A symphony of typewriters fills the room. Clacks of the keys, zips of the carriage, and the percussive ting! as they reach the edges of the pages.
Applause drowns out the final notes as the conductor turns to address the audience. “Welcome to the Second Annual Just the Write Awards! It is my distinct pleasure to get off this stage by introducing your master of ceremonies, Chautona Havig.”
I step up to the podium and crack a joke. Don’t ask what the joke is—if I rehearsed it, I guarantee it wouldn’t be funny.
Just work with me here.
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Okay, back to the awards. I hold my hand up to block the flashing lights of all the photographers… JUST KIDDING. C’mon. This is my bedroom, folks. No photography here. I’m not that kind of author. Just sayin’.
“Welcome, welcome! I’m so excited to do this again. Last year’s awards were so much fun that I knew it had to be an annual thing. All those gift bags at the back of the room? They were supposed to be filled with one of each of the winning books this year, but alas the mail truck with all those books was hijacked by book dragons who consumed them in one breath. So, enjoy your empty bags and you can fill them from the sales table instead!”
(yes, I feel ridiculous writing this… just sayin’ also, please note that these are books read, not necessarily published, in 2018)
“This year, I found it twice as hard to narrow down the awards to just ten… again. Seriously, authors! Stop writing such amazing books! You’d save me a boatload of trouble. However, a few books made it on the list at first read.
I mean, I wrote down my very first book in January. I knew it would make the list. That’s pretty impressive. Later in the year, the next in that series made the list, too. So, we’re combining those books into one award: Best Series Ending.
And the award goes to… (can I get a carriage roll please?):
This series is one of my favorites in recent years, and these books didn’t disappoint. In fact, I loved one part of A Song Unheard so much that I begged for a spin-off series about that character. Guess what I found out… we’re supposedly getting a Margot book. Squee!
The next on my list is a new-to-me author and a new author. With her debut novel, people, we have the Best Debut Author award going to J’Nell Ciesielski for Among the Poppies. This book is seriously one of those books that just blows the idea that any book topic is “done.” I loved it, and I have her next book, The Songbird and the Spy in progress now. So far… I may have my first book of 2019 on the list. It remains to be seen.
The next book that made the list—even before I finished it, mind you—was my first book by Joanne Bischof. The Sons of Blackbird Mountain for Best Historical Fiction. I’d just like to say that this book did not win because many of the characters are Norwegian. Or that one speaks only through sign language. Those just made a great book even better.
Whew! We’re booking along here! So many awesome authors.
Introducing the Best Convert-Me-to-a-Genre Award and it goes to Connilyn Cossette with her fabulous book, Shelter of the Most High. As I said in my REVIEW, I’ve never been a fan of Biblical fiction, but she’s converted me—at least to her way of doing it! I have the first book in that series waiting for me at The Lighthouse, and I can’t wait to read it in preparation for book three. Squee!
As you can see, we have quite the historical theme going on here.
2018 was a fabulous year for historical. I’m just sayin’! I fell in love with the covers for the next author’s books, and the stories were just as good or better! The only problem is that when I finished the second, there wasn’t a third yet. So, for the Best Dying-for-a-Sequel Award for 2018… Karen Barnett and her Vintage National Parks Novels. Let’s just say if Yellowstone doesn’t hurry up, I might go crazy!
Moving into the 21st century…
First up is a book that I thought would make a “Best Most-Recommended by Others” Award, but the content was too good not to give it a new, better one. So, for the first ever Best Retelling Mash-up Award… Katherine Reay and Dear, Mr. Knightley. Anyone who can combine Jane Austen’s Emma with Jean Webster’s Daddy Long-Legs and make me love it deserves two awards, but alas, she only gets one. This year. I plan to read another of her books in 2019, so we’ll see if it makes the list again.
I can thank J’Nell Ciesielski for this next award winner. Because of her, in a long, roundabout way, I ended up needing to read a book—fast. So, I chose a cover that had always enchanted me but an author I’d never read and really hadn’t heard much about. I just wanted a quick read and push it off my Kindle Unlimited shelf. If I’d only known.
So, for the Best New-to-Me Author Award—Sarah Monzon and her Bookishly series including Bookishly Ever After and Literarily Yours. Seriously, folks. The only complaint I have about these books is that I can’t get them in paperback. I’m not even going to complain about first-person with these!!!
Moving write along…
I suspected that the next book would make the list a couple of years ago, but I didn’t know in what year or why. I just knew that if Liz Johnson had another “book connection” moment with me, then I’d probably love the book. I’ve loved every other one she’s done that with. Aw, who am I kidding? I don’t think she’s written a book I didn’t love.
So, for Best Christian Mystery/Romance, I give you A Sparkle of Silver, although maybe it should be the “Best Great Minds Think Alike Award.” The only reason it isn’t is because of the rest of that saying. Who knows what comes after “Great minds think alike…”?
The next book award should also have another title.
I’m thinking it should have been called the Best When Will You Ever Get That Done award. Alas, it was too long and wouldn’t fit on the little award image, so I had to go with boring old, Best Fantasy of 2018. This goes to D.C. Marino and her fabulous Points Worth and Kingdom of Ruins. Since these are connected works, I decided I could go for both.
There’s so much I could say about these stories, but I really recommend reading my REVIEW if you haven’t already. I say that because there are actual pictures of her amazing book launch party in there. Deborah turned her entire, beautiful home into places from the book—complete with dirt in the carpet!!!
And the final (and most important award, I think) goes to author Alana Terry for her phenomenal book Out of North Korea. Seriously, folks, this was THE best book I read in 2018 and because of how important I think it is for today’s Christian church to read, I’m giving this the Best Christian Must-Read Award.
Seriously, folks. If you can only read one Christian fiction book in 2019, make it Out of North Korea because this book touches on so many things we in the church need to be aware of—now.
We had a HUGE upset this year.
After the awards were granted and the medals engraved, a book that couldn’t be ignored appeared on the scene. The plot was so full of twists and turns and upsets that I had to create an award just for it. So, I offer you a rare award I hope not to use often if ever again… The Best Last-Minute Award (for suspense) and it goes to Nancy Mehl for her wonderful book, Mind Games.
Whew! It’s been an amazing year for reads.
I’ve had very few disappointments and could have made a list twice as long as this—oh, so easily. And, I already have two huge stacks that I’m trying to get through before January 6th. We’ll see if I make it. Check these puppies out.
First up: my “personal choice” book stack. #7daughter chose A Rumored Fortune as the first read on it and well… you’ll have to stay tuned for the review to see what I think of it. Hint: I’m surprised at what I think!
The second stack holds my January reads for review. I don’t think I have to post reviews for all of them in January, but my goal is to have them done and ready to go! 🙂
So… there you have it. Another year of amazing reads down and another coming up!
What were your top 3 reads of 2018?
Leave me a comment below and I’ll buy one reader her next book—paperback or eBook. Whichever you like! Giveaway ends January 6th.