Reading Fanatic ReviewsAll Kindle Unlimited Reviews
NOTE: These books were in Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited program at the time that I posted the reviews. They may not still be in the program, as authors can opt out every 3 months. If you find a book that is no longer in the program, don’t hesitate to contact me, and I will update the review.
A Window into the “Golden Age” of Medicine
I am an RN–a generalist, not a neuro nurse–so I found this collection of this doctor’s patient stories from what he calls the golden age of medicine (back before the heavy influence of administrators and insurance companies) to be quite a fascinating one. Given what I know of HIPAA, I’m actually surprised that he could publish a book like this, but it is a fascinating read. There’s not much of a distinct organization to it. The bulk of the book is a set of patient stories, and at the end, he talks about malpractice, being an expert witness, and gives one detailed case study. If you have an interest in medicine, or neurology, you might find this book to be an intriguing one like I did.
Another Very Dark Regency
Like the other book about Lady Jane in this series, I’m not quite sure what to make of this book. At times, it seems more like melodrama, or at least Regency with a heavy dose of Gothic. I wish the darkness in the series have been more obvious from the book blurbs. The covers make them seem like they’re just regular Regency or historical romance, but both of these stories are very dark. The villain doesn’t have a bit of light to him, at least not shown in either of these two books. Compared to the Lady Jane book, for some reason, I thought that the language in this one felt stilted. There were definitely some issues with grammar, punctuation, and usage. This kind of book, where so much seems to be focused on as such a vile person, is just not my cup of tea.
More than Just the Art of Minimalism
I have read another book by this author on mindfulness, and in this book, she brings mindfulness to minimalism in a variety of ways. The book is roughly divided into thirds: generalities and mindset about minimalism, specific strategies for decluttering your physical environment, and ideas for decluttering your relationships, your thoughts, and your day. What I like about this book is that you can tell that the author walks the talk. She isn’t just cobbling together a variety of information from online sources and other books as happens far too often in nonfiction books these days. Instead, she shares personal stories and insights as well as tips that she herself has come up with. I particularly loved the section on how to naturally clean all the areas of your home after you’ve decluttered. I’m planning to implement some of those ideas very soon.
I have read several books on minimalism, but her approach draws you right in because she helps you understand your thinking about the excess of “stuff” in your life and the history of consumerism. Much of her advice is very detailed, like the specific recipes for natural cleansers and how to use the pomodoro technique in your decluttering. The book has some unusual topics for a book on minimalism, like affirmations and time management—and of course, the entire last section that is more about the mental aspects, like clearing toxic relationships and thoughts from your life and replacing those thoughts with more positive ones. It might seem from the outside like it’s an odd combination of ideas, but the ideas do work together to help support you in decluttering all aspects of your life.
Ghastly Look at Married Life in the 1800s
I didn’t like this book. It felt a bit Gothic to me even though it isn’t listed as such, and I’m not a fan of Gothic romance. The beginning of this book just seems so implausible. The baron at first acts as a man should while courting, but as soon as they are married—literally on the carriage ride to the bride’s new home—he makes a 180 into a completely different man. He is rather horrible to Jane from nearly the moment they wed. The author only gives us glimpses of the terror that she has to endure, like mentioning the bruises that he gave her on their wedding night. Ick. Jane herself seems to vacillate between despair and a forced happiness that she is determined to wring out of her awful situation. It was all just a bit much. To me, the baron didn’t have enough motivation to treat his young bride so terribly. I hated reading about their married life so much that I almost gave up on the book, but I was curious about the actual hero of the novel and how this story related to a prequel that I had read by the author. I still can’t say that changed my take on the book, unfortunately.
Twins Separated at Birth Swap Lives (Poor Twin Story)
I absolutely adored the premise of these two books in this series, and each tale is rendered perfectly, aligning well with the characters of each sister; I like, too, that the stories are so distinct from each other. In this one, the poor sister of the newly discovered twins takes on the life of the wealthy sister to help dissuade her suitor. Ava is a delightful heroine, caught up in a world that she little understands. But her task is difficult. She has always had a bit of a crush on the duke (he was a patron of the shop she worked at); can she rebuff him for her sister’s sake . . . and at the peril of her own heart? The story is sweet and romantic. The only downside of this book, and the other as well, is that the book has not been properly copyedited—to the point where at times there are multiple errors in a paragraph. It was distracting from the lovely story. I would have given it five stars without those issues.
Heartfelt Contemporary Romance
Such a sweet contemporary romance! This is the story of Shelby, Shane, and Shane’s son (Nate). Shane is new in town and needs a place to stay; Shelby has a room because her roommate got married. Shelby is in the midst of pursuing her dream of having her own business. The story has several themes, including pursuing your dream and letting go of the past. Shane’s son is absolutely adorable. He even speaks in somewhat of a lisp. He trusts Shelby right away, and she is a good influence on him. All the main characters are sweet, good people who deserve their chance at a deeper happiness. A lovely small-town clean contemporary romance.
Depraved, Unlikeable Hero
I just did not like this book. For the first 10% of it, actually more, the hero is absolutely unlikable; this is the point at which we meet the heroine. The hero is an Englishman of noble birth who has been exiled to America by his elder brother who is now the earl. The earl blames the hero for their father’s death. In America, the hero lives a life of moral depravity—carrying on a sexual affair with a married woman—and squeaks by on an allowance from his brother, picking up a little more money helping a shipping company. When you read about him, he just comes across as a weak jerk. I wanted to find something interesting in his character that I could like or relate to, but I just couldn’t. He did start to change when the heroine showed up, but it was a little late by then.
There are also issues with grammar, punctuation, and usage, which were sometimes distracting. Commas were particularly problematic. There was the overuse of the word “smirk”; this is a personal pet peeve of mine. (You can’t “smirk” a line of dialogue; go ahead… try it!) The married lover is absolutely despicable. The hero sees her for who she is, but because of his lust for her, he remains with her. Ugh. I felt sorry for the poor heroine, who actually seemed decent. I cannot recommend this book.
Opposites Attract… Laugh-out-Loud Funny
I’m always a little hesitant when a book proclaims itself humorous in its description. Usually, the author oversells this point; perhaps she WANTED it to be funny, but can she really know if others will find it funny; humor can be quite individual. But I actually did find this book refreshingly light and funny. Oh my gosh, the heroine’s head was such an interesting place to be in. She has a unique perspective on the world, that’s for sure. And in personality and outlook, she is directly opposite from the hero. Their meeting and first date—two separate incidences—actually did make me laugh out loud. It is so rare when a book does that. These two characters are as opposite as they can be—he’s a buttoned-up, strictly by-the-rules police officer, and she is an impulsive, wear-her-heart-on-her-sleeve kind of a girl. They are both decent people at heart, just in different ways.
There were problems with grammar, punctuation, and usage, enough to be distracting on occasion. There was inconsistent use of single and double quotes to emphasize single words or phrases in sentences; it’s an unusual error; authors usually pick one or the other, but here, the marks changed from incident to incident. But the book is still crazy fun, a quick and breezy read that is an actual delight. If you are a pet lover, you will especially be endeared by this story.
Good Habits but Some Issues
This book combines several ideas to aid weight loss framed in the form of habits that should be adopted. I’ve seen the concepts in other places but not necessarily together. The book not only contains five habits to cultivate for weight loss but also discusses what they call the six pillars of weight loss mastery, which are mostly about mindset. Within each of the habit sections, the authors list strategies and steps to achieve the habit.
The five habits that are the cornerstone of this book are nothing truly unique. They include things like making better food choices, mindful eating, and moving more. I thought the book started in a way that was perhaps a little shaming of someone who is overweight. Not everyone who is fat is afraid of intimacy, for instance, and to imply that and the other things mentioned, the authors seem to be saying that fat must (or should) equal personal shame for every person who is fat. This isn’t necessarily so, and for those teetering on the edge of self-worth problems because of weight issues, such discussion is more harmful than helpful. The first section also gives links to a bunch of studies about the dangers of obesity. Having studied as a nurse, I would caution against taking any one study’s results to be the be-all, end-all say in any matter.
The book’s subtitle states that this book will help you shed belly fat. “Flat belly” is certainly a buzz phrase at the moment. But in searching the book, I don’t really see where this is specifically about targeting belly fat—which you can’t really do anyway. The only mention of belly fat in the book is in the section on food talking about black beans! This section listed what the authors called “fat-burning” foods but actually gave no evidence or information about why these would be considered “fat burning.” They were just natural, healthy foods. I’d like to see the data on that a fat-burning claim. Despite this, the combination of habit-building techniques is actually pretty decent. There are just some issues with shaming voice, the somewhat disingenuous subtitle, and some of the “facts.”
Heartfelt Clean Romances
This is a large collection of short novellas, some of which I had read before. I’m a sucker for Christmas-themed stories (even in August), so I particularly enjoyed A Family for Christmas. Lysander is new to the small town in Georgia but blends in well even though he comes in from across the country. He and his two children are very nearly adopted by the couple next door. Their daughter is involved in a relationship with a guy who does not appreciate her; I was actually a little surprised at how much of the novel the bad boyfriend was in. These are novellas, so there isn’t much time for complex characterization or multi-level plots, yet the author is able to bring the emotional feels for most of the stories and create tension. Each story is distinct, which isn’t easy to do in a collection. If you enjoy the kind of feel-good, low-angst romance that you see on the Hallmark Channel, you will most likely enjoy these stories.