Guest Post: Laddie’s First Big Book Cover and Wine Label Review

It’s been a while since I had anything going in on here, but I have plans for a busy next few weeks…First off my lovely ex-blogging partner Miss Laddie will be doing monthly reviews of the covers and labels of the books and wines that make it to the blog.  So without further ado…Here is the “July Covers and Labels Review”!


Hello, all, and welcome to the first in a series of monthly posts that Laura has asked me to contribute to her lovely blog! Once a month I’ll be critiquing the covers of the books Laura has reviewed and the labels of the wines she’s enjoyed. Oh, my friends, this is going to be fun. I love anything having to do with art and colors so let’s get this thing started!

First up this month was The Return by Brad Boney; cover photo by Tricia Dunlap.


I have to say that I think this cover is brilliant. First the brilliant white and the deep black make for a very clean and sophisticated looking cover image. The tattoos stand out beautifully and the lack of flashy colors makes even the distressed spots on the man’s jeans a special detail. Also, there are the subtle peach tones in the subject’s skin and certain accents on the guitar. Then we have the composition of the image. I love it. Love. Off centered but balanced. The diagonal created by the guitar, The very little bit you can see of a second man, and the positioning of the text. It all makes for a dynamic, polished and professional cover. Bravo! One of the best covers I’ve seen in the genre.

Next we have Love, Like Water by Rowan Speedwell; cover art by AngstyG.


The minute I saw this cover it reminded me of a saying I first heard in art school. If you can’t make it good, make it big and if you can’t make it big, make it red. All of the blazing red in the background and in the text catches my eye before anything else. Giving everything a bit of a glow and intensifying that with a lot of black makes this cover stand out for its boldness if nothing else. Is this cover good? Not exactly. It’s very typical of the covers you’ll find in the M/M genre but at first it will definitely trick people into thinking it’s special. Pro: It definitely snags a person’s attention. Con: Once the cover has your attention it offers nothing but too much photoshopping, and a poorly composed and cluttered image.

But, oh, the J. Joostenberg label!


The J. Joostenberg Family Blend White wine label totally made up for the Love, Like Water book cover it was paired with. A vintage picture as a wine label? I adore it. The text font is very simple and clean as are the lines and colors in the image. I think the label is pretty awesome in all of its simplicity.

Next on the list is the cover for Parting Shot by Mary Calmes; cover art by Reese Dante.


This cover doesn’t blow my mind but I definitely like it, no question. M/M covers are pretty famous for cutting the heads off of bodies but here I don’t mind it. There’s a dreamy sultriness to this cover that actually makes me not want to see the faces. It’s definitely the haphazard trail of clothing on the floor that makes me feel that way. It’s a different kind of sexy than the usual “look at my abs/chest/bubble butt”. This is a quieter sexy and I dig it. I’d actually love to see more covers with this kind of understated sex appeal. It feels just a bit classier than headless abs and pecs.

And to go with that cover we have 90+ Cellars Sauvignon Blanc.


This label feels to me like a graphic design class project and I think it’s cool. The label makes me feel like this bottle of wine should be on a table on a rooftop dinner party or a loft party in some big city. Very hip without trying hard at all.

And finally the cover for Left on St. Truth-Be-Well by Amy Lane; cover art by Aaron Anderson.


This is a cover that I should like. I love color and it’s definitely colorful, however, nothing about this cover appeals to me. There is too much color and it all blends together so that, in the end, none of it stands out. The text just kind of bleeds into the background so that none of it works for me. The positioning of the crocodile’s mouth is awkward and since it’s such a major part of the cover’s composition it’s something that needed to be perfect. I definitely saw what the cover artist was going for but the whole thing fell short in my opinion. One pro though is that it is a cover that would catch the eye in a sea of M/M covers because of all of the color, and snagging the attention of a browsing reader is always a good thing.

That, my friends, ends my first post on book covers and wine labels. I hope you enjoyed it. Now, feel free to comment and let us know what you thought of covers and wine labels!


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