Top Ten Tuesday: Books with Colors In the Titles (aka, I’ve got the Blues!)

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, featuring a different top 10 theme each week. This week’s topic is Books with Colors In the Titles — what fun!

As I started looking at my shelves and my lists of books I’ve read, I definitely came away with a BLUE vibe… so here are ten sixteen*** books with Blue in their titles!

***Once I got started, it was hard to stop…

  1. Twice in a Blue Moon by Christina Lauren (review)
  2. Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston (review)
  3. Blue Asylum by Kathy Hepinstall (review)
  4. The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley
  5. Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell
  6. A Yellow Raft in Blue Water by Michael Dorris
  7. Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey
  8. Coyote Blue by Christopher Moore
  9. Even Cowgirls Get the Blues by Tom Robbins
  10. Blue Diary by Alice Hoffman
  11. A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler (review)
  12. The Blue Salt Road by Joanne M. Harris (review)
  13. Girl in Hyacinth Blue by Susan Vreeland
  14. Blue Stars by Emily Gray Tedrowe (review)
  15. Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry
  16. Midnight Blue-Light Special by Seanan McGuire (review)

Did you do a color-themed TTT this week? Please share your links!

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Top Ten Tuesday: Cover Elements I Love & Loathe

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, featuring a different top 10 theme each week. This week’s topic is Book Cover Freebie – meaning we come up with our own spin on the topic, so long as it relates to book covers.

I thought I’d keep it simple and highlight types of covers that I love… plus a couple that I loathe.

I LOVE:

1. Covers featuring dreamy characters gazing out to sea — my favorite example being this lovely cover for The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley:

2. Bright colors on a black background: Maybe it became popular back with Twilight, but I’m always a sucker for the bright-on-black look.

3. Cutesy cartoon-y romance covers:

4. Cheesy 70s covers:

5. Moody urban fantasy heroes:

6. A series with a committed cover theme:

7. Bonkers looks for a bonkers book — such as these covers for books by Grady Hendrix:

8. Covers full of YUM — I’m not a foodie, but I do love a good cupcake!

 

And just a couple types of covers that I LOATHE:

9. Bare chests. Muscles. Tattoos. Muscle-y tattooed chests. You get what I mean.

[Note: Sorry — I started looking for images to go with this one, and I just couldn’t. For whatever reason, this type of cover makes me cringe SO much.]

10. Movie/TV tie-ins. I mean, I love a great adaptation as much as anyone, but I still prefer my book covers to be just book covers, not pictures of movie or TV stars. Even for my beloved Outlander series, I’d still take an old-fashioned cover over the new Jamie/Claire/TV cover (and don’t get me wrong, I adore the TV series!)

 

Are there certain types of covers that you love or loathe? Let me know what you think!

And if you wrote a TTT post this week, please share your link.

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Top Ten Tuesday: Cover redesigns — love ’em or hate ’em?

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, featuring a different top 10 theme each week. This week’s topic is Cover Redesigns I Loved/Hated — which at first I wasn’t going to do, but then I took another look at my shelves, and found last-minute inspiration! Here are a variety of books that have been redesigned over the years. You be the judge of whether it’s for better or worse!

And because I’m running late, my top 10 list is really a top 5 list this week. Short & sweet!

1. Wuthering Heights: This just makes me laugh. In the heat of Twilight mania, this classic was reissued and blurbed as Bella’s favorite book. I couldn’t help but feel sorry for the tweens who picked up a copy expecting vampires!

 

2. Stephen King books: I was always kind of partial to the cheesy early paperback editions of Stephen King’s books. The more streamlined graphic covers don’t have the same scare factor for me:

 

3. John Scalzi books: A few early Scalzi novels have been issued with new covers this past year. The new ones are nice, but you just can’t beat the whimsy of the earlier version.

4. Harry Potter: Okay, yes, the original is an absolute classic… but I do think Brian Selznick did a fantastic version with his set too.

5. Outlander: Some of the early covers in the series are so old-time cheesy, they just make me laugh!

How do you feel about cover redesigns? Are there any that you particularly love or hate?

If you wrote a TTT post this week, please share your link!

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Bookish bits & bobs

 

Just a random collection of some bookish thoughts bouncing around my brain this week.

 

 

 

  • Audiobooks. Love ’em. But here’s my issue: Why don’t audiobooks include the acknowledgements or author’s notes at the end? If I’m listening to a book, I want the full experience and full content. I only discovered the lack recently after listening to a couple of historical fiction audiobooks. I ended up browsing through the hardcovers at the library, and saw that the print books includes notes about the historical setting and context. Well, why wasn’t that on the audiobook? It adds to the reading experience, and clearly the author felt it was part of what she wanted readers to know. I don’t understand… and it makes me mad. Not that I’ll stop listening to audiobooks, but it leaves me wondering what I’m missing.

 

  • Book review ratings: I don’t do them. At least, not here on my blog. I play along on Goodreads, but I made the decision way back when to do narrative reviews without any sort of quantitative scale. Lately, though, I’ve started rethinking this. I know when I read reviews on other people’s blogs, I’ll often check the star (or unicorn or banana or teacup) rating first, and then decide if I want to read the whole review. So shouldn’t I expect others to expect the same from me? This is a bigger question than just a few lines and a bullet point, so I’ll be expanding on the topic sometime in the coming week, and would love some input.

 

  • Amazon customer service rocks! I have never had a bad experience once I connect with a service rep, and this week was no different. I bought a Kindle edition of a new release in early April, and started reading it this week. And hated it. By 15%, I just knew I couldn’t continue. And I was mad, because it was past the one-week deadline for returning Kindle content. I thought I’d give it a shot anyway. It’s not the amount spent was going to break me or anything, but if I’m spending money on a book, I don’t want it to end up being something I actively dislike. Anyway… I reached out and ended up in a chat with a lovely and helpful Amazon rep, who arranged to return the book for a refund within the blink of an eye. No quoting policy, no trying to convince me of anything, no telling me I was wrong. Just a very nice “I’m sorry the book didn’t work out for you” and a resolution that made me happy.

 

  • When is a novella a novella? When is it really, instead, a short novel? Is 200 pages the dividing line? 125? I haven’t found a hard and fast rule to go by — I’ve found a lot of notes on word count in novels and novellas, but I’m a reader, not a writer. Do you have any firm ideas on what distinguishes a novella from a novel?

 

  • Oh, the things a book lover will do for the sake of bookish satisfaction. I’m a big fan of Susanna Kearsley’s writing, and beside the glory of the stories themselves, I adore the covers of her books.

Well, now she has a new book coming out, Bellewether, and I knew I needed a copy. I preordered it ages ago (the book releases in August), then discovered that the US cover is… well… unappealing. But hey, the Canadian cover is gorgeous and goes with the rest of my books! So I cancelled my US preorder, and got a copy from Amazon Canada instead, which gave me the added bonus of getting the book early, since it released in Canada this month already. And really, which of these would YOU want?

Anyhoo… that’s what’s on my mind today. How about you? What deep bookish thought are bouncing about in your brain?

 

And seriously. What is up with audiobooks and the lack of afterwords and notes? Can someone please make them fix this? Annoyed now.

Book Review: Paperbacks from Hell: The Twisted History of ’70s and ’80s Horror Fiction

Take a tour through the horror paperback novels of the 1970s and ’80s . . . if you dare. Page through dozens and dozens of amazing book covers featuring well-dressed skeletons, evil dolls, and knife-wielding killer crabs! Read shocking plot summaries that invoke devil worship, satanic children, and haunted real estate! Horror author and vintage paperback book collector Grady Hendrix offers killer commentary and witty insight on these trashy thrillers that tried so hard to be the next Exorcist or Rosemary’s Baby. It’s an affectionate, nostalgic, and unflinchingly funny celebration of the horror fiction boom of two iconic decades, complete with story summaries and artist and author profiles. You’ll find familiar authors, like V. C. Andrews and R. L. Stine, and many more who’ve faded into obscurity. Plus recommendations for which of these forgotten treasures are well worth your reading time and which should stay buried.

 

A must for horror fans. This book traces the history of all sorts of insane horror trends from the 70s and 80s, and makes some fascinating connections between the crises of the times (inflation, environmental issues, HIV/AIDS) and the rise and fall of horror publishing themes and crazes. The author’s commentary is often snarky and truly funny — but the real highlight of Paperbacks from Hell is the amazing assortment of cheesy, disgusting, disturbing book covers. Some are iconic (Jaws, The Omen, Flowers in the Attic), and some just head-shakingly awful — but put them all together, and it’s a truly entertaining look back at horror’s not-so-distant past.

Take a look at just a small sampling of the amazing books featured in Paperbacks from Hell:

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The details:

Title: Paperbacks from Hell: The Twisted History of ’70s and ’80s Horror Fiction
Author: Grady Hendrix
Publisher: Quirk
Publication date: September 19, 2017
Length: 256 pages
Genre: Horror/non-fiction
Source: Review copy courtesy of Quirk Books

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Cover Cousins #3

Everyone once in a while, a book cover will call to mind another for me… and when that happens, I think of them as Cover Cousins.

Here’s how I framed the concept for my first Cover Cousins post:

I love when I pick up a new book and am instantly reminded of another — not necessarily because the covers are the same, but more because there’s a common feeling to them, a style, a color pattern, an image. The connection may only be in my mind, but it’s something I really enjoy thinking about.

Here’s my newest set of Cover Cousins — first, a book that I read last year and loved:

girl with all the gifts

And now, two books whose covers immediately made me think of The Girl With All the Gifts:

The three books are all quite different when it comes to genre and content… but those yellow covers with a single, representational figure!

What do you think?

Cover Cousins #2

Everyone once in a while, a book cover will call to mind another for me… and when that happens, I think of them as Cover Cousins.

Here’s how I framed the concept for my first Cover Cousins post:

I love when I pick up a new book and am instantly reminded of another — not necessarily because the covers are the same, but more because there’s a common feeling to them, a style, a color pattern, an image. The connection may only be in my mind, but it’s something I really enjoy thinking about.

Here’s my newest set of Cover Cousins:

 

These two are quite different, but between the title fonts and the overall layout, including the flowers and plants around the edges, seeing Vengeance Road immediately made me thing of The Darkest Part of the Forest.

What do you think? Do see a connection, or is it all in my mind?

Cover Cousins

I love when I pick up a new book and am instantly reminded of another — not necessarily because the covers are the same, but more because there’s a common feeling to them, a style, a color pattern, an image. The connection may only be in my mind, but it’s something I really enjoy thinking about. So… I thought I’d create a feature to highlight great book cover pairs whenever I happen to stumble across them.

To kick things off, here’s my first set of Cover Cousins:

5 to 1

White Cat

 

They’re not identical or anything, but there’s something about the look — the black background, the stylized graphic, the color scheme — that makes me want to put these two together.

Pretty cool covers, aren’t they?

Cover Cousins is a just a goofy little diversion of mine… but I like it. I’ll be back with more cover match-ups from time to time!

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Book Covers I’d Frame As Pieces of Art

fireworks2

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, featuring a different top 10 theme each week. This week’s topic is Top Ten Book Covers I’d Frame As Pieces of Art. I’ve done other top 10 lists with favorite covers (and even one with scary covers) — so I’ll try to come up with 10 “work of art” book covers without repeating myself… too much.

1) The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker

golem

2) Mokoka’i by Alan Brennert

molokai

3) Impossible by Nancy Werlin

impossible

4) The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman

dovekeepers

5) Sacré Bleu by Christopher Moore

sacre bleu

6) Meet Me in the Moon Room by Ray Vukcevich
(I haven’t read the book, but I do love the cover!)

meet me

7) The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien (original edition with Tolkien’s cover art)

hobbit

8) Any of the new series of covers for Susanna Kearsley books, especially:

 9) The covers from any of the Fables series volumes, especially:

10) The Brides of Rollrock Island by Margo Lanagan
(Two different covers, and I like them both!)

If you want to see one of my earlier posts about favorite covers, check it out here. (Only 2 repeats! Not bad…)

What’s on your list this week? Share your links, and I’ll come check out your top 10!

If you enjoyed this post, please consider following Bookshelf Fantasies! And don’t forget to check out our regular weekly features, Thursday Quotables and Flashback Friday. Happy reading!

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Do you host a book blog meme? Do you participate in a meme that you really, really love? I’m building a Book Blog Meme Directory, and need your help! If you know of a great meme to include — or if you host one yourself — please drop me a note on my Contact page and I’ll be sure to add your info!

 

Top Ten & a Teaser for Tuesday

Tuesday

Switching things up a bit this week…

Usually, I participate in Top Ten Tuesday hosted by The Broke and The Bookish… but for this week’s topic, I mostly drew a blank. So, I thought I’d do a two-fer post: Two memes for the price of one! (Hey, don’t worry! There’s no cover charge on Tuesdays… )

First up, for Top Ten Tuesday: The topic is Top Ten Covers I Wish I Could Redesign. I couldn’t come up with more than five, so here’s my abbreviated list:

1) Joyland by Stephen King: As I said in my review, this cover really bears almost no relation to the content or the tone of Joyland, which is — for me, anyway — a nostalgic look book at a special summer, in which the main character unravels a murder mystery but more importantly does some serious growing up. Here’s the real cover, on the left:

JoylandAnd on the right, ferris-wheel-100234_640_2here is my not-terribly-artistic attempt at something that better captures the mood of the book. (Pretend someone with actual design skills made this, and use heaping doses of imagination):

2 & 3 & 4) Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban: I love the Harry Potter series so very much… but seriously, the cover art on the first three books makes Harry look so dorky!

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Harry Potter, #1)Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Harry Potter, #2)Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Harry Potter, #3)

From Goblet of Fire onward, Harry looks much cuter and cooler. I mean, I love him no matter what — but I was much happier with the cover art for books 4 – 7!

5) The Uninvited Guests by Sadie Jones:

The Uninvited Guests

When I checked this book out of the library, I expected — based on the cover and the synopsis — something a bit Downton Abbey-ish.

But no. The book is a weird muddle of a comedy of manners and a ghost story, and perhaps it’s just because my expectations were so far off, but it didn’t work for me at all (Read my review, here, if you want to know more!) Give this book a spooky or sinister image on the cover, and maybe it would have worked out. Truth in advertising, people!

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And for my second Tuesday book meme, it’s Teaser Tuesday!

TTe

Teaser Tuesday is hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading, and here’s how it works:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share a few “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• Link up over at Should Be Reading!

My teaser this Tuesday are from Just One Day by Gayle Forman:

On the ride back to Utrecht, I call Agnethe the Dane to see if Lulu sent her any photographs, if there had been any correspondence. but she hardly remembers who I am. It’s depressing. This day, so seared in my memory, is just another day to everyone else. And in any case, it was just one day, and it’s over now.

Do you have a top 10 list or a teaser to share this Tuesday? Leave your link in the comments and I’ll be sure to come check out your blog! Thanks for visiting Bookshelf Fantasies… and have a great Tuesday!