Brenna M's Book Blog

I grew up in Western New York, with a huge Italian, German, and Irish influence in my family life. Frederick Douglas, Susan B. Anthony, the Haudenosaunee, and the Erie Canal are a big part of the history in my area. This is, I believe, is one reason I like reading about history and historical fiction.

 

I garden, cook, and preserve some of the food I grow. I, also, enjoy traveling. A book or two are always with me when I travel. And there is always one in my car, at my desk, and anywhere I may have a chance to read. Primarily I read fiction--young adult, historical fiction, mysteries, thrillers. I do enjoy a good memoir, biographies, and cookbooks. If someone recommends something, I will always check it out.

THE HIDING PLACE by David Bell

Today my day was made. I am in the middle of 3 books all at once. I should be done with those soon.

 

But today, I got a book I won in a give away-The Hiding Place by David Bell. The box was huge so it was actually something else I ordered. When I opened It up, it was not just one of his books but 6! I had to go back to the giveaway details to double check. YAY!

 

The Hiding Place

Someone I Used to Know.

 Never Come Back.

Since She Went away

The Forgotten Girl

Cemetery Girl

 

I am set for a while now!

 

 

THE CHILBURY LADIES' CHOIR by Jennifer Ryan

The Chilbury Ladies' Choir: A Novel - Jennifer Ryan

THE CHILBURY LADIES' CHOIR

Jennifer Ryan

Hardcover, 371 pages
Published February 14th 2017 by Crown Publishing Group
ISBN:  1101906758 (ISBN13: 9781101906750) 
also on Kindle and Audio CD
 

Jennifer Ryan provided an interesting way to look at the town, Chilbury, during World War 2 in this novel. A small town setting, near Dover, England, mainly women, older men, and children remain due to the number of eligible men going into military. Ryan provides each of the main characters a voice either through letters or a diary entry. Each of the town's members have a story-from dealing with war torn England, secrets that townspeople have, loss of family members, and more. The local women start up a choir and find they are quite good. This tactic helps the author show multiple sides of the characters throughout the story; and the letter/diary approach allows the reader to see how the town setting is part of the story.

HOUSE OF IVY AND SORROW

House of Ivy & Sorrow - Natalie Whipple

HOUSE OF IVY AND SORROW

Natalie Whipple

Paperback, 360 pages
Published April 15th 2014 by HarperTeen
ISBN: 0062120182 (ISBN13: 9780062120182)
also on Kindle and AudioCD

 

Natalie Whipple is an author that I would definitely read again. House of Ivy and Sorrow's characters are well developed, even the minor characters. I was in a slump when I starting reading this YA novel; but once I sat down with the book, I couldn't put it down. Friendship and family are integral to the plot; coming of age, trusting, which friends are more like family, and family secrets keep the plotline moving at a good pace.

The Thomas Berryman Number by James Patterson

The Thomas Berryman Number - James Patterson

The Thomas Berryman Number

James Patterson

Paperback, 272 pages

Published April 1st 1996 by Grand Central Publishing (first published 1976)
ISBN:  0446600458 (ISBN13: 9780446600453)
 
I did enjoy it, but its not one of my favorite James Patterson novels. If you're looking for something easy to read, this would work. This is a shorter novel by Patterson, characters are well written, but the story is not as detailed as some of his other novels.
 
 
 
 
 

Serafina and the Black Cloak by Robert Beatty

Serafina and the Black Cloak - Robert Beatty

Ok, this book, Serafina and the Black Cloak, has been on my TBR list for a while now.

I have a niece and nephew who love to read so I tend to read a lot middle grade and YA books to see what they are interested in or maybe to help them find something new. And now that I belong to the local YMCA which has a before and after school program as well as a preschool, I seem to run into their Scholastic book fairs. I find it very difficult to not buy something. How can I resist? A good book and helping a school type program....And I am finding that there are many really good middle grade and YA Authors who I definitely enjoy reading.

NEPHEW MADE MY DAY!

My 11 year old nephew is an avid reader. 2 Christmases ago, I bought him a book called Fantasy Football by Mike Lupica. He loves his sports as well. He's on his 4 book by him and has read several by Tim Green as well. All sports related, so it's a great tie in for both his "loves." Today, he brought the 4th Mike Lupica book that he was so excited to show me. He got it at school from the Scholastic book fair.

 

It's so much fun seeing him get excited about reading an actual paper book rather than his electronics!

Sins of the Father (Family Tree Mysteries, No. 2) - Patricia Sprinkle

SINS OF THE FATHERS

Patricia Sprinkle

Paperback, 354 pages
Published October 1st 2007 by Avon Books (first published September 25th 2007)

ISBN: 0060819766 (ISBN13: 9780060819767) 

 

This was a read that I really enjoyed. Part genealogy, part mystery, Dr. Flo finds what she thinks is her great grandfather's grave. She soon gets to know the family that owns the land, and a few other characters. Patricia Sprinkle's writing of her characters as well as her description of the small town keeps the flow going well with a few surprises for the characters interwoven into the story. I found myself becoming fond of several of the characters. Those I did not like were characters that were not meant to be liked. Sprinkle's description of the land surrounding the grave made me appreciate the importance of what land meant to people in the 18oos and early 1900s. Her writing gave personality to the area

RIP Colin Dexter

 

 

Inspector Morse author, Colin Dexter passes away. May he rest in peace.

 

 

 

 

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2017/mar/21/inspector-morse-creator-colin-dexter-dead

THE MIRACLES OF SAN FICO by D. L. Smith

The Miracles of Santo Fico - D.V.L. Smith

THE MIRACLES OF SAN FICO

D.L. Smith

Hardcover, Large Print, 488 pages
Published April 1st 2003 by Thorndike Press (first published March 1st 2003)

ISBN: 078625243X (ISBN13: 9780786252435

 

 

(slightly delayed review, so I kept it short and sweet)

This was an enjoyable read. Set in a small town in Italy, Leo comes back to take care of his deceased father's affair, only to find very little has changed. He and a friend go back to a way to make a quick buck. I did enjoy the characters. The author does well in giving the little country Catholic Church and the town a personality of their own.

 

 

 

 

THE MYSTICS OF MILE END BY SIGAL SAMUEL

The Mystics of Mile End - Sigal Samuel

THE MYSTICS OF MILE END

Sigal Samuel

Paperback; 320 pages

Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (October 13, 2015)

  • ISBN-10: 0062412175
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062412171
  • also on Kindle

 

It took a while to "get into" this book. Set in Montreal, Canada in a Jewish neighborhood, the story follows a widowed father with his 2 children as the each deal with what being Jewish means to them.

 

Even with my slow start, I found myself liking the characters more and more. Sigal Samuel's writing style flows well as she tells first the son's story, then the father, and finally bringing everything and everyone together in the daughter's section. Even the neighbors and friends are developed well. A lot of questions, some answers, and an intimate look at each of the major characters as they look for the meaning in their lives.

QUOTE

"It is not actually safety but the illusion of it that permits any of us to lie down in a hostile world and sleep in it."  Sins of the Fathers by Patricia Sprinkle

 

 

 

 

THE CHOSEN, 50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION BY Chiam Potok

The Chosen - Chaim Potok

THE CHOSEN, 50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Chiam Potok

Hardcover, 416 pages
Published November 1st 2016 by Simon & Schuster (first published 1967)

ISBN13: 9781501142475

 

I have liked everything that I have read so far of Chaim Potok. The Chosen was the first I read, and I definitely enjoyed it again. What made this even better than reading it the first time was all the back material, photos, new forward, and more that was included in this 50th anniversary collection. Some of this back info was written by Potok himself. As a Christian reading this, I found it interesting to read about the Jewish faith. I find that Potok, while using the characters' faith as a part of the story, still allows the coming of age story, the friendship of and the struggles of each as individuals to be the main subjects of the story line. His main characters are well drawn and complex. I would definitely recommend this book.

****I received this book from Simon and Schuster through Goodreads' First Reads Giveaway.****

 

THE EDUCATION OF DIXIE DUPREE by Donna Everhart

The Education of Dixie Dupree - Donna Everhart
 

THE EDUCATION OF DIXIE DUPREE

Donna Everhart

Paperback, 352 pages
Published October 25th 2016 by Kensington
ISBN
1496705513 (ISBN13: 9781496705518)
I really enjoyed this book despite some of the difficult to hear subjects represented in the book. Everhart writes from Dixie Dupree's point of view and does a great job of giving the characters personality. The story line kept me coming back to check in on Dixie while she dealt with some pretty serious stuff for an 11 year old. I would definitely recommend this, with the disclaimer of be ready for some serious subject matter. This is not a bad thing, as the subjects need to be talked about (I'm trying not to add spoilers).
 

 

BELGRAVIA by Julian Fellowes

Julian Fellowes's Belgravia - Julian Fellowes

BELGRAVIA

Julian Fellowes

Hardcover, 402 pages
Published July 5th 2016 by Grand Central Publishing (first published June 30th 2016)
ISBN
1455541168 (ISBN13: 9781455541164)

 

I usually enjoy Julian Fellowes' writing. And he does well in Belgravia developing the story line and characters. This story follows mainly the upper class and the "new money" upper class. What I read I liked, but I found myself skipping ahead and reading parts just to quickly get through it. I don't feel it was the author's writing style or the story. I think I was not into reading about the subject because of reading so much on similar subjects.

KAROLINA'S TWINS by Ronald H. Balson

Karolina's Twins - Ronald H. Balson
Karolina's Twins
Ronald H. Balson
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published September 6th 2016 by St. Martin's Press
ISBN:  1250098378 (ISBN13: 9781250098375) 
 
  I found myself looking forward to picking up this book after putting it down. Balsom does well going between past and present throughout the story. He developed Lena's and Karolina's characters well, and I wanted to be there to help Lena fulfill her promise to Karolina. Balson did not shy away from describing the Ghetto, concentration camps, the risks of being in the underground resistance, and the impact of keeping those events secret from family members. A definite must read recommendation.
 
 

RIP RICHARD ADAMS

I remember many of my friends loving Watership Downs. May Mr. Adams rest in peace.

 

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/27/arts/richard-adams-author-of-watership-down-dies-at-96.html?smid=fb-share&_r=0

Currently reading

Madness: A Bipolar Life by Marya Hornbacher
Progress: 55/299pages
Serafina and the Black Cloak by Robert Beatty
Progress: 79/304pages
Reservation Blues by Sherman Alexie

Brenna's books

Garden Spells
3 of 5 stars
Garden Spells is a relaxing read. Sara Addison Allen developed the characters well, giving them and the little southern town personality and charm. I liked the little eccentricities built into the characters, making them unique. Allen bu...
The League of Regrettable Superheroes: Half-Baked Heroes from Comic Book History
4 of 5 stars
The League of Regrettable Superheroes is definitely a fun and informative read. Included in the book are vintage covers and pages from the comics that these superheroes were featured in. The art alone is wonderful, but the history of eac...
The Woods
4 of 5 stars
The Woods seemed a little slow and wordy when I first started to read it, but that didn't last long. I started to like the characters, despite their flaws, and enjoyed the descriptions of the town and region. I could tell a lot of time w...
Beatrice Belladonna's Black Magic Web
4 of 5 stars
Beatrice Belladonna's Black Magic Web is a quick read. It is a little spooky reading about a sociopath murder who is being interviewed about her life before and during her prison sentence. King keeps the pace of the story moving quickly....

goodreads.com