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Drop Shot
Harlan Coben
Just Watch Me
Jeff Lindsay
The Wife Between Us
Greer Hendricks, Sarah Pekkanen
A Study in Emerald
Neil Gaiman, Jouni Koponen
Progress: 50 %
Ola Rosling, Anna Rosling Rönnlund, Hans Rosling
How to Stop Time
Matt Haig
Progress: 10/304 pages
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
Science in the Soul: Selected Writings of a Passionate Rationalist
Richard Dawkins
Progress: 90/448 pages
Being Mortal: Illness, Medicine and What Matters in the End
Atul Gawande

1000 Books You May Have Actually Read

TV Time - The Librarians (2014) S03E04 - And the Self ...

Someone listed out 1000 books and see how many books have people read out of these selected 1000 books. 


I did that. And I got 224/1000 or 22%. 


Not a bad list. It reminds me of some of the books I want to read but haven't got around to do it yet. 

Myron Bolitar is a sport agent who do detective work

Deal Breaker - Harlan Coben

Myron is struggling as a new sport agent. He has a best friend Windsor "Win" Horne Lockwood, III who is rich, smart, protective and good at fight.


Myron is a very likable character and is nice to people. He also got beaten up and threatened a lot because he want to do it right. 


Jessica is the old love of Myron and he is still hard over hill in love with her. She is a good friend Kathy who disappeared a few years ago. 


When a magazine arrived at one of the athlete Myron represented, who is also Kathy's boyfriend, with her picture in one of those phone sex ad, he got into investigator mode. 


The rest is more like a detective episode with them running around to find out who sent the magazine, who placed the phone sex ad, and what really happened to Kathy. 


Is it good? Yes. It is. 


I highly recommended it. Moving to the next one.  

Trouble at the Dinosaur Cafe. Brian Moses & Garry Parsons - Brian Moses

Richard Armitage read The Trouble at the Dinosaur Cafe. Lovely read.  


The dinosaurs are having a good time at the cafe but the bully Rex comes in. Luckily, Rex is defeated with tickles. 

Winnie in Winter (Winnie the Witch) - Valerie Thomas, Korky Paul

Richard Armitage reading this bedtime story about a witch in winter. He did a good job telling this story. 


The Cool Beans - Pete Oswald, Jory John

Interesting take on how being kind is cool. 

{Unfair review} Nate last adventure

The Survivor - Gregg Hurwitz

Nate is trying to jump off a building and commit suicide. 


That was interrupted by a bank robbery. As he really has a death wish, he risked his life and confronted those who are in progress of opening the bank vault and stopped five of them. Only one escape. 


He ended up not badly injured and carried a little girl out of the bank and become a hero. 


In his personal life, he is a mess. His wife is going to divorce him, and a new guy already moved in his house. His daughter was angry at him for disappearing on her for nine months. 


He stayed away because he has ALS. And he didn't wanted his family to suffer through his illness. But now he become involved in stopping a bank heist, he has to tell his own family in his own words. 


That's the beginning of the book. 


I said is unfair as the book take a turn when the sixth man found him and threatened his daughter. They wanted him to pay for being there and spoiled their plan. 


I skip a lot at this point because it is late and I'm sleepy. And I wanted to know if it is a sad ending or not. 


So... I skip to the end and found out. Now that I know, I have to put this away and let me forget part of this before I could pick it up again.


I would mark this as finished and be back in a year.


Overall, it is a good book on how a person could gain some clarity at the end of life and confronted with a timeline toward death. Why waste time to please others when the outcome is not good for neither party. Why not spend more time with those he really care about. A lot of regrets that come too late. 


The other good part is how he has to fight the bad guys while gradually losing control over his own body. This is what is scary and hard to read. 


The not so good bits is the motivation of the bad guys. Why take the risk and wasted resource on a guy that might not be that good in helping them. This blackmail driven part is not really that logical. 


Overall, a 4 stars read. 


It is still unfair as I did skipped over chapters. 

Tim is back to get a woman out of a cult

The Program - Gregg Hurwitz

Tim is back to work. A man in position is asking the Marshall service to get her daughter out. 


Leah is in a cult. The book go through the strategy of recruitment and how they attacked a person self-esteem. 


The scary part is that I have similar experienced in an Evangelical church before when I was still in university. Religion and cult is the same thing if they are trying to control human behavior and bring down a person esteem to worship a monster as deity. The "Life Boat" exercise echoed my experience for being put down and pressured into joining. 


The rest is pretty good. How Tim is being turned into a mark and joining the retreat. How the "Teacher" has all the power and sexual abuse young women. 


I stayed up for this. Read too fast as I wanted so much to read the ending. This is going to be re-read and enjoyed again. 


Dray is there and very supportive. Tim is not really having a lot of character developments in this one beside being protective and could endure physical attacks. 


Nicely done. 4.5 stars. 


I missed Booklikes for a few days as it was offline. Glad to be back. 



Bald is on the chase

Most Wanted Mission 1: Chris Ryan Extreme: Series 3 - Chris Ryan

Bald was found by an old coworker Land to do a job. Land tempted him with a new life when he is no longer hunted by the Firm. 


Lot of actions, lot of guns. Bald found out the the bad guy he is after also have the Russians chasing after him.


So he is in. For the money and for the freedom. During the chase, lot of betrayal and there is no trust anywhere. He don't really know who to trust. 


And someone try to kill him too. 


It is action pack. But Bald is not really a likable character. He is too trigger hapy to be a good person. And he is after the money instead of higher ideal. That's no good. 


His moral compass is all weird as well. Plus he is kind of sexist. 


Not likable character but might to closer to a not so sophisticated or educated persons. but highly trained in weapons. Scary world that the main character might died if he is not lucky or skill or both. 


Character need to develop better. On the whole still good enough because of the action and the plot twist. 


4 stars read.  

Reading progress update: I've read 271 out of 326 pages.

Most Wanted Mission 1: Chris Ryan Extreme: Series 3 - Chris Ryan

John Bald is screwed. 

Land, his former boss asked him to help get someone. This someone is a horrible person who tortured women for fun. He was then shot at and beaten up. A woman, Odessa, come into view only to be suspected to harm him too. 


Bald is not really a good person to not find out more before killing someone. But then his companions are not good people either. There aren't many good persons in this book. 


Action-wise. It is okay. Just don't know why the bad guys are so good at killing and escaping. 


Started this book earlier and stopped to read Festive books. Picked this up again to finish it. 


Thought provoking and timely

On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century - Timothy Snyder

What's going on in the world is when good people fall asleep, and didn't learn from history and not see the warning sign. 


Putin is the bad guy, and manipulative as hell. Russia influence on American politics is real. China is actually using economic and other tactics to get its way. If the democratic world didn't see what's going on. The communists and the fascists would take over the world and people would suffer the consequence of having no freedom or basic human rights. Europe is not great, but it is still way better than Russia and China now when people could be disappeared. killed, jailed for speaking the truth or write books that do the same. 


Learn about it. The author is right to be worry that the right wing people are not thinking enough to know they are being manipulated. And Trump is a joke, but a dangerous man nevertheless. It is right to worry that the worst is yet to come if the people who are still living in the free world don't speak up against fake news, and other lies the bad guys in power are telling the public. 


Must read. Highly recommended. 

Reading progress update: I've read 93 out of 128 pages.

On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century - Timothy Snyder

Very timely read. Short and to the point. 


It is more like a reminder, a bullet point note to self in order to change the world for the better, aware of what we are doing to ourselves and the persons around us. 


Among phone attached age, I'm not that type at all. And it is a deliberate act. Not to be "on-call" all the time means I willingly not get notified when some random messages arrived. 


Not sure why we are the only specie that have developed audio language that we don't use our voice. Text is fine, photo sharing is fun. But the depth is lacking in such conversation. 


Beware of authoritarian leadership and know that when they come, don't submit or obey automatically. 


Support good company and human rights organization. Beware of who to trust. Don't give away privacy so easily. 



How people born with magic was free

A Tale of Magic... - Chris Colfer

Madame Weatherberry has started a school of magic for children who were born with magic. 


Brystal is born in the Southern Kingdom that forbidden girls to get an education or read books. She love books and her brother has been getting her books to read. Her father is a justice and very sexist and very cruel. Her good brother is studying to be justice and her elder bad brother has already graduated and is practicing law himself. 


The law of the land is unjust. 


In order to find access to books, she found a job at the local library to do cleaning after library close. There she found the banned books section, and read about a lot of real history and about magic. She accidentally use a spell and was caught using magic. She was sentenced to dead but was transferred to a labor camp for girls who were born with magic by her own father. He did this to save face. 


She was then recruited into the school of magic by Weatherberry. 


There she found happiness and friends who have different power of magic. This part of the story is pretty good, and they could do different things with their skills. The school of magic is situated in the In-Between, a magical places for trolls and other magical creatures. 


Weatherberry was teaching the children that there are two groups of magical persons, the good ones fairies and bad one witches. It is a bit strange to divide people like that. And the readers would find out the truth about this later in the book. 


Pretty imaginative story that reflect something good yet forbidden in real life history. 


Highly recommended. 

2019 Year End Review (Door 22: New Year’s Eve: Task 2)





What a year! The city is going through a difficult time with serious oppression and human rights violation. 


Books have provided the necessary relief and escape from it all. So far, I've read 90 books, 10 books short from the ideal, but have well passed the minimum goal of 40. 


I have only read a few stinker this year. The average rating is 4.4 stars.  Which either means I didn't venture far enough or I was pretty lucky. I didn't go out of my reading comfort zone to read for the Halloween bingo and the Festive book tasks. Thank you for organizers. 


My statistic to come.... but first look at this picture of all the 90 books read. 







Still reading a lot of crimes and mystery books, followed by fantasy. I didn't read a lot of non-fiction this year. I like non-fiction, but couldn't really focus for long as there is too much going on in life. 


As a reader, this is probably a leisure to be able to buy all the books I like to read or want to read. Censorship is something that the horrible government wanted to do, as  reading books do lead to more thinking, and beyond what communist government control. 


I hope to continue reading, and have the freedom to choose my reading. Many books couldn't even cross the border into China because of one ridiculous reason or another. Anyone who tell you China is better is either ignorant of the real situation or a liar. Choosing what to read is a right and I hope to continue to exercise this rights. And hope this right is extended to everyone on Earth. 


Top 3 books this year 


No 1. The Perks of being a Wallflower. It is about friendship, and how to get through hard time. This is beautifully written and it is just such a rich and lovely book that it is most likely to be re-read if gotten the chance. 


The Perks of Being a Wallflower - Stephen Chbosky  The Perks of Being a Wallflower - Stephen Chbosky  


No 2. The Four Horsemen. This would never happened again with the passing of the witty Christopher Hitchens. It is lovely conversation about some really serious matter. It is sad that the world is still not getting rid of religion, which is completely nonsense. The automatic respect for those con men and con women making a living off religion is a so wrong. Resource is being wasted on religious bullshit while people with real need stay hungry. Religion was invented long ago to make feeling better about this life, about the hardship they are facing. To give them a bit of extra courage like a feature for Dumbo. But for the modern age, people should have realized that life is sometimes hard and it need real people doing actual helpful things like driving to the market and get some extra food to be redistributed to their neighbors who are still hungry. People could do that and do religious things but why bother wasting time doing religious things when they could do good and go hope and read, or watch some Netflix. 



The Four Horsemen: The Discussion that Sparked an Atheist Revolution Foreword by Stephen Fry - Stephen King,Charlaine Harris,Christopher Hitchens,Daniel C. Dennett,Richard Dawkins  The Four Horsemen: The Discussion that Sparked an Atheist Revolution Foreword by Stephen Fry - Stephen King,Charlaine Harris,Christopher Hitchens,Daniel C. Dennett,Richard Dawkins  


No. 3. El Deafo. A graphic novel on the experience of a girl who has to wear hearing aid. This is still a foreign concept to me until one day, I lost hearing on one side. It is the weekend, and the doctor office is not opened. Followed by dizziness that ended me a trip to the hospital. Deaf become really real when I have experienced it first hand, even for a two days it is enough to scare me. The story reminds me how adaptive persons with disabilities really are in real life. They have to adapt as the world is not that user friendly when one has one or more form of disabilities. I like the humor in this one as the girl think her hearing aid gives her superpower. And she transformed into someone special. The joy she felt to have upgraded her gear is super. 



El Deafo - Cece Bell  El Deafo - Cece Bell  



Happy reading. More highlight to come later. 


Themis-Athena just reminded me that this fits into Door 22:  New Year’s Eve / St. Sylvester’s Day Task 2. 

Task 2: The reading year in review: How did you fare – what was good, what wasn’t?


This year, I didn't get to read all the books I have planned to read because of what's going on in the city. The police had used over ten thousands unit on the people in the past six months. All my favorite cafe near my place were found to be of the same organizing that encourage police brutality as because we demands basic freedom and democracy. 


I'm thankful for the people that are suffering together because of an ideal, that people deserve to live free. 


I'm thankful for the community in the Booklikes community, offering me a good resting place, a good enough distraction from the stressful situation. It keep me reading, and broaden my usual comfort reading genre a bit. The feeling is more like taking in a breath of fresh air after swimming in an abyss. The relief however temporal, is still important to me. 



Reading a lot of Vince Flynn this year. He was pretty good as a writer. The idea of recruiting young professional athlete into CIA is not new, but to have this agent recognized that his rule is to be an assassin is something else. The story is engaging enough to keep reading. As a habit, I either like or dislike a writer from the first book, and Vince Flynn falls into the "like" category. 


The Last Man (The Mitch Rapp Series) - Vince Flynn  Pursuit of Honor - Vince Flynn  Extreme Measures - Vince Flynn  Protect and Defend - Vince Flynn  Act of Treason - Vince Flynn  Consent to Kill - Vince Flynn  Memorial Day - Vince Flynn  Executive Power - Vince Flynn  Separation of Power - Vince Flynn  The Third Option - Vince Flynn  Transfer of Power - Vince Flynn  Kill Shot - Vince Flynn  American Assassin - Vince Flynn  



Another good one is Jo Nesbo children books, fun read.  


Reading Patrick Ness however, is more emotional taxing. He is a very skill writer to set up very emotional and powerful scenes. 


Not a bad year in reading. Wishing for an even better year in 2020. 


Eric and Rincewind adventure

Eric - Terry Pratchett

Eric is a teenager who is summoning demon. 


And what he got is Rincewind who happened to be there when the portal open. 


Eric demanded three wishes. Money, power, woman, the usual. 


Of course, Rincewind has no magical power to grand wishes. But the demon who is into wishes seems to be using Rincewind to make Eric's wishes come through in the worst way possible. 


First they were captured by an ancient tribe and they give tribute to Eric before trying to sacrifice him.


Then, they went into the city of Troy where Helena was supposed to be the prettiest woman alive and got the truth. 


Then they run int othe beginning of time. 


Fun read. Some parts are laough out loud funny. 

Reading this for Hog-father. 



Door 23: Hogswatch (Book Task)

Eric - Terry Pratchett




Book: Any- and everything Terry Pratchett.


Reading Eric for this task. Eric is a teenager who is into demonology. He tried a spell and Rincewind come out. Of course, he couldn't convince Eric that he is not a wish grading demon. 


So the adventure begins. Luggage is there too, of course. 



Door 20: Christmas (Task 2)




Task 2: Watch a favorite Christmas movie.


Related image


Die Hard 1-3 are definitely Christmas movies. 


It is a traditional re-run that show Die Hard movies during mid December. So, yes. I re-watched it the nth times. 


A good movie has development and characters and surprise. And good acting.