Monthly Archives: December 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Best Christian Fiction Books and Audiobooks of 2016


My blog post today is based upon this week’s Top Ten Tuesday prompt provided by The Broke and the Bookish – Top 10 Best Books of 2016. I decided to limit my list to Christian fiction books and audiobooks that were both released in 2016 and read by me in 2016. There were some really fabulous stories released this year, so as you can probably imagine, it wasn’t easy to choose!

Step by Step by Candace Calvert.
Contemporary romance from Tyndale House.
Book 2 in the Crisis Team series.
Quick Links: My Review | Goodreads | Amazon | Author’s Site

Far and Near by Amanda G. Stevens.
Speculative fiction from David C. Cook.
Book 4 in the Haven Seekers series.
Quick Links: My Review | Goodreads | Amazon | Author’s Site

The Promise of Jesse Woods by Chris Fabry.
Historical Fiction from Tyndale House. Audio from Recorded Books.
A great choice for book discussion groups.
Quick Links: My Review | Goodreads | Amazon | Audible | Author’s Site

The Undoing of Saint Silvanus by Beth Moore.
Contemporary Mystery from Tyndale House. Audio from Oasis Audio.
A great choice for book discussion groups. Review to come.
Quick Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Audible | Author’s Site

Sea Rose Lane by Irene Hannon.
Contemporary Romance from Revell. Audio from Recorded Books.
Book 2 of the Hope Harbor series.
Quick Links: My Review | Goodreads | Amazon | Audible | Author’s Site

Priceless by Joel and Luke Smallbone.
Contemporary Fiction from Worthy Publishing. Audio from christianaudio.
A novelization of the movie by the same name. Review to come.
Quick Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Audible | Author’s Site

Always Watching by Lynette Eason.
Romantic Suspense from Revell. Audio from Tantor Audio.
Book 1 of the Elite Guardians series.
Quick Links: My Review | Goodreads | Amazon | Audible | Author’s Site

Close to You by Kara Isaac.
Contemporary Romance from Howard Books.
A debut novel by a talented new author. Review to come.
Quick Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Author’s Site

Annabel Lee by Mike Nappa.
Mystery / Suspense from Revell. Audio from Oasis Audio.
Book 1 of the Coffey and Hill series. Review to come.
Quick Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Audible | Author’s Site

Fraying at the Edge by Cindy Woodsmall.
Amish Fiction from WaterBrook Multnomah. Audio from Recorded Books.
Book 2 of The Amish of Summer Grove series. Review to come.
Quick Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Audible | Author’s Site

So those are my top ten reads of the year for 2016, though I know there are lots more fabulous books out there that I haven’t had the chance to read yet, including some on my must-read-soon list. Which were your favorites this year?

Three for the Books: Featured Reads in Christian Fiction, December 2016


The monthly “Three for the Books” post is where I feature new (Hot Off the Presses), best selling (Topping the Charts), and award winning (Cream of the Crop) Christian fiction books. I select one title to feature in each category, as well as providing links to where you can browse additional newly released, best selling, and award winning titles. Have you read any of these featured titles? Any others you’d like to give a shout-out? Comments are always welcome!

Hot Off the Presses

The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill by Julie Klassen releases this month from Bethany House Publishers. It’s the first title in a new Regency series by this Christy-award winning author. Available in print, electronic, and audio editions.

Quick Links: About the Book | Author’s Site | More New Releases

Topping the Charts

A Baxter Family Christmas by Karen Kingsbury appears first on the December 2016 ECPA Christian fiction bestsellers list. This contemporary Christmas story features beloved characters from the author’s Baxter Family series. It is available from Howard Books in print and electronic formats, with an audio edition available from Simon & Schuster Audio.

Quick Links: About the Book | Author’s Site | More Best Sellers

Cream of the Crop

Jaded by Varina Denman won the INSPY Award in the Debut novel category for 2016. This contemporary Christian romance is first in the Mended Hearts series, which is available from publisher David C Cook in print and electronic editions.

Quick Links: About the Book | Author’s Site | More Award Winners

Book Review: One Enchanted Christmas by Melissa Tagg

Title: One Enchanted Christmas
Author: Melissa Tagg
Publisher: Independently Published
Published: December 2015
Series: Enchanted Christmas Collection, #1
Genre: Romance, Christian Fiction, Christmas
Length: Novella

About the Book: (from the author’s Web site)

Last December, mystery author Maren Grant had the most perfect night of her life. On a glimmering winter evening, she got to watch the photo shoot for her very first book and ended up on a magical date with the cover model himself – Colin Renwycke.

Fast forward one year. This December, with a looming deadline, restless spirit and her creative spark long since gone, Maren is desperate to get unstuck. And she can’t get Colin out of her head…or his year-old open invitation to spend a couple weeks writing at his family’s farm.

Drew Renwycke never planned to come home and take over the Renwycke family farm. But he’s spent too many years watching his siblings unravel, including his brother, Colin, after one terrible family mistake. If moving to Maple Valley, Iowa, renovating an old farmhouse and switching careers is what it takes to put the Renwycke family back together, he’ll do it.

But his simple plan upends when a scrappy author lands on his doorstep. And she just might be the key to coaxing his brother home. But what if he wants her all to himself? Drew will have to choose between his Christmas wish and the enchantment of a holiday romance that just might be the happy ending they all long for.

My Thoughts:

This is such a fun and light-hearted story, perfect for the Christmas season! And there’s a sequel that just released this year that I’m excited to read too – One Enchanted Eve.

Short as this novella is, the characters feel remarkably three dimensional. We spend time in both Drew’s and Maren’s heads, getting to know their thoughts, fears, hopes, and dreams. But what makes this novella unusual and extra-fun are the bits of entertaining commentary interjected periodically by the author/narrator. A few brief examples:

“Um, no, guys. He liked her. That’s why he said she could stay. But go ahead, Drew. Tell yourself whatever you want.” (Chapter 4)

“Oh, this is good. Let’s backtrack…” (Chapter 5)

I love the friendly, casual voice used in this commentary. And the humor incorporated as we’re whisked from one scene to another on our way to a meaningful conclusion.

This novella stands on its own just fine, but from what I’ve heard, if you’ve read Melissa Tagg’s Walker Family series, the setting and some of the characters in this one will be familiar. I’ve been meaning to read that series…thinking it may be time to bump it up my TBR list.

I purchased this ebook, and was not expected to write a review, but I wanted to. :)

Quick Links: About the Book | About the Series | Author’s Site

Christian Fiction Book Club Connection, December 2016

Book Club Connection

Welcome to the December 2016 edition of the Christian Fiction Book Club Connection. Thanks for stopping by! Whether you’re a pastor or ministry leader thinking of forming a book discussion group at your church, a current member of a book club, or simply a fan of Christian fiction hoping to connect with other readers, you’re in the right place. Please consider subscribing to my blog so you won’t miss future posts.

Today I’m providing information on Christian fiction discussions scheduled to take place around the web this month. I’m also featuring a handful of recently released Christian fiction titles for which a discussion guide is available, either included in the book itself or on the author’s or publisher’s web site.

Online Discussions Coming Up This Month

The ACFW Book Club will be doing something a little different for the month of December. Rather than choose a book for discussion at this busy time of year, the group is arranging for authors to offer giveaways on the discussion list. You can subscribe to the group’s e-mail list now, by following the instructions on their Web site, to be sure not to miss any announcements or discussion questions.

By the Book has been run as a local in-person book discussion club for years, but has just recently introduced an online Facebook-based discussion option. To join in online, like the By the Book Facebook page, and be sure to check back there periodically for any discussion that may not have made it into your news feed. December’s selection is Finding Riley by Dan Walsh.

For December, the Christian Fiction Devourers group on Goodreads is discussing Falling Like Snowflakes by Denise Hunter AND A Patchwork Christmas Collection by Judith McCoy Miller, Nancy Moser, and Stephanie Grace Whitson. Grab your copies and head on over to the discussion forum to check in with others who are in the midst of reading these books.

The Fans of Amish Fiction Goodreads group discusses one Amish fiction title per month. The selection for December is Amish Christmas at North Star by Cindy Woodsmall, Mindy Starns Clark, Emily Clark, Amanda Flower, and Katie Ganshert. To join in, visit the group’s online discussion board.

Jamie of the Books and Beverages blog hosts a monthly Inklings discussion series for fans of J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. Sometimes fiction, sometimes non-fiction, the title for the month of December is Bilbo’s Last Song by J.R.R. Tolkien. The discussion is planned for December 21, 2016.

Recent Christian Fiction Releases Featuring Discussion Guides

Unblemished by Sara Ella (October 2016, Thomas Nelson, Young Adult Fantasy)

Tangled Webs by Irene Hannon (October 2016, Revell, Romantic Suspense)

Long Way Gone by Charles Martin (October 2016, Thomas Nelson, Contemporary)

Love Bears All Things by Beth Wiseman (October 2016, Thomas Nelson, Amish Romance)

So, friends, what have you been reading lately? Any titles you’d recommend for book club discussions?