February Seal Of Excellence

February 2013's RT Seal of Excellence — the editors' pick for best book of the month — is awarded to Karen Lord's science fiction romance The Best of All Possible Worlds. 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. This is the first adult science fiction title to win the RT Seal of Excellence.



When an attack on the planet Sadira makes females scarce within the race, Sadiri representatives travel to the planet Cygnus Beta in search of females to help regenerate their population. Government employee Grace Delarua is assigned to accompany Sadiri Councillor Dllenakh and his crew on their expedition to various colonies to survey different races as potential candidates. Although Sadiris rarely show their emotions, Dllenakh takes a liking to Grace, who must come to terms with both her past and and her newly discovered psi abilities in order to move forward with her life — and potentially become part of Dllenakh’s.

"I’m not a big sci-fi reader, but I love a good romance, and Lord’s story definitely qualifies. It’s slow-building, sweet, but still filled with sexual tension. And aside from the romance, I found the science fiction and fantasy elements to be extremely vivid and compelling. Lord creates a world I’d love to visit, with characters I’d love to meet. You really can’t ask for anything more." - Audrey Goodson Kingo, RT Editor 

"Karen Lord's The Best of All Possible Worlds is the best of many possible sci-fi romances, with deft storytelling, a stellar (or would that be "interstellar"?) cast of root-worthy multiracial characters and a riveting slow-burn love story. Readers will be engaged by narrator Grace's wry voice and will definitely identify with the Sadiri society's struggle to make a new home on Cygnus Beta while Grace and her stoic Sadiri partner Dllenahkh find a home in each other's hearts. A must-read!" - Mala Bhattacharjee, RT Editor

"Was The Best of All Possible Worlds written just for me? Lord's sophomore novel is a clever, witty science fiction romance centering on a wounded hero who is a miraculous combination of Spock (I'd know that "slight eyebrow raise" anywhere!) and the Dana Scully to our heroine's offbeat, wisecracking Mulder. Dllenahkh and Delarua's culture clashes are playful, amusing and occasionally tender, making them a couple every reader will root for." - Regina Small, RT Editor

"I love my romance and I love my science fiction, but I normally take them separately. However, the buildup of Grace and Dllenahkh's relationship, paired with their exploration of different cultures around the universe really struck the perfect balance for me. I also enjoyed that Lord paid special attention to Grace's past and really developed her character, which made Dllenahkh seem that much more mysterious. Any sci fi fan who claims that they don't like romance needs to read The Best of All Possible Worlds!" - Elisa Verna, RT Editor

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


"Jennifer Bernard’s Sex and The Single Fireman has one of the most sizzling first few chapters I’ve ever read. Sabina Jones and Rick Roman have a heated road confrontation when, at a stoplight, Sabina’s high-volume tunes block out Rick’s cell phone conversation with his son. Thus, the battle lines are drawn. Animosity turns to another kind of heated emotion when the two turn up at the same restaurant. From there it leads to a hot hotel room hookup, but Sabina changes her mind at the last minute and swears she will never see the too-tempting man again. The joke is on Sabina, though, when she returns to work at her California firehouse and discovers her near-one night stand is her new boss — the tough, NYC fire chief brought in to clean things up after a slew of media mishaps. With a fierce battle of wills between two stubborn, passionate leads at the center of the story, and a strong cast of secondary characters — especially Rick’s teen son — Bernard’s latest in her Bachelor Fireman series is everything a contemporary romance reader could ask for." - Audrey Goodson Kingo, RT Editor



"I call Sarah MacLean a gateway romance author (in fact, you can read more about my thoughts on that here), because her stories are accessible to the most reluctant of romance readers. There's a reason my friend Emily always 'borrows' MacLean's books whenever she visits. And I've got to say, I think One Good Earl Deserves a Lover is one of MacLean's best yet. The red-headed hero is hot, the setting sufficiently exotic and the heroine delightfully weird. It's the blockbuster ending in particular that got me. MacLean got her characters into a conundrum that made me think, 'Well how's she going to get them out of that?' The answer is surprising, smart and well-plotted. Pippa and Harry (er ... Cross!) forever!" - Elissa Petruzzi, RT Editor


"Take one sexy SEAL recovering from the loss of a fellow soldier and a brainy, beautiful heroine trying to make a mark for herself apart from her high-ranking father, and toss in lots of time between the sheets and more than a dash of high-stakes adventure, and you get A SEAL's Seduction, which RT reviewer Kim Jefferson calls 'one of the best Blaze reads in a while.' When Alexia Pierce and Blake Landon meet-cute in a bar, neither expect their night of fun would lead to days of nonstop sex. They finally tear themselves apart to separately attend an event honoring a retiring Navy general — who happens to be Alexia’s father and Landon’s boss. It throws a wrench into their budding relationship, but when Alexia is kidnapped, Blake is sent in to rescue her in a thrilling operation that will have readers flying through the pages. It’s a lot to work in to a category romance, but Tawny Weber pulls it off with aplomb." - Audrey Goodson Kingo, RT Editor


"When we talked with Kristen Miller for a recent issue of RT, she warned us that her upcoming title, How to Lead a Life of Crime, was dark. And it is! But it's also so much more. It's an excellent take on the boy-goes-to-an-oh-so-special school, and the way Miller portrays the student body is both fascinating and creepy. This book has everything YA readers crave: an interesting male protagonist, a twisty plot and, honestly, one of the best female leads I've read in awhile. Joi is a revelation at every turn, surprising and soft and kick ass all at once. A worthy role model, a worthwhile read." - Elissa Petruzzi, RT Editor


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

Crystal Cove by Lisa Kleypas

That Scandalous Summer by Meredith Duran

Midnight Alias by Elle Kennedy

Visit The RT Seal of Excellence Index >>