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.

Disclosure: I am an affiliate of, and I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

Last week brought three books, one electronic ARC and two gifts from my husband.

There haven’t been any new posts since the last one of these features, but I’m working on a review I hope to have up soon. Plus The Scarlet Circus giveaway that accompanied Jane Yolen’s guest post has come to an end. I’ve heard from both winners, so better luck next time to those of you who did not receive an email about it!

Cover of Of Light and Shadow by Tanaz Bhathena

Of Light and Shadow by Tanaz Bhathena

Tanaz Bhathena’s next novel, a standalone YA fantasy book, will be released on May 23 (hardcover, ebook). Her previous work includes the YA fantasy books in The Wrath of Ambar duology. Hunted by the Sky, the first book in the series, won the Ontario Library Association’s White Pine Award for Canadian young adult literature and the Bapsi Sidhwa Literary Prize for works by Zoroastrian authors.

The author mentioned that Of Light and Shadow contains the following in a post on Goodreads:

an infamous bandit
a rakish prince
an enemies-to-lovers romance
magical beings inspired by Persian and Zoroastrian mythology
a corrupt world inspired by the badlands of 17th century India

Between the mythological inspirations and character dynamic, this sounds rather intriguing to me!


Of Light and Shadow is a novel about magic, mayhem, love, and betrayal—the story of a bandit and a prince who change each other in unexpected ways.

When they don’t give us our birthright, we steal it.

Roshan Chaya is out for justice. Abandoned by her parents at birth and adopted by the kingdom of Jwala’s most notorious bandit before his brutal murder, she is now leader of the Shadow Clan, a gang of farmers-turned-bandits impoverished by the provincial governor’s atrocities and corruption. Roshan’s goal: to avenge her adoptive father and earn back rights and dignity for her people.

Prince Navin has always felt like an outcast. Second in line for the throne, he has never been close to his grandmother, Queen Bhairavi of Jwala. When a night out drinking with friends leads to his capture by the infamous Shadow Clan, Navin schemes to befriend Roshan and use her as a means to escape. His ploy, however, brings Navin closer to the corruption and poverty at the heart of Roshan’s province, raising questions about its governor and Navin’s own family.

To further complicate things, the closer Roshan and Navin get, the harder it becomes to fight their growing attraction. But how can they trust each other when the world as they know it starts to fall apart?

Set in a magical world inspired by the badlands of 17th century India, this standalone epic fantasy novel by Tanaz Bhathena is packed with political tensions, dangerous schemes, and swoon-worthy romance that asks the age old question: can love conquer all?

Cover of The Last Graduate by Naomi Novik

The Last Graduate (The Scholomance #2) by Naomi Novik

All three books in The Scholomance are out now, and this one is available in hardcover, trade paperback, ebook, and audiobook. The publisher’s website has an excerpt and audio sample from The Last Graduate.

The last two books in this series were a gift from my husband, who knew this was a bit risky since I wasn’t sure about continuing this series after reading A Deadly Education. But he’d heard that the series got better and seen some raves about them, so he decided to get them for me anyway. Given that, I’m glad he did.

Although I found the rambling voice tedious, I came to really like El as a character and I am curious about where the story goes. I also wonder if this is a book I might like better knowing where it ends up, so I ordered a print copy in order to reread it and go into the rest of the series with it fresh in my mind. (It will also be interesting to see if reading it in print makes it a better experience since I do tend to find that works better for me, and I think this is a case where that could make a difference.)


NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The specter of graduation looms large as Naomi Novik’s groundbreaking, New York Times bestselling trilogy continues in the stunning sequel to A Deadly Education.

“The climactic graduation-day battle will bring cheers, tears, and gasps as the second of the Scholomance trilogy closes with a breathtaking cliff-hanger.”—Booklist (starred review)


In Wisdom, Shelter. That’s the official motto of the Scholomance. I suppose you could even argue that it’s true—only the wisdom is hard to come by, so the shelter’s rather scant.

Our beloved school does its best to devour all its students—but now that I’ve reached my senior year and have actually won myself a handful of allies, it’s suddenly developed a very particular craving for me. And even if I somehow make it through the endless waves of maleficaria that it keeps throwing at me in between grueling homework assignments, I haven’t any idea how my allies and I are going to make it through the graduation hall alive.

Unless, of course, I finally accept my foretold destiny of dark sorcery and destruction. That would certainly let me sail straight out of here. The course of wisdom, surely.

But I’m not giving in—not to the mals, not to fate, and especially not to the Scholomance. I’m going to get myself and my friends out of this hideous place for good—even if it’s the last thing I do.

With keen insight and mordant humor, Novik reminds us that sometimes it is not enough to rewrite the rules—sometimes, you need to toss out the entire rulebook.

The magic of the Scholomance trilogy continues in The Golden Enclaves

Cover of The Golden Enclaves by Naomi Novik

The Golden Enclaves (The Scholomance #3) by Naomi Novik

The last book in The Scholomance came out late last year and is currently available in hardcover, ebook, and audiobook. The publisher’s website has an excerpt and audio sample from The Golden Enclaves.

Warning: The book description below does contain spoilers for the previous book. (Yes, I totally spoiled myself, although it also wasn’t detailed enough that I’m all that upset about it.)



#1 NATIONAL BESTSELLER • Saving the world is a test no school of magic can prepare you for in the triumphant conclusion to the New York Times bestselling trilogy that began with A Deadly Education and The Last Graduate.

ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: Paste, Publishers Weekly

The one thing you never talk about while you’re in the Scholomance is what you’ll do when you get out. Not even the richest enclaver would tempt fate that way. But it’s all we dream about: the hideously slim chance we’ll survive to make it out the gates and improbably find ourselves with a life ahead of us, a life outside the Scholomance halls.

And now the impossible dream has come true. I’m out, we’re all out—and I didn’t even have to turn into a monstrous dark witch to make it happen. So much for my great-grandmother’s prophecy of doom and destruction. I didn’t kill enclavers, I saved them. Me and Orion and our allies. Our graduation plan worked to perfection: We saved everyone and made the world safe for all wizards and brought peace and harmony to all the enclaves everywhere.

Ha, only joking! Actually, it’s gone all wrong. Someone else has picked up the project of destroying enclaves in my stead, and probably everyone we saved is about to get killed in the brewing enclave war. And the first thing I’ve got to do now, having miraculously gotten out of the Scholomance, is turn straight around and find a way back in.