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.

Both books added to the pile last week sound amazing: one continues the story begun in one of my favorite books read last year, and the other is the start to a new series that sounds fantastic!

In case you missed it last week, I put up a review of Beneath the Haunting Sea by Joanna Ruth Meyer. It’s a wonderful story—even a book I found myself racing through during the second half—but I didn’t feel it was a wonderful novel due to some issues with pacing and the integration of the world history/mythology. However, it was a pleasant, enjoyable book even if it was not one I found especially memorable.

On to the latest new arrivals!

Grey Sister by Mark Lawrence

Grey Sister (Book of the Ancestor #2) by Mark Lawrence

The second novel in the Book of the Ancestor trilogy, following Red Sister, will be released on April 3 (hardcover, ebook).

The publisher’s website has excerpts from both books in the series (links below the cover images):

  1. Red Sister
  2. Grey Sister

Grey Sister is one of the 2018 releases I’m most excited about: I absolutely loved Red Sister, which was toward the top of my favorite books of 2017 list.


The second novel in a brilliant fantasy series from the international bestselling author of Prince of Thorns.

Behind its walls, the Convent of Sweet Mercy has trained young girls to hone their skills for centuries. In Mystic Class, Novice Nona Grey has begun to learn the secrets of the universe. But so often even the deepest truths just make our choices harder. Before she leaves the convent, Nona must choose which order to dedicate herself to—and whether her path will lead to a life of prayer and service or one of the blade and the fist.

All that stands between her and these choices are the pride of a thwarted assassin, the designs of a would-be empress wielding the Inquisition like a knife, and the vengeance of the empire’s richest lord.

As the world narrows around her, and her enemies attack her through the system she is sworn to, Nona must find her own path despite the competing pulls of friendship, revenge, ambition, and loyalty.

And in all this only one thing is certain: there will be blood.

A Study in Honor by Claire O'Dell

A Study in Honor (The Janet Watson Chronicles #1) by Claire O’Dell

A Study in Honor, the first book in a new science fiction mystery series that the book’s blurb describes as Sherlock Holmes with a feminist twist, will be released on July 31 (trade paperback, ebook). A sequel, The Hound of Justice, is scheduled for release in summer 2019.

Claire O’Dell is a pseudonym for Beth Bernobich, author of Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award Best Epic Fantasy winner Passion Play and the rest of the River of Souls series and The Time Roads.


Set in a near future Washington, D.C., a clever, incisive, and fresh feminist twist on a classic literary icon—Sherlock Holmes—in which Dr. Janet Watson and covert agent Sara Holmes will use espionage, advanced technology, and the power of deduction to unmask a murderer targeting Civil War veterans.

Dr. Janet Watson knows firsthand the horrifying cost of a divided nation. While treating broken soldiers on the battlefields of the New Civil War, a sniper’s bullet shattered her arm and ended her career. Honorably discharged and struggling with the semi-functional mechanical arm that replaced the limb she lost, she returns to the nation’s capital, a bleak, edgy city in the throes of a fraught presidential election. Homeless and jobless, Watson is uncertain of the future when she meets another black and queer woman, Sara Holmes, a mysterious yet playfully challenging covert agent who offers the doctor a place to stay.

Watson’s readjustment to civilian life is complicated by the infuriating antics of her strange new roommate. But the tensions between them dissolve when Watson discovers that soldiers from the New Civil War have begun dying one by one—and that the deaths may be the tip of something far more dangerous, involving the pharmaceutical industry and even the looming election. Joining forces, Watson and Holmes embark on a thrilling investigation to solve the mystery—and secure justice for these fallen soldiers.