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. 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. Cover images are affiliate links to Bookshop, and I earn from qualifying purchases.

For today’s feature, I have one book I ordered and one e-ARC that I recently downloaded (more than a week ago, but better late than never!). But first, here’s the latest review since the last one of these posts in case you missed it:

And now, the latest books!

A Thousand Steps into Night by Traci Chee - Book Cover

A Thousand Steps into Night by Traci Chee

This standalone young adult fantasy novel by New York Times bestselling author Traci Chee was just released early this month (hardcover, ebook, audiobook). The publisher’s website has an excerpt and audio sample from A Thousand Steps into Night, and also has an excerpt.

A Thousand Steps Into Night is one of the books that appeared on my list of 30 Anticipated 2022 Speculative Fiction Releases. After the copy I ordered showed up, I read the opening:

LONG AGO, in the noble realm of Awara, where all creation, from the tallest peaks to the lowliest beetles, had forms both humble and divine, there lived an unremarkable girl named Otori Miuko. The daughter of the innkeeper at the only remaining guesthouse in the village of Nihaoi,1 Miuko was average by every conceivable standard—beauty, intelligence, the circumference of her hips—except for one.

She was uncommonly loud.

That was all it took to know I had to read it right away. I’m about halfway through it now, and it is delightful.


From New York Times bestselling author and National Book Award finalist Traci Chee comes a Japanese-influenced fantasy brimming with demons, adventure, and plans gone awry.

In the realm of Awara, where gods, monsters, and humans exist side by side, Miuko is an ordinary girl resigned to a safe, if uneventful, existence as an innkeeper’s daughter.

But when Miuko is cursed and begins to transform into a demon with a deadly touch, she embarks on a quest to reverse the curse and return to her normal life. Aided by a thieving magpie spirit and continuously thwarted by a demon prince, Miuko must outfox tricksters, escape demon hunters, and negotiate with feral gods if she wants to make it home again.

With her transformation comes power and freedom she never even dreamed of, and she’ll have to decide if saving her soul is worth trying to cram herself back into an ordinary life that no longer fits her… and perhaps never did.

The Daughter of Doctor Moreau by Silvia Moreno-Garcia - Book Cover

The Daughter of Doctor Moreau by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

New York Times bestselling author Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s next novel is scheduled for release on July 19 (hardcover, ebook, audiobook, large print paperback).

I very much enjoyed Gods of Jade and Shadow and Mexican Gothic, so I’m interested in taking a look at Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s upcoming book.


From the New York Times bestselling author of Mexican Gothic and Velvet Was the Night comes a dreamy reimagining of The Island of Doctor Moreau set against the backdrop of nineteenth-century Mexico.


Carlota Moreau: A young woman growing up on a distant and luxuriant estate, safe from the conflict and strife of the Yucatán peninsula. The only daughter of a researcher who is either a genius or a madman.

Montgomery Laughton: A melancholic overseer with a tragic past and a propensity for alcohol. An outcast who assists Dr. Moreau with his experiments, which are financed by the Lizaldes, owners of magnificent haciendas and plentiful coffers.

The hybrids: The fruits of the doctor’s labor, destined to blindly obey their creator and remain in the shadows. A motley group of part human, part animal monstrosities.

All of them live in a perfectly balanced and static world, which is jolted by the abrupt arrival of Eduardo Lizalde, the charming and careless son of Dr. Moreau’s patron, who will unwittingly begin a dangerous chain reaction.

For Moreau keeps secrets, Carlota has questions, and, in the sweltering heat of the jungle, passions may ignite.