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’s been a few weeks since one of these posts. I spent some of my weekend time working on last week’s post, which took forever to write since it’s not possible to adequately describe how gorgeous this book is:

  • Review of Realm of Ash (The Books of Ambha #2) by Tasha Suri — This standalone sequel to Empire of Sand about Mehr’s younger sister, Arwa, is a little slow to start but comes together beautifully. I cannot recommend these books highly enough to those who love poetic introspection that cuts deep, characters and relationships with dimension, and stories with hope shining through the darkness.

And now, the latest book arrivals!

We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal - Book Cover

We Hunt the Flame (Sands of Arawiya #1) by Hafsah Faizal

We Hunt the Flame, Hafsah Faizal’s New York Times bestselling debut novel, was released earlier this year (hardcover, paperback, ebook, audiobook). I’d been looking forward to this one for a while, and when I saw the author link to some signed copies for sale on Twitter, I couldn’t resist buying one!

Hypable has a chapter one excerpt, and Macmillan has a chapter two excerpt.

You can also read Hafsah Faizal’s guest post from Women in SF&F Month 2019 on realizing why she incorporated the girl disguised as a boy trope into this novel.

We Free the Stars, the second half of this tale, is scheduled for release in July 2020.


Set in a richly detailed world inspired by ancient Arabia, Hafsah Faizal’s We Hunt the Flame—first in the Sands of Arawiya duology—is a gripping debut of discovery, conquering fear, and taking identity into your own hands.

People lived because she killed. People died because he lived.

Zafira is the Hunter, disguising herself as a man when she braves the cursed forest of the Arz to feed her people. Nasir is the Prince of Death, assassinating those foolish enough to defy his autocratic father, the sultan. If Zafira was exposed as a girl, all of her achievements would be rejected; if Nasir displayed his compassion, his father would punish him in the most brutal of ways. Both Zafira and Nasir are legends in the kingdom of Arawiya—but neither wants to be.

War is brewing, and the Arz sweeps closer with each passing day, engulfing the land in shadow. When Zafira embarks on a quest to uncover a lost artifact that can restore magic to her suffering world and stop the Arz, Nasir is sent by the sultan on a similar mission: retrieve the artifact and kill the Hunter. But an ancient evil stirs as their journey unfolds—and the prize they seek may pose a threat greater than either can imagine.

Legacy of Ash by Matthew Ward - Book Cover

Legacy of Ash (Legacy #1) by Matthew Ward

This epic fantasy novel is available in ebook and audiobook now with the trade paperback to come in April.

The Orbit website has an excerpt from Legacy of Ash.


Legacy of Ash is an unmissable fantasy debut–an epic tale of intrigue and revolution, soldiers and assassins, ancient magic and the eternal clash of empires.

A shadow has fallen over the Tressian Republic.

Ruling families — once protectors of justice and democracy — now plot against one another with sharp words and sharper knives. Blinded by ambition, they remain heedless of the threat posed by the invading armies of the Hadari Empire.

Yet as Tressia falls, heroes rise.

Viktor Akadra is the Republic’s champion. A warrior without equal, he hides a secret that would see him burned as a heretic.

Josiri Trelan is Viktor’s sworn enemy. A political prisoner, he dreams of reigniting his mother’s failed rebellion.

And yet Calenne Trelan, Josiri’s sister, seeks only to break free of their tarnished legacy; to escape the expectation and prejudice that haunts the family name.

As war spreads across the Republic, these three must set aside their differences in order to save their home. Yet decades of bad blood are not easily set aside. And victory — if it comes at all — will demand a darker price than any of them could have imagined.

Buzz Kill by David Sosnowski - Book Cover

Buzz Kill by David Sosnowski

Buzz Kill, a prequel to Happy Doomsday, will be released on January 28 (hardcover, trade paperback, ebook, audiobook).


Pandora Lynch lives in Alaska with her single dad, an online therapist for Silicon Valley’s brightest and squirreliest. Homeschooled by computer and a self-taught hacker, Pandora is about to enter high school to learn how to be normal. That’s the plan at least.

NorCal runaway George Jedson is a hacker too—one who leaves the systems he attacks working better than before. After being scooped up by a social media giant, will George go legit—or pull off the biggest hack ever? Not even his therapist knows for sure, but maybe the headshrinker’s daughter…

After meeting in cyberspace, the two young hackers combine their passions to conceive a brainchild named BUZZ. Can this baby AI learn to behave, or will it be like its parents and think outside the box?

With a hilarious and deeply empathetic narrative voice, this elegiac and unapologetically irreverent novel is both humorous and tragic without ever taking itself too seriously.

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