Hi everyone, it’s Sabrina!! We all know the old saying “don’t judge a book by its cover”, however… I end up doing exactly that sometimes. If a book has a pretty cover or conveys a specific vibe that I’m looking for, I’m more likely to pick it up sooner. Sometimes, a beautiful or intriguing cover will have me reading a book without knowing anything else about it. In today’s post I’ll be telling you about some books that I picked up (mostly) because of their covers and discussing why I like their design.
The Need by Helen Phillips
Cover Thoughts: I think this cover is absolutely stunning. I love the contrast between the black background and the green ferns, and the way the plants wrap around the letters – this really gave me a sense of what the story could be about. I also like how there is small writing both on the top and on the bottom of the cover, it frames the rest in a nice way.
Story Thoughts: This book is a harrowing account of motherhood and the things mothers will do for their children. It’s a totally unique sci-fi/horror/thriller that packs a massive emotional punch and I think more people should give it a read!
The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
Cover Thoughts: This cover evokes feelings of serenity and I love the pop of colour provided by the flowers among the faded lily pads. The placement and size of the font is great too because it doesn’t distract from the beauty of the photo.
Story Thoughts: 😬 I didn’t make it more than one chapter into this book, unfortunately. Though the writing style was interesting, I found it nonsensical on more than one occasion and some of the things described will never leave my mind – in a bad way. The threads of plot that I got to discover in the little I did read were intriguing, but not enough for me to get past the writing. When I began to think “hmm, maybe I should DNF this…” the book provided me with a sign by mentioning my least favourite flowers, anthuriums. I also then went on to read the content warnings for this book on The StoryGraph and suffice it to say, I’m glad I didn’t keep reading this one.
The Sound of Stars by Alechia Dow
Cover Thoughts: Blue and purple are two of my favourite colours and I love them together too. I find this cover so striking and gorgeous – it gets even better the more details you notice, like the sparkle in the clouds and the ripples in the water. The font for the title is great because it makes me think of an alien language. I used to run a “lights” themed tumblr blog in 2012 (if that means anything to you), so I guess it shouldn’t surprise me that I love this cover so much.
Story Thoughts: I recently spoke about this book in our April Wrap Up, so I won’t go on for too long about it. Basically, I loved one main character (the human) but not the other (the alien), the pacing didn’t work well for me, but I loved the last 100 pages. So this YA sci-fi romance ended up being a very mixed bag for me!
The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren
Cover Thoughts: I definitely would not have picked this up if the cover had not been so vibrant and tropical looking. It enticed me with the colours and the layout, plus I enjoy what appears to me to be a watercolour style of art.
Story Thoughts: I think this is the first contemporary adult romance that I ever read, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised to find myself laughing all throughout the first half of the book, but disappointed when the second half took the plot in a direction I wasn’t all that interested in – and that was not nearly as funny as the beginning.
Taboo by Kim Scott
Cover Thoughts: I saw someone post about this book on Twitter and the cover immediately caught my attention. The way it’s laid out is so unique and it looks very high quality as well. The symmetry is pleasing to my eye and the shadows add to the atmosphere.
Story Thoughts: I never ended up rating this book because I couldn’t untangle my feelings about it. It’s a very heavy adult contemporary about a young Indigenous woman and her journey, along with her family, to the taboo site of a historical massacre. Again, it’s super dark but it does end on a hopeful note so I do recommend it if you can handle reading about violence, particularly sexual violence, addiction and probably some other things I’ve forgotten.
The Game of Love and Death by Martha Brockenbrough
Cover Thoughts: This cover caught my attention to such an extent that I bought it without knowing a single damn thing about it. The contrasting colours, the way the hands look like they’re puppeteering, the size of the plane compared to the hands, the little trickle of blood…I love it. I really thought this would be an incredible fantasy mystery.
Story Thoughts: Big surprise, I didn’t even like this book 😦 It was more historical romance than anything, and I didn’t even believe in the romance. Every issue and theme in this was explored at such a surface level that I found myself constantly bored and just wanting to get through it. Plus, the aspect of the story that I was most interested in – the relationship between Love and Death – was the least developed.
Magic For Liars by Sarah Gailey
Cover Thoughts: This cover is so striking and attention grabbing with its bright colours and the intriguing symbol of the eye on the hand. It made me think the book would be fun, mysterious and magical.
Story Thoughts: In this case, the cover greatly misled me. I found this book to be more melancholy than anything, with a slower, reflective pace. It was mysterious and a little magical, but the magic was a background element. It also featured a lot of teen drama which I was not looking for in this book. Still, there were some interesting aspects to the book that kept me reading.
The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley
Cover Thoughts: I adore the cover because it’s so intricate and fancy looking, and I love the soft green with the metallic colour. I love how there are so many little details, from the watch to the little bombs to the octopus – it really captures my imagination.
Story Thoughts: I’m still so confused and sad when I think back on this book because I can’t believe how wrong it went. So many aspects of this book should have made it great – the inventions, the historical atmosphere, the romance, the mystery – but it fell so flat for me. I never grew attached to the characters and I didn’t enjoy the writing style at all. I was halfway through before I realised I wasn’t going to enjoy this but I forced myself through it.
Neverworld Wake by Marisha Pessl
Cover Thoughts: A beautiful, atmospheric cover goes a long way in making me want to read a book, and this one hits the mark perfectly. It’s so gorgeous and it has the strange face/mountain double image that gives it a complex, fascinating quality. This is a little weird, but I also like how the text isn’t in a straight line, especially the author’s name, and curves with the landscape.
Story Thoughts: This was sadly another book that didn’t reach my expectations. It sure was a strange book, and it was mysterious and atmospheric, but I didn’t like or appreciate any of the characters and I hated the resolution to the main mystery.
With The Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo
Cover Thoughts: This is another cover that drew me in with bright colours and a fun illustration style. I love how bright and happy it seems and the inclusion of the fruits! I love the depiction of the main character as well, her hairstyle in particular. I will say that I don’t love the title text on this one, I think the white is too stark, and it gets in the way of the picture.
Story Thoughts: I talked about this book a fair bit last year, as it was one of my new favourites! Emoni, the main character, is incredible – I loved her characterisation and development over the novel, as well as her complex relationships with those around her. She is so driven and hardworking, but also caring and resilient. She absolutely made the book for me and I would love to read a sequel about her.
Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire
Cover Thoughts: I saw this cover and I instantly fell in love – it’s like it was designed specifically for me because this cover represents all I want in life. A glowing, magical forest with a doorway to a mysterious place? So compelling, and beautiful. I also love the detail of the title text passing through the doorway – it’s so clever.
Story Thoughts: We’re back to disappointing results with this one. It wasn’t what I was hoping or what I thought the cover conveyed. It takes place mostly at “Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children” – a place that is not at all magical! I was scammed! I thought the characters were very one dimensional, that the writing style was nothing special and I couldn’t make sense of the mystery either. I do find the premise interesting though, and I would be interested to read more books from this series.
A Winter’s Promise by Christelle Dabos
Cover Thoughts: This cover is so unique, especially for a fantasy book. I love the illustration of the floating castle (or whatever it’s technically called) and the contrast of the black lines on the blue cover. The white ribbon is a fun accent which I like too.
Story Thoughts: Though the cover led me to believe this story would be a lot more fun than it ended up being, I still really enjoyed this book and want to read the next ones as soon as I can. I’m really interested in the magic system and to see how the characters and their relationships develop.
As you can hopefully tell from this post, I’ve had very mixed results with picking up books based on their covers. There have been books I’ve disliked but also some favourites, so I am definitely going to continue this method of choosing books to read!
What do you think?
Are there any books you’ve picked up because of their covers? Have you read any of the books I’ve listed? And do you like their covers? Let me know!