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.

Sci-Fi November

Before I get to this week’s books, a quick update on Sci-Fi Month posts! On Monday, Martha Wells shared some older science fiction books that were a big influence on her. They all sounded really good—I already had one of them in the to-read pile, but the rest were quickly added to my wish list! On Friday, I was part of a blogger panel at Oh the Books! discussing the representation of science in science fiction. This was fun, and I love that these panels were added to this year’s Sci-Fi November! I have been working on a review of Burndive by Karin Lowachee, which I enjoyed very much even though I didn’t love it as much as her first novel set in the same universe, Warchild. It’s been a busy week so I haven’t made much progress on reading, but I did start my first book by C. J. Cherryh, Kesrith.

On to this week’s books!

Deep Secret by Diana Wynne Jones

Deep Secret by Diana Wynne Jones

This classic fantasy novel is being re-released in paperback on December 16, and it’s also available as an ebook. There is currently a US/CA giveaway of Deep Secrets on Goodreads.

I’ve only read two books by Diana Wynne Jones (Howl’s Moving Castle and Dogsbody), but I enjoyed them both and need to read more by her! Deep Secret sounds like a fun book.


All over the multiverse the Magids, powerful magicians, are at work to maintain the balance between positive and negative magic, for the good of all.

Rupert Venables is the junior Magid assigned to Earth and to the troublesome planets of the Koyrfonic Empire. When the Emperor dies without a known heir, Rupert is called into service to help prevent the descent of the Empire into chaos. At the same time, the senior Magid on Earth dies, making Rupert a new senior desperately in need of a junior. Rupert thinks his problems are partially solved when he discovers he can meet all five of the potential Magids on Earth by attending one SF convention in England. However, the convention hotel sits on a node, a nexus of the universes. Rupert soon finds that other forces, some of them completely out of control, are there too….

Diana Wynne Jones’ Deep Secret is classic adult fantasy novel by an award-winning author, back in print

King of Assassins by Jenna Rhodes

King of Assassins (The Elven Ways #3) by Jenna Rhodes

This fantasy novel was released earlier this month (hardcover, ebook). The previous books in the series are as follows:

  1. The Four Forges
  2. The Dark Ferryman

I’d never heard of this series before I opened a package containing this book earlier this week, and I’d be interested in hearing what others thought about the first book in the series.


Thrown into exile on Kerith by a sorcerous act of war, the Vaelinars have used their own unique talents to gain power over the races native to this world, and to create magical Ways that remold Kerith forever. But now their war has followed them, ripping holes in the fabrics of both universes. The Vaelinars stand at a dangerous threshold as old and new betrayals threaten the destinies of the peoples of two worlds.

Against this background of betrayal and ever-shifting alliances, two star-crossed lovers—the half-breed Sevryn and the orphaned, goddess-touched Vaelinar, Rivergrace—must escape the fury of a desperate ruler. The Warrior Queen Lariel, having accidentally revealed to Sevryn the forbidden powers that gained her the throne, has begun a vicious manhunt to destroy him. Fleeing her wrath, Sevryn and Rivergrace find no safe haven as the world’s magic begins to disintegrate around them and the old Gods wake.

In the midst of this chaos, Sevryn is charged with finding the King of Assassins—a quest that may consume him. And only Rivergrace has any hope of discovering the means to save both Sevryn and the world she loves.