The Cover Wars

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hilarious and heartwrenching story about a bullied girl whose search for a new beginning takes a dire wrong turn.   

Newcomer Kammie Summers has fallen into a well during a (fake) initiation into a club whose members have no intention of letting her join. Now Kammie’s trapped in the dark, growing increasingly claustrophobic, and waiting to be rescued—or possibly not.

As hours pass, the reality of Kammie’s predicament mixes with her memories of the highlights and lowlights of her life so far, including the reasons her family moved to this new town in the first place. And as she begins to run out of oxygen, Kammie starts to imagine she has company, including a French-speaking coyote and goats that just might be zombies.

Karen Rivers has created a unique narrator with an authentic, sympathetic, sharp, funny voice who tells a story perfect for fans of Flora and Ulysses, Reign Rein, and Counting by 7s. The Girl in the Well Is Me will have readers laughing and crying and laugh-crying over the course of its physically and emotionally suspenseful, utterly believable events.

Steph: The cover is charming, but for me, it hints a little a ghost story? Maybe it’s the colour scheme and the fonts chosen? Anyway, the back copy really sells the writing style as what pulls the story off and so, I think I’m willing to give this a go. I do look forward to a book where you are biting your nails over whether or not the character will survive, especially as we get to know her and sympathize with her.

Janet: I thought this was going to be a ghost story, too! I think it’s the title font and the eerie shading of the well walls and those far-above silhouettes. Or it might just be the juxtaposition of “girl” and “well.” I would peek at the first few pages.

Nafiza: The cover is pretty and so intriguing as is the back copy. The back copy reminds me of Murakami’s Wind-Up Bird Chronicle only of course the narrator there chose to spend his time in a well. I’m very interested in seeing how Kammie’s story plays out. (An interesting mix of reality/surrealism where we aren’t sure what’s real and what isn’t, kind of like Libba Bray’s Going Bovine.) I’m definitely in.

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Revenge is sweet, just like candy.

Candy Seaborne knows she’s badass. She takes after her father, an assassin and possibly a spy, although he won’t admit to either. She idolizes him. Her dream is to follow in his footsteps. But first, she has to finish high school.

Biding her time, waiting for real life to begin, Candy craves drama and isn’t above manufacturing some. If you’re a classmate who wronged her or a boyfriend who cheated, watch your back. She’s no pushover, and revenge may be her favorite pastime.

Jonah Bryson is the senior class heartthrob who breaks all the stereotypes. He’s a jock, but he isn’t the typical player. He’s moody and antisocial. No girl has gotten anywhere with him since his last girlfriend broke his heart.

Candy sees Jonah as a challenge and the perfect distraction. But she may be in over her head because unlike everyone else, Jonah isn’t buying her tough act. He sees the lost, lonely girl inside. He sees too much. When he looks at her that way, she wants to let her guard down and be vulnerable. But that’s the last thing she should do because her father’s world is spilling over into hers, and life is about to get real much sooner than Candy expected.

Steph: Her name is Candy? *eyeroll* (that’s right, a SINGULAR eye roll folks). I find myself all mixed up in interpretations of “candy” and the title. When I read it, I figured “Like stealing candy from a baby” but then the tagline is “Revenge is sweet, just like candy.” and I’m left wondering if this “candy” should be a capitalized “Candy” in reference to the character name? I barely make it to the third paragraph where we get introduced to the angsty “heartthrob” before I totally give up. No. I’m a big fat no.

Janet: “Revenge is sweet, just like candy” – really? No. The synopsis is just too much. Steph said it: ick. No.

Nafiza: Janet and Stephanie have said it, honestly. I reiterate: No.

A-Sky-Unbroken-Megan-Crewe

The rebels have been disbanded, their plans ruined. Betrayed by those she trusted most, Skylar finds herself herded, along with a small group of Earthlings, into a living museum—a human zoo—on the Kemyates’ space station, subject to her captors’ every whim. Any move Skylar makes could result in the extinction of her people—but giving in means losing any hope of freedom.

Meanwhile, Win returns home and evades punishment by pretending to be loyal to Kemya. But he can’t bear knowing that Skylar is imprisoned or watch his fellow Kemyates swallow the Council’s lies about Earth. He must bring the truth to the Kemyate public and see the Earthlings freed—even if it means openly challenging his world’s rulers.

In this final book of the action-packed Earth & Sky trilogy, neither Skylar nor Win knows they are about to uncover an even deeper conspiracy—one that could push the future they’re fighting for completely out of reach.

Steph: I read the first in this series and mostly liked it, what I really really enjoyed was the time travel logic. The set of covers are pretty, but also pretty standard for sci-fi so nothing exceptional (and I dislike the huge difference in fonts and colours between title and author name). The first truly was action-packed and I have number two on my shelf. Once I read that, I’ll probably pick this up too.

Janet: That is a very pretty cover. I like the colours and the title and even that volcanically tectonic earth. The only jarring thing on the cover is the font of the author’s name. Sci-fi and slaves (except for actual history) aren’t usually my thing, but if this was in a stack next to the first one in the series I might pick the first one up.

Nafiza: The cover makes me take a second look at this book even though I haven’t read the first two. I reckon if this was a genre I read, I’d be all over this.

Binti-Nnedi-Okorafor

Her name is Binti, and she is the first of the Himba people ever to be offered a place at Oomza University, the finest institution of higher learning in the galaxy. But to accept the offer will mean giving up her place in her family to travel between the stars among strangers who do not share her ways or respect her customs.

Knowledge comes at a cost, one that Binti is willing to pay, but her journey will not be easy. The world she seeks to enter has long warred with the Meduse, an alien race that has become the stuff of nightmares. Oomza University has wronged the Meduse, and Binti’s stellar travel will bring her within their deadly reach.

If Binti hopes to survive the legacy of a war not of her making, she will need both the the gifts of her people and the wisdom enshrined within the University, itself – but first she has to make it there, alive.

Steph: This sound really original and creative, it is also clearly sci-fi and featuring a science fiction culture parallel, which is always so fun to read about. The cover image is very striking if a bit . . . stereotypical? Still, the clash of the African-esque facial paints and the science fiction fonts is striking. I’ll invest my time and read this just for the curiosity of it.

Janet: I was really not sure what to make of the cover until I saw Nnedi Okorafor’s name. I’ve heard marvellous things about her and her earlier books are on my tbr list. Also, that is a very interesting synopsis, and by interesting I mean it melds sci-fi (aliens! interplanetary travel) with very current human concerns and trials in a way that does not demean the latter. I’m in.

Nafiza: Usually I am not keen on faces on covers but usually the faces on covers are not capable of telling stories on their own and this face is a story of its own. The back copy is intriguing and suggests an academic setting that is always a favourite for me. I’m definitely in.

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The intrigue of The Virgin Suicides and the “supernatural or not” question of The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer coalesce in this young adult mystery, where nothing is quite as it seems, no one is quite who you think, and everything can change on a dime.

Every story needs a hero.
Every story needs a villain.
Every story needs a secret.

Wink is the odd, mysterious neighbor girl, wild red hair and freckles. Poppy is the blond bully and the beautiful, manipulative high school queen bee. Midnight is the sweet, uncertain boy caught between them. Wink. Poppy. Midnight. Two girls. One boy. Three voices that burst onto the page in short, sharp, bewitching chapters, and spiral swiftly and inexorably toward something terrible or tricky or tremendous.

What really happened?
Someone knows.
Someone is lying.

For fans of Holly Black, We Were Liars, and The Raven Boys, this mysterious tale full of intrigue, dread, beauty, and a whiff of something strange will leave you utterly entranced.

Steph: I’m not entirely sold. The back copy relies heavily on “read-alike” comparisons that I’m not necessarily in love with. The cover is very Rifle Paper Co. and pretty, but also hipster and clearly very “marketed” for pop culture and not necessarily for the story. I just don’t know. I don’t trust it and so I will wait for reviews and then decide.

Janet: I would like the cover better if the font was a wee bit more readable. As Steph said, the “for fans of” stuff puts me right off, even when I like the authors named (like Holly!). The description of the characters is stereotypical and sharply drawn – if there is nothing to discover about the characters’ natures, why would I bother? I’m curious, but I’ll wait for a source I trust to push me one way or another.

Nafiza: I was all over this until I realize that Wink, Poppy, and Midnight are names and all of a sudden my interests waned. I understand the importance of interesting names but this is a bit too over the top for me. I do adore the cover though. I didn’t really like Tucholke’s debut but we’ll see. I might give this a chance if I see it in a library.

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The third novel in the dark and twisty fantasy series that has enchanted readers.

The third novel in the Thickety series, Well of Witches, is an epic quest on the edge of a magic crusade, into an enchanted kingdom with new kinds of magic, old enemies, and only one way out.

Kara and Taff know that only Grace Stone has the power to reverse her terrible Last Spell on their father and in order to save him, they have to rescue their foe from the Well of Witches first. Forgiving Grace should be the hardest part of their journey…but soon the children are confronted by creatures called the Faceless, mysteries as old as magic, and an ancient secret that threatens their very lives.

Back in the World, a war against magic is brewing that endangers everyone they care about. Can Kara and Taff find Grace, find their way out of the Well, and make it back to their father in time?

Steph: I’m in. This series has me hooked with it’s characters, it’s writing and the creepy-scary factor.

Janet: Wait, Grace is… still alive? And sane and souled and so on? Well. I’m curious. I wasn’t crazy about the first in the series, so this is a maybe for me. This is definitely Steph’s jam.

Nafiza: The second in this trilogy (I think) was interesting and I’m not sure in a good way. But I do like the cover here; how clever is it that the two protagonists are looking back at the reader as if asking why we’re not accompanying them on their journey? How subtle and deliciously done. I’ll be reading this just to see how it all ends. Hopefully well.