The Leaning Pile of Books is a feature in which I highlight books I got over the last week that sound like they may be interesting—old or new, bought or received in the mail for review consideration (the latter of which are mainly 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.

This is the first week that’s brought new book arrivals since April ended (both because a book came in the mail and because I bought a new one!). But first, here’s the latest review in case you missed it last week:

On to the latest books!

The Bone Shard Daughter by Andrea Stewart Book Cover

The Bone Shard Daughter (The Drowning Empire #1) by Andrea Stewart

Andrea Stewart’s epic fantasy debut novel, the first book in a new series, will be released on September 8 (hardcover, ebook, audiobook).

I’ve been excited to read The Bone Shard Daughter ever since I first heard about it, and everything I’ve heard about it since then has just made me want to read it even more. When the ARC showed up a few days ago, I read the first page and was immediately intrigued.

If you want to read a sample, io9 has an excerpt from The Bone Shard Daughter as part of the cover reveal. Andrea Stewart also wrote an essay for this year’s Women in SF&F Month titled “Happily Ever Aftermath,” in which she discussed fiction and fairy tales, exploring what happens after a couple gets together, and writing an established relationship between two of the women in her novel.


In an empire controlled by bone shard magic, Lin, the former heir to the emperor will fight to reclaim her magic and her place on the throne. The Bone Shard Daughter marks the debut of a major new voice in epic fantasy.

The emperor’s reign has lasted for decades, his mastery of bone shard magic powering the animal-like constructs that maintain law and order. But now his rule is failing, and revolution is sweeping across the Empire’s many islands.

Lin is the emperor’s daughter and spends her days trapped in a palace of locked doors and dark secrets. When her father refuses to recognise her as heir to the throne, she vows to prove her worth by mastering the forbidden art of bone shard magic.

Yet such power carries a great cost, and when the revolution reaches the gates of the palace, Lin must decide how far she is willing to go to claim her birthright – and save her people.

All Systems Red by Martha Wells Book Cover

All Systems Red (The Murderbot Diaries #1) by Martha Wells

The ebook edition of the Hugo and Nebula Award–winning first novella in The Murderbot Diaries is currently $1.99 on both Amazon and Barnes & Noble so I bought a copy to read (and am enjoying it!). has an excerpt from All Systems Red, which was followed by three more novellas (Artificial Condition, Rogue Protocol, Exit Strategy). Network Effect, the first full length novel about Murderbot, was also released earlier this month (read an excerpt).


Winner: 2018 Hugo Award for Best Novella
Winner: 2018 Nebula Award for Best Novella
Winner: 2018 Alex Award
Winner: 2018 Locus Award
One of the Verge’s Best Books of 2017
New York Times and USA Today Bestseller

A murderous android discovers itself in All Systems Red, a tense science fiction adventure by Martha Wells that interrogates the roots of consciousness through Artificial Intelligence.

“As a heartless killing machine, I was a complete failure.”

In a corporate-dominated spacefaring future, planetary missions must be approved and supplied by the Company. Exploratory teams are accompanied by Company-supplied security androids, for their own safety.

But in a society where contracts are awarded to the lowest bidder, safety isn’t a primary concern.

On a distant planet, a team of scientists are conducting surface tests, shadowed by their Company-supplied ‘droid — a self-aware SecUnit that has hacked its own governor module, and refers to itself (though never out loud) as “Murderbot.” Scornful of humans, all it really wants is to be left alone long enough to figure out who it is.

But when a neighboring mission goes dark, it’s up to the scientists and their Murderbot to get to the truth.