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 brought six review copies, but one was a second copy of a book I just got last week, one was not actually SFF, and one is the finished copy of a book I already discussed so I’m only going to discuss three of these. (And yes, I did buy a book for National Buy a Book Day on Friday, but I ordered it so it’s not here yet. I’ll talk about it after it gets here.)

In case the finished copy was a book any of you were waiting for, Ghost Key by Trish J. MacGregor was released last month.

The Tainted City by Courtney Schafer

The Tainted City (The Shattered Sigil #2) by Courtney Schafer

This sequel to Courtney Schafer’s debut, The Whitefire Crossing, will be released in trade paperback and ebook on October 2. Chapter one and chapter two can both be read on the author’s website. If you haven’t yet read the first book, you can read the first six chapters from The Whitefire Crossing.

I did read and review The Whitefire Crossing and am rather curious about what happens in the second book! The title for the third book sounds pretty exciting, The Labyrinth of Flame.

Dev is a desperate man. After narrowly surviving a smuggling job gone wrong, he’s now a prisoner of the Alathian Council, held hostage to ensure his friend Kiran — former apprentice to one of the most ruthless mages alive — does their bidding.

But Kiran isn’t Dev’s only concern. Back in his home city of Ninavel, the child he once swore to protect faces a terrible fate if he can’t reach her in time, and the days are fast slipping away. So when the Council offers Dev freedom in exchange for his and Kiran’s assistance in a clandestine mission to Ninavel, he can’t refuse, no matter how much he distrusts their motives.

Once in Ninavel the mission proves more treacherous than even Dev could have imagined. Betrayed by allies, forced to aid their enemies, he and Kiran must confront the darkest truths of their pasts if they hope to save those they love and survive their return to the Tainted City.

The Cold Commands by Richard K. Morgan

The Cold Commands (A Land Fit for Heroes #2) by Richard K. Morgan

The Cold Commands has been out in hardcover, ebook, and audiobook formats since last year. This trade paperback edition will be on sale September 25.  You can read an excerpt on the publisher’s website if you click the image of the book cover. If you missed the first book, The Steel Remains, you can also click the image to see inside the book or read an excerpt on the publisher’s site.

I haven’t read the first book, but I’ve heard good things about the series.

Ringil Eskiath, scarred wielder of the kiriath-forged broadsword Ravensfriend, is a man on the run from his past and the family who have disowned him, from the slave trade magnates of Trelayne who want him dead, and apparently from the dark gods themselves, who are taking an interest but making no more sense than they ever have. Outlawed and exiled from his ancestral home in the north, Ringil has only one place left to turn Yhelteth, city heart of the southern Empire, where perhaps he can seek asylum with the kiriath half-breed Archeth Indamaninarmal, former war comrade and now high-up advisor to the Emperor Jhiral Khimran II. But Archeth Indamaninarmal has problems of her own to contend with, as does her house guest, bodyguard and one time steppe nomad Egar the Dragonbane. And far from gaining the respite he is seeks, Ringil will instead find himself implicated in fresh schemes and doubtful allegiances no safer than those he has left behind. Old enemies are stirring, the old order is rotted through and crumbling, and though no-one yet knows it, the city of Yhelteth is about to explode.

Bad Glass by Richard E. Gropp

Bad Glass by Richard E. Gropp

This debut was the winner of the 2011 Suvudu Writing Contest and will be released in trade paperback and ebook on September 25. You can read an excerpt and browse the book on the publisher’s website.

One of the most hauntingly original dark fantasy debuts in years—perfect for fans of Lost and Mark Danielewski’s cult classic, House of Leaves.

Something has happened in Spokane. The military has evacuated the city and locked it down. Even so, disturbing rumors and images seep out, finding their way onto the Internet, spreading curiosity, skepticism, and panic. For what they show is—or should be—impossible: strange creatures that cannot exist, sudden disappearances that violate the laws of physics, human bodies fused with inanimate objects, trapped yet still half alive. . . .

Dean Walker, an aspiring photographer, sneaks into the quarantined city in search of fame. What he finds will change him in unimaginable ways. Hooking up with a group of outcasts led by a beautiful young woman named Taylor, Dean embarks on a journey into the heart of a mystery whose philosophical implications are as terrifying as its physical manifestations. Even as he falls in love with Taylor—a woman as damaged and seductive as the city itself—his already tenuous hold on reality starts to come loose. Or perhaps it is Spokane’s grip on the world that is coming undone.

Now, caught up in a web of interlacing secrets and betrayals, Dean, Taylor, and their friends must make their way through this ever-shifting maze of a city, a city that is actively hunting them down, herding them toward a shocking destiny.