March Seal Of Excellence

March 2013's RT Seal of Excellence — the editors' pick for best book of the month — is awarded to Anne Bishop's urban fantasy novel Written in Red. 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. 


While the Others — supernatural creatures that rule the world — may have found a tentative truce with the inferior humans, trouble is never far away. The delicate balance is upset when Meg Corbyn moves to Lakeside Courtyard, an important meeting point between the shifters and humans. Surprisingly, Meg is able to fit between both worlds thanks in part to her budding relationship with community leader Simon Wolfgard. But when Meg's reasons for coming to the Courtyard are revealed, the tenuous peace between the different groups may explode into full out war. 

"INCREDIBLE. This description applies to everything in Anne Bishop's newest book. The worldbuilding is amazing, the characters are incredibly well drawn and power play between the different groups is engrossing. Top this off with a mystery surrounding the heroine's past — which is revealed one tantalizing piece at a time — and this novel is one of the best reads of the year!" - Morgan Doremus, RT Editor 

"If you pick up one new Urban Fantasy book this year, make it Anne Bishop's Written in Red. This stellar series starter, taking place on an alternate Earth where supernatural and paranormal beings — aka 'Others' — have always been in power over humans, is a game-changer. Nothing is what it seems in the "courtyards" where vampires, werewolves, Elementals and other mysterious creatures roam — and woe betide a human who wanders over the fence. Luckily, readers are allowed entry with escaped blood prophet Meg Corbyn, who just wants a safe haven and a new start. Stick to Bishop's twisted, bloody path and stay off the grass, and you'll rip through Written in Red like a ravenous wolf!" - Mala Bhattacharjee, RT Editor

"With a heroine whose power lies not in physically beating back her enemies but in a quiet resolve and a gentle handling of people, Written in Red is a rare gem in the Urban Fantasy genre. Landing in a world where humans are usually regarded as food, Meg's sensitivity is her saving grace — and she won me over as quickly as she did the Others. Her relationships with the young scarred wolf-pup Sam and his gruff uncle Simon are thoroughly charming. And it doesn't hurt that the primary antagonist is a well-drawn, extremely clever villainess who readers will love (and I do mean LOVE) to hate." - Regina Small, RT Editor

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


"Christie Ridgway's Bungalow Nights is one of those rare contemporary romances that does absolutely everything right: Heroine Layla is likable and sympathetic, while hero Vance is a sexy but troubled combat medic, and together their chemistry is off the charts. The secondary characters, particularly Layla's quirky, lovable uncle and Vance's well-meaning but wounded family, help the tale come alive. There's even a stellar side romance and not one but two gorgeous settings: a beautiful beach cove and an unforgettable detour to Vance's family's estate. The pacing is perfect, and the characters are complicated people who grow as the novel progresses. Oh, and there are lots of delicious cupcakes! (Layla and her uncle run a cupcake truck.) In the words of RT Reviewer Bunny Callahan, 'What's not to like?'" - Audrey Goodson Kingo, RT Editor



Let's hear it for women who aren't afraid to go after what they want! Beth Murphy, the heroine of Lauren Dane's Lost in You is smart, beautiful and determined. She has set her sights on Joe Harris, ex-military man and returning resident of Petal, Georgia. But Joe is battling some pretty fierce demons and a family illness, which makes him shy away from commitment. Thankfully, Beth is able to see beneath Joe's guilt and understand what he needs to heal is caring and acceptance. Dane doesn't skimp on the emotion — or the heat — between these two. If you are looking for a story with heart and substance, then clear your schedule and download this terrific read ASAP! - Morgan Doremus, RT Editor


"The characters in Jane Green's Family Pictures will haunt readers long after the final page — which is perfectly fitting, since Green's latest tackles the lasting impact of family. With straightforward prose and unsparing insight into her characters, Green presents two families whose foundation is tested when the unthinkable happens. First, readers meet Sylvie, whose life seems idyllic, except that her husband is never home and her daughter seems to be hiding an eating disorder. Then, we are introduced to Maggie, who loves designer labels and reigning over her fellow Connecticut socialites but whose pampered existence is doomed to unravel. Even while at their most unlikable, Green's sympathy for her characters shines through, and readers won't be able to resist rooting for the strong women who propel her story forward. " - Audrey Goodson Kingo, RT Editor


"Alex Beecroft navigates away from her nautically inclined historical romances and takes to the air for a paranormal and political delight in Under the Hill book one, Bomber's Moon. Combining modern-day mystery with meddling Fae and out-of-time WWII flyboys with wounded hearts, Beecroft's tale of brash Ben Chaudhry and world-weary paranormal investigator Chris Gatrell will have readers buckling in for one hell of a ride. The entire cast — humans and elves alike — is compelling, with radiant queens clashing and petulant princesses stealing the show. This is contemporary fantasy at its finest and male/male romance at its sweetest." - Mala Bhattacharjee, RT Editor

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

Lord of Darkness by Elizabeth Hoyt

17 and Gone by Nova Ren Suma

The Burning Air by Erin Kelly

Visit The RT Seal of Excellence Index >>