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 (often unsolicited). 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 some books that sound rather interesting, including a book purchase. That’s the first of these and one of my most anticipated books of 2014!

Stories of the Raksura: Volume One by Martha Wells

Stories of the Raksura: Volume One by Martha Wells

Stories of the Raksura: Volume One, a book containing two novellas and two short stories set in the same world as the Books of the Raksura, was recently released (trade paperback, ebook, audiobook). Volume Two is scheduled for release in April 2015.

I loved the three Books of the Raksura, The Cloud Roads, The Serpent Sea, and The Siren Depths. The Cloud Roads hooked me immediately with the story of Moon, a shapeshifter who had never met others like him, but my favorite of the three books is the last one, The Siren Depths. I’m excited there are more stories set in this unique world, especially since some of them feature the same likable and interesting characters as the three novels! (And this reminds me I still need to read more by Martha Wells, whose backlist includes the Nebula-nominated novel The Death of the Necromancer and other books that I’ve heard are wonderful such as Wheel of the Infinite and The Wizard Hunters.)


Martha Wells returns to the Raksura with a pair of brand-new novellas!

In “The Falling World,” Jade, sister queen of the Indigo Cloud Court, has traveled with Chime and Balm to another Raksuran court. When she fails to return, her consort, Moon, along with Stone and a party of warriors and hunters, must track them down. Finding them turns out to be the easy part; freeing them from an ancient trap hidden in the depths of the Reaches is much more difficult.

“The Tale of Indigo and Cloud” explores the history of the Indigo Cloud Court, long before Moon was born. In the distant past, Indigo stole Cloud from Emerald Twilight. But in doing so, the reigning Queen Cerise and Indigo are now poised for a conflict that could spark war throughout all the courts of the Reaches.

Stories of Moon and the shape changers of Raksura have delighted readers for years. This world is a dangerous place full of strange mysteries, where the future can never be taken for granted and must always be fought for with wits and ingenuity, and often tooth and claw. With two brand-new novellas, Martha Wells shows that the world of the Raksura has many more stories to tell . . .

Time Roads by Beth Bernobich

The Time Roads by Beth Bernobich

The Time Roads will be released on October 14 (paperback, ebook). I enjoyed Beth Bernobich’s debut novel, the Romantic Times Best Epic Fantasy winner Passion Play, and The Time Roads also sounds quite interesting.

An excerpt from The Time Roads is available on the author’s website.


A fantastical nineteenth century alternate historical steampunk romp from Beth Bernobich, the critically acclaimed author of the River of Souls trilogy.

Éire is one of the most powerful empires in the world. The Anglian Dependencies are a dusty backwater filled with resentful colonial subjects, Europe is a disjointed mess, and many look to Éire for stability and peace. In a series of braided stories, Beth Bernobich has created a tale about the brilliant Éireann scientists who have already bent the laws of nature for Man’s benefit. And who now are striving to conquer the nature of time.

The Golden Octopus: Áine Lasairíona Devereaux, the young Queen of Éire, balances Court politics while pursing the Crown’s goals of furthering scientific discovery. When those discoveries lead to the death and madness of those she loves, Áine must choose between her heart and her duty to her kingdom.

A Flight of Numbers Fantastique Strange: Síomón Madóc is desperately trying to discover who is killing the brightest of Éire’s mathematicians. The key to saving lives lies in the future…and Síomón must figure out a way to get there.

Ars Memoriae: Éireann spymaster Aidrean Ó Deághaidh goes to the kingdom of Montenegro to investigate rumors of great unrest. But Ó Deághaidh is tormented by visions of a different timeline and suspects that someone in his own government is playing a double game….

The Time Roads: Éire stands on the brink of the modern age, but old troubles still plague the kingdom. An encounter with a mysterious stranger near death holds the clue to both the past and the future of the nation.

A Play of Shadow by Julie Czerneda

A Play of Shadow (Night’s Edge #2) by Julie Czerneda

A Play of Shadow will be released on November 4 (trade paperback, ebook). The first book in this series, A Turn of Light, recently became the second of Julie Czerneda’s books to win the Aurora Award for Best Novel. The first of these Aurora Award winners, In the Company of Others, also won the RT Reviewers’ Choice Award for Best Science Fiction Novel and was nominated for the Philip K. Dick Award, plus Julie Czerneda was a nominee for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. I haven’t read any of her books yet, but I have been wanting to read the first book in this series as well as some of her science fiction!

Some excerpts from A Play of Shadow are available on the author’s website, as well as the first chapter from A Turn of Light. You can also read more about the development of the cover art for A Play of Shadow here on Fantasy Cafe since Julie Czerneda and cover artist Matt Stawicki shared some insight into this creative process with the cover reveal earlier this year!


What would you risk for family?

The truthseer who won Jenn Nalynn’s heart, Bannan Larmensu, learns his brother-in-law was sent as a peace envoy to Channen, the capital of the mysterious domain of Mellynne, and has disappeared. When Bannan’s young nephews arrive in Marrowdell during a storm, he fears that his sister, the fiery Lila, has gone in search of her husband, leaving her sons in his care.

The law forbids Bannan from leaving Marrowdell and traveling to Mellynne to help his sister. At least, in this world.

As a turn-born, Jenn Nalynn has the power to cross into the magical realm of the Verge—and take Bannan with her. Once there, they could find a way into Mellynne, if they survive.

The Verge is wild and deadly, alive with strange magic. Dragons roar and kruar wait in ambush, and the powerful turn-born who tend their world do not care for Jenn Nalynn. But Jenn is willing to try. Their friends Wisp and Scourge — and the house toads — offer their help.

But what none of them know is that Channen is rife with magic, magic that flows from the Verge itself. And not even a turn-born will be safe there.

Scarlet Tides by David Hair

Scarlet Tides (Moontide Quartet #2) by David Hair

This fantasy novel, which follows Mage’s Blood, was released in the US on October 7 (hardcover, ebook, audiobook) and has been available in the UK since last year. The print edition of the third book in this quartet, Unholy War, will be released in the UK on October 30 (hardcover, paperback). It appears at least the Kindle version of the ebook is available in the UK now. A second related series, The Lodestar Quartet, is planned to follow the Moontide Quartet.

An excerpt from Mage’s Blood is available on, and Bookhounds has an excerpt from chapter 1 of Scarlet Tides with a US ARC giveaway that ends soon (October 15).

David Hair is also an award-winning author of young adult fantasy fiction. The first book in his Aotearoa series, The Bone Tiki, received the Best First Book Award at the 2010 NZ Post Children’s Book Awards. Pyre of Queens, the first book in The Return of Ravana series, was the recipient of the LIANZA Award for Best YA Novel in 2012.


The Moontide has come and the Leviathan Bridge stands open: now thrones will shake and hearts will be torn apart in a world at war.

A scarlet tide of Rondian legions is flooding into the East, led by the Inquisition’s windships flying the Sacred Heart, bright banner of the Church’s darkest sons. They are slaughtering and pillaging their way across Antiopia in the name of Emperor Constant. But the emperor’s greatest treasure, the Scytale of Corineus, has slipped through his fingers and his ruthless Inquisitors must scour two continents for the artefact, the source of all magical power.

Against them are the unlikeliest of heroes. Alaron, a failed mage, the gypsy Cymbellea and Ramita, once just a lowly market-girl, have pledged to end the cycle of war and restore peace to Urte.

East and West have clashed before, but this time, as secret factions and cabals emerge from the shadows, the world is about to discover that love, loyalty and truth can be forged into weapons as strong as swords and magic.