Friday, December 17, 2010

Cover Critique: The Brilliance of Harlequin Finale

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.

Welcome to the last week of my brilliance of Harlequin cover critique special! Just to reiterate, I'm not trying to bash Harlequin or it's authors in any way, I just can't help but laugh uncontrollably when I see some of their covers, they are a snarky girl's dream come true! I think I've got some good ones for you today, so I hope you all enjoy.

First up: Long Summer Nights

Okay, can we discuss for a moment what is happening with his shirt? She's obviously ravenous for him and is attempting to rip it from his body, but is it me, or is there something incredibly awkward about where she has paused in her strip show? It feels a little naughty because we're getting a little boob peeking out, but it's also very conservative since both his nipples are covered as though it would be too bold to show them. You don't fool me Harlequin, I know you guys aren't shy! I've seen many a cover with a spectacular showing of man nipples, so I refuse to believe it was a concern in this cover though I don't have any other explanation for why that shirt looks as it does.

It actually almost appears as though his lightweight cotton tee has snagged on his nipple and can go no further. This raises some rather interesting questions I think. Just how big does one's nipple have to be in order for fabric to snag on it when it's being forced upward by the strength of an obviously aroused woman? More importantly, should she be concerned that perhaps size on our male friend here is a bit disproportionate and where he is larger than average in some areas, he may be lacking in others? Maybe he has huge nipples and therefore small equipment. How sad for her, that boat in the background may not end up rocking as much as she might be hoping.

And let's just ponder that little teal circle next to the title shall we? "Where you least expect IT?" What exactly does that mean? That he's well-endowed where I would least expect it, like with his obviously engorged nipples? That they're going to have "relations" where I least expect it? Judging by the boat and water in the background, I'm going to hazard a guess that that's where they're headed. Is his manhood located somewhere unusual that is going to throw me for a loop? What do you mean Harlequin Blaze! How you taunt me with your odd statements and single-word emphasis!

And now, I present to you a little vintage cover action. TA DA!

Next up: Virgin with Butterflies

Um. Someone explain this cover to me, I find I'm at a loss for words. I need a moment to collect my thoughts and recover from the shock of what I'm seeing.


Okay, I feel I've recovered enough and have just a couple of things on which I'd like to comment. First, the obvious: just what the hell is going on here? Are these potential suitors she's turned into floating heads with wings by the strength of her virtue? Can the power of her virginity cause a metamorphosis of this proportion? That would certainly be an interesting power. Why are the wings coming out their ears? I'm not the only one that thinks this is creepy right?

Second, what, exactly, does being a virgin have to do with butterflies? Does she collect butterflies as an activity that keeps her from falling prey to the sensual charms of these heads? Is sleeping with her a magical experience that when it's over, butterflies emerge from under that striped skirt to celebrate the occasion? They could be trained butterflies capable of doing all sorts of interesting aerial formations and spell words like "keep going" and "almost there" as a sort of encouragement during the act itself. A butterfly sexual cheer squad if you will.

Perhaps moths have taken up residence in her womanly parts since no one has been there to tend them properly and they've gotten old and musty? So many endless possibilities to ponder! Maybe it's some sort of transformation metaphor; just as the caterpillar becomes a butterfly so the virgin gets made a woman by five insects. It's like a SyFy movie! What could we call it? Insecti-virgin? Deflowered by Butterflies?

How can the men cast a net for her (as our tagline suggests they do) if they have no arms? Riddle me that Harlequin! All they can do at the moment is flit about with smiles on their faces, inevitably contemplating exactly how they are going to de-virginize her when they lack any of the necessary parts to do so. She's certainly a little tease though isn't she? She's got that skirt up around her waist, but has those freakishly uneven in length legs crossed and squeezed shut so not even the most cunning of butterfly/human hybrids could possibly wiggle their way in even though they have to be pretty quick and agile one would think. I can just picture these funny winged heads dive-bombing her crotch at every available opportunity! Not sure what that says about me, but that's neither here nor there.

You know what would be fun? If you all attempted to guess what this book is actually about based on the title and cover. I just really want to know what kind of plotline could accompany this masterpiece, what could the blurb possibly say? Don't cheat and look it up! Maybe I'll post it tomorrow for kicks:)

I hope you've all enjoyed this series of covers, I've certainly had a blast finding them and sharing my thoughts. If any of you have answers to the questions I've posed this week, I'd love to read them in the comments:) Happy Friday!

NOTE: I just want to say that this is not the last cover critique ever, just the last in this Harlequin grouping. Fear not, the cover hilarity will continue next week!


  1. LMAO. Love this post! I am rather confused by that last cover. Hmmm, plotline would be girl is caught in love triangle with 5 suitors and has a crazy love for butterflies and will give her love to the first guy who gives her the most rare butterfly! LOL. That is the best I could do! I can't wait to see everybody ideas for plot :)

  2. You Jenny, never cease to astonish me with your witty, brilliant and hysterically funny cover critique posts. I'm utterly speechless at the winged-ear men cover. Someone missed the memo that said wings unfurl from the back, and not from the ears. :D

  3. Oh. My. God. That second cover just killed me hahahahaha and the first one...his shirt snagged on his huge nip?! That killed me more! You crack me up, Jenny...thank you! ;)

  4. Vintage questions answered! She is quite clearly an international spy, judging from the diversity of the manterflies fluttering around her. This virgin fatale has the awesome ability to lure those (pardon the pun) wrong-headed evil doers into her sphere by making them think she's being captured by them before she springs her own sneaky trap and brings them to justice, truth, and (no doubt) the American way! **trumpets blare**

  5. Nic - As am I, it makes very little sense! I enjoy your plot idea, it has potential:)

    Tammy - Thank you, thank you, I do try;) I just don't understand the wing/ears thing. They would look better just coming out their heads!

    Melissa - He obviously has a huge nipple, that shirt is caught on it!

    Zita - I like the way you think, and I especially like that you have trumpets blaring at the end of your plot description. Brilliant:)

  6. These are so awesome! Haha, at the man with huge nipples. You're so funny. :D

    I'll have to agree with you on the second cover it might just be the girl's a virgin because butterflies come out of her hoo-haa.

  7. I just love your view on the covers. You always make me laugh so much!!!

  8. LOLLLLL! Those butterflies with men's heads are totally creeping me out. And the taglines on these Harlequins are always so funny. "Where You Least Expect IT" many possibilities...

  9. ... W.T.eff? That second cover is definitely very creepy. I have... no words.

  10. Adriana - Thank you:) And props to her for having a hoo-haa full of colorful butterflies, that's certainly impressive.

    Savy - Glad they make you laugh:)

    Danya - It's super creepy! Those heads are going to haunt me.

    Aylee - Welcome to the club, it took me a while to form words as well:)

  11. The first cover I kind of get---I call it their throwback to 80's cover!

    However that 2nd one baffles me completely!

  12. LOL! To nipple or not to nipple.

    And WTH indeed! The second cover is so freaking craptastic in all its virginal glory! And I thought spiderwebs were supposed to develop down there, not moths. *snorts*

    OMG, too funny. I usually like to spend my Friday nights reading your Cover Critiques, but I'm glad I read them this morning because I showed my co-worker and we laughed until we couldn't breathe!

  13. Okay, I cracking up at my desk here! Oh Jenny, you are going to get me in trouble! Hehhehehe - personally, I think the first books clearly shows a role reversal with the male being very, "No! We mustn't!" I think that's why her hand stops where it does.

    On the second, hmmm, maybe it's like vamps but with butterflies? Maybe they are all vying for her to be one their respective butterhonies, and once she chooses, they will cocoon her into his respective grouping - vamps with a pod people twist!

    Yeah, I have some time on my hands today - what can I say?


  14. OMG - all those floating heads with wings sprouting from their ears!! I'm dying.

  15. pure hilarity :) love these posts!

  16. Felicia - You and me both, I'm flummoxed:0

    Missie - Well, spiderwebs could be there too, she could have a whole variety of insects in there for all I know! Glad I could make your co-workers laugh too:)

    Lea - Why thank you, I had to find something spectacular to end the series on;)

    Linds - Your thoughts on this cover are astounding - you should think about a career in plot development:) And the word "butterhonies" made me snort my water. Thanks:)

    Karen - As was I, the sheer brilliance of it all makes it difficult to form coherent sentences.

    Emmadilemma - Thank you!

  17. The last book seems to have been written by a man, that might be the source of all its problems.Terrific post!

  18. Hysterical Jenny. Those butterfly head guys are friggn weird!!! Lets see I think the book is about this woman who just wants to break free of housewife, but theres all these men holding her back- Shes the big virgin in the corp. world and all those CEOs just want to hold her down....ugh...I mean in the hopes of climbing the C-ladder

  19. I LOVE your cover posts!

    That first cover? Maybe it's just me, but his man boob looks like a teeny tiny lady boob. Very weird, and certainly would explain the warning of "Where you least expect IT." I definitely wouldn't expect a lady boob on a man, that's for sure.

    The second cover? I'm torn between being totally creeped out through channeling some sort of Silence of the Lambs meets Happy Housewife Wants to Go Naughty. I cannot help you about a plot. I'm too busy gasping for breath and laughing hysterically. What a find!

  20. Jennifer - Good call:)

    Tina - Thanks! I like your plot summary, though I hope she doesn't dress like that for the corporate world;)

    Small - Thank you! His man boobs are surprisingly lady-like, maybe that's why they're covered. When I stumbled across it I couldn't stop blinking, I just stared in a fascinated stupor:)

  21. Ah ha ha! Don't stop, Jenny! Please keep these coming *puts a sad face and hopes that will change her mind*!

  22. Love this!

    I'm tempted to be totally naughty in the description of the last one, but I'll refrain. I mean it might sully my innocent picture everyone MUST have of me. Heh.

    Oh, I do love your descriptions! ROFL

  23. When I read that this was your last harlequin critique I gasped, thinking that it meant that it was your last critique ever... But then I read that it was just your last harlequin critique and not last critique critique... Thank gosh! These always make me laugh, so I am glad that they are sticking around.

  24. OMG... Jenny, every week it get's better and better! You have my LMAO! Thank you so much!

  25. I have no clue where you find these covers, Jenny, but they are hysterical.

    For Cover 1: Where is the other half of his shirt? It looks like a shrug. I get the sense that's horribly cold outside and he doesn't want to poke her eye out, because *drumroll*...she'll least expect IT. LOL!

    For Cover 2: *Shakes head* My first thought was, "This looks like a prequel to "Jennifer's Body". Instead of eating them, she turns them into insects".

  26. Zahida - No worries, there will be more, I'm just giving Harlequin a break next week:)

    Melissa - You should have posted your naughty description, now I'm all curious!

    Avery - Thank you, so glad you are enjoying them!

    Jen - Yay! Glad they're getting more entertaining as they go:)

    Rummanah - I spent hours on Harlequin's site. It was awesome. His shirt does look like a shrug, and maybe he is cold and that's what caused the shirt to snag. And cover two is beyond words:)

  27. LOL the first thing I thought when I saw the first cover was that the shirt caught on the nipples! Great minds and all that, right??

    as for the butterflies one?

    How about:

    "Leslie is 30 and still a virgin. No she hasn't been saving herself for a husband, she is actually afraid of losing her virginity.

    See, the this is that Leslie's mother has told her all her life that if she has sex with a man he will turn into a butterfly... so even though Leslie has a lot of suttors, her fear of turning them into butterflies stops her from pursuing a relationship...

    that is, until she meets Jacob and he decides to show her that butterfly is far from the animal he will turn if he gets her in his bed..."

    Let me know what you think! LOL

  28. Hahahahaha oh wow... I try not to judge a book by its cover, but I don't think I would ever pick up either of these.