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.

Before covering the latest books, here’s what happened last week in case you missed it:

  • Review of Iron and Magic (Iron Covenant #1) by Ilona Andrews — After hearing that it was best to read the first book in this spin-off from Kate Daniels before reading the final book, I purchased a copy to read first. I did not like it.
  • Review of Magic Triumphs by Ilona Andrews and a Reflection on the Kate Daniels Series — This is a review of the final Kate Daniels book beginning with some context about the series as a whole, focusing on why I LOVE the earlier books and why the later books didn’t work for me nearly as well. Magic Triumphs was fun enough to read once (though not nearly as great as earlier books), but I thought it was horrible as a finale to this ten-book series. My experience with Magic Binds (Kate Daniels #9), Iron and Magic, and the rushed wrap-up in this novel have led me to conclude I’m done reading any books related to this series— even though it was one of my favorites until around book seven. (I probably would have stopped reading after book nine if it had not been the penultimate installment.)

Now, on to the latest book arrivals!

The Antidote by Shelley Sackier

The Antidote by Shelley Sackier

This young adult romantic fantasy—with a rather lovely cover!—will be released on February 5, 2019 (hardcover, ebook).


From the author of The Freemason’s Daughter comes a lush romantic fantasy perfect for fans of Everless!

In the world of healers, there is no room for magic.

Fee knows this, just as certainly as she knows that her magic must be kept secret.

But the crown prince Xavi, Fee’s best friend and only source of comfort, is sick. So sick, that Fee can barely contain the magic lying dormant inside her. She could use it, just a little, to heal him. But magic comes at a deadly cost—and attracts those who would seek to snuff it out forever.

A wisp of a spell later, Fee finds herself caught in a whirl of secret motivations and dark pasts, where no one is who—or what—they appear to be. And saving her best friend means delving deeper into the tempting and treacherous world whose call she’s long resisted—uncovering a secret that will change everything.

Laini Taylor meets Sara Holland in this lavish fantasy from lauded historical romance author Shelley Sackier!

The Spectral City by Leanna Renee Hieber

The Spectral City (The Spectral City #1) by Leanna Renee Hieber

This gaslamp fantasy will be released on November 27 (ebook).

Leanna Renee Hieber has written a couple of guest posts here discussing Gothic fantasy that offer some insight into her type of story:

Penny Dreadful‘s Betrayal and the Complexity of Feminism in the Gothic Tradition

The Gothic as a Canary in Fear’s Coal Mine (from Women in SF&F Month 2017)


Solving crime isn’t only for the living.

In turn-of-the century New York City, the police have an off-the-books spiritual go-to when it comes to solving puzzling corporeal crimes . . .

Her name is Eve Whitby, gifted medium and spearhead of The Ghost Precinct. When most women are traveling in a gilded society that promises only well-appointed marriage, the confident nineteen-year-old Eve navigates a social circle that carries a different kind of chill. Working with the diligent but skeptical Lieutenant Horowitz, as well as a group of fellow psychics and wayward ghosts, Eve holds her own against detractors and threats to solve New York’s most disturbing crimes as only a medium of her ability can.

But as accustomed as Eve is to ghastly crimes and all matters of the uncanny, even she is unsettled by her department’s latest mystery. Her ghostly conduits are starting to disappear one by one as though snatched away by some evil force determined to upset the balance between two realms, and most important—destroy the Ghost Precinct forever. Now Eve must brave the darkness to find the vanished souls. She has no choice. It’s her job to make sure no one is ever left for dead.

Additional Books: