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 brought one ARC, an early Christmas present, and a few books I bought because I simply cannot resist the Black Friday sales at Book Outlet, to my husband’s dismay. (But… I bought all hardcovers and trade paperbacks and not a single book was more than $4.19! How can I not take advantage of this every year?! And I showed amazing restraint by only buying 4 books out of the 15 or so I was interested in!)

Troubled Waters by Sharon Shinn

Troubled Waters (Elemental Blessings #1) by Sharon Shinn

I have heard that this particular book is excellent, and I’d like to read more by Sharon Shinn since I’ve only read Archangel—so when I found the hardcover on sale I snatched it up!

An excerpt from Troubled Waters is available on the author’s website. The second book in the series, Royal Airs, was just released last month.


The author of the Twelve Hours series welcomes readers to a new fantasy world, where the elements rule.

Zoe Ardelay receives astonishing and unwelcome news: she has been chosen to become the king’s fifth wife. Forced to go to the royal city, she manages to slip away and hide on the shores of the mighty river.

It’s there that Zoe realizes she is a coru prime ruled by the elemental sign of water. She must return to the palace, not as an unwilling bride for the king, but a woman with power in her own right. But as Zoe unlocks more of the mysteries of her blood—and the secrets of the royal family—she must decide how to use her great power to rise above the deceptions and intrigue of the royal court.

Blue Remembered Earth by Alastair Reynolds

Blue Remembered Earth (Poseidon’s Children #1) by Alastair Reynolds

I read Revelation Space and enjoyed it, and I thought this book sounded pretty interesting. An excerpt from Blue Remembered Earth can be read on the publisher’s website.

The second book in the series, On the Steel Breeze, was released in the UK earlier this year. It will be available in the US in June 2014.


One hundred and fifty years from now, Africa has become the world’s dominant technological and economic power. Crime, war, disease and poverty have been practically eliminated. The Moon and Mars are settled, and colonies stretch all the way out to the edge of the solar system. And Ocular, the largest scientific instrument in history, is about to make an epochal discovery…

Geoffrey Akinya wants only one thing: to be left in peace, so that he can continue his long-running studies into the elephants of the Amboseli basin. But Geoffrey’s family, which controls the vast Akinya business empire, has other plans for him. After the death of his grandmother Eunice—the erstwhile space explorer and entrepreneur—something awkward has come to light on the Moon, so Geoffrey is dispatched there to ensure the family name remains untarnished.

But the secrets Eunice died with are about to be revealed—secrets that could change everything…or tear this near utopia apart.

City of Dragons by Robin Hobb

City of Dragons (The Rain Wilds Chronicles #3) by Robin Hobb

Robin Hobb’s Farseer, Liveship Traders, and Tawny Man trilogies are some of my favorites (and I CAN’T WAIT for the first book in the upcoming Fitz and the Fool trilogy!) so I’m collecting the books in The Rain Wilds Chronicles even though I haven’t read the first one yet. The books in the series are as follows:

  1. The Dragon Keeper
  2. Dragon Haven
  3. City of Dragons
  4. Blood of Dragons

This is a completed series.


Once, dragons ruled the Rain Wilds, tended by privileged human servants known as Elderlings. But a series of cataclysmic eruptions nearly drove these magnificent creatures to extinction. Born weak and deformed, the last of their kind had one hope for survival: to return to their ancient city of Kelsingra. Accompanied by a disparate crew of untested young keepers, the dragons embarked on a harsh journey into the unknown along the toxic Rain Wild River. Battling starvation, a hostile climate, and treacherous enemies, dragons and humans began to forge magical connections, bonds that have wrought astonishing transformations for them all. And though Kelsingra is finally near, their odyssey has only begun.

Because of the swollen waters of the Rain Wild River, the lost city can be reached only by flight—a test of endurance and skill beyond the stunted dragons’ strength. Venturing across the swift-running river in tiny boats, the dragon scholar Alise and a handful of keepers discover a world far different from anything they have ever known or imagined. Immense, ornate structures of black stone veined with silver and lifelike stone statues line the silent, eerily empty streets. Yet what are the whispers they hear, the shadows of voices and bursts of light that flutter and are gone? And why do they feel as if eyes are watching them?

The dragons must plumb the depths of their ancestral memories to help them take flight and unlock the secrets buried in Kelsingra. But enemies driven by greed and dark desires are approaching. Time is running out, not only for the dragons but for their human keepers as well.

Star of the Morning by Lynn Kurland

Star of the Morning (Nine Kingdoms #1) by Lynn Kurland

I’ve heard some good things about this romantic fantasy trilogy and thought I’d give it a try. The second and third books are The Mage’s Daughter and Princess of the Sword. A second trilogy has been completed, and the second book in the third Nine Kingdoms trilogy is scheduled for release next year.


From the USA Today bestselling author comes the first in a magical romantic fantasy trilogy.

Darkness covers the north, since the black mage has begun his assault on the kingdom of Neroche. Legend has it that only the two magical swords held by Neroche’s king can defeat the mage. Now the fate of the Nine Kingdoms rests in the hands of a woman destined to wield one of those blades…

In this land of dragons and mages, warrior maids and magical swords, nothing is as it seems. And Morgan will find that the magic in her blood brings her troubles she cannot face with a sword-and a love more powerful than she has ever imagined.

The Princess Bride by William Goldman

The Princess Bride by William Goldman

I have a mass market paperback copy of this that I bought at Borders and read years ago, and I had a lot of fun reading it. My husband got me a very nice hardcover edition with illustrations for Christmas (the wrapping paper had a huge rip in it so he let me open it early!).


Here William Goldman’s beloved story of Buttercup, Westley, and their fellow adventurers finally receives a beautiful illustrated treatment.

A tale of true love and high adventure, pirates, princesses, giants, miracles, fencing, and a frightening assortment of wild beasts—The Princess Bride is a modern storytelling classic.

As Florin and Guilder teeter on the verge of war, the reluctant Princess Buttercup is devastated by the loss of her true love, kidnapped by a mercenary and his henchman, rescued by a pirate, forced to marry Prince Humperdinck, and rescued once again by the very crew who absconded with her in the first place. In the course of this dazzling adventure, she’ll meet Vizzini—the criminal philosopher who’ll do anything for a bag of gold; Fezzik—the gentle giant; Inigo—the Spaniard whose steel thirsts for revenge; and Count Rugen—the evil mastermind behind it all. Foiling all their plans and jumping into their stories is Westley, Princess Buttercup’s one true love and a very good friend of a very dangerous pirate.

The Raven's Shadow by Elspeth Cooper

The Raven’s Shadow (The Wild Hunt #3) by Elspeth Cooper

The third book in The Wild Hunt series is currently available in the UK, and it will be released in the US in March 2014 (hardcover, ebook). Excerpts from each book in the series and a description of the upcoming fourth book, The Dragon House, are on the author’s website.


The Raven’s Shadow, the third book of Elspeth Cooper’s The Wild Hunt series finds war brewing on both sides of the Veil between the worlds.

The desert of Gimrael is aflame with violence, and in the far north an ancient hatred is about to spill over into the renewal of a war that, a thousand years ago, forged an empire. This time, it may shatter one.

Wrestling with his failing grip on the power of the Song, and still trying to come to terms with the horrifying events he witnessed in El Maqqam, Gair returns to the mainland with only one thing on his mind: vengeance. It may cost him his life, but when everything that he had to live for is being stripped away from him, that may be a fair price to pay.

Old friends and old foes converge in a battle of wills to stem the tide of the Nimrothi clans as they charge south to reclaim the lands lost in the Founding Wars. If they succeed, the rest of the empire may be their next target. And with the Wild Hunt at their head, the overstretched Imperial Army may not be enough to stop them.