The Leaning Pile of Books is a feature where I discuss books I got over the last week–old or new, bought or received in the mail 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 a few books that sound quite interesting, and in case you missed it, my review of Katherine Arden’s phenomenal novel The Bear and the Nightingale also went up last week. It’s beautifully written, atmospheric, and overall excellent—and one of my two favorite books of 2017 so far!

Now, the latest books in the mail.

Beneath the Haunting Sea by Joanna Ruth Meyer

Beneath the Haunting Sea by Joanna Ruth Meyer

This young adult fantasy debut novel will be released on January 9 (hardcover, ebook). The author’s website has an excerpt from chapter six of Beneath the Haunting Sea.

This sounds intriguing, and the cover is beautiful!


Can’t you hear it, Talia?
Can’t you hear the waves singing?

Sixteen-year-old Talia was born to a life of certainty and luxury, destined to become Empress of half the world. But when an ambitious rival seizes power, she and her mother are banished to a nowhere province on the far edge of the Northern Sea.

It is here, in the drafty halls of the Ruen-Dahr, that Talia discovers family secrets, a melancholy boy with a troubling vision of her future, and a relic that holds the power of an ancient Star. On these shores, the eerie melody of the sea is stronger than ever, revealing long-forgotten tales of the Goddess Rahn. The more dark truths that Talia unravels about the gods’ history—and her own—the more the waves call to her, and it may be her destiny to answer.

The Lost Plot by Genevieve Cogman

The Lost Plot (The Invisible Library #4) by Genevieve Cogman

The fourth book in the Invisible Library series was recently released in the UK and will be released in the US on January 9 (trade paperback, ebook, audiobook). The publisher’s website has an excerpt from The Lost Plot.

The Invisible Library series is immensely entertaining and especially wonderful for bibliophiles. It follows Irene, who works as a Librarian spy for an organization existing outside of space and time as she collects books (and, of course, has adventures!) on a variety of alternate worlds.

The first three books in the series are as follows:

  1. The Invisible Library (Excerpt | My Review)
  2. The Masked City (Excerpt | My Review)
  3. The Burning Page (Excerpt | My Review)

After being commissioned to find a rare book, Librarian Irene and her assistant, Kai, head to Prohibition-era New York and are thrust into the middle of a political fight with dragons, mobsters, and Fae.

In a 1920s-esque New York, Prohibition is in force; fedoras, flapper dresses, and tommy guns are in fashion: and intrigue is afoot. Intrepid Librarians Irene and Kai find themselves caught in the middle of a dragon political contest. It seems a young Librarian has become tangled in this conflict, and if they can’t extricate him, there could be serious repercussions for the mysterious Library. And, as the balance of power across mighty factions hangs in the balance, this could even trigger war.

Irene and Kai are locked in a race against time (and dragons) to procure a rare book. They’ll face gangsters, blackmail, and the Library’s own Internal Affairs department. And if it doesn’t end well, it could have dire consequences on Irene’s job. And, incidentally, on her life…

Daughters of the Storm by Kim Wilkins

Daughters of the Storm (Blood and Gold #1) by Kim Wilkins

This Aurealis Award–nominated novel by five-time Aurealis Award–winning author Kim Wilkins will be published in the US on March 6 (hardcover, ebook).

I’ve heard good things about Kim Wilkins’ books, and this sounds rather interesting.


Five very different sisters team up against their stepbrother to save their kingdom in this Norse-flavored fantasy epic—the start of a new series in the tradition of Naomi Novik, Peter V. Brett, and Robin Hobb.


They are the daughters of a king. Though they share the same royal blood, they could not be more different. Bluebell is a proud warrior, stronger than any man and with an ironclad heart to match. Rose’s heart is all too passionate: She is the queen of a neighboring kingdom who is risking everything for a forbidden love. Ash is discovering a dangerous talent for magic that might be a gift—or a curse. And then there are the twins—vain Ivy, who lives for admiration, and zealous Willow, who lives for the gods.

But when their father is stricken by a mysterious ailment, these five sisters must embark on a desperate journey to save him and prevent their treacherous stepbrother from seizing the throne. Their mission: find the powerful witch who can cure the king. But to succeed on their quest, they must overcome their differences and hope that the secrets they hide from one another and the world are never brought to light. Because if this royal family breaks, it could destroy the kingdom.

Mad Hatters and March Hares edited by Ellen Datlow

Mad Hatters and March Hares edited by Ellen Datlow

This anthology of stories inspired by Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland books was just released last week (hardcover, trade paperback, ebook, audiobook). It’s edited by World Fantasy and Hugo Award–winning editor Ellen Datlow and includes stories by Seanan McGuire, Jane Yolen, Catherynne M. Valente, Jeffrey Ford, Priya Sharma, Ysabeau S. Wilce, and more!


From master anthologist Ellen Datlow comes an all-original of weird tales inspired by the strangeness of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There.

Between the hallucinogenic, weird, imaginative wordplay and the brilliant mathematical puzzles and social satire, Alice has been read, enjoyed, and savored by every generation since its publication. Datlow asked eighteen of the most brilliant and acclaimed writers working today to dream up stories inspired by all the strange events and surreal characters found in Wonderland.

Featuring stories and poems from Seanan McGuire, Jane Yolen, Catherynne M. Valente, Delia Sherman, Genevieve Valentine, Priya Sharma, Stephen Graham Jones, Richard Bowes, Jeffrey Ford, Angela Slatter, Andy Duncan, C.S.E. Cooney, Matthew Kressel, Kris Dikeman, Jane Yolen, Kaaron Warren, Ysbeau Wilce, and Katherine Vaz.

Additional Books: