Happy Birthday, Janga! Wishing you sunshine, smiles, and happily ever afters today and always.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

RITA -- And the Finalists are...



It's an exciting day in the world of romance. Today, Romance Writers of America® (RWA) will announce the finalists for the Rita® and Golden Heart® awards, honoring the best published books and unpublished manuscripts of 2016. A winner in each category will be chosen from the finalists and will be announced Thursday, July 27 at the RWA National Conference in Orlando, Florida. 

We'll be following the announcements here and at The Romance Dish Facebook page and chatting about the 2016 books that were our favorites. I'll fill in the finalists for each of the categories below as they are announced but I'm sure we all have our own thoughts about what books published in 2016 should final. 

Tell me about the books you'd like to see honored this year.

Which category is your favorite?

Share your thoughts about the finalists as they are announced. Which titles would you like to see win? 

Three randomly chosen people who leave a comment will receive a package of books. 
(US only)

One randomly chosen international reader leaving a comment will receive their choice of one RITA® nominated book from bookdepository.com. (value not to exceed $10)


Please include US or INT with your comments! 


 2017 RITA AWARD FINALISTS

Contemporary Romance: Long
Novels that are set from 1950 to the present that focus primarily on the romantic relationship and that are 84,000 or more words.

ALWAYS A BRIDESMAID by Lizzie Shane
HOT IN HELLCAT CANYON by Julie Anne Long
MAKE ME SIN by J.T. Geissinger
MIRACLE ON 5TH AVENUE by Sarah Morgan
PANSIES by Alexis Hall
SNOWFALL ON HAVEN POINT by RaeAnne Thayne
TENDER IS THE NIGHT by Barbara Freethy





Contemporary Romance: Mid-Length
Novels that are set from 1950 to the present that focus primarily on the romantic relationship and that are between 56,000 and 84,000 words in length.

BACK IN THE SADDLE by Karen Templeton
BAREFOOT AT MIDNIGHT by Roxanne St. Claire
CAROLINA DREAMING by Virginia Kantra
FAST CONNECTION by Megan Erickson and Santino Hassell
LONE HEART PASS by Jodi Thomas
OFF THE HOOK by Laura Drewry
ONCE AND FOR ALL:AN AMERICAN VALOR NOVEL by Cheryl Etchison
TELL ME HOW THIS ENDS by Victoria De La O
THE TURNING POINT by Marie Meyer
WANDERLUST by Roni Loren




Contemporary Romance: Short
Novels that are set from 1950 to present that focus primarily on the romantic relationship and that are between 40,000 and 56,000 words in length.

APB:BABY by Julie Miller
BREAKING GOOD by Madeline Ash
CHRISTMAS ON CRIMSON MOUNTAIN by Michelle Major
FALLING FOR THE RANCHER by Tanya Michaels
FAR FROM HOME by Lorelei Brown
HIS STOLEN BRIDE by Barbara Dunlop
A MALIBU KIND OF ROMANCE by Synithia Williams
OVERWHELMING FORCE by Janie Crouch
SEARCHING FOR DISASTER by by Jennifer Probst
TWO DOCTORS & A BABY by Brenda Harlen





Erotic Romance
Novels in which strong, often explicit, sexual interaction is an inherent part of the love story, character growth and relationship development and could not be removed without damaging the storyline. These novels may contain elements of other romance subgenres (such as paranormal, historical, etc.)

THE DIRTY SECRET by Kira A. Gold
THE MASTER by Tara Sue Me
OFF THE CLOCK by Roni Loren
RAVENOUS by M.S. Force
THREE SWEET NOTHINGS by Nikki Sloane



Historical Romance: Long
Novels that are set prior to 1950 and that are longer than 89,000 words.

DUKES PREFER BLONDES by Loretta Chase
HOW I MARRIED A MARQUESS by Anna Harrington
SUSANA AND THE SCOT by Sabrina York
NO MISTRESS OF MINE by Laura Lee Guhrke



Historical Romance: Short
Novels that are set prior to 1950 and that are between 40,000 and 89,000 words.

DO YOU WANT TO START A SCANDAL by Tessa Dare
DUKE OF SIN by Elizabeth Hoyt
A DUKE TO REMEMBER by Kelly Bowen
LEFT AT THE ALTAR by Margaret Brownley
THE STUDY OF SEDUCTION by Sabrina Jeffries
TAMING THE HIGHLANDER by May McGoldrick




Paranormal Romance
Novels in which fantasy worlds or paranormal or science fiction elements are an integral part of the plot.

BAYOU SHADOW HUNTER by Debbie Herbert
THE BEAST by J.R. Ward
THE CHAMPION OF BARESH by Susan Grant
ENCHANTED WARRIOR by Sharon Ashwood
GHOST GIFTS by Laura Spinella
THE LEOPARD KING by Ann Aguirre
THE PAGES OF THE MIND by Jeffe Kennedy
WHERE THE WILD THINGS BITE by Molly Harper



Romance Novella
Novellas that focus primarily on the romantic relationship.

HER EVERY WISH by Courtney Milan
"THE HUSBAND MANEUVER" by Karen Witemeyer in WITH THIS RING
LET IT SNOW by Jeanette Grey
"Let us Dream" by Alyssa Cole in DAUGHTERS OF A NATION
SEARCHING FOR MINE by Jennifer Probst
TYCOON by Joanna Shupe
WILD IN RIO by Lyssa Kay Adams




Romance with Religious or Spiritual Elements
Novels in which religious or spiritual beliefs are an inherent part of the love story, character growth and relationship development and could not be removed without damaging the storyline. These novels may be set in the context of any religious or spiritual belief system of any culture.

KEEPER OF THE STARS by Robin Lee Hatcher
MY HOPE NEXT DOOR by Tammy L. Gray
TRUST MY HEART by Carol J. Post



Romantic Suspense
Novels in which suspense, mystery, or thriller elements constitute an integral part of the plot.

ALL THE DEAD GIRLS by Rita Herron
ATONE by Beth Yarnall
FIELD OF GRAVES by J. T. Ellison
KILLER COUNTDOWN by Amelia Autin
Mr. and Mrs. Smith by HelenKay Dimon
ONE MINUTE TO MIDNIGHT by Nico Rosso
REPRESSED by Elisabeth Naughton
TALL, DARK AND DAMAGED by Sarah Andre


Young Adult Romance
Novels in which young adult life is an integral part of the plot.


AFFECTIVE NEEDS by Rebecca Taylor
THE DISTANCE FROM A to Z by Natalie Blitt
THE PROBLEM WITH FOREVER by Jennifer L. Armentrout
SUMMER OF SUPERNOVAS by Darcy Woods


Best First Book
A novel entered in another contest category. To be eligible, the author (or authors in the case of a writing team) shall not have had any other novel or novella previously commercially available in any format.

ALTERATIONS by Stephanie Scott
BEFORE GOODBYE by Mimi Cross
CLOSE TO YOU by Kara Isaac
THE DISTANCE FROM A TO Z by Natalie Blitt
ONCE AND FOR ALL:AN AMERICAN VALOR NOVEL by Cheryl Etchison
SUMMER OF SUPERNOVAS by Darcy Woods



Mainstream Fiction with a Central Romance
Mainstream Fiction novels in which themes or elements other than the romance are integral to the story even though a central love story and an emotionally satisfying and optimistic resolution to the romance are still present. This category is intended for romances that do not fit neatly into any other category due to their mainstream fiction nature but where the central romance could not be removed without damaging the storyline.

THE MOON IN THE PALACE by Weina Dai Randel
THE DEPTH OF BEAUTY by A.B. Michaels
THE COLOR OF A PROMISE by Julianne MacLean
NOW THAT IT'S YOU by Tawna Fenske




2017 GOLDEN HEART FINALISTS

Contemporary Romance
Manuscripts that are set from 1950 to the present that focus primarily on the romantic relationship and that are greater than 65,000 words.

Always Sunny by Kimberly MacCarron
Far-Fetched Love by Priscilla Cook
Framed by Susan J. Bickford
Mounting the Marquis by Kelli Newby
No Man Left Behind by Penelope Leas
Sometimes You Need a Sexy Scot by Melonie Johnson
Take the Lead by Alexis Daria 
Tempting Fate by Jeri Black
Things I'll Never Say by Christina Hovland
This Child Is Mine by Jo Anne Banker


Contemporary Romance: Short
Manuscripts that are set from 1950 to the present that are less than 65,000 words in length.
Job Opening: Billionaire's Wife by Susannah Erwin
A Love Wide Open by JoAnn Sky
Princess of Meridian by Catherine Stuart
What Would Ginger Do? by Kimberly MacCarron


Historical Romance
Manuscripts that are set prior to 1950.

Confess, Your Grace by Scarlett Peckham
The Governess's Glance by Jennifer Henderson
How to Train Your Baron by Diana Lloyd
Lord Lion and the Lady Publisher by Laurel Kerr
The Lost Chord by Suzanne M. Turner
The Price of Desire by Emily Sullivan
Unmasked by Elizabeth Rue
With Love in Sight by Christina Britton


Paranormal Romance
Manuscripts in which fantasy worlds or paranormal or science fiction elements are an integral part of the plot.

Beryl Blue, Time Cop by Janet Halpin
Bless Your Heart and Other Southern Curses by Heather Leonard
Constant Craving by Kari W. Cole
Fire's Rising by Grace Adams
The Mer Chronicles: Love's Diplomatic Act by Kate Ramirez
Soul Affinity by A. Y. Chao

Romance with Religious or Spiritual Elements
Novels in which religious or spiritual beliefs are an inherent part of the love story, character growth and relationship development and could not be removed without damaging the storyline. These novels may be set in the context of any religious or spiritual belief system of any culture.

Fair Haven by Laura Conner Kestner



Romantic Suspense
Manuscripts in which suspense, mystery, or thriller elements constitute an integral part of the plot.

The Fire Beckons by Lynette Labelle
The Guide by Sarah Morgenthaler
Seductive Strokes by Patty Hoffman
Semper Fi by Meta Carroll
Shot Down by Tracy Brody
Vengeance by Diana Belchase



Young Adult Romance
Manuscripts in which young adult life is an integral part of the plot.  

All the Feels by Kimberly MacCarron
Listen by Jennifer Camiccia
Mouthful by C R Grissom
Swimming through Fog by Nicole Hohmann 

60 comments:

  1. I'm looking forward to hearing the finalists. For me I look at historicals first, long and short. Then romantic suspense followed by paranormal. And best first book is a always a great category since finding a new author is always fun.

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    1. I'm happy with many of the titles announced so far, especially in the historicals.

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    2. I forgot to add US (just in case lol).

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  2. It will be interesting to me this year. My reading has taken a slightly different direction so I don't have many strong opinions. My favorite historical would probably be Theresa Romain's Fortune Favors the Wicked.

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    1. I loved that book by Theresa Romain. Still have my fingers crossed for some of my faves.

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  3. I only read historical romance. Two of the books that have resonated with me this year have been Grace Burrowes "The Trouble With Dukes", and Julia London's "Sinful Scottish Laird". I can't wait to see the results.

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    1. The London book was published this year so it isn't eligible this go around. I'm not sure if the Burrowes book is either since it was published in December. Those two may have to wait until the 2018 awards. Both are terrific books though!

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    2. Sorry about that, I really enjoyed them though. Mary Balogh's new series is really good.

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  4. I see many faves in the contemporary and historical categories where most of my romance reading is done, but there are others whom I still hope to see on the list. I'm delighted to see the
    Mainstream Fiction with a Central Romance category included. I'm eager to see what titles will be on that complete list.

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    Replies
    1. Same here, Janga. Some of my favorites have been announced but there are others I'm crossing my fingers for!

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  5. I am pleased to see RaeAnne Thayne and Sarah Morgan on the list. I enjoyed both of these books, and in fact, the entire series that the books were a part of.

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    1. They are both wonderful writers. I'm happy to see them on the list.

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  6. I am hoping to see Julie Ann Long's Wild at Whiskey Creek nominated. I hope, too, that Kerrigan Byrne gets another nomination. She was a new author for me, and I am inhaling her Victorian Rebels series.

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    1. I'll be very disappointed if Julie Anne Long doesn't make the list. I thought both of her contemporary novels last year were outstanding.

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  7. I'm so excited! HOT IN HELLCAT CANYON by Julie Anne Long is a RITA finalist!

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    1. So am I! Can you hear the cheers from GA? I would have been really upset had this one not been among the finalists

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  8. I have not read any of these (US)

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  9. Yay. I just saw that JAL did get a nomination! Hot in Hellcat Canyon and Wild at Whiskey Creek were both wonderful.

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  10. Ahhh the books and authors weren't up when I first commented (or maybe it was my computer not loading right). For the Rita's, I've read all the historical writers except one and have loved all their stories!!!

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    1. Your computer is fine, catslady. They hadn't started announcing the finalists yet when you first commented.

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  11. FYI: The announcements will continue until 3:00 PM (EST). I'll update each time a new title is added.

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  12. I mostly read contemporaries and historicals. Lots of familiar names listed... JAL, Roxanne St. Clair, Laura Lee Guhrke, Kelly Bowen, Virginia Kantra, Elizabeth Hoyt, RaeAnne Thayne, Tessa Dare. The Virginia Kantra and RaeAnne Thayne are very nice surprises.

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    1. I'm really very happy with the lists so far. There are a few missing that I would have liked to see final but that's always the case. I'm very excited to see Kelly Bowen final. She's a new discovery for me.

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  13. I'm stuck for contemporary: long, because I love both Julie Anne Long's books and Sarah Morgan's.

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    1. That's a tough category, Bridget though I'd have to give JAL the nod on this one. Hot in Hellcat Canyon was my favorite book of 2016.

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    2. Definitely one of mine, too! I would have liked to see Laura Trentham's Cottonbloom series in there, too, which is a similar kind of atmosphere. Both writers are absolutely the kind of books I like to read.

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    3. I loved Trentham's Cottonbloom books!

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  14. congrats to all, congrats to first time writers, they all look good
    I say I want tara sue to win
    Kimh

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  15. I read Julie Anne Long's book, Sarah Morgan's book and Joanna Schupe's, so that's nice for them. I would have liked to see Susan Elizabeth Phillips and Rachel Gibson nominated in contemporay and Mary Balogh and Lorraine Heath in historical.

    Now that RWA has eliminated mysteries with romantic elements, Sherry Thomas can't be nominated for her new series. Also, Julie James didn't have a book out in 2016, but she's way overdue for a future nomination.

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    1. There are books I would have liked to see nominated too but, overall, I'm pretty happy with the finalists. There are some new-to-me authors on the lists that I'll be checking out too.

      I agree with you on Julie James!

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  16. Congratulations! So talented and wonderful. I look forward to enjoying these memorable books.

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  17. How special and lovely. The authors are so creative and the books captivating. Congrats.

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  18. Contemp Romance Long is my fav.
    ladbookfan813@gmail.com

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  19. Forgot - Snowfall on Haven Point was a vg read - loved it.
    ladbookfan813@gmail.com

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    1. I was glad to see RaeAnne Thayne nominated. I'm a long-time fan of her work.

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  20. This is quite a listing. I'm very happy to see some of my picks. I love Historical Romance, long & short. Also Romantic Suspense. So !many that aren't on the list but what I see is great. Thanks for posting.
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

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  21. This is quite a listing. I'm very happy to see some of my picks. I love Historical Romance, long & short. Also Romantic Suspense. So !many that aren't on the list but what I see is great. Thanks for posting.
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

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  22. Thanks for the information! Congrats to the nominees. Some observations:
    Contemporary--Long: I have to go with Hot in Hellcat Canyon, by a nose over Miracle on 5th Avenue--they're both wonderful.
    Historical--Long: I'd choose Loretta Chase here. I'm surprised Marrying Winterbourne, by Lisa Kleypas, wasn't nominated.
    Historical--Short: Do You Want to Start a Scandal would get my vote. It was one of my very favorites of 2016. But I'd highly recommend A Duke to Remember, as well.
    Novella: Courtney Milan's Her Every Wish.

    I'm a bit disappointed that some additional excellent books were left out. Maybe they didn't exactly fit into any of these categories? T.C. Causey's Saints of the Lost and Found, Sherry Thomas's A Study in Scarlet Women, Sally Thorne's The Hating Game, Lyndsay Faye's Jane Steele, Susan Mallery's Daughters of the Bride and Tiffany Reisz's The Bourbon Thief were great reads, but (other than The Hating Game) a bit hard to categorize in traditional romance sub-genres.

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    1. I think Kleypas' Marrying Winterbourne was a love it or hate it book. If those judging it for the RITA were in the hate it group then there it goes. I was hoping Eloisa James' My American Duchess might make it.

      I adored Do You Want to Start a Scandal but I also loved A Duke to Remember.

      I agree with you on Causey's Saints of the Lost and Found. The difficulty with some of those titles is not really fitting into any of the categories. Another thing to consider is whether or not they were even entered into the contest.

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  23. I have not read any on the list, cannot believe it. I like contemp romance long and mid length.
    PattyB43coral@gmail.com

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    1. Lots of good reading in your future! :)

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  24. As you know I am feeling very happy for several of the nominations, but am again this year saddened that Eloisa didn't get a nomination for American Duchess, and that Lisa didn't get one for Marrying Winterbourne. I am very happy that Sabrina Jeffries got a nomination, The ladies that got nominations for HQ intrigue books, Karen Witemyer for novella, and Joanne Shupe for novella.

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  25. great list of authors I love to read

    denise

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  26. So many good books that I need to read! So excited to see Joanna Shupe, Julie Anne Long (for both her contemporary and historical books), Tessa Dare, and Elizabeth Hoyt - among others - as finalists. I sure it's a very difficult job to pick the nominees knowing some other great books and authors are not going to be on the list! Oh and I'm in the US! juliespurlinhane@yahoo.com

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  27. In the Rita Nominees for Historical romance, I am thrilled to say that I have read nearly every one of both the long and the short. I know the nominees that I read deserve the honor. I generally read Historicals and as far as I can see they have chosen some of the best books around. The only one I think I might have added would have been Mary Balogh's Someone To Love. US

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  28. I'm always excited to see these finalists announced! Not just because I can root for my favorites to win, but because the lists provide me with the best-of-the-best to add to my TBR pile....always something to celebrate! 😊

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  29. My favorite category is Historical Romance, but I do read a lot of Contemporary & Suspense too. I've read a few of the books listed, but now have to update my 'want to read' list. I found that interesting that there are separate categories of long & short - I was surprised at some on the short list (I didn't think of them as particularly short - they must be at the high end of the sort range).

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  30. Just looked up the list. So many wonderful books nominated. I am glad I'm not judging. Hats off to The Romance Dish. Because of you, I have read several of the books that were nominated. I can't wait to see who wins!

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  31. Such a great way to find new books and authors.

    I always check out the historical categories first.

    INT

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  32. I have read very few of these. In fact, there are a lot of authors I've never heard of even though ii read all the time.

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  33. I love romantic suspense, and long contemporary romance. Have not read any of the listed books. Thanks for giving me some to add on my list.
    Natty's Mama

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  34. I like the contemporary long and mid-length the most. I don't read much historical any more. Would love to see Hot in Hellcat Canyon or Miracle on 5th Avenue win. I also liked Carolina Dreaming and Barefoot at Midnight. I especially like seeing these lists so I can check out some other authors.

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  35. Historical romance and Romantic Suspense are favorites. I love the long books, but often only have time for only the short ones. Of those nominated, I like: DUKE OF SIN by Elizabeth Hoyt, HOW I MARRIED A MARQUESS by Anna Harrington, ALL THE DEAD GIRLS by Rita Herron, APB:BABY by Julie Miller, LONE HEART PASS by Jodi Thomas, and TENDER IS THE NIGHT by Barbara Freethy.

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  36. That's a tough question as I enjoy all types of romances (and some non-romances). I do have some favorites in multiple categories... so, I'm definitely pulling for them!

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  37. I primarily read historicals, and occasionally a contemp. But I was especially delighted to see three of my favorite books and authors in the finalist list this year: Loretta Chase, Elizabeth Hoyt, and Tessa Dare. I'd chose Duke of Sin by Elizabeth Hoyt to win this year. As a P.S., I wish I'd see Jo Goodman books come up as finalists. 2015's This Gun for Hire knocked it out of park for me, and I thought 2016's The Devil You Know was a strong contender too.

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  38. So many fantastic contemporary and historical authors and reads to choose from, the judges are going to have such a tough time choosing from all the well-deserving finalists! I'm partial to my favorite authors- Julie Anne Long, Jennifer Probst, Sarah Morgan and Tessa Dare. (INT)

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