September Seal of Excellence

September 2011's RT Seal of Excellence — the editors' pick for best book of the month — is awarded to Isabel Cooper's new historical romance No Proper Lady. 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. 


Joan is a survivor, living hand-to-mouth in the not too distant future. Unfortunately, it is a world of incredible suffering, where humans are the victims and servants of evil creatures that have crossed into this dimension. In a desperate play to safeguard the future of humanity Joan is sent on a one-way trip back to the Victorian era. There Joan must transform herself into a woman of the age, and insinuate her way into the circle of the corrupt sorcerer who creates cracks in the dimensional barriers. But will Joan be able to convince Lord Simon Grenville, an amateur magic practiioner, that the fate of the human world rests on his ability to teach Jane how to be a proper miss?

"So incredibly inventive! This is the perfect book." - RT Editor

"The tagline for this story was, 'The Terminator meets My Fair Lady,' and I can't think of a more accurate description. The time traveling elements are handled well and the ways that all of the characters grow is delightful to watch. Not only is this an intriguing premise, Cooper tackles several serious issues with care, crafting an excellent balance between the moments that are heart-wrenching and uplifting." - RT Editor

"No Proper Lady was captivating. I could see it all play out. I loved the heroine and the story had a lot of my favorite things: time travel, ingrigue, a good cary villain and repressed lust!" - RT Editor

Morgan & Whitney Dish about No Proper Lady >>


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


First in the trilogy about three brothers finding their perfect mates, Maya Banks' In Bed with a Highlander is easily devoured in one sitting. Readers will absolutely fall in love with heroine Mairin who believes her only value is her inheritance. And, at first, this is also exactly what Laird Ewan McCabe thinks, too. He wants to use Mairin’s money to bring stability to his clan. However, as Ewan gets to know Mairin better and she becomes a integral part of his life and in the workings of his people, he realizes that regardless of her enormous dowry, Mairin is the true prize. With this story, the author creates a classic historical romance that will have readers eager for the next McCabe brother to get his happily ever after.



New York to Dallas will please fans of J.D. Robb's long-running series. In this installment, (the first without "Death" in the title) Lt. Eve Dallas must hunt down a pedophile named Isaac McQueen who has escaped from prison. As a rookie, Eve was responsible for putting McQueen in jail. Now that he's broken out and taken more children hostage, she is determined to tie up this loose end once and for all. This is a dark and gripping tale of suspense but the emotional notes the story hits as heroine Eve confronts her past will resonate more with those who have been following the series — and might fall flat for new readers.


Ellen Connor's Midnight is the satisfying second book in The Dark Age Dawning series (penned by co-authors Ann Aguirre and Carrie Lofty). The Latina heroine Rosa Cortez and her band of post-apocalyptic fighters who live in her Valle de Bravo are intriguing. Readers following the series will be particularly pleased to see Dr. Chris Welsh happily settled — if he can win his woman's heart. Although the end of the book occurs extremely quickly, with twists that pack a less astounding punch than those in the series starter, fans of dystopian novels will gobble up this highly entertaining tale!


Cast in Ruin continues Michelle Sagara’s highly rated Chronicles of Elantra fantasy series. Throughout these stories Sagara has meticulously crafted a world that readers cannot help but become absorbed in. Cast in Ruin is especially interesting because this book’s plot focuses on dealing with the fallout from the heroine’s last adventure, during which the world almost ended. Kaylin Neya is now on a clean up mission and has been ordered to use her Chosen powers to solve political problems rather than stopping monsters set on destruction — not to say there isn’t plenty of evil to go around. Since this story is so heavily dependent on previous episodes, we recommend readers begin with the series starter Cast in Shadow and follow the books in order for maximum enjoyment.


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

Archangel's Blade by Nalini Singh

Naughty in Nice by Rhys Bowen

One Grave at a Time by Jeaniene Frost


August Seal of Excellence >>

July Seal of Excellence >>

June Seal of Excellence >>