The Leaning Pile of Books is a feature where I discuss books I got over the last week–old or new, bought or received in the mail 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.

It’s been a few weeks since there were any new arrivals, but a couple of upcoming books came in the mail last week including one I’m very excited about!

In case you missed it, the latest review covers one of my three favorite 2017 releases so far: Laini Taylor’s Strange the Dreamer. I have a review of another of my three favorite 2017 releases nearly finished that I’m hoping to post within the next couple of days.

Now, the latest books…

The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden

The Girl in the Tower (Winternight Trilogy #2) by Katherine Arden

This sequel to Katherine Arden’s phenomenal debut novel released earlier this year, The Bear and the Nightingale, will be on sale on December 5 (hardcover, ebook, audiobook). The third book in the trilogy, The Winter of the Witch, is scheduled for publication in August 2018.

The Bear and the Nightingale has received a lot of acclaim this year: Amazon selected it as the best science fiction and fantasy book of the year, and it’s also a Goodreads Choice Award Best Fantasy finalist as well as a Goodreads Choice Award Best Debut finalist (the winners have not yet been announced). The praise is well deserved, as it’s an enchanting, atmospheric, beautifully written story with a wonderful heroine. If you missed it in April, Katherine Arden wrote about her heroine’s origins for this year’s Women in SF&F Month.

The publisher’s website has an excerpt from the first book and a “look inside” feature for the first two Winternight books:

  1. The Bear and the Nightingale
  2. The Girl in the Tower

Katherine Arden will be on tour for the release of The Girl in the Tower. The first two events will be taking place at BookPeople in Austin, Texas, on December 6 and Powell’s Books in Portland, Oregon, on December 11. She’s also scheduled to be in Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Texas throughout January. Keep an eye on the author’s Facebook events page and Twitter for more tour events!


A remarkable young woman blazes her own trail, from the backwoods of Russia to the court of Moscow, in the exhilarating sequel to Katherine Arden’s bestselling debut novel, The Bear and the Nightingale.

Katherine Arden’s enchanting first novel introduced readers to an irresistible heroine. Vasilisa has grown up at the edge of a Russian wilderness, where snowdrifts reach the eaves of her family’s wooden house and there is truth in the fairy tales told around the fire. Vasilisa’s gift for seeing what others do not won her the attention of Morozko—Frost, the winter demon from the stories—and together they saved her people from destruction. But Frost’s aid comes at a cost, and her people have condemned her as a witch.

Now Vasilisa faces an impossible choice. Driven from her home by frightened villagers, the only options left for her are marriage or the convent. She cannot bring herself to accept either fate and instead chooses adventure, dressing herself as a boy and setting off astride her magnificent stallion Solovey.

But after Vasilisa prevails in a skirmish with bandits, everything changes. The Grand Prince of Moscow anoints her a hero for her exploits, and she is reunited with her beloved sister and brother, who are now part of the Grand Prince’s inner circle. She dares not reveal to the court that she is a girl, for if her deception were discovered it would have terrible consequences for herself and her family. Before she can untangle herself from Moscow’s intrigues—and as Frost provides counsel that may or may not be trustworthy—she will also confront an even graver threat lying in wait for all of Moscow itself.

Blood of the Four by Christopher Golden and Tim Lebbon

Blood of the Four by Christopher Golden and Tim Lebbon

This standalone fantasy novel will be released on March 6, 2018 (hardcover, ebook, audiobook).


The acclaimed authors of The Map of Moments and The Secret Journeys of Jack London join creative forces once more in this epic, standalone novel—an exciting dark fantasy of gods and mortals, fools and heroes, saviors and destroyers with a brilliant beam of hope at its core–that should more than appeal to readers of N.K. Jemisin and Brandon Sanderson.

In the great kingdom of Quandis, everyone is a slave. Some are slaves to the gods. Most are slaves to everyone else.

Blessed by the gods with lives of comfort and splendor, the royal elite routinely perform their duties, yet some chafe at their role. A young woman of stunning ambition, Princess Phela refuses to allow a few obstacles—including her mother the queen and her brother, the heir apparent—stand in the way of claiming ultimate power and glory for herself.

Far below the royals are the Bajuman. Poor and oppressed, members of this wretched caste have but two paths out of servitude: the priesthood . . . or death.

Because magic has been kept at bay in Quandis, royals and Bajuman have lived together in an uneasy peace for centuries. But Princess Phela’s desire for power will disrupt the realm’s order, setting into motion a series of events that will end with her becoming a goddess in her own right . . . or ultimately destroying Quandis and all its inhabitants.