Monday, July 20, 2009

My brief take on RITA 2009 Winners

The biggest conference concerning the romance industry just took place in Washington DC last week. I unfortunately was not able to attend, as so many other fellow bloggers were. Let's just say I lived vicariously through them with their lovely recaps with lots of photos!

At this conference they hold an award ceremony. I don't really know a whole lot about the process for the selection of these books. I do know that the RITAs are an award that is given to writers from writers. There are several different categories. Here are this years nominees and the winners!

Best First Book

No Good Girls by Jean Marie Pierson
Oh. My. Gods. by Tera Lynn Childs WINNER
Passionate by Anthea Lawson
Private Arrangements by Sherry Thomas
Strangers In The Night by Kerry Connor
The Secret Soldier by Jennifer Morey
Your Roots Are Showing by Elise Chidley

I hadn't actually read any of these books. No surprise there since they are all from debuting authors. I have heard of Private Arrangements by Sherry Thomas and had it checked out, not once but twice, from the library and never managed to read it. It was heavily pimped by Dear Author and other bloggers (I can't remember specifically who now...)

Contemporary Series Romance

A Mother’s Wish by Karen Templeton WINNER
Adopted: Outback Baby by Barbara Hannay
Antonides’ Forbidden Wife by Anne McAllister
Falling For The Lone Wolf by Crystal Green
Last-Minute Proposal by Jessica Hart
Texas Heir by Linda Warren
The Children’s Doctor and the Single Mum by Lilian Darcy
The Cowboy’s Christmas Miracle by RaeAnne Thayne
The Right Mr. Wrong by Cindi Myers

I am not really a big fan of category books and once again I haven't read any of these books. (LOL, I am sure you will see a recurring theme here.) I know some people are thrilled that Karen Templeton won this award. The ladies at Book Binge, The Good, The Bad, The Unread and Wendy the Super Librarian have pimped her books before.

Contemporary Series Romance: Suspense/Adventure

A Sexy Time Of It by Cara Summers
Cold Case Connection by Kathleen Long
Danger Signals by Kathleen Creighton WINNER
Lethal Attraction by Diana Duncan
Strangers In The Night by Kerry Connor
Tall, Dark, and Lethal by Dana Marton
The Man Behind the Cop by Janice Kay Johnson
The Secret Soldier by Jennifer Morey
Twin Targets by Jessica Anderson

Jessica Anderson is the only author I have read out of this group, but I haven't read this book.

Young Adult Romance

Hell Week by Rosemary Clement-Moore WINNER
How to Hook a Hottie by Tina Ferraro
Oh. My. Gods. by Tera Lynn Childs

It's interesting that there are only three finalists in this category. I wonder if that was because that was all to choose from.

Historical Romance

Duchess by Night by Eloisa James
In Bed with the Devil by Lorraine Heath
Private Arrangements by Sherry Thomas
Seduce Me at Sunrise by Lisa Kleypas
The Edge of Impropriety by Pam Rosenthal WINNER
The Spymaster’s Lady by Joanna Bourne
To Seduce a Sinner by Elizabeth Hoyt
Where the Heart Leads by Stephanie Laurens

Now this category is loaded with award winners. It would be really difficult to choose among them. I have read the Kleypas and Bourne book. Both I thought were excellent. I haven't read To Seduce a Sinner, but I would have liked to have seen Hoyt get a RITA. She definitely deserves it. Hopefully, she will get another chance next year.

Regency Historical Romance

Duke Most Wanted by Celeste Bradley
Mr. Cavendish, I Presume by Julia Quinn
My Lord and Spymaster by Joanna Bourne WINNER
The Dangerous Duke by Christine Wells
The Edge of Desire by Stephanie Laurens
Three Nights of Sin by Anne Mallory

The only book I read out of these finalists was My Lord and Spymaster, which I LOVED and I am so happy that Joanna Bourne won the RITA!

Inspirational Romance

Deep in the Heart of Trouble by Deeanne Gist
Faking Grace by Tamara Leigh
Finding Stefanie by Susan May Warren WINNER
Love Starts with Elle by Rachel Hauck
Mulberry Park by Judy Duarte
The Convenient Groom by Denise Hunter
The Perfect Life by Robin Lee Hatcher
Where Love Abides by Irene Hannon

I am ashamed to admit that I have never read an inspirational romance. I haven't even heard of these authors. Maybe I need to set a new goal for myself. Food for thought.

Romance Novella

“All He Wants for Christmas” by Jill Shalvis in Heating Up The Holidays
“Blame It on the Mistletoe” by Terri Brisbin in One Candlelit Christmas
“Only You” by Jacquie D’Alessandro in It Happened One Night
“Our Day” by Jean Brashear in The Valentine Gift
“Penance” by Sharon Sala in Aftershock
“Snowy Night with a Highlander” by Julia London in Snowy Night with a Stranger
“The Fall of Rogue Gerard” by Stephanie Laurens in It Happened One Night WINNER
“Thicker Than Blood” by Meljean Brook in First Blood

This was another category that has a lot of award winning authors. I have read many of the authors: Jill Shalvis, Meljean Brook, Stephanie Laurens, and Sharon Sala, but I haven't read any of these novellas. I want to read the ones by Lauren's and Brook's.

Paranormal Romance

Dragon Wytch by Yasmine Galenorn
Mine to Possess by Nalini Singh
The Darkest Night by Gena Showalter
The Healer by Sharon Sala
The Undead Next Door by Kerrelyn Sparks
Thunder Moon by Lori Handeland
Seducing Mr. Darcy by Gwen Cready WINNER

I was surprised by the winner for this one. I know Nalini Singh has a huge fan base and I usually hear nothing but praise about her Psy/Changeling series. Her books are not for me as I can't seem to connect with the characters. I wasn't very impressed with Gena Showalter's book either. I do happen to enjoy time-travel books, but am less enthusiastic about Pride and Prejudice rip offs. I'll add it to the wish list, though and see for myself.

Novel with Strong Romantic Elements

Last Dance At Jitterbug Lounge by Pamela Morsi
The House on Tradd Street by Karen White
The Paper Marriage by Susan Kay Law
The Shape of Mercy by Susan Meissner
The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley
Tribute by Nora Roberts WINNER
Where Serpents Sleep by C.S. Harris

Bow down to the queen that is 'La Nora'. She once again walks away with a RITA. How many is that for her now? I will say I have heard very good things about The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley. That book is definitely worth a read too. Again, I haven't actually read any of these books.

Romantic Suspense

Killing Fear by Allison Brennan
Now You Die by Roxanne St. Claire
Scream for Me by Karen Rose
Stop Me by Brenda Novak
The Angel by Carla Neggers
Take No Prisoners by Cindy Gerard WINNER
Triple Exposure by Colleen Thompson

Again another category beefed up with heavy hitters. Karen Rose is an awesome writer and I am a total fan girl of this local Florida author. I haven't ever read anything by Cindy Gerard, but I have heard positive praise for her work. I will have to remedy this and read a book by her soon.

Contemporary Single Title Romance

No Good Girls by Jean Marie Pierson
Not Another Bad Date by Rachel Gibson WINNER
Out of Time by Samantha Graves
Snowfall at Willow Lake by Susan Wiggs
Sweet Talk by Susan Mallery
Tall Tales and Wedding Veils by Jane Graves
Twenty Wishes by Debbie Macomber
Your Roots Are Showing by Elise Chidley

I am just going to tell you right now, that I really wanted Jane Graves to win for Tall Tales and Wedding Veils. I just love Jane's books. They are funny and touching all at the same time. She is not as well known as some contemporary authors, but she is just as talented.


nath said...

LOL, I think that this is a lot like the Oscars and other awards shows... A lot of this author should have win instead and why the heck is this book nominated ^_^;

Personally, I don't really pay attention to the RITAs. It's really cool for those who wins and gets nominated... but it doesn't impact my future reads.

Lori said...

I agree with Nath, BUT I should push you to read the Cindy Gerards. She is awesome . That was a hard category. I've read all the authors/books in that category (one of my faves) and they all rock.

Kate said...

It's so funny, a couple of years ago I saw the RITA noms and thought not much more than wtf? seeing as how most of the ones that were nominated that I'd read I didn't care for at all. A matter of opinion, I suppose. I'm glad to see My Lord and Spymaster win, I did like that much better than The Spymaster's Lady. Also I did read and review Seducing Mr Darcy as part of my Unbuttoned series, and was strangely surprised at how much I enjoyed it. It wasn't a usual pick for me.

Leslie said...

I've only read 3 of the books nominated but have about 12 on my TBR list including the Jane Graves book. Will the RITAs make me move the books to the top of the pile? Nope. You're recommendations of the Graves book will. :)

Wendy said...

Authors have to submit their books for the RITA and pay an entrance fee. So if you're wondering why an author wasn't nominated? Could be she never entered the contest.

I thought the Sherry Thomas book was very well written, and she's amazingly talented, but I spent most of that novel wanting to smack the characters (although the heroine grew on me). I also read Passionate by Anthea Lawson, which I enjoyed.

Soooo happy that Karen Templeton won because I think she consistently writes wonderful contemporary romances and she really excels at the shorter category format.

I need to get crackin' on the novellas. I have almost all of those anthologies in my TBR. Heh.

Jill D. said...

Nath - LOL, my husband alway complains about the authors. He can't stand it when some artsy fartsy movie wins. Me... I don't mind so much. I like that authors are getting some recognition by their peers. Will I read the books? Maybe, maybe not.

Jill D. said...

Lori - I am going to start with Show No Mercy since it's the first in the series. I few other people have recommended her books too.

Kate - Yes, I came across your review of Seducing Mr. Darcy. Overall it was a favorable review, even though you had some quibbles. I like time travels and lots of sex, as long as it moves the story along, doesn't bother me.

Leslie - I am honored. I really liked it and I hope you enjoy Graves as much as I did!

Wendy - LOL, I knew you would be happy for Karen Templeton. I haven't ever read her even though you and Holly are always pimping her! One of these days...

If you do ever get to the anthologies I am definitely interesting in what you thought. A few of them seemed promising.

Amy C said...

I have not read any of the books that won, and even very few that were nominated! I think I may add Seducing Mr. Darcy to the TBR sometime.

nath said...

The problem when an artsy fartsy movie wins is that those artsy fartsy movies don't tend to reach everyone... but of course, that's just my opinion.

I'm really disappointed that Meljean Brook's novella didn't win. I didn't read the others, but First Blood was great.

Jill D. said...

Nath - I have got to read First Blood. I am so behind in everything!