Reading roundup 03/08/22

Welcome to the first Reading Roundup post for August! During the last week, I have read and enjoyed two very different books. This is the first one…

Cetaganda by Lois McMaster Bujold

Yes, I decided to return to the Vorkosigan Saga once again. This book is number five in the series’ reading order: Cetaganda. Here is the blurb:

“Miles Vorkosigan and his cousin Ivan are sent on a diplomatic mission to the court of the Cetagandan Empire, Barrayar’s former enemy. This sophisticated, genetically advanced but in many ways alien society both fascinates and repels, and when the Cetagandan Empress and her attendant die suddenly, Miles and Ivan find themselves embroiled in intrigues that are hard to fathom. Ivan’s romances and Miles’ infatuation with a nobel Cetagandan lady further complicate matters in this novel by four-time Hugo Award winner Lois McMaster Bujold.”

Well, the blurb above does not really explain enough of the complex story and is also inaccurate! Anyway, this is my response on Goodreads:

Cetaganda (Vorkosigan Saga)Cetaganda by Lois McMaster Bujold
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This had so much to like and enjoy: fantastic world building, clever and witty writing, an interesting and satisfying plot, unusual and well drawn characters. So, it gets four stars for all of those plus points. However, it just missed the full five stars for me because Miles is becoming so irritating as a character. I am trying to read the books in the recommended order and I hope that the next one is better.

View all my reviews

And now for something completely different!

Pandora by Susan Stokes-Chapman

The second book of the week was Pandora by Susan Stokes-Chapman. This is the blurb:

“London, 1799. Dora Blake is an aspiring jewellery artist who lives with her uncle in what used to be her parents’ famed shop of antiquities. When a mysterious Greek vase is delivered, Dora is intrigued by her uncle’s suspicious behaviour and enlists the help of Edward Lawrence, a young antiquarian scholar. Edward sees the ancient vase as key to unlocking his academic future. Dora sees it as a chance to restore the shop to its former glory, and to escape her nefarious uncle.

But what Edward discovers about the vase has Dora questioning everything she has believed about her life, her family, and the world as she knows it. As Dora uncovers the truth she starts to realise that some mysteries are buried, and some doors are locked, for a reason.

Gorgeously atmospheric and deliciously page-turning, Pandora is a story of secrets and deception, love and fulfilment, fate and hope.”

This book was such a fortuitous choice. My review reveals all:

PandoraPandora by Susan Stokes-Chapman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was such an unexpected and enjoyable book for me. I chose it at random from the Library’s ebook catalogue because I have a love of historical fiction and also Ancient Greece. However, I didn’t expect to read a fiction book about one of the great interests of my life: Ancient Greek vases! I have a Masters degree in aspects of Ancient Greek vase painting and never thought that I would encounter these ceramics in a book like this: full of mystery, mayhem and murder!

The book itself is good, but has distinct flaws in some areas such as character building and accuracy. I must admit that I also found a few mistakes in the writing about Greek pottery itself. On the other hand, I did enjoy the plot and most of the major characters were well drawn. The cover design is also gorgeous!

I am so glad that I came across this book and I have probably overdone the number of stars, but the melding of themes for the tale just tipped it into the four star category!

View all my reviews

I have never heard of a vase like the one in the book, but one of my Hermès scarves depicts pithoi in the corners: Les Secrets de Minos. You can see more on my Scarf of the Moment post about the scarf and I have included an image of  one of the corners below:

Les Secrets de Minos by Hermès

Right, I will stop here before I end up writing a whole article about Ancient Greek ceramics!

I gave both of the week’s books four stars and hope that my next book turns out to be a good one. You will find out my verdict in next week’s Reading Roundup post.

Happy Reading to you all!

Love and best wishes,



About The Librain

Retired School Librarian
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