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.

Before I get to this week’s books, a quick review update: I’m working on a review of The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman. Even if I finish it soon, it might not be up right away since there are a couple of other planned posts coming up next week, but I want to give it a shout out now since The Invisible Library is currently at the top of my list of favorite books read this year. The heroine is a spy who collects books from different alternate worlds for the Library, which exists outside of time and space, and it is so much fun. I’m really looking forward to the next two books.

One book showed up this week that I’ve already discussed, but in case you’ve been waiting for the paperback release, here it is:

On to the new books!

The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey

The Girl at Midnight (Book #1 of 3) by Melissa Grey

Genre: Fantasy (Young Adult)
Release Date: April 28 (Hardcover, Ebook, Audiobook)
View Upcoming Book Event(s)

I hadn’t heard of this debut novel before it showed up in the mail this week, but I’m quite curious about it after seeing multiple Goodreads reviews comparing it to Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor (my favorite YA author and one of my favorite authors ever).


For readers of Cassandra Clare’s City of Bones and Leigh Bardugo’s Shadow and Bone, The Girl at Midnight is the story of a modern girl caught in an ancient war.

Beneath the streets of New York City live the Avicen, an ancient race of people with feathers for hair and magic running through their veins. Age-old enchantments keep them hidden from humans. All but one. Echo is a runaway pickpocket who survives by selling stolen treasures on the black market, and the Avicen are the only family she’s ever known.

Echo is clever and daring, and at times she can be brash, but above all else she’s fiercely loyal. So when a centuries-old war crests on the borders of her home, she decides it’s time to act.

Legend has it that there is a way to end the conflict once and for all: find the Firebird, a mythical entity believed to possess power the likes of which the world has never seen. It will be no easy task, but if life as a thief has taught Echo anything, it’s how to hunt down what she wants . . . and how to take it.

But some jobs aren’t as straightforward as they seem. And this one might just set the world on fire.

The Doll Collection edited by Ellen Datlow

The Doll Collection edited by Ellen Datlow

Genre: Horror
Release Date: March 10 (Hardcover, Ebook)
Read the Introduction

Book Events:
Morbid Anatomy Museum in Brooklyn, New York (March 10)
The Jean Cocteau Cinema in Santa Fe, New Mexico (March 15)

Ellen Datlow, recipient of the 2014 World Fantasy Lifetime Achievement Award, edited this anthology of stories about dolls that are dark and creepy without using the “evil doll” trope. Authors include Seanan McGuire, Carrie Vaughn, Mary Robinette Kowal, Jeffrey Ford, Pat Cadigan, Genevieve Valentine, Tim Lebbon, Joyce Carol Oates, and more.


The Doll Collection is exactly what it sounds like: a treasured toy box of all-original dark stories about dolls of all types, including everything from puppets and poppets to mannequins and baby dolls.

Featuring everything from life-sized clockwork dolls to all-too-human Betsy Wetsy-type baby dolls, these stories play into the true creepiness of the doll trope, but avoid the clichés that often show up in stories of this type. Master anthologist Ellen Datlow has assembled a list of beautiful and terrifying stories from bestselling and critically acclaimed authors such as Joyce Carol Oates, Seanan McGuire, Carrie Vaughn, Pat Cadigan, Tim Lebbon, Richard Kadrey, Genevieve Valentine, and Jeffrey Ford. The collection is illustrated with photographs of dolls taken by Datlow and other devoted doll collectors from the science fiction and fantasy field. The result is a star-studded collection exploring one of the most primal fears of readers of dark fiction everywhere, and one that every reader will want to add to their own collection.

The Exile by C. T. Adams

The Exile (The Fae #1) by C.T. Adams

Genre: Fantasy (Paranormal/Urban)
Release Date: March 10 (Paperback, Ebook)
Read Chapter 1

This will be C. T. Adams’ first solo novel. Together with Cathy Clamp she is USA Today bestselling author Cat Adams (Blood Singer series).


Brianna Hai runs an occult shop that sells useless trinkets to tourists—and real magic supplies to witches and warlocks. The magical painting that hangs in Brianna’s apartment is the last portal between the fae and human worlds.

A shocking magical assault on her home reveals to Brianna that her father, High King Liu of the Fae, is under attack. With the help of her gargoyle, Pug, her friend David, and Angelo, a police detective who doesn’t believe in magic, Brianna recovers what was stolen from her and becomes an unwilling potential heir to the throne.

A suspenseful urban fantasy with a hint of romance, The Exile is the first solo novel by C. T. Adams, who is half of USA Today bestselling author Cat Adams. Like the Cat Adams Blood Singer novels, The Exile is set in a world where magic is real and contains Adams’s trademark blend of suspense, action, humor, and strongly emotional writing.

The Hollow Queen by Elizabeth Haydon

The Hollow Queen (The Symphony of Ages #8) by Elizabeth Haydon

Genre: Fantasy (Epic)
Release Date: June 30 (Hardcover, Ebook)

Previous Books in the USA Today bestselling series, The Symphony of Ages:

  1. Rhapsody: Child of Blood (Read an Excerpt)
  2. Prophecy: Child of Earth
  3. Destiny: Child of the Sky
  4. Requiem for the Sun
  5. Elegy for a Lost Star
  6. The Assassin King
  7. The Merchant Emperor

Acclaimed author Elizabeth Haydon returns with a heartbreaking tale of love and valor in The Hollow Queen, the eighth installment of her USA Today bestselling Symphony of Ages series that began with Rhapsody.

Beset on all sides by the forces of the merchant emperor Talquist, the Cymrian Alliance finds itself in desperate straits. Rhapsody herself has joined the battle, wielding the Daystar Clarion, leaving her True Name in hiding with her infant son. Ashe tries to enlist the aid of the Sea Mages. Within their Citadel of Scholarship lies the White Ivory tower, a spire that could hold the key to unraveling the full extent of Talquist’s machinations. Achmed journeys to the reportedly unassailable palace of Jierna Tal, to kill emperor Talquist—all the while knowing that even if he succeeds, it may not be enough to stop the momentum of the war.

As they struggle to untangle the web of Talquist’s treachery, the leaders of the Cymrian alliance are met with obstacles at every turn. Rhapsody soon realizes that the end of this war will come at an unimaginable price: the lives of those she holds dearest.

Shadow by Will Elliott

Shadow (The Pendulum Trilogy #2) by Will Elliott

Genre: Fantasy (Contemporary)
Release Date: February 24 (Hardcover, Ebook)
Read an Excerpt

Previous Book:

  1. The Pilgrims (Read an Excerpt)

Will Elliott is also the award-winning author of The Pilo Family Circus, which won the Australian Shadows Award and the Golden Aurealis Award for Best Novel. It tied with another novel for the Aurealis Award for Best Horror Novel.


Eric Albright was a luckless journalist living in London. He had a so-so life…until the day he opened a battered red door that appeared on the graffiti-covered wall of a local bridge, and entered Levaal, a magical world between worlds. A place populated by power damaged mages, stone giants, pit devils—and dragons, Levaal’s possible creators, who are imprisoned in a sky prison. It is also where the mad Lord Vous rules with an iron fist and is busy working on a scheme to turn himself into a god. Vous has been defeated so far because Levaal has been contained by the great Wall at World’s End.

But the Wall at World’s End has been brought down, war is coming to the land, and Eric and his newfound friends are caught in the thick of it. They are forced to flee from the Tormentors, dreadful creatures that have poured through the breach, and there are rumors that one of the great dragons has escaped its sky prison.

Worse yet, Vous’s journey to godhood is almost complete, and a mysterious being called Shadow (who is not but looks remarkably like Eric) is wandering Levaal with great power but no purpose it yet understands.

The end might be coming faster than anyone thinks.

Shadow is the second title in Will Elliott’s fantasy Pendulum Trilogy.