Top reads

Mrs B’s Book Reviews top reads of 2016

IMG_20161231_122922.jpgAs the year draws to a close, I have put some time aside to reflect on my top reads of 2016. As I compiled this list, I realised the majority of the books I have chosen seem to come from Australian female writers! I believe this is a testament to the quality of writing that is coming from Australian female writers. I can’t wait to see what 2017 brings to the table reading wise. With no further ado, here is my top reads of 2016 list. I have also included an honourable mentions section at the end, as there were just so many books I loved this year!

castle-of-dreams Castle of Dreams by Elise McCune. This stunning debut novel took my breath away and I have championed this book all year. I adored this unforgettable tale of family secrets, love, lies and betrayal, set against a stunning Queensland backdrop. My all time favourite novel of 2016. Review here.

bridge The Florentine Bridge by Vanessa Carnevale. Another fabulous debut novel from an Australian author that I predict has a strong writing career ahead. I’m already counting down until Vanessa Carnevale’s next release. The Florentine Bridge is a book that is full of heart and hope. It tells the story of a young cancer survivor Mia, who makes the brave decision to reignite her love of painting and finds love in the picturesque locale of Florence, Italy. This is my pick for the best debut novel of the year. Review here.

a-kiss-from-mr-f A Kiss From Mr Fitzgerald by Natasha Lester. Natasha was a guest at a local author event I attended this year, Stories on Stage. This is the first book I have read by Lester and I was enthralled by her first turn at writing historical fiction. A Kiss From Mr Fitzgerald is a groundbreaking tale of one woman’s struggle to make it as the first female obstetrician, while simultaneously dancing in the famous Ziegfeld Follies by night. My pick for best historical fiction novel of the year. Review here.

kate-kerrigan It Was Only Ever You by Kate Kerrigan. My pick for the most romantic book that I read in 2016. This is a beautiful and poignant tale of three women and one man. The transatlantic setting of 1950’s New York and Ireland added much appeal to this gentle tale of finding love and your place in the world. Review here.

the dry The Dry by Jane Harper. A high quality debut and a must read. An atmospheric thriller set in the a hot and dusty Australian small town, where a crime must be solved. Award winning writing that easily takes out my pick for thriller of the year. Review here.

other-side-of-the-season The Other Side of the Season by Jenn J McLeod. Jenn J McLeod is an author who just seems to get better with each new book she releases. I believe this is her best yet. The Other Side of the Season is a double time frame novel, set in the beautiful Byron Bay region. It is essentially a family mystery that examines the choices we make. Australian storytelling at its very best.Review here.

spanish-stars-2 Under the Spanish Stars by Alli Sinclair. I loved Alli’s debut novel Luna Tango. In her second book, Under the Spanish Stars, Sinclair takes the reader on an unforgettable journey to Spain. This is a book that combines love, betrayal, secrets, family, culture and flamenco dancing. It is a book that will be sure to carry you away. My pick for the best summer read. Review here.

secrets-art The Art of Keeping Secrets by Rachael Johns.It is no secret that I love Rachael Johns writing and I have been a loyal reader of her rural romance books for some time. The Art of Keeping Secrets is her second foray into women’s fiction or ‘life lit’ and I absolutely loved it. It delivered some unexpected and cracking secrets, of three best friends who thought they knew everything about one another. I can’t wait to see what Rachael delivers next year if the Art of Keeping Secrets is anything to go by! Review here.jewel-sea The Jewel Sea by Kim Kelly.  A relatively short novel but it really packed a punch. It is a sweeping historical tale that is based on a true story, detailing the tragic loss of the luxury ship the SS Koombana. Set just off the coast of Western Australia, I found much resonance in this novel, with themes of greed, betrayal, desire, love and life. A beautifully woven tale from an author I can trust to write colourful Australian stories. Review here.

rarest-thing The Rarest Thing by Deborah O’Brien. A gentle Victorian high country Australian story that takes a unique storyline, the exploration of the thought extinct mountain pygmy possum. A passionately told and well researched novel that definitely deserved no less than a five-star rating. Review here.

Other books I was not able to squeeze into this list that I loved and deserves an honourable mention are:

Le Chateau by Sarah Ridout, Into the Quiet by Eliza Henry-Jones, Daughter of Australia by Harmony Verna, Barbed Wire and Cherry Blossoms by Anita Heiss, The Wife’s Tale by Christine Wells, Love Elimination by Sarah Gates, The War Bride by Pamela Hart, Maggie’s Kitchen by Caroline Beecham, The Seven Sisters by Lucinda Riley, The Cherry Season by Trish Morey, The Doctor Calling by Meredith Appleyard,  Tapestry by Fiona McIntosh, The Governor’s House by J.H. Fletcher, Swimming Home by Mary-Rose MacColl, Rose’s Vintage by Kayte Nunn, The Secret Heiress by Luke Devenish, Standing Strong by Fiona McCallum and The Peppercorn Project by Nicki Edwards.

Now my extensive top reads list has come to a close, I would like to wish each and every one of you that follow my blog/page a very happy new year and all the best for 2017!

Thanks! Mrs B:-)

12 thoughts on “Mrs B’s Book Reviews top reads of 2016

  1. Wow, that’s a great list, Amanda. Can you believe I’ve only read two of those books you’ve listed but I’m hoping to read most of these next year but I’m still struggling through my 50 book pile but I’m happy to say it’s down to 45. I’ve got all the books in 3 piles on the coffee table. Fortunately I’m spending most of my time watching telly or reading in the rumpus room as there’s no way I’d be able to see the TV or much of anything if I was sitting in the lounge room on the lounge! Lol. I have taken a photo to show you. I’ll see if I can send it through to you on messenger.

    Here’s my list of the 10 most outstanding books of 2016

    Black Diamonds by Kim Kelly – my all time favourite novel ever
    Castle of Dreams by Elise McCune – also my favourite novel of all time
    April’s Rainbow by Cathryn Hein
    Cats, Scarves and Liars by Kathryn White
    Buying Thyme and Finding Thyme by TJ Hamilton
    Cold Justice by Katherine Howell
    The Wife’s Tale by Christine Wells
    Fields of Gold by Fiona McIntosh
    Outback Ghost by Rachael Johns
    Festival by the Sea by June Loves

    I also have other books I thought deserve a mention: What’s Left Over, After by Natasha Lester, Poison Ivy by Kathryn White, Luna Tango by Ali Sinclair, Leave Me by Gayle Forman, The Long Way Home by Jessica Blair, Jacky Boy by Ken McCoy, Essie’s Way by Pamela Cook and The Stockmen by Rachael Treasure.

    Sorry for not replying to your recent blog posts, it’s been like 100 degrees here and I can barely think. Thank goodness it has cooled down a bit tonight.

    Wishing you a fantastic night and a wonderful and healthy 2017!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Happy New Year Sue!

      What a cracker of a list! Thanks for sharing with me. I found my list very hard to compile, which is why I added in the honourable mentions section (which could of gone on and on!). How did you go compiling your list?

      I can see we have many books and authors in common on our lists – Elise McCune, Kim Kelly Rachael Johns. There a few of yours I haven’t heard of (June Loves, Kathryn White) and a few I have sitting on my TBR pile (TJ Hamilton, Katherine Howell, Black Diamonds).

      I’m sorry it has been so hot your way – it’s been unsually cold and windy here, camping was freezing and I wasn’t prepared for all the winter clothes needed for myself or the boys! I’m sending some cooler weather from Perth your way!

      I hope you had a lovely new years – did you do anything special?

      Good news – glad to hear the TBR mountain in your lounge is down to 45! I love your arrangment of piles – excellent! Looking forward to the pics!

      I’m behind on my reading, I didn’t meet my Goodreads challenge and fell even more behind while camping, I struggled to read a quarter of a book the whole 5 days! I’m trying to fit some reading in now, while tackling the mountain camping washing pile! Wish me luck!

      I can’t wait to see what 2017 brings us reading wise – I’m sure it’s going to be a great one!

      Much love x


      1. They way I compile a list, Amanda, is only the books that stay with me long after I’ve finished reading them will make my top 10 list. Can you imagine if we compiled a list of the top 10 books we’ve read over the past 10 years. That would be a doozy. I reckon I can do it!

        If one day you’re interested in reading a book by June Loves start with The Shelly Beach Writers Group – at first I thought oh my gosh this is so babyish but once you get into it it’s absolutely amazing, the storyline is unusual as is the central character and the gorgeous dog that has adopted her. The sequel is Festival by the sea. In 2015 we booked a 5 week Evergreen East Coast of America tour and can you believe June Loves was on that tour, I had no idea she was an author until the last few days when we were on the ship cruising the Caribbean and she started talking to me about her books because I mentioned to her how much I love reading. I told to her that I’m sure it’s on my TBR list and it was. She is such a wonderful, happy and bubbly person. It was such a pleasure to have gotten to know her.

        Kathryn White is an Indie author, she is one of my favourite authors. I’ve read 3 of her books and have adored each one.

        Steven worked dayshift on new year and of a night we just watched TV – no big parties or anything exciting like that. We’re more home bodies most of the time.

        Oh, I know what that’s like once you arrive home from camping and you have endless days of washing – not a happy time then. Lol. Did you get it all sorted?


        Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi Sue – I apologise, I am finally getting around to replying to this post now the weather has cooled down significantly today!

        Thanks for sharing how you compile your list – it seems to run along the same lines as mine. It does have to stay in my mind for a time, so that I reflect back on the book from time to time. That way I know it is top ten material! I also based it on how the book has changed me or moved me in some way.

        It would be quite agonising compiling a top ten from the last 10 years! There are just so many good books! i think you may be up for the challenge though!!

        I loved your story about June Loves, what a coincidence that you happened to be travelling and you were able to meet her. I’m sure it would change your perception or certainly influence your reading of the novel. I have found from the author events especially if you get time to connect one on one with the author their personal voice shines through their writing. It certainly has enhanced many of the books I have read. I will have to look at for June Loves on your advice.

        Kathryn White sounds like an author to watch out for. I’ll make a mental note to look into her books.

        A New Years at home sounds perfect.Especially if your husband was working too. I also love being a homebody.

        You will be pleased to know the camping washing was finally cleared a couple of days ago. Now endless towels and swimming gear as we have lived in the pool over this 3 day heatwave. So nice that it is cooler today!


      2. Hi Janine, yes she is and an amazing reviewer as well. Oh, to be able to string words together like that but my vocabulary doesn’t run as high as Amanda’s so I’ll just enjoy her reviews and stick to my tiny ones. Lol.


  2. I loved Natasha Lester’s book too and look forward to her next one I think in the first third of the year. No secret either I love Rachael Johns and this one was great. Yes I agree Australian women are writing high quality books. I have put Castle of Dreams into my TBR list at Goodreads on your rec.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Kathryn,

      I’m so glad to hear you enjoyed Natasha Lester’s book as much as I did and I am also really looking forward to her 2017 release, the cover looks amazing!
      Rachael Johns is firm fave of mine too, I also loved Outback Sisters which also released in 2016.
      Australian Women keep turning out such great books, I can’t keep up! There have been some fantastic debut authors in 2016 too!
      That’s great to hear you have put Castle of Dreams on your Goodreads TBR list – you will not be disappointed.

      Happy New Year!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for sharing your list. I really enjoy your reviews because they have been about Australian romance writers, who I’ve discovered this year. I love to read the reviews from you of books I’ve just read just to compare thoughts! Look forward to your posts in 2017.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Casey,

      Firstly Happy New Year to you, I hope 2017 brings you lots of reading time and some great books.

      Thank you so much for taking the time to connect and let me know you are enjoying my reviews, it means alot. I’m so glad to hear you have discovered some great Australian romance writers through my blog. There have been so many great releases in 2016 by Australian Female writers, I just can’t seem to keep up, I need more reading hours!

      It’s nice to be able to compare thoughts on books. Thanks for following and happy reading!

      Amanda 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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