Looking back I still agree with where my ratings fell, but it hurts for me to see IN RESTLESS DREAMS AND LINEAGE in this line up of the worst rated covers of 2019.
They are great books, by fantastic authors, and you won’t be disappointed if you picked them up to read.
On the designer side, however, they took some of the lower side of scores since The Mother Lover blog conception in July. For many on outward appearance you might disagree with me, but taking the mood/internals of the novel and then comparing the covers… I would gamble on you would agree with the Mother Cover Lover cover critique.
Let’s dive on in shall we.
Cover Review Rating: 2/5 stars
Calling all shadowed faces staring out on books! I don’t hate half shadowing faces or figures. They work, set the mood, and they catch my eye most of the time. I like the darker side of stories just like I love sarcastic humorous ones. That said, I did click to find out more about this novel, but the cover didn’t sell me at all.
The blurb did.
So you know what this means… I got issues with this cover or should I say covers.
First, there are two different covers between Net Galley & Goodreads. Second, why the hell would you only have the image of a chin? Everyone’s got to start somewhere and this is def a case of author designed the cover and with a little research, she licensed the photo through Canva. Now, there is nothing wrong with this!
However, both of these images fall flat. There’s not enough contrast. Light and Dark pull. I almost wish there were hints of color to make it stand out against the darkness more. There’s a reason why the artist Caravaggio is known for his amazing chiaroscuro paintings.
Haven’t heard of Caravaggio, then click on his name here to learn more about this amazing master artist, but here’s a sampling of his work in the meantime.
Don’t you see the contrast immediately?
Yes, he paints the gory/darker type of art. Get over that and focus on the coloration/light/dark areas. This my friends for painters is called Chiaroscuro. Let’s take a minute to educate ourselves on this term. I know many outside the art world won’t be accustomed to it. Below is the definition provided by https://study.com/academy/lesson/chiaroscuro-in-art-definition-technique-artists-examples.html.
Painters of the Renaissance and Baroque periods wanted to engage their viewers. Like the cinematographers of classic Hollywood, they used the play of light and shadow to give life and drama to their images. The word chiaroscuro is Italian for light and shadow. It’s one of the classic techniques used in the works of artists like Rembrandt, da Vinci, and Caravaggio. It refers to the use of light and shadow to create the illusion of light from a specific source shining on the figures and objects in the painting. Along with linear perspective, chiaroscuro was one of the new techniques used by painters of the Renaissance to make their paintings look truly three-dimensional.
Like photographers and cinematographers centuries later, painters realized that the contrast between areas of light and dark heighten the impact of an image.
The reason why THE QUEEN’S KEEPER falls flat is ’cause there’s not enough push and pull. Chiaroscuro or even hints of color. Like I said many outside the art/design world would look at the facial cover image and say it looks good.
An artists eye will say there needs to be more highlights, perhaps let’s add a touch a color in the eyes, the lip, some area. I’m not even going to go into the chin cover. This is when it helps to get a professional/artist/designer to see what the author does not see. The cover could’ve been so much more with a few tricks here and there from the one used on Goodreads.
So unfortunately, this cover will rate at a 2/5 stars for me.
Cover Review Rating: DNF 0/5 stars
This novel didn’t even make a true post, only a mention in on of my monthly wrap-ups. Honestly, it was my first DNF and I still have this sour, nauseated sensation at viewing it again. Dramatic? Perhaps, but this also says how thoroughly disgusted I was with the novel.
Harsh. I know, but so was reading what I read before saying “oh hell, no”.
With that said the cover and the blurb are so misleading. One might think its Sci-Fi, perhaps a wild virus, and then by the blurb a comedy. Sigh… I wish I could mention something redeeming about this novel for the author’s sake, but alas I need to walk away from it before I write something I truly regret.
COSMIC FEVER, by Eric J. Adams, DNF.
If I had to give a review other than DNF it would be NEVER READ THIS.
Cover Review Rating: 2.5/5 stars
Aw, IN RESTLESS DREAMS by Wren Handman. She is a lovely writer and pulled me into reading bender. I know many readers will adore her novel and I recommend reading it. In fact, Wren reached out to me to review her novel baby, and I was delighted to read & review.
But the cover stars didn’t fall like anticipated and I want her novel to be off this list.
Are you restless waiting to see where this review goes?
Wren Handman, the author of IN RESTLESS DREAMS, reached out to me to see if I would review her lovely novel. One might internally scream with terror and excitement when I accepted with cautious glee. So let us buckle up and get ready for the first of reviews to dive into… the cover.
I always do my research or as much a possible given the time I have to scroll through the countless pages on the internet. It appears IN RESTLESS DREAMS was originally self-published with a different cover back in 2016. Now, don’t get y’all’s undies in a pinch. There’s nothing wrong with doing a re-release through another publisher, but with that said that also means there are two covers.
Now, I’m not going to deep dive both, but I do want to have both covers first for comparison.
So on the left, we have the original self-published cover and on the right is the Parliament House re-release cover. Strangely, both of these covers has the main character in a dress facing/walking away from the reader. Other than the change of the back and foreground each cover doesn’t really represent the story to the accuracy it deserves. For a quick critique on the first self-published cover, I’d say the font style of the title and author name need more direction to pin it to the contemporary fantasy genre. Also the placement of the wordage and more inclusion of internal concepts. That’s a quick rundown for the first cover, but the main focus, of course, is on the re-released cover.
So let’s dig on in shall we.
First and foremost, this is the second cover I’ve reviewed from Parliament House Publishing. I find it interesting the same issues I noted from a previous cover review are re-emerging on this cover.
The cover for an overall perspective is aesthetically pleasing. The cover taps into the title of the novel by creating an almost dream landscape watercolor collage. The font style is nice, a tad gothic which may imply the darker contemporary issues that are presented, however, from here I’m having issues.
There are two worlds and a travel portal the main character finds herself straddling IN RESTLESS DREAMS: the Concrete (human) and the Abstract Land (fairy realm) and then there’s a transitional realm of existence between the two called the Shadow.
From the watercolor collage, one would pin this as more of the transition between two worlds, the Shadows between both. That said, however, there isn’t any imagery to depict the transition between both realms. The main character straddles the shadowland between New York and the Abstract Land. Though the fairy realm is more wilderness, it also is vivid in coloring.
Where’s the vivid color? Where’s the city fading away in the shadow?
This little non-shadowed area may try to read as some kind of town, but upon closer inspection, it seems more landscape-ish. Even the coloring further from the watercolor blob of darkness isn’t vivid. It’s evergreen like any forest one might find in the Concrete (human) world. This then leads me to my second issue…
Why is there an abundance of wildlife on this cover?
One might think wildlife plays an important role in this novel. Aw, but sadly it doesn’t. Fae, other humans, play more roles than an owl or deer. There are two other male characters who play enormous roles, one, in particular, that should be on this cover rather than the wildlife.
Another issue I’m not harping on, but noting is the dress the main character wears. Out of the two dresses the main character wears within in novel, none look like this or put her into a time frame that seems to lean historical in context.
Last, but certainly not least, the tag line.
Now some may have totally missed the tagline, and I might have too if not for studying the cover with a keen eye.
Why is the tagline so small?
It’s tiny to the point of why was it incorporated at all. This aspect is a tad frustrating for me since it’s exact to an issue on a cover I’ve noted before. The whole point of a tagline is to draw interest from a prospective reader, and this cannot be done if the reader overlooks it.
If I compare the cover to the first self-published cover, than yes this cover is more polished. If I compare the cover to the story within IN RESTLESS DREAMS to the cover used for the re-release, I’d have to say it didn’t do it justice. I wish the main character and another darker male sub-character were featured more so, than the collage of watercolor images layered into each other. This may be a re-release of a self-published novel from 2016, but if I had to put both versions of the cover together, the subject matter minus some fore-ground and background are almost the same.
Why not give a whole new direction of cover art?
I find writing this cover review unfortunate for the author ’cause I had high hopes the cover art represented the storyline inside. Also, every author wants to cherish their cover and not have it taken apart as I just did. With this being the second cover from Parliament House I’ve reviewed for accuracy of conceptual design to the storyline, I’m a bit worried about the depth of designs this publishing house is producing for it’s authors.
Though I do rate this a 2.5/5 stars, the story and writing of IN RESTLESS DREAMS didn’t disappoint.
Cover Review Rating: 2.5/5 stars
I have a lot of background history with not only Lineage, but also it’s wonderful author C. Vonzale Lewis. We’ve been critique partners for years now, and I consider her one of my best of friends. That said, we don’t hold back our critiques of each other’s works. We push each other for more than perfection. So yes, I have a personal background with C. Vonzale Lewis, but it will in no way sway my book reviews. And yes, she knows it. We love each other more for it.
I stated the part above when I reviewed and I re-emphasis it now. Like IN RESTLESS DREAMS, LINEAGE has no reason to be on this list given the awesomeness inside the cover. It’s by no way these authors faults they ended up with a design that did not properly reflect there novels.
That was the failure of the publishing house and designer.
I’ve walked through the pages of Lineage throughout multiple revision phases.
So to say I know the content like the back of my hand is an understatement. Which makes this review hard. Harder than you don’t know what to say. More like to write it down is blasphemy.
Some might ask why?
It’s a beautiful cover. Aesthetically the cover hits all the spots need. Imagery is on point, the background gives off a mystical feel. The coloration allows for the gold Egyptian symbols to stand out, along with the title and authors name. The font is a good fantasy stylization (font’s one of those tricky bastards you can get wrong real quick), and the title takes precedence.
So YAY, the cover looks great! Right? Why complain?
This is where most people would stop, but with my in-depth knowledge of Lineage and art/design concepts, I can’t.
Book Covers should be more than just aesthetically beautiful. They should reflect what’s inside. The story begging to be read.
This is where the critique hits the fan. Turn around and run if your delicate sense can’t handle what I’m about to discuss.
No, then let’s get started.
The cover doesn’t embody the story written inside. The only aspect of the cover that does Lineage justice is the Egyptian symbol on the front. I love the scarab and the Eye of Horus. This has the beginnings of the lore threaded within Lineage. THE FREAKING-TASTIC LORE I THOUGHT WAS REAL AT FIRST! It’s that mother cover loving good!! I even had to research it ’cause I thought it was some part of history I overlooked. So, yeah, the lore is like unreal, but that’s where the lore stopped along with that feeling woven deep into the core of Lineage.
I sound like a book deprived maniac, but what’s inside this cover demands to be brought forth and displayed to make Contemporary Dark Fantasy readers drool to get inside its pages.
Damn woman what is wrong with you! What must I do to please you? Trust me I want to cheer for the cover too.
I’m gonna have me a mob, pitchfork welding tribe coming for me. Please know I mean this with the utmost love. I’ve also said this straight up to C. Vonzale Lewis in many deep conversations. So no, this ain’t no blindside, and yes, I keep wanting to sew my lips shut and tie my fingers into knots.
The background totally missed the mark. The dreamy night in the desert gives off almost a mystical feel, which I get it. There’s Magick in Lineage, but the setting of Lineage doesn’t even take place in the desert. (Que dramatic music)
It takes place on the island of Tulare in a town, nowhere close to an arid climate. There might be the smell of blood and sand in the novel, but come on it’s not the setting. If you’re going to go there, then go there. Give us blood. Give us sand. This is like false advertisement. There should be a town or small city depicted below. Not a desert. Other than the cover having an overall dark night concept, where’s the contemporary dark fantasy mood.
Contemporary dark fantasies have covers that give off an element of danger, mystery, hell darkness more than a dark night. Not to mention, this book is one in the series of Blood and Sacrifice Chronicles. There is no resemblance of blood used anywhere on the cover when it is such a dominant force in the story line. If I opened the pages, crimson life force should be dripping from all of the paper cut sacrifices its reader will endure.
The red that is present is almost not seen, there is no point of even having it. Why? Why not give us blood? Why not give us the mood of danger, mystery, and lurking darkness that this novel deserves. Do I think the image used in the background is ugly? No, it’s beautiful, but it doesn’t fit this novel. This is why I have such an issue with it.
My other can’t get over issue for my anal self is the tag line. Some of you may be like wait, let me scroll back up to the main image. There was a tag line? Yes, there was.
I even have a pre-drop printed copy of Lineage (Shh…) and I can tell you the tag line is so small it’s almost lost to the galaxy of stars. Why? The tag line is so freaking good too.
SOME MAGICK SHOULD NEVER BE FORGOTTEN
Look, I love my C. Vonzale Lewis and I beyond adore her book baby Lineage. Auntie Mother Cover Lover will share and shout it from the rooftops on how amazing the story is, but the design of the cover should have taken more aspects from the story line and made them shine. I’m beyond sorry I had to write such a cover review of it.
I’ll pretty much be hated by this designer for like forever now, but I told myself when I started reviewing I’d be honest. So here’s my two cents on this cover critique.
THE WORST COVERS OF 2019!
Like I mentioned at the beginning, 2 covers for sure belonged on here, but 2 out of the 4 novels were let down by their publisher and designer.
LINEAGE and IN RESTLESS DREAMS deserve to be read by you or those you think would love them. It takes a lot of heart to put work out there for others to enjoy, read, critique, and I know the slipper side of both.
MOTHER COVER LOVE OUT!