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 (usually 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.

This past week brought some pretty interesting books, but first:

Now, the books!

The Labyrinth of Flame by Courtney Schafer

The Labyrinth of Flame (Shattered Sigil #3) by Courtney Schafer

I received this ebook since I was a Kickstarter backer, but if you missed the Kickstarter, don’t despair—The Labyrinth of Flame is scheduled for release in both ebook and print formats on December 1! In the meantime, you can also read chapter one, chapter two, and chapter three on the author’s website.

The previous books in the trilogy are as follows:

  1. The Whitefire Crossing (first six chapters)
  2. The Tainted City (chapter one | chapter two)

I LOVED The Tainted City so I’m quite excited about this one, although I’ll probably wait for a print copy to read it.


Dev’s never been a man afraid of a challenge. Not only has he kept his vow to his dead mentor, rescuing a child in the face of impossible odds, but he’s freed his mage friend Kiran from both the sadistic master who seeks to enslave him and the foreign Council that wants to kill him.

But Kiran’s master Ruslan is planning a brutal revenge, one that will raze an entire country to blood and ashes. Kiran is the key to stopping Ruslan; yet Kiran is dying by inches, victim of the Alathian Council’s attempt to chain him. Worse yet, Dev and Kiran have drawn the attention of demons from the darkest of ancient legends. Demons whose power Dev knows is all too real, and that he has every reason to fear.

A fear that grows, as he and Kiran struggle to outmaneuver Ruslan and uncover the secrets locked in Kiran’s forgotten childhood. For the demons are playing their own deadly game – and the price of survival may be too terrible to bear.

Ash & Bramble by Sarah Prineas

Ash & Bramble by Sarah Prineas

This Cinderella retelling was released last month (hardcover, ebook). Epic Reads has the first 95 pages of Ash & Bramble.


The tale of Cinderella has been retold countless times. But what you know is not the true story. Sarah Prineas’s bold fairy-tale retelling is a dark and captivating world where swords are more fitting than slippers, young shoemakers are just as striking as princes, and a heroine is more than ready to rescue herself before the clock strikes midnight.

Pin has no recollection of who she is or how she got to the Godmother’s fortress. She only knows that she is a Seamstress, working day in and out to make ball gowns fit for fairy tales. But she longs to forsake her backbreaking servitude and dares to escape with the brave young Shoemaker.

Pin isn’t free for long before she’s captured again and forced to live the new life the Godmother chooses for her—a fairy-tale story, complete with a charming prince—instead of finding her own happily ever after.

When the glass slipper just doesn’t fit . . .

Krampus: The Yule Lord by Brom

Krampus: The Yule Lord by Brom

The paperback edition of Krampus will be released on October 27. An excerpt can be read on

I remember hearing good things about this when it was first released in hardcover!


Acclaimed author and artist Brom raised eyebrows and pulse rates with The Child Thief, his grim, brilliantly audacious, gorgeously illustrated reimagining of the Peter Pan legend. So what does this innovative fantasist do for an encore? He tinkers darkly with the beloved mythology of Santa Claus. Set in Appalachia, Krampus the Yule Lord is a twisted fairytale about a failed West Virginia songwriter who gets ensnared on Christmas Eve in an eternal war between a not-so-saintly Saint Nick and his dark enemy Krampus, aka Black Peter, an ancient trickster demon. Krampus the Yule Lord is Gregory Maguire (Wicked) meets Susanna Clarke (Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell) in the realm of Guillermo Del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth, as Clive Barker (Mr. B. Gone) works his dark sorcery from the shadows. Once again featuring Brom’s chillingly beautiful artwork throughout, Krampus the Yule Lord is a feast of wonder straight from the kitchen of Sweeney Todd.

The King's Justice by Stephen Donaldson

The King’s Justice: Two Novellas by Stephen Donaldson

This book, containing the novellas “The King’s Justice” and “The Augur’s Gambit,” was released last week (hardcover, ebook, audiobook). has an excerpt from the first of these.


Two new, original novellas—Donaldson’s first publication since finishing the Thomas Covenant series—are a sure cause for celebration among his many fans.

In The King’s Justice, a stranger dressed in black arrives in the village of Settle’s Crossways, following the scent of a terrible crime. He even calls himself “Black,” though almost certainly that is not his name. The people of the village discover that they have a surprising urge to cooperate with this stranger, though the desire of inhabitants of quiet villages to cooperate with strangers is not common in their land, or most lands. But this gift will not save him as he discovers the nature of the evil concealed in Settle’s Crossways.

The “Augur’s Gambit” is a daring plan created by Mayhew Gordian, Hieronomer to the Queen of Indemnie, a plan to save his Queen and his country. Gordian is a reader of entrails. In the bodies of chickens, lambs, piglets, and one stillborn infant he sees the same message: the island nation of Indemnie is doomed. But even in the face of certain destruction a man may fight, and the Hieronomer is utterly loyal to his beautiful Queen–and to her only daughter. The “Augur’s Gambit” is his mad attempt to save a kingdom.

Other Books: