May Seal Of Excellence

May 2013's RT Seal of Excellence — the editors' pick for best book of the month — is awarded to Delilah S. Dawson's paranormal romance novel Wicked As She Wants. 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. 


"Wicked As She Wants is a wild romp through an alternate dimension Earth (known as "Sang") where Bluds rule over Pinkies and all manner of nasty beasties go bump in the night. From the moment willful Blud princess Ahnastasia wakes up inside a suitcase and is rescued — sort of — by world famous musician Casper Sterling, readers will be along for the crazy ride. Traveling from the unruly streets of Sangland to her native land of Freesia, Ahnastasia fights to regain her rightful place on the throne ... while Casper, who has his own secrets, winds up claiming her heart. Though this is a part of Dawson's Blud series, first-timers can jump right in with both feet — and should hang on for dear life!" - Mala Bhattacharjee, RT Editor

"I dare you to try and put Wicked As She Wants down after one page. I'm pretty sure it's impossible. Dawson's Blud world is so utterly original, offbeat and immersive, it's completely addicting. And it's absolutely refreshing to root for a heroine who is, well, as Wicked As She Wants. Ahnastasia's arrogance and imperial attitude should be off-putting, but instead it's endearing and perfectly fitting for her character. It's a joy to watch her become more humane as the novel progresses, especially as hero Casper becomes darker and more dangerous. Their romance is sensual and satisfying, but their perilous journey back to Ahnastasia's homeland is just as fun. It's a winner in every way." - Audrey Goodson Kingo, RT Editor

"If you want proof of a correlation between social media usage and book sales, this is it. I read Wicked As She Wants because Delilah S. Dawson is pretty hilarious on Twitter, and ended up buying her first Blud novel because I loved book two so much (turns out you CAN judge a book by its author's Twitter feed). I normally wouldn't touch a vampire romance with a ten foot, extra sharp stake, but I'm glad I picked up this one because I got to experience that giddy feeling one gets when discovering a fantastic new series. Ahna is a kick-ass heroine with the perfect amount of bite (all puns intended) and Casper's scrappy sidekick, Keen, stole the show with her wit and childish humor. This book is awesome." - Elisa Verna, RT Editor

"Wicked as She Wants is a wicked good time — Ahna's imperious, Cordelia Chase-esque badass bitchery and Casper's steely resolve will have you cheering on these misfits as they attempt to unseat a usurper of the throne. (Bonus points to the readers who, like me, picture Game of Thrones' Jaqen H'ghar as Casper. Yow.)" - Regina Small, RT Editor

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


"Hello my name is Liz and I am addicted ... to Jane Casey, and more specifically, to her London policewoman heroine, Maeve Kerrigan. In her latest, The Last Girl, Casey's heroine is still trying to make it all work: the grueling job, with its casual sexism and unpleasant co-workers; the affair with Rob, her former colleague; the unwelcome and unsettling attentions of a stalker; and that's not to mention her latest case, a horrible double homicide of a mother and daughter. Casey gets inside Maeve's head and you'll puzzle through the case and examine suspects right along with her. Maeve is a complex character with loads of issues and a great backstory, and the novel’s Britishisms are icing on the cake." - Liz French, RT Editor



"John Scalzi's latest novel, The Human Division, which debuted as a weekly e-serial series earlier this year, comes together well in its paperback release. The author returns to his Old Man's War universe to deliver yet another satisfying adventure with an extremely likable protagonist and a ragtag crew that will keep readers laughing. One of the wonderful things about Scalzi's writing is that it's accessible to those who wouldn't normally pick up a science fiction novel, but stays true to the genre in a way that will satisfy fans. Although the ending of The Human Division was a bit polarizing (apparently some people don't like a bit of a cliffhanger), this only means we can expect more OMW stories, which is never a bad thing." - Elisa Verna, RT Editor


"True starts as many New Adult titles do: she's a virgin, he's a bad boy, they're in college, hijinx ensue. Except soon Erin McCarthy's excellent title veers into the startlingly realistic. The reasons for Rory to stay away from Tyler are real and serious. You'll find yourself agreeing with Rory's father when he lists the many ways that Tyler will drag Rory down. McCarthy doesn't shy away from the very serious troubles in Tyler's life: a drug-addicted mother, a mentally challenged little brother, money woes. It is this stark reality that helps McCarthy's title stand out, and what will suck you in. A New Adult winner for sure." - Elissa Petruzzi, RT Editor


"Kathleen Tessaro, whose amazing debut, Elegance, was perfection, returns to form stunningly with The Perfume Collector. There's so much info and insight packed into the novel that you might have to backtrack occasionally to catch up with the dual story timeline and all the secondary characters. True, you might guess one of the twists, but that's not important. What is important, and what is conveyed beautifully, is a repressed woman's awakening to all of life's possibilities as she uncovers a mystery. In Paris. In the '50s. And if that's not enough, the other storyline is about a girl  who makes her way from hotel chambermaid in New York to perfumer's muse in Paris. The scenery is splendid, the characters complex and the message is meaningful. Did I mention it's set in Paris?" - Liz French, RT Editor


"Many familiar faces re-appear and longstanding storylines are wrapped up in Charlaine Harris' widely anticipated conclusion to the Sookie Stackhouse/Southern Vampires series, Dead Ever After. Senior reviewer Jill Smith touched on the somewhat controversial ending (which has been revealed on the Internet, thanks to an unhappy fan in Germany), calling the denouement a "satisfying and fitting end" that "worked wonderfully and felt true to the evolution of Sookie." Harris has crafted an addictive series and one thing's for certain: fans will be talking about Sookie for a long time to come." - Regina Small, RT Editor

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

The Apple Orchard by Susan Wiggs

Lord of Wicked Intentions by Lorraine Heath

Heart of Iron by Bec McMaster

Visit The RT Seal of Excellence Index >>