Cover Snark: So Much Burning

Even though Cover Snark happens every two weeks now, I always feel like it’s been ages. Don’t you? These covers are mostly safe for work, save for some waxed chests.

Blood and Trouble by Amy Faye. A shirtless man is looking down. A crawling baby seems to be hovering right at his waist. And everything looks to be on fire.

From Jo Anna: I don’t know why I always find the weirdest book cover snark with babies but here’s another one. The baby is weirdly see through right where his crotch is. It’s like they feel they have to remind us where babies come from. LOLZ. Have fun. I love you guys!


Sarah: Is he wearing a baby as a belt?


Sarah: That can’t be approved by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Amanda: Let’s also not overlook that the baby is most definitely on fire.


Brough to You by the Color Drab by Norma Jean Lutz. This cover has everything. A knife fight in a basement, disembodied heads, and cows in a pasture.

From Megan: What even is this?

Unless [it’s] one of those classic Irish-Stockyard-Gang-Knifing YAs…

Elyse: That’s not even photoshop. Someone straight up cut out and glue sticked those pictures.

Redheadedgirl: Huh.

Sarah: So, like, decoupage?

Suddenly someone at ModPodge HQ is really mad and doesn’t know why.

Redheadedgirl: No, like you got a sheet of stickers.

Decoupage implies some sort of thought, these were just randomly assembled.

Amanda: WHY DOES THE TITLE EVEN MEAN?! Is a weird, basement knife fight with ghost heads and uninterested cows what’s brought to us by the color drab? Is drab sponsoring this sort of activity?

Billionaire's Babysitte by Flora Ferrari. A man is wearing an unbuttoned sport coat with nothing underneath. There's a young child in glasses, holding a pencil, positioned right in front of the hero's pelvis.

From Becky: I just can’t believe the cover of this book. The little kid looks justifiably concerned. “He’s right behind me, isn’t he?” It’s just such a bizarre cover.

Sarah: The subtitle does not match the image, or if it does I am backing away.

Amanda: That toddler is taking zero nonsense.

Redheadedgirl: “You think I have time for a nap now? I DO NOT.”

Sarah: “Someone has to run this company while you’re off sending schmoopy email messages to young women, you know.”

Burning Both Ends by Sinclair Jayne. Right behind the hero's denim-clad butt is a burning bush.

From SK: I know I should be more mature but the cover just makes me giggle.

Elyse: It looks like he farted and set the bush on fire.

Redheadedgirl: What did you put in those beans, dude?

Amanda: Since things are burning at both ends, where’s the other burning portion? Because all I’m seeing is the burning back end.

He’s also got the hand prepped to wave the fart on.

Comments are Closed

  1. I was having a bad day, but these made me giggle. Thank you!

  2. Zyva says:

    Re: This bub is on fire.
    Once upon a train station platform, I saw a big tall biker dude. He was holding a Tower of Piza made of (probable prewrapped) Christmas presents in boxes stacked so high they were leaning precariously over the top of his bald head.
    THAT was ‘bad boy cute’. I dunno WTF this cover is.

  3. Zyva says:

    Re: The collage drab.
    One underground drug lab that got busted in my region was an extensive operation beneath the fields in a farming area. And many operators use teens as meth cooks. Plausible.
    Not the kind of thing I want to to read ever again. Not over the harm to animals in Kate O’Riordans’s “involved”.

  4. Ren Benton says:

    First dude’s pants are clearly made of baby. Instead of knit-to-woven, they’re baby-to-woven. When women bend down to coo in pantsbaby’s face, as long as they’re in the neighborhood, the wearer also introduces them to his penis.

    I have a strong negative reaction to children on the cover of books with sex in them. It doesn’t automatically bother me if there are kids in the story (they can provide conflict, and conflict is what stories are made of), but there’s a visceral “nuh-uh” at the sight of one juxtaposed with the stock naked manchest and billionaire that are ubiquitous specifically because they are code for “sexy times inside (and probably BDSM if the guy’s in a suit).”

    Or perhaps I’m just repelled by the sight of children. Either way, I never know what the hell the designer was thinking as I zoom right past “gettin’ sexy with kids” covers.

  5. Lostshadows says:

    Even with a better cover, I’d question the wisdom of the last title for a romance novel. I’m sure I know what it’s referencing and my brain still went with “burns when he pees” as a first interpretation.

  6. Olive S. says:

    The burning baby cover looks like someone actually made a book about the most bonkers Stanley Parable ending:

    (Spoiler ahoy, but then again it really doesn’t spoil much)

    As for the color drab… Hard to notice the cover when you have a title like that. o.O

  7. DiscoDollyDeb says:

    That last title reminds me of the words of caution a friend uses when piling jalapeño peppers on a plate of nachos: “If it burns going in, it’s gonna burn coming out!”

  8. Starling says:

    Oh, god, and the font choice on the last one made me misread the title as “Burning BUTT.” Come to think of it, that seems appropriate, given the cover design…

  9. Heather S says:

    I agree. Even though we get cover snark every two weeks, it feels like wayyyyyyy too long since the last installment. I vote next one should feature painted Old Skool covers, rather than the digital photoshopped ones that seem to always be the only Cover Snark source in recent history.

  10. Zyva says:

    Re suits in booties.
    I’m so glad the little kid is going to get a break from babysitting that billionaire. Kid must be run off his feet getting the big fool to put his clothes back on all the time AND running the business. The bloke who parentified him like that is no prize for the partner, however.
    Apparently, advertisers think this suits in booties thing has mass appeal:

  11. Lora says:

    If it’s burning at both ends I’m thinkng he needs to see a doctor.

  12. Moni says:

    OMG… toddlers on romance novel covers. Please STAHP!

  13. Christine says:

    Burning at both ends made me snort my coffee and scare the dogs. And I thought the preceding covers were bonkers! It would take a special kind of woman to lust after a man who can start forest fires with his ass. Makes dating a dragon seem relatively safe and sane. Put me in the camp of finding babies on covers with shirtless men creepy and weird. I think the fact that the babies are generally super smiley and the men are either headless (can disemheaded be a word?) or darkly brooding is part of what makes them feel sinister to me. Like, either that baby has no idea what’s coming, or else the guy is not fit to be watching a baby, since his mind is clearly elsewhere. That’s assuming the cover artist succeeeds in making the baby and dude look like they’re actually in the same place and not in semi-transparent parallel universes. What I keep coming back to, though, is the first cover, upper left corner: “bad boys baby romance.” Why was there no attempt to punctuate here? It’s open to too many interpretations, the first of which is that bad boys are romancing babies. That would be a horrifying book about pedophiles. I think it would be worth it to splurge on a whole sentence here: “a novel about romance between adults, plus cute babies who are definitely not part of the romance.” You’re welcome.

  14. Joy says:

    Some of these covers are so bad I end up feeling sorry for the author. Self published authors and tiny presses have trouble paying for good graphic design. What REALLY creeps me out is books by major publishers where the graphics dept. obviously was NOT doing a good job.

  15. LMC says:

    If that is a billionaire’s kid, shouldn’t he have glasses that fit?

  16. Melanie says:

    I didn’t think it was possible to sever heads with a pen knife but the second cover makes it look like someone succeeded. Nasty.

    And don’t make pants out of babies. It’s wrong. So wrong! *shudders*

  17. Teev says:

    Six Abs and a Baby!

  18. LauraL says:

    Could Brought to you by the Color Drab be some kind of weird nod to Sesame Street’s “brought to you by the letter…”? If so, Bert and Ernie, Elmo, and the gang are appalled.

  19. Zyva says:

    *Error* *Error*, Pants on Fire

    #1: Those trees look kinda pine-y to me. We have EUCALYPTUS forest in Oz.
    #2: “Hot Aussie Knights”??! Not if you mean young blokes. We switched to the Order of Australia etc system AGES ago. (And the monarchist pollie who tried to revive the feudalistic titles is the least sexy thing EVER in budgie smugglers.)
    You could possibly have a business partnership/citizenship marriage of convenience as a punny title: Male Order of Australia . (Have to be a little futurist if it’s MM, though. Lagging behind on equal marriage.)
    #3: Does it have to be BDSM or something to use more of a firie title like “Control Burn”? Fitting for the suspicious greenery in the backdrop, not dry enough for fire season.

  20. Sunshine says:

    I’m mostly concerned by the fact that the floating head on the cover of the color drab one appears to be my middle school crush, circa 2005.

  21. Marcia BC says:

    For the last book: Worst X-Men power ever.

  22. Rhoda Baxter says:

    The Burning Both Ends cover made me laugh until I cried. Thank goodness I didn’t open the email at work!
    Off to check out The Colour Drab now. What one earth…?

  23. Ceeg22 says:

    Really glad I wasn’t drinking anything when I got to “Burning Both Ends” — I guess I shouldn’t have eaten at the roadside taco stand …

  24. EC Spurlock says:

    @Laura L, I thought the same thing about The Color Drab. It sounds like a cross between Sesame Street and an After School Special.

    Burning Both Ends, now, that just made me spew my salad. Moreso because I just read a news article about a lawyer who was carrying a defective e-cigarette in his pants pocket while in court. It burst into flames in the middle of his defense — of an arsonist…

  25. Ren Benton says:

    @Megan M: The drabbiest!

    I think it was a Ruthie Knox book in which the standard-issue carpeting of a rental home was described as “the color of depression.” THAT worked for me (perhaps because I could look down and confirm the relevance) (perhaps because Ruthie Knox works in general).

  26. Kate Johnson says:

    I had to look up The Color Drab to see if it made any sense withablurb attached.

    It did not.

    Apparently it’s a Clean Teen Read set in the gentler, simpler time of 2001 amongst violent gangs. It has the word “homie” in the blurb and also there’s a blind piano tuner.

    So that’s…you know, clearer.

  27. Maite says:

    Re:1: Baby bombs photoshoot
    The only way I see that cover making sense is that the artist was doing touchups on the naked guy, went off for a cup of coffee, and fame back to find his baby had somehow managed to selfie and paste himself over the cover.

    Thanks to whoever provided the description. It seems the book matches the cover. The cover is randomly placed pictures. The blurb is randomly placed tropes.

  28. DonnaMarie says:

    Thanks @MeganM. The blurb was almost more convoluted than the cover while still not answering the cow question. I’m not saying they don’t have cows in Ohio. It is the home of United Dairy Farmers gas stations, but WTF are cows doing on the cover of a book about street gangs? WHY?!?

  29. Candy says:

    I wanted to be fair to the cover artists and writers. These covers might express exactly the authors’ ideas. How could I know? So I went to Amazon and googled each title. This is not a case of author and graphic artist being in tune, a perfect marriage of prose and sensitive cover art deepening the message. No, I imagine these authors either designed these covers themselves, had a friend do it for free, or at least, each chose their favorite cover using the same questionable internal mechanism that allowed them to write these books.

    However, I would imagine that in Australia, if fire fighters dress like the guy on the Burning Both Ends cover they must also set up bleachers for women to watch the guys at work.

  30. Darlynne says:

    Here in Nevada, we’re under strict rules to prevent wildfires. They’ve tried to cover every possible scenario–spark arrestors on internal-combustion engines, no parking in tall grass–but I don’t recall a PSA to remind people not to “burn both ends” outdoors. You just know someone would think this is funny.

  31. Heather S says:

    Babies on romance covers are annoying, yes, but they are useful in helping me avoid those books like the plague. I hate kids of any age in my romances, and being blindsided by spawn because the cover and title didn’t warn me of their presence is heckin’ irritating. Romances gotta be sweet and sexy and kids are not conducive to any of that.

  32. Gloriamarie says:

    Blood and Trouble: the trouble is that man has a baby attached to his belly

    Brought to You by the Color Drab: Is that a young Keanu Reevers on the cover circa Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure?

    Billionaire’s Babysitter: the billionaire, presumably, looks like he is about to smack that kid in the back of the head.

    Burning Both Ends: If he is looking at the fire he has farted from one end, what dire thing will be coming out of the other?

  33. @LMC: Well, apparently Trump wears suits that don’t fit and ties with Scotch tape on them, so maybe a billionaire’s kid’s glasses wouldn’t fit either despite what you might think…

  34. chacha1 says:

    LOL @ Christine: “It would take a special kind of woman to lust after a man who can start forest fires with his ass.”

    I mean, I was already giggling over that cover, but srsly.

  35. LMC says:

    @Althea Claire Duffy, so true! I guess the rich are different!

  36. Kilian Metcalf says:

    Love, love, love Cover Snark. Couldn’t we have it every week, pretty please? I know there are enough bad covers out there.

  37. Sarah says:

    OMG that was some special blurb for brought to you by the colour drab… it was even more incoherent then the cover if possoble. And it’s 10$CAN.. .. I can’t even… @kate johnson

  38. Maite says:

    10$CAN? I didn’t even check the price, I assumed that it was on the debut self-pub price range.
    With that cover and that title and that blurb, it has a market in the “Let’s see if the book is as ridiculous as it seems”. But people in that market won’t spend that much.

  39. Quidnunc says:

    I just saw that the Drab book is free on Kindle Unlimited. I still wouldn’t touch it, but maybe someone else would throw themselves on that grenade and report back.

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