“Who won the Christy Award?”
“I don’t know, but did you hear who won the Carol Award?”
“Nope—but I did hear that… oh, what’s his name. The guy who wrote that one about the cult living in a New York high rise? He won the Illumination Award!”
“And my favorite author won the Christian Book Award®.”
Every year it happens. I wait to hear if my favorite authors have won this award or that. like many Christian fiction lovers, I watch for the fall ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers Association) conference and scour pictures that fill my Facebook feed to see if any of my friends are going home with the Carol Award. I cheer when nominations come out, and I rejoice to see that people I respect and love won!
And then at the end of the year, the bloggers begin their versions of “The Peoples’ Choice Awards” for books. I’ve enjoyed several of them already! Actually, here are three that you might enjoy!
And if you wanted to know those award winners…
But there is one tiny problem.
I don’t always agree with who wins what. Sometimes, I haven’t read that book. Other times, my favorite books haven’t been submitted, nominated, or don’t qualify because the publisher is a meticulous indie author with a passion for fiction and the Lord’s church instead of a familiar name in the industry.
So… I decided I’d have my own award. I’m calling it the “Just the Write Novel Award.” No, it doesn’t hold the prestige of the Carols or Christys. But I don’t care. This is the vote of a finicky, voracious reader. But more than that, this is the vote of one of the “people.” It’s a “Peoples’ Choice” award. Let’s get to it, shall we?
Note; links may be to affiliates that provide me with a small commission at no extra expense to you.
In alphabetical order (by title), I give you:
The First Annual Just the Write 10 Best Novel Awards
12 Days at Bleakly Manor by Michelle Griep. This novel wasn’t just a Dickens retelling. Michelle Griep took Dickens and tried to imagine how he could have come up with the idea for one of his novels—Bleak House, of course—and wrote that.
She also explored how Dickens could have come up with some of the characters in several of his novels (in my opinion—don’t think she meant to), and then added another famous British author’s influence. That would be Agatha Christie’s.
A Name Unknown by Roseanna M. White. From my review:
“…she does every single bit of it so naturally, so beautifully, that not once did I rush reading through it. I lingered, absorbed, savored. Historical anachronisms? None. Boring bits? Nada. Critique? Only one. The next book isn’t out yet.
I think what is so beautiful about this book is that it opens with an unreliable narrator and closes with that problem solved. Recommended for everyone who just loves good fiction. As for me, I’m dying to read the sequel (my review of book 2, A Song Unheard will be posted January 14).
Baggage Claim by Cathe Swanson. I fell in love with Cathe’s writing in Snow Angels and she didn’t disappoint in her first full-length novel. Full of suspense and humor, this book also has my favorite element—great varied and interesting characters.
As I said in MY REVIEW, “Seriously, folks. That one right there is worth reading the book for all by itself. This sheltered girl can babysit my kids ANY day.” Of course, I kind of actually meant my bestekids. My kids are all old enough to be the babysitters. Ahem. Guess that makes me old, too.
Anyway, with two solid hits out of the park in 2016/2017 (and I’ve heard that her Christmas novella for 2017, Hope for the Holidays is even better than Snow Angels!) I just had to give her the best New Indie Author award for Baggage Claim.
Counting Grains of Sand by Natasha Meltzer. When I was asked to be part of the launch team for a book supposedly about infertility, I couldn’t quite grasp why… well, me! For those who don’t know, I have nine children.
Well, I don’t care who you are—a woman born without a uterus but a great longing to bear children or Michelle Duggar, this book is for you. It’s more about one woman’s journey to laying herself on the altar of the Lord for Him to use as He will than it is about coming to terms with infertility. It’s about our infertility in our service to the Lord more than our body’s infertility. And it’s beautiful. To read my review of Counting Grains of Sand, you’ll find it HERE.
Just the Way You Are by Pepper Basham. And yes, for the curious, I did almost name this the “Best Stick-Your-Head-in-the-Freezer-Kisses Award.” But I didn’t. Even I don’t go that far (and I really don’t want to have to read face-sucking books to find one for next year! EEEP!)
But with this one book—this one that I devoured (and gave me a brilliant idea for Fine Print—remind me to tell you about that nearer to February), Pepper Basham became a new favorite author. She shot up to my top five with just this one book—despite those kisses.
Lead a Merry Dance by April Hayman. With humor, a great plot, fabulous characters, and a fun mystery to boot, what isn’t to love about this novella released with The Christmas Lights Collection: Making Spirits Bright? No, really. Did I give it an award because I have a PODCAST with April or because I have a book in that same collection? Nope. I didn’t. I did it because I thought it was that good. For more information on it, check out my REVIEW.
Love, Mary Elisabeth by Christy Martenson. This delightful book kept me riveted from page one until the last word. I didn’t want it to end! I haven’t reviewed it on the blog here, yet, but you can find my Amazon review, HERE.
As I said there, “…Love, Mary Elisabeth combines the style of Daddy Long Legs (Webster) and the relatability and joy of Understood Betsy (Canfield) into one, can’t-put-it-down novel.”
Murder on the Moor by Julianna Deering. The Drew Farthington Mysteries are wonderful novels in the style of the Golden Age of mysteries with modern writing styles that create a richer reading experience.
I started with The Rules of Murder just to have a feel for the style and characters. I’m currently in the middle of Murder by the Book. Yes, I will read them all. And sigh… yes, I owe a review for The Rules of Murder. Let’s just start with this little spoiler. It’s getting five stars. And so far, so is book two.
On Love’s Gentle Shore by Liz Johnson. When the plot idea for a book doesn’t interest you, and the book becomes one of your top three books of the year, well… yeah. It wins. Hearts down. Or up… Or whatever.
Verbania Treasure by Anne E. Phillips. While not overtly Christian youth fiction, this series (including Anne’s debut novel, The Lizard Garden) is written in a fun, engaging style and from a Christian worldview. I haven’t reviewed it yet, but I did review the first book, The Lizard Garden HERE.
Verbania Treasure is a delightfully rich and engaging story that will keep readers turning page after page. To find out more about the book here’s an Amazon LINK. And my review will be coming in the new year!
“… If you love WWII fiction that is well researched and full of action, adventure, and heart-gripping characters, this is the book for you.” And I meant it. When an author can take a little-remembered event and make it important to me… DONE!
There you have it.
The 2017 Just the Write Awards.
Did you notice that there were actually eleven? Well, that’s because I said these were “novel” awards and Counting Grains of Sand is not a novel. Still, it HAD to be mentioned, so I just threw it in the middle for fun and to see if anyone was paying attention. It’s seriously worth the time. Trust me.
Tell me… did you read any of these books this year? Did any of them make it onto your favorites list? What WAS your favorite book of 2017. I’m dying to know.