September Seal Of Excellence

September 2010's RT Seal of Excellence is awarded to Suzanne Collins' the Hunger Games trilogy. The third book, Mockingjay, was released this past month, but the RT editorial staff agrees that the seal must go to the complete series. Mockingjay is only the final chapter in this amazing must-read story. Readers who come into the action at Mockingjay, or even Catching Fire, will miss integral moments that give the tale its depth and emotional resonance. Furthermore, the Seal of Excellence could not be awarded to any of the titles individually as each installment created new facets of familiar characters. (Additionally, each novel was a different editor's favorite.) When sharing her opinion about Mockingjay, RT Senior Editor Elissa Petruzzi best sums up our feelings: "The trilogy is destined to be a classic, one I'll relish reading again and again." 


The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and Mockingjay are, in the words of Assistant Web Editor Whitney Sullivan, "more fun than a series about teenagers killing each other in a reality show has a right to be." The strength of these novels is multi-faceted. Collins' writing skill, her deft hand with the bleak subject matter, lends a reality to the characters and their world. The author's style is also appreciated by one of the RT editors who raves, "she consistently zigs when you think she's going to zag" while reflecting on MockingjayHowever this series is much more than a well-written story with engaging characters and a fast-moving plot. It includes themes that every reader can relate to such as the bonds of family, being conscious of how others see you and the struggle to create a better world for the ones you love.

Here are some of the previous comments from the editors on the strength of Collins' Hunger Games novels:

"I enjoyed [The Hunger Games] so much I recommended it to all my family members, from my 75-year-old aunt to my 10-year-old nephew." - RT Managing Editor Liz French

"The first time I read Mockingjay I devoured it so quickly I had to go back and re-read whole swaths. This was no sacrifice; Collins is so skilled and masterful that I did so gladly." - RT Senior Editor and Reviews Coordinator Stephanie Klose

"Collins' conclusion to the Hunger Games trilogy is without a doubt a page-turner. The author pushes the emotional buttons as Katniss tries to make sense of her new reality." - RT Executive Editor Faygie Levy

"I thought the inherent darkness of the tale was absolutely necessary to the plot, and really, if Katniss — who, let's be honest, was never chipper to begin with — was lighthearted after all she'd been through, it would have really rung false. Katniss' struggles throughout the novel are heart-wrenching and realistic and I'll be darned if Collins didn't wring some tears from me...." - RT Senior Editor Elissa Petruzzi

More coverage on The Hunger Games series:

RT Editors Stephanie and Elissa Report From The Mockingjay Party >>

The RT Editors Reflect On Mockingjay >>


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


Beth Ciotta's romantic suspense Into the Wild makes this month's list for its unusual premise. We guarantee you won't find another tale about a germaphobe tracking down a potential murderer in the middle of the Amazon jungle! Long time Ciotta-readers will recognize the authors' special touches in the hunky hero Spencer and the lead characters' unusual careers. Unfortunately, the heroine, River Kane, is so multi-faceted that her actions can seem inconsistent at times. However, fans of such adventure fare as Romancing the Stone and the Indiana Jones series will love this jungle romp.




In her impressive debut novel, Joan Frances Turner takes everything you thought you knew about lurching, drooling, flesh-craving zombies and turns it on its head. Jesse and her gang of undead are young, reckless and have a sense of right and wrong - even if they choose wrong more often then not. Just because they are the “reanimated” (a term they find preferable to zombie) doesn’t mean that these characters have lost their humanity. If you are looking for a fun filled romp through the countryside, then this book is not for you, but if you want to get to know the eating habits of the undead along with the gory details of their rotting biology, then look no further.

Check out Dust's clever PSA-style videos >>



Even though the plot of a young miss getting caught between two feuding Scottish clans is a staple in historical romance, Teresa Medeiros breathes new life into this often-used storyline by infusing both charm and wit into her highland-set story. Both Jamie and Emma are immensely likable characters that have you rooting for a happily-ever-after that the author delivers.

Teresa Medeiros On First Impressions >>

Read An Excerpt >>


  Author Jeanne Adams' romantic suspense Deadly Little Secrets is an action-filled and intriguing read. Adams brings her occupation-driven characters to life by filling the story with many details about the couple's jobs in the security sector. And readers will definitely enjoy the heat between Gates and Ana. However, their initial attraction seems founded on very little. And although this novel can be read as a stand-alone, it will be enjoyed more by those who have read the previous novels in Adams' series.

What woman wouldn’t love being given her every desire by a sexy foreigner? In What a Westmoreland Wants, that’s exactly what heroine Gemma gets in this excellent category romance. Brenda Jackson makes this fantasy come true with the undeniably amazing Callum. Pining after Gemma for the past three years, Callum is willing to do anything to gain her love including jetting her off to Australia for a bit of romance. While the 24-year-old virgin who doesn't trust men storyline may be a tad clichéd, Jackson writes an wonderful story of seduction that will make any women's heart melt.



Other books the RT editors considered were:

Wicked Delights of a Bridal Bed by Tracy Anne Warren

Dark Peril by Christine Feehan

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare


August Seal of Excellence >>

July Seal of Excellence >>

June Seal of Excellence >>