I received complimentary copies of most of the books I mention here in exchange for honest reviews, which you’ll find in the posts I’ve linked to.
Oh, I’m not strictly a “judge a book by its cover” kind of reader, as I’ve found and have read some wonderful books with covers I didn’t care for or with no cover art at all–in the cases of used hardbacks that had lost their dust jackets before meeting me. 🙂 Still, I have an appreciation for cover art as a part of the reading experience, and here are covers I particularly liked from books I’ve read this year!
*And to the authors of these books, if you’d like a little gift for making the list, see the bottom of this post.*
When Lyric Met Limerick by Dawn V. Cahill
Christian Fiction/Romance/Short Story
Romantic, kind-of dreamy but still mature, wonderfully blended in colors that are muted but not dull–and score all the bonus points for the lovely view of the Emerald City, my hometown. Way to go, Seattle! I’ll also unashamedly admit that the cover’s quote from my review of this story makes it all the more special to me. What an honor!
The 13th Gift: A True Story of a Christmas Miracle by Joanne Huist Smith
Okay, I technically read this book last year, but it was after my December cutoff date. The cover is uncomplicated but makes a bold, Christmassy statement in vivid color.
A door, and a gift. Boom.
To Capture Her Heart by Rebecca DeMarino
Christian Fiction/Historical Romance
It’s a pretty singular thing for me to find such romantic tension conveyed on a mainstream ChristFic book cover, but the body language and facial expressions of this man and woman have an excellent, passionate effect. I mean, you can see just how aware she is of him, and his hand there–he isn’t touching her, but the way he isn’t (yet) has all the more subtle power, especially considering that intense look between his eyebrows.
Detained by Don Brown
Clear, bold, clean, masculine–with a hint of suspense going on with that shading at the top. You see the military, you see danger, and it doesn’t take a whole lot for the cover to get its point across. I was in the mood for a “man” read when I found this novel, and the cover immediately grasped a hold of that mood in me.
Starry Night by Debbie Macomber
Yup, another book I read last year after last year’s cutoff date. This one is holiday-cold and holiday-cozy at the same time with rich, beautiful hues of blue. And on the dust jacket of the hardback I read, the title twinkled in a little rainbow of colors when I moved the book around. A wonderful combination of darkness and light, just like an actual starry night. (Hey, I rhymed!)
Silver Linings by Debbie Macomber
No, there aren’t clouds on the cover with silver linings around them, but it doesn’t really matter. I like this image for its soft, welcoming lights in a heavily shaded area, for its tranquility and its few but well-represented colors. This is one of those covers that I flipped back to look at again and again while reading, as the lights made the whole experience more relaxing.
A Wreath of Snow: A Victorian Christmas Novella by Liz Curtis Higgs
Christian Fiction/Historical Romance
A book I’ve recommended for everyone to read a print copy of, if possible. Its feel and design just adds to the warm Christmas-ness of it all. And even though it’s obviously cold on the cover, what with all the snow and the woman elegantly bundled to face the chill, the cover is indeed still warm, with the light from the old-fashioned train and the reds and greens that are inviting without being flashy.
The Tears of Olive Trees by AbdulKarim Al Makadma
Excellently suiting the memoir’s content, this cover is sobering but hopeful with a look toward the horizon and a beautiful revelation of light and color in the background. It took me a few glances to notice that the title isn’t merely overlaying the tree, but it’s actually sitting in the tree, entwined in the leaves. And while much of the tree is in shadow, some of the branches are touched with a glow, as if that distant light is not at all out of reach. Again, sobering and hopeful at once.
Dixie Belle by Debby Mayne
Okay, so, no. I didn’t read this book this year, either. And, no. I didn’t read it after last year’s cutoff date. But I didn’t have a Favorite Covers list in 2014, and I’d be remiss not to give this cover a Favorites mention. Now, I’m not a big fan of covers these days that basically just feature a model as a centerpiece without anything else really going on apart from the model’s meaningful “look,” usually a dramatic one, and the model’s dramatic clothing or lack thereof. But I find this centerpiece model interesting. Not only does she “pop” in clarity and color against the blurred-and-busy background with its New York City feel, but her facial expression and her hold on the coffee are what sell this cover. Look at her: she’s not certain of everything ahead of her, but she’s hopeful, and she’s ready to face a new adventure with spunk. See it? Plus, the novel’s spine and back cover are just as excellent and eye-catching.
How Much Do You Love Me? by Paul Mark Tag
All right, just one more cover of one of my 2014 reads that I’m including because my Favorite Covers list didn’t exist last year. And how absolutely beautiful is this cover? The color scheming that’s serious and dreamy at the same time. The impeccable layering and blending from handwritten letter to contemplative model to cloudy sky over snowy peaks and the barrenness of an internment camp. It’s not the easiest thing in the world to combine this many images and this much text of different fonts and colors into one seamless work of art, but this cover achieves it superbly.
The South Wind Blew Softly by Ruth Livingston Hill
The best picture I could come up with for this cover is this one I took myself, so please, please forgive the little wrinkles on my old copy. 🙂 It’s a 1988 design for a book originally published in the 50s. There’s kind-of a lot going on, what with the three different sizes of folks, but the folks are all rather distinct, and the seamless layering makes it work. No, I’m not usually a fan of newer designs that don’t do the best job of representing the time the story actually takes place in, but the 80s pizzazz of this cover got me anyway.
Well, there you have them, and my applause to the artists who gave these books such a great look! Entries for 2015’s Favorite Covers giveaway are now closed, but comments on the post are remaining open.
Congratulations, authors, and thank you for writing your books! If yours has one of my favorite covers, you’re welcome to a complimentary medal to display on your website, blog, social media–wherever you wish. Click the image below and contact me to receive a full size PNG medal. (The lined watermark will be removed, of course.) Thanks again!