The book selection for our book club this time was a bit different. Instead of a set book being chosen for discussion, it was all about a challenge…pick a book by its cover. This means that inevitably we will have all read different books. I am looking forward to seeing what you chose, and adding to my already mammoth-sized to-be-read list!!

I am often looking at books. I love book stores, though do not visit the shops very often, so I often look at books online. When I found this book however, I was just mooching in Big W, waiting for my brother, and unsurprisingly for me, I ended up in the book section. As I wandered down the aisles, one book leapt out at me, and I thought ‘what a great cover (I loved the texture and colours) – oooo I could choose that for book club!’ I had never heard of the book, and flipped it over to read the blurb, and one of the locations in the book shared my last name, so I thought it was fate, and my ‘choose a book by its cover’ book club challenge was met!

The book I chose was Church of Marvels, by Leslie Parry. *NO SPOILERS AHEAD*


It was released this year, and is Parry’s debut novel. It is set in New York City and begins in 1895. Four people’s stories are told – outsiders and strangers: A poor night soiler who finds an abandoned newborn baby; sisters, who were raised in the magical setting of the sideshow, The Church of Marvels; and a young woman who is trapped in an asylum. These lives become intertwined, and their histories and secrets unfold.

This book is amazing. I am so glad that I picked it by its cover. It is now my current favourite book. Parry’s writing is enchanting. Her style is beautiful and haunting. The story is dark, and dirty, and such an atmospheric world is created for the reader.

I was pulled in by the writing style, and then links began to form, and twists and turns made the story addictive. It was definitely one of those books that I wanted to read as fast as possible, but savour for as long as I could! It is stunning and brutal, and I am in awe of Leslie Parry.

I love intense and twisted books, so this was just up my alley, but I recommend it to everyone. I have been thinking about it every day since I finished reading it, and I couldn’t start reading my next book for almost three weeks after I finished it because I was lost in the world!

Now it is your turn! What book did you pick up because of its cover? Tell us a little about what the book is about. Did you enjoy it? What did you think about the experience of choosing a book by its cover, rather than its blurb or recommendations? Do you think we should read the book you chose? Pop over to the book club page, and add your comments.

Thank you for joining in! I am excited to read your thoughts!

***Also, I have not yet chosen the next book for book club, so I am open to all suggestions – throw them at me!!! What would YOU like to read?!***

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3 Comments on Judge a book by its cover (book club challenge & Church of Marvels review)

  1. So I’m sorry this is so delayed. I did something slightly different and randomly read a book not knowing anything about it but saw it on a want to read list and was intrigued. It was also an author I enjoy reading so I’m sorry that it wasn’t strictly judging a book by its cover. The book was called How to Fall in Love by Cecila Ahern

    I enjoyed this easy to read book. It was simple but also had a few twists that I didn’t see coming. The main character (Christine) was well written although I found myself getting a little annoyed at her and some of the decisions she made. I think this is a testament to how well the writer played out the character. The main male character (Adam) was someone I found intriguing but at times I wished he would just see what the writer wanted the reader to see but the characters were not aware of.

    I found this an interesting read as it had an element of mental health not addressed in many books. It was discussed in a almost nonchalant way but it was still at the core discussing the issues that some people face in every day life. I thought the characters were strong and I founding myself cheering them on and wanting to read on to find out what would happen next.

    Although it was quite a simple read it was also enjoyable.

    • Thanks Hayley! I love the way you talk about the characters and what you picked up about what the writer intended, and what you as a reader actually perceived.
      This sounds like an interesting book! I think simple reads are good to have on your shelf for those moments where you want something to mull over, but nothing too heavy!
      I have only read Cecilia Ahern’s ‘P.S I love you’, which I read a long time ago and enjoyed a lot. I do have ‘Love, Rosie’ waiting for me on the bookshelf too, as I loved the movie. I am not generally a fan of soppy love stories, but I do think Ahern is good at what she does. I looked up this book on Goodreads, and the storyline sounds interesting, and like you say, a book touching on the mental health issues that a lot of people deal with is always a good thing. I will take your recommendation on board!

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