Thursday, December 9, 2010

Cover Critique: The Brilliance of Harlequin Part 2

Let me preface this post by saying that my design critiques of these covers are in no way, shape or form a reflection on the author, the content or the publisher. I know the authors have very little, if any, control over the design. These are strictly my thoughts stemming from my design experience.

So, for those of you who stopped by last week, you know I'm doing a little cover critique special focusing on just some of the most fabulously hilarious Harlequin covers. I'm certainly not trying to mock Harlequin or it's authors in any way, I'm just raising some fun questions about several of their covers that give me pause and make me go "why?" So without further preamble, I give you the first of this week's covers:

Northern Escape

Okay, so this one isn't miserable, but I feel like the photographer of this image probably gave our lovely male model here directions somewhere along the lines of "look intense, sexy, and intimidating" and, sadly, it seems this gentlemen wrongly interpreted those instructions to be "do your best to come across as a complete and utter dipshit." Success! Mission accomplished my fuzzy hat and scarf-wearing friend, you have indeed managed to look as though you have a good bout of gas brewing and need to locate the nearest bathroom, the remnants of your sex appeal carried away with the wind (Ha! Wind, get it? No? Damn).

I'm not the least bit intimidated, nor do I feel the slightest urge to remove any clothing and experience the Alaskan HEAT. If it's cold enough to necessitate a hat with ear flaps and a scarf, why is he not wearing a coat or gloves? Perhaps he's only frozen from the neck up as evidenced by his completely vacant expression, and the rest of him is waiting to light these pages ablaze. And why is he squinting at me? Do I have something on my face? I'll attempt to give him the benefit of the doubt on this one, but the presence of the "good riddance" sign is fortuitous, as that's what I would say if I ever saw a man wearing this outfit, with a man purse, and that look on his face.

I have to wonder too about the people that must come up with the taglines for these books – "He's heating up her holidays," really? Is it because she's laughing so hard? I always get warm when I'm convulsing with hysterical laughter, so that must be the meaning behind that phrase. You know there have to be a bunch of people sitting at a conference table just yelling things out that may or may not apply to the book:

"He'll jingle her bells!"

"He'll stuff her stocking!"

"He'll trim her bush, er, tree!"

All I can say is, sign me up for that job, as I clearly would be unbelievably gifted at it.

Next up: Private Affairs

I. Love. This. Cover. And I mean that in a it's-so-awful-it's-awesome way. Let me tell you why. First, we have the unfortunate angle of the heroine's chin in relation to the hero's nose. Her chin partially covers his nostril, and because she has a rather bulbous chin, it looks like he has some sort of bizarre growth on his face. Combine his tumor with his beady-eyed look and you have quite possibly the least attractive romance hero I've seen in a while. Why are they always squinting? Is squinting sexy and I just haven't figured that out yet? Do women often say "squint for me baby" in the bedroom as a foreplay technique? Call me weird, but that just wouldn't do it for me.

Next, I have an age-old question for you: why is there light coming out her ass? Okay, so it's not an age-old question, but it's definitely a valid one. Why would they have the headlight from the car and her butt line up? Now it appears as though, when in the throes of questionable passion, she farts magic faerie lights (which would be something to see I would think). To make things worse, her dress is actually blowing backward as though propelled by a significant gaseous force! I must commend her on her unique ability, perhaps this is a new way of attracting attention. Peacocks strut their colorful feathers, other animals have mating calls, and we women now emit light from our back doors. Marvelous. My husband will no doubt be impressed.

Furthermore, this book is titled Private Affairs. There is nothing private about having your rear-end spotlighted now is there? No. Here honey, let's take a romantic drive out to the woods (questionable) and I'll hold you at just the right angle so it looks like you can generate electricity and wind with your sweet cheeks. I'll just give you a little tickle and you'll light right up!

Harlequin Blaze, you have truly outdone yourselves on this one:) Anyone else love these covers as much as I do? Be sure and stop by next week for the Brilliance of Harlequin cover conclusion!


  1. ROFL! Oh I love the way you critique the covers. Thanks for the laugh! :D

  2. I loved reading this! My stomach hurts from laughing so much :) I'm going to read the other Cover Critiques now!

  3. LMAO! Why on earth would the cover designer put a light there? lol. And I can only imagine that the male actors are going by the Tyra Banks rule of "smiling with your eyes" which, if you've ever seen Tyra demonstrate this, is basically just squinting.

  4. Love the second cover. I first assume he had a really weird looking nose. Not the best pose.

  5. Haha Funny. Love your comments about the covers..
    Must agree in the first one. His face lookes just like his trying to much to look sexy, so it doesn´t workout xD
    And number 2. I don´t like because it looks like the male figure is looking just at us, saying what are you looking at. Not really inviting.. And the nose thing haha Not a good photo xD

  6. LMAO. I am loving this series of posts. The covers just keep getting worse and worse. I really think the first cover tag line should have been 'he will jingle her bell' :D

  7. LOL! I love you humor!!! These post always crack me up.

  8. Ok, that second cover...the guy's nose and chin look seriously deformed! That kills me hahaha And the first one...the guy literally looks like he's saying "grrrrr!" in the photo!

    Love the critique, as usual, Jenny. It definitely brightens my day! :D

  9. One of my favorite things to do on Fridays is to read your cover critiques. They make me laugh and brighten up my day.

    First cover: Looks like he's charging to hurt the photographer because he knows it's ridiculous.

    Second cover: Now if he was a doctor, I could understand that his squinting is actually him examining her neck. As for her, she looks like she's sleeping or my better guess would be-praying that this is all a nightmare. :D

    Can't wait for next week, Jenny!

  10. This is just too funny.

  11. Jenny, I have to remember to stay away from your cover critiques until my coffee cup is empty and there is no risk of laughing it out of my nose. Good job. Snark mission more than fulfilled on this one!

  12. Melissa - Thank you and you're welcome:)

    Morgan - Hope you enjoy reading the others!

    Aylee - I have no idea, surely someone saw that hm, the placement of the light And I have seen the "smile with your eyes" technique and it's definitely just squinting. This man does it well:)

    Alison - It's terrible! Why does no one notice these things before printing?

    Moonstar - It most definitely does not workout, he's ridiculous:) And the second picture does look like he's daring us to ask what he's looking at.

    Nic - Right? I thought I was clever;)

    Savy - Thank you:)

    Melissa - That's what I thought too! I stared at it for a while before I figured out it was her chin. No good.

    Rummanah - Thank you:) I like your thoughts on the second one, she doesn't seem overly enthused about what's happening.

    Ruby - Thanks!

  13. I have to say that contemporary romances in general tend to have corny covers. I don't know why but maybe it is because I look at them going do I know anyone IRL that would ever do that while looking towards the horizon, kissing a girl, and (insert moment here)! Though I love Harlequin Historicals some of the older covers are like that too---they make me giggle.

  14. I just...there are no words. This makes me laugh so hard every time you post it.

  15. Way too funny!! I was rolling on the floor laughing!

  16. Oh I love these posts! Your wind pun? Jeez, that was bad, and I am a total sucker for corny puns. You had me rolling!

    Ah, it's a headlight! I couldn't figure that one out at all. I was wondering why her butt was glowing and if that was some sort of hint at the nature of the private affair. I get it now. Or, well, not really. Why the heck would they put a headlight there?!

  17. OMG! The ab workout you are giving me here Jenny! Here is certainly something in the wind with both of these covers.

    First cover, How about: His is going up her chimney.

    Second cover: Obviously, stick it where the sun don't shiny would never apply to her.

    This has to be one of my favorite features ever. So freaking funny! Thanks for sharing your book cover thoughts, Jenny.

  18. Oh gosh... You are ridiculous. In the best possible way though! I love reading your critiques of these covers. ;)

    I feel like they are attempting Tyra Back's smizing (smiling with your eyes), with no success. They is a fine line between squinting and smizing...

    And when I read this? "All I can say is, sign me up for that job, as I clearly would be unbelievably gifted at it"... Had I been drinking something at that moment, I am sure it would have starting choking on it (or the ever lovely mental image of someone finding something funny and it coming out of their nose)...

    Thanks for the laugh!

    Have a great weekend yourself!

  19. Your critiques totally crack me up--and I needed that after today! And, yes, I was wondering why there was a light shining out of her butt. Curious.

  20. Melissa - Thank you! I need to remember not to drink beverages while looking for these covers, I coated my computer pretty solidly when I saw the second one:)

    Felicia - They do! I just don't understand sometimes, and it's unfortunate because I'm sure there's some good writing in there!

    Anna - Thank you, I do try:)

    Kelsey - Glad I could make you laugh!

    Small - I know, it was terrible, but I couldn't keep my fingers from typing it. You ask a mighty fine question about the headlight, I ask it myself:)

    Missie - Good one! I should have thought about that, brilliant. Maybe we can get a job writing taglines together, they'd be lucky to have us:) Glad you enjoy the covers!

    Avery - Thank you:) I agree on the smizing, that's what he was going for and clearly failed. Romance tagline writer, here I come!

    Mary - Yay, glad I could make you laugh:) I just don't understand the butt glow. Why? Why did they let that happen?

  21. Haha, I have to snicker at the way that the bloke from Northern Lights is whipping off his sunglasses though. That is purely hi-larious.

  22. Larissa - Thank you:)

    Madigan - It made me snicker as well, so dramatic yet so ridiculous!

    Simay - Glad you enjoyed!

  23. That nose/chin fiasco is deliciously ridiculous!

  24. Man, I laughed insanely reading this. You've got to keep going with these!

  25. LMAO! That would such a fun job. I wonder if they are laughing themselves when they come up with these lines. lol- *still cracking up*
    Have a great weekend :)

  26. Oh you are too funny!

    Regarding Alaskan Heat, You've never seen a man look like that? Not even on TV, when they're trying really, really hard to be sexy and smarmy at the same time? And of course every female with a brain has to laugh?

  27. Ash - Isn't it? Love it:)

    Canadian Girl - That's the plan, glad it made you laugh!

    Caroline - I would certainly still be laughing at myself if I were them:)

    Midnyte - I've never seen a man in person look like that or I'd make a fool of myself snorting with laughter, but I have seen them do that on TV and I never fail to find it amusing:)

  28. "it appears as though, when in the throes of questionable passion, she farts magic faerie lights"


  29. *chokes on laughter* My, what a gassy post all round Jenny. You truly are a scream :) I know that whenever I have a sucky day, I can always come to your blog and this post and my day will just instantly be better. Gosh the guy on the Alaskan heat is just radiating slimy smarmy-ness isn't he? That fuzzy furball of a hat is also not helping his cause.

  30. hahahahahahah
    the first one looks like a coffee commercial, or possibly an advertising to "Come to Vermont! There's skiing, hot guys, and everything!" lol

    Awesome feature, as always :-)


  31. Hah that totally cracked me up :D Love these cover critiques!!

    Dee from