The RITA Reading Challenge 2011

RITA®, and the RITA statuette are service marks of Romance Writers of America, Inc.A lot of people try to see all the Best Picture nominees before the Oscars ceremony- so let’s do that for the RITAs, shall we?

I looked at the list of RITA® nominated books from the RWA and there were a lot of books I was curious about. I’m not going to be able to read every nominated book before the ceremony… but I can read one in each category – and I invite you to do it, too.

Here’s my plan:

Below is the list of nominees, along with a Google Doc link to a list of the nominees. Select a book you’d like to read, or more than one if you’re a speedy reader, “claim” it on the Google Doc (please) and give it a go. If you’re so inclined, send me a review of 250 words or less (and you can skip the plot summary, which is the hardest part of writing a review, I swear) by 15 June 2011. Feel free to send over reviews now, and I’ll start publishing them as they come in. I cannot promise I’ll publish every last one, but I will do my best to publish your reviews of the books as they come in collected in the “RITA® Reader Challenge 2011” tag, along with my own reviews. I’ll make sure to include the cover copy in the entry so folks get that pesky plot summary, but you’re free to explain what you liked, what you didn’t, and what you think of the book over all. Make it as silly or serious as you like, but do make sure to discuss the ways in which the book worked or didn’t work for you, considering it’s been nominated as among the very best books of this past year.

In this here Google Doc Spreadsheet, please tell us which book(s) you want to read for the RITA® Reader Challenge, so we know which ones are chosen for potential review. You don’t have to avoid a book you’re dying to read because it’s already been picked, but I do want to make sure every book has a review attached if possible. More than one person can pick a book, in other words, but I want to make sure every book is read by someone.

Please send your reviews to me at sarahATsmartbitchestrashybooksDOTcom, with “RITA® Reading Challenge” in the subject line so I can prioritize it (You have no idea what my inbox looks like. Seriously).

I am going to figure out which books I’m going to review and have marked likely candidates with an asterisk below, but you’re welcome to make suggestions as to which titles I should take on. Either way, by the end of the RITA® Reader Challenge, we’ll have compendium of reviews for each of the nominated titles (I hope!) by the time the ceremonies start in New York in July.

2011 RITA Finalists for Best First Book

▪ Enemy Within by Marcella Burnard (Berkley; Leis Pederson, editor)
▪ Firestorm by Kelly Ann Riley (Steeple Hill Love Inspired Suspense; Tina James, editor)
▪ I Now Pronounce You Someone Else by Erin McCahan (Scholastic; Cheryl Klein, editor)
▪ The Iron King by Julie Kagawa (Harlequin Teen; Natashya Wilson, editor)
▪ Pieces of Sky by Kaki Warner (Berkley Sensation; Wendy McCurdy, editor)
▪ The Summer of Skinny Dipping by Amanda Howells (Sourcebooks Fire; Deb Werksman, editor)
▪ A Tailor-Made Bride by Karen Witemeyer (Bethany House Publishers; Karen Schurrer, editor)
▪ Wanna Get Lucky? by Deborah Coonts (Tor/Forge; Bob Gleason, editor)
▪ When Harry Met Molly by Kieran Kramer (St. Martin’s Press; Jennifer Enderlin, editor)

2011 RITA Finalists for Contemporary Series Romance

▪ Breaking the Sheikh’s Rules in the Summer Sheikhs anthology by Abby Green (Mills & Boon; Meg Lewis, editor)
▪ Christmas Magic on the Mountain by Melissa McClone (Harlequin Romance; Joanne Grant, editor)
▪ Christmas with Her Boss by Marion Lennox (Harlequin Romance; Sheila Hodgson, editor)
▪ Dare She Date the Dreamy Doc? by Sarah Morgan (Mills & Boon Medical Romance; Kimberley Young, editor)
▪ Red-Hot Renegade by Kelly Hunter (Mills & Boon Modern Heat; Joanne Grant, editor)
▪ An Unexpected Father by Lisa Ruff (Harlequin American Romance; Johanna Raisanen, editor)
▪ Welcome Home, Cowboy by Karen Templeton (Silhouette Special Edition; Gail Chasan, editor)
▪ Zoe and the Tormented Tycoon by Kate Hewitt (Harlequin Presents; Meg Lewis, editor)

2011 RITA Finalists for Contemporary Series Romance: Suspense/Adventure

▪ The Baby’s Guardian by Delores Fossen (Harlequin Intrigue; Allison Lyons, editor)
▪ Case File: Canyon Creek, Wyoming by Paula Graves (Harlequin Intrigue; Allison Lyons, editor)
▪ To Catch a Killer by Kimberly Van Meter (Silhouette Romantic Suspense; Johanna Raisanen, editor)
▪ A Cop in Her Stocking by Ann Voss Peterson (Harlequin Intrigue; Allison Lyons, editor)
▪ Meltdown by Gail Barrett (Silhouette Romantic Suspense; Susan Litman, editor)
▪ The Moon That Night by Helen Brenna (Harlequin Superromance; Johanna Raisanen, editor)
▪ Perfect Partners? by C.J. Carmichael (Harlequin Superromance; Johanna Raisanen, editor)
▪ Renegade Angel by Kendra Leigh Castle (Harlequin Nocturne; Ann Leslie Tuttle, editor)


2011 RITA Finalists for Contemporary Single Title Romance

▪ And One Last Thing by Molly Harper (Gallery Books; Jennifer Heddle, editor)
▪ Happy Ever After by Nora Roberts (Berkley Trade; Leslie Gelbman, editor)*
▪ Lead Me On by Victoria Dahl (HQN Books; Tara Parsons, editor)
▪ Not That Kind of Girl by Susan Donovan (St. Martin’s Press; Monique Patterson, editor)
▪ Nothing But Trouble by Rachel Gibson (Avon Books; Lucia Macro, editor)
▪ One Fine Cowboy by Joanne Kennedy (Sourcebooks Casablanca; Deb Werksman, editor)
▪ Simply Irresistible by Jill Shalvis (Forever; Alex Logan, editor)
▪ Still the One by Robin Wells (Forever; Selina McLemore, editor)


2011 RITA Finalists for Historical Romance

▪ Countess of Scandal by Laurel McKee (Forever; Alex Logan, editor)
▪ The Forbidden Rose by Joanne Bourne (Berkley Trade; Wendy McCurdy, editor)
▪ His at Night by Sherry Thomas (Bantam Books; Caitlin Alexander, editor)
▪ A Kiss at Midnight by Eloisa James (Avon Books; Carrie Feron, editor)
▪ Last Night’s Scandal by Loretta Chase (Avon; May Chen, editor)
▪ A Little Bit Wild by Victoria Dahl (Zebra Books; John Scognamiglio, editor)
▪ One Wicked Sin by Nicola Cornick (HQN Books; Kimberley Young, editor)
▪ Open Country by Kaki Warner (Berkley Trade; Wendy McCurdy, editor)


2011 RITA Finalists for Inspirational Romance

▪ A Convenient Wife by Anna Schmidt (Steeple Hill Love Inspired Historical; Tina James, editor)
▪ Doctor in Petticoats by Mary Connealy (Barbour Publishing; Rebecca Germany, editor)
▪ Finding Her Way Home by Linda Goodnight (Steeple Hill Love Inspired; Allison Lyons, editor)
▪ In Harm’s Way by Irene Hannon (Revell; Jennifer Leep, editor)
▪ Maid to Match by Deeanne Gist (Bethany House Publishers; David Long and Julie Klassen, editors)
▪ Shades of Morning by Marlo M. Schalesky (WaterBrook Multnomah; Shannon Marchese, editor)
▪ The Wedding Garden by Linda Goodnight (Steeple Hill Love Inspired; Allison Lyons, editor)
▪ Whisper on the Wind by Maureen Lang (Tyndale House Publishers; Stephanie Broene, editor)
▪ Within My Heart by Tamera Alexander (Bethany House Publishers; Karen Schurrer and Charlene Patterson, editors)


2011 RITA Finalists for Novel With Strong Romantic Elements

▪ Blood Vines by Erica Spindler (St. Martin’s Press; Jennifer Weis, editor)
▪ The Dead Travel Fast by Deanna Raybourn (MIRA; Valerie Gray, editor)
▪ Killbox by Ann Aguirre (Ace Books; Anne Sowards, editor)
▪ On Folly Beach by Karen White (NAL Accent; Cindy Hwang, editor)
▪ The Search by Nora Roberts (G.P. Putnam’s Sons; Leslie Gelbman, editor)
▪ Stormwalker by Allyson James (Berkley Sensation; Kate Seaver, editor)
▪ Wanna Get Lucky? by Deborah Coonts (Tor/Forge; Bob Gleason, editor)
▪ Welcome to Harmony by Jodi Thomas (Berkley; Wendy McCurdy, editor)


2011 RITA Finalists for Paranormal Romance

▪ Enemy Within by Marcella Burnard (Berkley; Leis Pederson, editor)
▪ A Highlander’s Homecoming by Melissa Mayhue (Pocket Books; Megan McKeever, editor)
▪ Immortal Sea by Virginia Kantra (Berkley Trade; Cindy Hwang, editor)
▪ Marked by the Moon by Lori Handeland (St. Martin’s Press; Jennifer Enderlin, editor)
▪ Rebel by Zoe Archer (Zebra Books; Megan Records, editor)
▪ Sins of the Heart by Eve Silver (HQN Books; Tara Parsons, editor)
▪ Unchained: the Dark Forgotten by Sharon Ashwood (NAL/Signet Eclipse; Laura Cifelli, editor)
▪ Water Bound by Christine Feehan (Jove; Cindy Hwang, editor)


2011 RITA Finalists for Regency Historical Romance

▪ His Christmas Pleasure by Cathy Maxwell (Avon Books; Lucia Macro, editor)
▪ The Mischief of the Mistletoe by Lauren Willig (Dutton; Erika Imranyi, editor)
▪ Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake by Sarah MacLean (Avon Books; Carrie Feron, editor) *
▪ Provocative in Pearls by Madeline Hunter (Jove; Wendy McCurdy, editor)
▪ To Surrender to a Rogue by Cara Elliott (Forever; Frances Jalet-Miller, editor)
▪ Twice Tempted by a Rogue by Tessa Dare (Ballantine Books; Kate Collins, editor)
▪ When Harry Met Molly by Kieran Kramer (St. Martin’s Press; Jennifer Enderlin, editor)
▪ The Wicked Wyckerly by Patricia Rice (NAL/Signet; Ellen Edwards, editor)


2011 RITA Finalists for Romance Novella

▪ “Blame It on the Blizzard” by Jennifer Greene in Baby, It’s Cold Outside  (Harlequin; Marsha Zinberg, editor)
▪ “A Dundee Christmas” by Brenda Novak in That Christmas Feeling (Harlequin Superromance; Paula Eykelhof, editor)
▪ “Friendly Fire” by Jill Shalvis in Born on the 4th of July (Harlequin Blaze; Brenda Chin, editor)*
▪ “Love Me to Death” by Maggie Shayne in Heart of Darkness (HQN Books; Leslie Wainger, editor)
▪ “Mistletoe Magic” by Sandra Hyatt in Under the Millionaire’s Mistletoe (Silhouette Desire; Krista Stroever, editor)
▪ “Mountain Rose” by Cheryl St. John in To Be a Mother (Steeple Hill Love Inspired Historical; Patience Smith, editor)
▪ “Shifting Sea” by Virginia Kantra in Burning Up (Berkley Sensation; Cindy Hwang, editor)
▪ “The Wrong Brother” by Maureen Child in Under the Millionaire’s Mistletoe (Silhouette Desire; Krista Stroever, editor)


2011 RITA Finalists for Romantic Suspense

▪ The Darkest Hour by Maya Banks (Berkley; Cindy Hwang, editor)
▪ Deadly Fear by Cynthia Eden (Forever; Alex Logan, editor)
▪ Edge of Sight by Roxanne St. Claire (Forever; Amy Pierpont, editor)
▪ Indulgence in Death by J.D. Robb (G.P. Putnam’s Sons; Leslie Gelbman, editor)
▪ Kill Me Again by Maggie Shayne (MIRA; Leslie Wainger, editor)
▪ Love Me to Death by Allison Brennan (Ballantine Books; Charlotte Herscher & Kate Collins, editors)
▪ Silent Scream by Karen Rose (Grand Central; Karen Kosztolnyik, editor)
▪ Two Lethal Lies by Annie Solomon (Forever; Michele Bidelspach, editor)


2011 RITA Finalists for Young Adult Romance

▪ Chasing Brooklyn by Lisa Schroeder (Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing; Annette Pollert, editor)
▪ The Clearing by Heather Davis (Houghton Mifflin Graphia; Julie Tibbott, editor)
▪ Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare (Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing; Karen Wojtyla, editor)
▪ I Now Pronounce You Someone Else by Erin McCahan (Scholastic; Cheryl Klein, editor)
▪ The Iron King by Julie Kagawa (Harlequin Teen; Natashya Wilson, editor)
▪ Rules of Attraction by Simone Elkeles (Walker Publishing; Emily Easton, editor)
▪ The Summer of Skinny Dipping by Amanda Howells (Sourcebooks Fire; Deb Werksman) *


Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    Daisy says:

    Oooh, looks like I was the first to sign up?  I’m never first on the internet.  Unless of course I don’t know how to use Google docs, which is entirely possible.  A great idea, and I am looking forward to participating.

    days28: I hope to complete the book and my review within 28 days.

  2. 2
    Tina C. says:

    This is an awesome idea!  I’ve already read 9 of these, so I picked two that I haven’t read yet to review.

  3. 3
    Jess says:

    Woop, I just claimed a book I wanted to re-read anyway. This was the first year I have actually read more than one title on the list, I am relatively new to reading romances (the full-fledged obsession only started over the last three years) so I already feel a little accomplished. 😀

  4. 4
    runswithscissors says:

    Ooh, fun AND spreadsheets!  I’m having a Mills and Boon/Harlequin Presents moment so signed up to review Abby Green’s sheiktastic offering …

  5. 5
    Sadiana says:

    How nifty! Since I managed to get “The Iron King” as a free download a while ago, I figured I’d give that one a go. It does look interesting! Let’s hope I can do a review worthy of SBTB when I’m done.

  6. 6
    Abby says:

    This is so exciting!  What a great excuse to read a book I’ve been meaning to get to- though mine’s part of a series, so I’ll have a lot of reading to do to catch up between now and June!

  7. 7
    Ros says:

    I’m in!  I’ve claimed the Nicola Cornick because I’ve been wondering about trying her books for a while.

  8. 8
    Alyssa Cole says:

    This is a great idea! I’ve wanted to read The Iron King for a while and this is the perfect opportunity.

  9. 9

    I put myself down for 4, all outside of what I normally read, so this should be fun. Now to just find them all.

  10. 10
    Ana Farrish says:

    I signed up to read both of the Kaki Warner books.  I’ve had them on my TBR for a while.  I’ve never read a historical western, so I’m looking forward to this challenge.

  11. 11
    Susan Reader says:

    I signed up for two BUT on the entire spreadsheet I can only see my name and one other person’s name.  Where is everybody else’s name?  Did I do it right?

    Anyway, my picks were:
      Kelly Hunter’s Red Hot Renegade
      Loretta Chase’s Last Night’s Scandal

  12. 12
    Liz says:

    I signed up to review 2 (1 that i have already read and 1 that i have been meaning to read for a couple of months now).  can’t wait!

  13. 13
    Becky says:

    I tried to do this with Dabwaha this year, only my goal was to read at least 3 books in every catagory.  I collapsed in exhaustion before I got even half way through, and never even filled out a bracket.  Never again.

  14. 14
    jeannieh says:

    I’m all in. I’ve been wanting to try a Cynthia Eden so I signed up for Deadly Fear. Off to download on the ye ol’ Kindle and get started. That’s the cool thing about a Kindle, I can make notes as I read. Yay!

  15. 15
    SonomaLass says:

    I’ve read most of the historicals and then one or two in some other categories. My personal goal is to complete the historical category at least.

  16. 16
    Shelly Quade says:

    I think this is a really cool idea. (& I’ve been wanting to read A Clockwork Angel for awhile now)

    Can’t wait to read the reviews!

  17. 17
    Donna says:

    So, I just blew out the reserve function on my library account….

  18. 18
    Khenta says:

    Just a general question: why do there have to be separate categories for historical and for regency historical romance? But not one for, say, futuristic romance?

  19. 19
    kkw says:

    I’m with Sonoma Lass.  I’m going to try to read all the historicals and all the historical regencies, and since at least one person has already signed up to review all those, I don’t have to do any.  Plus I’ve already read most of them, so I can feel diligent while doing very little work.  I’ll wait for the reviews of the other categories to see if y’all think there’s anything particularly enticing.

    Anyone else think it’s odd that Milan and James, who were the DABWAHA finalists, aren’t even nominated? Unless I missed them somehow.

  20. 20

    @Khenta—I’ve been asking myself that for a while too. Futuristic/Sci-fi roms get the short end of the stick, and it’s not really fair. Hard to judge aliens with elves/vampires/whatever fantasy dreg of the month—but then Regencies seem to be one of the more popular venues for historicals.

    Probably separated the historicals out like that because of numbers – and lump Futuristic/Sci-fi in the Paranormal category because there isn’t enough or they don’t know what else to do with it. Or both.

    My best guess anyway…I really don’t know all that much.

  21. 21
    Sarah says:

    Greetings from LA! I am so glad to see that most of the books are claimed. Yay! Thanks for the enthusiastic response – this is going to be awesome!!

  22. 22
    Elizabeth says:

    I signed up for two BUT on the entire spreadsheet I can only see my name and one other person’s name.  Where is everybody else’s name?  Did I do it right?

    That’s funny, because I can see your name, but no one else’s!  I could see my own, when I first typed it in, but not anymore….  I hope I’ve done it right….

    ETA: Hang on, now everyone has disappeared!

    I’ve signed up (or attempted to) for Zoe and the Tormented Tycoon, The Darkest Hour, The Mischief of the Mistletoe, and His at Night (which I’ve read, but would love to read again).

  23. 23
    Chelsea says:

    this equals an excuse to buy more books 😀

  24. 24
    Olivia says:

    At last, an excuse to read a shiekh romance again! It’s been over a decade since I went on that “every shiekh book I could find” binge.

  25. 25
    Emily A. says:

    Okay so I had so much trouble with the spreadsheet.
    I am so sorry I think I deleted someon’s name. If you signed up for the Mischief of the Mistletoe please check.
    I signed up for that one. I also signed up for The Moon That Night and Maid to Match.
    I was only going to three, but Whisper on the Wind looked so awesome. I am going to try to do four.
    Good Luck everyone!
    This looks like a lot of fun.

  26. 26
    Kathleen says:

    Since I’d love, love, love to try my hand at writing a review I’ll give it a whirl with Edge of Sight.  When is the 250 essay due, Ms. Sarah?

    My word:  higher34.  Why of course, I always want to aim higher!  Possibly for my own RITA one day!

  27. 27
    DS says:

    OT of a sort—but what is the Rita statuette doing? It looks like she might be trying to decide if she was going to autograph her chest.

  28. 28
    AfroQueen says:

    I signed up for “Wanna Get Lucky” and I was going to sign up for another, but I know myself well enough to know I need to start small.

  29. 29

    This is my first nomination and I want that statuette. LOL!

    Congrats to my fellow nominees. See everyone in New York, baby!

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