Seal of Excellence: December 2017

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. December 2017's RT Seal of Excellence — the editors' pick for best book of the month — is awarded to Wrong to Need You by Alisha Rai. 


“What will people think?” Rai doesn't just tackle this rhetorical question, she obliterates it in Wrong To Need You, the second installment in her Forbidden Hearts series. Though Sadia and Jackson's love is central to the story, strained family relationships also play an important role. Through honest discussion and personal reflection, bonds are strengthened and outside opinions lose their power, putting the aforementioned question to rest once and for all. It's not an easy journey, but watching Sadia and Jackson overcome each obstacle in order to claim their HEA is incredibly rewarding! — Kristin Stec

I loved Hate to Want You and couldn’t wait to get my hands on the next book, Wrong to Need You. Little did I know I was going to love it even more! Jackson and Sadia are an awesome pair, and watching them overcome the barriers between them is explosive. Sadia’s son is a welcome (adorable) addition to the plot, as are her sisters and family, and it’s super refreshing to read about a hero like Jackson. Yes, he’s tall, broad and handsome … but he’s also downright shy! Cripplingly so! But that doesn’t stop him from coming to Sadia when she needs him most. That Jackson is the brother of Sadia’s deceased husband adds to the taboo, forbidden aspect. This series just keeps delivering! — Emily Walton

Get it: Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo | Google Play

And the other nominees are …

Alyssa Cole's A HOPE DIVIDED

It’s honestly remarkable how easily Alyssa Cole’s Loyal League series manages to incorporate both sweeping romance and heart-pounding action. A Hope Divided  is no different, and readers are going to love heroine Marlie Lynch. Her backstory is equal parts intriguing and heartbreaking, and her dedication to her craft — studying medicine — is admirable. This Civil War-era heroine means business! It’s also exciting to meet Ewan McCall whose brother Malcolm was the hero of book one. Ewan and Malcolm couldn’t be more different, but Ewan is a perfect match for Marlie. Their philosophical discussions show the academic spark to their relationship, and the respect Ewan has for Marlie is obvious. If you want to read more about this awesome title, definitely check out our Q&A! — Emily Walton

Get it: Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo | Google Play


A Duke in Shining Armor With a bookish-but-confident heroine and a rakish duke, there's no way you can go wrong with the first Difficult Dukes book. Lady Olympia Hightower is set to marry her intended bridegroom, but when her nerves fail her, she runs away. As the best man, The Duke of Ripley follows, honor bound to return her to her rightful husband — but the journey makes them closer than they could ever have planned. It is so absolutely delectable how much these characters deny their attraction to each other while being so clearly in love — it's one of my favorite themes in romances, and Chase hits it right out of the park with Ripley and Olympia. Olympia is so wonderfully relatable and lovable, with her stubborn ways and a love for libraries, and Ripley works amazingly in contrast to her as an infamous rebel who still has the confidence of an upstanding duke. With the scandalous intrigue and the shifting point of views, and a dog that Olympia insists on taking in, this story is definitely a keeper on my shelf. — Alyssa Duspiva

Get it: Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo | Google Play


I still remember the first time I met little Lexie Kowalsky. It was the early 2000s and my awkward middle school-aged self had only recently discovered romance novels. I found Rachel Gibson's 1998 release Simply Irresistible at the library and dove headfirst into John "The Wall" Kowalsky and Georgeanne's story. Lexie was the child born of John and Georgeanne's first wild weekend romp and when I heard that Lexie would get her own love story in the form of Rachel's The Art of Running in Heels, I was so excited! Much like Georgeanne and John's story, we begin with a runaway bride in need of a lift who just happens to run into a hot hockey player who's headed out of town. It doesn't take long for tension to build between the two and before we know it, Lexie's got much bigger problems than just jilting a groom on national TV. — Kristin Stec

Get it: Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo | Google Play

Congratulations to the winner and all of the nominees! You can also find all of our Seal of Excellence winners here.

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