Six for Sunday: Favourite Covers
This week the theme is favourite covers – this will be a hard one to narrow down because there are just so many gorgeous covers out there at the moment. I feel like social media has really made publishers step up their game in terms of cover design, especially with adding extra surprise features like a picture or design hidden underneath the dustjacket on hardbacks, detailed endpapers, sprayed edges and more besides.
- I have discovered that I like certain things in covers – I generally like intricate, detailed designs with bright colours, rather than minimalist or pastel covers.
- I love it when a hardback has a hidden design on the cover or spine and this is one of the first things I check when I buy a new hardback.
- I am on the fence about deckled (unevenly-cut) edges, as I only have two books where this has been done deliberately and in one of them it really adds to the experience of reading the book, while on the other it makes reading it a more difficult experience.
- I generally like French flaps on paperbacks, although it can make flicking through to find your place rather annoying.
- I love detailed endpapers, slip cases (if they’re sturdy), sprayed edges (particularly when it’s a design rather than just a colour) and maps being included at the beginning.
- I like it when the cover artist and designer are displayed prominently – many people pick up a book for the first time entirely based on the cover, so I wish that this information would be displayed more than it is – in some books you have to really search to find out who the artist or designer was! In fact, when writing this post I had a really hard time tracking down all the cover artists…luckily, I had most of these books to hand on my shelves so I was able to find the artist’s name! However, I was really taken aback by how difficult it was to find this information online. #picturesmeanbusiness
Of course, at the end of the day, it is the content of the book that matters to the reader more than the cover – I certainly have come across some books with glorious covers that I haven’t enjoyed much and others with ‘meh’ covers which I have loved. Still, it is a joy to see the pleasure and care taken in designing book covers and it makes the whole reading experience richer when your senses are tickled by the art as well as the words.
Here are a few of my favourite covers:
Yes, yes, there do seem to be 12 covers here rather than 6…but I just couldn’t decide!
It isn’t helped by the fact that so many of these books with beautiful covers are also books that I love the content of too, so I want to shout about as many of them as possible!
Do you spot any covers that you like?
Are there any covers that you do not like?
What makes you pick up a book?
Get to know some of these fantastic books below (summaries from Goodreads):
The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden
Cover Artist: Aitch
At the edge of the Russian wilderness, winter lasts most of the year and the snowdrifts grow taller than houses. But Vasilisa doesn’t mind–she spends the winter nights huddled around the embers of a fire with her beloved siblings, listening to her nurse’s fairy tales. Above all, she loves the chilling story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon, who appears in the frigid night to claim unwary souls. Wise Russians fear him, her nurse says, and honor the spirits of house and yard and forest that protect their homes from evil.
After Vasilisa’s mother dies, her father goes to Moscow and brings home a new wife. Fiercely devout, city-bred, Vasilisa’s new stepmother forbids her family from honoring the household spirits. The family acquiesces, but Vasilisa is frightened, sensing that more hinges upon their rituals than anyone knows.
And indeed, crops begin to fail, evil creatures of the forest creep nearer, and misfortune stalks the village. All the while, Vasilisa’s stepmother grows ever harsher in her determination to groom her rebellious stepdaughter for either marriage or confinement in a convent.
As danger circles, Vasilisa must defy even the people she loves and call on dangerous gifts she has long concealed–this, in order to protect her family from a threat that seems to have stepped from her nurse’s most frightening tales.
The Familiars by Stacey Halls
Cover Artist: Lucy Rose Cartwright and Alexandra Allden
The Essex Serpent meets The Miniaturist in this rich and compelling historical novel, set against the frenzy of the real 1612 Witch Trials of Pendle Hill, that explores the rights of 17th century women, as the fate of a nobelwoman and her unborn child rests on proving the innocence of her midwife, an accused witch.
Young Fleetwood Shuttleworth, noblewoman of Gawthorpe Hall, one of the finest houses in Lancashire, is pregnant for the fourth time. None of her previous pregnancies have been successful, and her husband Richard is anxious for an heir. When Fleetwood finds a hidden letter from the doctor who delivered her last stillbirth, she learns of the prediction that she will not survive another pregnancy. By chance she meets a midwife named Alice Grey, who promises to help Fleetwood deliver a healthy baby and prove the physician wrong. But Alice herself is soon drawn into the witchcraft accusations that are sweeping the area. Fleetwood must risk everything to help clear her name.
But is there more to Alice than meets the eye? As the two women’s lives become inextricably bound together, the now infamous Witch Trials of 1612 approach, and Fleetwood’s impending delivery looms. Time is running out, and both their lives are at stake. Only they know the truth. Only they can save each other.
Fleetwood Shuttleworth, Alice Grey and all the other characters in this novel are based on real people who fell under the spell of these witch trials. Even woodland creatures, “the familiars,” are suspected of aiding the local sorceresses in their practice of dark magic. In the early 17th century Lancashire was deemed a lawless county full of Catholics, criminals and conspirators, and King James I was obsessed with capturing witches, who were mostly poor, illiterate women.
Historians have asked, “Was witch-hunting woman-hunting?” THE FAMILIARS explores the themes of women’s rights in this period, many of which still resonate today.
I particularly like the amount o detail on this cover and that you can look at it several times before noticing the noose hidden around the frame. Subtle and menacing! The Foundling, also by this author, has a fantastic cover too.
The Surface Breaks by Louise O’Neill
Cover Artist: Paola Escobar
Deep beneath the sea, off the cold Irish coast, Gaia is a young mermaid who dreams of freedom from her controlling father. On her first swim to the surface, she is drawn towards a human boy. She longs to join his carefree world, but how much will she have to sacrifice? What will it take for the little mermaid to find her voice? Hans Christian Andersen’s original fairy tale is reimagined through a searing feminist lens, with the stunning, scalpel-sharp writing and world building that has won Louise her legions of devoted fans. A book with the darkest of undercurrents, full of rage and rallying cries: storytelling at its most spellbinding.
The Dollmaker of Krakow by R. M. Romero
Cover Artist: Lisa Perrin
In the land of dolls, there is magic.
In the land of humans, there is war.
Everywhere there is pain.
But together there is hope.
Karolina is a living doll whose king and queen have been overthrown. But when a strange wind spirits her away from the Land of the Dolls, she finds herself in Krakow, Poland, in the company of the Dollmaker, a man with an unusual power and a marked past.
The Dollmaker has learned to keep to himself, but Karolina’s courageous and compassionate manner lead him to smile and to even befriend a violin-playing father and his daughter–that is, once the Dollmaker gets over the shock of realizing a doll is speaking to him.
But their newfound happiness is dashed when Nazi soldiers descend upon Poland. Karolina and the Dollmaker quickly realize that their Jewish friends are in grave danger, and they are determined to help save them, no matter what the risks.
The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly
Cover Artist: Robert Ryan
High in his attic bedroom, twelve-year-old David mourns the death of his mother, with only the books on his shelf for company. But those books have begun to whisper to him in the darkness. Angry and alone, he takes refuge in his imagination and soon finds that reality and fantasy have begun to meld. While his family falls apart around him, David is violently propelled into a world that is a strange reflection of his own — populated by heroes and monsters and ruled by a faded king who keeps his secrets in a mysterious book, The Book of Lost Things.
Taking readers on a vivid journey through the loss of innocence into adulthood and beyond, New York Times bestselling author John Connolly tells a dark and compelling tale that reminds us of the enduring power of stories in our lives.
A Pocketful of Crows by Joanne Harris
Cover Artist: Bonnie Helen Hawkins
I am as brown as brown can be,
And my eyes as black as sloe;
I am as brisk as brisk can be,
And wild as forest doe.
(The Child Ballads, 295)
So begins a beautiful tale of love, loss and revenge. Following the seasons, A Pocketful of Crows balances youth and age, wisdom and passion and draws on nature and folklore to weave a stunning modern mythology around a nameless wild girl.
Only love could draw her into the world of named, tamed things. And it seems only revenge will be powerful enough to let her escape.
Beautifully illustrated by Bonnie Helen Hawkins, this is a stunning and original modern fairytale.
Cogheart by Peter Bunzl
Cover Artist: Becca Stadtlander
Some secrets change the world in a heartbeat…
Lily’s life is in mortal peril. Her father is missing and now silver-eyed men stalk her through the shadows. What could they want from her?
With her friends—Robert, the clockmaker’s son, and Malkin, her mechanical fox—Lily is plunged into a murky and menacing world. Too soon Lily realizes that those she holds dear may be the very ones to break her heart…
Murder, mayhem and mystery meet in this gripping Victorian adventure.
The Mask of Aribella by Anna Hogton
Cover Artist: Helen Crawford-White
On the eve of her birthday, Aribella discovers she has a secret power – when angered, flames shoot from her fingertips.
Frightened, she runs away, only to be rescued by a magical organization of masked heroes with their own special skills. Aribella and her new friends have sworn to defend Venice, but can they defeat the evil rising from the Island of the Dead?
A captivating middle-grade fantasy in the entrancing setting of historical Venice,
The Clockwork Crow by Catherine Fisher
Cover Artist: Anne Glenn
Travelling to a new home with an unknown new family, orphan Seren Rees is shivering in a Victorian station waiting room, when she is given a mysterious newspaper parcel by a strange and frightened man, who then disappears. Reluctantly she takes it with her… But what is in the parcel? Who are the Family who must not be spoken of, and can the Crow help Seren find Tom, the boy who has been missing for a year and a day, before the owner of the parcel finds her?
The Clockwork Crow is a gripping Christmas tale of enchantment and belonging, set in a frost-bound mansion in snowy mid-Wales, from a master storyteller.
Deeplight by Frances Hardinge
Cover Artist: Aitch
Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea meets Frankenstein in Frances Hardinge’s latest fantasy adventure
The gods are dead. Decades ago, they turned on one another and tore each other apart. Nobody knows why. But are they really gone forever? When 15-year-old Hark finds the still-beating heart of a terrifying deity, he risks everything to keep it out of the hands of smugglers, military scientists, and a secret fanatical cult so that he can use it to save the life of his best friend, Jelt. But with the heart, Jelt gradually and eerily transforms. How long should Hark stay loyal to his friend when he’s becoming a monster—and what is Hark willing to sacrifice to save him?
A Pinch of Magic by Michelle Harrison
Cover Artist: Melissa Castrillon
See a behind the scenes look at the process of designing the cover.
Three sisters trapped by an ancient curse.
Three magical objects with the power to change their fate.
Will they be enough to break the curse?
Or will they lead the sisters even deeper into danger? …
The enchanting new story from Michelle Harrison, author of the bestselling Thirteen Treasures Trilogy.
The Way Past Winter by Kiran Millwood Hargrave
Cover Artist: Helen Crawford-White
Mila and her sisters live with their brother Oskar in a small forest cabin in the snow. One night, a fur-clad stranger arrives seeking shelter for himself and his men. But by the next morning, they’ve gone – taking Oskar with them. Fearful for his safety, Mila and her sisters set out to bring Oskar back – even it means going north, crossing frozen wild-lands to find a way past an eternal winter.
#SixforSunday is created by Steph from A Little But a Lot.
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Thanks for reading!