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 two upcoming books, both of which sound fantastic!

Please Note: The description for the first book listed below does contain spoilers for the first book in the series. If you’re viewing this post in a web browser, this should be hidden until you click the “View Spoiler” link, but the description may show up if you are reading this elsewhere (by email or feed reader, for example).

Cover of The Ivory Tomb by Melissa Caruso

The Ivory Tomb (Rooks and Ruin #3) by Melissa Caruso

The final book in the Rooks and Ruin trilogy will be release on December 6 (trade paperback, ebook).

The Hachette website has excerpts from the previous books in the series, The Obsidian Tower and The Quicksilver Court. If you’ve read the first book and want an overview of characters and what happened, Melissa Caruso’s website has a refresher from the first book (so far, as she’s hoping to add refreshers for more books when she has time).

I had the absolute best time reading The Obsidian Tower, which kept me riveted: it has a spooky castle with a door that should never be opened for some reason (but is, of course!) and a mysterious fox-like chimera who seems to have always been in the castle. And why does the protagonist kill everything she touches when her family normally has magic that brings life? (I also reviewed The Quicksilver Court, which I didn’t find as captivating though I did enjoy it.)

This series is set in the same world as Melissa Caruso’s first trilogy, Swords and Fire, but it’s not necessary to start with the previous series since this follows different characters about 150 years later. However, I loved this series (especially after the Crow Lord’s appearance in the second book) and reviewed all three books:

  1. The Tethered Mage
  2. The Defiant Heir
  3. The Unbound Empire

The book description of The Ivory Tomb is behind spoiler tags since it does contain spoilers about the Door that must not be opened in the first book.


Cover of Lone Women by Victor LaValle

Lone Women by Victor LaValle

This horror novel will be released on March 21, 2023 (hardcover, ebook, audiobook). Set in the 1900s, it’s partially inspired by the history of female homesteaders in the American West.


Blue skies, empty land—and enough wide-open space to hide a horrifying secret. A woman with a past, a mysterious trunk, a town on the edge of nowhere, and a bracing new vision of the American West, from the award-winning author of The Changeling.

”If the literary gods mixed together Haruki Murakami and Ralph Ellison, the result would be Victor LaValle.”—Anthony Doerr, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of All the Light We Cannot See

Adelaide Henry carries an enormous steamer trunk with her wherever she goes. It’s locked at all times. Because when the trunk opens, people around Adelaide start to disappear.

The year is 1915, and Adelaide is in trouble. Her secret sin killed her parents, forcing her to flee California in a hellfire rush and make her way to Montana as a homesteader. Dragging the trunk with her at every stop, she will become one of the “lone women” taking advantage of the government’s offer of free land for those who can tame it—except that Adelaide isn’t alone. And the secret she’s tried so desperately to lock away might be the only thing that will help her survive the harsh territory.

Crafted by a modern master of magical suspense, Lone Women blends shimmering prose, an unforgettable cast of adventurers who find horror and sisterhood in a brutal landscape, and a portrait of early-twentieth-century America like you’ve never seen. And at its heart is the gripping story of a woman desperate to bury her past—or redeem it.