Scattered Thoughts Best Book Covers of 2012

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Once again its time to talk book covers and book cover design.  I have talked previously about my favorite covers from childhood and how the mere sight of a great cover in the window of a bookstore would draw me in like the scent of cheese to a mouse.  If the cover is the magnet the publisher and author uses to attract readers, there are certain principles of design that used to be taken into consideration to make that cover the one that grabs peoples attention, that yells look at me, that makes them want to know what that book is about.

For printed books, the designer has to look at several things such as book size, typographic palette (how blocks of text are located on a cover), book covers, book spines and fonts. With respect to eBooks, spines aren’t relevant, nor is book size, at least how it is normally used in the publisher world. It’s not the actual physical size that matters here with eBooks but that readers are often looking at a smaller graphic when choosing eBooks.  So now smaller has to make an even greater impact.  All the other design elements remain the same.  Book covers, whether for print or electronic books, must be compelling enough to make the reader to choose that book, to persuade the customer that what is inside is fascinating, marvelous stuff.

Another rule is that the book cover should match the book it is being designed for. Whether the design is simple or rich in detail, elegant or street tough, uses a cover model or an illustration, there should be no disconnect between the subject matter inside and out.  I can’t tell you how many times I thought nice cover but what does it have to do with the subject of the book? And it if is a book series, then all the covers should be similar enough to brand each book a part of a series, one glance tells you who the author is and what series you are reading (ex. Abigail Roux’s Cut & Run series with a singular object on the cover). A great book cover makes you anticipate, endows you with a need to discover.

On every review I write I also mention the covers and the cover artists.  There are always some cover artists who continue to turn out one enticing cover after another, there are some artists you  can identify just by looking at the style of the design or paintings on the cover (Paul Richmond, Posh Gosh). And then this year saw a new artist or two whose cover reached out with it’s compelling designs and emotional overtones.  This  year also saw a trend towards retro illustrations and design which I loved and others whose richness in color and detail left me gasping in delight.  It was hard to narrow the covers down as there were so many worthy of mention, so I did break it down into a few categories.

So here they are, Scattered Thoughts Best Covers of 2012(with apologies in advance for the formatting problems):

Historical Novels:

On the Trail to Moonlight Gulch by Shelter Somerset/Artist Anne Cain

The Mystery of Ruby Lode by Scotty Cade / Artist Reese Dante

The Celestial by Barry Brennessel/ Artist Winterheart Designs

On the Trail to Moonlight Gulch2

The Mystery of Ruby Lode 2

The Celestial 2

]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Contemporary Novels:

Acrobat by Mary Calmes/ Artist Anne Cain

Mine by Mary Calmes/Artist Anne Cain

Mourning Heaven by Amy Lane/Artist Paul Richmond

Sidecar by Amy Lane/Artist Shoshana Appavu

Time Gone By by Jan Suzukawa/Artist Anne Cain

Turkey in the Snow by Amy Lane/Artist Catt Ford

Wake Me Up Inside by Cardeno C/Artist Reese Dante

Acrobat2

Mine 2

Mourning Heaven 2

 Sidecar2

Wake me up inside  2

Turkey in the Snow cover

Time Gone By cover

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fantasy/Supernatural Novels:

The Ronin and The Fox by Cornelia Grey/Artist Nathie

A Token of Time by Ethan Day/Artist Winterheart Design

roninandthefox_2

A Token of Time 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Science Fiction Novels:

Burn by TJ Klune/Artist Catt Ford

Josh of the Damned, Triple Feature by Andrea Speed/Artist LC Chase

Riot Boy by Katey Hawthorne/Artist P.L. Nunn

Burn2

Riotboy2

Josh of the Damned TripleFeature2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Series:

Infected Series by Andrea Speed/ Artist Anne Cain

Knitting series by Amy Lane/Artist Catt Ford

Leopard’s Spots series by Bailey Bradford/Artist Posh Gosh

Lost Gods by Megan Derr/Artist London Burdon

Gilbert 2

Stone Rose 2

Infected Lesser Evils 2

How to Raise An Honest Rabbit cover

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There were so many others I wished to include and I know you have your favorites too.  Write and let me know who you feel should have been on that list (King Perry, Fallout to name a few that came close).  Check out the individual reviews to see the covers in greater detail and read about the books they so beautifully covered!

Play It Again Charlie cover

Review of Sidecar by Amy Lane

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Rating: 5 stars

It was cold even for November as Josiah and Casey Daniels motored home down Foresthill Road and  it was getting dark. So it took them a while to notice the young boy shivering by the side of the road.  They stop the motorcycle with its sidecar and Casey climbs out to investigate, already knowing what he will find.  The runaway’s lips are blue, his limbs are too thin, and he is wearing way too little clothing for that time of year.  As Josiah watches from the motorcycle, Casey takes one look at the small lost, pinched face and remembers another day 25 years earlier. Once glance back at Joe’s face tells Casey that Joe is remembering that day too.

The year is 1987 and Josiah Daniels is on his motorcycle heading home to Foresthill, the ramshackle house on 20 acres he has just purchased.  He’s just come off 3 twelve hour days at the hospital where he is a nurse and he’s bone tired.  It’s so dark that  he almost  doesn’t see the young man shivering on the side of the road.  He stops and climbs off, slowly heading over to the small figure, holding his hands out with his leather jacket extended and tells the boy to take it and put it on.  It takes some convincing but eventually Joe gets the boy wrapped up and on the back of the hog and they motor to his house.  Joe has found another stray to rescue but this one will end up changing his life forever.

When Casey first saw the huge pony tailed biker come towards him back on the road, fear was the first emotion he felt, and then despair, as he had no energy left to run.  But the biker, Joe, just takes him home and feeds him.  Joe gives Casey food, and shows him the bathroom so he can take a bath and gave him chemicals to use that would combat the lice on his body.  And Casey waits to pay the price but Joe never asks for anything in return.  Instead Joe offers Casey a home, a place to be safe, finish school,  actually be happy after having his parents throw him away for being gay.

Joe’s solitary life starts to fill up with people upon Casey’s arrival.  There’s Casey, the social workers, the dogs, and then the cats and Casey’s friends and so many more, year after year.  For Casey, happiness means Joe as his crush turns into love as he matures and ages.  For Joe, Casey means happiness for him as well.  But Joe doesn’t want to feel like he is taking advantage of his position in Casey’s life, so accepting that Casey wants him as a grown man is hard. Harder still it coming to the realization that he wants Casey just as badly as Casey wants him. Nothing in their relationship has ever come easy and moving it to the next stage will take compromises and adjustments neither has had to face before.

Amazing, just absolutely amazing.  Amy Lane has given us some memorable books in the past, and with Sidecar, she has done it again.  Sidecar is one of my favorite books of 2012 and it will be one of yours too.  Just looking at the cover gave me goosebumps at all the emotions it evoked in me.  From the sepia tones of the  drawing to its central figures connected by love and steel motoring down a forested lane heading towards the light, the tears started to well up even before I  even got to the first page.  And then the story began and oh what a timeless story is it.

Amy Lane gives us a love story that had already stretched over 25 years when we first meet Casey and Josiah Daniels stopping to rescue a runaway by the side of the road.  Then we go back to the beginning of their relationship to that same road, almost at the same spot where Joe meets Casey for the first time under the same circumstances.  I will tell you now, grab that box of tissues and don’t let them go, maybe get a second box.  You will need them.

Amy Lane is known for her powerful characterizations and equally powerful storylines.  Sidecar is full of people who will make you laugh and cry and shake with the repressed desire to knock a few heads together.  Everyone you meet within are such fully actualized human beings that it becomes easy to forget yourself in their lives and problems.  This story sucks you in and refuses to let you go, even after it is over.  Each chapter is a song title from 1987, the year Joe and Casey meet.  Lane explains that certain songs will always conjure up memories associated with them for people as I can certainly attest to.  Songs are such a great way to bring back those times and places by making the songbook tie in with the locale.  1987 meant big hair, pony tails, Dirty Dancing, U2 and The Joshua Tree album. We had Good Morning, Vietnam, George Michael’s Faith and AIDS looming on the horizon.  And then we have the lost children, those thrown out, thrown away by parents, by the church and others because they were gay.  Amy Lane brings the plight of the gay kids tossed out like so much garbage home in the character of Casey and kids like Stacia hardened beyond their years given temporary shelter by Joe because it was the decent, good thing to do.  I appreciate that Lane gives no easy answers to be doled out here as solutions.  Yes, Casey makes it, but others in the book don’t, too emotionally and physically damaged by what they have gone through to survive.

There is also plenty of humor to go with the tears, from their dogs Rufus and Hi Hi Huxtable to the goober hunting nephew of Josiah’s.  This is a beautifully balanced story, so the author will give you satisfaction to help cover over the unfairness, and something to smile at while recovering from you last sob.  I am thinking of one scene in particular where Casey has found an old stash of weed and proceeds to get high only it doesn’t turn out like he thought it would.  I won’t spoil it for you but it is a classic Amy Lane rollercoaster of emotions delivered in a succinct scene.  Like I said just amazing.

There is not a single misstep in the way Joe and Casey’s relationship grows and changes either.  From Casey’s early attempts to sneak into Joe’s bed and Joe’s kind rejection to the slow realization that Casey has come to mean so much more to Joe than he could ever imagine and the consequences of that love.  And there are consequences. For Joe starts out dating women as he is bisexual in nature. Joe wants a family badly and being with a woman in 1987 would make that so much easier than to love Casey.  Loving Casey would mean that Joe might have to give up his dream of children, a powerful loss that Lane makes us feel acutely.  Joe gives Casey and a teenage date the “condom talk” in a way both heartrending and honest that hurt as I read it.  Lane gives us firstrate entertainment even as she informs, she gives us pain and loss then gives us love and healing to counteract them.

It is also rare that we get to see our characters live and grow over a 25 year period to arrive safe, secure, and still so madly in love.  Amy Lane gives that to Josiah and Casey and then to the reader as well.   How much do I love them both. How much do I love this book.  And to remember all I need is that cover and maybe Livin on a Prayer….

Cover Art by Shobana Appavu.  What a remarkable cover, one of my favorites of the year as well.

Great Saturday, Marvelous Sunday, Fall is Here! The Week Ahead in Reviews

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I had a great day yesterday.  Friends came over, a fellow blogger, and an author, both wonderful.  We had a time of it, discussing books, movies, Spartacus, you name it while drinking wine, gobbling up bread, cheese and crackers while the sun shown down!  Does it get any better than that?  I don’t think so.  Kirby loves visitors and was so excited to see them both, going from one to the other before roaming around looking for squirrels and bugs and things.  Winston and Willow are just happy to sit in the chair with me and chill.  And today?  Just beautiful, cool, sunny, the perfect football weather as they say.  Daughter and SIL off to the Redskins game and RGIII’s first home game.  I know, I know.  I swore off the Redskins but habits are hard to break!  So consider this a work in progress.

Three more bushes to go into the garden, Firelight Spirea.  The foliage changes color three times during the year.  In the spring, the leaves are a orange green changing to greenish yellow in the summer and then turning a lovely deep red in the fall, all that and beautiful pink blossoms that beacon to bees and butterflies for weeks while they are in bloom.  Sigh!  I love gardening and the discovery of new plants.  The windows are open, letting in the cool breezes to refresh the house air.  A ruby throated hummer just buzzed the window letting me know the feeders still need filling as there are still migrants making their way south and they shouldn’t be forgotten.

I am just finishing up the first in the Wolf’s Own series by Carole Cummings and loving it.  Look for the review at the end of the week.  I am starting the week off with a bang and a great book by Amy Lane.  Don’t miss out on this one.  As always so many books, so little time, but I am working on it.  Just a reminder, the first week in October is JL Langley week and I will be giving away a copy of My Regelence Rake to a lucky person who comments on the week which will include a interview with JL and recaps of all the SciFi Regency books to date.  So let’s get to it:

Monday:                               Sidecar by Amy Lane

Tuesday:                               Magic’s Muse by Anne Barwell

Wednesday:                        Gilbert by Bailey Bradford

Thursday:                            Wolf’s Own: Ghost by Carole Cummings

Friday:                                 Inferno by Scarlett Blackwell

Saturday:                             Second Hand by Heidi Cullinan and  Marie Sexton

 

Have a wonderful week.  Get out and enjoy this weather!  Happy Fall All!