HOLY SMOKES! What a great year for books I’ve had! This is, hands’ down, the best reading year I have ever had. Ever. I know I say that every year, but there are eight, count ’em, EIGHT five-star books on this list. YOWZAH!
In all seriousness, I’m so excited to share this list with you all.
1. The Mirror & the Light
Utterly brilliant historical fiction. Captivating and compelling.
As book bloggers we can all pretty much agree that good cover design is a must. A great cover can make you pick-up a book, and a terrible cover can make you pass it up.
That is NOT what I’m here to talk about today.
Rather, today I would like to talk about cover design pet-peeves that don’t necessarily detract from the look of the cover, but bother me for other reasons. They aren’t things that make a cover ugly, but are things that may make me vaguely annoyed or grumpy. These things don’t make the cover bad, but they could still be improved in my oh so humble opinion.
Don’t include a dragon just for decoration.
I guess this most often happens when cover designers are imitating medieval page illuminations, so it doesn’t happen very often. But seriously, if I see a dragon I want to read about a freaking dragon, okay? Putting a dragon on the cover of a fantasy book that doesn’t have dragons in it is extremely misleading, and it isn’t fair to people who read every dragon book they can find (aka me).
This happened to me once in college. The book was called The Book of Joby, and there were no dragons. The book was fine, I guess, but I was seriously disappointed when I got to the last few chapters and realized no surprise dragons were coming to save or ruin the day.
Genre: Fantasy Maturity Level: 4- (non-graphic disembowelment) View on Goodreads Rating:⋆⋆⋆⋆⋆
In an alternate 1880s London, angels inhabit every public building, and vampires and werewolves walk the streets with human beings under a well-regulated truce. A fantastic utopia, except for a few things: Angels can Fall, and that Fall is like a nuclear bomb in both the physical and metaphysical worlds. And human beings remain human, with all their kindness and greed and passions and murderous intent.
Jack the Ripper stalks the streets of this London too. But this London has an Angel. The Angel of the Crows.
I loved this book! Sherlock fan-fiction set in a London with every supernatural creature you’ve ever thought of (and some you haven’t) and a vaugly steampunk vibe, plus Jack the Ripper. What’s not to love?
Apparently 2020 is the year of black covers over here in Sci-Fi/Fantasy land. It wasn’t until after I was looking at my pre-order list that I realized just how many there are, but golly y’all, every book I’ve bought or pre-ordered this year except for one has had a black cover! I wonder if this is something that’s intentional marketing (maybe black books are selling better right now?) or whether it’s just a coincidence. It might say something about how darker books are more popular right now too.
Anyway, I’m not complaining because all of these book covers are just jaw-dropping. Some seriously awesome cover design.
These are in no particular order.
A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik
In this case I think the black cover is definitely meant to reflect the content of the book. I think there’s dark magic involved, and the school involved seems like it’s probably a pretty dark place in every meaning of the word. Anyway, this cover is sooooo cool looking. I love its simplicity and the way the gold pops against the black. A Deadly Education comes out in September.
If you’ve gotten a comment from my on Instagram or the blogosphere in the last month and a half you’ve probably heard me say “I’ve had that book on my tbr FOREVER, and I just haven’t gotten to it yet!” (Is that the book blogger motto or what?) I’ve also got a quarter million new releases out or coming out in 2020 that I want to read.
The obvious problem here is that I have a hard time prioritizing certain books. As a very much mood reader I tend to skip on heavier or more serious books, even if I *really* want to read them. I DON’T WANT TO DO THAT!!!
So I hand-wrote a list of must-reads in 2020! (Any other type As out there??) Here they are!
Must-Read New Releases
The Year of the Witching Have had this Salem-esque book on my TBR since January, and a fellow bookstagramer just gave me the green-light that it’s not too scary to read. Can’t wait!
The Angel of the Crows First of all, Katherine Addison is my everything. Second of all, an alt-history London with monsters, Jack the Ripper, and a Sherlock vibe? Yes, yes, yes, yes, YES!
Deacon King Kong Heard a great interview with James McBride that made me decide to pick this book up. Excited for the slice-of-life storytelling, religious characters, and light satire.
I’ll Be the One I’m in a fluffy mood lately, and this looks like the funnest book on my tbr. Plus East-Asian rep AND body-positive rep!