising by Lara Parker

Dark Shadows: Wolf Moon Rising (Dark Shadows #3) by Lara Parker

This novel will be available on August 20 (mass market paperback, ebook). An excerpt from Dark Shadows: Wolf Moon Rising can be read on the publisher’s website.


The first all-new Dark Shadows novel in years, written by Lara Parker, one of the stars of the cult classic TV show!

When a portrait is lost that has maintained Quentin Collins’s youthful appearance for over a century—and has also kept his werewolf curse at bay—Quentin begins to dread the full moon.

Meanwhile, David, the sixteen-year-old heir to the Collins fortune, has fallen in love with Jacqueline, a young girl living at the Old House who is the reincarnation of Angelique. David and Jacqueline are swept back in time to the prohibition era of the Twenties, where David uncovers the dark secrets of the Collins family history.

Most threatening of all, Dr. Nathanial Blair, an expert in the paranormal, has come to Collinwood because he suspects they are harboring a vampire. Fortunately, Barnabas Collins has returned to his coffin after a disastrous flirtation with life as a human. Nevertheless, what Blair discovers places the entire Collins family in jeopardy.

Dearly, Beloved by Lia Habel

Dearly, Beloved (Gone With the Respiration #2) by Lia Habel

This zombie novel will be released in trade paperback on September 3. It is already available in hardcover and ebook formats. The first 50 pages from Dearly, Beloved can be read on Suvudu.


Can the living coexist with the living dead?

That’s the question that has New Victorian society fiercely divided ever since the mysterious plague known as “The Laz” hit the city of New London and turned thousands into walking corpses. But while some of these zombies are mindless monsters, hungry for human flesh, others can still think, speak, reason, and control their ravenous new appetites.

Just ask Nora Dearly, the young lady of means who was nearly kidnapped by a band of sinister zombies but valiantly rescued by a dashing young man . . . of the dead variety.

Nora and her savior, the young zombie soldier Bram Griswold, fell hopelessly in love. But others feel only fear and loathing for the reanimated dead. Now, as tensions grow between pro- and anti-zombie factions, battle lines are being drawn in the streets. And though Bram is no longer in the New Victorian army, he and his ex-commando zombie comrades are determined to help keep the peace. That means taking a dangerous stand between The Changed, a radical group of sentient zombies fighting for survival, and The Murder, a masked squad of urban guerrillas hellbent on destroying the living dead. But zombies aren’t the only ones in danger: Their living allies are also in The Murder’s crosshairs, and for one vengeful zealot, Nora Dearly is the number one target.

As paranoia, prejudice, and terrorist attacks threaten to plunge the city into full-scale war, Nora’s scientist father and his team continue their desperate race to unlock the secrets of “The Laz” and find a cure. But their efforts may be doomed when a mysterious zombie appears bearing an entirely new strain of the virus—and the nation of New Victoria braces for a new wave of the apocalypse.

Lia Habel’s spellbinding, suspenseful sequel to Dearly, Departed takes her imaginative mash-up of period romance, futuristic thriller, and zombie drama to a whole new level of innovative and irresistible storytelling.