Friday, March 25, 2011

2011 RITA Nominations!

The Romance Writers of America have announced the finalists for the 2011 RITA awards.  Winners will be announced this summer at the annual conference in New York City where, incidentally, yours truly will be crowned 2011 Librarian Of The Year.

You know just in case you hadn't heard about the news (I'm thinking of putting it on my business cards right under Wendy The Super Librarian, Supah Genius).

Ahem, anywho, before we dissect the nominations, a couple of things.  First, here are the official rules.  And second, the most important thing to remember is that authors must submit their books (and pay a contest fee) in order to be eligible.  So author no submit?  Yeah, no chance in hell they'll be on this list.  I also see a lot of chatter (typically) from readers online that they haven't heard of half the nominated books.  Well, that's where I'm here to help.  So away we go.....

Best First Book:
The Summer of Skinny Dipping by Amanda Howells (YA)
Firestorm by Kelly Ann Riley (inspirational suspense)
Enemy Within by Marcella Burnard (science fiction romance)
I Now Pronounce You Someone Else by Erin McCahan (YA)
The Iron King by Julie Kagawa (YA)
Pieces of Sky by Kaki Warner (historical romance)
Wanna Get Lucky? by Deborah Coonts (chick lit/mystery)
A Tailor-Made Bride by Karen Witemeyer (inspirational historical)
When Harry Met Molly by Kieran Kramer (historical romance)

Contemporary Series Romance:
Dare She Date the Dreamy Doc? by Sarah Morgan (Mills & Boon Medical Romance)
Breaking the Sheikh's Rules in the Summer Sheikhs anthology by Abby Green (Mills & Boon)
Christmas Magic on the Mountain by Melissa McClone (Harlequin Romance)
Christmas with Her Boss by Marion Lennox (Harlequin Romance)
Red-Hot Renegade by Kelly Hunter (Mills & Boon Modern Heat)
An Unexpected Father by Lisa Ruff (Harlequin American Romance)
Welcome Home, Cowboy by Karen Templeton (Silhouette Special Edition)
Zoe and the Tormented Tycoon by Kate Hewitt (Harlequin Presents)
  • Sigh.  The McClone, Lennox and Templeton are all in my digital TBR.  I suck.
Contemporary Series Romance: Suspense/Adventure:
The Moon That Night by Helen Brenna (Harlequin Superromance)
The Baby's Guardian by Delores Fossen (Harlequin Intrigue)
Case File: Canyon Creek, Wyoming by Paula Graves (Harlequin Intrigue)
To Catch a Killer by Kimberly Van Meter (Silhouette Romantic Suspense)
A Cop in Her Stocking by Ann Voss Peterson (Harlequin Intrigue)
 Meltdown by Gail Barrett (Silhouette Romantic Suspense)
Perfect Partners? by C.J. Carmichael (Harlequin Superromance)
Renegade Angel by Kendra Leigh Castle (Harlequin Nocturne)
  • The Brenna is in the digital TBR.  Other than that?  I got nothing.  Although I find it really interesting there's a Nocturne in this category.
Contemporary Single Title Romance:
One Fine Cowboy by Joanne Kennedy
Happy Ever After by Nora Roberts
And One Last Thing by Molly Harper
Lead Me On by Victoria Dahl
Not That Kind of Girl by Susan Donovan
Nothing But Trouble by Rachel Gibson
Simply Irresistible by Jill Shalvis
Still the One by Robin Wells
  • More vast sea of nothingness.  I just don't gravitate towards single title contemporaries.  Yes, I'm aware this makes me "part of the problem" Save The Contemporary fans.  It's just I choose to "save the contemporary" via category romance, uh where it doesn't really need much saving.
Historical Romance:
Countess of Scandal by Laurel McKee
Last Night's Scandal by Loretta Chase
The Forbidden Rose by Joanna Bourne
His at Night by Sherry Thomas
A Kiss at Midnight by Eloisa James
A Little Bit Wild by Victoria Dahl
One Wicked Sin by Nicola Cornick
Open Country by Kaki Warner
  • The Thomas, McKee and Warner are in the TBR.  I still need to buy that Cornick trilogy, as well as the Bourne. 
Inspirational Romance:
A Convenient Wife by Anna Schmidt
Doctor in Petticoats by Mary Connealy
Whisper on the Wind by Maureen Lang
Finding Her Way Home by Linda Goodnight
The Wedding Garden by Linda Goodnight
In Harm's Way by Irene Hannon
Maid to Match by Deeanne Gist
Shades of Morning by Marlo M. Schalesky
Within My Heart by Tamera Alexander
  • I read the Gist and thought it was quite lovely.  Gave it a B.
Novel With Strong Romantic Elements:
The Search by Nora Roberts
Stormwalker by Allyson James
Killbox by Ann Aguirre
Blood Vines by Erica Spindler
Dead Travel Fast by Deanna Raybourn
On Folly Beach by Karen White
Wanna Get Lucky? by Deborah Coonts
Welcome to Harmony by Jodi Thomas
  • I listened to The Search on audio, and while I liked it, I OD'ed on all the "dog stuff."  But then, I'm not a huge dog person, so there you go.  We got an ARC of the Raybourn in at work, and I saved it for myself, but yeah.  Haven't read it.
Paranormal Romance:
Rebel by Zoe Archer
Sins of the Heart by Eve Silver
Enemy Within by Marcella Burnard
A Highlander's Homecoming by Melissa Mayhue
Marked by the Moon by Lori Handeland
Water Bound by Christine Feehan
Immortal Sea by Virginia Kantra
Unchained: the Dark Forgotten by Sharon Ashwood
  • Mileage varies on this if you read all the online chatter, but Rebel was actually my favorite out of that Zoe Archer series.  Other than that?  I got nothing.  Paranormal burn out folks.
Regency Historical Romance:
His Christmas Pleasure by Cathy Maxwell
Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake by Sarah MacLean
Provocative in Pearls by Madeline Hunter
To Surrender to a Rogue by Cara Elliott
When Harry Met Molly by Kieran Kramer
Twice Tempted by a Rogue by Tessa Dare
The Mischief of the Mistletoe by Lauren Willig
The Wicked Wyckerly by Patricia Rice
  • The Dare is in the TBR.  That's it.
Romance Novella:
"A Dundee Christmas" by Brenda Novak in That Christmas Feeling (Harlequin Superromance)
"Friendly Fire" by Jill Shalvis in Born on the 4th of July (Harlequin Blaze)
"Blame It on the Blizard" by Jennifer Greene in Baby, It's Cold Outside (Harlequin)
"Love Me to Death" by Maggie Shayne in Heart of Darkness (HQN Books)
"Mistletoe Magic" by Sandra Hyatt in Under the Millionaire's Mistletoe (Silhouette Desire)
"The Wrong Brother" by Maureen Child in Under the Millionaire's Mistletoe (Silhouette Desire)
"Mountain Rose" by Cheryl St. John in To Be a Mother (Steeple Hill Love Inspired Historical)
"Shifting Sea" by Virginia Kantra in Burning Up
  • Dude, Harlequin owns this category.  The Novak and St. John anthologies are in the TBR. 
Romantic Suspense:
Indulgence in Death by J.D. Robb
Love Me to Death by Allison Brennan
The Darkest Hour by Maya Banks
Deadly Fear by Cynthia Eden
Edge of Sight by Roxanne St. Claire
Silent Scream by Karen Rose
Kill Me Again by Maggie Shayne
Two Lethal Lies by Annie Solomon
  • I think I have the Karen Rose in the TBR.  Other than that?  Yeah, nothing.
Young Adult Romance:
Chasing Brooklyn by Lisa Schroeder
The Clearing by Heather Davis
Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
I Now Pronounce You Someone Else by Erin McCahan
The Iron King by Julie Kagawa
Rules of Attraction by Simone Elkeles
The Summer of Skinny Dipping by Amanda Howells
  • I am shocked by how many of these I've actually heard of.  I don't buy YA for work (not "my job") so I tend to be fairly clueless when it comes to these nominees.  That said, I've heard of the Clare, McCahan, Kagawa, Elkeles and the Howells.
And that, is that.  So folks, who has read what here?  Any recommendations for me?  Anything here that you weren't all that impressed with?  Time to dish!


Phyl said...

Thanks for the list. Nice to find it in my reader rather than go looking for links. Anyhow, I'm amazed at how many of these I haven't read given how many books I do read each year. Always nice though to use these lists as fodder for the TBR. I'm sure I'll be looking for many of them. Thanks again!

Dr J said...

Congrats on the award as Super Librarian!! Would you believe . . . I began my love affair with books when a sophomore in high school -- back a few decades . . . and worked my very first job as a "helper" in the city's public library in Elkhart, IN, and all for the hourly wage of 50 cents per. Yet it made me an addict to that musty smell of books and dust and card catalogues. I learned the Library of Congress system and the Duey (sp?) Decimal system and found that books had crept under my skin in a way that I have never found I wanted to reverse. I got to organize a high school library in a private school and have made sure that all my kids and grandkids loved libraries. So kudos and plaudits to you, and thanks for the nominations list. I find that kind of information useful for some reason I can't verbalize -- it's just good to know which authors are being considered. And as you pointed out in one category: it's surprising how many are familiar, regardless the category. Good post . . .

The Book Pimp Blogs said...

Wendy: You must add Red-Hot Renegade by Kelly Hunter to your TBR. I just read it as Her Singapore Fling (Harlequin Presents Extra) and LOVED it. I think it is the best category romance I have ever read. Ohh and congrats yourself on your big award.

John said...

hmmm Should really pick-up that Kimberly Van Meter book "To Catch A Killer". She is very prolific and hot right now and has a way with words. I would defenitely suggest it.

Anonymous said...

Yet, again, my beloved Nalini Singh was robbed. Robbed, I tell you. Also, Meljean Brook for Here There Be Monsters (novella) and The Iron Duke are missing. Meredith Duran's Wicked Becomes You should be on that list as well.


Jeffe Kennedy said...

Disclaimer: Marcella Burnard is my friend and CP, but Enemy Within is Science Fiction Romance. It's been well-received with the hard core Sci Fi folks, too, and a lot of us are super excited to see a book like this crack both Paranormal and Best First Book!

(P.S. I love Meljean Brooks, too, but she can't win what she doesn't enter...)

Wendy said...

Phyl: OMG - doing all this linking damn near killed me! Hopefully they're all working OK.

Dr J: Honestly "award winners" don't really have any meaning for me when it comes to making my own reading choices...but I do like looking at these lists. I'm a list junkie. Can't help myself!

Book Pimp: Oooh, thanks for the US title. I've been meaning try Kelly Hunter for AGES, and have a couple of her earlier HPs floating around here somewhere. Need to dust one of those off for the TBR Challenge!

John: Van Meter is another author I've been meaning to try. I have at least two of her HSRs in my TBR...if not three....sigh.

Vi: Every year I whine that I wish RWA would put out a list of ALL the books that were sent in for consideration. I'm sure they don't do it because it'd be hella work, but it would certainly make discussing the nominations more lively (for good or ill LOL!)

Jeffe: Thank you for the clarification! I "assumed" paranormal, was trying to do about 6 things at once today, and didn't double-check! I've gone in and made a note under her Best First Book nod that it is indeed scifi :)

Jeffe Kennedy said...

Thanks, Wendy! I was president of the Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal Chapter of RWA for two years and we'd really like to see RWA split up the one "paranormal" category. It seems odd that the series romance categories are awarded in such detail, but a now enormous genre like "paranormal" covers everything from light time-travel to contemporary fantasy to steampunk to science fiction romance. No wonder it's difficult for readers to know what is what.

Lil Sis said...

There's a sequel to Perfect Chemistry!??! My kids will be so excited!!!! I think my copy of Perfect Chemistry was actually stolen though. Guess I need a new copy. :)

Lynne Connolly said...

As a writer - I'm not a member of the RWA and I don't enter the RITA's - don't enter many competitions these days. I feel awful when I lose and awful when I win, because I've invariably read another author in the list and I feel bad for her.

The only one that really made me happy was the Sarah Morgan. Loved that book.

Historicals - sigh, and more sigh. I want some history with my historical romance, and there's precious little of it in some of the books.
However Nicola Cornick is in there, and so she should be - go Nicola! proof that you can put real history into a book, and make it engaging and a page-turning read.
And yeah, there are so many there I haven't heard of.

Anonymous said...

Jeffe - Meljean did enter. So astonishment can abound.

Hilcia said...

Congratulations on the Super-Librarian crown Wendy! You'll wear it well. :D

I've read a few books on that list, but like Phyl, I'm amazed at how many of these books I haven't read or haven't heard of... O_o But then that happens to me every year.

Years back I remember complaining about books that didn't make the list, but now I just wonder why authors didn't enter their books and refrain from doing so.

Jeffe Kennedy said...

Okay then - color me astonished! Both Iron Duke and Here There Be Monsters are excellent works with amazing world-building and all the lush emotional interactions I hope for as a reader.

I agree with Wendy: it would be *most* interesting to see the list of entrants. (But I'm still pleased to see science fiction make the finalists!)

Wendy said...

Jeffe: Yeah, the RWA wheels grind slowly. It took them ages to give Regency historicals their own category. I personally would like to see an erotic romance category. I'd like to see a happy medium. A few more categories, but don't go overboard like RT does! LOL

Lil' Sis: Uh yeah, apparently. And why am I not surprised that book got stolen? Oh well, take comfort in knowing they probably stole it because they lurved it :)

Lynne: I need to buy the particular Cornick trilogy still. I've really enjoyed some of her Harlequin Historicals, just haven't tried any of her single titles yet (seriously, my TBR is not even funny anymore).

Anon: The way the judging works (from what I've been told) that one ho-hum score can kill a book's chances. But I'm not eligible to judge the RITAs, so don't "really" know how it all works.

Hilcia: Time, money, and inclination I suspect. Authors have to send in multiple copies of their book, pay a fee, and then I think if you enter you have to volunteer to judge? Maybe? Not totally positive about that last bit.....

Susan/DC said...

I've read the Nicola Cornick trilogy and liked it, in part because she does something all too rare in romance -- takes a female villain (well, in this case sort of villain, but definitely selfish and thoughtless) and makes her into the heroine of the next novel. We see this all the time for men, but women, once branded, tend to stay branded. What's more, she doesn't suffer a total personality transformation in the process. Cornick definitely gets props for this, not to mention the hero is Irish so sympathizes with the French, another all-too-rare occurrence in a Regency romance.

I'd also like to put in a good word for Patricia Rice's "The Wicked Wyckerly". This was the first of her books I read, and I thought she did very well with a more traditional hero and heroine. The hero's got a bankrupt estate (his father and brother were total cads) and an illegitimate daughter and wants to do right by both. He's also got charm and looks and he knows how to use them. I, for one, thought he was totally adorable.

And last but not least, congratulations to the 2011 Library of the Year.

Laura said...

I totally agree with Vi that Nalini Singh was robbed. Her books are part of series, so they don't necessarily stand alone well. However, her plots and characters have such great depth and realism (if you can have realism with paranormal romance novels). Archangel's Consort is one of the only new releases that I've ever purchased full price. I wasn't disappointed.

FiaQ said...

I don't normally comment on RITA lists but I have to admit I was quite shocked when The Iron Duke and TTBM failed to make the list.

There are largely positive mentions of TID by non-romance readers at GoodReads, Amazon, LibraryThing and various non-romance book review blogs. Most of them are male, too. What more does the RWA want?

Seriously, Lori Handeland's "Aye, there be Nessie!" book over TID? I don't get it.

Perhaps because it's a SF romance? I don't think I have ever seen a SF romance as a RITA finalist, actually. Oh, wait - Nora Roberts's In Death series and Marcella Burnard's Enemy Within. Well, I don't know then. Such an odd omission either way.

I do like SF romances so I'll give Burnard's EW a try. Thanks!

Gail Dayton said...

Maybe I should make my comments on my own blog--but this is more fun! :) I've read most of the historical finalists in both historical categories, and a number of the others in many of the other categories. I'm shocked with many of you that certain books didn't make the finals--but then Nalini Singh does have to send her books from New Zealand. Maybe she made a judicial decision about that? Anyway, I have now added all the books, except the ones I've already read (thank goodness--new recommendations!) and the single-title RomSus to my TBR list, and will have to get busy reading. (I can usually enjoy the series romantic suspense, but the single title stuff is too scary for this wimp. I did read the Annie Solomon, and it just creeped me out TOO MUCH, even though it was a really good book.)

As others have said--Not every good book is a finalist, but the finalists are all good books. (I've judged the finals before, in various categories, and they were all good--but of course, some I thought were better than others.) So I usually do my best to read all the finalists, at least in the categories I enjoy, because I've found they're all good books.

Wendy said...

Susan: Now I must have that Cornick trilogy!

Laura: I've been woefully underread in the paranormal sub genre the last couple of years. I think I have the first Psy-Changling book in the TBR....but yeah. Burn out sucks.

FiaQ: The last scifi/rom I can remember being nominated was one of Linnea Sinclair's. Games of Command....I think? So yeah, it's been a while. I like to see variety in the nominations - the thing that floors me is 3 YAs in Best First Book? Really?

Gail: My RITA nomination reading is always hit or miss - but I LOVE reading the Golden Heart finalists if/when they get published. Especially the historicals. I've found some good reads that way :)

Kelly in Hockeytown said...

YA's seem to be the "flavor of the month" this year. @@ I didn't read YA's when I was a YA.

I must admit that every year I am the first to say huh? when it comes to the RITA nominees.

It would be impossible for ME to have read every book, BUT, between the books I do read, the magazines I read and/or the book related blogs I read, you'd think I would have heard of more than I haven't heard of.

Amber (aka BBB) said...

Of the single title contemporaries, I've read the Jill Shalvis (lurved it). Also Lead Me On by V. Dahl. Liked the writing, couldn't stand the heroine.

Even though Kieran Kramer was a double finalist (best first book and Regency), I honestly hated When Harry Met Molly. I rarely say that, but the characters were just...ugh.

Twice Tempted by Dare was my favorite of her Stud Club trilogy. She has a pretty distinctive voice, and her writing is sometimes downright gorgeous.

And the Feehan book? That was a big fat DNF.

I've read 6. That's it. I feel so out of step with the RITAs.

Wendy said...

Kelly: LOL - I didn't read YA when I was a YA either! I went straight from Nancy Drew to Mary Higgins Clark. Of course this was back in The Dark Ages. Now YA is this behemoth of a sub genre!

Amber: The Kramer seems to be a very divisive book. I've seen great reviews and ugh! reviews. Not a whole lot in-between.

Sigh, I still have the last book in the first Dare trilogy to read! Needless to say, the Stud Club is still sitting in my TBR.

Re: Feehan - I know a couple of the So. Cal. Bloggers liked it. I learned a long time ago that Feehand isn't my yeah.