Saturday, February 6, 2016

Lovely Books // covers & titles

February, as we well know, is all about love. Usually it's in the context of relationships, but I'm using this month as an excuse to talk about books that I love.

Introducing Lovely Books! Each Saturday during the month of February, I'll be focusing on a different aspect of those wonderful bundles of dead trees and ink that we like to pet and sniff and sometimes devour. Best of all, I'm making this my first ever link-up, inviting you to join me! Because what's better than one bookworm gushing over books? Two or three or several dozen bookworms gushing over books they love, of course.

Today is all about lovely covers and lovely titles. Shallow? Mayhap, but none of us can deny the power of a strong title or an eye-catching cover. We really do tend to judge books by these surface qualities. (Though sometimes an incredible story is disguised by a shabby cover, or a glitzy cover may hide a second-rate tale.) But I'm not here to discuss the rightness or wrongness of such tendencies, so let's get on with the show.

The rules are so simple, they're almost non-existent. Just grab the picture, and use it in your own post talking about covers and titles you adore! Be sure to use the linky I included at the end.

(This will not be a comprehensive list. I'm sure if I browsed the library or a bookstore to jog my memory, I'd have five times as many to show you.)

(Most of these will be books I either own or have at least read, but at the end I'll point to a few covers of books I haven't yet explored. This is all about the looks here, not what lies underneath, which will come later this month. Though I'd say most of what's on my list has content to match the covers.)

Cover Love

The Bones of Makaidos - Bryan Davis
There's so much epicness happening here! Several characters manage to fit onto this cover without making it feel cluttered. The battle raging in the background definitely piques one's interest.

The Errant King - Wayne Thomas Batson
This. Just--what are words? It's clever and unusual and gorgeously illustrated. I love the depictions of both characters (and that's such a hit or miss kind of thing, illustrating characters on the cover--what if they look weird, or different than how I imagine them?). But this is fabulous.

Isle of Fire - Wayne Thomas Batson
Pirate ships! Fire! Skull and crossbones! Ahh!

If We Survive - Andrew Klavan
I know I've mentioned this book before, but I have to drool over the colors and jungle-y-ness of it again.

Shadow Hand - Anne Elisabeth Stengl
Quite possibly my favorite cover of the entire series so far!

Illusionarium - Heather Dixon
I couldn't talk about gorgeous covers without mentioning this one, now could I? The steampunk detail on the borders, the period clothing, gah, EVERYTHING. (Though I still can't figure out which character the girl is supposed to be. She has the wrong hair color to be any of the main females, except for maybe one, and I'm sure this is not her.

Plain Kate - Erin Bow
Whimsical with a faint hint of eeriness . . . beautiful colors . . . yes, preciousss.

Outlaw - Ted Dekker
It looks like someone cut a hole right through the book, focusing our attention on the dark jungle background and the silhouette of a mysterious somebody.

Forbidden - Ted Dekker & Tosca Lee
Simple and gothic in style. The bleeding heart makes sense once you read the book. I always love it when I get to the point in the story that reveals the cover's meaning.

The Dark Unwinding - Sharon Cameron
One of the only other steampunk books I've read besides Illusionarium. Pretty blue dress, eye-catching title graphics, and can we take a moment to appreciate that humongous, creepy mansion in the background?

Raven's Ladder - Jeffrey Overstreet
Come on, it's an epic guy holding a sword! And the sweeping perspective is perfect for a fantasy novel. (As a side note, this cover--it's the third in the series--is what got my brother interested in reading it. Not book one, two, or four. This one.)

Offworld - Robin Parrish
Dark and brooding . . . an eerily abandoned bicycle lying on the highway . . . If you like sci-fi and/or space even a little bit, go read this one.

Nightmare - Robin Parrish
Creepy, once again . . .

Illusion - Frank Peretti
Another cover that wonderfully captures the content of the pages within. The colors are soft and golden as memory. The birds and the bit of theater curtain on the edge allude to the main couple's magician life.

Emissary - Thomas Locke
You saw this coming. Serious cover love going on here. (Maybe it's because the orb on the staff reminds me of an object in my own fantasy series.)

Return of the Guardian King - Karen Hancock
Kind of just screams classic fantasy, doesn't it?

House of Dark Shadows - Robert Liparulo
There's something about a creepy house that always gets my attention. And I love the title font used for this series!

The Black and White Rainbow - John Trent & Judy Love
This is here partially for nostalgia's sake--it was one of my absolute favorite childhood books--but also because the illustrations were so pretty and fun. It starts out black and white, but as the story progresses, colors are added. The cover portrays both a world of color and a world without.

And now for a few covers of books I have not yet read (but probably will).

Toothiana: Queen of the Tooth Fairy Armies - William Joyce
I've been meaning to read this series since I saw the movie based off it, Rise of the Guardians. This cover in particular is so prettyful, and that shade of teal is one of my personal favorites.

The Golden Braid - Melanie Dickerson
I read the first two books (which were so-so), but this cover depicts Rapunzel rather beautifully, don't you think?

Six of Crows - Leigh Bardugo
This book has been stalking  me around the blogosphere lately, and the cover keeps snatching at my eyeballs. Crows are just kind of cool, okay? (Except when they're being pesky, raucous creatures in my neighborhood.)

Passenger - Alexandra Bracken
I know exactly zero about this book, but THAT COVER. A city in a bottle, a ship in the reflection--ack, it's so pretty.

Ink and Bone - Rachel Caine
I 'overhead' a conversation about this book in the comments section of a blog recently. Not only is the premise totally gripping, but this cover is lovely too.

Plenilune - Jennifer Freitag
I've heard bits and pieces about this book, mostly that it's HUMONGOUSLY LONG--but that is one powerful cover.

The Progeny - Tosca Lee
(It doesn't come out until May 2016, just so you know.) Again, I'm quite enjoying the gothic feel of the cover, and masquerade masks are a sure-fire way to make me perk up.

Five Magic Spindles - ???
Seriously, this might be one of my favorite covers EVER. I'm completely in love with the golden, autumnal colors! (And because I need an outlet, however brief, to release some excitement . . . THE WINNERS ARE BEING ANNOUNCED IN 24 DAYS!!!!!)

In summary. . .

It appears that I have a color scheme going on, consisting of a lot of blues, greens, reds, and golds. Huh. I also gravitate towards epic artwork rather than abstract (though there's a tiny bit of that in there, too). Covers that promise something exciting, beautiful, or slightly creepy definitely get my attention!

Lovely Titles

We're not finished just yet! To rest your eyes from that overwhelming collection of gorgeous cover art, here's a short list of just some of my favorite titles, in no particular order.

  • Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)
  • Circles of Seven (Bryan Davis)
  • The Tide of Unmaking (Wayne Thomas Batson)
  • Solitary (Travis Thrasher)
  • The Hobbit (J.R.R. Tolkien)
  • Heartless (Anne Elisabeth Stengl)
  • Outliers (Malcolm Gladwell--nonfiction, by the way)
  • The Screwtape Letters (C.S. Lewis)
  • First the Dead (Tim Downs)
  • The Hunger Games (Suzanne Collins)
  • The Windy Side of Care (Rachel Heffington)
  • The Grand Sophy (Georgette Heyer)
  • The Last Thing I Remember (Andrew Klavan)
  • And I'm drawing a big, fat blank now . . . I know there are more delicious titles that I love, but no more are coming to me. Like I said before, I could probably wander a library and end up quadrupling this list!
I like titles that roll off the tongue, like The Windy Side of Care. I like short, punchy titles like Heartless, Solitary, and Outliers. I like alliteration (Pride and Prejudice) and classics (The Hobbit). I like titles that hook me upon first glance, such as The Last Thing I Remember. Words like Screwtape or Unmaking are unusual and demand that I understand them.

Seriously, I wish I remembered enough awesome titles to make that a longer list. Ah, well.

Would you care to join me?


  1. Yes, Illusion is a good one, with a neat cover! Frank Peretti is awesome! I love Melanie Dickerson! The Golden braid has a gorgeous cover! And I loved the story.

    I love The Hobbit and Pride and Prejudice, too!

    Fun series! I look forward to seeing what else you come up with! Blessings, Morgan

    1. Yay, someone else who's read Illusion! :D I've enjoyed Peretti's books since I was a kid reading the Cooper family series.
      Maybe I'll have to give more of Melanie Dickerson's books a try. I know quite a few people like them.

      *high five*

      Thank you, Morgan! I'm excited for the upcoming bookish discussions.

  2. All of those covers are gorgeous! I think I will do this, hopefully, what's better than books and their lovely covers.

    1. Aren't they just? There's something about spectacular covers that makes my heart swell with happiness. ^_^

      I'm definitely looking forward to that!

  3. :O the majority of the books you've picked for your collection are ones I dearly love and would also pick (particularly Plenilune - I could gush over the beauty of Jenny's prose for hours). I'm so very tempted to write up my own post - I might write something later on in the week if I find time to compile my thoughts! Thank you for sharing :)

    1. First off--greetings and salutations; well met and all that sort of stuff. ;) It's great to "see a new face." And thanks so much for the follow! I took a peek into both of your blogs . . . it looks like we also have fantasy, poetry, and Owl City in common!

      *gasp* Hooray for similar bookish tastes! I've really been waffling over Plenilune ever since I heard about it. I think I'd like to ask my library to get it, and if I fall in love, I shall purchase my own copy.

      That'd be great! Looking forward to it. :)

    2. If you like Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, or period dramas (pretty much anything Victorian) I think you'll really like Plenilune. I don't own a physical copy (although I'd really love to) but I purchased the ebook version on Amazon, given that it's only about $3. Definitely a worth while read. Also, if you like Arthurian legends I'd suggest looking into Pendragon's Heir by Suzannah Rowntree. I've just started it but it's also proving to be quite fascinating.

      And yes! Horrah for similar bookish tastes! I know exactly zero people in real life who like the same books as I do, so it's wonderful to connect with like-minded readers :)

      On a final note, I'm guessing if you like Owl City you'll know about Adam Young's most recent "Scores" he's releasing for free? I haven't heard the first one yet, but apparently it's well done.

    3. Jane Austen, check (though I've only read P&P so far). I plan to read some Bronte at some point, too. So perhaps I would like Plenilune. :) Oh, I've heard of Pendragon's Heir--thanks for reminding me of its existence!

      That's one of the nice things about Internet, finding those likeminded people when you can't find them in real life.

      No, I hadn't known about that! I just checked it out now; that sounds like an awesome project. Thanks for telling me!

  4. *scrolls through all the beautimous covers* *scrolls through all the beautimous covers again* I MUST HAVE ALL THESE BOOKS SO I CAN STARE AT THE COVERS FOREVER AND EVER AND EVER and -- oh. Yes. Ahem. Sorry. Anyways.

    Love this post, Tracey! I see a lot of books upon there on the cover list that I've been thinking about reading (and ... yes. I do sometimes judge a book by its cover or title XD). Some of my favorite covers up there are 'Illusionarium', 'Plain Kate', 'Raven's Ladder (and may I mention how awesome this book's title is?)', 'Emissary', 'Six Of Crows' and 'Passenger'. Oh, and of course the FMS one :D.

    I literally just sat there and stared at the sentence that stated that the FMS winners are being announced in 24 days. How?! How is that possible?! *hyperventilates* Okay ... *calms down* ... maybe I'm a little too excited :D.

    By the way, this link up is such an awesome idea!

    1. ALL THE PRETTY. *pets covers adoringly* Some books you want to own mostly for that reason, right? XD

      Those books you mentioned--read them all. (Well, I can't vouch for Six of Crows or Passenger as of yet, since I haven't read them.) But the others ones are fantabulous. But if you do pick up Raven's Ladder, be sure to read the two that come before: Auralia's Colors and Cyndere's Midnight. If I recall correctly, there's a little bit of implied adult content in the area of romance, but I don't think there was anything explicit. (If there had been, I wouldn't have loved the books nearly as much as I do.) Anyway. Go. Shoo. Read them all! ;D

      I know! 24 days! Just over three weeks! Welp, it's so long to wait, and yet it's coming up so fast... You entered too, right?

      Thanks, Savannah! Glad you like it!

  5. Girl, you must be endowed with special mind-probing powers! I've been wanting to write a post about bookish things, and then I saw this pop up on my dashboard. I thought I would ask you if I could steal your idea, but turns out it's a linkup so I can take it with a clear conscience. XD

    ANYWAY. I. Love. This. All the pwetty books. *pets them* I have to admit, I judge books by their covers. *cough, cough* If a book has a less-than-attractive cover, I'm more loathe to pick it up and read it. I know, I know, it's horrible. But good covers are really important to me.

    THESE ARE ALL SO GORGEOUS! All the Wayne Thomas Batson covers are to die for! I especially love the Dark Sea Annals and Dreamtreaders covers. (Seriously though, have you seen the cover for Dreamtreaders?! It's one of the most beautiful things ever!) AND ILLUSIONARIUM. I just got it from the library today and GAH. It's even more lovely in person! ^_^

    Aaaah, Melanie Dickerson's covers are always drool-worthy! I HAVE sat and stared at them before. Not even sorry. :P Oh, oh, and Emissary and Passenger! Can you say epic?! I haven't read either of them, but the covers are ah-may-zing! Basically, JUST GIVE ME ALL THE BOOKISH THINGS!

    All this to say, I adore this post! I'll definitely plan on joining the linkup (which was a fabulous idea, by the by). Your post really made my day! :)

    1. *courtly bow* It's just my INFJ intuition, is all. XD (Actually, I have no idea whatsoever how I end up having so many brain twin moments with people.)
      Yes, do snatch it! I'd love to see your post.

      I think we all do, to some extent. XD I desperately hope my own book gets a worthy cover one day, simply because I know what an impression it makes.

      I have seen Dreamtreaders, yes! The castle silhouette against that colorful sky IS lovely.
      YOU GOT ILLUSIONARIUM FROM THE LIBRARY. That's so exciting! And also kind of flattering, knowing I (and Deb!) may have had a teensy bit of influence there. ;) You must tell me what you think of it.

      The gowns are always so pretty, aren't they? READ EMISSARY POST HASTE. You know, after you finish Illusionarium. I guess I should find out what Passenger is all about, because that cover is just splendid.

      I'm so glad! Looking forward to seeing your favorite covers and titles. :D

  6. Andrew Klaven! :D :D I have the entire set in my bookshelf! I've read the first one but none of the others and I really really need too. Also, Passenger looks beautiful *gushes* I need to resist buying some of these books XD (and yet I have no desire to resist ^ ^ )

    1. Someone else who's read Klavan! Yesss! (Even if it's just one book so far. ^_^) You're talking about the Homelanders series, right?

      There's little chance of us managing to resist this sort of temptation. XD Bookstores are the bane of my wallet sometimes...

  7. Isn't DreamHouse Kings just the best?! That entire series is so good! It has an air of suspense that makes it impossible to put down.

    1. DREAMHOUSE KINGS. Oh my heart. I love that series to pieces, and I've been meaning to reread it sometime. I'm so excited you've read it too! You're right, they are impossible to put down.

  8. This is like the bestest thing EVER!!! Call me shallow, but I could just stare at covers forever...and sometimes get books because of the cover. *cough, cough* Hey, we're visual beings. The cover is important! And the title definitely is. I mean, the title basically tells you the entire story in like 4 words or less!

    Aaahhhh! I could just scroll through this post all day! I remember when the cover for Bones of Makaidos released I just stared and stared and staaared at it. There's just so much epicness going on! I still find myself staring at that thing. I think it's my favorite cover of all those books.
    Illusionarium is one of my favoritest covers ever. So gorgeous! (And I was confused by who the girl is, too. My best guess is Anna...?)
    What is this The Dark Unwinding? *wriggles eyebrows* I've never heard of it before!
    I'm going to be honest, I've almost bought Plenilune just because I want the cover on my bookshelf... I'm not sure if I'm super interested in the story but but but DAT COVER. *drools*
    Oooh, Offworld. o.o Another I've never heard of but that eerie cover totally pulls me in!
    You added Five Magic Spindles!! I'm going to be honest, that may be my favorite cover that exists. It takes me breath away. It IS magical. <333
    GAH. I just love all of these! And I'm with you, I love the complex artwork rather than more simple ones.

    And the titles! YES. I think my favorite kind are those one word, punchy ones, such as Heartless. But...AH! There are so many good ones out there!

    I AM SO EXCITED YOU'RE MAKING THIS A LINKUP. Because I was thinking how much I'd love to do this. I just love this idea!!! I hope I'll get a chance to do it soon! :D Of course I'll probably have a bunch of the same ones you did. Hehehe. Brain twins forever!

    1. We shall be shallow booklovers together, then, because I'm the same way! *links arms* And yes, titles--such a big deal. A solid title often contributes to my love for a book.

      TBoM is incredible--both the book AND the cover. Your favorite? *gasp* Mine too! Closely followed by Circles of Seven and Enoch's Ghost. Maybe even The Seventh Door (because it's so similar to CoS)?
      I was wondering that too. But doesn't Hannah have dark hair, meaning Anna would as well...?
      It's been a while since I read The Dark Unwinding, but my sister is almost finished reading it, so she's dug up a few memories. It's steampunk/historical/with maybe a dash of mystery. Oh, and romance. It's about a girl sent to her crazy uncle's mansion to prove that he's insane and therefore unfit to control his great wealth. (There are family members who want to get their hands on it.) Turns out Uncle Tully is more than what others think, and just gah. It's wonderful. There are creepy porcelain and clockwork figurines, and funny/creepy insanity stuff going on. You'd love it, methinks. :D
      I know, right? SUCH a gorgeous cover!
      Christine, I'm just going to build you a TBR stack to reach the ceiling, at the rate we're going. XD Offworld is so mind-bendy, it's great!
      Exactly. I love how you described the FMS cover. And now I'm getting all tingly thinking of all the beautiful stories that will be underneath that breathtaking artwork...!

      *hugs all the titles*

      Really? Aw, I'm so glad! I wasn't initially going to make it a linkup, and then I thought, "Hey, why not?" The bookish community adores talking amongst themselves.
      Definitely can't wait to see yours, no matter if you pick a bunch of the ones I did or not! :D

  9. Okay, I definitely need to participate in this. I am a book cover fanatic. Out of the ones you displayed, Tracey, I LOVE the covers of Shadow Hand, Plain Kate, Outlaw, Illusion, and especially Six of Crows, Plenilune, and above all...Passenger. That cover is just on point. Wow. That's just incredible...I've already scrolled up several times to look at it again. :)

    As for other ones that I love, a bare few are Masters and Slayers, Unbroken, The Chronicles of Narnia 7-in-1 book, Sun and Moon Ice and Snow, Woman on Death Row, Wisdom's Kiss, Halo, the Knight of Arethtrae Series, etc.

    Now, my very very very favorites (the ones that make me pet the cover and sigh and grin from ear to ear) are Cleopatra's Moon, Graceling, Fire, Bitterblue, Auriala's Colors, Princess of the Midnight Ball (and the other two books in the series), An Ember in the Ashes, and Starflower.
    :) I wish I had time to think of more, because I know I'm missing dozens that I dearly love.

    1. Alllll the covers! I can't get enough of them. With a cover like that, I really hope Passenger's actual story lives up to it. I'll have to read it one day. :)

      I thought about including Masters and Slayers! I love the simplistic, fantasy covers that series has. Ooh, those are some pretty great ones you listed! I looked up the ones I didn't know on Google.

      Ooh, I *love* those Graceling/Fire/Bitterblue covers! I've never heard of that series before. Auralia's Colors is also gorgeous. All of those favorites you listed are!
      It's so hard to come up with a comprehensive list. There are hundreds of books to be had. Thousands.

      Thanks for commenting! :D

  10. I know it's considered bad form to judge a book by its cover or title (even though we all do it now and then), but I also think it's good to bring to attention a book that has an exceptional title or cover.
    We all love just looking at them, at least!
    Looking and wishing they were on my bookshelf...

    1. Those things are undeniably part of what makes us interested in a book (though of course what comes after a pretty cover is much more important). There's a trilogy, of which I own the first instalment, that I allllmost want to buy just for the covers. The writing isn't that great, but the cover art is gorgeous. :P

      Do you have any favorite covers? Or titles?

    2. I can't quite pinpoint what I find makes an attractive cover (my favourites tend to vary). But I know I like titles with alliteration, or almost aliteration(Hind's Feet on High Places), quirk (North! Or be Eaten!), or titles that are part of a sentence/ reference (To Kill a Mockingbird).

      Which trilogy?

    3. Fair enough. :)
      Ahhh, those titles are great! I haven't read Hind's Feet on High Places (but we have a copy in the house; my mom read it as a teen)... Nor have I read North! Or Be Eaten, but with a title like that, I'm sure it's only a matter of time. TKaM is amazing.

      The Sword of the Dragon series by Scott Appleton (Swords of the Six, Offspring, and Key of Living Fire). I felt like the books didn't reach their potential. Not to mention my fingers were twitching for a red pen to wield... Which is unfortunate. :(

  11. I agree that covers and titles are SOOO IMPORTANT!! They really make a difference to me when I'm deciding between 3949 books to read. XD Of course I'm going to go with the eyecatching one first. ;D I really love the Six of Crows cover/title. Like the title leaves me with tons of questions??? And the cover is divine. *happy sigh* Same with Passenger. OH and have you see the cover for The Girl From Everywhere?! IT IS A SHIP AND WATER AND SO SO AWESOME I CANNOT EVEN. *flails*

    1. Exactly! With sooo many books to choose from, I gravitate towards the pretty ones. And I know that I've passed over perfectly good books simply because their covers didn't grab me. If only you really COULD judge books by their covers, right?

      I agree! That title makes me think of playing cards. Six of crows, six of spades, you know? But it could mean something wildly different.

      I saw that one on your blog the other day! Gorgeous--both versions! I didn't realize until just now, though, that the one with the black background has a girl's eyes in the water. o.o Thanks for visiting, Cait!

  12. You made a link-up!!! :D
    I love love love the covers of these books! And I also (gasp) have read exactly none of them. I personally am drawn to covers with big brooding landscapes, very minimalistic designs, or art that is very intricate and almost an optical illusion, so you notice something new about it each time you pick up the book to read. Like the cover of Six of Crows. I love how the feathers turn into towers at the bottom. :)

    1. I did, and am ever so proud of myself! XD Feel free to join if you have the hankering.

      Gasp! But they're all so good! (The ones I've read, anyway.) I think you'd enjoy some of the books on this list. Like Illusionarium. ;) And Offworld. And The Bones of Makaidos, though you'd have to start with Raising Dragons. I'm sure your TBR pile doesn't need any more fattening up, though!

      Ooh, I'm imagining the types of covers you described, and they sound gorgeous. Haha, I don't know how many times I'd seen Six of Crows before I realized there were towers!

  13. Pride and Prejudice is such a good title! I love alliteration. WINNING.

    Also I love vintagey fantasy covers like that first one. So so good :D

    1. Absolutely! ^_^ (Oh goodness, if you love alliteration, you have got to read Bryan Davis's Oracles of Fire series--but the Dragons in Our Midst series comes first--anyway, there's a dragon named Abbadon who speaks solely in alliteration. It's the best.)

      There's something classic about that one! Especially when the characters are illustrated well. :D

  14. Oh my goodness, SOOO many lovely covers you found!!! :O Particularly Plain Kate, Raven's Ladder, and Emissary, which I hadn't seen before, and of course I love Illusionarium, The Golden Braid, Six of Crows, Ink and Bone, and Plenilune! And ooh, yes, Passenger looks intriguingly gorgeous too! o.o

    Yes, Plenilune is indead HUMONGOUSLY LONG as you say. XD But it also has one of my favorite characters ever, aaand also one of the bestest villains of ever (speaking of villains in one of your posts. XD).

    The instant I saw the Raven's Ladder cover I fell in love and decided it's like my favorite of ever, because seriously what's not to love about an epic fellow with a cloak and sword??? And the swirley things and just slkajdlkjl I adore it! Also, you may or may not be amused to know, that like a week or two after I saw this post, we went to a library sale and my sister found Raven's Ladder for me and I snapped it up and bought it instantly. I don't even know if the story's any good, I didn't even read the back cover copy before grabbing it, I was just #shallowbookworm and NEEDED TO OWN THAT COVER. (So if you tell me it's good, then I may actually read it. XD But I just needed to own it. o.o) Anyways, funny coincidence. XD

    1. I could probably just faint from all the cover glory. Ohhh, Deb, those three you singled out--READ THEM. They are all wonderful.

      One of your favorite characters ever?! I MUST READ THIS THING. Especially if it also has a great villain. I think I'm 98.3% convinced now. *nods*

      I know, right?? And he's a red-haired epic fellow, too, which is unusual. (Now, there's an unrealistically high number of red-haired GIRLS in fiction these days, but not too many guys, I think.) Ha, really? What a cool coincidence!! (Also yay for library sales!) SO HERE'S ME TELLING YOU THAT RAVEN'S LADDER IS REALLY GOOD. XD But please read Auralia's Colors and Cyndere's Midnight first, seeing as RL is the third in the four-book series. You won't appreciate Cal-Raven--the guy on the cover--nearly as much without reading about who Auralia is, and who the Keeper is (not the villain in Entwined that you mentioned, but the God-figure of the series), and what happened to Abascar... All of it! If you're not too turned off by poetic writing, then I'd highly recommend the series. ^_^

      Goodness, when I get started on books I love... XD