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.

There were no new reviews last week, although the one I’ve been working on for a while is close enough to done now that I’m hoping to be able to post it soon. (I have been finding it much harder than usual to write reviews the last few months.)

But there are two books that I had pre-ordered that arrived last week, and they both sound amazing!

Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse - Cover Image

Black Sun (Between Earth and Sky #1) by Rebecca Roanhorse

Black Sun, the first book in an epic fantasy series by New York Times bestselling and Nebula, Hugo, and Astounding Award–winning author Rebecca Roanhorse, was released last week (hardcover, ebook, audiobook).

Simon & Schuster has an audio sample and text excerpt from Black Sun on their website. has a sneak peek of the map art by Robert Lazzaretti along with a piece about the world, inspired by pre-Columbian cultures in the Americas, written by Rebecca Roanhorse.

I’ve wanted to read Black Sun ever since I first heard about it, and I’ve only grown more excited about it since learning it has giant crows and eagles.


From the New York Times bestselling author of Star Wars: Resistance Reborn comes the first book in the Between Earth and Sky trilogy, inspired by the civilizations of the Pre-Columbian Americas and woven into a tale of celestial prophecies, political intrigue, and forbidden magic.

A god will return
When the earth and sky converge
Under the black sun

In the holy city of Tova, the winter solstice is usually a time for celebration and renewal, but this year it coincides with a solar eclipse, a rare celestial event proscribed by the Sun Priest as an unbalancing of the world.

Meanwhile, a ship launches from a distant city bound for Tova and set to arrive on the solstice. The captain of the ship, Xiala, is a disgraced Teek whose song can calm the waters around her as easily as it can warp a man’s mind. Her ship carries one passenger. Described as harmless, the passenger, Serapio, is a young man, blind, scarred, and cloaked in destiny. As Xiala well knows, when a man is described as harmless, he usually ends up being a villain.

Crafted with unforgettable characters, Rebecca Roanhorse has created an epic adventure exploring the decadence of power amidst the weight of history and the struggle of individuals swimming against the confines of society and their broken pasts in the most original series debut of the decade.

The Midnight Bargain by C. L. Polk - Cover Image

The Midnight Bargain by C. L. Polk

The Midnight Bargain, a romantic Regency-inspired fantasy novel by World Fantasy Award–winning author C. L. Polk, was released last week (hardcover, ebook, audiobook). has an excerpt from The Midnight Bargain.

I’ve been excited about reading this since I first read the description, and I also ordered it because I wanted to support Erewhon Books, a new independent publisher of speculative fiction with many titles that sound rather intriguing.


From the beloved World Fantasy Award-winning author of Witchmark comes The Midnight Bargain, a sweeping, romantic new fantasy set in a world reminiscent of Regency England, where women’s magic is taken from them when they marry. A sorceress must balance her desire to become the first great female magician against her duty to her family.

Beatrice Clayborn is a sorceress who practices magic in secret, terrified of the day she will be locked into a marital collar that will cut off her powers to protect her unborn children. She dreams of becoming a full-fledged Magus and pursuing magic as her calling as men do, but her family has staked everything to equip her for Bargaining Season, when young men and women of means descend upon the city to negotiate the best marriages. The Clayborns are in severe debt, and only she can save them, by securing an advantageous match before their creditors come calling.

In a stroke of luck, Beatrice finds a grimoire that contains the key to becoming a Magus, but before she can purchase it, a rival sorceress swindles the book right out of her hands. Beatrice summons a spirit to help her get it back, but her new ally exacts a price: Beatrice’s first kiss . . . with her adversary’s brother, the handsome, compassionate, and fabulously wealthy Ianthe Lavan.

The more Beatrice is entangled with the Lavan siblings, the harder her decision becomes: If she casts the spell to become a Magus, she will devastate her family and lose the only man to ever see her for who she is; but if she marries—even for love—she will sacrifice her magic, her identity, and her dreams. But how can she choose just one, knowing she will forever regret the path not taken?