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 SILENCED by Heather Graham

The Silenced - Heather Graham

The Silenced (Krewe of Hunters #15)

Paperback, 352 pages
Published June 30th 2015 by Mira

ISBN:  0778317994 (9780778317999)



Every once in a while, I enjoy reading a Heather Graham novel. This one, set around a new FBI agent and her best friend who works for a congressman. Meg, upon completing her FBI training, gets assigned to a division of the FBI who are also mediums. Set in Washington, DC and several areas well known for their Civil War history, the plot moves along well. Graham always seems to add a little romance to her novels as well. In The Silenced, this romance part did not seem to get too much in the way. I enjoyed the Civil War part of the story, which includes a Civil War Reenactment. While Heather Graham is not one of my favorite authors, I do enjoy reading her novels for something fun and appealing for something a little easier to read.


2017 fell flat, very flat, when it came time to finish up my # of books goal.

So this year, I am going to try to get the reading done, but I am going to look at it a different way.


I am heading backwards slightly, to some challenges I really enjoyed in the past.


1. Debut Authors. I found so many good authors this way, Some have written and published more, some haven't. But that is ok. It's a great way to get the new perspective on stories going; sometimes even getting a totally new story to come forward.


2. Women Authors. For some of the female authors who were well published that I hadn't read before the first time I did this challenge, I found myself looking for more of their books. Yes, there is much more to read in this category!


3. Reading around the world. So much to discover.


Maybe this will motivate to keep reading.



The Old Balmain House - Graham Wilson

The Old Balmain House

Second Edition, Smashwords Edition

Graham Wilson

Copyright Graham Wilson 2016

Published by BeyondBeyond Books

ISBN 9780987197115


(Also goes by Little Lost Girl (Old Balmain House #1) (Paperback) (isbn 154126284; Little Lost Girl (Old Balmain House #1) (paperback) (isbn 1542624347; The Old Balmain House (Old Balmain house #1) (isbn 1542755166)


I received this off Smashwords. It's taken me a while to get back to it. I set it aside, and then decided, once I started up again with The Old Balmain House. I couldn't put it down. The descriptions of the houses, the towns, and the people around the main characters help make the story of Sophie and her bottle a wonderful story.



RIP Sue Grafton

I just read an article on the NPR news site that 14 authors died this year. Well, unfortunately for Mystery lovers, Sue Grafton passed away at age 77.





Of all places to find a new author is a craft fair at my local community center. And not just one-2 of them!


One is Tracy Fontaine, a debut author, who wrote Beyond Lilla. She is a 30 year resident of the city that I was born in; the book is set in the city's municipal cemetery that was founded in 1838 and is still in use today.


The second author is Sally Valentine, a teacher and a Rochester native, who writes middle grade historical fiction and poetry about the Rochester area.


Of course, I walked out with 3 books, autographed and all.



Sally Valentine-

Tracy Fontaine-

For the Sake of Elena (Inspector Lynley #5) - Elizabeth  George
For the Sake of Elena
Elizabeth George
Paperback, 464 pages
Published April 1st 1993 by Bantam Books (first published 1992)
ISBN 0553561278 (ISBN13: 9780553561272)
  I am reading these out of order. Yes, there is some backstory to Inspector Lynley and Sergeant Havers, but each case can be read on its own. I do enjoy reading this series. I would like to go back and read #2-#4 just to get the backstory. This one is set in Cambridge, and I like the way E. George describes the colleges and the towns.


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.

Currently reading

The History of Bees by Maja Lunde
Progress: 92/352pages
State of Sorrow (Sorrow, #1) by Melinda Salisbury
Progress: 142/452pages

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....