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 Luster of Lost Things - Sophie Chen Keller

The Luster of Lost Things

by Sophie Chen Keller

Paperback, 304 pages
Published August 8th 2017 by G.P. Putnam's Sons (first published April 8th 2017)

ISBN:  0735210780 (ISBN 13: 9780735210783)


I finished this a while ago. While it was a little slow moving at first, I got to enjoy the story very much. The main character got to be very likeable and I really enjoyed the people he met along his journey.

****I received this book through a Goodreads Giveaway from the author and publisher***


I have about 4 books to review and 6 books in the house ready to read. Time for me to get moving!



The Crowns of Croswald - D.E. Night

The Crowns of Croswald

D.E. Night

Published July 21st 2017 by Stories Untold
ISBN13 9780996948654
also on Kindle

The Crowns of Croswald is D.E. Night's debut YA novel.   Different enough from Harry Potter (no muggles, a female lead (YAY!), dragons, and more), D.E. Night brings a creative storyline with Ivy as the main character who likes to daydream to get away from her scullery maid job. Night's writing kept the plotline interesting and moving at a fast pace. 1 or 2 things gave me an inkling of what might be coming but I won't give those away here; but other than that, I found the events that Ivy got into to be suspenseful,  while potentially causing chaos for her. The story ended well, and left a want for more.

****I received this novel from a Booklikes giveaway in exchange for a fair review.****



The Hiding Place - David J.  Bell
  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley (October 2, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 045123796X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451237965
  • aslo on Kindle ASIN: B0083P4ANC and audiobook ASIN: B009SBIGSA


I must have changed my mind as to the who and what 3 or 4 times by the end of this book. David Bell's writing style is easy to read, so this I was able to get through this quickly, even while trying to not speed read and miss anything. I really enjoyed the main character, Janet's daughter. The main characters were developed well. I am looking forward to reading more of David Bell's writing.

******I received this book from a Goodread's first reads giveaway held by Berkley Books, an imprint of Penguin Group (USA)****


Serafina and the Black Cloak - Robert Beatty


Robert Beatty

Format: paperback

ISBN: 9780545948890
Publish date: 2016
Publisher: Scholastic Inc
Pages no: 304
A short little review, but a good one-4 stars. Definitely an enjoyable read! Serafina is a great character with a lot of personality. This is set at Biltmore Estate, and the plot shows Serafina discovering not only the Estate but the grounds as well. Beatty brings his characters to life while they deal with some adventure, some friendship, and a little bit of spookiness. I am looking forward to the next in the series. 

So Far Behind

I'm hoping to catch up really soon. I haven't been to the library in a couple weeks because I have 2 epubs to read, 1 middle grade book i'm half way done with, a 6 book bundle that I won, and I have another middle grade on the way.


I did hit a used book sale and bought a book to bring with me on my Cruise. Hopefully I can find a nice quiet park to read in and also relax.


I really want to make my goal, I'm like 8 books behind. I almost want to hit up the childrens section at the library and get some short books to go quickly through. LOL.


May everyone have a great reading week!

NO MAN'S LAND by David Baldacci

No Man's Land (John Puller Series) - David Baldacci
David Baldacci
Paperback, 464 pages
Published March 21st 2017 by Grand Central Publishing (first published November 15th 2016)
ISBN  1455586501 (ISBN13: 9781455586509)
  I enjoy David Baldacci's writing. There was a little predictability in the storyline. The plot starts off actually with 2 men, each in his own subplot, until midway through when the plots cross. I liked most of the characters, with the exception of Knox, who I felt didn't quite measure up for me. She seemed too "soft" for who I felt the character should be. Overall, though, I feel Baldacci fans will be happy with this book.

****I received this book thru a Goodread's giveaway from the publisher in exchange for a fair review.****


What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky: Stories - Lesley Nneka Arimah


Lesley Nneka Arimah

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Riverhead Books (April 4, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0735211027
  • ISBN-13: 978-0735211025

    Lesley Nneka Arimah debut is a collection of short stories set in Nigeria and the US. Each short story is complete, solid, clear, and well written. I love her characters, strong, straight forward, and genuine. Lesley Nneka Arimah writing shows humor, horror, and shock in some places, yet her characters and plots flow naturally, and are engaging. I found myself immersed into each story. Her incredible grasp of language and the powerful way in which she uses it to form a story is unique, and captivating. Definitely something I would reread, and recommend


    ***Thank you to Penguin House and Riverhead Books for the print copy I received through a giveaway in exchange for a fair review.****

Madness by Marya Hornbacher

Madness: A Bipolar Life - Marya Hornbacher
  • Madness: A Bipolar Life
  • Marya Hornbacher
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books; Reprint edition (April 1, 2009)
  • ISBN-10: 0547237804
  • ISBN-13: 978-0547237800


I actually didn't finish this book. Marya Hornbacher writes well, and goes into depth about what depression and bipolar, but after the first 3rd of the book, it seemed long. I could feel her pain dealing with her mental illness. I don't think I was ready to read the whole book. I've not really ever been a strong non fiction reader so i'm not sure if it were that or the subject matter.


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: A Novel - Jennifer Ryan


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 & Sorrow - Natalie Whipple


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.


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


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

Currently reading

The History of Bees by Maja Lunde
Progress: 92/352pages
State of Sorrow (Sorrow, #1) by Melinda Salisbury
Progress: 142/452pages
Life's Passages: From Guyana to America by Erwin Thomas
Progress: 145/190pages

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....