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.

A lot of books showed up in the mail this week, including one I’ve already discussed here. In case you missed it before, here’s where you can read more about it:

On to the rest of this week’s books!

Flight of the Golden Harpy by Susan Klaus

Flight of the Golden Harpy by Susan Klaus

Flight of the Golden Harpy, a speculative fiction debut, will be released on June 17 (hardcover, ebook). I’ve seen the book described as both science fiction and fantasy, and it sounds like it’s one of those books that has elements of both. It was awarded Best Science Fiction in the 2010 Royal Palm Literary Awards.


Kari, a young woman, returns to her jungle planet of Dora after ten years in Earth’s schools and is determined to unravel the mysteries surrounding the harpies, a feral species half-bird, half-mortal. The residences of Dora believe the harpies are dangerous game animals and hunt them for their trophy wings, but Kari thinks they are intelligent and not just wild animals. A rare golden harpy, a teenage blond male with yellow wings rescued Kari as a child from the jaws of a water monster. Upon returning home, she learns the harpies are facing extinction with the over-hunting and she sets out to save them, all the time wondering if the golden male is still alive.

Flight of the Golden Harpy is a fantasy, but also a mystery, thriller, and a love story that leaves a reader questioning our humanity

The Lascar's Dagger by Glenda Larke

The Lascar’s Dagger (The Forsaken Lands #1) by Glenda Larke

This first book in a new series will be released on March 18 (paperback, ebook). An excerpt from The Lascar’s Dagger is available on the publisher’s website, and you can read more about Glenda Larke’s historical influences in the series on her website.


Faith will not save him.

Saker appears to be a simple priest, but in truth he’s a spy for the head of his faith. Wounded in the line of duty by a Lascar sailor’s blade, the weapon seems to follow him home. Unable to discard it, nor the sense of responsibility it brings, Saker can only follow its lead.

The dagger puts Saker on a journey to distant shores, on a path that will reveal terrible secrets about the empire, about the people he serves, and destroy the life he knows. The Lascar’s dagger demands a price, and that price will be paid in blood.

Ghost Train to New Orleans by Mur Lafferty

Ghost Train to New Orleans (The Shambling Guides #2) by Mur Lafferty

This new book from Campbell Award winner Mur Lafferty was released on March 4 (paperback, ebook, audiobook). An excerpt from Ghost Train to New Orleans can be read on the publisher’s website.

The first book in the series is titled The Shambling Guide to New York City.


Could you find a museum for a monster?
Or a jazz bar for a jabberwock?

Zoe Norris writes travel guides for the undead. And she’s good at it too—her new-found ability to talk to cities seems to help. After the success of The Shambling Guide to New York City, Zoe and her team are sent to New Orleans to write the sequel.

Work isn’t all that brings Zoe to the Big Easy. The only person who can save her boyfriend from zombism is rumored to live in the city’s swamps, but Zoe’s out of her element in the wilderness. With her supernatural colleagues waiting to see her fail, and rumors of a new threat hunting city talkers, can Zoe stay alive long enough to finish her next book?

Acid by Emma Pass

Acid by Emma Pass

This standalone YA debut was released in the UK and Spain last year, and it will be released in the US on March 11 (hardcover, ebook, audiobook). An excerpt from Acid is available on Goodreads. A second standalone novel by Emma Pass, The Fearless, will be coming to the UK next year and the US in 2015.


The year is 2113. In Jenna Strong’s world, ACID—the most brutal controlling police force in history—rule supreme. No throwaway comment or whispered dissent goes unnoticed—or unpunished. And it was ACID agents who locked Jenna away for life, for a horrendous crime she struggles to remember. But Jenna’s violent prison time has taught her how to survive by any means necessary.

When a mysterious rebel group breaks her out, she must use her strength, speed, and skill to stay one step ahead of ACID, and try to uncover the truth about what really happened on that terrible night two years ago. They have taken her life, her freedom, and her true memories away from her. How can she reclaim anything when she doesn’t know who to trust?

Strong, gritty writing, irresistible psychological suspense, and action consume the novel as Jenna struggles to survive against the all-controlling ACID. Seriously sinister stuff.

Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke

Zita the Spacegirl (Zita the Spacegirl #1) by Ben Hatke

This first book in a New York Times bestselling graphic novel series was released in paperback in 2011 (recommended for grades 2-5). For more information on the series, you can check out the website or read a review on Boing Boing.


Zita’s life took a cosmic left turn in the blink of  an eye.

When her best friend is abducted by an alien doomsday cult, Zita leaps to the rescue and finds herself a stranger on a strange planet. Humanoid chickens and neurotic robots are shocking enough as new experiences go, but Zita is even more surprised to find herself taking on the role of intergalactic hero. Before long, aliens in all shapes and sizes don’t even phase her. Neither do ancient prophecies, doomed planets, or even a friendly con man who takes a mysterious interest in Zita’s quest.

Zita the Spacegirl is a fun, captivating tale of friendship and redemption from Flight veteran Ben Hatke. It also has more whimsical, eye-catching, Miyazaki-esque monsters than you can shake a stick at.

Legends of Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke

Legends of Zita the Spacegirl (Zita the Spacegirl #2) by Ben Hatke

The second graphic novel about Zita the Spacegirl has been out since 2012.


Fame comes at a price…

Zita must find her way back to earth…but her space adventures have made her a galactic megastar! Who can you trust when your true self is overshadowed by your public image? And to make things worse…Zita’s got a robot double making trouble–while wearing her face!

The Return of Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke

The Return of Zita the Spacegirl (Zita the Spacegirl #3) by Ben Hatke

The third graphic novel about Zita the Spacegirl will be released on May 13. Visit Boing Boing to see a preview from The Return of Zita the Spacegirl.


Ben Hatke brings back our intrepid space heroine for another delightful sci-fi/fantasy adventure in this New York Times‑Bestselling graphic novel trilogy for middle grade readers.

Zita the Spacegirl has saved planets, battled monsters, and wrestled with interplanetary fame. But she faces her biggest challenge yet in the third and final installment of the Zita adventures. Wrongfully imprisoned on a penitentiary planet, Zita has to plot the galaxy’s greatest jailbreak before the evil prison warden can execute his plan of interstellar domination!

Chasers of the Wind by Alexey Pehov

Chasers of the Wind (The Cycle of Wind and Sparks #1) by Alexey Pehov

This novel by award-winning Russian fantasy and science fiction author Alexey Pehov will be released on June 17 (hardcover, ebook). Chasers of the Wind shares the same setting as The Chronicles of Siala, which is a bestselling fantasy series in Russia.


Centuries after the disastrous War of the Necromancers, the Nabatorians, aligned with the evil necromancers of Sdis, mount an invasion of the Empire. Luk, a soldier, and Ga-Nor, a Northern barbarian, are thrown together as they attempt to escape the Nabatorian hordes and find their way back to their comrades.

Gray and Layan are a married couple, master thieves who are hiding out and trying to escape their former gang. They hope to evade the bounty hunters that hound them and retire to a faraway land in peace.

Tia is a powerful dark sorceress and one of The Damned—a group trying to take over the world and using the Nabatorian invasion as a diversion.

Unfortunately, for Gray and Layan, they unwittingly hold the key to a powerful magical weapon that could bring The Damned back to power.

Hounded by the killers on their trail and by the fearsome creatures sent by The Damned, Gray and Layan are aided by Luk and Ga-Nor—and Harold, the hero of The Chronicles of Siala. Realizing what’s at stake they decide that, against all odds, they must stop The Damned.

Chasers of the Wind is the first book in a new series from internationally bestselling author Alexey Pehov.

Working God's Mischief by Glen Cook

Working God’s Mischief (The Instrumentalities of the Night #4) by Glen Cook

This novel will be released on March 11 (hardcover, ebook). An excerpt from Working God’s Mischief can be read on

The previous three books in the series are as follows:

  1. The Tyranny of the Night
  2. Lord of the Silent Kingdom
  3. Surrender to the Will of the Night

Arnhand, Castauriga, and Navaya lost their kings. The Grail Empire lost its empress. The Church lost its Patriarch, though he lives on as a fugitive. The Night lost Kharoulke the Windwalker, an emperor amongst the most primal and terrible gods. The Night goes on, in dread.  The world goes on, in dread.  The ice builds and slides southward.

New kings come. A new empress will rule. Another rump polishes the Patriarchal Throne.

But there is something new under the sun. The oldest and fiercest of the Instrumentalities has been destroyed–by a mortal. There is no new Windwalker, nor will there ever be.

The world, battered by savage change, limps toward its destiny. And the ice is coming.

Working God’s Mischief is the savage, astounding new novel of The Instrumentalities of Night, by Glen Cook, a modern master of military fantasy.