Top 10…ahem…13, 2016

rp_Top-10.jpgEach year choosing a top 10 makes for a challenging way to end the year, especially a year that did a bit of a number on our family…and many others, as we know! My reading time was greatly curtailed this year so I didn’t get to read anywhere near my usual number of books, nor review all the ones I did complete, even some on this list. So in some senses, this list is incomplete, but in no way am I unsatisfied with my choices.

It’s always difficult to choose a top 10, and any of you are good with numbers (can count!), you will see I failed miserably on that score! As I have been saying for years, I choose my top reads from books that evoke an emotional response; ones that make me laugh, set my stomach churning, make me tear up, get my ticker pumping, my brain contemplating, or have me spontaneously smiling as I read. I’m ever grateful to these writers (and all the authors I have read this year) for their blood, sweat, and tears as they pen these stories and generously send them out into the world to be read, enjoyed, critiqued, and sometimes criticised. There’s not many of us who would open ourselves in this way for others, so thank you, dear authors, for opening my soul, heart, and mind to your own!

As it is NYE down under today, a HUGE thank you to my readers for sticking with me this year, for celebrating my 10 year blogging anniversary, and for sharing your love of books with me! Every comment you leave means so much, even if I’ve been unable to respond. I appreciate each and every one of you! I’d love to hear what your favourite books from 2016 have been.

Here’s to a beautifully bookish 2017!

Hugs, Rel xo


The Lady and the Lionheart by Joanne Bischof

“Delicate and vibrant prose immerses the reader in the sights, sounds, and aroma of the circus, with a tale that leaves jagged edges upon your soul for a time, then binds the wounds with healing and hope.”

My review



Conspiracy of Silence by Ronie Kendig

“Ronie is the master of heart palpitating action, authentic military engagement scenes, and brilliant characterisation.”

My review



Intermission by Serena Chase

“If you love meaningful writing, beguiling characters, musical theatre, delicious romance, and a gutsy, heart-wrenching tale, Serena Chase’s foray into contemporary YA romance is for you.”

My review


The Feathered Bone

The Feathered Bone by Julie Cantrell

Simply stunning. There’s is nothing easy or trite in a Julie Cantell novel and The Feathered Bone tears apart your heart, putting it back together again, forever altered.



Can’t Help Falling by Kara Isaac

Can’t Help Falling‘s happily ever after is a given, but unlike many in this genre, Isaac takes her characters on an authentic and challenging journey towards love, that is as savvy as it is whimsical.”

My review


Lady Undaunted

Lady Undaunted by Tamara Leigh

Brilliant medieval romance with all the elements required, and then some! I love Liam and Jocelyn’s story.



My Hope Next Door by Tammy L. Gray

“While Asher captured my heart with his sacrificial love and genuine love for Katie, even the petulant antagonist, Cooper, held complexities with Tammy balancing his bad guy persona by exposing his vulnerabilities, making him a genuine and believable character.”

My review



Montana Fire series by Susan May Warren

“It’s not just the fires sizzling in Montana, let me assure you! Susan May Warren’s latest romantic suspense, Where There’s Smoke, is romance readers’ catnip.”

Where There’s Smoke || Playing With Fire || Burnin’ For You || Oh, the Weather Outside is Frightful

My reviews: Where There’s Smoke, Playing with Fire, & Burnin’ For You


I'll Be Yours

I’ll Be Yours by Jenny B. Jones

“Captivating and real, I’ll Be Yours is both swoon-worthy and heartrending, begging for a re-read as soon as the last page ends.”

My review



Water from My Heart by Charles Martin

What can I say about Charles’ writing? An exceptional wordsmith, Charles excels in this story by creating a leading character the reader can’t help connecting with when we should despise him for his intentional and calculated choices in life. A brilliantly written story of redemption and our first 2017 Novel Journey Bookclub selection for 2017.



The Promise of Rayne by Nicole Deese

Levi. Need I say more?! Loved this captivating love story from Nicole!


the end of the world

The End of the World by Amy Matayo

“Gut-wrenching and powerful, Amy Matayo’s The End of the World will shatter your heart for a time before piecing it back together, slowly, unexpectedly, yet not unaltered.”

My review


The Long Journey to Jake Palmer

The Long Journey to Jake Palmer by James L. Rubart

Another complex and evocative novel from the master of the spiritually meaningful novel. This one will keep you pondering long after the last page is turned.


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17 Responses to Top 10…ahem…13, 2016

  1. Great list! I enjoyed several of these and hope to read the others :)

  2. Some of these I’ve read, but a few I just added to my wish list on Amazon. Sooooo many GREAT books to read! Thanks for your insight and wonderful recommendations. I can always trust your opinion!
    Have a great New Year Rel!

  3. I always look forward to your top tens Rel and so exciting when you share more then just ten! :) Happy New Year! Thanks for all your hard work.

  4. So very honored and joyous to make your list, Rel! And to be in such fabulous company. Looking forward to adding many of your picks to my reading. xoxo

  5. Your Top 10 (13) Lists are always one of my favorite posts. And this is a sensational list. THANK YOU for including CONSPIRACY OF SILENCE!

  6. I enjoy reading end of year “best” lists, but most excited to see yours, Rel. I love the diversity in your selections – YA, speculative, Contemporary, and historical. You have it all!

    I have always wanted to read a Charles Martin book and have yet to do that. A year ago, I didn’t even know that his books were Christian fiction. I just happened to find a video blog that he recorded and I was moved by his message. He had a new release this year, too which I ordered from our library. It’s a prodigal story and I tend to like those. Have you read that one, yet? – “Long Way Gone”

    I’ve either read most of your top ten or intend to soon, but Conspiracy of Silence wasn’t one that I was planning on. Now, I’m seeing it on SO MANY “Best of” lists that I have reconsidered my previous decision. I absolutely have to know why everyone is loving it. :) Thanks for sharing your top reads. I’m sure that there were many more, but not enough room to list them all. Happy New Year!

    • Wow, Terrill! You amaze me with your high opinion of my wee blog – thank you so very much for being such a wonderful part of my community here at Relz Reviewz. Please do read Charles’ novels. Any of them. And then come and tell me what you think :)

      I have Long Way Home in my TBR, so will read it soon.

      As for Conspiracy – you really don’t want to miss out on meeting Tox and Chiji, Haven and Tzivia…I could go on! Hope 2017 is fabulous for you xo

  7. Great list, Rel.I’ve read quite a few of them, and I’ve heard a lot of great things about the rest of them. I have a couple in my TBR pile. My wish list is going to get some others added to it. Thanks for posting this.

  8. Happy New Year Rel! You are my “go to” person for book suggestions. I have read several of the books on your top 10+ list and they are excellent!! But there are a few that I’ve not read and with your stamp of approval now sealed, I’ll have to add some to my TBR pile. The one of highest interest to me is “The Long Journey of Jake Palmer” – – for some reason the Holy Spirit is tugging at me to make this one a top priority. I’ve never read anything by Rubart but that’s about to change. Maybe I’ll make that my New Year’s resolution – read more “never read anything by (fill in new author name)” – – and broaden my scope of “think outside the box” spiritual wisdom. I think God has so much more for us to learn about Him if we’d only have a more teachable spirit. Keep blogging Rel – and I’ll keep reading. Thank you for all your work in helping us stay informed of the Christian writers and books available to us. Fight the good fight Rel!! We’re counting on you!!

    • Happy New Year to you, Pam! Thank you again for your lovely encouragement. It is sooooo appreciated.

      Jim always takes his readers on a spiritual journey so I’m sure there is good reason for why you are feeling a pull to that story.

      Hope 2017 is a huge blessing to you and your family xo

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