July Seal Of Excellence

July 2010's RT Seal of Excellence was awarded to Kate Racculia for her debut novel, This Must Be The Place. Here are some comments from the editors on why This Must Be The Place won the honor.


"While we only see the mythical Amy thorough other’s memories, readers get to know her through the way that she is remembered. And Racculia masterfully introduces us to each of the other characters intimately as we crawl into their heads and delve into their deepest darkest secrets. This book reminds us that the simple yet profound message that time moves on and life goes on whether we want it to or not." - RT Web Editor Morgan Doremus

"When RT's Morgan said Racculia is a "like a 20-something Jennifer Crusie," I could see where she was coming from. This Must Be the Place has quirky characters aplenty, but they're not just walking affectations strung together: they're believable, confused humans that you will connect with and worry about." - RT Managing Editor Liz French

"Racculia’s debut novel is so much more than just the tale of a grieving widower. It is, by turns, a young adult novel, a mother-daughter story, a mystery, and a contemporary romance. I loved the sheer amount of different stories that Racculia incorporated into the text. Just when I thought the story couldn’t get any more layered – it did! But Racculia managed to create a tale that blends together so seamlessly, This Must Be The Place never became confusing. Kudos!" - RT Assistant Web Editor Whitney Sullivan

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


Christine Feehan’s Water Bound is beautiful. Featuring a romance between Rikki Sitmore, an autistic sea urchin diver who has difficulty talking with other people, much less touching them, and Lev Prakenskii, a Russian hitman. While it sounds like they don't have much in common, Lev and Rikki just seem to work. They accept each other at their worst and bring out the other's best. These are two people that have never fit in, will never fit in, but create a family together.

Feehan does an excellent job of conveying the challenges of living with autism and used details that really brought the story to life for RT’s editors. However, this novel is full of faces that are familiar to Feehan’s readers from the author’s Drake Sisters series. It will be enjoyed even more if this is not your first Feehan novel. 


Gregg Hurwitz sets up a genuinely chilling premise in They're Watching: an everyman character, Patrick Davis, languishing professionally while his marriage falls apart, finds a dvd in his morning paper. Idle curiosity prompts him to watch it, only to find footage of himself -- taken through his bathroom window from outside. More dvds follow in the next few days, including one in which the cameraperson comes into his home and right up to a sleeping Patrick. He spends the rest of the book searching for the person or people behind the campaign of terror, trying to figure out a motive and making things right with his wife.

They're Watching is a creepy page-turner that will have readers pulling their blinds shut and triple-checking the locks, but (just barely) misses Seal of Excellence territory when the answer isn't quite as shocking as the question.

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The Longest Night by Cindy Dees is a fantastic story! Even those new to Dees' engaging H.O.T Watch series of special ops agents will be drawn into the story of Jake and Shannon. The sniper hero and former schoolteacher heroine have plenty of history and baggage, and their road to trusting - and loving - each other is a joy to read about.

The only downside, and it's one we could overlook as readers but can't ignore when voting for an SOE, is the way the heroine's nemesis mysteriously happens upon the island where she's found sanctuary.



I Kissed An Earl by Julie Anne Long is a true historical romp. Despite the unlikeliness of the situations that unfold, it is a delight to read. Readers will fall in love with the headstrong Violet as she sneaks aboard a ship belonging to the Earl of Ardmay, to try to dissuade him from pursuing a pirate she believes to be her noble brother in disguise.

The plot did have a sticking point for the editors, that Violet’s attempts to keep Le Chat safe seemed to only do her more harm than the good it did him. The pirate seemed so able that his sister's aid (and worry) seemed a bit unnecessary. Needless to say, Julie Anne Long has left us anxiously awaiting the next in this series!  

Other books the RT editors considered were:

Barely A Lady by Eileen Dreyer

Twice Tempted By A Rogue by Tessa Dare

My Dangerous Duke by Gaelen Foley