Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Waiting On Wednesday #30: Crystal Gardens, by Amanda Quick

This is a weekly book meme, hosted by
which features future releases that we book bloggers
are eagerly anticipating!

Here's my pick for
this week!!

(Ladies of Lantern Street Series #1)
Hardcover, 352 pages
Putnam Adult
Expected Publication Date:
April 24, 2012
Genre: Paranormal Romance

From the Goodreads Synopsis

Evangeline Ames has rented a country cottage far from the London streets where she was recently attacked. Fascinated by the paranormal energy of nearby Crystal Gardens, she finds pleasure in sneaking past the wall to explore the grounds. And when her life is threatened again, she instinctively goes to the gardens for safety.

Lucas Sebastian has never been one to ignore a lady in danger, even if she is trespassing on his property. 

And as the energy emanating from Crystal Gardens intensifies, they realize that to survive they must unearth what has been buried for too long...

I'm usually attracted to a book
because of its cover, and this one
certainly has a beautiful one!
However, if the plot
doesn't thrill me, then I won't be
interested in making the book
a part of my collection.
Fortunately, in this case,
the plot sounds intriguing enough
that I really do want the novel!
Besides, I'm excited about
actually starting a new series!!

Author Serendipity #3: Ann H. Gabhart

This is a new monthly feature which will hightight those authors I have recently discovered, and whose books I would love to read.  Such discoveries might come about through browsing on the Internet, a chance encounter with an interesting book in a bookstore (I no longer go to libraries -- it's much too painful), or through other bloggers' recommendations.

The authors I choose will be those who write in my favorite genres, and might be either emerging authors, or have been in print for a while.  They will, however, be entirely new to me.

I hope you will enjoy this monthly feature, and will also decide to acquaint yourselves with the authors I present here!

Here's my third discovery!!

Christian Fiction Author

From the Author's Website

 I'm a country girl, born and raised on a farm in the Outer Bluegrass region of Kentucky. 

 I started writing when I was ten and have been writing ever since. My first published writing (personal experience pieces, youth stories, and poems) was in church periodicals such as HomeLife. My first novel, A Forbidden Yearning, was published by Warner Books in 1978 and was a historical romance about the settling of Kentucky. Since then I've published twenty novels for adults and young adults.

I'm married to Darrell Gabhart. We got married when we were both very young, but we defied the odds and are still married all these years later. Maybe because we went to church together and were committed to the Christian life.

We have three children, Johnson, Tarasa, and Daniel who are all grown and married (to Leah, Gary, and Carrie) and they've given us nine wonderful grandchildren, Sarah, Austin, Fiona, Ashley, Katie, Jillian, John, Matt, and Raegan to spoil every chance we get.

Gabhart's books revolve mostly around the Shaker lifestyle.  She has authored many titles that showcase her extensive knowledge of the Shakers and their world.  However, she has also written other types of novels.  All of her books have one thing in common: they are written from a Christian standpoint. 

Gabhart's most recent novel, Words Spoken True, deals with two rival newspapers and the couple attached to each, although not to each other.  I've just discovered it, thanks to Katie @ Legacy of a Writer, and can't wait to read it!! 

Ann H. Gabhart
Trade Paperback, 345 pages
Fleming H. Revell Company
February 1, 2012
Genre: Christian Fiction, Romance

From the Goodreads Synopsis

Adriane Darcy was practically raised in her father's newspaper offices. She can't imagine life without the clatter of the press and the push to be first to write the news that matters. Their Tribune is the leading paper in Louisville in 1855. Then Blake Garrett, a brash young editor from the North with a controversial new style of reporting, takes over failing competitor the Herald, and the battle for readers gets fierce.

When Adriane and Blake meet at a benefit tea, their surprising mutual attraction is hard to ignore.  Blake will stop at almost nothing to get the story—and the girl. Can he do both before it's too late?

Here are some of Gabhart's other novels.

(Shaker Series #1)
Ann H. Gabhart
Trade Paperback, 345 pages
Fleming H. Revell Company
August 1, 2008
Genre: Christian Fiction, Romance

(Shaker Series #2)
Ann H. Gabhart
Trade Paperback, 394 pages
Fleming H. Revell Company
August 1, 2009
Genre: Christian Fiction, Romance

(Shaker Series #3)
Ann H. Gabhart
Trade Paperback 416 pages
Fleming H. Revell Company
July 1, 2010
Genres: Christian Fiction, Romance

(Shaker Series #4)
Ann H. Gabhart
Trade Paperback, 401 pages
Fleming H. Revell Company
July 1, 2011
Genres: Christian Fiction, Romance

Sunday, February 26, 2012

On My Bookshelves #19

My Sunday book meme
highlights books that I own,
but have somehow never gotten to,
as well as those wonderful books
I would love to re-read!!

Here are my picks
for this week!

(Caster Chronicles #1)
Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
Hardcover, 563 pages
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
December 1, 2009
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance,
Urban Fantasy 

From the Goodreads Synopsis

Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town's oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.

(Caster Chronicles #2)
Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
Hardcover, 503 pages
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
October 12, 2010
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance,
Urban Fantasy

From the Goodreads Synopsis

Ethan Wate used to think of Gatlin, the small Southern town he had always called home, as a place where nothing ever changed. Then he meets mysterious newcomer Lena Duchannes, who reveals a secret world that has been hidden
in plain sight all along.

You can visit Kami Garcia

You can visit Margaret Stohl

Don't forget to visit
The Beautiful Creatures author site,

I am definitely hoping to
get to these books this year...

So many great books,
so little freakin' time....

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Shelf Candy Saturday #8: Starcrossed, by Josephine Angelini

This wonderful book meme/blog hop
is hosted by

Stephanie @

The purpose of this feature is to display
a beautiful book cover,
with information, if available,
about the cover illustrator,
photographer, and/or designer.

For all the participation rules,
just click

This week, I'm showing
some cover love to:

Josephine Angelini
Hardcover, 487 pages
May 31, 2011
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance

This is truly an inspired cover!  The designers have used a beautiful nighttime landscape, full of a strange luminosity, as the background for a girl who is standing off to the right, dressed in the flowing robes typical of ancient Greece. 

It was the blue that first attracted my attention -- the shimmering blue, edged with pearly white waves, of the ebbing surf on the beach below the cliff where the girl is standing.  Crossed by a patch of darkness, the blue of the sea blends into the blue-gray of the stormy, cloud-filled sky.

Almost at the same time, the billowing folds of the white cape captured my interest.  My eyes then moved on to the simple gown.  The folds in clothes and drapery have always fascinated me.  Renaissance artists excelled at depicting them, and this cover reminds me of their paintings. 

The gentle breeze that has ruffled the ocean blue has barely touched her hair, but has lifted her cape out behind her.  She is slowly extending one arm backward, and her eyes are closed.  It's almost as if she were preparing for flight...

I love the overall flow of the design, too.  The shadows on the cape have a hint of blue-purple in them, which is also present in the sky, along with the blue-gray.   The dark brown of the rocky cliff is also the color of her outstretched hand.  It moves up her arm, then jumps to the lower edges of her hair, and part of her face. 

The blue, the brown, the white...the eye is kept moving throughout this beautiful composition.  The viewer is certainly never bored, but constantly delighted instead!

The font used for the title is a classic one, which fits the plot quite well.  Although the letters are spread out across the middle of the cover, I don't think this detracts from the design at all. 

If I were to change anything in this cover, I would choose to remove the endorsement by Lauren Kate, author of the Fallen series.  I don't like endorsements on front covers.  I feel they interfere visually with the design, and belong on a book's back cover, instead.

This gorgeous book jacket is
the result of 
a three-way collaboration.

The photography is
the work of

The jacket design
is the work of 


Book Review: Forsaken (The Demon Trappers), by Jana Oliver (third review for the 2012 TBR Reading Challenge)

Here's my third review for this
wonderful challenge!!

For the rules and a list of hosting blogs,
just click on the challenge button in my sidebar.

There are great prizes involved,
so be sure to check out
the rules and consider joining in!

Title: Forsaken:The Demon Trappers
Author: Jana Oliver
Format: Trade Paperback, 423 pages
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
Publication Date: February 7, 2011
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy

This is the UK edition of The Demon Trapper's Daughter, which I bought because I loved the cover at first sight. 

This is a gritty, fast-paced story, and yet, it does contain some depth, since several of the characters do quite a bit of soul-searching along the way. 

At first, I thought I would finish the book quickly.  However, I got stalled by a completely unexpected event pretty early in the story -- one that came very close to home, and I could not continue.  Of course, I won't spoil things for other readers by divulging any details of said event.  I will merely say that it was one that had a strong emotional impact on me. 

Another element I disliked was the presence of necromancers, and thus, of zombies.  Although they're not really an integral part of the story, they are there, at least on the sidelines.  If there's one thing I dislike in paranormal/urban fantasy fiction, it's zombies.  The concept of revived dead people mindlessly walking around is totally repugnant to me!  I must concede that the ones in this book are not entirely mindless, and they don't go around eating people.  Still, the concept does bother me.

So I put the book aside, and picked up a nonfiction book, which I subsequently reviewed on my nonfiction book blog.  I didn't think I would return to Forsaken; in fact, I began to seriously contemplate getting rid of the book.  I felt chagrined about it, too, because I also own the original American edition, as well as Soul Thief, the American edition of the second book in this series. 

Someone pulled me back into the book, which I then went on to finish, without a hitch, in spite of the above-mentioned elements.  Who was that someone?  Riley Blackthorne, the novel's seventeen-year-old heroine.  As in Angelfire, by Courtney Allison Moulton, and the River of Time series, by Lisa T. Bergren, I had come across a character that I could really admire -- a strong, yet feminine, girl with firm convictions, one who didn't take kindly to being ordered around by her male companions, even if they had her best interests at heart.  It was Riley who kept me reading, with her combination of strength, compassion, and paradoxically, emotional vulnerability. 

Incredibly enough, I've ended up loving this book!

Riley is the daughter of Paul Blackthorne, a legendary Demon Trapper.  The trappers work for the Vatican, and have an arsenal of weapons, chief of which is holy water.  For those not acquainted with Catholic beliefs, this is water that has been blessed by a priest.  When thrown at a demon, the water causes it great pain, since it burns demonic skin.  Holy water is also a key component in the making of spheres, which are magical globes that are either thrown directly at demons, or near them, causing several types of effects on them. 

One of the interesting things about this book is that the demons manifest as real, physical entities, which can then be fought through physical means.  Even more interesting is the fact that they're classified into categories.  A Five is more powerful than a Three, for example.  This doesn't mean that a Three is not a formidable foe, however.  Riley manages to trap one of these on her own, while still an apprentice trapper, a feat admired by the other trappers.

There are also different kinds of demons; Biblios, for example, love to destroy books, Magpies love to steal shiny trinkets to stash in their secret hoards, and Pyro-Fiends love to play with fire.  These three types are so-called 'minor' demons.

The Demon Trappers Guild, to which Riley and her father belong, has regular meetings in an abandoned auditorium.  (The setting of the book is a rather bleak, futuristic Atlanta, Georgia.)  These meetings are protected from demon intrusion by the preparation of a magical circle of holy water around the participants.  It's here that Guild business is conducted, master trappers take on apprentices, and so forth. 

As the story opens, Riley, who happens to be the only female trapper in the Guild, has been sent to a law library to trap a Biblio.  Things somehow don't turn out as she expects, however, since a more powerful, yet invisible, demon intervenes.  The result is that Riley is summoned to a Guild meeting, with the possibility of having her apprenticeship with her father completely suspended. 

The series of events that follow give the reader a comprehensive picture of Riley's character, as well as that of Beck, her father's close associate, and the second one in the book I found very appealing.  Denver Beck is totally devoted to Riley's father, and thus, to Riley herself, who had a crush on him when she was a young teen.  Although not that much older than Riley, he's gone through a lot, and comes across as a hard-boiled guy with tons of experience.  This really annoys Riley, as she feels it makes him feel superior.  Still, Beck is not quite the insensitive 'macho' trapper she takes him to be.  Underneath his 'tough guy' exterior, he cares deeply for Riley.  I suspect he doesn't want to admit to himself that he really loves her, and not as he would a little sister, either.

Paul Blackthorne is also a wonderful character.  As the master trapper in charge of Riley's training, he must attempt to remain objective, while it's obvious that he really loves his daughter.  He would have preferred that she not follow in his footsteps, since trapping demons is a dangerous profession.  Yet, he respects her choices, and never treats her with any degree of condescension.  He and Riley have an ideal father-daughter relationship, and this is yet another factor of the book that I loved.

The minor characters are very well-done, too.  Harper, the senior demon trapper, is totally despicable, even memorably so.  He makes me grind my teeth in disgust!  Simon, the staunchly Catholic boy, is sweet and very engaging, yet firm in his dedication to his chosen profession.  Ayden, a member of the group of witches who make the magical spheres for the trappers, gives Riley excellent advice at one point in the story.  She suggests that Riley deal with school bullies not by taking revenge on them, but by emphasizing her own inner strengths, thus boosting her self-esteem.  Very sage advice, indeed!

Another element of this tale I enjoyed was the sense of humor displayed by the characters.  The overall tone is dramatic, of course, but there are sparks of humor here and there that serve as comic relief, and are not overdone.  Still, it might be objected that some of the minor demons come across as rather cartoonish.  I do think this is a valid point.  Riley herself remarks to Simon, during a discussion they have about catching 'hellspawn', that Magpies aren't that evil.  Simon sternly reminds her that all demons belong to Lucifer's army, no matter how 'cute and harmless' they might appear to be.

Coupled with the strong, believable characterization and plot is an equally believable setting.  Atlanta in 2018 is in deep financial trouble; kids are shuttled from abandoned building to abandoned building in order to attend classes, and gas prices are astronomical.  City corruption is rampant.  This setting goes quite well with the story's grim theme.

Toward the end of the book, a new set of characters appears -- angels.  I had already started to enjoy the novel, and this added element made me enjoy it even more.  Of course, this opens up the door to the next novel in the series, which I now know I will definitely be reading! 

In spite of the fact that demons are fear-inducing characters, I did not feel very scared while reading Forsaken.  That's because this is not a horror novel.  Horror novels have a completely different emphasis.  Their main focus is on inducing fear in the reader, not on evil being conquered in the end.  Thus, every element of fiction is geared toward that purpose.  Also, the evil characters in horror novels are not always beaten in the end; there's usually an element of ambiguity as the book reaches its conclusion.  (I know this from research I've done on the Internet, not from reading any of these novels.  I thoroughly detest the horror genre.) 

In contrast, Forsaken wades uncompromisingly into the eternal fight against evil.  Also, this is a character-driven novel.  The act of trapping demons is not just what the main charaters do; it's also a sort of metaphor for the soul-searching they engage in.

Summing up, I have completely changed my opinion of this book!  It's a solidly entertaining story with deeper implications, and I heartily recommend it to all those who enjoy reading paranormal/urban fantasy novels.  I also think this book and its sequels would make great movies.  True, the added visual element would make the stories pretty scary, but the very interesting characters would be sure to make the movies absolute hits!


Where To Buy:  Amazon

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Waiting On Wednesday #29: Everlasting, by Elizabeth Chandler

This is a weekly book meme, hosted by
which features future releases that we book bloggers
are eagerly anticipating!

Here's my pick for
this week!!

(Kissed by an Angel #5)
Hardcover, 288 pages
Simon Pulse
Expected Publication Date:
March 6, 2012
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance

From the Goodreads Synopsis

Ivy should be ecstatic that her formerly-dead boyfriend Tristan is back on earth with her, but the life of a fallen angel is never easy. Tristan has been cast down in the body of a murderer, and the police are after him. Now, there's only one way that he and Ivy can be together: they must clear him of the murder.

So here's yet another series
I want to get into!!
This cover sold me on the book,
and I went back to the first book
in the series,
read that synopsis,
and well... what can I say?
I just can't get enough of young adult
paranormal romance!!

What books are you all
desperately pining for
this week?

Sunday, February 19, 2012


I have a winner!!!!

And that person is....

Carl selected


You now have 48 hours to respond
with your shipping address,
If I receive no answer from you
after that time,
there will a second drawing for
another winner.

I'm sending out a huge "thank you"
to everyone who
participated in this giveaway!!

Stay tuned for future contests!!

Thanks as well for your
continued support!!!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Shelf Candy Satuday #7: Timeless, by Alexandra Monir

This wonderful book meme/blog hop
is hosted by

Stephanie @

The purpose of this feature is to display
a beautiful book cover,
with information, if available,
about the cover illustrator,
photographer, and/or designer.

For all the participation rules,
just click

This week, I'm showing
some cover love to:

Hardcover, 304 pages
Delacorte Press
(an imprint of Random House
Children's Books)
January 11, 2011
Genre: YA Time Travel Romance,

The really striking thing about this cover, I think, is that the artist has used a color scheme I would normally not like, and made it absolutely, breathtakingly beautiful!  The main color is actually gray, although it's infused with a hint of green, especially on the girl's blouse and face.

Her makeup is exquisitely done.  Her eye shadow is also tinged with that gray-green, giving her expressive eyes a gorgeous, smoky look.  Her lipstick stands out all the more because of the predominantly subdued color tones.

This cover goes so well with the title!  There's certainly a timeless feel about it, with the misty atmosphere pervading it.  I'm not sure if that's  a cloud or some haze behind the girl, but it definitely gives the viewer that "beyond this world" feeling...

The girl herself is very beautiful.  I'd love to have that nose!  She's looking inquisitively out at the viewer, as if about to ask why she's being stared at.  Her mouth is open in wonder.  Perhaps she's hesitant to explain the unusual circumstances she's found herself in.  On the other hand, she might be wondering whether she'll be able to bridge the time gap between her world and that of her beloved.

I think this is truly an inspired cover by a great artistic talent!  

The artist behind this marvelous cover: 

The jacket designer is the Art Director
at Random House: