Even though I travel overseas frequently and rely on e-readers to keep up with my “to read” list, there’s something profound about holding a physical book in my hands. Part of it is the smell of the paper and ink, the feel of the pages as I turn them. But part of it is the physical appearance.
I’ll come right out and say it: I judge books by their covers.
Book covers are works of art. Some aren’t particularly good works of art, but some of them are masterpieces. A stunning cover is what catches your eye in the store and makes you pick up a book that you otherwise would have passed over.
Here are five of my favorite (non-traditional) romance novel book covers, with a twist: all of the covers share the same color scheme.
Summary: There is a traveling circus which appears without warning in towns around the world. And if the wonders inside seem magical, it’s because they are; the circus is actually a battle-ground for magicians Celia and Marco.
This is one of my all-time favorite romances, mostly because it’s so much more than a love story. It’s about magic and dreams and believing in yourself. It’s about refusing to give in to other people’s expectations and doing what you want. It’s about friendship and family and the bonds that define us as human beings. But yes, it’s also about love.
The cover art on all of the editions perfectly fits the whimsical and magical feel of the circus. I love the sharp contrast of the red (a distinctive trademark of frequent visitors to the circus) and the cutouts of the couple on the cover. (Cover Artist: Helen Musselwhite or Pei Loi Koay, I couldn’t find for sure)
Summary: Blue Sargent is a normal girl in a family of psychics. She’s been told since she was a little girl that if she kisses her true love, he will die. So when she has a vision of a soon-to-be-dead boy named Gansey, she knows his death will be her fault.
The Raven Cycle quartet (book four is due in 2016) is probably one of the most amazing YA series that I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. It’s smart, witty, and incredibly original. The characters are teenagers who deal with normal teenager things– school, crushes, family– but also issues like fate, destiny, and magic.
The cover art here is something I would hang on my wall in a heartbeat. Stunning, dark, and with very cool details hidden within. (Cover Artist: Adam S. Doyle)
Summary: If you’ve been living under a rock for the last few years, you might not know about the Hunger Games. A dystopia where every year one male and one female ‘tribute’ from each District is sent to the Capital to fight to the death.
I do consider this series to be ‘romance’, even though I know some would disagree; I love gritty novels where the romance is fought for every step of the way, and hard-won in the end.
These gorgeous covers are part of the Australian luxury editions, with metallic-edged pages and a raised cover. Even though I already owned all three books in the trilogy, I had to buy these beauties when I found them overseas! (Cover Artist: Unknown)
Summary: A man named Toru Okada is searching the Tokyo suburbs for his wife’s runaway cat, but soon finds himself searching for his missing wife as well. He goes to a sub-Tokyo world, and there meets a series of characters on his quest.
When this novel was first published almost twenty years ago, the New York Times called it, “a big, ambitious book” which deals with, among other things, “the transitory nature of romantic love”. Murakami’s novels have always read as love stories to me, even though they in no way resemble a traditional romance.
I love the simplicity of this cover and the other Murakami covers by this artist, released by Vintage and used, it seems, primarily on the Amazon Kindle editions. Very much “modern art”, and very cleverly designed too! (Cover Artist: Noma Bar)
Summary: Gavin DeGrassi is a detective who gets handed a unique murder case. The victim was part of the BDSM lifestyle, and it looks like a serial killer is targeting Doms within the community. Enter Ben Haverson, a psychologist and Dom who works with Gavin as a consultant, and then becomes something more to Gavin as he begins to explore the lifestyle for himself.
Gavin and Ben are a gorgeous couple, and the process of Gavin coming to terms with his sexuality and the fascination he has with the BDSM lifestyle is written so perfectly.
This cover is from the third book in the trilogy, but all three covers follow the same theme. I love the stark contrast of a single character suspended in the middle of the image.
(Cover Artist: Theo Fenraven)