The Cover Wars

[Spindle Fire #2]

A curse comes undone. A kingdom shatters. But some bonds can’t be broken.

Princess Aurora, torn from the dream world, plots to assassinate the faerie queen Malfleur, only to confront temptations she never expected. Isabelle, meanwhile, opens her heart to Prince William as they attempt to unite their kingdoms and wage war against Malfleur’s army. But when the appearance of an unbreakable glass slipper prompts Isabelle to discover more about her lineage, her true identity begins to take shape and her legacy becomes as clear as ice. 

Devoted half-sisters Isabelle and Aurora will grapple with their understanding of love and loyalty as they face a threat even greater than that of the evil queen—the threat of losing each other forever.

Janet: The cover hits all the right notes: a hint of magic, an animal, weapons collected in vases like flowers (so, battles and courts), an appealing title, a chromatically cool colours scheme… Oh yeah. The back – well, I’ve read a lot of fairy tale reworkings, and this one is based on the Disney films – meh. Despite that, the synopsis’s focus on family and sisterhood is very appealing. I’d read this.

Nafiza: I didn’t realize this was the second in a series. I really like the separate elements that make up this cover but something seems missing when they come together. I do like the blue though. It’s a gentle blue. I am at sea with the synopsis because I have no idea who the characters are but they seem interesting? I am always cheering for books that place an emphasis on sisterhood and friendship.

Every Christmas, Wren is chased through the woods near her isolated village by her family’s enemies—the Judges—and there’s nothing that she can do to stop it. Once her people, the Augurs, controlled a powerful magic. But now that power lies with the Judges, who are set on destroying her kind for good.

In a desperate bid to save her family, Wren takes a dangerous undercover assignment—as an intern to an influential Judge named Cassa Harkness. Cassa has spent her life researching a transformative spell, which could bring the war between the factions to its absolute end. Caught in a web of deceit, Wren must decide whether or not to gamble on the spell and seal the Augurs’ fate.

Janet: Two reactions to this cover: ooh, how pretty; and oh, how ominous. Nicely done! The synopsis suggests that a literal (British?) tradition has been remade with magic and humans. The actual set-up is a vague, I’d prefer a stronger sense of time and worldbuilding; but it’s intriguing enough that I’d read the first few pages to decide.

Nafiza: I adore this cover. The synopsis I am wary about. I dislike binaries. Good/Bad, Judges/Augurs. Still, there is magic involved and chances are, I am going to end up giving this one a read.

Twelve-year-old Charlotte Lockard and eleven-year-old Ben Boxer are separated by more than a thousand miles. On the surface, their lives seem vastly different—Charlotte lives near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, while Ben is in the small town of Lanester, Louisiana. Charlotte wants to be a geologist and keeps a rock collection in her room. Ben is obsessed with Harry Potter, presidential history, and recycling. But the two have more in common than they think. They’re both highly gifted. They’re both experiencing family turmoil. And they both sit alone at lunch.

Over the course of a week, Charlotte and Ben—online friends connected only by a Scrabble game—will intersect in unexpected ways as they struggle to navigate the turmoil of middle school. You Go First reminds us that no matter how hard it is to keep our heads above troubled water, we never struggle alone.

Janet: What a beautiful cover! The tagline is, actually, a really good tagline. I’m just. going to stare at this beautiful art for a bit, okay? The back gives solid details with a light, deft hand. I have very iffy feelings toward the whole mess of “giftedness” in the real world, but this looks really good. And I’m always down to read about friendship.

Nafiza: The cover is so sincere. I really enjoy Kelly’s books. She seems to tug at the heartstrings without being manipulative about it. I appreciate that. I’d read this.

In the mid-21st century, dogs are all but extinct. An experiment gone awry caused every canine on Earth to become hyperintelligent. When as a species they stopped wagging their tails, hysteria ensued—followed by a program of mass euthanasia. Now the only surviving dogs are relegated to a sanctuary off the coast of Florida: Dog Island. There, they are studied in a wild, feral, and protected state. And there, too, their robot replacements are tested before being sold for mass consumption.

Seventeen-year-old Nano Miller was born and bred on Dog Island, as were her two best friends, Jack and Wolf. Life has been mostly wonderful except for annual heartbreak, when another robot dog is torn from her arms and replaced with the latest model. And more recently, there is the heartbreak of her brother, Billy, who vanished without a trace a year earlier. Wolf, there to console Nano, has suddenly become more than a friend. (Bad news for Jack.) With the excitement of a surprise first romance, Nano is happier than ever, in spite of her loss. But then she makes a discovery that upends everything she took for granted: a living puppy who wags its tail. And there is no way she is letting this dog go.

Janet: Not to be rude, but I don’t want to read a book with DIE in the title. (Okay, except The King Must Die. And that was for Mary Renault’s beautiful writing and worldbuilding – and also for MWT’s Queen’s Thief, not for Theseus himself.) The cover is ?hipster? and the back is a lot all at once. I’ll pass. Yash might like this though?

Nafiza: Okay, gosh, so I thought Nano, Jack, and Wolf were dogs because with “born and bred” used as descriptors, what else am I supposed to think? If they are human, why were they born and bred on Dog Island? That is a mystery and one that I’m not particularly compelled to find out? I do like the puppies on the cover though.

Born and raised in Boulder, Colorado, Essence McKree feels older than any seventeen-year-old she knows. Ever since weed was legalized, Mom has been working in a pot shop, high more often than not. Lately it’s been up to Essa to care for her nine-year-old sister, Puck.

When Essa meets Oliver—a brainy indoor type, in town for the summer—she is cautious at first, distrustful of the tourist crowd and suspicious of Oliver’s mysterious past in Chicago. But Puck is charmed and pushes Essa toward him. Soon Essa finds herself showing Oliver the Boulder she has forgotten: the mountain parties, the long hikes…and at Oliver’s urging, the exploration of Buddhism at the local zendo.

When Oliver agrees to accompany Essa on a three-day survival game in the Rocky Mountains, she feels a lightness she hasn’t known in a long time. Then she discovers that Puck has stowed away and followed them into the wilderness. After spending a night stuck in a mountain storm, Essa wakes to find Puck missing. Now Essa must rely on her newfound spiritual strength if she is to save her sister’s life, and ultimately her own.

Janet: The cover has that hipster feel, like those ads for Portland that use to be plastered all over the Canada Line stations. The back feels odd; it sets distance between the reader and the characters, I’m not sure how. Perhaps because there isn’t a convincing motivation behind Essa’s actions, or Oliver’s; perhaps because it gives too much away.

Nafiza: I like the cover because, as a rule, I like covers featuring trees and flowers. The synopsis doesn’t draw me in though. Why would any girl ask a practically strange guy to hang out with her in the mountains is beyond me. >.< This one is not for me.

A colony of honeybees mistakes seventh-grader Zinnia’s hair for a hive ― and that’s the least of her problems.

While Zinnia’s classmates are celebrating the last day of seventh grade, she’s in the vice principal’s office, serving detention. Her offense? Harmlessly yarn-bombing a statue of the school mascot. When Zinnia rushes home to commiserate with her older brother and best friend, Adam, she’s devastated to discover that he’s gone ― with no explanation. Zinnia’s day surely can’t get any worse . . . until a colony of honeybees inhabits her hive-like hair!

Janet: This looks beautifully, bountifully absurd and I am here for it. Bring it on!

Nafiza: This is so adorable. I like the cover a lot and the synopsis is so cute. Yes please.