Reading roundup 03/04/19

I have read three books this week and made a start on a fourth, which is very long indeed. In fact, it may take me a whole week to finish that one. If I mention the Outlander series, fans of that will get what I mean!

Night Music by John Connolly

Night Music by John Connolly

My first book was a collection of short stories by John Connolly: Night Music (#02 of his Nocturnes series). Here is the blurb:

A decade after Nocturnes first terrified and delighted readers, John Connolly, bestselling author of thirteen acclaimed thrillers featuring private investigator Charlie Parker, gives us a second volume of tales of the supernatural. From stories of the monstrous for dark winter nights to fables of fantastic libraries and haunted books, from a tender account of love after death to a frank, personal, and revealing account of the author’s affection for myths of ghosts and demons, this is a collection that will surprise, delight—and terrify.

Night Music: Nocturnes 2 also contains two novellas: the multi-award-winning The Caxton Private Lending Library & Book Depository and The Fractured Atlas.

Night Music: Nocturnes 2 is a masterly collection to be read with the lights on—menace has never been so seductive.

This is my four star review on the Goodreads website:

John Connolly is one of my most favourite writers, so I was really looking forward to reading this collection. The stories are superbly written and very macabre. I think that the set of tales called Fractured Atlas was the best. I also particularly liked the last piece about his own reading journey. I have not yet read his first collection, Nocturnes, so will request this from the Library as soon as possible. Highly recommended.

The Encircling Sea by Adrian Goldsworthy

The Encircling Sea by Adrian Goldsworthy

The second book was The Encircling Sea (Vindolanda series #02) by Adrian Goldsworthy. This is the blurb:

AD 100: Flavius Ferox, Briton and Roman centurion, is finding it hard to keep the peace. Based at Vindolanda – an army fort on the northern frontier of Britannia and the entire Roman world – he feels the eyes of his enemies on him at all hours.

Ambitious leaders sense a chance to carve out empires of their own. While men nearer at hand speak in whispers of war and the destruction of Rome.

And out at sea, ships of pirates and deserters restlessly wait for the time to launch their attack on the empire’s land.

Once again, I seem to have picked up a part two, without having read part one of the series first! This was OK, as the writer gave enough hints of the previous story, but I have already asked for the first book from the Library. Anyway, here is my three star review:

I picked this book up because I saw the word “Vindolanda” on the cover. As I have had some lovely holidays near Hadrian’s Wall and have visited the fort, I was immediately interested. The book was a good read and, as a former student of the period, appeared to be accurate. In fact, this striving for accuracy kind of got in the way of the story. Yes, it’s good to know which weapons and armour were used and the correct names for officers etc., but it does detract a bit. I also find it rather strange, as a Brit reading about the conquerors of our ancestors, to come across such a whitewashed tale of the Roman Army. Most of them are far too decent – not even a good swearword. “Humping”!!!! I will read the other books, though!

Past Tense by Lee Child

Past Tense by Lee Child

I had been waiting since the Autumn for the next book. When I requested the latest Jack Reacher (#23!) from the Library, I was 88th in the queue! So, I read it quickly in order to return it to the Library for the next eager reader: Past Tense by Lee Child. Here is the blurb:

Jack Reacher plans to follow the autumn sun on an epic road trip across America, from Maine to California. He doesn’t get far. On a country road deep in the New England woods, he sees a sign to a place he has never been – the town where his father was born. He thinks, what’s one extra day? He takes the detour.

At the very same moment, close by, a car breaks down. Two young Canadians are trying to get to New York City to sell a treasure. They are stranded at a lonely motel in the middle of nowhere. It’s a strange place … but it’s all there is.

The next morning in the city clerk’s office, Reacher asks about the old family home. He’s told no one named Reacher ever lived in that town. He knows his father never went back. Now he wonders, was he ever there in the first place?

So begins another nail-biting, adrenaline-fuelled adventure for Reacher. The present can be tense, but the past can be worse. That’s for damn sure.

I gave this book three stars, although it is probably worth 3.5, and wrote this review:

I have enjoyed reading this series and would be sad if it came to an end, but I think that it should go out with a real blockbuster and Child should find a new hero (or heroine) to write about. There were two main story arcs in the book and the one with Reacher, although quite interesting in terms of filling in some more of his background, did drag on quite a lot. There was a lot of hotel changing and meals in different places and driving around, punctuated with a few fights, but that was it.

The other story arc reminded me quite a lot of the book and film Open Season and I guessed really early on what was going to happen. The fact that the two arcs met so late in the book was rather odd.

I did enjoy reading the book, don’t get me wrong, but there are better ones in the series.

Right, I now have two books in the Outlander series to read – two huge tomes! It will probably take quite a while for me to finish both of them, but I will report my progress next week.

Happy Reading to you all!

Best wishes,


About The Librain

Retired School Librarian
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