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Monday, March 26, 2012

Taking Tea With Lovely Rita

It's that time of year again!  Time for the Romance Writers of America (RWA) to announce the nominees for their annual Golden Heart (unpublished manuscript) and RITA (published) awards.  For the last several years it's become a Bat Cave tradition for me to post the list of RITA nominees and publicly declare what I have read, what I don't own, and what is hopelessly languishing in the TBR.  Here it goes!

Title links take you to Amazon (print) page. 

Best First Book
Beautiful Disaster by Laura Spinella (romantic suspense)
The Darling Strumpet by Gillian Bagwell (historical fiction)
The Devil in Disguise by Stefanie Sloane(historical)
First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones (paranormal)
Hourglass by Myra McEntire(YA)
How to Marry a Duke by Vicky Dreiling (historical)
I'm Not Her by Janet Gurtler (YA)
Warped by Maurissa Guibord (YA)
  •  Haven't read any of these, but big shock - I have two in the TBR.  Wanna guess which ones?  Why, of course, it's the historicals!  The Sloane and the Dreiling.
Contemporary Series Romance
A Bravo Homecoming by Christine Rimmer (Harlequin Special Edition)
Donovan's Child by Christine Rimmer (Harlequin Special Edition)
Doukakis's Apprentice by Sarah Morgan (Harlequin Presents)
How a Cowboy Stole Her Heart by Donna Alward (Harlequin Romance)
I'll Catch You by Farrah Rochon (Harlequin Kimani Romance)
A Mother's Homecoming by Tanya Michaels (Harlequin American Romance)
Rancher's Twins: Mom Needed by Barbara Hannay (Harlequin Romance)
The Texan's Bride by Linda Warren (Harlequin Superromance)
  •  I'm so happy to see Donna Alward get recognized this year, as I've read a slew of her books and she's never fallen below a B- for me.  I reviewed How a Cowboy Stole Her Heart for TGTBTU.  Pretty sure I have the Tanya Michaels in my digital TBR....and that's all I got. 
Contemporary Series Romance: Suspense/Adventure
Cooper Vengeance by Paula Graves (Harlequin Intrigue)
The Doctor’s Deadly Affair by Stephanie Doyle (Harlequin Romantic Suspense)
The Man from Gossamer Ridge by Paula Graves (Harlequin Intrigue)
Nothing But the Truth by Kara Lennox (Harlequin Superromance)
Soldier's Last Stand by Cindy Dees (Harlequin Romantic Suspense)
Stranded with Her Ex by Jill Sorenson (Harlequin Romantic Suspense)
Taken to the Edge by Kara Lennox (Harlequin Superromance)
  •  I've got the Jill Sorenson in my TBR, and that's it....
Contemporary Single Title Romance
At Hidden Falls by Barbara Freethy
Black Ties and Lullabies by Jane Graves
Boomerang Bride by Fiona Lowe (e-book)
Heartstrings and Diamond Rings by Jane Graves
Silver Sparks by Starr Ambrose
Slow Dancing on Price's Pier by Lisa Dale
Summer at Seaside Cove by Jacquie D’Alessandro
The Welcome Home Garden Club by Lori Wilde
  •  ::crickets chirping:: I'm just not much of a single title contemporary girl.  After years of collecting them, and in some cases struggling through them - I finally accepted the fact that when I want contemporary I want category romance.  Nice to see a Carina Press title nominated though!
Historical Romance
Always a Temptress by Eileen Dreyer
The Black Hawk by Joanna Bourne
The Danger of Desire by Elizabeth Essex
Heartbreak Creek by Kaki Warner
The Many Sins of Lord Cameron by Jennifer Ashley
Scandalous Desires by Elizabeth Hoyt
Silk Is for Seduction by Loretta Chase
Unveiled by Courtney Milan
  •  Nothing in my TBR, but I've been meaning to get the Bourne, Hoyt and Milan.  I'm really happy to see a western here (Kaki Warner), but this is a book I just can't seem to wrap my mind around getting because the back cover blurb turned me off (hero thinks wife #1 is dead....and da da da, she isn't!).  Despite favorable reviews from readers within my "trust network."  I know, I need help.
Inspirational Romance
The Christmas Child by Linda Goodnight
Deadly Pursuit by Irene Hannon
Katie's Way by Marta Perry
The Ladies' Room by Carolyn Brown
Love on the Line by Deeanne Gist
The Measure of Katie Calloway by Serena Miller
My Foolish Heart by Susan May Warren
Save the Date by Jenny B. Jones
To Win Her Heart by Karen Witemeyer
  •  The Deeanne Gist book is the one where she named the town librarian after yours truly.  Authors I think we now have proof that when you name characters after me, you are guaranteed a Rita nomination!  OK, so it's a scientific study title.  Still, I think it bears further observation.  Oh, and of course it's in my TBR.
Novel with Strong Romantic Elements
The Dark Enquiry by Deanna Raybourn
Death Magic by Eileen Wilks
First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones
Goodnight Tweetheart by Teresa Medeiros
How to Bake a Perfect Life by Barbara O'Neal
The Rose Garden by Susanna Kearsley
Song of the Nile by Stephanie Dray
Spider's Revenge by Jennifer Estep
  •  OK, I meant to buy the Kearsley and distracted.  Need to get that book.
Paranormal Romance
Archangel's Blade by Nalini Singh
Changeling Moon by Dani Harper
Dragon Bound by Thea Harrison
Envy by J.R. Ward
Lord of the Abyss by Nalini Singh
The Lost by Caridad PiƱeiro
Nightfall by Ellen Connor
The Restorer by Amanda Stevens
  •  ::crickets chirping::  Yeah, got nothing.  Paranormal burn-out.  I do have a copy of Nightfall lying around here somewhere because Carrie Lofty is one half of Ellen Connor.  Oh, and I remember thinking that Amanda Stevens title looked interesting....but paranormal burn-out.
Regency Historical Romance
The Devil in Disguise by Stefanie Sloane
How to Marry a Duke by Vicky Dreiling
Heiress in Love by Christina Brooke
How to Seduce a Scoundrel by Vicky Dreiling
Lady Sophie's Christmas Wish by Grace Burrowes
A Night to Surrender by Tessa Dare
To Seduce an Angel by Kate Moore
When Beauty Tamed the Beast by Eloisa James
  •  I have the Sloane and both Dreiling's.  I could have sworn I had the Tessa Dare lying around here somewhere, but now can't find it.  Will have to pick up another copy, or else read one of the several I bought for work.
Romance Novella
"Angel's Wolf" by Nalini Singh in Angels of Darkness
"Chaos in Death" by J.D. Robb in The Unquiet
"Compassion Can't Wait" by Carly Phillips in More Than Words, Vol. 7
I Love the Earl by Caroline Linden
"One Wish: a Christmas Story" by Jodi Thomas in A Texas Christmas
"Resolution" by Linda Winstead Jones in The Heart of Winter
“The Storm Within” by Trish Morey in A Royal Engagement
"Unforgiven" by Ruth Ryan Langan in The Unquiet
  •  I read the More Than Words anthology and the review can be found here.  The Phillips story wasn't my favorite, but outside of some writing bug-a-boos (for me), I liked the story.  Congrats to Ruth Langan on her nod!  She wrote a historical western that was my first ever romance novel (which I inhaled when I was 14-years-old).  (For you nosey nellies, it was Nevada Nights which I wouldn't recommend now since it doesn't really hold up - but dang, LOVED that book when I was 14).  Oh, and I need to pick up that Jodi Thomas anthology still.
Romantic Suspense
Hidden Away by Maya Banks
Hot Zone by Catherine Mann
Hush by Cherry Adair
New York to Dallas by J.D. Robb
Secrets of Bella Terra by Christina Dodd
True Colors by Joyce Lamb
True Shot by Joyce Lamb
Where All the Dead Lie by J.T. Ellison
  •  This is a (no pun intended) dead zone for me.  Need to pester Lori, our resident R/S junkie among the SoCal Bloggers to see if she's read and can recommend any of these.
Young Adult Romance
Enclave by Ann Aguirre
Flawless by Lara Chapman
Hourglass by Myra McEntire
I'm Not Her by Janet Gurtler
Touch of Frost by Jennifer Estep
Warped by Maurissa Guibord
  •  I have nothing against YA, I just have zero time to read it.  I would like to, but I can't even keep up with my "grown-up" reading.  Sigh.  So yeah, I got nothing here.
Kind of slim-pickins' for me.  I blame this on the fact that the crush of my TBR has really caused me to slow down on my book buying in the past year.  But.....I'm always open for recommendations.  Because, you know, I'm sad that I haven't been doing a lot of book buying lately.  So fire away in the comments!


    Lori said...

    So yeah. Like you, I am amazed at how few of these I've read. Last year I'd read so many of them. Go figure.

    Anywho... re: the R/S. I've read the Banks and the Mann, that's it. *sob* I gave up on Cherry Adair when she went all paranormal, and have been slow to pick up this new RS series, even though I really adored her first series. I'm one book shy of reading the Robb, so could likely let you know soon enough, but if you aren't caught up on the series, obviously you wouldn't want to pick this one up yet. I gave up reading Dodd when a couple of her SEAL books were too silly/TSTL for me to finish.

    And... I've heard really good things about both Joyce Lamb and JT Ellison, neither of whom I've read before, so will need to check those out.

    Between the two I've read, I would go with the Banks. It wasn't my favorite in the series (that would be the first one - this is #3), but if you love the fun banter between brothers, it's definitely a winner. Though both books have pieces that will hit your personal hot buttons, lol. I enjoyed them both, but I'm also so much easier to please than you are. Oh, and yeah. The Banks is #3 in a series, and the Mann is #2.

    Unknown said...

    I am very happy to see Jane Graves get TWO nominations in the Contemporary single title category. One I read and the other I am reading right now. Jane Graves consistently writes great books.
    I haven't read any of the Contemporary Series stuff although I have Doukakis's Apprentice by Sarah Morgan in a pile somewhere.

    AnimeJune said...

    The only one of the YA nominees I've read is I'M NOT HER, which was a "m'eh" grade for me. I've kind of lost touch with romance lately (I've been getting more into fantasy and YA), and the Rita nominees kind of brought that home (although CONGRATS to Courtney Milan and Joanna Bourne!).

    Wendy said...

    Lori: I'm curious about the Lamb(s), and I routinely buy Ellison for work (patron requests!) - so I'll be curious to hear what you say about those.

    Wendy said...

    Samantha: Graves is an author who is all over the map for me. I've loved some of her books, and loathed others. Even with reviews, I've found myself either elated or burned by the outcome. Not sure what it is - but makes it hard for me when navigating her backlist.

    Wendy said...

    AnimeJune: Every time I'm at a conference and see a YA panel, or hear a YA author talk - I just want to run out and read NOTHING but YA. Sigh, it's just hard to find the time! So many adult books, having to work for a living - bah!

    Lori said...

    Of course, I bought all 3 today. Damn you.

    Lori said...

    I know! I totally felt that way after Passion and Prose. I wanted to read every single on of their books asap. And maybe I will....

    Lil Sis said...

    I know about Enclave - I haven't read it though. It seems like magic (Harry Potter) was hot, then vampires and werewolves (Twilight), and now the end of the world (Hunger Games). I usually find new books when my students want the "next big thing."

    nath said...

    So I was talking with Ames about the RITA nominations and it turns out that I've read about 17.5 of the books nominated!! Woohooo, I think that's a record for me :) The 0.5 is because I read half of the book and skimmed till the end. Just wasn't in the mood. Oh and I have 5-7 other books in my TBR pile :)

    I'd have to agree with Lori that I think in the RS category, Ms Banks has the most chance to win. I read New York to Dallas and didn't think it was the best In Death book. While I didn't read that particular Christina Dodd, I did read the sequel, Revenge at Bella Terra... and I don't think that'll win it. However, Ms Lamb might be the surprise in that category. I've read one of her book and while it wasn't a wowzer, it was very solid. Especially when it came to the suspense :)

    I'm hoping Darynda Jones will win either the best first book or strong romantic element. I really enjoyed First Grave to the Right :) And I'm really glad Summer at Seaside Cove by Jacquie D'Alessandro was nominated! Great gem, completely too me by surprise :) And of course, I hope that Jennifer Estep will win something as well :)

    azteclady said...

    Well, I'm an Ann Aguirre fangirl, and she's the other half of Ellen Connor, so you should get off your bum and read Nightfall and Enclave. There, I said it :grin:

    little alys said...

    Have I been living under a rock or something? I don't recognize more than 80% of these...Only a few authors and maybe two books. O_o

    Marguerite Kaye said...

    I enjoyed Susanna Kearsley's The Rose Garden, but if you haven't read any of hers, I'd say The Winter Sea/Sophia's Choice is better by miles - and that's not just because it's set in Scotland!

    Buriedbybooks said...

    I've read 6 of them. And I have another 3 in the TBR. I don't read YA and rarely read category, but the fact that I've only read 1 single title contemporary is odd. I adore contemps, but I've only read the D'Alessandro. Which I loved, although I miss her historicals.

    Wendy said...

    Lil Sis: Well now that you're gainfully employed again, I can grab lots of YA books for you when the conference is in Anaheim this summer :)

    Wendy said...

    Nath: Holy cow! 17.5!!! I can't even imagine....

    Wendy said...

    AL: I know, I know. And Rosie nagged me into buying the first Skin book, and where do you think that one is still languishing? Yep.

    Wendy said...

    Alys: I recognized most of them, although I'm spottier with the YA stuff (not my job at work, so a lot of that flies under my radar). I think there's been an influx of new voices in the past year, especially in historicals, and the RITAs are starting to reflect that (IMHO).

    Wendy said...

    Marguerite: I know I've got The Winter Sea lying around here somewhere....

    Wendy said...

    Amber: I've seen a lot readers mention they really liked the D'Alessandro contemporary - will have to look into that one!

    Donna Alward said...

    Sending you big hugs, Wendy...thanks for the little "extra" words about the nom. I swear I started crying when I saw the area code on the call display.

    Donna Alward said...

    Sending you big hugs, Wendy...thanks for the little "extra" words about the nom. I swear I started crying when I saw the area code on the call display.

    Anonymous said...

    I really must recommend several of the books that you listed. Deanna Raybourne writes some of the best historical mystery/romances out there! Her and Eliz Hoyt have some of the best characters, flaws and all!!! Same goes for Thea Harrison. She breaks the stereotypical paranormal mold and makes it shine. As for Amanda Stevens, her book scared the crap out of me! I was reading it at night with my back to the windows (which have no curtains). I got to a scene where the heroine is seeing something in her back yard through dark windows and I got the chills. I would classify her as a mystery with paranormal elements and she is top notch. Hope you give these a try, I don't think you will regret it! :)

    Wendy said...

    Donna: Really happy for you! Hope to see you in Anaheim!

    Lesleen: ::shaking fist:: Dang you Lesleen! LOL - I can feel myself caving on that Amanda Stevens book now. I love creepy. I might be able to get over my paranormal burn-out long enough to read something good and creepy.