My Personal Pick of Books For Holiday Gift Giving

I love to read. What books have you read this year?

I love to read. What books have you read this year?

Over the last few years I have written almost 80 reviews. My goal is to reach 100 in 2015. Because I love to read and people often ask me for book recommendations I thought I’d share a list of some of the goodies I’ve read in past year.

Add some to your to-read-list or buy them for your favorite book worms.

I’ll divide them by genre and encourage you to check out my reviews on Amazon or Goodreads.

Some on this list are debut novels of exceptional quality. All of the authors have a wonderful grasp on the craft of writing and draw readers into their stories. This list reflects my love of reading and willingness to review books outside my own genre of historical.


World War II settings:

With Music in Their Hearts by Carole Brown

Under the Silk Hibiscus by Alice J Wisler

Lightning on a Quiet Night by Donn Taylor

Revolutionary War setting:

Fields of the Fatherless (YA book) by Elaine Cooper

1800s setting:

Kincaid Brides Trilogy by Mary McConeally

Trouble In Texas Series by Mary McConeally


The Cat Lady’s Secret (cozy) by Linda Yazak

Chapel Springs Revival (humorous) by Ane Mulligan

Murder on Edisto by C Hope Clark

The Simulacrum by Brad Seggie and Linda Yezak

Firewall (FBI Houston #1) by DiAnn Mills

Contemporary Fiction:

Breathing On Her Own by Rebecca Waters

Reservations For Two by Ann Patrick

Traveler’s Rest by Ann Tatlock

All My Belongings by Cynthia Ruchti

Almost Amish by Kathryn Cushman

Lake Surrender by Carol Grace Stratton

Give The Lady A Ride by Linda Yezak


Blood For Blood (Vampires, 1800s setting) by Ben Wolf

Innocent Blood; Equinox of Reckoning (Halloween setting with Celtic lore) by John Turney

Crossing Into The Mystic (The Crossing Trilogy #1) (Ghosts) by D L Koontz

Whiskey Sunrise (Crime Drama involving the supernatural) by John Turney


Dare U To Open This (8-12 yrs. olds boys) by Carol McAdams Moore

Just Sayin’ (8-12 yrs. old girls) by Carol McAdams Moore

God, Me and Sweet Tea (women) By Rose Chandler Johnson

Hungry For God, Starving For Time (women) by Lori Hatcher

These are only a portion of the ones I read this year. Some authors I would recommend that may or may not have made this short list whose overall body of work are wonderful reads are C Hope Clark, DiAnn Mills, Brandilyn Collins, Virginia Smith, Gilbert Morris, Jerry B Jenkins, Carole Brown, Elaine Cooper, Mary Conneally, Cynthia Ruchti, and James Scott Bell.

What books have you read this year? Which ones would you recommend?

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A Peek Into The Writing World of Award Winning Author Carole Brown


I am so excited to have author Carole Brown with me today. This is her second visit to my blog. I interviewed her in October 2013 when her novel The Redemption of Caralynn Hayman was released. With Music in Their Heart is different in a number of ways but the strands of excellence and adventure run through both of them. For those of you who missed my previous blog post where I introduced this exciting book click here.

With Music in Their Hearts

Carole, welcome to Writer’s Patchwork and thank you for taking the time from your busy writing schedule to visit.

First I have to ask, what sparked the idea of WWII spies? More specifically, spies on American soil?

That’s a great question. It’s a two-fold answer. ☺

First, we had an elderly gentleman who wrote a self-published small book about a man who served as a civilian spy during WWII. It was said, that HE was the spy, but he never confirmed or denied it. Still his basic thought made for a great plot for my With Music in Their Hearts!

Secondly, I wanted a story with a heroine that honored my mother, and when I began this novel, I used my mother’s name, Emma Jane (Jaine, in the book). Mother never especially liked her name, but I love it and think it fits my female protagonist perfectly.

Where did you do your research?

Mostly the internet, although books and people comprise some of my research too. I love having the information at my finger tips but interacting with individuals is something personal and interesting that is quite rewarding, especially when he or she has intimate information from their own memories or family history.

I found a pastor as a spy very intriguing. Why a pastor?

Why not? ☺ Pastors are people too with desires to matter and do “great” things. Seriously, the basic idea stemmed from the answer to your first question.

But the question begs to be answered: How would HE handle it? Especially as devoted to God and the church as Tyrell is. Would he stride-for-stride be as brave, as forceful, as smart as his FBI cousin and best friend, Ben Hardy?

It was an unusual situation that created a difficult situation for a man in a position most people would consider to be a job that is mild and peace-loving. What people forget (at times, I think) is that ministers have strong feelings about loyalty and faith and right and wrong. That’s why Tyrell felt pulled between disgust and compassion for Hank, one of the boarders. And to put a godly man in a secret position to spy on people he also needed to minister to–oh, my, what intrigue!

As I wrote my interview I felt like I was in the middle of an old black and white movie watching the story unfold. Loved the dialogue-so true to the time. How did you keep the dialogue and character interaction circa 1941 without interjecting 21st century jargon and mindset?

Carefulness. I’ve listened to a lot of talk from that era in many avenues. I’ve studied sites with lots of phrases and words, and read books. Then there’s always my imagination. Somehow I can usually picture the actions and moves of the characters and even “hear” their conversations. The more I wrote, the more I edited, the more I “lived” then. I immersed myself in that time period until I could “hear” the characters talking as they should.

Emma Jaine and her sisters represented the young people growing up in 1940s America so well. You mentioned the main character has your mother’s name. Did you use some of your family’s stories as a basis for your characters’ everyday activities? Perhaps you had a spy in your clan? Were any of the boarders based on actual people?

Sort of. My mother’s stories of her life, jobs and the struggles during the war period. The pictures are wonderful and transported me straight back into those early war days. Lol, about the spy in my ancestors’ lives. Who knows? I’ve never heard of any, but that’s not saying there wasn’t.

Spies have always interested me. It’s hard to separate “good” spies from the “bad” ones, because we’ve all heard of the things they have to do and be involved in at times. How many times can you lie your way out of a mishap or lie your way into a situation? Will your conscience allow you to even go as far as some go? All those questions and more complicate matters even more so when I  plopped a pastor into the role.

Carole, your writing is always stellar. Tell us a little about your journey to becoming a multi-published author.

Thank you, Cindy! I appreciate that.

About three years ago, I was on the verge of quitting–totally and completely. It was the first time I had ever sunk so low into despair and discouragement with my writing. Little did I know, that God had a plan, and my feelings were part of it.

I’ll try to be brief. I’ve written for years, but not seriously as a career fiction author. When I got back into it, I dived in head first, re-learning everything I needed to know: critique partners, conferences, workshops. I attained an agent, submitted to contests and editors. I did my homework, and gradually developed my own style.

But the year I sank low, I had had enough of a million (well, it did feel like it!) rejections. A dear older friend sat me down, figuratively, and said, God gave me this talent. I needed to trust him and keep writing.

It wasn’t easy, and I still had little faith, but I plastered those words across my computer screen and dug in deeper. I finished, The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman and submitted it to The Lighthouse of the Carolinas Publishing House at their request, was accepted, and rest is history.

Now, I have three books out, with more on the way in months. God has blest me immensely, and I truly, truly feel humbled by his love to me for allowing me to have this talent and joy in knowing I’m an author.

Before we close this delightful interview, do you have any last minute thoughts to add? Don’t forget to mention upcoming books, your website and any other ways we can contact you.

I’d just like to encourage any writers out there, to never quit. Seek and discover the writing journey God has for YOU, then follow his plan. Only when we submit to his best plans for US do we find true satisfaction and peace.

I’d love it if your readers would check out my three published books:

The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman

The first book in the Denton and Alex Davies cozy mystery series: Hog Insane

With Music in Their Hearts, the first book in the WWII Spy series

These are ones I’m working on now:

The second book in my mystery series, Bat Crazy, is scheduled for release late winter.

I’m working and hoping to have a late 1800s light suspense book ready soon too.(Caleb’s Destiny).

I’m striving to finish the second book in The Spies Series: A Flute in the Willows, for publication late next year.

And I always have others on a back burner to work on as I have time.
Thanks so much, Cindy, for allowing me to share a little. It’s been fun answering these questions.

It has been my pleasure. Let me give you a hug before we part and add you are an inspiration to struggling writers. Thanks so much for stopping by.

A few more things you may not know about Carole Brown and how to follow her.

Brown not only has her award winning (RWA International Digital Awards finalist in Inspiration, Laurel Award finalist, Selah finalist; Genesis semi-finalist) debut novel, The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman, available for purchase now, but a companion book called West Virginia Scrapbook: From the Life of Caralynne Hayman, filled with tidbits of information about West Virginia, quotes, recipes from West Virginia and from Caralynne’s life, pictures and discussion questions for the novel.

November, 2013, the first book in her mystery series, Hog Insane, released. It’s a fun, lighthearted novel introducing the characters, Denton and Alex Davies. Look for the second book, Bat Crazy, late 2014 winter.

Released November 1, 2014, is the first book in a new WWII romantic suspense series: With Music In Their Hearts. Three red-headed sisters. Three spies. Three stories.

Besides being a member and active participant of many writing groups, Carole Brown enjoys mentoring beginning writers. She loves to weave suspense and tough topics into her books, along with a touch of romance and whimsy, and is always on the lookout for outstanding titles and catchy ideas. She and her husband reside in SE Ohio but have ministered and counseled nationally and internationally. Together, they enjoy their grandsons, traveling, gardening, good food, the simple life, and did she mention their grandsons?

Connect with her here:

Personal blog:





She is also a part of several other blogs:

Stitches in Time:

Barn Door Book Loft:

Carole is giving away a copy of With Music In Their Heart to one lucky commenter. You can choose either paperback or e-book. This is a wonderful gift for the bookworm on your Christmas list.

We will draw the winner on Friday.