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. 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, one ARC and three review copies showed up in the mail. One of these has already been mentioned in one of these posts when the ARC showed up: River of Stars by Guy Gavriel Kay, which will be released in hardcover and ebook on April 2. I have already read this one and thought it was excellent, and it’s my favorite book I’ve read this year so far. Last week I posted an interview with Guy Gavriel Kay about this upcoming book and his writing, and he had really interesting answers.

On to the other books!

Zenn Scarlett by Christian Schoon

Zenn Scarlett by Christian Schoon

This first book in a new young adult science fiction series will be released in trade paperback and ebook in the US and Canada on May 7. It will be available in B-format paperback in the UK and Australia on May 2. There is currently a Goodreads giveaway for 3 copies of Zenn Scarlett, and those from several countries are eligible to win.

I am incredibly excited about reading this book! The author contacted me awhile ago to see if I wanted an ARC when they were available, and I was immediately intrigued by the premise of a character training to be a veterinarian specializing in alien life forms on Mars. I wanted to be a veterinarian myself when I was young, and I just love this concept. And the cover is quite striking, too!


When you’re studying to be exoveterinarian specializing in exotic, alien life forms, school… is a different kind of animal.

Zenn Scarlett is a resourceful, determined 17-year-old girl working hard to make it through her novice year of exovet training. That means she’s learning to care for alien creatures that are mostly large, generally dangerous and profoundly fascinating. Zenn’s all-important end-of-term tests at the Ciscan Cloister Exovet Clinic on Mars are coming up, and, she’s feeling confident of acing the exams. But when a series of inexplicable animal escapes and other disturbing events hit the school, Zenn finds herself being blamed for the problems. As if this isn’t enough to deal with, her absent father has abruptly stopped communicating with her; Liam Tucker, a local towner boy, is acting unusually, annoyingly friendly; and, strangest of all: Zenn is worried she’s started sharing the thoughts of the creatures around her. Which is impossible, of course. Nonetheless, she can’t deny what she’s feeling.

Now, with the help of Liam and Hamish, an eight-foot sentient insectoid also training at the clinic, Zenn must learn what’s happened to her father, solve the mystery of who, if anyone, is sabotaging the cloister, and determine if she’s actually sensing the consciousness of her alien patients… or just losing her mind. All without failing her novice year….

Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta

Finnikin of the Rock (The Lumatere Chronicles #1) by Melina Marchetta

Finnikin of the Rock, winner of the Aurealis Award for Best Young Adult Novel and the first book in a young adult fantasy trilogy, is available now. The second book, Froi of the Exiles, has also been released. Quintana of Charyn, the third book, will be released in the US on April 23, 2013. (It appears to already be out in Australia, where Melina Marchetta lives, and may be available in some other countries now, too.) An excerpt from Finnikin of the Rock can be read on the publisher’s website.

The cover quote by Kristin Cashore calling it “Dark and beautiful and utterly believable” has me very excited about reading this.


2008 Printz Award Winner Melina Marchetta crafts an epic fantasy of ancient magic, exile, feudal intrigue, and romance that rivets from the first page.

Finnikin was only a child during the five days of the unspeakable, when the royal family of Lumatere were brutally murdered, and an imposter seized the throne. Now a curse binds all who remain inside Lumatere’s walls, and those who escaped roam the surrounding lands as exiles, persecuted and despairing, dying by the thousands in fever camps. In a narrative crackling with the tension of an imminent storm, Finnikin, now on the cusp of manhood, is compelled to join forces with an arrogant and enigmatic young novice named Evanjalin, who claims that her dark dreams will lead the exiles to a surviving royal child and a way to pierce the cursed barrier and regain the land of Lumatere. But Evanjalin’s unpredictable behavior suggests that she is not what she seems — and the startling truth will test Finnikin’s faith not only in her, but in all he knows to be true about himself and his destiny.

Rebel Angels by Michele Lang

Rebel Angels (Lady Lazarus #3) by Michele Lang

Rebel Angels, the final book in the Lady Lazarus trilogy following Lady Lazarus and Dark Victory, was released in hardcover and ebook on March 12. An excerpt from Rebel Angels can be read on


Magda Lazarus has twice come back from the dead to fight the Nazis’ devastating conquest of Poland. To prevent the Holocaust her sister has seen in terrible visions, Magda will need the Heaven Sapphire, a gem powerful enough to defeat even the demon Asmodel. With the future of all Europe in the balance, Magda and her husband, the fallen angel Raziel, begin a perilous journey to the Caucasus, the resting place of the fabled stone.

Surrounded by Germans, Russians, and mistrustful Azerbaijani tribesmen, Magda must summon all her magic to withstand the predations of the deadly supernatural foes. But more dangerous yet is the power of the Sapphire itself, which could stop Hitler…or destroy Magda.

Rebel Angels, the climactic book of Michele Lang’s Lady Lazarus trilogy, filled with suspense, magic, and action, will have readers at the edge of their seats until the exciting conclusion.