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.

Over the last week, I added two books to the TBR, one purchase and one ARC. But first, here’s last week’s post in case you missed it:

  • Review of Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia — This creative, haunting Gothic horror story gradually moves from quietly disconcerting to loudly disturbing as the secrets of a creepy mansion owned by a creepy family unfold. It’s one of my favorite books of the year!

Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust - Book Cover

Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust

This new novel by the author of Girls Made of Snow and Glass just came out earlier this month (hardcover, ebook, audiobook). Bustle has an excerpt from Girl, Serpent, Thorn.

Girl, Serpent, Glass is a book I’ve been especially looking forward to—I love fairy tales and have been hearing such wonderful things about it!


Melissa Bashardoust’s Girl, Serpent, Thorn is “an alluring feminist fairy tale” (Kirkus Reviews) about a girl cursed to be poisonous to the touch and who discovers what power might lie in such a curse.

There was and there was not, as all stories begin, a princess cursed to be poisonous to the touch. But for Soraya, who has lived her life hidden away, apart from her family, safe only in her gardens, it’s not just a story.

As the day of her twin brother’s wedding approaches, Soraya must decide if she’s willing to step outside of the shadows for the first time. Below in the dungeon is a demon who holds knowledge that she craves, the answer to her freedom. And above is a young man who isn’t afraid of her, whose eyes linger not with fear, but with an understanding of who she is beneath the poison.

Soraya thought she knew her place in the world, but when her choices lead to consequences she never imagined, she begins to question who she is and who she is becoming…human or demon. Princess or monster.

A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik - Cover Image

A Deadly Education (The Scholomance #1) by Naomi Novik

The first book in a new trilogy by New York Times bestselling author Naomi Novik will be released on September 29 (hardcover, ebook, audiobook). Entertainment Weekly has an excerpt from A Deadly Education.

I LOVED Uprooted, and I love the sound of this based on what Naomi Novik wrote about its inspirations:

“One of the oldest legends of a school for witchcraft and wizardry is the story of the Scholomance, a hidden institution said to be run by the Devil himself, where the students are cloistered for years, never seeing the sun while learning the darkest of arts. Ever since I first read about this mysterious place in my middle-school library, I’ve been imagining its story. Who are the students in its classrooms and why would they or their parents accept the price the school exacts?”

(The quote above and the rest of the piece it’s from are currently on the home page of the author’s website, which is linked in the line below the cover image above.)


From the New York Times bestselling author of Uprooted and Spinning Silver comes the story of an unwilling dark sorceress who is destined to rewrite the rules of magic.

“The dark school of magic I’ve been waiting for.” Katherine Arden, author of Winternight Trilogy

I decided that Orion Lake needed to die after the second time he saved my life.

Everyone loves Orion Lake. Everyone else, that is. Far as I’m concerned, he can keep his flashy combat magic to himself. I’m not joining his pack of adoring fans.

I don’t need help surviving the Scholomance, even if they do. Forget the hordes of monsters and cursed artifacts, I’m probably the most dangerous thing in the place. Just give me a chance and I’ll level mountains and kill untold millions, make myself the dark queen of the world.

At least, that’s what the world expects me to do. Most of the other students in here would be delighted if Orion killed me like one more evil thing that’s crawled out of the drains. Sometimes I think they want me to turn into the evil witch they assume I am. The school itself certainly does.

But the Scholomance isn’t getting what it wants from me. And neither is Orion Lake. I may not be anyone’s idea of the shining hero, but I’m going to make it out of this place alive, and I’m not going to slaughter thousands to do it, either.

Although I’m giving serious consideration to just one.

With flawless mastery, Naomi Novik creates a heroine for the ages—a character so sharply realized and so richly nuanced that she will live on in hearts and minds for generations to come.