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Judging a Book By Its Cover- The Prettiest Books I Own

We’ve all heard the saying “don’t judge a book by its cover.” And I try really hard not to, but let’s be honest - the prettiest book covers are bound to catch our eye on the shelf. This is a roundup of ten of the prettiest books I own - though that is not to say that I don’t think every book is beautiful in its own way! I’ve linked each of the books through my favorite local independent bookstore, Bookmarks, located in beautiful Winston-Salem, NC (except for the last book, which is a Barnes and Noble Collectible). If you feel called to any of the books, click on the image to order them through Bookmarks - or get them from your favorite local independent bookstore! I’ve been working hard this year to build my library without ordering many books from Amazon; Jeff Bezos has plenty of money, and we love independent bookstores in my house!

Up first, we have The Priory of The Orange Tree, by Samantha Shannon. This book was recommended to me last year by someone who told me “if you like dragons and lesbians, you will LOVE this book!” Well, I do indeed love both of those, so onto my bookshelf it went with a clunk. It’s 800+ pages long! I love everything about this cover, from the intricate castle drawing to the blue foiled dragon. As you’ll learn, I’m a sucker for dragons :)

Next, I love the cover art for The Black Friend, by Frederick Joseph. It’s bright and colorful without being overstimulating and it just stands out on my bookshelf. I also appreciate the theme of the book, which I got in the winter of 2020. I’m always working to be actively anti-racist, and this book is an incredibly well-written guide.

How stunning are the flowers on Wild Beauty, by Anna-Marie McLemore?! I love vibrant florals and they really pop against the dark background! I also loved the gold foiled girl on the left and the little pinpoints of light on some of the flowers.

I was in a used bookstore at Carolina Beach last summer and this book immediately jumped out at me. The color palette for The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert is so cool and I loved how many hints about the book you get just by looking at the cover. I particularly love the opening gate with the tree on it - so mysterious and fun!

I was so excited when The Heir, by Kiera Cass came out! It’s the first book in her duology spinoff of The Selection series, and I love everything about this cover from the crown over the title to Princess Eadlyn’s drop-dead-gorgeous gray/purple gown. I would love to wear this dress, though I don’t know if I’ll ever have an occasion to wear it…maybe my first book signing! Or just a Saturday trip to Target :)

I got an exclusive edition of Together We Burn by Isabel Ibañez from The Bookish Box and I’m so in love with the cover art. It is up next on my TBR, and I am so excited to read it. Together we Burn is the story of a flamenco dancer who also slays dragons, and it just feels right up my alley. I love the flaming bouquet in the shape of a heart and the fans for the flamenco - it’s just SUCH a cool cover, and a slight variation from the one in stores. The Bookish Box version isn’t on sale since it was an exclusive for May, but I’ve linked the book with the original cover, which is just as pretty!

The cover of Vincent and Theo, by Deborah Heiligman, is clearly modeled after Vincent Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” and since that is one of my favorite paintings, I had to get this book when I was in my local bookstore with my grandmother a few years ago! She’s a docent at the Princeton Art Museum, so she was thrilled that I was so excited to read it and agreed with me that the cover art was amazing. I love this book, it’s art history presented in such a palatable form!

I simply HAD to get One Italian Summer, by Rebecca Serle after coming home from my semester spent in Sorrento, Italy! Sorrento is just a thirty-minute bus ride from the Amalfi Coast, the book’s setting, and Positano looks EXACTLY as it is portrayed on this cover. I had such an amazing time the day I spent in Positano with friends, walking on the beach and exploring the cliffs. I love the gold foiled details on this cover and can’t wait to read this book to see how closely it follows my own time in that corner of Italy.

I actually bought By The Book, by Amanda Sellet the day I started writing this article; I usually am not a big fan of electronically drawn people on book covers, but this has such a nice color palette and I think it looks so cute! I’m obsessed with “A novel of prose and cons” under the arch - how creative and fun! I can’t wait to read this book!

How stunning is the cover of House of Sky and Breath, by Sarah J. Maas? I was floored when I got this book! I love how detailed it is, and as a Sarah J. Maas enthusiast, I have to say that this is my all-time favorite cover of hers. I loooooove the crescent moon, the drawing of Hunt Athalar, and the lightning surrounding him. The inside cover of the hardback version has an even bigger drawing of Hunt with his wings and lightning, and I want it as a poster for my wall!

And last but not least, I got five of these leather-bound Barnes and Noble classics when I was in Florida for a few days with my bookish bestie back in June. All of them are absolutely gorgeous, inside and out, but since I started writing royal fantasy, I’ve been obsessed with anything with swords and castles on it (it’s a weird sickness, really). So naturally, my favorite book has been The Story of King Arthur and His Knights, by Howard Pyle. Purple is my favorite color, I adore sprayed edges, and the art inside is to die for!

And there you have it! Beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder, and there are so many gorgeous books out there that I have yet to see. I can’t wait to keep building my library full of pretty books with amazing stories inside. Do you have a favorite book cover? Let me know in the comments!

Xoxox- Emmabird

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