Friday, January 21, 2011

Cover Critique: Romance Cover Categories Part 1

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 meant simply to be humorous and not insulting.

This week's cover critique is going to be a little different. In my search for more deliciously ridiculous covers, I came across so many interesting romance books that I thought it might be fun to assign them categories of my own making based on the image used. My hope is that whenever you see a romance cover in the bookstore, you'll think "Hm. What category would Jenny place this in?" Or even better, perhaps you'll think of your own category and we can continue this particular cover critique segment each month or so. That would be fun, so be on the lookout people!

FIRST CATEGORY: The Absurdly Awkward Pose

Okay. I just want to start with a question. It's personal in nature, so I apologize. Has anyone ever assumed this position in the throes of passion? No? Really? You've never taken your man's puffy shirt halfway off, attempted to claw his abdomen while falling over in your billowing white dress? That's never happened? Shocking.

Why is she doing such a strange half-squat? I'm guessing she's so overwhelmed by his masculine beauty that her knees have given out and she's headed south for a meeting with the ground. She seems to be in a state of distress with her talons out and her eyes clamped shut, but he appears nice and calm, as though this is a common occurrence in his world. Maybe women with a ridiculous number of flowers in their hair (really, how many random flowers does one need in their wavy locks?) wearing diaphanous white gowns in the great outdoors always literally topple over on him, ripping his shirt from his body in the process. It could happen every day to him.

Don't worry my flower-encrusted maiden, he'll catch you. He's got a death grip on your wrist, but inexplicably doesn't have a left arm, so maybe you should be a bit worried that he's going to drop you after all. Shouldn't his other arm be around her back? Isn't that how this pose is supposed to work? Apparently that's not how this romance hero rolls. Nope, he's going to touch her in as few places as possible because, really, who cares if she's going to keel over and face plant without assistance from him. Magnificent.


This category will always feature a male model (most likely shirtless) with some sort of phallic-shaped prop to emphasize his masculinity should the naked chest and rippling muscles not be enough to prevent his manhood from being called into question. Just in case his long hair blowing smoothly in the breeze gives us pause, he's been equipped with a blade which he holds in a firm grip, a reminder of what else could potentially be that long, wide, and firmly gripped.

You're all staring at his crotch trying to determine if he could possibly match his blade in size aren't you? It's hard not to stare really, as the flesh tone of his hand against the dark pants automatically draws our eye to that general area, and then we look at his prop and find our minds down and dirty in the gutter. I love how, should we be unimpressed with the size of his blade (it's not a sword after all), he's also holding a flag with a nice, long staff. Well done photo shoot prop masters, well done. Now his goods can never be questioned. His reputation is intact and certainly precedes him, so I think it's safe to say we all expect big things from him in this book.


This is a cover that fits none of the categories I established, so it gets to be in a category all it's own–one that defies explanation and logic. Let's just think about the title in conjunction with this image shall we? "After the Kiss" it says. After the kiss what? After the kiss he'll smell her armpit? That's super sexy! Nothing like having a man take your mouth and leave you breathless, only to drop to one knee after, spin you around so your back is facing him, shove his nose right in your pit and take a deep breath. Glorious!

This cover image completely flummoxes me. I don't understand why he's so fascinated by her underarm and why it seems to be bringing him such bliss. She appears to be craning her neck to check out just what exactly is happening back there, probably wondering when she bought a deodorant that doubled as an aphrodisiac and making a note to self not to wear it again while in his presence.

I have to say if this is a habit or kink of his, he certainly will be notorious but the gentleman half of that title is pushing it a bit. I don't know any gentlemen that get to know a woman by sniffing her pits, but maybe I just don't know the right kind of men, so that's on me I guess. Poor girl. She seems like she's going to have a disappointing evening. What's next, he's going to stare longingly up her nose, lovingly counting her nose hairs? Maybe that will be the sequel, and I won't lie to you, I would be interested in seeing it:)

I'll be back next Friday with three more categories for your viewing enjoyment. Have a great weekend everyone!


  1. I always enjoy your cover critiques! Today is another good group.

    Have a great one!

    The Enchanted Book

  2. Cover #1: You'd think the girl must be in some pain from standing like that.
    Cover #2: I don't know...long hair just doesn't do it for me. I think Fabio is ugly. Of course there was this one guy when I was in college who gorgeous black almost shoulder-length hair...but he was an engineer - an long haired engineers don't look like cover #2.
    Cover #3: Now, I do think this is a really sensuous cover, but the smelling thing is rather weird. Maybe if he was smelling the top of her shoulder instead.

  3. Hilarious as always! That third cover is great. She even looks slightly bored, like she's turning and asking him, "Well? How's my new deodorant holding up?"

    For the first one, my vote is going to the flowers. I think the sheer weight of that massive bouquet shoved into her head is causing her whole body to sag to the ground.

  4. Immensely entertaining as always!
    Oh cover #3, how I adore thee....

  5. LOL I love your critiques ,and you're right I will never ever look at another cover without thinking about what you will say lol.

    the third one I would have thought hot until you brought to the attention of the smelling and that totally threw me off lol and I had to bite back a laugh and not wake up the house.

  6. Selena - Thanks! So glad you enjoy them:)

    Alison - One would think that first pose would be very uncomfortable, her neck must have been so sore! And the last one looks really sensual, it's just his face is unfortunately placed:)

    Small - Right? If someone was sniffing around behind me, I guess I'd turn to see what was going on as well:) And I agree, the flowers are clearly weighing her down.

    Angelique - Thank you:) I adore #3 as well!

    BLHmistress - YES! Mission accomplished:) It took me a little while to figure out what exactly was off about cover 3, it's not instantly noticeable. But once I saw the armpit situation, I couldn't stop staring and wondering about it:)

  7. LMAO! I love this feature! The girl in book one is going to get sore neck holding her head back like that. And Book 3 as soon as I saw it I thought he was smelling her armpit.

    Can't wait to see what next week brings :)

  8. Oh, I've really been missing this feature! Loved your interpretation of After the Kiss, Jenny!

  9. LOL I love your critiques and they are always spot on!

    Though I have to say that even though I don't really like the third cover, it might be an attempt to capture the man doing some kissing down her body... an attempt should be the main word here... instead of kissing, he is sniffing, like you said and bringing down the LOLs of course hehe


  10. dear god, this post is hilarious. as are all the covers, haha.

    i want some of that aphrodisiac deodorant, haha.

    x Nomes

  11. LOL!!! As I was reading your post I am laughing my head off at work. I think the co-workers think I'm crazy.

  12. You are hilarious, Jenny! My favourite is the "The Absurdly Awkward Pose" Haha

  13. 1: Those covers always cracked me up in the 80s. Mostly because all I could think is the poor girl was running to her lover, tripped on a rock, and feel flat into his tummy. Of course, what he was doing with his shirt open is a whole other issue LOL

    2: You know I never understood the dagger on the waist prop in pictures. I would go big and have an actual sword. Plus it kind of blocks the goods if that is where you are looking LOL.

    3: That last one---what to say. I like guys with facial hair but that is stubble. Stubble hurts and there is no way she wouldn't be arching her back to get away LOL I couldn't get past that to get to the actual What the ? lol

  14. On the first one, I was thinking she might be very short. Or maybe he's freakishly tall. Or both.

    The third one just killed me!

  15. These are hilarious. The guy on the second cover is the hotness! lol! :-p

  16. bahahahahaha "flower-encrusted maiden"...Jenny, this feature kills me every time, I swear. It's amazing how many absolutely awkward and horrid covers there are out there, and it gives me great joy to read your take on all of them ;)

    Keep it up! Happy Friday :)

  17. lol! Yea, the pit cover is so silly. I don't want hubs anywhere near my pits, k thx. And a dagger and flag are fantastic representations of a man's package...? lol

  18. The Absurdly Awkward Pose reminded me of one of the southern Vampire books, where Sookie is having to get into to all of these irritating poses to help Claud break into the romance cover model biz.

    Jennifer (An Abundance of Books)

  19. Thanks for giving me my morning laugh and smiles.

  20. OMG I am laughing out loud at work right now. Thank you so much for featuring these covers, it totally made my day :)

  21. Nic - Thank you! I'm so glad I wasn't the only one to think he was smelling her pit. It's just weird!

    Zahida - Thank you, I just had to share my thoughts on that one:)

    Larissa - That's clearly what was supposed to be happening, they just caught him at the wrong spot:)

    Nomes - Right? I should start a line of aphrodisiac deodorants, it could be huge;)

    Savy - Glad I could assist you in looking like a crazy person!

    Misha - That one is my favorite as well:) And I have more poses that fit that category, there are some good ones!

    Felicia - Maybe the force of the wind from when she tripped and started falling blew his shirt open? I love when they have a sword, it's like "I'm a man. See? I have a sword to prove it."

    JL - She could be really short, if that's the case, she should get some heels so she doesn't have to crane her neck up like that. Ouch.

    Leanna - Glad you liked them (and him:)

    Melissa - Well, she is flower encrusted isn't she? I've never seen such random hair-flower decoration!

    Ash - I don't want hubs anywhere near my pits either, nor do I want to be near his:)

    Mollie - :)

    Tori - Thanks my dear!

    Jennifer - So true! I had forgotten that part of the Sookie books, but she was clearly in poses like this.

    Linda - You're welcome, glad it served its purpose:)

    Tara - You're welcome! Glad I could amuse you at work:)

  22. 1. Yes, I see the Absurdly Awkward Pose a lot. She really does look like she's going to fall over. And he probably doesn't mind, since he'll just climb right on top of her, right?
    @Jennifer I had forgotten about that scene from the Sookie Stackhouse books! How funny, that Charlaine Harris included it.

    2. "We'll be expecting big things from him in this book." LOL. Jenny, you kill me, everytime.

    3. I love that the subtitle of this one is: "The Notorious Gentleman" Now we already know what he is notorious for: pit-sniffing!

  23. I love you for this, Jenny! I always tease my mom about the covers of her romance novels-- 'Why isn't he wearing a shirt? Oh, did he have to tear it into little strips to bandage the heroine's arm after she was wounded?' I especially love the comments on the first cover-- talk about awkward! :)

  24. Jenny seriously you crack me up!! How fitting that I chose you for the Make Smiles on Faces definitely deserve it! I love visiting you blog...:D

    Here is the award if you would like to claim it:

  25. Jenny!! The Kindle button is still there for the Harlequin titles (or it's back, not sure which), so you can get that took a little longer than usual for it show up on my Kindle, but it did =) I also got Invasion =) Get thee to Netgalley!!

  26. "Has anyone ever assumed this position in the throes of passion? No? Really? You've never taken your man's puffy shirt halfway off, attempted to claw his abdomen while falling over in your billowing white dress? That's never happened? Shocking."

    LMAO!!!!! I read that and I just started laughing out loud. That was awesome!

  27. Agree, agree, agree I just love your critiques and can't wait for the next one.

  28. *Cackles* I actually think the third one probably had photography problems. It looks as if the shot should've been taken from the side instead of hand on, you know? As for the second one, I'm not big with guys with Fabio hair. Looking forward to your next critique.

  29. Madigan - I'm sure he'd follow her to the ground so they can get on with things. Maybe he was the one that tripped her in the first place;)

    Kat - Thanks! Some romance covers are lovely, but ones like the above make me giggle:)

    Kelsey - I do try:) Thanks so much for the award!

    Angelique - I went and requested, I still didn't see a Kindle button for the title I requested last week, so I'm crossing my fingers for this new one:)

    Carissa - :) I try not to get too personal on the blog, but really, no one stands like that with their significant other:)

    Jenny - I've got good ones for next week:)

    Rummanah - It definitely would have been better if we saw his face head on and her from the side, then it wouldn't have looked so off:)

  30. Hee hee... Love this! I see in the second one you are learning more about composition. ;) Oh and I can explain the last one. The guy has a doberman and is trying to figure out why his dog loves arm pits. The other place was too racy for the cover to print. ;D

    Oh, thanks so much for the laugh!!!

  31. This might just be my most favourite cover critique to date... Thanks for the laugh as always Jenny!
    PS. Have a great weekend!

  32. *dies laughing*

    An Armpit fetish! Super awesome. Where can I meet these guy? Seriously. I'd like to interview them or something.

    Cover one really puts a new spin on the "Deflower the Maiden" theme. eh?

    Gawd, I missed this feature, Jenny. Your commentary is so freaking spot on and hilarious.

  33. *Collapses on the floor laughing* I will never, ever be able to walk oout of the book store without checking out romance covers and trying to decipher which categories they'd fit into. This is now completely and utterly your fault:) Seriously, Jenny - it should be a crime to be as funny as you are. I think this set of critiques is now officially my new favourite. Pfft... armpit man? Imagine. :D

  34. Melissa - HA! I will say the cover would have been far more disturbing had he been sniffing, um, other things:)

    Avery - Yay, thanks!

    Missie - An armpit fetish is super awesome. I can only hold out hope that hubs develops something so fabulous;) Love the deflowering comment, you and I really need to go into romance cover tagline business. We'd make millions:)

    Tammy - Success! I feel as though I've accomplished my goal and I take full blame for the fact that you will now stand in the romance aisle of the bookstore categorizing the covers. I. Am. Awesome.:)

  35. Bahaha! I love how you split these into categories! Every time I see a ridic cover on a shelf, I already think, "What would Jenny say?", but I will definitely also be placing them in categories now!

  36. You never have experienced the hotness of an after kiss armpit sniff? You are missing out girl! It is book covers like these that make me glad I own a Kindle.

  37. As usual, I loveeee this post and am cracking up over here!! I'm a romance junkie, but I'll be the first to admit that some of their covers are amongst the cheesiest, most comical covers out there.

    I'm totally for you doing a romance cover critique more often :D


  38. So Hysterical....The armpit your right sooo sexy and who the heck smells their own armpits...hmmm maybe Mary Katherine Galliger would like this guy? Wow Im so old...:D

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