With this post, we reach the end of our Top Five Tuesday scavenger hunt. I usually am not drawn to books with people on the cover because I was biased in believing such covers didn’t quite convey what the book would be about. I do think my change of heart also has to do with with the evolution of book covers and the rise of more BIPOC characters featured front and centre. I’m so glad for this week’s prompt made me realise my changed stance. All I needed to do was look closer. And so, this list features some stunning and thoughtful covers featuring people.
Half British Reaper, half Japanese Shinigami, Ren Scarborough has been collecting souls in the London streets for centuries. Expected to obey the harsh hierarchy of the Reapers who despise her, Ren conceals her emotions and avoids her tormentors as best she can.
When her failure to control her Shinigami abilities drives Ren out of London, she flees to Japan to seek the acceptance she’s never gotten from her fellow Reapers. Accompanied by her younger brother, the only being on earth to care for her, Ren enters the Japanese underworld to serve the Goddess of Death… only to learn that here, too, she must prove herself worthy. Determined to earn respect, Ren accepts an impossible task—find and eliminate three dangerous Yokai demons—and learns how far she’ll go to claim her place at Death’s side.
The Keeper of Night’s stunning cover illustration was done by Jessica Coppet. I love the play of light and shadows, and the use of threads to create the character. This visually stunning book cover reminds me of Spirited Away. Also, did you know that the main character of this book is biracial? I am so excited to read Keeper of the Night!
This gripping thriller follows two teens whose lives become inextricably linked when one confesses to murder and the other becomes determined to uncover the real truth no matter the cost.
What happened to Zoe won’t stay buried…
When Anna Cicconi arrives to the small Hamptons village of Herron Mills for a summer nanny gig, she has high hopes for a fresh start. What she finds instead is a community on edge after the disappearance of Zoe Spanos, a local girl who has been missing since New Year’s Eve. Anna bears an eerie resemblance to Zoe, and her mere presence in town stirs up still-raw feelings about the unsolved case. As Anna delves deeper into the mystery, stepping further and further into Zoe’s life, she becomes increasingly convinced that she and Zoe are connected–and that she knows what happened to her.
Two months later, Zoe’s body is found in a nearby lake, and Anna is charged with manslaughter. But Anna’s confession is riddled with holes, and Martina Green, teen host of the Missing Zoe podcast, isn’t satisfied. Did Anna really kill Zoe? And if not, can Martina’s podcast uncover the truth?
Despite its dark theme, the cover for I Killed Zoe Spanos is quite bright! Inspired by Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca and true crime podcasts, this standalone thriller explores the world of female content creators. The author provides a thoughtful commentary on the rampant media culture where women’s pain and trauma are portrayed for shock value. I love the author’s inspiration and thoughts on writing this book, which is why I want to pick it up.
Odd-mannered, obsessive, withdrawn, Aster has little to offer folks in the way of rebuttal when they call her ogre and freak. She’s used to the names; she only wishes there was more truth to them. If she were truly a monster, as they accuse, she’d be powerful enough to tear down the walls around her until nothing remained of her world, save for stories told around the cookfire.
Aster lives in the low-deck slums of the HSS Matilda, a space vessel organized much like the antebellum South. For generations, the Matilda has ferried the last of humanity to a mythical Promised Land. On its way, the ship’s leaders have imposed harsh moral restrictions and deep indignities on dark-skinned sharecroppers like Aster, who they consider to be less than human.
When the autopsy of Matilda’s sovereign reveals a surprising link between his death and her mother’s suicide some quarter-century before, Aster retraces her mother’s footsteps. Embroiled in a grudge with a brutal overseer and sowing the seeds of civil war, Aster learns there may be a way off the ship if she’s willing to fight for it.
I’m always talking about Rivers Solomon’s works despite not having read any just yet! Many of their books tackle the intersections of gender and identity, and race relations. Even as I write this, I am terribly tempted to purchase the novella, but alas, it will have to wait!
The Memory Police by Yōko Ogawa; Translated by Stephen Snyder
On an unnamed island off an unnamed coast, objects are disappearing: first hats, then ribbons, birds, roses—until things become much more serious. Most of the island’s inhabitants are oblivious to these changes, while those few imbued with the power to recall the lost objects live in fear of the draconian Memory Police, who are committed to ensuring that what has disappeared remains forgotten.
When a young woman who is struggling to maintain her career as a novelist discovers that her editor is in danger from the Memory Police, she concocts a plan to hide him beneath her floorboards. As fear and loss close in around them, they cling to her writing as the last way of preserving the past.
A surreal, provocative fable about the power of memory and the trauma of loss, The Memory Police is a stunning new work from one of the most exciting contemporary authors writing in any language.
This book has a very interesting premise that I find unique to the dystopia genre. I’m curious to see how the author handles the narrative and describes things when one has forgotten what they are. I’ve seen a lot of reviewers say it’s haunting and beautifully written.
A queen of a divided land must unite her people, even if they hate her, even if it means stopping a ruin that she helped create. A debut epic fantasy from an exciting new voice.
“I murdered a man and made my husband leave the night before they crowned me.”
Born under the crumbling towers of Oren-yaro, Queen Talyien was the shining jewel and legacy of the bloody War of the Wolves that nearly tore her nation apart. Her upcoming marriage to the son of her father’s rival heralds peaceful days to come.
But his sudden departure before their reign begins fractures the kingdom beyond repair.
Years later, Talyien receives a message, urging her to attend a meeting across the sea. It’s meant to be an effort at reconciliation, but an assassination attempt leaves the queen stranded and desperate to survive in a dangerous land. With no idea who she can trust, she’s on her own as she struggles to fight her way home.
The Wolf of Oren-Yaro will forever hold a special place in my heart. This is one of the best series I’ve ever read and will, without a doubt, always recommend to people who enjoy political fantasy books. The beautiful cover art features a fierce and battle scarred Filipino woman, illustrated by Simon Goinard and designed by Lauren Panepinto.