The 2019 RITA Award Finalists for Romance Writing

Adrian Liang on April 10, 2019
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Best-romances-of-January.jpgThe Romance Writers of America recently announced the finalists for the 2019 RITA Awards, which recognize excellence in romance novels and novellas. The winners will receive their awards at the Romance Writers of America's annual conference in July.

The RITA finalists announcement this year swiftly evoked an objection from readers, authors, and nominees alike who noted that the finalists reflected a lack of diversity, specifically calling out an absence of authors of color and LGBTQA+ authors.

HelenKay Dimon, president of RWA, issued an apology and spoke to changes that will be made to the nomination and judging process for the 2020 awards. "The Board affirmatively states that there is a serious problem with reader bias in the judging of the RITAs. This is most evident in the preliminary round of the RITAs," said Dimon's statement. "The Board apologizes to our members of color and LGBTQ+ members for putting them in a position where they feel unwanted and unheard." Currently, authors nominate their own books for a fee, and nominating authors are required to judge other nominations. Other RWA members who are eligible to judge are published authors.

The nominees for Best First Book, Contemporary Romance, Historical Romance, Paranormal Romance, Romantic Suspense, and Mainstream Fiction with a Central Romance are below.

Following the RITA nominations is our own Amazon editors' list of excellent romances by authors of color or LGBTQA+ authors who made our Best Romances of 2018 list, including the novel we picked as the best romance of 2018, Helen Hoang's The Kiss Quotient.


Best First Book

Celebrity Spin Doctor Celebrity Spin Doctor by Celia Mulder (Print Book | Kindle Book)


Lady in Waiting (Reluctant Brides) Lady in Waiting (Reluctant Brides) by Marie Tremayne (Print Book | Kindle Book)


The Last Wolf (The Legend of All Wolves) The Last Wolf (The Legend of All Wolves) by Maria Vale (Print Book | Kindle Book)


A Wicked Kind of Husband A Wicked Kind of Husband by Mia Vincy (Print Book | Kindle Book)


With Love in Sight (The Twice Shy Series) With Love in Sight (The Twice Shy Series) by Christina Britton (Print Book | Kindle Book)


Contemporary Romance: Long

Bad Bachelor (Bad Bachelors) Bad Bachelor (Bad Bachelors) by Stefanie London (Print Book | Kindle Book)


Beginner's Luck Beginner's Luck by Kate Clayborn (Print Book | Kindle Book)


The Heartless Boyfriend (The Bad Boyfriend series) The Heartless Boyfriend (The Bad Boyfriend series) by Erika Kelly (Print Book | Kindle Book)


Long Shot (Hoops) Long Shot (Hoops) by Kennedy Ryan (Print Book | Kindle Book)


Luck of the Draw Luck of the Draw by Kate Clayborn (Print Book | Kindle Book)


Melt for You (Slow Burn) Melt for You (Slow Burn) by J.T. Geissinger (Print Book | Kindle Book)


A Tall, Dark Cowboy Christmas: An Anthology (A Gold Valley Novel) A Tall, Dark Cowboy Christmas: An Anthology (A Gold Valley Novel) by Maisey Yates (Print Book | Kindle Book)


Historical Romance: Long

Earl Like You, An: The Wagers of Sin An Earl Like You: The Wagers of Sin by Caroline Linden (Print Book | Kindle Book)


Lady in Waiting (Reluctant Brides) Lady in Waiting (Reluctant Brides) by Marie Tremayne (Print Book | Kindle Book)


A Scandalous Deal: The Four Hundred Series A Scandalous Deal: The Four Hundred Series by Joanna Shupe (Print Book | Kindle Book)


A Wicked Kind of Husband A Wicked Kind of Husband by Mia Vincy (Print Book | Kindle Book)


Paranormal Romance

To Catch A Rogue (London Steampunk: The Blue Blood Conspiracy) To Catch A Rogue (London Steampunk: The Blue Blood Conspiracy) by Bec McMaster (Print Book | Kindle Book)


Dearest Ivie: A Novella Set in the Black Dagger World (Black Dagger Brotherhood) Dearest Ivie: A Novella Set in the Black Dagger World (Black Dagger Brotherhood) by J.R. Ward (Print Book | Kindle Book)


Debriefing the Dead (The Dead Series) Debriefing the Dead (The Dead Series) by Kerry Blaisdell (Print Book | Kindle Book)


Haunted Hearts Haunted Hearts by Kimberly Dean (Print Book | Kindle Book)


The Last Wolf (The Legend of All Wolves) The Last Wolf (The Legend of All Wolves) by Maria Vale (Print Book | Kindle Book)


Out of Body Out of Body by Suzanne Brockmann (Print Book | Kindle Book)


Wretched (A Last Hero Novel Book 2) Wretched (A Last Hero Novel Book 2) by Cara Crescent (Print Book | Kindle Book)


Romantic Suspense

The Bastard's Bargain (O'Malleys) The Bastard's Bargain (O'Malleys) by Katee Robert (Print Book | Kindle Book)


Before We Were Strangers Before We Were Strangers by Brenda Novak (Print Book | Kindle Book)


Consumed (Firefighters series) Consumed (Firefighters series) by J.R. Ward (Print Book | Kindle Book)


Cut and Run Cut and Run by Mary Burton (Print Book | Kindle Book)


Fearless (Somerton Security) Fearless (Somerton Security) by Elizabeth Dyer (Print Book | Kindle Book)


Reckless Honor (Hornet) (Volume 5) Reckless Honor (Hornet) (Volume 5) by Tonya Burrows (Print Book | Kindle Book)


Relentless (Somerton Security) Relentless (Somerton Security) by Elizabeth Dyer (Print Book | Kindle Book)


Mainstream Fiction with a Central Romance

Five Years Gone Five Years Gone by Marie Force (Print Book | Kindle Book)


A Girl Divided A Girl Divided by Ellen Lindseth (Print Book | Kindle Book)


How to Keep a Secret How to Keep a Secret by Sarah Morgan (Print Book | Kindle Book)


Mornings on Main: A Small-Town Texas Novel Mornings on Main: A Small-Town Texas Novel by Jodi Thomas (Print Book | Kindle Book)



The Amazon Books editors recommend these excellent romance novels published in 2018 by authors of color that made our list of the Best Romances of the Year:


The Kiss Quotient The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang (Print Book | Kindle Book)


Intercepted (The Playbook Intercepted (The Playbook by Alexa Martin (Print Book | Kindle Book)


A Princess in Theory: Reluctant Royals A Princess in Theory: Reluctant Royals by Alyssa Cole (Print Book | Kindle Book)



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