The Best Children’s Books of 2014

Childrens Books

As an educator and mother, I am always looking for new, high-quality children’s literature.

With so many children’s books coming out each year, it can be difficult to keep up with what’s new and worth reading. Here are some recent and noteworthy children’s books of 2014 that I have discovered. I hope you will check them out!

Continue Reading

Greatest Love Novels Ever Written


A good love story bridges generations, cultures, and ages. Love is the universal magic that everyone experiences at one time or another in their lives.

Along with love comes the other feelings of jealousy, anger, and heartbreak.

The authors combine all of these common feelings into words for everyone to enjoy.

Naturally, many of the best love stories have also been turned into movies. This allows the story to reach a broader audience that the novel might not reach.

It’s almost impossible to pick just a few “best of the best” because there are so many classics.

Continue Reading

Top Selling Novels of 2014


Books are one medium of communication that will always be around for many years to come.

All throughout history books have been created to tell stories, teach and to help us see the world from another person’s point of view.

The year 2014 has been a great year for books and some of the top titles have moved readers with joy while others made them see life from a whole new perspective.

The following books are the top best-selling novels of 2014 on Amazon.

Continue Reading

Reading about beauty/cosmetology

Though I’m not exactly a girlie type of girl who is obsessed by fashion and beauty I have been reading lately about the beauty arts, including cosmetology, and I’ve gradually warmed up to the importance of the beauty trades both historically and in the present day. For some women it can be a perfect fit as a career and for many good reasons! It is great that different people like different professions (obviously) otherwise the world as it is could not function, so being appreciative of the beauty professionals in my life and how they have helped me so much (like before prom!) here are a few books that I have recently read to improve my understanding of the various beauty professions: nail care/manicures, makeup artistry, esthetics and so on.

History of Beauty by Umberto Eco – this book, rather than being directly related to beauty as a profession, establishes a philosophical background to beauty. What is beauty exactly? How does it differ from one culture to another? Why is beauty important? One gets the idea from reading this book that beauty is a very fluid and changing concept. What was beautiful 1000 years ago in a different culture could even be considered ugly in the Western world nowadays. Any book about beauty has to have a lot of visuals and this one does. It is a great coffee table book that goes deep into some very interesting ideas.

The Beauty Girls: A Floundering Woman’s Midlife Career Change to Beauty School by Carol Leonard. Carol’s tale of her change from having been a midwife for more than 30 years to her decision to wander off in a surprising new direction. This read is a really humorous true-life story of her postmenopausal change to studying in Beauty School. She isn’t exactly the most compassionate writer, but the funny ones rarely are! This book gives an interesting first-hand perspective on beauty and beauty school that definitely isn’t your average point of view. In the end, it actually gave more sympathy for the things she made fun of!

The Art and Science of Beauty Therapy: A Complete Guide for Beauty Specialists is more of a reference for those already studying cosmetology, etc. I wanted to read it to get a non-cynical insiders view of what students learn and do as they build their experience. With its textbook-like exposition of standard procedures (lots of illustrations and photographs), I got a good idea of what professional beauticians actually do. There are sections on anatomy and physiology as well which helped me realize that cosmetology requires more background knowledge that you’d think at first. Now when I go to get my hair done next time I’ll have a lot to talk about!

If you were to read just one of these books, though, I would suggest the Umberto Eco one as it gives the reader a clear idea of the importance of beauty and those who help us be beautiful. Even though the ideas of beauty change over time there are always those who can help us to be beautiful according to the standards of the day and we should be thankful to them!

Reading up on Car Insurance

Lately I’ve been really frustrated with my car insurance company. They’re not really offering anything additional, but at my latest renewal, my rates went up. I haven’t had any tickets or accidents, so to say I was shocked is an understatement. I decided that I needed to get serious about learning how to find inexpensive care insurance in Ontario ( I found some good info about this on a website but need some books too).
Since I spend so much time reading, of course the natural solution was for me to start looking into some books that could help me to figure out how to get decent car insurance rates. It turns out that there’s quite a bit of information out there, and a lot of it is really helpful.
Managing Your Money All-In-One For Dummies – This book had a lot of good information about managing money in general. Part of the problem with my current car insurance rate is that it puts a serious strain on my budget. So being able to read about some strategies that help me to figure out how to manage all of the other aspects of my budget is actually helpful in terms of the overall perspective. As far as specifically helping with finding better car insurance rates, I needed something more detailed.
The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Buying Insurance and Annuities by Brian Breuel
Now this was a book that seriously helped me to get a better handle on how insurance of all types works. I mean, I’ve always known that I’m required to have car insurance, but that’s about it. I don’t really have a deeper understanding, or I didn’t, at any rate, so a lot of the terms were confusing when I had started to dig into why my insurance rates went up. Now I have a much firmer grasp on how insurance works and what all of the different types involve. I also feel much more compelled to look into life insurance than I ever did before.
Cheap Insurance for Your Home, Automobile, Health, & Life by Lee Rowley
This book was chock-full of information that helped me figure out how to negotiate my car insurance rates much more effectively. Things such as grades, if you’re a student, professional affiliations, and other factors can all make a huge difference in premium amounts. Since I am still a student, and I work hard for the grades that I’ve got, I’ll definitely be forwarding that information to my car insurance company. If they can’t give me a better rate once they see that transcript, at least I know that I have leverage when getting quotes from another company.
Your Credit Score: How to Improve the 3-Digit Number That Shapes Your Financial Future by Liz Weston. One of the things that surprised me from some of the other books was that they at least briefly mentioned that your credit score actually has an impact on your car insurance rates. I don’t have bad credit, but I don’t really have any credit. In some ways, that’s worse than having bad credit. This guide has a lot of information about what your credit score is and does, as well as information about how to get that number to a better spot.
Now that I’ve brushed up on the topic, I think that I’m way ahead in my plan to get affordable car insurance quotes in Canada – in case your not up for reading hard copy there’s online info here: Hopefully these books can help you do the same thing so that you’re not spending far more than you should on auto insurance.

The Evolution of Surfboards

Some interesting points about the history of surfboards gleaned from “The History of Surfing” by Matt Warshaw.
Surfboards and paddleboards have come a long way since the early wooden ones used in Hawaii. Wooden boards didn’t float nearly as well as modern ones so they had to be longer and could sometimes weigh in at 150 pounds (it must’ve been a relief to drop them in the water). Because of the weight issues balsa wood was introduced much later – it is significantly lighter but not as strong as the wood of the Koa or Wili Wili or Redwood. Ancient and not-so-ancient Hawaiian surfboards had very little shape to them except for, perhaps, a pointed prow. They were as flat as the planks used to build houses which allowed for very little beyond straight-line surfing.

The biggest innovation in wooden surfboard tech came in 1926 when board weight was vastly reduced by the introduction of hollow construction. Construction was achieved using marine plywood over a lightweight frame and plenty of varnish. At the same time buoyancy was naturally improved, however board shape was still nothing like the curved short boards you see nowadays. Long, flat boards were still the norm and smooth, easy straight rides the only possibility for most surfers. However, just a little later fins were introduced giving surfers more stability and more maneuverability. Once surfers started experimenting with tail shape and once they started giving their boards some rocker (curve) modern-style surfing really began to take off. Surfers could now turn into the wave more easily and entering the barrel or tube was now possible.

By the time the second world war was over advances in technology made possible another leap in surfboard design. Fiberglass became a commonly used material in board creation. All of a sudden surfboards could be produced commercially.

Fin technology advanced greatly through the 50s, 60s and 70s. Like shaving gear and the ever-increasing number of shaving blades, fins kept getting added to the bottom of surfboards until four-fin setups became common on some boards.

Nowadays, at 6 or 7 pounds, boards are about 4% the weight of the first Hawaiian boards. The stiff polyurethane foam core covered with fiberglass and polyester resin makes for light, buoyant, tough, and easy to control boards. The latest advancements in surfboard materials include carbon fiber and kevlar which promise great durability but hefty price tags as well. Carbon fiber appears to be the ultimate material in some ways. However it is a one-color material: the only choice is black. The black color has a undeniably cool, James Bond look but unfortunately can be hard to handle in hot sun as the board will be hard to touch. If you can get a carbon fiber board to the water without burning yourself then the ride is top-notch. It goes without saying that the best boards don’t cause injury to the user.

What’s the future of surf board technology? That’s, of course, hard to predict. It seems like the ultimate in ride has been achieved, but there will no doubt be innovations that will eventually make today’s best stand up paddleboards and surfboards ( seem passé.

Naturally Healthier Teeth with Something Called Oil Pulling

Today I want to write about a new book that I just read about ancient holistic practice called oil pulling. The title of the book is Detox Your Mouth, Heal Your Body. I found the book to be easy to understand and a quick read with clear directions on what to do if you would like to try oil pulling. The author includes a bibliography of published research on the subject of oil pulling, testimonials from people who have tried oil pulling and a list of bloggers who have written articles about the subject if you want to read other peoples’ perspectives. The author also offers a free ebook for anyone who purchases the book about oil pulling. Two books for the price of one! That’s hard to beat, in my opinion.

Ok, now on to the meat of the content. The book states that that this health regimen started in India from a form of medicine called Ayurvedic medicine. According Ayurveda, the mouth is connected to other parts of the body and, as a result, problems with oral health can affect other parts of the body and lead to unhealthy conditions. The book lists several ailments that people have experienced improvement after practicing oil pulling. Some of them include: acne, allergies, dermatitis, chronic fatigue, constipation, hypertension and bad breath. At the very least it seems most people will experience whiter teeth. I like the idea of getting whiter teeth from a natural oil instead of all those chemical whiteners I find at my local pharmacy. I’ve tried a couple and they just made my teeth hurt.

Oil pulling is actually rather simple. The book recommends doing it first thing in the morning before eating or brushing. All you have to do is put a spoonful of olive oil, sesame oil or coconut oil in your mouth and swish it around for 15-20 minutes and then spit the oil out. Do not swallow the oil. This process is said to pull toxins and bad bacteria from your mouth. Hence the term oil pulling. After this procedure, you are free to brush your teeth and go about your morning routine. It is recommended to use only cold pressed organic oils as these are most effective.

So are there any side effects? According to the book, you may initially experience slight nausea from the detoxifying effect. This will apparently stop happening shortly with a repeated daily practice. That seems to be the only side effect.

Reading this book made me want to explore the topic of Ayurvedic medicine further. I am intrigued by the idea of looking at the whole of my body when my health is considered. I had never thought that a problem in my mouth could cause other issues throughout the rest of my body. At the very least, I am going to take oral hygiene very seriously. I’ve always been good about brushing and regular dentist visits but I will admit to skipping flossing every now and then. I am also definitely going to give oil pulling a try for a month.

I recommend this book if you are interested in your well-being. You can read it in an evening and you will have actionable steps to improve your oral health.

Great Books for Beginning Hikers

There’s a certain level of preparation necessary for anyone planning to make hiking a hobby. You have to find the right footwear, water bottle, backpack, and a few other essential supplies. But aside from all the tangible necessities, beginner hikers would be wise to do a little mental preparation. Here are a few books that novice hikers should read before they hit the trail.

The first one is obvious, The Backpacker’s Field Manual. This book has been revised and updated from its original publishing in 1998, and gives hikers everything they’ll need to know. There’s information on tying knots, proper equipment, first aid, and the updated version even includes all the technological advances that have become a part of hiking, such as Global Positioning Systems. Reading this book should be mandatory for any hiker setting out on a long journey, and even those who are casual hikers on the weekend can get something out of it. This is one of my favorites, and was recommended to me by the guys over at

Once you know what you’re doing as a hiker, you’ll love reading America’s Great Hiking Trails. This book does all the legwork, so to speak, for hikers with regard to finding great trails to hike and trips to undertake. The pictures in this book will entice hikers to take trips to some of the most magnificent and breathtaking trails this country to has to offer. Each trail featured has a map, descriptions on how to find the most scenic spots, and suggestions for day-long hikes just in case you can’t commit to long-distance hikes. This book is essentially a bucket list of trails for serious hikers.

Another necessary book for hikers is Trail Cooking: Trail Food Made Gourmet. If your least favorite part of hiking is not always eating the food that you love, this book is essential. There are nearly 300 recipes detailing how to prepare all kinds of food, from pancakes to pasta and everything in between. If you plan on going on a long hiking trip and want to eat well along the way, this book will tell you everything you need to know about preparing meals, whether you like to keep things simple or want to try cooking up something a little more fancy while out on the trail.

Finally, when you’re ready to take a break and relax while on the hiking trail, read the book Hatchet, which is the ultimate story about surviving in the wilderness. Without giving too much away, Hatchet follows the story of a 13-year old boy whose plane crashes, leaving him alone in the Canadian wilderness with little else besides a hatchet at his disposal. It’s a great and inspirational story, especially for a hiker who loves being in the great outdoors, mainly because hikers don’t have to worry about being stranded after a plane crash, making Hatchet a book you can read without getting horror stories in your head about all the things that can go wrong in the wild.

The Complete Book of Numerology: A Guide for Making Decisions

You may not necessarily believe in numerology, but the book about numerology is definitely worth reading.

There are a lot of ways to make the best decisions in life. Some turn to God and ask for his guidance. Others ask for the wisdom of the elders. There are also those who meditate until they get the answers they always want. However, if you want to try something different, go for numerology. It has been around for centuries and a lot of people believe in it. You don’t have to believe everything in it, but it can serve as your guide in making choices in life.

The best part about numerology is that there is no exact interpretation to everything. It is not like the horoscope where you are forced to do something because of the consequences. Numerology is all about compatibility and making the right choices. If you don’t, then it is your choice as well. This really caught my attention before and this paved the way for me to buy The Complete Book of Numerology. It is a thick book and it might seem a lot for starters. However, when I read about something new, I wanted all the details to be there right in front of me immediately.

Hence, even if this book seems to be advanced and more complicated for someone who has no prior knowledge about numerology, I still gave it a try. At first, I found it hard to understand things. However, as I turned to the next pages, things became clearer and a lot more interesting. It is also funny in some ways. This is true especially on parts where the book tries to interpret your personality and they are a perfect match.

Finding the right partner

Another good thing about this book is that it provides hope to people who have been searching for the right one, but are still not lucky enough. Yes, I am still single after that broken relationship three years ago. It might not be the reason why I bought this book, but it feels great knowing that there is something in it that tells about my future relationship. Yes, it is not a guarantee, but it makes me feel better. For sure, it will help you too. When the book starts talking about the kind of partner that is perfect for you based on your number, you will really believe it. After all, it is not just about the numbers, but about the type of personality that you should look for in a partner.

Fun and entertaining

Believing in everything that is written in this book is an option. However, it can’t be denied that this book is super fun and exciting. I read it from cover to cover and I never got bored. It is as if I was brought to a totally different dimension and I loved every single page of it. For now, if you can’t buy the book, but you want to know about numerology basics, then read more about numerology compatibility at On the other hand, if you want to start reading about numerology meanings, click here.

The Perfect Book for Knives Fanatics

All of us have passions and interests. Others do not necessarily consider some of these interests as normal. However, if you are really passionate about them, there is nothing that they can do about it. For instance, there are those who love to collect coins from around the world. There are also those who are passionate about visiting different churches. If your interest is on knives, then be proud of it. At the end of the day, we all have the right to choose what we want to pursue as long as we don’t hurt anyone along the way. Being passionate about knives and how they are used is different from thinking of ways to use knives in a deadly way.

To begin with, you have to understand that you are not alone. The Hollywood A-lister Angelina Jolie is also a knife fanatic. She has a collection of knives in her home. She has also shown on television that she can play with Swiss knives well. According to her, there is something about knives that capture her attention. Thus, she collects one whenever she finds it interesting.

A book for knife lovers

If you really want to pursue your interest in knives, you might want to read the book entitled Knives 2014: The World’s Greatest Knife Book by Joe Kertzman. This book features different types of knives, where they come from and what they are used for. There are also interesting stories behind those knives. If you wish to know more details about those knives as well as stores where you can possibly buy one, go ahead and read this book. Aside from information about knives, you will also read about knife accessories and knife storage. There are also tips in handling those knives and how to store them properly.

You will also get information about knife sharpeners when you read the book. There are details on manual sharpeners as well as electric sharpeners that you can use to ensure that your knives will last for a long time. If you are interested in buying the best knife sharpener, you can go here. If you are looking for something even more specific like the best bell knife sharpener, go to Once you have read the book and found more information about those sharpeners, you will end up buying both the knives and the sharpeners.

Using your knowledge to your advantage

Now that you have read the book about knives, you might be interested in buying them right away. However, aside from buying those books, you must also take interest in using them in the kitchen. You can learn new cooking techniques using the knives you have bought. You can also learn about food carving using those knives. There are a lot of new skills that you can learn using the knives. Since you have deeper knowledge about them, you can create more interesting pieces than others. You can also read about more modern knives and how you can make the most out of them.

Latest Book Review: What I Talk About When I Talk About Running

As you will undoubtedly have gather by now I like book. I am into reading. I like reading books, then writing about them and reviewing them, and talking about them and boring everyone by talking about books all the live long day! Actually I don’t bore anyone because the books I talk about are interesting and my friends are all big readers too!

So you know this about me.

What you may not know is that I am also (recently) getting more in to health and fitness, and have started training for a half-marathon. And for someone who spent my summers reading books whilst all the other kids were running about outside and playing sports, you can imagine I’ve got some catching up to do, fitness-wise.

Anyway, with these interests being my current top two hobbies it wasn’t too long before I stumbled upon Haruki Murakami’s ‘What I Talk About When I Talk About Running’. I’ve been a big fan of Murakami’s novels for years, after reading Norwegian Wood and the Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, both which are jostling for position in the top ten list I keep in my head.

But anyway, since I have been getting into running and training I thought I would give this a read. I wasn’t really drawn to it when it came out, but I thought now would be a good time, and I might even learn something about running. I actually got the audio version of it on my tablet for my training. I have been training on an elliptical machine with a little shelf for my tablet, and it’s good to have something to listen to while you run, to distract from how exhausting and painful it all is! So this was a perfect combination.

Anyway, turns out it’s much more autobiographical than I have ever realised, and it really is a fascinating insight into Murakami’s life, his approach to writing and his love and dedication toward running. Really, it makes me feel guilty that I see the training as a chore and have to battle against every excuse in my head before I’ll sum up the energy to go for a run or stay home and train.

But listening to the book really inspires me to think about running differently, and to think about all the challenges in my life I set myself. He talks so much about self-discipline, and motivation and commitment to his running, and his writing, and what might be a hobby for you or I, becomes to Murakami something almost spiritual. His talks of his favourite runs and the highlights and lowlights of his extensive marathon career are absolutely jaw-dropping. In particular his account of pushing past all his inner limits while running an ultramarathon is incredibly interesting – although a little shaming when I have a stitch after only 3 miles!

It was my own burgeoning interest in health and fitness that got me onto this book, but I really would recommend it to anyone who likes autobiography, or anyone who likes the writings of Murakami. He focuses a lot on how he became a writer, and his time spent owning a jazz bar. Honestly, Murakami is exactly like a character from one of his books – interesting, methodical, with a foot in the past and a foot in modern culture.

I highly recommend this book!

Best Books to Read about Wing Chun

Wing Chun is a Chinese martial art based on a concept. It can be used as a self-defense using grappling and striking in a close-range combat. Practitioners believe that a person with good body structure wins Wing Chun. Its stance is similar to a bamboo, firm yet flexible and rooted but yielding. Structure is important in deflecting or redirecting external forces.

It is also needed for attacks. Balance relates to structure because Wing Chun believes that a balanced body can recover more quickly from attacks while maintaining structure. The martial art emphasizes on the awareness of one’s body movement from the tendons, muscles and joints. Softness or relaxation is also fundamental to Wing Chun. It emphasizes a centerline, making a straight punch a common strike. Forms are solitary exercises to develop balance, self-awareness, sensitivity and relaxation.

Wing Chun makes use of a wooden dummy, which is not a physical representation of an opponent but an energetic one. The following are books you can read to further understand the concepts behind this Chinese martial art.

What are the best books for beginners?

To learn Wing Chun, it is best to understand its theory from different perspectives, which is what the book “The Wing Chun Compendium Volume I” completely talks about. This was written by Wayne Belonoha, a master instructor of the martial art. It is great material to clearly understand the core principles of the system, exceeding through the theory and technical aspects. It also tells details of the Wing Chun forms and proper techniques. The last pages cover health and fitness, pressure points and important terminologies.
“The Path to Wing Chun” is another ideal book for those who are starting to learn the martial art. It helps you learn deeply about the first form called Sil Lim Tau and all the basic principles including kicking and footwork.

Books for Advanced Learners

“Mastering Wing Chun” is considered a must-have for anyone who wants to improve his or her skills and master Wing Chun. It is a complete guide that explains details of the applications of hand forms. Experienced students can smoothen their techniques using this book.
The second volume of “The Wing Chun Compendium” is also well recommended for non-beginners. The author proves to have an extensive research and study about the martial art to come up with this material. He is clever enough to put it up in simplified instructions. The book is very detailed and highly informative.

Wing Chun Dummy Books

Samuel Kwok’s “Wing Chun Traditional Wing Chun Dummy” is a well-reviewed book that serves as a step-by-step guide to the wooden dummy. This dummy is a device used to correct structure and technique and improve speed, power and conditioning. It also tells the common mistakes students should avoid.
The book of Ip Chun entitled “Wing Tsun Dummy Techniques” is among the oldest books about the martial art. It focuses on the right dummy form and proves to be useful to this day. It is very cheap and handy and a great buy for beginners.

Who are the Wing Chun Geeks?

For other helpful references on the Wing Chun martial art, you may visit It is a site of a team of Wing Chun enthusiasts who are also passionate to share useful information about the art. You can find useful references about the wooden dummy, engaging interviews with interesting Wing Chun personalities and techniques that can make you a better Wing Chun martial artist.

What Makes a Good Weight Loss Guide Book?

A multitude of books on losing weight are available nowadays. You can easily find one in bookstores or search for titles online. But how do you choose the right one to get? What are the attributes of the weight loss guide book that you should take into account?

The following pointers should be useful:

Choose an authoritative author

A dependable book is unlikely written by some anonymous author. It takes time and effort to produce a book that provides accurate and insightful information. You cannot expect just any ordinary fitness enthusiast to be able to produce a good book on weight loss. This is not to say, however, that ordinary fitness enthusiasts don’t have the credibility or authority to write a book since there are many ordinary weight loss and fitness enthusiasts who write blogs that sometimes offer more useful and insightful information compared to the content of many published books on weight loss.

Limit options to those with good reviews

It will be difficult to decide on your own whether a book is indeed worth buying. That’s why it helps consulting several reviews on the books you are considering. There are many reviews to find online. You may also ask for feedback from friends and acquaintances. Just be sure that the reviews or feedback you are using for your decision are reliable and not part of a marketing scheme. Also, consider reading related news about the books. Some books, like the one said to have been sold on Amazon, have been linked to at least one death so take the time to know more about the weight loss guide book you may buy.

Look for something instructive and factual

A good book on losing weight should also be instructive and filled with factual references, examples, or concrete proofs of the items being mentioned or recommended. A weight loss guide book is essentially a do-it-yourself reference so it should be highly instructive. It should provide ample information and insights that will help those who will be reading it. Of course, you are not expected to skim through the book to find out if it is indeed factual and instructive. You would usually get this assessment from book reviews or through the feedback offered by those who have already read the book.

Take note of the recommendations the book might make. If, for example, it specifically asks you to buy hcg injections online, and you’re convinced that hcg shots are indeed effective, you may want to consider the book. Additionally, it would help if the book provides specific details like information on where to buy genuine hcg tablets or hcg pills.

Evaluate the overall appeal

Lastly, evaluate the overall appeal of a book. There are no fixed criteria in assessing this. You just have to ask yourself how you feel about the book. Do you think it can be useful to you? Do you like the layout? Is the presentation likeable or well-organized? Sometimes, you may end up not learning anything from a supposedly useful book because you just don’t like how it is being presented. This can affect your experience in using a weight management book, especially since you are all on your own in exploring the usefulness of the book.

5 Great Extreme Sports Books

We’ve all noticed the emergence of extreme sports over the last couple of decades, but they’re not just making an impact in our weekend activities or the sporting events we watch on television, extreme sports are also making their way into out literature. Whether they’re fiction or non-fiction, books about extreme sports have gained great popularity in recent years, and they can be found in a bookstore near you. If this is a topic you’d be interested in reading about, here are five books you should check out.

Some of these extreme sports books are about the journey that the author took to get to where they are, and some are specifically about the sport or extreme activity that the author takes part in. Unfortunately none of them are about my preferred extreme sport (paintball) but some do talk about the challenges I face during paintball games in a similar way. Even though they arent about my sport, I still find these books totally inspiring and have really enjoyed reading them. My friend Mark From the Paintball Enthusiast also helped with the list, so thanks mark!

A great place to start is with Richard Hoad’s The World’s Toughest Endurance Challenges. This book profiles the 50 most extreme events imaginable. There are bike rides, mountain climbs, marathons, open-water swims, and a variety of other challenges that you could never even imagine before reading this book. There are first-hand accounts from athletes who have experienced these challenges, as well as colorful photographs that will make these extreme sports challenges come alive.

A wonderful and true story that revolves around extreme sports is A Life Without Limits by Chrissie Wellington. The book tells the story of how Wellington overcame multiple hardships on her way to winning the Ironman World Championships in 2007. Aside from delving into the drama of her real life, Wellington’s tale shares her diet, training, and motivational techniques that led her to such an amazing accomplishment.

Up next is Deep by James Nestor, which covers the extreme sport of free diving, among many other deep-sea activities. Nestor explores the lives of free divers, as well as a slew of other professions that involve people spending time deep below the ocean’s surface. In addition to being thorough, parts of this book are utterly jaw dropping, as you’ll be amazed at what some people choose to do for fun and for a living.

The ultimate extreme sports book may be Beyond the Horizon by Richard Parks. After his professional rugby career came to an end earlier than expected, Parks took on a barrage of challenges and reached some amazing feats. The books tells how Parks became the first to climb the highest mountain on all seven continents in a span of seven months, in addition to visiting both the North and South poles. After accomplishing all that, Parks sets his sights on even more adventures, all of which you’ll have to read to believe.

Finally, there is the sad account of Solo, by Vicki McAuley, who tells the story of her husband, Andrew, on his final adventure. Andrew was attempting to be the first person to traverse the 1,600 kilometers from Tasmania to New Zealand in a kayak, but his kayak was found empty 80 kilometers from his destination, while his body was never found. From that tragedy, his wife tells his story, based in part on journal entries from his final voyage, providing a look into the life and mind of one of the great adventurers that the world lost too soon.

Embracing Changes

As a writer/blogger, I have often explored different genres and topics to write about. I must admit, I am not the biggest fan of technical writing. Nor am I the greatest when it comes to this genre. My pen has always been about personal experiences and books. I am a huge book worm, but of course, that is already obvious, this is a book blog site, after all. Honestly, as far as techie stuff goes, I am really not that all concerned. It is not for lack of interest or anything, I have always tried to write and read about technical stuff. But alas, there are only few that I can understand. And so, I have stopped forcing myself to the world of technicalities and just continue on with what I do understand. And those are books.

That remains the truth, until last week, when Charlene has gave me a really life-changing proposal that will completely change my life – okay, just my view of techie stuff. If you are wondering, by the way, who Charlene is, she is a really good friend of mine. She is close to my family, and we have been friends since grade school, so go figure. What is that? You are wondering what Charlene proposed to me? Oh, she offered me to be her business partner. Can you imagine that? Me? A businesswoman? I can just imagine the face you are making right now. I had the exact same reaction. I told her “No way, I am a bookworm. What could I possibly do with a business?” And she said that it was my passion and love for books that made her think of the business we are starting in the first place.

Have you figured it out yet? No? Some of you may have figured it out by now. But to those who have not figured it out yet, it was a book publishing business. Yes, a book publishing business. I almost jumped out with joy when she told me, too. It was just so cool that I would be handling a business where books are concerned. It is like every bookworm’s dream came to life. But there was just one problem. I honestly do not know that much about business and all that stuff. So Charlene and I decided that it would be best if she handled all the technical and business end, while I handle all the accounts we will get. Like when there are books to be read, reviewed and analyzed. Charlene also mentioned something about Broadconnect VOIP Hosted PBX provider and that it would really help the business to grow. We are also planning on publishing not just books, but ebooks as well. I am rally beyond excited and looking forward to be a part of things like this. It will be a new journey, and a new chapter for me. And I am so happy that I would be able to share the experience, joy, excitement with you guys through my blog.

To all the bookworms reading this, I love you, and keep on rocking! I will talk to you soon!

The Nightmare Collective – A New Horror Ebook

Just a book review today. I recently bought The Nightmare Collective on Amazon for $2.99 and just ate it up. I love genre fiction, and I love short stories – and short stories work particularly well in the horror niche (as opposed to something like Sci-fi Fantasy where world building is more important and thus necessitates a longer format).

This book was really enjoyable. Some of the stories were just okay, but the good ones were REALLY good and for $2.99, it was totally worth it. Also, apparently the book is apparently supporting indie writers (and the website that published the book paid all the contributors) so I can definitely get behind that as well.
My favorite short story in the whole bunch was The House on Shuros Drive by Tom Wortman – the writing was on point, and the format was really interesting. You can get away with playing with formats and styles in a short story in a way that you can’t if you’re writing a full length novel, and the writer did exactly that – I really enjoyed it immensely.

Another one of my favorites was Latency by Ari Drew – while the twist at the end was kind a tad cliché, the story played with pace and timing in a way that was entertaining, even if you saw the ending coming.
I wish there were more books/ebooks like this – anthologies of original short stories by indie authors. I like collections of short stories, but most of what I see is compiled short stories from authors I’ve already read extensively. I mean, Lovecraft is great but I’ve already read a bunch of Lovecraft. Let’s get some new talent in there!

It’s really cool that people can self-publish these days relatively easily, but it also means there’s tons of trash that hasn’t been edited or screened. It’s hard to know what’s good and what’s not. I guess I liked The Nightmare Collective because all of the stories hit a minimum quality level, but the short stories in the book were written by indie authors (as opposed to established ones) – you kinda get the best of both worlds – the level of writing and story-telling is good, and you’re also discovering new writers and voices at the same time.

I also specifically want to support this book because the publisher paid the writers. There are so many people out there trying to exploit writers (trust me, I have a few friends who are trying to be full time writers and the amount of times they get asked to write for free is just straight up stupid). Even if it’s not a lot of money, anybody who’s paying writers is doing good in my book (pun intended).

I give The Nightmare Collective 4.5 stars – and I highly recommend you all buy it, even if you don’t like horror. It’s worth it just to support indie writing.

I also want to give a shout out to the website that published the book. The site is Play With Death – it’s a horror news/entertainment site with some interesting stuff about urban legends and stuff like that. This article about scary chain letters made me crack up. Most of the stuff on there is quite good for time-wasting on the internet, and they’re paying writers, so go support them by visiting their site!

That’s all from me today. More reviews and such upcoming. Bye!