Top Ten Favorite Book Covers Of Books I’ve Read

Top Ten Tuesday2

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic is favorite book covers. While readers don’t usually judge books by their covers, we do pay attention to them. An ugly cover won’t prevent me from reading a book but I’ll definitely comment on how it looks like. On the other hand, a beautiful cover will make me want to own a physical copy of the book – sometimes even if I don’t enjoy reading the story. I don’t usually discuss covers in detail, not like my friend Capillya of That Cover Girl does, but I do take notice of covers that I think are pretty or if they fit the story very well. Here are some of the covers that have stood out for me:

Australian cover for The Piper's Son

The Piper’s Son by Melina Marchetta (Aussie edition) – I’ve always loved the Aussie edition of this book, one of my favorite Marchettas because I think it’s a good depiction of Tom. I think the lack of color shows how Tom’s life is so bleak at the start of the book.

Pegasus

Pegasus by Robin McKinley – Such a beautiful artwork for a young girl and her pegasus, I immediately wanted to own a copy as soon as I saw this cover.

Queen's Thief

The Queen’s Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner – As you call know, I’m a huge fan of this series and it doesn’t hurt that I think the covers match the stories inside. Vince Natale did a great job in these designs, incorporating the common theme of hands and partially-covered faces.

The Mark of Solomon

The Lion Hunter and The Empty Kingdom by Elizabeth Wein – Another favorite series that has well-done covers, I like the artist’s style in these drawings because they look like paintings.

Scorpio Races UK

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater (UK edition) – I think this UK edition is much better than the US edition, fits the killer horses better than the other cover design.

Unsticky

Unsticky by Sarra Manning (UK edition) – Love the magazine look of this cover, I think it’s perfect for glamour aspect of the story.

The Chocolate Kiss

The Chocolate Kiss by Laura Florand – I actually like both the covers for the first two Amour et Chocolat novels but I like this one a little more because I’m a huge fan of macarons. And the dog adds to the overall cuteness.

Attachments cover

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell – I really like the office setting in this cover and that it shows all three of the major characters in the book. I like the bright and happy color scheme as well, I’m glad I was able to grab this edition.

Seraphina

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman – Gorgeous artwork of a dragon flying over a city, here’s another cover that fits the book perfectly.

A Face Like Glass

A Face Like Glass by Frances Hardinge – This cover looks magical, just like the story that it represents. I like the emphasis on the figure in the middle while scenes of craftsmanship are shown at the edges.

As you can see, I tend to have a theme in my favorites: I like covers that don’t actually show people’s faces because it lets my own imagination do the work when it comes to how I want to picture the characters. I really like artwork as well, especially when I feel like it’s a good fit for the story inside. It’s so much fun to look at pretty covers, I wish I could have postcard versions of all of these so I can send them to friends. What about you, what are some of your favorite book covers? Are there covers that you like even if you didn’t enjoy reading the book?

Shoot That Book: Mary Stewart Twins

Shoot That Book combines my passion for books and my tendency to become trigger happy with a camera. My lack of photography skills is compensated by my enthusiasm. Basically, I like taking pictures of books.

I know I’ve featured Mary Stewart’s books often enough here on my blog even though I’ve only read a couple of them. This week, I started on another of her romantic suspense novels set in Greece: My Brother Michael. I couldn’t help but notice how similar the reissued Hodder & Stoughton copies of My Brother Michael and Nine Coaches Waiting are. It looks like the young women on the covers are twins:

They’re even wearing the same outfit, in different colors. Plus, they’re both doing the same thing: smelling flowers. I know this happens a lot in book covers – similar images or illustrations or models are used. But it’s the first time that I’ve noticed it in books written by the same author and from the same publisher. What other book cover lookalikes have you spotted lately?

Queen’s Thief Week: Guest Post by Vince Natale

Vince Natale is the incredibly talented artist responsible for the matching covers of the Queen’s Thief series. I seriously love these covers so I wanted to feature Vince here on the blog for Queen’s Thief Week. I’m pretty clueless when it comes to interviewing illustrators so I asked my friend Capillya of That Cover Girl to help me out with the questions. Also, his concept art for the series has been featured on Sounis, which you can view here and here (click on the links only if you’ve read the books, some images may be spoilery).

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Have you always wanted to become an illustrator? How did you get into illustrating book covers?
I knew I wanted to become an illustrator during my second year of art school. I’d always wanted to be an artist, but wasn’t really aware of the potential in the commercial area, the interesting and broad variety of things that people/companies needed to have art for. When I met my illustration mentor Peter Caras, I was really attracted to the types of things he was doing and decided that illustration was the thing for me.

I got into book covers, I suppose, because of the great demand, the fact that my mentor was a book cover illustrator, and with books there was lots of room for creativity, and varied subject matter.

What’s it like doing the artwork for the Queen’s Thief series? Was there pressure to make them have the same feel? Did they give you free rein in coming up with a concept?
Working on the Attolia series was a great experience. I really had a lot of fun with these covers. They were limited in their complexity, which meant I could focus on interesting detail, work with creative lighting situations, and color schemes. There was a need for these covers all to have the same “feel”, but I wouldn’t call it “pressure”. Most of the “feel” I think came from the squarish shape of the art, and the kind of zooming in on details of a “scene” rather than a whole scene itself. Hands were important, and kind of the focus, and definitely a common thread in the covers, as well as no complete faces.

For the first three books the publisher (editors/art directors) had a rough idea of what they wanted for the covers. and sent me some mocked up comps to go by. Of course visual things changed a little bit due to my input and interpretation, but the basic idea or concept remained. The last book, though, was a different story. I was given the manuscript to read and come up with concepts. I sketched out quite a few ideas for the publisher – there was just so much imagery in the book that really could have worked well in expressing the theme and color of the story. After seeing my rough concepts the editors decided that something including a horse in it might be more appropriate. I wasn’t in total agreement with them on this as it would force the cover to have a decidedly different look, content and design/composition wise, than the rest. They were OK with that, and after I delivered sketches of the main character on horseback, that’s what they decided to go with.

I love the common theme of hands and only partially seen faces in the covers. Did you get to read any of the books? If so, which one was your favorite, and did it have a connection to the ease of illustrating for that cover?
The only complete book I read was the last one (A Conspiracy of Kings). Reading it gave plenty of fodder for visual imagery and it was somewhat easy to come up with ideas. For the other books I was given synopses that gave me enough information to get a good idea of the characters’ personalities, looks, attitudes and behaviours. They also gave me good idea of plot and atmosphere, as well as background settings to work from in order to decide on a “tone” or “feel” for the individual illustrations.

How would you describe your particular type of artistry?
Hmm. I suppose my style of work would be considered contemporary realism. Some say photorealism. Me, I just call it realism.

Can you give us samples of other book covers that you’ve designed?
Gee, I’ve done so many. I’ve done covers in the genre’s of Horror, Fantasy, Mystery, Sci-Fi, Mens Adventure, Historical, Romance, Urban Fantasy, Vampires, and Young Adult.

What are some of your favorite book covers?
The Attolia series happen to be a few of my favorites. Others that I like, and liked doing were some of the covers for “The Vampire Huntress series” by LA Banks. Generally, my favorite things are on the darker, more mysterious side.

If anyone is interested in seeing more work, feel free to point them to my website.

Can you give us sample sketches that you did for the covers?
These first four are my “tight” or final sketches for the covers showing some color notes as well.

These are the rough sketches I did for Conspiracy of Kings that were rejected. I was REALLY hoping to do the one of him in the embroidered coat with his hands on the hilt of the sword… Oh well!

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Thank you, Vince! Isn’t the whole creative process behind the covers so very interesting? What I love about these covers is they represent the contents of the books really well (except probably for the size of Hamiathes’s Gift in The Thief). I think the sketches for A Conspiracy of Kings are great because those are actual scenes that Vince envisioned while reading the book. I really want to have matching hardcover editions with these beautiful Vince Natale covers. What you think of the Queen’s Thief covers and everything else that Vince shared with us?

Shoot That Book: Mary Stewart Lovelies

Shoot That Book combines my passion for books and my tendency to become trigger happy with a camera. My lack of photography skills is compensated by my enthusiasm. Basically, I like taking pictures of books.

I know I already posted a picture of my latest Mary Stewart acquisitions in my In My Mailbox post this week but I couldn’t help but take more pictures of these pretty editions. I’m now the proud owner of four of her stand alone romantic suspense novels – only ten more to go until I have the complete set. Here’s a shot that shows the lovely heroines on the cover:

That’s Charity, Nicola, Linda and Mary. The details on the upper right hand of the covers:

I like the ones representing Paris, Crete and Northumberland. I don’t know why the image on the lower right corner just has a plant instead of a place. Here’s a group shot of all the covers:

Really excited to read all of these and to get the rest of the books in the set. Don’t you all agree that the covers are beautiful? Are any of you planning to complete a certain set or series of books lately?

Shoot That Book: Nails That Match Book Covers

Shoot That Book combines my passion for books and my tendency to become trigger happy with a camera. My lack of photography skills is compensated by my enthusiasm. Basically, I like taking pictures of books.

For my last Shoot That Book post of the year, I thought I’d do something that involves several pictures. I noticed that throughout the year, I’ve been posting pictures of my nails whenever they match the cover of a book that I have. So I compiled all of them into a collage of sorts:

Shiny pink for Unsticky by Sarra Manning, mint green and purple for Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins, apple green and blue-green for The Last Anniversary by Liane Moriarty and bright red for Ex-Mas by Kate Brian. I used to be hopeless when it comes to painting my own nails but I think I just need more practice. So look for more shots like the ones posted here whenever I find a nail polish that will match a certain book cover. I really enjoy doing my Shoot That Book posts so expect to see more book-related photos in 2012. Happy Holidays, everyone!

Classics Get a YA Makeover

I was surprised when I saw these two books in a local bookstore yesterday:

I immediately thought to myself that Penguin gave classics a makeover to attract more young adult readers. Can’t say it’s a bad thing because those covers look pretty. I never realized that Hamlet was such a handsome young man? 😛 And if it encourages more people to read the books then that’s always a plus. I did a search for this new line of books called Spinebreakers and here are some others:

Sorry for the pixellated images, those are the best that I could find. I like the covers for Hamlet, Dracula, Frankenstein and Romeo and Juliet. What about the rest of you, are you tempted to buy copies of these revamped classics?