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. 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 I got a belated birthday present, 3 review copies, and 1 ARC. There are some great-sounding books in this week’s pile!

God's War by Kameron Hurley

God’s War (Bel Dame Apocrypha #1) by Kameron Hurley

For some reason, this book took forever to show up when my husband ordered it for me for my birthday (which was over a month and a half ago now). But it’s here now, and I am really excited to read it since I’ve been curious about it for awhile. Plus I’ve been a little irritated at myself for not picking it up when I came across it during one of the Borders sales.

God’s War is one of this year’s Nebula Award nominees for Best Novel. This science fiction novel has one sequel, Infidel, and a third book entitled Rapture will be available in November. It is available in trade paperback and ebook, and there are some sample chapters available on Baen Ebooks.

Nyx had already been to hell. One prayer more or less wouldn t make any difference…

On a ravaged, contaminated world, a centuries-old holy war rages, fought by a bloody mix of mercenaries, magicians, and conscripted soldiers. Though the origins of the war are shady and complex, there’s one thing everybody agrees on–

There’s not a chance in hell of ending it.

Nyx is a former government assassin who makes a living cutting off heads for cash. But when a dubious deal between her government and an alien gene pirate goes bad, Nyx’s ugly past makes her the top pick for a covert recovery. The head they want her to bring home could end the war–but at what price?

The world is about to find out.

The City In the Lake by Rachel Neumeier

The City in the Lake by Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy author Rachel Neumeier kindly sent me some of her books this week. They all sound really good, but I am most curious about this one (and it’s signed, yay!). I read the first page and really liked the writing style, and I’ve been wanting to read this ever since reading this review at The Book Smugglers.

This young adult fantasy book is available in hardcover, mass market paperback, and ebook. The hardcover version is actually available as a $6 bargain book on Amazon right now.

An excerpt from The City in the Lake is available.

THE KINGDOM’S HEART is the City. The City’s heart is the King. The King’s heart is the Prince. The Prince is missing.

Ever since the Prince disappeared, nothing has been right in the Kingdom. Something has disturbed the strange, old magic that whispers around its borders . . . something cunning and powerful. And the disturbance extends to the farthest reaches of the Kingdom, including the idyllic village where Timou is learning to be a mage under her father’s tutelage.

When Timou’s father journeys to the City to help look for the Prince, but never returns, Timou senses that the disturbance in the Kingdom is linked to her—and to the undiscovered heritage of the mother she never knew. She must leave her village, even if it means confronting powers greater than her own, even though what she finds may challenge everything she knows. Even if it means leaving love behind.

This breathtaking first novel spins a web of magic, bravery, and the power of love.

The Floating Islands by Rachel Neumeier

The Floating Islands by Rachel Neumeier

This is another young adult fantasy book that sounds really interesting. It was a Kirkus Reviews Best Children’s Book of the Year, an ALA-YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults Book, and an ALA Amelia Bloomer Recommended Title (for feminist literature).

The Floating Islands is available in hardcover, paperback, and ebook formats. An excerpt is available on the publisher’s website.

When Trei loses his family in a tragic disaster, he must search out distant relatives in a new land. The Floating Islands are unlike anything Trei has ever seen: stunning, majestic, and graced with kajurai, men who soar the skies with wings.

Trei is instantly sky-mad, and desperate to be a kajurai himself.  The only one who fully understands his passion is Araene, his newfound cousin.  Prickly, sarcastic, and gifted, Araene has a secret of her own . . . a dream a girl cannot attain.

Trei and Araene quickly become conspirators as they pursue their individual paths.  But neither suspects that their lives will be deeply entwined, and that the fate of the Floating Islands will lie in their hands. . . .

Filled with rich language, and told in alternating voices, The Floating Islands is an all-encompassing young adult fantasy read.

Land of the Burning Sands by Rachel Neumeier

Land of the Burning Sands (The Griffin Mage #2) by Rachel Neumeier

Books 1 and 3 in the Griffin Mage trilogy aren’t included in this post because I already received unsolicited copies of both when they came out. I’ve almost started book 1 a few times, but has always picked a different book from the list for me when it’s one I’ve been thinking about reading.

The first Griffin Mage book is Lord of the Changing Winds and the last is Law of the Broken Earth. There is also a paperback omnibus containing all three called The Griffin Mage Trilogy. All of these are available as ebooks, and the single volumes are mass market paperback.

These fantasy books are adult fantasy, not young adult. There are excerpts available from all three:

  1. Lord of the Changing Winds
  2. Land of the Burning Sands
  3. Law of the Broken Earth

Gereint Enseichen of Casmantium knows little and cares less about the recent war in which his king tried to use griffins and fire to wrest territory from the neighboring country of Feierabiand…but he knows that his kingdom’s unexpected defeat offers him a chance to escape from his own servitude.

But now that the griffins find themselves in a position of strength, they are not inclined to forgive and the entire kingdom finds itself in deadly peril. Willing or not, Gereint will find himself caught up in a desperate struggle between the griffins and the last remaining Casmantian mage. Even the strongest gifts of making and building may not prove sufficient when the fiery wind of the griffins begins to bury the life of Casmantium beneath the burning sands . . .

This Case Is Gonna Kill Me by Phillipa Bornikova

This Case Is Gonna Kill Me by Phillipa Bornikova

This new urban fantasy will be released in September 2012. It’s a debut novel, and after skimming the first few pages I am a bit curious about it.

What happens when The Firm meets Anita Blake? You get the Halls of Power—our modern world, but twisted. Law, finance, the military, and politics are under the sway of long-lived vampires, werewolves, and the elven Alfar. Humans make the best of rule by “the Spooks,” and contend among themselves to affiliate with the powers-that-be, in order to avoid becoming their prey. Very loyal humans are rewarded with power over other women and men. Very lucky humans are selected to join the vampires, werewolves, and elves—or, on occasion, to live at the Seelie Court.

Linnet Ellery is the offspring of an affluent Connecticut family dating back to Colonial times. Fresh out of law school, she’s beginning her career in a powerful New York “white fang” law firm. She has high hopes of eventually making partner.

But strange things keep happening to her. In a workplace where some humans will eventually achieve immense power and centuries of extra lifespan, office politics can be vicious beyond belief. After some initial missteps, she finds herself sidelined and assigned to unpromising cases. Then, for no reason she can see, she becomes the target of repeated, apparently random violent attacks, escaping injury each time through increasingly improbable circumstances. However, there’s apparently more to Linnet Ellery than a little old-money human privilege. More than even she knows. And as she comes to understand this, she’s going to shake up the system like you wouldn’t believe….