The Mapmaker's Children by Sarah McCoy -- a neat look at the work of Sarah Brown, daughter of abolitionist John Brown who was hung in (now) West Virginia prior to the US Civil War. It also follows the story of the contemporary couple Eden and Jack who move into a house where the Browns stayed at one point. A pretty good book.Necessary Deception by Laurie Alice Eakes -- sometimes I try new authors hoping that I'll discover new books that I like. This book just didn't hook me into this Daughters of Bainbridge House series. This story focused on the eldest daughter, 26-year-old widow Lydia, who is in London trying to get her younger sister married off after her Season. Lydia becomes involved in some spy mission, and it just wasn't that great to me.
The Widow's War by Sally Gunning -- It took me a few pages to get into this story, but once I did, I really enjoyed Lyddie's war on 1791 patriarchy in Massachusetts. After her husband dies in a boating accident, she shows us how her status changes as a widowed woman - and she wars with the status quo. Kudos!
Birds in the Air by Frances O'Roark Dowell -- I saw this on the new books list online and signed up to read it. It was a very easy read, pleasant, with a decent message. Emma and her family left Chapel Hill, NC, to move to a small (fictitious) mountain community where they struggle a little to fit in. Emma finds a quilt in one of the trunks that were left in the attic of the house they bought to fix up. I looked up several quilt patterns that were mentioned in this book.
The Family Next Door by Sally Hepworth -- A neighborhood in Australia filled with interesting characters. You think your neighbors' lives are normal and nice, and yours is not? Well, you never know what is going on in that family next door. This book follows the lives of Essie as she struggled with PPD, and Fran through her manic-jogging routine. What is she hiding from her husband? And what's with this new neighbor, Isabelle, coming into the 'hood with no family? Easy read; I enjoyed this one.
Empress Dowager Cixi: The Concubine Who Launched Modern China by Jung Chang -- I got this book for Christmas from an old blogger/Facebook friend, and I decided to start it on my birthday. I wasn't sure if I'd like it, but I wanted to read it to learn more about this lady. It took me three weeks of reading off and on - at least a little every day - and I finished it the morning of May 20th. Not everything was super-interesting, but for the most part, I really enjoyed this look into China's past, and into the life and cultural events surrounding this era of China. Cixi is an interesting lady. I like that the book has several pictures, as I enjoyed looking at certain people mentioned throughout the book.
Wings of the Wind by Connilyn Cossette -- might as well read book 3 in this Out From Egypt series since it's there at the library. This one dealt with the Hebrews as they were taking the land from the Canaanites. Alanah is a Canaanite woman captured during a war with the Israelites. Pretty interesting story. I liked this one better than book 2, and it may be my favorite of the three in this series.
The Arrivals by Meg Mitchell Moore -- that summer when all your adult children - ok, there are just three of them - come back home for various reasons. One with his pregnant spouse, and one with two little children. Things just got busy and messy and loud!
The Rest of Her Life by Laura Moriarty -- While calling someone on her cell phone, while driving, with a stray dog that she and her best friend had just picked up, Kara hits and kills a schoolmate in a small Kansas city. This book deals with the immediate and few-months-later aftermath of that.
Best Staged Plans by Claire Cook -- I was in a local library recently (not my usual one), and saw this book. Looked like a small, easy read which it was. Professional home stager Sandy Sullivan gets a staging job and heads to Atlanta to stay with her daughter and son in law for about a month. Haha...her daughter has to go back to Boston (where she grew up) for training so Sandy has to stay with her son in law while her daughter goes to stay with her dad and brother. It was a pretty cute book.
The Martian by Andy Weir -- I received this for my birthday, and decided to start reading it on Andrew's birthday (5/18) - a little per day because I wasn't sure how I'd like it. I admit some parts made my eyes glaze, but over all, it was a rather cute, interesting book. I liked Mark's sense of humor and his BRAINS as he figured out how to survive life on Mars. Oh, his crew thought he was dead after a piece of equipment impaled him, but somehow he survived that only to find out his companions had had to abandon him on Mars. I read quite a bit of this while Sophie played at area parks and museums during her recent visit, but I finished it last night (5/26) before bed. The author is a big ol' nerd who figured out all this physics and math stuff - incredible!
What She Left Behind by Ellen Marie Wiseman -- Izzy is a 17 year old, starting a new school after being transferred to a new foster family. Clara is a young lady from years ago. She didn't obey her father as he wished so she was committed to an asylum until she can straighten up. Two story lines; an interesting book. I liked this one though it's disturbing! Some people should never have children.
One Perfect Lie by Lisa Scottoline -- I went into the library hoping to find a couple of good reads and saw this one in the new book section. I see there are many books by this author, but I'd never read her before. But this was pretty good. Chris Brennan is the new AP Government teacher and assistant baseball coach. But his identity and backstory is a lie. He's trying to get close to certain kids to pump them for information. What's up with that? Does he have criminal intent?