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 week brought three books, but first, here’s last week’s review in case you missed it:

Now, the latest books in the mail!

Phantom Pains by Mishell Baker

Phantom Pains (The Arcadia Project #2) by Mishell Baker

This urban fantasy novel will be released on March 21 (hardcover, ebook, paperback). Borderline, the first book in the Arcadia Project series, has received many rave reviews and was featured as both a Publishers Weekly Staff Pick and a Library Journal Debut of the Month.

Mishell Baker’s website has an excerpt from Borderline.


In the second book to the “exciting, inventive, and brilliantly plotted” (Seanan McGuire, New York Times bestselling author) Borderline, Millie unwillingly returns to the Arcadia Project when an impossible and deadly situation pulls her back in.

Four months ago, Millie left the Arcadia Project after losing her partner Teo to the lethal magic of an Unseelie fey countess. Now, in a final visit to the scene of the crime, Millie and her former boss Caryl encounter Teo’s tormented ghost. But there’s one problem: according to Caryl, ghosts don’t exist.

Millie has a new life, a stressful job, and no time to get pulled back into the Project, but she agrees to tell her side of the ghost story to the agents from the Project’s National Headquarters. During her visit though, tragedy strikes when one of the agents is gruesomely murdered in a way only Caryl could have achieved. Millie knows Caryl is innocent, but the only way to save her from the Project’s severe, off-the-books justice is to find the mysterious culprits that can only be seen when they want to be seen. Millie must solve the mystery not only to save Caryl, but also to foil an insidious, arcane terrorist plot that would leave two worlds in ruins.

The Skill of Our Hands by Steven Brust and Skyler White

The Skill of Our Hands (Incrementalists #2) by Steven Brust and Skyler White

The Skill of Our Hands, the second novel in the Incrementalists series, was released last week (hardcover, ebook). has excerpts from both books in this series:

  1. The Incrementalists
  2. The Skill of Our Hands

The Incrementalists are a secret society of two hundred people; an unbroken lineage reaching back forty thousand years. They cheat death, share lives and memories, and communicate with one another across nations and time. They have an epic history, an almost magical memory, and a very modest mission: to make the world better, a little bit at a time.

Now Phil, the Incrementalist whose personality has stayed stable through more incarnations than anyone else’s, has been shot dead. They’ll bring him back—but first they need to know what happened. Their investigation will lead down unexpected paths in contemporary Arizona, and bring them up against corruption in high and low places alike. But the key may lay in one of Phil’s previous lives, in Kansas in 1859, and the fate of a man named John Brown.

Additional Book(s):

The Masked City
by Genevieve Cogman
381pp (Trade Paperback)
My Rating: 8.5/10
Amazon Rating: 4.4/5
LibraryThing Rating: 3.91/5
Goodreads Rating: 4.01/5

Note: This review contains what some may consider to be a spoiler for the first book. If you’d prefer to go into the first book without knowing the true identity of one of the characters until it’s revealed, you may want to avoid reading further and read my review of the first book, The Invisible Library, instead.

The Masked City is both Genevieve Cogman’s second novel and the second installment in the Invisible Library series—and it is every bit as delightful as its predecessor! These books follow the adventures of Irene, a spy for an organization outside of time and space known as the Library, and they are tailor-made for bibliophiles with literary references galore. When she was a junior Librarian, Irene traveled to alternate worlds collecting specific books required by the Library by any means necessary: sometimes she was able to simply purchase them, but other times she had to establish herself in that world and plan a heist. Her role as a member of the Library involves using her wits and ability with the Language, a tongue known only to Librarians that allows them to shape reality (though they must take care to put words together precisely in order to achieve the desired effect!).

At the beginning of The Masked City, Irene is now officially acting as Librarian-in-Residence to the Victorianesque world from her mission in The Invisible Library. This more stationary assignment is no less exciting than her jaunts to various worlds—while on a mission to procure a book from an auction, a rival attempts to poison her and then she and her apprentice Kai, a dragon prince, are attacked by werewolves after leaving the venue—and she continues to handle perilous situations with aplomb.

Irene and Kai have cause to believe the Fae were behind their encounter with violent werewolves, and shortly after this event, Fae libertine Lord Silver confirms their suspicions (though somewhat ambiguously since he’s taken an oath that prevents him from warning them outright). After their meeting with Lord Silver, Irene visits the Library to drop off the hard-earned book and do some research related to their current situation while Kai discusses recent events with their friend Vale, who also happens to be London’s greatest detective. When Irene returns from the Library, she intends to meet Kai at Vale’s, but instead she’s met with disturbing news: Kai has disappeared.

All evidence points to Fae involvement, and Irene must discreetly accompany some of them on a trip to an alternate world’s seventeenth-century-like Venice to have any chance of saving her apprentice before it’s too late. The problem with this course of action (besides the obvious problems of blending in and escaping with Kai) is that this world is so chaotic that it’s perfectly suited to the Fae, right down to having a tendency to conform to the narratives they wish for their own stories to follow. It’s a dangerous quest but the consequences of failure are not only personal but also political: a war between the Fae and the dragons could lead to the destruction of worlds, and neither side would spare innocents caught in the middle of their conflict.

Just like the first book in the series, The Masked City is immensely entertaining with delightful narration. Though it didn’t build on the mysteries introduced in the first book or have as much of Kai and Irene together as I would have liked, it made up for these absences in other ways and I enjoyed it every bit as much as the first book—even a little bit more.

The Invisible Library series is largely an ode to books, and the plot of The Masked City in particular revolves around the power of language and story. It’s concentrated on the Fae and reveals more about how they operate in a chaotic world suited to their nature as well as how it affects humans and the orderly nature of dragons. The Fae have a flair for drama and tend to see themselves as playing a role in a story, and when on a chaotic world, events tend to bend to fit their own narratives. I’m not entirely convinced by this: although it seems reasonable that a world suited to the Fae would work to their advantage, I also find it odd that a chaotic being on a chaotic world would tend to find their lives following patterns. Similarly, more powerful Fae become walking stereotypes, which also seems more predictable than I’d expect from a being of chaos. However, it didn’t bother me too much because this also led to Irene needing to use her knowledge of fairy tale traditions as part of her rescue mission.

As much as I loved the focus on storytelling, Irene herself is the highlight of The Masked City. Irene is competent, practical, responsible, quick thinking, and difficult to unnerve. Realizing she’s been given a glass of poisoned wine is not a cause for panic for her: it’s a mere inconvenience and a waste of a refreshing chilled drink. There are some situations—such as visiting a dragon king—that make her nervous, but she still keeps a clear head even when outside of her comfort zone. Though not perfect, Irene is analytical and rather self aware, and she never seems to take a risk without weighing the options and evaluating the stakes and consequences first. I appreciated these qualities in the first book, but I thought this novel gave an especially good sense of her character and priorities since she has to make a big decision based on different loyalties and duties. She’s not the type to dwell on whether or not she made the right call once she’s made a choice or shirk the repercussions of her actions, and I am even fonder of her as a character now.

Even though I missed reading about Kai and Irene working through an assignment together, I did enjoy the introduction of Zayanna, a flirty Fae woman whose scenes with Irene were great fun. Irene meets Zayanna while trying to blend in amongst the Fae, and she ends up getting Zayanna caught up in some of her troubles. Zayanna is quite unfazed by this: in fact, she is delighted by it and believes it could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship. She loves melodrama, wholeheartedly enjoys being caught up in adventure, and is quick to contribute reckless plans of her own.

It may not have delivered some of the answers I’d been hoping for after reading the first book, but The Masked City still delivered an amusing tale focused on a wonderfully capable heroine. The Invisible Library is becoming one of my favorite new series and I can’t wait for the fourth book (since I’ve already read the newly-released third novel, The Burning Page!).

My Rating: 8.5/10

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

Other Reviews of The Masked City:

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 week brought a few books, including the first couple in a new series by Alison Goodman. I quite enjoyed her Eon duology, especially Eona!

The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman

The Dark Days Club (Lady Helen #1) by Alison Goodman

The Dark Days Club was first released last year, and the trade paperback edition became available earlier this month. It was selected by NPR as one of the Best Young Adult Books of 2016, and it was also an Aurealis Award finalist in both the Best Fantasy Novel and Best Y.A. Novel categories.

The publisher’s website has an excerpt from The Dark Days Club (link is below the cover image).


From the New York Times bestselling author of Eon and Eona; a Regency adventure series starring a stylish and intrepid Buffy-esque demon-hunter

London, April 1812. On the eve of eighteen-year-old Lady Helen Wrexhall’s presentation to the queen, one of her family’s housemaids disappears-and Helen is drawn into the shadows of Regency London. There, she meets Lord Carlston, one of the few who can stop the perpetrators: a cabal of demons infiltrating every level of society. Dare she ask for his help, when his reputation is almost as black as his lingering eyes? And will her intelligence and headstrong curiosity wind up leading them into a death trap?

The Dark Days Pact by Alison Goodman

The Dark Days Pact (Lady Helen #2) by Alison Goodman

The second book in the Lady Helen trilogy will be released on January 31 (hardcover, ebook, audiobook).

The publisher’s website has an excerpt from The Dark Days Pact (link is below the cover image).


Sequel to New York Times bestselling author Alison Goodman’s acclaimed The Dark Days Club—a smashing combination of Buffy and Jane Austen!

Summer, 1812.
After the scandalous events at her presentation ball in London, Lady Helen has taken refuge at the fashionable seaside resort of Brighton, banished from her family and training as a Reclaimer with the covert Dark Days Club. She must learn to fight the dangerous energy-wielding Deceivers and prepare to face their master, the elusive Grand Deceiver.

As she struggles to put aside her genteel upbringing, Helen realizes that her mentor, Lord Carlston, is fighting his own inner battle. Has the foul Deceiver energy poisoned his soul, or is something else driving him towards violent bouts of madness? Either way, Helen is desperate to help the man with whom she shares a deep but forbidden connection.

When Mr. Pike, the hard bureaucratic heart of the Dark Days Club, arrives in Brighton, he has a secret mission for Helen: find the journal left by a mad rogue Reclaimer, before it falls into the hands of the Deceivers. Coerced by Pike, Helen has no choice but to do as ordered, knowing that the search for the journal may bring about Lord Carlston’s annihilation.

Additional Book(s):

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.

Due to the holidays and the beginning of a new year, it’s been awhile since I’ve done one of these posts. Also due to the holidays, there are far too many books that I want to feature to highlight them all today! Since it would have taken forever to set up a post that included detailed information for all those books, I limited it to six featured books (one ARC and five Christmas gifts) and listed all the other books that showed up since the last Leaning Pile of Books post below. Some of these are books in the mail, some are holiday presents, and one is a book I purchased.

In case you missed it, here are the reviews and lists that went up since the last one of these articles:

And now, the latest books!

Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Certain Dark Things was released in October 2016, and I’ve been hearing it is excellent. Even aside from that, I’ve wanted to read it ever since I first read the description and saw the cover!

The blog My Friend Amy has an excerpt from Certain Dark Things.


Welcome to Mexico City… An Oasis In A Sea Of Vampires…

Domingo, a lonely garbage-collecting street kid, is busy eking out a living when a jaded vampire on the run swoops into his life.

Atl, the descendant of Aztec blood drinkers, must feast on the young to survive and Domingo looks especially tasty. Smart, beautiful, and dangerous, Atl needs to escape to South America, far from the rival narco-vampire clan pursuing her. Domingo is smitten.

Her plan doesn’t include developing any real attachment to Domingo. Hell, the only living creature she loves is her trusty Doberman. Little by little, Atl finds herself warming up to the scrappy young man and his effervescent charm.

And then there’s Ana, a cop who suddenly finds herself following a trail of corpses and winds up smack in the middle of vampire gang rivalries.

Vampires, humans, cops, and gangsters collide in the dark streets of Mexico City. Do Atl and Domingo even stand a chance of making it out alive?

Cold Welcome by Elizabeth Moon

Cold Welcome (Vatta’s Peace #1) by Elizabeth Moon

Cold Welcome, the first book in a new series following the Vatta’s War series, is scheduled for release in April (hardcover, ebook).


Nebula Award–winning author Elizabeth Moon makes a triumphant return to science fiction with a thrilling series featuring Kylara Vatta, the daring hero of her acclaimed Vatta’s War sequence.

After nearly a decade away, Nebula Award–winning author Elizabeth Moon makes a triumphant return to science fiction with this installment in a thrilling new series featuring the daring hero of her acclaimed Vatta’s War sequence.

Summoned to the home planet of her family’s business empire, space-fleet commander Kylara Vatta is told to expect a hero’s welcome. But instead she is thrown into danger unlike any other she has faced and finds herself isolated, unable to communicate with the outside world, commanding a motley group of unfamiliar troops, and struggling day by day to survive in a deadly environment with sabotaged gear. Only her undeniable talent for command can give her ragtag band a fighting chance.

Yet even as Ky leads her team from one crisis to another, her family and friends refuse to give up hope, endeavoring to mount a rescue from halfway around the planet—a task that is complicated as Ky and her supporters find secrets others will kill to protect: a conspiracy infecting both government and military that threatens not only her own group’s survival but her entire home planet.

Lord of the Two Lands by Judith Tarr

Lord of the Two Lands by Judith Tarr

I’ve heard Lord of the Two Lands is excellent, and I also quite like the sound of a historical fantasy about Alexander the Great!


In 336 B.C., Egypt lay under the yoke of Persia, ruled by Governors appointed by the King of Kings in Persis. And in the Temple of Amon in Thebes dwelt the only living child of Nectanebo, the last fully Egyptian Pharaoh, who had been defeated in battle and slain by Darius’s servants

But from the north a spirit of fire was moving across the World. A great warrior and general, the king of Macedonia, had risen to rule the Hellenic city-states. Now he was determined to challenge the might of the Persian Empire, to engage Darius himself in battle, and to defeat him. He was called Alexander, and the priests of Amon in Egypt saw that he was destined to rule their ancient land.

So they sent Meriamon, Beloved of Amon, daughter of Pharaoh, Singer and Priestess of the God, up from Egypt to the Plains of Issus, where a great battle had been fought, and the Persian king defeated. There she was to find Alexander, and persuade him to turn from the straight Eastward road and come south – where the double crown of Egypt awaited him.

LORD OF THE TWO LANDS is firmly based in the history of Alexander the Great, and then steeped in the rich, sun-drenched magics of ancient Egypt. It will transport you back to the time of heroes, when one man changed the face of the world.

Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee

Ninefox Gambit (The Machineries of Empire #1) by Yoon Ha Lee

Ninefox Gambit sounds interesting, and I also wanted to read Yoon Ha Lee’s first novel because I enjoyed “The Coin of Heart’s Desire” in the Once Upon a Time: New Fairy Tales anthology. I’ve seen Ninefox Gambit appear on quite a few “Best Books of 2016” lists so now I’m even more intrigued by it!

The publisher’s website has an excerpt from Ninefox Gambit.


The first installment of the trilogy, Ninefox Gambit, centers on disgraced captain Kel Cheris, who must recapture the formidable Fortress of Scattered Needles in order to redeem herself in front of the Hexarchate.

To win an impossible war Captain Kel Cheris must awaken an ancient weapon and a despised traitor general.

Captain Kel Cheris of the hexarchate is disgraced for using unconventional methods in a battle against heretics. Kel Command gives her the opportunity to redeem herself by retaking the Fortress of Scattered Needles, a star fortress that has recently been captured by heretics. Cheris’s career isn’t the only thing at stake. If the fortress falls, the hexarchate itself might be next.

Cheris’s best hope is to ally with the undead tactician Shuos Jedao. The good news is that Jedao has never lost a battle, and he may be the only one who can figure out how to successfully besiege the fortress.

The bad news is that Jedao went mad in his first life and massacred two armies, one of them his own. As the siege wears on, Cheris must decide how far she can trust Jedao–because she might be his next victim.

Seed to Harvest by Octavia Butler

Seed to Harvest (Patternmaster #1-4) by Octavia E. Butler

Kindred is an amazing, incredibly powerful novel and one of the best books I read last year. I want to read everything Octavia Butler has written, and this series in particular sounds very interesting.


Contains the novels Wild Seed, Mind of My Mind, Clay’s Ark, and Patternmaster.

In her classic Patternist series, multiple Hugo and Nebula award winner Octavia E. Butler established themes of identity and transformation that echo throughout her distinguished career. Now collected for the first time in one volume, these four novels take readers on a wondrous odyssey from a mythic, prim/ordial past to a fantastic far future.

In ancient Africa, a female demigod of nurture and fertility mates with a powerful, destructive male entity. Together they birth a race of madmen, visionaries, and psychics who cling to civilization’s margins and back alleys for millenia, coming together in a telepathic Pattern just as Earth is consumed by a cosmic invasion. Now these new beings–no longer mearly human–will battle to rule the transfigured world.

Wolfblade by Jennifer Fallon

Wolfblade (Wolfblade Trilogy #1) by Jennifer Fallon

One of my favorite books of 2016 was The Lyre Thief, the first book in a new series set after the Wolfblade and Demon Child trilogies. It piqued my interest about the previous stories set in this world, and since I loved Marla, I’m especially interested in reading more about her in Wolfblade!


Marla Wolfblade of Hythria is determined to restore her family’s great name, but conspirators surround her: the Sorcerers’ Collective, the Patriots — even members of her own family. She must make sure her son Damin lives to be old enough to restore the Wolfblade name to its former glory.

Elezaar the Dwarf is a small man with big secrets — but that doesn’t matter to Marla Wolfblade. Her brother is the High Prince of Hythria, and, in this fiercely patriarchal society, her fate will be decided on his whim. She needs someone politically astute to guide her through the maze of court politics — and Elezaar the Dwarf knows more than he lets on.

As Elezaar teaches Marla the Rules of Gaining and Wielding Power, Marla starts on the road to becoming a tactician and a wily diplomat — but will that be enough to keep her son alive?

Additional Books:

Since the beginning of 2016, I have been reading and reviewing one book a month based on the results of a poll on PatreonAll of these monthly reviews can be viewed here.

It’s impossible to keep up with all the books, and even aside from there always being more books to read than time to read them in, I’ve missed out on some books I was especially eager to read the last couple of years due to moving so many times—so I thought it would be great to start the new year by catching up a little! The January poll selections are books that I’d like to read before the next book comes out later this year (I’m not positive the sequel to the first book on the list will actually be published this year, but in any case, I’d like to read it). The choices for the January book were as follows:

The first monthly book of 2017 is…

The House of Shattered Wings by Aliette de Bodard
The House of Shattered Wings by Aliette de Bodard

Multi-award winning author Aliette de Bodard, brings her story of the War in Heaven to Paris, igniting the City of Light in a fantasy of divine power and deep conspiracy…

In the late Twentieth Century, the streets of Paris are lined with haunted ruins. The Great Magicians’ War left a trail of devastation in its wake. The Grand Magasins have been reduced to piles of debris, Notre-Dame is a burnt-out shell, and the Seine has turned black with ashes and rubble and the remnants of the spells that tore the city apart. But those that survived still retain their irrepressible appetite for novelty and distraction, and The Great Houses still vie for dominion over France’s once grand capital.

Once the most powerful and formidable, House Silverspires now lies in disarray. Its magic is ailing; its founder, Morningstar, has been missing for decades; and now something from the shadows stalks its people inside their very own walls.

Within the House, three very different people must come together: a naive but powerful Fallen angel; an alchemist with a self-destructive addiction; and a resentful young man wielding spells of unknown origin. They may be Silverspires’ salvation—or the architects of its last, irreversible fall. And if Silverspires falls, so may the city itself.

Aliette de Bodard is an excellent writer, and this sounds fantastic. I’m excited about reading it this month!

One of the most exciting parts of a new year is looking forward to all the new books it will bring—upcoming installments in favorite series, stories written by esteemed authors, and novels by new-to-me writers that draw the eye with compelling descriptions (and perhaps a striking cover to match that enticing blurb!). There are so many intriguing 2017 releases that it was quite difficult to narrow down this year’s list to a reasonable number of books.

As usual, there are a few novels in series I particularly enjoy that do not yet have a publication date. If these three books came out in 2017, it would make the year even better:

  • The Thorn of Emberlain by Scott Lynch
  • The Warboy by Karin Lowachee
  • Winds of Winter by George R. R. Martin

A couple of books on this list also appeared on last year’s list because they were originally scheduled for release in 2016 before being pushed back to 2017. I could not leave either off since they are by two authors whose work I am always excited to read!

Without further ado, here are some of the books I’m most looking forward to in 2017, ordered by current scheduled publication date.

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden
The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden
Release Date: January 10

Though I’m currently reading it, The Bear and the Nightingale was already on my list even before a copy showed up in the mail! This novel sounded right up my alley since I love fairy tales and folk tales, and after sampling the first chapter, I had to keep reading. The writing is lovely, and so far, it’s every bit as enchanting as I’d hoped.


At the edge of the Russian wilderness, winter lasts most of the year and the snowdrifts grow taller than houses. But Vasilisa doesn’t mind—she spends the winter nights huddled around the embers of a fire with her beloved siblings, listening to her nurse’s fairy tales. Above all, she loves the chilling story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon, who appears in the frigid night to claim unwary souls. Wise Russians fear him, her nurse says, and honor the spirits of house and yard and forest that protect their homes from evil.

After Vasilisa’s mother dies, her father goes to Moscow and brings home a new wife. Fiercely devout, city-bred, Vasilisa’s new stepmother forbids her family from honoring the household spirits. The family acquiesces, but Vasilisa is frightened, sensing that more hinges upon their rituals than anyone knows.

And indeed, crops begin to fail, evil creatures of the forest creep nearer, and misfortune stalks the village. All the while, Vasilisa’s stepmother grows ever harsher in her determination to groom her rebellious stepdaughter for either marriage or confinement in a convent.

As danger circles, Vasilisa must defy even the people she loves and call on dangerous gifts she has long concealed—this, in order to protect her family from a threat that seems to have stepped from her nurse’s most frightening tales.

The Burning Page by Genevieve Cogman
The Burning Page (The Invisible Library #3) by Genevieve Cogman
US Release Date: January 10

The Invisible Library (my review) was on my favorite books of 2015 list, and The Masked City was one of my favorite books of 2016 so of course the next Invisible Library book has to be here! This series follows the adventures of Irene, a spy who travels to alternate worlds in order to collect books for an organization existing outside of space and time known as the Library—and it is so much fun. It’s also largely an ode to the power of language, story, and books themselves, and as if that weren’t enough to endear them to this bibliophile, it also features a delightful narrative voice and a practical, capable, quick-thinking heroine. Additional highlights include dragons, fae, and hints of deeper mysteries surrounding the Library to be unraveled later.


Never judge a book by its cover…

Due to her involvement in an unfortunate set of mishaps between the dragons and the Fae, Librarian spy Irene is stuck on probation, doing what should be simple fetch-and-retrieve projects for the mysterious Library. But trouble has a tendency of finding both Irene and her apprentice, Kai—a dragon prince—and, before they know it, they are entangled in more danger than they can handle…

Irene’s longtime nemesis, Alberich, has once again been making waves across multiple worlds, and, this time, his goals are much larger than obtaining a single book or wreaking vengeance upon a single Librarian. He aims to destroy the entire Library—and make sure Irene goes down with it.

With so much at stake, Irene will need every tool at her disposal to stay alive. But even as she draws her allies close around her, the greatest danger might be lurking from somewhere close—someone she never expected to betray her…

Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones
Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones
Release Date: February 7

Dark fairy tales are among my favorite types of stories, so this debut novel piqued my interest the very first time I heard about it. Since then, I’ve only heard praise for Wintersong so I continue to look forward to its release!


Beware the goblin men and the wares they sell.

All her life, nineteen-year-old Liesl has heard tales of the beautiful, mysterious Goblin King. He is the Lord of Mischief, the Ruler Underground, and the muse around which her music is composed. Yet, as Liesl helps shoulder the burden of running her family’s inn, her dreams of composition and childish fancies about the Goblin King must be set aside in favor of more practical concerns.

But when her sister Käthe is taken by the goblins, Liesl journeys to their realm to rescue her sister and return her to the world above. The Goblin King agrees to let Käthe go—for a price. The life of a maiden must be given to the land, in accordance with the old laws. A life for a life, he says. Without sacrifice, nothing good can grow. Without death, there can be no rebirth. In exchange for her sister’s freedom, Liesl offers her hand in marriage to the Goblin King. He accepts.

Down in the Underground, Liesl discovers that the Goblin King still inspires her—musically, physically, emotionally. Yet even as her talent blossoms, Liesl’s life is slowly fading away, the price she paid for becoming the Goblin King’s bride. As the two of them grow closer, they must learn just what it is they are each willing to sacrifice: her life, her music, or the end of the world.

Empress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza
Empress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza
Release Date: February 7

Empress of a Thousand Skies is another debut novel and the first book in a duology. Science fiction with a determined princess and a fugitive facing a galactic threat sounds like fun, plus I love the title!


Rhee, also known as Crown Princess Rhiannon Ta’an, is the sole surviving heir to a powerful dynasty. She’ll stop at nothing to avenge her family and claim her throne.

Aly has risen above his war refugee origins to find fame as the dashing star of a DroneVision show. But when he’s falsely accused of killing Rhee, he’s forced to prove his innocence to save his reputation – and his life.

With planets on the brink of war, Rhee and Aly are thrown together to confront a ruthless evil that threatens the fate of the entire galaxy.

A saga of vengeance, warfare, and the true meaning of legacy.

Miranda and Caliban by Jacqueline Carey
Miranda and Caliban by Jacqueline Carey
Release Date: February 14

Miranda and Caliban is a Shakespeare-inspired novel written by Jacqueline Carey—I don’t believe any further explanation of why I want to read this is necessary!


A lovely girl grows up in isolation where her father, a powerful magus, has spirited them to in order to keep them safe.

We all know the tale of Prospero’s quest for revenge, but what of Miranda? Or Caliban, the so-called savage Prospero chained to his will?

In this incredible retelling of the fantastical tale, Jacqueline Carey shows readers the other side of the coin—the dutiful and tenderhearted Miranda, who loves her father but is terribly lonely. And Caliban, the strange and feral boy Prospero has bewitched to serve him. The two find solace and companionship in each other as Prospero weaves his magic and dreams of revenge.

Always under Prospero’s jealous eye, Miranda and Caliban battle the dark, unknowable forces that bind them to the island even as the pangs of adolescence create a new awareness of each other and their doomed relationship.

Miranda and Caliban is bestselling fantasy author Jacqueline Carey’s gorgeous retelling of The Tempest. With hypnotic prose and a wild imagination, Carey explores the themes of twisted love and unchecked power that lie at the heart of Shakespeare’s masterpiece, while serving up a fresh take on the play’s iconic characters.

In Calabria by Peter S. Beagle
In Calabria by Peter S. Beagle
Release Date: February 14

Although this appears to be unrelated to The Last Unicorn, I still want to read any story Peter S. Beagle writes featuring a unicorn!


From the acclaimed author of The Last Unicorn comes a new, exquisitely-told unicorn fable for the modern age.

Claudio Bianchi has lived alone for many years on a hillside in Southern Italy’s scenic Calabria. Set in his ways and suspicious of outsiders, Claudio has always resisted change, preferring farming and writing poetry. But one chilly morning, as though from a dream, an impossible visitor appears at the farm. When Claudio comes to her aid, an act of kindness throws his world into chaos. Suddenly he must stave off inquisitive onlookers, invasive media, and even more sinister influences.

Lyrical, gripping, and wise, In Calabria confirms Peter S. Beagle’s continuing legacy as one of fantasy’s most legendary authors.

Retribution (War of the Gods #2) by Jennifer Fallon
Release Date: March 1

I’m not 100% sure this is still scheduled for March 2017 (at least, in the US) since it doesn’t seem to have a cover yet and the publisher’s website does not list it. However, I’m keeping my fingers crossed for it because The Lyre Thief (my review) was an immensely entertaining book with meddling gods and false identities—and was another one of my favorite books of 2016!

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
Release Date: March 28

Laini Taylor is a master of prose: it’s vivid and beautiful yet effortless to read. She’s also wonderful at worlds and characters and has written some deliciously dark stories (such as the creepy tale “Hatchling” in Lips Touch: Three Times). It only took reading two of her books for me to realize that I want to read everything she authors!


A new epic fantasy by National Book Award finalist and New York Times bestselling author Laini Taylor of the Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy.

The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around— and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he’s been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance to lose his dream forever.

What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? What exactly did the Godslayer slay that went by the name of god? And what is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving?

The answers await in Weep, but so do more mysteries—including the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazlo’s dreams. How did he dream her before he knew she existed? and if all the gods are dead, why does she seem so real?

In this sweeping and breathtaking new novel by National Book Award finalist Laini Taylor, author of the New York Times bestselling Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy, the shadow of the past is as real as the ghosts who haunt the citadel of murdered gods. Fall into a mythical world of dread and wonder, moths and nightmares, love and carnage.

Welcome to Weep.

Assassin's Fate by Robin Hobb
Assassin’s Fate (The Fitz and the Fool Trilogy #3) by Robin Hobb
Release Date: May 9

Robin Hobb has written several of my favorite fantasy books. I devoured her Farseer trilogy, then Liveship Traders, then Tawny Man (or, at least, what there was of it—not all of the books were out at the time and I remember ordering the third one from the UK because it was released there before the US). I was thrilled when she decided to continue Fitz’s story in this trilogy, and I loved the first two novels: Fool’s Assassin (my review) and Fool’s Quest (my review). The latter in particular was satisfying as a long-time fan of these series, and I’m excited to find out what happens next!

Warning: The book description below does contain spoilers for previous books in this series.


The final book in the Fitz and the Fool trilogy.

Prince FitzChivalry Farseer’s daughter Bee was violently abducted from Withywoods by Servants of the Four in their search for the Unexpected Son, foretold to wield great power. With Fitz in pursuit, the Servants fled through a Skill-pillar, leaving no trace. It seems certain that they and their young hostage have perished in the Skill-river.

Clerres, where White Prophets were trained by the Servants to set the world on a better path, has been corrupted by greed. Fitz is determined to reach the city and take vengeance on the Four, not only for the loss of Bee but also for their torture of the Fool. Accompanied by FitzVigilant, son of the assassin Chade, Chade’s protégé Spark and the stableboy Perseverance, Bee’s only friend, their journey will take them from the Elderling city of Kelsingra, down the perilous Rain Wild River, and on to the Pirate Isles.

Their mission for revenge will become a voyage of discovery, as well as of reunions, transformations and heartrending shocks. Startling answers to old mysteries are revealed. What became of the liveships Paragon and Vivacia and their crews? What is the origin of the Others and their eerie beach? How are liveships and dragons connected?

But Fitz and his followers are not the only ones with a deadly grudge against the Four. An ancient wrong will bring them unlikely and dangerous allies in their quest. And if the corrupt society of Clerres is to be brought down, Fitz and the Fool will have to make a series of profound and fateful sacrifices.

ASSASSIN’S FATE is a magnificent tour de force and with it Robin Hobb demonstrates yet again that she is the reigning queen of epic fantasy.

Thick As Thieves by Megan Whalen Turner
Thick as Thieves (Queen’s Thief #5) by Megan Whalen Turner
Release Date: May 16

Since I still need to read the fourth book, I dithered about whether or not to include Thick as Thieves here. Although I’m slightly behind, I decided I could not leave it off: after all, The Queen of Attolia is one of my favorites due to its characters and deft subtlety. (The book description does indicate this is a stand alone, but I still want to read them in order!)


Discover the world of the Queen’s Thief

Thick as Thieves is the eagerly anticipated new stand-alone novel set in the world of the Queen’s Thief. New York Times-bestselling author Megan Whalen Turner’s entrancing and award-winning Queen’s Thief novels bring to life the world of the epics and feature one of the most charismatic and incorrigible characters of fiction, Eugenides the thief. Megan Whalen Turner’s Queen’s Thief novels are rich with political machinations and intrigue, battles lost and won, dangerous journeys, divine intervention, power, passion, revenge, and deception. Perfect for fans of Leigh Bardugo, Marie Lu, Patrick Rothfuss, and George R. R. Martin.

Kamet, a secretary and slave to his Mede master, has the ambition and the means to become one of the most powerful people in the Empire. But with a whispered warning the future he envisioned is wrenched away, and he is forced onto a very different path. Set in the world of the Queen’s Thief, this epic adventure sees an ordinary hero take on an extraordinary mission. The Queen’s Thief novels have been praised by writers, critics, reviewers, and fans, and have been honored with glowing reviews, “best of” citations, and numerous awards, including the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, a Newbery Honor, the Andre Norton Award shortlist, and the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award. Discover and rediscover the stand-alone companion stories The Thief, The Queen of Attolia, The King of Attolia, and A Conspiracy of Kings, all epic novels set in the world of the Queen’s Thief. Thick as Thieves includes two maps, a map of the world of the Queen’s Thief, and a map of Kamet’s journey.

Flame in the Mist by Renée Ahdieh
Flame in the Mist (Flame in the Mist #1) by Renée Ahdieh
Release Date: May 16

Due to the problem of too many books and too little time, I have yet to read The Wrath and the Dawn despite hearing it’s fantastic. As wonderful as it does sound, I think Flame in the Mist sounds even better. (Of course, I would—it features one of my favorite tropes!)


The daughter of a prominent samurai, Mariko has long known her place—she may be an accomplished alchemist, whose cunning rivals that of her brother Kenshin, but because she is not a boy, her future has always been out of her hands. At just seventeen years old, Mariko is promised to Minamoto Raiden, the son of the emperor’s favorite consort—a political marriage that will elevate her family’s standing. But en route to the imperial city of Inako, Mariko narrowly escapes a bloody ambush by a dangerous gang of bandits known as the Black Clan, who she learns has been hired to kill her before she reaches the palace.

Dressed as a peasant boy, Mariko sets out to infiltrate the ranks of the Black Clan, determined to track down the person responsible for the target on her back. But she’s quickly captured and taken to the Black Clan’s secret hideout, where she meets their leader, the rebel ronin Takeda Ranmaru, and his second-in-command, his best friend Okami. Still believing her to be a boy, Ranmaru and Okami eventually warm to Mariko, impressed by her intellect and ingenuity. As Mariko gets closer to the Black Clan, she uncovers a dark history of secrets, of betrayal and murder, which will force her to question everything she’s ever known.

Tomorrow's Kin by Nancy Kress
Tomorrow’s Kin (Yesterday’s Kin #1) by Nancy Kress
Release Date: July 11

Nancy Kress is a superb science fiction author, and I’m looking forward to seeing what she does with her upcoming trilogy beginning with Tomorrow’s Kin. This upcoming series will expand upon her fantastic novella Yesterday’s Kin (my review), a thoughtful, nearly impossible to put down story about a scientist and her family.


Tomorrow’s Kin is the first volume in and all new hard SF trilogy by Nancy Kress based on the Nebula Award-winning Yesterday’s Kin.

The aliens have arrived… they’ve landed their Embassy ship on a platform in New York Harbor, and will only speak with the United Nations. They say that their world is so different from Earth, in terms of gravity and atmosphere, that they cannot leave their ship. The population of Earth has erupted in fear and speculation.

One day Dr. Marianne Jenner, an obscure scientist working with the human genome, receives an invitation that she cannot refuse. The Secret Service arrives at her college to escort her to New York, for she has been invited, along with the Secretary General of the UN and a few other ambassadors, to visit the alien Embassy.

The truth is about to be revealed. Earth s most elite scientists have ten months to prevent a disaster and not everyone is willing to wait.

The Stone Sky by N. K. Jemisin
The Stone Sky (The Broken Earth #3) by N. K. Jemisin
Release Date: August 15

N. K. Jemisin is a phenomenal writer and a consistently excellent author—one of the best there is, in my opinion. Her Broken Earth trilogy is brilliant, unique, complex, and powerfully written, and I’m looking forward to finding out how it ends after being blown away by The Obelisk Gate (my review): my book-related highlight of 2016.



The Moon will soon return. Whether this heralds the destruction of humankind or something worse will depend on two women.

Essun has inherited the power of Alabaster Tenring. With it, she hopes to find her daughter Nassun and forge a world in which every orogene child can grow up safe.

For Nassun, her mother’s mastery of the Obelisk Gate comes too late. She has seen the evil of the world, and accepted what her mother will not admit: that sometimes what is corrupt cannot be cleansed, only destroyed.

The remarkable conclusion to the post-apocalyptic and highly acclaimed trilogy that began with the multi-award-nominated The Fifth Season.

An Unkindness of Magicians by Kat Howard
An Unkindness of Magicians by Kat Howard
Release Date: September 26

Roses and Rot, Kat Howard’s debut novel, is a fantastic book involving sisters, art, and fairy tales. It was another one of my favorites of 2016, and it left me looking forward to more by this author. I was quite happy to learn that her second novel is scheduled for release this year!


There is a dark secret that is hiding at the heart of New York City and diminishing the city’s magicians’ power in this fantasy thriller by acclaimed author Kat Howard.

In New York City, magic controls everything. But the power of magic is fading. No one knows what is happening, except for Sydney—a new, rare magician with incredible power that has been unmatched in decades, and she may be the only person who is able to stop the darkness that is weakening the magic. But Sydney doesn’t want to help the system, she wants to destroy it.

Sydney comes from the House of Shadows, which controls the magic with the help of sacrifices from magicians.

The Stone in the Skull (Lotus Kingdoms #1) by Elizabeth Bear
Release Date: October 10

Elizabeth Bear’s writing is gorgeous. As she’s another of my favorite authors, I’d be thrilled about any of her upcoming books, but I’m particularly excited about this trilogy since it’s set in the same world as her Eternal Sky books (Range of Ghosts, Shattered Pillars, Steles of the Sky).


Hugo Award winning author Elizabeth Bear returns to her critically acclaimed epic fantasy world of the Eternal Sky with a brand new trilogy.

The Stone in the Skull, the first volume in her new trilogy, takes readers over the dangerous mountain passes of the Steles of the Sky and south into the Lotus Kingdoms.

The Gage is a brass automaton created by a wizard of Messaline around the core of a human being. His wizard is long dead, and he works as a mercenary. He is carrying a message from a the most powerful sorcerer of Messaline to the Rajni of the Lotus Kingdom. With him is The Dead Man, a bitter survivor of the body guard of the deposed Uthman Caliphate, protecting the message and the Gage. They are friends, of a peculiar sort.

They are walking into a dynastic war between the rulers of the shattered bits of a once great Empire.