Friday, August 21, 2009

Heartsong Editor’s Picks 2009

I started sharing my “picks” last year on the blog, and some folks were surprised that I dared show favorites like this. But as I stated before, my desire isn’t to hurt any feelings or make anyone seem like “editor’s pet.” I simply want to share my thoughts on which Heartsongs stood out to me as shining a little brighter than the rest and were the most enjoyable for me to read and work on. Hopeful Heartsong authors and those who want to keep learning and improving could read these as examples if they don’t have time to read every one of our wonderful Heartsong books.

That said, here are the 2009 (HP#s 829-880) Heartsong Editor’s Picks. They are simply in alphabetical order by author, as it was too hard to rank them! I was asked last year to give reasons as to why I made the picks and I never got around to it with my 2008 list, but I have done that this year.

Contemporary Favorites

  • The Bossy Bridegroom (#830) by Mary Connealy – This was not your typical Heartsong, and its uniqueness is what made it stand out to me. It dealt with some heavy topics but did it well in a short novel format.
  • Always Ready by Susan Page Davis (#865) – The adventurous Alaskan setting, which Susan researched and described very well, and the truly heroic nature of the hero and heroine are what made this a favorite.
  • Finding Home (#866) by Jennifer Johnson – This story had an intriguing, emotionally charged plot and an excellent spiritual message.
  • Dream Chasers (#837) and Stillwater Promise (#857) by Becky Melby and Cathy Wienke – These authors have a great talent for emotionally connecting the reader to very realistic characters. I was completely wrapped up in caring about them, and with Dream Chasers I remember downright sobbing at the end. (And it takes a lot for me to even shed a tear over a romance since I read so many.)
  • A Still, Small Voice (#877) by Kim O’Brien – This book made me giggle uncontrollably in several places but also had a poignant spiritual message. Kim has a great talent for combining those elements in a story.

Historical Favorites

  • Under the Tulip Poplar (#860) by Diane Ashley and Aaron McCarver – This one had great conflict and characters combined with interesting historical research. I love reliving details from the past when I’m caught up in a story.
  • The Glassblower (#880) by Laurie Alice Eakes – The hero was my favorite part of this book. I found his occupation as a glassblower intriguing and his personality totally endearing right from the start. I really, really wanted him to get the girl. :)
  • Aloha Love (#844) by Yvonne Lehman – I truly felt carried away to another time and place in this story. The exotic setting, unique historic detail, and fascinating characters kept my interest the whole way through.
  • All that Glitters (#863) by Lynette Sowell – The seaside, Gilded Age setting took me away to another fascinating time and place, and a seemingly impossible romance kept me wrapped up in this story.
  • The Bartered Bride (#875) by Erica Vetsch – Excellent historical research and detail and great conflict among strong characters are what made this a favorite.


Edna said...

All of those sound like good authors and books

May God bless


Mary Connealy said...

I'm pleased you included The Bossy Bridegroom. I've had some mixed feeling about that book.

Though heaven knows I deal with some heavy issues in other books, this one isn't quite my usual light read.

Susan Page Davis said...

Joanne, thank you so much. What an honor to be listed with these other authors! My research for Always Ready took me into deep waters in more ways than one, meeting my brother's old Coast Guard captain and seeing places I'd only imagined.

Diane Ashley said...

Wow! What a wonderful compliment. Thanks for including mine and Aaron's first book in your list.

Lena Nelson Dooley said...

Great. I'm happy for all you authors. Congratulations.

Aaron McCarver said...

Wow, thanks, Joanne! I am so honored and humbled as I know just how good many of the other books on the list are through editing them. Diane and I have so enjoyed working on the Tennessee books together. I so appreciate your comments on the book. Our writers' group members were talking at our last meeting and I said I felt this book gives what happens after the happily ever after. Thanks again for all of the help and the encouragement you give! And congratulations to all of the other deserving authors!

Rhonda said...

Congratulations everyone! I have to agree with you JoAnne, Aaron and Diane's book is a keeper!!

Renee said...

I agree The Bossy Bridegroom is terrific and I'm sure the others are as well even though I haven't had a chance to read them yet. I love most all of the Heartsong books because they are great to slip in the smallest purse to take with you where ever and they don't take long to read!

Janet Lee Barton said...

Congratulations everyone! I have to say that Under The Tulip Popular is a favorite of mine, too!

Amy Tate said...

Thanks for the list! I'm on my way to Lifeway *smiles*

Laurie Alice Eakes said...

I’m honored to have so much faith put into my efforts and to be listed with these other authors.

And Colin was the hero who kept me writing his story—along with a lot of mochas.

Laurie Alice Eakes

Lynette Sowell said...

JoAnne, thank you. I'm thrilled to be listed in such a company of authors. Thank you. I'm glad you enjoyed the book. I sure hope this month's readers do as well. I'd always wanted to write a Newport book. My family is from New England and one of my sister's favorite spots to visit is Newport and the mansions. She lent me a gorgeous book that started the whole idea. :)

Bev Porter said...

I agree that Under the Tulip Poplar is a good read. Glad it made your list!

CatMom said...

Congratulations to all the winners! ~ JoAnne, what a wonderful idea for you to do these lists - - helpful to authors and "would be" authors alike.
Blessings, Patti Jo :)

Becky Melby said...

Thank you, JoAnne. What an honor. Cathy and I loved writing Dream Chasers--facing our fears vicariously through our characters. And Stillwater Promise gave us a chance to show a married couple fighting--with each other and eventually for their marriage. What a privilege it is to write for Heartsong!

Erica Vetsch said...


Thank you! I'm so excited to be included in this list. It's such an honor.

Jennifer Johnson said...

Thanks, JoAnne. I'm praying God uses Finding Home to touch the hearts of women who've messed up, faced consequences, and allowed God to heal in His design.

I'm so emotionally charged over this whole Delaware series that you have no idea how truly blessed I feel that you "felt" it, too. So much of my own experience is in these stories, even though I kept my child and didn't give her to adoptive parents I fully understand my heroine. Actually, I'm so connected with the heroines in all three books that it's been a humbling experience.

Again, I'm so emotionally charged I'm probably not making a lot of sense, but thank you!

Pepper Basham said...

What a great list of reads. You've definitely given me some to add to my Christmas Wishlist.