January Seal of Excellence

January 2011's RT Seal of Excellence is awarded to Beth Revis' debut novel, Across the Universe. Here are some comments from the editors about why this YA adventure set in space won the honor.


Amy expects to wake up from a cryogenic freeze with her parents after their spaceship, Godspeed, reaches the new world. However, when she is awoken, Godspeed is still years from its destination and life aboard the ship has changed people drastically. Now Amy and her new friend Elder must race to find the killer on ship before it's too late.

Revis' debut novel is painted with such vivid detail, readers may be surprised when they get to the end of the book and realize that this is not a true reflection of today's space travel. Not only does the ship seem real, but the way that society has been restructured is frightening realistic. It seems too easy a transition from contemporary society to the dystopian future that Revis portrays. Additionally, the author's skill is evident in her multi-dimensional characters whose flaws and strengths unfold slowly over the course of the tale. Readers will be glued to the pages of this shipboard suspense.

"This space ship adventure is so fun and different and interesting. I could feel Amy's desperation and totally sympathized. Plus such a twisty plot! Exciting all the way to the end."- RT Editor

"When I finished this novel, I didn't even want to pick up a new book because this one was so good. I can not wait to get my hands on the next installment of this series."- RT Editor 

You can take a look behind the scenes of this tale in the interview with the author in the article "Star Struck" in the January 2011 issue of RT BOOK REVIEWS magazine. You can also check out some of the interview-extras from the author, here


So what other books were contenders for the January Seal of Excellence? Here is a look at the titles the RT editors considered.


Beloved contemporary romance author Susan Elizabeth PhillipsCall Me Irresistible, hit shelves this month. The tale follows heroine Meg Koranda as she creates sparks with the "perfect" Teddy Beaudine. It was a delight to spend more time with Phillips' characters as the author once again integrated the old with the new to create the romance for Teddy and Meg who readers will remember appearing as children in Philips' earlier titles, Fancy Pants and Glitter Baby, respectively. The pair clash with classic Phillips' tension as Meg attempts to clean up the mess that her best friend, Lucy, left behind after Lucy fled her wedding ceremony with Teddy. And of course, everyone (including Teddy) blames Meg for her role in Lucy's hasty departure from the nuptials. It's an up-hill climb for the latest Phillips' heroine, but as fans know these are ladies who always get their men!



This month three historical romance heavy-hitters teamed up to bring readers The Lady Most Likely ..., a novel written in three parts by Julia Quinn, Eloisa James and Connie Brockway. This regency romp takes place at a house party that is the setting for many blossoming romances. Fans of the genre will be pleased to see that many of the tropes are adhered to however each author's individual voice is woven into the story. However, we would have liked to see longer courtships and more fully developed secondary characters from these excellent authors.

Go behind the scenes of The Lady Most Likely ... >>


Out for Blood, the latest installment in Alyxandra Harvey's Drake Chronicles, shows the author's skill as she continues to turn her series on its' head with each new tale. The story primarily follows a Buffy-esque heroine named Hunter, who is being groomed to be a vampire hunter at the Helios Ra school. However, when she meets vampire Quinn Drake, she must question everything she's ever thought about her enemy. When her friends at the school begin dying under mysterious circumstances, Hunter must decide if she can take a chance on Quinn and use his connections to get the answers that may keep her alive.

Watch an interview with the author >>


Readers have been wanting Fallon Jones' story since the eccentric character walked onto the page in Jayne Ann Krentz’s Arcane Society series. In In Too Deep, readers finally get up close and personal with Fallon's supernatural skill at problem solving. His innate ability really comes into play when Fallon’s new assistant, Isabella, has lots and lots of problems to solve … not to mention a few supernatural talents of her own. Readers new to the series will have no problem jumping head-first into the Arcane world, but returning readers will find some reoccurring plot devices from earlier books. Despite some minor plot “déjà vu” — an enigmatic hero, a heroine in desperate need of saving and a dangerous conspiracy that has thus far eluded detection are a great set-up for this thrilling romantic suspense. 

The author talks conspiracy theories >>

Krentz's unexpected use of Twitter >>


Other books the RT editors considered were:

What The Night Knows by Dean Koontz

Among Others by Jo Walton


December Seal of Excellence >>

November Seal of Excellence >>

October Seal of Excellence >>