Monthly Archives: September 2013

Judging a Book

Recently at Delve Writing we had a class on cover art, and — entirely separately — my friend Becca is revisiting her cover for Break From You. So I’ve got covers on the brain. The thing is, covers, like any kind of art, are extremely subjective. What works for me might not work for you and vice versa. And there are so many styles and designs in the world. I thought I’d highlight a few and see why they worked for me — or didn’t in some cases.

 

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

  • Great book, but I felt like the cover was really misleading. I was expecting a creepy ghost story and got a generic urban fantasy. Covers make promises that should be kept within the book and this one didn’t.

 

CinderBeastly

  • Aren’t these beautiful? Color on black really works for me. Very striking.

 

TransformRestore

  • Transformation: Dear God, what were they thinking? Glow in the dark wings are not sexy no matter how drunk you are.
  • Restoration: They must have sobered up because this one’s much better.

 

BreathGirlQueen

  • I didn’t realize it before but these have some superb similarities. Evocative, just slightly creepy, and so representative of the book and the disabilities of the characters. The Queen’s Thief series has some fantastic covers, but this one was a satisfyingly bold choice.

 

miserere.finalcov.indd

  • Not just a pretty face, this cover captures the main conflict and the choices and growth of the characters.

 

BlueFantasy

  • Sometimes fantasy landscapes just work. Especially when they’re blue.

 

AnnaNecklacePoison

  • Breathtaking.

 

WitherBeauty

  • I am so done with emo girls in pretty dresses.

 

WinterfairKomarr

  • Winterfair gifts seems cool and romantic until you’ve read the series and you realize Miles is 4’9″. About a foot shorter than Ekaterin. 
  • Komarr: This one’s much closer to the truth.

 

UnwindReplace

  • So chilling. I’m learning I have a thing for creepy.

 

Flesh and Spirit

  • And finally my favorite. I love the mood. So evocative with imagery that exactly matches the books. 

 

Which ones do you like? What are your favorite covers?

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The Knight’s Champion

Freak the MightyFreak the Mighty by Rodman Philbrick

 

“I never had a brain until Freak came along…”

12-year-old Max is used to having no friends. He’s used to the whispers about his size, about his intelligence. About his father. But when Freak moves into his neighborhood, small and smart as an encyclopedia, the two of them find they are stronger together. For together they are Freak the Mighty.

 

I can’t believe I waited till I was twenty-eight to read this book. I have kind of a thing for big softies and their genius counterparts, like Fezzik and Inigo (The Princess Bride by William Goldman), and Grunthor and Achmed (Rhapsody by Elizabeth Haydon). Their trust and partnerships always make for compelling reading. And Max’s background made him all the more sympathetic. I loved that Freak was never frightened of Max, even when all the adults were nervous. Freak understood him and reached out to him from the moment they met.

As for Freak’s disability, I don’t know much about Moquio Syndrome, but I loved Philbrick’s portrayal of him. We saw Freak through Max’s eyes, and to Max, he was a genius and a hero. Unlike the adults in their lives, we don’t pity Freak because Max doesn’t see anything to pity. Any time someone refers to him as “that poor boy”, Max is there to disabuse them of that notion. If Freak is a brave knight, then Max is his noble champion.

Freak also had an amazing ability to take himself out of his situation into something more exciting. I can totally relate to imagining a future outside of what is possible. It would depress the hell out of me, but I can see how it would give a kid like Freak a way to cope.

And in a way, Max has his own disabilities. The way people judge him based on his looks and family and his performance in school limits him in his day to day life. It’s only Freak who looks beyond the surface and sees Max. And in the end, it’s Freak who changes the way Max sees himself.

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A-Z Bookish Survey

I saw this over on Bookworm Blues and thought it looked fun.

Author You’ve Read the Most Books From:

Mercedes Lackey with Tamora Pierce and Lois McMaster Bujold coming in as close seconds.

Best Sequel Ever:

The first is great. The second one is better. The third is best.

The King of Attolia

Currently Reading:

BladeMissPeregrine

Drink of Choice While Reading:

Vanilla Coke

E-Reader or Physical Book:

Both. I don’t like carting around a pile of books while I travel, but when I’m at home, I still prefer paper and ink.

Fictional Character You Probably Would’ve Actually Dated in High School:

Herald Mage Vanyel Ashkevron from Mercedes Lackey’s The Last Herald Mage Trilogy, though I wouldn’t have had a chance because he’s gay. Still we spent many wonderful hours together, so it’s kind of like we were dating, right?

Magic's Price

Glad You Gave This Book a Chance:

I’d almost decided not to read this at all until I found it on sale and now it’s probably one of my favorite retellings.

Cinder

Hidden Gem Book:

WrenCurse

Important Moment in Your Reading Life:

When I got serious about writing. Totally changed the way I read. Sometimes I wish I could go back. I’d enjoy way more books that way.

Just Finished:

FreakCryo

Kinds of Books You Won’t Read:

Just not interested. Goes for literary fiction as well.

The Notebook

Longest Book You’ve Read:

According to Goodreads.com…1,015 pages.

Kushiel's Dart

Major Book Hangover Because of:

Her books ruined me for all other books. This one in particular broke me and put me back together again.

Mirror Dance

Number of Bookcases You Own:

Nine.

One Book You Have Read Multiple Times:

So many old friends and I have to choose just one? How about I narrow it down to two?

BlueNight

Preferred Place to Read:

Um, anywhere I happen to be. I have a comfy chair in my library but I just never end up there.

Quote That Inspires You/Gives You All the Feels From a Book You’ve Read:

“Most of us are called on to perform tasks far beyond what we can do. Our capabilities seldom match our aspirations, and we are often woefully unprepared. To this extent, we are all Assistant Pig-Keepers at heart.”

The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander

Reading Regret:

I regret wasting time on terrible books like these. See W.

FridayWolf

Series you Started and Need to Finish (All Books in Series Are Out):

It’s just shameful that I haven’t finished these. I’m so sorry, Carol. I’ll get right on it.

RaiKirah

Three of Your All Time Favorite Books:

Okay, I guess choosing three is better than listing the seventy-seven Goodreads says I have.

CivilTrickFlesh

Unapologetic Fangirl For:

Oh dear. You caught me.

FushigiSailor

Very Excited For This Release, More So Than Others:

It’s actually already out, so maybe it doesn’t count, but I about peed myself when I heard there was another Vorkosigan novel coming and then I waited AGES for it.

Captain Vorpatril's Alliance

Worst Bookish Habit:

I cannot put down a bad book. It could get better on the next page.

X-Marks the Spot: Start at the Top Left of Your Shelf and Pick the 27th Book

World War Z

Your Latest Book Purchase:

I went to the used book sale at my library last weekend and picked up a bunch. Too many to picture here. But among my selections were childhood favorites like these that should have already been on my shelf.

WolvesCatherine

And new ones that I’m really looking forward to like these.

UgliesCity

ZZZ-Snatcher Book (Last Book That Kept You Up Way Late):

Cinder

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Something A Little Different

 

 

Catching Cinders

All her life, Cindy has been told she’s worthless, kicked into the shadows so often that she believes the lie, but with her father inexplicably dead and the Prince far too interested in her story, she must decide whether to accept the way the world sees her or to prove she’s someone worth fighting for.

Catching Cinders Word Cloud 2

By Winged Chair

For years Merry has helped her father study the OtherRealms and the creatures that live there, but now Merry’s attitude and razor wit has gotten her kicked out of yet another boarding school. When OtherRealm creatures show up in the last place they should be and begin stealing memories from the people of Woodshire, Merry must team up with an outlaw mage in order to return the lives that have been stolen.  She has to choose between the anger her disability instilled in her and the strength she can take from it, because a crippled mage might be just the hero this fairytale needs.

By Winged Chair Word Cloud 3

Skin Deep

Young Lord Léon’s carelessness maims a young girl and lands him a curse from her family, but years later, trapped as a bear, Léon comes across  a disabled enchantress in the forest who promises to free him. What he doesn’t tell her is that he recognizes her as the girl he wronged so long ago, and as he starts to fall in love with her, he realizes he must keep his secret if he wants to keep her.

Skin Deep Word Cloud

A Shroud for my Bride

Seventeen year old Kallan has been the Reaper’s personal hit-woman since she was twelve. But no more. She wants to catch criminals the right way, and after telling Reaper to take a long ride in an empty airship, she seeks a place with Namerre’s police force. But growing up in the world of murderers and vigilantes has left her with debilitating anxiety, and she has to hide her obsessions and compulsions from her new partners and friends. When a serial killer begins stalking the city streets, masking his crimes with magic, Kallan must seek help from her past, from the Reaper, a father who forced her to murder.

A Shroud For My Bride Word Cloud

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