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 is a day earlier than usual since tomorrow I will be announcing the guests for the first week of the second annual Women in SF&F Month! Due to this, this weekly feature will be on hiatus until after April is over.

Since I haven’t had enough time to get caught up on reviews before April, I wanted to briefly mention the books I have in the pile of books to review right now. They’re all very good books and include my two favorites of the year so far. While I plan to review them as I have time, the earliest I’ll be able to get reviews up is sometime after the April series is over so I don’t want to wait at least another month to mention them. In brief, here’s the books I will be writing full length reviews for later.

Shattered Pillars by Elizabeth Bear
The sequel to Range of Ghosts is every bit as good as the previous book. It’s beautifully written, and I love the characters and story. I also love how magic isn’t a bunch of hand-waving but requires actual knowledge to do correctly. This is one of my two favorite books I’ve read so far this year.

River of Stars by Guy Gavriel Kay
I have talked about this one a little since I interviewed Guy Gavriel Kay recently, and this is my other favorite book I’ve read so far this year. I loved the story and characters, and there were some beautifully written passages and reflections in it.

The Best of All Possible Worlds by Karen Lord
I’m still processing what I think of this one. It was definitely an enjoyable book, but I’m also finding it very difficult to review.

One ARC showed up this week, and shortly before writing this a mysterious box of books arrived. It contained books from my wish list but no gift receipt or indication of where they came from. I can only assume they’re for my birthday next week, but you never know… Maybe I’ve taken to ordering books in my sleep!

The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes

The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes

The Shining Girls will be released in hardcover and ebook in the US on June 4, and it will be available in the UK and South Africa in April. An excerpt from The Shining Girls can be read online.

Lauren Beukes has won the Arthur C. Clarke Award and was nominated for the John W. Campbell Award. I haven’t yet read any of her books, but I’m excited to read this since I’ve been hearing her books are quite good.


The Time Traveler’s Wife meets The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo in this story of a time-traveling serial killer who is impossible to trace–until one of his victims survives.

In Depression-era Chicago, Harper Curtis finds a key to a house that opens on to other times. But it comes at a cost. He has to kill the shining girls: bright young women, burning with potential. He stalks them through their lives across different eras until, in 1989, one of his victims, Kirby Mazrachi, survives and starts hunting him back.

Working with an ex-homicide reporter who is falling for her, Kirby has to unravel an impossible mystery.

THE SHINING GIRLS is a masterful twist on the classic serial killer tale: a violent quantum leap featuring a memorable and appealing girl in pursuit of a deadly criminal.

The Summer Prince by Alaya Dawn Johnson

The Summer Prince by Alaya Dawn Johnson

The Summer Prince, a stand alone young adult science fiction book, was just released the beginning of this month (hardcover, ebook, audiobook). An excerpt from the beginning of the book can be read online.


A heart-stopping story of love, death, technology, and art set amid the tropics of a futuristic Brazil.

The lush city of Palmares Três shimmers with tech and tradition, with screaming gossip casters and practiced politicians. In the midst of this vibrant metropolis, June Costa creates art that’s sure to make her legendary. But her dreams of fame become something more when she meets Enki, the bold new Summer King. The whole city falls in love with him (including June’s best friend, Gil). But June sees more to Enki than amber eyes and a lethal samba. She sees a fellow artist.

Together, June and Enki will stage explosive, dramatic projects that Palmares Três will never forget. They will add fuel to a growing rebellion against the government’s strict limits on new tech. And June will fall deeply, unfortunately in love with Enki. Because like all Summer Kings before him, Enki is destined to die.

Pulsing with the beat of futuristic Brazil, burning with the passions of its characters, and overflowing with ideas, this fiery novel will leave you eager for more from Alaya Dawn Johnson.

A Turn of Light by Julie Czerneda

A Turn of Light (Night’s Edge #1) by Julie E. Czerneda

Julie Czerneda is best known for science fiction and this is her first fantasy novel. It was released earlier this month (massive trade paperback, ebook, audiobook). The first chapter is available online.

I have heard that Julie Czerneda’s SF is great, and I’ve also been hearing that this book is really good so I’m excited about reading it.


The village of Marrowdell is an isolated pioneer community, but it is also the place where two worlds overlap, and at the turn of light–sunset–the world of magic known as the Verge can briefly be seen.

Jenn Nalynn belongs to both Verge and Marrowdell, but even she doesn’t know how special she is–or that her invisible friend Wisp is actually a dragon sent to guard her… and keep her from leaving the valley. But Jenn longs to see the world, and thinking that a husband will help her reach this goal, she decides to create one using spells. Of course, everything goes awry, and suddenly her “invisible friend” has been transformed into a man. But he is not the only newcomer to Marrowdell, and far from the most dangerous of those who are suddenly finding their way to the valley…

A Vision of Light by Judith Merkle Riley

A Vision of Light (Margaret of Ashbury Trilogy #1) by Judith Merkle Riley

Book 1 in a completed trilogy, A Vision of Light is followed by In Pursuit of the Green Lion and The Water Devil.


The bestselling novel that introduces Margaret of Ashbury and launches a trilogy featuring this irrepressible woman

Margaret of Ashbury wants to write her life story. However, like most women in fourteenth-century England, she is illiterate. Three clerics contemptuously decline to be Margaret’s scribe, and only the threat of starvation persuades Brother Gregory, a Carthusian friar with a mysterious past, to take on the task. As she narrates her life, we discover a woman of startling resourcefulness. Married off at the age of fourteen to a merchant reputed to be the Devil himself, Margaret was left for dead during the Black Plague. Incredibly, she survived, was apprenticed to an herbalist, and became a midwife. But most astonishing of all, Margaret has experienced a Mystic Union—a Vision of Light that endows her with the miraculous gift of healing. Because of this ability, Margaret has become suddenly different—to her tradition-bound parents, to the bishop’s court that tries her for heresy, and ultimately to the man who falls in love with her.

Sailing to Sarantium by Guy Gavriel Kay

Sailing to Sarantium (The Sarantine Mosaic #1) by Guy Gavriel Kay

Having LOVED Tigana and River of Stars, I must now read all the books written by Guy Gavriel Kay! I was told that this was a good one.

Sailing to Sarantium has one sequel, Lord of Emperors.


Crispin is a master mosaicist, creating beautiful art with colored stones and glass. Summoned to Sarantium by imperial request, he bears a Queen’s secret mission, and a talisman from an alchemist. Once in the fabled city, with its taverns and gilded sanctuaries, chariot races and palaces, intrigues and violence, Crispin must find his own source of power in order to survive-and unexpectedly discovers it high on the scaffolding of his own greatest creation.