June Seal of Excellence

June 2012's RT Seal of Excellence — the editors' pick for best book of the month — is awarded to Gillian Flynn's new mystery Gone Girl. Each month the RT editors select one book that is not only compelling, but pushes the boundaries of genre fiction and stands out from all the other books that are reviewed in that issue and on the website. 

 

Nick and Amy Dunne are former Manhattan magazine writers who end up unemployed after the recession. When Nick’s mom gets sick, it seems like the ideal time to move back to Nick’s hometown in Missouri, where Nick opens a bar using money from Amy’s trust fund. Flynn’s tale begins on the morning of the couple’s fifth wedding anniversary, but what should be a celebratory day quickly goes downhill when Amy turns up missing, and the house shows signs of a struggle. Juxtaposed against the investigation into her disappearance are entries from Amy’s diary, starting with the day the couple meets. Nick seems to be unfazed — and maybe even pleased — by his wife’s disappearance. Just as the police and the media start to turn against him, Amy’s journal entries begin to show a marriage in turmoil. But is Nick the killer? 

"Flynn’s whip-smart prose and plotting steadily builds the suspense, and just when you think you’ve got her characters figured out, she throws a barrel of wrenches into the mix, again and again. You may not like her leads — in fact, you’ll probably hate them — but you won’t be able to stop reading about them as you try and unravel this incredibly complex, deeply psychological mystery." - RT Editor

"If you like to be completely manipulated, this is the read for you. It's like somebody crazy is driving the car, you are in the passenger seat but you don't want them to stop. Flynn has created a cast of unreliable narrators and does it so skillfully that you will happily surrender to the twisted machinations of this superb writer." - RT Editor

"I almost wish I'd never read Gone Girl just so I could read it again for the first time. Flynn is utterly masterful at manipulating expectations and sympathies to make you think you know the score — only to rip not just the rug out from under your feet, but the rest of the floor as well, over and over again until the final, chilling pages. This book is absolutely engrossing, believable, stay-up-all-night suspenseful and just plain stunning. You'll definitely want to clear your calendar for it ..."- RT Editor

 

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

 

The title of Janet Chapman's latest, Charmed by His Love, is a perfect description. Readers will be absolutely "charmed" by this book. A delightfully light and funny read, Chapman crafts a contemporary romance tale full of modern day issues as widowed heroine Peg struggles to support her four young children. However, the story also has more than just a touch of paranormal flare in the form of hero Duncan, who connects with his magical heritage and time traveling kin. By combining these two genres, along with plenty of sweet romantic moments, this book has something to please all readers. 


   

 

With a major turning point taking place in last year's Gold-rated Kiss of Snow, author Nalini Singh gives readers room to breathe in the latest Psy-Changeling story, Tangle of Need. In the eleventh book in the series, the focus shifts from politics and warfare to an intriguing SnowDancer wolf changeling couple, Riaz and Adria. After a multitude of books where mates find each other, in this tale readers explore what it means for a couple to feel passion and caring without a mating bond. What follows is a tremendous story of choice and consequences, love and responsibility. Readers new to the series might not know all of the players in Singh's complex world, but the author's seemingly effortless writing style laden with heart-stopping romance is truly something to behold!

     
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A handsome millionaire, a beautiful, independent woman and their adorable toddler, what could possibly keep the family in Sarah Morgan's The Forbidden Ferrara apart? How about a generations-old feud and the fact that daddy doesn't know about his son? What starts out as bickering and misunderstandings between two past lovers becomes a beautiful tale of reconciliation. Both Santo and Fia are amazingly family-oriented and want what's best for their child, which makes them two incredibly likable characters. Sure they have both made mistakes in the past, but who hasn't? With the love for their son uniting them and a bright passion keeping them together, this series romance will absolutely delight readers. 

     
 

Insurgent by Veronica Roth is a fantastic action-packed ride. Heroine Tris and her friends wrestle with the aftermath of the fighting that broke out during the series starter Divergent, and discover that the faction-on-faction treachery goes far deeper than imagined. On top of all of this, Tris is struggling to come to terms with her parents' deaths. This challenge adds a layer to this story that will touch readers' hearts and have them gasping for breath as Tris' grief propels her into more and more dangerous situations. This series second is a winner but do yourself a favor and start with book one!


   

 

The journey of elf seeker Raine Benares comes to a close in All Spell Breaks Loose by Lisa Shearin, the finale in the author's fantasy adventure series. Raine has severed the connection between herself and the Saghred, a powerful soul-sucking stone that has found its way into the hands of goblin Sarad Nukpana. Now Raine and the rest of Shearin's broad cast of characters must defeat the goblin army and recover the artifact. The action begins on the first page and never lets up, taking readers on a whirlwind ride that they'll finish in one sitting. Although this is the final chapter in a six-book series, Shearin makes sure new readers get all the necessary background information and does so without creating the information overload that can sometimes happen in fantasy novels.

     

Some of the additional titles that the RT editors nominated are:

The Reckoning by Alma Katsu

Once Burned by Jeaniene Frost

Wife 22 by Melanie Gideon

 

Visit The RT Seal of Excellence Index >>