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.

Though there was no review last week, I am working on a review of Daughters of the Storm by Kim Wilkins that I’m hoping to have finished this week. In the meantime, I’ll just say that I enjoyed it and am looking forward to reading the next book in the series.

And now, last week’s new book arrivals!

Before Mars by Emma Newman

Before Mars (Planetfall) by Emma Newman

Before Mars, Hugo Award–winning podcaster and author Emma Newman’s third novel set in the Planetfall universe,  will be released on April 17 (trade paperback, ebook, audiobook).

An excerpt from Before Mars is available on the publisher’s website. Their website also has excerpts from the other two Planetfall novels, Planetfall and After Atlas.


Hugo Award winner Emma Newman returns to the captivating Planetfall universe with a dark tale of a woman stationed on Mars who starts to have doubts about everything around her.

After months of travel, Anna Kubrin finally arrives on Mars for her new job as a geologist and de facto artist in residence—and already she feels she is losing the connection with her husband and baby at home on Earth.

In her room on the base, Anna finds a mysterious note, painted in her own hand, warning her not to trust the colony psychiatrist. A note she can’t remember painting.

When she finds a footprint in a place that the colony AI claims has never been visited by humans, Anna begins to suspect that she is caught up in an elaborate corporate conspiracy. Or is she losing her grip on reality? Anna must find the truth, regardless of what horrors she might discover or what they might do to her mind.

The Nightfall Duology by Mickey Zucker Reichert

The Nightfall Duology (Nightfall #1–2) by Mickey Zucker Reichert

This omnibus edition, which contains both The Legend of Nightfall and The Return of Nightfall, will be released on April 3 (trade paperback, ebook, audiobook).

The publisher’s website has a “Look Inside” excerpt from The Nightfall Duology.


Legendary thief, lethal assassin, powerful sorcerer… this epic fantasy duology follows the adventures of the elusive man known as Nightfall as he struggles between his criminal past and his present obligation to protect the King.

Darkness comes where Nightfall goes….

He has been known by countless names and terrifying deeds throughout the lands of mankind–thief, magic wielder, swordsman, assassin, adventurer. But chief among those names and perhaps the most dangerous of his personae is that of Nightfall, a man–or perhaps the legendary demon himself–gifted with unique powers which any sorcerer would kill to possess.

Yet though Nightfall has always escaped his pursuers by moving on to new realms, new identities, and new enterprises, even the cleverest of beings must occasionally slip. And when this master of the night finally falls prey to a royal trap, he finds the consequences beyond even his ability to evade. Bound by sorcery and oath to guard and guide a young prince on his quest, Nightfall will need every trick and talent at his command to keep both himself and his idealistic young charge from death at the hands of unknown betrayers.

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