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Second Annual Ripped Bodice Awards for Excellence in Romantic Fiction Announced

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Alison Doherty

Senior Contributor

Alison Doherty is a writing teacher and part time assistant professor living in Brooklyn, New York. She has an MFA from The New School in writing for children and teenagers. She loves writing about books on the Internet, listening to audiobooks on the subway, and reading anything with a twisty plot or a happily ever after.

Yesterday morning, The Ripped Bodice Bookstore in Culver City, California announced the 12 Ripped Bodice Award winners for Excellence in Romantic Fiction. The awards were started last year by the sisters, Leah and Bea Koch, who own the bookstore, and continue to be sponsored by Sony Pictures Television. Each recipient receives a prize of $1,000, with an additional $100 donated to the charity of each winner’s choice.

This award was created in part due to last year’s cancellation of the RITAs, an awards group given by the Romance Writers of America, and the repeated criticism of this award for racial discrimination and exclusion. This year, when the pandemic began, Leah and Bea Koch considered postponing or cancelling this year’s awards. But with the help of their committed judges, they moved forward. “There was so much to deal with this year and for this group of people to stay committed to this process and continue to put the time and energy in, that’s something we’re so grateful for,” Bea Koch said.

The 2020 Judging Committee was made up of 26 members of the romance community: including Leah and Bea Koch, romance bloggers, writers, booksellers, podcasters, editors, reviewers, academics, and even Book Riot contributor Silvana Reyes. Together the committee decided to honor 12 romance books and their authors for the second annual occurrence of these awards.

The Winners of The 2020 Ripped Bodice Awards for Romantic Fiction

Go Deep by Rizly Adams
Harbor by Rebekah Weatherspoon
Spoiler Alert by Olivia Dade
Take a Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert
The Care and Feeding of Waspish Widows by Olivia Waite
The Duke Who Didn’t by Courtney Milan
The Rakess by Scarlett Peckham
The Roommate by Rosie Danan
The Worst Best Man by Mia Sosa
You Had Me at Hola by Alexis Daria
You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson
Written in the Stars by Alexandria Bellefleur

For three authors it was their second year winning the award. Last year, Courtney Milan won for Mrs. Martin’s Incomparable Adventure, Talia Hibbert won for Get a Life, Chloe Brown, and Rebekah Weatherspoon won for Xeni.

Congratulations to the 12 award honorees for having an extra special Valentine’s Day yesterday. Leah Koch described the importance of the day when she said: “For a romantic bookstore, Valentine’s Day is almost a big deal as Christmas. So if anything, the pandemic motivated us to make sure this happened because we need things to celebrate these days! And what better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day than by sharing some of the works we loved most this year.”