Reading roundup 20/07/22

Hello Reading friends! Apologies for the lack of Reading Roundup posts for a couple of weeks. Illness and hot weather meant that I couldn’t cope with writing on the blog. I didn’t even read for a few days! Anyway, I have picked up now and, although we have had rather extreme weather for the UK, I have managed to cobble a post together.

As it is a while since the last Reading Roundup post, I have read quite a few books. I have decided not to write about all of them in one post, but will split them up over this week’s and next week’s posts. So, let’s get going…

The Witness for the Dead by Katherine Addison

I couldn’t wait to read the sequel to Katherine Addison’s The Goblin Emperor: The Witness for the Dead. Here is the blurb:

“When the young half-goblin emperor Maia sought to learn who had set the bombs that killed his father and half-brothers, he turned to an obscure resident of his father’s Court, a Prelate of Ulis and a Witness for the Dead. Thara Celehar found the truth, though it did him no good to discover it. He lost his place as a retainer of his cousin the former Empress, and made far too many enemies among the many factions vying for power in the new Court. The favor of the Emperor is a dangerous coin.

Now Celehar lives in the city of Amalo, far from the Court though not exactly in exile. He has not escaped from politics, but his position gives him the ability to serve the common people of the city, which is his preference. He lives modestly, but his decency and fundamental honestly will not permit him to live quietly. As a Witness for the Dead, he can, sometimes, speak to the recently dead: see the last thing they saw, know the last thought they had, experience the last thing they felt. It is his duty use that ability to resolve disputes, to ascertain the intent of the dead, to find the killers of the murdered.

Now Celehar’s skills lead him out of the quiet and into a morass of treachery, murder, and injustice. No matter his own background with the imperial house, Celehar will stand with the commoners, and possibly find a light in the darkness.”

Once again, this was a very engaging and enjoyable read. This is the review that I posted on Goodreads:

The Witness for the DeadThe Witness for the Dead by Katherine Addison
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I enjoyed this book a lot, but fans of The Goblin Emperor should be aware that the Emperor himself does not appear. This is a shame because I thought that he was an excellent character in the first book. Instead, the main character this time had a smaller part in The Goblin Emperor. He is a Witness for the Dead, which is an intriguing occupation, but not one that I would like!

As Witness, he carries out what is really detective work on behalf of the dead to find out the manner of death and who may have been responsible. He also has other parts to his work, some of which involve dealing with ghouls. These are as nasty as they sound.

So, the plot follows the Witness over a few weeks as he investigates cases and carries on his other activities, whilst visiting numerous named tea houses, drinking vast amounts of interesting tea (sounds like my life!), and talking to a range of people with very complicated names.

That paragraph doesn’t really do justice to the book! It is well written, intriguing and comes to a satisfying conclusion. I look forward to reading the sequel.

View all my reviews

I have just noticed that the two books which are written in the same world as The Goblin Emperor are listed as books 1 and 2 in a different series: The Cemeteries of Amalo. I am really looking forward to reading book 2, The Grief of Stones.

The Gifts by Liz Hyder

For the next book, I chose something completely different: The Gifts by Liz Hyder. Here is the blurb:

“October 1840. A young woman staggers alone through a forest in Shropshire as a huge pair of impossible wings rip themselves from her shoulders.

Meanwhile, when rumours of a ‘fallen angel’ cause a frenzy across London, a surgeon desperate for fame and fortune finds himself in the grips of a dangerous obsession, one that will place the women he seeks in the most terrible danger . . .

THE GIFTS is the astonishing debut adult novel from the lauded author of BEARMOUTH. A gripping and ambitious book told through five different perspectives and set against the luminous backdrop of nineteenth century London, it explores science, nature and religion, enlightenment, the role of women in society and the dark danger of ambition.”

I read this as I was starting to feel ill, so only wrote a very short response. The book is brilliant and definitely deserves the full five stars:

The GiftsThe Gifts by Liz Hyder
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was an excellent read. Complex plot, interesting characters, a fantasy element and a strong feminist angle. Highly recommended.

View all my reviews

My third choice, and final book for this week’s post, was the 2021 winner of a Goodreads award. Despite this, it has mixed reviews on the site! It is just as well that there are so many books available to us all.

The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave

The third book was The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave. Once again, this was a random choice from our Library Service’s ebook service. This is the blurb:

“Before Owen Michaels disappears, he manages to smuggle a note to his beloved wife of one year: Protect her. Despite her confusion and fear, Hannah Hall knows exactly to whom the note refers: Owen’s sixteen-year-old daughter, Bailey. Bailey, who lost her mother tragically as a child. Bailey, who wants absolutely nothing to do with her new stepmother.

As Hannah’s increasingly desperate calls to Owen go unanswered; as the FBI arrests Owen’s boss; as a US Marshal and FBI agents arrive at her Sausalito home unannounced, Hannah quickly realizes her husband isn’t who he said he was. And that Bailey just may hold the key to figuring out Owen’s true identity—and why he really disappeared.

Hannah and Bailey set out to discover the truth, together. But as they start putting together the pieces of Owen’s past, they soon realize they are also building a new future. One neither Hannah nor Bailey could have anticipated.”

This time, if you are interested in this book, I urge you to look at a range of reviews as mine is short and sparse, to say the least!

The Last Thing He Told MeThe Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this book, despite taking quite a long time (for me) to read it, due to illness.

View all my reviews

OK, we have come to the end of this week’s post. I do hope that you have enjoyed it.

Happy Reading to you all!

Love and best wishes,



About The Librain

Retired School Librarian
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