Top Ten Tuesday: 2016 Debuts I’m Excited to Read

Posted December 1, 2015 by meezcarrie in Celeste Fletcher McHale, coming soon, Connilyn Cossette, Dani Pettrey, Jaime Jo Wright, Kara Isaac, Lynette Eason, Mary Connealy, Melanie Dickerson, Melissa Jagears, Rachel McMillan, Top Ten Tuesday / 130 Comments


*Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly blog linkup hosted by The Broke and the Bookish*

This week is all about those first novels by new authors, specifically the ones coming up in 2016 that we just can’t wait to read! I’ve picked some of the debut novels I’m most excited about – and then also some books by established authors who are starting either a new series or a new direction.

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always watching eason

Always Watching by Lynette Eason

Bethany House Publishers

(Lynette is far from being a debut author but Always Watching is the first book in her new Elite Guardians series. Everything Lynette writes is just top-notch. I can’t wait for this new series!)

The bodyguards of Elite Guardians Agency have more than just skill and prowess in common–they’re also all women. When it becomes clear that popular psychiatrist and radio personality Wade Savage has a stalker, his father secretly hires Elite Guardians in order to protect his son.

But when Wade’s bodyguard is attacked and nearly killed, agency owner Olivia Edwards must step in and fill the gap. Olivia’s skills are about to be tested to the limit as Wade’s stalker moves from leaving innocent gifts at his door to threatening those closest to him. Olivia has the feeling that she’s next on the list. And to complicate things even further, she realizes that her heart may be in as much danger as her client.


secret to hummingbird cake

The Secret to Hummingbird Cake by Celeste Fletcher McHale

Thomas Nelson Publishing

“Why won’t you just tell me what’s in that cake?” I’d been trying to get Laine’s recipe for years. We all had.

When all else fails, turn to the divine taste of hummingbird cake.

In the South you always say “yes, ma’am” and “no, ma’am.” You know everybody’s business. Football is a lifestyle not a pastime. Food—especially dessert—is almost a religious experience. And you protect your friends as fiercely as you protect your family—even if the threat is something you cannot see.

In this spot-on Southern novel brimming with wit and authenticity, you’ll laugh alongside lifelong friends, navigate the sometimes rocky path of marriage, and roll through the outrageous curveballs that life sometimes throws . . . from devastating pain to absolute joy. And if you’re lucky, you just may discover the secret to hummingbird cake along the way.

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A Spy’s Devotion by Melanie Dickerson

Waterfall Press

(Again, Melanie Dickerson is certainly not a debut author.  She is known for her gorgeous fairy tale retellings, and she will continue to write those. But in February, she is also releasing the first book in a Regency Spies of London series.  I am beyond excited to see what she does with this genre!)

In England’s Regency era, manners and elegance reign in public life—but behind closed doors treason and tawdriness thrive. Nicholas Langdon is no stranger to reserved civility or bloody barbarity. After suffering a battlefield injury, the wealthy, well-connected British officer returns home to heal—and to fulfill a dying soldier’s last wish by delivering his coded diary.

At the home of the Wilherns, one of England’s most powerful families, Langdon attends a lavish ball where he meets their beautiful and intelligent ward, Julia Grey. Determined to maintain propriety, he keeps his distance—until the diary is stolen and all clues lead to Julia’s guardian. As Langdon traces an evil plot that could be the nation’s undoing, he grows ever more intrigued by the lovely young woman. And when Julia realizes that England—and the man she is falling in love with—need her help, she finds herself caught in the fray. Will the two succumb to their attraction while fighting to save their country?

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Cold Shot by Dani Pettrey

Bethany House Publishers

(Dani Pettrey is yet another established author that I’m featuring today, but her debut series – Alaskan Courage – ended in 2015.  She is starting a brand new series – Chesapeake Valor – in 2016 and even before I fell a little bit in love with the guy on the cover I was beside myself with anticipation over it.)

In college, Griffin McCray and his four best friends had their lives planned out. Griffin and Luke Gallagher would join the Baltimore PD. Declan Gray would head to the FBI and Parker Mitchell would go on to graduate school as a crime scene analyst. But then Luke vanished before graduation and their world–and friendships–crumbled.

Now Griffin is a park ranger at Gettysburg, having left life as a SWAT-team sniper when a case went bad. The job is mostly quiet–until the day he captures two relic hunters uncovering skeletal remains near Little Round Top. Griffin just wants the case to go away, but charming forensic anthropologist Finley Scott determines that the body is modern–a young social justice lawyer missing since spring–and all evidence points to the work of an expert sniper. When FBI agent Declan Gray takes over the case, past and present collide. Griffin soon realizes he’ll need to confront some of the darkest days of his life if he–and those he cares about–are going to escape a downward spiral of murder that crosses continents.


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The Bachelor Girl’s Guide to Murder by Rachel McMillan

Harvest House Publishers

(Rachel is one of the coolest ladies I know, and I totally fangirl clapped when I found out about her upcoming debut novel.  Which probably makes me one of the UNcoolest ladies I know but oh well.  The prequel novella to Bachelor Girl’s Guide to Murder releases TODAY if you want to get a head start on the series – A Singular and Whimsical Problem.)

In 1910 Toronto, while other bachelor girls perfect their domestic skills and find husbands, two friends perfect their sleuthing skills and find a murderer.

Inspired by their fascination with all things Sherlock Holmes, best friends and flatmates Merinda and Jem launch a consulting detective business. The deaths of young Irish women lead Merinda and Jem deeper into the mire of the city’s underbelly, where the high hopes of those dreaming to make a new life in Canada are met with prejudice and squalor.

While searching for answers, donning disguises, and sneaking around where no proper ladies would ever go, they pair with Jasper Forth, a police constable, and Ray DeLuca, a reporter in whom Jem takes a more than professional interest. Merinda could well be Toronto’s premiere consulting detective, and Jem may just find a way to put her bachelor girlhood behind her forever—if they can stay alive long enough to do so.

cowboy's bride collection

The Cowboy’s Bride Collection by Jaime Jo Wright, et al

Barbour Books

(I’m so excited for my friend Jaime Jo Wright! This collection of novellas will be her published debut.  She will also be featured in The California Gold Rush Romance Collection by the same publisher later in 2016.)

Ride onto the open range alongside cowboys and cowgirls who embrace the adventures of living in the Old West from Kansas to New Mexico, Colorado to Texas. Whether rounding up cattle or mustangs, training horses, fending off outlaws, weathering storms, competing in rodeos, or surviving drought these cowboys work hard each day. But when hardheaded men have their weaknesses exposed by well-meaning women will they stampede away or will a lasting love develop? Find out in this exciting collection of nine historical romances.



Close to You by Kara Isaac

Howard Books

A disgraced scholar running from her past and an entrepreneur chasing his future find themselves thrown together—and fall in love—on a Tolkien tour of New Zealand.

Allison Shire (yes, like where the Hobbits live) is a disgraced academic who is done with love. Her belief in “happily ever after” ended the day she discovered her husband was still married to a wife she knew nothing about. She finally finds a use for her English degree by guiding tours through the famous sites featured in the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies. By living life on the road and traveling New Zealand as a luxury tour guide, Allison manages to outrun the pain of her past she can’t face.

Jackson Gregory was on the cusp of making it big. Then suddenly his girlfriend left him—for his biggest business competitor—and took his most guarded commercial secrets with her. To make matters worse, the Iowa farm that has been in his family for generations is facing foreclosure. Determined to save his parents from financial ruin, he’ll do whatever it takes to convince his wealthy great-uncle to invest in his next scheme, which means accompanying him to the bottom of the world to spend three weeks pretending to be a die-hard Lord of the Rings fan, even though he knows nothing about the stories. The one thing that stands between him and his goal is a know-it-all tour guide who can’t stand him and pegged him as a fake the moment he walked off the plane.

When Allison leads the group through the famous sites of the Tolkien movies, she and Jackson start to see each other differently, and as they keep getting thrown together on the tour, they find themselves drawn to each other. Neither expected to fall in love again, but can they find a way beyond their regrets to take a chance on the one thing they’re not looking for?

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Counted With the Stars by Connilyn Cossette

Bethany House Publishers

A Story of Love, Desperation, and Hope During a Great Biblical Epoch

Sold into slavery by her father and forsaken by the man she was supposed to marry, young Egyptian Kiya must serve a mistress who takes pleasure in her humiliation. When terrifying plagues strike Egypt, Kiya is in the middle of it all.

To save her older brother and escape the bonds of slavery, Kiya flees with the Hebrews during the Great Exodus. She finds herself utterly dependent on a fearsome God she’s only just beginning to learn about, and in love with a man who despises her people. With everything she’s ever known swept away, will Kiya turn back toward Egypt or surrender her life and her future to Yahweh?


no way up

No Way Up by Mary Connealy

Bethany House Publishers

(Again, established author but debut book in a new series! I love the hilarity and heart in Mary’s western romances and I’m sure this new series will be no exception.)

When Cimarron ranch patriarch Chance Boden is caught in an avalanche, the quick actions of hired hand Heath Kincaid save him. Badly injured, Chance demands that his will be read and its conditions be enforced immediately.

Without anyone else to serve as a witness, Heath is pressed into reading the will. If Justin, Sadie, and Cole Boden don’t live and work at home for the entire year, the ranch will go to their low-down cousin Mike.

Then Heath discovers the avalanche was a murder attempt, and more danger might follow. Deeply involved with the family, Heath’s desire to protect Sadie goes far beyond friendship. The danger keeps them close together, and their feelings grow until being apart is the last thing on their minds.


a heart most certain

A Heart Most Certain by Melissa Jagears

Bethany House Publishers

(One last established author whose new series debut I’m eagerly anticipating in 2016.  I loved her Unexpected Brides series and am already hooked on these new characters, thanks to her novella in the With This Ring collection.)

While Lydia King’s reasons for joining the Teaville Moral Society might be suspect to some members, her heart is in the right place. Because of her father’s debts and her mother’s persistent illness, her best chance at a secure future and curing her mother is to impress the politician courting her. Her first task–to ask the town’s wealthiest man to donate–seems simple enough . . . until he refuses.

Despite appearances, Nicholas Lowe wants to help others, but prefers to keep his charity private. When Lydia proves persistent, they agree to a bargain, but Nicholas still intends to do things his own way. Neither predicts what they’ll learn about true charity or foresee the complications their actions will bring to the town, forcing Lydia to decide where her beliefs and heart truly align.

So those are my most-anticipated 2016 debuts.  What are yours?

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130 responses to “Top Ten Tuesday: 2016 Debuts I’m Excited to Read

  1. What a fabulous list!! I’m also very excited for Rachel McMillan, Jaime Jo Wright, Kara Isaac, and Connilyn Cossette’s debuts!! It’s so much fun to see my friends’ dreams come true. 🙂 I also love seeing all those established names, as well. We have a lot to look forward to in 2016!

  2. Thanks so much for mentioning Close to You, Carrie. It’s so exciting (and surreal!) seeing it show up on 2016 lists! I’m also excited for Lynette and Dani’s new series, beside myself giddy for Jaime’s (which I’ve had the pleasure of already readying and LOVED!) and looking forward to Rachel’s. I’ve also heard rumors of a new Susan May Warren series which I’m always excited about 🙂

    • I had not heard about Susan May Warren’s series – will definitely have to keep my eye out for that too! Excited for you, Kara! 🙂

  3. Kav

    Oooohhh, The Bachelor Girl’s Guide to Murder sounds very Murdoch Mysteryish. Looking forward to that one. Well…to all of them actually. Adding them to my calendar of new releases.

  4. This is a cool list, I haven’t heard of any of them because I read mostly fantasy. I’m quite interested with The Bachelor Girl’s Guide to Murder though 🙂

  5. The Bachelor Girl’s Guide to Murder sounds really good. I think that it’ll be going on my TBR when it comes out!

    Thanks for visiting my post earlier! Happy reading 🙂

  6. This year I’ve read so much Fantasy that I’m quite excited by your list! I need something new from a completely different genre and quite a few of these have caught my eye (especially Close to You and Counted with the Stars. They sound great and have gorgeous covers!)

    Hope you get to read some of these
    Happy Reading,
    Rachel @

  7. These seem like such good books! You have interesting titles here that I’ve never heard before and I’d be keeping an eye on them as well when they come out. Great selection!

  8. So many of these sound good, Carrie! If anyone compares my Amazon wish list from yesterday and today, there will be a big difference in the two. Haha

    The Secret to Hummingbird Cake sounds wonderful (I’m still trying to get my mother’s recipe for her Christmas cookies, but she won’t share). The Bachelor Girl’s Guide to Murder sounds right up my alley. And Always Watching sounds intriguing too. I hope you do get a chance to read all of the books on your list.

    Thank you for sharing!

  9. Thank you for mentioning Counted with the Stars! I’m honored to be included in such great company! I can’t wait to read all of these as well. 2016 is going to be a great year 🙂

  10. I love this list! I have The Secret to Hummingbird Cake and Counted with the Stars on my list too! And I am looking forward to A Spy’s Devotion, No Way Up, and A Heart Most Certain as well!!!

  11. most of these are new to me, but I definitely got a few suggestions to add to my tbr from this post, so thank you for that!! and thanks for stopping by my blog earlier!

  12. I hadn’t heard of any of these before, which is great since I love discovering new books. The Bachelor Girl’s Guide to Murder sounds really great – definitely adding that to my TBR 🙂

  13. Haven’t seen any of these before but I love seeing new books. I might have to add a couple to my list to check out later 🙂

  14. What a great list! I’m so jealous that you have so many debut ones to look forward to! The Secret to Hummingbird Cake caught my eye and is now going on my TBR. Thanks for stopping by earlier!

  15. Excellent picks! I hadn’t heard of a lot of these. I love the cover and sound of The Bachelor Girl’s Guide to Murder. I just added it to my wishlist. 😀

  16. YAY! You’ve got some amazing titles here, Carrie. I’m excited about Lynette’s (that cover is epic especially given the genre) as well as Dani’s, and of course, Kara’s and Rachel’s as well. Ps; if you’re interested in Rachel’s series, stop by the blog next Tuesday for some fun stuff going on related to her debut. 🙂

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