SCOOPED! Featuring Holiday Reads, Free E-Books, Choosing RT's Top Picks And More!

For my weekly column Scooped!, I scour the Internet, contact authors and pick my fellow RT editor's brains to make sure no reader question goes unanswered. This week, I share insider information about both Christmas and non-Christmas romance books, the easiest way to find free e-books and give an insider look at how RT's Top Picks are chosen. Still have questions? Send them to me here and you may be featured in an upcoming post.

Question: How exactly do you choose which books will be Top Picks? -Kimi

Morgan: Top Picks are chosen by RT Reviewers as the best books of the month. They are the ones that we believe are truly special — perhaps even destined to be "classics". However, for the answer about how exactly they are picked, I turn to RT Senior Reviewer Kathe Robin who has reviewed close to 8,500 books in her 30 year tenure at RT! 

Choosing a Top Pick is personal and subjective. Of course a Top Pick is a well written book with an engrossing story that includes wonderfully three dimensional characters that seem to come out of the pages to touch the reader. But it’s the book you can’t forget, the one you have to tell others about (even strangers you meet in the book store). It’s a book that has the ability to touch you on so many levels and most off all, it’s the book you wish would never end. It’s the one that you give a deep sigh over when you turn the last page. It might even be a book that changes the way you look at life. Simply said it’s very special.  

Question: I have a long plane ride ahead of me for the holidays (I live in Miami and my family is in Seattle) so I need a few good books for the trip. Any suggestions? -Beth

Morgan: Fortunately for all holiday travelers this year, there are many, many good books just released for those long trips. If you wanted to get into the holiday season, might I suggest Lauren Willig's The Mischief of the Mistletoe? For more historical fun, also check out Cathy Maxwell's His Christmas Pleasure. But if you are craving some more contemporary tales of Christmas romance, be sure to add RaeAnne Thayne's A Thunder Canyon Christmas and Lisa Kleypas' Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor to your list. However, if you are looking for a little escape from Christmas stress and all that goes into decking the halls, perhaps some better choices would be the totally holiday free new releases. I suggest No Place to Run, the latest romantic suspense in Maya Banks' popular KGI series, the new YA novel Matched by Allie Condie and the historical romance Dukes to the Left of Me, Princes to the Right, the second book by new author Kieran Kramer.   

Question: I just got an e-reader (the Kindle) for an early Christmas present. I have been hearing that there are all sorts of places to get free e-books. Could you point me in the right direction for easy to find free romances? -M.H.

Morgan: Since you have a Kindle, the easiest way to upload e-books is through And the good news is that with the Kindle app, almost anyone with an e-reader, computer or even smart phone can find free books on Amazon's site. The fastest way to get what you are looking for is to go to the e-books section on the site and in the right hand sidebar click on the tab for 'Top 100 Free' that lists the most popular free e-books that Amazon offers. Some current romances on this list include: Marry Me by Jo Goodman, The Pursuit of Pleasure by Elizabeth Essex and Going All In by Jess Dee.  

Question: A while back, you wrote about the anthology The Lady Most Likely... by some of the best historical romance authors around. So have you read it yet? Is it good? -Mary

Morgan: I am sorry to say that The Lady Most Likely... is still on my TBR pile (that is To Be Read over holiday vacation), however, RT's Assistant Web Editor, Whitney, has finished the book. Here's what she said:

This is a perfect holiday read. There are some very natural pauses in this story that revolves around a party of people falling in love, so it's easy to pick up and put down as your plans demand. The characters are delightful, and the story will leave you wanting more. However, my favorite part of The Lady Most Likely... is how the authors' styles weave together. The novel is full of funny moments, exactly what you'd expect when Eloisa James, Julia Quinn and Connie Brockway all attend the same party!

That's all for this week. Remember, if you have a question about anything that's going on with your favorite authors and books, send me an email at and I promise to give you the inside scoop on the publishing world! 

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