The Leaning Pile of Books is a feature in which I highlight 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, along with series information and the publisher’s book description. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

It has been A Week so I didn’t get a chance to finish any book reviews, but at least it was a great week for books! I recently won M. L. Wang‘s 100 Goodreads Reviews Celebration Giveaway, which included all three of her novels and some lovely swag like bookmarks and character cards, and was rather excited when the prizes arrived last week! Plus, a pre-ordered book I’ve been looking forward to for a while showed up…

The Sword of Kaigen by M. L. Wang - Book Cover

The Sword of Kaigen (A Theonite War Story) by M. L. Wang

The Sword of Kaigen, a standalone military fantasy novel set thirteen years before the Theonite books, was released earlier this year (paperback, ebook). And I just saw that the ebook is currently just $.99 on Amazon for the duration of #TheSwordOfKaigenBlogTour (through November 29)!

The Sword of Kaigen is also a finalist in this year’s Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off: Kitty G announced just a couple of days ago that it’s her winner, making it one of ten books that will be moving on to the final round.

The author’s website has both an Amazon preview and a text sample from The Sword of Kaigen.

I keep hearing this novel is excellent and it sounds wonderful!


On a mountainside at the edge of the Kaigenese Empire live the most powerful warriors in the world, superhumans capable of raising the sea and wielding blades of ice. For hundreds of years, the fighters of the Kusanagi Peninsula have held the Empire’s enemies at bay, earning their frozen spit of land the name ‘The Sword of Kaigen.’

Born into Kusanagi’s legendary Matsuda family, fourteen-year-old Mamoru has always known his purpose: to master his family’s fighting techniques and defend his homeland. But when an outsider arrives and pulls back the curtain on Kaigen’s alleged age of peace, Mamoru realizes that he might not have much time to become the fighter he was bred to be. Worse, the empire he was bred to defend may stand on a foundation of lies.

Misaki told herself that she left the passions of her youth behind when she married into the Matsuda house. Determined to be a good housewife and mother, she hid away her sword, along with everything from her days as a fighter in a faraway country. But with her growing son asking questions about the outside world, the threat of an impending invasion looming across the sea, and her frigid husband grating on her nerves, Misaki finds the fighter in her clawing its way back to the surface.

When the winds of war reach their peninsula, will the Matsuda family have the strength to defend their empire? Or will they tear each other apart before the true enemies even reach their shores?

A rich elemental magic system and deep world-building make this martial fantasy perfect for fans of R.F. Kuang, Brandon Sanderson, Leigh Bardugo, and Lian Hearn.

Theonite: Planet Adyn by M. L. Wang - Book Cover

Theonite: Planet Adyn (Theonite #1) by M. L. Wang

The first book in the Theonite series, which is set in the same universe as The Sword of Kaigen, is out now (paperback, ebook).

The author’s website has both an Amazon preview and a text sample from Theonite: Planet Adyn.

Superpowers, crime-fighters, parallel dimensions, and a mysterious villain—this sounds like a comic book in novel form in the very best of ways!


Joan is at her happiest when she uses her powers – stirring air currents, creating fire, and levitating metal objects – but she learned at a young age that no one in her small-minded suburban town was prepared to accept her abilities. Since that painful revelation, she has hidden her powers, isolating herself from others, even keeping her own parents at a distance.

However, all that changes when a spastic but charming boy named Daniel Thundyil transfers to her school and she begins to suspect that he is concealing powers of his own. Burning with curiosity and desperate to end her loneliness, Joan makes it her mission to get to the bottom of this boy’s secrets. What she doesn’t realize is that Daniel isn’t just another Earthling with uncanny abilities; he is an inter-dimensional traveler from a world of super-powered beings. And the moment she started prying into his life, she put herself in the sights of the godlike evil that follows him from his dimension.

Now, the most powerful girl on Earth faces a choice: will she retreat back to the safety of her life in hiding or brave the storm for a chance at truth and friendship?

For Daniel Thundyil and his crime-fighter father, Robin, adventures in exotic places are nothing new. The two of them have chased criminals all over their own planet of super-powered beings. But this is the first time a mission has brought them to a parallel dimension, and something about it doesn’t sit right with Daniel. Questions gather like storm clouds: Who is this villain they are hunting? Why won’t Robin reveal his name? As the sky darkens, Daniel and Joan start to wonder who is really being hunted.

Theonite: Orbit by M. L. Wang - Book Cover

Theonite: Orbit (Theonite #2) by M. L. Wang

The second book in the Theonite series is also available now (paperback, ebook).

The author’s website has both an Amazon preview and a text sample from Theonite: Orbit.


This was a world where two black women with spears trumped three white men with guns, and one unarmed musician trumped them all. This was going to take some getting used to…

After barely escaping Earth with their lives, Joan and Daniel scramble to piece together the mystery of Killer 31 while dodging police, security guards, fanboys, and a dark hooded figures.Daniel always intended to take on the Firebird mantle and fight his father’s enemies, but he didn’t expect to have to do it at the age of thirteen under a hail of spears and bullets.

Joan was hoping to find a world where she wouldn’t be isolated because of her powers, but adjusting to existence on the bottom of Duna’s racial hierarchy turns out to be more painful than any of the alienation she experienced on Earth.

Grieving, unbalanced, and quickly becoming the most wanted people on the Dakkabana space station, Joan and Daniel are forced to strike up alliances with some unlikely people: a hyperactive Firebird fanboy, a friendly painter, and the disappointing son of an otherwise powerful warrior family. Can the group of misfits pull together into something resembling a team in time to outsmart their enemies and save Firebird? Or will Robin Thundyil’s legacy disappear with him?

The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black - Book Cover

The Queen of Nothing (Folk of the Air #3) by Holly Black

The final book in the Folk of the Air trilogy just came out last week (hardcover, ebook, audiobook).

Hachette has an excerpt from The Queen of Nothing, as well as samples from the previous books in the series:

  1. The Cruel Prince (text and audio samples)
  2. The Wicked King

The end of The Wicked King was amazing and infuriating (because it stopped there), and I had to find out what happened next! I already finished reading it this weekend because it’s short and the Internet is dark and full of spoilers, but I’m still processing how I feel about it. I definitely loved reading it and enjoyed Jude’s voice and the dialogue, but it seemed less twisty and dark than the first two books.


From the #1 New York Times bestselling author Holly Black, comes the highly anticipated and jaw-dropping finale to The Folk of the Air trilogy.

He will be the destruction of the crown and the ruination of the throne

Power is much easier to acquire than it is to hold onto. Jude learned this lesson when she released her control over the wicked king, Cardan, in exchange for immeasurable power.

Now as the exiled mortal Queen of Faerie, Jude is powerless and left reeling from Cardan’s betrayal. She bides her time determined to reclaim everything he took from her. Opportunity arrives in the form of her deceptive twin sister, Taryn, whose mortal life is in peril.

Jude must risk venturing back into the treacherous Faerie Court, and confront her lingering feelings for Cardan, if she wishes to save her sister. But Elfhame is not as she left it. War is brewing. As Jude slips deep within enemy lines she becomes ensnared in the conflict’s bloody politics.

And, when a dormant yet powerful curse is unleashed, panic spreads throughout the land, forcing her to choose between her ambition and her humanity…