Do! Judge A Book By Its Cover Issue 98: Mystery & Thriller (Part 5)

Do! Judge A Book By Its Cover is a regular feature on Pop! Goes The Reader in which I pay tribute to some of the best and brightest the publishing world has to offer in the way of book cover design. This feature is inspired by Katie’s feature Cover Love on her blog One Page At A Time. The idea is being used with her gracious permission.

Some of my favourite covers this week include The Long Drop by Denise Mina, Are You Sleeping by Kathleen Barber, Bad Girls With Perfect Faces by Lynn Weingarten, Into The Water by Paula Hawkins, The Lies They Tell by Gillian French, The Boy At The Keyhole by Stephen Giles, The Drowned Girls by Loreth Anne White and A Line In The Dark by Malinda Lo.

01. Codename Villanelle by Luke Jennings
02. The Long Drop by Denise Mina

03. A Double Life by Flynn Berry
04. A Question Of Holmes by Brittany Cavallaro

05. The Line That Held Us by David Joy
06. Are You Sleeping by Kathleen Barber

07. She Lies In Wait by Gytha Lodge
08. Bad Girls With Perfect Faces by Lynn Weingarten

09. Into The Water by Paula Hawkins
10. The River At Night by Erica Ferencik

11. The Perfect Mother by Aimee Molloy
12. The Winters by Lisa Gabriele

13. The Room By The Lake by Emma Dibdin
14. The Lies They Tell by Gillian French

15. The Boy At The Keyhole by Stephen Giles
16. The Long Drop by Denise Mina

17. The Drowned Girls by Loreth Anne White
18. The Perfect Stranger by Megan Miranda

19. The Cutaway by Christina Kovac
20. A Line In The Dark by Malinda Lo

Now it’s your turn! What are some of your favourite Mystery and Thriller covers? Did I list one of your favourites here or is there one I forgot that just has to be included? Let me know in the comments!

Cover Reveal: The Trouble With Shooting Stars by Meg Cannistra

It’s a bittersweet day on Pop! Goes The Reader as our week of cover reveals has sadly come to an end, but it’s hard to be too sad or disappointed when I still have one absolutely beautiful cover left to share. Today I’m thrilled to partner with my friends at Cake Literary once again in order to share the exclusive cover reveal for The Trouble With Shooting Stars by debut author Meg Cannistra! Coming to a bookstore and library near you Summer 2019 from Simon & Schuster, The Trouble With Shooting Stars is a heartfelt middle grade novel that follows the story of Luna, who begins to embark on adventures in the stars after witnessing her two new next door neighbours flying away on a zeppelin in the moonlight and being invited along, but for whom even shooting stars and jars of stardust alone cannot resolve the pain in her past. The cover of The Trouble With Shooting Stars was designed by Lucy Ruth Cummins with accompanying art by Dana Wulfekotte.


About Meg Cannistra

Meg Cannistra grew up in Sarasota, Florida, where she spent her childhood chasing after older sisters and cousins and learning how to cook. After living in New York City and North New Jersey for a few years, Meg now resides with her two cats, Gloom and Doom, in Charlotte, North Carolina. She has a BA in English literature from Flagler College and an MFA in creative writing from Hamline University. When she’s not taking pictures of her cats or wandering around grocery stores, she writes magical, mysterious, and sometimes scary stories. The Trouble With Shooting Stars is her first novel.

Author Links: WebsiteTwitterInstagramGoodreads

I’m so excited to finally share the cover for The Trouble With Shooting Stars with everyone! When I first saw it, I remember sitting at my desk and being blown away. The sketch of the spazzatrici ship being front and center is absolutely amazing. Luna is an artist and spends a lot of her time drawing, so to see that sketch representing her love for art brings the whole cover together. I’m also in love with the serene color scheme – it speaks to that quiet magic woven through the story. My favorite part of the cover changes daily, but right now it’s the figurehead at the front of the flying ship. It’s of the goddess Luna. How cool is that? It’s truly surreal revealing the cover of my debut novel. I feel incredibly lucky to have this experience. Thank you all so much!



Title The Trouble With Shooting Stars
Author Meg Cannistra
Pages N/A
Intended Target Audience Middle Grade
Publication Date Summer 2019 by Simon & Schuster
Find It On Goodreads

Twelve-year-old Luna loves the nighttime more than anything else. It’s when no one gives her “that look” about the half mask she has to wear while healing from a disfiguring car accident. It’s also the perfect time to sit outside and draw what she sees. Like the boy and girl from the new family next door…zipping out of the window in a zeppelin and up to the stars.

At first she thinks she’s dreaming. But one night the siblings catch her watching. Now Luna spends her nights on adventures with them, as they clean full moons, arrange constellations, and catch jars of stardust. She even gets to make a wish on a shooting star they catch.

But Luna learns that no wish is strong enough to erase the past — as much as she may hope to.

Cover Reveal: The Wise and The Wicked by Rebecca Podos

Our week of cover reveals continues today as I’m honoured to welcome Pop! Goes The Reader regular and my dear friend, Rebecca Podos, to the blog as we share the exclusive cover reveal for Rebecca’s next novel, The Wise and The Wicked! Coming to a bookstore and library near you May 28th 2019 from Balzer + Bray, The Wise and The Wicked is a story Rebecca has described as a “modern Russian fairytale where everybody’s complicated and queer” and if the novel itself is even a smidgeon as exquisite as the excerpt and cover Rebecca has graciously agreed to share here today, we’re in for a serious treat! The cover of The Wise and The Wicked was designed by Sarah Kaufman with accompanying art by Gina Triplett.


About Rebecca Podos

Rebecca Podos is the Lambda Literary Award-winning author of the Young Adult novels The Mystery of Hollow Places and Like Water. By day, she works as a YA and MG agent at the Rees Literary Agency in Boston. By night, she sweeps piles of spaghetti off of her kitchen floor as soon as her pasta-loving toddlers have gone to bed. She would have it no other way.

Author Links: WebsiteTwitterInstagramGoodreads

In an old house built of bloodred bricks, with a tea shop in the converted front rooms, there lived three sisters and their mother.

Solnyshko, the eldest, was willow-tree tall and sweet. Zvyozdochka, the middle child, was beautiful and sharp as a cut diamond. The youngest, Zerkal’tse, was small but hard, like an unshelled nut. Each was different as could be from her sisters, except that all three had their mother’s eyes, the deep green of leaves in the part of the forest where sunlight doesn’t reach. Of course they did; you can always recognize heroines in stories by their eyes, a sign of powerful gifts within. And this was a family with very powerful gifts.

Or they had been, once upon a time.

Once upon a time, their ancestors had lived inside an immense forest of towering pines beside the republic of Russian Karelia, south of the White Sea.

Once upon a time, the forest was cold and foreboding, and braved only by those seeking miracles. Those who’d heard whispers that the woman in the woods could foretell a person’s fate, could grant wisdom and health, and — if the seeker was worthy — could ward off death itself. She and her daughters were revered and respected by those who believed. They were legends.

But the world around them changed, as it does. The cities to the west were touched by war. Political factions wrestled for the land, fighting and dying and destroying, in the way men do. Farms lay fallow; bridges and buildings were demolished. Factories and processing plants sprouted up. Typhus and cholera and diseases of deprivation burned through settlements, killing thousands.

So it was that the people became fearful for their lives. Stirred by rumors — by stories — and hungry for the power to save themselves, a band of city-dwelling men went into the forest. They trampled brush that had gone unstirred for centuries, hacked through delicate black thorns, and sloshed through clean river water with their foul boots to steal the secrets of the woman in the woods for themselves.

Long had the woman believed they would come. She had heard the tales of the settlements from miracle seekers, caught the stench of desperation and decay and greed on the westerly wind. She knew of the darkness in these men that stained what was good, like blood in water. And so she was prepared. She sent her daughters away on a ship bound for America to protect them. But they left their greatest secrets behind, and by the time they’d crossed the ocean, they had become shadows of themselves, believing it better to be small and safe than strong and hunted.

This was the legacy of Solnyshko, Zvyodochka, and Zerkal’tse. Deep green eyes, greatly weakened gifts, and the stories their mother — the granddaughter of the woman in the woods — told them in their beds in the old brick house. Each night, she passed along what diminished wisdom their ancestors had brought with them to their new home, this foremost: that the world has never been very kind to powerful women.



Title The Wise and The Wicked
Author Rebecca Podos
Pages 304 Pages
Intended Target Audience Young Adult
Publication Date May 28th 2019 by Balzer + Bray
Find It On GoodreadsAmazon.comChaptersThe Book Depository

Ruby Chernyavsky has been told the stories since she was a child: The women in her family, once possessed of great magical abilities to remake lives and stave off death itself, were forced to flee their Russian home for America in order to escape the fearful men who sought to destroy them. Such has it always been, Ruby’s been told, for powerful women. Today, these stories seem no more real to Ruby than folktales, except for the smallest bit of power left in their blood: when each of them comes of age, she will have a vision of who she will be when she dies — a destiny as inescapable as it is inevitable. Ruby is no exception, and neither is her mother, although she ran from her fate years ago, abandoning Ruby and her sisters. It’s a fool’s errand, because they all know the truth: there is no escaping one’s Time.

Until Ruby’s great-aunt Polina passes away, and, for the first time, a Chernyavsky’s death does not match her vision. Suddenly, things Ruby never thought she’d be allowed to hope for — life, love, time — seem possible. But as she and her cousin Cece begin to dig into the family’s history to find out whether they, too, can change their fates, they learn that nothing comes without a cost. Especially not hope.

Rebecca Podos, Lambda Literary Award–winning author of Like Water, returns with a lush, dark, and unforgettable story of the power of the past to shape our futures — and the courage it takes to change them.

Cover Reveal: She’s The Liar by Alison Cherry

As regular readers of Pop! Goes The Reader might be aware by now, I am a huge fan of Alison Cherry’s middle grade novels. From The Classy Crooks Club to Willows vs. Wolverines, Alison perfectly combines the fun of youthful adventures and shenanigans with a beautiful, timeless wisdom that make her books perfect for readers of all ages. Alison has been kind enough to visit Pop! Goes The Reader many times before over the last few years, and I’m so thrilled to welcome her back once again to reveal the cover of her next novel, She’s The Liar! Coming to a bookstore and library near you May 28th 2019 from Scholastic Press, She’s The Liar tells the story of sisters Abby and Sydney, two girls who become determined to reinvent themselves as they begin classes at their new boarding school, Brookside Academy, but whose ability to do so is threatened by the other sister’s determination to do the same. The cover of She’s The Liar was designed by Maeve Norton.


About Alison Cherry

Alison Cherry is the author of the young adult novels Red, For Real, and Look Both Ways and the middle grade novels The Classy Crooks Club, Willows vs. Wolverines, and Ella Unleashed. She is also the coauthor of Best. Night. Ever. and The Pros of Cons. She lives in Brooklyn with her cats.

Author Links: WebsiteTwitterInstagramGoodreads



Title She’s The Liar
Author Alison Cherry
Pages 208 Pages
Intended Target Audience Middle Grade
Publication Date May 28th 2019 by Scholastic Press
Find It On GoodreadsAmazon.comChaptersThe Book Depository

When Abby enters sixth grade at her new boarding school, Brookside academy, she is determined to reinvent herself. She sheds her shy personality and starts playing the part of confident, bubbly, popular “Abbi.” She quickly learns about the Committee, an all-powerful student organization that controls nearly every aspect of extracurricular life. Whatever you do, you don’t want to be on the Committee’s bad side.

Abby’s older sister, Sydney, is in eighth grade at Brookside. At home she was always a loner, but Abby is shocked to discover that Sydney has also crafted herself into a new person at school — she’s the president of the Committee, and she rules the entire student body through intimidation.

Each sister is a threat to the success of the other’s new personality, and things grow heated as Abby and Sydney try to outmaneuver each other for power and influence. But both girls have hidden motives, and they soon find themselves hopelessly tangled in a web of lies, schemes, and blackmail.

Cover Reveal: The Spinner of Dreams by K.A. Reynolds

Today marks the beginning of a very exciting week here on Pop! Goes The Reader, as I’ll be hosting three exclusive cover reveals over the course of the next five days, and I couldn’t be more excited to kick things off with the always wonderful K.A. Reynolds! Kristin is no stranger to the blog, having kindly visited here twice before, first to reveal the cover of her debut novel, The Land of Yesterday, and later to share an extraordinarily touching (and ultimately hopeful) post on battling monsters and finding a light in the darkness. Today, Kristin is back again to share the stunning, unforgettable cover of her sophomore middle grade novel, The Spinner of Dreams! Coming to a bookstore and library near you August 27th 2019 from HarperCollins, The Spinner of Dreams follows the story of Annalise Meriwether, a young girl cursed at birth by the Fate Spinner, and who must embark on a harrowing adventure to undo the curse and change her fate along with the help of a bespectacled cat and nervous fox. The cover of The Spinner of Dreams was illustrated by Julia Iredale. Please read on to learn more about The Spinner of Dreams, including a note from the author, and don’t forget to stop by Pop! Goes The Reader later this week for the exclusive cover reveals of She’s The Liar by Alison Cherry and Creatures Such As We by Rebecca Podos!


About K.A. Reynolds

K. A. Reynolds is a poet and writer from Winnipeg Canada currently residing in the wilds of Maine. Her superpowers include: Monty Python references, risqué madlibs, and saving spiders from certain peril. When not madly typing, daydreaming, or caring for the elderly, she enjoys laughing, smiling, apologizing (and other favorite Canadian pastimes), swapping bad jokes with her numerous offspring, herding various furry beasts, and reading strange and colorful tales expertly crafted by other imagination astronauts in love with words.

Author Links: WebsiteTwitterInstagramGoodreads

Annalise Meriwether, a kindhearted eleven-year-old girl with blackberry colored hair and eyes, a cursed left hand, and mental illnesses just like mine, first came to me on July 28th, 2016. When we met, she was chasing a fluffy white cat in a top hat and monocle through a dark desolate field. The moonlit sky was cracked in half. Black wolves prowled the perimeter, white crows cawed overhead. I knew right away that wherever this magical girl and cat were running, I would follow.

After watching this scene in my mind, I hopped on my laptop, opened a new Word doc, and wrote: Annalise wants to be queen of her destiny and defeat fate. Allegory of what it’s like to follow your dreams and fail, time after time, and still get up to do it again.

And the theme for The Spinner of Dreams was born.

It was a theme I knew well. I’d spent much of my life battling fate and chasing dreams, falling and getting back up, feeling strange and out of place. I also understood Annalise’s struggles with mental illness, because I also live with anxiety, depression, panic, and PTSD. I was so excited to write this story. When I was Annalise’s age, reading about a middle grade protagonist with a dark past, a dream in her heart, and a mind like mine, would have given me the hope and daring to think if she can do it, maybe I can, too. Plus, Annalise had this aura of lightness around her — a gentle kindness and unwavering optimism I admired and loved instantly. With her story, I hoped to show readers that no matter what the world threw at you, how different or small you felt, or how much you had to overcome, a secret magic was born from dreaming big dreams and never giving up. That a special power grew from struggle. That one’s differences were often their greatest strengths. That dreams really did come true.

Thank you all for checking out my cover for The Spinner of Dreams. I can’t wait to share Annalise’s story with you!



Title The Spinner of Dreams
Author K.A. Reynolds
Pages N/A
Intended Target Audience Middle Grade
Genre and Keywords Fantasy
Publication Date August 27th 2019 by HarperCollins
Find It On Goodreads

Inventive, empathetic, and strange in all the best ways, The Spinner of Dreams draws from the author’s own experiences to create a story that feels timeless and universal. As she did in her debut The Land of Yesterday, K. A. Reynolds thoughtfully explores mental health and crafts an adventure that fits right alongside middle grade classics like The Phantom Tollbooth.

Annalise Meriwether is kind, clever, curious — and lonelier than ever before.

Cursed at birth by the Fate Spinner, Annalise lives a solitary life with her loving parents. Despite her anxiety, Annalise tries to ignore the cruel townsfolk who blame her for their broken sky, desolate town, and the night wolves that hunt them all. But the black mark on her hand won’t be ignored. Not when the monster living beneath it, which seems to have an agenda of its own, grows more powerful and unpredictable each day.

There’s only one way for Annalise to change her fate and rid herself of her curse: find the Fate Spinner, the deadly enchantress who holds a secret vendetta against her, and enter the Labyrinth of Fate and Dreams. If Annalise can make it out of the Labyrinth alive, she will come face to face with the merciful Spinner of Dreams — the only one with the power to grant her the dream that lives in the smallest, secretest corner of her longing heart.

So, with the help of a bespectacled cat who seems to have all the answers and a nervous fox who promises to stay by her side no matter what, Annalise sets out to undo the curse that’s defined her – and to show the world, and herself, exactly who she is inside.