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 (most of which 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 I fell behind on this feature during the holidays and ensuing new year busyness, this post includes purchases and copies for review consideration from the last few weeks. There have been no new posts since last weekend’s holiday edition feature, but I’m currently working on a review I hope to have ready to post early next week!

The Winter of the Witch by Katherine Arden

The Winter of the Witch (Winternight Trilogy #3) by Katherine Arden

The final book in Katherine Arden’s Russian-inspired Winternight Trilogy was released earlier this month (hardcover, ebook, audiobook). The publisher’s website has an excerpt from The Winter of the Witch, as well as a list of upcoming tour events for Katherine Arden.

The Penguin Random House website also has excerpts from the first two books in the trilogy:

  1. The Bear and the Nightingale
  2. The Girl in the Tower

I loved both The Bear and the Nightingale and The Girl in the Tower, and I’m excited to read more about Vasya!


NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Following their adventures in The Bear and the Nightingale and The Girl in the Tower, Vasya and Morozko return in this stunning conclusion to the bestselling Winternight Trilogy, battling enemies mortal and magical to save both Russias, the seen and the unseen.

“A tale both intimate and epic, featuring a heroine whose harrowing and wondrous journey culminates in an emotionally resonant finale.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Reviewers called Katherine Arden’s novels The Bear and the Nightingale and The Girl in the Tower “lyrical,” “emotionally stirring,” and “utterly bewitching.” The Winternight Trilogy introduced an unforgettable heroine, Vasilisa Petrovna, a girl determined to forge her own path in a world that would rather lock her away. Her gifts and her courage have drawn the attention of Morozko, the winter-king, but it is too soon to know if this connection will prove a blessing or a curse.

Now Moscow has been struck by disaster. Its people are searching for answers—and for someone to blame. Vasya finds herself alone, beset on all sides. The Grand Prince is in a rage, choosing allies that will lead him on a path to war and ruin. A wicked demon returns, stronger than ever and determined to spread chaos. Caught at the center of the conflict is Vasya, who finds the fate of two worlds resting on her shoulders. Her destiny uncertain, Vasya will uncover surprising truths about herself and her history as she desperately tries to save Russia, Morozko, and the magical world she treasures. But she may not be able to save them all.

The Vela by Yoon Ha Lee, Becky Chambers, S. L. Huang, and Rivers Solomon

The Vela by Yoon Ha Lee, Becky Chambers, S. L. Huang, and Rivers Solomon

Serial Box will be publishing season one of The Vela this year. It’s possible to subscribe to read one chapter at a time as they are released or purchase the entire season to read at once, and it is available for preorder. The publisher’s website also has a season one preview.

The Vela is a space opera written by Machineries of Empire author Yoon Ha Lee, Wayfarers author Becky Chambers, Russell’s Attic author S. L. Huang, and An Unkindess of Ghosts author Rivers Solomon.

You can read more about The Vela on Becky Chambers’ blog.


Orphan, refugee, and soldier-for-hire Asala Sikou doesn’t think too much about the end of civilization. Her system’s star is dying, and the only person she can afford to look out for is herself. When a ship called The Vela vanishes during what was supposed to be a flashy rescue mission, a reluctant Asala is hired to team up with Niko, the child of a wealthy inner planet’s president, to find it and the outer system refugees on board. But this is no ordinary rescue mission; The Vela holds a secret that places the fate of the universe in the balance, and forces Asala to decide—in a dying world where good and evil are far from black and white, who deserves to survive?

A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas

A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses #3) by Sarah J. Maas

A friend read the Court of Thorns and Roses trilogy a few months ago and sent me the first two books as a gift. I had mixed feelings about A Court of Thorns and Roses (I didn’t like the romance or most of the characters, yet I kept thinking about it and was curious about the next book). Then I got about halfway through A Court of Mist and Fury, which is a far better book that addresses many of the issues I had with the first, and found myself completely HOOKED. I couldn’t start A Court of Wings and Ruin fast enough after I finished the second book, started reading it immediately, and also enjoyed it immensely.

Entertainment Weekly has a brief interview with Sarah J. Maas and an excerpt from A Court of Wings and Ruin.


Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin’s maneuverings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit-and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well.

As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords-and hunt for allies in unexpected places.

In this thrilling third book in the #1 New York Times and USA Today bestselling series from Sarah J. Maas, the earth will be painted red as mighty armies grapple for power over the one thing that could destroy them all.

A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas

A Court of Frost and Starlight (A Court of Thorns and Roses Novella) by Sarah J. Maas

You guessed it: I finished reading A Court of Wings and Ruin and wanted MORE. A Court of Frost and Starlight is set between the end of the trilogy and the upcoming books in the spin-off series (which I am desperately hoping is about Nesta).

Entertainment Weekly has an excerpt from A Court of Frost and Starlight.


Narrated by Feyre and Rhysand, this bridges the events in A Court of Wings and Ruin and the upcoming novels in the series.

New in the #1 New York Times bestselling Court of Thorns and Roses series, A Court of Frost and Starlight is a glimpse into the lives of Feyre and Rhys as they begin to recover from the war that changed their world.

Feyre, Rhysand, and their close-knit circle of friends are still busy rebuilding the Night Court and the vastly-changed world beyond. But Winter Solstice is finally near, and with it, a hard-earned reprieve. Yet even the festive atmosphere can’t keep the shadows of the past from looming. As Feyre navigates her first Winter Solstice as High Lady, she finds that those dearest to her have more wounds than she anticipated — scars that will have a far-reaching impact on the future of their Court.

The Magic of Recluce by L. E. Modesitt, Jr. The Towers of the Sunset by L. E. Modesitt, Jr. The Magic Engineer by L. E. Modesitt, Jr.

The Magic of Recluce, The Towers of the Sunset, and The Magic Engineer (The Saga of Recluce #1–3) by L. E. Modesitt, Jr.

The first three Saga of Recluce books were recently re-released with new covers for mass market paperback and ebook.

The Tor-Forge blog has an excerpt containing the first five chapters from The Magic of Recluce. The description below is also from the first book of the three.


L.E. Modesitt, Jr.’s The Magic of Recluce begins his bestselling fantasy series the Saga of Recluce, which is one of the most popular in contemporary epic fantasy.

Young Lerris yearns to find a place in the world better suited to his skills and temperament. In Recluce this means taking one of two options: permanent exile from Recluce or the dangergeld, a complex, rule-laden wanderjahr in the lands beyond. Many do not survive.

Lerris chooses dangergeld.

Lerris will need magic in the lands beyond, where the power of the Chaos Wizards reigns unchecked, and he must learn to use his powers in an orderly way before his wanderjahr, or fall prey to Chaos.

Saga of Recluce

#1 The Magic of Recluce / #2 The Towers of Sunset / #3 The Magic Engineer / #4 The Order War / #5 The Death of Chaos / #6 Fall of Angels / #7 The Chaos Balance / #8 The White Order / #9 Colors of Chaos / #10 Magi’i of Cyador / #11 Scion of Cyador / #12 Wellspring of Chaos / #13 Ordermaster / #14 Natural Order Mage / #15 Mage-Guard of Hamor / #16 Arms-Commander / #17 Cyador’s Heirs / #18 Heritage of Cyador /#19 The Mongrel Mage / #20 Outcasts of Order / #21 The Mage-Fire War (forthcoming)

Story Collection: Recluce Tales

Additional Books: