Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Cover Judging - Burning Wild

This week's winner belong to a special category of romance novel book covers: the Second-Page Surprise.

Usually, these covers are abbreviated, letting you know there's something on the next page. The front cover will show the couple standing on a windy moor, the man's arms wrapped protectively around his lady love. BUT THEN you turn the page and bodices start ripping, skirts fly all over the place, and the romance of the moors generally gives way to a stolen moment of passion or other some such nonsense.

That's a long explanation that describes most Second-Page Surprises. The other kind of S-PS usually involves a fantastical element: he seems so chiseled and normal on the front BUT THEN you turn the page and find out he's a vampire or a werewolf or a wood nymph. And that is where this week's winner fits:

First Glance: All right. It hits the right notes: strong jawline, chiseled cheekbones, furrowed brow. The overlay of the leopard suggests an element of danger, perhaps, and I love the "we're on a crazy safari"-style font. I'm never crazy about the author's name being larger/more prominent than the book title, but whatevs. It's a decent cover that made me think there might be something more . . .

And I was so very right. He seemed so well-cut and normal, like any guy you might find while on safari in Africa BUT THEN you find out he's part leopard. Score: 4.5 out of 5

Title: Burning Wild - it could refer to a plot to destroy wildlife OR it could refer to an all-consuming, uncontrollable passion. Clever. Score: 3.5 out of 5

Tag Line: "What they desired was more dangerous than animal instinct . . ." I'm guessing she forgoes the wildlife conservation possibility and goes straight for the all-consuming, uncontrollable passion. Nice use of the animal theme, though. Score: 3.5 out of 5

Back-of-the-Book: "The #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Dark Carpathian novels now returns to the exotic, sensual and dangerous world of her bestseller Wild Rain. This time, what goes on between male and female is wilder than animal instinct - and twice as hot."
- - - - > This one is losing points fast, not only because I'm totally unimpressed by the NYT bestseller shill line. Mainly, I'm mad at the back of the book for contradicting the tag line - is what they desire "wilder than animal instinct" or "more dangerous than animal instinct"? You're sending me mixed messages, BotB, and now I don't know if I should expect a tale of passion or a tale of danger. Score: 2 out of 5 - I am very disappointed.

Final Score: 13.5 out of 20
- Christine Feehan's Burning Wild gets the Bronze Feather. While they truly succeeded in the image portion, the lackluster and contradictory back cover really hurt them in the long run. Plus, HOW COULD THEY NOT USE SOME FORM OF "CAN THIS LEOPARD REALLY CHANGE HIS SPOTS?"????? Honestly, people. It was sitting right there.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

New skirt, ect

I'm so excited about my new skirt from lipglossandblack - I love the high waist with the bow and the cute little pleating details. Plus, pockets!Sylvia from LP&G was so sweet to make this a knee-length skirt for me - thanks so much again! It's so hard to find dresses and skirts that are unique and stylish, but still modest (it's a tall order, I know!), so I'm extra excited about this purchase! :)

Skirt: lipglossandblack
Tshirt: blu heaven ($3 at TJMaxx!)
Necklace: Peaches4Me
Shoes: vintage Doc Martens

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Cover Judging - Prince of Swords

It wouldn't be inaccurate to say that this cover inspired me to finally begin this feature. I'm always thrilled to find a great cover, but I can't describe the ebullience I felt when I spotted this gem as I gathered the book drop. It came with two brother books, Prince of Fire and Prince of Magic, each worthy covers in their own right. But, by my own estimation, the Prince of Swords far surpassed its brothers:
Title: Prince of Swords - a bit too straightforward to yield any major points. Half credit. Score: 2.5/5

First Glance: The picture really checks all the boxes - strong jaw and well-cut cheeckbones, piercing stare, finely-structured physique coated in oil, intricately-carved sword at the ready. The swirly background suggests that magic may be involved somehow. Score: 4.5/5

Tag Line: "To fulfill a prophecy, she will have to seduce him . . ." - - For me, the tag line really pushed this cover over the edge and into the sublime. Of course that's what has to happen. Of course. Score: 6/5

Back-of-the-Book: ". . . a shackled virgin must choose between the monster she knows and a sexy stranger who could spell doom-or help her fulfill the Prophecy of the Firstborn." - - I'm awarding points for the following phrases: "shackled virgin" and "a sexy stranger who could spell doom." Excellent descriptive language that really gives the reader a feel for the tone of the story. Score: 4/5

Final score: 17/20 I'm awarding this the Silver Deveraux, for excellence in un-ironic over-the-top drama. Just missed qualifying for the Golden Fabio, but a truly worthy, hilariously cheesy contender. Godspeed, Prince of Swords.

Cover Judging - rules and regulations

One of the joys associated with working in a library is romance novel covers. Often, six or seven paperbacks are turned in at once, giving my co-workers and I a chance to determine which cover is best.

A good boredom game is looking through the shelving cart for the cover that best embodies the romance novel. Points are awarded for the following:
  • bare chest
  • kilts
  • bare-chested in a kilt
  • highlander
  • highlander with bare chest in a kilt
  • long hair
  • wind flowing through long hair
  • standing on a moor with arms wrapped around lady love
These are merely the basics - I will consider sci-fi and Regency tropes as they occur.

Additional points are available for exceptional tag-lines or back-of-the-book synopsis. Terribly punny titles will also be considered. Entries will be based on books checked in during my regularly scheduled library shifts; finalists will be posted on this blog each week.

Finalists will be awarded one of the following:
The Golden Fabio - for true excellence in romance covers; finalists receiving this award exhibit a dedication to craft and a willingness to go above and beyond mere requirements.
The Silver Deveraux - for technical and creative proficiency in the craft of romance covers; finalists exhibit a keen understanding of the elements required of a successful cover.
The Bronze Feather - for a basic understanding of romance covers; finalists receiving this award may excel in one area, but need work in others.
and finally . . .
The Steele Pendant - for those finalists exhibiting a disregard for the art of the romance cover; those receiving this dishonor have abandoned true passion and are merely follow formula for the purpose of book sales.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Things that are great

A friend and I toured an old church building today and found a room dedicated to magazine storage. There were church magazines from 1935 on, complete with ads! Here is our favorite, from a 1942 issue of the Relief Society magazine:

"It's in you, the women of America, where lies the courage of humanity. It's in your serene confidence, your steadfast love, your spontaneous laughter. It's in your pride of looking lovely every hour of the day.

So to a more beautiful you, guiding star for the man you love, we present fashions for a gallant spring . . . styled with exquisite simplicity and subtle flattery, styled with your busy, busy life in mind.

See these fashion at ZCMI, where emphasis is on high quality, durability, and all-occasion versatility. Assure yourself of these qualifications in everything you buy."

Old ads are so fascinating to me - they're such an inverse of ads today. Now, we get a good picture with a short, catchy phrase; old-timey ads seem to focus less on the picture than the paragraphs of charming text underneath.

I really, really love it - that woman does seem as though she prides herself on looking lovely every hour of the day and clearly, her beauty is a guiding star for the man she loves.