October Seal Of Excellence
Each month the RT editors select one book that is not only compelling, but pushes the boundaries of genre fiction. This book stands out from all the others reviewed that month, in the magazine issue and on the website. October 2013's RT Seal of Excellence — the editors' pick for best book of the month — is awarded to Maggie Shayne's romantic suspense Sleep With the Lights On.
"Sleep With the Lights On isn't just the title of Maggie Shayne's newest romantic thriller: It's what you'll want to do after you've finished reading. Shayne's talent for dark, gripping, supernatural stories combines with two unconventional leads and powerful sexual chemistry, making for a page-turning tale that will keep you up all night. Sarcastic, misanthropic self-help guru Rachel de Luca is the kind of heroine you'll love despite her thorns — or maybe because of them — and the connection between her and world-weary detective Mason Brown is far from run-of-the-mill. Throw in an intensely creepy serial killer and a scene-stealing bulldog, and you have the start of a fantastic new series. Brava, Maggie Shayne!" — Mala Bhattacharjee
"When the bandages come off Rachel de Luca’s eyes, readers see a new side to the jaded heroine as she explores her world in vivid color and shows awakened compassion for those around her, notably a blind dog. But the souls in this paranormal thriller aren’t serving up any chicken soup — there are sinister forces at work, and it's hard not to flinch as Rachel sees each victim meet a gruesome end through the eyes of a serial killer. Detective Mason Brown, having solved the case in the worst way possible, must lead the victims’ families to closure without leading them to the truth; readers will savor the wrong turns and dead ends that keep the investigation from ending Mason’s career — and his relationship with Rachel — too soon. With a perfect blend of grit and wit, Shayne twists a new-age premise into a haunting romantic thriller that’s sticky, but not too sweet." — Devon Glenn
"I had mixed feelings after finishing Maggie Shayne's Sleep With the Lights On — but not whether or not I liked the story. I was irrationally mad that I didn’t have the sequel, Wake to Darkness, to immediately start reading. In Sleep With the Lights On, organ donation recipients not only get a physical part of someone else, but also inherit their donor's likes, dislikes, emotions, needs, etc. In some cases, recipients have received the urge to brutally murder young men. The ensuing police investigation and medical mystery satisfy the left brain, but it’s Shayne’s characters that allow readers to feel a real connection to each part of the plot. As a romantic suspense novel, neither the romantic subplot nor the urgency to solve the case interrupt the stories of each character, keeping me hooked. Thankfully, the sequel is out in December!" — Tricia Carr
So, which other books were contenders for the October Seal of Excellence? Here's a look at the titles the RT editors considered.
"A quickly moving tale of a woman with a dark past and the bar owner who, despite his own troubled history, wants nothing more than to protect her, Getting Rowdy by Lori Foster will delight new and old readers with its smooth plot and likeable characters. Foster succeeds in revealing pieces of Avery and Rowdy's pasts in a timely and effective manner, and never overloads the reader. Avery and Rowdy's chemistry is palpable and they are so well suited for each other it's hard not to root for them to get a happy ending. With underlying themes of family, Getting Rowdy is an engaging story that will keep readers up all night!" — DJ DeSmyter
"Meg Rosoff has created an extraordinary protagonist in Mila, who is smart beyond her years and yet naive and endearing. Readers will love, love, love her relationship and travels with her father during their holiday in America. Seeing the world through Mila's perceptive eyes, as she tries to reason her way through her father's friend's disappearance, is a treat that you won't soon forget. Picture Me Gone is everything that is great about the YA genre today: it's smart, interesting, different and wonderful. I am out of adjectives, so please believe me and just go read it." — Elissa Petruzzi
"Wally Lamb is a master, and his skill is apparent here in We Are Water. Your heart will ache from the very start as he begins to weave the tale of a misunderstood and discarded artist through the lives of his contemporary characters. He lovingly crafts the narratives of an old man, an artist embarking on a new marriage, a psychologist dealing with retirement, and more, delving deep into their minds, and taking readers along for the ride. We're all in, Wally! We'll go wherever you take us. One thing, though: Can Oprah come too?" — Elissa Petruzzi
"Allison Leigh welcomes long-time visitors and newcomers alike to Weaver, Wyo., in Harlequin Special Edition's A Weaver Beginning. Leigh makes the trip easy and authentic, enveloping the reader into the community right along with tormented deputy Sloan McCray and school nurse Abby Marcum. Sloan and Abby's sweet, sexy connection and their truly adorable and loving scenes with Abby's little brother Dylan don't just put off the winter chill on the page — they put the "heart" in "heartwarming." If you crave a perfect fall treat and a taste of seasonal joy, you'll want to start with A Weaver Beginning!" — Mala Bhattacharjee
Some of the additional titles that the RT editors considered are: