The Dog Guardian by Nigel Reed

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The Dog Guardian is a hands-on, comprehensive guide to achieving the perfect relationship with your dogs, whilst ensuring that their well-being and happiness is paramount. Nigel Reed, author and expert, demonstrates his passion for dogs from the very first page, where a heart-warming introduction details how Reed decided to take his love for animals further by pursuing a career. This book is the accumulated result of years of experience, research, and work in the field of all things canine.

Reed writes with a bouncy, straight-forward prose that is easy to comprehend, even when more complicated psychological ideas are discussed. The book is wide-reaching and all-encompassing in its discussion of all things dog-related, beginning with a brief exploration on how dogs are descended from wolves and discussing the ways in which this heritage could affect their behaviour today.

Reed also proposes new models and theories regarding the training of dogs, such as how to understand their needs in a new, hierarchical format. New insights into what motivates bad behaviour is also present in the text, with potential to really change the way we, as dog owners, guardians and lovers, interact with our furry friends. Reed’s approach is stoutly non-violent and it is clear that a love of dogs is at the very heart of this work. The guide comes with a series of videos in which Reed walks owners through some of the solutions to many common behavioural issues. These videos add some sparkle to the book, as Reed’s personal dynamism is really able to shine through as he takes the stage in a series of hands-on demonstrations.

This is a well-researched and informative book, complete with statistics and clear diagrams. Reed’s approach to the science behind being a good guardian is brilliantly balanced: easy to understand whilst at the same time providing all the necessary information. I can now say with confidence exactly why dogs need access to water throughout the day, or detail the three important things to keep in mind when attempting the perfect dog walk.

Overall, I would recommend this book to anyone who has a dog and would like more advice and tips on how to form a healthy relationship with said canine, a relationship where the interests of the dog are central. Reed’s research is sound, his methods lucidly laid out, and all content is supported by videos that serve to elucidate the methodology. An interesting and informative read.

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Exclusive Author Interview! Meet Alan Roger Currie

 

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I have listened to and reviewed two audiobooks that were written and narrated by Book Author and Professional Dating Coach Alan Roger Currie from the United States (Oooooh … Say it Again and The Beta Male Revolution).

Both of Currie’s audiobooks are blunt, provocative and will capture your attention for sure!  For my blog followers who want to know more about Mr. Currie, I caught up with him to find out more about why he does what he does and why he enjoys it!

What motivated you to write your first book, ‘Mode One: Let the Women Know What You’re REALLY Thinking’?

I wrote my first book to discourage single heterosexual men from feeling as though they have to lie to women or blatantly mislead and manipulate women in order to motivate women to agree to have sex with them.  I am not a fan of cheating, adultery, or engaging in what I refer to as ‘manipulative head games.’  If I am interested in sharing a woman’s company in a romantic or sexual manner, I simply let those women know that in a very highly self-assured, upfront, specific, and straight-to-the-point manner.

I read that your nickname among your male and female fans is ‘The KING of Verbal Seduction’. Do you always meet women and immediately talk to them using “porn movie language?”  Wouldn’t some women be offended by you using X-rated language with them in your very first conversation with them?

The vast majority of women in today’s society are nowhere near as prudish and/or as strictly monogamy-oriented as they present themselves to be in public.  I can count many instances where I have met a woman, began talking to her about her sexual preferences and even her sexual fantasies – and for the first five, ten, or fifteen minutes, many of these women pretended to be ‘offended’ – but then minutes later, hours later, days later, or weeks later, I ended up engaging in sexual activities with many of those same women.  I refer to these sexually duplicitous women as ‘Wholesome Pretenders.’

Are you a dating coach for both men and women, or just single men?

 Most of my clients are single men, but I also work with women and even married and unmarried couples.  When I work with women and couples, I operate as more of a BDSM lifestyle and Polyamory lifestyle advisor.  When I work with single men, my primary emphasis is on helping them improve their verbal communication skills and overall interpersonal communication skills with women of interest.

Based on what I have listened to you say in two of your audiobooks, you seem to be against the idea of men and women being ‘just friends.’ Why is that?

That is actually not altogether true.  I have no problem with men and women maintaining a purely platonic friendship as long as that friendship is genuine.  The reality is, most so-called ‘friendships’ between men and women are disingenuous.  Women, generally speaking, are far more interested in the non-physical, non-sexual companionship of men than vice versa.  If a man finds a woman physically attractive and sexually appealing, then 99% chance, we want to be involved in a romantic relationship with that woman or at minimum, we want to engage in one or more episodes of short-term, non-monogamous ‘casual’ sex with that woman.

From listening to your two audiobooks, you seem to have an obsession with dividing men into ‘Alpha males’ and ‘Beta males.’  Why can’t men just be men?  What is with these specific categories?

Well Georgia, if you listened carefully to the last audiobook of mine that you reviewed – The Beta Male Revolution – I mention that there actually was a time in history when ‘men were just men.’  Then, once women decided that they wanted to engage in sex with men before marriage and outside the context of marriage, then that is when things drastically changed.  Beginning with no later than the 1970s, women began to compartmentalize men.  An ‘Alpha male’ is a man who generally behaves any way he feels like.  His behavior is not guided by a desire to please, accommodate, and/or impress women.  This is a man who has a very dominant nature about him and a very uncompromising nature about him. A ‘Beta male’ on the other hand is a man who is usually very polite toward women, more accommodating and financially generous toward women, and always seeks to please, impress, and play up to women.

Why would any man really need to hire a dating coach? What is the difference between a dating coach and a pickup artist? Or are those two essentially the same?

I would say that a dating coach provides as much value to a man’s love life, sex life, and overall social life as a personal trainer would provide for a man’s exercise habits or a nutritionist or personal chef would provide to a man’s eating habits.  It would be like asking, “Why do basketball players need a coach on the sidelines?”  A coach can pick up on the flaws and weaknesses in an athlete’s behavior and decision-making that most athletes cannot easily or objectively identify themselves.  Same principle works with professional dating coaches.

I never categorize myself as a ‘pickup artist’ (PUA).  PUAs are men who usually employ psychological gimmicks or misleading and manipulative behavior techniques in order to score a one-night stand or a weekend fling with a woman.  I do not promote any behavior that is blatantly dishonest and/or misleading and manipulative toward women.

You have a very nice speaking voice Mr. Currie.  At times, it is almost hypnotic to listen to.  You even mention in one of your verbal seduction stories in ‘Oooooh … Say it Again’ that some of your friends even assumed you studied conversational hypnosis.  Do you teach your male clients how to make their voice more hypnotic and seductive?

Thank you for the compliment Georgia.  Much appreciated.  And yes … I have had many women ask me if I was some sort of ‘verbal hypnotist.’  My older brother actually witnessed me put a woman in somewhat of a ‘hypnotic trance’ once, and even he thought I had read a book on how to ‘verbally hypnotize’ women.  In my opinion, a man’s voice is his most underrated ‘secret weapon’ for attracting and seducing women.  When I work with male clients in my one-on-one dating coaching sessions, I spend a lot of time helping them improve the overall quality and tone of their voice as well as their degree of direct eye contact with women while in conversation with them.

I read that you spoke in London in November 2010. How did you enjoy your visit and have you been back since then? Did you notice anything different about how men and women socialise in London versus most cities in The States?

 I had a great time in London, England.  My first night in London, I actually threw a party in Notting Hill at the loft where I was staying.  I rarely host house parties here in the States.  Everyone I met was super cool.  I love the way most of the men greet other men with the very cordial, “Hello mate.”  London is very similar to New York City here in the States.  A lot of racial diversity and very cosmopolitan.  I still remain in contact with many of the men and women I met while in London.  I have not been back since that initial visit, but I cannot wait to return to my favorite city ‘Across the Pond.’

What do you most enjoy about being a professional dating coach and public speaker?

There are a lot of men and women in today’s society who are very romantically and/or sexually frustrated, and I want to do everything within my power to help these men and women improve some aspect of their love life, sex life, and overall social life.

Finally, if you had to narrow all of your advice that you offer to both men and women down to no more than three sentences, what would it be?

Always be 100% real and authentic with members of the opposite sex.  If you want a man or woman to fall in love with who you REALLY ARE … and not who you may be PRETENDING TO BE at the moment … then it is imperative that you always exhibit behavior that is honest, genuine, and totally authentic.

 Thank you so much for your responses Mr. Currie, and good luck with your career as a dating coach!

You can find out more about Alan Roger Currie on his Wikipedia page.  Mr. Currie offers dating coaching for men at Direct Approach Dating for Men, and he offers BDSM and Polyamory advice for women and couples at Erotic Training.

‘Saving Tara Goodwin’ by Richard Harrington

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‘Saving Tara Goodwin’ is a fast-paced mystery thriller, set against a murky backdrop of espionage and secrecy. It details the frantic hunt for answers after a top-secret file is violated, which soon turns into a quest to save the titular Tara Goodwin.

The novel reaches out and instantly grips its readers, kicking off with a short introductory chapter that immediately establishes the lies, corruption, death and sinister phone calls that will feature throughout. Like all good novels of the crime genre, Harrington’s style is crisp and marvellously accurate. The gritty details are presented in high definition, with vivid action sequences and rough, realistic dialogue. There is a nice balance of specific terminology, offset by bursts of occasional wry humour.

What I liked most about this book was the characterisation. Harrington has a gift for intricately crafted, concise descriptions that really bring his wide cast of characters to life. I felt that I knew everyone on a deeply personal level, a remarkable achievement considering the amount and range of characters present. My favourite was action-man Frank Lewis, with his enticing mixture of skilled professionalism, duty and moments of warm compassion. His social skills are magnificent; he seems to be able to connect with anyone he wants to, and his banter with partner Monty always serves to lighten the mood.

At first, I found myself wondering about the wide array of military, government and secret service personnel who seemed to be almost exclusively male. At first glance, the novel seemed to be shaping up to be the long “conveyor belt of macho-men,” prophesised early on by one of the female characters. However, as the novel progresses, an assortment of well-rounded, complex female characters emerges and share in the action. I really liked tough American Christiana Levitt, with her questionable moral compass and confidence in her vast abilities.

‘Saving Tara Goodwin’ is a rollercoaster of twists and turns, with suitably villainous villains and heroes who are not entirely perfect, just like in real life. The against-all-the-odds, how-will-they-possibly-manage-to-pull-this-off plotline is great for keeping readers guessing and reading late into the night (I certainly did!). I would recommend this book to anyone who likes good crime mystery thrillers and learning about the underhand shenanigans of secret government (and criminal) organisations.

Married in Name by India Daram

‘Married in Name’ is a perfect love story, filled with sparkling characters and swoon-worthy romance. What I really loved about this novel was the way in which Daram grounds the whole thing in reality, making it realistic and relatable. At the same time, however, the story is also entwined with a beautiful, fairytale-esque magic that ensures the happy ending we all crave, making this rom-com a true delight to read.

The novel starts with a diary entry, a somewhat clichéd, but nevertheless engaging decision on the part of the author. The use of a diary allows an immediate connection with our charming protagonist, Riyha, a sassy, witty and instantly likeable 21-year-old living in London. Riyha was by far and away my favourite character. Full of energy, bursting with sarcastic comments and complete with a bubbling internal monologue that never failed to entertain, Riyha is the driving force of the book. Her interactions with other characters served, in turn, to bring them to life as well.

This is immediately apparent when we are first introduced to Nick Summers, the dashing guy-next-door. It is his glittering dialogue with Riyha that made me first like him as a well-rounded character, although I did find it a bit odd when he decided to help himself to a stranger’s kitchen and make a drink for a sleeping girl in the very first chapter. It was the little things like this, however, that fuelled my interest in this story. Although the setting is delightfully realistic – you really get the buzz and rattle of London when you read these pages, it is these small, extraordinary events that add to the romanticism of the novel. You can tell from the very beginning that this is going to be a book about passionate love, a love that transcends the plain and the everyday. For a romance novel, this is undoubtedly a success. The passion at the start continues throughout, culminating in an ending that I was very happy with, if also a little surprised.

I would recommend this book to anyone who loves a good rom-com. The plot is entertaining and pleasingly unpredictable; the characters are well developed, complete with backstories and very clear motives. The passion is undeniable, but I would say that it was the small dashes of humour that really make this book sparkle. Prepare yourself for smiles and a warmed heart – this is a book for all you hopeless romantics out there.

A Game of Thrones (George RR Martin) Review

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This book is the first in the series “A Song of Ice and Fire”, and I enjoyed every sentence. Where to begin? This book is colossal. It is also colossally AMAZING. It is 760 pages of power games, witty comments, high tension, sad moments and fantastic description that practically explodes off the page. It is too big to cover in the normal review format, so I’m going to break it down:

Favourite character: My favourite character is Littlefinger, without a doubt. His real name is Petyr Baelish (I STILL have no idea how to pronounce that!) and he is the master of coin in the council of King Robert Baratheon. I like Littlefinger because he is, quite frankly, a legend. He is strikingly similar to Lord Sugar’s aides in the Apprentice: he sits in the corner, watches the action and makes comments about it. But unlike Lord Sugar’s aides, Littlefinger’s comments are actually funny. This guy quips ALL the time. He lives to make witty remarks. My favourite Littlefinger scene is where he is leading the King’s Hand, Ned Stark, to his “chambers”. After 30 minutes of walking, Ned finally asks, “Where are we going? This isn’t the way to my chambers.” To which Littlefinger replies; “I know. We’re going to a brothel.”
“Good heavens, man, why?”
“To see your wife.”

Favourite direwolf: This may seem like an odd heading, but the main family in the book, the Starks, all have pet wolves. This is insanely cute when reading, but I imagine that it wouldn’t be so cute in real life. Even the three year old, baby Rickon Stark, got a direwolf, with the strict instructions that he must raise it all by himself. (Why…?) It’s no surprise that “Shaggydog” is a bit of a savage beast…
My favourite wolf is probably Ghost. He is the wolf of Jon Snow, Ned Stark’s bastard son, and, like Jon, Ghost is a bit of an outcast. He has white fur instead of black, but he is also incredibly well trained and intelligent.

Favourite name: Everybody in the fantastic, almost-3D-world that George RR Martin has created has an exciting name. There’s Bran, Sansa and Arya Stark, Eddard, Daenerys and Jory. Viserys, Joffrey and Theon, Stannis, Sandor and Gregor… The list goes on. My friend said that her mother wanted to rename her three year old son Jorah, after Ser Jorah of Mormont. But the best name, in my opinion, is Shagga son of Dolf. He goes around threatening to cut off certain body parts and feed them to the goats.

A Game of Thrones is a rich tapestry woven by a master storyteller. It turns dusty power struggles and politics into action and excitement. It has dozens of well rounded characters that are so real that I, the reader, feel like I know every single one of them. Everybody who reads Game of Thrones falls in love with it. And everybody reads Game of Thrones. Just the other week I was doing a maths test when the following question came up: “Bran got 5/12 in a maths test, Arya got 45% and Sansa got 4/7. Who did the best?” I nearly fell out of my chair. Game of Thrones characters in a maths test?! This book has seeped into the fabric of our very WORLD and I really recommend that you read it.

Light by Michael Grant

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Light is the last installment in the series of 6 books by Michael Grant. I love these books. I’ve been reading them for years. They have plagued my thoughts, given me nightmares, kept me up all night reading and sparked countless conversations with friends as well as strangers. As far as chilling yound adult fiction goes, these books are the bees knees.
But let’s talk about Light. Light has black pages and a black cover, so I always felt like I was holding an obdurate black brick rather than a hardback. This thing looked more like a gothic book of spells than a thriller, but don’t let that fool you. Light is the ultimate climax to a brilliant series. It is fast paced and ingenious. It has hot blooded characters and blood soaked scenes of gore. It has death and destruction – but also sporadic happy scenes and deep, philosophical insights.
The story is mostly focused around Gaia, the strange daughter of mutant teens Caine and Diana. She was possessed and completely swamped by the monstrous creature known as the gaiaphage at birth, and now she is hell bent on killing everyone within the FAYZ. You know, just your typical little girl. Our heroes, School Bus Sam and his evil twin Caine, as well as Astrid the Genius, her autistic, god-like brother Pete, the gay Mexican Edilio and other assorted, mutant children must fight and kill her before she destroys the FAYZ then moves onto the world itself. It’s the endgame.
This book is a dark, action packed roller coaster that left me breathless. It discusses the arrogance of humanity, the insignificance of race and sexuality in a whole new society and explores the connotations of a world without rules or adults. I loved it. It made me cry. It made me laugh. It made me think.