Author Archives: By Sarah McDaniels

How to Choose the Right Wedding Photographer

Wedding photos are a critical part of any celebration, because they allow you to relive all the special moments and emotions years after the celebration has concluded. Sadly, research suggests that many brides and grooms spend too little on this fundamental necessity, instead focusing the bulk of their budgets on catering, flowers, makeup, decorations and drinks.

New York Magazine recently published a survey which asked about 100 brides to name the biggest disappointments associated with their ceremonies. While each expressed a wide variety of regrets, the vast majority said they would have spent more on wedding photography if they could do things again.

According to Arnaud Brichet, who owns the Punta Cana wedding photography company HDC Photo, this isn’t a surprising statistic. In fact, he says most people tend to undervalue their photographer, because they are too fixated on the moment.

“It’s common for brides and grooms to concentrate their focus on the ceremony and reception, because they are so excited about the upcoming event,” he said. “That said, many don’t realize that everything happens so quickly. It’s like a whirlwind that can be difficult to remember. That’s why they need quality photographs and videos to help them re-experience all the special moments.”

Unfortunately, many photographers do a poor job of capturing weddings, because they tend to take overly-orchestrated photos that appear unnatural. To ensure that they are getting quality service, Brichet says brides and grooms should seek personable candidates who ask plenty of questions.

“The best services are going to have photographers who get to know their clients,” he said. “They need to ask questions and learn exactly what the client wants and expects. Our Punta Cana wedding photography service is successful, because we take time to talk with each and every one of our clients.”

To get a better idea of what they can expect, brides and grooms should also ask to see plenty of samples. According to Brichet, a service should have a wide array of photographs in its portfolio.

“The best professionals have versatile skills,” he said. “Be sure to take time to go through their portfolios to get a clear idea of what you can expect. It may seem time consuming, but your photos and videos will be the only thing left after the ceremony and reception have concluded. In the end, your pictures are going to be the only link between you and the powerful emotions of that special day.”

New Book Lists for Sunday, May 5

A valuable resource that provides great book suggestions, Amazon.com’s new Listmania is quickly gaining popularity for helping readers find authors and novels which have similarities to some of their favorites. Our in-house books and publishing expert Lois McGinty creates new lists on a daily basis to help readers unearth new books they might normally overlook. Below, you’ll find a few of her most recent compilations:

Must Read Novels that Stick with You
Books Like Into the Wild
Books Like Fight Club
Books Like the Alchemist
Books like The Lord of the Rings
Books Like The Hunger Games
Books Like 1984

If you have an idea for a new Listmania topic, contact Lois at lmcginty.kingofhowto@gmail.com.

Best Fiction Books for Fans of Cormac McCarthy

Realistic Fiction Books

Widely regarded as one of the best living American writers, Cormac McCarthy has gathered a substantial following of loyal readers. Unfortunately for them, the Pulitzer Prize winning novelist has only written ten books to date. Rumor has it, the reclusive author will release a new novel called The Passenger in the coming months. Until then, readers are forced to sustain themselves on novels written in similar fashion. If you loved Blood Meridian, No Country for Old Men and All the Pretty Horses; these are the best fiction books for you.

Expert Recommendations

Our in-house books and publishing expert, Lois McGinty maintains a list of the best fiction books available at Amazon.com. Of these, she’s singled out three which are sure to appeal to fans of Cormac McCarthy.

Similar Writing

The Sound and the Fury is an ideal choice for readers who love McCarthy’s writing style; in fact, the latter readily admits that William Faulkner had a tremendous impact on shaping his own writing style. Available for $10.99 at Amazon.com, this American classic may be a little too long-winded for casual readers who don’t appreciate descriptive literary fiction.

Similar Stories

Perfect for readers who enjoy realistic fiction books, The Hell that Follows contains several characteristics that are guaranteed to appeal to fans of novels such as Blood Meridian and No Country for Old Men. The story and plot are very similar to what you might find in one of McCarthy’s novels; as is the dialog and writing. One of the best realistic fiction books at Amazon.com, this novel is available in five parts, each priced at only a dollar apiece.

Similar Prose

For readers who appreciate McCarthy’s terse, intelligent prose, any Raymond Carver novel will do. Virtually all of his books are elegant, polished and beautifully written. They’re also more suited to readers who aren’t overly fond of McCarthy’s earlier works, which can be a bit verbose at times. For a list of some of Raymond Carver’s best novels, visit this page at Amazon.com.

Best Fiction Books like Mario Puzo’s The Godfather

A cinematic masterpiece which has gained incredibly lasting pop culture appeal, The Godfather originated as a best-selling novel. Written in 1969, Mario Puzo’s fascinating crime story continues to capture the imagination of movie-goers and readers alike; so much so, many are always looking for similar novels which feature fascinating characters and intense plotlines. Below, you’ll find three of the best fiction books which are similar to Mario Puzo’s award-winning mob epic.

An Expert’s Picks

Our in-house books and publishing expert has singled out three particular novels in her Amazon.com list of the best fiction books similar to the Godfather. Not only are these novels very well-written, they center on exciting stories and deep, interesting characters.

The Last Don

Also written by Puzo, The Last Don is based on the mafia; however, there’s a fascinating parallel plotline centered on Hollywood corruption. (On sale at Amazon.com for $7.99)

  • McGinty says: “If you want a book like The Godfather, read one written by its author.”

The Hell that Followed

Much like Puzo’s mob epic, this particular novel features some deep, original villains which will live in the minds of readers long after they’ve moved on to other stories. Available in five parts at Amazon.com, this is one of the best fiction books for people who enjoy crime stories.

  • McGinty says: “This is an exceptional novel for anyone; but it’s especially ideal for readers who love Puzo.”

The Day of the Jackal

Voted one of the best crime fiction novels ever, Frederick Forsyth’s doesn’t feature the same type of criminal activity as The Godfather; however, it’s very similar in tone. Available at Amazon.com for ten bucks, The Day of the Jackal is a great choice for anyone who appreciates a good classic.

  • McGinty says: “This isn’t exactly like Puzo; however, it’s close in all the right ways.”

Best Ebooks Download for Breaking Bad Fans

Breaking Bad (photo by popculturegeek.com)

A suspenseful and entertaining television series, Breaking Bad has attracted numerous fans, thanks to its gritty, intense nature. If you’re a fan of AMC’s award-winning TV drama, you’re sure to enjoy the following three novels.

Similar in Many Ways

Our in-house books and publishing expert, Lois McGinty has compiled an Amazon.com ebooks download list of the best fiction novels for Breaking Bad fans. Each of these books feature similar characters, plotlines and tones. They’re also centered on criminal activity.

The Hell that Followed

When five small-town law enforcers steal money from a notorious drug lord, all hell breaks loose. Now, each man must cooperate with a cold, strange villain or face certain death. Based in part on a true story, this Amazon.com ebooks download is available in five chilling parts, with each currently on sale for only .99 cents.

  • McGinty says: “This is one of the top three books I read in 2012. The intense, frightening plot and well-written dialog are perfect for anyone who loves Breaking Bad.”

The Last Don

Famous for creating The Godfather, Mario Puzo also crafted some other amazing crime fiction novels. The Last Don features some fascinating characters who specialize in violence.

  • McGinty says: “As with AMC’s award-winning crime drama, The Last Don features villains who attract your loyalty. Just as you root for Brian Cranston’s Walter White, even though he’s become a notorious meth-lord; you root for Puzo’s villainous characters who kill at will, yet somehow draw your affection nonetheless.”

No Country for Old Men

Cormac McCarthy’s exceptional novel was made into an Academy Award winning film; however, the book version holds information that never made it onto the big screen.

  • McGinty says: “This is a fantastic read for anyone who enjoys the tense scenes in BB. Anton Chigurh is one of the most memorable villains in literary history; and there’s a lot more about him the McCarthy’s book.”

3 Cool New Gadgets that Are Blowing Minds

Advancing technology has set the stage for some incredible new gadgets that make life easier, more convenient and a lot of fun. If you think your latest smartphone app is something special, wait until you see how three cool new gadgets are giving consumers and creators the opportunity to utilize their minds in ways many never thought possible.

Google Glass

This amazing eyewear can do almost anything a smartphone can do, including provide access to the World Wide Web for answers to almost any question. Even more amazing, Glass can generate visual displays that augment reality. Don’t know where you are? Ask this amazing piece of Google technology for directions and arrows will appear atop the ground before your very eyes. Don’t know the meaning of an Italian word? Ask Glass and it will speak the meaning right into your ears. Completely hands free, Google’s intuitive augmented reality eyewear also lets you easily take videos and snap pictures, which you can send to any person, regardless of their location on the planet.

Mindflex

Mattel’s mind-boggling mental acuity game lets opponents control tangible objects using just their minds. Competitors place sensors on their foreheads and earlobes, allowing Mindflex to sense brainwaves which it interprets as directions. Strong concentration skills force a floating sphere in the direction of your opponent, who tries to push it in your direction using only his or her mind. It may sound like something from the future; however, this incredible “toy” is already available at local department stores.

eBook Downloads

To the dismay of the publishing houses, e-Readers are quickly changing the way consumers get their books. Additionally, these gadgets have been a godsend to authors, who are now able to use self-publishing platforms to get their novels in front of readers. According to RJ Lawrence who distributes his eBooks download through Amazon.com, this technology has been hugely beneficial to both readers and authors.

“Some of the old guards in the publishing profession say that self-publishing hurts readers by letting low-quality material into the marketplace,” he said. “In the past, agents and publishers acted as filters that supposedly worked to keep bad writers and bad stories off bookstore shelves. In reality, however, I think we can all agree that there were plenty of bad books available to readers long before self-publishing came about. In the end, readers are perfectly capable of keeping bad writing at bay on their own through basic word of mouth and ratings systems.”

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