November Seal of Excellence

November 2011's RT Seal of Excellence — the editors' pick for best book of the month — is awarded to Elizabeth Hoyt's new historical romance, Scandalous Desires. Each month the RT editors select one book that is not only compelling, but stands out from all the other books that are reviewed in that issue and on the website. 


What do a lusty pirate and an unworldly widow have in common? Nothing, except their inexplicable attraction and one darling little girl. Scandalous Desires, Elizabeth Hoyt's third installment in the Maiden Lane series, brings together Silence Hollingbrook and the devilish Mick O'Connor. Charming Mickey is the scourge of London — from the sailors he swindles to the ladies he beds, no one is safe from this rogue not even Silence, the virtuous proprietress of a local orphanage. When Charming Mickey sets his sights on Silence, she doesn't stand a chance against the pirate's ways, but he's the one that ends up beguiled.

"Reading this novel swept me back to the historical romances of the '90s. With it's almost-kidnapping storyline, the misbehaving hero and even the unexpected developments, this story was absolutely engrossing." - RT Editor

"I didn't mean to read this book in just one sitting. But after I started, I could not put it down!" - RT Editor

"I love this hero who is a true bad boy. Unflinching in his need to survive, Charming Mickey is anything but a dashing gentleman. He is a rough, unpredictable man that knows what he wants and goes after it with everything that he is. This is what historical romance is all about." - RT Editor



In The Baker's Wife, author Erin Healy crafts a fascinating inspirational mystery with a strong message of religion woven throughout the tale. Readers can expect to tear through these pages looking for answers as the ex-pastor, Geoff, and his wife, Audrey, try to prove that they are not the prime suspects after Audrey finds the deserted (and blood covered) scooter of the local police detective's wife, a key player in Geoff losing his job. The story will captivate readers but does have a strong faith element that may not appeal to some.



Stands a Shadow by Col Buchanan is the second installment in The Heart of the World series and Buchanan's sophomore novel. The epic fantasy continues the war between the Holy Empire of Mann and the Free Ports, following the Roshun assassin Ash as he seeks retribution for the death of his apprentice, Nico. More than just a classic revenge tale this adventure provides perspectives from several secondary characters, which both illustrates how war can impact individuals differently and provides an intellectual depth to the story. As characters question their beliefs, delve into madness and find their own ways to challenge the Mannian Empire, it's Ash's actions that may ultimately put a stop to the bloodshed. Buchanan's beautiful attention to detail and superb worldbuilding, complete with a complex cast of characters, make Stands a Shadow a must-read for all genre fans.


Baby It's Cold Outside by Addison Fox will please readers who want a straightforward contemporary romance. When heroine Sloan travels up to Indigo, Alaska to provide some much-needed moral support for a friend, she gets roped into a contest competing for Indigo's most eligible bachelors. But as chemistry sizzles between Sloan and the handsome Walker Montgomery, will this pair be able to get past their baggage? This book's bright cover is well-matched by the story inside, complete with nosy grandmothers, several secondary romances and a heroine who's got it going on. Romance fans looking for a light read will get just what they desire with this wintery tale! 


An Uncertain Place by Fred Vargas will appeal to mystery fans that are searching for something off the beaten path. This case takes Vargas' Le Commissaire Jean-Baptists Adamsberg on a trip across Europe as he tries to figure out why someone would line up seventeen shoes (with severed feet inside of them) and if the gruesome murder of a journalist has anything to do with the astounding case. However, those who are new to the series might want to carve out some time, as the start of the story is intriguing but will not keep you riveted to the novel's pages.



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

Heart of Steel by Meljean Brook

Mastiff by Tamora Pierce

A Texas Ranger's Christmas by Rebecca Winters


Visit The RT Seal of Excellence Index >>