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.

Last week brought a book I pre-ordered and a soon-to-be-released book in the mail, and I’m also highlighting a horror graphic novel that I’m a bit late with!

In case you missed it, here’s what was posted since the last one of these features:

And now, the latest books!

Cover of Heart of the Sun Warrior by Sue Lynn Tan

Heart of the Sun Warrior (Celestial Kingdom #2) by Sue Lynn Tan

The latter half of the Celestial Kingdom duology was just released last week (hardcover, ebook, audiobook). The Harper Collins website has text and audio samples from Heart of the Sun Warrior.

The publisher’s website also has text and audio samples from Daughter of the Moon Goddess, the first book in the series.

Daughter of the Moon Goddess, a novel inspired by the legend of Chang’e, was one of my most anticipated books of this year and ended up being one of my favorites I’ve read this year. I really enjoyed Xingyin’s story and relationships, and the Immortal Realm is a fantastic setting.


The stunning sequel to Daughter of the Moon Goddess delves deeper into beloved Chinese mythology, concluding the epic story of Xingyin—the daughter of Chang’e and the mortal archer, Houyi—as she battles a grave new threat to the realm, in this powerful tale of love, sacrifice, and hope. 

After winning her mother’s freedom from the Celestial Emperor, Xingyin thrives in the enchanting tranquility of her home. But her fragile peace is threatened by the discovery of a strange magic on the moon and the unsettling changes in the Celestial Kingdom as the emperor tightens his grip on power. While Xingyin is determined to keep clear of the rising danger, the discovery of a shocking truth spurs her into a perilous confrontation.

Forced to flee her home once more, Xingyin and her companions venture to unexplored lands of the Immortal Realm, encountering legendary creatures and shrewd monarchs, beloved friends and bitter adversaries. With alliances shifting quicker than the tides, Xingyin has to overcome past grudges and enmities to forge a new path forward, seeking aid where she never imagined she would. As an unspeakable terror sweeps across the realm, Xingyin must uncover the truth of her heart and claw her way through devastation—to rise against this evil before it destroys everything she holds dear, and the worlds she has grown to love . . . even if doing so demands the greatest price of all.

Deluxe Edition Cover of Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson

Snow Crash (Deluxe Edition) by Neal Stephenson

This thirtieth anniversary hardcover deluxe edition of Snow Crash is coming out on Tuesday (November 22). The Penguin Random House website has a sample from the novel and the ability to look inside this version of Snow Crash, beginning with Neal Stephenson’s foreword for this edition. As this mentions, there are a couple of scenes about Lagos included with this version of the book.


Now in a gorgeous new hardcover edition featuring never-before-seen material, the “brilliantly realized” (The New York Times Book Review) breakthrough novel from visionary author Neal Stephenson, a modern classic that predicted the metaverse and inspired generations of Silicon Valley innovators

Hiro lives in a Los Angeles where franchises line the freeway as far as the eye can see. The only relief from the sea of logos is within the autonomous city-states, where law-abiding citizens don’t dare leave their mansions.

Hiro delivers pizza to the mansions for a living, defending his pies from marauders when necessary with a matched set of samurai swords. His home is a shared 20 X 30 U-Stor-It. He spends most of his time goggled in to the Metaverse, where his avatar is legendary.

But in the club known as The Black Sun, his fellow hackers are being felled by a weird new drug called Snow Crash that reduces them to nothing more than a jittering cloud of bad digital karma (and IRL, a vegetative state).

Investigating the Infocalypse leads Hiro all the way back to the beginning of language itself, with roots in an ancient Sumerian priesthood. He’ll be joined by Y.T., a fearless teenaged skateboard courier. Together, they must race to stop a shadowy virtual villain hell-bent on world domination.

Cover of Where Black Stars Rise by Nadia Shammas and Marie Enger

Where Black Stars Rise by Nadia Shammas and Marie Enger

This horror graphic novel, a reimagining of Robert W. Chambers’ The King in Yellow, was just released last month (trade paperback, ebook).

The Nightfire website has a few pages from the interior, as well as more information on the comic and its inspirations from writer Nadia Shammas, artist Marie Enger, and editor Kelly Lonesome.


Where Black Stars Rise boldly pushes the limits of what a comic can do. …It’s a gorgeous work. I loved it.” —Trung Le Nguyen, author of The Magic Fish

Nadia Shammas and Marie Enger’s Where Black Stars Rise is an eldritch horror graphic novel that explores mental illness and diaspora, set in modern-day Brooklyn.

Dr. Amal Robardin, a Lebanese immigrant and a therapist in training, finds herself out of her depth when her first client, Yasmin, a schizophrenic, is visited by a nightly malevolent presence that seems all too real.

Yasmin becomes obsessed with Robert Chambers’ classic horror story collection The King in Yellow. Messages she finds in the book lead Yasmin to disappear, seeking answers she can’t find in therapy.

Amal attempts to retrace her patient’s last steps—and accidentally slips through dimensions, ending up in Carcosa, realm of the King in Yellow. Determined to find her way out, Amal enlists the help of a mysterious guide.

Can Amal save Yasmin? Or are they both trapped forever?

“Strange is the night where black stars rise, and strange moons circle through the skies. But stranger still is lost Carcosa…” —From The King in Yellow by Robert W. Chambers