top 5 tuesday: Favorite Book Covers

Top 5 Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the fantastic Bionic Bookworm.  This week’s topic:

OCTOBER 17 – Top 5 favourite book covers

Cheating a bit, but here we go:

9781101906729-us

Human Acts by Han Kang: This is one of my all-time favorite cover designs; I love the simple yet eerie imagery and I love the dissonance of the muted yellow.

The William Morrow covers of Agatha Christie‘s novels.  A few faves: And Then There Were None, Murder on the Orient Express, Endless NightSparkling Cyanide.  I’m obsessed with this series of covers and I’m slowly working on collecting them all…. I may go broke in the process but I’m having fun with it so far.

30753836

Running by Cara Hoffman.  This was a very strange little novel that I didn’t completely love, but I think the cover design is stunning – I love the Greek statues and the slightly off-tone primary colors.

41nsvhy8t2bl-_sx322_bo1204203200_

The Vegetarian by Han Kang: I genuinely tried to narrow it down and choose only one Han Kang cover, but I love both of them so much.  I love how delightfully creepy this one is, and I love the bold red of the background.

The Kopp Sisters series by Amy Stewart: Girl Waits With Gun, Lady Cop Makes Trouble, Miss Kopp’s Midnight Confessions.  I love the old fashioned newspaper cover design and the use of bold colors.  And Constance Kopp’s no-nonsense expression in all of these images is pretty great.

What can I say – I’m pretty predictable.  Bold colors + some cool art design + clean font are the way to my heart.

What are some of your favorite book covers?

book review: Miss Kopp’s Midnight Confessions by Amy Stewart

33413882

MISS KOPP’S MIDNIGHT CONFESSIONS by Amy Stewart (Kopp Sisters #3)
★★★☆☆
Houghton Mifflin, September 2017

I’m starting to wonder if Girl Waits with Gun was a one-off stroke of brilliance. I loved the first novel in this historical fiction series based on the life of one of the first female deputy sheriffs in the U.S., but its sequel, Lady Cop Makes Trouble, didn’t quite live up to the high bar Stewart had set for herself. I had higher hopes for Miss Kopp’s Midnight Confessions at first, but I think I ultimately wanted to like this more than I did.

The premise of this novel is the most interesting to me of the three. Set in 1916, just before the U.S. entered World War I, women are having to take up the slack of men who are leaving to go abroad – taking factory positions and leaving the house more often to aid war efforts. This was a difficult pill for some of these young women’s parents to swallow, and many of them reported their daughters to the police for wayward behavior, which is an interesting and frustrating piece of history that I ended up learning a lot about. I just wish the narrative had been on the same level as Stewart’s impeccable research.

While I was initially prepared to praise this novel for having more narrative cohesion than its two predecessors (the cases that Constance is investigating end up dovetailing with her personal life), I thought the execution was somewhat unwieldy. One of the characters does something that I felt was solely for the sake of furthering the plot, and really incongruous with her characterization. And while I enjoyed spending more time with Norma and Fleurette than we had in Lady Cop Makes Trouble, the relationship between the three sisters – easily the best thing about the first novel – always felt rather secondary to whatever else was going on.

I loved the new characters who were introduced, Edna especially, and I enjoyed reading about her time involving herself in the war effort. But I still thought that there were too many subplots here, and the way it all came together in the end was a little ham-fisted.

It’s more of a 3.5 than a 3, and certainly an improvement on Lady Cop Makes Trouble. But I’m still waiting for Stewart to really tap into the magic that she was able to achieve with Girl Waits with Gun. I’m undecided if I’ll continue this series if Stewart writes more. On the one hand, I’m rather invested in Constance Kopp at this point, but on the other, I have a nagging feeling that this series peaked with its first novel.

Thank you to Netgalley, Houghton Mifflin, and Amy Stewart for the advanced copy provided in exchange for an honest review.

My review of Lady Cop Makes Trouble can be found HERE.  (I have not written a review of Girl Waits With Gun.)

book review: Lady Cop Makes Trouble by Amy Stewart

28114478

LADY COP MAKES TROUBLE by Amy Stewart
★★★☆☆
Houghton Mifflin, 2016

Girl Waits with Gun was one of my favorite books I read last year – I thought it was a fun and delightful story with vibrant characters that I found unexpectedly moving. Lady Cop Makes Trouble is a formidable attempt at continuing Constance Kopp’s story, but for me, it just lacked the magic of Girl Waits with Gun.

My main problem is that I think this actually would have been much better suited to a short story than a novel. The overarching plot – prisoner escapes, Constance tracks him down – is somehow stretched out to span 300 pages, in a narrative that gets bogged down by a lot of filler, which includes some cases in the background that end up being ultimately inconsequential.

One element from Girl Waits with Gun that I was really hoping would be explored in more detail here is Constance’s relationship with Fleurette (I won’t say why, in case you haven’t read Girl Waits with Gun, because you should). But Norma and Fleurette actually took a backseat for the most part of Lady Cop Makes Trouble. Sheriff Heath had a much bigger role than the two of them, and while I found his dynamic with Constance compelling, I would have liked to have seen much more of Constance’s sisters. After all, that was my favorite thing about Girl Waits with Gun – over a year later, a lot of details of that plot escape me, but what really stands out when I think about that book is the fascinating relationship between Constance and her sisters. Lady Cop Makes Trouble is somehow more focused on plot than characters, even though its plot is weaker. It’s not a good combination.

As always, Amy Stewart’s research is impeccable. I highly recommend reading her afterword about which elements of this book were real and which were fictionalized – it’s fascinating reading.

Bottom line – I didn’t dislike this at all. But where I found Girl Waits with Gun to be fun, enthralling, and a real page-turner, I was always lukewarm about Lady Cop Makes Trouble – at some points I got engrossed in the narrative, but at others, I really had to push myself to keep reading. Maybe I wasn’t in the right mood for it, maybe it’s suffering from Second Book Syndrome, I don’t know. I enjoyed it, but I didn’t love it the way I’d wanted to. At any rate, I have the third installment, Miss Kopp’s Midnight Confessions, from Netgalley, and I’m hoping this series continues (concludes? I’m not sure if Stewart intends to write more) on a stronger note.