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.

Before I get to this week’s books, a reminder: there’s still time to enter to win Steelheart and Firefight by Brandon Sanderson! The giveaway ends on Thursday.

I’m currently working on a review of Steelheart, a very fun book, and I posted my review of the excellent Dust and Light by Carol Berg last week. Since I loved it, I was very excited to see the cover art for Ash and Silver a couple of days ago. The sequel to Dust and Light is scheduled for release in December. I can’t wait!

On to this week’s books!

Finn Fancy Necromancy by Randy Henderson

Finn Fancy Necromancy by Randy Henderson

This fantasy debut novel will be released on February 10 (hardcover, ebook, audiobook). The first three chapters of Finn Fancy Necromancy can be read on Tor.com.

 

Writers of the Future grand prize winner Randy Henderson presents a dark and quirky debut in Finn Fancy Necromancy.

Finn Gramaraye was framed for the crime of dark necromancy at the age of 15, and exiled to the Other Realm for twenty five years.  But now that he’s free, someone—probably the same someone—is trying to get him sent back.  Finn has only a few days to discover who is so desperate to keep him out of the mortal world, and find evidence to prove it to the Arcane Enforcers.  They are going to be very hard to convince, since he’s already been convicted of trying to kill someone with dark magic.

But Finn has his family: His brother Mort who is running the family necrotorium business now, his brother Pete who believes he’s a werewolf, though he is not, and his sister Samantha who is, unfortunately, allergic to magic.  And he’s got Zeke, a fellow exile and former enforcer, who doesn’t really believe in Finn’s innocence but is willing to follow along in hopes of getting his old job back.

The Skull Throne by Peter V. Brett

The Skull Throne (Demon Cycle #4) by Peter V. Brett

This thick fantasy novel will be released on March 31 (hardcover, ebook). The previous books in the series are as follows:

  1. The Warded Man (US) / The Painted Man (UK) (Read an Excerpt)
  2. The Desert Spear (Read an Excerpt)
  3. The Daylight War (Read an Excerpt)

An excerpt from The Skull Throne is available on the author’s website.

 

The first three novels in New York Times bestselling author Peter V. Brett’s groundbreaking Demon Cycle series—The Warded Man, The Desert Spear, and The Daylight War—set a new standard for heroic fantasy. The powerful saga of humans winnowed to the brink of extinction by night-stalking demons, and the survivors who fight back, has kept readers breathless as they eagerly turned the pages. Now the thrilling fourth volume, The Skull Throne, raises the stakes as it carries the action in shocking new directions.

The Skull Throne of Krasia stands empty.

Built from the skulls of fallen generals and demon princes, it is a seat of honor and ancient, powerful magic, keeping the demon corelings at bay. From atop the throne, Ahmann Jardir was meant to conquer the known world, forging its isolated peoples into a unified army to rise up and end the demon war once and for all.

But Arlen Bales, the Warded Man, stood against this course, challenging Jardir to a duel he could not in honor refuse. Rather than risk defeat, Arlen cast them both from a precipice, leaving the world without a savior, and opening a struggle for succession that threatens to tear the Free Cities of Thesa apart.

In the south, Inevera, Jardir’s first wife, must find a way to keep their sons from killing each other and plunging their people into civil war as they strive for glory enough to make a claim on the throne.

In the north, Leesha Paper and Rojer Inn struggle to forge an alliance between the duchies of Angiers and Miln against the Krasians before it is too late.

Caught in the crossfire is the duchy of Lakton—rich and unprotected, ripe for conquest.

All the while, the corelings have been growing stronger, and without Arlen and Jardir there may be none strong enough to stop them. Only Renna Bales may know more about the fate of the missing men, but she, too, has disappeared. . . .

Carol Berg’s latest fantasy novel, Dust and Light, is set in the same world as her Mythopoeic Award-winning Lighthouse Duet (Flesh and Spirit and Breath and Bone). It will be followed by the second half of the Sanctuary Duet, Ash and Silver, later this year.

Lucian is an exceptionally rare pureblood. While most of these sorcerers have a single magical specialty, the gods granted Lucian gifts with both art and history. Those with dual bents normally have little ability with either, and the weaker of the two is excised when the sorcerer is a child since practicing both is believed to cause madness. However, Lucian proved to be equally strong with both his abilities, and he always followed the rules of pureblood discipline closely. His grandfather, the king’s historian whom Lucian admired and wanted to emulate, procured permission for Lucian to keep both of his bents until Lucian broke the rules by becoming too close to a woman who was not a pureblood. After this incident, Lucian’s grandfather removed his bent for history and never spoke to Lucian again—nor will he ever since he and most of the family were killed in a fire, leaving Lucian and his teenage sister alone.

Despite avoiding Lucian’s company, his grandfather did arrange a contract for his grandson before his death. Lucian continues to work as a portraitist for the Pureblood Registry until the day he is summoned and informed that his contract will expire much earlier than planned: at midnight. Since he and his sister are financially dependent on this income, Lucian must find a new contract immediately and ends up in the service of Bastien, the city coroner. Bastien is quite pleased with Lucian’s lifelike portraits and is able to quickly identify the first man he draws, but he becomes suspicious when he sees Lucian flicker while doing his work. Having never heard of such an occurrence, Lucian dismisses this as his imagination, but he soon finds his own magic is behaving in unexpected ways—and that’s far from the only challenge he faces with a child’s murder to solve and the Registry’s apparent determination to make his life difficult.

Carol Berg is a phenomenal fantasy author. She excels at creating both richly developed worlds and realistic characters, and Dust and Light displays both of these strengths. Her latest book is wonderful with evocative, lovely prose and a plot full of mysteries—everything from a murder mystery to mysteries related to the past, magic, and the world. Like some of her other books, it includes the theme of discovering the truth after history has been rewritten, and it also contains an unlikely friendship between two individuals from completely different backgrounds (and Berg, as usual, puts her main protagonist through some tough situations!). These are only surface similarities, though—Dust and Light is completely fresh when compared to other books due to Lucian’s perspective and the way the story and magic interact with it.

As is usual for Berg, the biggest strength is her characters, particularly her main protagonist. Lucian is a decent and fair man who will go to great lengths for justice, but he’s far from perfect or simplistic. As Bastien observes shortly after meeting him, “he’s got a broom handle up his ass” (page 31), and he can be prideful and arrogant at times, but these fit with his upbringing and circumstances. Not only has he been raised to follow the strict rules established by the Pureblood Registry, but he’s had twenty-six years for those traditions to become ingrained. The one time he ignored these rules by removing those rigid pureblood barriers between himself and an ordinary in his history class, he was punished severely. His grandfather—the person he most admired and wanted to be like—excised his gift for history, dashing his dreams of using his preferred talent to follow in this same man’s footsteps, and severed their relationship forever. Furthermore, there’s no chance for reconciliation since Lucian’s family died except for his young sister, who has no one other than he for support. After all that, why wouldn’t he be serious and concerned about following the rules? And why wouldn’t he have some pride after being told he was not only gifted by the gods but exceptionally rarely gifted throughout his entire life?

Despite some uptight tendencies, I had no difficulty at all caring about Lucian. This is partially due to the challenges he faces throughout the story and the fact that he does change throughout, but I had sympathy for him from the beginning. He’s certainly had it rough since he’s lost nearly everyone he cared about, his preferred magical ability, and his hopes and dreams. In the first few pages, his contract is abruptly canceled, forcing him into a job even worse than the less-than-ideal job he had—and then his circumstances just keep getting worse! He’s also not a one note character who looks down upon anyone who is not a pureblood like him. His punishment did come about because he fell in love with an opinionated, articulate ordinary, after all, and he at least has some sensitivity and tries to be avoid making ungifted people feel inferior.

While Lucian is the most fleshed out character, all the characters seem like realistic people, but it’s not just the characters who have depth: the world does as well. It’s rich with history and myth, giving the impression that there are many stories that could be told in this setting (and I hope there are more than the two duologies!). In particular, I thought the magic was creative. Part of Lucian’s grandfather’s role as Royal Historian was helping the king win wars, but he did not do this through offensive or defensive feats—he did this by knowledge gained from his bent for history. Similarly, Lucian’s portraits were so lifelike that shrewd Bastien could glean information about their personality, and this art comes to reveal the truth in rather unexpected ways. The way his abilities unfold as part of the book’s mysteries is quite well done.

Dust and Light is exactly the type of fantasy book I particularly enjoy—one that is full of dimension when exploring its world and characters. It’s both an intimate story of one man’s trials and tribulations and a vast story showing the larger world of myths and legends. Since every aspect is detailed and carefully crafted, it can move slowly at times, but I usually found it quite absorbing and I’m looking forward to reading Ash and Silver.

My Rating: 8.5/10

Where I got my reading copy: Review copy from the publisher.

Read an Excerpt

Other Reviews:

Today I am giving away one EPIC READS prize pack—a set containing the first two books in The Reckoners series by Brandon Sanderson! Firefight, the second book, was released in January, and both this and the previous novel are #1 New York Times bestsellers. I haven’t yet read the most recent book, but Steelheart is a lot of fun with a fantastic ending so I’m excited to be giving these away!

Steelheart and Firefight by Brandon Sanderson

ABOUT STEELHEART (read an excerpt):

Ten years ago, Calamity came. It was a burst in the sky that gave ordinary men and women extraordinary powers. The awed public started calling them Epics. But Epics are no friend of man. With incredible gifts came the desire to rule. And to rule man you must crush his wills.

Nobody fights the Epics…nobody but the Reckoners. A shadowy group of ordinary humans, they spend their lives studying Epics, finding their weaknesses, and then assassinating them.

And David wants in. He wants Steelheart – the Epic who is said to be invincible. The Epic who killed David’s father. For years, like the Reckoners, David’s been studying, and planning – and he has something they need. Not an object, but an experience.

He’s seen Steelheart bleed. And he wants revenge.

Warning: The Firefight description below contains MAJOR SPOILERS for Steelheart.

ABOUT FIREFIGHT (read an excerpt):

Brandon Sanderson is back with a vengeance in FIREFIGHT, the follow up to the #1 New York Times bestselling Steelheart. In the book that Kirkus Reviews is calling a “rare middle volume that keeps the throttle open,” Sanderson takes readers on another a thrill ride and “presents a Marvel Comics-style mix of violently destructive battles, fabulous feats and ongoing inner wrestling over morality and identity.

David Charleston still can’t believe it. Steelheart is dead, and he died by David’s own hand. Even the Reckoners had never killed a High Epic, but the invincible has fallen and now Newcago is free. Despite attaining revenge for the murder of his father and living his dream as a team member of the most elite Reckoners cell, David finds he has more questions than ever before, and he won’t find the answers in his home city.

Babylon Restored, the city formerly known as Manhattan, could hold the key. Ruled by the mysterious and ambivalent High Epic Regalia, Babylon Restored is a place flooded with water and painted in neon, where the inhabitants spend most of their days lounging and nights partying. David can’t seem to understand the complacency of the city and its residents, but what he does understand is that being positioned here, risky as it may be, could lead him to the answers he so desperately seeks. Because there is an emptiness in him, one left behind after killing Steelheart, that was filled unexpectedly by Firefight, who is just plain Megan to him. And David will stop at nothing to find a way to understand Epics and bring her back to him. Hopefully for good this time.

The second book in the Reckoners series and follow up to the highly acclaimed Steelheart, which Publishers Weekly called “an absolute page-turner,” FIREFIGHT is filled with spine-tingling adventure and heart-racing action that promises to satisfy fans both new and old.


BRANDON SANDERSON is the author of the internationally bestselling Mistborn trilogy. In 2007, he was chosen to complete Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time series following the author’s death.  The concluding book in that series, A Memory of Light, was released on January 8, 2013, and debuted at #1 on the New York Times Hardcover Fiction List, just as his two previous Wheel of Time books had done.  His work has been published in over 25 languages and his books have sold millions of copies worldwide. He lives and writes in Utah. Visit him at BrandonSanderson.com or connect with him on Twitter @BrandSanderson.

Courtesy of Random House, I have one EPIC READS prize pack containing Steelheart and Firefight to give away! This giveaway is open to US residents only.

Giveaway Rules: To be entered in the giveaway, fill out the form below OR send an email to kristen AT fantasybookcafe DOT com with the subject “Epic Reads Giveaway.” One entry per household and one winner will be randomly selected. Those from the US are eligible to win this giveaway. The giveaway will be open until the end of the day on Thursday, February 12. The winner has 24 hours to respond once contacted via email, and if I don’t hear from them by then a new winner will be chosen (who will also have 24 hours to respond until someone gets back to me to verify the correct email address).

Please note email addresses will only be used for the purpose of contacting the winner. Once the giveaway is over all the emails will be deleted.

Good luck!

Update: Now that the giveaway is over, the form has been removed.

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.

This was a good week for books, and I’m particularly excited about the first book listed! Before I get to the books, here are a couple of things coming up this week.

Tomorrow there will be a giveaway of the first two books in Brandon Sanderson’s Reckoners series, Steelheart and Firefight! Sometime later this week (probably Wednesday), I’ll finally be posting my review of Dust and Light by Carol Berg, which was one of my favorite books of 2014.

On to this week’s books!

Karen Memory by Elizabeth Bear

Karen Memory by Elizabeth Bear

This steampunk adventure will be released on February 3 (hardcover, ebook). An excerpt from Karen Memory is available on Tor.com.

Elizabeth Bear has won the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, two Hugo Awards for short fiction, the Sturgeon Award, and the Locus Award for Best First Novel. She is also one of my favorite authors so I am pretty excited about this one!

 

“You ain’t gonna like what I have to tell you, but I’m gonna tell you anyway. See, my name is Karen Memery, like memory only spelt with an e, and I’m one of the girls what works in the Hôtel Mon Cherie on Amity Street. Hôtel has a little hat over the o like that. It’s French, so Beatrice tells me.”

Set in the late 19th century—when the city we now call Seattle Underground was the whole town (and still on the surface), when airships plied the trade routes, would-be gold miners were heading to the gold fields of Alaska, and steam-powered mechanicals stalked the waterfront, Karen is a young woman on her own, is making the best of her orphaned state by working in Madame Damnable’s high-quality bordello. Through Karen’s eyes we get to know the other girls in the house—a resourceful group—and the poor and the powerful of the town. Trouble erupts one night when a badly injured girl arrives at their door, beggin sanctuary, followed by the man who holds her indenture, and who has a machine that can take over anyone’s mind and control their actions. And as if that wasn’t bad enough, the next night brings a body dumped in their rubbish heap—a streetwalker who has been brutally murdered.

Bear brings alive this Jack-the-Ripper yarn of the old west with a light touch in Karen’s own memorable voice, and a mesmerizing evocation of classic steam-powered science.

The Eterna Files by Leanna Renee Hieber

The Eterna Files (The Eterna Files Saga #1) by Leanna Renee Hieber

This paranormal mystery will be released on February 10 (hardcover, ebook). An excerpt from The Eterna Files can be read on Tor.com.

Leanna Renee Hieber’s debut novel, The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker, won Prism Awards for Best Fantasy Romance and Best First Novel. Another one of her books, the young adult novel Darker Still, was a finalist for the Daphne du Maurier Award. I read her first novel and enjoyed it so I am quite curious about this one!

 

Welcome to The Eterna Files, written by Leanna Renee Hieber, “the brightest new star in literature”(True-Blood.net)

London, 1882: Queen Victoria appoints Harold Spire of the Metropolitan Police to Special Branch Division Omega. Omega is to secretly investigate paranormal and supernatural events and persons. Spire, a skeptic driven to protect the helpless and see justice done, is the perfect man to lead the department, which employs scholars and scientists, assassins and con men, and a traveling circus. Spire’s chief researcher is Rose Everhart, who believes fervently that there is more to the world than can be seen by mortal eyes.

Their first mission: find the Eterna Compound, which grants immortality. Catastrophe destroyed the hidden laboratory in New York City where Eterna was developed, but the Queen is convinced someone escaped—and has a sample of Eterna.

Also searching for Eterna is an American, Clara Templeton, who helped start the project after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln nearly destroyed her nation. Haunted by the ghost of her beloved, she is determined that the Eterna Compound—and the immortality it will convey—will be controlled by the United States, not Great Britain.

Cherry Bomb by Kathleen Tierney

Cherry Bomb (Siobhan Quinn #3) by Kathleen Tierney

The conclusion to the Siobhan Quinn series will be released on February 3 (paperback, ebook). The first two books in the series are as follows:

  1. Blood Oranges
  2. Red Delicious

Kathleen Tierney is a pseudonym for Caitlin R. Kiernan, whose work has won the James Tiptree Award and the Bram Stoker Award for Novel and been nominated for four World Fantasy Awards as well as the Shirley Jackson Award.

 

Meet Siobhan Quinn—Half vampire, half werewolf, and retired monster hunter. Or so she thought…

Three years have passed since Quinn turned her back on Providence, Rhode Island’s seedy supernatural underbelly, walking out on Mr. B. and taking a bus headed anywhere. She hoped her escape would give her some peace from the endless parade of horrors. But a dead girl who quarrels with the moon can’t catch a break, and, on the streets of Manhattan, Quinn finds herself caught between a rock and a hard place. Again.

What do you do when you’re stuck in the middle of a three-million-year-old grudge match between the ghouls and the djinn, accidentally in possession of a hellish artifact that could turn the tide of the war, all the while being hunted by depraved half-ghoul twins intent on taking the object and ushering in a terrifying Dark Age?

Especially when you’ve fallen in love with the woman who got you into this mess—and you ain’t nobody’s hero…

Darkwalker by E. L. Tettensor

Darkwalker (Nicolas Lenoir #1) by E. L. Tettensor

I’ve been quite interested in this one since seeing some good reviews and reading E. L. Tettensor’s guest post on antiheroes that went up on Monday. Darkwalker is available now (mass market paperback, ebook, audiobook).

This is E. L. Tettensor’s debut novel. The second Nicolas Lenoir book is coming soon, and she is also Erin Lindsey, author of The Bloodbound.

 

He used to be the best detective on the job. Until he became the hunted…

Once a legendary police inspector, Nicolas Lenoir is now a disillusioned and broken man who spends his days going through the motions and his evenings drinking away the nightmares of his past. Ten years ago, Lenoir barely escaped the grasp of the Darkwalker, a vengeful spirit who demands a terrible toll on those who have offended the dead. But the Darkwalker does not give up on his prey so easily, and Lenoir has always known his debt would come due one day.

When Lenoir is assigned to a disturbing new case, he treats the job with his usual apathy—until his best informant, a street savvy orphan, is kidnapped. Desperate to find his young friend before the worst befalls him, Lenoir will do anything catch the monster responsible for the crimes, even if it means walking willingly into the arms of his own doom…

Master of Plagues by E. L. Tettensor

Master of Plagues (Nicolas Lenoir #2) by E. L. Tettensor

Nicolas Lenoir’s adventures will continue with the release of book two on February 3 (mass market paperback, ebook). An excerpt from Master of Plagues is available on the author’s website.

 

“A dark fantasy detective story that takes readers on a dark, sometimes disturbing journey. E.L. Tettensor crafts a tale that makes you think even while you shudder—a delightful combination.”—Fresh Fiction on Darkwalker

Unraveling a deadly mystery takes time—and his is running out…

Having barely escaped the clutches of the Darkwalker, Inspector Nicolas Lenoir throws himself into his work with a determination he hasn’t known in years. But his legendary skills are about to be put to the test. A horrific disease is ravaging the city—and all signs point to it having been deliberately unleashed.

With a mass murderer on the loose, a rising body count, and every hound in the city on quarantine duty, the streets of Kennian are descending into mayhem, while Lenoir and his partner, Sergeant Bran Kody, are running out of time to catch a killer and find a cure.

Only one ray of hope exists: the nomadic Adali, famed for their arcane healing skills, claim to have a cure. But dark magic comes at a price, one even the dying may be unwilling to pay. All that’s left to Lenoir is a desperate gamble. And when the ashes settle, the city of Kennian will be changed forever…

Today I’m happy to welcome E. L. Tettensor as part of the Master of Plagues blog tour! Master of Plagues, the second Nicolas Lenoir novel following Darkwalker, will be released on February 3. While I haven’t yet read these books, I’m quite curious about them—especially after reading reviews of Darkwalker at Bookworm Blues and Not Yet Read and this interview with the author at The BiblioSanctum in which she discussed Nicolas Lenoir as an antihero. Since this aspect of the main character particularly piqued my interest, I’m glad she shared some thoughts on why fictional antiheroes are so compelling in today’s guest post!

Darkwalker by E. L. Tettensor Master of Plagues by E. L. Tettensor
Sympathy for the Devil

“Prepare to dislike him from the start.”

“Probably one of the most unlikeable characters that I’ve run across for a while.”

“We were so angry with him, we almost stopped reading.”

These are just a few of the things reviewers have said about Inspector Nicolas Lenoir, the main character in my debut novel, Darkwalker, and its sequel, Master of Plagues. At first glance, they aren’t very flattering. In fact, they seem like exactly the sorts of comments an author dreads. After all, who wants to read a book with an unlikeable protagonist?

Well, these bloggers, for a start; all three of them enjoyed the book–not in spite of its hero, but because of him. Nor are they alone. A casual glance at the bestsellers list offers evidence enough of the widespread appeal of antiheroes. Not just in books, but in television, movies, graphic novels, and so on. Such is our collective appetite for them that Entertainment Weekly has declared this the Age of the Antihero. Thieves, murderers, tyrants, even cowards–we love them. We root for them shamelessly, even if we don’t totally approve of that time they shoved a kid out the window, or forced some local hoodlum to cook meth. Because, damn it, they’re interesting. We might not condone their actions, but we’re mesmerised by them, like rubbernecking at a car crash.

Why is that, though? What is it about antiheroes that so captivates us?

The conventional answer is that they’re more realistic. Human beings are inherently flawed; to be believable, a character should be too. Realistic characters resonate with us much more deeply. We see a little bit of ourselves in them, and it’s this recognition that draws us in.

I’ll buy that–up to a point. An antihero in the vein of Sherlock Holmes (or Nicolas Lenoir) is not a necessarily bad person; he’s just kind of a dick. A “high-functioning sociopath” with a moral compass that doesn’t quite point True North. Holmes’s arrogance and his inability to connect with people are realistic traits, ones we recognise in the people around us.

But antiheroes don’t have a monopoly on flaws. Tony Stark is an egomaniac. Buffy is needy. Jon Snow is woefully naïve. Those are all flaws, yet I wouldn’t consider any of these characters to be antiheroes. Moreover, the flaws of many antiheroes are actually pretty over the top. If the actions of a Jaime Lannister or a Walter White resonate with you… well, I’m going to stop that sentence right there, because I’m afraid of you.

Seen in that light, the “antiheroes are more realistic” theory doesn’t quite wash. There has to be more to it than that. And I think perhaps it’s something to do with worldview.

Even if antiheroes themselves don’t necessarily resonate with us, the rules governing their lives do. Stories with antiheroes at their centre offer a vision of the world that we recognise, one in which not only do good things happen to bad people, but good things can be actively brought about by bad people. This is both realistic and aspirational, and it’s the latter aspect that I think is most captivating. We love a redemption story. Not in the treacly, he-turned-out-to-be-a-swell-guy-in-the-end sense, but in the sense of great deeds being within the grasp of anyone, no matter how flawed. Being, in other words, within our grasp.

It’s a pretty compelling worldview, with roots sunk deep into the religious foundations of Western culture. It means that however meagre your talents or egregious your past sins, the only thing standing between you and greatness is choice.

And so we cheer for the antihero, knowing that however far into darkness s/he falls, it will only make the climb back into the light that much more satisfying. It’s a journey that’s hard to pull off as an author, but when it works, it really works. Of all the impressive tricks I’ve seen over the years, getting me to root for Jaime Lannister takes the prize. I’m hooked, and I can’t wait to see how it all turns out.

“There is no redemption.” So says the Darkwalker, and Lenoir believes it. Maybe they’re right. But the quest for it makes for one hell of a story.

E.L. Tettensor likes her stories the way she likes her chocolate: dark, exotic, and with a hint of bitterness. She has visited more than fifty countries on five continents, and brought a little something back from each of them to press inside the pages of her books. She also writes traditional fantasy as Erin Lindsey. She lives with her husband in Bujumbura, Burundi.

Web: www.eltettensor.com
Twitter: @etettensor

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.

This week brought three books, but I’ve already talked about two of them before (and I do plan on reviewing both of them since they’re books I’ve been looking forward to reading). So I’m just going to write about the one that showed up that I haven’t already covered before.

For reviews, I haven’t had a chance to start a new one since posting my review of Radiant by Karina Sumner-Smith on Wednesday. I’m still trying to decide if I should review Dust and Light by Carol Berg or The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman next. Both of these were books I very much enjoyed.

There is also still time to enter to win a copy of Impact Velocity by Leah Petersen in the international giveaway! The last day to enter is Wednesday of this week.

On to this week’s book!

Get in Trouble by Kelly Link

Get in Trouble by Kelly Link

Kelly Link’s latest short story collection, Get in Trouble, will be released on February 3 (hardcover, ebook, audiobook). There is a book tour for this release with events in New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Washington, Oregon, California, and Michigan. Check out the list of Get in Trouble events on the publisher’s site to see if there’s an event near you!

I haven’t read any of Kelly Link’s short stories yet myself, but I’ve heard they are wonderful.

 

She has been hailed by Michael Chabon as “the most darkly playful voice in American fiction” and by Neil Gaiman as “a national treasure.” Now Kelly Link’s eagerly awaited new collection—her first for adult readers in a decade—proves indelibly that this bewitchingly original writer is among the finest we have.

Link has won an ardent following for her ability, with each new short story, to take readers deeply into an unforgettable, brilliantly constructed fictional universe. The nine exquisite examples in this collection show her in full command of her formidable powers. In “The Summer People,” a young girl in rural North Carolina serves as uneasy caretaker to the mysterious, never-quite-glimpsed visitors who inhabit the cottage behind her house. In “I Can See Right Through You,” a middle-aged movie star makes a disturbing trip to the Florida swamp where his former on- and off-screen love interest is shooting a ghost-hunting reality show. In “The New Boyfriend,” a suburban slumber party takes an unusual turn, and a teenage friendship is tested, when the spoiled birthday girl opens her big present: a life-size animated doll.

Hurricanes, astronauts, evil twins, bootleggers, Ouija boards, iguanas, The Wizard of Oz, superheroes, the Pyramids . . . These are just some of the talismans of an imagination as capacious and as full of wonder as that of any writer today. But as fantastical as these stories can be, they are always grounded by sly humor and an innate generosity of feeling for the frailty—and the hidden strengths—of human beings. In Get in Trouble, this one-of-a-kind talent expands the boundaries of what short fiction can do.