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 was super busy, mainly due to looking for a new place to live for the third time in about two years, so I didn’t get to write everything I had hoped, but I did put up some thoughts on Dragon Bones by Patricia Briggs and Magic Stars by Ilona Andrews (one of the two books I read from start to finish in Dublin!).

A few books came in the mail last week, and I did kill some time at the bookstore in between looking at places, which of course led to a few purchases…

Lady of Magick by Sylvia Izzo Hunter

Lady of Magick (Noctis Magicae #2) by Sylvia Izzo Hunter

The first Noctis Magicae novel, The Midnight Queen, was the Patreon book selection from the March poll of recent debuts. I found it to be a thoroughly enjoyable story with likable main characters and fun family secrets so of course I picked up the next book when I found it in the bookstore!

The author and publisher’s websites have excerpts from both Noctis Magicae novels:

  1. The Midnight Queen
  2. Lady of Magick

The third book, A Season of Spells, is scheduled for release in December.


Sylvia Izzo Hunter brought “both rural Brittany and an alternative Regency England to vivid life”* in The Midnight Queen, her debut novel of history, magic, and myth. Now, in her new Noctis Magicae novel, Sophie and Gray Marshall are ensnared in an arcane plot that threatens to undo them both.

In her second year of studies at Merlin College, Oxford, Sophie Marshall is feeling alienated among fellow students who fail to welcome a woman to their ranks. So when her husband, Gray, is invited north as a visiting lecturer at the University in Din Edin, they leap at the chance. There, Sophie’s hunger for magical knowledge can finally be nourished. But soon, Sophie must put her newly learned skills to the test.

Sophie returns home one day to find a note from Gray—he’s been summoned urgently to London. But when he doesn’t return, and none of her spells can find a trace of him, she realizes something sinister has befallen him. With the help of her sister, Joanna, she delves into Gray’s disappearance, and soon finds herself in a web of magick and intrigue that threatens not just Gray, but the entire kingdom.

*National Bestselling Author Juliet Marillier

Monstress, Volume 1: Awakening by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda

Monstress, Volume 1: Awakening written by Marjorie Liu and illustrated by Sana Takeda

The first issue of Monstress is gorgeous and an intriguing beginning to Maika’s story so I’d been looking forward to this volume, which collects the first six issues. I’d been putting off getting it since I knew I’d probably be moving soon and didn’t want to add to the books to move, but I couldn’t resist when I actually had a copy in front of me in the bookstore…

I read it last night, and now I can’t wait for volume 2! It’s excellent.


Set in an alternate matriarchal 1900’s Asia, in a richly imagined world of art deco-inflected steam punk, MONSTRESS tells the story of a teenage girl who is struggling to survive the trauma of war, and who shares a mysterious psychic link with a monster of tremendous power, a connection that will transform them both and make them the target of both human and otherworldly powers.

A Darker Shade Of Magic by V. E. Schwab

A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic #1) by V.E. Schwab

I have been hearing that this and its sequel A Gathering of Shadows are fantastic, and Angie’s review of A Darker Shade of Magic convinced me I need this book in my life! has excerpts from both books:

  1. A Darker Shade of Magic
  2. A Gathering of Shadows

The third book, A Conjuring of Light, is scheduled for release in February 2017.


Kell is one of the last Travelers—rare magicians who choose a parallel universe to visit.

Grey London is dirty, boring, lacks magic, ruled by mad King George. Red London is where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire. White London is ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne. People fight to control magic, and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. Once there was Black London – but no one speaks of that now.

Officially, Kell is the Red Traveler, personal ambassador and adopted Prince of Red London, carrying the monthly correspondences between royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell smuggles for those willing to pay for even a glimpse of a world they’ll never see. This dangerous hobby sets him up for accidental treason. Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs afoul of Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She robs him, saves him from a dangerous enemy, then forces him to another world for her ‘proper adventure’.

But perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, Kell and Lila will first need to stay alive — trickier than they hoped.

The Sandman: Overture by Neil Gaiman

The Sandman: Overture written by Neil Gaiman and illustrated by J.H. Williams III and Dave Stewart

The Sandman graphic novel series is fantastic, and I haven’t read this origin story yet. Once again, it was impossible to resist picking it up when I came across the deluxe hardcover edition!


Twenty-five years since THE SANDMAN first changed the landscape of modern comics, Neil Gaiman’s legendary series is back in a deluxe edition!

THE SANDMAN: OVERTURE heralds New York Times best-selling writer Neil Gaiman’s return to the art form that made him famous, ably abetted by artistic luminary JH Williams III (BATWOMAN, PROMETHEA), whose lush, widescreen images provide an epic scope to The Sandman’s origin story. From the birth of a galaxy to the moment that Morpheus is captured, THE SANDMAN: OVERTURE will feature cameo appearances by fan-favorite characters such as The Corinthian, Merv Pumpkinhead and, of course, the Dream King’s siblings: Death, Desire, Despair, Delirium, Destruction and Destiny.

Invasive by Chuck Wendig

Invasive by Chuck Wendig

This biopunk novel, set in the same world as Zer0es, will be released on August 16 (hardcover, ebook, audiobook). has an excerpt from Invasive.


Michael Crichton meets Elon Musk in this gripping sci-fi tech thriller, set in the eye-opening, paranoid world of the electrifying Zeroes.

Hannah Stander is a consultant for the FBI—a futurist who helps the Agency with cases that feature demonstrations of bleeding-edge technology. It’s her job to help them identify unforeseen threats: hackers, AIs, genetic modification, anything that in the wrong hands could harm the homeland.

Hannah is in an airport, waiting to board a flight home to see her family, when she receives a call from Agent Hollis Copper. “I’ve got a cabin full of over a thousand dead bodies,” he tells her. Whether those bodies are all human, he doesn’t say.

What Hannah finds is a horrifying murder that points to the impossible—someone weaponizing the natural world in a most unnatural way. Discovering who—and why—will take her on a terrifying chase from the Arizona deserts to the secret island laboratory of a billionaire inventor/philanthropist. Hannah knows there are a million ways the world can end, but she just might be facing one she could never have predicted—a new threat both ancient and cutting-edge that could wipe humanity off the earth.

Additional Books: