Reading Fanatic Reviews

All Nonfiction Reviews

Anxiety Relief by Elliot Wood

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Available at Amazon only
Free with Kindle Unlimited

Anxiety Relief*

Not All It’s Cracked Up to Be

The full title and subtitle of this book is “Anxiety Relief: A complete guide to eliminate negative thinking, stress, dерrеѕѕiоn, angеr and panic attасkѕ.” in general, I do not believe that any books, especially a short one like this, can be a “complete guide” to any medical topic. But I also found the subtitle to be an odd combination of concepts. What does anxiety have to do with negative thinking, depression, or anger? These could only be loosely linked together, at least to my mind. The subtitle also makes you think that this book is going to be all about these other topics and how they relate to anxiety or anxiety relief. But over half the book was a more general discussion of anxiety, including different types and other information. Some ideas presented struck me as rather bizarre. Like in a section that was labeled 14 destructive types of anxiety, two of them were ones that I would not think of as being necessarily “destructive” but rather just annoying, like test anxiety and shy bladder syndrome. In all honesty, it felt like this book was haphazardly cobbled together from a variety of websites or perhaps other sources. I could be wrong, but it seemed that way to me. And it also had that annoying tactic that some nonfiction authors in particular seem to use; that is, right in the middle of the book as your reading along, the author begs for a review. Yes, I know that reviews are important to writers, but asking for them like that is just the wrong way to go about it. In all honesty, you most likely could find the information in this book on the internet.

Four Weeks for Prosperity by Elwyn Hayes

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Available at Amazon only
Free with Kindle Unlimited

Four Weeks*

28 Days to an Expansive Money Mindset

I found this to be a fascinating approach to getting a better mindset for prosperity and abundance. The book is grounded in the Law of Attraction, but the author says he sees it in a slightly different way. Here’s a quote from the book: “Thinking about attracting something means that there’s a separation between you and the thing you want, let’s say money in this case. I believe that instead of working on attracting things, we need to expand our consciousness and embrace the things we want. You can’t attract a desire if you think the desire is bigger than you…”

The book has a very small introductory section, and the bulk of the book is 28 essays and a variety of exercises (one for each day)—including meditation, affirmations, tapping, and more—to help you key into the particular topic of the day. While I haven’t given it all a try, I plan to. I found the ones I have done to be relaxing if nothing else; it also was calming. I’ll be interested to see how it turns out at the end of 28 days. Will it have affected a shift in my thoughts about money?

Your Rebel Life by Tikiri Herath

Universal Book Link

Available at Amazon, Kobo, Google Play, Scribd, 24 Symbols, Mondadori, Angus & Robertson, and Indigo (Chapters).

Your Rebel Life*

Maintaining Your Rebel Life

I have read the other two books in this serious, Your Rebel Dreams and Your Rebel Plans, and I enjoyed both thoroughly. I thought the author gave a fantastic blueprint to claim the life you want. The two earlier books look at how to figure out your vision and then plan to make it a reality. I’ve actually been anticipating this book for a couple of months because I so enjoyed the other two. This series-ender is a little different from the other two, but once I understood what the author was going for, I appreciated what this book has to offer.

In looking at the big picture of the three books in this series, I think I can liken it to the trajectory of a weight loss plan. In this scenario, Your Rebel Dreams (the first book) is like choosing which diet you think would be best for you and your body. Your Rebel Plans would be the phase where you are actually structuring and implementing your weight loss plan. I would call this book the maintenance phase: You’ve established a plan, worked the plan, and now you need a longer range vision about how to maintain everything that you’ve worked so hard for.

The book has a relatively straightforward structure. There is a section of introductory material, some of which was familiar from the previous books. Here, she sets the foundations about the particular constructs of all these books, like the Passion Pyramid and the Heroine’s Journey. The bulk of the book looks at the ten key pillars of life as defined by the author. Specifically, she has you look at each of these areas and assess your strengths and weaknesses so you can set small goals for improvement. She then gives ten tips that will help with that particular pillar. There are check-ins at the end of each month for each pillar where you state what your goal was, how you did with it, and steps from there. I found this a fascinating approach to try to keep yourself and your life not only in balance but in a constant state of improvement, a little kaizen. If you’ve read the other books, you’ll most likely enjoy this maintenance phase of your Rebel Diva life. If you haven’t read the other two books, you probably should before you delve into this one as those two books will truly set the foundation for this one.

The Cure for Stupidity by Eric M. Bailey

Universal Book Link

Available at Amazon, Thalia, and Bol.de

The Cure for Stupidity*

A Case for Communication

I have an interest in neuroscience; it fascinated me while I was in nursing school even though I didn’t ultimately become a neuro nurse. So I was intrigued by this title when it showed up at one of my favorite book review sites. It is very easy to read compared to other books on the thought and communication. It felt almost too simplistic at times. But at least it is more accessible than many books I’ve read on the topic. In this book, the author explores concepts like perception, content, bias, and distractions. For me, this book felt too loosely woven together. It was hard to see the interrelationship between all the various parts of this idea. Because of my interest in neuroscience, this was not my first time hearing some of these concepts, so most were not new to me. I thought the title and the subtitle were a bit disingenuous, as neither really had much to do with the book itself. I didn’t really make the connection between the content of the book and stupidity (although it could be argued that not understanding the basics of human engagement could lead to some stupid actions or decisions) nor did I feel that the book was very heavy into neuroscience, as I hoped it would be. Also, too, the subtitle states that this is about communication in the workplace; again, this didn’t seem to be the major thrust of the book, which seemed more about the theories in general than a lot of practical information. The book at its core is about communication on a variety of levels, though. It is about aspects of thought and human behavior that can affect how we perceive, think, decide, and act. Despite some deficiencies, I did still find this to be a fascinating read. If you have an interest in communication, perception, or bias, this book might interest you.

Microsoft Word in 30 Minutes or Less by Angela Rose

Universal Book Link

Available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Kobo, Google Play, Thalia, Mondadori, Angus & Robertson, and Bol.de

Microsoft Word in 30 Minutes*

Surprising Helpful, if at Times Too Simple, Guide to Word

I have used Microsoft Word since it was a DOS-only program. I still use it every day as a writer, YouTuber, and freelance editor/proofreader. I used it in the past during college as well. I thought I knew the ins and outs of Word pretty well as I’ve used it for so long and in so many capacities. But I recently updated to Microsoft Word 2019 as a part of my 365 subscription, and I had noticed that things looked a little different but didn’t really take the time to explore them.

I’m not quite sure what I was expecting from this book other than a brief look at Microsoft Word. The book purports to be able to be read in 30 minutes, but it definitely takes longer than that to go through the book, especially if you decide to take a few concepts for a spin in Word itself. Maybe it would take 30 minutes if you skip the parts that you already know (or think you know). Some information in this book is too basic, like how to copy and paste or save a file. Don’t we all know how to do simple computer tasks like that now? But there are plenty of nuggets of information here for people who haven’t used every bit of Word’s impressive capabilities. For instance, it has been a long time since I had had to do anything with references or citations, so it was good to get a refresher course. I also have never built an index. I was also intrigued to see the new things added to Word 2019. There is certainly more to Word than a simple word processor. If you aren’t sure about all that Word has to offer you, you might enjoy this book so you can understand its current possibilities. If you are relatively new to Word, this quick read will introduce you to the basics and then some. I recommend this book as a quick reference to anybody who uses or wants to use Word.

Ireland the Best by John and Sally McKenna

Book Link

Available at Amazon in paperback only

Ireland the Best*

Travel Guide to the Old Sod

I went to Ireland the first time 30 years ago–goodness, has it been that long?– and I haven’t been back for a long while. So I was delighted to see this book show up at one of my favorite book review sites. I found myself wondering how much Ireland had changed, as I hadn’t seen it since before the European Union. I was certainly surprised as I looked at some of the entries of this guidebook. The Ireland I remember was much more rustic, and well, Irish. I was surprised at the number of ethnicities listed for the restaurants in Dublin as well as some of the swanky hotels and restaurants. I spent a fair time in Dublin, as I took a summer course at Trinity College, and was right in the heart of that city; that doesn’t sound like the Dublin I remember. This book has gotten me intrigued about the new Ireland, and I find myself wishing I was able to go back and see what it is like now.

But about the book. I must say I am disappointed that the ARC copy I received had no photos of any kind. I don’t know if this is true of the published book or not. Introductory material seems to suggest that there is at least a map that goes with this book, but as I received a digital copy, I’m not sure.

The book has an easy organization. There is an introductory section about the must-visit places all over Ireland as well as annual festivals. The first several sections are all about what’s going on in the big cities like Dublin, Belfast, Galway, and Cork. The next sections look at the country by dividing it into geographical areas. Next, historical places and outdoor activities are looked out all over Ireland. The book rounds out with a look at the islands. I thought that the actual descriptions of each item were a little confusing. There appears to be a lot of shorthand used in them. I found myself searching for the places that I knew of 30 years ago, but I didn’t see them. I hope they are still in business as I have many fond memories; perhaps they didn’t make the cut. I was certainly surprised at the range of businesses, attractions, and types of lodging. It’s been a while, but I don’t remember that level of variety. I remember staying in may 10-pounds-a-night B&Bs!

While the book definitely had some drawbacks, it probably served its purpose in making me want to plan another trip to the Emerald Isle.

The Christmas Project Planner by Kathi Lipp

Book Link

Available at Amazon in paperback only

The Christmas Project Planner*

Facing Christmas Overwhelm? Get This Planner

I am definitely a person who enjoys the holidays. I love that time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. When I think back on the first Thanksgiving meal that I prepared myself for my husband and me, I remember how stressful it was to try to pull together the perfect meal while working and without much help. Over the years I developed a plan (and ditched the husband) with particular timing for certain things, and it did make it so much easier. Even if I would still collapse into a heap at the end of the big days. This book is aimed at helping you tame the overwhelm that the Christmas season can be so that you can create the holiday that will mean the most for you, your family, and your friends. This is a book that is quite enjoyable to read as well as act upon. The author comes across as very caring and understanding. She knows exactly where you’re at with all of the holiday hubbub and sincerely wants to help you create a special day or season while still maintaining your sanity.

The book has 21 projects. Even the author admits she doesn’t do all of them every year. But these projects are the things that you would typically do during the holiday season anyway, like trying to sort out which recipes you might use for the big days and figuring out your Christmas cards. But what I really appreciated was her guiding principles for the Christmas season (and which you do see echoed throughout the rest of the book): Namely, this should be about creating the holiday that you and others in your life want, and you shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help. Just because you are the parent or the head of the household doesn’t mean it all has to be your responsibility for the big days. The author states quite firmly that you shouldn’t just do “holiday” things because they are expected; you should do them because you want to, and they will bring you and others the joy that is meant to be a part of the season. I just love that.

The projects are pretty straightforward, and she also has mini essays that go along with each project as well, where she continually urges you to do what is best for you and your family and to ask for help. Just because you have a tradition doesn’t mean you have to follow it if thinking about or doing it doesn’t bring you happiness. If you’ve ever felt overwhelmed by the holidays and need kind advice, as well as practical plans, this book may be your ticket for a better holiday season.

Living the Golden Life by Li Mai

Universal Book Link

Available at Amazon only
NOT with Kindle Unlimited

Living the Golden Life*

Short Book without Much Substance

This book is an odd combination of parts. The first forty pages or so are a brief look at some Taoist and ancient Chinese concepts. The author certainly overstates in both the subtitle and the book description what this book is. It is certainly not a “proven unique approach to mental health and behavior at the spiritual level,” as the subtitle says. Instead, the bulk of the book is the 20 very short Taoist “lessons”—just a few paragraphs really—on principles and ideas that end with actions to do or actions to avoid. Some of these are written more like affirmations and others more like directions of what to do and not to do. There are just three in each category (do and do not), so there isn’t much substance in these between these and the few paragraphs also in the “lessons.” The book is clearly written by someone who is a non-native English speaker. Not only does this cause problems with grammar, punctuation, and usage—which are unfortunately scattered throughout the book—but it also gives rise to some lines that are just completely nonsensical. For instance, in one of the first lessons, the author states, “ ‘Pile’ is not the opposite of ‘face’, [sic] that have [sic] two sides.” I have no clue what that sentence is supposed to mean. What do “pile” and “face” have to do with each other? I’m thinking something got mistranslated along the way. I believe EVERY writer needs to have their work professionally edited, but it is even more critical when the writer is not a native speaker of the language he or she is writing in.

I did enjoy some of the quotes from Lao Tzu, particularly the one that went with her first lesson, “If you don’t change direction, then you might end up where you are heading.” This is only a 59-page PDF that I received as an ARC, but on page 11, the author already asks for reviews at Amazon. I find that so annoying.

Then the last 20 or so pages is a quiz that you can take to see which Chinese element you most embody. Honestly, I found this book to have so little substance as to not be worth my time, really. I do enjoy reading books on a variety of spiritual topics, so I was looking forward to this book to see what wisdom and information I could glean. The book was so poorly done and so brief that it didn’t have much to offer.

Stock Market Investing for Beginners by Darcy Malone

Universal Book Link

Available at Amazon only
Free with Kindle Unlimited

Stock Market Investing for Beginners*

Too Many Issues with Book

This book has some good basic information about the stock market, but at times is so awkwardly worded that it is difficult to figure out precisely what the author is intending. I find myself wondering if the author is a non-native English speaker and doesn’t quite understand the turns of phrase that are common in idiomatic English. Even some simple phrases weren’t used correctly, like “breaking even”; “getting even” was used instead; the two actually have quite different meanings! Some simple words appear to be misused as well, and some words are missing. The book doesn’t seem to be properly copyedited either.

I think the book does have some information that would be helpful to a beginner in stock market investing, more so than this same author did in his book on Forex investing. But again, like that book, there is certainly not enough information in this book for a beginner to be able to start trading successfully or confidently. The subtitle is definitely misleading here; you will not be able to “generate money today.” Because of the issues with language and this deficiency, I would recommend finding another more comprehensive book about how to invest in the stock market safely and effectively.

Yoga for Beginners by Elliot Wood

Universal Book Link

Available at Amazon only
NOT with Kindle Unlimited

Yoga for Beginners*

Maybe Not the Best Book for True Beginners

While this book does offer some useful information on yoga practice, Parts of it were just strange, the organization of the book was not quite right, and I thought it could be confusing for beginners.

Some common yoga terms were thrown around a bit too much without proper explanation when they were mentioned, which I think could be confusing for a beginner. By the way, this book doesn’t have any photos in the eBook version, so if you are truly a yoga beginner, you will most likely have difficulty following the directions for the poses without any visual reference. I thought some chapter titles were slightly bizarre. The title for Chapter 3, Most Common Reasons Why You Must Start Yoga, seems a bit commanding. Maybe the author should have said something along the lines of “most common reasons why people start yoga” or “most common reasons to consider yoga.” But I think a gentler title for this chapter should have been used. Chapter 8’s title is How You Can Supercharge your Diet with Easy Yoga Stretches. When I read this in the table of contents, I did not see how diet and yoga stretches had anything to do with each other, and when I looked at the chapter itself, the author didn’t draw any parallels.

I also thought the organization of the book was a bit strange. In a book like this, where there’s straight-up information and practical things like poses, I think it should be organized so that all the straight-up information is at the beginning of the book and all the different pose chapters should be at the end. Some topics are split into two chapters, like the brief chapter about yoga for weight loss followed by a chapter with poses and exercises for yoga with weight loss. Sometimes the informational chapter was so short, like for weight loss, that I just think they could have been combined into a single chapter that first listed on the benefits and considerations for the topic and then good yoga poses and exercises for it.

In eBook form, I don’t think this book works as it doesn’t have pictures or diagrams of the poses. I don’t know if the physical version of the book has these. I think this book could be a little confusing to true beginners. Therefore, I do not feel like I can recommend this book.

Disclosure

The asterisks (*) by the book title denote the source of the book copy.

One star = I received it as a free advance/review copy or directly from the author.

Two stars = I borrowed it through my Kindle Unlimited subscription.

Three stars = I purchased the book outright (sometimes for free).

The Amazon book links on this site are affiliate links, which means I make a tiny percentage if you choose to buy a book linked from this site.

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