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Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress
Steven Pinker
Progress: 54/576 pages
The View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Nonfiction
Neil Gaiman
Progress: 202/502 pages
Jo Nesbø

Thor and Loki origin stories

Norse Mythology - Neil Gaiman

Greek mythology is a rewritten of old stories about Odin, Thor and Loki. It is entertainment enough as some of the stories seems new. It is old and from myths of the old days. 


Neil Gaiman is a good storyteller. The only complaint is the stories are a bit disjoined. 


Still very readable. Thor didn't have any character development as we get to know him in Marvel comics. the stories themselves are bounded by stories written before this. 

Loki is much less likable as in the Marvel stories. His motivation is more like a sociopath than a witty and canning god. 


Like it enough to finish it. 



Hiccup new adventure when Fishleg wrote a poem

How to Break a Dragon's Heart (Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III #8) - Cressida Cowell

Hiccup in How to train a dragon series has a new adventure. 


Fishleg found where he belongs even when he is adopted. 


In between is Fishleg has a crush and was sent on a quest. 


Toothless is much smaller dragon, dog size and would swallow a lot of things it shouldn't have. 


A fun book on Viking dragons with load of drawing and hand-written scripts, ugly one that make it more childlike. The look and feel of this book is so good younger persons would enjoyed it a lot. 


The characters development is good and pretty consistent. 


Highly recommended for children and adults. 

A teen romance... sort of

Turtles All the Way Down - John Green

A girl Aza who has spiral thinking and germaphobic want to get out of her head. She has a best friend who write fan fiction of Star Wars Wookiee Chewbacca.


The story starts with a rich man was on the run from the police. The police has a ten thousands dollars reward for clue to find him.


Aza knew he man's son Davis. So they pretend to be just happened to be in the area and trying to clue to find the man and get the reward at first. Of course, that's not what they got. Aza starts dating Davis. 


The story is kind of sweet as it is into poetry and fan fictions and girl being depressed and couldn't help herself or get away from her though.


That's the good part. Even though it is a lot of grey it is still a good read. All John Green's fans would not be disappointed. 

25 Brilliant and Literary-Inspired Mixed Drinks

Looks good. 





1 part Liqueur, raspberry (Chambord)
1 part cranberry juice
1 part orange juice
1 Maraschino cherry
1 twist (of peel) orange Instructions:
'Mix juices and Chambord with ice, strain. Garnish with an orange twist wrapped around a cherry with a sword-pick through it. Serve in a hurricane glass.'




Lovely children book on gender

Introducing Teddy: A gentle story about gender and friendship - Dougal MacPherson, Jess Walton

Errol and Thomas the teddy are friend. 

They play together.


Thomas is unhappy. 


Thomas the teddy wants to tell Errol that she is a girl teddy and not a boy teddy. 


The story is about gender identity for little children. Girl teddy being mistaken as boy teddy would make the girl teddy unhappy. It is good to allow the girl teddy to identity herself as girl teddy. 



Image result for Introducing teddy

June reading wrap-up

Only read 8 books in June. All good one range from 5 stars to 4.5 stars. 


5 stars read 


Less - Andrew Sean Greer 


What a wonderful story about a gay man, going 50 and try to run away from the fact that his ex-lover is getting married. He accepted invitation on speaker spot and guest lecture so that he could avoid attending the ex-lover's wedding. 


The writing is witty and with lot of self-reflection on who he is. Such a lovely books and so packed for less two hundreds plus pages. 


The Whole Truth - David Baldacci 


The Whole Truth is political thriller. In the age of fake news, this book has talked about perception management, about manufacturing perceptions through media by generating fake news. 


The story of a reluctant secret agent Shaw and how he wanted out.  Katie is a journalist who is also a drunk. She is good when she is sober. 


They team up and try to find the truth. Really good story especially on how fake news generators fooling the public. 


4.5 stars read: 


Don't Let Go - Harlan Coben 


Nap tried to find out how the fingerprints of his old and dead girlfriend could be found on a crime scene. 


Nap is talking to his dead brother in his head. The story is about conspiracy and discovery of truth. The characters are a bit under developed. Overall, it is still a pretty awesome read. 


The Innocent - David Baldacci 


Will Robie story about how he didn't finish the job because a child is involved. Seldom do audio book but this is an exception. 


Pretty nice going as he team up with a runaway with someone after her. 


Action packed with plot twist. Also the first book that Will Robie met Blue Man. 


Dearly Devoted Dexter - Jeff Lindsay  Dexter in the Dark - Jeff Lindsay  


Two Dexter books. The writing is humorous and Dexter is continue to develop as a serial killer with principle. 


Dexter lives with Henry's rule. 


He is a crime lab tech by day, and vigilante of some sort by night. It is not only out of sense of justice that he killed the very bad guys. It is also to satisfy his own hunger for the kill. 


Pretty awesome read. 


Point Blanc - Anthony Horowitz  Skeleton Key - Anthony Horowitz  


Two Alex Rider book. Point Blanc is about infiltration of a school for rich troubled kids. Skeleton Key is about Alex in danger of being assassinated, and being on loan to CIA to discover who bought a nuclear bomb. 


Teen spy books are pretty good with action and danger but no come out good at the end. 


Fun read. 


That's all 8 books read in June. Not a bad month but I was trying to finish more books from the TBR pile. 



Beginning of the King and Michelle series

Split Second  - David Baldacci

King as a disgraced Secret Service agent when his protectee got assassinated. 


8 years later. Michelle is a disgraced Secret Service agent when her protectee got kidnapped. 


So what going on and who is behind the assassination and kidnapping? 


King is a lawyer now. But he still not feeling good about himself because of his failed mission. 


Michelle is a bit clueless on who and why his protectee got kidnapped. The only connection is the both of hers and King's protectees are running for office with not a really good chance to win.


The story itself is interesting. The plots is a bit out there. The building up of tension and characters development is pretty good. it is an older book but the skills of the writer well developed. 


The interaction between King and Jane, his old lover, and Kate the daughter of the assassin is pretty strange, yet intriguing. 


Going to continue reading this series. Hope the rest of the books are just as good. 




Unexpected journey of a gay man

Less - Andrew Sean Greer

Arthur Less is a writer going to be 50 soon. 


He has two very long term relationship. One with a famous poet, another one is son of a friendenemy Freddie. 

Freddy is now getting married to Tom and sent him a wedding invitation. Less could not go to the wedding as he has not gotten over him yet, but he couldn't really turn it down either without a good excuse.


So Less, being clueless on what to do, accepted invitations as speaker, as lecturer, as participant in competition. That would take Less out of the country and be in France, Italy, Germany, Morocco, India and Japan.


What a trip. 


In his encounters, Less found himself thinking of his life, as a writer who slept with genius. A nice gentleman who has very little awareness of himself in the world beginning to see himself in a different light.


As a reader who prefer action, and plot twists, this book comes surprising fresh and entertaining. It is not as self-indulgence as I expected, of the protagonist being a middle-aged white man. 


The skill of the writer Andrew Sean Greer to be able to capture embarrassing moments of Less life and turned it into something sweeter and deeper for the character and the readers as well.


Really well done. Highly recommended read. 

Reading progress update: I've read 225 out of 272 pages.

Less - Andrew Sean Greer

Alex Less is going to be 50 in a few weeks. 


His ex is getting married. Less does not want to go to the wedding but got no excuse for not attending. 


In his desperation, he answered all his invitation and going to be travelling. He accepted an invitation on a talk as speaker, a competition in Italy, a trip in Morocco with friends, and a writer retreat in India. 


Now he is on his last leg. Les found out more about himself and see his own life in a different light. His journey is more like a growing up story for the mature adults. 


Andrew Sean Greer won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2018 with this one. 


For someone who is a bit low minded when it comes to literature, I admit that much about myself as I found some literatures too trivial and too self-centered for me to like them. Look at the world and how much time could a person afford to be that self-reflection on small matter, or how privilege to be worried about such things when the world is falling apart. 


This book is exception as it start off with self-centered writer to a realisation. 


Around 50 pages to go and still liking it.  


Alex Rider adventure in France

Point Blanc  - Anthony Horowitz

Alex Rider has found a drug dealer in his school and tried to catch the drug dealer.


MI6 has bailed him out only to use him as an undercover agent to infiltrate a French school for rich kids.


The plot thicken as this special school has more guards than students.


So what's going on?


Alex found out. He got gadgets but no weapons. 


He was captured and he called for help. No help comes for 24 hours because MI6 don't trust Alex judgment.


Why are the two MI6 handlers so terrible? 


Anyway, this put Alex in danger and he needed to escape. 


This read like a cartoonish spy story. It is fine as long as the plots are there for the action.


Very entertaining read.  


Reading progress update: I've read 190 out of 282 pages.

Point Blanc  - Anthony Horowitz

Alex is at school but didn't feel fit in.


He found someone selling drugs at his school and he told matter in his own hands instead of reporting to the police.


Now he is in trouble and the MI6 bailed him out. Only to ask him to help them again.

The MI6 people are really mean. They are not trusting Alex while wanting to use him in the field. He has to infiltrate a French school for troubled rich kids. And pretend to be the son of a supermarket chain owner Friend. 


Friend has one daughter and she is mean too.


Now Alex is at school and notice something strange. 


Really good read. Alex is being independently investigating a case. Like it a lot. 


Dexter is being hunted

Dexter in the Dark - Jeff Lindsay

Dexter is a clean neat serial killer who lived by the rule of Harry, his adopted father, to kill only bad guys. 


The bad guys who killed children is exceptionally high on Dexter's list.


Dexter is also a forensic lab tech working for the police along side his sister Deborah.   


So when Dexter feel he is being followed, he is trying to find out who and why.


In the meantime, the Dark Passenger is gone. Gone from his mind as if he is a separate entity instead of part of his psychosis. 

There is a new ritualistic killings with headless corpses displayed in public. 


The police is after a professor, and he was caught, the killing continued. 


The fingers pointed to another professor but there is no evidence. 


Debbie is not really a good detective as she rely too much on Dexter. 


Dexter is getting married and he noticed that Astor and Cody, the soon to be his step children might have the dard trend as well.


Fun read. 


Although it is pure imaginative theory based on fantasy. 


One, children with trauma in early life might not necessary develop dard trend. They might be frightened, and have anxiety, but that's usually it.


Two, homicidal tendency is  part of the person's mind and not a separate entity. 


Aside from that, it is fun read. 

Nap found the truth about his twin brother's death

Don't Let Go - Harlan Coben

Nap is a cop.


He had a twin brother Leo who was died 15 years ago.


His old high school girlfriend Maura run away soon after that. 


Now all this has come back when Maura's fingerprints found on a crime scene.


Angie was a retired cop. He was the father of Diana, the girlfriend of Nap's twin brother's girlfriend. 


The crime scene is for Rex, a traffic cop who was killed while stopping a DUI. 


The story goes with the mysterious circumstances of the death of Rex. Who killed him and why? 


And why is Maura's prints there? 


Nap is likable as he is a nice person who talked to his dead brother in his head.


Myron also did a cameo linked the timeline while Nap is trying to find his friend Hank, a mentally ill old friend. 


It is not as good and action pack as the other book, but it is still flavourful with different characters giving Nap clues and information.


There is a military site in the backdrop that seems to link to all these death. 


Enjoyable read. 


And Nap as a characters haven't got a chance to develop into fully character like Myron. Still pretty good read. 


Dexter helped to capture a serial killer

Dearly Devoted Dexter - Jeff Lindsay

Dexter is going after a priest who have raped and killed children as young as 5 year old. 


That's the best opening. Hundreds of Catholic priests who have raped children have gotten away with it. Who wouldn't want some cleaners to go after these Catholic priests in the neighborhood. 


Dexter is a clean monster. He digged up the corpses of these young victims and confronted the Catholic priest. Of course, the priest prayed and begged, but the end is there finally.


And this is only the opening of the book. 


The story goes on with Sergeant Doakes on his tail. 


So Dexter hsa to pretend to be normal.  So normal that he is becoming boring. He visited Rita and played with her two children. He like children.


Now there is a very strange killer. Technically, he is not a killer. He cut up his victim, one part at a time, and clean up the wounds. So the victim survive and continue in a poor stage below death finally come. Very clue way. 


So... Debbie wants Dexter to help find this cruel monster. 


And walked in with the FBI Kaly. 


And the story go with Dexter being reluctant partner with Doakes to find this UnSub. More victims and all linked to the past of Doakes and Kaly. 


The fun part is the language. It is humorous and Dexter being a self realizing monster make him so likable.  Being a responsible brother also forced Dexter to get involved in finding this monster. 


A good read.  

Robie the killer saved a teenager

The Innocent - David Baldacci

Will Robie was order to kill a woman and her child. 


He refused. This is new for him to not follow order.


Now he is on the run as someone wants to kill him.


He met a girl in a bus. The bus exploded. Someone is trying to kill the girl.


What's going on? 


The story was set up so that Robie the killer became Robie the protector.


Also allow him to meet the Blue Man.


Interesting development, on trying to find out who is the real target of the bomb on the bus. 


Are the people trying to kill Robie because his handler was a traitor and gave him a fake order? Or is the killer who killed the parents of this teenage girl trying to finish the job and kills her too?


The story is fun in some way. The plot twist is there and really unexpected.


Enjoyable read. 




Alex save the world, again?

Skeleton Key  - Anthony Horowitz

There is a dangerous man, a General, who bought a nuclear bomb from another bad guy "The Salesman". 


And this very bad person is now on his way to place the bomb.


Alex is supposed to be back to his teenage life. First he was tricked into working undercover as a Ballboy at Wimbledon and spoiled a plan to manipulate the competition result.


The good thing is, he met Sabrina, a girl who is also a friend. 


So Sabrina invited him to go on vacation with her family. 


Then found out someone tried to kill him.


So instead of keeping Alex at a MI6 safe house, they lent him out to the CIA.


Irresponsible adults made good teenage spy story.


He was going to Cuba as part of a cover with two CIA agents who dislike him on first sight. 


Could Alex safe the world again?


A good investment of reading time if one could take on face values that most of the adults in this books are not that smart, and being irresponsible for the life of a teenager.


Alex Rider as a character is being developed, with a lot of emotional baggage. First he lost his parents, then his uncle. He really don't have a lot of persons who care about him beside the caretaker Jack.


As a spy, he is pretty good at just getting curious about things and finding out stuff. That's what many persons are really, deep inside we want to know what's going on. 


With that, and quite a lot of self reflection of why he is doing what he is doing. He is kind hearted and curious in nature. And quite resourceful with the aid of spy like gadgets. 


Pretty good read. 4.5 stars.