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.

This covers multiple weeks since there was only one new book until recently—but last week brought multiple books, including one I was very excited to see!

Before getting to that book, here’s what happened since the last one of these features in case you missed either of these posts:

  • Review of Thornbound by Stephanie Burgis — Much like Snowspelled (the first/previous book in The Harwood Spellbook series), Thornbound is a fun, cozy page-turner with fluid writing and optimistic storytelling. However, I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as Snowspelled, largely because it didn’t significantly expand on the world or characters.
  • Giveaway of Unfettered III: New Tales by Masters of Fantasy edited by Shawn Speakman — Courtesy of Grim Oak Press, I’m giving away a copy of the newly released anthology Unfettered III, which contains stories by amazing authors with the goal of raising money to help authors and artists with medical debt. This US-only giveaway ends on March 29.

A Sword Named Truth by Sherwood Smith

A Sword Named Truth (Rise of the Alliance #1) by Sherwood Smith

A Sword Named Truth, an epic fantasy set in the same world as the Inda series, will be released on June 11 (hardcover, ebook, audiobook).

This sounds intriguing, and I’m especially curious about it because I very much enjoyed one of Sherwood Smith’s other novels set in the same world as Inda, Banner of the Damned.


Untested young rulers must cooperate to protect their world from the magical threat of the mysterious kingdom of Norsunder in a new epic fantasy trilogy set in the same world as the popular Inda series.

Long-dormant magical forces are moving once again in Sartorias-deles. Agents of Norsunder, a mysterious bastion of incredible dark power, have reappeared in the world, amassing resources and sowing instability.

But with numerous nations led by young rulers brought too early to their thrones, the world is hardly ready to defend itself. Atan is still uncomfortable with her new queenship, gained after her country was freed from a Norsundrian enchantment that left it frozen outside time for a century. Senrid strives to establish rule of law, after deposing his brutal and cruel uncle, seeking to exert control over rebellious jarls and a distrustful military academy. Jilo never expected the responsibility of leading his nation, but when its dictator vanishes after a Norsundrian attack, Jilo finds himself stepping into the power void, taking the reins of a country so riddled with dark magic that its citizenry labors for mere survival. Clair and CJ lead a band of misfits against magical threats that overshadow their tiny country, including a direct incursion from the Norsundrians.

Those in power are not the only individuals working to subvert the plans of Norsunder. Liere, a young shopkeeper’s daughter, battles her own debilitating insecurities to live up to her reputation as a former savior of the realm. Hibern, a mage’s apprentice, must act as a liaison between national leaders, negotiating politics still foreign to her. Rel, a traveling warrior, stirs powerful allies to action encourages common folk to take up arms.

These leaders soon realize that any significant victory against Norsunder will require an alliance between their nations. Yet good intentions may fracture in the face of personal grudges, secrets, and inexperience. As the Norsundrian attacks become bolder, the members of this tenuous alliance must find ways to trust one another and bind themselves together—lest they fail to defend against a host that has crushed entire worlds.

Additional Books: