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. November 2017’s RT Seal of Excellence — the editors’ pick for best book of the month — is awarded to Beginner’s Luck by Kate Clayborn.
I fell hard for Beginner’s Luck. Kit and Ben each had difficult upbringings, leading them both on totally different career paths that suddenly converge with a bang! Though Ben totally bungles his first meeting with Kit, his desire to see the talented scientist success far outweighs his embarrassment. With each turn of the page it becomes even ore apparent that Kit and Ben are meant to be. It takes a lot of hard work and sacrifice from either party to make it work, but that makes their ultimate HEA even sweeter!
— Kristin Stec
To start off, I love nothing more than reading about a self-possessed and capable heroine! Scientist Kit fits the bill tremendously. Recruiter Ben tries his best to woo Kit to his company, but he hits a wall …. Kit doesn’t need the money (she won the lottery!), she doesn’t want the new job, and most importantly, she’s already put down roots won’t move cities for a new flashy job. Ben will have to work hard to get in Kit’s good graces, but he’s only in town until his father recovers from surgery. Readers will be waiting on edge to see how their differences are resolved, and with hilarious and heartwarming side characters to boot, Kate Clayborn has a real winner here. — Emily Walton
Well paced, conscientiously plotted and effortlessly charming, this is very nearly a perfect romance. Kit is real and relatable, geeky and self-conscious, with wit and humor that shine through in her inner monologue. The male lead, Ben, is incredibly realized as well: he is complicated, self-aware, and he still carries shades of his angry youth. With a slow-burn beginning, the story deftly balances multiple roadblocks to the leads’ happiness without losing its grounding. The moments that shift a relationship do not lose impact for being precisely timed. This book is stunning from the get-go, and it never disappoints even as it speeds to a very satisfying conclusion. — Aarthi Devanathan
And the other nominees were …
Waiting for this second book in the Weathermages of Mystral series, The Sea King by CL Wilson, felt like forever, but it was more than worth it! After the war with the Ice King, Dilys Merimydion, Prince of the Calbernan Isles, goes to court one of the Season Princesses in order to secure his heir. He doesn’t expect to spark with the Summer Princess, Gabriella Coruscate, and as they get closer, a larger threat looms over them. From the second I saw the cover, I knew The Sea King would take over my life for a couple of days as I hid away to go read it — and what a read! The perfect combination of high fantasy adventure and scorching romance, The Sea King definitely deserves it’s Top Pick status. — Alyssa Duspiva
Eloisa James has done it again! Wilde in Love is the thrilling tale of an innocent who tames the famous world explorer Alaric Wilde. Hilarious hijinks help to move the story along — expect another unconventional pet ala Seven Minutes in Heaven — while honest conversation highlights the genuine affection shared by Willa and Alaric. Of course, Willa has no desire to marry a famous man, placing Alaric in quite the pickle. Of course, obstacles only serve to make the journey to an HEA that much more entertaining! — Kristin Stec
All Those Explosions Were Someone Else’s Fault by James Alan Gardner checks all my boxes for new books that I know I’ll enjoy: Snappy dialogue? Check. Complex world building? Check. Social commentary wrapped up in a fun and action-packed superhero origin story? Check, check, check! In Gardner’s world, the rich and powerful have become even more so by making turning immortal, calling themselves the Darklings. Holding power over the government and the economy, normal people are helpless to face them — until superheroes called Sparks begin showing up as results of freak accidents and science experiments. Kim Lam and his three housemates are turned into Sparks, and face enemies before they can even begin to process what’s happened. Contrary to this book’s long title, I was hooked in so quickly and was done before I could realize how fast I had been turning its pages. The pacing, the action, the humor — all of this makes All Those Explosions Were Someone Else’s Fault one of my new favorites— Alyssa Duspiva
With a strong leading heroine and a love triangle between a well-meaning sheriff and a soul-bound demon, a coven of friendly Wiccans, and a demonic biker gang, it’s no wonder Booke of the Hidden by Jeri Westerson got our 5 Star Gold rating! Kylie Strange moves to a remote New England town to open up her own tea and herb shop, only to find an ancient book that releases both helpful and dangerous demons into the world. Kylie is plunged into a reality of magic and demons, but her friends and a sexy demon are there to help. This book had me cheering for Kylie and her friends, and I can’t wait to see how the rest of this series continues!— Alyssa Duspiva
Congratulations to the winner and all of the nominees! You can also find all of our Seal of Excellence winners here.
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