July 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. July 2015's RT Seal of Excellence — the editors' pick for best book of the month — is awarded to Time Salvager by Wes Chu.

"There are two words that are guaranteed to make me pick up a book: time travel. But while that trope may have been what drew me to Time Salvager, it was Wesley Chu's exceptional worldbuilding that kept me completely rapt. Not only is Time Salvager a thrilling, fast-paced adventure, it's also a sensitive exploration of loss and redemption. After a long career of allowing people to die in a doomed past, chron-man James chooses to save scientist Elise Kim. It's the decision that kicks off our story — a choice that sees James embrace his own humanity as Elise works to save ours; it's a brilliant, lovely synthesis of internal and external conflict. What Elise awakens in James is far more significant than attraction or desire: it's hope." — Regina Small

"There is nothing not to love about Wesley Chu’s incredible new novel. The idea of a future in which we employ chronmen to time-travel back into our past to steal the resources we need is both incredibly fantastic and depressingly believable (or it would be if we could get going with that whole time-travel thing). And the characters! Oh, the characters. They feel three-dimensional and fully realized, and that comes through best in the moments when you’ll want to reach into the book, grab them and ask, “What are you even doing right now?!” I haven’t plowed through a book so quickly in ages, dying to know what would happen next. And I’m already planning to give it a second go, to savor it more fully — and to gear up for the 2016 sequel!" — Jennifer Peters

"Time Salvager is nearly perfect. The worldbuilding feels effortless, the technology isn't over explained and the jaded, alcoholic protagonist is (obviously) flawed without being irritating. This book does not slow down, and you won't want it to." — Elisa Verna

Here are the other books we considered for our July 2015 Seal of Excellence Award:

"While the dystopian YA market is saturated, Rachel Caine's Ink and Bone defiantly brings something fresh to the table. The story is a dystopian love letter to bibliophiles. In a world where owning physical books is outlawed, replaced by a kind of magical e-book, Librarians are both respected and feared. Jess’s father deems him a poor choice to take over the family’s book smuggling business and instead sends him to the work for the Library. Once there, Jess meets a realistically diverse set of characters who you will both love — and love to hate. It deals with the importance of protecting the written word and how dangerous the mass dissemination of ideas can be to regimes, with a little alchemy and romance thrown in. Caine drops her young characters into the middle of a war and pulls no punches as they fight to survive and save the Library from armies — and itself. The hardest part of this book is waiting for the sequel. " — Sarah McDaniel Dyer

"Summer Secrets is the perfect accessory for your beach tote. As you park yourself on a chair in the Nantucket sand, Jane Green pulls you into a tale of struggle and second chances. Be prepared to experience the full gamut of emotions: hopelessness and despair when Cat’s alcohol addiction hits rock bottom, anger and frustration when that addiction leads to a very foolish choice … but ultimately, excitement and relief at the thought of her happily ever after. As new chapters unfold for Cat, you’ll find it next to impossible not to become invested in her story. Pack some snacks in your cooler and reapply your sunscreen — Green’s latest will keep you busy for a while. " — Danielle Valente

"I love a good category romance — the way the authors defy and twist conventions to suit their own stories, it's romance done right. And Catherine Mann's latest, Pregnant by the Cowboy CEO, is a lot of fun, her characters go on a cross-country gala tour — via private jet, no less. They even take the heroine's cat! If only I could fly privately with my feline friend! The hero here is swoon worthy, an almost silver fox, he's got to deal with this new life he created — in a closet in a fit of passion. A great summer read! " — Elissa Petruzzi

"Sarah E. Ladd's latest inspirational historical romance is — no wordplay intended — destined for the keeper shelf. While I normally tend to go for steamier romances, there's a wonderful charm to the simmering attraction between Camille and Jonathan, adding a satisfying sense of tension. Though the stolen ruby known as the Bevoy powers the mystery at the heart of The Curiosity Keeper, it's Camille and Jonathan's uncommon commitment to doing the right thing that distinguishes their HEA, making it a cut above." — Regina Small

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