Reading roundup 09/11/22

Welcome to this week’s Reading Roundup. As it is two weeks since I last wrote one of these posts, there are quite a lot of books to tell you about. I don’t really want to make a very long post, so will talk about three books this week and hold the rest over until next time.

Bear Head by Adrian Tchaikovsky

The first book is Bear Head by Adrian Tchaikovsky. This is the sequel to Dogs of War, which I reviewed in the Reading Roundup post on 27/07/22. Here is the blurb:

“Mars. The red planet. A new frontier for humanity, a civilization where humans can live in peace, lord and master of all they survey.

But this isn’t Space City from those old science-fiction books. We live in Hell City, built into and from a huge subcontinent-sized crater. There’s a big silk canopy over it, feeding out atmosphere as we generate it, little by little, until we can breathe the air.

It’s a perfect place to live, if you actually want to live on Mars. I guess at some point I had actually wanted to live on Mars, because here I am. The money was supposed to be good, and how else was a working Joe like me supposed to get off-planet exactly? But I remember the videos they showed us – guys, not even in suits, watching robots and bees and Bioforms doing all the work – and they didn’t quite get it right…”

I seem to have become a real fan of Tchaikovsky’s work over the last couple of years! This is the review which I posted on Goodreads:

Bear Head (Dogs of War, #2)Bear Head by Adrian Tchaikovsky
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a good sequel to Dogs of War but not quite as brilliant. That said, it was a great read with an inventive plot and intriguing characters. Tchaikovsky’s imagination simply amazes me and I really enjoy his writing. He manages to slip in important messages without labouring them.

All in all, this was a very gripping and satisfying read and I cannot wait to read another book by this author! Highly recommended.

View all my reviews

After the science fiction, I wanted a complete change of genre. I had been in a long reservation queue for the most recent book in the Vera series by Ann Cleeves and it popped into my list at just the right moment!

The Rising Tide by Ann Cleeves

So, here we have The Rising Tide by Ann Cleeves (#10 Vera Stanhope series). I haven’t read all of the series yet, although I try to get hold of the ebooks when the library has them on their system. Anyway, this is the blurb:

“Fifty years ago, a group of teenagers spent a weekend on Holy Island, forging a bond that has lasted a lifetime. Now, they still return every five years to celebrate their friendship, and remember the friend they lost to the rising waters of the causeway at the first reunion.

Now, when one of them is found hanged, Vera is called in. Learning that the dead man had recently been fired after misconduct allegations, Vera knows she must discover what the friends are hiding, and whether the events of many years before could have led to murder then, and now . . .

But with the tide rising, secrets long-hidden are finding their way to the surface, and Vera and the team may find themselves in more danger than they could have believed possible . . .”

Once again, I really enjoyed the book and awarded it four stars. Here is my review:

The Rising Tide (Vera Stanhope, #10)The Rising Tide by Ann Cleeves
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Having read a lot of this series and all of Ann Cleeves’ Shetland series, as well as watching almost all of the TV spin offs, I think that I am quite immersed in this author’s writing! I have always wanted to see Holy Island but, despite having been to Northumberland several times, I haven’t quite made it. Anyway, it was interesting to read such a book set in the area. The setting was so well-written, as were the characters, and I didn’t guess the murderer at all, which is very unusual for me.

Great stuff!

View all my reviews

This time I changed genres again to dystopian alternative history!

Widow land by C J Carey

I was intrigued by the blurb written for C J Carey’s Widowland:

“To control the past, they edited history. To control the future, they edited literature.

London, 1953, Coronation year – but not the Coronation of Elizabeth II.

Thirteen years have passed since a Grand Alliance between Great Britain and Germany was formalized. George VI and his family have been murdered and Edward VIII rules as King. Yet, in practice, all power is vested in Alfred Rosenberg, Britain’s Protector. The role and status of women is Rosenberg’s particular interest.

Rose Ransom belongs to the elite caste of women and works at the Ministry of Culture, rewriting literature to correct the views of the past. But now she has been given a special task.

Outbreaks of insurgency have been seen across the country; graffiti daubed on public buildings. Disturbingly, the graffiti is made up of lines from forbidden works, subversive words from the voices of women. Suspicion has fallen on Widowland, the run-down slums where childless women over fifty have been banished. These women are known to be mutinous, for they have nothing to lose.

Before the Leader arrives for the Coronation ceremony of King Edward and Queen Wallis, Rose must infiltrate Widowland to find the source of this rebellion and ensure that it is quashed.”

Looking on Goodreads, it seems that the book is part one of a series! I will have to think about whether I might look for this. Anyway, here is my response:

WidowlandWidowland by C.J. Carey
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The plot of this book was certainly a mixture of others: Fatherland, Handmaid’s Tale and SS-GB etc., but, all the same, it kept me interested until the end. The author cleverly tied in alternatives to the real historical events and worked out a plausible version of what could have happened. I must say that I think that the British would not have rolled over quite so easily to a German takeover, but, perhaps, I am being sentimental! Even though I was born a good decade after WWII, I was brought up with images of the plucky Brits and bulldog Churchill and I don’t like the idea that people would have collaborated to the extent that the book portrayed.

The fact that this tale was told from a female point of view, certainly gave it a good twist. Well worth reading.

View all my reviews

I am pleased to say that I have now read 66 books this year! My challenge on Goodreads was 60, so I have done well. Not quite the number that I used to be able to read before I had the stroke, but eyesight and memory issues have now come into play. I try to spend two or three hours every afternoon with a book and that seems to work well at the moment. I try to look at this time as a more positive aspect of being bedridden – 😀.

Happy Reading to you all!

Love and best wishes,



About The Librain

Retired School Librarian
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