Friday, May 6, 2011

Cover Critique: Ellora's Cave Finale

Alright friends, it's the last week of my Ellora's Cave cover extravaganza and I've got some covers that are sure to burn themselves into your memory forever and ever. Be prepared. Before we start though I just want to say a quick thank you to Kelli Collins, Editor-in-Chief of Ellora's Cave Publishing, who was nice enough to leave a comment on last week's post expressing her amusement with regard to my little critiques, and I thoroughly appreciate her taking my humor in the spirit in which it's intended. Hope you all enjoy the finale!


The mind, it boggles. What is going on with this figure placement? She's decapitated him with her pleather-covered elbow and he seems to be downright pissed about it given the way he's clenching those fists. I'm all for the headless torso action on a cover–those naked, rippling chests are so very pretty to look at–but this takes it to a whole new level. A more disturbing level. I have stared and stared at this cover in an attempt to find some reason as to why this is happening, and I can honestly say I've come up with a big fat goose egg. So, of course, I had to look up the blurb on Goodreads to see if it could shed some light:

Oberon learns he will be teaching a new program that allows humans to be educated on alien culture by the aliens themselves. What he doesn't expect is Anjessica and the lusty power struggle they enter. His arousal for the human student drives him crazy, her passion pushing him to the edge of control. Anjessica is on a mission to save the most important person in her life and failure is not an option. Being educated by an alien on every sensual level is a distraction she doesn't need. But her passion for him puts everything she's trying to save on the line. If Anjessica isn't careful, her erotic connection with Oberon could cause her to lose everything.

Wow. That was no help at all was it? Nowhere in there does it mention that a monstrous, red-catsuit-wearing Anjessica will knock poor Oberon's head off with her mutant elbow. Odd. After reading this I'm actually fairly intrigued, I would definitely like to know how he is going to please her "on every sensual level" when he doesn't have a head. Well, doesn't have a head on his neck anyway, but I guess he could show her all kinds of things with his other one couldn't he? Except he appears to be a miniature alien given that she's supposed to be human, so I can't imagine the head he's left with will be all that satisfying if it's proportionate to what we see here. A shame, really.


I find myself completely befuddled by the limb proportions on this cover. Inflamed seems to be an apt title given her inexplicable and gargantuan left arm. Upon first seeing this cover I thought surely it was someone else's arm off cover shoving a finger in her mouth (ew), but I'm pretty sure it's hers. Then, in direct contrast to her left arm, her right arm is absurdly small and shrunken. Poor girl. If she was lost at sea with nothing but her arms as paddles, she'd just spin herself in continuous circles wouldn't she? Tragic.

I'm thinking it's a good thing she seems to be in possession of two naked cowboys, as her go-go-Gadget arm is much too enormous to embrace a single individual (did I just date myself with an Inspector Gadget reference? Yes? Damn). Maybe that's part of her appeal? She has magic overgrown fingers all the better to tease her lawless cowboys with? Absolutely spectacular.


Words fail me. This cover will haunt me for the rest of my days. Why is she winking at me like that? And why is she cocking that eyebrow at me while giving me the stare down with an unnatural blue eye? *shudders* Honestly, the more I look at her the more afraid I become. She's obviously got something sneaky going on in that noggin of hers, and she and the teddy bear are clearly in cahoots. She looks like she wants me to know that she knows that I know nothing. Mission accomplished. I know nothing but that this cover disturbs me on a multitude of levels.

Can we just look at her left arm for a minute? What is going on with people's left arms on these covers? They're just wrong. Wrong, I say! Hers is the manliest arm I've ever seen on a woman. The unfortunate shading makes it look like she's sprouted thick, dark hair, and she's got such bulbous fingers that my mind is having trouble reconciling the feminine black lace lingerie with her masculine appendages. I may never be the same after this.

Fourth: THE JOCK

Okay. I now know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I will in fact never be the same. I'm traumatized beyond any hope of recovery. My eyeballs have been branded with this image and I will never escape it however much I try. Because this has happened to me, I had to share it with all of you. You. Are. Welcome.

What, I ask you, is going on with his right pectoral? I've never seen one so grossly swollen in all my life. It's like a balloon ready to pop, and that nipple is aimed right at me as though it's targeting me for the explosion. Cue gag reflex.

I'm going to tell you a brief, but related, story to momentarily distract us all from the soul-scarring image above. My husband loves PlayStation. Loves it. One of his favorite games is Tiger Woods golf. For those of you who don't know, when you set up your player in this game, you can go through a ridiculous number of physical characteristics when building them–anything from hair color to skin blemishes to waist and breast size. My husband, being the champion husband that he is, thought it would be hilarious to make a caricature of me. He gave me the most absurd features, including a pair of boobs so enormous I would have toppled over if they were real. They were extra pointy and extended so far out from my body I couldn't possibly have swung a club without smacking them and sending them flying up into my face. Awesome.

This cover reminds me of that caricature in Tiger Woods golf. It's clearly a digital rendering, and I just have no idea how to handle it. I don't know whether to laugh, cry, or claw at my eyes in an attempt to erase it from memory. I fear nothing will help.

Have a great weekend everyone!


  1. LMAO - I love these posts! They are my fave! Ok that last cover is!

  2. Oh god...that last one made me spit out my drink! Hilarious! (And also scarring...)
    The cover kind of does look like it's from a Playstation game, too...

  3. Wow, just.... wow. I am stunned. And not in a good way. They are pretty scarring, but that first one is just baffling.

    Also, I pretty much died laughing your commentary, which isn't a good thing with other people in the house trying to sleep, haha.

  4. Jenny, you definitely saved the best for last. But.

    The Jock has clearly been going to a plastic surgeon who has grossly misused collagen injections, the Notorious lady's wink looks like it hurts, and maybe that's a third guy's arm and not inflamed girl's? I mean--why stop at two guys, right?

    Finally, what disturbs me most about the first cover (besides the sheer discomfort of a red, plasticy jumpsuit) is the name Anjessica. It sounds like some really bad undercover work. As in "Hi, I'm An-uh...Jessica. Yeah. Anjessica. But you can call me 'Sic'."

  5. "She'd just spin herself in continuous circles wouldn't she?" LMAO!!!!

  6. The cover for Latharian Heat is hilarious! Poor guy being crushed by a giant elbow :D
    The cover for The Jock will give me nightmares tonight!

  7. My take on Notorious is that this poor women is not winking, but was in a terrible accident (probably as a child)that left her without her right eye. Instead of giving her a prosthesis the surgeon sewed the eye shut, so she actually walks around looking like she is winking at everyone she meets. This of course has created many strange and embarrassing moments for her, but finally some poor book editor took pity on her and hired her as a model for this book cover. With the money she earned she can now go and have the surgery she needs and buy a glass eye so that she will no longer be know as Winky. Hurray!

    I have to say I really enjoy your running commentary on all the covers, you are hilarious!

  8. NOTORIOUS is oddly cute, in an oh-so-retro way, but LATHARIAN HEAT is . . . well, 'WOW' is the only word I can use to describe! Yummy.

  9. The last 3 are going to scar me forever!

    The first one all I could think was Attack of the 50 ft woman--run people run!

  10. OMG! THE JOCK! UGH!!!!!
    Anyways, a riot as always Jenny! I am seriously going to miss you reviewing the Ellora's Cave covers... ;)

  11. Tara - So glad you enjoy them:)

    Lauren - I had the same reaction which means it absolutely has to be posted on the blog:)

    Ashley - It's okay, go ahead and wake them up and then show them "The Jock" and they'll be laughing too:)

    Ruby - It does sound like she may have stuttered a bit with her name doesn't it? And the wink definitely looks painful:)

    Tiah - Well, she would with arms that disproportionate:)

    Misha - Isn't it? It just makes me happy. And I think we're all going to have Jock nightmares:)

    Jan - I like the way your mind works! I shall henceforth refer to her as Winky:)

    Sally - Wow just about sums it up doesn't it?

    Felicia - Me too. Which is why I had to share. Don't want to be scarred by myself:)

    Avery - 'Tis awesome, no? When I saw that bulging chest I knew I'd found my finale cover:)

  12. As always Jenny, thank you for my Friday morning laugh! I would have guessed the first book being an alien book that the chick in the red latex was the alien and the headless man was human, silly me. Also, on the cover of Inflamed (I guess Swollen, Sore or Irritated were already taken), are you sure that's not another person's arm? That's just crazy looking!
    Truly Bookish

  13. OMG! Seriously what is going on with the covers! The First one I thought she was doing some cat women thing. And the second, it looks like a guy from behind her is putting his finger in her mouth. The winking chic, thats just freaky! And the last, he has boobs! So not attractive! Very funny, but not attractive! LOL, I think these photos will haunt me forever!

  14. These covers are all just so hilariously wrong. Wow.
    For inflamed, her left arm is so freakishly large, I didn't even notice the second cowboy back there at first. And her other arm looks so manlike as well. Really makes you wonder how they put this whole thing together.

  15. I wish they would get a real cover artist, I know they can afford one. Some of these small time ebook publishers can do better then this. That first on is the worst, wonder woman looked better than that LOL

  16. Please don't ever stop reviewing covers! Decapitated aliens, unevenly-armed women (great imagery with the paddle-less boat), and pecs bursting like disease pustules. EW.

  17. NC - You're so very welcome:) I thought she was the alien too, but we're clearly mistaken.

    Savy - They're full of WIN that's what's going on:) And don't even get me started on the last cover, it makes my eye twitch:)

    Madigan - Aren't they? I love it. And I love Ellora's Cave for giving me so much to work with:)

    Laurie - I'm trying to figure out if they just don't put much effort in because most of the books are ebooks or what. There were a few on the site that were pretty good, which just makes the above all the more hilarious:)

    Small - I will do it for as long as people find the critiques entertaining:) And his chest does look like 2 giant pustules doesn't it? Big EW.

  18. Oh my dear god... I'm not sure which is worse, The Jock or Notorious! I'm now scarred for LIFE. LIFE, I tell you!!!!

  19. Gah! *needs eye bleach stat*

    Inflamed body parts, engorged pectoral... I've suddenly lost my appetite for lunch!

    Jenny, thanks for adding humor to the trauma or I may have never recovered.

  20. Eesh, I'm definately scarred! Although the first one was pretty funny. How is he meant to do anything without a head? But the last one... yup, could live my whole life without seeing that cover again and it would still be too many!
    But thanks for your humour: as Missie said, without it, I'd never recover. (:
    Have a great weekend!

  21. Oh women with hairy man are so right everyones arms and boby parts are all blowing up in my face...those were great!

    Nothing like your own boobs hitting you in the face to make your day extra special...LOL

  22. Wow..epic manboobs over there.
    And what's up with that teddybear? That cover freaks me out

  23. Ashley - It's a toss up really. If I'm scarred for life, I want some company, glad you're with me!

    Missie - Right? I saw that man boob cover as a thumbnail, sucked in breath and clicked on it to enlarge. Huge mistake. His monstrous nipple almost knocked me out of my chair:)

    BookAddicted - Yes! We're all in a big, emotionally traumatized group now:) Success.

    Tina - Yes, my husband gave me torpedo boobs that could have given me a concussion if I had swung that golf club. He's such a sweetie;)

    Blodeuedd - Epic is a good word for them. Also terrifying. Haunting. Life changing.

  24. OMG! The cover of Notorious is so disturbing!! Lol!

    These are great!

  25. So I was innocently reading your post, wondering how she got into that latex suit; kept reading "Jaid Black" as "Laid Black" and thinking that was a bit rude (I eventually caught on); then giant hairy boobs reached through my screen and knocked me out of my chair. Seriously, images like that need to come with a warning, or at least a heads up. :)

    Another great post!

  26. Oh! The Jock! Do the people who design these just not notice this crap?

  27. Okay....I thought last week was bad, but these are by far the worst! I have no idea what's going on with the decapitation and I'm sure I don't want to know. What is going on with the arms in the second and third one? Weiiird. I'm definitely hiding from the third. It seems like it's supposed to be retro but it's downright creepy. The last one will be forever branded into my brain, as well!

  28. The third and fourth cover are completely absurd! Your comments always crack me up though. I think these are worst than last week and I didn't even think that was possible! OMG! Love these posts!

  29. Leanna - It is! I just stared at it for a while when I first found it, trying to understand why she was looking at me that way:)

    Jennifer - I know. I did say "be prepared" but I don't think you can really prepare yourself for that sight can you? No:)

    Zita - I have no idea what goes into the design of these covers, but I want to work for Ellora's Cave to be part of the awesomeness so bad it hurts:) I would so be one of their designers.

    Julie - I had to save the best for last:) I think the last one is going to stay with all of us for a while

    Christina - They are worse than last week, I scoured the internet in search of them and hoarded them until it was the right moment to unleash them on my unsuspecting readers:)

  30. Hahahaha! Wait...hahahaha! Okay. I'm finished. Maybe. Where in the world do you find these covers?? My brain is now branded with these images. The last one I'm actually at a loss for words.

  31. My reactions: Cover 1: Very awkard positon of the elbow. I think its the first time I've seen something like that where the elbow covers the guy's head.

    Cover 3: I agree. It looks like some old vintage poster that I never should have seen in the first place.

    Cover 4: Holy smokes! Those man boobs are so wrong.

    Overall, some very horrible covers. I don't know how you can possibly top these.

  32. First cover: the outfit from Britney Spears's Oops I Did It Again music video. :P Just sayin.

  33. First... you should do the same to the hubs. Create him a character like that. That last one proves that some men need to check every month! lol

    Love these. But Notorious... uh, I think I took her English class in middle school. *shudder*

  34. Thank you for brightening up my rather craptastic week of work with these horrible (understatement of the year) covers. I now have to find something to scrubs these out of my mind.

  35. OMG, the last cover is so wrong but hilarious, and your story just made it a whole lot more funnier. Thanks for brightening up my Fridays, Jenny!

  36. Oh Jenny, Jenny, Jenny...I have to say you have outdone yourself this week! The Jock well, I think he might have been dipping into performance enhancing drugs. We all know what happens to the rest of the goods when that happens so this is all he has to be proud of... poor thing. What size cup is that DD?

    But the scary one for me is Jaid Black! First she looks like she's the covergirl on a magazine from the 1950's! And Good Housekeeping not a romance novel! And that smile! I can say this... she's had one too many happy pills or she's just a little bit off!

    You certainly picked the cream of the crop with this one. Let us know if you read about Oberon and Anjessica. I'd like to know about that pleasure thing without a head.

    Men and their toys. They love to be boys.


  37. Image 1: Please tell me she plans on going diving in that getup?

    Last image: YIKES. His boobs scare me.

  38. OMG, I think I just lost my eye sight! That third cover words can describe what I just saw. It's horrible. Please, please I beg you, remove it. oooh, the horror.

  39. I may not ever recover from seeing these covers, either! The Jaid Black one in particular is possibly the most eerie thing I've ever seen. 'She and the teddy bear are clearly in cahoots...' lol

    The Inflamed cover makes me want to study it for a while, try and trace all those badly-proportioned limbs. I thought the hand the girl is, um, gnawing on belonged to some other, third party when I first saw it. Anyway, fantastic finale, Jenny!

  40. I'm so not surprised abt your husband making our boobs so large that you would fall over in real life. They are special, these males of

  41. Lmao! Fabulous finale! The, way to go back in the vault! Ah, poser covers...I almost miss them... Actually, no. I don't.

    Buried in Books' comment that Notorious looks like a 1950s cover isn't far off the mark...the model is Jaid's grandmother, and that's a pic of her in her saucier days. :) She's an absolutely adorable little old lady now. We love her. And by extension, the cover. The original photo, of course, is black and white (and appears on the ebook version).

    I hope you keep doing critiques, Jenny! Though admittedly, I also hope some other publisher gets the chance to experience your brand of astute humor. Lol!


    Kelli Collins
    Ellora's Cave

  42. Kelli - The Jock just makes me happy, I have to say:) I saw it as a thumbnail on your site and when I clicked to make it larger it pretty much made my day (and also scared me a little bit). Thanks so much for being such a good sport about the critiques, I promise to direct my snarkiness elsewhere for a while!

  43. The Jock gives me the heebee jeebies.

  44. LOL great post!

    the girl on the first one reminds me of Britney spears on the "OOps I did it again" video clip LMAO