By Kati Dancy
As I said before, 2008 was an amazing year for reading. I know, speaking for myself that reading Joanna Bourne’s The Spymaster’s Lady in January of this year kicked off a three week reading slump where I couldn’t even bring myself to read the back of a cereal box. But it picked up after that and I read SO many terrific books. Our reviewers chose our favorite books, and you all narrowed the list to help us award the First Annual RNTV Reviewer’s Choice Awards.
Our first category was Contemporary Romance. Six of our reviewers chose Lisa Kleypas’s Blue Eyed Devil for its poignant treatment of domestic abuse and its tender love story. You all agreed overwhelmingly. Orannia, one of our readers chose Blue Eyed Devil because the book “made such a difference in the way I see myself.”
Next up was Historical Romance. Our readers chose Master of Surrender by Karin Tabke. Buffie said of the book in her nomination that the novel did a great job of encapsulating the gritty feel of the medieval times. RNTV reader Gina agreed saying, “Karin Tabke’s characters, her writing, takes you to another place and time, and you want to stay there. Master of Surrender made it to my small keeper shelf.”
Our winner for the Paranormal Romance category was Pleasure Unbound by Larissa Ione. Lea, one of our readers said that Pleasure Unbound is her favorite read of the year. In her nomination for Pleasure Unbound Marisa noted that the book featured “one surprise after another with a unique mythology that made me sit up and take notice.”
The Urban Fantasy category was one that was quite close, with lots of votes for both Jeaniene Frost and Patricia Briggs. But the readers of One Foot in the Grave edged out other books. Readers really like Cat, the heroine and the fact that she’s a smart and kickass woman. Our reviewer Kate is very partial to Bones, the hero in the series.
The voting for our Romantic Suspense category was pretty lean, but readers chose Linda Howard’s Death Angel as Romantic Suspense of the year. Readers felt that it was a return to “vintage” Howard, with a story that features strong sexual tension and a mysterious, dynamic hero, with just a touch of paranormal thrown into the mix.
We were fortunate to have a ton of terrific erotic romance books come out this year. Our reviewers took particular note of two books, Wicked Burn by Beth Kery and Flat Our Sexy by Erin McCarthy. Flat Out Sexy won the day with readers really loving the “older woman – younger man” storyline and the fun, flirty nature of the hero.
For Debut Novel of the year, readers chose Broken Wing by Judith James. This is a novel that drew many superlatives, including from our review staff. We called it a “sumptuous feast” and our readers called it “an amazing read.”
Book of the Year will come as a surprise to no one who knows her writing; it is Lover Enshrined by J.R. Ward. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood is compulsively readable and her fans are legion. We’ve been lucky enough to have J.R. Ward visit with us many times, and are looking forward to her next Black Dagger Brotherhood book, Lover Avenged and her new series.
Congratulations to all of our nominees! Thank you for making 2008 such a wonderful one for romance readers. We’ve had such fun reading your books and are looking forward to the journeys you’ll be taking us on in 2009. And thank you to all of Romance Novel TV’s readers, without your strong voices letting us know your thoughts on books, the site would just be ten reviewers chatting with each other.
Until next year’s RNTV Reviewers Choice Awards, may every day feature a really good romance novel!