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Gavin G (UK)

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C-Mass: Calisthenics Mass: How to Maximize Muscle Growth Using Bodyweight-Only Training
C-Mass: Calisthenics Mass: How to Maximize Muscle Growth Using Bodyweight-Only Training
Price: £3.56

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jam packed with good stuff, 28 May 2014
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Paul 'Coach' Wade the most mysterious man in fitness is back with a small volume to fill the gap between Convict Conditioning 2 and Convict Conditioning 3. Here he delves into ways to build muscle with calisthenics as well as ways to build strength without building muscle. Along the way the book is peppered with images of old time strong men as well as the miraculous Kavadlo brothers - Danny (who never smiles) and Al (who always smiles). If you are looking to be spoon fed routines you won't find them here but if you've read Convict Conditioning (and you probably have if you are looking at this) then you can probably figure out how to do this. I was surprised at some of the dietary info for mass building which says a little junk food doesn't hurt. Appealing as that sounds, I might take that one with a pinch of salt. For a small book there is a lot of meat on the bones and not much fat and at £3 it's a bargain. Of particular interest was a slim section on the mental component of strength training. I'd like to see this part expanded on in a future volume or perhaps on the PCC blog.

1000 Yards - A John Milton Short Story (John Milton Series)
1000 Yards - A John Milton Short Story (John Milton Series)
Price: £0.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well executed thriller, 2 Mar. 2014
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In the wake of the success of the Bourne movies and the rebirth of James Bond, the ranks of thriller novels seem to be filled with an increasing number of world-weary, one-man army, ex-Special Forces types (and why do so many of them have the first initial, 'J'?)

1000 Yards introduces John Milton, a jaded (Paradise Lost?) take on James Bond and puts him into play in North Korea. First of all the author's research on this secretive country is solid and I wouldn't be surprised if he has visited himself. What I particularly liked about this is that Milton feels fear. He is not impervious to the knowledge of the consequences that will befall him if things go wrong, and yet he ploughs on regardless. This is a nice change from the stoic, square jawed stereotype often found in novels of this type.

It's a short novella but as a free read on the kindle I decided to give a shot and I will be checking out some more of the John Milton series.

Interestingly enough as I was reading this I pictured Milton as Benedict Cumberbatch as he appears in Star Trek and in a Q&A at the end it seems the author has the same idea.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 3, 2014 10:59 AM GMT

Graveyard of Memories (A John Rain Novel)
Graveyard of Memories (A John Rain Novel)
Price: £3.98

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rain begins!, 2 Mar. 2014
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A new entry in the John Rain series is always something to look forward to. Barry Eisler writes the best tradecraft and action scenes in the thriller genre as unlike many authors who 'research' these things, Eisler is ex-CIA and a skilled martial artist in his own right. With Graveyard of Memories we meet the young John Rain, fresh from his SOG experiences in Vietnam and now working as a bagman for the CIA in early 70s Tokyo.

Whether you are new to John Rain or a longtime fan, you are in for a treat. Here we see the development of the Rain trademarks - his love of good coffee, single malt whisky and jazz. We also see him go from impulsive hothead to the cold, calculating operator we know and Rain's evolution here is particularly well drawn as he learns to see beneath the surface and penetrate the murky motivations and blurred moral lines of players on all sides, including himself.

His romantic interest in this novel is a fiercely intelligent and guarded wheelchair bound girl named Sayaka. In contrast to Rain's later assignation, he is more open and even, 'giddy' at times. Given the man he becomes, there are some bittersweet notes here.

As usual, Rain is facing some pretty insurmountable odds and the way in which evolves to handle them is a gratifying read. The action, intrigue, ingenuity and bone crunching violence we expect in a Rain novel are all present and correct. In some ways it reminded me of the 2006 Casino Royale movie with the birth of James Bond - and I mean that as a high compliment.

Obviously as this is a prequel there is no appearance from Dox, but you can't have everything. Next time perhaps?

The Aquariums of Pyongyang: Ten Years in the North Korean Gulag
The Aquariums of Pyongyang: Ten Years in the North Korean Gulag
by Kang Chol-Hwan
Edition: Hardcover

20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A rare and shocking insight into the lives of North Koreans, 15 Feb. 2002
There is not a great deal of information available about North Korea so 'Aquariums of Pyongyang' by Kang Chol-Hwan and Pierre Rigoulot provides an insight into life in the so-called hermit kingdom. A hard line Stalinist dictatorship, North Korean society is characterised by its lack of personal freedoms, corrupt bureaucracy, constant surveillance by security agents and 'snitches' and the ever-present threat of being sent to one of the country's many prison camps.
Due to an undisclosed 'transgression' against the state committed by his grandfather, Kang's family is sent to camp 15 in the Yodok region. Having lived a relatively privileged life in Pyongyang, the nine-year-old Kang is completely unprepared for what lies ahead.
Throughout Kang's ten year stay at the camp there is never enough food or clothing, adult and child inmates are beaten, brutalised and forced to watch public executions. All the while the inmates are told that they are there because Kim Il-Sung, North Korea's revered 'Great Leader', has been generous enough to grant them a chance at rehabilitation.
Kang notes that the struggle to survive the harsh conditions strips the camp's inmates of their humanity and dignity rendering them little better than animals. In spite of the dehumanising existence Kang suffers in the camp he hears stories of other worse places from where there is never any hope of either release or escape such as the dreaded Senghori camp.
Despite the hardships he endured, the beatings he received and the public executions he was forced to watch Kang can be considered to be one of the luckier ones. He managed to escape from North Korea and his account is one of the first to appear in the wider world.
International attention will be focused on South Korea this summer as it co-hosts the 2002 World Cup Finals with Japan and this will doubtless increase scrutiny of its secretive neighbour to the north. In light of the dearth of information available on North Korea, this book serves as testament to the trials and tribulations that many in that country face. The tales of concentration camps, fear and repression recall the darkest days of Hitler, Stalin and other such despots.
This book is definitely engrossing and at times makes for uncomfortable reading that evokes feelings of both sadness and anger. Having said that, Kang Chol-Hwan and co-author Pierre Rigoulot are telling a timely story that deserves our attention.

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