The Cover Wars


What you will find in this book:

–A rather attractive bearded lady

–Several scandalous murders

–A deliciously disgusting Amazonian shrunken head

–Four extraordinary children with equally extraordinary abilities

–A quite loquacious talking bird

Blessed with extraordinary abilities, orphans Philippa, Sam, and Thomas have grown up happily in Dumfrey’s Dime Museum of Freaks, Oddities, and Wonders. But when a fourth child, Max, a knife-thrower, joins the group, it sets off an unforgettable chain of events. When the museum’s Amazonian shrunken head is stolen, the four are determined to get it back. But their search leads them to a series of murders and an explosive secret about their pasts.

Janet: The cover doesn’t grab me, although I like that red tunic-dress the girl in the bottom left window is wearing. The list of What I Will Find in This Book, however, appeals more. “Scandalous murders” reminds me of The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place, which was a fun, light-hearted middle grade read.

Nafiza: I have two of Oliver’s MG books that I have yet to read and this one looks pretty darned attractive to me as well. I love the details on the cover. The characters through the windows, , the effigy on top of the door, the implied movement of the characters, I love them. I like the synopsis too and will definitely give this a read whenever.

Yash: Ooh! I like this cover. The characters already look very interesting and the summary confirms it. (The style sounds a little like something by Lemony Snicket?) I like the “Curiosity House” part of the title. I think it makes for a good series name (which I think is what they’re trying to do) As for the other part of the title … I suddenly wish the book was all of head-hunting??*shrug* Anyway, going to wait for Janet and Nafiza’s review. I’m off to look up the history of head-hunting.


For twenty years, the Palomas and the Corbeaus have been rivals and enemies, locked in an escalating feud for over a generation. Both families make their living as traveling performers in competing shows—the Palomas swimming in mermaid exhibitions, the Corbeaus, former tightrope walkers, performing in the tallest trees they can find.

Lace Paloma may be new to her family’s show, but she knows as well as anyone that the Corbeaus are pure magia negra, black magic from the devil himself. Simply touching one could mean death, and she’s been taught from birth to keep away. But when disaster strikes the small town where both families are performing, it’s a Corbeau boy, Cluck, who saves Lace’s life. And his touch immerses her in the world of the Corbeaus, where falling for him could turn his own family against him, and one misstep can be just as dangerous on the ground as it is in the trees.

Janet: Neat title! Unfortunately, the cover has silhouettes and oddly-hued feathers, and the story sounds much, much too R&J for me (Romeo and Juliet). Lace and Cluck aren’t exactly names that invite me to see the characters more than cardboard cut-outs. The story itself might be wonderful. But going by the cover and the synopsis, I’ll pass.

Nafiza: Hmm. I don’t know. The cover is too mushy for my taste. I mean, I like the horizontal trees but I could have done without the couple. Haha. This will probably appeal to many teenage readers who are looking for romance-centric reads but as a jaded adult reader, neither the title nor the cover are to my taste.

Yash: I like the art style of the cover. I like all the red and the feathers and the branches. I don’t like the straight couple embracing. And the summary … wow. This just screams Romeo & Juliet, doesn’t it? I don’t know. I do like all the circus talk and magic … but there has to be something more. Maybe this isn’t my thing.


Giselle Boyer and her identical twin, Isabelle, are as close as sisters can be, even as their family seems to be unraveling. Then the Boyers are caught in a car crash that will shatter everyone’s world forever.

Giselle wakes up in the hospital, injured and unable to speak or move. Trapped in the prison of her own body, Giselle must revisit her past in order to understand how the people closest to her–her friends, her parents, and above all, Isabelle, her twin–have shaped and defined her. Will she allow her love for her family and friends to lead her to recovery? Or will she remain lost in a spiral of longing and regret?

Janet: Hearts on a cover that don’t refer to young lovers? That. Is. Awesome. I’m curious as to how the narrative will be shaped: how much can happen in the present time, given Giselle’s state, and how much can the past hold the narrative tension? The synopsis’ final two questions are a tad obvious, but they are good questions to ask. I’d read the first few pages.

Nafiza: I don’t really like the cover. It feels too misleading. BUT I love the synopsis and I don’t know about you guys but I’m getting whiffs of Going Bovine by Libba Bray albeit a more serious and less zany story. The narrative is really intriguing and I might be persuaded to give this a try.

Yash: I agree with Janet. Three hearts (including the branches) and they all have to do with familial affection? That’s pretty cool. Thing is, while it’s very clever of the cover and summary to spring us a surprise, I don’t know if I would approach a cover that had two hearts on it, simply because I don’t read straight-up romance and that is what it looks like. Obviously, I have changed my perspective on that but how many others will pass on this cover because of what it implies? (And BTW, yes, I’d read this.)


The year is 1956, and the Axis powers of the Third Reich and Imperial Japan rule the world. To commemorate their Great Victory over Britain and Russia, Hitler and Emperor Hirohito host the Axis Tour: an annual motorcycle race across their conjoined continents. The victor is awarded an audience with the highly reclusive Adolf Hitler at the Victor’s ball.

Yael, who escaped from a death camp, has one goal: Win the race and kill Hitler. A survivor of painful human experimentation, Yael has the power to skinshift and must complete her mission by impersonating last year’s only female victor, Adele Wolfe. This deception becomes more difficult when Felix, Adele twin’s brother, and Luka, her former love interest, enter the race and watch Yael’s every move. But as Yael begins to get closer to the other competitors, can she bring herself to be as ruthless as she needs to be to avoid discovery and complete her mission?

Janet: I’m not convinced that this story will pay due respect to the women (the ‘Rabbits’) who were experimented upon in Ravensbruck and other camps. Furthermore, awesome as it is that we have a Jewish female protagonist who races motorcycles, I’m a little lost as to how women were allowed to compete publicly under Hitler’s reign. If someone can reassure me that the history and sociology are decent, I’ll reconsider.

Nafiza: The cover is fantastic. I love that the shadow wolf pays homage to the protagonist’s other self and illustrates the title rather brilliantly. However, the synopsis doesn’t really appeal to me. I hate Hitler and every time I have to read the book, I’m distracted by how much I want to pluck him out of the fictional world and just squish him like a fly. Historical novels, even alternate ones, are really not my thing.

Yash: The cover is not my favourite … the colours are just too boring (though probably historically relevant) for me. I do like the title though. And the summary sounds like something I could get into. Not because I like historical anything but because OMG SHE IS A SHAPESHIFTER! YESSSS! *ahem* I’m in.


When Kate Thompson’s father is killed by the notorious Rose Riders for a mysterious journal that reveals the secret location of a gold mine, the eighteen-year-old disguises herself as a boy and takes to the gritty plains looking for answers and justice. What she finds are devious strangers, dust storms, and a pair of brothers who refuse to quit riding in her shadow. But as Kate gets closer to the secrets about her family, she gets closer to the truth about herself and must decide if there’s room for love in a heart so full of hate. In the spirit of True Grit, the cutthroat days of the Wild West come to life for a new generation.

Janet: Not at all enamored of the cover but the synopsis… wait, I just reread it and noticed that she is tailed by a pair of brothers, and has to decide about love. Well. That’s not what I read the first time – I somehow read this as about family and choosing love [forgiveness, life] instead of hate. Not romance instead of hate. That’s much less interesting. I’ll wait for another Book Warrior’s review.

Nafiza: I, on the other hand, absolutely love the cover. There’s something about the aesthetic that makes me want to air punch and go “yeah!” I’m weird. However, I’m not really enamored (that word again!) of the synopsis. But then, there is some gender bender involved so there could be possible hilarious hijinks, I have a thing for gender bender stuff, but I don’t know. I’ll have to read some reviews first.

Yash: I think this cover is gorgeous! I love the yellow flowers and how they contrast against the guns, and I love the white and yellow on black for a change, and the skulls, and the title … *nods* yep, this is my favourite cover this week. However, I’m with Nafiza: not really taken by the synopsis. And frankly, I am tired of girls cross-dressing as boys when they need disguises. If it had something to do with gender or sexuality, I’d be in. But this doesn’t hint at that stuff … maybe it will later on, though. I’d consider reading a chapter or two. The cover is just much too pretty.