The search for a good book–with all of the right parts such as plot, character development, and punctuation–has become a challenging hunt. One way to choose is to follow contest winners and appreciate the fact that someone has already read them and done the work for you.
This last weekend was the fall conference for the League of Utah Writers, and they hold an annual contest for several categories of writing, including a published book contest.
Of course I entered. Duh.
The good news for you is that it gives you a nice, neat list of the best emerging authors coming out of Utah. You can link to the full list on the League of Utah Writers page, but here is a list of books I have personally read (or am reading).
Middle Grade Golden Quill (First Place)
One Boy, No Water by Lehua Parker
Like beaches? Like sharks? The beauty of this book is that it is packed with middle grade humor and appeals to reluctant boy readers as well as pretty much everybody else. Review of book two in the series, One Shark, No Swim. $6.99 on Kindle.
Young Adult Golden Quill
Eleanor by Johnny Worthen. I finished this book just before the conference and have about half of my review written. It will be up on my blog shortly, but I can summarize my opinion in one word–impactful. Worthen is brilliant about pretty much everything an author could be brilliant about. A young adult paranormal, this book will also satisfy those who prefer literary fiction. $7.55 on Kindle.
Young Adult Silver Quill
Acquisitions by Christine Haggerty. This is me. I more than read this book, I wrote it. I’m not good at pitching it, but I’m glad to know on this level that I did a good job writing it. Young adult dystopian fantasy, it’s in the realm of the Hunger Games and Divergent with a male main character and plenty of rats. $2.99 on Kindle.
Adult Fiction Golden Quill
The Samaritan’s Pistol by Eric Bishop. I just started reading this, actually. Two chapters in and already someone has died and the characters remind me of many of the greats, like Koontz and Clancy. Review will come whenever I finish it, but you can find several online or better yet, just read it for yourself. It’s a western thriller–cowboys and mobsters and only $4.99 on Kindle.
I also recommend checking out Alexander Gordon Smith. He came to our conference from the UK and is a seriously amazing guy. He jumped right in and volunteered for a fight scene demonstration during my first presentation ever.