Thursday, February 22, 2018

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5 amazing bookshelves you need to check out today

Neat-looking bookshelves you'll love (as a reader)


I regularly go online and look for all sorts of presents for book nerds, but not because I have so many friends who love to read. In fact, I mostly look for things for myself :D (giggle).

I make some mean wishlists for my birthday, and most of them are book-related. While I haven't read physical copies in about a year (because I have a beautiful and convenient Kindle Voyage that I use every evening before I go to bed), I do own hundreds of books and I'm not even exaggerating. There's a wall in my living room covered in books from top to bottom. So it's only natural for me to look for bookshelves once in a while.

For today, I came up with a list of five of the bookshelves that I believe look cool and might make a great addition to any booknerd's room/library. Although I have to ask -- who has the space for a library or study nowadays?


KidKraft Bookcase with Reading Nook


Okay, so I picked this one for obvious reasons. You can either use it as a typical bookshelf, or rest in the space specifically designed as a reading nook. This product looks good and is made from composite wooden materials. On top of that, because of its color, it probably goes well with the rest of your interior design.

Something might not necessarily appreciate is the part where the three cushions are supposed to keep you comfortable. I'm not sold on the idea that they really are that good at providing the support and comfort that a reader might need when getting lost in a book.

Mainstays Home Espresso

If your living room is designed in a modern manner, perhaps you should consider this product. I believe it might integrate into any environment, provided that it's not overly traditional. The shelf was uniquely crafted so as to maximize the storage in the owners' rooms, which means that you'll be able to place anything you want on its shelves.

There's no doubt that the model is space-conscious, but it might not make a super-good alternative for people who have heaps and heaps of books. I know for sure that this eight-shelf bookcase wouldn't make a great fit for the hundreds of books I have in the next room.

SuperJare Tree Bookshelf

I've always been a great nature lover, and while I have less and less time nowadays for me to spend several hours outdoors, I am a great supporter of activities like planting trees or donating money to organizations which care for the environment. So that's why I like my decor to be as similar to nature as possible. One thing I've noticed about some book lovers is that they create Christmas trees out of books instead of getting a natural one - KUDOS for that, people!

Well, this product resembles a tree, but it's pretty schematic so it won't particularly stand out from the crowd in your living room or study. Apparently, the nine components are well-installed, and the unit comes with a support bucket, as well as many as five bottom suckers. So it's quite stable, and eye-catching, too.

Casual Home 176-51

This ladder-shaped bookcase is another alternative you ought to give some thought to, especially if you like rustic interior designs. The unit makes a great choice for those who collect books and other things, too, and who want to put them on display for everyone to see. The 6-ft height makes the unit roomy enough for plenty of objects, and the cozy design enables it to fit the looks and furniture you might have in any room.

Having been made from solid wood, this bookshelf is definitely capable of withstanding the test of time. If you get bored of it, you can just sell it or give it to another book aficionado such as yourself. Since many owners say that it's actually better than what they had expected it to be, maybe this product is worth considering.


D-line Wood and Plastic

Okay, so this one is among the cheapest, yet most convenient bookcases I came across, and that's because it both looks nice and it doesn't cost a fortune. I've noticed that most wooden bookshelves can cost a pretty penny, so this plastic one is definitely affordable by comparison. It seems that the model can be assembled in as little as two to three minutes without any tools whatsoever. The components just snap together.

 What's more, the major advantage of using a plastic bookcase instead of a wood one is that it won't ever be affected by a humid environment. I'd say that this bookshelf works best when placed in the kitchen -- cooks might find it useful to store their favorite recipe books in it. One thing I do have to mention about this model is that there have been complaints from people saying that it can't hold an entire hardcover series (like Harry Potter), and that's because it's too heavy for the somewhat tin plastic shelves.

If you liked this post, maybe you'd also like to read about:

- Awesome Christmas Books

- Great Books About Power

- 7 Books Recommended By Stephen King
Continue reading 5 amazing bookshelves you need to check out today

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

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Cheap books (I liked) I got for my Kindle

These romance books are cheap, but fun!


2017 was, without a doubt, a very interesting year for me. I overworked myself to the point that I am now starting to understand that I matter more than my job. On the other hand, 2017 was the year that I discovered erotica. I have to be honest and say that I've never had a good opinion about romance novels, in general, and erotica in particular.

And I still have part of that opinion in the sense that there are many writers who do not invest enough time in proofreading their works -- nothing's more frustrating than coming across typos when you've spent your hard-earned cash on a book.

I've talked about the ways I get free books before. Recently, I discovered Instafreebie and I've started using BookBub a lot more. So I got the following books either when they were free to download for my Kindle, or when they cost under $5. I'm sorry, but a $15 price for a digital copy seems entirely unacceptable, at least in my eyes, because there have been no trees ruined in the process. It's not like I'm saying the same amount of work wasn't put into writing a digital book as it was into writing a physical one. But come on, Kindle books used to be a lot cheaper, so I basically hunt down all of the sales I can.

I've been a Kindle user for a little over ten years now. I started with a Kindle 4 and upgraded to the point that I now own and use a Kindle Voyage (which I totally adore, by the way!). I'll try to make a post about my Kindles in the future.

Without further ado, here are some books you should consider if you like erotica and you want to spend as little money as possible. Oh, and another thing -- don't forget to check out BookBub and Instafreebie. These 2 sites are goldmines for cheapos like me. ;) And they both have a system where they send you emails weekly or daily to let you know what books on sale! I love that.

Before I get into the books, I'll tell you that I'll try to make a post like this one every week -- I think I read over 100 sexy books in 2017 and over 40 since the beginning of 2018 (it's February 20 right now). So I have plenty of material.

Seducing the Bride by Michelle McMaster

I liked everything about this book! It's a sexy Regency romance. On top of that, it's written beautifully, and the two main characters aren't idiots -- which is a breath of fresh air, I have to say. In fact, they are quite intelligent, both Becket and Isobel. Other things I liked about the book were the plot and Becket's friend, Lord Alfred, who I understand is the main character of the next book in the series, Taming The Bride.

What happens is that these two friends stumble upon a lady who's lost her conscience and is lying in the bushes while they are going home from the club. Becket is in a somewhat unfortunate position in his life, because he is on the point of losing his fortune and inheritance. He was engaged to someone but that someone left him when she heard about his financial troubles. Anyway, I liked this book a lot - it's smart, it's sexy, and the plot takes us to exotic lands.

Something that did bother me, however, was the fact that Isobel and Becket have a bit too many adventures, some of which are life-threatening and they miraculously survive all of them. I understand that it is a HEA romance, but still. I felt like their ability to remain alive was downright supernatural.
Nonetheless, I do warmly recommend the book as it had most of what I liked in a good old Regency romance.

Bear Season: A Christmas MPreg by Kaleidoscope MM

There's something about gay erotica that gets my pants on fire! I know I'm weird, especially because I'm a woman, but I honestly find this genre extremely sexy. Something I do find a bit bizarre, however, is MPreg. In case you don't know what that means, it's when guys are capable of getting pregnant by other guys. You need a bit of imagination to believe that men are capable of impregnating other men -- but it's really not that bad, in the end.

This was a short read (just 77 pages) detailing the love story of Brody and Cole. Cole is a bear shifter who broke it off with Brody without an explanation, and he basically left him feeling brokenhearted.  I really can't go into too much detail other than that, and that's because it's too short a read for me to describe the plot. But I do recommend it.

Bought by Lauren Landish & Willow Winters

This is another of those books where the guy is a billionaire and a BDSM practitioner and buys himself a sub from an auction. I have to say, this one was very well-written, and there are many twists to the plot that got me hanging on the edge of the couch.

Both Lucian and Dahlia are genuinely interesting and have back stories that might make them incapable of being committed to a serious relationship. He's the alpha male who doesn't trust women because he's had a disastrous marriage and is now in a never-ending lawsuit against his ex-wife.  Dahlia is vulnerable due to a traumatic experience she has had to overcome - something bad happened to her when she was younger. So they're both damaged, to some extent, and they help each other a lot.

But the thing is that Lucian buys Dahlia for a month and makes her experiment a lot of kinky things, which of course makes the book a lot more fun to read! Upon reading this book, I went on to read all of those in the Highest Bidder series and I enjoyed each and every one of them.

The Cabin by Alice Ward

Oh my God, Mrs. Ward! This writer creates some of the best erotica I've ever read. Of course, most of those I've tried have heaps of alpha males in them, but I suppose that's my thing. I have a soft spot for disfigured/disabled characters and loners who want to leave the civilized world and never have to interact with another person ever again.

There were some things that might not necessarily be appreciated by the readers... and let's go through them together, shall we? One of the things that might bother you is that the two main character have sex. Like a lot. Like all the time. Like they almost never stop (giggle). Another problem is that, when she gets to the cabin, Zoe has a concussion, so she's frail... and yet this guy, Gray, does her still. Isn't that a little weird?

But still, I liked the book on the whole and I recommend it. Sure, it had some problems, but I can understand that writing erotica needs to be similar to writing content for Internet websites - it makes too little money to be profitable unless you publish a new book every month or so. I somehow believe that Ward will either edit or rewrite some of the parts in this novel, at least if she has the time, what with her writing new ones all the time. 
Continue reading Cheap books (I liked) I got for my Kindle

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

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Fifty Shades of Grey Trilogy by E.L. James (Personal Review)


My opinion on the Fifty Shades of Grey Trilogy


I'm pretty sure that almost everyone in the world has heard of Fifty Shades of Grey by now, and that's because the book was turned into a movie and it is supposed to be somewhat outrageous. Several years back, I never saw myself reading this book. However, upon discovering audiobooks, I decided to give it a try.

I first saw the first movie starring Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan. I'll be honest and say that it wasn't as bad as I initially thought it would be. I had this wrong perception that everything would be entirely wrong, both in terms of the book and in terms of the movie. To my surprise, the film was rather well-made and the soundtrack made up for most of the problems I had with the story.

The Story


As you might have heard, Anastasia Steele is a virgin (unfortunately, that's the first feature that comes to mind) who studied English Lit. Because her roommate is in no shape to go interview Christian Grey, a billionaire whose business is headquartered in Seattle, she steps in her place.

Grey seems entranced with the girl and starts to throw all sorts of expensive gifts at her. He even 'rescues' her when she gets drunk after her final exams. The male character is a known BDSM practitioner and explorer -- a dominant. Steele has no knowledge whatsoever with regard to BDSM, but she does her research once Grey asks her to sign a contract and become his submissive.

The thing about the book that bothered me most was the fact that Anastasia was willing to try being tied to a bed, whipped, and a variety of such practices, despite being a virgin. Sure, Grey takes care of the 'virginity problem' almost as soon as he finds out about it. But even so, I find it very hard to believe that a virgin, of all people, would find BDSM exciting or just willing to try being a submissive even before starting her sex life.

Another thing that I found to be somewhat bothersome was the whole insta-love thing. I don't expect a lot of depth from a book that was initially written as fan fiction based on Twilight, nor do I expect a lot of depth from a so-called BDSM-related novel. However, I became curious both regarding the lifestyle and regarding what other books had been published -- some of which simply had to be better than Fifty Shades. Well, upon doing my own research, I found (and read) books like The Submissive Series by Tara Sue Me and Bought by Lauren Landish, and a whole wealth of others that weren't primarily marketed as being BDSM novels. These two (and others I'm going to write reviews of) are far better than Fifty Shades.

So, with such an ingenuous female character and such a dominant male one, I still decided that the book was outright boring. What's more, I listened to the audiobooks while doing chores around the house, and let me tell you it was super-funny having to listen to a narrator moan while I was rubbing the carpet with a hard brush.

Personal advice


Obviously, if you are under the age of 18, I do not recommend this book. If you like strong female characters, the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy is definitely not for you. I personally enjoy reading books with questionable alphas that go out of their way to protect their ladies, but this one was absolutely outrageous. There's a passage in the 3rd book (the movie is out in theaters as we speak) where Christian goes on and on about how he doesn't want kids and he blames Anastasia for getting pregnant (she forgot to go to her shot appointment).

With a stronger (and more intelligent character), I would have seen a bit of rebellion from Anastasia, and maybe even witness a break-up. That wasn't the case, of course, as these two end up being married and living happily ever after even with Christian's traumatic past and overly possessive and controlling tendencies.

On top of everything, Christian 'mediates' Anastasia's promotion, which does happen under special circumstances, but nonetheless... I would personally feel robbed of my capabilities to advance on my own if a man had to intervene and make my promotion possible.

Besides, there are certain passages in all of the books you might definitely not find enjoyable. I had no issue with them, but this book is undoubtedly not addressed to people who like clean romance. There's a particular scene where they have sex while she was on her period and that might definitely not be everyone's cup of tea.

Is it worth reading?


In the end, this is the question that everything comes down to. If you have a lot of time to spare and you can afford getting the audiobooks from Audible or some other such provider, I would recommend this book. However, do keep in mind that it is not intended for young audiences and that it might shock (or bore) you.

Personally, I suggest watching the movies instead of reading the books. I started listening to the Grey audiobook (the 4th book in the series) and I got bored simply because that unfortunate contract was read time and again. By the end of the fourth book, I had almost memorized its points. So, the book is repetitive, somewhat poorly written, and it contains more than enough risque scenes.

If you want to read good erotica and would perhaps appreciate stronger female characters and interesting storylines, I suggest having a look at Christina Lauren's books - the Beautiful Bastard series, as well as Wild Seasons one are excellent - I loved them!

If you like intelligent romance, I would recommend something in the lines of Gabriel's Inferno by Sylvain Renard.


Photo by Zoriana Stakhniv on Unsplash
Continue reading Fifty Shades of Grey Trilogy by E.L. James (Personal Review)

Monday, February 12, 2018

What are the best reading lamps out there?



Best reading desk lamp



We’ve talked about some of the best reading night lights, now it’s time to focus on the best reading desk lamp. For those who work on their desks and like to do most of the reading and related tasks on it, sometimes, there is not enough light in the room to work, especially if it is located in an area where there is low sunlight or the room has very dim LED lights, which does give the room an elegant, classic look but can prove to be frustrating when it comes to reading and doing work that requires a good reading light.



Buying guide



To help you walk through the process of selecting the best reading lamp, we will be discussing a few features of a desk lamp to help you decide which one is most suitable to your needs.




Light color, brightness, and temperature



One of the most important factors to consider while buying a reading lamp is the light brightness, its color, and the temperature.


Some people prefer a bright white light while reading and some prefer a warm yellow while there are also some who love reading in the natural daylight! It is true that some lamps use a halogen light bulb making it an uncomfortable experience by emitting too much heat. You definitely want to consider the type of light you purchase and the power it uses.


A desk lamp with LED light will be a notch expensive than the halogen or incandescent bulb but will save on your electricity bill and maintain a cool temperature.




Design and style



It is a good idea to purchase a lamp that compliments the d├ęcor of the room you want to place it in. matching the desk lamp with the furniture and taking care that it does not look outdated or the odd one out.


There are a plethora of desk lamps available from bright neon colors to neutral shades. Therefore depending on your taste, would you go for a traditional lamp or a sleek and modern one?




Flexibility and portability



A desk lamp that has a flexible neck is a refreshing change from the age-old desk lamp which is limited to movement and changing the direction of light. Sometimes, with work such as craft, designing, painting or reading a fine text, requires brighter and closer light.


How wonderful would it be if you could have a desk lamp that can be shifted to angle light at the desired spot! A sleek and modern desk lamp is also easier to move around to another room or desk with its simple design and lightweight as opposed to a traditional one which is bulky and heavy.


Power



Keeping in mind the power usage a lamp will consume is also an important factor to consider. For example, a desk lamp with a halogen or incandescent bulb will consume more power as compared to an LED bulb.





Here are a few shortlisted reading lamp reviews for you to consider:





V-Light VS80907B



This 27-watt full spectrum light provides with a natural daylight effect without a glare and eye-strain. With a cool and modern look, this reading desk lamp is accompanied with a flexible gooseneck to adjust the direction of light. It has a glossy finish with a unique design.

The great feature of this lamp is that it provides with a bright and natural daylight making it an enjoyable experience to read by improving the color and contrast.

The on/off switch is located on the arm of the lamp which is quite convenient. This lamp is great for students who especially have some late night studying to do, as a traditional lamp may cause glare and eye-strain, this lamp will give the daylight effect and protect the eyes in the long run. This lamp uses a special natural spectrum bulb which is not easily available, so make sure the bulb is accompanied with the lamp at the time of purchase. This desk lamp is your daylight even when all lights go out!



Lavish Home Contemporary



Here’s an even sleeker desk lamp with energy efficient LED light. The innovative clamp design of this lamp makes it easy to use almost anywhere from your office, bedroom and the living room with a 73” power cord.

This sleek lamp gives a good breadth of light which is bright and sufficient. This lamp is made of aluminum and plastic with a flexible neck. Its neck is a good 41” giving you the option for a wider breadth or a closer focus.

One of the good features of this lamp is the simple design, without a wide base, it does not come in your way while working which is a plus point if you like your desk to be neat and open. It can be easily carried around to other desks and clamped on. The use of this lamp is simple. Without any complex adjustment options, there’s a simple on/off switch at the clamp base. This reading desk lamp is also a great idea for a gift to loved ones!





Seville Classics



This sleek desk lamp is modern, stylish, foldable, and saves a ton of space. This LED lamp provides with an ideal light to be used in the office, bedroom, living room, and study rooms. It comes in black color with touch-sensitive controls. This versatile lamp has 5 lighting modes and 5 brightness levels and a total 25 lighting options!

Another interesting feature of this desk lamp is that it has a flexible neck so you can position the light in any direction you require.


With 5 different color and brightness settings, this lamp is sure to provide you with an elegant light setting you wish to have, without having to buy different lights! Its neutral design and a piano black finish make it a lamp suitable for different furniture and beautifies any space without being loud. It is energy saving and consumes power depending on the setting of the lamp. For example, 6.5 to 7.5 watts on highest and 1.5 to 2.5 watts on lowest. Now that is something cool!





Continue reading What are the best reading lamps out there?

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

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Quotes I liked: Utopia for Realists, Rutger Bregman


1. Whether you look at the incidents of depression, burnout, drug abuse, high dropout rates, obesity, unhappy childhoods, low election turnout or social and political distrusts, the evidence points to the same culprit every time - inequality. But hold on -- what should it matter if some people are filthy rich if even those who are very poor are better off than the kings of centuries ago? A lot. Because it’s all about relative poverty. However wealthy a country gets, inequality always rains on the parade. Being poor in a rich country is a whole different story to being poor a couple centuries ago, when almost everybody, everywhere was a pauper. 
Take bullying. Countries with big disparities in wealth also have more bullying behavior because there are bigger status differences. (...) the psychosocial consequences are such that people living in unequal societies spend more time worrying about how others see them. This undercuts the quality of relationships, manifested in a distrust of strangers and status anxiety, for example. The resulting stress, in turn, is a major determinant of illness and chronic health problems. But shouldn’t we be more concerned with equal opportunities than with equal wealth? The fact is that they both matter. These two forms of inequality are inextricable. Just look at the global rankings -- when inequality goes up, social mobility goes down. 
There’s almost no country on earth where the American dream is less likely than come true than in the US of A. Anybody eager to work their way out from rags to riches is better off trying their luck in Sweden, where people born into poverty can still hold out hope of a brighter future. 

2. Imagine this: A welfare mother has her income cut because she hasn’t developed sufficient job skills. The government saves a couple thousand bucks but the hidden costs of children who will consequently grow up poor, eat poor food, get poor grades at school, and be more likely to have a run-in with the law are many times greater. 
In fact, conservative criticism of the old nanny state hits the nail on the head. The current tangle of red tape keeps people trapped in poverty, it actually produces dependence. 
Whereas employees are expected to demonstrate their strengths, social services expect claimants to prove over and over that an illness is sufficiently debilitating and that chances at getting higher are sufficiently slim.

3. Only Denmark has ever tried to quantify the value of breastfeeding in its GDP. In the US, the production of breastmilk has been estimated at an incredible 110 billion/year (!). About the size of China’s military budget. The GDP also does a poor job of calculating advances in knowledge. (...) If you were the GDP, your ideal citizen would be a drug addict who has cancer, goes through a divorce and pops fistfuls of Prozac and goes bezerk on Black Friday. Mental illness, pollution, crime - in terms of the GDP - the more, the better. That’s also why one of the countries with the highest per capita GDPs, the United States, also leads in social problems. By the standard of the GDP, the worst families in America are those that actually function as families, that cook their own meals, take walks after dinner, and talk together, instead of just farming the kids out to the commercial culture. 
We live in a world where the more vital your occupation - cleaning, nursing, teaching - the lower you rate in the GDP. 

4. In overworked countries like Japan or the United States, people watch an absurd amount of television -- up to 5 hours a day in the US, WHICH ADDS UP TO 9 YEARS IN A LIFETIME. American children spend half more time in front of the TV as they do at school. True leisure, however, is neither a luxury nor a vice. It is as vital to our brains as vitamin C is to our bodies. There’s not a person in the world who on their deathbed thinks ‘had I only put in a few more hours at the office…’ or ‘sat in front of the Tube some more’. 

5. Bullshit jobs. The economist John Maynard Keynes predicted that we’d all be working just 15 hours a week by 2030. That our prosperity would shoot through the roof and we’d exchange a sizeable chunk of our wealth for leisure time. In reality, that’s not at all what has happened. We’re plenty more prosperous, but we’re not exactly swimming in a sea of free time -- quite the reverse. We’re all working harder than ever. 
In the previous chapter, I described how we sacrificed our free time on the altar of consumerism. Keynes certainly didn’t see that coming. But there’s still one puzzle piece that still doesn’t fit. Most people play no part in the production of iPhone cases, in their panoply of colors, exotic shampoos containing botanical extracts, or mocker cookie crumble frappuccinos. Our addiction to consumption is enabled mostly by robots and third-world wage slaves. And although agricultural and manufacturing production capacity have grown exponentially over the past decades, employment in these industries has dropped. So is it really true that our overworked lifestyle all comes down to out of control consumerism?
David Graeber wrote a fascinating piece that pinned the blame not on the stuff we buy but on the work we do. It’s titled aptly ‘on the phenomenon of bullshit jobs’. In Graber’s analysis, innumerable people spend their entire working life doing jobs they consider to be pointless. Jobs like telemarketer, HR manager, social media strategist, PR advisor, and a whole host of administrative positions at hospitals, universities and government offices. Bullshit jobs, Graeber calls them. They’re the jobs that even the people doing them admit are, in essence, superfluous. 

6. A mere 62 people are richer than 3.5 billion people in the world. (!!!)
Continue reading Quotes I liked: Utopia for Realists, Rutger Bregman