You have no idea how much I LOVE the summer. How can I express it? After nine months of wearing the same winter coat day after day, I’m thrilled to finally throw the thing back in the closet and not look at it again until next winter. This is the season of less clothing, the sun on your face, sandy beaches, luscious parks, and the aroma of outdoor barbeques. What’s not to love? Add a book or two, or five, and you’ve sent me directly to Heaven. So I thought I’d give you a few more reasons to love this season by suggesting several books to add to the pile I know you’re still trying to get to. But that’s half the fun of being a romance reader – there will ALWAYS be something to read.
My list comes directly from the Romance Writers of America’s RITA winners. The Romance Writers of America (RWA) is a national organization that helps promote the professional interest of romance writers. Each year they have a conference where thousands of writers gather,and this year it was in my city, New York. One of the most exciting nights of the conference is the RITA award ceremony. What’s a RITA? Well it’s not an acronym, it’s actually named after the first president of RWA Rita Clay Estrada. Mystery solved.
Up to 1,200 romance novels from 12 different categories are entered in the RITA competition each year. After the first round of judging, the competition narrows to approximately 100 finalists, and below are the winners for 2011. It is a readymade list of books to savor and enjoy while you lie your suntan lotioned body on the chaise lounge, drink your Skinny Margarita and turn the pages of a new romance – it’s all waiting for you. Well that is after you finish working, grocery shopping, cleaning the house and feeding the kids – but let’s not quibble, there’s a romance book waiting to be read.
The Mischief of the Mistletoe
by Lauren Willig
Despite her dear friend Jane Austen's warning against teaching, Arabella Dempsey accepts a position at a girls' school in Bath, just before Christmas. She hardly imagines coming face-to-face with French aristocrats and international spies. (from B&N.com overview)
His at Night
by Sherry Thomas
Elissande Edgerton is a desperate woman, a virtual prisoner in the home of her tyrannical uncle. Only through marriage can she claim the freedom she craves. But how to catch the perfect man? (from B&N.com overview)
In Harm's Way
by Irene Hannon
How can she expect anyone to believe her—when she can hardly believe it herself? FBI special agent Nick Bradley has seen his share of kooks during his fifteen years with the Bureau. But Rachel Sutton is an enigma. She seems normal when she shows up at his office—until she produces a tattered Raggedy Ann doll and tells him about a strange feeling of terror it gives her when she touches it. Nick dismisses her, only to stumble across a link between the doll and an abducted child, setting in motion a chain of events that uncovers startling connections—and puts Rachel's life on the line (from B&N.com overview)
The Iron King
by Julie Kagawa
My name is Meghan Chase.
In less than twenty-four hours I'll be sixteen. Countless stories, songs, and poems have been written about this wonderful age, when a girl finds true love and the stars shine for her and the handsome prince carries her off into the sunset.
I don't think it will be that way for me. (from the book The Iron King)
Welcome Home, Cowboy
by Karen Templeton
He'd never really had a place to call his own…
But the broken-down ranch in front of him was the closest he'd ever come. Now, pregnant widow Emma Manning was struggling to keep it, her children and herself going. She could use a hand. Well, that was all burned-out musician Cash Cochran could spare.(from the B&N.com overview)
The Moon That Night
by Helen Brenna
Kate Dillon has never met a man worth his weight in packing peanuts. Maybe she's simply too stubborn, too independent and too much of everything men don't want. Just when she's decided that Mr. Right doesn't exist, James Riley crashes back into her life. (from the B&N.com overview)
Welcome to Harmony
by Jodi Thomas
Sixteen-year-old runaway Reagan has always wanted a place to belong. She's never had a real home of her own, but perhaps she could borrow someone else's. Under an assumed name and identity, she moves to Harmony, Texas, but keeps her distance from the welcoming townsfolk. Until prairie fires threaten Harmony-and Reagan learns the true meaning of family, friends, and home. (from the B&N.com overview)
by Virginia Kantra
in Burning Up
Virginia Kantra continues the haunting tales of the Children of the Sea in her story of a wounded soldier rescued by an enigmatic young woman(from the B&N.com overview)
by Karen Rose
When a teenage girl dies in a suspicious fire, Detective Olivia Sutherland is assigned to track down the arsonist. Then she discovers something more sinister: a vicious blackmailer who preys on young people and murders without hesitation. Making her work even harder is sexy firefighter David Hunter. He's not only sharing the case but sparking memories of their long-ago night of passion, when feelings were left unspoken and hearts were broken. (from the B&N.com overview)
Unchained (Dark Forgotten Series #3)
by Sharon Ashwood
Faced with a custody battle for her daughter, monster-killer Ashe Carver has hung up her stakes and taken a job at the public library. But then after centuries guarding a supernatural prison, the dashing Captain Reynard strides into her world. He has only weeks to live unless Ashe finds the thief who took his soul-and he's too drop-dead gorgeous to die... (from the B&N.com overview)
Pieces of Sky
by Kaki Warner
On a stagecoach traveling through New Mexico Territory, Jessica Thornton is a long way from the cool mists and lush gardens of her native England. An authoress and milliner, she carries the weight of a scandalous secret-a horrible shame that has brought her to the West on a desperate search for the only family she can trust: her brother. (from the B&N.com overview)
by Jill Shalvis
In one fell swoop, Maddie loses her boyfriend (her decision) and her job (so not her decision). But rather than drowning her sorrows in bags of potato chips, Maddie leaves L.A. to claim the inheritance left by her free-spirited mother-a ramshackle inn nestled in the little coastal town of Lucky Harbor, Washington. (from the B&N.com overview)
Maria Lokken is an avid romance reader and an award winning television producer
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