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.

The first of these books actually showed up the week before last, but I didn’t do this feature for the one book last week because I spent that time making progress on another post:

  • Review of The Unbound Empire (Swords and Fire #3) by Melissa Caruso — This trilogy has heart, humor, and thoughtful storytelling, and I felt that this final installment was one of those rare series endings done right. All three books are just SO MUCH FUN, especially the second and third books, making this one of my recent favorite series.

The Red-Stained Wings - Elizabeth Bear - Book Cover

The Red-Stained Wings (The Lotus Kingdoms #2) by Elizabeth Bear

The Red-Stained Wings, the second book in The Lotus Kingdoms series set in the same world as the Eternal Sky trilogy beginning with the excellent novel Range of Ghosts, is out now (hardcover, ebook, audiobook).

Excerpts from both books in The Lotus Kingdoms are available:

  1. The Stone in the Skull
  2. The Red-Stained Wings

Hugo Award–winning author Elizabeth Bear returns to the epic fantasy world of the Lotus Kingdoms with The Red-Stained Wings, the sequel to The Stone in the Skull, taking the Gage into desert lands under a deadly sky to answer the riddle of the Stone in the Skull.

io9―New Sci-Fi and Fantasy for May
The Verge―13 New Science Fiction and Fantasy Novels for May

The Gage and the Dead Man brought a message from the greatest wizard of Messaline to the ruling queen of Sarathai, one of the Lotus Kingdoms. But the message was a riddle, and the Lotus Kingdoms are at war.

Elizabeth Bear created her secondary world of the Eternal Sky in her highly praised novel The Range of Ghosts and its sequels.

The Lotus Kingdoms
#1 The Stone in the Skull
#2 The Red-Stained Wings

The Eternal Sky Trilogy
#1 Range of Ghosts
#2 Shattered Pillars
#3 Steles of the Sky

Wanderers - Chuck Wendig - Book Cover

Wanderers by Chuck Wendig

Wanderers, an apocalyptic thriller, will be released on July 2 (hardcover, ebook, audiobook).

The publisher’s website has an excerpt from Wanderers.


A decadent rock star. A deeply religious radio host. A disgraced scientist. And a teenage girl who may be the world’s last hope. From the mind of Chuck Wendig comes “a magnum opus . . . a story about survival that’s not just about you and me, but all of us, together” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review).

Shana wakes up one morning to discover her little sister in the grip of a strange malady. She appears to be sleepwalking. She cannot talk and cannot be woken up. And she is heading with inexorable determination to a destination that only she knows. But Shana and her sister are not alone. Soon they are joined by a flock of sleepwalkers from across America, on the same mysterious journey. And like Shana, there are other “shepherds” who follow the flock to protect their friends and family on the long dark road ahead.

For as the sleepwalking phenomenon awakens terror and violence in America, the real danger may not be the epidemic but the fear of it. With society collapsing all around them—and an ultraviolent militia threatening to exterminate them—the fate of the sleepwalkers depends on unraveling the mystery behind the epidemic. The terrifying secret will either tear the nation apart—or bring the survivors together to remake a shattered world.

Additional Books: