Sunday, 28 April 2013

Kindle Romance Covers of the Week - 28th April 2013

I'm back with more cover-loving goodness for another week! I've had a rainy spring ramble through the blossoming category of Romance published on Amazon over the past week, and made a few picks of my very favourites.

But first...

"Why just Kindle covers? Do you have something against my Kobo reader? Are you anti-Nook?!"

Honestly, there is no conspiracy! I'm not being paid/coerced/bribed by Amazon in any way. The boring answer is that it's just because I own a Kindle and Amazon is the site I tend to go to for books. That's it. They generally have good coverage of all the latest books, though I know Smashwords and other sites catering to other e-readers have plenty too. Hey, it's easy and I'm lazy, okay? Don't judge.

AND...My Usual Disclaimer: The following reviews are of the cover art ONLY. I have nary a clue if they're good, bad or ugly inside. But outside? Darn, but they're pretty.

Okay, now on to...


I know this trend has been around longer than Twilight and True Blood, but we STILL seem to have a ton of were-related fiction pumping into our e-readers! The selection below is from one week of publishing alone, and only includes those that are listed under Romance!

I loved Charlaine Harris' Sookie Stackhouse series, but I think I still need to find a writer that really grabs me with their take on the whole shifter/were/wolf-person thing. Suggestions are most welcome!


It started with a severe case of deja-vu, but once I did a double-take, I couldn't ignore what I was seeing. You know how big a deal it is when two gals show up at a red-carpet event in the same dress (think Hilary Swank and Sally Fields at the Oscars this year? Ouch.)? Yeah, it's got to feel a bit like that when your book goes out the same week as someone who has used an IDENTICAL cover image. *facepalm* Glad it's not me, just sayin'.



Here are some covers that caught my eye, all in red and white this week!

Title: Perfectly Scarred
Author: Lucy Covington
Publisher: n/a
Genre: n/a

I really do love this cover. Perfect contrast, the image backs up the title with the scarred, cracked ice and the heart-shaped drop of blood. 10 out of 10 from me! The only trouble? I nabbed this one early in the week (I confess. I'm such a NERD I start looking for covers at the beginning of the week!), but when I went back today to grab some more information about the author/publisher, etc, it was...gone. Poof. Vanished. Can't find a thing about this book on the interwebs anywhere. So Lucy, if you're out there - LOVE the cover, and hope you'll be re-releasing it soon?

Title: The Taste of You
Author: Chazley Dotson
Publisher: Amazon/Self-Published
Genre: Paranormal/Fantasy Romance

Yes, that's right. Those are red blood cells. What a wonderful twist on the vampire theme! I'm ALL about the sexy-neck-poses we usually see for the genre, but I thought this was pretty genius. The text is very minimalist, which I think does work, though if it were me (subjective opinion alert!), I'd have made the title much stronger and made sure both the title and the author's name were either both centred or both left-justified. But that's just a tiny little detail based on my opinion - overall, it's eye-catching.

Title: The Vampire Affair
Author: Vivi Anna
Publisher: Amazon/Self-Published
Genre: Paranormal/Fantasy/Contemporary Romance

I seem to be on a vampire kick now - two in the row! But there's everything to love about this cover: the dedication to the red and white theme, the text held within a composition which draws you in. You're being offered something, and you know it's dangerous at the same time. Great choice of font, gothic and memorable, and the author's name is prominent, but doesn't overwhelm the rest of the cover. I like the use of (literally) white space at the top right, which is exactly what keeps this cover from being too busy. 


Title: A Jane Austen Daydream
Publisher: Madison Street Publishing
Genre: Historical Romance

Here's some idyllic English countryside, though the blue sky is something we rarely seem to see these days! But we get a sense of quiet, rural life with the chance to possibly wander through the world as the intrepid Jane Austen. The cover is balanced, and I like the fact that just for a second, you think the book is actually written by Jane herself. The author intends the story to be from her perspective and in her style, so there's reason for it. Its the lovely bit of filigree above and below that hooked me. Just a touch of fancy estate gateway come to mind, and the far-off sound of carriage horse hooves on a gravel drive.

Title: Crossroads
Author: Monica D. Pitts-Lack
Publisher: Amazon/Self-Published
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Have I mentioned that I'm a SUCKER for contrast? I am. I truly am. This cover has it in bucket-loads, with the title and author's name against the deep black, and the detailed text in the middle nicely framing the brooding ruins. I was surprised to note that this isn't set historically, which belies the oldy-worldy fonts, and sort of intrigues me more.


Title: Stages of Grace
Author: Carey Heywood
Publisher: Amazon/Self-Published
Genre: Contemporary Romance

There's a softness about this cover which is very pretty. According to the blurb the story deals with loss and letting go, and the closed eyes and peacefulness of the image line up with this. The contrast, again, draws me in, and the unusual colouring is intriguing. Maybe it's just me being samey-samey in my tastes, but there are a lot of similarities of composition here with my pick of the week on 4th April! Not the same cover designer by any chance?

Title: The Magic Stone
Author: Marie Sterbenz
Publisher: Marie Sterbenz, 2nd Edition
Genre: Historical Fiction

Just like the white&red, it seems I'm getting into the white&green this week. Perhaps it's my penchant for fantasy novels, but I instantly loved this cover. The medieval feel is immediate, which is perfect considering this is a historical romance. Nice, simple uncluttered composition. And how can I resist the gorgeous green horse, with my little white pony looking on?

Title: Doctors
Author: Erich Segal
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Genre: Medical/Romance

A republished classic by a well-decorated author (why haven't I read any of his books?!), I thought the 'modern' take on the cover design was fitting. Simple, eye-catching colours, and those evocative wedding bands. I know this is a far-cry even for me from the standard man-clutches-swooning-woman of the Romance genre norm, but from what I can tell, there is a passionate love story underneath the clinical layers of medical drama. On my to-read list!

Which leads us to my...


This particular cover is a fantastic example of a title that is released with different cover designed depending on the market and on the published format. I've chosen the version for the UK ebook, and it is my favourite of all the various versions I found while reading up on this title. Here's my pick of the week:

Title: The Exiled
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton, New edition
Genre: Historical Romance
Sometimes (okay, a lot of times) the 'professionals' get it right, and not only could I not fault this cover, I can't deny that it drew me in. Apparently I'm also a sucker for textures (see my pick of the week for 13 April), and this one delivers. The white scratchiness around the edges gives a digital product that well-loved look. Like a copy of an adored classic that's been handed around. The pose and the fabric of the fur-edged gown all beg you to learn about this mysterious, waiting, trapped woman.

If you'd like a master-class on the power of cropping, this is one. Check out another version of this same cover I found. I don't know about you, but when we can see the rest of her face and her eyes, the tension falls away completely from the image. Without being able to see her face, the image is more voyeuristic, more mysterious. That, and I'm not sold on the green text rather than the white/cream of the one I chose.

And, as promised here's a view of all the versions the publishers have released: 

I have a feeling the far-left is destined for the hardcover/print version, the middle version is targeted for the UK, and the far right is for US readers. Which one do you fancy best?

Okay, before we go, we can't forget our...


I actually picked this out as one of my runners-up this week - gotta love the contrast in this gorgeous photograph. Again, I seem unable to resist the 'back-abs' (has anyone found out if there IS such a thing??) In a word: Yummy.

I leave you with...

Title: Falling for Heaven
Author: Anne Conley
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton, New edition
Genre: Fantasy/Paranormal Romance


Sunday, 21 April 2013

Kindle Romance Covers of the Week - 21st April 2013

It's that time again! I've romped through the recently released romances as if they were a field full of spring flowers, and picked out my favourite covers for another week. I can't promise to be able to do this every week, but I got such a great response to the last two that I can't help keeping it going.

You'll note that I don't use any form of scientific analysis, scoring or other formal evaluation. I just pick out what I LIKE. So, the following is entirely my personal and purely subjective opinion. No critics were injured in the writing of this blog post.

And as ever, My Disclaimer: I haven't the foggiest if the following books are the next big sensation, or if they'll end up in your e-reader's DNF folder. I leave the reviewing of any contents to the experts (and to you, Dear Reader).

But first...


That's right, folks, Victoria Dahl's latest full-length novel is now available in the UK on Kindle! Was chuffed to see this cover pull through into the list this week. If you don't already follow Victoria on Twitter, you are missing out on serious entertainment. As for the cover, I love the bold, fresh 'non-regulation-issue' colours she uses. And who can resist a pillow fight?


I'm only going to pick on one trend this week, as it seems to be a rather BIG one. And I confess, I'm cheating a little, as I was curious about trends in the most POPULAR books from the Hot Release section (ebooks published on Amazon in the past 30 days).

With all the spring colour bursting up with the first warm weather we've had, I was sort of expecting to see a lot more vibrant Romance covers in the Popular list. But it seems the 50 Shades effect is still firmly with us, and all I can see is wall to wall shades of grey/blue/brown...monochrome.

Okay, there are a few with contrasting colour in the titles, but I was shocked at how many of the top 50 titles went for the two-toned look. It must appeal to readers though, as many buy a book by judging the cover, right (I know you DO)?



Here are some of my faves from this week - nice cozy couples (see? I don't just go for weird, abstract, dino-slipper covers!)

Title: Scarlet Heat
Author: Evangeline Anderson
Publisher: Evangeline Anderson Books
Genre: Fantasy/Paranormal Romance

This is probably the closest I get to putting a stamp of approval on a 'traditional' Romance cover (i.e. barely-clothed dramatic/passionate couple, wrapped in a torrid embrace)! She's a reluctant vampire, he's a secret werewolf with a cross-species marriage of (in)convenience thrown in. What I liked was the whole balance of colour - the gentleness of the figures, which leans more towards tender than raving-lust-filled, and the combination of title fonts. It's very pleasing on the eye. Though for all that, Evangeline does promise "Lots and lots of steamy sex." o_O

Title: Falling into Forever
Author: Lauren Abrams
Publisher: Amazon/Self-Published
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance

Simple, uncomplicated composition. Another in the 'monochrome' theme, but the simplicity is sexy, I think. At first I thought this might be another vampire romance, based on the neck-nibbling. But it's listed as Contemporary New Adult, set in New York and involves a hunky movie star and a lost love. Verdict: Simple and sensual. 

Title: Faster We Burn
Author: Chelsea M Cameron
Publisher: Amazon/Self-Published
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance

Love the soft colours on this cover, with the flowing text over-top of the cuddling lovers. The way the hands are just touching is tender and intimate - makes me want to know what's going to happen between these two. It also gives a much gentler and vulnerable impression than the story blurb - hoping the inside and outside line up! The only thing that kept this cover from being my favourite of the week was that for me, the title blended into the background picture. Even in this size, its hard to make out the words, and in an Amazon-size thumbnail, the contrast was too low to read it at all. otherwise, it's a lovely combination!


In which I prove to have a weird thing for women's necks. Apparently. 

Title: Shades of Truth
Author: C.L. Stockton
Publisher: Amazon/Self-Published
Genre: Historical Romance

It's hard to go wrong when you start with such a pretty photograph. The tendrils of hair are nicely echoed in the swirl of the h in 'Truth'. The fine, dark lines of her hair, the text and the necklace pull the whole piece together. The only thing that lets this cover down (in my opinion), and also out of the running as my pick of the week, is the somewhat claustrophobic thin black border that's been added around the left-hand side. Perhaps without it, it looked too contemporary for a historical romance? Either way, I feel it spoils (just slightly), the tranquillity of the image. But other than that...LOVE.

Title: The Vessel
Author: Felicia Tatum
Publisher: Amazon/Self-Published
Genre: Fantasy/Paranormal Romance

If she touches you, Olivia can see how you'll die. Scott is under a family curse, but can visit Olivia in her dreams. Sound like a rather intriguing set-up? The cover caught my eye - how can you miss all that red hair? Very Pre-Raphaelite. Lovely contrast with the blue, and the pose is very pretty. I believe the rest of her is visible around the back of the printed book, which is clever. Again, slight issue for me with the title text blending into the image (sensing a trend here!).

Title: Ripper - A Love Story
Author: Lance Taubold & Richard Devin
Publisher: 13Thirty Books
Genre: Historical Romance/Thriller

You have to admit, this is the perfect cover for a historical serial killer romance-thriller where the leading man is also a suspect. There's elegant sensuality, mystery and splashes (literally!) of bloody murder. The font is strong and fits well with the historical timeframe. And for that little addition of something chilling, how's the 'telling ghost stories by the campfire' upwards lighting working for you? I'm hooked.

Title: Barely Breathing
Author: Heather Allen
Publisher: Heather Allen
Genre: Fantasy/Paranormal Romance

Not sure if it's just from following the intrepid and incredible Ksenia Anske as she chronicles the writing of her Siren Suicides novel(s), but I see a lot of amazing underwater photography around these days. And where better to utilize it than on a mermaid love story!! Gorgeous muted colours, dramatic pose, and the text against the red is lovely. I can't resist a cover that seems to plunge me into the middle of the story (is she drowning? dead?) before I've even read the first page.


No neat categories for these other than 'I LIKE'. And I'll have to suspense my analysis for now or this post will be out just before Christmas 2014 (if we're lucky).

Title: Cross Currents
Author: Beatrice Aird O'Hanlon
Publisher: SilverWood Books
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Title: Poison
Author: Sarah Pinborough
Publisher: Gollancz
Genre: Fantasy Fairy Tale Romance

Title: Second Hand Lace
Author: Jenna Lehne
Publisher: Turquoise Morning Press
Genre: Paranormal Romance

Drum roll please...


I actually surprised myself with this one. As you can probably tell, I gravitate towards moody, dramatic images with lots of contrast. But each time I went through the covers, this one kept grabbing me. Okay, so on the surface it has a feel of that 'Chic Lit' clip-art feel that we've come to love/loathe. But somehow this one goes further.

I think what I love about it is the pink calligraphy. I've seen some of those old, original manuscripts where the scribe just went bonkers (or got bored) and did more swirls of the pen than seemed entirely necessary, and that's exactly what we have here. That or a wedding invitation gone horribly and irrevocably wrong. It's the way the calligraphy then tangles with the other little elements which pulls it all together for me. The title is still clear and readable (a miracle, in all those swoops and swishes), and it's just...FUN. (Yes. I occasionally dabble

Title: Brave Hart (One Woman's Search for that Most Elusive of Things, a Happy Ending)
Author: Kristofer Spyrou
Publisher: Amazon/Self-Publish
Genre: Contemporary/Humour Romance

Not to be forgotten....


I'm sorry, but this man's arms HAVE THEIR OWN ABS. Is that even possible?!


Before I go, a few words of warning.

Beware of George Wickham...especially if he has a glowing eye. o_O
Beware the disembodied hand. With a ring.
Beware the Grammar Police if this is your title. Eep.
There are no words.

Hope you enjoyed this as much as I did - See you all next week!

eReader-with-books image Copyright (c) 123RF Stock Photos (with some editing from me!)

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Kindle Romance Covers of the Week - 13 April 2013

Had some fun last week, so here we are again! Trolling through the ridiculously huge number of freshly published Romance Kindle books from the past week. Seriously, folks - do you even KNOW how many books come out in a week now? And how many of those are going to be any good?

Well, that's not my concern for now - I'm only interested in which ones are decidedly PRETTY. 

My disclaimer, as before: I have nary a clue whether the following titles are any good, or should instead be re-purposed as virtual loo-roll or so much digital compost for your game of Farmville.

But first...some TRENDS:

The All-Seeing Eye

I find this homage to the Dark Lord a particularly disturbing and icky trend (four, in a week?!), considering these are meant to be ROMANCE, baby! Perhaps opticians find these particularly sexy? I expect, in hindsight (ha!), these authors may regret the use of ONE BIG EYE on their front covers?

The Upside-down Backwards Spidey Smoochers

I'm seeing this a lot. Reminiscent of the Toby Maguire and Kirsten Dunst famous upside-down-Spider-Man-kiss, I suppose the pose does lend itself to an interesting composition. But have you ever actually tried kissing anyone like this? Not only does it feel...weird, you end up staring at their chin, which has you instantly imagining that you are now kissing an alien creature which has a very small head, and no other facial features other than some ENORMOUS HUMAN LIPS. That, and you might chip a tooth. Disorientation etc. 

Okay, on to some of my favourites from this week...

Runners Up (so many!!)

Title: Killer Smile
Author: Anita Bell
Publisher: Amazon/Self-Published
Genre: Comedy/Romance

I picked this one out partly because it caught my attention (PINK FUZZY DINO FEET SLIPPERS!!! Need I say more?), but more because I thought it captured the comedy/romance genre mix well. Whether it's actually funny or not - you tell me!

Title: The Hot Scot
Author: Kate Eden
Publisher: Kate Eden
Genre: Romance/Fantasy/Vampire

I just thought this was a great piece of graphic design, really. Bold contrast, cute tartan highlight, and great choice of font for the text. Hot Scottish vampire meets sexy art curator? Might be an interesting read!

Title: All I Want Is You
Author: Elizabeth Anthony
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Genre: Historical Romance

I know, there are plenty of scantily-clad-ladies-type covers out there, but I thought this one was particularly good. Following the trend to more minimalist colouring (thanks again, Ms James), your eye is more focused on the sense of fragility and insecurity in the woman's pose. There's something going on emotionally, which draws me in. The font-choice is also to be commended - with the story set in the 1920s, the Art-Deco style is fitting.

Title: Dear Thing
Author: Julie Cohen
Publisher: Transworld Digital
Genre: Contemporary Romance

This is definitely a beautiful cover, photographically and compositionally. I was in two minds about it, though, as it's one of those covers you're supposed to think is beautiful. Almost a little too 'sweet', if you know what I mean. As if someone polled every woman on Pinterest and made a composite image of the most popular pins. But the story itself centers around a woman desperate for a child and how her attempts to have one affect her relationships with those around her. So I have to say, if the little shoes fit...

Title: Exile
Author: Muffi Beyer
Publisher: Amazon/Self-Published
Genre: Contemporary Romance

What with the Captain Jack Sparrow sailing ship on the horizon, I wouldn't have taken this for a Contemporary Romance, but it is! A closer inspection shows the composite nature of this cover, but I felt it was very well put together. The title married with the image creates a certain intrigue. Nice use of a single-word title, and well-balance, nicely contrasting composition.

And Finally...

My Pick of the Week

Title: Angel Fall
Author: Susan Ee
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Genre: Fantasy/Post-Apocalyptic Romance

Another Hodder & Stoughton title, this was a done-deal the second I clapped eyes on it. It's just...delicious. What can I say? Simple, elegant, mysterious. Textures and colours...yum. It is just so darn PRETTY. I am incapable of dissecting it any further other than I LIKE IT. A lot. If you could just bottle it, you'd be very rich.

Part of a series, this book is apparently fairly hotly anticipated, and it looks like I might just have to read it sooner or later. Published this week in the UK and already 222 reviews with a 4.5 star average? They can't all be wrong, just sayin'. 

Wait...not quite done! Can't forget...of course, our...

Abs of the Week Award!

Okay, I admit it. I'm cheating this week. This one is pure 'back-abs' (IS there such a thing?!). But I figured y'all wouldn't mind.

Though however pretty the cover is, this is one very poignant reminder of the importance of DOUBLE-CHECKING spelling! Can you spot it?

Have you had any publishing typo-horror stories happen to you?

EReader/Books Image: Copyright (c) 123RF Stock Photos

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Kindle Romance Covers of the Week

I can't resist it any longer. I've just got to do some eBook cover art 'reviews' before I bust! I had a wander through the latest Romance releases on Amazon (UK), and thought I'd pick out a few that caught my eye - for good or ill. I didn't manage to get ALL the way through all 300 pages of new eBooks, but decided to concentrate on everything published in the past week starting from the 'Hot New Releases' section on

Kindle Store  Kindle eBooks  Romance  Last 30 days

The list on Amazon is a mixture of traditionally published and self-published books, so you might think it's not exactly a fair fight. But I was pleasantly surprised how the quality of self-pub covers is going up (in places *ahem*). There are still plenty of clangers out there, but I'll try to be kind!

DISCLAIMER: Any and all of the below thoughts expressed are based entirely upon my personal opinion and on the cover artwork alone. As these books have just barely been published, I leave the judgement of their contents up to the readers...

But first..

Sensing a Trend Here...

Ladies...seeing this pose a number of times. Is this like...a thing? Do I need to dust off the old thigh-master workout? And seriously...WHO has legs that long?

Prettiest Cover

I love the delicacy of the blossoms with the text. It surprised me even more to discover that this is actually a somewhat dark-sounding M/M romance! Intriguing. Not sure if the juxtiposition of the cover with the story blurb is a mismatch or a clever hook...

Best of Black & White

I liked both of these for different reasons. Bound to be Punished looks like it follows in the 50 Shades 'tradition', but unlike so many 'erotic romances' (read: people get tied up), this cover is tasteful, sensual and beautifully photographed.

The cover for Taste of Love by Stephanie Nicole is just too cute. Different, and how many romance covers do you see where the guy is wearing a hat? And if they weren't both half-naked, I get the feeling they'll break out into a rumba any second now.


Scandal in the Recency Ballroom - Louise Allen: I loved the pose and attitude of the model for this one. I am FAR from being any sort of expert, but is she really wearing regency dress? I usually think empire-waistlines, but I might be wrong. Still, it's a strong image and it sits well against the text.

Alpha Girl - Kate Bloomfield: Got to love that amber eye staring out at you! In a world of thumbnails, a cover like this catches your attention, which is exactly what you want. It also sits well for me as it's cross-genre, and I can instantly pick that out the moment I see it.

Fever - Maya Banks: A very pretty, minimalist cover, and gets us away from all the embracing couples!! Nothing wrong with embracing couples, of course, but as you've probably already guessed, I'm a mixed-genre kinda gal, and I like a cover that's unique with a hint of mystery.

My Pick of the Week

I've selected Unraveling by Micalea Smletzer as my favourite for this week. The composition is strong and emotive. The contrast between her skin and hair great, and then the light detail motifs and the text just set the whole piece off. I loved the little detail of unraveling below the text, which itself follows the theme of its title. Split into three, it's as if the title itself is unraveling. I love it when the concept is taken right through, but not in a hit-you-over-the-head sort of way.

Aaaand just for fun...The Abs of the Week Award!

Because...we can.

P.S. I've linked all the pics to the 'Look Inside' on Amazon, so you can see all these lovely covers up close and in full detail.

EReader & Books image Copyright (c) 123RF Stock Photos