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.

One ARC that I’m VERY excited to read showed up last week, but first, here’s the latest review in case you missed it:

  • The Year of the Witching by Alexis Henderson — Terror is twofold in this dark fantasy/Gothic horror debut novel combining mysterious witches with the everyday horrors of a patriarchal puritanical society. Immanuelle and her journey kept me turning the pages, and despite having some issues with the ending, I thought it was a strong first novel and look forward to reading more by Alexis Henderson (including the upcoming sequel!).

And now, the latest book in the mail!

The Ikessar Falcon by K. S. Villoso - Cover Image

The Ikessar Falcon (Chronicles of the Bitch Queen #2) by K. S. Villoso

The traditionally published edition of the second book in the Chronicles of the Bitch Queen trilogy, an epic fantasy series whose “worldbuilding is a love letter to the Philippines” (which K. S. Villoso discusses in more detail on her blog), will be released on September 22 (trade paperback, ebook, audiobook).

The Fantasy Hive has a short excerpt from The Ikessar Falcon, and the Orbit website has a longer excerpt from The Wolf of Oren-Yaro, the first book in the series.

I absolutely loved The Wolf of Oren-Yaro and found Queen Talyien to be a fascinating, complex character. You can read more about her in K. S. Villoso’s Women in SF&F Month essay from earlier this year, which opens as follows:

“Queen Talyien is a badass.

At least, this was the seed from which the entire concept of this series sprouted. She is the first woman I’ve written this way. Before Talyien, many of my women characters were not warrior types. Most were non-assuming, brimming with strength that bubbled beneath the surface as they faced their challenges with quiet resolution. Years later, when I started in the field of engineering, I learned the textbook definition of strength: a material’s ability to withstand load, to carry a burden.”

And Queen Talyien is made all the more compelling by the strength of her voice, as I discussed in my 9/10 review of The Wolf of Oren-Yaro:

“It’s difficult to put into words just what precisely makes a voice work, but The Wolf of Oren-Yaro has one that works—one of the best I’ve ever encountered. Tali’s expressive, often poetic, flowing narrative carried me into the story and her psyche, made the world and surroundings real, and were a big part of what made this novel so engaging. It contains quite a bit of telling and flashbacks, but I actually enjoyed those parts most of all: they made the story richer by showing glimpses into the culture and events that shaped Tali, and they never seemed overlong or dull because of her compelling voice and the way they tied into her characterization.”

The Wolf of Oren-Yaro is my favorite book I’ve read this year, and I’m eager to continue Queen Talyien’s story!


The stunning sequel to The Wolf of Oren-yaro where the queen of a divided land struggles to unite her people. Even if they despise her. K. S. Villoso is a “powerful new voice in fantasy.” (Kameron Hurley)

The spiral to madness begins with a single push.

Abandoned by her people, Queen Talyien’s quest takes a turn for the worst as she stumbles upon a plot deeper and more sinister than she could have ever imagined, one that will displace her king and see her son dead. The road home beckons, strewn with a tangled web of deceit and impossible horrors that unearth the nation’s true troubles – creatures from the dark, mad dragons, and men with hearts hungry for power.

To save her land, Talyien must confront the myth others have built around her: Warlord Yeshin’s daughter, symbol of peace, warrior and queen, and everything she could never be.

The price of failure is steep. Her friends are few. And a nation carved by a murderer can only be destined for war.

The Chronicles of the Bitch Queen
The Wolf of Oren-yaro
The Ikessar Falcon