The Leaning Pile of Books is a feature where I discuss books I got over the last week–old or new, bought or received in the mail for review consideration (usually unsolicited). 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.

It’s been a couple of weeks since I was away earlier this month. I wasn’t able to write anything new during that time (although I did go used book shopping!), but there is one new review from last week:

And now, the latest books including used bookstore finds!

The Crystal Gryphon by Andre Norton

The Crystal Gryphon (Witch World: High Hallack: Gryphon Series #1) by Andre Norton

I’ve been wanting to read more Andre Norton since reading Forerunner last year (my review), and I’ve heard a lot of good things about The Crystal Gryphon and its sequels in particular. When I came across a copy at a used bookstore, I had to pick it up!


The adventures of Witch World continue as a cursed hero and his true love struggle for survival in a vast parallel universe of magic and high fantasy.

Kerovan of Ulmsdale has long borne the curse of his ancestors’ depredations. After pillaging a sanctum of the Old Ones, his bloodline has been forever marred by painful sickness and death. Kerovan was born strong and hardy, but he walks on hooves instead of human feet and sees through eyes of amber—just as the Old Ones had.

Bound in marriage to the beautiful Joisan of Ithkrypt, Kerovan seeks to claim his rightful place as Lord-heir of Ulmsdale. But first, the couple—separated by distance, yet linked in spirit—must unlock the powers held within a mystical necklace Joisan wears. The small crystal gryphon bears secrets that will bring them to the farthest reaches of the wilderness on a quest to save their people and their world from doom.

Science Fiction Writers of America Grand Master Andre Norton’s beloved novels of sword and sorcery have sold millions of copies worldwide.

The Moon and the Sun by Vonda N. McIntyre

The Moon and the Sun by Vonda N. McIntyre

This was another used bookstore find that I couldn’t resist. It sounded intriguing, plus it’s a Nebula Award winner!


In seventeenth-century France, Louis XIV rules with flamboyant ambition. From the Hall of Mirrors to the vermin-infested attics of the Chateau at Versailles, courtiers compete to please the king, sacrificing fortune, principles, and even the sacred bond between brother and sister.

Marie-Josephe de la Croix looks forward to assisting her adored brother in the scientific study of the rare sea monsters the king has commissioned him to seek. For the honor of his God, his country, and his king, Father Yves de la Croix returns with his treasures, believed to be the source of immortality: one heavy shroud packed in ice…and a covered basin that imprisons a shrieking creature.

The living sea monster, with its double tail, tangled hair, and gargoyle face, provides an intriguing experiment for Yves and the king. Yet for Marie-Josephe, the creature’s gaze and exquisite singing foretell a different future…

Soon Marie-Josephe is contemplating choices that defy the institutions which power her world. Somehow, she must find the courage to follow her heart and her convictions – even at the cost of changing her life forever.

The Alleluia Files by Sharon Shinn

The Alleluia Files (Samaria #3) by Sharon Shinn

It’s been years since I read the first Samaria book, but I enjoyed it a lot and really need to read the rest of the series. I came across a used copy in excellent condition and nearly left it at the store since I don’t yet have the second book in the series, but I was (rather easily) talked into buying it when I found out it was only $0.99.


And a god will fall…

It has been one hundred years since the Archangel Alleluia and the mortal Caleb discovered the truth about the god of Samaria. Legend says that they left a record of that truth, though no document has ever been found. In time, an underground cult arose, seeking to find again what Alleluia found. But the reigning Archangel Bael called down the wrath of Jovah upon the cult, and hundreds died in a hail of thunderbolts. Yet some still survive…

Among them is the woman Tamar, child of cultists, raised in captivity among the angels. Tamar believes that the Alleluia Files—the actual disc on which the legendary Archangel recorded her experience—exist. She is determined to find it, and free the people of Samaria from their fear of Jovah, and the rule of the angels.

In her search, she encounters the angel Jared, one of the members of his kind who have come to question the wisdom of Bael, and his harsh treament of the cultists. Jared can go to places forbidden to Tamar, so when he offers to accompany her, she reluctantly agrees.

Together, these two uneasy allies will journey the length and breadth of Samaria, risking their lives and the lives of their comrades, seeking a truth that will alter the face of Samaria forever…

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