Best Book Covers of 2016

Every year I walk into a bookshop and ogle at all of the amazing covers. There are so many I love, but here are a few of my favourites from this year, in no particular order. I haven’t read any of these books yet, but the covers certainly caught my attention.

The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge

I do love trees, and often take photographs of them, so this beautiful cover really caught my eye. The version with the apple is also equally creative and beautiful.

Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

Although this cover features yet another YA novel with a girl in a floaty dress, in this case the composition and colours in the image make it very striking.

The Power by Naomi Alderman

The hand print on a cover is nothing new, but the white pattern over the top is different and interesting, and made me intrigued to find out what the book is about.

Underground Airlines by Ben H. Winters

This cover, although very simplistic, I found highly effective.

A Gathering of Shadows by V. E. Schwab

The cover for the first book in this series was one of my favourites from last year, and this one from the second book is also a stunner.

The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig

The more I looked at this cover, the more details I picked out. At first I didn’t notice the face in the wave!

This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp

From a photography point of view, it’s a brilliant photograph, freezing the moment of shattering. I also liked how the font ties in with the image of the chalk.

The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

I thought this cover was beautiful. I love the colours and shapes.

You can’t judge a book by its cover, but I can’t help but take notice of ones that catch my eye.

Book Review: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Science Fiction, Historical Fiction

Publishing Info: June 2013 by Quirk Books (first published 2011)

Pages: 382

Star Rating: 4/5

Back Cover Summary:

A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of curious photographs. It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that Miss Peregrine’s children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.

I’ve been dying to read this book since I heard about it. A young adult novel with photographs in it? Photography being another of my hobbies, this was a rather big draw, and it sounded like such a unique and interesting read. The photographs used are all authentic found photographs, not ones taken for the purpose of the book. There’s an interview at the end of the edition I have with Ransom Riggs in which he talks about how he found and used the photographs.

Is the story completely original? No, I mean, that’s not really possible. Yes, I guess the plot/concept is kind of similar to X-Men. However, where X-Men is very much science-fiction, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is quite different and has a more fantastical and paranormal feel to it. Peculiar, is in fact, a perfect word to describe the book.

Jacob wasn’t anything special as far as main characters go. It was a pretty standard first person narration from his point of view. Many of the other characters also weren’t that fleshed out. Characterisation seemed to be less of a priority that the concept, plot and aesthetic of the book. I’ve seen worse characterisation, but this aspect of the book definitely needed more development.

The plot kept me interested and there were surprises along the way. It wasn’t as creepy as I was expecting, which is fine for me as I’m not a fan of horror. At times it did unfortunately feel like the story was forced to fit the photographs or vice versa, which is a shame. I did enjoy the plot though and wanted to keep reading to find out what would happen next.

As the first book a trilogy, it seems like this first one is a lot of set up for the next one, as if this is just an introduction to the characters and concept, in order for the main plot to actually start in the second book.

I thoroughly enjoyed it and wasn’t disappointed. I’m looking forward to reading the second and third books – and also seeing the film adaptation.

Photography Corner: Looking Through the Lens

Anybody can take a photograph, but it takes a little something to take a great photograph. That something is an alternative point of view. Taking a picture of something straight on often creates quite a generic image. Try crouching down and angling your camera up at the subject or tilt the camera so it isn’t quite straight on. Taking your photo from a different angle can completely change how the image looks.


Lighting is also very important. Change the place you are standing in to see how sunlight or artificial light changes the image. The middle of the day is the worst time for taking photographs outside as there are no shadows, so everything looks flat. If you take photos earlier or later than midday then shadows add depth to the image. If you are photographing at night then you need to utilise the light sources available to you – think about what is illuminated and what is not.

Placing the sun behind the subject.
Placing the sun behind the subject.

Using artifial lighting in a darkroom to experiment with portrait photography. Model - Miriam.
Using artifial lighting in a darkroom to experiment with portrait photography. Model – Miriam.

Night photography in Austria.
Night photography in Austria.

(All photographs are (c) me 2014. Please do not use them or claim them as your own.)