Thursday, March 19, 2015


For certain people, sometimes even a cover or a title can be enough temptation to read, or compulsion to avoid, a particular book...!

For example, images of animals, desserts, flowers, or anything that especially appeals to someone, on the covers, may tempt that person to get those books ...without knowing exactly to which extent these things are actually featured in the stories.

While some particularly attractive cover, 

for example, something like one of these,


...or interesting titles like:

Glazed Murder, Fatally Frosted, Sinister Sprinkles, Evil Eclairs, Tragic Toppings, Killer Crullers, Drop Dead Chocolate...

...might tempt me to pick the book up and try to find more information about it, but with so many talented authors frequently providing wonderful books and the various responsibilities of life making reading time limited ...an appealing cover or title alone cannot entice me to read the book...!

Especially, in case of Cozy Mysteries, I try to do some research before getting involved in a certain series.

Moreover, an unappealing cover or title won't prevent me from starting a series if I think that I will enjoy it ...and once involved, nor will it stop me from reading the next book in that series...!

In any case, there are other factors, like, writing, humour, mystery plot, story, characters, romance, setting, ambience, and potential reading enjoyment etc that play a far more important role in helping me decide whether to read or avoid a certain book.

For example, the titles that I mentioned above are from a series whose books I still haven't read, mainly because, even though the titles appeal very much to me, and the books are in my TBR list, but according to my research so far, this series is somewhat lacking in few of the other factors that are much more essential for me than a cover or a title...!

My experience has also taught me that book covers are not always accurate representatives of the stories or the characters.

For example,  by looking at the following cover,

the viewer gets an impression that the protagonist would be tall and thin, even though, anyone who has read the books in this series knows that she is, in fact, short and buxom. 

Here I should mention, that such inconsistencies do not prevent me from reading the books ...or enjoying them...!

However,  they do emphasize the point that it's better not to trust a cover while making a reading decision.

Still, it gives me pleasure to look at wonderful covers, especially those that contain shades of blues and greens ...or those that feature: natural sceneries, picturesque houses, books, snacks or desserts, ...similar to the ones I added above...! :-) 

Moreover, I delight in the creative titles with clever wordplay ...and there are many Cozy Mystery Series, whose interesting titles enhance my reading enjoyment...!

For example:

1) "Jane Jeffry Mystery Series" by Jill Churchill

Some titles: Grime and Punishment, A Farewell to Yarns, A Quiche Before Dying, The Class Menagerie, A Knife to Remember, War and Peas, A Midsummer Night's Scream...

2) "Flower Shop Mystery Series" by Kate Collins

Some titles: Mum's the Word, Slay It With Flowers, Dearly Depotted, Snipped in the Bud, Acts of Violets, To Catch a Leaf, Seed No Evil, A Root Awakening...

3) "Domestic Bliss Mystery Series" by Leslie Caine

Some titles: Death by Inferior Design, False Premises, Manor of Death, Killed By Clutter, Poisoned by Gilt...

4) "White House Chef Mystery Series" by Julie Hyzy

Some titles: State of the Onion, Hail to the Chef, Eggsecutive Orders, Buffalo West Wing, Affairs of Steak, Fonduing Fathers...

5) "Book Collector Mystery Series" by Victoria Abbott (I haven't started this series yet, but it is in my TBR list)

Some titles: The Christie Curse, The Sayers Swindle, The Wolfe Widow, The Marsh Madness...

6) "Bed-and-Breakfast Mystery Series" by Mary Daheim (I haven't started this series yet, but it is in my TBR list)

Some titles: Just Desserts, Fowl Prey, Holy Terrors, Dune to Death, The Wurst Is Yet to Come, Here Comes the Bribe...

7) "Den Of Antiquity Mystery Series" by Tamar Myers (It's been a while since I read a book in this series so I forgot to mention it before, ...but one of the comments on this post has reminded me, so I am adding the titles)

Some titles: Larceny and Old Lace, Gilt By Association, So Faux, So Good, A Penny UrnedNightmare in Shining Armor, Tiles and Tribulations, Poison IvoryThe Glass is Always Greener...

8) "Pennsylvania Dutch Mystery Series", by Tamar Myers (I haven't started this series yet, but it is in my TBR ...and again, a comment on this post reminded me about it, so I am adding the titles)

Some titles: To Many Crooks Spoil the Broth, No Use Dying Over Spilled Milk, Just Plain Pickled to Death, Between a Wok and a Hard Place, Eat, Drink, and Be Wary, The Hand That Rocks the Ladle, The Crepes of Wrath, Gruel and Unusual Punishment, Hell Hath No Curry...

Few more Mystery books whose titles intrigued me:

1) A Murder Is Announced by Agatha Christie

2) Why Shoot A Butler? by Georgette Heyer

3) Death On Demand by Carolyn G. Hart

Here I would like to add, that while I usually find the titles with desert themes particularly appealing, but the titles in "Hannah Swensen Mystery Series" by Joanne Fluke, fail to intrigue me ...because I feel they are somewhat lacking in creativity ...as only the word 'murder' is added in front of the desserts' name:

Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder, Strawberry Shortcake Murder, Blueberry Muffin Murder, Lemon Meringue Pie Murder...

Whereas the titles in the "Donut Shop Mystery Series" by Jessica Beck:

Glazed Murder, Fatally Frosted, Sinister Sprinkles, Evil Eclairs...

...as well as the titles in the "Cupcake Bakery Mystery Series" by Jenn McKinlay:

Sprinkle with Murder, Buttercream Bump Off, Death by the Dozen, Red Velvet Revenge...

...not only reflect the dessert theme of the stories, but it's also obvious that some imagination is used while creating them ...and this is what I especially appreciate about Cozy Mystery titles...! :-)  

Now, coming back to covers, I would like to conclude by admitting that violent and indecent images on covers can make me hesitate to read the books and that there was one time when I almost didn't buy a book, 

though eventually did so as I was sure that the reading experience would be enjoyable, ...because the book spine contained an image of an insect...! 

What role does the 'Book Cover' play in influencing your reading decisions?

What are your favourite colours and images on 'book covers'?

What role does the 'Book Title' play in influencing your reading decisions?

What are your favourite 'book titles'?

Those interested are welcome to answer these questions by commenting on this post...! Thanks...!

Those interested can also check out the discussions on these topics on GOODREADS, by clicking here ...and here ...and here...! Thanks...! 


  1. Very informative and interesting. I myself don't buy books just by looking at the cover. I also do some research and Un my case the plot of the book matters too. Although at times, I feel a plot can be so decieving. Good write up :)

    1. Thanks for appreciating my post Maha, I am glad you enjoyed it :-)

      Yes, considering the limited time available for reading, I do feel that it's always better to do some research before starting books by previously unread authors. 

      Your point about the plot is valid too. Just because the premise and plot description are good, it's not necessary that the entire story will also be interesting.

      Moreover, it's my opinion, that even a good story is not worth reading if it's not written well...! 

      For this reason, whenever I am thinking of reading a book by a 'new-to-me' author, I try to find an opportunity to read few pages of that book before getting it, or if that's not possible, then an article or a blog post, written by that author, sometimes manages to provide me with a general idea of the writing style ...and this can help me in my reading decision.

      Anyway, thanks for commenting ...and sharing your views on this topic...! :-)

  2. Terrific post, Ramla! Tamar Myers had some great titles such as The Crepes of Wrath, Nightmare in Shining Armor and A Penny Urned. The titles grabbed me but the covers didn't. The cover and/or the title will make me pick up a book and read the back to decide if I want to read it or not. Recommended book are first on my list, though.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

    Marja McGraw

    1. Hi Marja, as always, it's a pleasure and an honour to have you comment on my blog :-)

      Thanks for appreciating my post ...and for reminding me about Tamar Myers' books.

      I also enjoyed the creative wordplay of the titles in her "Den Of Antiquity Mystery Series".

      For example:

      --Larceny and Old Lace
      --Gilt By Association
      --So Faux, So Good
      --A Penny Urned
      --Nightmare in Shining Armor
      --Tiles and Tribulations
      --Poison Ivory
      --The Glass is Always Greener

      I haven't as yet read her "Pennsylvania Dutch Mystery Series", but those titles are clever too.

      For example:

      --Too Many Crooks Spoil the Broth
      --No Use Dying Over Spilled Milk
      --Just Plain Pickled to Death
      --Between a Wok and a Hard Place
      --Eat, Drink, and Be Wary
      --The Hand That Rocks the Ladle
      --The Crepes of Wrath
      --Gruel and Unusual Punishment
      --Hell Hath No Curry

      Well, I do agree with you in that an appealing cover or an interesting title can attract our attention to an extent that we are tempted to pick up the book and read the description.

      Anyway, thanks for commenting ...and for sharing your views on this topic...! :-)

  3. I tend to like books with "lighter" covers, meaning I prefer cozies, with violence and graphic sex "off-screen," rather than darker mysteries that are more in your face. There was one Harlan Coben mystery that really rattled me because it included graphic torture scenes. I don't consider that entertaining. (and honestly, it was not billed as a cozy either) So I prefer colorful, almost cartoony covers. I agree this is not enough to decide whether or not to buy or read. I tend to read blurbs and reviews for that --- and also read the sample, when available.

    1. Hi Denise, as always, it's a pleasure and an honour to have you comment on my blog :-)

      I agree with you in that I also don't read darker mysteries ...and would definitely avoid a book whose cover included graphic torture scenes...!

      Moreover, I am the same as you in that an appealing cover would not be enough for me to get the book ...for that, I also would do some research first.

      Anyway, thanks for commenting ...and for sharing your views on this topic...! :-)

  4. My judgement of a book (and decision to read) certainly doesn't stop with the cover. But there is no denying that an appealing cover makes me more likely to pick it up and read the blurbs, etc. I'm not as diligent as Ramla about researching a series before I start--I am more likley to grab something that crosses the desk at the library where I work because I like the looks of it and the sound of the description--or because a patron returned it with 4 other books I like!x

    I was looking at the color choices of most of those books. I may send my cover artist to this just to give her some ideas.

    Here's another question: how important do you think it is that covers in a series are clearly tied together? I'm having trouble visualizing book two in my series (the cover, I mean--the story is fine), especially in any way that ties into the cover of the first.

    1. Hi Rebecca, as always, it's a pleasure and an honour to have you comment on my blog :-)

      I am glad you found the colour choices of these covers appealing enough to contemplate asking your cover artist to visit this post...! 

      It was also enjoyable to learn about how you select books to read :-)

      Well, your question is quite interesting. 

      Cozy Mystery series usually maintain the same basic premise and theme. 

      For this reason, I think it would be better for the titles and the covers in the series to have some sort of a connection with that specific theme.

      However, it also depends on how vital the theme is to that series.

      Still, if the theme is not that important, then it would be preferable that the title and the cover at least provide a fairly accurate idea about the story of that particular book.

      Anyway, thanks for commenting ...and for sharing your views on this topic...! :-)

  5. Great blog post, Remla. You're right about the title and the book cover providing a fairly accurate idea about the story inside. But sometimes it's difficult to make the cover artist understand what you want. I designed two of my own book covers when the cover artist my publisher assigned to me couldn't or just wouldn't do what I wanted.

    1. Hi Evelyn, as always, it's a pleasure and an honour to have you comment on my blog :-)

      I can imagine that your experience with the cover artist must have been quite frustrating for you  ...but I am glad that you managed to find a satisfactory solution by designing your own book covers :-)

      Anyway, thanks for appreciating my post ...and for sharing your views on this topic...! :-)

  6. I would go for "designing my own cover" when the artist is not visualising what really is in my head. Sometimes a person can be surprised that he or she managed to portray a better drawing. Ofcourse the final touches can be given by the "expert" IF NEEDED.

  7. Addition to my above comment. I manage a neighbourhood park and cricket ground. The playarea for the children needed to be redesigned desperately. After going to different civil engineers and architects and seeing the drawing they made, something lacked in them. Maybe they couldn't understand my vision. Finally I took the measuring tape and my samsung note 3, started drawing myself. Finally its done now. The playarea renovated. Looks fantastic. Opinion of the visitors not just me!

    1. This is very interesting...!

      Anyway, thanks for commenting ...and for sharing your views on this topic :-)

  8. This is a nice blog filled with great insight Ramla. The cover is always a tough decision for a book. I draw dozens of covers and show them to people to see which are most attractive combined with a little about the book. Then I send them to the cover artist.
    I also wanted to mention, at a lecture on Cozy books we talked about covers. The author complained that her publisher put a cat on the cover to sell books although there wasn't a cat in the book.

    1. Hi Una,  it's a pleasure and an honour to have you comment here :-)

      It's interesting to learn about your experiences and efforts regarding book covers.   

      I can imagine that it must be sometimes frustrating to authors when publishers/editors dictate about certain aspects of their books.

      Anyway, thanks for appreciating my blog ...and for sharing your views on this topic...! :-)

  9. Completely agree with you Ramia! Book titles and pretty covers are simply not enough, I have some books with really bland covers but are my favourites!
    Plus covers with food on just makes me hungry so I try to stay away from them hahaa, Love your blog! Keep up the good work :)

    Cody @ http://literary-lyobsessed.blogspot.co.uk

    1. Hi Cody, it's good to know that you found my blog appealing ...thanks for visiting and for sharing your views on this topic...! :-)

  10. Great article. I agree that book covers and cover copy attract readers. In the rare instance that the cover and cover copy don't really reflect the book, I am always disappointed. And thanks for including the cover of Well Read, Then Dead. Terrie www.terriefarleymoran.com

    1. Hi Terrie, it's a pleasure and an honour to have you visit my blog. 

      I was happy to include your book: "Well Read, Then Dead", as the cover contains two of my favourite things: books and snacks! :-)

      Anyway, thanks for sharing your thoughts on this topic.