June Seal of Excellence

June 2011's RT Seal of Excellence, the RT editors' pick for best book of the month is awarded to Libba Bray's young adult novel, Beauty Queens. Each month RT's 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.


After a plane crash, the contestants of the Miss Teen Dream Beauty Pageant are left for dead on what seems to be a deserted island. However these intrepid girls turn their pageant talents into survival skills, and along the way they uncover a secret underground laboratory, meet a boy band and must thwart a massive conspiracy.

"Beauty Queens was everything I wanted and more. Each page gets wackier and more fun, and even as the plot takes a turn for the absurd, there's an underlying girl-power element that can't be denied. Easily Bray's best book, and that's saying something." - RT Editor

"One of the most creative books I've ever read." - RT Editor

"The combination of incisive social satire and laugh-out-loud humor makes Beauty Queens a thoroughly fantastic read. But add a boatload of hunky pirates to the mix and it becomes simply irresistible!"- RT Editor

"This novel is fantastic. Bray's quick mind has created characters who positively jump off the page with their vibrancy and quirky natures. I know I will have to invest in extra copies to pass around to my sisters and friends!" - 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.


Nobody writes paranormal romance like Nalini Singh. Her engrossing worldbuilding, moving romances and in-depth characterization make each and every one of the books in her Psy/Changling series a standout. The 10th in the series, Kiss of Snow, is no exception. Fans eagerly anticipating Hawke and Sienna’s love story will swoon with delight when they read about how this couple is able to overcome all obstacles in order to be together. Readers who are not familiar with Singh’s series will have to play catch up, but the masterful writing alone will stun anyone who picks up this book. Rated Gold by its RT reviewer, this story is just that — pure gold! 

10 Reasons Why You Must Read This Book >>



Even if you like your thrillers heavy on the action, give Morag Joss' Among the Missing a try. The author's close focus on three characters finding their way to each other and her lyrical ponderings on the nature of isolation, atonement and grief are sublime — one character's real name is never revealed, and yet her story and personality are entirely captivating and sympathetic. Joss slowly but steadily builds suspense not based on any physical danger or threat, but an intense emotional reaction that, when it happens, is literally breathtaking — and I do mean literally. 


This month Ann Aguirre and Carrie Lofty joined forces to co-write Nightfall using the pen name Ellen Connor. This dystopian novel kicks off their new Dark Age Dawning series which will have genre fans hooked from the first chapter. On the eve of the end of civilization, the survival-minded John Mason attempts to fulfill a promise to his surrogate father by keeping Jenna Barclay, the man’s estranged daughter, alive. However, when she welcomes a small band of refugees into their safe house, this ragtag group must try to find some way to survive the winter with terrifying hellhounds hot on their heels. Connor amps up the emotional component of this nail-biting adventure with the high body count and heavy romantic tension between Mason and Jenna. This story is a delicious addition to the new class of post-apocalyptical tales and will leave fans ravenous for more. 

Morgan & Whitney Dish About Nightfall >>


Johanna Lindsey’s Mallory clan is one of the most notorious families in historical romance. And while Mallory characters are at the center of the author’s newest release, That Perfect Someone, the hero and heroine are not actually related to the group. However, Julia and Richard have all the classic Mallory traits — he is a notorious pirate and she thrives on causing scandals. Brawls, balls and misunderstandings between lovers — this story has it all. Fans of not-so-traditional historicals will be thoroughly swept away by this delightful tale of mismatched lovers who work oh-so-hard to break up, yet find themselves unable to stay apart. 



Linda Windsor’s inspirational romance, Thief, educates and entertains readers with unbelievably realistic depictions of life during the sixth century. The guiding principle of her characters' lives is religion, but this doesn’t mean that the author shies away from the story’s darker aspects including slavery, betrayal and death. Caden and Sorcha are complex characters both attempting to exorcize the demons of their pasts, however, the light that Windsor shines on their goodness and generosity is truly uplifting. Inspirational fans will want this one for their keeper shelf and even readers who have never before attempted this genre will be drawn in by the story’s revealing look into ancient times. 

Linda Windsor Chat About De-Mythifying King Arthur >>


May Seal of Excellence >>

April Seal of Excellence >>

March Seal of Excellence >>