Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view

RITA Open Thread

Rita NominationsThe Rita Finalists have been announced.   Congratulations to the finalists.   No matter what I have to say (or other readers) five of your peers judged your book to be the best in your category.   The Rita eligibility and judging requirements can be found here.    The RITAs are limited to the first 1200 books entered so if the book came in late, it would not be considered.

Each book is judged by five people.   The top 10% (capped by 8) books in the category with the highest score are finalists.

I’ve had some time to digest (and look up some of the books!) so here are my thoughts and I invite you to share yours in the comments.

2010 RITA for Best First Book Finalists

  • One Scream Awayby Kate Brady, Grand Central Publishing, Forever, Editor: Celia Johnson (ISBN: 978-0-446-54152-7)
  • He Calls Her Doc by Mary Brady, Harlequin Enterprises, Harlequin Superromance, Editor: Kathryn Lye (ISBN: 978-0-373-71561-9)
  • The Gladiator by Carla Capshaw, Harlequin Enterprises, Steeple Hill Love Inspired Historical, Editor: Melissa Endlich, (ISBN: 978-0-373-82824-1)
  • Angel Vindicated by Viola Estrella, Ellora's Cave, Cerridwen Press, Editor: Helen Woodall, (ISBN: 978-1-419-92068-4) (NOTE: this book is cheaper if you buy direct from the Cerridwen site which is different than Jasmine Jade. It took me about 10 minutes last night to find the ebook to purchase).
  • The Better Part of Darkness by Kelly Gay, Simon & Schuster, Pocket Books, Editor: Ed Schlesinger, (ISBN: 978-1-439-10965-6)
  • Stolen Fury by Elisabeth Naughton, Dorchester Publishing, Love Spell, Editor: Leah Hultenschmidt, (ISBN: 978-0-505-52793-6)
  • Nothing Like You by Lauren Strasnick, Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, Editor: Anica Rissi, (ISBN: 978-1-416-98264-7)
  • The Last Will of Moira Leahy by Therese Walsh, Random House Group, Shaye Areheart Books, Editor: Sarah Knight, (ISBN: 978-0-230-746157-5)

I’ve read One Scream Away (review here). I liked it and thought it was a strong debut. I am surprised by the lack of Tessa Dare here. I thought Goddess of the Hunt was an incredibly strong debut.   Angel Vindicated (which I purchased last night) is the first digital first book to be nominated for a RITA.    Janine reviewed The Last Will of Moira Leahy by Therese Walsh and gave it high marks.

2010 RITA for Contemporary Series Romance Finalists

  • A Not-So-Perfect Past by Beth Andrews, Harlequin Enterprises, Harlequin Superromance, Editor: Victoria Curran, (ISBN: 978-0-373-71556-5)
  • From The Outside by Helen Brenna, Harlequin Enterprises, NASCAR, Editor: Tina James, (ISBN: 978-0-373-18522-1)
  • The Snow-Kissed Bride by Linda Goodnight, Harlequin Enterprises, Harlequin Romance, Editor: Allison Lyons, (ISBN: 978-0-373-17561-1)
  • Single Mom Seeks…by Teresa Hill, Harlequin Enterprises, Silhouette Special Edition, Editor: Melissa Jeglinski, (ISBN: 978-0373654314)
  • Revealed: A Prince and a Pregnancy by Kelly Hunter, Harlequin Enterprises, Mills and Boon Modern Heat, Editor: Joanne Grant, (ISBN: 978-0-263-87252-1)
  • The Christmas Love-Child by Jennie Lucas, Harlequin Enterprises, Harlequin Presents, Editor: Kimberly Young, (ISBN: 978-0-373-52742-7)
  • One-Night Mistress…Convenient Wife by Anne McAllister, Harlequin Enterprises, Harlequin Presents, Editor: Jenny Hutton, (ISBN: 978-0-373-12871-6)
  • Duty, Desire and the Desert King by Jane Porter, Harlequin Enterprises, Mills and Boon Modern, Editor: Kim Young, (ISBN: 978-0-263-87447-1)
  • I Still Do by Christie Ridgway, Harlequin Enterprises, Silhouette Special Edition, Editor: Patience Smith, (ISBN: 978-0-373-65432-1)

Despite being a big category reader, I’ve only read Anne McAllister’s book which I haven’t reviewed but I did like.   We’ve reviewed other books by McAllister.   Jayne reviewed a book from Beth Andrews, Not Without Her Family.   I’ve been reading the Helen Brenna series “Island to Remember” with the first book reviewed here.   What does this all mean? I’ve got some books to add to my TBR pile.

2010 RITA for Contemporary Series Romance: Suspense/Adventure Finalists

  • Mountain Investigation by Jessica Andersen, Harlequin Enterprises, Harlequin Intrigue, Editor: Allison Lyons, (ISBN: 978-0-373-69414-3)
  • The Christmas Stranger by Beth Cornelison, Harlequin Enterprises, Silhouette Romantic Suspense, Editor: Allison Lyons, (ISBN: 978-0-373-27651-6)
  • The Soldier’s Secret Daughter by Cindy Dees, Harlequin Enterprises, Silhouette Romantic Suspense, Editor: Patience Smith, (ISBN: 978-0-373-27658-5)
  • In Care Of Sam Beaudry by Kathleen Eagle, Harlequin Enterprises, Silhouette Special Edition, Editors: Leslie Wainger and Charles Griesman, (ISBN: 978-0-373-65451-2)
  • Silent Watch by Elle Kennedy, Harlequin Enterprises, Silhouette Romantic Suspense, Editor: Diana Ventimiglia, (ISBN: 978-0-373-27644-8)
  • Cold Case Affair by Loreth Anne White, Harlequin Enterprises, Silhouette Romantic Suspense, Editor: Susan Litman, (ISBN: 978-0-373-27652-3)
  • The Christmas Present“>The Christmas Present by Tracy Wolff, Harlequin Enterprises, Harlequin Superromance, Editor: Wanda Ottewell, (ISBN: 978-0-373-71607-4)

I’m not a huge fan of the short suspense so I haven’t read many of these. I thought I read The Christmas Present by Wolff and don’t recall it being very suspenseful.   Jayne is a fan of Kathleen Eagle so I wonder if she has read or will read In Care of Sam Beaudry.

2010 RITA for Contemporary Single Title Romance Finalists

  • Talk Me Down by Victoria Dahl, Harlequin Enterprises, HQN, Editor: Tara Parsons, (ISBN: 978-0-373-77356-5)
  • True Love and Other Disasters by Rachel Gibson, HarperCollins Publishers, Avon Books, Editor: Lucia Macro, (ISBN: 978-0-061-57906-6)
  • For the Love of Pete by Julia Harper, Grand Central Publishing, Forever, Editor: Amy Pierpont, (ISBN: 978-0-446-61918-9)
  • Too Good To Be True Kristan Higgins, Harlequin Enterprises, HQN, Editors: Keyren Gerlach and Tracy Farrell, (ISBN: 978-0-373-77355-8)
  • A Little Light Magic by Joy Nash, Dorchester Publishing, Leisure Fiction, Editor: Alicia Condon, (ISBN: 978-0-505-52693-9)
  • Dirty Sexy Knitting by Christie Ridgway, Penguin Group USA, Berkley, Editor: Cindy Hwang, (ISBN: 978-0-425-22829-6)
  • Instant Attraction by Jill Shalvis, Kensington Publishing Corp., Brava, Editor: Kate Duffy, (ISBN: 978-0-758-23123-9)
  • Fireside“>Fireside by Susan Wiggs, Harlequin Enterprises, MIRA Books, Editor: Margaret O’Neill Marbury, (ISBN: 978-0-778-32910-7)

I’ve actually read 5 of the 8 nominations. Woo woo.    Our Haiku-ist wrote a review of Talk Me Down and True Love and Other Disasters. The most that I can recall about the Gibson book was how closely it paralleled Susan Elizabeth Phillips’ book, It Had to Be You, down to the heroine’s little white dog.   Too Good to Be True (review)  wasn’t my favorite Higgins but she is a good writer.   Higgins’ last RITA win is what got me started reading her books in the first place.   I didn’t enjoy For  The Love of Pete. Instant Attraction was one of our Save the Contemporary picks so I can hardly argue with Shalvis’ inclusion in this category.

2010 RITA for Historical Romance Finalists

  • Wicked All Day by Liz Carlyle, Simon & Schuster, Pocket Books Romance, Editor: Lauren McKenna, (ISBN: 978-0-4165-9492-5)
  • With Seduction in Mind by Laura Lee Guhrke, HarperCollins Publishers, Avon Books, Editor: Erika Tsang, (ISBN: 978-0-06-145683-1)
  • To Beguile A Beast by Elizabeth Hoyt, Grand Central Publishing, Forever, Editor: Amy Pierpont, (ISBN: 978-0-446-40693-2)
  • Make Me Yours by Betina Krahn, Harlequin Enterprises, Blaze, Editor: Brenda Chin, (ISBN: 978-0-373-79483-6)
  • Knight of Pleasure by Margaret Mallory, Grand Central Publishing, Forever, Editor: Alex Logan, (ISBN: 978-0-446-55338-4)
  • The Lone Texan by Jodi Thomas, Penguin Group USA, Berkley, Editor: Wendy McCurdy, (ISBN: 978-0-425-23062-6)
  • Not Quite a Husbandby Sherry Thomas, Bantam Dell Publishing Group, Editor: Caitlin Alexander, (ISBN: 978-0-553-59243-6)
  • Taming Her Irish Warrior by Michelle Willingham, Harlequin Enterprises, Harlequin Historical, Editor: Joanne Grant, (ISBN: 978-0-373-29566-1)

I loved Wicked All Day and enjoyed Not Quite a Husband (we did two reviews, here and here).    Make Me Yours (reviews here and here) is a great book particularly given the length (it’s a little over 200 pages as it is a Harlequin Blaze Historical).   I didn’t love To Beguile a Beast but Jayne did.   I liked Margaret Mallory’s voice and would definitely read her again, but Knight of Pleasure wasn’t one of my favorite historicals.   I haven’t been able to finish a Willingham book. I find her prose to be a bit dull.   It shocks me that one of Duran’s 2009 books didn’t make it or The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie by Jennifer Ashley.

2010 RITA for Inspirational Romance Finalists

  • The Inheritance (Women of Faith Fiction) by Tamera Alexander, Thomas Nelson, Inc., Women of Faith Fiction, Editors: Ami McConnell and Natalie Hanemann, (ISBN: 978-1-59554-632-6)
  • A Lady Like Sarah by Margaret Brownley, Thomas Nelson, Inc., Editor: Natalie Hanemann, (ISBN: 978-0-59554-809-2)
  • The Gladiator by Carla Capshaw, Harlequin Enterprises, Steeple Hill Love Inspired Historical, Editor: Melissa Endlich, (ISBN: 978-0-373-82824-1)
  • Entertaining Angels by Judy Duarte, Kensington Publishing Corp., Editor: John Scognamiglio, (ISBN: 978-0-7582-2016-5)
  • An Eye for an Eye by Irene Hannon, Baker Publishing Group, Revell Books, Editor: Jennifer Leep, (ISBN: 978-0-8007-3311-7)
  • The Silent Governess by Julie Klassen, Bethany House Publishers, Editor: Karen Schurrer, (ISBN: 978-0-7642-0707-5)
  • Breach of Trust by Diann Mills, Tyndale House Publishers, Editor: Stephanie Boerne, (ISBN: 978-1-414-32047-2)
  • The Confidential Life of Eugenia Cooper by Kathleen Y’Barbo, Random House Publishing, WaterBrook Multnomah, Editor: Jessica Barnes, (ISBN: 978-0-307-44474-5)

I don’t read inspirationals so I haven’t a clue here although I believe that Tamera Alexander has won before.   Jayne did read and review the Capshaw book here.

2010 RITA for Novel with Strong Romantic Elements Finalists

Jayne reviewed Silent on the Moor.   Otherwise, I’ve got nothing.

2010 RITA for Paranormal Romance Finalists

  • What Would Jane Austen Do? by Laurie Brown, Sourcebooks, Inc., Casablanca, Editor: Deb Werksman, (ISBN: 978-1-4022-1831-6)
  • Untouchable in Deep Kiss of Winterby Kresley Cole, Simon & Schuster, Pocket Books, Editor: Lauren McKenna, (ISBN: 978-1-439-15966-8)
  • Kiss Of A Demon King by Kresley Cole, Simon & Schuster, Pocket Books, Editor: Lauren McKenna, (ISBN: 978-1-416-58094-2)
  • My Forbidden Desire by Carolyn Jewel, Grand Central Publishing, Forever, Editor: Michele Bidelspach, (ISBN: 978-0-446-17824-2)
  • The Fire King by Marjorie M. Liu, Dorchester Publishing, Leisure Books, Editor: Chris Keeslar, (ISBN: 978-0-843-95940-6)
  • For the Earl’s Pleasure by Anne Mallory, HarperCollins Publishers, Avon Books, Editor: May Chen, (ISBN: 978-0-061-57914-1)
  • Darkness Unknown by Alexis Morgan, Simon & Schuster, Pocket Books, Pocket Star, Editor: Micki Nuding, (ISBN: 978-1-4165-634-3)
  • Covet by J.R. Ward, Penguin Group USA, Signet, Editor: Kara Cesare, (ISBN: 978-0-451-22821-5)
  • Mortal Sins by Eileen Wilks, Penguin Group USA, Berkley Sensation, Editor: Cindy Hwang, (ISBN: 978-0-425-22552-3,

I’ve got a lot to say about this category. First, what is up with the RITA judges fetish for Jane Austen remakes. Last year, Gwen Cready’s Jane Austen ghost/time travel debacle won this category.    Nothing against Ms. Cready but what the ever loving hell?   Deep Kiss of Winter (which is included here because anything over 40,000 words is eligible) is probably one of the weakest Cole efforts and I am a big Cole fan.   I did review Kiss of a Demon King and appreciate seeing it in the amongst the finalists because it features a fairly aggressive heroine.   Cole has a strong feminist voice in the genre and I am always glad to see that honored.

I loved Carolyn Jewel’s historicals (Scandal is reviewed here and here) and I think her paranormals have a certain cracktastic element, but the worldbuilding is often far too confusing for me to follow.   I looked up For the Earl’s Pleasure by Anne Mallory on Amazon and apparently the heroine can see ghosts and the hero who everyone presumes is dead but is, in fact, captured and hidden somewhere.   Only the heroine can see him but HE IS NOT DEAD.   Yeah.   I just don’t even know.

Mortal Sins has about two specks of romance in it and Covet was a huge f-ing mess.   I never agree with the PNR finalists and this year is no exception.

2010 RITA for Regency Historical Romance Finalists

  • Surrender of a Siren by Tessa Dare, Ballantine/Bantam Dell, Editor: Kate Collins, (ISBN: 978-0-345-50687-0)
  • Scandal (Berkley Sensation) by Carolyn Jewel, Penguin Group USA, Berkley Sensation, Editor: Kate Seaver, (ISBN: 978-0-425-22551-6)
  • Tempting Fate by Alissa Johnson, Dorchester Publishing, Leisure Books, Editor: Leah Hultenschmidt, (ISBN: 978-0-843-96156-0)
  • A View to a Kiss by Caroline Linden, HarperCollins Publishers, Avon Books, Editor: Lyssa Keusch, (ISBN: 978-0-061-70635-6)
  • Revealed by Kate Noble, Penguin Group USA, Berkley Sensation, Editor: Cindy Hwang, (ISBN: 978-0-425-22174-7)
  • What Happens in London by Julia Quinn, HarperCollins Publishers, Avon Books, Editor: Lyssa Keusch, (ISBN: 978-0-061-49188-7)
  • Lord Braybrook’s Penniless Bride by Elizabeth Rolls, Harlequin Enterprises, Harlequin Historical, Editor: Linda Fildew, (ISBN: 978-0-373-29548-7)

After ranting about the PNRs above, I’ve really got nothing to say here.   Scandal was great. Tessa Dare is a very good author and even if Surrender isn’t my favorite in her trilogy, she is a writer of high caliber.   I just finished The Summer of You by Kate Noble, her April release, and it was good so I think I’ll try Revealed.

2010 RITA for Romance Novella Finalists

  • “A Little Night Magic” by Allyson James in  Hot for the Holidays, Penguin Group USA, Berkley, Jove, Editor: Kate Seaver, (ISBN: 978-0515-14700-1)
  • "The Robber Bride" by Marjorie M. Liu in  Huntress, St. Martin's Press, Editor:, (ISBN: 978-0-312-94382-0)
  • "Annalise and the Scandalous Rake" by Deb Marlowe in  The Diamonds Of Welbourne Manor, Harlequin Enterprises, Harlequin Historical, Editor: Linda Fildew, (ISBN: 978-0-373-29543-2)
  • “Charlotte and the Wicked Lord” by Amanda McCabe in  The Diamonds Of Welbourne Manor, Harlequin Enterprises, Harlequin Historical, Editor: Joanne Grant, (ISBN: 978-0-373-29543-2)
  • "This Wicked Gift" by Courtney Milan in  The Heart of Christmas, Harlequin Enterprises, HQN, Editor: Ann Leslie Tuttle, (ISBN: 978-0-373-77427-2)
  • "On a Snowy Christmas" by Brenda Novak in  The Night Before Christmas, Harlequin Enterprises, Editor: Paula Eykelhof, (ISBN: 978-0-373-83736-6)
  • "The Christmas Eve Promise" by Molly O’Keefe in  The Night Before Christmas, Harlequin Enterprises, Silhouette Special Releases, Editor: Stacy Boyd, (ISBN: 978-0-373-83736-6)

It pays to be in a Christmas Anthology is all I’ve got here.   I’ve only read Courtney Milan’s novella which I enjoyed tremendously.

2010 RITA for Romantic Suspense Finalists

  • One Scream Away by Kate Brady, Grand Central Publishing, Forever, Editor: Celia Johnson, (ISBN: 978-0-446-54152-7)
  • Waking the Dead (Mindhunters) by Kylie Brant, Penguin Group USA, Berkley Sensation, Editor: Cindy Hwang, (ISBN: 978-0-425-23114-2)
  • A Dark Love by Margaret Carroll, HarperCollins Publishers, Avon Books, Editor: Carrie Feron, (ISBN: 978-0-06-165278-3)
  • Whisper of Warning by Laura Griffin, Simon & Schuster, Pocket Books, Pocket Star, Editor: Abby Zidle, (ISBN: 978-1-416-57064-6)
  • Stolen Fury by Elisabeth Naughton, Dorchester Publishing, Love Spell, Editor: Leah Hultenschmidt, (ISBN: 978-0-505-52793-6)
  • Dark Country by Bronwyn Parry, Hachette Livre, Hachette Australia, Editor: Bernadette Foley, (ISBN: 978-0-733-62323-3)
  • Promises in Death (In Death, No. 28) by J.D. Robb, Penguin Group USA, Putnam, Editor: Leslie Gelbman, (ISBN: 978-0-399-15548-2)
  • Kill for Me by Karen Rose, Grand Central Publishing, Vision, Editor: Karen Kosztolnyik, (ISBN: 978-0-446-51030-1)

While I enjoyed Margaret Carroll’s book, to call it a romance is a real stretch.    Jayne really enjoys Laura Griffin and has a review of Whisper of Warning.   Robin/Janet F gave a thumbs up to Promises in Death. Bronwyn Parry sent us her Australian suspense novels and I brought one of them to work with me to read at lunchtime.

2010 RITA for Young Adult Romance

  • Fairy Tale by Cyn Balog, Random House Group, Delacorte Press, Editor:, (ISBN: 978-0-385-738494)
  • Don’t Judge a Girl by Her Cover by Ally Carter, Hyperion Books for Children, Editor: Jennifer Besser, (ISBN: 978-1-423-11638-7)
  • Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles, Walker Books for Young Readers, Editor: Emily Easton, (ISBN: 978-0-8027-9823-7)
  • Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols, Simon & Schuster, Pocket Books, MTV Books, Editor: Jennifer Heddle, (ISBN: 978-1-416-57173-5)
  • The ABC’s of Kissing Boys by Tina Ferraro, Random House Group, Delacorte Press, Editor: Krista Marino, (ISBN: 978-0-385-73582-7)
  • Nothing Like You by Lauren Strasnick, Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, Editor: Anica Rissi, (ISBN: 978-1-416-98264-7)

A couple of these are on my list to buy and read and maybe now I’ll get a kick in the pants to follow through.   Then again, maybe not.

What are your thoughts? Agree with the nominations? Disagree?

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. Tamara Hogan
    Mar 26, 2010 @ 14:05:52

    I was stunned by Nalini Singh’s absence from the list of Paranormal finalists. Perhaps she didn’t enter? Otherwise, **boggle** ?

    That said, I think there is a particularly strong field for Contemporary Single Title this year. I loved most of these books.

  2. cdouglas
    Mar 26, 2010 @ 14:13:47

    No Duran is crazy. It really shocked me when I saw that, especially since I think both her books were better than some of the books nominated.

  3. Elyssa Papa
    Mar 26, 2010 @ 14:20:11

    I was also surprised that GOTH wasn’t nominated in Best First Book, since I thought that was one of the strongest 2009 debuts. Also, am surprised by the lack of a Meredith Duran and Jennifer Ashley. I’m thrilled Victoria Dahl’s Talk Me Down is nominated and Courtney Milan’s novella. The PNR category always befuddles me.

  4. Avrey
    Mar 26, 2010 @ 14:25:53

    What about Meljean’s book? Demon Forged? No Nalini Singh or Meredith Duran? Come on! Maybe they didn’t submit. I sure hope that’s the reason.

  5. Anonymous
    Mar 26, 2010 @ 14:57:32

    Clearly my tbr pile is not nearly large enough.

    Count me in the company of people who think Meredith Duran was unjustly ignored, and are surprised Tessa Dare wasn’t included in the Best First Book category. I thought Goddess of the Hunt was better than Surrender of a Siren, but I’m glad she was nominated for something. I have to confess, though, to being rather glad that The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie wasn’t nominated, but I realise I’m in the minority in not liking it. (I loved Ian, and I really wanted to like it, but felt the rest of the book was weak.)

    I’m so glad Wicked All Day was nominated; I really loved it. I’m also happy to see Not Quite a Husband and Scandal, and probably With Seduction in Mind, unless it all falls apart in the last three chapters. I would not have nominated Tempting Fate, but I’m happy for it.

  6. Tweets that mention RITA Open Thread | Dear Author: Romance Novel Reviews, Industry News, and Commentary --
    Mar 26, 2010 @ 15:07:41

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Maili, dearauthor. dearauthor said: New post: RITA Open Thread […]

  7. Danielle
    Mar 26, 2010 @ 15:21:56

    I was suprised that Julia Quinn’s book got nominated. I could be wrong but don’t authors/publishers have to “submit” their books to be considered?

  8. Kim
    Mar 26, 2010 @ 15:38:57

    I was surprised that Nora Roberts wasn’t nominated for Bed of Roses nor Julie James for Practice Makes Perfect in the contemporary category. I was glad to see Deanna Raybourn, Sherry Thomas and Julia Quinn nominated.

    Interestingly, Susan Elizabeth Phillips said that she no longer enters the contest. She won a few RITAs and doesn’t want to take anything away from the other authors who just want to win one. That was quite generous of her.

  9. Janine
    Mar 26, 2010 @ 15:44:52

    First of all, congratulations to all the finalists.

    Second, as crit partner to both Sherry Thomas and Meredith Duran, I’m not sure whether to be thrilled for Sherry or beyond bummed for Meredith. Of course I could be biased but I think the nom for Not Quite a Husband is very well deserved. But! Written on Your Skin! Bound by Your Touch! How can one of these books not be on the list?

    Re. other categories. Very glad to see Carolyn Jewel’s Scandal make it, and my opinion of Jewel’s paranormal was high as well. I reviewed it here and gave it a B+. Yeah, the worldbuilding is a touch confusing but the book still sucked me in and I loved the hero.

    OTOH, to say that the overlooking of Nalini Singh puzzles me is a gross understatement.

    I’m also surprised by the lack of love for The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie. I liked but didn’t love the book (Loved Ian but felt that Beth could have been more interesting), but still! It is absolutely the most beloved historical of the year in the online communities I visit.

    Re. Best First Book, I’m also very surprised that Goddess of the Hunt didn’t make it. I would say I liked it about as well as I did The Last Will of Moira Leahy, which is a finalist in this category. Lucy was a polarizing heroine, but she grew on me after the first couple of chapters, and I loved Jeremy. Plus Tessa Dare’s prose is so beautiful in that book. Doesn’t that count for anything?

    I’m glad to see Courtney Milan’s novella, “This Wicked Gift,” in the running, though. The heroine’s sensibility was a bit modern but everything else about it was wonderful. I love Milan’s elegant writing style and the fact that the characters weren’t titled or wealthy.

    Still wish there was an overall “Best Novel” category.

    I’m probably forgetting something, but these are my thoughts.

  10. Ridley
    Mar 26, 2010 @ 15:46:59

    I’m with you on Lord Ian. That was one overhyped mediocre book. I was so disappointed.

    I’m another person boggled that Duran’s not on there. Her books are so deep and wonderful.

  11. Joanne
    Mar 26, 2010 @ 16:06:25

    Every time I get over my mad about the RITA nominees another year has passed and the new list is out. Next year I’m taking a sabbatical from reading anything at all about those awards.

    It’s all so subjective anyway as seen already on this thread. (Et tu, Janine?! show the LOVE for Lord Ian, lol!)

    Wicked All Day was okay but Don’t Tempt Me by Loretta Chase was one of my all-time favorite historical romances.

    Nalini Singh couldn’t have submitted anything. She just couldn’t have or she’d be on the list.

    I read some really wonderful novellas in ’09 and none of these listed are them. Or is it those? hmmm.

    So congratulations to all the nominees and I’ll go mark my calender so I don’t get so frustrated again next year.

  12. Janine
    Mar 26, 2010 @ 16:47:47

    @Joanne: I did like Lord Ian, LOL. Ian was a really unusual hero, and the book kept me turning the pages. I felt Beth was a weaker character, but the book was definitely enjoyable and the fact that it spoke to so many readers and yet was still overlooked by the RITA judges is shocking.

  13. Jen X
    Mar 26, 2010 @ 17:03:23

    I enjoyed Lord Ian, too. It wasn’t the best romance I’ve ever read but I think it deserved a nod.

  14. Jorrie Spencer
    Mar 26, 2010 @ 18:17:19

    I’m another Goddess of the Hunt fan. (Even though I still have to read Surrender of a Siren. Will do so soon!)

    I haven’t read enough 2009 books, but I did think Singh’s Angels’ Blood and Virginia Kantra’s Sea Lord were strong books.

  15. Jennifer Estep
    Mar 26, 2010 @ 18:17:39

    First of all, congrats to all the nominees. ;-)

    I think it’s nice to see a western — The Lone Texan — nominated in the historical category. I wish Never Love a Lawman by Jo Goodman had gotten a nod too. (Can you tell I like westerns?)

    I really enjoyed Too Good to be True by Kristan Higgins — it’s the book that got me reading her backlist.

    I’m kind of surprised Richelle Mead wasn’t nominated in YA for her Vampire Academy books, since they are so hugely popular …

  16. GrowlyCub
    Mar 26, 2010 @ 18:52:37

    I really liked ‘Scandal’ and am glad to see it got a nod.

    However, I’m not surprised not to see ‘Lord Ian’; the book had an interesting premise, but didn’t live up to the hype. There were bits and pieces that were wonderful but not enough to make it into an outstanding read.

    Same goes for the 2 Duran titles. The language was overly ornate and created an emotional distance to the characters and the plots were weak.

    I’m glad to see Carlyle got a nod for ‘Wicked All Day’, but I much preferred ‘Tempted All Night’ and would have much rather have seen it instead of or in addition to WAD.

    I DNF’d ‘Surrender of a Siren’ and am really disappointed it got nominated instead of ‘Goddess of the Hunt’ which was a much better book.

    ‘Not Quite a Husband’ was a major disappointment, too. I’m not sure what I’d have rather seen, though.

    ‘To Beguile a Beast’ was a good read, but I wouldn’t say it was the best the genre has to offer. The Krahn I tried 4 or 5 times and it just never held my interest long enough to really get into the story.

    Overall, I thought 2009 was a really weak year for historical/regency romance with many books that felt rushed due to low word counts and sloppy editing (Chase, Beverley to name a couple) or established authors clearly having run out of ideas and repeating themselves.

    The ‘with romantic elements’ list just makes me sad because so many fabulous authors are now writing these milk and water stories that I want nothing to do with.

    Was ‘Broken Wing’ entered or was it a 2008 book?

    I’m currently reading an Alissa Johnson novella and will probably check out her nominated title, as I had never heard of her before and am vastly enjoying the story in ‘A Christmas Ball’ so far.

  17. May
    Mar 26, 2010 @ 20:12:36

    add me to the shocked on Duran – I adored her stuff this year. Also add me to the “WTF?” on Goddess of the Hunt being left out but the (less appealing) Siren book being the nominated one. WHAT?! I do love Beguile a Beast, but I’m a beauty + beast girl so it worked for me extra nice. :)

    I know there’s a stack of rom.suspense I’ve read (Cindy Gerard, Catherine Mann, etc) that rocked over some of those listed too. Oh and the Paranormal list? What?!

    End of day stuff like RITA award doesn’t affect what I buy in least. I think it’s nice for an author to get a chance to be recognized for excellence, but it’s not the ultimate authority on ‘great books’.

    Especially when I see DNF or “don’t even bother” books that were painful like the Rachel Gibson making the list. That book was hideous. I actually (shockingly) loved For the love of Pete so that’s nice, but where is Julie James? She should have made the contemp list.

    Rant over. Back to my own reading preferences.

  18. Ceci
    Mar 26, 2010 @ 21:05:17

    I was kind of shocked with some nominations. Rachel Gibson being nominated again for a pretty mediocre book. I know that a lot loved her book but i find it pretty bad. I think it was a really bad remake of It had to be you by Susan Elizabeth Phillips. I think right now are better CR authors, like Julie James, Kristan Higgins, Lisa Kleypas. I was totally shocked when Lisa Kleypas wasn’t nominated for Best Contemporary since I loved Smooth Talking Stranger. I thought it was a really strong contemp as well as Practice makes perfect by Julie James.

    I’m really glad for Helen Brenna. Last year, I’ve read First Comes Twins and Next Comes Love and I really loved them. I think she’s a really good author and i’m going to try to find the book that she has been nominated. I don’t read a lot of Harlequin books but it was a really nice surprise this author! :D

    Another author that I’m happy to see in the list is Jill Shalvis. HEr books are getting better and better! :D

    I was incredible happy to see Wicked all Day by Liz Carlyle and Not quite a Husband by Sherry Thomas to be on the list. Both books were amazing. I really loved them. To Beguile a Beast was good but I don’t think it was amazing. I was quite shock that Meredith Duran wasn’t nominated since everyone seems to love her. I didn’t like Bound By Your Touch but i did love Duke of Shadows and i think she’s a really good writter. It was quite a shocked for me!

    I don’t read a lot of Paranormal Romance but I do find quite surprising that Nalini Singh wasn’t nominated. She had really good books last year!

    Another shocked for me was no Nora Roberts. I didn’t love her latest books but since she’s always up in some category… i was surprise this year!

  19. ritu
    Mar 26, 2010 @ 21:20:22

    After seeing the RITA finalists list – my reaction: Wow, so many books I haven’t heard or read. I admit i’m not a good judge of what is popular and not, yet I must say I am astonished. The worst was Paranormal section – I haven’t read a single one.

    And I was shocked to see no Julie James, Meredith Duran, Nalini Singh, Meljean Brook – I was expecting to see them on the list especially Angel’s Blood (my first and favorite Nalini Singh). I wonder how they select the finalists.

    I might try adding those books to the TBR but don’t think I would.

  20. meoskop
    Mar 26, 2010 @ 23:08:24

    There’s a lot of 3 star reads on there for me. I’m glad to see the Anne Mallory nomination though. I think that book was badly marketed and therefore unfairly judged.

    This year’s noms are a real grab bag to me.

  21. Tracey
    Mar 27, 2010 @ 00:35:03

    I wish that summaries of the books had been included. That would tell me a lot about what the judges are looking for.

  22. Janine
    Mar 27, 2010 @ 01:23:47

    @Ceci: Good point about Julie James. Practice Makes Perfect was another book I really enjoyed (and I am a very picky reader when it comes to contemporaries).

  23. Katie
    Mar 27, 2010 @ 04:56:07

    Lisa Kleypas was robbed.

  24. Cecilia Grant
    Mar 27, 2010 @ 09:37:29

    Count me as another dismayed by the omission of Meredith Duran, particularly Bound by Your Touch. Her prose is gorgeous, her dialogue crackles, and I find the intelligence of her characters really engaging.

    I’m trying to remember now… did she final last year with Duke of Shadows? I’m thinking not. Maybe the judges, like GrowlyCub, don’t care for her pretty pretty language.

  25. katiebabs
    Mar 27, 2010 @ 11:15:45

    Seriously, For the Earl's Pleasure by Anne Mallory nominated for PR? That book is…

    Shocked no Practice Makes Perfect, Butterfly Tattoo, Percy Parker, Demon Forged and yet again Meredith Duran was robbed.

  26. Stef
    Mar 27, 2010 @ 16:41:53

    It’s great to see Kelly Hunter on the Contemporary Series list. Keep an eye on this author Could be the next Nora Roberts. I highly recommend the nominated Revealed: A Prince and a Pregnancy (April Harlequin Presents) and the “pre-quel” Exposed: Misbehaving with the Magnate (a March Harlequin Presents). Two of the best books I’ve read this year.

  27. Julia Chen
    Mar 27, 2010 @ 17:10:33

    I’m another reader who felt that Nalini Singh & Ilona Andrews should have made the list. A poster here mentioned Andrews’s “Demon Forged”? Well, I agree. I’ll be even more surprised if Ms. Singh’s “Archangel’s Kiss” doesn’t make it for next year’s RITA list. Unless of course, she chooses not to enter.

    As for the Historical category, I’m a little shell-shocked that Meredith Duran wasn’t a finalist. Both “Bound By Your Touch” & “Written on Your Skin” were two of my favorite historical romance novels of 2009.

    Also disappointed that Julie James didn’t make it on the list of contemporary finalists for “Practice Makes Perfect”. Loved “Something About You” btw.

    Here’s to hoping that these authors chose not to enter rather than not getting picked.

  28. Dishonor
    Mar 27, 2010 @ 20:04:33

    The thieves! I’m with everyone who says Meredith Duran was robbed (YET AGAIN) for Bound By Your Touch, which I consider either the best or the second best romance novel I’ve ever read. Here’s to hoping that she, Nalini Singh (Angel’s Blood was extraordinarily good for a paranormal, Julie James, and Meljean chose not to enter instead of getting snubbed.

    I read almost exclusively historicals now, so I’m not familiar with the other categories, but congratulations to Sherry for her nomination. Though Not Quite A Husband was not my favorite from her, the prose sparkled and flowed with a lyricality that only Sherry can achieve.

    Julia, Demon Forged was written by Meljean Brook, not Ilona Andrews.

  29. Edie
    Mar 28, 2010 @ 02:52:53

    Sorry but the paranormal category is a bit of a WTF

  30. Saien
    Mar 28, 2010 @ 08:27:43

    Edie, I second your comment.

  31. Julia Chen
    Mar 28, 2010 @ 09:58:43

    @Dishonor: Doh! I was referring to Ms. Brook’s “Demon Forged”, and then was also thinking of Ilona Andrews’s “Magic Strikes” which I also happened to love. Thanks for the correction.

    So I guess I really meant to say, both Meljean Brook & Ilona Andrews (and Nalini Singh) should have made the list for PNR.

  32. Susan/DC
    Mar 28, 2010 @ 10:13:12

    This is the first time I not only recognize the nominated authors but I’ve actually read some of the books. Reading the list is always an exercise in frustration because so many good books/authors are missing, but I think it’s a function of both the submission and the nominating process.

    As for the paranormals, a category I usually don’t read, I did read the Anne Mallory book and liked it. The H/H had known each other since childhood and had been friends, but when she began to see ghosts he did not believe her and they had a contentious relationship ever since. Watching them fight their attraction was the best thing in the book, and even if it wasn’t quite logical, that connection allowed me to believe she saw him even if he wasn’t (yet) a ghost.

  33. Chicklet
    Mar 28, 2010 @ 12:50:54

    I haven’t read any of these books (most of the romances I read in 2009 were backlist), but I wanted to thank Jane for typing the HTML coding for all of those hyperlinks. *g*

  34. Jane
    Mar 28, 2010 @ 14:03:52

    @Chicklet I gave up in the middle of the post and had to return later to finish. I appreciate you appreciating it!

  35. Karenmc
    Mar 28, 2010 @ 16:00:16

    I’m another who is shocked that neither Duran book is nominated. I read historicals exclusively, and I can tell a wonderful book from a pleasant-but-unmemorable book.

    Well, I guess we just have to be happy that Wicked Becomes You drops at the end of April.

  36. Kalen Hughes
    Mar 28, 2010 @ 16:53:52


    But all it really takes to knock a book out is one “meh” score. It’s better if one reader HATES it than if one just thinks it’s ok (cause then you might get the low score thrown out).

    Plus, we don’t know if she entered. A lot of authors don’t.

  37. Janine
    Mar 29, 2010 @ 00:54:42

    @Kalen Hughes:

    Plus, we don't know if she entered. A lot of authors don't.

    She entered.

  38. D
    Mar 29, 2010 @ 01:58:51

    – Bound by Your Touch = best romance I’ve read in ages. Why isn’t it on this list?
    – What Happened in London = phoning it in.
    – Madness of Lord Ian = didn’t excite me at all.

  39. BethanyA
    Mar 29, 2010 @ 07:47:35

    I tried to read through all the comments, but I went fast, so I don’t know if anyone has commented on the YA finalists.

    I am a huge, huge fan of Jennifer Echols ever since there was a review of Major Crush awhile back. “Going To Far” was phenominal and I sincerely hope it wins. I’ll just say…it stirred me up in a way YAs don’t normally do.

    Wicked All Day was the best historical of the year, I think, and Julie James/Victoria Dahl tie for best contemporary.

%d bloggers like this: