JL's Bibliomania

Also on GoodReads as J L's Bibliomania:


and Litsy @jlsbibliomania


While my first love was SF, I read widely in YA, urban fantasy, police procedurals,  middle-grade, and non-fiction. 




Flat Book Society: I Contain Multitudes

I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life - Ed Yong

Just started I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life.  I like the "voice" of the intro and hope it continues throughout.    

Reading progress update: I've read 40%.

Dune  - Frank Herbert, Orlagh Cassidy, Scott Brick, Euan Morton

I have such different ears than when I first read Dune as a young adult.  This time through, I keep being struck at just how sexist much of the beginning is despite having Jessica as a strong female lead.


Room - Emma Donoghue

Folks at my work are trying to start an IRL book club that will meet about once a month. The organizer gave us a choice of 3 things that were on her TBR and the others picked Room - Emma Donoghue as the first selection (I voted for one of the other selections


I was a bit hesitant about Room and thought that the artifice of a 5-year-old narrator would quickly get tiresome.  But surprisingly, even though the kid narrator worked the best for the first section and didn't quite feel right for some of the later sections once the wider world intruded, I enjoyed the whole book. 


Things I had issues with after the spoiler tag



I didn't like the cliffhanger at the end of the 4th chapter when you aren't sure whether or not Ma survives her overdose


I also was surprised that Jack wasn't more agoraphobic and having more visible discomfort once there wasn't a roof over his head or rooms that were larger than Room (but maybe I've just been reading too much SF with former spaceship-dwellers being agoraphobic once they leave the ship.

(show spoiler)




January Round-Robin

Now that the year-end report has been submitted for my primary project, and I'm down to 2 competing work deadlines, I actually have the brainpower to update you on what I read in January.


Naked in Death - J.D. Robb 


First entry in the long-running In Death series by J.D. Robb (now up to 45 volumes).   I enjoyed the audiobook read by Susan Ericksen, but am not sure that I will continue with the series.  Many people prefer more sexy-times in their books that I typically do and Naked In Death skirted the edge of what I'm comfortable with.  I wasn't really surprised with the focus on sexuality in this book considering that the cover blurb states that prostitutes are being murdered and J.D. Robb is one and the same as Nora Roberts. I was a bit annoyed at the insta-attraction between our protagonist Eve Dallas and rich-boy Roarke, and the late bombshell about Eve'd background, but otherwise liked the flow of the story.  In many ways what I found most appealing was how much the 2058 that JD Robb imagined in 1985 looks like the world we have today (granted minus the flying cars). 


Ancillary Mercy - Ann Leckie 


Finished the Imperial Radch trilogy regarding AI Breq Mianaai.  Ancillary Mercy felt much like the second half of the previous book in the trilogy rather than its own independent story. While I liked spending additional time with Breq, I found the resolution of the story an anticlimax, While it wrapped up some of the story's threads, I wasn't satisfied with where the story stopped.  


Rosemary and Rue - Seanan McGuire 


I've very much enjoyed the other books I've read by Seanan McGuire, so thought I would try her traditional Urban Fantasy series.  I enjoyed Rosemary and Rue, but didn't find it nearly as original as the InCryptid universe. While there were some 1st in series wobbles, I will probably give the rest of the series a go. I read this in the thick of report-writing frenzy, so don't have anything more insightful to say.


I also started and skidded out of 2 non-fiction books, though I chalked that up to long-hours and general exhaustion rather than any fault of the book.  So both are back on my list of books to consider reading at a later date.


Storm in a Teacup: The Physics of Everyday Life - Helen Czerski  My Russian Grandmother and Her American Vacuum Cleaner: A Family Memoir - Evan Fallenberg,Meir Shalev  


All of these books, including the ones I didn't finish count towards the Library Love Challenge and Naked in Death counts towards the Audiobook Challenge

The Fifth Season

The Fifth Season - N.K. Jemisin

After a rather confusing start, NK Jemisin once again delivers the inventive speculative fiction that I love. 


I was confused about the timeline of the story and how the 3 viewpoint characters were connected.  But about 1/2 way through the text confirmed that the story was showing 3 different time periods from the same person's life. 

(show spoiler)


Great way to start the reading year!

2018 Reading Goals & Challenges

I studied Hebrew as a child/teen, but stopped before becoming fully fluent.  And then, as happens when a language isn’t used regularly, I lost a lot of what I once knew.  I’ve been thinking about trying to regain my Hebrew for a while, and despite really not having time for ANYTHING except work through at least February, I’ve signed up to audit a Hebrew class that starts January 4th. My goal is to be able to read the newspaper or listen to the Hebrew version of Israel Story.   So as a result my 2018 reading goals are going to be a bit different:


  • Keep up with the Hebrew class reading/studying
  • Read at least 12 newspaper or magazine articles in Hebrew (or listen to –and understand – an equivalent number of podcasts).
  • Read (or listen to) more than 52 books
  • Be social in my reading – whether it’s participating in Flat Book Society Reads, Dewey’s Readathon, 24in48, or reading challenges such as Halloween Bingo here on Booklikes.
  • Make progress on the mountain of unfinished series – especially continuing my re-read of the Foreigner series by CJ Cherryh.


I like to keep my reading goals low-key, so even though I was intrigued by the Women Writer’s Bingo and browsed through the excellent Master List of 2018 Reading Challenges list of challenges published by Girlxoxo  I’m going to stick to two year-long challenges that are incidental to my existing reading habits 


Angel's Guilty Pleasures


2018 Library Love Challenge hosted by co-hosted by Angel’s Guilty Pleasures and Brooke Blogs. Challenge sign-up is HERE or HERE.  With my no-stress challenge mentality, I’m going to stick with the Overdrive Junkie: Read 36 books Level


2018 Audiobook Challenge


2018 Audiobook Challenge hosted by Caffeinated Reviewer and  and Hot Listens.  Signup is HERE or HERE. I’m selecting the Weekend Warrior (I’m getting the hang of this) Level and shooting for 5-10 audiobooks


Active Series 2018

While I typically ignore TBR lists in favor of what I see on the new book shelves at the library, I did actually look at the list of many too many series that I’ve started but never finished.  So I decided to update it for 2018.


A list Series 

Series Name/Description



# in Series

The Others

Anne Bishop


5  (#6 expected 2018)

Ancillary Trilogy

Ann Leckie


3 (finished 1/12/18)

Peter Grant (Rivers of London)

Ben Aaronovich


6 (no date for #7)


CJ Cherryh


18 (restarted from #1)

The Checquy Files (The Rook)

Daniel O’Malley


2 (unclear if there will be more)


Nancy Kress



Fifth Season

NK Jemisin




Seanan McGuire




Trilogies & Duologies

Series Name/Description



# in Series

These Broken Stars (Starbound)

Amie Kaufman




Jennifer Roberson



Siobhan Quinn

Kathleen Tierney



The Craft Sequence

Max Gladstone



Paradox (Fortune’s Pawn)

Rachel Bach



The Aeronaut’s Windlass

Jim Butcher


#2 is expected 2018


B list Series 

Series Name/Description



# in Series

Gallagher Girls

Ally Carter



Sirantha Jax

Ann Aguire



Sookie Stackhouse

Charlaine Harris



Tillerman Cycle

Cynthia Voigt


7 (undecided)

Gabriel Allon

Daniel Silva



Sean King & Michelle Maxwell

David Baldacci


 6 (undecided)

Allie Beckstrom

(Magic to the Bone)

Devon Monk



Peter Decker & Rina Lazarus

Faye Kellerman



Kate Daniel

Ilona Andrews


9 (undecided)


Jack McDevitt



The Dresden Files

Jim Butcher



Naked In

JD Robb


46 (partway thru #1)

Temperance Brennan

Kathy Reichs



Imager Portfolio

L.E. Modessit




L.E. Modessit



The Queen’s Thief

Meghan Whelan Turner




Mercedes Lackey



Elemental Masters

Mercedes Lackey



Chronicles of Elantra (Cast In X)

Michelle Sagara




Naomi Novik



Mercy Thompson

Patricia Briggs



Weather Warden

Rachel Caine



His Fair Assassin

Robin LaFevers


3 (#4 expected 2018)

Emberverse & Nantucket

S.M. Stirling



Throne of Glass

Sarah J Maas




Scott Westerfeld



Liaden Universe

Sharon Lee & Steve Miller



Elemental Blessings

Sharon Shinn



Alphabet Murders

Sue Grafton


25 (considering)

Charlie Hood

T. Jefferson Parker




There’s a real tension between interesting new books being released faster than I can keep up and catching up on these previously started series.


2017 Reading Wrapup

2017 Reading Wrap-up

My reading goals for 2017 were:


  • Read at least 52 books – DONE! I have 79 books on my 2017 Reads shelf at BookLikes.


  • Participate in the Library Love Challenge http://angelsguiltypleasures.com/2016/12/sign-up-2017-library-love-challenge/ co-hosted by Angel’s Guilty Pleasures and Bea’s Book Nook. I will commit to becoming an Overdrive Junkie: read 36 books.   I didn’t count the number of reviews, but 69 of the 78 books I read in 2017 came from the library – whether via hard-copy or ebook loan.


  • Participate in at least 2 Readathons – with the goal of getting to 12 hours of reading during either Dewey’s Readathon or #24in48 at least once this year – I participated in the April Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon, the July 24in48 Readathon, and the 10th Anniversary Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon in October. Didn’t do a good job of tracking time, but I’m happy with my Readathon participation.


  • I’ve fallen out of the habit of re-reading, so I challenge myself to reread at least 6 old favorites in 2017 – In part due to binge-reading the Alana Quartet by Tamora Pierce one weekend while ill, and also because of my on-going re-read of the Foreigner Series by CJ Cherryh, 16 of my 2017 books were re-reads.


My other, unstated, goal for 2017 was to be more social in my reading.  Between The Flat Book Society, Booklikesopoly this summer, Halloween Bingo this fall, and the aforementioned Readathons, I was much more social about my reading during 2017 and it made me happy.



Hybrids - Robert J. Sawyer


I'm glad I can now say that I've completed the trilogy.

Hybrids had some good moments, but overall a flawed end to this story arc.


(almost 2.5 stars, but I'm feeling generous)


Happy Holidays!


Merry Christmas to those celebrating today!

Happy Holidays to everyone during this season of festivals of light.  I wish you all the blessings found on this Hannukiah.


November Update

Just popping in for a quick update.  I’m swamped at work.  And furiously busy with teen and home related things, not to mention the toddler-dog who needs constant supervision unless he’s crated or sleeping.   So, JL’s Bibliomania is on semi-hiatus.


A few quick updates on what I read during November:


Forensics: What Bugs, Burns, Prints, DNA and More Tell Us About Crime - Val McDermid 


I finished Forensics, and my initial opinion of didn’t change much.   I agree with the rest of the folks in The Flat Book Society: While certain anecdotes and chapters were interesting, in general this book is a disorganized mess.  It didn’t live up to expectations as a work of popular science.


Sparrow Hill Road - Seanan McGuire 


I liked Sparrow Hill Road, despite the repetitive bits.  (It’s really a linked set of short stories and it got a little bit tiresome that Seanan McGuire included the same key bits of world-building in pretty much every chapter).  When I saw her at Philcon, Seanan McGuire shared that a sequel The Girl in the Green Silk Gown is expected out in July 2018, and I’ll definitely take a look.


Books Can Be Deceiving - Jenn McKinlay 


I was not impressed by Books Can be Deceiving, which I think may have been recommended by someone here on BookLikes.  I’ve been looking for a new series of cozies, but this is not it and I won’t be continuing with the series. 


 Queen of Shadows - Sarah J. Maas  


I read Queen of Shadows over Thanksgiving Weekend.  If you liked the earlier books in this series, you shouldn’t be disappointed by #4.  It doesn’t hold up to the thrill of the first book, The Throne of Glass, but was better than #3.  Folks seem to either love or hate this series, but it’s worth a look if you like YA fantasy, assassins, and female heroines.


Positivity: Top-Notch Research Reveals the 3 to 1 Ratio That Will Change Your Life - Barbara L. Fredrickson 


I’m currently between audiobooks, which is uncharacteristic for me, but don’t have the energy to go pick something.  I saw Nothing Better Than a Good Books’s review of Positivity come across my feed and it seems like a good antidote to all the stress right now, so I’m nibbling through that.  I’ve got a couple of graphic novel biographies available, but just don’t have the energy to read much.


I hope to have some time over the Christmas-New Year’s break, but other than that, I expect that my on-line time will be minimal until mid-February.  I am still looking forward to Storm in a Teacup: The Physics of Everyday Life and hope and hope to eke out enough time to read it and participate during the Flat Book Society discussions. 


See you on the far-side of the year-end crunch.

Flat Book Society Reading Progress Update: I've read 161 out of 320 pages.

Forensics: What Bugs, Burns, Prints, DNA and More Tell Us About Crime - Val McDermid

While the Flat Book Society Read of Forensics: What Bugs, Burns, Prints, DNA and More Tell Us About Crime - Val McDermid officially starts today, I started the audiobook a week or so ago when it came in from the library.


My impressions so far are mixed.  While I'm enjoying the book, on the surface, I'm finding it surprisingly similar to Gulp  - a random mish-mash of history, interviews with an expert or two, and then summaries of some recent or notorious court cases. And at least in the 1st couple of chapters not as much explanation of the science as I had hoped (for instance, I didn't learn anything about the use of entomology in crime scene investigation that I hadn't already picked up from Temperance Brennan). 

P.S. It took a while to adjust to the narrator's accent. I'm not sure I'm 100% sold that audiobook is the best format for this. The book does include pictures and the flashbacks to history and chronology are a bit harder to follow in audio format.


The 4th Annual Scorpio Races Festival


The Scorpio Races - Maggie Stiefvater 


Fans of The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater:  Today is the 1st of November and the start of the  4th Annual Scorpio Races Festival


Head on over to http://thescorpioracesfestival.tumblr.com/TSRF2017 to see the rules.


(Now I have a real dilemma - Maggie Stievater fangirl or the holiday challenge starting here).



Autistics Speaking Day

November 1 is Autistics Speaking Day. 


If you follow the writings of Autistic adults, the themes in today's posts won't be new.  If you haven't taken the time to explore hear what concerns Autistic adults, today is a good day to get an overview.

Halloween Bingo Finale

Give me an H! for Halloween Bingo!

Give me a cheer for Moonlight Reader and Obsidian Blue for all their hard work!



Final wrap-up:

11 squares filled with books

4 squares filled with short stories, novellas, or excerpts from books


1 partially-filled Sudoku-like puzzle for your solving pleasure







How it fits


Diverse Voices



The Hate U Give - Angie Thomas

Unarmed Black Teen is murdered by a cop. The Hate U Give follows the friend who witnessed and the repercussions throughout the community


The Dead Will Walk



The Girl With All The Gifts - M.R. Carey

What can you say without spoilers?  Great twist on the classic infection/zombie trope. Would also fit chilling children, but this fits the pattern I'm creating on my card better.


Classic Noir



The Thin Man - Dashiell Hammett

Classic Noir buddy read.  Genesis of the successful Noir/Comedy movies of the same name.





Dead Witch Walking - Kim Harrison

Urban Fantasy set in post-plague Cincinnati & environs.  Witches, Vampires & Pixies Oh My! Death threats, but no murders.


Haunted Houses*



The Haunted Grange of Goresthorpe - Arthur Conan Doyle & A Haunted House - Virginia Woolf
(The Bell at Seeley Head - Patricia McKillip)

Two short-shorts, available for free online, about ghosts and haunted houses. 
Also started the sound of a ghostly bell and doors that open onto another realm (is it haunted) on the last day.





Defender - CJ Cherryh

Volume 4 in the continuing saga of Bren the translator between the humans who settle on the world, the alien Atevi, and the human of the starship crew.





Gulp - Mary Roach

Flat Book Society Group read including anecdotes of various creepy crawlies you can find in your gut





Half-Off Ragnarok - Seanan McGuire

Murder with various crypozoological wonders including basiliks and occasional cameos from the Aeslin Mice


Country House Mystery



And Then There Were None - Agatha Christie

10 people, an island, a creepy poem/prophecy and one masterful author


Terrifying Women



All The Crooked Saints - Maggie Steifvater

Miracles abound in this newly-released stand-alone novel by a female author.  Would fill the Magical Realism or Supernatural categories.





Norse Mythology- Neil Gaiman

Norse myths are full of giants, trolls, dwarves and gods.  In addition, at least 3 of Loki's children the 8 legged horse Sleipnir, the wolf Fenrir, and the world serpent Jörmungandr would qualify as a monster.





The Call of Chthulu - H.P. Lovecraft

I grew up with folks wearing Miskatonic University t-shirts to SF Cons and making Chthulu jokes.  Figured it was about time to actually read the story that started it all.


In the Dark, Dark Woods



The Legend of Sleepy Hollow - Washington Irving

Takes place in the woods near Tarrytown NY


Darkest London



Stiletto - Daniel O'Malley

In His Majesty's Secret Secret Service accompanied by bioengineers from the Continent.


Amateur Sleuth



Fool Me Once - Steve Hockensmith & Lisa Falco

Alanis McLaughlin inherited her con-man mother's shop The White Magic Five and Dime.  She and the Tarot cards search for the true murderer to clear on of her most loyal customers from the charge of murdering her abusive husband.


* While I don't think I'll be able to finish before midnight, I decided that the 2 short-shorts I read felt too skimpy and started another book that I believe would qualify for the Haunted Houses Square.




Stiletto - Daniel O'Malley

I did finish before the end of Halloween Bingo! This novel of VERY SECRET Secret Agents starts slowly and develops into a worthy sequel to The Rook  




Currently reading

The Stone Sky (The Broken Earth) by N.K. Jemisin
I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life by Ed Yong
Dune by Frank Herbert, Orlagh Cassidy, Scott Brick, Euan Morton
Progress: 40%