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.

The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski

The Winner’s Curse (The Winner’s Trilogy #1) by Marie Rutkoski

I have been hearing great things about this upcoming young adult book, and it was one of my most anticipated titles of the year.

The Winner’s Curse will be released on March 4 (hardcover, ebook). There is an excerpt from the book on the publisher’s website, and the first five chapters can be downloaded for free.


Winning what you want may cost you everything you love

As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other intentions.

One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction. Arin’s eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him—with unexpected consequences. It’s not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin.

But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined.

Set in a richly imagined new world, The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski is a story of deadly games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart.

Tales from High Hallack: Volume I by Andre Norton

Tales from High Hallack: Volume I by Andre Norton

The first of three volumes containing short stories by Andre Norton was released last month (paperback, ebook). The second volume will be available in May with the third to follow in September. More information on the first volume, including the table of contents, can be found here.


For the first time, the Grand Dame of science fiction—Andre Norton—has her short stories gathered for her fans’ reading pleasure. Tales reach back to the 1930s, as fresh and relevant today as they were when she wrote them . . . such was Andre’s skill. High fantasy, fables, science fiction, coming of age stories, and more fill three volumes. This impressive, must-have collection includes stories of Witch World. There are cats sprinkled here and there, as Andre treasured them so. And there is magic in the writing, unequaled prose to delight readers of all ages.

High Hallack was a place in Andre’s fiction, and was also the name of her genre writer’s library she opened in Tennessee. It is a wondrous keep that she called home, and now High Hallack opens its gates and allows these amazing stories to tumble out.

Lose yourself in her enchanted words, and read them again and again.

The Emperor's Blades by Brian Staveley

The Emperor’s Blades (Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne #1) by Brian Staveley

This debut epic fantasy was released last month (hardcover, ebook, audiobook). The first seven chapters can be read on or downloaded for free from Amazon or Barnes and Noble.


When the emperor of Annur is murdered, his children must fight to uncover the conspiracy—and the ancient enemy—that effected his death.

Kaden, the heir apparent, was for eight years sequestered in a remote mountain monastery, where he learned the inscrutable discipline of monks devoted to the Blank God. Their rituals hold the key to an ancient power which Kaden must master before it’s too late. When an imperial delegation arrives to usher him back to the capital for his coronation, he has learned just enough to realize that they are not what they seem—and enough, perhaps, to successfully fight back.

Meanwhile, in the capital, his sister Adare, master politician and Minister of Finance, struggles against the religious conspiracy that seems to be responsible for the emperor’s murder. Amid murky politics, she’s determined to have justice—but she may be condemning the wrong man.

Their brother Valyn is struggling to stay alive. He knew his training to join the Kettral— deadly warriors who fly massive birds into battle—would be arduous. But after a number of strange apparent accidents, and the last desperate warning of a dying guard, he’s convinced his father’s murderers are trying to kill him, and then his brother. He must escape north to warn Kaden—if he can first survive the brutal final test of the Kettral.

Crown of Renewal by Elizabeth Moon

Crown of Renewal (Paladin’s Legacy #5) by Elizabeth Moon

The final volume in the Paladin’s Legacy series will be released on May 27 (hardcover, ebook, audiobook). The previous books in this series, set in the same world as Elizabeth Moon’s well-known Deed of Paksenarrion books, is as follows:

  1. Oath of Fealty (Read an Excerpt)
  2. Kings of the North
  3. Echoes of Betrayal
  4. Limits of Power

Acclaimed author Elizabeth Moon spins gripping, richly imagined epic fantasy novels that have earned comparisons to the work of such authors as Robin Hobb and Lois McMaster Bujold. In this volume, Moon’s brilliant masterwork reaches its triumphant conclusion.

The mysterious reappearance of magery throughout the land has been met with suspicion, fear, and violence. In the kingdom of Lyonya, Kieri, the half-elven, half-human king, struggles to balance the competing demands of his heritage while fighting a deadly threat to his rule: evil elves linked in some way to the rebirth of magic.

Meanwhile, in the neighboring kingdom of Tsaia, a set of ancient artifacts recovered by the former mercenary Dorrin Verrakai may hold the answer to the riddle of magery’s return. Thus Dorrin embarks on a dangerous quest to return these relics of a bygone age to their all-but-mythical place of origin. What she encounters there will change her in unimaginable ways—and spell doom or salvation for the entire world.