I received complimentary copies of some of these books for honest reviews, which you’ll find in the posts I’ve linked to.
I’m not strictly a “judge a book by its cover” kind of reader. 🙂 Still, I have an appreciation for cover art as a part of the reading experience. Here are covers I particularly liked from books I’ve read this year—and it’s quite a list this time around, folks! The books are listed in the order I read them.
*And to the authors of these books, if you’d like a medal (one for you and/or for your cover artist) for being on this list, see the bottom of this post.*
Jazzy Girl by C.L. Wells
Christian Fiction/Romantic Suspense
Sherice trusts no one but Jazz, her Labrador, and forming too close of an acquaintance with the nosy (and rather good-looking) man next door would be anything but safe. This book got a makeover since I read it last year, and what a makeover it is! It’s pretty simple, and it’s pretty everything. The black foreground is ripped away just over the eyes—a great depiction of a woman in hiding. The author name and top half of the title are doing less so that the bottom half of the title can do more. And the few, faint circles of bokeh lighting against the black adds some subtle jazz.
The Christmas Star: A Love Story by Robert Tate Miller
Christian Fiction/Contemporary Fiction
A husband and father with a crumbling life lands back in time with shepherds who’ll travel to see the newborn Christ. Last December, the simple and tranquil but stunning quality of this chilly blue book cover, and the beautiful white light of that star winking at me, made me read this book sooner than I planned. The design is a quality example of when less is more.
The Baron’s Blunder by Susan M. Baganz
Christian Fiction/Regency Romantic Suspense
The Honorable Henrietta Allendale isn’t defenseless, but her association with a certain baron could still mean danger. Could this book cover be any more scrumptious? Bold with depth, and vibrant in a dark kind of way. The cover brings out the Gothic Regency aspect of the story but doesn’t forget the romance. The hero and heroine strike a visually dramatic note without going overboard, and that delicious jewel and bow toward the bottom ties it all together.
The Darkest Hour by Rebecca J. Greenwood
Christian Fiction/Regency Romance
While struggling to keep her brother alive, Lady Hester Douglas also struggles with growing feelings for her escort, a reverend. Another great Regency cover, here. The image of the woman in the window conveys soft drama, and there’s a wonderful contrast of darkness and light overall, along with lovely, excellent typography.
Finding Miranda by Iris Chacon
She’s a shy librarian. He’s her hunky neighbor. And somebody wants them both dead. If there’s a way to properly represent a romantic comedic mysterious thingamabob of a book, this book cover is it. You can’t help but wonder what’s got bespectacled Miranda hiding in the bushes with her eyes (well, her eye, at least) popped wide and her mouth hanging open. The minimal but vibrant colors work well together, with the see-through title using a leaf to dot an i. How fun!
Tōru: Wayfarer Returns by Stephanie R. Sorensen
Historical Fiction/Alternate History
He believes it will take nothing less than an industrial revolution to save his native Japan, even with his own potential death sentence in the mix. What a display of juxtaposing images here. A samurai warrior—a depiction of longstanding tradition. A dirigible in the sky, looming, approaching, forecasting the dawn of a more modern era. And speaking of the dawn, check out the way the sun bursts through those thick, ominous clouds. And Tōru’s name at the bottom, smoldering with culture. Superb!
Washed Under the Waves by Gloria Clover
Christian Fiction/Romantic Fantasy
A princess reluctant to rule. A prince in disguise. And an island facing treachery. I don’t see how fantasy fiction fans could resist checking out a novel with such a stunning book cover. You can all but feel and hear those waves crashing, and the dramatic, multicolored splash of it all—from the vibrant sky in the background to the almost hauntingly aware young woman in the foreground—is so on point.
Bride Tree by JP Robinson
Christian Fiction/Historical Thriller
Conspiracy, sacrifice, and calamity collide as France becomes embroiled in a Revolution. This striking cover captured my interest in a heartbeat. The design is mysterious, layered, and lavish, with color that pops. And of course, that cunning stare from the notorious Queen of France, Marie Antoinette, rightly promises intrigue. Truly captivating!
No Less Days by Amanda G. Stevens
Christian Fiction/Speculative Fiction
What is life like for a man who doesn’t age—and can’t die? I passed by this book a time or two and kept coming back to it. The more I looked at it, the more this cover grew on me. A bibliophile can’t resist the “Old & Rare Books” bookstore here, with lighting that’s equally soft and bright in somberly pouring rain at night. Plus there’s a subtle hint of shadow behind the title. Just enough. The image as a whole has such atmosphere to it.
The Bluebird and the Sparrow by Janette Oke
Christian Fiction/Historical Fiction
Berta feels plain, ordinary, and unappreciated compared to her glowing, outgoing, adored sister, Glenna. Yup, I absolutely reached for an oldie-but-goodie from the ’90s. It’s not the novel’s latest book cover, but it’s still the one I prefer. Artwork with such lovely, softly brilliant pastels and the blending of colors, light, and darkness in the typography. This cover does nostalgic justice to one of Christian Fiction’s notable pioneers, author Janette Oke.
Design for Dying by Renee Patrick
The 1937 silver screen is sparkling, and an aspiring actress is murdered in Hollywood… And this cover, in a style common for the genre, has such a fitting blend of glamour and danger with a vintage feel. The colors. The lines. The light. The shadows. The title, flowing in minimal, beguiling curves over it all. Bring on the mystery!
Murder at the Flamingo by Rachel McMillan
Christian Fiction/Historical Mystery
A deadly shadow looms over the grand opening of a 1937 nightclub, presenting a case for the unlikely detective duo of Van Buren and DeLuca. Another cover with vintage style. A glamorous evening. The subtle pull of the big city in the background. And the decked-out pair in the foreground, perhaps whispering something to each other—with their backs to us. Hmmm. Something’s up…
Thief of Corinth by Tessa Afshar
Christian Fiction/Biblical Fiction
Ariadne’s secret deeds put her, and her soul, in more than one level of danger. I love the angles and motion on this book cover. The soft and rich tones and texture, mixed with the peril of a young woman on the run. Running on a rooftop, no less, and looking back over her shoulder. The cover alone tells a story before you even crack the novel open.
Catching Christmas by Terri Blackstock
Christian Fiction/Contemporary Love Story
He’s a disgruntled cab driver. She’s a worried lawyer. And her grandma is on a matchmaking mission. Seriously, and delightfully, this little hardback may be the most precious book I’ve held all year, aesthetically speaking. A cute trio of gifts stacked on top of a cute cab. The few splashes of red and the bokeh effect of white and citrusy lights splashed over darker greens in the background. If ever you encounter this book in person, you may very well wish to hug it.
Ace Carroway and the Handsome Devil by Guy Worthey
World War I veteran and ace pilot Cecilia Carroway is back together with her motley crew—and not a moment too soon! Considering the previous books I read in The Adventures of Ace Carroway series, this may be the most unexpected cover I’ve come across this year. The wide, aware eyes of that snow leopard, creating intrigue. The dark sky and cool, natural, gradual nighttime light and hue. The style and slant of the title and author name, promising action, adventure, and a retro quality. And a single, vibrant rose, punctuating it all. A design that’s right on the mark!
An excellent list, if I do say so myself. My applause to the artists who gave these books such a great look!
Entries for 2018’s Favorite Covers giveaway are now closed, but comments on the post are remaining open.
You can get your reading started with a free Kindle copy of The Baron’s Blunder, first in the Black Diamond Gothic Regency series. And as of the time of this posting, you can get a free copy of The Darkest Hour if you sign up for author Rebecca J. Greenwood’s newsletter.
Speaking of book covers 😀 , the Movement of Crowns series got a new set of them this year! You can pick up the first book free. Check out the books at Amazon, or visit this page for links to more stores.
Congratulations, authors, and thank you for writing your books! If yours has one of my favorite covers this year, 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, and the medal will include the year on it, 2018.) If you know the artist who designed your cover, feel free to pass on the word about the award. The artists are welcome to display the medal as well. Thanks again!