The Cover Wars


A small boy hiding in a cupboard witnesses something no child should ever see. He tries not to look but he still hears it. And when he comes out, there’s no mistaking. His mum and dad have been killed. And though he’s only small, he swears that he’ll get revenge one day.

Years later, Trey enters a strange camp that is meant to save troubled teenagers. It’s packed with crazies, god-botherers, devoted felons and broken kids. Trey’s been in and out of trouble ever since the day the bad thing happened, but he’s he not here for saving: this is where he’ll find the man who did it. Revenge and healing, salvation and hell are a boiling, dangerous mix, and Trey finds himself drawn to a girl, a dream and the offer of friendship in the dark.

Steph: The cover is nice, I like the blue tones – but they are kind of too soothing for the riotous story that the back copy promises. I must say that the plot of the child seeing a murder (from a closet, no less) and seeking vengeance isn’t totally new – The Killing and Criminal Minds and also a quick google search brings up an old movie Mikey. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing as every creator will write a different story no matter the similarity in structure, it just means (to me) that I’ll have higher expectations from the author. This book seems like it’s going to need me to need to feel the feels and so, while that makes it a great winter release, I’m not sure I’m ready. I think I’ll await some reviews.

Janet: I agree with Steph. The cover is lovely and I like the blues (speckles no less!). The grazing horse gives me hope that there will be a horse involved, or at least a seriously outdoors setting. And I like that Trey looks lost as he gazes up at the horse and at the sky, a small flashlight in his hand,  a dark shadow pooled behind him. But the cover, which is beautiful, and the synopsis, which is gritty, don’t match up.

Nafiza: I would like the cover a lot better if it didn’t have the horse and the human. For some reason, the two figures seem like bad photoshop to me. What is a god-botherer? Someone who bothers God or a religious fanatic determined to convert everyone to her/his religion? I don’t think the cover and the synopsis are that far apart because the cover doesn’t scream tranquil to me. This is not my thing though and not very appealing so I’ll leave Steph to find out more about this one.


Award-winning author Philip Murdstone is in trouble. His star has waned. The world is leaving him behind. His agent, the beautiful and ruthless Minerva Cinch, convinces him that his only hope is to write a sword-and-sorcery blockbuster. Unfortunately, Philip – allergic to the faintest trace of Tolkien – is utterly unsuited to the task. In a dark hour, a dwarfish stranger comes to his rescue. But the deal he makes with Pocket Wellfair turns out to have Faustian consequences. The Murdstone Trilogy is a richly black comedy from an author described by one American critic as ‘the best writer you’ve probably never heard of.

Steph: YES! This cover is great! I love the cleverness of the cover being in the cover – and I like the actual cover too – the imagination come to life. I like the art style and… well, I’m in just by the cover, which is kind of rare, no? On top of that, we’ve got an award winning author, a murder mystery and the promise of hilarious metafiction. Yup, I’d read this. If the publisher reads this cover wars, send me a copy! 🙂

Janet: The synopsis has me grinning. A stab at sword-and-sorcery via a sword-and-sorcery-esque novel? Count me in. Also, the title has got to point to the trend of trilogizing everything (yes I made that word up). On the cover, everything that can point menacingly at Philip Murdstone (what an unfortunate last name) does – just fantastic. The emotions and situation of the synopsis and the cover line right up. I’d read a page to find out more.

Nafiza: Okay yes. I like the humour which is apparent even before you read the synopsis. I love the details on the cover (the socks and the drink) and the book with the face peeking from it. Yes. Though not children’s literature, I’m totally looking forward to finding out more about this one.


You are cordially invited to attend the Grand Opening of Sinclair’s department store!

Enter a world of bonbons, hats, perfumes and MYSTERIES around every corner. WONDER at the daring theft of the priceless CLOCKWORK SPARROW! TREMBLE as the most DASTARDLY criminals in London enact their wicked plans! GASP as our bold heroines, Miss Sophie Taylor and Miss Lilian Rose, CRACK CODES, DEVOUR ICED BUNS and vow to bring the villains to justice…

Perfect for fans of Jacqueline Wilson, Chris Riddell and Enid Blyton.

Steph: The cover is fun, it has a Clue feel to it, sort of campy, stodgy and British, and of course it screams murder mystery. Also, the bright yellow of the windows looks great against the light blue – very snazzy. So, the cover, plus the dark fun that the back copy promises reel me in. I’m not a fan of the yelling caps lock on some of the words – do you need my attention this badly? – but aside from that I think it sounds like a good, fun (and hopefully funny) middle grade read. I’d read it.

Janet: Silhouettes? *sigh* However, the bright colours and every so crooked lines are inviting. Like Steph, I’m not impressed by the ALL CAPS. If the whole book is written in that breathless style, I’d pass. However, I like that the second thing our heroines are listed as doing is eating, and I like Jacqueline Wilson and Enid Blyton (okay, reservations about Blyton; she is funny in a very British way but bewilderingly sexist and racist). If the inside pages are not too exclamatory, I might be in.

Nafiza: Everyone ought to know that middlegrade books are my crack. But really, the cover is gorgeous and the “iced buns” convinced me. I’m in. Give this to me!


A publishing event: Bestselling author Ken Liu selects his award-winning science fiction and fantasy tales for a groundbreaking collection—including a brand-new piece exclusive to this volume.

With his debut novel, The Grace of Kings, taking the literary world by storm, Ken Liu now shares his finest short fiction in The Paper Menagerie. This mesmerizing collection features all of Ken’s award-winning and award-finalist stories, including: “The Man Who Ended History: A Documentary” (Finalist for the Hugo, Nebula, and Theodore Sturgeon Awards), “Mono No Aware” (Hugo Award winner), “The Waves” (Nebula Award finalist), “The Bookmaking Habits of Select Species” (Nebula and Sturgeon award finalists), “All the Flavors” (Nebula award finalist), “The Litigation Master and the Monkey King” (Nebula Award finalist), and the most awarded story in the genre’s history, “The Paper Menagerie” (The only story to win the Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy awards).

A must-have for every science fiction and fantasy fan, this beautiful book is an anthology to savor.

Steph: When we did short story month I read a bunch of anthologies and genuinely enjoyed them, for the most part. On top of this great reason, I always enjoy reading award winning authors just to know what’s what in the popular world – AND look at the cover? It is surreal: frightening and beautiful, just perfect for a sci-fi anthology. Need I say more? I’m in.

Janet: An origami tiger? I’m impressed. Is the title a reference to The Glass Menagerie? I don’t know if I would pick this up, as I haven’t read anything by Ken Liu. The cover is stunning, though…

Nafiza: So Yash, Mik, and I went to Chapters the other day and I swooned over Ken Liu’s adult fantasy novel (that I can’t quite afford). I’ve heard enough about Liu to want to read his work and find out what and how he writes. I’d read this. And the cover? It’s gorgeous. Roar and all.


A world battered by climate shift and war turns to an ancient method of keeping peace: the exchange of hostages. The Children of Peace – sons and daughters of kings and presidents and generals – are raised together in small, isolated schools called Preceptures. There, they learn history and political theory, and are taught to gracefully accept what may well be their fate: to die if their countries declare war.

Greta Gustafsen Stuart, Duchess of Halifax and Crown Princess of the Pan-Polar Confederation, is the pride of the North American Prefecture. Learned and disciplined, Greta is proud of her role in keeping the global peace, even though, with her country controlling two-thirds of the world’s most war-worthy resource — water — she has little chance of reaching adulthood alive.

Enter Elián Palnik, the Prefecture’s newest hostage and biggest problem. Greta’s world begins to tilt the moment she sees Elián dragged into the school in chains. The Prefecture’s insidious surveillance, its small punishments and rewards, can make no dent in Elián, who is not interested in dignity and tradition, and doesn’t even accept the right of the UN to keep hostages.

What will happen to Elián and Greta as their two nations inch closer to war?

Steph: This cover is intriguing, the shock of coloured throne is very striking against the cold white, very nice and it sets the tone for the back copy which it totally up my alley. I know this is a short review of the cover and back copy but, come on! Climate shift AND an author I trust (loved Plain Kate) so – I’m in!

Janet: The cover is so harsh a red and sideways words so unappealing that I don’t think I would read this for the cover BUT the back copy is the best I’ve seen in a very long time. Plus, Erin Bow. Who tore my heart to shreds and stomped on them with Plain Kate, but who tore and stomped so well that I can’t resist this story.

Nafiza: Basically what Janet said. I mean really, cover people? It’s an Erin Bow story, you couldn’t find a better cover? It’s so unappealing that had I not known anything about Bow’s prowess as a writer and loved her previous work so much I would run past the cover. Not walk but run. Eugh. Still, it’s Erin Bow. I’ll get the book. I’ll cover the cover with brown paper. And I’ll read it. OR maybe I’ll get the UK edition. Let’s hope it’s got a different cover.