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 was a good week for books, and I’m particularly excited about the first book listed! Before I get to the books, here are a couple of things coming up this week.

Tomorrow there will be a giveaway of the first two books in Brandon Sanderson’s Reckoners series, Steelheart and Firefight! Sometime later this week (probably Wednesday), I’ll finally be posting my review of Dust and Light by Carol Berg, which was one of my favorite books of 2014.

On to this week’s books!

Karen Memory by Elizabeth Bear

Karen Memory by Elizabeth Bear

This steampunk adventure will be released on February 3 (hardcover, ebook). An excerpt from Karen Memory is available on

Elizabeth Bear has won the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, two Hugo Awards for short fiction, the Sturgeon Award, and the Locus Award for Best First Novel. She is also one of my favorite authors so I am pretty excited about this one!


“You ain’t gonna like what I have to tell you, but I’m gonna tell you anyway. See, my name is Karen Memery, like memory only spelt with an e, and I’m one of the girls what works in the Hôtel Mon Cherie on Amity Street. Hôtel has a little hat over the o like that. It’s French, so Beatrice tells me.”

Set in the late 19th century—when the city we now call Seattle Underground was the whole town (and still on the surface), when airships plied the trade routes, would-be gold miners were heading to the gold fields of Alaska, and steam-powered mechanicals stalked the waterfront, Karen is a young woman on her own, is making the best of her orphaned state by working in Madame Damnable’s high-quality bordello. Through Karen’s eyes we get to know the other girls in the house—a resourceful group—and the poor and the powerful of the town. Trouble erupts one night when a badly injured girl arrives at their door, beggin sanctuary, followed by the man who holds her indenture, and who has a machine that can take over anyone’s mind and control their actions. And as if that wasn’t bad enough, the next night brings a body dumped in their rubbish heap—a streetwalker who has been brutally murdered.

Bear brings alive this Jack-the-Ripper yarn of the old west with a light touch in Karen’s own memorable voice, and a mesmerizing evocation of classic steam-powered science.

The Eterna Files by Leanna Renee Hieber

The Eterna Files (The Eterna Files Saga #1) by Leanna Renee Hieber

This paranormal mystery will be released on February 10 (hardcover, ebook). An excerpt from The Eterna Files can be read on

Leanna Renee Hieber’s debut novel, The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker, won Prism Awards for Best Fantasy Romance and Best First Novel. Another one of her books, the young adult novel Darker Still, was a finalist for the Daphne du Maurier Award. I read her first novel and enjoyed it so I am quite curious about this one!


Welcome to The Eterna Files, written by Leanna Renee Hieber, “the brightest new star in literature”(

London, 1882: Queen Victoria appoints Harold Spire of the Metropolitan Police to Special Branch Division Omega. Omega is to secretly investigate paranormal and supernatural events and persons. Spire, a skeptic driven to protect the helpless and see justice done, is the perfect man to lead the department, which employs scholars and scientists, assassins and con men, and a traveling circus. Spire’s chief researcher is Rose Everhart, who believes fervently that there is more to the world than can be seen by mortal eyes.

Their first mission: find the Eterna Compound, which grants immortality. Catastrophe destroyed the hidden laboratory in New York City where Eterna was developed, but the Queen is convinced someone escaped—and has a sample of Eterna.

Also searching for Eterna is an American, Clara Templeton, who helped start the project after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln nearly destroyed her nation. Haunted by the ghost of her beloved, she is determined that the Eterna Compound—and the immortality it will convey—will be controlled by the United States, not Great Britain.

Cherry Bomb by Kathleen Tierney

Cherry Bomb (Siobhan Quinn #3) by Kathleen Tierney

The conclusion to the Siobhan Quinn series will be released on February 3 (paperback, ebook). The first two books in the series are as follows:

  1. Blood Oranges
  2. Red Delicious

Kathleen Tierney is a pseudonym for Caitlin R. Kiernan, whose work has won the James Tiptree Award and the Bram Stoker Award for Novel and been nominated for four World Fantasy Awards as well as the Shirley Jackson Award.


Meet Siobhan Quinn—Half vampire, half werewolf, and retired monster hunter. Or so she thought…

Three years have passed since Quinn turned her back on Providence, Rhode Island’s seedy supernatural underbelly, walking out on Mr. B. and taking a bus headed anywhere. She hoped her escape would give her some peace from the endless parade of horrors. But a dead girl who quarrels with the moon can’t catch a break, and, on the streets of Manhattan, Quinn finds herself caught between a rock and a hard place. Again.

What do you do when you’re stuck in the middle of a three-million-year-old grudge match between the ghouls and the djinn, accidentally in possession of a hellish artifact that could turn the tide of the war, all the while being hunted by depraved half-ghoul twins intent on taking the object and ushering in a terrifying Dark Age?

Especially when you’ve fallen in love with the woman who got you into this mess—and you ain’t nobody’s hero…

Darkwalker by E. L. Tettensor

Darkwalker (Nicolas Lenoir #1) by E. L. Tettensor

I’ve been quite interested in this one since seeing some good reviews and reading E. L. Tettensor’s guest post on antiheroes that went up on Monday. Darkwalker is available now (mass market paperback, ebook, audiobook).

This is E. L. Tettensor’s debut novel. The second Nicolas Lenoir book is coming soon, and she is also Erin Lindsey, author of The Bloodbound.


He used to be the best detective on the job. Until he became the hunted…

Once a legendary police inspector, Nicolas Lenoir is now a disillusioned and broken man who spends his days going through the motions and his evenings drinking away the nightmares of his past. Ten years ago, Lenoir barely escaped the grasp of the Darkwalker, a vengeful spirit who demands a terrible toll on those who have offended the dead. But the Darkwalker does not give up on his prey so easily, and Lenoir has always known his debt would come due one day.

When Lenoir is assigned to a disturbing new case, he treats the job with his usual apathy—until his best informant, a street savvy orphan, is kidnapped. Desperate to find his young friend before the worst befalls him, Lenoir will do anything catch the monster responsible for the crimes, even if it means walking willingly into the arms of his own doom…

Master of Plagues by E. L. Tettensor

Master of Plagues (Nicolas Lenoir #2) by E. L. Tettensor

Nicolas Lenoir’s adventures will continue with the release of book two on February 3 (mass market paperback, ebook). An excerpt from Master of Plagues is available on the author’s website.


“A dark fantasy detective story that takes readers on a dark, sometimes disturbing journey. E.L. Tettensor crafts a tale that makes you think even while you shudder—a delightful combination.”—Fresh Fiction on Darkwalker

Unraveling a deadly mystery takes time—and his is running out…

Having barely escaped the clutches of the Darkwalker, Inspector Nicolas Lenoir throws himself into his work with a determination he hasn’t known in years. But his legendary skills are about to be put to the test. A horrific disease is ravaging the city—and all signs point to it having been deliberately unleashed.

With a mass murderer on the loose, a rising body count, and every hound in the city on quarantine duty, the streets of Kennian are descending into mayhem, while Lenoir and his partner, Sergeant Bran Kody, are running out of time to catch a killer and find a cure.

Only one ray of hope exists: the nomadic Adali, famed for their arcane healing skills, claim to have a cure. But dark magic comes at a price, one even the dying may be unwilling to pay. All that’s left to Lenoir is a desperate gamble. And when the ashes settle, the city of Kennian will be changed forever…