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.

Last week brought two books in the mail plus two book purchases (well, technically, three, but since I’m going to be reviewing the third soon I’m not going to feature it here). All of these books sound amazing, but first, here’s last week’s post in case you missed it:

  • Review of Gilded Cage by Vic James (I thought had a great beginning and ending but a lot of slow parts, and it was just interesting enough—and short enough—that I finished reading it)

Now, the books of the week!

The Waking Land by Callie Bates

The Waking Land by Callie Bates

Callie Bates’ debut novel will be released on June 27 (hardcover, ebook). Paste has an excerpt from The Waking Land.

This was one of those fun surprises—a book I knew nothing about before it showed up but now really want to read! As an added bonus, I love the cover, and the comparison to Uprooted certainly didn’t hurt when it came to piquing my curiosity either!


In the lush and magical tradition of Naomi Novik’s award-winning Uprooted comes this riveting debut from brilliant young writer Callie Bates—whose boundless imagination places her among the finest authors of fantasy fiction, including Sarah J. Maas and Sabaa Tahir.

Lady Elanna is fiercely devoted to the king who raised her like a daughter. But when he dies under mysterious circumstances, Elanna is accused of his murder—and must flee for her life.

Returning to the homeland of magical legends she has forsaken, Elanna is forced to reckon with her despised, estranged father, branded a traitor long ago. Feeling a strange, deep connection to the natural world, she also must face the truth about the forces she has always denied or disdained as superstition—powers that suddenly stir within her.

But an all-too-human threat is drawing near, determined to exact vengeance. Now Elanna has no choice but to lead a rebellion against the kingdom to which she once gave her allegiance. Trapped between divided loyalties, she must summon the courage to confront a destiny that could tear her apart.

Shadowfire by Tanith Lee

Shadowfire (Birthgrave Trilogy #2) by Tanith Lee

The second book in Tanith Lee’s Birthgrave Trilogy was re-released in mass market paperback and ebook in fall 2015. The publisher’s website has an excerpt from Shadowfire (link below the cover image).

I purchased the first book around the time it was reprinted and figured I should complete the set!


Turek was raised as an orphan nomad, until one grim night when he learns of his heritage. He discovers he is the son of the last woman of a superior race long thought dead – a woman who once dishonored his warrior king father. Intent on revenge, Turek takes his father’s name, Vazkor, and embarks on a journey to find his mother – and murder her.

Rediscover this realm of brilliant cruel beauty and seductive immortal ruins, of savage war and grand conquest, of falling stars and silver gods—with this 40th anniversary edition of legendary fantastist Tanith Lee’s Birthgrave Trilogy.

Hunting the White Witch by Tanith Lee

Hunting the White Witch (Birthgrave Trilogy #3) by Tanith Lee

The third book in Tanith Lee’s Birthgrave Trilogy was released in mass market paperback and ebook in early 2016. The publisher’s website has an excerpt from Hunting the White Witch (below the cover image).

Although I haven’t yet read the first book in the trilogy, I wanted to make sure to get a copy since I’d wanted to read these books years ago when they were difficult to find!


Vazkor, who assumed the name of the warrior father he had never known, seeks his mother, a survivor of the hated Old Race known as the White Witch. He has sworn to kill her, to avenge his father and all the humans who had suffered at the hands of the Old Race. But as he searches, his own powers—his fearful heritage—grow. Can Vazkor rid the world once and for all of his own creator?

Hunting the White Witch is the concluding volume of the Birthgrave Trilogy. Rediscover this realm of brilliant cruel beauty and seductive immortal ruins, of savage war and grand conquest, of falling stars and silver gods—with these 40th anniversary editions of legendary fantastist Tanith Lee’s debut book series.

Red Sister by Mark Lawrence

Red Sister (Book of the Ancestor #1) by Mark Lawrence

The first book in the Book of the Ancestor series will be released on April 4 (hardcover, ebook). Amazon’s “Look Inside” feature shows an excerpt from Red Sister.

I’ve seen the main protagonist in this compared to Arya Stark, who is one of my favorite characters from A Song of Ice and Fire, plus a “secretive order of holy warriors” sounds like fun!


The international bestselling author of the Broken Empire and the Red Queen’s War trilogies begins a stunning epic fantasy series about a secretive order of holy warriors…

At the Convent of Sweet Mercy, young girls are raised to be killers. In some few children the old bloods show, gifting rare talents that can be honed to deadly or mystic effect. But even the mistresses of sword and shadow don’t truly understand what they have purchased when Nona Grey is brought to their halls.

A bloodstained child of nine falsely accused of murder, guilty of worse, Nona is stolen from the shadow of the noose. It takes ten years to educate a Red Sister in the ways of blade and fist, but under Abbess Glass’s care there is much more to learn than the arts of death. Among her class Nona finds a new family—and new enemies.
Despite the security and isolation of the convent, Nona’s secret and violent past finds her out, drawing with it the tangled politics of a crumbling empire. Her arrival sparks old feuds to life, igniting vicious struggles within the church and even drawing the eye of the emperor himself.

Beneath a dying sun, Nona Grey must master her inner demons, then loose them on those who stand in her way.