Librarians and Romance Covers: A Love Story en Fuego

Oh, the overdeveloped sense of honor that exists among the readership of the Bitchery. Lady Rhian sent me the following email: Do you accept cover snark submissions from other people? I work in a library, and we have some of the most snark-able covers I’ve seen.

Let it be said that the Smart Bitches, we are the big fans of librarians. We each have tasteful shrines in our living rooms, almost as tasteful as our shrines to Dave Barry, Fabio, and deSalvo, dedicated to the wondrous powers of the librarian. So to have a librarian go above and beyond the call of bookly duty and scan in covers that ought to have broken the office equipment on the first pass makes us even more pleased – and horrified at the quality of books that haunt the paperback shelves.


Candy: Jesus/Eleanor of Aquitaine fanfic! Now I’ve seen everything!

Sarah: How much must it suck to finally find your time travel romance opportunity, where you leave the baggy fashions of the 80’s and the Aquanet behind only to find yourself… hiding behind a tree with Jesus.

Of course, Jesus himself might be in for a surprise because looks to me like she’s got man hands and an Adam’s apple.


Candy: It took me an unconscionably long time for me to figure out that the dude’s head belonged to the body behind the woman. My initial reaction was that J.R. “Bob” Dobbs’  early gig before hooking up with the Church of the Subgenius was floating as a disembodied head over fields of marijuana, conferring protection to the crop and its growers, provided they were white and middle-class, with a painful penchant for kitten sweaters.

Sarah: What’s with the girl from the Juicy Juice commercial hiding in the foliage? Or is he Choirmaster Ken swinging from a tree holding pupil-less Barbie in his arms, while Skipper jumps out of the leaves to scare them both?


Candy: The first thing that came to mind when I saw this cover was, “Did you ever see a llama kiss a llama on the llama, llama’s llama tastes of llama, llama llama duck.”

That song will not leave my head. Pity me.

(Oh, I just bet her llama tastes like llama. It is, after all, densely wooded llama land.)

And another bit of random Llama Comedy Awesomeness:

Llamas: the premier comedy animal. Not so much with the romance.

Sarah: And you know she’s looking over his shoulder, saying, “Llama! Llama! DUCK!”

Can you imagine the heartbreak of knowing your much-worked-on manuscript is going out into the world as an inspirational titled “Llama Land?” On the humor-to-holy spectrum, llamas are way, way over on the humor side. So are ducks.


Candy: Oh my God. What the fuck. Barbecue.

No, seriously. That’s what they’re going to be turned into if they don’t RUN THE FUCK AWAY FROM THE RAGING INFERNO BEHIND THEM instead of gazing into each other’s eyes with sultry intent.

Also, random animal comedy moment: Is the cat rescuing a chipmunk, there, or is it attempting to pack a snack for the long, lean, homeless days ahead?

Sarah: The next time I read a purply-prosed romance novel that talks about someone’s burning passion, instead of imagining a galloping case of gonorrhea, I’m going to picture this cover.

As for Candy’s question regarding the cat, I think the cat is packing lunch, and so is the heroine – she’s not going to hump him. Once he’s nice and crispy, he’s going to be sandwiched between some white bread, bacon, and tomato.

Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    shaina says:

    OMG that albinoblacksheep llama song is now pretty much one of my favorite things EVER …next to The End of the World and the Badger song, of course. the spanish vid is pretty funny too.
    and the covers? i never can think of anything smart to say about the covers that you havent already said. dammit.

  2. 2
    Estelle Chauvelin says:

    Speaking of librarians and cover snark: the first week I found this site and its cover snark, I was still working as a library aide for the main library in the county’s system.  One of the aides’ jobs was to deal with all the incoming and outgoing books loaned from other libraries around the state, many of them with rather pathetic cover art.  I was telling my fellow aides about how, even if they had never read a Romance novel (at that point, I hadn’t,), they should check the site out for the cover snark because of what we had to deal with every day.  And what should come out of the mail bag but something from that week’s edition?  I don’t remember the book or the author, but I believe it involved dangling a woman off the side of a horse and looking like the three of them- the hero, the heroine, and the horse- were about to go crashing to the ground.

    (Verification word position81.  I don’t know what position81 would be, but I hope it doesn’t involve being dangled off a horse.)

  3. 3
    jetso says:

    Llama Land:
    Arriving intentionally unannounced, Fritzi has succeeded in disrupting the lives of her mother, her daughter Teddy, and Teddy’s new husband Brand. Gram Marland’s llama ranch is thriving and an imminent merger with Brand’s ranchland is being heralded as the birth of “Llama Land. ” Fritzi’s timing couldn’t be better, or so she thinks, as she demands yet another share of her family’s earthly fortune. Will Fritzi once again abuse Gram and Teddy’s unconditional love for her? Will her love of material wealth ever be supplanted by the only love that lasts-the love of her Heavenly Father? Fall in love with this inspiring love story and our entire collection of Christian romance novels from Heartsong Presents!

    And let us not forget “Llama Lady”, for more fun on llama ranches!

  4. 4
    Charlene says:

    It’s nice to see that the Lord has a thing for Deanna Troi.

  5. 5
    Arethusa says:

    Words cannot describe. Is that strong man on Against the Day carrying a whole tree in mid-air while he gives the “little lady” a back door massage, in front of of the blonde child doll/alien?

    Words cannot describe. Those are some excellent covers.

  6. 6
    Tempest says:

    That cover for Against that Day just freaked me out. The disembody heads of the child and the guy… is this from the (hope not-coming) movie Saw 4?

  7. 7
    MamaNice says:

    Thank you, thank you! More WTF moments in a single sweep than Ken-boy can shake his stick at. Oh, sweet-freakin mother of God, why is Judith Light hovering in the skyline over Llama Land? Maybe in Llama Land, she’s their Lord and Savior..who’s the Boss? Angela Bauer baby, oh yeah.

  8. 8
    Bonnie says:

    Oh my, oh my!  I really, really needed a big ol’ belly laugh!  The comment on the homeless cat carrying around a chipmunk for the homeless days ahead just had me rolling.  I’ll be coming back to this snark a couple of times just to get all the laughing I can out of it!

  9. 9
    Sallyacious says:

    Has anyone else noticed the size of the hero’s butt on the Llama Land cover? Perhaps it’s a typo and he’s actually providing a space for Llama Landing.

    Hahahahahahahahahahaha. My verification word? Hard92.

  10. 10
    Amy E says:

    Best illustration of OMGWTFBBQ evah!  It’s really the cat/hamster dynamic that makes it for me, though.  See, the book isn’t about Barbie and Toasted Ken there.  No, it’s a stirring tale of the forbidden love between Trixie and Tufty and the cat-and-mouse games the cruel world plays with their hearts…

    You know, for sheer terror factor, Against The Day takes the cake.  She’s clearly a cardboard facade he’s using to prop up his chin.  I can’t find any explanation for the disembodied little girl’s head and shoulder, though.  Oh, wait, I know!  The blonde chick is a serial killer who chops her victims to pieces with her over-sprayed bangs.  The little girl’s already been dismembered, and the killer’s starting on her next victim by chopping off his head…

    I think I’d rather have my book retitled Llama Land than have that cover.  Shudder.

  11. 11
    SamG says:

    I learn so much here.  I didn’t know about OMGWTFBBQ before today (so I’m out of it).

    I had to go back to look for Judith Light, then I saw the young boy/man butting heads w/one llama while holding another one in his arms..and I thought only sheep were recipients of that behavior…


  12. 12

    And let us not forget “Llama Lady”, for more fun on llama ranches!

    Jetso obviously knows that VeraLee Wiggins has indeed already written Llama Lady. It’s available for free on the web.

    Given the penchant people have for unrealistically frequent bathing in historical romance, I wonder why llamas don’t have greater appeal. As I learned from reading Llama Lady, llamas don’t leave their droppings all over the place in the same way that cattle do. Instead they deposit it tidily in a designated area of the field. And they can express themselves by spitting at people, which has a lot of potential for characterisation (and we know how popular quirky pets can be in romances). Leaving aside any snarkiness, the llamas did come across as being far more interesting than Brand’s cattle.

    I wonder if alternatives to cattle are going to appear more often in romances. There were alpacas in Marion Lennox’s Rita-winning Princess of Convenience and Ally Blake’s hero in   A Father in the Making takes up farming angora goats in the Australian outback. Times change, and it seems as though there’s not so much money to be made from cattle.

  13. 13
    Miranda says:

    If Only: Does Mary Magdalene sing “I don’t know how to Love Him” at a very special moment?

    Against the Day: The child is obviously an angel, waiting to conduct the woman to heaven after the psychopath (no one else smiles like that) clubs her to death with that branch.

    Llama Land: They look like they’re square dancing, particularly with her boots and swishy skirt combination. Swing your Pardner! Ignore that ghost!

  14. 14
    Kaite says:

    OMG, the guy on “Against That Day” totally looks like my boss! Creepier still, the woman looks like a crazy woman I used to work with two jobs ago. I wonder if that hairstyle is just really popular with the religious or if she got it from the cover of this book…. 😮

    *runs off to scrub her eyes*

  15. 15
    SB Sarah says:

    My biggest wish in the ‘If I restructured my life and didn’t live in a large metropolitan suburban area’ list is to become an alpaca farmer. I love alpacas. It’s almost ridiculous how much I love alpacas. Their padded feet and careful depositing of their poopy is just part of it. SO cute and doofy looking.


    I keep telling Hubby the backyard is big enough, but he doesn’t believe me.

  16. 16

    It’s almost ridiculous how much I love alpacas. Their padded feet and careful depositing of their poopy is just part of it. SO cute and doofy looking,
    There are a lot of ranches with alpacas out here and I’m constantly craning my neck to stare at them as I pass on the highway. They seem adorable, but they are clearly trying to get me killed.

    Does anyone else have the “I Love Alpacas!” commercials or is that a local thing? They want you to love them, Sarah. Look at their big, dark eyes. They wuv you too!

  17. 17


    And Charlene – wiping tears from “It’s nice to see that the Lord has a thing for Deanna Troi.”

    And I thought Nora Roberts would win the “bad cover award” for her foreign covers – But sadly, she loses the trophy today.

    I can only hope these authors are using pen names with DEEP DEEP cover for their “real” names!

  18. 18
    Arethusa says:

    Oh, now I have to go back and relive the splendour of foreign J.D. Robb covers. The one with the praying mantis is my favourite.

  19. 19
    troublegirl says:

    Wow.  I’m stunned… those covers are just… um…

  20. 20
    KristenMary says:

    Oh, Candy. I love the llama song. That’s just fantastic.

    We have the “I love alpacas” commericals out here in Ca. A friend of my sister’s works on an alpaca ranch. I need to go visit her and get my alpaca fix.

    My dad has a farm with lots of room. I think he needs an alpaca. Or a llama. He already has ducks.

    Llama, kiss a llama, llama, duck….

  21. 21
    Amy E says:

    Dammit, my speakers are broken and I can’t listen to the llama song!  I need to hear it because otherwise this one tuneless line will be playing in my head for weeks…

    llama’s llama tastes of llama, llama llama duck!


  22. 22
    Bonnie Dee says:

    Thank you for those covers. Now you’ve gone and made my eyes bleed. Seriously. And we thought Poser art was bad…

  23. 23
    Jen says:

    Who is Heartsong, and how long did it take to go out of business?

    Varification word: industry66.  Perhaps they meant industry 666?

  24. 24

    Who is Heartsong, and how long did it take to go out of business?

    To quote from their website, “Heartsong is your one-of-a-kind book club featuring first quality romance novels that reflect your Christian values!” They’re definitely the publishers of Llama Land because the cover and a brief description is available here. It’s out of print.

  25. 25
    --E says:

    (A thousand pardons if this is a double-post…the system doesn’t seem to like me today.)

    I was going to have to kill you for subjecting my eyes to that Against the Day cover, but you saved yourselves with the Llama song. I have a weakness for silly surrealist humor. That was unbelievable, and it nearly killed a coworker when I showed it to her.

    But yeah, what is with the ATD cover? That is without a doubt the absolute worst cover I’ve ever seen. It falls squarely in the Uncanny Valley of creepitude. Ew ew ew!

  26. 26

    I clicked on one random Heart Songs cover on that link and, Oh!, another kitten! I didn’t know baby cats were part of the Holy trinity. Huh.

    The two-dimensional cut out being, um, “protected” from behind in Against That Day is clearly a teeneage Candace Cameron from Full house.

    Is she supposed to be the heroine? Because that is soooo creepy even without the Juicy Juice girl watching from behind a bush. God, she’s pervy.

  27. 27

    Egads! I didn’t know I could actually INSERT a picture!! Is that even allowed? I feel so naughty.

  28. 28
    troublegirl says:

    She’s definitely making a BLT…


    Lettuce and Tomato…

    har har

  29. 29
    Lady Rhian says:

    Oh, there are far more where those came from, ladies. Not only do we have racks of them for patrons to choose from, but patrons bring us in plenty with donations! We don’t pay for them… they are literally *giving* them away!

    And yeah. Those Christian Romances have the *worst* covers I have ever seen. My eyes bled.

    I do have to thank you Smart Bitches for the chance to squee like a teenager and do the happy dance at work. 🙂

    Verification Word: Are72. Just like the patrons who donate these things to us!

  30. 30
    Carrie Lofty says:

    I love the Monty Python llama thingie. My favorite. I haven’t laughed that hard at a cover snark in ages. Cheers, bitches!

  31. 31
    Wry Hag says:

    Looks like Heartsong is giving Changeling a run for its money…or blind artists.

    On the bright side…I’ve seen shows on the Discovery Health channel that provide a glimmer of hope for those conjoined triplets who are ever fighting “against that day” when they will be separated!

  32. 32
    shannon says:

    OMG, i waited and waited for one of you biyatches to notice that on the cover for Against that day was none other than our very own 80’s queen of child stars…

    …Tina Yothers..

    …Family Ties, alex, and Mallory..oh my
    btw, what a horrid title…Against THAT Day…kinda makes me feel like they werent tooooo happy that she got knocked up or something…i picture Tina Yothers looking at the EPT preggo test…yelling “it was all THAT days fault!!”….“i will forever be ….Against THAT Day!”…

  33. 33
    Emily W says:

    Am I the only one who thinks the bloke on the cover of “If Only” is a dead ringer for Colin Farrell?

    The thought of Colin as Jesus… disconcerts me greatly. Help.

  34. 34

    The first one—Yeah, the woman might look like a man in drag, but she looks more like Cher (or a Cher impersonator).

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