Thursday, November 17, 2016

The Top Ten of 2016

The Top 10 of 2016

There were a lot of books this year. Although I didn't meet the 100 book goal I set for myself (life intervened), I did manage to rack up 85 books read. Of the 85, I reviewed 49. Out of those 49, I chose the top 10 books that seemed to stay with me and have become "favorites"; i.e., I will always recommend them to someone who is searching for a new book to read, or maybe a new-to-them author.

Hope you enjoy the little list below which is in no particular order (I've included links attached to the title if you desire to purchase any of the books). 

  "I do not know where this little story came from--out of the air, perhaps. One thing is certain, it is not written in any other book, nor is it to be found among the ancient lore of the East. And yet I have never felt as if it were my own. It was a gift, and it seemed to me as if I knew the Giver."
--Henry Van Dyke

Long, long ago, a wise man named Artaban, a priest of the Magi, discerned from heavenly signs that the time was at hand for the fulfillment of an ancient prophecy--the birth among the Hebrews of a holy Prince and Deliverer of Man. Hastening to join three fellow Magi for the long journey into Judaea, he paused to help a dying man and was left behind. And so Artaban began his pilgrimage alone, striking out not toward the realization of his life's deepest longing, as he hoped, but only toward misfortune and suffering. Or so he believed until one blessed, radiant moment. 
"And his gifts were accepted by his King." 

 Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.
Twenty years ago, Aniston Kline learned that childhood rhyme wasn’t true after being bullied in junior high. Now a newspaper reporter, Aniston returns to her hometown—a place she thought she would never return to—prepared to write an article about a boy’s story that echoes her past. Aniston wants nothing more than to slip in and out of Savanna Shores unseen and unrecognized by anyone who might still remember her; however, a brutal snowstorm ushers her into town and leaves her stranded in a snowstorm with her high school crush, Arjay.
Arjay Mason was once the handsome quarterback of the high school football team. Now a police officer in Savanna Shores, he has yet to find lasting love. He realizes he already missed one opportunity with Aniston and doesn’t want her to leave again—but how could she stay in a town that once caused her pain?
As Aniston faces her own demons from her past and sifts through old emotions with Arjay, the fate of a teenage girl named Maddie becomes intricately intertwined with the two adults’ to reveal a much grander plan for everyone involved. While it seemed like it was just coincidence that brought together Aniston and Arjay, the two begin to understand there’s a reason they were brought together again.

"How we must not let those parts of ourselves become caged." 

 A young woman, a priest, and a secret that keeps them bitterly bound to each other . . .

 "A new, fresh retelling of the age-old tale."

 Following a horrific murder, the town of Beneficent, Mississippi, population 479, tries desperately to hold onto its vain self-image. The young veteran Jack Davis holds that idyllic vision of the town and tries to share it with Lisa Kemper, newly arrived from Indiana. But she is repelled by everything in it. While the sheriff tries to find the killer, Jack and Lisa's contentious courtship reveals the town's strange combination of astute perceptions and surprising blind spots. Then they stumble onto shocking discoveries about the true nature of the town. But where will those discoveries lead? To repentance or to denial and continuation in vanity?
"The town and its people learn a valuable lesson in love, forgiveness, and humility."

  On the Number 17 bus, serving downtown Seattle, widower Jimmy Carter (not the former U.S. president) crashes headlong into the Almighty... Jimmy is lost without his wife. He measures his days as the time After Ruthie. It's now the year A. R. 4. When God starts speaking to him on the 17, Jim reluctantly agrees to serve, uncertain if he's gone off the deep end or if God-Who can do most things on His own-is really so desperate as to need Jimmy to lend a hand. When love blossoms, hurting people are restored, and lives are saved-and lost, Jimmy discovers he's linked to God in a most profound way.
"I am the Lord's servant. May it be to me as you have said."

 What if the first man reborn of an evolutionary leap doesn't like his new life? Is escape even possible? The time is right for introducing the world to the marvels of techno-medical advancements. An influential man, one loved and adored, is needed for the job, and who better than celebrity Chase Sterling? After suffering injuries no one could survive Chase is rebuilt like no one has ever seen before. In the not-too-distant future a man—if he can still be called a man—breaks away from the forces taking over his life and finds new purpose in the secret world of hiding believers.
"A wake-up call in fiction form"

When Detective Noah Adams meets the abused son of a powerful judge, he knows he must intervene—and fast. The violence is escalating, and even Noah’s special gifts may not prevent the unthinkable from happening.

Relentlessly pursuing two cases, Noah receives a chilling message: Cody’s deranged father has taken his son and it’s up to Noah to follow the judge’s twisted trail to find the boy before it’s too late.

Corrupt city officials, a missing socialite, an attempted murder, and a rescue in the middle of a blizzard entangle Noah in the most complicated case of his career. A case that will mean his ultimate redemption or will take him back into the dark history that haunts him.
"He can't save the world...but he can try."

When Hana’s mom is diagnosed with the mutation, she confesses to Hana she doesn’t know what will happen if she dies. Fischer, a medic at the hospital, implies there is Someone who can help–but religion’s been outlawed. Hana embarks on a dangerous journey, seeking the answers Fischer insists are available. But when the truth is uncovered, will Hana stick to what she's been taught? Or will she join the rebellion and take a stand against an oppressive society?

 "It's a time of Greaters, Middles, and Lessers, until that time is challenged by a few."

  **All Proceeds from the sale of this book are donated to Food for the Poor (R)** 

Firefighter Aiden Hawk has found his calling—giving back to the community that helped raise him—but deep down he longs for more. When Summer Cassel comes into his life hope sparks, and he dares to dream of a family to call his own, but each time he nears her, his nerves kick in and a shy streak takes hold. When Aiden moves in next door, Summer is determined to give him a proper welcome. After all, the handsome man ignites a flame she can't seem to resist. But, she doesn't take risks, especially those involving her heart, so when she discovers there is more to her bashful neighbor than meets the eye, Summer must make the ultimate decision... Will she be bound by fear or released by faith?
"Two people had to trust in God and in each other."

 Torry Martin—a comedian, actor, and hippie—fled from California to the wilderness of Alaska, searching for answers to life's big questions. He found what he was looking for...and a lot more!

A moose got its head stuck in Torry's window. A reindeer was trapped in his kitchen. A bear almost prevented him from reaching his airplane. He once woke up frozen to his cabin floor.

Like the Israelites of old, Torry experienced plenty of miracles and mishaps in the wilderness. And like them, he came face-to-face with God and was changed forever.

Each of these true stories of Torry's hilarious blunders and misfortunes contains a nugget of truth, but one theme prevails: If God can reclaim and repurpose Torry Martin's life, He can do the same for you and those you love.

"God doesn't want perfect people. He wants us."

I hope you enjoyed the Top 10 list for this year. Come back in December to read excerpts from 30 Days: A Devotional Memoir.  


  1. Many thanks for including my "Lightning on a Quiet Night," Daphne. I also recommend MaryAnn Diorio's "The Madonna of Pisano"--a truly excellent read: different and truly passionate.

  2. I plan to take your book down to my Mom's when we visit for Christmas, plus MaryAnn Diorio's. Both of you wrote exceptional novels!

  3. Thank you, Daphne for including The Watchman in your list. It's a favorite of the novels I've written. I've read two of the books on your list and agree they belong there.

    1. I was completely entranced by The Watchman. Noah wasn't this perfect man, but he was the perfect hero for what needed to be done! :)