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"Notorious Royal Marriages" by Leslie Carroll

Pros: Interesting look at the private lives of some of the more famous (or infamous) European royals. Cons: The genealogy can get confusing because many names were passed down through generations. Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Review book courtesy of

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"Theft of the Master," Edwin Alexander

Pros: Fascinating mystery and exploration of history; riveting characters Cons: One identity is a bit obvious; odd start Rating: 4 out of 5 Review book courtesy of Lisa Roe. Visit Theft of the Master online.   At the end of

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"The Grave Tattoo," Val McDermid

Pros: Beautiful, immersive, taut mystery with fascinating historical underpinnings Cons: Takes a few pages to get into if you’re lacking the background Rating: 5 out of 5   After reading Val McDermid’s The Torment of Others recently, I was eager

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"The Gift of Rain," Tan Twan Eng

Pros: Utterly beautiful and heartbreaking Cons: Not for everyone Rating: 5 out of 5 Review book courtesy of Myrmidon Books.   I have a phobia of history. This is probably a result of the way my teachers taught it: purely

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"Light of India," Warren Dotz

Pros: Fascinating historical and cultural perspective; amazing artwork Cons: None Rating: 5 out of 5 Review book courtesy of Ten Speed Press.   Warren Dotz’s Light of India: A conflagration of Indian matchbox art is a fascinating little gift or

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