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 (often these are unsolicited books from publishers). 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.

Since there was only one book arrival the week before last, there are a couple of weeks to cover here—but first, here are the posts that went up since the last one of these features in case you missed either of them:

  • Review of The Poppy War by R. F. Kuang — I enjoyed this dark war story quite a bit and found it engrossing from the very first page.
  • Phoenix Unbound by Grace Draven (& Romantic Fantasy Giveaway) — This contains some information on upcoming romantic fantasy Phoenix Unbound and how to enter a Romantic Fantasy Starter Kit giveaway including this book plus five more by Ilona Andrews, Patricia Briggs, Nalini Singh, Chloe Neill, and Anne Bishop. (Phoenix Unbound came in the mail last week and sounds intriguing, but I’m not featuring it today since it’s already covered in the last blog post!)

And now, recent books in the mail (minus Phoenix Unbound)!

The Last Unicorn: The Lost Journey by Peter S. Beagle

The Last Unicorn: The Lost Journey by Peter S. Beagle

A special hardcover edition of this book will be released on November 12 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Peter S. Beagle’s beloved The Last Unicorn. The Lost Journey contains an earlier draft of the story that was eventually reworked into the tale of the Last Unicorn that so many of us know and love.

This version of the book features an introduction by Patrick Rothfuss, a preface by Carrie Vaughn, an afterword by Peter S. Beagle, and illustrations by Stephanie Law. The publisher’s website has some examples of the original artwork.


Special Commemorative Edition celebrating the 50th Anniversary of The Last Unicorn

Introduction by Patrick Rothfuss
Preface by Carrie Vaughn
Original illustrations by Stephanie Law

Peter S. Beagle first imagined his beloved heroine when he was twenty-three, half a decade before she sprang into the world. Now the Last Unicorn’s fantastical origins are recaptured in this lovely commemorative hardcover. Here you will discover the eighty-five page genesis of Beagle’s masterpiece, his own wry musings upon his early career, charming original illustrations, and tributes from modern fantasy legends Patrick Rothfuss and Carrie Vaughn.

In this wonderfully strange adventure, a brave unicorn leaves her solitary life behind, determined to discover if she is the last of her kind. She is forewarned by a forlorn dragon and befuddled by a chatty butterfly; her unfamiliar traveling companion will be an exiled demon with a split personality and a penchant for philosophy.

Somewhere between mythology, modernity, and magic, the Last Unicorn has found herself on the road less traveled by . . . until now.

How to Fracture a Fairy Tale by Jane Yolen

How to Fracture a Fairy Tale by Jane Yolen

This short story collection will be released on November 5 (trade paperback, ebook). The publisher’s website lists the stories and poems found within How to Fracture a Fairy Tale.


Fantasy legend Jane Yolen (The Emerald Circus The Devil’s Arithmetic), adored by generations of readers of all ages, delights with these effortlessly wide-ranging fairy tales, myths, and legends. She fractures the classics to reveal their crystalline secrets, holding them to the light and presenting them transformed: a spinner of straw as a falsely-accused moneylender, a philosophical bridge who longs for its troll, and the villainous wolf retiring to a nursing home. Each offering features an intimate author note and poem, allowing readers to discover stories old, new, and refined for the world we live in―or a much better version of it.

Someone Like Me by M. R. Carey

Someone Like Me by M. R. Carey

This speculative fiction thriller by the author of The Girl with All the Gifts will be released on November 6 (hardcover, ebook, audiobook).


From the author of the million-copy bestseller The Girl With All the Gifts comes a heart-stopping thriller with twists you won’t see coming and a heroine you can’t trust.

Liz Kendall wouldn’t hurt a fly. Even when times get tough, she’s devoted to bringing up her two kids in a loving home.

But there’s another side to Liz—one that’s dark and malicious. She will do anything to get her way, no matter how extreme.

And when this other side of her takes control, the consequences are devastating.

Love her or hate her: there are two sides to every story….

Thin Air by Richard K. Morgan

Thin Air by Richard K. Morgan

This science fiction noir novel by the author of the Philip K. Dick Award–winning novel Altered Carbon will be released on October 23 (hardcover, ebook, audiobook).


An atmospheric tale of corruption and abduction set on Mars, from the author of the award-winning science fiction novel Altered Carbon, now an exciting new series from Netflix.

From the moment Richard K. Morgan’s dazzling debut, Altered Carbon, burst onto the scene, it was clear that a distinctive new voice had arrived to shake up science fiction. His subsequent novels—including the sequels Broken Angels and Woken Furies—confirmed him as a master of hard-boiled futuristic thrillers. Now Morgan returns to the world of SF noir with a riveting tale of crime, corruption, and deadly crisis on a planet teetering close to the edge.

On a Mars where ruthless corporate interests violently collide with a homegrown independence movement as Earth-based overlords battle for profits and power, Hakan Veil is an ex–professional enforcer equipped with military-grade body tech that’s made him a human killing machine. But he’s had enough of the turbulent red planet, and all he wants is a ticket back home—which is just what he’s offered by the Earth Oversight organization, in exchange for being the bodyguard for an EO investigator. It’s a beyond-easy gig for a heavy hitter like Veil . . . until it isn’t.

When Veil’s charge, Madison Madekwe, starts looking into the mysterious disappearance of a lottery winner, she stirs up a hornet’s nest of intrigue and murder. And the deeper Veil is drawn into the dangerous game being played, the more long-buried secrets claw their way to the Martian surface. Now it’s the expert assassin on the wrong end of a lethal weapon—as Veil stands targeted by powerful enemies hellbent on taking him down, by any means necessary.