Book Review: Factfulness – Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World

Sara sent me a great review of a book she read. It wasn’t on our TBR but it was her little side project and clearly, she loved this book. Take a look at her review below.

*Sidenote: If you are looking for Christmas presents for someone, Sara makes these adorable little craft creatures. Check out her Etsy Shop to see what she has. I know the Potterheads will love her little creations.*

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Synopsis: When asked simple questions about global trends—what percentage of the world’s population live in poverty; why the world’s population is increasing; how many girls finish school—we systematically get the answers wrong. So wrong that a chimpanzee choosing answers at random will consistently outguess teachers, journalists, Nobel laureates, and investment bankers.

In Factfulness, Professor of International Health and global TED phenomenon Hans Rosling, together with his two long-time collaborators, Anna and Ola, offers a radical new explanation of why this happens. They reveal the ten instincts that distort our perspective—from our tendency to divide the world into two camps (usually some version of us and them) to the way we consume media (where fear rules) to how we perceive progress (believing that most things are getting worse).

Our problem is that we don’t know what we don’t know, and even our guesses are informed by unconscious and predictable biases.

It turns out that the world, for all its imperfections, is in a much better state than we might think. That doesn’t mean there aren’t real concerns. But when we worry about everything all the time instead of embracing a worldview based on facts, we can lose our ability to focus on the things that threaten us most.

Inspiring and revelatory, filled with lively anecdotes and moving stories, Factfulness is an urgent and essential book that will change the way you see the world and empower you to respond to the crises and opportunities of the future.

I think the best summary of this book is one of the final paragraphs in the book:
“I don’t tell you not to worry. I tell you to worry about the right things. I don’t tell you to look away from the news or to ignore the activists’ calls to action. I tell you to ignore the noise, but keep an eye on the big global risks. I don’t tell you not to be afraid. I tell you to stay coolheaded and support the global collaborations we need to reduce these risks. Control your urgency instinct. Control all your dramatic instincts. Be less stressed by the imaginary problems of an overdramatic world, and more alert to the real problems and how to solve them.”

This book is amazing. Everyone should read it – and I don’t ever even read non-fiction!
This book explains why the world is better off than we think, and what some of our major misperceptions are. The impressive thing, though, is that this is explained in an entertaining, and easy to understand way. It’s a quick, easy read, that thoroughly and simply explains major misperceptions we ALL have about the world, and where our focus actually should be – while still being backed up by plenty of easy-to-follow evidence.

Seriously. Read this book. It’s an easy read and helps you realize that things aren’t as bad as we think, and where we should actually be directing our efforts to improve the world. Read this book. Buy this book for someone.

Book Rating: 5/5

You can find this book on Amazon and Goodreads.

Disclaimer: This book was an extra read that Sara took on to for a fun side project. It was not asked of her to review it. She just chose to.


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Book Review: Pandora’s Succession + Giveaway Winner

A new review by our external reviewer Sara MacTaylor for a book called Pandora’s Succession by Russell Brooks is ready to be read. Don’t forget to check out Sara’s Giftshop for some gift ideas for Christmas!

Pandora's Succession by Russell Brooks

Synopsis: CIA operative, Ridley Fox, never stopped hunting his fiancée’s killers—a weapons consortium called The Arms Of Ares. When Fox follows a lead to one of their top-secret bioweapons facilities in Chechnya, he barely escapes alive. However, he’s learned that Ares has weaponized a hyper-deadly microbe called Pandora. The trail leads Fox to Tokyo, where he teams up with an old flame and fellow operative, Nita Parris. Aside from Ares, they must contend with rogue agents who’ll stop at nothing to get Pandora. This throws Fox and Parris into a deadly game of spy vs spy, as they must rely on each other to locate the microbe. For if it’s unleashed, it could mean the end of humanity.

This book was a great first start to the series. The novel follows the main character, Ridley Fox, a secret agent, as he works to stop two separate rivaling organizations fighting for control over a deadly substance that would wipe out humanity. There are many twists and turns along the way, a variety of characters and organizations and locations.

Unfortunately, there is almost TOO much going on sometimes, especially at the beginning. I found it a little difficult to remember which character was which and which double agents worked for which organization, etc. I eventually got it sorted about halfway through the book and was able to enjoy it more.
The action is entertaining and I was eager to see where the story went, and I’ll be happily reading the next book in the series. I would like to see the story and the characters fleshed out more and think that this book is a great start to the series, and has set itself up well to continue the action and entertainment.

Book Rating:4/5

You can buy this book on Amazon and leave a rating on Goodreads.

Disclaimer: This book was sent to us in e-book format by the author to read and give an honest review.

Giveaway Winner: Trish Carlson


There is also another book on the block that you should check out if you haven’t heard of it yet. It is called Addicted To Hate by Lucia Mann and it is a great one! You can find it on Amazon or on her website: www.luciamann.com!

Addicted to Hate - Front Cover


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Book Review – Mermaids Are Real

You get a book review! YOU get a book review. We have another one for you guys over here at Breakeven Books. This one is called Mermaids Are Real: The Mystiq Prong by Bo Wu.

Synopsis: Benji Fisher has spent the first twelve years of his life growing up in a small fishing town, Topside. He’s gotten used to the gang of dolphins who follow him on his surfboard and the voices he hears under the water; odd things that have, in their repetition, become part of normal everyday life.

However, none of that prepares him for the recruitment speech he gets from an octopus named Octavius and three of the dolphins the night before his thirteenth birthday.

What would you do if your ‘calling’ in life required you to take a leap/dive of faith? Would you take the plunge?

This is a fantastic book. If I had to say a book that it was like, the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan comes to mind. This series was just magical and I had the same feeling of magic and adventure when reading this book. It was mainly set underwater which appealed to me as I love the water and was called a fish as a child.

The main character Benji is very lovable. He is just trying to figure out his life at 13 years old and is then thrown into an entirely new world that he now needs to adapt to and become a part of. He reminds me of a young Aquaman (DC Comics). There are so many interesting aspects of the underwater world that this author has created and it was a pleasure to explore and learn the history of the Aquari.

Once again, I quite enjoyed the antagonist of the story. For some reason, I always like them the most. He demonstrated a strong leadership and badass attitude towards leading his people and ruling over the Topsiders (the people on land).

There isn’t really anything bad I can say about the book. The author gets a little too descriptive at times about the surroundings or the process of an action being portrayed but other than this small detail, it is a great book. I would recommend it to YA readers and anyone who wants a good old classic adventure on the bottom of the ocean.

While reading this book, I found it rare that I actually wanted to put it down. And I was excitedly telling my coworker about it while on our lunch break. It is a book that sticks with you and leaves you wanting more.

Book Rating: 4.5/5

You can find this book on Amazon and Goodreads and the author on Facebook and Goodreads!

Disclaimer: This book was sent to us in physical format to read and give an honest review.


Book Blogger List

I’m on the Top 100 Book Blogger List!

Wow guys. I saw this morning that I had some traffic referred to my blog from a source I had never seen before so I checked it out and it turns out that I am on the Top 100 Canadian Book Bloggers and Websites to Follow list! You can find me at #49 on the list (in the top percentile by 1% woop woop).

You can find the list here: https://blog.feedspot.com/canadian_book_bloggers/

It is days like this that show all the progress I have made with this little blog. I never would have started this if it wasn’t for my friend Kylee Bakowski. She gave me the idea to start a blog because I talked about books a lot and she saw it as a way to get myself connected with other like-minded people. I am glad that I listened to her and tried it out 🙂

The blog has been live for about a year now and it has been a productive year full of book reviews, being a part of various blog tours, interacting with so many authors and above all the book blogging community. I put enough time into this blog that it could be a full time job. Wouldn’t that be the dream….reading books for work!

Anyways, just a little update this morning but what a cool surprise to see that I made it onto a list. If you get a chance, check out the blogs on the list. A lot of them are the fellow bloggers that converse with me on a weekly basis and will provide excellent book reviews for authors out there.


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Book Review: Lessons From Life

New review up! This one was called Lessons From Life: Four Keys to living with more Meaning, Purpose, and Success! by Steven Darter.

Synopsis: In his deeply personal and inspirational memoir, Steve Darter asks himself the question: What is the purpose of my life? Using incredibly entertaining storytelling, Steve takes you on a journey of emotion, reflection, and insight that encourages you to think about how to live with more meaning, purpose, and success at any age–young, old, or in between.

To me, this book was just ok. I don’t know if it was because it was a self-help style of book or what but I just didn’t feel like I gained much from reading it. That being said, it is not bad. I just didn’t feel like I really got into the book like I would have liked to.

The author is very genuine in his stories about his life and how he overcame certain struggles or how he dealt with insecurities. The stories about when he was a child were entertaining. His love for his family is very strong and he represents that in a lot of his “lessons”.

I lost interest when it started to get a bit pushy with the religious stuff. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions and practicing their faith but when it is pushed on others, that tends to put me off. And I found a lot of the stories got very repetitive. In the second half of the book, I would be reading one of the stories that accompany the lessons and would think, “I have already read this” or “I already know this from earlier”.

One quote I did like from this book was

The mind can be a wonderful tool if you allow it.

It is a good concept for a book. I just believe that it could use a little more fleshing out. This may also be a generational thing. I brought this book home with me when I was visiting for Thanksgiving and my mom saw this book on the coffee table. She picked it up and sat down for a bit, flipped through the chapters and read it for about 20 minutes. She seemed to like it a lot so maybe this book is just better suited for an older generation (sorry for calling you old mom).

Book Rating: 2.5/5

You can find this book on Amazon and Goodreads!

Disclaimer: This book was sent to us in physical format to read and give an honest review.


Book Review: The Bird Queen’s Book

Our external reviewer Bonnie Humber has sent in her first review for the book The Bird Queen’s Book by T.L Frances. Bonnie is new to the reviewing team. She runs paint nights in the North Bay area if anyone is interested.

Synopsis: What would you do if you found a mysterious book written in a secret language?

Thirteen-year-old Denny’s life is far from easy. He’s at the bottom of the food chain at school, he works a mind-numbingly boring student job at his uncle’s shredding store, and, on top it all, he has to try out for the school basketball team—and let’s just say basketball’s not his strong point.

But one day, he finds an ancient book in an indecipherable language. Could it be a secret code? Or maybe even… magic?
As Denny starts spinning a fantasy tale around the book, the real world begins to fade from view. It won’t be long before his problems catch up with him, crashing down one by one…

When Denny, a young lad trapped in the mundane rut of his middle school life, happens upon an old mysterious book in his uncle’s paper shredding shop, he is compelled to give the unreadable tome meaning. Inspired by the cover and beautiful, foreign script, Denny escapes his day to day problems by writing a history for the Bird Queen’s Book. His new obsession quickly starts to take over, and affect his relationships with the people closest to him. Is Denny able to keep his loved ones close, or will he risk everything that’s real for a fantasy?

Although the language and imagery were rather basic, I enjoyed the concept and the personality of a few main characters. Although this book is meant for children, I still found this story to be too simple. The story would have been better for me if the plot had more substance. There are so many intriguing areas in this story that could have been expanded upon. For instance:

  • A thirteen-year-old boy with an imaginary friend
  • The history or reasoning behind the outlawing of magic
  • The love and acceptance of Denny by his friend Max, despite Denny’s behavior

I feel that if the plot had more substance on a sociological level, the story would be more enjoyable and less flat.

I was captivated by the plot twist of the imaginary friend. I found this character to be one of
the most developed, and when I realized they were not real, I was truly surprised and I loved it! I really wanted to know and understand more about this character once this twist was revealed.

“Don’t be an idiot”, I scold myself. “It’s just a book.”

I love this quote because as any good reader can tell you, there’s no such thing as “just a book”. I really feel that this story needs some fleshing out. But once that is done, I would definitely recommend it to any young reader.

Book Rating: 3.5/5

You can find this book on Amazon and Goodreads.

Disclaimer: This book was sent to us in ebook format to read and give an honest review.

There is also a new giveaway being hosted by us! Enter to win some traveling bookmarks and a logo sticker pack!

Enter here: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/5760930a4/?

Good luck and thanks for reading our reviews 🙂 Comment below if you have read this book and what your thoughts are about it!

Book Review: Trailer Trash – An 80’s Memoir

New book review up on the blog. This one is called Trailer Trash – An 80’s Memoir by Angie Cavallari.

Synopsis: Trailer Trash tells the story of Angie Cavallari, your typical girl growing up in the 1980s who finds herself cradled in an arm of a society that would be considered anything but your paradigmatic suburban neighborhood.

In 1980, Angie and her two siblings are dropped into a world of the poorest tenements during a decade where material wealth was worshipped. But these are not your usual run-of-the-mill Florida retirement occupants—these are tenants with issues that Angie soon realizes are the same that can happen anywhere—even under her own roof.

Her place in society is further confused by the fact that she doesn’t live in a trailer but nonetheless, shares a postage-sized backyard with a less-desired community by societal standards and attends a prestigious private school more than 45 minutes from her cinderblock castle.

After spending a decade living in a world of indiscernible differences, Angie’s family decides it’s time to pull up stakes, sell the trailer park and buy a double-wide trailer of their own in the Carnie Capital of World, Gibsonton, Florida.

Funny at times, nostalgic throughout, Trailer Trash hits on some serious notes and undertones about societal differences and the trials of surviving childhood in any decade and any environment.

I really enjoyed this book. The writer tells the story of her life with such ease and humor. It was very easy to read and cool to see how she grew up. I never knew what it was like to live in a trailer park but now I have some insight into it.

The author seemed to have a lot of guilt pushed on her about her weight as a child and that saddens me to know that her mother would make her feel like she had to look a certain way. We all have those relationships with our parents that regardless of how they unfold, tend to mold us into who we are today. If you read my last review for Fat Girl on a Plane, I talk a bit more about body weight issues and how we need to make ourselves feel empowered in our own skin.

At one point she talks about wolf spiders and if I was in that trailer where they were, I would be sleeping in a sealed tent outside. No way in hell would I be anywhere near those things…

My favorite character would probably have to be her grandmother. She could be a hardass at times but she seemed like a very fun woman. I don’t want to give too much away so I will stop there.

I would recommend this book to anyone who wants some light reading and to have a laugh. Angie will keep you smiling as you read how she took on life as a child and young adult in the world of trailer parks and all the fun/interesting people that come with them.

Book Rating: 4/5

You can find this book on Amazon or Goodreads or connect with the author on Twitter 🙂

Disclaimer: This book was sent to us in physical format to read and give an honest review.

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Book Review: Fat Girl On A Plane

Aloha fellow readers!

I just finished Fat Girl on a Plane by Kelly DeVos and it was phenomenal! This book presented a very positive message in a fun and entertaining way.

Books on a bookshelf

Synopsis: Fat.

High school senior Cookie Vonn’s post-graduation dreams include getting out of Phoenix, attending Parsons and becoming the next great fashion designer. But in the world of fashion, being fat is a cardinal sin. It doesn’t help that she’s constantly compared to her supermodel mother—and named after a dessert.

Thanks to her job at a fashion blog, Cookie scores a trip to New York to pitch her portfolio and appeal for a scholarship, but her plans are put on standby when she’s declared too fat to fly. Forced to turn to her BFF for cash, Cookie buys a second seat on the plane. She arrives in the city to find that she’s been replaced by the boss’s daughter, a girl who’s everything she’s not—ultrathin and superrich. Bowing to society’s pressure, she vows to lose weight, get out of the friend zone with her crush and put her life on track.

Skinny.

Cookie expected sunshine and rainbows, but nothing about her new life is turning out like she planned. When the fashion designer of the moment offers her what she’s always wanted—an opportunity to live and study in New York—she finds herself in a world full of people more interested in putting women down than dressing them up. Her designs make waves, but her real dream of creating great clothes for people of all sizes seems to grow more distant by the day.

Will she realize that she’s always had the power to make her own dreams come true?

So first off, props to Kelly for making a book that empowers people of all sizes. This is truly amazing. No one should ever be shamed or belittled because of the way they look or how big or small they are.

The main character, Cookie, is a strong female protagonist that doesn’t always have everything handed to her and she has to work hard for what she believes in. There are times when life becomes “unfair” to her but she always puts her best foot forward and strives on. She is very talented and a fashion guru. A lot of the clothes that she made in the book sounded very cool and the inner geek in me would hope that she would make some of these for men so I could wear some original Cookie Vonn.

I really enjoyed her best friend Piper. She was such a hoot! And she was from Australia which is epic because that is my dream destination to visit someday. Piper was the “giver of no f**ks” and I felt that she embodied that very well 🙂

Tommy kind of annoyed me a little bit because of how he would handle situations with Kennes being a complete asshole to the person he calls his “best friend” but that was just a minor detail.

This book is a rare one that will get a great rating from me! There are few out there that I would give 5/5 but I have to give it to this one! I am usually pretty generous with 4/5 but I found I couldn’t put this one down and would read it at every opportunity I had.

I would recommend this book to anyone out there who feels like they don’t like their body or are uncomfortable in their own skin. Let this book take you on a journey with Cookie to become empowered and feel positive about yourself because you are beautiful inside and out.

Book Rating: 5/5

You can find this book on Amazon and Goodreads. You can find the author Kelly DeVos on Twitter and Instagram.

Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley to read and give an honest review.

PS. If you haven’t seen it yet, check out my Giveaway Post where I am giving away a free book and some stickers!


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Book Review: The Meandering Muse

Hey Bookworms!! Guess what?!
The book reviews will be a little less often now as I accepted a part-time teaching position at Canadore College in North Bay. I am very excited to be teaching and will try and keep up with the book reviews to the best of my ability (I feel like I might be spending my free time lesson planning). For today, this book was called The Meandering Muse by Katherine Mayfield. It is a collection of short stories, essays, poetry, and musings of the author.

Synopsis: Step inside the mind of a writer obsessed with the workings of the Universe and crazed with the spirit of creativity.

This collection of delightful and thought-provoking essays, poems, CNF, and short fiction by award-winning author Katherine Mayfield will make readers laugh as they ponder the infinitely enigmatic workings of the Universe.

Ranging wildly from subjects such as multitasking, schizophrenia, shopaholism, money, and the government to the woes of a homeowner forced to use bananas and daffodils to humanely remove wasps from her living room, these unique and inventive Dave Barry-esque mini-symphonies of words will widen readers’ perspectives on life, nature, and human beings.

This book was very enjoyable. The author writes with such ease of mind, it’s wonderful. She talks about her overbearing mother and how that affected her as she grew up. She talks about Mother Nature and how we mistreat her and I applaud her for it. It’s nice to see an author emphasize her honesty and have it reflect in her “musings”.

The book is a very quick read at exactly 100 pages. You will find yourself laughing throughout and will overall feel relaxed reading this one. I would say this book is like having a conversation with your fun aunt who gives it to you how it is. She won’t ever pressure you to do anything and just wants you to be happy as you are 🙂

Book Rating: 4/5

You can find this book and add it to your shelf on Goodreads.

Disclaimer: This book was sent to us in physical format to read and give an honest review.
 
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Author Interview: Jay Cadmus

Hey there bookworms! I did another author interview with a gentleman I have been conversing back and forth with for a while. His name is Jay Cadmus and he is the author of Constable Outreach 35. I am currently reading his book and will be posting a review of it in the near future. But for now, check out the interview I conducted with Jay!

AUTHOR INTERVIEW


ERIK: What is your top read of 2018 so far?

JAY: Just finished reading a resurrected copy of The Tao of Physics by Fritjof Capra, Second Edition. With another in the TBR list of Scarab of the Black Vatican by E.R. Robin Dover.

ERIK: What is your favorite book friendship?

JAY: Think and Grow Rich by Napolean Hill.

ERIK: How many books are in your TBR Pile?

JAY: Periodically, I cull my book holdings, based on interests. As I grew – and, those I’ve outgrown. However, I’m left with thirty books. Think: …Re-Read. A picture would probably be best.

ERIK: Most anticipated book release of 2018?

JAY: Most anticipated release? Back in April 2018, I anticipated the release
of my book, Constable Outreach 35. Now, my next book. Don’t feel it’s appropriate to make this about me. So, I’ll leave it at that.

ERIK: How did you start blogging?

JAY: WordPress.com. I felt there was something inside I needed to get out.
Seeing the words that came out, where I fit into society. Based on what
I’ve been taught. Opening lines of communication. Learning from alternate
points of view.

ERIK: How long have you been a blogger?

JAY: With such a sporadic record, the start was near 2012. Consistently? In
linear fashion? Sixteen years condensed into three months. Learning as I
went. Most postings deleted. With the changes in the situation.

ERIK: Who is your favorite author?

JAY: Hard to pin down one of many. But, one author I follow today is
Steven Pressfield (The War of Art.)

ERIK:  Where is your favorite reading spot?

JAY: Grabbing a minute or three while waiting… wherever that may be.
Other than that, at my desk so I can make notes on my thoughts from
reading.

ERIK: What do you like about reading?

JAY:  Learning. Experiencing the thoughts produced by the words of others.
My reading and following action have made me change. I like who’ve I
become.

Sidenote: How great was that last answer! It gave me chills when I read how he responded to this question. Such a beautiful way to express his love for reading. OK, back to the interview.

ERIK: If you had to describe yourself in a book title, what would it be?

JAY: Chameleon – Novice who learned from every ‘You’.


If you are an author and wish to have an interview with me, just comment below and I will be in touch with questions for the interview!

Talk to you soon bookworms 🙂


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