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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. 




Currently reading

Rudyard Kipling, A.L. Rowse
The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt's New World
Andrea Wulf
Progress: 74/341 pages

#24in48 Three Hours to the 24in48 Readathon


Signup at the link which also explains:  

"If you’re new to 24in48, this is the basic gist: beginning at 12:01am on Saturday morning and running through 11:59pm on Sunday night, participants read for 24 hours out of that 48-hour period. You can split that up however you’d like: 20 hours on Saturday, four hours on Sunday; 12 hours each day; six four-hour sessions with four hour breaks in between, whatever you’d like.  


And that’s it. The format never changes but it’s always an adventure."

Source: http://24in48.com
Reblogged from Debbie's Spurts

Booklikes-opoly Roll 19

Current Bank Balance: $104!!!

Personal Goal: $100 - Exceeded my personal goal!!! Woo HOO!!

Last Roll Date: July 14th


Finished Reading:  The Fallen Angel - Daniel Silva (audiobook), which starts and ends in Italy, for Fantasyland 6: Read a book set in a Western European Country or with a wintry scene on the cover and Ancillary Sword - Ann Leckie, which was published in 2014, for Carsland 18: Read a book published in 2002, 2011, 2013 or 2014 or has a car on the cover.


Still in Progress: Free Friday Selection The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt's New World - Andrea Wulf I'm currently partway through Section II


New Roll: 

 Kim - Rudyard Kipling,A.L. Rowse  


For this square, I'm going to count India as part of Asia and read Kim - Rudyard Kipling,A.L. Rowse, especially as our old print edition has an elephant on the cover.  The library also has a graphic novel adaptation, so if I decide the print in the 1962 edition is too small, and the shuttle between libraries moves quickly, I may read that instead.





Precursor - C.J. Cherryh

Precursor - C.J. Cherryh is the first book of the 2nd trilogy in the Foreigner series and starts a few years after the end of Inheritor.  The shuttle to carry people and supplies between the planet and the space station is recently operational and the ship captains recall Jason with little warning.


The early part of the book is a lot of milling around and jockeying for position that drags a bit.  But eventually the pace picks up and the book finishes in a rush like mechetti  following the leader in a satisfying mad race to home.  During Precursor, Bren finally sheds some of his tedious insecurity and Ilsidi charmingly steals the show as usual. 


Read as a Free Friday selection for Booklikes-opoly.

Booklikes-opoly Update - Roll #18 & Free Friday

Current Bank Balance: $88

Personal Goal: $100

Last Roll Date: July 4th

Finished Reading: Precursor - C.J. Cherryh  and All American Boys - Brendan Kiely,Jason Reynolds which were a Free Friday and 4th of July selection, respectively.


Precursor - C.J. Cherryh  All American Boys - Brendan Kiely,Jason Reynolds  


Still in Progress:  The Fallen Angel - Daniel Silva  

Decided Wasn't In The Mood: This Is Not a Game - Walter Jon Williams 


Which leaves me free to roll again!!



I've been here before, but early in the game before the bonuses were active.  I choose:  Ancillary Sword - Ann Leckie which was published in 2014.  If it turns out to be too much intrigue over tea this close to finishing Precursor - C.J. Cherryh, I'll read Fortune's Pawn - Rachel Bach, also published in 2014, which my teen sons are currently enjoying.  


Ancillary Sword - Ann Leckie  Fortune's Pawn - Rachel Bach  


I also have a Free Friday selection available.  Predictably, I'm going to choose the remainder of The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt's New World - Andrea Wulf since I'm participating in the buddy read (though feeling woefully behind because I'm still in Part I and the active discussion appears to be in Part III).


The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt's New World - Andrea Wulf 





The Scorpio Races

The Scorpio Races - Maggie Stiefvater, Fiona Hardingham, Steve West, Scholastic Audio

What to say about The Scorpio Races, which I read as my first Booklikes-opoly Free Friday Selection:


  • The story of The Scorpio Races is told from two intersecting perspectives, that of Puck Connolly and that of Sean Kendrick.
  • The audiobook is read by two narrators, a female narrator for the chapters from Puck’s perspective and a male narrator for the chapters from Sean’s perspective. I thought the use of two narrators worked well.
  • Maggie Stiefvater has a way with language that reads aloud wonderfully and speaks to me
  • These characters/this story didn’t grab me as much as The Raven Boys or Shiver Quartets
  • I recommend not knowing anything more than the cover blurb before reading The Scorpio Races, so I’m going to leave it here.

4th of July and BL-opoly Roll #17

I started the day sitting on Fantasyland 6, for which I'm listening to the audiobook of The Fallen Angel by Daniel Silva.  Also active is my Free Friday pick of Precursor by C.J Cherryh. 


Bank balance $72


I usually only have 1 audiobook, 1 print/ebook in a different genre and sometimes a non-fiction going at the same time, but I never know what I'm going to feel like reading next. As 90% or more of my books come from the library, there's also often a bit of lead time before what I choose comes in. In addition, I have some travel coming up in the next week or so.  So am taking advantage of the 4th of July extra roll and the audiobook exemption to build a short-list of books to choose from during my travels without having to buy vacation rolls.


4th of July Free Move


I moved 4 spaces around the board to 



Both of these selections may be a slight stretch for the Main Street squares, but I'm going to either read All American Boys - Brendan Kiely & Jason Reynolds or The People: No Different Flesh - Zenna Henderson.  


All American Boys - Brendan Kiely,Jason Reynolds  The People: No Different Flesh - Zenna Henderson  


It's unclear whether All American Boys, which follows two young men - one African American, one Caucasian - after an incident of racist police brutality is set in a small town or a small city. But it definitely occurs in the U.S.A and this is the Main Street Square that it is the best match for. The People: No Different Flesh are short stories about psychic humanoid aliens, refugees from the destruction of their home planet, who settle in a variety of small towns in the USA.  With their ability to lift and move themselves and inanimate objects and to speak mind-to-mind, the stories are at once small-town America, but not quite.   I read the first half of Ingathering: The Complete People Stories of Zenna Henderson, which corresponds to the material originally published as Pilgrimage: The Book of the People - Zenna Henderson in June as part of my personal re-read challenge and the Library Love Challenge.  So it would be great to finish the omnibus if I can get it back from the library in time.


Roll #17



  This Is Not a Game - Walter Jon Williams  


I almost wish I wasn't reading Daniel Silva already, as the Gabriel Allon books almost all involve overseas travel.  Instead, I've selected This Is Not a Game - Walter Jon Williams. My husband remembers the book as mostly taking place in LA, but the book opens with one of the 4 protagonists trapped in Jakarta, having missed her flight to Bali.  I may well look for something different for this square, as the dated tech in the first couple of pages is a bit off-putting.


Does anyone have a suggestion of what else to read instead?

Fourth Of July Optional BL challenge!


In honor of U.S. Independence Day, everyone has the option of going to Main Street, U.S.A. tomorrow! You can read books from any of the Main Street Squares!



This is a totally free move! You don't need to have finished your prior square to move, and this doesn't disrupt your rolling schedule (in other words, if you're free to roll on the 5th, you can still roll on the 5th even though you moved on the 4th). But, if you do move, that's your new starting spot for your next roll! If you don't take the offer, you don't get the extra move!

Reblogged from Moonlight Reader


Ghost (Track) - Jason Reynolds

Ghost by Jason Reynolds is the first book in a planned middle grade series focusing on "a fast but fiery group of kids who have a shot at the Junior Olympics, but have a lot to prove first - to each other, and to themselves."  Castle Cranshaw  (aka Ghost) hails from the poor part of town and as we discover in the first chapter, his Dad is in jail for attempting to shoot his Mom. Ghost is nicely done, and I think would be compelling to a middle grader who liked realistic fiction or a young African-American who loved to run.  While this book is well reviewed by Teachers and Youth Librarians I respect, I found the story arc that little bit too predictable to an adult for me to rate it higher than 3.5 stars.


Volume 2 in the series, which focuses on a different member of the team, is expected out at the end of August


(Read outside of Booklikes-opoly because it was due back to the Library).


Free Friday Selection

Precursor - C.J. Cherryh

On the first Booklikes-opoly Free Friday, I picked the audiobook of The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater.


Last Friday, I didn't select a book because I hadn't finished and you can only have one Free Friday book at a time.


But now it's bed-time on Friday. The other updates I wrote tonight took longer than I'd planned. And I'm too exhausted after several extra-early mornings for work this week to stay up and finish the last hour of The Scorpio Races before bed. I hope that it won't be considered too much of a stretch of the audiobook rule to go ahead and pick a new Free Friday book anyway.


I choose Precursor by C.J Cherryh, the book that I almost read for the Frontierland 2 square.  My only fear is that international diplomacy and intrigue (granted involving aliens and space ships) and international spycraft and adventure (in Europe and the Middle East) will be too much alike for me to enjoy reading this at the same time as Daniel Silva.

Booklikes-opoly Roll 16

Bank Balance: $62

Roll #16


So I continue inching around the board and move to Fantasyland 6



With my focus this year on finishing some of the too many open series I have going, I'm going to return to author Daniel Silva and his long-running spy/thriller series featuring Gabriel Allon.  Based on my likely-to be incomplete records, I have previously read volumes 1-10, may have missed 11 & 12, and then have read 13-15.  Volume 17 in the series is expected to come out in mid-July.  


Portrait of a Spy - Daniel Silva  The Fallen Angel - Daniel Silva  Black Widow - Daniel Silva  


Volume 11 Portrait of a Spy is partially set in London.

Volume 12 The Fallen Angel is partially set in the Vatican, and the book synopsis mentions skiing and St. Moritz

Volume 16 The Black Widow starts with a bombing in Paris


I haven't quite decided which one I will read and what format I will choose. I'm about to need a new audiobook and have listened to most of the previous volumes so am leaning towards the audiobook, though a lot will depend on what is available when I go to the library tomorrow.


Blue on Blue

Blue on Blue: An Insider’s Story of Good Cops Catching Bad Cops - Charles Campisi, Gordon Dillow

On my last Booklikes-opoly turn, I landed on Frontierland 2: Read a book with a main character who knows how to handle a gun or where someone is shot.  I debated between continuing my re-read of the Foreigner Series by CJ Cherryh or Blue on Blue: An Insider’s Story of Good Cops Catching Bad Cops - Charles Campisi,Gordon Dillow and ended up settling on latter.


Blue on Blue is a random non-fiction book from my local library that came home as part of a haul related to secret service dogs, military dogs, and police that I thought might catch my older son's interest.  Both he and I ended up reading this memoir of Charles Campisi, the recently retired Former Chief of the New York Police Department's Internal Affairs Bureau.  By virtue of his job as a Police Officer, it's a given that Mr. Campesi knows how to handle a gun, and yes several people get shot during the selected anecdotes from 18 years of investigating corrupt NYPD cops.  Son deemed Blue on Blue to be a 4-star read; I rated it 3 1/2 stars.  While Mr. Campesi and his co-author Gordon Dillow tell a clear story with some interesting anecdotes, I just wasn't compelled to keep reading.


This is my first book selected after The Big Shakeup and at 342 pages brings my Bank Balance to $62.

206 Bones

206 Bones - Kathy Reichs

Continuing to catch up on back reviews...


206 Bones is book 12 of 18 in the long running series by Kathy Reichs starring forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan.   206 Bones continues to follow the "procedurals" formula and, I don't think it's too much of a spoiler to say that like many of the other books in the series, our protagonist ends up abducted, escaped/rescued, and in the hospital  before the end of the story.  But she, with the assist from side-kick cop (and ex-lover) Andrew Ryan do eventually put the clues together and catch the murders. While not exactly bad, 206 Bones is not nearly as exciting as the earlier books in the series. 


I'm not quite ready to give up on Tempe, but I don't recommend starting this series with 206 Bones.


Read for Mystery 8 – Read a book that is tagged mystery or has a title that begins with any of the letters in the word “Clue.”



Etched in Bone

Etched in Bone  - Anne Bishop

It’s been almost a month since I finished Etched in Bone and I still haven’t been able to pull my thoughts together to write anything more articulate than my initial squee, but it’s bugging me to have the review unfinished.


I loved The Others series – though this flirtation between Urban Fantasy and just Fantasy is definitely not something that would appeal to all. 


I like how Etched in Bone focused on the core crew of Meg, Simon and the rest of the “Human Pack” in the Lakeside Courtyard.  I also loved the interplay between Meg and the Elders that I’m seeing quoted in many other reviews (the whole bit about “Want cukkies”). 


But in many ways this book is a let-down after the events of Marked in Flesh.  It’s almost like the whole book is an epilog.  As much as I enjoyed the experience of reading and all the feels from visiting with beloved characters in an intriguing world, I couldn’t quite give Etched in Bone 5 stars because of how weak the villain/antagonist was.


I’m sad this series, or at least the arc focusing on Meg and the Lakeside Courtyard is finished.  But at the same time, I’m glad that Ms. Bishop had a clear vision with a beginning and an end and didn’t get drawn into a never-ending series.  I’m very curious about #6 – the official blurb makes it seem like it will be a murder mystery or perhaps even a cozy set in the same universe. Though the cover is gorgeous I have to admit to not being impressed by this teaser for Lake Silence.  I’ll probably give it a try, but I’m wondering if Ms. Bishop will be able to capture my interest with the new spinoff characters.

DNF: The Brain That Changes Itself

The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science - Norman Doidge

While the concept of Neuroplasticity - the ability of brains to continue to change even in adulthood - is fascinating, this book is less so.  I felt like the author was trying to emulate Oliver Sacks to use case studies as a way to tell the history of the change in paradigm from a localized adult brain to the possibility of change, but not quite getting there.



I skidded out in Chapter 4 Acquiring Tastes and Loves - what Neuroplasticity Teaches us about Sexual Attraction and Love.  And since the book is due back at the library, I'm going to officially DNF and move on to more interesting (fiction) and my next Booklikes-opoly read.



Midnight Blue-Light Special & Booklikes-opoly Roll 15

I managed to pick up a tedious case of poison ivy from volunteering to help maintain a local biking trail, so when I woke at 4:30 am itching and unable to sleep, I decided to finish my book.  


Midnight Blue-Light Special - Seanan McGuire  


I read Midnight Blue-Light Special - Seanan McGuire, which is set in NYC, for Roll #13 Square 29:  The Monorail - Read a Book that has travel by air, has an airplane on the cover, or is set in a city with a subway.  Well NYC has a subway, but unless you count Verity Price's predilection for free running (aka taking the roof route) as travel by air, this book almost fits my new roll better than the square I read it for because the subway only appears in the story as a method of transportation to disdain.  It's a nicely done Urban Fantasy with an intriguing non-human ecosystem.  I did find the temporary shift of viewpoint partway through a bit jarring. The Aeslin mice, while somewhat quieter than in Discount Armageddon - Seanan McGuire, are well worth the price of admission for comedic relief

I was thoroughly amused by the High Priest of Goddammit Eat Something Already!

(show spoiler)

I'll probably read the next book in the series relatively soon, which focuses on the up-till-now-offscreen Cousin Alex, though I will miss Very's spunk.


Roll # 13 was doubles, but I'd finished my Roll #14 book first.


Bank Balance $56

Roll #15



Lands me on 



I have two possibilities in mind:

Precursor - C.J. Cherryh , which continues my re-read of the Foreigner Series by CJ Cherryh or a random non-fiction that was a library click-through while looking for books for my elder son.   


Precursor - C.J. Cherryh  or Blue on Blue: An Insider’s Story of Good Cops Catching Bad Cops - Charles Campisi,Gordon Dillow  


I'm planning to start Blue on Blue: An Insider’s Story of Good Cops Catching Bad Cops - Charles Campisi,Gordon Dillow  and see if it grabs me, since the Cherryh is likely to be a slow read.


Save Me a Seat

Save Me a Seat - Gita Varadarajan, Sarah Weeks

Save Me a Seat is a recent middle grade book co-authored by veteran Sarah Weeks and newcomer Gita Varadarajan.  While not explicitly discussed in the interviews, I believe the two authors met at a Teachers College Writing Workshop directed by Lucy Calkins and that the collaborative project may have been born during the workshop. 


The book features alternating chapters of the first week of 5th grade from two viewpoints, Joe (written by Ms. Weeks) and Ravi (written by Ms. Varadarajan).  Joe has lived in the same small town in central NJ all his life.  Ravi has just moved to the US from India.  Taking place over the course of a single week, the boys find common cause and the seed of a friendship as they are both targets of their class bully, an Indian-American kid named Dillon Samreen.


There were many moments of humor and realistic tween emotions throughout Save Me a Seat. I also liked the clever way the book used food as a framing.  However, I didn’t fall in love with the story or the characters. While seeing yourself represented in books is important, I thought it was just too convenient that Joe’s defining characteristic is a learning disability.  And there were times that the moral lessons of looking beyond the surface to find potential friends were just a bit too blatant for my adult eyes.  As I read, I kept wondering if this is a book kids would really be attracted to on their own or if it was written to be a parable and the basis of lesson plans and won’t find many readers outside that context.


Read for Tomorrowland 34 in Booklikes-opoly