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.

One finished copy and two ARCs showed up last week—all of which sound fantastic! But first, here’s last week’s new review in case you missed it (I LOVED this book):

  • Empire of Sand by Tasha Suri — “Empire of Sand, Tasha Suri’s fantasy debut novel inspired by Mughal India, is magnificent. Though there is plenty of darkness within its pages, there is also an abundance of light as the main characters fight back against evil and injustice—not with the strength of force and weapons, but with the strength of hearts and minds. It’s a wonderful exploration of themes like choice and connection, and it’s also a treasure trove of rich storytelling with its vibrant characters and relationships, fascinating world, and beautiful writing.”

And now, the latest book arrivals!

The Unbound Empire by Melissa Caruso

The Unbound Empire (Swords and Fire #3) by Melissa Caruso

The final book in the Swords and Fire trilogy will be released on April 30, 2019 (trade paperback, ebook).

The publisher’s website has excerpts from the first two books in the series:

  1. The Tethered Mage (2018 Gemmell Morningstar Award Finalist)
  2. The Defiant Heir

The Unbound Empire is one of THE 2019 releases I am most excited about since The Defiant Heir is one of my absolute favorite books of 2018. I have reviewed both of the previous novels:

  1. The Tethered Mage — “The Tethered Mage is a fantastic first novel that particularly excels at characters, worldbuilding, and telling the type of compelling story that leads to late-night-to-early-morning binge reading.” (I stayed up until 2:00 AM reading it because I HAD to know how it ended!)
  2. The Defiant Heir — “The Tethered Mage is an excellent debut novel that set a high bar for its followup, but The Defiant Heir takes the series to the next level in every way.” (Kathe, a character introduced in this installment, made things very interesting…)

I was also pretty excited to see the recent news that Melissa Caruso is writing another trilogy set in this world!


The final volume of the Gemmell Morningstar Award-shortlisted Swords and Fire fantasy trilogy, in which political scion Amalia and her bound fire warlock Zaira must save the Empire from a ruthless, magical enemy. Perfect for fans of Tamora Pierce, The Queen of the Tearling, and Uprooted.

While winter snows keep the Witch Lord Ruven’s invading armies at bay, Lady Amalia Cornaro and the fire warlock Zaira attempt to change the fate of mages in the Raverran Empire forever, earning the enmity of those in power who will do anything to keep all magic under tight imperial control. But in the season of the Serene City’s great masquerade, Ruven executes a devastating surprise strike at the heart of the Empire – and at everything Amalia holds most dear.

To stand a chance of defeating Ruven, Amalia and Zaira must face their worst nightmares, expose their deepest secrets, and unleash Zaira’s most devastating fire.

Terran Tomorrow by Nancy Kress

Terran Tomorrow (Yesterday’s Kin #3) by Nancy Kress

The conclusion to the Yesterday’s Kin trilogy, which grew from Nancy Kress’ Nebula Award–winning novella Yesterday’s Kin, is out now (hardcover, ebook, audiobook).

The publisher’s website has excerpts from all three books in the series:

  1. Tomorrow’s Kin
  2. If Tomorrow Comes
  3. Terran Tomorrow

This is another series I’ve rather enjoyed, and I’m curious to see how it ends. I’ve reviewed the previous two books in the series, plus the original novella (which is also the beginning of the first book in the trilogy):

  • Yesterday’s Kin — “Yesterday’s Kin is a wonderful science fiction book, and it’s impressive how full the story is despite its succinctness.”
  • Tomorrow’s Kin — “Though I did feel that the first third was stronger than the new additions, Tomorrow’s Kin as a whole is both smart and engaging—once I started reading it, I had a difficult time putting it down!”
  • If Tomorrow Comes — “If Tomorrow’s Kin has some flaws…but it has its strengths as well and offers an intriguing look at how a society like Kindred’s could have come to be—and how they could have reacted to an existential threat.”

Nancy Kress returns with Terran Tomorrow, the final book in the thrilling hard science fiction trilogy based on the Nebula Award–winning novella Yesterday’s Kin.

io9―New Sci-Fi and Fantasy Books You Need to Put on Your Radar for Fall

The diplomatic mission from Earth to World ended in disaster, as the Earth scientists discovered that the Worlders were not the scientifically advanced culture they believed. Though they brought a limited quantity of the vaccine against the deadly spore cloud, there was no way to make enough to vaccinate more than a few dozen. The Earth scientists, and surviving diplomats, fled back to Earth.

But once home, after the twenty-eight-year gap caused by the space ship transit, they find an Earth changed almost beyond recognition. In the aftermath of the spore cloud plague, the human race has been reduced to only a few million isolated survivors. The knowledge brought back by Marianne Jenner and her staff may not be enough to turn the tide of ongoing biological warfare.

The Unicorn Anthology edited by Peter S. Beagle and Jacob Weisman

The Unicorn Anthology edited by Peter S. Beagle and Jacob Weisman

The Unicorn Anthology will be released on April 19 (trade paperback, ebook).

It includes stories by Peter S. Beagle, Patricia A. McKillip, Jane Yolen, Garth Nix, Carrie Vaughn, Caitlín R. Kiernan, Margo Lanagan, and more. The publisher’s website lists the table of contents.


Unicorns: Not just for virgins anymore. Here are sixteen lovely, powerful, intricate, and unexpected unicorn tales from fantasy icons including Garth Nix, Peter S. Beagle, Patricia A. McKillip, Bruce Coville, Carrie Vaughn, and more. In this volume you will find two would-be hunters who enlist an innkeeper to find a priest hiding the secret of the last unicorn. A time traveler tries to corral an unruly mythological beast that might never have existed at all. The lover and ex-boyfriend of a dying woman join forces to find a miraculous remedy in New York City. And a small-town writer of historical romances discovers a sliver of a mysterious horn in a slice of apple pie.