2013 Honorable Mentions – Annual Cover Contest

Welcome to Cover Cafe’s 2013  Honorable Mentions!  We’re celebrating favorite 2013 nominations that didn’t make the finals but impressed the category chairs.

As a reward for the work they do all year,  the  chairs determine the last finalists on their slates.  There are always several nominated covers deserving the last positions but the chair can only select one lucky or unlucky cover.   Dear Publisher’s Honorable Mentions post salutes  a  few more deserving covers that didn’t make the final slates.

Our first category is the Avant Garde category.  I’m the lucky chair who gets to select an Honorable Mention for our new category.

My Avant Garde Honorable Mention cover is from a November Harlequin Nocturne,  Siren’s Secret by Debbie Herbert.  The blues and greens make a lovely backdrop for the underwater siren.  I love the gauzy, multicolored gown used to replicate the mermaid’s tail. You can tell the model was really under water for the photo shoot and that fact alone makes this an Avant Garde cover.  Even the photographer was “under the sea”  during the shoot.  (OK, swimming pool but he did an amazing job.)  The illustrator also created a terrific sea background to complete the illusion.   Here is a link to   Harlequin’s Paranormal Blog Post about Siren’s Secret.

Siren's Secret

Harlequin Nocturne – November, 2013

Next is our Contemporary Romance Category – This category includes Category Series,  Contemporary Romance, and Contemporary Alternate Reality covers.

Lee’s first choice  – “Sea of Love by Susan Donovan because I love wind chimes and summer and beach houses.  I want to be there!”


Signet – December, 2013

Lee’s second choice –  “I also loved the cover of , The Icing on the Cake by Janice Thompson.  The colored bricks are so pretty and the veil draws your attention to them.”

The Icing on the Cake

Revell – August, 2013

Kat’s choice –  “I picked That Reckless Night by  Kimberly Van Meter.   This cover is fun and makes me smile.  It really looks like they are having a good time and they are ready to make a double snow angel. The snow and the positioning of the couple make this cover stand out from the rest.  It makes me feel cold (from the snow) and warm (from the embrace) at the same time.  It’s cozy and fun.”

That Reckless Night

Harlequin – November, 2013

Our Historical Romance Category is one of the all time favorites in our contest. It includes Historical Series, Historicals, and Historical Alternate Reality covers.

Jenny’s  first choice  – “The Fairest Beauty by Melanie Dickerson – it was so close to making the finals,  it deserves an honorable mention.   Intriguing cover and play on the old fairy tale.”

The Fairest Beauty

Zondervan – January, 2013

Jenny’s second choice – “It Happened at the Fair  by DeeAnne Gist – such a beautiful dress,  nice backdrop and sepia colors.  I just like this cover.”

It Happened at the Fair

Howard Books – April, 2013

Our Two-Image Cover Category is one of our most popular and also the most difficult to administer because stepback covers are seldom included online with the front cover.   Here are the 2013 Honorable Mentions for  TIC.

Lee’s choice -  ” Loved Jillian Hunter’s The Mistress Memoirs.  The dress on the cover is gorgeous and I love the colors of the accessories that surround the woman.  The stepback is simple and classy.”

The Mistress Memoirs

Signet – March, 2013

Kat’s choice –  “Lord of Darkness by Elizabeth Hoyt is a beautiful cover. I love the mix of colors with the peach dress and green background. I also love the details of the dress including the the bows in the front and the lace at the sleeves. I especially love the attention to detail with the pattern and color of the dress being used on the bar at the side. Elizabeth Hoyt’s books always have great covers.”

Lord of Darkness

Grand Central Publishing – February, 2013

Last but not least, is our infamous Worst Category. I have the  somber duty of selecting  an unlucky cover for Honorable Mention.

My choice is Out of Smoke and Ashes by Tymber Dalton because of the cluttered “everything but the kitchen sink”  layout.  Where should I begin?  I will start with the  male triplets rising out of a pair of sinister eyes or it could be a man with his two clone sidekicks.  I can’t tell.  Below the eyes, there is something furry surrounding the woman’s head and the fur seems to morph into a male arm or her arm.  I still can’t tell for sure what is going on.   Are the furry eyes and arm consuming the woman legs first?  Are the triplets or clones trying to rescue her?   Just between you and me,  striking a pose is not the best method for rescuing a woman being absorbed by a hairy beast.  I’m sure this release is a sexy story about shape shifters but the cover is one hot mess.

Out of Smoke and Ashes

Siren Publishing – July, 2013

That’s it for the 2013 Honorable Mentions! On Thursday, the 2013 contest will go live for public voting. Make sure you mark your calendar and visit Cover Cafe between May 1st and May 21st and vote in the annual cover contest. There are 60 covers waiting for your votes!

Cover Cafe’s 2013 Cover Contest Is Online


We’re celebrating the best and worst in 2013 Romance Books Covers!

Update 05/22/14:  Cover Cafe’s 2013 Cover Contest online voting has closed.

Contest results will be posted online in early June, 2014.


We will be posting comments received via email, comments, and social media on this post throughout the voting. If you have a general comment about the contest,  please leave it in the comment section below.

Update:  Below are a few comments we’ve received from authors.

Freda Warrington – Author of the Grail Of The Summer Stars – Avant Garde Finalist
Fantastic to see Ms K.Y. Craft’s cover to my novel GRAIL OF THE SUMMER STARS on the shortlist! She is a fantastic artist, and an author’s dream – she reads the whole book before starting work, and the painting is full of details from the story.

Myra Johnson – Author of  When the Clouds Roll By – Avant Garde Finalist
Thanks so much for this news! I have always been super-pleased with Abingdon Press’s gorgeous book covers, and this one (naturally!) is a personal favorite!

Jennifer Laam – Author of  The Secret Daughter of the Tsar – Avant Garde Finalist
Hi Linnae–This is so cool! Thanks for letting me know. The cover design credit is Lisa Marie Pompilio at St. Martin’s Griffin… Thanks again :)  Jennifer

Samantha Young – Author of Down London Road - Contemporary Finalist
Thank you so much for letting me know. Fantastic news!

Lucy King – Author of  The Reunion Lie – Contemporary Finalist
Hello, Thanks so much for this fabulous news! I have to admit, the cover of  The Reunion Lie is my absolute favorite so far. I’ll publicize the contest on Twitter & FB, and keep my fingers crossed that it does well!! Best wishes.

Rachel Gibson – Author of Blue By You – Contemporary Finalist
Thanks for the FYI. I love the cover of Blue By You. It’s one of a very few covers that Avon has let me pick out.

Cindy Gerard – Author of  The Way Home – Contemporary Finalist
Hi Lee – Thanks so much for this great news! I love the cover for The Way Home and so excited that it made the finals.

New and Notable Book Covers

It’s April and time for some of my favorite new and notable covers from the 2014 Spring releases.  See if any of my choices earn your praise, too.  Right click on the covers for a larger size jpg.

The first cover, Silence for the Dead, captured my attention because of the vivid purple tones of the background. An unusual choice of color but it did the job of standing out from the other covers and created an atmosphere of mystery.   The second cover, A  Shocking Delight, charmed me with the ship in the window and the pop of color from the blue gown against the red.   The colors caught my attention and the ship won my heart.

Silence for the Dead

NAL – April, 2014

A Shocking Delight

Signet – April, 2014













The shoes on, The Midnight Witch,  are so endearing.  I can’t resist them.  I love the layout the designer used, the colors of lavender and black, and the crinkle in the shoe leather creates a charming invitation for the story inside. The Steampunk cover, The Curse of the Brimstone Contract, is interesting because of all of the gadgets the heroine is wearing.  The golden brown colors remind me of steampunk metals and fit the genre perfectly.  Plus, the title’s turquoise font pops against the brown background and captures the attention of potential readers.

The Midnight Witch

Thomas Dunne Books – March, 2014

The Curse of the Brimstone Contract

Samhain – April, 2014













And now for the sexy men fans, we have the hero on,  Burning Dawn.  At first, I thought this cover was a warm, loving embrace cover.  However, when I glanced at the hero’s face, I had second thoughts.  This man is intent on protecting his woman and his look is meant to intimidate.  I’m intimidated.  The second cover, Hunt the Darkness,  has another kind of intensity…sexual heat in a leather jacket.  I love how the light highlights his stubble and the curls on the back of his neck.  Sold – this man can find me anytime!  What do you think of my new and notable cover choices…thumbs up or down?

Burning Dawn

Harlequin HQN – May, 2014

Hunt the Darkness

Zebra – May, 2014