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.

This should have been last weekend’s post, but I ran out of time to finish it so it’s going up this weekend instead!

There have been no new reviews since the last of these features, but I expect to have a new one up in the next day or two.

On to the latest books—two upcoming debuts I’m excited about and two books I purchased by must-read authors!

Cover of Fledgling by Octavia E. Butler

Fledgling by Octavia E. Butler

Fledgling was the only one of Octavia E. Butler’s novels missing from my shelves, and I remedied that with this gorgeous hardcover edition with an introduction by Nisi Shawl from Seven Stories Press. There’s an excerpt from Fledgling accompanying another version of the book on the Hachette website.

All six of Octavia E. Butler’s novels I’ve read are fantastic. Her four Patternist books, which begin chronologically with Wild Seed, were among my favorites of last year.


Featuring a new introduction by Nisi Shawl

Fledgling, Octavia Butler’s last novel, is the story of an apparently young, amnesiac girl whose alarmingly un-human needs and abilities lead her to a startling conclusion: she is in fact a genetically modified, 53-year-old vampire. Forced to discover what she can about her stolen former life, she must at the same time learn who wanted—and still wants—to destroy her and those she cares for, and how she can save herself. Fledgling is a captivating novel that tests the limits of “otherness” and questions what it means to be truly human.

Cover of Notorius Sorcerer by Davinia Evans

Notorious Sorcerer (The Burnished City #1) by Davinia Evans

Davinia Evans’ debut novel is scheduled for release on September 13 (trade paperback, ebook, audiobook).

This sounds like such fun, and I was thrilled to host the Notorious Sorcerer cover reveal along with Davinia Evans’ essay “The Reason” earlier this year.


In a city filled with dangerous yet heavily regulated alchemical magic, a man from the slums discovers he may be its only hope to survive certain destruction in this wickedly entertaining fantasy.

Welcome to Bezim, where sword-slinging bravi race through the night and rich and idle alchemists make magic out of mixing and measuring the four planes of reality.

Siyon Velo, Dockside brat turned petty alchemist, scrapes a living hopping between the planes to harvest ingredients for the city’s alchemists. But when Siyon accidentally commits an act of impossible magic, he’s catapulted into the limelight—which is a bad place to be when the planes start lurching out of alignment, threatening to send Bezim into the sea.

It will take a miracle to save the city. Good thing Siyon has pulled off the impossible before. Now he just has to master it.

A dazzling fantasy bursting with wild magic, chaotic sword-fighting street gangs, brazen flirting, malevolent harpies, and one defiant alchemist.

“From the razor-sharp social climbing to the glimmering alchemist’s library to the hidden realms beneath it all, I loved getting lost in this dazzling debut.” —Shannon Chakraborty

Cover of One Dark Window by Rachel Gillig

One Dark Window (The Shepherd King #1) by Rachel Gillig

Rachel Gillig’s gothic fantasy debut novel is scheduled for release on September 27 (trade paperback, ebook, audiobook).

Earlier this year, Rachel Gillig discussed a key dynamic in her novel in her guest post “Maidens, Monsters, and the Lines That Blur Between Them.”


For fans of Uprooted and For the Wolf comes a dark, lushly gothic fantasy about a maiden who must unleash the monster within to save her kingdom—but the monster in her head isn’t the only threat lurking.

Elspeth needs a monster. The monster might be her.

Elspeth Spindle needs more than luck to stay safe in the eerie, mist-locked kingdom she calls home—she needs a monster. She calls him the Nightmare, an ancient, mercurial spirit trapped in her head. He protects her. He keeps her secrets.

But nothing comes for free, especially magic.

When Elspeth meets a mysterious highwayman on the forest road, her life takes a drastic turn. Thrust into a world of shadow and deception, she joins a dangerous quest to cure the kingdom of the dark magic infecting it. Except the highwayman just so happens to be the King’s own nephew, Captain of the Destriers…and guilty of high treason.

He and Elspeth have until Solstice to gather twelve Providence Cards—the keys to the cure. But as the stakes heighten and their undeniable attraction intensifies, Elspeth is forced to face her darkest secret yet: the Nightmare is slowly, darkly, taking over her mind. And she might not be able to stop him

Cover of What Souls Are Made Of by Tasha Suri

What Souls Are Made Of: A Wuthering Heights Remix by Tasha Suri

This YA Wuthering Heights retelling may not include any fantasy elements, but I’m highlighting it anyway because I have loved everything I have read by Tasha Suri—Empire of Sand, Realm of Ash, The Jasmine Throne, and the first 200 pages of The Oleander Sword. (I also love Wuthering Heights and Tasha Suri’s Twitter thread on the novel.)

The publisher’s website has an excerpt from What Souls Are Made Of.


What Souls Are Made Of, British Fantasy Award-winning author Tasha Suri’s masterful new take on Brontë’s Wuthering Heights and fourth book in the Remixed Classics, will leave readers breathless.

Sometimes, lost things find their way home…

Yorkshire, North of England, 1786. As the abandoned son of a lascar—a sailor from India—Heathcliff has spent most of his young life maligned as an “outsider.” Now he’s been flung into an alien life in the Yorkshire moors, where he clings to his birth father’s language even though it makes the children of the house call him an animal, and the maids claim he speaks gibberish.

Catherine is the younger child of the estate’s owner, a daughter with light skin and brown curls and a mother that nobody talks about. Her father is grooming her for a place in proper society, and that’s all that matters. Catherine knows she must mold herself into someone pretty and good and marriageable, even though it might destroy her spirit.

As they occasionally flee into the moors to escape judgment and share the half-remembered language of their unknown kin, Catherine and Heathcliff come to find solace in each other. Deep down in their souls, they can feel they are the same.

But when Catherine’s father dies and the household’s treatment of Heathcliff only grows more cruel, their relationship becomes strained and threatens to unravel. For how can they ever be together, when loving each other—and indeed, loving themselves—is as good as throwing themselves into poverty and death?