October 2014 Seal of Excellence

Each month the RT editors select one book that is not only compelling, but pushes the boundaries of genre fiction. This book stands out from all the others reviewed that month, in the magazine issue and on the website. October 2014’s RT Seal of Excellence — the editors’ pick for best book of the month — is awarded to Joanna Wylde‘s MC erotic romance, Reaper’s Stand.

“Reaper’s Stand is absolutely batshit crazy, and, believe me, I mean that as the highest of compliments. Every time you think, “Okay, this must be the most insane thing that happens. It can’t get any more ridiculous,” Wylde ups the ante, making for one of the most exciting and just flat-out fun books I’ve read in awhile. I devoured Reaper’s Stand within 24 hours and actively resented anything that kept me from reading it. Mashing up romantic suspense with erotica, Wylde offers up a mature hero and heroine who initially seem like a bit of an odd couple, but the more you see London and Reese in action — especially as deeply protective parents to their respective children — the more they seem destined to be together. Just one little plea to the motorcycle club gods: Puck may be the hero on deck for the next book, but I’m dying to read more about Painter and Melanie.” — Regina Small

“After I finished Devil’s Game, the third in Wylde’s Reapers MC series, I wanted Reaper’s Stand immediately. Playboy, overprotective father and MC President Reese “Picnic” Hayes was so intriguing in Devil’s Game, and his story in Reaper’s Stand exceeded my expectations. As crazy as this plot was, there’s an element of authenticity in how Wylde portrays MC life and the pack mentality of the lifestyle makes each and every character essential to the story. You’ll be instantly hooked, and trust me, the wait between books feels like ages.” — Elisa Verna

Reaper’s Stand is the epitome of a guilty pleasure read — but without any real guilt. The dirty, sexy tale is the perfect blend of complex plot and steamy sex, and it is utterly impossible to put down. London Armstrong is the kind of heroine it’s easy to love: sweet, sassy and a bit of a badass when she needs to be. Meanwhile, love interest Reese “Picnic” Hayes is the most complicated hero I’ve ever encountered. Like London, I alternated between wanting to punch him and jump him, but I couldn’t help hoping he’d get a good old-fashioned HEA. Between the will-they/won’t-they love story and the at times terrifying adventures of the MC, Wylde kept me on the edge of my seat, and I never wanted the ride to end.” — Jennifer Peters

Here are the other books we considered for our October 2014 Seal of Excellence Award:

Autumn is my favorite season, October is my favorite month and Halloween is — by far — my favorite holiday. It’s the perfect time to curl up with a hot cup of tea and a cozy mystery! Heather Blake‘s One Potion in the Grave is a delightful, diverting but also surprisingly poignant whodunnit centering on potion-maker and amateur sleuth Carly Bell Hartwell. Carly’s not only got some witchy powers in her arsenal; she’s also got a pack of quirky aunts and two amazing(ly hungry) cats named Roly and Poly, all of whom add to the fun. At the start of One Potion, Carly’s old friend Katie Sue Perrywinkle returns to town, having pulled herself out of a rocky childhood to become a doctor — only to end up dead. In between some clever, well-crafted twists and red herrings, Blake also manages to weave in a touching tale about a young woman whose promising life is cut short, while still keeping the mystery alive until the very end. — Regina Small

Rooms is the kind of book that stays with you. I found myself thinking on it, and it’s sad, layered, real-yet-ghostly characters on a recent beautiful autumn afternoon. I’ve likened it to friends as “August: Osage County with ghosts.” It’s a meditation on messed up families, the lies we tell ourselves, how we change and don’t — and ghosts! Lauren Oliver, this is some book. — Elissa Petruzzi

Readers will be drawn into Cara Connelly’s latest Save the Date installment, The Wedding Vow, as they watch a somewhat unexpected relationship unfold. Spitfire, pipsqueak attorney Maddie St. Clair once stood on the opposite side of the courtroom from billionaire tycoon, Adam LeCroix, but times have certainly changed … though his good looks have not. The author layers the romance with realistic family dynamics, hidden secrets and clever narrative. And of course, the “I want you, but shouldn’t” theme will satisfy all those who appreciate a good romance. — Danielle Valente

Congratulations to the winner and all of the nominees! You can find all of our Seal of Excellence winners here.

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