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10.3.12:  I just finished a few books and want to share them with you.  First, I thoroughly enjoyed Virgin Blue by Tracy Chevalier.  She also wrote Girl With A Pearl Earring which was highly appraised.  Virgin Blue is set in France (always a winner with this francophile) and switches between the 16th century and modern day with an interesting link between the two time periods.  This novel is part detective story, part historical fiction and is a quick read you’ll enjoy.  I also just read Minaret by Leila Aboulela about a young Muslim woman coming of age in Sudan in a privileged upbringing.  She is then suddenly exiled to London and her life quickly changes.  An interesting novel about Islam and women.

8.27.12:  So, I guess I’m into trilogies lately.  I just finished the first two books in Phillippa Gregory’s “Cousin’s War” trilogy.  The first one is The White Queen and the second is The Red Queen.  I’lll be starting the third, Lady of the Rivers, in the next few days. Gregory is know for her historical fiction and these books are no exception.  She wrote The Other Boleyn Girl and many others about the Tudor family.  This trilogy, however, explores the period before the Tudors when the Plantagenets were in power and all three novels are told from a woman’s perspective.  Engaging, interesting and educational – you’ll read these quickly and want to read more about these families.

8.1.12:  I just finished “Three Weeks With My Brother” by Nicolas and Micah Sparks.  I am not a huge Nicolas Sparks fan (author of “The Wedding” and “The Notebook” among others), but this was Sparks’ non-fiction, autobiographical book about his family.  Sparks weaves a three week trip around the world with stories of his childhood, marriage and family.  It is a well-written, engaging book about an author who has faced many challenges and losses in his life.  A quick but worthy read! – Gina

I also recently finished Ken Follett’s “Fall of Giants”.  If you haven’t read anything by Follett, schedule some time and grab a book.  His “Pillars of the Earth” and “World Without End” were huge bestsellers a few years ago.  “Fall of Giants” is the first in his new “Century” trilogy (the next one comes out in mid-September 2012).  It starts on June 22, 1912 (I know because I happened to crack open this book on June 22, 2012 – wierd, huh?!) and takes the reader through the end of World War I.  It is an epic novel of 1000 pages (all his novels are long) but the characters are so well developed and inter-connected that you just want to keep reading.  – Gina

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