Top Ten Tuesday: Go To Recommendations

After realizing I hadn’t made a Top Ten list in some time, I decided to make one featuring my 10 favorite go-to recommendations for books/series/authors.  You’ll see why I couldn’t just settle on one category once you read the list, but these seem to be my favorite recommendation pile for whenever a friend, family member, or random internet person asks for cool new stuff to read.  It does change over time as new books and authors get released and I read backlog titles, but I tend to shout about these the most right now.

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Top 10 Tuesday: Visual Elements

This week’s Top 10 focuses on visuals!  Which is awesome because there are so many fun books that I’ve collected and read based on artwork.  See where the meme started here!

This is just a brief listing of some of my absolute favorite art accompanied stories 🙂

Princess Ai: Ultimate Edition

A manga that featured an art style that embraced music, pop rock, girly pretty things, and gothic lolita fashions.

Kitty & Dino

Not only is this a cute picture book about a cat that finds itself sharing a home with a newborn dino, but the art is gorgeous enough to frame.

Gotham City Sirens #1

My favorite trio of characters from the Batman universe presented in a lovely art style.

Stardust

There’s a lovely illustrated novel of Stardust that features the art of Charles Vess.

Flora and the Peacocks

Another picture book, this one tells the tale of newly formed friendships without using words.

MeruPuri, Vol. 1 (MeruPuri, #1)

I fell in love with author/artist’s art back in high school, and I still re-read this manga series occasionally.

The Tiger (Love, #1)

This graphic novel tells the everyday life stories of various animals without using words.  It focuses on the main animal but shows the environment and other animals in the area as well.

Rat Queens, Vol. 1: Sass & Sorcery

Here’s a graphic novel series that’s basically Dungeons and Dragons with an all-female, butt-kicking cast!

Monstress, Volume 1: Awakening (Collected Editions)

The art is actually what drew me to this graphic novel, and now I can’t wait for volume 2.

Return to Labyrinth, Vol. 1

If you love the Labyrinth movie, then you’ll love this sequel manga series.

Sailor Moon, Vol. 01 (Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon #1)

So no visual favorites list would be complete without a Sailor Moon reference, so here’s one of my oldest, favorite manga of all time.

 

What books drew you in based on the artwork?  Share your lists below!

Top 10 Tuesday: Favorite Covers from Favorite Authors

We all know the saying, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.”  And, we all know that we do the exact opposite all the time.  And part of this is because we are visual creatures, but another aspect is targeted marketing because, to be honest, covers are made to sell.  There’s been a lot of talk lately about covers, but today I want to focus on my favorite covers from some favorite authors.  Some of them are older publications, some foreign editions, and some are just the original cover I remember reading!

Magic Study (Study, #2)

I found the original covers from Luna Books to be much more visually appealing than any of the newer ones.  There was so much to look at and it gave more emphasis to the fantasy aspect.

Cinder (Cronache Lunari, #1)

I can’t remember which language this is, but I love the swirliness and intrigue portrayed.

Daughter of Smoke & Bone (Daughter of Smoke & Bone, #1)

While not my favorite cover as it doesn’t do the story justice, I admit I picked this book up because of the cover.  And was so glad I did as Laini is now one of my top favorite authors.

Image result for japanese green rider coverImage result for green rider covers

I love almost all of the covers for the Green Rider series.  The artwork is amazing and fits that story so well.  And the foreign editions hold up nicely.

In the Hand of the Goddess (Song of the Lioness, #2)

After finding Tamora Pierce, I started collecting all the Tortall books and this is one of the covers I found at my favorite second hand bookstore.

Acorna's Rebels (Acorna, #6)

Acorna was one of earliest favorite series and this was my favorite book of the series and also my favorite cover.

The Black Swan (Fairy Tales, #2)

I LOVE this cover!  And it’s my favorite book by Lackey!

Wolf Captured (Firekeeper Saga, #4)

This cover features everything I loved about the Firekeeper Saga: wolves, big cats, and talking to animals.

The Fire Opal (Lost Continent, #4)

I love all the covers that were painted by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law,  but this one in particular was very appealing.

Fire Touched (Mercy Thompson, #9)

This is probably my favorite of the Mercy Thompson covers, but they’re all pretty amazing.

That’s all for this week, next week the planned theme focuses on art in graphic novels and picture books.  To see all the chosen themes, check out the site that originated the meme.  I hope you’ll share your lists as well.

 

Top 10 Best Book Covers of 2016

Today’s Top 10 in 2016 topic is best book covers! “Best Book Covers of 2016 (MUST be a book released in 2016. Would be best if it’s a book you’ve READ in 2016, but it’s not required).”

Since yesterday’s post wasn’t a true top 10, today’s should make up for that 🙂  Here’s my favorite 2016 release book covers, most of which I was able to get read already!

The Transference Engine

I haven’t read this one yet, but look at that hummingbird!Empire of Storms (Throne of Glass, #5)

So, I really like the covers for the whole Throne of Glass series, but I was at the reveal for this one, which makes it a little more special.A Promise of Fire (Kingmaker Chronicles #1)

I actually like Breath of Fire‘s cover better, but it’s a 2017 release and this one is also really good.Heartless

The Owlcrate exclusive cover is simple yet has good composition.A Shadow Bright and Burning (Kingdom on Fire, #1)

I love the colors in this fiery rose!Shadow Magic  (Shadow Magic #1)

This cover gives such a fantastic intro to the actual story, plus who doesn’t love a giant bat.Truthwitch (The Witchlands, #1)

I haven’t read this one yet, but the cover is very alluring.The Sleeping Prince (The Sin Eater’s Daughter, #2)

I haven’t had a chance yet to read this one, but the cover is just as amazing as The Sin-Eater’s Daughter, which was a great read.Fire Touched (Mercy Thompson, #9)

I love every cover in the Mercy Thompson series, but this one was incredibly powerful and really stuck with me this year.Heroine Complex (Heroine Complex, #1)

I found this book because of the cover artist and everything about this cover is awesome, which makes it my ultimate favorite 2016 cover!  Look at those demon cupcakes!!

Top Ten Things I Don’t Like About Covers

As promised, here’s the counterpart to last week’s Top 10.  Here I have some examples of covers that I don’t like with explanations about what upsets me.  These are definitely all personal taste/artistic reasons so feel free to disagree (without being nasty please) in the comments below.

Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass, #1)

 

Last week, I shared how much I liked the new cover for Throne of Glass.  Well, here’s the original.  Even though I liked the synopsis, this cover really threw me off.  It’s such an awkward pose, and the knife on her arm isn’t doing anything.  I’m really glad this cover went away.

 

 

 

 

 

The Elite (The Selection, #2)

 

 

As much as I liked the cover for The Selection, I hated this cover.  This red dress looks horrible and almost looks like someone photoshopped in on a computer instead of a real person wearing a real dress.  The color is great, but that dress…

 

 

 

 

Sunshine

 

 

One of several covers for this title, the close up of a single eye isn’t that intriguing to me.  I like the color, glimmer, and swirlies, but the eye almost screams horror, which doesn’t match all the things I just listed as liking.

 

 

 

 

 

Sweetly (Fairytale Retellings, #2)

 

 

I would like this cover better if I didn’t know a better one existed.  The hardcover’s original cover featured tree branches that curved in such a clever way as to make a sinister face.  I like when covers are clever, so this key is a big let down.

 

 

 

 

 

Fearless Fourteen (Stephanie Plum, #14)

 

 

One of my pet peeves about adult book covers is that the author’s name takes up so much space.  The second one is that adults can have awesome covers too.  We still choose books based on covers, and something like this just looks like a high schooler made it in Word for a computer class.

 

 

 

 

Whirligig

 

 

 

This cover makes me extremely uncomfortable, and I’m not sure why.  It matches the book and the title really well, but something just makes me feel weird.

 

 

 

 

 

The Peripheral

 

 

Maybe this cover matches the actual book, but I can’t make that connection as I haven’t read it.  This is just boring.  I wonder if it has a secondary cover with die cut words; however, there needs to be more cut outs to grab my attention.

 

 

 

 

Poison Study (Study, #1)

 

 

One more alternate cover, then I’ll stop 🙂

I mentioned yesterday that Poison Study underwent several cover iterations.  This one was for the YA specific release, and while I like the vines, they don’t share anything about the story or characters they’re covering.

 

 

 

 

The Night Dance: A Retelling of "The Twelve Dancing Princesses" (Once Upon a Time)

 

 

I understand why publisher aren’t showing full people on covers, and I understand showing partial faces.  What I don’t understand is why they decide to focus on the front torso of young women.  Have you noticed it’s mostly busty/hourglass girls?  And when a male is shown, he’s topless?  At least this one has another image on the bottom.

 

 

Daughter of Smoke & Bone (Daughter of Smoke & Bone, #1)

 

 

This is an eye-catching cover, and I love the blue.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t speak much to the story.  It could be a metaphor for the characters, who all seem to be hiding something.  But you really have to dig deep for this cover to tell you about the book.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lotus and Thorn

 

 

Here’s a bonus cover:  I actually really like this cover.  The colors, the image, the font all work together and give an impression of the actual book.  However, and this is nitpicky, the main character has six fingers on each hand.  It doesn’t appear that the model was altered to show that fact though, and it would have been pretty easy for a big publisher like Penguin.  I guess I was just disappointed by this oversight.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Top Ten Things I Like About Covers

It’s been awhile since my last Top Ten, so today I wanted to talk about things I like about covers.  Next week, I’ll share what I don’t like about covers.

Covers are a fantastic marketing tool, and everyone knows the saying, “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” even it we don’t follow it.  I’ve seen plenty of lists on blogs, GoodReads, and other social media where people have discussed what they like and don’t like, and I mostly agreed with what other people are saying but wanted to share some specific examples.

Here’s some of my favorite covers with why I am drawn to them!  Feel free to leave your opinions in the comments about what you like and dislike about the following covers.

Breath of Fire (Kingmaker Chronicles #2)

 

This cover was just revealed TWO WEEKS AGO!  And while I liked the first book’s cover, A Promise of Fire, this one is even more striking.  The model’s pose doesn’t look stiff or impossible, and those blues really pop.  I don’t know much about Greek clothing, but this matches what little I have read about, so kudos for matching the outfit to the setting as well.

 

 

 

 

Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer, #1)

 

 

Here’s a cover that’s non-gender specific, so hopefully even more people will read and enjoy this story.  I like that the symmetry is actually asymmetrical because it keeps bringing my eyes back to the cover.  Plus, I have a soft spot for wings, especially butterflies & moths.

 

 

 

 

Beneath the Fall

 

 

With this cover, I like both the font and the color contrasts.  Paring warmer purples with a splash of red is visually stunning, and when you add in the interesting font of title and series, you get an eye-grabbing cover.  Also, the art style matches the 40 full-color illustrations on the inside!

 

 

 

 

Shadow Magic

 

 

Here’s another cover that features contrast and great font; however, I really like the image on this one.  The characters have enough definition to be recognizable, but the shadowy aspect of the figures still allows the reader to fill in those details while reading.

 

 

 

 

Artemis Awakening

 

 

I can’t quite describe what I like about this cover, just that it draws me in.  And I like cats. And swirling patterns.  And Jane Lindskold.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Selection (The Selection, #1)

 

 

There’s a lot of hate for ballgown covers, but I think that was mostly because it became a trend and showed up on books that had no ballgown described or situations that called for them.  I do like these kinds of covers when it matches the story inside the book though.  Especially this one 🙂

 

 

 

 

Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass, #1)

 

 

This was not the original cover!  I was much happier with this one because it lent itself to the plot so much better.  And it’s more visually appealing.  The rest of the stories followed this example with a dressier version of the character shown on the back cover.

 

 

 

 

 

The School for Good and Evil (The School for Good and Evil, #1)

 

 

The like the juxtaposition and manifestation of good and evil on this cover.  The detail for both Schools is exquisite and interesting.  This book also had lineart throughout the text, which I enjoyed while reading.

 

 

 

 

 

Poison Study (Study #1)

 

 

I really liked the original cover for Poison Study back when Luna was still an imprint with Harlequin.  It gave a better sense of the setting and world building aspects.  The YA cover wasn’t terrible, just extremely vague.  And the new MIRA covers were pretty but featured the main character in long flowing dresses/robes, which never happened in the story.

 

 

 

The High King's Tomb (Green Rider, #3)

 

 

I really like all five of the Green Rider covers, but this one is my absolute favorite due to the fantastic rendering of this black stallion.  It’s such a powerful image and matches the tone and plot of the book.  Great pairing!

 

 

 

 

 

Shifting Shadows: Stories from the World of Mercy Thompson (Mercy Thompson #0.1, #0.6, #0.8, #1.5, #4.5, #5.5, #7.4)

 

 

The artist that creates the covers for the Mercy Thompson series does a great job with the subject matter.  I love the attention to detail and the backgrounds.  I do wish he was more consistent with the portrayal of Mercy’s tattoos, but otherwise the covers do a great job of introducing the reader to the story inside.

Top 10 Tuesday: 2016 Picture Books

Today, I want to share some of my favorite picture books from 2016.  As a cataloger, I see quite a few, but here are some that I thought really stood out.

  1. Goodnight Unicorn: A Magical Parody by Carla Oceanak

Goodnight Unicorn: A Magical Parody

An adorable parody of Goodnight Moon with beautiful illustrations perfect for any unicorn fanatic or fantasy-lover.

2. Quackers by Liz Wong

Quackers

A fun tale about a cat who is raised by a bunch of ducks.

3.If I had a Gryphon by Vikki VanSickle

If I Had a Gryphon

Adorable read-aloud, good for sharing with any young child who is interested in pets or just a good story.

4. Little Butterfly by Laura Logan

Little Butterfly

Fun, wordless picture book about kindness and compassion.

5. This is Not a Picture Book! by Sergio Ruzzier

This Is Not a Picture Book!

A cute and enjoyable read about what books can mean to you, the reader.

6. Fabulous Frogs by Martin Jenkins

Fabulous Frogs

This is a beautifully illustrated introduction to frogs, which are so much fun!

7. A Fairy Friend by Sue Fliess

A Fairy Friend

Disney-esque illustrations couple well with lyrical, rhyming text that would be great to read-aloud.

8. The Cloud Princess by Khoa Le

The Cloud Princess

Another beautifully illustrated picture book; this one introduces the reader to the water cycle in a fantasy format.

9. The Storybook Knight by Helen Docherty

The Storybook Knight

I really enjoyed this fun, rhyming tale!  It’s not due out until October, but you should put it on your pre-order/TBR list right now.

OK, so I didn’t quite make it to 10, but we’re only part way through 2016.  I’m sure I’ll do another post like this later in the year as well.

What picture books have stood out to you?  Do you have a favorite already?  Reply in the comments below!

Top 10 Backlog

Today for Top 10 Tuesday, I want to share the top 10 books on my backlog TBR list, which will hopefully get crossed off throughout 2016.  I want to know if you’ve read these titles or if they are also lurking on your TBR list.  (Order based on publication date.)

10. Paper Mage

Found this one at a used bookstore many years ago.  The magic system has something to do with origami, so it’s survived several purges.  Not sure why I haven’t read it yet though.

9. Sign of the Crescent

I really don’t remember much about this one, but I’ve owned it forever at this point, so I really need to read it.

8.Tiger Moon

I’m pretty sure this one is based around a Hindu myth or Indian fairy tale.  Probably going to feature this one when I do a post about all the backed-up fractured fairy tales/retellings I need to read.

7. Bloodhound (Beka Cooper, #2)

I fell behind on this series, most likely because Tamora Pierce stopped releasing new books as frequently and I don’t want Tortall to end.  EVER!  But she’s a favorite author, so it’s time to catch up.

6. Storm Glass (Glass, #1)

Another favorite author, but I have truly only read the original Poison Study trilogy.  Although I started collecting her books almost immediately 🙂

5. The Legend of Eli Monpress (The Legend of Eli Monpress, #1-3)

I started reading the first book in this omnibus a couple years ago, and I enjoyed what I was able to read.  Unfortunately, I was in the process of moving and set aside the book, so I need to pick it back up.

4. God Save the Queen (The Immortal Empire, #1)

I’ve started this one several times, but always seem to get interrupted before the story truly grabs me.  The beginning is certainly interesting, so this year I plan on finally finishing it!

3. Stormdancer (The Lotus War, #1)

This one I haven’t actually owned very long, but I’ve wanted to read it for awhile now.  Who wouldn’t like a story that’s steampunk Japan?

2. Fangirl

This book feels like it was written specifically for me, so I know I’ll like it once I read it.

  1. Mirror Sight (Green Rider, #5)

The one author I will wait forever for as each book is written with such detail and intricacy that rereads are mandatory and appreciated.  And with Firebrand in the editing stage, I want to be ready.