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 (usually 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 two books that sound quite interesting, but first…

In case you missed it, I posted a review of Masks and Shadows by Stephanie Burgis, an enjoyable historical fantasy set almost entirely within the Eszterháza Palace in Hungary in 1779, last week. It was a lot of fun to read!

I’m now working on a review of the May Patreon selection, The Fox Woman by Kij Johnson.

Now for this week’s books!

The Obelisk Gate by N. K. Jemisin

The Obelisk Gate (The Broken Earth #2) by N. K. Jemisin

The Obelisk Gate will be released on August 16 (trade paperback, ebook). Although I don’t see it listed yet, I assume there will also be an audiobook since there is an audiobook edition of the first book in the series, The Fifth Season.

N. K. Jemisin is one of my favorite authors, and Hugo and Nebula-nominated novel The Fifth Season is a brilliant, well-written, unique book (my review). It was one of my favorites read last year, and due to that, The Obelisk Gate is one of my most anticipated releases of this year.


The second novel in a new fantasy trilogy by Hugo, Nebula & World Fantasy Award nominated author N.K. Jemisin.


The season of endings grows darker as civilization fades into the long cold night. Alabaster Tenring – madman, world-crusher, savior – has returned with a mission: to train his successor, Essun, and thus seal the fate of the Stillness forever.

It continues with a lost daughter, found by the enemy.

It continues with the obelisks, and an ancient mystery converging on answers at last.

The Stillness is the wall which stands against the flow of tradition, the spark of hope long buried under the thickening ashfall. And it will not be broken.

From Under the Mountain by Cait Spivey

From Under the Mountain (Guerline Cycle #1) by Cait Spivey

From Under the Mountain was released earlier this year (trade paperback, ebook). An excerpt is on Goodreads (the “Preview” link below the cover).

I read some of the beginning and found the portion I read and Guerline quite intriguing.


As the second child of the Aridan imperial family, nineteen-year-old Guerline knows exactly what is expected of her: be unobtrusive, be compliant, and do not fall in love with her low-born companion, Eva. She has succeeded at only two of those.

But before her feelings for Eva can become a point of contention for the royal house, Guerline’s calm and narrow life is ripped away from her—in the course of a single night—and she is abruptly cast in the role of empress.

Faced with a council that aggressively fears the four witch clans charged with protecting Arido and believes they are, in fact, waging war against the humans, Guerline struggles to maintain order. As her control over the land crumbles, she learns that the war is rooted in a conflict much older than she realized—one centuries in the making, which is now crawling from under the mountain and into the light. With the fate of Arido hanging in the balance, Guerline must decide who to trust when even her closest councilors seem to have an agenda.

Darkly cinematic, From Under the Mountain pairs the sweeping landscape of epic fantasy with the personal journey of finding one’s voice in the world, posing the question: how do you define evil, when everything society tells you is a lie?