Talk Me Down by Victoria Dahl
I think this is just a great example of a contemporary cover. It’s fun and flirty, and the graphic design is just top-notch. The simple design and the bright colors just pop and make you want to pick the book up. Even the spine of the book is adorable: it’s done in a striped pattern like the tie the girl is wearing. I even like the font! Bonus points because the cover model actually looks like the heroine Mollie. I think this cover is exactly on point for a contemporary cover: you get an idea that it’s set in modern times, the bare legs paired with the red heels lets you know this is a sexy book, and the design is just so fantastic you can’t help but pick it up off the shelf to learn more.
And just for fun, here’s the evil twin of this cover which has all the same elements and gets it totally wrong:
Shoes? Yes, but sassy red heels are much more enticing than clunky, camo-green rainboots.
Tie? Yes. But it’s still tied, and the shirt is still buttoned all the way, which makes her look frumpy and like she’s trying too hard all at once.
Bare legs? Yes. But she’s sitting so awkwardly they don’t look very sexy.
The colors are dull, the model looks frumpy and uncomfortable, and I think it’s remarkable how two covers with such similar elements manage to be so wildly divergent when it comes to final impressions.
Now, of course, another way to go with contemporary romances is with the classic Romance “Clinch Cover.” Those can get pretty corny on Contemp Romances, especially category contemps. Like this———–>
You tell me, does that look hot to you? It’s broad daylight outside, and by the way that guy’s holding on, the car seems to be moving. So…they’re getting frisky with the chauffeur separated from them by only a thin sheet of glass? Nice. Not tacky at all. Totally hot… Oh wait, no it’s not.
More often than not, though, Harlequin, especially Blaze, actually does a bang up job with their covers, especially if they’re Clinch covers. Like…
All Over You by Sarah Mayberry
Sarah Mayberry sold her soul, I think, to the Good Cover Fairy because, actually, more often than not, she gets pretty good covers, especially from Blaze. I think this one is particularly great. I feel like the sexiness is very underplayed here, which makes it even better. I believe this kiss. (Just as I don’t believe Miss Fish Mouth from the other cover up above). The models actually have some chemistry with each other and don’t feel like two half-naked bodies thrown at each other. And they’re state of undress does not looked totally staged, but feels believable. Also, bonus points because they found a model with the exact right shade of red for the heroine. (Can you tell that’s one of my pet obsessions? That the cover model actually look like the character?)
Another really good option if your contemporary is more along the sweet lines, and less sexy than a Blaze, is the Snuggle Clinch. Kristan Higgins has a couple covers like these and they are both adorable and sexy.
The Next Best Thing by Kristan Higgins
I think this cover goes to show that you don’t need a man to be half-naked to be sexy. Man-titty is not required for the Clinch! Jeans, a well-filled white shirt and bare feet? Sounds great to me! (Also her dress is adorable). I love the sense of fun that comes across here, and the idea of home. Those are big elements of her book, and they are symbolized here subtly but really effectively. Also, for people who like pets with their contemps we got the cat to signal “Here Thar Be Funny Animals”, which is kind of a staple of sweet contemporaries, come to think of it. Yet another home run for Harlequin in the contemp department.
For next time: The Dreaded Historical (To Man-Titty or Not to Man-Titty?)