As you might know if you’ve spent much time on my blog, I’m a big romance reader. But interestingly enough, I’ve never really cared much about romance covers. If I were to do a post all about cover love (like this one I did about books I read for the cover), it’d mostly feature YA or other fiction books, but definitely no romance. But there are a lot of gorgeous romance covers coming out lately, so I figured I’d share some of my newfound excitement with you!
If you’re interested in some of the history of romance covers, that isn’t what this post is about, but I’ve still got you covered. I recommend checking out The Steamy, Throbbing History of Romance Novel Covers over on Jezebel and The Origin of the Romance Novel Clinch Covers on BookRiot. I really enjoyed both reads and think they’re a great starting point for falling down the rabbit hole of romance novel cover history.
Anyways, there are a couple of things that inspired me to write this post. For one thing, I went to an upcoming release preview at KissCon where they had a bunch of absolutely stunning covers. Historically, I’d notice a pretty cover here and there (like A Rogue by Any Other Name and A Scot in the Dark by Sarah MacLean), but generally didn’t pay much attention to them. I don’t hide them anymore like I did when I was a kid who didn’t want anyone to know I read romance, but I don’t advertise them or get excited about new covers. That’s been changing lately, though, and how could it not with this new slate of covers?!
I’m a massive fan of Alyssa Cole’s and I think the Reluctant Royals series has some of the most stunning covers. I especially love the colors and patterns of the heroines’ dresses and how they’re brought out in the background tone of the cover. And of course, who doesn’t love a classic clinch? It’s such a staple of the genre, and I love seeing it incorporated in different ways.
Seriously, I will never not be a sucker for a pretty, sweeping dress, which is why I love the cover of A Duke in Disguise by Cat Sebastian so much even though I’m not sure the heroine would ever wear something like that. I also especially love the dresses and feel of the cover for A Little Light Mischief by Cat Sebastian, plus how great is it seeing two women on the front of a romance cover? My Fake Rake by Eva Leigh is another one I love for the colors on the cover, especially since it does such an interesting job combining two gorgeous colors on one cover. And I kind of like the different font!
Speaking of gorgeous colors, I really love the soft color combo on the cover of Tessa Dare’s upcoming book, The Wallflower Wager (which is so good and you have to preorder!!). And it has another great clinch! Though the clinch on the cover of The Rogue of Fifth Avenue by Joanna Shupe is probably my favorite of all of these, and I especially love the blue and burgundy color combo. It makes for such a stunning cover! And last but not least, One Fine Duke by Lenora Bell also has an incredible cover. It’s another great clinch, and I especially like the field of daisies (which are relevant to the story!). It’s just so beautiful.
On the flip side, the other thing that inspired me to write this post is that I recently read and reviewed the Psy/Changeling series by Nalini Singh, and oh my but are those covers bad. I’m generally not a fan of the covers that are male-focused (give me a pretty dress or a good clinch any day), so I was never going to love these, but I especially hate the odd poses or claw marks or spots and things. It’s just so cringey to me, and the covers probably kept me from picking up this books a lot earlier than if they’d been almost anything else. If you’re a fan of these covers, though, I’d genuinely like to know what you like about them! I know publishers used those covers for a reason, but I’m not the target for them.
It’s interesting to me that with her new Psy/Changeling series, Singh is getting much different covers. I can’t say I especially like them either, but they’re a huge step up from the old ones. I appreciate the use of a single color on the whole cover and think the overlay of an outline of a couple on top of an image is kind of neat, but they’re not all that exciting to me. They just seem rather generic.
Now that I’m on the topic of covers, I also have some thoughts on the new trend towards illustrated covers that I want to share. I actually have really mixed feelings about them. They’re fun and a really smart marketing move to bring people into the genre who think they like rom coms but don’t like romance, but I can’t help but see them as a bit of a repudiation of the genre and its history. We shouldn’t have to trick people into reading romance! But if these covers get someone to pick up a romance that they might not have read with a more traditional clinch, isn’t that a good thing at the end of the day? To get more romance readers? Idk, it’s a tough thing for me. Plus they’re more expensive when they’re in trade paperback rather than mass market, which is definitely a bummer, and they don’t fit nicely on my shelves with my other romances. But as long as we don’t move completely away from the more traditional covers, I’m happy to have a mix of both.
Focusing more on the fun aspect, though, there are definitely a few that I want to call attention to because I’m a big fan! I think The Kiss Quotient might be my favorite of these types of covers. It’s such a great color combo, and the division symbol is such a fun nod to the story (and not something we often see on romance covers!). The Bride Test is a great cover, too, again drawing on a fun color and font combo with the fun airplane heart. I also love the cover for Red, White & Royal Blue and how the colors of the font match their words, especially against the pink backdrop. And the guys’ outfits and posture are great, and I like how they’re interacting with the title. Such a fun cover. And last but not least, I really like the cover for Get a Life, Chloe Brown. I like the font and the position of the couple, who are just too cute. It makes for another really fun cover. I’m also excited to see that we’re going to get at least one illustrated historical cover! Bringing Down the Duke is the only one I’ve seen so far, and I think it’s so fun! I love the big colorful font and the graphic color choices for the horse and riders.
I also wanted to flag an awesome fan made cover for The Soldier’s Scoundrel by Cat Sebastian that I saw on twitter. Major shoutout to Decoy Ocelot for this phenomenal cover! I love it so much more than the cover the book currently has.
Anyways, what are some of your favorite romance covers? Are you more likely to pick it up if it’s illustrated? Let me know in the comments!