Top Ten Tuesday: My (slightly more than 10) Favorite New Books of 2016 (so far)

June 21, 2016 Best Books 2016, Christian, Top Ten Tuesday 57

 

Top Ten Tuesday Favorite

Hello, bookish people! (said in Julie Andrews voice, a la the trolley scene in The Princess Diaries)

Today was another very difficult Top Ten Tuesday theme for me … not because I couldn’t think of 10 but because I couldn’t narrow it down to 10. (This has been a good year for books.) So I shamelessly didn’t bother with trivial details like numbers.

But I did have to place some restrictions on myself or this post would have really gotten out of hand… and I have, like, 20 books to read this week (not exaggerating here) so I needed to exert control where I could. Or a semblance of it anyway.

fave new books of 2016

For the purposes of this list, I limited myself to books I five-starred that were released in 2016. Not that I finally got around to reading in 2016 lol.  And then I still had to cull it down because that alone topped close to 30. (I told you – good year for books!)

contemporary fave

her one and only  the carpenter's daughter

a twist of faith revised  young romantic couple kissing in front of sunset in santa monica  1 SongofSilence_Final


Her One and Only
 by Becky Wade 

(Bethany House, May 3)

If Becky Wade ever decides she wants to write romantic suspense long-term, I’m all for it! What a great book!! The intrigue and suspense surrounding the plot point of Gray’s stalker added to the romantic tension that sizzled between Dru and Gray. The action scenes were full of energy and played out in my mind like something from tv’s Castle as I read them on the page. And the kisses. WHEW! Goodness gracious. Because Becky Wade is at the helm, you are also in for a high dose of delightful humor. This is mostly courtesy of two things in Her One and Only – Becky’s lovely & witty writing voice and a cast of supporting characters that prove to be subtly hilarious. Read more of my review

The Carpenter’s Daughter by Jennifer Rodewald

(Rooted Publishing, April 15) 

In The Carpenter’s Daughter, Jennifer Rodewald has crafted a tender and poignant story of love. Not just the love between man and woman but also the love that Jesus has for each of us. The first person perspective, shifting between three main characters, adds depth of both insight and emotion and breathes vivid life into these names on a page. Every woman who has ever felt like she wasn’t pretty enough… or smart enough … or creative enough… or just ENOUGH needs needs NEEDS to read The Carpenter’s Daughter. Because in Sarah, we find a kindred spirit. In Jesse, we find a hero. And in Jesus, we find ourselves. Read more of my review

A Twist of Faith by Pepper Basham 

(Firefly Southern Fiction, April 6)

A Twist of Faith puts a delightfully Appalachian and modern spin on “My Fair Lady” – and does so with such wit and warmth that readers will be grinning like Haus the dog through the whole read. The characters – primary and secondary… even tertiary, for that matter – will steal your heart and sometimes your breath, and the romantic tension swirls deliciously through any scene in which Reese and Dee share the page. The message of faith is tender and organic – never preachy – and settles around your shoulders like a hug from Reese’s mama. Read more of my review

Finders Keepers by Sarah Monzon 

(Radiant Publications, May 23)

Finders Keepers is the perfect book to kick off your summer reading! The descriptions are beautifully crafted, and both story threads will have you dreaming of sandy beaches and ocean breezes. Sarah Monzon’s characters are layered and real, and they feel like people I would want as friends in real life. Humor dots every chapter, and grace coats each word. Breathtaking scenery and breath-stealing romance will have you wishing for SCUBA gear even if you’re reading this safely on dry land – simply because you need another source of oxygen. This sophomore novel is a new favorite and one I will be re-reading for years to come! Read more of my review

Song of Silence by Cynthia Ruchti 

(Abingdon Press, April 5)

There are several things going on in Song of Silence – multi-layered character arcs, life-changing events, poignant lessons. In the hands of some authors, this could easily turn into something about as chaotic as the sound that occurs when an orchestra is tuning up their instruments all together all at once. In Cynthia Ruchti’s talented hands, all of the chords and separate measures harmonize into an absolute masterpiece.  And the character growth from beginning to end is just simply exquisite. Read more of my review

**NOTE: The fabulous Denise Hunter is not on this list, ONLY because I have not had time to read ANY of her books so far this year. And that’s just really sad. **

historical fave

a flight of arrows  the beautiful pretender

playing the part  thorn keeper

A Flight of Arrows by Lori Benton 

(WaterBrook, April 19)

Mercy and grace and redemption are all over this book. Beautifully so. Reminders to “Trust what Creator is doing, though we cannot understand it or see the full path” share the pages with a profound exploration of what it really means to honor one’s father, even when they are not behaving honorably. And through it all, Lori Benton takes us on a deeply emotional journey through romance, friendship, and sacrificial love. This will not only be one of my favorite books of 2016 but probably one of my top favorites for years to come! Read more of my review

The Beautiful Pretender by Melanie Dickerson 

(Thomas Nelson, May 17)

Along with the allusions to Beauty & the Beast (i love!!), Melanie wove a retelling-with-a-twist of The Princess and the Pea into Avelina and Reinhart’s story. You see, instead of the princess being disguised as a servant and her true identity being revealed through a clever test, Avelina is the servant masquerading as a lady. And yet, through the margrave’s tests – meant to choose the most compatible bride – her true character IS revealed… more noble, in fact, than most of the ladies also competing for his hand. I simply LOVED this approach to a beloved fairy tale and the implicit reminder that true nobility – true honor – is seen in the heart. Read more of my review

Playing the Part by Jen Turano 

(Bethany House, March 1)

With her trademark humor firmly in place, Jen Turano crafts a novel with shades of both the gothic and the hilarious as the fitting final act to her A Class of Their Own series. A misfit band of secondary characters elicit the majority of the laughs in Playing the Part, their easy-to-envision antics stealing several scenes. Familiarly beloved friends from the previous two books in the series also take the stage, and fans of matchmaking matron Abigail Hart will delight in uncovering more of her past, present, and future. Delicious, sweet romance – tempered with a grain of snark – and undertones of suspense round out the ensemble perfectly. Read more of my review

The Thorn Keeper by Pepper Basham 

(Vinspire Publishing, February 28)

The beauty of Pepper’s prose immediately sweeps you into the story where the characters (most familiar if you’ve read The Thorn Bearer) guarantee you won’t be putting down the book until you’ve savored every last word. Catherine – sassy, sweet and strong in spite of her brokenness, yet in many ways uncertain. David – focused, dedicated and true but carrying the weight of forced burdens on his shoulders. When he turns that focus and dedication and true-ness in Catherine’s direction??? SWOON!!! I mean… seriously. Make sure you have a fan handy. And a fainting couch. And you’ll find that you suddenly develop a craving for peppermint. Or maybe that last part was just me. Read more of my review

suspense fave

the league and the lantern cover  cold shot

always watching eason  if i run  mermaid moon

The League and the Lantern by Brian Wells 

(Republic Ink, May 16)

I haven’t been as captivated or entertained by a middle grade novel since the Harry Potter series. Before that it was of course The Chronicles of Narnia. The trio of main characters – Jake, TJ, and Lucy – are a hoot! Strong kids (emotionally, mentally, etc.) from loving families and different backgrounds. All three are misfits of sorts (but then, who isn’t in middle school?) and this bonds them together … even before they’re forced together by the museum break-in and murder and – you know – fleeing for their lives. High stakes, fast-paced action ensues, peppered with hearty doses of humor that are edifying while still appealing to the middle grade mind. Read more of my review

Cold Shot by Dani Pettrey 

(Bethany House, February 2)

Dani Pettrey’s first offering in her new series is inventive, action-packed, and extremely well-written. Cold Shot bursts onto the scene with brilliant suspense and compelling characters that make it nearly impossible to put down. In fact, if you are at all prone to biting your nails when tensions are high, you may need to schedule a manicure once you’ve finished reading this novel! If you like romance with your suspense, Griffin and Finley are happy to oblige with some breath-stealing moments that are adorable and full of heat all at the same time. Read more of my review

Always Watching by Lynette Eason 

(Revell, February 2)

Lynette Eason’s latest suspense novel is fast-paced, action-packed, and full of grace. Her writing talent is more than evident in the natural dialogue, the tension, the vivid characters. While romance is definitely present in the story, it never overshadows the suspense, making this an ideal choice both for people who do love kissingbooks and those who don’t. The element of faith is there as well – a solid thread that manages to avoid turning “trite” or “preachy”. Lynette Eason is one of my go-to authors for romantic suspense, and Always Watching is a magnificent start to her new series! Read more of my review

If I Run by Terri Blackstock 

(Zondervan, February 16)

If I Run is a stunning thriller that needs to be at the top of your to-read list. Part The Fugitive, part its own identity, it is a masterfully-crafted book that will leave you breathless… and frantically stalking the Googles for any word on a sequel. This book is perhaps the best suspense novel I’ve ever read. And I don’t say that lightly. I’ve read a lot of suspense novels. I’ve loved a lot of suspense novels. I will love a lot of suspense novels in the future. But If I Run… there’s just something really special about this one. In fact, I can already guarantee that it will make my “best of 2016” list. (Oh lookie there – here it is!) I can also guarantee that it will top my list of recommended reads for suspense fans from here on out. Read more of my review

Mermaid Moon by Colleen Coble 

(Thomas Nelson, January 12)

The action started almost immediately and barely allowed me to catch my breath until the end. A doozy of a plot twist (or two… or three) kept me guessing in Mermaid Moon even more than in The Inn at Ocean’s Edge, and I could not put it down. Even when the suspense part of things calmed for a moment or two, the kisses (one in particular) stole my breath all over again … so it might be wise for you to make sure you have an alternate supply of oxygen close at hand before you begin reading. Riveting suspense, rekindled romance, and gentle nudges of grace all merge together, grabbing your attention from the beginning and holding it captive until the very end. Read more of my review

amish fiction fave

the quieting  a son's vow

The Quieting by Suzanne Woods Fisher 

(Revell, May 3)

The Quieting exceeded my expectations. I love how Suzanne Woods Fisher is able to seamlessly weave laugh out loud humor (the way she writes Hank gets me every time), adolescent angst, and tender moments of faith and family – sometimes in the same chapter – to create a story that engages all of my emotions and provides a really enjoyable reading experience. The Quieting is a mix of fantastic characters, spiritual life lessons, and memorable scenes not to be missed.  Read more of my review

A Son’s Vow by Shelley Shepard Gray

(Avon Inspire, January 26)

One of the first things that struck me about A Son’s Vow was how it addresses topics that aren’t usually explored in Amish fiction. Topics such as unforgiveness, abuse, bitterness, grief, depression. A refreshing reminder of why I love Shelley Shepard Gray’s Amish novels. Her characters are real and honest and sometimes raw, but they are also sweet and quirky and sometimes flirty. And no matter what the situation, grace coats every word.  Read more of my review

non fiction fave

AsTheInkFlows  and it was beautiful  hunting hope

As the Ink Flows by Glenda Dekkema, Melony Teague, Carol Ford, Claudia Loopstra, Marguerite Cummings

(Judson Press, April 1)

If you are a writer… a blogger… a creative person … a speaker … a ministry leader … or you know someone who is, As the Ink Flows would be a phenomenal asset for your devotional needs. The devotions are quick to grab before getting ready in the morning, on your lunch hour, or during a writing break but are also full of profound truth that settles in the heart and points to Jesus. These co-authors love Jesus and love writing, and it shows, their different writing voices complementing each other and providing options for all sorts of preferred reading styles. Read more of my review

And It Was Beautiful by Kara Tippetts

(David C. Cook, March 1)

And It Was Beautiful is a quick read but wow – there’s a lot packed in that small space! Her voice, her writing style, make you feel as though you’ve been friends for years. Her love for her family, for her friends, for her Jesus is so evident in each poignant vignette, and her journey with cancer – and the gift of grace through it all – will engage all of your emotions. While at first you may think that a book like this would be depressing, it is anything but a downer. Yes, you will ugly-cry. But you will also smile and laugh and be overwhelmingly reminded of the goodness of God and His faithfulness. Kara’s testimony is raw at times, witty at others, but always always beautiful.  Read more of my review

Hunting Hope by Nika Maples 

(Worthy Publishing, April 19)

Nika’s honest insights and anecdotes from her own life added to the compelling and engaging tone of Hunting Hope. Her humor made me chuckle; her stories often made me teary; her relationship with Jesus made me want to tune up those areas of my own that could use a little work. In her engaging, conversational and “real” style – infused with touches of delightfully wry humor – Nika Maples challenged me to pursue hope like I’m hunting it down. Her teaching on this subject comes from a place of experience and therefore from the lessons she’s learned in the dark & dreary winter seasons of her life. It’s practical, accessible, and so very encouraging. Read more of my review

And I have to at least include the covers of some of my favorite books I reviewed for RT Book Reviews so far this year.  You can go to rtbookreviews.com to check out the reviews for each book.

land of silence  with this ring  curio  a haven on orchard lane

the promise of forgiveness  like never before  back in the saddle  sweet as honey

The Lady and the Lionheart by Joanne Bischof  a bee in her bonnet

So… umm.. yeah… Slightly more than 10 this week 🙂 What are some of YOUR faves so far this year?

(Make sure you check out the giveaways I have going on right now too! Links in the sidebar!)

Carrie

57 Responses to “Top Ten Tuesday: My (slightly more than 10) Favorite New Books of 2016 (so far)”

  1. Annie JC

    My happy friend, this is why I don’t need to do these top ten lists on my blog. I’ll just send them your way because you have all my faves up there too. ? happy reading…off to bed for me. *sigh, I’m going to be sluggish in the morning at work…the side effects of being a booknerd.

  2. Valerie S

    Thanks for another amazing list! I co-sign on everything about Her One and Only – finished it Saturday night and I’m still swooning. :o)

    Also, congrats on being a book review for Romantic Times! It’s great to see Christian fiction titles included with all other types of romances.

    • Carrie

      I love the strong inspirational presence at RT! It’s an honor to be part of it! Thanks, Valerie 🙂

  3. Emilee

    I think The Lady and the Lion Heart may be my all time favorite cover. I hope the book lives up to that gorgeous cover!

  4. Lientjie Human

    Her one and Only and Finders Keepers are the only ones I have read on your list so far and they both got 5 stars with me as well:) (now to find time to fit in all the other great books)!
    A book that is on my top 2016 list is “Grace in the Flames” by Michelle Massaro.

  5. Rebecca Maney

    I love these kinds of lists, Carrie! We agree on so many and you have given me some great ideas on where to place my reading time.

    One of the first books that I read this year, “Carry Me Home” by Dorothy Adameck was an historical favorite as well as “The Confessions of X” by Suzanne Wolfe. I loved “Vendetta” by Lisa Harris in the suspense category. “The Dandelion Field” by Kathryn Springer and ” A Season to LOve” by Nicole Deese in the contemporary. Some of these books were not published this calendar year, so not sure they qualify. I could keep on going. I have given out more 5 star reviews this year already,than I have in a whole year, in the past.

  6. Tracey H

    Hi Carrie, I love your list. Of your 29 top 10, haha, I have read 8 and have 2 on my kindle ready to read. I love your five star list and will be adding them to my TBR list. Here’s 12 of my top 10 released this year, laughing at myself this time 🙂
    The Goodbye Bride Finders Keepers
    Her One and Only Jilted (Carla Laureano)
    Land of Silence Carry Me Home
    Your the One That I Want Where There’s Smoke
    Cold Shot Special Delivery Baby

    • Carrie

      YES!!! Jilted by Carla was fantastic! Several of your “12 top 10” haha are on my TBR list – The Goodbye Bride, Carry Me Home, You’re The One, Where There’s Smoke. Adding Sherri’s book to my TBR!

  7. Tracey H

    Oops! I said 12 and forgot the other two. Someone Like You and Thin Ice.

    • Carrie

      yes! those are fabulous! I had Thin Ice down and then realized it technically came out in December… so it just missed my restrictions lol.

  8. Tracey H

    I think Carry Me Home was also late Dec. I’m adding #13! Sally Bradley had a fantastic sequel novella to Kept called Taken in Smoke and Mirrors.

  9. Tracey H

    FYI-I just skipped over to Amazon, have you seen Jen Turano has a new novella, At Your Request, free for Jan preorder?

  10. Stacey Jones

    Hi Carrie,
    Our contemporary and historical are well aligned. One thing I love about your blog is I always discover new books…in this case a bunch of suspense books I need to add to my TBR mountain. Great blog, Carrie!

  11. Pepper D. Basham

    Carrie,
    You ALWAYs ALWAYS make me feel so special!! Thank you for that! And thank you for loving my books with such unadulterated enthusiasm 🙂

    I’m super thankful for you!
    Pumping sunshine your way today

  12. Sydney

    You have some great books here! Flight of Arrows is definitely one that I still NEED to read! LOL! Hopeing to get my hands on a copy sometime soon!

  13. Mariela

    I haven’t read any of these. I haven’t read any 2016 release at all.I bought some but they are still in my bookshelves.

    My TTT.

  14. Sarah Monzon

    So honored that Finders Keepers is included!! *happy squeal!*

  15. Deanna

    Finders keepers sounds like a fun book! I might have to check that one out. 🙂 And I completely understand having to limit the # of favorites so far. So tough to do!

    • Carrie

      hahaha!! This is really my cunning plan – to bring as many people as possible over to join me in MY madness. bwhahahahahaha 😉

  16. Melony Teague

    Thank you so much Carrie, it is quite an honour to make one of your extensive lists and I am so humbled.

    I have quite a few of these on my TBR and some on my JFR(just finished reading) pile, so it is always great to compare notes!

  17. Rachel Dixon

    Oh gosh….Playing the Part, The Beautiful
    pretender, The Ringmaster’s Wife, The Hesitant Heiress, The Bound Heart, Anchor in the Storm, Undaunted Hope, The Bachelor Girl’s Guide to Murder,

  18. Jane

    Your TTT’s are never good for my TBR! 😉 Haha. But seriously, so many great books I have yet to discover! I think I need to bump Pepper Basham’s books higher on my TBR. Also I am really intrigued by your nonfiction picks. They sound lovely. And I really should read more nonfiction.

    Thanks for stopping by my TTT earlier 🙂

    • Carrie

      YES. you do need to bump up Pepper’s books 😀 I always need to read more nonfiction but I’m pretty picky and easily bored with it lol

  19. Rissi

    What a fantastic list, Carrie. Everyone’s from Becky’s to Dani’s, and Lynette’s are among my favorites of this year (so far). Cannot wait to see what the rest of the fictional year brings us! Betting it’ll all be amazing. 🙂

    Thanks, as always, for visiting Finding Wonderland. 🙂

    • Carrie

      2016 is a great year for books so far – looking forward to more! 🙂

  20. Kristine @ The Writer's Inkwell

    As per usual, you have an amazing list! I really love how you broke them up by genre. Sadly, I haven’t read any of these, but some of them have caught my eye. I might need to break my no new TBR adds. 😀

    Thanks for stopping by earlier this week!

    • Carrie

      i don’t think i have ever successfully kept a “no new TBR adds” policy 😉

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