Best Reads of 2016

What did I read in 2016?

It was a strange year for me and I don’t think I read quite as many books as in years past, but I’ve compiled a list of those I’ve read in my Kindle and can tell you what I did read was pretty great.

I have a wide variety of genres in there, but tend to lean toward Post Apoc it seems; though that’s predictable. This list is in ascending order; starting in January. In years past, I was able to pick one or two standout favorites…this was not that year. Some of them linger with me like Alas Babylon, a book I reread this year. This entire list is excellent. If there was a book I didn’t particularly enjoy, I didn’t list it. So I just cannot pick a favorite this year. Instead, I’ll say a few words about each below…whatever comes to mind from the memory of having read the book. If it’s on this list…I enjoyed the book very much and totally recommend the read.

 

The Moonlit Garden

Corina Bomann, Alison Layland

A lovely tale of loss and love again.

L. Douglas Hogan
Action packed
A plausible story of survival
An impossible escape and strong female character
Steven Konkoly 
Don’t live in California…after the water is gone.
Ann Howard Creel
A mother’s love isn’t always a relation
Tom Abrahams
Loved the wacky redhead and this series is awesome
Emily Bleeker
Oh my…a widower you will ache for
Joseph Souza
Excellently written and a tough subject. 
Fredrik Backman
Get ready to laugh and cry at the same time.
Lawyers don’t make enough money
Burt Walker, Hristo Argirov, Sabrina Jean, Casey Skelton
A surprising premise though not too far fetched sadly
Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle
Oldy but great to revisit. A must read every few years.
Steve Berry
A gripping modern cold war tale
Anat Talshir, Evan Fallenberg
A beautiful and tragic love story. I loved it.
Russell Blake
A charming post-apocalyptic tale
Nicholas Sansbury Smith, Aaron Sikes
Excellent gripping series of war, mayhem and apocalyptic plague run amok
Lisa Kleypas
No one writes a romantic love, erotic, story quite like Kleypas
Pat Frank, David Brin
Another classic I try to read every few years. A must read.
Kim Cano
A poignant story of self-sacrifice. 
James Howard Kunstler
I read all fiction by Kunstler…this was the last in his World Made by Hand series…Hoping for more. Beautifully written.
Noah Hawley
OMG…this was excellent. A top contender for the year. 
Kerry Lonsdale
A surprising story. Starts out like a love story…not soo…good read.
Blake Crouch
Another top contender. A bizarre story and the research must have been a nightmare. Quantum physics and he did it so well. Totally recommend this one.
Cal Wilson
A hardcore post-apocalyptic novel. Never take the mark!
Diana Gabaldon
I had to because the video series was over…Excellent
David Perry
Beautifully written. Historical fiction at its finest.
Franklin Horton
Parental angst is what I felt reading this one. Franklin did an excellent job in this story and I hope he continues this into a series.
Ross Elder
Oh wow, I’ve known Ross Elder for a time. Knew he was an investigative journalist but I’d not read his fiction before. This guy can write! 
Murray McDonald
A post-apocalyptic first for McDonald and he’s certainly in the right genre. Trial with a twist. 
This was my last read of 2016. And could not have ended the year better. Patriot Deception is excellently written, a real page-turner…Ross Elder is an author to watch. I hear he’s now working on a postapoc series…

Graham’s Resolution Gets a Cover Update

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Graham’s Resolution gets a cover update.

Surprise! The Graham’s Resolution series has completely new cover designs by a great graphic artist, Hristo Argirov Kovatliev, of Bulgaria.

I’m really happy with the way they all turned out! Each book design is centered on a location and the season that it’s in. The China Pandemic is located near Seattle and that’s Mount Rainer in the background. The story begins in Autumn.14580360_1154157487997723_903295874_n

For The Cascade Preppers, we went with a winter scene on the frozen lake near the fictional town of Cascade which is really near Rockport, Washington near the Cascade Mountains. I love how Hristo captured the frozen dread of the situation.

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Then for The Last Infidels, set in Hope, Canada, during the spring, we went with this scene.

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And finally, for The Malefic Nation, during the summer months, set near Ross Lake in Washington State. I love the subtle summer skyline on this one.

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It will take a few days for the new covers to propagate over. I hope you like them as much as I do.

You can check out more of Hristo’s work below. He really is a talented cover artist and a great to work with.

Traveler Series by Tom Abrahams

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Traveler Series by Tom Abrahams is reminiscent of the old classic western series.

You must know what I’m referring to… the ones my dad in Texas still watches in the afternoon while sitting in his armchair. They were quality then, not like the quick scotch tape versions now. They were the kind that were laced with subtle humor. The ones you’d catch a moment later. Genius works of art, really. The films were long then. You had to have patience in the old days but they were worth every minute. That’s what Author Tom Abrahams has done here with The Traveler Series.

His main character, Battle, is like that famous actor, he’s tough yet weak, he’s dangerous and he’s funny. He’s got that quirky sense of humor that only men of danger rely upon. I loved the series.

The first book in the series, Home, begins in Texas before the Scourge, which was a pandemic. It’s where the pain of the character sets in profoundly. Tom Abrahams has two elements that many authors do not. This is where you see that he can provide both the action and the emotion. That’s uncommon and a great combination.

Canyon is after the Scourge and in the upheaval of a power struggle. Though there’s also another element in Canyon; one I thought Abrahams pulled off very well. He implemented a secondary storyline, weaved through excellently. I’m a terrible guesser to plot lines. I tend to ruin anything I sit through with the family… it was the butler! But, I didn’t see this coming which tells me he’s good and when he revealed the ending I was satisfied that he’d entertained me. That’s what we all want isn’t it? To be entertained. To not guess the ending or to know who did it in the end?

And then Wall brings everything’s full circle. Forget succession. Texas, in this setting, is long past succession. The state itself is fractured. In Wall, we still see an emotional struggle that’s very personal to Battle. He struggles to overcome the worst battle he’s ever endured and it’s within himself. Of course, there’s an outward struggle as well. Abrahams again brings in his artistic talent. He combines these battles for one man and makes him deliver despite the pain. And just like in the old west movies you wonder if he’s going to get the girl in the end, survive his inner struggles and triumph over the bad guys. Well, I won’t ruin it for you. Read it for yourself!

Home by Tom Abrahams – The Traveler Series

 

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I just completed reading Home by Tom Abrahams and I’m blown away. This well written, fast paced story is a modern day western.

One that will have you riveted to your reading device. At times, I dodged bullets, cried, and prayed along with our hero who goes by the apt name Battle.

You can feel the emotion within Home. A lot of it’s humor though awful sadness too. It’s one of those books you think about for days later. Home is also a novel of preparedness but not overly so. I think there’s a great balance in Home that will satisfy not only the preparedness reader but also someone who loves to read survival fiction.

More and more readers compare the post-apocalyptic genre with westerns and I’ve got to say, Tom Abrahams proves it with Home. The great thing is, this is only the beginning… Home is the first book in The Travelers series.

Here is the description from Amazon:

HE THOUGHT HE WAS PREPARED. HE THOUGHT HIS FAMILY WAS SAFE. HE WAS WRONG.

Five years after a pneumonic plague killed two-thirds of the world’s population, army veteran Marcus Battle is isolated. He’s alone with his guns, his food, and the graves of his wife and child.

Unaware of the chaos that’s befallen everything outside of his central Texas ranch land, Marcus lives a Spartan life. If anyone steps onto his property he shoots first and never ask questions.

But when a woman in distress, chased by marauders, seeks asylum, Marcus has a decision to make.

Does he throw her to the wolves to protect himself or does he help her and leave the shelter and protection of home?

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If you’ve not heard of Tom Abrahams before, he’s from my home state of Texas. He’s also a news anchor for Eyewitness News in Houston, Texas. I met Tom, virtually, through the collaboration with Steven Konkoly’s Kindle Worlds Perseid Collapse project.  As I wrote Deception on Durham Road, he wrote three novellas, The Pilgrimage Series, as his own contribution. Either I’m a slacker or he’s an overachiever. 🙂 I’m just getting started on the second novella my own series.

He also has a successful three book series out titled, A Jackson Quick Adventure and a stand-a-alone, Sedition.

I know you’ll enjoy Home by Tom Abrahams as much as I did. It certainly is a new twist in post-apocalyptic fiction.

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Author Introduction – The Pilgrimage Series by Tom Abrahams

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I met Tom Abrahams in association with the Kindle Worlds Perseid Collapse group. He’s a multitalented guy, fellow Texan and great family man. Not only is he a successful author, Tom is also a news anchor for KTRK in Houston, Texas.

He’s interviewed some of the most famous people in the world and witness both triumphs and tragedy, it’s no wonder he’s a good author as well.

I’ve read the first in his contribution to the Kindle Worlds, Crossing. Tom takes a completely different view and shows what it would be like for a vacationing family to survive the mess that is Perseid Collapse. I think he did a great job with Crossing and after reading this one, I’ve got the other two in the series on my To Be Read File.

Not only that, Tom is the author of several other full-length novels.

The tag line for his work is, Political Fiction with a Punch and Sedition leads the way. The President of The United States is dead. There is no Vice President to take his place.

As the nation slips into a constitutional crisis, a small group of disenfranchised neo-patriots conspire to violently seize power.
They have the will. They already have someone on the inside. And they have the explosives.

Standing in their way is a woman who listens to conversations not meant for her to hear. She reads mail not intended for her to see. She knows their intention. But can she stop them in time?

SEDITION is a smart, fast-paced, modern day political novel woven in reality and based on the 1820 British plot, The Cato Street Conspiracy.

It navigates the thin line between good versus evil and patriot versus traitor, proving there’s always a reason behind treason.

So if you like the realism and historical context of a Dan Brown thriller, mixed with research of a Tom Clancy novel…you’ll love SEDITION.

Allegiance is another series Tom has underway. And the description starts like this,

Beer, Redheads, And Politics…  Jackson Quick should have known better.
First, he trusted a Texas politician.
Then he fell for a leggy woman.
Worst of all, he drank a beer that tasted funny.
Now he’s running for his life, trying to piece together how he fell into a battle over something so small it takes a high-powered microscope to see it.

I think reading these novellas is a great introduction to new writers and their work. It’s a small investment of both budget and time to read a novella. Once you’ve completed reading you get a sense of the author and if you really enjoyed their style, check out their mainline work. I’ve enjoyed each and every one of these novellas and I hope you will too.

Perseid Collapse Kindle Worlds Novellas

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This world keeps growing. That is, Author Steven Konkoly’s Perseid Collapse Kindle Worlds is now 15 authors strong. Many of the novellas like The Amsterdam Directorate and The Pilgrimage by Tom Abrahams are in a series. With the additional books the total comes to eighteen novellas so far and there are more scheduled to be released. I know when I joined the ranks of the Perseid Collapse Kindle Worlds with Deception on Durham Road, I had no idea they would be so popular.  It was an honor to write in someone else’s worlds and I hope to go back to my contribution and extend it into another novella.

So if you’re looking for a short read and you’ve read Steven Konkoly’s Perseid Collapse series, give these Kindle Worlds a try. It’s a great way to discover a new author or two. I’ve read many of them and they are all quite impressive.