‘Fanny Fun’ by M. Cassol

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Fanny Fun is a gorgeous novel filled with laughter, sparkle and, as the title suggests, lots of intimate fun! From the very beginning it is clear that this is going to be one of those rare books that will leave you smiling long after you’ve turned the final page. The feel-good vibes are there in the unobtrusive prose, the sensual details and the happy-go-lucky characters.

This book is definitely a rollercoaster of emotions. Although the writing style can sometimes be a little repetitive, it is well-suited to the genre and contributes to the overarching theme of enduring love. The sex scenes are very well written and contribute to the overall success of the novel.

Fanny Fun is a book about exploration and finding yourself in a chaotic world. The central storylines are illuminated through a series of flashbacks that slot effortlessly into the narrative. These side stories serve to flesh out the characters and add details, insights and fresh perspectives to their present day interactions. The chapter involving Charlie’s backstory, for example, was my favourite by far. Cassol discusses gender identity in sensitive and moving way, and as a result I found this chapter quite emotionally affecting. One thing that emerges prominently from this novel is the importance of loving yourself for who you are, a message I found very uplifting.

My favourite storyline overall was the one involving Pippa and Jackie. Their tale of an instant love connection and the challenges they faced along the way instantly grabbed my attention. Pippa’s work in the field of marine biology added a new register to the novel, which heightened its overall complexity and complemented the romantic side of things. Their storyline wasn’t the only one I loved following, however – I enjoyed the way in which all of the storylines seemed to spark off of each other, creating a web of connections that only becomes clear as you progress through the book. Discovering how all of the plotlines interact is one of the pleasures of this novel, as is the realisation that love is the central theme in all of the storylines, the connecting thread that binds us all together.

Cassol’s many strengths include vivid characterisation. As a reader, I felt like I was getting to know the characters more and more with every page. This process of becoming acquainted with the characters felt a bit like getting to know a new friend. Rather than bursting fully formed from Page One, Cassol’s cast of characters grow and develop organically. One of the joys of this novel is learning more about them as they learn about themselves – a shared journey of discovery.

All in all, this is a fantastic book with lots of emotional ups and downs. I would recommend it to anyone who wants to have a bit of fun and enjoy an uplifting and entertaining 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.

The Beta Male Revolution: Why Many Men Have Totally Lost Interest in Marriage in Today’s Society by Alan Roger Currie

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‘The Beta Male Revolution: Why Many Men Have Totally Lost Interest in Marriage in Today’s Society’ is the fourth and most recent audiobook release by author and dating coach Alan Roger Currie from the United States.  This title is the second audiobook by Currie that I have listened to and reviewed, and I found this one more thought-provoking than his last (CLICK HERE for my review of Currie’s other audiobook, ‘Oooooh … Say it Again: Mastering the Fine Art of Verbal Seduction and Aural Sex’).

Currie’s new book offers an explanation for the recent social trend that finds many men losing interest in marriage, and it also provides an insight into what is known as the ‘MANosphere,’ which represents a number of different blog sites and internet message boards that many single men visit who are frustrated with some aspect of their love life or sex life, and are seeking advice and wisdom from other men who possess more experience and success with women romantically and sexually.

Currie speaks with an almost hypnotic voice. It is clear that this is a book designed to have his readers thinking about the content for days after they have listened to the audiobook in its entirety.  The various anecdotes and hypothetical situations offered by Currie make this audiobook a very entertaining and enlightening listening experience.

I particularly enjoyed the Preface chapter which centres on a fictional social experiment scenario that Currie refers to as ‘Monogamy Island.’ On Monogamy Island, every man and woman must ‘couple up’ for a minimum of six months, and remain monogamous to their romantic partner to avoid consequences and penalties.  If a man or woman is caught cheating, they will be relegated to only being able to have sex with others who were caught cheating.

Currie’s Monogamy Island is a brilliant thought-provoking social experiment scenario.  Currie explains it in a very detailed and logical manner. Currie used Monogamy Island to argue convincingly that even if a society was built around the idea that everyone was obligated to remain strictly monogamous with their chosen partners, challenges would still arise for many of the couples.  The Preface chapter left me with a lot of food for thought, but also, it left me with a lot of questions I wanted to pose to Currie himself.

Currie seems to make the argument in this book that finding a man or woman who is the ‘total package’ is almost impossible for dating singles.   For example, he suggests that if a man is exceptionally good in bed, he will be hard to get along with outside the bedroom.  This is what Currie labels a ‘Total Alpha male.’  On the opposite end of the spectrum, Currie suggests that if a man is very easy to get along with outside of the bedroom, that he will most certainly end up being boring or unsatisfying in the bedroom.  This is what Currie labels a ‘Total Beta male.’

The category of men that Currie offers to his female listeners as coming close to being the ‘total package’ (both good in bed and fun to be around outside the bedroom) would be the ‘Alpha male with a few Beta traits.’  According to Currie, even this group of men have their own set of issues, mainly a high likelihood to cheat on their wives or girlfriends behind their back because of their highly in-demand popularity with women.

One final category of men Currie offers is the ‘Beta male with a few Alpha traits.’  This group of men are similar to the ‘Total Beta males,’ but they are usually more educated, have better social skills, and are usually affluent. Currie suggests that most women will only use these men as a ‘Sugar Daddy’ or financial provider, but will cheat on these men behind their back with a Total Alpha male or an Alpha male with Beta traits.

My question is, why would any man or woman get married to someone who they did not feel was the total package?  A partner and spouse that offered enjoyable companionship both in the bedroom and outside the bedroom?  If the only option I have for the total package is the cheating and adulterous Alpha male with Beta traits, then thanks … but no thanks.

Currie’s discussion of Total Alphas, Alphas with Beta traits, Betas with Alpha traits and Total Betas was quite absorbing.  Again, though it was clear that these labels are Currie’s own unique stereotypes, Currie’s descriptions of how these stereotypes function with women in our society is very useful and interesting for listeners of both genders. I felt that at times, Currie had a tendency to over-generalise men and women’s behaviour, especially in regards to the socio-economic and family backgrounds of the Total Alphas vs. the Total Betas.

For example, I disagreed with Currie’s assertions that Beta males (i.e., the nice, polite, gentlemanly types) are usually raised under the heavy influence of women. Currie even suggested that men who grow up to be criminals are usually raised by single mothers!  I would have to be shown some statistical evidence to buy into that unsubstantiated generalisation. Also, I personally disagree with the broad generalisation that all Beta males are less exciting and typically unsatisfying sexually compared to their more Alpha counterparts.

I also do not agree with Currie’s assertion that the vast majority of single, heterosexual men are guilty of only ‘pretending’ to be content with remaining ‘just friends’ with a woman with the underlying objective of hoping to gain the opportunity to have sex with her at some point in the future (what Currie refers to in his book as ‘FunClubbing’). To suggest that men are solely interested in socially interacting with women for the purposes of dating and having sex with tends to reveal an unfortunate misogynistic worldview.

Women have more to offer men than just romantic and sexual companionship alone.  As platonic friends to men, women can offer them someone to trust and confide in, someone they can laugh with, someone they can support and be supported by, and above all, someone who they can just generally enjoy spending time with without physical intimacy or sex being involved.

The notion that the vast majority of heterosexual men only befriend women with the underlying motive of having sex with those women at some point down the line is a ridiculous one. It suggests that the only thing of value that women have to offer men is the ability to please them sexually.  This, of course, is so not true! If the “vast majority” of single, heterosexual men think as Currie suggests in his book, then I fear for the world.

In addition to being enlightened about what the ‘MANosphere’ is all about, I also learned more about the infamous ‘Pickup Artist Community’ and the way men who follow this community think and behave.  I emerged from Currie’s book with more insight into these subjects and how men REALLY think than I had had previously, but also with the feeling that a lot of this insight was Currie’s own individual insight, and not necessarily insight that all men across the globe would wholeheartedly agree with (to be fair, Currie does not suggest in his book that every man on Earth maintains the exact same beliefs and opinions that he does).

In conclusion, I would recommend this audiobook.

Overall, I would say that this new book by Currie is entertaining, enlightening, and well-written. I enjoyed Currie’s frequent requests to “marinate on that a little,” and found the abundance of rhetorical questions, along with Currie’s engaging tone of voice, very absorbing.  I also believe in Currie’s primary thesis that strictly monogamous marriages are not for everyone.  I also agree with Currie’s statement that promiscuous and polyamorous sexual behaviour is not for everyone either.

My main criticism would simply be that I found quite a few of Currie’s opinions, assertions, and generalisations to be either invalid, or simply not fully substantiated by factual evidence.

Currie’s new book is available on both Amazon.co.uk and Audible.co.uk

 

Fit Kids: 7-17 Years, Edited by Robert Duffy

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This is an excellent children’s fitness book, aimed at the parents, teachers, coaches and carers who need to help children get fit, stay fit and develop a love of fitness.

The book is centred around the BX Fitness Plan, a dream scheme that tackles the obstacles of time and space. The plan recognises that not everyone (and especially not children) want to have to go to the gym everyday and use specialised equipment to stay healthy. The plan also recognises that time is a precious commodity. The BX Plan is only 11-12 minutes long and is guaranteed to improve endurance, flexibility and strength. It’s also undeniably fun, with the chance to chart progress and hit various targets!

This book is designed to complement the BX Fitness Plan by linking it closely to the school curriculum and detailing how families can get involved in their children’s fitness. The ultimate aim is ‘fit schools and fit families,’ an especially important goal considering how physical health is closely tied to mental health and life expectancy.

Chock-full of information, this book manages to be both informative and fun. A series of introductory chapters pave the way for the BX Plan itself, with ideas for incorporating exercise into the school day, fun suggestions for informal play, and tips on how to eat healthily at home.

The BX Plan itself is beautifully explained. It’s a fairly complex system, but one that is handled expertly, with tips on how to complete the programme and progress to greater fitness levels. Each exercise is also explained clearly with instructions and step-by-step diagrams, which is very helpful for parents and teachers, who can now check if a child is performing an exercise correctly. There are different charts for boys and girls, as well as different goals for each age group, making this plan extremely versatile.

This is an inspiring and motivational guide that offers a solution to the sedentary lifestyle an increasing amount of children lead. With insights into the science behind it all, such as the effects and importance of exercise, this book is a useful source of information for everyone, not just parents and teachers, but also teenagers and even adults!

Anxiety and Depression: Sheldon Mindfulness by Dr. Cheryl Rezek

 

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‘Anxiety and Depression’ is an excellent guide to applying mindfulness in your life. The book offers a wealth of information about anxiety and depression, detailing what the two conditions are, how to recognise and understand them, and most importantly, how to approach them. This book is about psychology and mindfulness, so has a broader scope than just anxiety and depression. As mindfulness is a concept that can be applied broadly, I found that the book speaks powerfully to the individual on a personal level.

Dr Rezek’s model is described as an ‘emerging mindfulness-based approach’ and is based around the key idea that life happens. Mindfulness is all about building up resilience to life’s challenges, finding an inner stability and relearning how to live in the present moment, an ability we all had as children but have since lost.

Dr Rezek employs a step by step approach to dealing with anxiety and depression. The book is divided into four parts, each important in their own right and each equally interesting. I especially liked reading the chapter ‘Facts, Figures and You,’ as it made me realise that anxiety and depression are conditions on a truly global scale. Mixed anxiety and depression is the number one mental health complaint in the UK, with 1 in 10 people suffering from depression at some point in their lives. Reading this book in the light of these statistics made me appreciate Dr Rezek’s work all the more. This book is an important and helpful resource, and not just for those suffering with depression or anxiety.

One of the most interesting parts of the book was the chapter dedicated to men and depression. This is an issue that is rarely discussed and yet is very important, especially considering that men have a higher suicide rate than women. The chapter details some of the symptoms of depression in men and how they differ from women, which is useful in helping people to recognise the condition, in themselves or their loved ones.

What I liked most about this book was its writing style. Clear and easy to read, the prose is nevertheless compelling. Dr Rezek’s tone is both reassuring and professional; the knowledge, experience and expertise gleaned from her career as a consultant clinical psychologist really shine through. The book is geared around helping people, and the short mindfulness exercises (such as a moment of stillness), as well as the links to audio resources, go a long way in helping people to apply mindfulness as a practical tool. The more I learned about mindfulness, the more I realised that it could be very useful to everyone, as a way of coping with life’s challenges.

I would recommend this book to anyone who would like to learn more about mindfulness and how it can be applied in your life. Detailed, interesting, and above all, helpful, this book is an excellent resource.

 

 

MV Ezadeen The Rising Tide by Nicholas P. Clark

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‘MV Ezadeen the Rising Tide’ is the third book in the thrilling Jack Malaney series, after ‘The Baltic Triangle’ and ‘Deadly States.’ This explosive action novel once again follows the adventures of the charismatic Malaney, but also explores some of the problems that rock our world today.

This book is based in Europe but also spans across Africa and Syria. Clark has given his story a contemporary twist, taking the European migrant crisis as a key theme. He also discusses terrorism, human rights, child soldiers and the political clashes that are happening with more and more frequency in the EU. Clark handles all of these different threads with sensitivity and raw humanity. A variety of different narrators offer heart-breaking perspectives on the humanitarian crises discussed in this novel. My favourite third-person narrator was Jabir, a young boy trying to escape his violence-riddled past and find a new home in Europe.

Just like in the previous two novels in this series, Clark shows his flair for well-rounded, fully developed characters in this book. We see a whole cast of characters throughout the course of the novel, some old and some new, but all handled with grace and precision. I loved reading about all the little details, such as coast-guard (but also special agent) Ryan’s quirky heritage. Clark’s handling of our charming protagonist Jack Malaney was also spot-on. Jack practically bounces off the page with his sparkling dialogue, his use of humour in the face of danger and sheer amount of style.

Clark’s plot is full of twists and turns. There’s always more surprises, more cliffhangers. ‘The Rising Tide’ is certainly a page-turner, a quality that is helped by Clark’s riveting prose. Every sentence flows nicely and the dialogue is sharp and realistic. Clark’s writing style is really what brings this book to life: it adds a human element to the horrors of the refugee crisis and also ensures that every interaction between characters is full of chemistry.

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good action thriller, with brilliant characters and a sensitive handling of some difficult themes. Clark takes some of the humanitarian crises that threaten the world today and explores them thoroughly against a backdrop of politics and espionage. In my opinion, this is the best Jack Malaney novel yet.

Exclusive Author Interview! Meet Uwe Techt

Uwe Techt is a managing diUwe picrector, public speaker and author of several books and specialist articles, including Goldratt and the Theory of Constraints and Projects that Flow. I was lucky enough to catch up with Uwe over Skype and have a chat about his work and interests.

  •  Could you tell me a little about yourself?

I was born in 1964 and my first love was music. I played the flute and studied music, but I decided that it just wasn’t for me. When I was around 14/15 years old I composed some music of my own, and it was during my
search for a publisher that I made the decision to found my own publishing company. I sold the company when I was 22. There was no big money involved but it was a very interesting experience!

  •     What is your writing process like?

It depends on the book. Goldratt and the Theory of Constraints took me 6 weeks to write, but Projects that Flow took 6 years! I usually write every now and again rather than in big, marathon sessions.

As far as research goes, the general ideas presented in the two books come from Goldratt and other such genius thinkers. In the case of Goldratt and the Theory of Constraints, I used several sources from Goldratt as well as others, so as to present the Theory of Constraints in a compressed, but nevertheless detailed, way. When I was writing Projects that Flow, I drew on Goldratt again but I also put this knowledge into practice. I wrote the book based on my own personal experience as well as the experiences of my colleagues, which we had gained over a number of years working with and exploring these concepts.

  • Could you tell us about your publishing experiences?

I self-published my first book, Goldratt and the Theory of Constraints, which was an interesting experience to say the least. It worked though, it definitely worked. If I had to give some advice to anyone looking to self-publish, I would say focus on the content. You can do all the marketing you want for a book, but it’s not going to matter unless the content is good. I didn’t do any marketing for Goldratt and the Theory of Constraints, but now I’m starting to do a little more, such as get more reviews. My books don’t tend to need much marketing because of their target audience. Every manager at my company receives a copy of Projects that Flow to help them get all their projects organised.

I didn’t self-publish Projects that Flow because of the way the books are gaining momentum. I write in German, and as the books have been translated into three languages, I like having someone to edit, translate and format.

  • Are you working on anything right now?

As always, I’m working on several projects! The main one is Success in Project Business, a follow on from Projects that Flow. If Projects that Flow is about how to manage the business, Success in Project Business adds that competitive edge and presents ways of making money.

Right now I’m also collaborating with a ghost-writer, but we’ll see how it turns out. I’m not sure at the moment if I prefer to work with another person or not, but I like the new experience!

  • Do you prefer public speaking or writing?

 I think I prefer public speaking, but the writing is fun too! Right now my favourite part of my job is when I work with the customer service teams. I love having discussions and exploring the more interactive side of my work.

  • Do you have a favourite motivational phrase?

Yes, “the sky is not the limit.” I think one day I might use it as the title of a new book.

  • Finally, does music still feature in your life?

Yes. I picked the flute up again 5 years ago and have been having lessons every few weeks since.

Thank you so much for you time, and good luck with your various projects!

 You can find out more about Uwe at www.uwetecht.de