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The Cuckoo's Calling - A Triumphant Return For J.K. Rowling!

Posted by Linda | 11:13 PM

When it was revealed that J.K. Rowling had written a novel under the pseudonym, Robert Galbraith; I knew I had to read it. Rowling filled my childhood with magic, intrigue, and beauty with her Harry Potter series so I was eager to read her sophomore adult novel. It angers me how Rowling was betrayed by a friend who had revealed that she was the genius behind The Cuckoo's Calling. Every cloud does have it's silver lining and now, millions of people will be introduced to a clever mystery noir. Another silver lining is that Rowling will be donating her royalties from The Cuckoo's Calling to charity for the next 3 years. I'm still angered how someone could have betrayed Rowling in such a cruel manner.

The Cuckoo's Calling is a much stronger novel than The Casual Vacancy and will definitely appeal to a wider audience than her adult debut. The Cuckoo's Calling is filled with all of Rowling's signature wit and charm that readers love. It's extremely evident from the writing style that Rowling still has the ability to create a tour de force, a novel that will definitely be looked on fondly 50 years in the future. This novel is a triumphant return for the Queen of Literature and it proves that J.K's domain and prowess doesn't just extend to children's literature.

This is an impressive piece of literature that is filled with immense intrigue and mystery. Albeit the beginning does have it's faults and is a tad slow-paced, this novel was extremely riveting. From start to finish, The Cuckoo's Calling does have it's share of dull moments, but they are overshadowed by the brilliance of Cormoran Strike. This is the mystery novel that I've been waiting for!

This novel has all of the star qualities of Stieg Larsson's novel and BBC's Sherlock. Cormoran actually really reminded me of Dr. Watson from BBC's Sherlock (Martin Freeman). Maybe it's because of their military past or that they both are a bit troubled? I really liked Cormoran, but I thought that he should confront his girlfriend and move on. I wasn't a huge fan of Robin, Cormoran's secretary because I never learned too much about her. I really didn't like how Robin put up with her boyfriend, Matthew (I think) who kept on bossing her around and Robin didn't really act like anything was wrong with that. The whole plotline with Robin was extremely predictable right from when she was interested and was too simplistic.

The mystery in The Cuckoo's Calling is well-throughout with just enough intrigue to keep me peeled to the page. I actually had no idea who the killer was throughout the novel; I had my incorrect suspicions though. I really liked how Rowling explored the world of the media and celebrities in such an unique and unusual way. You never really see celebrities as actual people in novels, they are usually portrayed as these untouchable gods that ordinary people have to gloat over. The fact that Rowling to decide to add a layer of vulnerability to Landry, added an interesting touch to this book.

The Cuckoo's Calling is a novel worthy of immense praise. I'll admit that the only reason I read this book was because it was written by Rowling. I'm definitely eagerly awaiting the next instalment in the Comoran Strike series and I can't wait to see what antics Strike and Robin get into next. Colour me surprised, but I really enjoyed The Cuckoo's Calling!

Google to Delete all Adult blogs

Posted by Linda | 7:18 AM

If you are reading this and have a Blogger blog that is marked as 'Adult', I would suggest you go check that the blog has not already been deleted. Google is doing this under its vague new anti-sex-ad policy purge. As one of those people who have an adult blog, I received an email along with hundreds of thousand other blog owner.

In the email, Google said that all Adult blogs hosted on the once-popular blogger network would  be deleted if found to be displaying ads. This is very worrying because it does not clearly define what constitute an 'adult content'. Meaning that anything that they feel unsuitable could fall under 'adult' umbrella. 

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Understandably, a lot of people have been very vocal in this latest content cleansing by Google. Ironically, this is also happening on the same day that it finally closes down the Google Reader. 

Since Blogger merged with Blogspot a few years ago, the number of people starting up their own blogs went up. There are people whose hobbies range from cat grooming to pubic hair trimming. They are used the platform not only to spread their knowledge and reach out to other people, they also earned a bit of advertising revenue on the side. 

What Google now consider as adult content is any blog that features personal diaries, erotic writers, romance book editors and reviewers, sex toy reviewers, art nude photographers, film-makers, artists such as painters and comic illustrators, text-only fiction writers, sex news and porn gossip writers, LGBT sex activism, sex education and information outlets, fetish fashion, feminist porn blogs, and much, much more.

It turns out that some of those blogs had 'adult' label placed on them by Google; and not the owners - which means that they had no control over how they would have classified it. Now, they all face the chops. 

My advice is to backup all your blogs that have any sort of adult content on them. There are lots of information out there on how to backup and export your content as XML or JSON. That way you can easily set up a new shop in less to no time at all. The downside is that all the backlinks and subscribers you managed to gain over the years will be lost.

Anyway, it's a shame that it has come to this. A company with almighty powers doing what suites them with very regards for what their users think. In fact, their are people who have been using the service for the last 10 years. All their content, reviews, comments and only friends will be deleted - simply by using someone else's hosted platform.

If this latest move is to stamp out those that are making - they are in fact targeting the wrong people. Adult affiliate links do not pay at all that's why you are not likely to see them on mainstream websites. With freely available homemade content online, more people are less likely to be paying for it in the first place. If like me you like half dressed ladies - then you might have to look elsewhere to satisfy your exotic taste.

So, what is your next option if you?

Healthy Eating Simply and Easily

Posted by Linda | 1:42 PM

I felt compelled to write a review after this top reviewer  wrote an outright smear, and have her friends create accounts on Amazon to boost her ranking. What a despicable, ugly person. There is no "boiled egg recipe" in this book. Paltrow went under the knife to remove a tumor, despite the "kk" reviewer's claim that she freaked out over a migraine.

I'm not sure how such an ugly person who wrote such an obviously untrue and ugly review is top rated, but Amazon needs to get their act together and ban these fake accounts and reviews.

Now for the book itself, the recipes are easy and not super expensive as suggested. The only two expensive ingredients I've found are manuka honey and quinoa. If you're interested in superfoods at all, chances are you already have these in your cupboard, as I do.

I am a guy who likes to eat good food and I'm not rich. At the end there several weeks of meals planned out, with page number references. Each week is customized for different type of person. Some I can recall off the top of my head: vegetarian, elimination diet, power gainer (my favorite), and just a normal variety week. The elimination diet uses juices for breakfast and snacks to keep you satisfied throughout the day.

It's the most comprehensive and satisfying meal plan I've seen of it's type. The book is obviously geared toward women, but I don't care, I just care about the information provided, which is both easily approachable and fun to read. The book is also interspersed with various photoshots like you would see in a Martha Stewart magazine.

It's not all green leaves and raw grains either. She shares her recipe for a very flavorful and lowfat tenderloin, which I usually dislike because of the lack of fat, but she kicks it up a notch.

If you feel like your diet is killing you and everything is making you sick and nothing seems appetizing, this book will allow you easily to get the right kind of meals in your daily life. When you're feeling sick the last thing you need is involved recipes that take a long time to make. Most of the recipes are 3-5 ingredients and require little time in the kitchen.

Response to Your Email

Posted by Linda | 4:13 PM

Thank guys for your emails - I loved reading them all and will do my best to answer or reply to as many as possible. I know there are some that need my answer in private, and I will attend to those as well. Receiving your messages and seeing what interest you guys are fascinating. Like I've said countless times already, there are no easier ways to make money online these days than to stick with what works.

I currently use a few channels to promote products online, and by far the best place I would recommend is Hubpage. There are about 16 of my articles on the site and they are doing reasonably well. There are people who have 100s - and are constantly getting paid month after month. So, that shows that the site is still a place to showcase your work. I know this because mine are there as well.

As always, you don't have to be an expert to write on a topic - but it helps if you had an experience in that area. I wrote this small hub on Flat Roof Repair - How to Repair Your Flat Roof over a year ago
and it's constantly pulling in alot of traffic. So, check it out and see how you too could write something similar.

If however, you'd like to see more, I have another one on 4 Guaranteed Ways to Make Money Online - this one is not my favourite but it too is still doing quite well.

Give them a try and hopefully they should inspire you to start making money and pay off those credit card bills.

My Latest Online Earning

Posted by Linda | 4:17 PM

This month I hope to do much better than the month of March. So far it's looking like I will double my earning for last month. In total, I made a mere $213.73. This is a bit of a disappointment because I usually make around $400+ with very little effort - so that's why I'm pushing to increase this month's earning and meet my usual target.

Here's a quick break down of where the majority of that earnings came from:

  1. I had a job for a private client for $50 - this took me just over an hour to write up the article. I don't do this as much, but it helps when I get one. Very quick and easy to write 300 words.
  2. Three of my articles on Hubpages are doing quite well. They accounted for $90 of March earning. Not bad for a few articles I wrote a while ago.
  3. Sold a few ebooks on Amazon. This is quite interesting because I only just started selling again after a year's break. Anyway,  the income was not for the sales I made in March, but instead it is for the sales I made in January. Amazon usually pay after 60 days of the order.
  4. A few referrals to oDesk netted me some more affiliate income.
There you have it.

So, in an effort to push more, I have been working on two more articles that I will be posting on Hubpages - that is sure to push up my April income much higher than that of March. In fact, if you'd like to see how my articles are written, please click here. There are quite interesting articles that focus on a few interesting stuff that people care about - and in return pays handsomely for some time to come.

Please do come back at the end of the month for my report on April earnings.

Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead

Posted by Linda | 7:52 AM

Much more than a "How I did it" book - not that there's anything wrong with that - but "Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead" is so much more than that. Sheryl Sandberg has been criticized for being a gazillionaire and thus (the argument goes) that the ideas she writes about are "easy for her." After reading this book, you'll see that this assumption could not be further from the truth.

I'm a firm believer in the concept of KWW - Keep Women Working - and it makes me angry when I hear of women friends and colleagues who "opt out" of the workforce or throw in the towel on their high-powered careers because it's "too much" or they simply choose not to return to the corporate grind after maternity leave or some other life event that has given them a taste of "real life."

Well, Sheryl's book clearly shows you how opting out is NOT part of "real life" and how opting IN - way in - is the better option.

A great book for young women about to embark on their professional (ad)ventures as well as women at every stage of their career - the personal stories, research, advice, insights and recommendations in this wise book will keep you leaning in, opting in and standing out in both your professional AND personal life.

My Review: Kindle Fire HD 7", Dolby Audio, Dual-Band Wi-Fi

Posted by Linda | 10:56 AM

I saw the Kindle HD ads and reviews and I must say I was beguiled by the crisp display and the nice portable size. My hopes for the Kindle HD were that I would be able to do my online tasks (emailing, tweeting, blogging, viewing films and TV, reading websites etc) on the move, and that it would be a neat way to carry around all my work-related documents on a handbag sized tablet. Some of those hopes have been satisfied.

The screen is beautiful (it is slightly smaller than iPad Mini's or the Nexus, but I don't find that bothers me). The touchscreen is also really responsive. I read my kindle books fine on the tablet (although it's INCREDIBLY annoying that Kindle haven't yet worked out how to make my categories carry over from one device to another, and they also don't upload my highlights and notes from personal documents I've sent to my Kindle - seriously Kindle, if you want to corner the academic market, you need to sort that out, and the page numbers issue).

The browser is ok. I don't know why people make a fuss about Silk - there is this cool thing where you can read a lot of text in 'Kindle' mode (ie on a nice clean screen), but it's very (very) slow to load and like all Android devices flash doesn't work so you couldn't watch, e.g., programs on 4OD or other flash clips. The major disappointments have been about the apps and document storage. The selection is pretty pitiful; you don't have access to the full range of Android apps.

I was hoping for a nice app interface to update my blogger blog - no such luck. For those of us used to Gmail's excellent search facility and threaded emails, the email app will come as a disappointment, it's got 1990's functionality... And the biggest pain for me has been document storage. The Carousel is fine if you just want to pick up what you were doing last time, but the device is an absolute pain in the bum if you want to find a pdf or other document which you were reading.

For some reason, they don't come up in the carousel, and if you access them via Foxit or similar you spend ages browsing through the Kindle's totally labyrinthine storage system. Would it be so hard to have a simple 'my documents' style location? And then there's the dropbox disappointment. Everything I use for work is synced on Dropbox, like a lot of people. There is a dropbox app for the Kindle Fire, but you have to sideload it as it's not in the appstore. But even then, it's the Android version of the dropbox app, so it only syncs a fraction of my total dropbox.

That means I have to be online in order to access other files, which for me defeats the purpose of a tablet - which I want to use to carry my documents around so they're always accessible (in meetings etc). In order to get the whole thing synced, it seems I have to download another app called Dropsync, and I feel really peeved that Kindle and Dropbox haven't made this work.

To be honest, I agree with other reviewers - this is just a snazzy kindle. I wish I'd gone for a different tablet.

Shred: The Revolutionary Diet: 6 Weeks 4 Inches 2 Sizes

Posted by Linda | 11:08 AM

I was really psyched to try this after watching Dr. Oz. I went grocery shopping and purchased basic ingredients to get started, but its just too hard to manoeuvre in kindle to use effectively. You can't bookmark, you can't cut and paste recipes, you can't tag rules, meals, etc.

Shred: The Revolutionary Diet: 6 Weeks 4 Inches 2 Sizes

Every phase and recipe category is in different chapters (i.e., smoothies are one chapter, soups are another), and while you can highlight items of interest within chapters, there is no way to just flip to highlights.

Example, if you want to go from the rules and meal choices for a particular phase, you then have to exit that chapter and go to the recipe chapter for the particular meal choice (say, for smoothies), then browse through smoothies page by page till you find the one you want (no way to bookmark to access easily if you want to find/ make again) - then back to the meal choices - exit, to a new recipe chapter (say soups), browse through soups, find one you want to make... then back to meal plan... then you might need to select an item from the seemingly endless list of various snacks... again no way to bookmark or organize favourites so every time you are going to have to go page by endless page... for every meal choice.

I gave up and figured one day when I had time I'd retype the basic meal structure and options/ choices so I could have it in one place and start doing the same for favourite recipes. Of course, that day has never come so I haven't done more than a day of the diet.

WTF is the point of buying an ebook if I have to retype everything to make it useful? This was the biggest waste of money. I wish I could return it and buy the book!

Love My HD Kindle Fire

Posted by Linda | 8:45 AM

Last year I bought the Kindle Fire and talked a friend into getting one who hasn't every had a computer and is handicapped. When the HD came out I wanted to get it. I love the sound when playing music and the pictures in HD are just like watching our TV.

 I was never a reader until I got my Kindle last year, I hated to read. The Kindle has changed all of that. My friend who is handicapped and loves to read but can't drive and health problems makes it hard for her to hold large books to read and to get out the buy books. I talked her into the Kindle Fire.

She loves her Kindle Fire and her 43 yr. old handicapped son, who can't read, has one. He watches moves and plays games and loves his music. So I had to put a good word in for the Kindle Fire. I got an idea what to do with my Kindle Fire I bought from last year.

At Christmas I had a drawing with my family for my Kindle Fire. I purchase the Kindle Fires last year for Christmas for my family. Each of them put their names on a paper and we drew the name of the winner of this package that was wrapped crazy. My son-in-law won it and he loves to read.

We had a lot of fun with that. I have Prime for my Kindle and love the free shipping and free books and more with it. I can't say enough about my Kindle HD. Just got the App. for the camera and having fun with it also.

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