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 brought one finished book and one ARC in the mail, but before I get to the books, there are a couple of things I want to mention.

On Wednesday, I was part of a Mind Meld at SF Signal in which those contributing were asked “How Long Do You Have a Book Before You Read It?” This is the topic to check out if you too obtain books at a much faster pace than you can read them.

The cover reveal of Julie Czerneda’s upcoming fantasy novel A Play of Shadow will be here at Fantasy Cafe tomorrow! There will also be a discussion of the art with input from both the author and Matt Stawicki, the cover artist, and a chance to win the first book in the Night’s Edge series, A Turn of Light.

Now, last week’s books in the mail!

Child of a Hidden Sea by A. M. Dellamonica

Child of a Hidden Sea (Stormwrack #1) by A. M. Dellamonica

I was pretty excited to open a package containing this book since it was on a list of books I was looking forward to that I made earlier this year! Child of a Hidden Sea will be released on June 24 (hardcover/ebook), and the author is working on the sequel, Daughter of No Nation.

An excerpt from Child of a Hidden Sea is available on, as well as two other stories set in this world: “Among the Silvering Herd” and “The Ugly Woman of Castello di Putti.”


One minute, twenty-four-year-old Sophie Hansa is in a San Francisco alley trying to save the life of the aunt she has never known. The next, she finds herself flung into the warm and salty waters of an unfamiliar world. Glowing moths fall to the waves around her, and the sleek bodies of unseen fish glide against her submerged ankles.

The world is Stormwrack, a series of island nations with a variety of cultures and economies—and a language different from any Sophie has heard.

Sophie doesn’t know it yet, but she has just stepped into the middle of a political firestorm, and a conspiracy that could destroy a world she has just discovered… her world, where everyone seems to know who she is, and where she is forbidden to stay.

But Sophie is stubborn, and smart, and refuses to be cast adrift by people who don’t know her and yet wish her gone. With the help of a sister she has never known, and a ship captain who would rather she had never arrived, she must navigate the shoals of the highly charged politics of Stormwrack, and win the right to decide for herself whether she stays in this wondrous world . . . or is doomed to exile, in Child of a Hidden Sea by A.M. Dellamonica.

The Shotgun Arcana by R. S. Belcher

The Shotgun Arcana (Golgotha #2) by R. S. Belcher

The Shotgun Arcana will be released in October (hardcover/ebook). An excerpt from the first book in the series, The Six-Gun Tarot, is available on


R. S. Belcher’s debut novel, The Six-Gun Tarot, was enthusiastically greeted by critics and readers, who praised its wildly inventive mixture of dark fantasy, steampunk, and the Wild West. Now Belcher returns to Golgotha, Nevada, a bustling frontier town that hides more than its fair share of unnatural secrets.

1870. A haven for the blessed and the damned, including a fallen angel, a mad scientist, a pirate queen, and a deputy who is kin to coyotes, Golgotha has come through many nightmarish trials, but now an army of thirty-two outlaws, lunatics, serial killers, and cannibals are converging on the town, drawn by a grisly relic that dates back to the Donner Party…and the dawn of humanity.

Sheriff Jon Highfather and his deputies already have their hands full dealing with train robbers, a mysterious series of brutal murders, and the usual outbreaks of weirdness.  But with thirty-two of the most vicious killers on Earth riding into Golgotha in just a few day’s time, the town and its people will be tested as never before—and some of them will never be the same.

The Shotgun Arcana is even more spectacularly ambitious and imaginative than The Six-Gun Tarot, and confirms R. S. Belcher’s status as a rising star.