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Reading Challenges > Winter/Spring 2017: Whitney Finalists

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message 1: by A.L. (new)

A.L. Sowards | 2481 comments It's almost February, so it's probably time for me to open up the next group challenge. It's about Whitney Award finalists. Pick how many you'd like to read, and use any finalists from any of the award years to meet your goal.

We'll run the challenge from February to May.

Here's a link to the Whitney Awards website, where finalists are listed by year: http://www.whitneyawards.com/

The 2016 finalists will be added in a few weeks, so don't forget that those count too.

I'm excited about this challenge for a couple of reasons. There is a huge variety of genres and publishers, so it should be easy for everyone to find some books that will suit their preferences and budgets. And, all the books have been vetted by judges, so hopefully everyone will find a few that they love.


message 2: by A.L. (new)

A.L. Sowards | 2481 comments Here's a link to the goodreads feature that lets you track books for the challenge, if anyone wants to use it: https://www.goodreads.com/challenges/...

I'm going to try to read 10, but I'm going to wait and decide which ones after the 2016 finalists are announced.


message 3: by Melanie (new)

Melanie Bateman (melabateman) | 22 comments This is great! I think I'll wait for the finalists too, and I'm actually going to force myself to do this challenge;)


message 4: by A.L. (new)

A.L. Sowards | 2481 comments Glad you'll be doing the challenge, Melanie! Do you know how many books you'd like to get in?


message 5: by Melanie (new)

Melanie Bateman (melabateman) | 22 comments I'll start with five to make it easy on me;)


message 6: by Alisa (new)

Alisa | 24 comments I'm going to start with 5, too!
From 2014: The Law of Moses (The Law of Moses, #1) by Amy Harmon

From 2015: The Rules in Rome by A.L. Sowards
Eleanor and the Iron King by Julie Daines
Shadows of Self (Mistborn, #5) by Brandon Sanderson

From 2016: I will decide when they come out! ;)


message 7: by A.L. (new)

A.L. Sowards | 2481 comments Good choices, Alisa!

Amy Harmon does amazing things with language. I haven't read that one by Brandon Sanderson yet, but I really, really liked the original trilogy. I started Eleanor and the Iron King one day at lunch and finished it that night. And I'm biased about The Rules in Rome, but I'd say you have a good list!


message 8: by Karlene (new)

Karlene Browning | 11 comments Alisa, I've read all of those and liked them all! Great list.


message 9: by Charissa (new)

Charissa (charissastastny) | 169 comments Cool challenge. I already have a shelf of Whitney finalists I've read and reviewed over the years. I think I already have 13 on for 2016. I've ordered a few more from past years, so I'll try to get at least 5 more read: Rent Collector, A Night Divided, Matched, Kisses in the Rain, and V is for Virgin. I'd like to read The Chemist too and a few others that were nominated for this year...but we'll see what I get to.


message 10: by A.L. (new)

A.L. Sowards | 2481 comments I've got The Chemist on my to-read list for the challenge. I have a hold on in through my library's overdrive ebook system. I'm number 82 in line, but the library has 32 copies, and people can only keep the book 3 weeks at the most. So hopefully it will be available by mid-April.

I'm a few chapters into my first book for the challenge and I'm enjoying it so far: Revenge in a Cold River Revenge in a Cold River (William Monk, #22) by Anne Perry by Anne Perry.

Charissa, that's awesome that you've already got 13 done for the 2016 finalists. I tried to read a few more new releases last year than usual, but hadn't read a single one of the finalists when they were announced.


message 11: by Charissa (new)

Charissa (charissastastny) | 169 comments I know, I lucked out, I guess. I was pleasantly surprised by how many showed up on the list this year that I'd already read. And I know I need to get with you about meeting for lunch. I haven't had a chance yet to breathe since getting back from my mom's, but hopefully soon. I'll email you.


message 12: by A.L. (new)

A.L. Sowards | 2481 comments Charissa wrote: "I know, I lucked out, I guess. I was pleasantly surprised by how many showed up on the list this year that I'd already read."

Partly luck, partly the fact that you read so many books in 2016, and partly your good taste in books. :-)


message 13: by Lucinda (new)

Lucinda (lucindawhitney) | 57 comments I'm voting for 2 categories this year, historical romance and contemporary romance. I hadn't read 3 out of the 10.
I also read some other finalists but not enough to make a whole other category and I'm too busy to add more reading.
I have my favorites and I'm ready to vote.


message 14: by A.L. (new)

A.L. Sowards | 2481 comments So you read 7/10 before they were announced? That's pretty impressive!


message 15: by Lucinda (new)

Lucinda (lucindawhitney) | 57 comments It's what I read, romance, so they're easy categories to have already done.
I was a little disappointed some other favorites of mine didn't make the cut.


message 16: by Jennie (new)

Jennie | 151 comments I've finished reading four categories; Contemporary Romance, Historical Romance, General, and Historical.


message 17: by A.L. (new)

A.L. Sowards | 2481 comments Lucinda wrote: "It's what I read, romance, so they're easy categories to have already done.
I was a little disappointed some other favorites of mine didn't make the cut."


Please share your other favorites, either here or on the romance threads.

I've read the mystery/suspense category every year since the 2011 finalists. I was a little surprised not to see Gregg Luke or Traci Hunter Abramson there this year. (Not that I've read all the 2016 finalists yet, or even Traci's books from 2016--so I'm not saying the judges were wrong. I'm just saying I was surprised.) A couple days before the 2016 finalists were announced, I put holds on both of Anne Perry's 2016 novels through my library though, because I thought I might need one or both. And I did need one. I was also a little surprised not to see Jennifer Nielsen, Charlie Holmberg, or Kiersten White on the list.


message 18: by A.L. (new)

A.L. Sowards | 2481 comments Jennie wrote: "I've finished reading four categories; Contemporary Romance, Historical Romance, General, and Historical."

That's awesome, Jennie! I know you read a lot of books by LDS authors throughout the year. How many of them had you read before the finalists were announced? Are you going to read any other categories?


message 19: by Jennie (new)

Jennie | 151 comments I read fifteen of the twenty books in those four categories prior to the finalists announcement. and reviewed most of them. I read a lot of mystery/suspense, but haven't read most of the books in that category so I don't know whether I'll try to read them or not. I didn't receive review copies of any of the finalists when they were published so I was surprised to see the list. There were some excellent books that didn't make the list, so these better be REALLY exceptional.


message 20: by Cathy (new)

Cathy (cathyj) | 63 comments Looks like I've currently read 23 of this year's Whitney nominees. I did just read one last week, but the rest were read before they were announced. I don't like the speculative ones, so I'll for sure be skipping that category. I'm hoping to be able to read another 5 to 7, but we'll see.


message 21: by Jennie (new)

Jennie | 151 comments Cathy wrote: "Looks like I've currently read 23 of this year's Whitney nominees. I did just read one last week, but the rest were read before they were announced. I don't like the speculative ones, so I'll for s..."

Cathy wrote: "Looks like I've currently read 23 of this year's Whitney nominees. I did just read one last week, but the rest were read before they were announced. I don't like the speculative ones, so I'll for s..."

Cathy wrote: "Looks like I've currently read 23 of this year's Whitney nominees. I did just read one last week, but the rest were read before they were announced. I don't like the speculative ones, so I'll for s..."
I'll be skipping speculative as well.


message 22: by Lucinda (new)

Lucinda (lucindawhitney) | 57 comments I don't want to post my favorites until after the awards. I do agree with Jennie that a lot of excellent books were passed, at least for the 2 romance categories which are the ones I'm familiar with.
It will be interesting to see the results.


message 23: by A.L. (new)

A.L. Sowards | 2481 comments Cathy wrote: "Looks like I've currently read 23 of this year's Whitney nominees. I did just read one last week, but the rest were read before they were announced. I don't like the speculative ones, so I'll for s..."

That's a good chunk of the books!


message 24: by A.L. (new)

A.L. Sowards | 2481 comments Lucinda wrote: "I don't want to post my favorites until after the awards. I do agree with Jennie that a lot of excellent books were passed, at least for the 2 romance categories which are the ones I'm familiar wit..."

I was hoping you would post your favorites that weren't finalists, not your favorites out of the finalists. But it's probably best if you post both in May. :-)


message 25: by Cathy (new)

Cathy (cathyj) | 63 comments It made me so happy!


message 26: by A.L. (new)

A.L. Sowards | 2481 comments So how is everyone doing on their challenge? I've read six and started number seven (I'm trying to read 10).

Read:
Born to Treason by E.B. Wheeler Revenge in a Cold River (William Monk, #22) by Anne Perry From Sand and Ash by Amy Harmon Slave Queen (An Omar Zagouri Thriller #3) by H.B. Moore Pimpernel by Sheralyn Pratt A Place for Miss Snow by Jennifer Moore

Now reading:
The Chemist by Stephenie Meyer

(And a reminder--although some of us are reading the 2016 finalists, any finalist from any year counts toward this group's reading challenge.)


message 27: by Lucinda (new)

Lucinda (lucindawhitney) | 57 comments I read 15 from the 2016 list but only two full categories. Trying to decide if I can read 3 more for the historical category.


message 28: by Cathy (new)

Cathy (cathyj) | 63 comments I'm overwhelmed with this right now, quite honestly. I might be happy with the books I've already read. I'll have to see!


message 29: by A.L. (new)

A.L. Sowards | 2481 comments Cathy wrote: "I'm overwhelmed with this right now, quite honestly. I might be happy with the books I've already read. I'll have to see!"

The challenge is supposed to be fun. If it's adding stress to your life, then for sure just be happy with what you've already read! The last thing we want is for a group challenge to take the joy out of reading!


message 30: by A.L. (new)

A.L. Sowards | 2481 comments Since so many members of the group have mentioned that they like clean reads, I thought I'd give people a head's up about a few of the Whitney books I've read. (This isn't me telling you not to read the book--this is me letting you know what to expect.)

I'm putting the info in spoilers, but I don't think anything will spoil the plot.

From Sand and Ash by Amy Harmon From Sand and Ash (view spoiler)

The Chemist by Stephenie Meyer The Chemist (view spoiler)


message 31: by Cathy (new)

Cathy (cathyj) | 63 comments I started on The Chemist, but I couldn't get into it. I gave up after about 50 pages. I read Love's Shadow by Nichole Van and really liked it. Such a great book! That might be the only one I actually got read for the goal. So much going on lately!


message 32: by A.L. (new)

A.L. Sowards | 2481 comments Cathy wrote: "I started on The Chemist, but I couldn't get into it. I gave up after about 50 pages. I read Love's Shadow by Nichole Van and really liked it. Such a great book! That might be the only one I actual..."

It took a while for me to get into the Chemist (20 or 30% of the book, if I remember right). I'm glad you liked Love's Shadow. It's got a great cover!

Love's Shadow by Nichole Van


message 33: by Lucinda (new)

Lucinda (lucindawhitney) | 57 comments Since the Whitneys are over now, I'll post about my favorites.

In the historical category, my favorite was Amy Harmon's From Sand and Ash. Beautifully written and such a gripping story. I think I related more to it since I was brought up as a Catholic and Catholicism in Portugal and Italy is so similar not only in religion but also in culture.

In the contemporary romance category my favorite was Nichole Van's Love's Shadow. I was disappointed it didn't win.
In the historical romance category, I had a hard time picking a clear favorite. I'd probably say Willowkeep.

I read some other finalists (16 or 17 total) but didn't finish another category.


message 34: by Jennie (new)

Jennie | 151 comments I too picked Sand and Ash in the historical category and Willowkeep for Historical Romance. I wasn't terribly impressed with any of the Contemporary Romance finalists, but I would have chosen How I Met your Brother over the others. I also picked The Orphan Keeper in General Fiction and didn't read all of the other categories.


message 35: by A.L. (new)

A.L. Sowards | 2481 comments I read mystery/suspense and historical.

For mystery/suspense, these were my favorites:
Walk of Infamy (Rhea Jensen, #6) by Sheralyn Pratt Walk of Infamy by Sheralyn Pratt and The Chemist by Stephenie Meyer The Chemist by Stephenie Meyer.

But I enjoyed all the books in that category, so I was happy that Sheralyn Pratt won for Pimpernel. I actually got to help present the award for that category (along with Traci Hunter Abramson), which was fun. I opened the envelope and knew who won about a second before everyone else.

(I will say I would have included Infected by Gregg Luke in my top five of the mystery/suspense books published in 2016 that I've read, but the five that made the finalists list were all solid stories.)

For historical, my favorite was Born to Treason Born to Treason by E.B. Wheeler by E.B. Wheeler. I thought it was a good mix of solid research, likeable characters, skilled storytelling, and some deeper things to think about. And it's clean enough I feel comfortable recommending it to others.


message 36: by A.L. (new)

A.L. Sowards | 2481 comments Lucinda wrote: "It's what I read, romance, so they're easy categories to have already done.
I was a little disappointed some other favorites of mine didn't make the cut."


Lucinda (and anyone else), what where your other favorites from 2016?


message 37: by Cathy (new)

Cathy (cathyj) | 63 comments I'd say The Orphan Keeper in the General Category, Walk of Infamy and Pimpernel in Mystery/Suspense (kind of glad I didn't have to choose between the two!), Southern Charmed or Love's Shadow in contemporary romance (can't remember which I voted for!), My Fair Gentleman in historical romance, Summerlost in Middle Grade and Beyond the Rising Tide in YA speculative fiction. I didn't actually read all of the categories and get to vote in all of them, but those were my favorites.


message 38: by Lucinda (new)

Lucinda (lucindawhitney) | 57 comments Jennie wrote: " I wasn't terribly impressed with any of the Contemporary Romance finalists, but I would have chosen How I..."

I agree with you, Jennie, about some of finalists in the contemporary romance for 2016. There were 3 of them I wasn't impressed with.

As for the other finalists, anything from Amy Harmon and Heather Moore are always favorites. I really don't read MG, YA, sci or speculative so I can't comment on those.

I am interested in reading Pimpernel.


message 39: by A.L. (new)

A.L. Sowards | 2481 comments Lucinda, I thought Pimpernel was well worth the read. I'd say add it to your list! Some of the characters (everyone other than Claire) you don't get to know right away, and so at first they might seem a little shallow, but keep going because they come to life later.

Cathy (and anyone else who has read the book), how young would you go with Summerlost? I've got 7-year-old twins, and we're going to try to read some books together this summer, and I'm wondering if they'd like it. (And when I say reading together, it's mostly me reading to them.)

We're half-way through Ghostsitter Ghostsitter by Shelly Brown and they like that one. (I think it's pretty cute too--and I don't normally like ghost stories, but the ghosts so far are just needy, not evil, so I can handle it, lol.)


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