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.

RIP PHILIP ROTH

Sad day for Philip Roth's family, friends and fans. May he rest in peace.
Source: http://www.cnn.com/2018/05/23/us/philip-roth-dies/index.html

RIP TOM WOLFE

Tom Wolfe, Best-Selling Author And Genre-Breaking Journalist, Dies At 88 (NPR news)-Bonfire of the Vanities Author https://www.npr.org/2018/05/15/471414238/tom-wolfe-best-selling-author-and-genre-breaking-journalist-dies-at-87?utm_source=facebook.com&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=npr&utm_term=nprnews&utm_content=20180515
Source: http://www.npr.org/2018/05/15/471414238/tom-wolfe-best-selling-author-and-genre-breaking-journalist-dies-at-87?utm_source=facebook.com&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=npr&utm_term=nprnews&utm_content=20180515

RIP TOM WOLFE

Tom Wolfe, Best-Selling Author And Genre-Breaking Journalist, Dies At 88 (NPR news)-Bonfire of the Vanities Author https://www.npr.org/2018/05/15/471414238/tom-wolfe-best-selling-author-and-genre-breaking-journalist-dies-at-87?utm_source=facebook.com&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=npr&utm_term=nprnews&utm_content=20180515
Source: http://www.npr.org/2018/05/15/471414238/tom-wolfe-best-selling-author-and-genre-breaking-journalist-dies-at-87?utm_source=facebook.com&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=npr&utm_term=nprnews&utm_content=20180515

HEY FELLOW BLOGGERS OUTSIDE OF THE USA! PLEASE READ!

 

please pass this on to others who may be interested outside of Booklikes too.

 

 

The Multicultural Children's Book Day team is looking for help for the January 25, 2019 book day. Specifically from people outside of the USA.

 

WE'RE GOING GLOBAL! NON-USA DIVERSE BOOK REVIEWERS, AUTHORS AND PUBLISHERS NEEDED.

 

https://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/were-going-global-non-usa-diverse-book-reviewers-authors-and-publishers-needed/

Source: http://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/were-going-global-non-usa-diverse-book-reviewers-authors-and-publishers-needed

THE HOUSE ON FOSTER HILL by Jaime Jo Wright

The House on Foster Hill - Jaime Jo Wright

THE HOUSE ON FOSTER HILL

Jaime Jo Wright

Paperback, 364 pages
Published November 21st 2017 by Bethany House Publishers
ISBN: 
076423028X (ISBN13: 9780764230288

 

 

A parallel story following Ivy in 1905 and Kaine now. Ivy, the great great grandmother of Kaine, is a strong woman who makes it through some tragedy. Kaine has her own tragedies, and starts looking to find her own strength to move on. Wright tells the story in alternating chapters. Her main characters are well writing. The Kaine story is a little more predictable but overall, I enjoyed the book. Wright kept the plot moving along well. The small town setting, the house, and those that become fast friends with Kaine give the story some personality.

CITY OF HOPE BY Kate Kerrigan

City of Hope - Kate Kerrigan

CITY OF HOPE

Kate Kerrigan

Paperback, 352 pages
Published June 25th 2013 by William Morrow Paperbacks (first published November 1st 2011)
ISBN:  0062237284 (ISBN13: 9780062237286)

 

An Irish immigrant, Ellie, returns to New York city after her husband dies. Kerrigan gives Ellie some depth with Ellie's strength, independence, and entrepreneurship in the 1930s. I did find some parts slow moving but overall, the story is good. Following Ellie through her trials and tribulations was enough to keep my interest. Kerrigan does describe small town Ireland and depression era New York City well.

CAST TWO SHADOWS: THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION IN THE SOUTH by Ann Rinaldi

Cast Two Shadows: The American Revolution in the South - Ann Rinaldi

Cast Two Shadows: The American Revolution in the South

Ann Rinaldi

Paperback, 304 pages
Published March 1st 2004 by HMH Books for Young Readers (first published October 1st 1998)
ISBN: 0152050779 (ISBN13: 9780152050771) 

 

I was browsing the shelves when I found this book. Usually, an author sticks with the big events of the American Revolution, but Rinaldi sets this book in the south.  Caroline, the main character, is 14 years old and sees how the war has separated her family's loyalty, as well as how it has affected her friends. The British have taken over her family's plantation; her father is thrown in jail for supporting the patriots; the brother is fighting for the British. She sees some horrors on both sides and learns some secrets about herself as well. At some points, the reading is a little dry. Overall, a good book, though, YA readers who like historical fiction.

BOOKTV.ORG C-SPAN2

I found this show on C-SPAN 2 a few weeks ago and I am absolutely loving it. Booktv.org usually comes on every weekend all weekend on C-Span2. Usually a lot non fiction, sometimes political topics, but they are getting into some fiction. Tonight, the one show was at the 2018 Tuscan Festival of Books and had 3 authors. One was Carol Gribble (The Radium Girls) Another Liza Mundy (Code Girls). And Elizabeth Cobbs (Hello, Girls: America's First Women Soldiers). Really interesting panel discussing women during World War ll.

 
There is even a list of upcoming Book Festivals in the US on the site.
 
 
I find it wonderful to find a way to hear the authors speak.
 
 
 
 
 
 

ON THE RUN by Iris Johansen

On the Run - Iris Johansen

ON THE RUN

Iris Johansen

Paperback, 368 pages
Published November 28th 2006 by Bantam (first published 2005)
ISBN:  0553586521 (ISBN13: 9780553586527) 
 
  3 1/2 stars...Iris Johansen writes thrillers/suspense extremely well. On the Run has a female main character; Grace is the female lead who is former CIA in hiding on a horse farm in Rural America. There is a daughter, a renegade former CIA agent, an under cover agent stationed in the same town watching over Grace, and leaks at CIA and FBI that cause Grace some trouble. Johansen keeps the plot moving quickly. Her characters are developed well, even though Grace's horse whisperer skills seem a little bit on the excessive side, though it works into the story line to keep it moving. Grace's daughter seemed a little "old" and too wise for her 8 years.
I did enjoy the book, and will most likely, read more of Iris Johansen
.

WOMEN WRITER BINGO UPDATE

W

Ellen Marie

Wiseman

The Life She was Given

finished 3/24/2018

K

 

 

 

 

 

R

Ann Rinaldi

Cast Two Shadows

 

 

(library book)

N

Q

F

Danielle Flood

The Unquiet

Daughter

finished 3/7/2018

 

G

 

 

 

 

 

O

E

B

V

Sally Valentine

STORMED

 

 

 

 

H

Alice Hoffman

The Rules of Magic

finished 2/5/2018

 

(library book)

 

 

 

FREE

SPACE

P

X/Y

M

Z

 

 

 

 

 

I/J

Iris Johansen

On the Run

D

 

 

 

 

 

 

L

T

U

 

 

 

 

 

C

A

S

Helen Simonsons

Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand

finished 3/2/2018

(librarybook)

 

 

 

CODE TALKER: THE FIRST AND ONLY MEMOIR....By Chester Nez, Judith Schiess Avila

Code Talker: The First and Only Memoir By One of the Original Navajo Code Talkers of WWII - Judith Schiess Avila, Chester Nez

Code Talker: The First and Only Memoir By One of the Original Navajo Code Talkers of WWII

Chester Nez, Judith Schiess Avila

Paperback, 320 pages
Published August 7th 2012 by Berkley (first published January 1st 2011)
ISBN:  0425247856 (ISBN13: 9780425247853) 
also available in hardcover, Kindle, Audible Audio, and Audio CD
 
Reading Chester Nez's impression of his early life and military experience was a wonder read. There are books about the Navajo Code Talkers, as well as movies, but this is the only memoir. Using code talkers were kept confidential and top secret for quite a while.
 
A lot of military terms and such were used throughout the book. This is an important part of the book, but not being military, I struggled and sometimes skimmed these parts of the book. I was definitely more interested in Nez's personal side than the actual military tactic specifics.
 
 
 
 
 
 

THE LIFE SHE WAS GIVEN by Ellen Marie Wiseman

The Life She Was Given - Ellen Marie Wiseman

THE LIFE SHE WAS GIVEN

Ellen Marie Wiseman
Library Binding, 527 pages, Large print
Published September 1st 2017 by Center Point Pub (first published July 25th 2017)
ISBN:  1683245032 (ISBN13: 9781683245032) 
also available in paperback, Audible audio, Kindle, ebook,
and in German on Kindle (Die Bittere Gabe, A Sin B072DTNYMD)

 

Some of the reviews were negative and I wasn't sure I would finish this book. As it turns out, I really like Wiseman's writing. There is the circus animal abuse in the book that was graphic;  but in remembering when Lilly's part of the story was to take place (1930's/1940s), this type of abuse is not addressed in the same way it is today. Lilly's character is different, her parents and the general population did look upon her as someone who needs to be caged or treated like a freak in the circus. The author does well in showing Lilly's progressing into accepting herself and her new circus family, and thus starts Lilly's understanding that all people and animals deserve respect.

Alternating chapters with Lilly is Julia. She had the choice to run from the same parents who raised Lilly. Julia's life is not so great on her own, but then she inherits the family property. The author does develop this character decently away from the angry daughter who ran away from home.

A lot happens in the book. It is a tough read with the animal abuse issue in the book, and the neglect and abuse that Lilly as a child, and her circus family endures as freaks. Seeing that people may be different on the outside, but more alike on the inside, is written well here. Understanding that people still hold the older views and how keeping all this private affects our lives is brought to light in the book.

Diversity, coming of age, forgiveness are all part of the plot. The ending could have been written a little tightened up, and maybe a not so perfect, happy ending. I believe, after reading <u>The Life She Was Given</u>, I will read more of Ellen Marie Wiseman.

THE UNQUIET DAUGHTER by Danielle Flood

The Unquiet Daughter - Danielle Flood

The Unquiet Daughter

Danielle Flood

Paperback, 388 pages
Published September 1st 2016 by Piscataqua Press

ISBN: 1944393188 (ISBN13: 9781944393182)

 

I had read The Quiet American, a while a go, and was quite intrigued when I read the description of this book. The author did her homework/research for this memoir, so there were a lot of description of what was happening in Vietnam when her mom, father, and stepfather were living there. Having a not so wonderful childhood, and parents who either did not communicate well or outright lied to her, I could feel her struggle in trying to figure out who she was and where she belonged. The research Flood has done of her mother's background, as well as that of her biological and stepdad's, gave a lot of insight as to what was lost to her in her formative years. Many of us have a lot more from our parents as we grow up. I did enjoy reading this memoir. At times, I felt as if the author's need for positive attention from her mom and for a relationship with her biological dad came across as a childlike "I want, I want" flare up. I wasn't sure how much of that came from the upbringing she had.


***This copy was received from the Author through a Goodreads Giveaway in exchange for a fair review***

MAJOR PETTIGREW'S LAST STAND by Helen Simonson

Major Pettigrew's Last Stand - Helen Simonson

Major Pettigrew's Last Stand

Helen Simonson

Paperback, Large Print, 585 pages
Published December 1st 2010 by Large Print Press (first published 2010)
ISBN: 1594134448 (ISBN13: 9781594134449) 

 

 

 

  I was not sure I would like this one; but once I started following Major Pettigrew's character in the book and seeing the changes in him, I fell in love with the book. Did he actually change, or did he finally stand up for the lifestyle he believed in? There were several characters I liked, then others who I just wanted to punch...I liked how Simsonson wrote her characters so that there was a distinct emotion I felt as I read about them. Definitely a must read...

WOMEN AUTHORS UPDATE

I'm not great at making charts but here goes....not doing some of the suggestions that Themis-Athena made when she posted the bingo originally but I am hoping to get some good, new to me authors.

 

W

 

 

 

 

K

 

 

 

 

 

R

N

Q

F

Danielle Flood

The Unquiet

Daughter

 

 3/6/2018

 

G

 

 

 

 

 

O

E

B

V

 

 

 

 

H

Alice Hoffman

The Rules of Magic

finished 2/5/2018

 

 

 

FREE

SPACE

P

X/Y

M

Z

 

 

 

 

 

I/J

Iris Johansen

On the Run

D

 

 

 

 

 

 

L

T

U

 

 

 

 

 

C

A

S

Helen Simonsons

Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand

 

3/3/2018

 

 

 

PROGRESS UPDATE: Page 252 THE UNQUIET DAUGHTER

The Unquiet Daughter - Danielle Flood

I am on page 252 of this memoir. I am not much of a memoir reader, but this one claims to be the inspiration for "the love triangle The Quiet American by Graham Greene." Graham Greene is one of my favorite writers, so I grabbed a chance at a giveaway from the author on Goodreads and won it! So far I am enjoying it a lot. (it's actually got another giveaway on Goodreads that ends on March 3rd). I'm in the middle of 2 other books, but I am hoping to finish this one soon.

Currently reading

The Slave Players by Megan Allen

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....

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