Yesterday the Romance Writers of America announced the finalists for this year’s RITA and Golden Heart awards. I muted the dozens of congratulatory tweets, but I did enjoy it when my reader-friends started weighing in on the lists. On Twitter, though, the number of people being @ed soon left no room in the canoe for saying anything about the books. We needed a place to discuss at length and I volunteered to provide one.
It turns out I have read not one of the finalists (I read less romance, and fewer new books, last year), so I really need your comments!
Many people were happy to see the mix of self-published, small e-published, and Big 5 books on the list. I think that may bode well for genre diversity, though I’m curious about how many of those books are really out of the mainstream in content.
There was also some interesting discussion on the imbalance in the categories under the new judging system (18 in contemporary romance, 2 in inspirational, 3 in erotic romance–a new category, but probably the hottest subgenre just now). I thought erotic romance finalist Stephanie Draven’s post on this raised some great points (h/t Erin Satie).
I also wish that all those annoying RITA-judging authors who tweeted “I’m reading this amazing book for the RITAs, wish I could say what it is” (why must you taunt-tweet? pour your enthusiasm into your pet’s ears) could post those titles. We need an anonymous secret confession site for that, I guess!
As my contribution, I do have several finalists in my TBR (please don’t tell me I must read them. I know!).
- Ruthie Knox, Along Came Trouble*
- Molly O’Keefe, Crazy Thing Called Love*
- Sarah Morgan, Sleigh Bells in the Snow (tons of people liked it, including Sunita, with whom I often align)
- Stephanie Draven, When I’m Bad I’m Better in It Stings So Sweet (really loved her political contemporary, and this one has a 1920s setting)
- Courtney Milan, The Countess Conspiracy*
- Susanna Kearsley, The Firebird (glad to see this here, as she’s really writing “Strong Romantic Elements,” a category which was cut this year)
- Carolyn Crane, Off the Edge
(*or, um, maybe I just have earlier books in these series? I have enjoyed these authors before but am so “behind” on many series)
So have at it. What did you read, love, hate, like, yawn at? And what do you think should be on the list but isn’t? (Who cares whether it was entered or not? Complain! I’m surprised not to see Cara McKenna, Anne Calhoun, Jill Sorenson, or Jeannie Lin. Well, maybe not surprised by that last, but disappointed).