Cover Characteristics: Book Covers featuring Cards


You know what’s great about the topic playing cards? They’re all red and black, my favorite colors!

However, I didn’t end up sticking to just playing cards. I couldn’t quite tell what some of the cards on covers were and just using playing card covers was limiting, so tarot cards, baseball cards—really any palm-sized cards—I also deemed appropriate.

Speaking of cards though, it has been a LONG time since I have played any card game at all. I’ve only played cards (blackjack) at a casino once (on a cruise when I was 18)—I’m pretty sure I lost $50 and just called it quits—but I used to love non-gambling card games as a kid/teen.

Actually, I have a few funny stories involving card games, but I’ll just share one with you. My favorite game was always Camps/Kemps/Kent (known by numerous names). Basically you play on teams of two, partners sitting across from each other, everyone has four cards, and the goal is to get four of the same number cards and to then perform a predetermined signal and get your partner to shout out, “Camps!” And one person acts as the dealer and turns over four cards at a time on the table that people can trade with the cards in their hand in order to achieve this goal. Well I just remember this one time in fifth grade when my friend and I played against these two guys, and my boyfriend (yes, I had a boyfriend, and he wasn’t even my first—I had far better luck with relationships when I was in elementary school, haha) was the dealer. But since he wanted me to win, he cheated for us by purposely putting cards he knew me and my friend needed closer to us so that we could snatch them up quickly. Of course the guys we were playing against complained, but what could they do? So, the moral of the story is, there aren’t a lot of perks to having a boyfriend when you’re ten, but there are some πŸ˜‰

Cover Characteristics is a weekly meme hosted at Sugar & Snark. This week’s topic is:

Books Covers featuring Cards

Girl in the Shadows by Gwenda Bond | books, reading
Spell Games by T.A. Pratt | books, reading
Queen of Hearts by Colleen Oakes | books, reading
Insanity by Cameron Jace | books, reading
The Queen of Hearts by S.J. Valfroy | books, reading
Getting Wilde by Jenn Stark | books, reading
The Siren and the Sword by Cecilia Tan | books, reading
The Passionate Queen by Jovee Winters | reading, books
Prosperity by Alexis Hall | reading, books
The Magicians by Lev Grossman | reading, books

Pin the Collage!


The Magicians by Lev Grossman

The Magicians by Lev Grossman | reading, books, books covers, cover love, cards

This isn’t my usual kind of cover, but it just really like it. It has this really cool look to it, like magic without the fanfare.


Prosperity by Alexis Hall

Prosperity by Alexis Hall | reading, books

This one has nice artwork and looks fun. It also has a cool sepia tone.


The Passionate Queen by Jovee Winters

The Passionate Queen by Jovee Winters | reading, books, books covers, cover love, cards

I’ve used the covers for this series in a lot of posts because they’re all just gorgeous.


Magic University Series by Cecilia Tan

The Siren and the Sword by Cecilia Tan | books, reading, books covers, cover love, cards
The Incubus and the Angel by Cecilia Tan | books, reading, books covers, cover love, cards
The Poet and the Prophecy by Cecilia Tan | books, reading, books covers, cover love, cards

All of these are really pretty and interesting looking, and I love the 3D card thing.


Immortal Vegas Series by Jenn Stark

Getting Wilde by Jenn Stark | books, reading, books covers, cover love, cards
Wilde Card by Jenn Stark | books, reading, books covers, cover love, cards
Born to Be Wilde by Jenn Stark | books, reading, books covers, cover love, cards

These are pretty too and also have that 3D card things going on a little bit.


The Queen of Hearts by S.J. Valfroy

The Queen of Hearts by S.J. Valfroy | books, reading, books covers, cover love, cards

I love all the red and black in this one!


Mad in Wonderland Series by Cameron Jace

Insanity by Cameron Jace | books, reading, books covers, cover love, cards
Figment by Cameron Jace | books, reading, books covers, cover love, cards
Circus by Cameron Jace | books, reading, books covers, cover love, cards

These are just so colorful and fun!


Queen of Hearts Series by Colleen Oakes

Queen of Hearts by Colleen Oakes | books, reading, books covers, cover love, cards
Blood of Wonderland by Colleen Oakes | reading, books, books covers, cover love, cards

I love how these look like actual cards. And I also love that they’re just black, white, and red πŸ˜€


My Favorite #1:
Spell Games by T.A. Pratt

Spell Games by T.A. Pratt | books, reading, books covers, cover love, cards

This is just some seriously gorgeous artwork, the colors look really nice, I like the glowing effect, AND it’s got the 3D card thing that I like!


My Favorite #2:
Girl in the Shadows by Gwenda Bond

Girl in the Shadows by Gwenda Bond | books, reading, books covers, cover love, cards

The colors in this one really POP, the look fits the magic/circus atmosphere of the book, and it’s got all these cute little details that relate to the actual story, like the ferris wheel, the knives, the cards, and the heart!


Talk to me!

Which book cover with cards is YOUR favorite?

Book Covers featuring Cards | reading, books, book covers, cover love, cards

Your Thoughts


41 thoughts on “Cover Characteristics: Book Covers featuring Cards

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  1. Greg

    Shit you went all out! I only got 5… πŸ™

    Spell Games is clearly my favorite, I happen to like that artist a lot. In fact I think I’m going to do a Cover Characteristics of her stuff, maybe the next rogue topic I do. Thanx for the idea. πŸ˜› Getting Wilde I kinda like, with the cards sorta floating down. And the Queen of Hearts is badass! It didn’t jump out at me in the collage, but when I see the bigger pic I’m like yeah. The red and black IS awesome there, I have to say.

    Insanity isn’t bad with the card as part of the lettering and her scracthed up face. The Passionate Queen is nice too.

    Love the card story… πŸ™‚

    1. Kristen Burns

      Lol yeah, I’m really happy with the covers I found for this one. I’ve been collecting them for a while though.

      Crap, I thought that was a Dos Santos? I think I saw it on a GR list for his covers though, so it definitely could’ve been wrong. Also, there are two Queen of Hearts books on this list and they’re both black and red, so idk which one you’re talking about, haha.

      The Passionate Queen barely has cards on it, but I couldn’t resist.

      Haha, thanks. Just one of those random memories!

      1. Greg

        I think it’s Lindsey Look. Her style- use of color- is pretty similar. I think she did all the covers in that series? And oh yeah didn’t realize that- guess there are two of those lol. The Queen of Hearts I was referring to is the Valfroy one, although the other one isn’t bad. I like the heart, the black rose…

        1. Kristen Burns

          I just looked her up and found some of the covers on her site, so I’m guessing she probably did them all. So I guess I like her artwork too πŸ˜€ They should really make it easier to find the cover artists of books. Sometimes there’s not even credit in the book at all, at least not that I can find. Or it’s in the back, in which the look inside on Amazon doesn’t help. And oh, yeah, the Valfroy one does look badass!

          1. Greg

            You know what, I lied. She only did the later covers, so that was a dos Santos. You were right!

            TA Pratt’s site says she was his assistant at one time so maybe that’s why their styles are so similar?

            1. Kristen Burns

              I assumed all the covers were Dos Santos, you assumed they were all Lindsey Look, so we were both, like, half right, haha. But that does make sense why they have such similar styles. I also thought the Gini Koch Alien books were by him, but then I saw one on her site, so I wonder if something similar is happening for that series too. It’s too confusing trying to keep track of cover artists.

  2. Catherine

    Really neat idea! Although not on the covers of the books, I really liked the way Dragon Age: Inquisition incorporated tarot cards into its systems and design. They actually made an entire deck!

    Also, for The Poet and the Prophecy, does the person on the cover look like Keira Knightley to anyone else? Or is it just me?

    1. Kristen Burns

      Oh that sounds really cool about Dragon Age! And YES IT DEFINITELY LOOKS LIKE KIERA KNIGHTLEY. I think that every single time I see the cover. And the first book character looks like this guy I used to be friends with lol.

      1. Catherine

        Hah. The second one kinda looks like a modern teen version of Robert Carlyle, or at least his Once Upon A Time character. Maybe. That one’s a bit iffy, unlike the Keira Knightley one.

        1. Kristen Burns

          I had to look up Robert Carlyle, but yeah, I can see what you’re saying. There’s some weird stuff going on with all the characters in this series looking like real people, haha.

  3. chucklesthescot

    Quite a few urban fantasy books I’ve read have featured tarot cards on them. I like the Jenn Stark covers for this theme and Queen of Hearts. I do like my vivid cover colours!

    1. Kristen Burns

      Hmm, I’m surprised I didn’t find more then since I tend to look at lots of urban fantasy. Maybe I just didn’t notice! Vivid colors do make for good covers. They just really grab your attention and make everything pop!

  4. Dragonfly @ Our Familiarium

    My favorite has to be insanity though I had never realized they had cards on the covers! I have the first book I think. It was a freebie last year I think. This post reminded me of when you unsuspectingly helped me with a writers block. I got inspired by a tarot card and was able to move on with the plot. I love tarot cards. I wish I could remember a tarot card cover!

    1. Kristen Burns

      I was gonna list the card games I was into and then I realized I was into all the card games with inappropriate names, haha, like BS and Egyptian Rat Screw. But yeah, I’ve never been a gambler myself. It was just fun on that one cruise since it was something new I’d never done before. But if I’m gonna throw away my money, I’d rather just spend it one something good lol.


  5. Lola

    Fun topic for a cover post. I can’t really think of any covers with card on them from the top of my head, but I do recognize some of the ones you listed here, like the Insanity cover for example. So I am sure I’ve seen covers with cards on them.

    Those magic university series covers look nice, I like how they did that whole thing with the cards and how it seems they are flying towards you. It makes me wonder where the series is about. And I always liked those Mad in Wonderland covers, even though I am pretty sure they wouldn’t be books for me, they are striking covers.

    The immortal Vegas series covers I’ve seen before as well. It’s nice how they incorporated those in the cover. And I like how the Magicians cover hints to magic in a subtle way.

    1. Kristen Burns

      I usually don’t think of many off the top of my head for these posts, I just find them when I look through my books or TBRs, or I stumble upon them πŸ™‚ It’s hard to actually remember what’s on every cover!

      I do like the look of the Magic University books. I’d like to read those. And idk, I’m kind of interested in the Mad in Wonderland books? But idk if I’ll ever actually read them.

      Yeah, idk, I just love how kind of plain and simple and not-fancy the The Magicians cover looks. Like, it’s got the cards flying in the air, but there’s nothing glowing, no crazy poses, muted colors… I’d really like to read that series too.

  6. Bookworm Brandee

    Huh, my copy of The Magicians has a different cover. πŸ˜‰ This is a neat theme though and I love, love Insanity! It’s always been a favorite of mine. Girl in the Shadows is a great cover though – I like that there aren’t any people on it. lol

    1. Kristen Burns

      I think this cover is related to the show? Not sure though since I’ve neither read the book nor seen the show lol. I’d like to read the books though. And the covers for Insanity are super pretty! HAven’t read those either though. And Girl in the Shadows is just so gorgeous and eye-catching! Sometimes having no people works well.

  7. roro

    You had a boyfriend in elementary. I’m almost 25 and still single. A dude hasn’t even kissed me yet. Sigh. Well i have a new series to add on my tbr. Magic University Series by Cecilia Tan seems cool

    1. Kristen Burns

      If it makes you feel any better, literally the longest relationship I’ve had to date was when I was in elementary school lol. I’d really like to read that Magic University series too! If you get to it before me, you’ll have to let me know how it is.

  8. Barb (boxermommyreads)

    I really need to quit looking at your cover characteristics posts (not really) because I always end up adding to the wishlist. I think my fave of the ones you posted is the Mad in Wonderland series. However, that’s totally Kiera Knightley on the cover of the Poet and the Prophet!

    1. Kristen Burns

      Lol that does tend to happen with these cover posts, even to me. Those Mad in Wonderland covers are so pretty! And yes, haha, I agree that it looks exactly like Kiera Knightley.

  9. Cyn @ Bookmunchies

    Great collection of covers! I usually don’t like movie/tv covers of books but The Magician is awesome! The Queen of Hearts and Mad in Wonderland series Also look so cool! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Kristen Burns

      Same, I don’t usually like movie/TV covers, but that cover for The Magicians is just so much more interesting than the original, in my opinion! And those other covers are great too!

  10. Becky @ A Fool's Ingenuity

    Some cool covers on here this week. I actually have the first Jenn Stark book on my Kindle. I may have to actually read it so I can say I’ve actually read a book with cards on the cover because surprisingly I haven’t. I say surprisingly because I may not be in anyway good at playing card games but I like the idea of liking card games and I love casino based things, especially if there is a con involved at all. It’s just one of those things. I agree that Girl in the Shadows cover is one of the best, I think it’s the colours and the fact it is so simple that make it good.

    1. Kristen Burns

      “I like the idea of liking card games” is so funny but I also completely get it, haha. Like, I love envision myself getting all dressed to the nines and going to some fancy casino and playing card games like a high roller or something when in reality I have never and will never do that lol. But there is something very cool about the whole fancy casino/con thing.

  11. sjhigbee

    What a great post:). When Lynn suggested playing cards for our Friday Face-off feature recently – I had to admit defeat because I couldn’t find a single one except for the Colleen Oakes books. But I really like a bunch of yours:).

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  13. Lori

    I love so many of these!! My favorites are Girl in the Shadows and Queen of Hearts. Those covers make me want to read the books!