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.

Last week, I added one book I pre-ordered to the TBR—one of my MOST anticipated releases of 2020, if not THE most anticipated!

Court of Lions by Somaiya Daud - Cover Image

Court of Lions (Mirage #2) by Somaiya Daud

Court of Lions, the sequel to Somaiya Daud’s fantastic debut novel, was just released last week (hardcover, ebook, audiobook). has an excerpt from Court of Lions, plus an audio clip and transcript of Somaiya Daud’s discussion of lost culture and the Mirage duology from an interview at First Draft Pod.

The Macmillan website has an excerpt from Mirage, the first book, and if you’ve read it, you may also find Somaiya Daud’s Kindle Notes and Highlights on various quotes and scenes from Mirage on Goodreads interesting.

Mirage is an amazing, brilliant, memorable novel with complex, true-to-life characters and relationships and a main protagonist whose narrative voice is a perfect fit for her personality. As I wrote in my review:

Mirage is a quiet yet powerful, character-driven, feminist book and a finely crafted work of art. I loved it, and I cannot recommend it highly enough to those craving beautiful writing, realistically drawn main protagonists, hope shining through the heartbreak, and slow burn complicated sort-of-friendships.

For more from the author, Somaiya Daud wrote about why she set her story in space in her essay “Ideologies of Space,” which was part of last year’s Women in SF&F Month:

Why are they in space?

This is a question I receive often—most often in reviews that I shouldn’t be reading, but nevertheless, the question persists. It’s part of a constellation of questions that, at their root, share a common source. Why do they rely on the antiquated system of tribes? Why do they hold to old customs?

To me the root of these questions is a misunderstanding of the genre of futurisms often perpetrated by the genre itself. The future often presented to us is sleek and modern, presented as culturally neutral even as it embeds itself in the values and cultures of a specific class and culture. Everyone speaks English or is translated into English, everyone wears pantsuits or skirts, everyone’s hair is pressed or curled or cut into a particular bob. It’s rare that I see braids, dreads, jewelry, or culturally specific dress on anyone from Earth, and rarer still that those aliens who look human aren’t white.

Mirage is one of those books that remained with me long after I put it down, and I’m looking forward to reading more about Amani and Maram in Court of Lions (after rereading the first book!).


Court of Lions is the long-awaited second and final installment in the “smart, sexy, and devilishly clever” Mirage series by Somaiya Daud (Renée Ahdieh, New York Times bestselling author of The Beautiful)!

On a planet on the brink of revolution, Amani has been forced into isolation. She’s been torn from the boy she loves and has given up contact with her fellow rebels to protect her family. In taking risks for the rebel cause, Amani may have lost Maram’s trust forever. But the princess is more complex than she seems, and now Amani is once more at her capricious nature. One wrong move could see her executed for high treason.

On the eve of Maram’s marriage to Idris comes an unexpected proposal: in exchange for taking her place in the festivities, Maram will keep Amani’s rebel associations a secret. Alone and desperate, Amani is thrust into the center of the court, navigating the dangerous factions on the princess’s behalf. But the court is not what she expects. As a risky plan grows in her mind, and with the rebels poised to make their stand, Amani begins to believe her world might have a future. But every choice she makes comes with a cost. Can Amani risk the ones she loves the most for a war she’s not sure she can win?