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 a few books, including three I’ve already mentioned here. Here’s more information on them in case you missed them the first time:

Before I get to the rest of the books, there are a few things I want to mention:

Last week, I hosted the cover reveal for Julie Czerneda’s upcoming fantasy novel, A Play of Shadow (Night’s Edge #2). She and cover artist Matt Stawicki also shared some insight into the process of developing the cover, and there are still a few days left to enter to win a copy of A Turn of Light (Night’s Edge #1).

I was very sad to read the news that Angry Robot’s YA imprint Strange Chemistry was discontinued and will not be publishing any more books. Martha Wells, whose books Emilie and the Hollow World and Emilie and the Sky World were published through them, blogged about it and said that it’s a good time to get any Strange Chemistry books you want and that this would help the authors. A list of books published by Strange Chemistry is here. I ordered a couple of Strange Chemistry books I’ve been wanting to read the night of this announcement and will talk about them in more detail after they arrive, but I purchased Stolen Songbird by Danielle L. Jensen and Cracked by Eliza Crewe after hearing both of these are excellent books (links go to reviews).  My personal favorite Strange Chemistry book I’ve read is Black Dog by Rachel Neumeier, and you can read more about this news and possibilities for future books on the author’s blog.

Now on to the rest of the books!

Radiant by Karina Sumner-Smith

Radiant (Towers Trilogy #1) by Karina Sumner-Smith

Radiant will be released on September 2 (paperback, ebook). I’m really excited about reading this one since it sounds very compelling, plus I liked the small sample from it that I read. While this is the author’s first novel, she has written several short stories including the 2006 Nebula-nominated story “An End to All Things,” which this upcoming futuristic fantasy novel is based on.


Xhea has no magic. Born without the power that everyone else takes for granted, Xhea is an outcast—no way to earn a living, buy food, or change the life that fate has dealt her. Yet she has a unique talent: the ability to see ghosts and the tethers that bind them to the living world, which she uses to scratch out a bare existence in the ruins beneath the City’s floating Towers.

When a rich City man comes to her with a young woman’s ghost tethered to his chest, Xhea has no idea that this ghost will change everything. The ghost, Shai, is a Radiant, a rare person who generates so much power that the Towers use it to fuel their magic, heedless of the pain such use causes. Shai’s home Tower is desperate to get the ghost back and force her into a body—any body—so that it can regain its position, while the Tower’s rivals seek the ghost to use her magic for their own ends. Caught between a multitude of enemies and desperate to save Shai, Xhea thinks herself powerless—until a strange magic wakes within her. Magic dark and slow, like rising smoke, like seeping oil. A magic whose very touch brings death.

With two extremely strong female protagonists, Radiant is a story of fighting for what you believe in and finding strength that you never thought you had.

The Shadow Throne by Django Wexler

The Shadow Throne (The Shadow Campaigns #2) by Django Wexler

The Shadow Throne will be released on July 1 (hardcover, ebook). I haven’t yet read the first book in the series, The Thousand Names, but I’ve heard it’s quite good. There is also currently a US/Canada giveaway on Goodreads for 12 paperback copies of the first book, and an excerpt from The Thousand Names is available on


Anyone can plot a coup or fire an assassin’s bullet. But in a world of muskets and magic, it takes considerably more to seize the throne.

The ailing King of the Vordan lies on his deathbed. When he dies, his daughter, Raesinia Orboan, will become the first Queen Regnant in centuries—and a ripe target for the ambitious men who seek to control her. The most dangerous of these is Duke Orlanko, Minister of Information and master of the secret police. Having meticulously silenced his adversaries through intimidation, imprisonment, and execution, Orlanko is the most feared man in the kingdom.

And he knows an arcane secret that puts Raesinia completely at his mercy.

Exposure would mean ruin, but Raesinia is determined to find a way to break herself—and her country—out of Orlanko’s iron grip. She finds unlikely allies in the returning war hero Janus bet Vhalnich, fresh from a brilliant campaign in the colony of Khandar, and his loyal deputies, Captain Marcus d’Ivoire and Lieutenant Winter Ihernglass.

As Marcus and Winter struggle to find their places in the home they never thought they would see again, they help Janus and Raesinia set in motion events that could free Vordan from Orlanko’s influence—at the price of throwing the nation into chaos. But with the people suffering under the Duke’s tyranny, they intend to protect the kingdom with every power they can command, earthly or otherwise.

The Dark Defiles (US cover) The Dark Defiles by Richard K. Morgan

The Dark Defiles (A Land Fit for Heroes #3) by Richard K. Morgan

The Dark Defiles will be released on October 7 in the US (paperback, ebook) and November 20 in the UK (hardcover, ebook). The US cover is on the left above and the UK cover on the right. I usually just use the cover for the copy of the book I have, but since the ARC doesn’t have a cover I didn’t realize the first cover I found wasn’t the US cover and was planning to use it. After I realized it was the UK cover, I found the US one and didn’t think it was nearly as interesting, so I decided to show both cover images.

The first two books in this trilogy are as follows:

  1. The Steel Remains (Read an Excerpt)
  2. The Cold Commands (Look Inside This Book)

Joe Abercrombie’s Best Served Cold meets George R. R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones in the final novel in Richard K. Morgan’s epic A Land Fit for Heroes trilogy, which burst onto the fantasy scene with The Steel Remains and The Cold Commands.

Ringil Eskiath, a reluctant hero viewed as a corrupt degenerate by the very people who demand his help, has traveled far in search of the Illwrack Changeling, a deathless human sorcerer-warrior raised by the bloodthirsty Aldrain, former rulers of the world. Separated from his companions—Egar the Dragonbane and Archeth—Ringil risks his soul to master a deadly magic that alone can challenge the might of the Changeling. While Archeth and the Dragonbane embark on a trail of blood and tears that ends up exposing long-buried secrets, Ringil finds himself tested as never before, with his life and all existence hanging in the balance.

The High Druid's Blade by Terry Brooks

The High Druid’s Blade: The Defenders of Shannara by Terry Brooks

The High Druid’s Blade, a stand alone Shannara book, will be released on July 8 (hardcover, ebook, audiobook). Visit the author’s website for more information or to read the first two chapters.


Legend has it that Paxon Leah is descended from the royals and warriors who once ruled the Highlands and waged war with magical weapons. But those kings, queens, and heroes are long gone, and there is nothing enchanted about the antique sword that hangs above Paxon’s fireplace. Running his family’s modest shipping business, Paxon leads a quiet life—until extraordinary circumstances overturn his simple world . . . and rewrite his destiny.

When his brash young sister is abducted by a menacing stranger, Paxon races to her rescue with the only weapon he can find. And in a harrowing duel, he is stunned to discover powerful magic unleashed within him—and within his ancestors’ ancient blade. But his formidable new ability is dangerous in untrained hands, and Paxon must master it quickly because his nearly fatal clash with the dark sorcerer Arcannen won’t be his last. Leaving behind home and hearth, he journeys to the keep of the fabled Druid order to learn the secrets of magic and earn the right to become their sworn protector.

But treachery is afoot deep in the Druids’ ranks. And the blackest of sorcery is twisting a helpless innocent into a murderous agent of evil. To halt an insidious plot that threatens not only the Druid order but all the Four Lands, Paxon Leah must summon the profound magic in his blood and the legendary mettle of his elders in the battle fate has chosen him to fight.