2015 – Holiday Favorites Honorable Mentions

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Tuesday, December 1st was launch day for the 2015 Holiday Favorites cover contest!  The committee voted on 80 holiday covers this year and the top ten survivors are competing for top honors in our annual contest.  We hope you’ll vote for your favorite holiday cover in the Cover Cafe contest between December 1-20.

There are always lovely covers that miss making the finals and our annual Honorable Mentions post shines the spotlight on four deserving covers.  See if you agree with the 2015 Honorable Mentions.

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MIRA – September, 2015

For The Love Of Christmas is my sentimental favorite this year. This cartoon cover with the cute dog, red accessories, Christmas tree, and gift bags warms my heart. The story inside is about a woman facing her Christmas alone and the decisions she makes about celebrating the holiday.  I love the pastels used for the background buildings and the lack of marketing blurbs is another plus in my book.

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MIRA – October, 2015

 A Winter Wedding cover almost made the final ten this year but it doesn’t really reflect the holidays until you read the story inside.  The cover is very subtle and only hints…no to be honest, there are zero hints that the story takes place around Christmas.  However, it is a beautiful cover and I love the white fur jacket the bride is wearing and her hair is beautiful, too.  I checked and Christmas is part of the story but this cover will work all through the winter season which is a marketing plus.

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Center Point, Large Print – September, 2015

This Snow Angel Cove cover is featured on the Library Binding, Large Print edition.  Snow globes are a favorite holiday decoration and this snow globe cover is simple in design but very elegant.  The red barn, horses, wreath inside the globe and the greenery around the base let you know instantly that it is a Christmas story. I wish they had used this version on the other releases, too.

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NAL – November, 2015

The fourth and final Honorable Mention is Trimmed with Murder.  Cozy mystery covers always have fun titles and the illustrations are always interesting and detailed.  This holiday mystery is about the Seaside Knitters group and the knitted decorations on the trees made me laugh.  The background features a charming seaside village with the harbor, docks, cottages and of course, the all important little boat.  This is a charming cover that pays homage to the holiday season and yet its whimsy creates a perfect cozy mystery cover.  I love it!

Make sure you visit Cover Cafe between December 1-20 & choose which cover is the best holiday cover for 2015.  Hope to see your vote in December!  You’ll find the ballot link on our home page:  http://covercafe.com

Have a wonderful holiday season! HFFirsts

2014 Honorable Mentions – Annual Cover Contest

Welcome to Cover Cafe’s 2014  Honorable Mentions!  We’re celebrating favorite 2014 nominations that didn’t make the finals but impressed the committee chairs.  This past year, the contest committee voted on a grand total of  537 covers for our 2014 Holiday Favorites Contest and our 2014 Annual Cover Contest.

As a reward for the work they do all year,  the  committee 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 chair this category created for covers from books that do not have enough romance to meet the guidelines in our Contemporary or Historical categories, or they have an Avant Garde approach to cover design, or they feature a fresh take on current trends.  Think outside the traditional romance box and remain open minded for this category.

Linnae’s first choice –  The Hidden Princess is exquisite!  The illustrator decided to show the wings drawn in and flowing down the back of the heroine instead of fully extended.  I loved this unique approach and the misty background and heroine’s red hair added a pop of color & mystery to the cover.”

The Hidden Princess

Walker Books Ltd – June, 2014

Linnae’s second choice - “The Entwined Realms cover is an eye popping buffet of  the unusual.  The first things that attracted me were the vivid colors and the rose petal hat. Next, I noticed the eyeballs peering out from beneath the petal skirt.  Then I noticed the mysterious red melted substance swirling on the ground.  The cover took on an other world personality in seconds.  It is definitely outside the romance box and Avant Garde.”

Entwined Realms

Romantic Geek Publishing – Oct. 2014

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

Lee’s first choice  -Single by Saturday’s cover has an intriguing premise — is she getting married or not — because the title sort of implies something is just not right.  And if a cover catches my eye — I want to find out what happens.”

Single by Saturday

Montlake Romance – Jan. 2014

Lee’s second choice - “Kristan Higgins is known for having a dog or cat on her covers and on In Her Dreams, it’s a puppy!  Awwww!  But I also like the couple’s happy embrace and the winter setting.”

In Your Dreams

Harlequin – September, 2014

Lee’s third choice -A Love to Call Her Own invites me to sit on the porch swing and enjoy the lovely day, the flowers and maybe later take the dog for a walk.  So of course I want to read the book.”

A Love to Call Her Own

Forever – August, 2014

Linnae’s choice - “I became a fan of the Possessed By A Warrior cover the first time I saw it online.  The image’s unusual slanted perspective is what I love the most. It gives a surreal quality to the cover and adds mystery.   I love the cover’s teals, blues, and the smokey grey of her elegant gown and shoes.   Their tender embrace and the passionate expressions on their faces looks natural instead of the strike a pose expressions featured on so many covers.

Possessed By A Warrior

Harlequin Nocturne – May, 2014

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

Jenny’s  first choice – Bitter Spirits: I really like this “roaring twenties” cover with the magic swirling over the entwined couple.”

Bitter Spirits

Berkley – Jan. 2014

Jenny’s second choice – “What can I say, the shoes on this cover did it for me. Love, love, love them! :D”

The Midnight Witch

St. Martin’s Griffin – March, 2014

Jenny’s third choice –  “There’s just something about the cover of The Fever Tree that intrigues me – the yellow and turquoise colors, the sandy dunes, and I’m wondering what the woman is looking for.”

The Fever Tree

Berkley – February, 2014

Our Two-Image Cover Category is one of our most popular and the most difficult because stepback covers are seldom included online with the front cover.   The chairs have to play detectives and search out the second image. We love when the publishers provide the stepback and/or back images online. Here are the 2014 Honorable Mentions for  TIC.

Lee’s choice – “I’ll go with The Countess Confessions by Jillian Hunter because I love the red dress, the flowers and the curtains framing the window.  The stepback is different from most others (no shirt/dress falling off a man or a woman) and eloquently simple.”

The Countess Confessions

Signet – February, 2014

Kat’s choice - “I prefer Two Image Covers that provide additional information on the characters and plot.  This cover beautifully showcases the two identities of heroine.  The front shows a strong confident woman and the inside cover shows a more proper and softer woman.  I liked the attention to detail and the juxtaposition of the two sides of her personality.  The details on the front cover highlighted the heroine wearing pants, positioned in a powerful stance, and wearing her hair down.  The inside cover shows the heroine wearing a long dress, sitting with her legs off to the side, and wearing her hair up.  While I normally love looking at the beautiful dresses on the covers of historical romance novels, I found the front cover of the heroine wearing pants to be refreshing and intriguing.  Great Cover!”

Never Judge a Lady By Her Cover

Avon – November, 2014

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

Linnae’s choice - “I hate, hate the ugly yellow strip covering the h/h like a band-aid on The Lemon Grove hardcover jacket.  Plus, two sets of bare legs laying on boring flat sand do not entice me to pick up the book or investigate what’s inside.  The yellow strip also covers up the title and author’s name.  This hardcover jacket from a major publisher left me cold and shaking my head. What Were They Thinking?  Someone must have agreed with me because the 2015 eBook and paperback releases have a different cover.  Vindication!”

Doubleday, Hardcover - June, 2014

Doubleday, Hardcover – June, 2014

That’s it for the 2014 Honorable Mentions!  Leave a comment below about the above Honorable Mentions.

 

2014 Holiday Favorites Cover Contest ~ Honorable Mentions

2014 Holiday Favorites Honorable Mentions

Update:  The 2014 Holiday Favorites Cover Contest has closed.

Thank you for voting!

Look for the contest results online right before New Year’s Eve.

Tuesday, December 2nd will be launch day for the 2014 Holiday Favorites cover contest!  This year, instead of traditional Christmas colors and themes, many of the holiday covers displayed subtle hints about the holiday stories inside.  Our 20 contest committee members voted on 76 holiday themed covers and the covers receiving the most votes reached the final slate of ten.   We hope you’ll vote in the contest between December 2-20 at Cover Cafe.  Until then, let’s see which covers earned Honorable Mentions this year.

There are always lovely covers that miss making the finals and our annual Honorable Mentions post shines the spotlight on four deserving covers.  See if you agree with the 2014 Honorable Mentions.

The first HM cover features an adorable cat that charmed me from the first moment I saw the cover.  The blurred lines of the decorated tree in the background, signals it’s a holiday story but doesn’t take away the focus from the star of the cover, the feline, of course.

The Christmas Cat

Revell ~ September, 2014

Our second HM cover features one of my favorite background items…the gazebo!  It is all decked out in lights, a festive garland, and red bows. The snow covered park in twilight gives the cover a pristine backdrop and the red titles pop against the blue grey background color.  This cover definitely celebrates the holidays.

Their Holiday Together

Harlequin ~ September, 2014

Our third HM is one of our more  subtle holiday covers.  The tiny tree decorated with lights and a star on top,  floating in a red rowboat without a soul in sight, is endearing.    I would love staying in any one of the cottages featured on this cover because they look peaceful and romantic.

An Island Christmas

Ballantine Books ~ October, 2014

Our last HM cover earned an appearance for two reasons.  First, I love the festive gold and red color scheme. This cover is not subtle.  If I close my eyes, I can image the lovely Christmas tree just waiting for the beautiful glass ornaments and the packages under the tree all tied up with red and gold bows.   The second reason is because of the inventive title.  Insanity Claus deserves a special Honorable Mention for its wonderful play on words title.   This cover makes me happy just looking at it.

Insanity Claus

Novel Options, LLC

What do you think of this year’s Honorable Mentions?  I hope they help you get in the holiday mode and that you have a wonderful December.  Don’t forget to vote in this year’s contest between December 2-20, 2014!

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!”

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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!