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.

As mentioned last week, I am limiting this to 5 books today. I will continue to cover 5 books per weekend until I catch up on the new books I want to feature of those that have arrived since I went on an unplanned hiatus.

(Last week ended up being yet another super busy week with some unexpected problems cropping up so I still haven’t had a chance to finish a review.)

This time I’m featuring three early 2019 releases and the first two books in a series that a friend gifted me (the first of which I’m reading now since I know she’s eager to discuss them!).

The Raven Tower by Ann Leckie

The Raven Tower by Ann Leckie

New York Times bestselling author Ann Leckie’s first published fantasy novel will be released on February 26, 2019 (hardcover, ebook, audiobook).

Ancillary Justice, Ann Leckie’s debut novel and the first book in the Imperial Radch trilogy, won the Hugo, Nebula, Arthur C. Clarke, Locus, and BSFA Awards; was nominated for other prestigious awards; and was selected for the James Tiptree Jr. Award Honor List. The other two books in this science fiction series, Ancillary Sword and Ancillary Mercy, were also both award winners and Hugo and Nebula Award finalists, as well as nominees for other honors. Provenance, which is set in the same universe, was a BSFA Award nominee and a James Tiptree Jr. Award Long List selection.


Gods meddle in the fates of men, men play with the fates of gods, and a pretender must be cast down from the throne in this breathtaking first fantasy novel from Ann Leckie, New York Times bestselling author and winner of the Hugo, Nebula, and Arthur C. Clarke Awards.

For centuries, the kingdom of Iraden has been protected by the god known as the Raven. He watches over his territory from atop a tower in the powerful port of Vastai. His will is enacted through the Raven’s Lease, a human ruler chosen by the god himself. His magic is sustained via the blood sacrifice that every Lease must offer. And under the Raven’s watch, the city flourishes.

But the power of the Raven is weakening. A usurper has claimed the throne. The kingdom borders are tested by invaders who long for the prosperity that Vastai boasts. And they have made their own alliances with other gods.

It is into this unrest that the warrior Eolo–aide to Mawat, the true Lease–arrives. And in seeking to help Mawat reclaim his city, Eolo discovers that the Raven’s Tower holds a secret. Its foundations conceal a dark history that has been waiting to reveal itself…and to set in motion a chain of events that could destroy Iraden forever.

The Beast's Heart by Leife Shallcross

The Beast’s Heart: A Novel of Beauty and the Beast by Leife Shallcross

The Beast’s Heart, a retelling of the fairy tale “Beauty and the Beast” from the Beast’s perspective, is currently available in Australia, New Zealand, and the UK. It is scheduled for release in the US on February 12, 2019 (trade paperback, ebook, audiobook).

Avid Bibliophile has an extract from Chapter One of The Beast’s Heart.


A luxuriously magical retelling of Beauty and the Beast set in seventeenth-century France–and told from the point of view of the Beast himself.

I am neither monster nor man—yet I am both.

I am the Beast.

He is a broken, wild thing, his heart’s nature exposed by his beastly form. Long ago cursed with a wretched existence, the Beast prowls the dusty hallways of his ruined château with only magical, unseen servants to keep him company—until a weary traveler disturbs his isolation.

Bewitched by the man’s dreams of his beautiful daughter, the Beast devises a plan to lure her to the château. There, Isabeau courageously exchanges her father’s life for her own and agrees to remain with the Beast for a year. But even as their time together weaves its own spell, the Beast finds winning Isabeau’s love is only the first impossible step in breaking free from the curse . . .

The Very Best of Caitlín R. Kiernan

The Very Best of Caitlín R. Kiernan by Caitlín R. Kiernan

World Fantasy, Bram Stoker, and James Tiptree Jr. Award–winning author Caitlín R. Kiernan’s upcoming short story collection will be released on February 19, 2019 (trade paperback, ebook).

The Very Best of Caitlín R. Kiernan includes her World Fantasy Award–winning short story “The Prayer of Ninety Cats” and about half a dozen stories published in her World Fantasy Award–winning collection The Ape’s Wife and Other Stories—plus several other stories and an introduction by Richard Kadrey. The publisher’s website lists the full table of contents.


Caitlín R. Kiernan is widely acknowledged as one of dark fantasy and horror’s most skilled and acclaimed short fiction writers. Here in this retrospective volume is her finest work, previously only collected in sold-out limited editions. Kiernan’s tales are visceral, sensual, devastating, and impossible to resist: a reporter is goaded by her girlfriend into watching people morphing into terrifying art; a critic interviews an elderly model from a series of famous mermaid paintings; a moviegoer watches a banned arthouse film only to discover exactly why it has been banned.

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses #1) by Sarah J. Maas

A Court of Thorns and Roses, the first book in New York Times bestselling author Sarah J. Maas’ series of the same name, is currently available in hard cover, trade paperback, ebook, and audiobook.

Teen Vogue has an excerpt of the first chapter.



Perfect for fans of Kristin Cashore and George R.R. Martin, this first book in a sexy and action-packed new series is impossible to put down!

When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin–one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she’s been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow over the faerie lands is growing, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin–and his world–forever.

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses #2) by Sarah J. Maas

The second book in the Court of Thorns and Roses series is also currently available in hardcover, trade paperback, ebook, and audiobook.

Entertainment Weekly has an excerpt from A Court of Mist and Fury.

A Court of Wings and Ruin, the third book in the series, is also out now. A related novella, A Court of Frost and Starlight, is also available and is one of this year’s Goodreads Choice Award nominees in the Best YA Fantasy & Science Fiction category.


The # 1 New York Times bestselling sequel to Sarah J. Maas’ spellbinding A Court of Thorns and Roses.

Feyre survived Amarantha’s clutches to return to the Spring Court–but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can’t forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin’s people.

Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms–and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future–and the future of a world cleaved in two.

With more than a million copies sold of her beloved Throne of Glass series, Sarah J. Maas’s masterful storytelling brings this second book in her seductive and action-packed series to new heights.