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 week I’m highlighting two books I preordered, both of which are related to books that appeared on my favorite books of 2019 list. One of these technically showed up the week before last, but I didn’t post about it then because it was the only book to discuss and I was focusing on writing last week’s book review after having been busy with work projects for a little while.

And, in case you missed it, here is the latest new post:

  • Review of A Deadly Education (Scholomance #1) by Naomi Novik — Since I loved Uprooted, I’d been looking forward to Naomi Novik’s latest book inspired by the Scholomance legend, but this one wasn’t really to my taste. Although I did enjoy the story and the dynamic between the main characters, it seemed that there was more explanation than story and I did not enjoy the rambling narrative style.

On to the new books!

The Burning God by R. F. Kuang - Book Cover

The Burning God (The Poppy War #3) by R. F. Kuang

The final book in Astounding Award–winning author R. F. Kuang’s debut epic fantasy trilogy is out now (hardcover, ebook, audiobook). The Harper Collins website has a text excerpt and an audio sample from The Burning God, as well as excerpts and audio samples from the previous books in the series, The Poppy War and The Dragon Republic.

When I preordered it, I also signed up to receive an e-copy of The Drowning Faith, some scenes written from Nezha’s point of view. If you missed this, you can now download The Drowning Faith from R. F. Kuang’s website.

Also, R. F. Kuang wrote a Women in SF&F Month guest post shortly before the release of The Poppy War: “Be a Bitch, Eat the Peach,” in which she discusses the Chinese legend of the Moon Lady, her love of Azula from Avatar: The Last Airbender, and a little about the women in her series.

The Poppy War was one of my favorite books of 2018, and I thought The Dragon Republic was even better so I’m looking forward to finding out how the series ends (and I am excited for Nezha’s viewpoint!).


The exciting end to The Poppy War trilogy, R. F. Kuang’s acclaimed, award-winning epic fantasy that combines the history of twentieth-century China with a gripping world of gods and monsters, to devastating, enthralling effect.

After saving her nation of Nikan from foreign invaders and battling the evil Empress Su Daji in a brutal civil war, Fang Runin was betrayed by allies and left for dead.

Despite her losses, Rin hasn’t given up on those for whom she has sacrificed so much—the people of the southern provinces and especially Tikany, the village that is her home. Returning to her roots, Rin meets difficult challenges—and unexpected opportunities. While her new allies in the Southern Coalition leadership are sly and untrustworthy, Rin quickly realizes that the real power in Nikan lies with the millions of common people who thirst for vengeance and revere her as a goddess of salvation.

Backed by the masses and her Southern Army, Rin will use every weapon to defeat the Dragon Republic, the colonizing Hesperians, and all who threaten the shamanic arts and their practitioners. As her power and influence grows, though, will she be strong enough to resist the Phoenix’s intoxicating voice urging her to burn the world and everything in it?

How the King of Elfhame Learned to Hate Stories by Holly Black - Book Cover

How the King of Elfhame Learned to Hate Stories (The Folk of the Air) written by Holly Black and illustrated by Rovina Cai

This illustrated collection of Folk of the Air stories about Cardan is out now (hardcover, ebook, audiobook). The Hachette website has an excerpt from How the King of Elfhame Learned to Hate Stories.

Rovina Cai’s artwork makes this look like a lovely book, and I’m excited about having more to read set in Elfhame!


Return to the captivating world of Elfhame with this illustrated addition to the New York Times bestselling Folk of Air trilogy that began with The Cruel Prince, from award-winning author Holly Black.

Once upon a time, there was a boy with a wicked tongue.

Before he was a cruel prince or a wicked king, he was a faerie child with a heart of stone. #1 New York Times bestselling author, Holly Black reveals a deeper look into the dramatic life of Elfhame’s enigmatic high king, Cardan. This tale includes delicious details of life before The Cruel Prince, an adventure beyond The Queen of Nothing, and familiar moments from The Folk of the Air trilogy, told wholly from Cardan’s perspective.

This new installment in the Folk of the Air series is a return to the heart-racing romance, danger, humor, and drama that enchanted readers everywhere. Each chapter is paired with lavish and luminous full-color art, making this the perfect collector’s item to be enjoyed by both new audiences and old.

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