2019 Winners of The Ripped Bodice Awards for Excellence in Romantic Fiction

Check out the winners of the inaugural Ripped Bodice Awards for Excellence in Romantic Fiction. This is a new award for the romance book genre from the independent bookstore, the Ripped Bodice.

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Ripped Bodice Awards for 2019.

The Inaugural Ripped Bodice Awards for Excellence in Romantic Fiction

Have you heard of The Ripped Bodice? It’s an independent bookstore located in California focused entirely on the romance book genre.

How awesome is that?

I absolutely love strolling around a bookstore, waiting for a book to pop out and make me pick it up. To be able to wander around a bookstore that sells only romance books would be a dream come true.

I guess a trip to California is a must for me one day to make this a reality.

I’ve heard of the RITA Awards presented each year by the Romance Writers of America and the Goodreads Choice Awards for Best Romance Book, but The Ripped Bodice has just debuted a new award for this deserving genre.

The creation of the award was announced this past July with the 2019 award winners announced on Valentine’s Day of 2020.

Sponsored by Sony Pictures Television, The Ripped Bodice plans to recognize 1-12 winners each year for the best in romance fiction.

Though there is no formal process for entry and no cost involved, all submissions must be a romance book with a central love story and happy ending that was published in the year of the contest (so this year 2019).

Each winner received $1,000 and $100 was donated to the charity of their choice – a nice aspect to the award.

Winners were selected “by a panel of industry experts” yet I could not find who these experts were on The Ripped Bodice web site.

They were however listed on a Book Riot post as being “ a panel of 16 judges comprised of romance authors and experts, including bloggers, podcasters, booksellers, journalists, and librarians.

Along with the the Ripped Bodice Owners, Leah and Bea Koch, this year’s judges include Corey Alexander, Robin Bradford, Ana Coqui, Mina V. Esguerra, Ashley C. Ford, Jaime Green, Jayashree Kamblé, Maureen Lee Lenker, Cole McCade, Nichole Perkins, Olivia Waite, Sarah Wendell, Book Riot contributing editor Jessica Pryde, and Book Riot contributor Silvana Reyes.”

Looking at the list of this year’s winners, it is great to see that there is a lot of diversity represented in both book characters and authors. One author wrote three of the nine winners which is fantastic for her.

I would just be curious to know how many submissions they received this year and look forward to what is to come in the future with this award.

I am all for anything that exposes me to new authors and new book titles in my beloved genre. I have not yet read one of these award winning titles so I guess I need to get reading!

Which book from The Ripped Bodice Awards for Excellence in Romantic Fiction for 2019 have you read? Share in the comments below!

The Ripped Bodice Award Winners for 2019:

American Love Storyby Adriana Herrera: 2019 The Ripped Bodice Awards Winner

American Love Story
by Adriana Herrera

Haitian-born professor and activist Patrice Denis is not here for anything that will veer him off the path he’s worked so hard for.

One particularly dangerous distraction: Easton Archer, the assistant district attorney who last summer gave Patrice some of the most intense nights of his life, and still makes him all but forget they’re from two completely different worlds.

All-around golden boy Easton forged his own path to success, choosing public service over the comforts of his family’s wealth.

With local law enforcement unfairly targeting young men of color, and his career—and conscience—on the line, now is hardly the time to be thirsting after Patrice again. Even if their nights together have turned into so much more.

For the first time, Patrice is tempted to open up and embrace the happiness he’s always denied himself. But as tensions between the community and the sheriff’s office grow by the day, Easton’s personal and professional lives collide.

And when the issue at hand hits closer to home than either could imagine, they’ll have to work to forge a path forward…together.


A Prince on Paper by Alyssa Cole: 2019 The Ripped Bodice Award Winner

A Prince On Paper
by Alyssa Cole

The Reluctant Royals series returns with a good girl searching for the life that’s not too big, and not too small, and the bad boy prince who might be just right for her.

Nya Jerami fled Thesolo for the glitz and glamour of NYC but discovered that her Prince Charming only exists in her virtual dating games.

When Nya returns home for a royal wedding, she accidentally finds herself up close and personal—in bed—with the real-life celebrity prince who she loves to hate.

For Johan von Braustein, the red-headed step-prince of Liechtienbourg, acting as paparazzi bait is a ruse that protects his brother—the heir to the throne—and his own heart.

When a royal referendum threatens his brother’s future, a fake engagement is the perfect way to keep the cameras on him.

Nya and Johan both have good reasons to avoid love, but as desires are laid bare behind palace doors, they must decide if their fake romance will lead to a happily-ever-after.


An Unconditional Freedom by Alyssa Cole: 2019 Ripped Bodice Award Winner

An Unconditional Freedom
by Alyssa Cole

Daniel Cumberland’s uneventful life as a freed man in Massachusetts ended the night he was kidnapped and sold into slavery.

To then have his freedom restored by the very man who stole his beloved’s heart is almost too much to bear.

When he’s offered entry into the Loyal League, the covert organization of spies who helped free him, Daniel seizes the opportunity to help take down the Confederacy and vent the rage that consumes him.

When the Union Army occupies Janeta Sanchez’s small Florida town, her family’s goodwill and ties to Cuba fail to protect her father from being unjustly imprisoned for treason.

To ensure her father’s release, Janeta is made an offer she can’t refuse: spy for the Confederacy. Driven by a desire for vengeance and the hope of saving her family, she agrees to infiltrate the Loyal League as a double agent.

Daniel is both aggravated and intrigued by the headstrong recruit. For the first time in months, he feels something other than anger, but a partner means being accountable, and Daniel’s secret plan to settle a vendetta and strike a blow for the Union can be entrusted to no one.

As Janeta and Daniel track Jefferson Davis on his tour of the South, their dual hidden missions are threatened by the ghosts of their pasts and a growing mutual attraction—that might be their only hope for the future.


Once Ghosted Twice Shy by Alyssa Cole: 2019 The Ripped Bodice Award Winner

Once Ghosted, Twice Shy
by Alyssa Cole

While her boss the prince was busy wooing his betrothed, Likotsi had her own love affair after swiping right on a dating app.

But her romance had ended in heartbreak, and now, back in NYC again, she’s determined to rediscover her joy—so of course she runs into the woman who broke her heart.

When Likotsi and Fabiola meet again on a stalled subway train months later, Fab asks for just one cup of tea.

Likotsi, hoping to know why she was unceremoniously dumped, agrees.

Tea and food soon leads to them exploring the city together, and their past, with Fab slowly revealing why she let Likotsi go, and both of them wondering if they can turn this second chance into a happily ever after.


Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert: 2019 The Ripped Bodice Award Winner

Get a Life, Chloe Brown
by Talia Hibbert

Chloe Brown is a chronically ill computer geek with a goal, a plan, and a list. After almost—but not quite—dying, she’s come up with seven directives to help her “Get a Life”, and she’s already completed the first: finally moving out of her glamorous family’s mansion.

The next items? Enjoy a drunken night out.  Ride a motorcycle. Go camping. Have meaningless but thoroughly enjoyable sex. Travel the world with nothing but hand luggage. And… do something bad.

But it’s not easy being bad, even when you’ve written step-by-step guidelines on how to do it correctly. What Chloe needs is a teacher, and she knows just the man for the job.

Redford ‘Red’ Morgan is a handyman with tattoos, a motorcycle, and more appeal than ten-thousand Hollywood heartthrobs.

He’s also an artist who paints at night and hides his work in the light of day, which Chloe knows because she spies on him occasionally. Just the teeniest, tiniest bit.

But when she enlists Red in her mission to rebel, she learns things about him that no spy session could teach her.

Like why he clearly resents Chloe’s wealthy background. And why he never shows his art to anyone. And what really lies beneath his rough exterior.


Trashed by Mia Hopkins: 2019 The Ripped Bodice Award Winner

by Mia Hopkins

My name is Eddie Rosas, but everyone calls me Trouble. Since I got out of prison six months ago, I’ve had one goal: find my father, whatever the cost.

My older brother says I need to move on. He also wants me to leave our gang, East Side Hollenbeck, and go straight, but I can’t—not until I uncover the truth about our family and its missing piece.

One problem? I’m distracted. My distraction’s name is Carmen Centeno. Smart, passionate, and tough as hell, Carmen is a woman from the neighborhood who’s built her career as one of the city’s top chefs.

She’s a master of creating pleasure both in and out of bed. But when our connection deepens, how can I show her I’m not the trash everyone says I am?

The pressure’s rising. Carmen deserves a man she can depend on. And when the ghosts of my past rise up, I’ll have to outsmart them—or lose my shot at a future with the only woman who believes in me.


Mrs. Martin’s Incomparable Adventure by Courtney Milan: 2019 The Ripped Bodice Award Winner

Mrs. Martin’s Incomparable Adventure
by Courtney Milan

Mrs. Bertrice Martin—a widow, some seventy-three years young—has kept her youthful-ish appearance with the most powerful of home remedies: daily doses of spite, regular baths in man-tears, and refusing to give so much as a single damn about her Terrible Nephew.

Then proper, correct Miss Violetta Beauchamps, a sprightly young thing of nine and sixty, crashes into her life. The Terrible Nephew is living in her rooming house, and Violetta wants him gone.

Mrs. Martin isn’t about to start giving damns, not even for someone as intriguing as Miss Violetta. But she hatches another plan—to make her nephew sorry, to make Miss Violetta smile, and to have the finest adventure of all time.

If she makes Terrible Men angry and wins the hand of a lovely lady in the process? Those are just added bonuses.


The Austen Playbook by Lucy Parker: 2019 The Ripped Bodice Award Winner.

The Austen Playbook
by Lucy Parker

Freddy Carlton knows she should be focusing on her lines for The Austen Playbook, a live-action TV event where viewers choose the outcome of each scene, but her concentration’s been blown.

The palatial estate housing the endeavor is now run by the rude (brilliant) critic who’s consistently slammed her performances of late.

James “Griff” Ford-Griffin has a penchant for sarcasm, a majestic nose and all the sensitivity of a sledgehammer.

She can’t take her eyes off him.

Griff can hardly focus with a contagious joy fairy flitting about near him, especially when Freddy looks at him like that.

His only concern right now should be on shutting down his younger brother’s well-intentioned (disastrous) schemes—or at the very least on the production (not this one) that might save his family home from the banks.

Instead all he can think of is soft skin and vibrant curls.

As he’s reluctantly dragged into her quest to rediscover her passion for the stage and Freddy is drawn into his research on a legendary theater star, the adage about appearances being deceiving proves abundantly true.

It’s the unlikely start of something enormous…but a single revelation about the past could derail it all.


Xeni: A Marriage of Inconvenience by Rebekah Weatherspoon is a 2019 The Ripped Bodice Awards Winner.

by Rebekah Weatherspoon

She just wanted to claim her inheritance. What she got was a husband. Xeni Everly-Wilkins has ten days to clean out her recently departed aunt’s massive colonial in Upstate New York.

With the feud between her mom and her sisters still raging even in death, she knows this will be no easy task, but when the will is read Xeni quickly discovers the decades old drama between the former R&B singers is just the tip of the iceberg.

The Secrets, lies, and a crap ton of cash spilled on her lawyer’s conference room table all come with terms and conditions.

Xeni must marry before she can claim the estate that will set her up for life and her aunt has just the groom in mind.

The ruggedly handsome and deliciously thick Scotsman who showed up at her aunt’s memorial, bagpipes at the ready.

When his dear friend and mentor Sable Everly passed away, Mason McInroy knew she would leave a sizable hole in his heart.

He never imagined she’d leave him more than enough money to settle the debt that’s keeping him from returning home to Scotland.

He also never imagined that Sable would use her dying breaths to play match-maker, trapping Mason and her beautiful niece in a marriage scheme that comes with more complications than either of them need.

With no choice but to say I do, the unlikely pair try to make the best of a messy situation. They had no plans to actually fall in love.


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