Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Wendy Does Rita

RWA has announced the RITA nominees for this year, and I know y'all are just dying to read my commentary on the matter. The nominees this year continue to follow the usual pattern for me - 1) I haven't read nearly enough of these 2) I have some in the TBR and 3) There are some I have zero interest in. Which I figure is about normal for any sort of award. I mean, look at the Oscars. I don't know about you all, but I have yet to see The English Patient and the idea of watching Atonement makes me go a big rubbery one. Ahem, anyway - without further ado:

2008 RITA for Best First Book Finalists
Dead Girls Are Easy by Terri Garey
Graffiti Girl by Kelly Parra
Prime Time by Hank Phillippi Ryan
Prom Dates From Hell by Rosemary Clement-Moore
Silent in the Grave by Deanna Raybourn
Snow Angel by Jamie Carie
Thief With No Shadow by Emily Gee
Treasure by Helen Brenna

Wendy Says: This is a really interesting mix - paranormal, inspirational, YA, historical mystery and a couple of Harlequins. This is a truly wide-open race me thinks. The Ryan is on my TBB and I "petted" the Raybourn but never read it. Bought lots of copies for work though - does that count?

2008 RITA for Contemporary Series Romance Finalists
Always a Bridesmaid by Kristin Hardy (SSE)
Fall From Grace by Kristi Gold (Everlasting)
Make-Believe Mom by Elaine Grant (HSR)
Night Mischief by Nina Bruhns (Nocturne)
Sleeping Partner by Kelly Hunter (M&B)
Snowbound by Janice Johnson (HSR)
The Mile High Club by Heidi Rice (M&B)
The Tycoon's Princess Bride by Natasha Oakley (HP)

Wendy Says: How bizarre is this? I'm reading Snowbound right now (review forthcoming). I've enjoyed Kristi Gold's books in the past, and have Fall From Grace in the TBR. And am I the only one annoyed that M&B books get nominated but we can't get them here in the US until Harlequin gets around to reprinting them? Frankly it's kind of a tease.

2008 RITA for Contemporary Series Romance: Suspense/Adventure Finalists
High-Risk Affair by RaeAnne Thayne (SIM)
Midnight Prince by Dani Sinclair (HI)
Sara's Son by Tara Taylor Quinn (HSR)
Stranded With A Spy by Merline Lovelace (SRS)
The Medusa Affair by Cindy Dees (SRS)
The Medusa Seduction by Cindy Dees (SRS)
Treasure by Helen Brenna (HSR)
Untouched by Samantha Hunter (HB)

Wendy Says: I'm hopeless here. I love romantic suspense, but I tend not to read it in category format. My theory is because I like to read category to get my straight-up contemporary fix. Frankly if I want suspense, I can get it a variety of other places. And while I love the HSR line, I tend to avoid those books that have a whiff of suspense to them. I know, I'm weird.

2008 RITA for Contemporary Single Title Romance Finalists
Blame It On Cupid by Jennifer Greene
Catch of the Day by Kristan Higgins
Coming Undone by Susan Andersen
Sexiest Man Alive by Diana Holquist
She's No Angel by Leslie Kelly
Tangled Up In You by Rachel Gibson
Tempt Me Tonight by Toni Blake
The Sleeping Beauty Proposal by Sarah Strohmeyer

Wendy Says: I've got the Jennifer Greene in the TBR, and that's it. And we should all root for Greene because she's from Michigan and Michigan girls rock the house!

2008 RITA for Historical Romance Finalists
And Then He Kissed Her by Laura Lee Guhrke
Beloved Warrior by Patricia Potter
Lessons of Desire by Madeline Hunter
Mine Till Midnight by Lisa Kleypas
Surrender to a Scoundrel by Julianne MacLean
Tempted Tigress by Jade Lee
The Leopard Prince by Elizabeth Hoyt
The Perfect Kiss by Anne Gracie

Wendy Says: Frankly I'm rooting for Jade Lee here because hers is the only story that doesn't take place anywhere near England. That said, I have the Guhrke, Potter, and Hoyt all in my TBR.

2008 RITA for Inspirational Romance Finalists
A Touch of Grace by Linda Goodnight
Autumn Blue by Karen Harter
Pursuit of Justice by Pamela Tracy
Rainbow's End by Irene Hannon
Ransomed Dreams by Amy Wallace
Splitting Harriet by Tamara Leigh
Taming Rafe by Susan May Warren
When the Morning Comes by Cindy Woodsmall

Wendy Says: I don't read inspirational, but do recognize some names here cuz I buy it for work.

2008 RITA for Novel with Strong Romantic Elements Finalists
A Gentle Rain by Deborah Smith
High Noon by Nora Roberts
Learning to Breathe by Karen White
Odd Mom Out by Jane Porter
See No Evil by Allison Brennan
Silent in the Grave by Deanna Raybourn
Sugar Daddy by Lisa Kleypas
Thief With No Shadow by Emily Gee

Wendy Says: Well that woman who is pissed at RWA for having a bias against small presses no longer has a leg to stand on because if Deborah Smith's book isn't "small press" I don't know what is. The Smith, Nora, White and Brennan are all in the TBR and le sigh, I really need to read Sugar Daddy. I did buy a mess of copies for work though - does that count? This goes to either Nora or Kleypas (IMHO), but I think Porter is the dark horse. I know a lot of readers who really enjoy her more mainstream, non-HP stuff.

2008 RITA for Paranormal Romance Finalists
Dead Girls Are Easy by Terri Garey
Demon's Kiss by Maggie Shayne
Games of Command by Linnea Sinclair
He Loves Me, He Loves Me Hot by Stephanie Rowe
Lover Revealed by J.R. Ward
Prince of Magic by Linda Winstead Jones
Raintree: Haunted by Linda Winstead Jones
Touch of Darkness by Christina Dodd

Wendy Says: I didn't find it perfect (the secondary romance didn't do much for me, the furzels were a little too precious, and the beginning is slow), but I'm glad to see Linnea Sinclair here because dang, what a hero! As for the rest? Haven't read, don't have in TBR. No shock, cuz dang I'm really burnt out on paranormal anything.

2008 RITA for Regency Historical Romance Finalists
Blackthorne's Bride by Shana Galen
Claiming the Courtesan by Anna Campbell
Lord of Scandal by Nicola Cornick
The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever by Julia Quinn
Untouched by Anna Campbell

Wendy Says: Campbell should win just on buzz alone - but with two nominations she'll split her votes. And does anyone really believe that Quinn will lose this? Oh, and no shock here - Wendy, She Who Is Burnt Out On Regency Era Anything hasn't read and doesn't own any of these.

2008 RITA for Romance Novella Finalists
“Angel and the Hellraiser” in Demon’s Delight by Vickie Taylor
“Born in My Heart” in Like Mother, Like Daughter by Jennifer Greene
“Christmas Cravings” in Holiday with a Vampire by Maureen Child
“Christmas Day Family” in A Western Winter Wonderland by Cheryl St. John
“Eternity in Death” in Dead of Night by Nora Roberts
“Fallen Angel” in A Western Winter Wonderland by Jenna Kernan
“Mischief and the Marquess” in Perfect Kisses by Sylvia Day
“On the Fringe” in Dead of Night by Mary Kay McComas

Wendy Says: The most interesting category I think. I'm so happy to see St. John and Kernan nominated because Western Winter Wonderland is easily one of the strongest anthologies I've ever read. That said, Nora is nominated for an In Death story and I don't think anyone else has a pray.

2008 RITA for Romantic Suspense Finalists
Die for Me by Karen Rose
Ice Blue by Anne Stuart
Ice Storm by Anne Stuart
Prime Time by Hank Phillippi Ryan
Speak No Evil by Allison Brennan
Traceless by Debra Webb
White Heat by Cherry Adair

Wendy Says: The Rose and Brennan are in the TBR. Both the Ryan and Webb are on the TBB.

2008 RITA for Young Adult Romance
Girl at Sea by Maureen Johnson
Graffiti Girl by Kelly Parra
Leaving Paradise by Simone Elkeles
Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr

Wendy Says: I read so little YA, but have heard of the Marr because of online buzz. Might have to look some of these up though, if only to give as suggestions to my Lil' Sis, The High School English Teacher. She's always looking for books to add to her classroom.


Anonymous said...

In appreciation of your recommendations I've enjoyed (thank you for introducing me to Karen Templeton), I'm going to suggest you try Kristan Higgins' "Catch of the Day". This and "Silent in the Grave" were probably my favorite books of 2007. Sure there could have been more of the hero in Catch, but I found the heroine charming, funny and self-deprecating. She does some stupid things but then again most romance novel heroines do.


Mollie said...

For the YA, I'm disappointed to see Girl at Sea. I did not think it was very good. Johnson's 13 Little Blue Envelopes is infinitely better. Think there are much better YA's out there that could have been on the list. Le Sigh.

Sherry Thomas said...

Is it weird that I'm Chinese but I'm not a whole lot interested in historical romances set in China--is that where Jade Lee's is set?

I think it's because 19th century and early 20th century for China was not a good time. Frankly it sucked ass. And polygamy was the norm. And the endlessly extended family and the all-powerful mother-in-law? So not good for the HEA.

Wendy said...

Jen: I know a couple of people who really liked the Higgins book. Must check that one out....

Mollie: The problem with the RITA is that the author has to enter her book for consideration - so maybe Johnson didn't enter? That's always the reasoning I use when my favorites don't even get nominated.

Sherry: Not weird at all! I earned my BA in British history and I'm insanely burnt out on English historicals. That might be because Regency is still king, and that time period has always been my least favorite (give me Tudor, Elizabethan or Victorian I say!)

Yes, the Jade Lee is set in China. I believe late 19th century - but don't quote me on that!

Alie said...

I personally hope Nora Roberts and Anne Stuart win. Their novels are so consistent, at least for me.

shayera said...

Oh oh! I've got opinions! And I'm going to force them on you. ;-)
I haven't read a ton of the books. But I did read some that you didn't.

I enjoyed Prom Dates From Hell by Rosemary Clement-Moore. It had a nice lot of sarcastic funny going for it, which I enjoy.
I loved Blame It On Cupid by Jennifer Greene! Loved it! And to be honest, I liked it a lot more than her new one, Blame it on Paris.
Mine Till Midnight by Lisa Kleypas, The Perfect Kiss by Anne Gracie, and The Leopard Prince by Elizabeth Hoyt were all good. The Gracie was the last in a series. And I adored the first book.
The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever by Julia Quinn was good. Not my favorite. But since she's one of my Facebook friends, I'm rooting for her.

Sherry, I went looking for your book yesterday. My lame Borders couldn't find it. But I'm continuing the hunt.

Nicole said...

Oh, Catch of the Day was so good. Very sweet and I thought the first person was done really really well.

I have Dead Girls Are Easy on the TBR pile. And Coming Undone by Andersen and Tangled Up in You by Gibson.

I liked Mine Till Midnight, but not sure if it's the best one I read all year.

Just finished up Blackthorne's Bride by Shana Galen today and it was okay. Very cute and wallpaper, but it held my interest.

Wendy said...

I love opinions! Keep 'em coming!

Shayera: I'm going to dig around in the TBR next week and try to unearth the nominees I have in my TBR (including the Greene). The plan (Ha!) is to try to read them before RWA this summer. Of course, I had good intentions to read some of my older TBR books this year and so far that's been a bust......

Katiebabs a.k.a KB said...

Wendy: I read Wickedly Lovely and recommend it. Even though it is a YA read, there are very mature topics, mainly dealing with sex. Between Marr and Meyer, these are two authors who are the best of the best in the YA genre.
Also Jeaniene Frost who wrote Halfway to the Grave is friends with Marr also.

Jade Lee continues to blow me away. Her books are so out of the box. A heroine as a opium runner and the hero wants to kill her. What a romance! LOL

Amie Stuart said...

Prom Dates from Hell is AWESOME!!!!!! Ok sorry I was gushing.

I haven't read The Sleeping Beauty Proposal but I loved the first book in the series, and I'm glad to see STephanie Rowe's book up there...I love her stuff. I think that ones in my TBR pile. I'm embarrassed to say I gushed at her in an elevator at RWA last year *sigh*

Lil Sis said...

Wendy - I'll look into these titles - thanks. I haven't read this but that doesn't mean much. I'm constantly trying to catch up with all the new YA each year. I agree with Mollie - I read 13 Little Blue - loved it! It was a "Florida Reads" book this year...

Mollie said...

So, I went back and checked 13 Little Blue Envelopes was published in 2005 so that's probably why. Girl at Sea was nowhere near as good as 13LBE. I haven't read any of the other YA nominees but I've heard great things about Wicked Lovely. Any of them have to be better than Girl at Sea.

If anyone's looking for some other good YA suggestions take a peek over at my other blog Teen Troves where we review only YA stuff. I'm so jealous of the YA lit that is out nowadays. I was stuck with R.L. Stine, SVH, Baby-Sitter's Club, etc. The YA being written today is wonderful.

One of the best I've read in '08 was Sara Zarr's Sweethearts. She was a national Book Award Finalist for her book Story of a Girl (which I haven't read) but it was bumped up on my list after reading Sweethearts. Some other good YA include the Twilight series by Stephanie Meyer, Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn & David L. as well as just about anything by Sarah Dessen.

Ok, I'll shut-up now. YA rocks! ;)

Sherry Thomas said...


Dang. I thought Borders like me. I thought they usually had a pretty good romance selection.

Good luck with your hunt. ;-)

shayera said...

I'm absolutely sure they do like you.
But the stoners who work in my local Borders won't know a on sale date if it danced naked in front of them. My friends and I are always forcing them to go in the back and dig out things that should out.
I shall persevere. Actually, I'll probably just go to a different store. I'm dying to read it!