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.

Last week brought a few books, including one I had to have as soon as it was released! I have some time off coming up soon so I’m planning for it to be my vacation read.

There will be an interview with M. L. Brennan, author of the book I’ve been looking forward to that I just mentioned above, on Thursday! I’m planning to post my review of Fool’s Quest by Robin Hobb on Tuesday (it’s a fantastic, wonderfully satisfying book!).

On to the books of the week!

Dark Ascension by M. L. Brennan

Dark Ascension (Generation V #4) by M. L. Brennan

The fourth Generation V book came out last week, and I ordered it over the weekend so I could get it as soon as it came out! I’m enjoying these books a lot—it’s one of my favorite urban fantasy series at the moment—and I am so excited about this particular book after seeing what M. L. Brennan had to say about it on Goodreads.

All books in the series are available in mass market paperback and ebook. An excerpt from Dark Ascension is also on the publisher’s website (click “Read an Excerpt” under the cover image).

The previous books in the series are as follows:

  1. Generation V (My Review)
  2. Iron Night (My Review)
  3. Tainted Blood (My Review)

After a lifetime of avoiding his family, Fort has discovered that working for them isn’t half bad—even if his mother, Madeline, is a terrifying, murderous vampire. His newfound career has given him a purpose and a paycheck and has even helped him get his partner, foxy kitsune Suzume, to agree to be his girlfriend. All in all, things are looking up.

Only, just as Fort is getting comfortable managing a supernatural empire that stretches from New Jersey to Ontario, Madeline’s health starts failing, throwing Fort into the middle of an uncomfortable and dangerous battle for succession. His older sister, Prudence, is determined to take over the territory. But Fort isn’t the only one wary of her sociopathic tendencies, and allies, old and new, are turning to him to keep Prudence from gaining power.

Now, as Fort fights against his impending transition into vampire adulthood, he must also battle to keep Prudence from destroying their mother’s kingdom—before she takes him down with it….

Weighing Shadows by Lisa Goldstein

Weighing Shadows by Lisa Goldstein

Weighing Shadows will be released on November 3 (trade paperback). Lisa Goldstein’s novel Red Magician won the National Book Award, and her novel The Uncertain Places won the Mythopoeic Award. Her work has also been nominated for Nebula, Hugo, and World Fantasy Awards.


Ann Decker fixes computers for a living, and in the evenings she passes the time sharpening her hacking skills. It’s not a very interesting life, but she gets by—until one day she’s contacted with a job offer for a company called Transformations Incorporated. None of her coworkers have ever heard of it before, and when Ann is finally told what the company does, she can hardly believe it: TI has invented technology to travel in time.

Soon Ann is visiting a matriarchy in ancient Crete, and then a woman mathematician at the Library of Alexandria. But Transformations Incorporated remains shrouded in mystery, and when Ann finally catches her breath, there are too many troubling questions still unanswered. Who are Transformations Incorporated, and what will they use this technology to gain? What ill effects might going back in time have on the present day? Is it really as harmless as TI says?

When a coworker turns up dead, Ann’s superiors warn her about a covert group called Core out to sabotage the company. Something just isn’t right, but before she has time to investigate, Ann is sent to a castle in the south of France, nearly a thousand years in the past. As the armies of the Crusade arrive to lay siege, and intrigue grows among the viscount’s family, Ann will discover the startling truth—not just about the company that sent her there, but also about her own past.

Zero World by Jason M. Hough

Zero World by Jason M. Hough

The latest novel from New York Times bestselling author Jason M. Hough will be released on August 18 (hardcover, ebook, audiobook). An excerpt from Zero World is available on the author’s website.


Published in rapid succession, Jason M. Hough’s first three novels, The Darwin Elevator, The Exodus Towers, and The Plague Forge, earned mountains of praise and comparisons to such authors as James S. A. Corey and John Scalzi. Now Hough returns with a riveting near-future spy thriller that combines the adrenaline of a high-octane James Bond adventure with mind-blowing sci-fi speculations worthy of Christopher Nolan’s Inception.

Technologically enhanced superspy Peter Caswell has been dispatched on a top-secret assignment unlike any he’s ever faced. A spaceship that vanished years ago has been found, along with the bodies of its murdered crew—save one. Peter’s mission is to find the missing crew member, who fled through what appears to be a tear in the fabric of space. Beyond this mysterious doorway lies an even more confounding reality: a world that seems to be Earth’s twin.

Peter discovers that this mirrored world is indeed different from his home, and far more dangerous. Cut off from all support, and with only days to complete his operation, Peter must track his quarry alone on an alien world. But he’s unprepared for what awaits on the planet’s surface, where his skills will be put to the ultimate test—and everything he knows about the universe will be challenged in ways he never could have imagined.

Reawakened by Colleen Houck

Reawakened (The Reawakened #1) by Colleen Houck

This first book in a new series by New York Times bestselling author Colleen Houck will be available on August 11 (hardcover, ebook, audiobook). An excerpt from Reawakened can be read on the author’s website (click “Read the Teaser” beneath the cover image).


When seventeen-year-old Lilliana Young enters the Metropolitan Museum of Art one morning during spring break, the last thing she expects to find is a live Egyptian prince with godlike powers, who has been reawakened after a thousand years of mummification.

And she really can’t imagine being chosen to aid him in an epic quest that will lead them across the globe to find his brothers and complete a grand ceremony that will save mankind.

But fate has taken hold of Lily, and she, along with her sun prince, Amon, must travel to the Valley of the Kings, raise his brothers, and stop an evil, shape-shifting god named Seth from taking over the world.

From New York Times bestselling author Colleen Houck comes an epic adventure about two star-crossed teens who must battle mythical forces and ancient curses on a journey with more twists and turns than the Nile itself.

Press Start to Play edited by Daniel H. Wilson and John Joseph Adams

Press Start to Play edited by Daniel H. Wilson and John Joseph Adams

This anthology about video games will be released on August 18 (trade paperback, ebook). It contains stories by Seanan McGuire (hers is an InCryptid story!), Yoon Ha Lee, Cory Doctorow, Ken Liu, Catherynne M. Valente, Holly Black, Rhianna Pratchett, Charlie Jane Anders, Charles Yu, Django Wexler, and more!



You are standing in a room filled with books, faced with a difficult decision. Suddenly, one with a distinctive cover catches your eye. It is a groundbreaking anthology of short stories from award-winning writers and game-industry titans who have embarked on a quest to explore what happens when video games and science fiction collide.

From text-based adventures to first-person shooters, dungeon crawlers to horror games, these twenty-six stories play with our notion of what video games can be—and what they can become—in smart and singular ways. With a foreword from Ernest Cline, bestselling author of Ready Player One, Press Start to Play includes work from: Daniel H. Wilson, Charles Yu, Hiroshi Sakurazaka, S.R. Mastrantone, Charlie Jane Anders, Holly Black, Seanan McGuire, Django Wexler, Nicole Feldringer, Chris Avellone, David Barr Kirtley,T.C. Boyle, Marc Laidlaw, Robin Wasserman, Micky Neilson, Cory Doctorow, Jessica Barber, Chris Kluwe, Marguerite K. Bennett, Rhianna Pratchett, Austin Grossman, Yoon Ha Lee, Ken Liu, Catherynne M. Valente, Andy Weir, and Hugh Howey.

Your inventory includes keys, a cell phone, and a wallet. What would you like to do?

Marked by Sue Tingey

Marked (The Soulseer Chronicles #1) by Sue Tingey

This debut novel was released in the UK earlier this year and will be available in the US on October 6 (hardcover, ebook). An excerpt from Marked can be read on Civilian Reader.


With no family and very few friends, Lucky’s psychic ability has always made her an outcast. The only person she can rely on is Kayla, the ghost girl who has been with her since she was born.

But Kayla is not all that she appears.

And when Lucky is visited by a demonic assassin with a message for her friend, she finds herself dragged into the Underlands – and the political fight for the daemon king’s throne.

Lucky, trapped in the daemon world, is determined to find her way home… until she finds herself caught between the charms of the Guardian Jamie, the charismatic Daemon of Death Jinx – and the lure of finding out who she really is.