Cover Awe: Manchests

This edition of Cover Awe is all about acceptable abs and man-titty! What covers get it right for us? Here are a handful of some A+ examples!

Sweet Revenge by Zoe Archer. A man with an open shirt. His hair is falling over his eyes and there's a foggy background with a carriage.

Sarah: I really like this because he’s big and strong but also has chest hair and no discernible ab pattern. He broadcasts a different kind of strength – which fit the character.


Sarah: Right here:

A close up of the chest on the cover of Sweet Revenge with blue arrows pointing to hairy spots

Sarah: I may be incorrect, but that looks like chest hair shadow to me, though I agree, the texture of the image makes it difficult to see.

Amanda: I see what you mean. There’s also the hair falling over his face, which I really like. Tres mysterious!

Elyse: Yessss to chest hair! I’m so sick of waxed chests. I love me a hirsute man.

RHG: I like all chests. And abs. I like abs a LOT.

Sarah: Another cover with hair that I liked a lot: the former cover from Rose Lerner’s True Pretenses:

True Pretenses by Rose Lerner. The hero's red coat is being opened by the heroine. The hero also has some significant chest hair!

Sarah: I generally dislike photographed covers, but I liked this one in part because he had hair. But otherwise, I’m a terrible commentator on this one because man chest, waxed or otherwise, generally does little for me in terms of attracting me to a book. Abs and pecs are a big “meh” for me, but I suspect I am in a minority with that opinion.

Amanda: I like how his body type seems pretty regular. No bulging abs or pecs. His stomach has some slight definition, but that’s it. And for once, the hero is the one in a state of undress rather than the heroine.

On Broken Wings by Chanel Cleeton. The hero is standing in front of a fighter jet. He's sweaty and his flight suit is hanging around his waist.

Amanda: love On Broken Wings by Chanel Cleeton. He’s got sweat on his chest, which to me makes sense as to why his flight suit is half off. And I’m a sucker for a bicep vein.

I also think it’s funny because that one is book three and it seems all the heroes progressively show more and more skin with each cover.

Sarah: Strip tease cover sequence! That’s rather clever.

Yeah, like I said. Eh? Ok. He’s there. With his rectus abdominis and external obliques.

Amanda: These abs are not for Sarah!


Unexpected Rush by Jaci Burton. A shirtless and dirt-smudged hero graces the cover in football pants. His pads are slung over one shoulder.

Elyse: Jaci Burton’s Play-by-Play series

Amanda: Very true, I do have a cover from that series framed. I have Melting the Ice above my bed.

Redheadedgirl: There’s also the GIANT poster you and Joyfully Jay were posing with in Vegas.

Elyse: Yes!

Amanda: I think what I like most about these covers is that they’re just obnoxiously fun. They know what they’re about. Also props for Unexpected Rush for showing a hero with a sexy smattering of dirt.

Sarah: The Burton covers are really unparalleled, in part because they look like they’re athletes.

The Leopard King by Ann Aguirre. A leopard-spotted, shirtless hero looking very forlornly to the side. The color palette is in grays, whites, and blacks. There's also a silhouette of a leopard in the background.

Amanda: Okay, I’m supplying this one because I bought the book because of the cover. Yes, there’s a shirtless dude with leopard spots, but I like that there’s more to the cover than just that. The black, white, and grey color palette really makes the red KING stand out and there’s something so…sad about the hero’s expression. I don’t know. I just think it’s a great, carefully thought out cover.

Elyse: It’s like what an Animorphs cover should be


Which hero-clad covers do you love?

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