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.

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

Angela's Guilty Pleasure's Sign Up Open ~ 2017 Library Love Challenge

Sign Up Open ~ 2017 Library Love Challenge

 

I LOVE my local library. I'm in a small town with 2 libraries close by. The closest lost $75000 two years ago and that's a shame. I'm there every two weeks, and know each librarian and other staff by name. So this challenge seems to have been meant for me!

 

 

http://angelsguiltypleasures.com/2016/12/sign-up-2017-library-love-challenge/

Portrait of Margaret Tate, Mistress of Montpelier, a Plantation: Widow and Relic of William Theophilus Powell by Carolyn E. Hood-Kourdache

Portrait of Margaret Tate, Mistress of Montpelier, a Plantation: Widow and Relic of William Theophilus Powell - Carolyn E. Hood-Kourdache

Portrait of Margaret Tate, Mistress of Montpelier, a Plantation: Widow and Relic of William Theophilus Powell 

Carolyn E. Hood-Kourdache

Paperback, 92 pages
Published June 22nd 2016 by Tree Rings Publishing, LLC

ISBN:   069274892X (ISBN 13 9780692748923)

 

  While I found this to be more of a textbook read, I did enjoy it. A great amount of research went into this and shows a side of history that needs to be told. A woman considered a "Chocktaw mixed-blood"and someone who freed black slaves is an important part of American history (escpecially for Floridians) that needs to be told and included in the school books. Technically written for adults, the format could easily be read and understood by high school grades. A wonderful bibliography/source list is included.

****This book was received from author through a Booklikes giveaway. ****

#GIVEBOOKS

 

I just wanted to put this out there for anyone interested-Chronicle Books wants to donate 30,000 books to Firstbook.org, which helps to put books into the hands of children living in low income households. They will donate 1 book for every pledge to give a book this holiday season. Chronicle Books is accepting pledges at givebooks.com.  Since we are all

booklovers here, I thought this would be a good share. 

 

 

more info here:

http://www.chroniclebooks.com/blog/2015/11/16/pledge-to-givebooks-and-well-donate-a-book-to-a-child-in-need/

MILKWEED by Jerry Spinelli

Milkweed - Jerry Spinelli

MILKWEED By Jerry Spinelli

208 pages
Published (first published January 1st 2003)

ISBN:  0439682363 (ISBN13: 9780439682367) 

 

  Set in Warsaw, Poland from prior to World War II and following an orphan with many names in his quest to survive not only living in the streets, but, also, in the Warsaw Ghetto. Author Jerry Spinelli wrote this as a young adult book, and definitely gives the young adult reader something to think about and to learn. I found it very well written. When given the name Misha by an older orphan helping take care of him, he started to believe his "story"of where he came from. Milkweed is his story of survival of the streets, the Ghetto, and the Holocaust; this is also his search to belong. I loved the characters that Misha interacted with throughout the story. Spinnelli kept the story moving. He didn't shy away from some of the horrors that Misha had to deal with, but wrote about the longing to belong, to be someone, understanding, and becoming family. I definitely would recommend this book to others, both the YA readers and adult readers.

 

One of my favorite things-I found this on one of those Free Little Bookshelves in the apartment complex that I baby sit at. Really cool.

 

 

INDIE AUTHOR DAY OCTOBER 8TH, 2016

I found this in an indie author group I am in on Google + and thought I would share it for those indie authors out there who may be interested. 2pm Eastern (US) on the 8th there'll be a live webcast "featuring Q&A with writers, agents and other industry leaders"

 

October 8th, 2016 Indie Author Day

THE HOUSE AT THE EDGE OF NIGHT by Catherine Banner

The House at the Edge of Night: A Novel - Catherine Banner
The House at the Edge of Night
Catherine Banner
Hardcover, 419 pages
Published July 12th 2016 by Random House

ISBN: 

0812998790 (ISBN13: 9780812998795

 

An enjoyable, relaxing read. I enjoyed how Catherine Banner brought the island alive as it's own character. Small town antics, small town rumors, and 4 generations of a family and its dreams. Not all the characters were as well developed as I liked, but Catherine Banner did make her female characters strong and motivated. Banner, also, used the occasional Italian word throughout the book. Overall, a good weekend or vacation read. I did get a good feel of small town/island life, which is what I think I liked the best-the feel of being there.

 

 

*****I received this Advance Reader's Copy from a Goodreads giveaway sponsored by Random House.*****

CEMETERY GIRL by Joseph Cognard

Cemetery Girl - Mr. Joseph A Cognard

CEMETERY GIRL

Joseph Cognard

Paperback, 246 pages
Published April 1st 2012 by Cemetery Girl (first published September 21st 2011)
ISBN:  0615624006 (ISBN13: 9780615624006)

 

 

I enjoyed reading Cemetery Girl. The characters were well written, and Janie and her friends, while very different from each other, were likable and believable. The novel is categorized as Fantasy and science fiction, but it is not at all heavy on the fantasy. Janie, who shows a talent for drawing, spends some time in a cemetery to draw. She finds that she gets messages from beyond the grave when she is there. While trying to make sense of these messages, she also deals with making sense of who she is as a teen and making friends. The illustrations were in black and white, and done by the author's daughters and fit in well with the storyline. There are some editing/proofreading marks still in the print, most of what I noticed were towards the last 1/4 of the book, which was the most distracting part of reading it.

****I received this book from the author, Joseph Cognard, through a Goodreads Giveaway in exchange for a fair review. ***

WHAT THE EYE HEARS: A HISTORY OF TAP DANCING by Brian Siebert

What the Eye Hears: A History of Tap Dancing - Brian Seibert

WHAT THE EYE HEARS: A HISTORY OF TAP DANCING

Brian Siebert

Hardcover, 624 pages
Published November 17th 2015 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
ISBN: 0865479534 (ISBN13: 9780865479531)

also available for Kindle and ebook.

 

Seibert has magnificently researched Tap;  starting with original steps brought in with Irish Jigs, African Drums, and Appalachian Clogging in very early American society, then through Thomas Jefferson's plantation, Charles Dicken's visit to the Five Pointes Dance Hall, and more. He wonderfully brings us through the minstrelsy, the jazz age, to Taps comeback with television, then movies and Broadway. Seibert leaves nothing out, making this a long book (624 pages). He includes some great photos throughout. the book is definitely an entertaining read while giving us, the readers, a remarkable view at a true piece of American history. I would definitely recommend this to anyone who dances, enjoys music, and wants to learn more.

****I received this book in a Goodreads giveaway from Farrar, Straus and Giroux in exchange for a fair review.****

A DYING FALL by Elly Griffiths

A Dying Fall - Elly Griffiths

A Dying Fall

Elly Griffiths

Paperback, 400 pages
Published March 11th 2014 by Mariner Books (first published December 20th 2012)

ISBN: 0544227808 (ISBN13: 9780544227804)

 

This actually was my first Ruth Gallawoay book. Even though it is #5 in the series, I did not have a problem following the story.  Griffiths did a decent job of giving background of the characters so there was no confusion for me. I found the characters wonderfully quirky and some loveable. I did find that it read similarly to other British detective type mysteries, maybe a little bit simpler in the writing style than Elizabeth George's writing style. I did enjoy the story, and how it played out. I loved reading about the small towns to which the plot brought the characters.

ROLL OF THUNDER, HEAR MY CRY by Mildred D. Taylor

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry - Mildred D. Taylor

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry

 Mildred D. Taylor

Paperback, 304 pages
Published November 27th 2001 by Puffin Books (first published October 1976)
ISBN:  0140384510 (ISBN13: 9780140384512)
 
Great story to share with kids nowadays. Set in the rural south in the US, the stories follow 1 family, from the children's point of view, as they deal with racial segregation in the educational system, in the small town as share croppers and landowners. I enjoyed the main character, Cassie Logan, as she learns about family loyalty, holding your head up high, while dealing with some  very real racism. 
 
 
 

Currently reading

The Crowns of Croswald by D.E. Night
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....

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