Reading Fanatic Reviews

Health & Wellness

The Health Recovery Zone by Cary Kelly

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The Health Recovery Zone by Cary Kelly*

Too Personal and Often Tangential

This book is an intensely personal view of one woman’s own health recovery and her suggestions about what you can do if you feel you need help in this area. Unfortunately, I think the book is too personal and a bit scattered in its organization. She needed to focus more on her core message and make it applicable to others. Buried deep in the middle of the book, she has what is, for the most part, a good plan for more healthful living, including eating more whole foods, getting enough rest and exercise, and avoiding as many food chemicals as possible. But the book does not follow a logical flow. It feels like a personal rant against a variety of people and institutions. A message on its own is important, of course, but the delivery needs to be right as well.

Along with the major quibbles that I have with this book, as I have somewhat outlined above, I do have one small issue. I am an RN, and she mentioned us, stating that nurses she knows have admitted to not having much training about nutrition. At least in the state where I received my license, we were required to take one full semester of nutrition. I don’t know what it is like in other states, but I actually think that is more education than doctors get on nutrition.

If you enjoy reading books about one person’s personal journey to health as well as that person’s take on a variety of sometimes tangential topics, you may enjoy this book.

Neurology Rounds with the Maverick by Bernard M. Patten, MD

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Neurology Rounds*

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.

Heal Your Body, Cure Your Mind by Dr. Ameet Aggarwal

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Available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Google Play, Scribd, 24 Symbols, Mondadori and Angus & Robertson

Heal Your Body, Cure Your Mind*

Broad Swath of Mental and Physical Health Topics Addressed

The topics that this book explores are vast. The author is a naturopathic doctor and gestalt psychotherapist who practices holistic integrated medicine. All of this is quite obvious when you read the book. The book is split broadly into three parts. The first part looks at emotions, the second how the body affects the mind, and the last covers a variety of topics and healing modalities. He explores mental as well as physical issues and ways to heal each. He does explain some of the science that is the background for some of his recommendations, like neurotransmitters and hormones. Much of the latter part of the book explores issues with hormones, like with the adrenals and the thyroid, as well as common issues like gut and liver issues. I am an RN, and I don’t wholly agree with everything that he says in this book, but he has given the reader much to think about, and I do believe he has the right of it in many places. He explores such diverse topics as sex, insomnia, and nutrition. He does give suggestions for different supplements throughout the book and shares some meditative practices. All in all, I found it to be a fascinating read.

Daily Guide to Help Rewire Your Brain by Milo Blake

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Daily Guide to Help Rewire Your Brain*

I Don’t Understand the High Reviews

My goodness, where to start with this book? I don’t quite understand how this has gotten so many high reviews here. It is barely a book, especially if you take out the repetitious information. I find the title a bit overblown for what the book is. It is about affirmations. The author just seemed to load the title with popular buzzwords and catchphrases like rewiring your brain, mind hacking, and positive thinking. The author does talk briefly about affirmations and the power of the mind, but honestly, some of it is actually laughable and just dead wrong. For instance, he stated rather boldly at the start of a paragraph in the introductory section that most people suffer from mental illness. I am a nurse, and I would strongly disagree with that statement.

The book is somewhat strangely organized. The bulk of the book, as you might imagine, is taken up with affirmations on typical topics like gratitude, passion, abundance, confidence, etc. But what is bizarre about this very short book is that, for whatever reason, the author lists the affirmations for each topic twice, the second repetition being the same sentences with the words “30 seconds of calm music” in between each affirmation, as if he were talking about a recording of the affirmations. Nowhere in the PDF I got as a review copy showed any links to meditation tracks from the author. What’s odd, too, is that one chapter is full of affirmations on a variety of topics, the ones I mentioned above. The next chapter is just on strength, just as short as those other topics (not expanded, which could make it need its own chapter). Why wasn’t this just included in that chapter, or conversely, why weren’t all those that were listed in the one chapter put out into their own chapters? It’s just rather strange. The affirmations themselves seem fine, but nothing groundbreaking on these topics.

For the issues mentioned above, I can’t recommend this book. If you are looking for affirmations, you would be better to look at other books or just go onto YouTube and search for the kind of affirmations that you’re looking for.

The Triple Threat Guided Workouts by Yara Guillard

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Available at Amazon only
Free with Kindle Unlimited

The Triple Threat Guided Workouts*

Workouts Safe for the Keto Diet and Intermittent Fasting

On Amazon, the title and book description state that this book is meant to be an audio book buddy for you to use during a workout. I’m not exactly sure how that works on the Amazon end, but when I got this from my favorite online book review site, it came as just a regular Kindle book. I think something is lost in the translation just looking at the words of an audiobook such as this. The author is a trainer who has created what she believes are effective workouts for her clients who are on the keto diet and use intermittent fasting. She has designed workouts that have three key elements, stretching and flexibility, low-level cardio, and stability exercises. She states that her clients have had very good results with this. The core of this book is essentially 12 different workouts. She wants you to set up a month’s long exercise regimen of three workouts per week, with at least a day off in between, so each of the 12 workouts is for one session. The exercises looked basic and good, appropriate for someone who is putting their body in a stress state. If you are into keto and intermittent fasting and have been wondering what to do for your workouts, this book may be just what you are looking for.

Be a Holistic Healing Heroine by Yara Guillard

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Free with Kindle Unlimited

Be a Holistic Healing Heroine*

Good All-Round Keto/IF Guidebook

In this book, fitness trainer Yara Guillard attempts to explain keto and intermittent fasting (what they are, the “science” behind it, and how to implement it) and give hints and tips that will help you live a more keto-friendly life if that’s your diet of choice. While I didn’t necessarily agree with some of her scientific statements—as an RN who has taken a lot of anatomy and physiology—I believe that much of the rest of the information is sound, like how to deal with the keto flu and handle social aspects of having such a restricted diet. Of course, since she is a trainer, the information about exercise is probably spot-on; she did also put out another book at the same time just on keto-friendly workouts. So long as you don’t take the science too seriously, I think this is a worthwhile book if you are following a keto and intermittent fasting plan.

Tantric Massage by Rozella Hart

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Available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Kobo, Google Play, 24 Symbols, Thalia, Mondadori, Angus & Robertson, Indigo (Chapters), and

Tantric Massage*

Not Worth Your Time or Money

Oh, my gosh! What a poorly written book! If you read it out loud, the language comes across as so childish. The information contained is generic and could be easily sourced on the internet. There’s a deep history to tantra, but this book displays none of those foundations. The illustrations are a joke. If you have any interest in this topic, you would be best to pass this book up and find another one.

Kick-start Your Plant-Based Lifestyle by Alyani Cook

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Free with Kindle Unlimited

Kick-start Your Plant-Based Lifestyle*

So Many Issues…

I have been eating a plant-based diet for a long time now, and I don’t know where to start talking about all that’s wrong with this book bundle. The author gets her definitions confused right out of the gate. She actually contradicts herself in several places when she describes what plant-based means to her and when she differentiates terms. Here’s the first thing she says about plant based vs. vegetarianism/veganism: “Often times, a plant-based diet is confused with a vegan or vegetarian diet. While they are very similar, they are not exactly the same. The best way to describe it is that a plant-based diet is the umbrella term where veganism and vegetarianism falls under.” That was followed a mere Kindle page flip or two by this: “However, when I say ‘plant-based foods’, this means the food comes directly from plant sources. We will be going over in greater detail in the next section but all you need to know at this point is that plant-based foods do not contain any animal products like honey, eggs, milk or meat.” If that doesn’t define veganism succinctly—I would add a few phrases—I don’t know what does! She talks about this again later… while making a whole lot of assumptions about what others eat: “If someone tells you that they follow a plant-based diet, this means that their diet consists mainly of plant foods. Unless you are told otherwise, you can assume that this individual avoids animal-based products like gelatin, butter, milk, eggs, and animal meat, or they eat them very minimally. These individuals will also avoid eating plant fragments and place their focus on whole plant foods instead.” She mixing up several concepts together (plant based, whole foods, minimally processed) in a confusing fashion as if they are one here and in other places, like: “Plant foods must be whole or minimally processed. You might be scratching your head at this point; I will clarify with an example. An apple is considered a plant food. An apple pie is not a plant food, nor is it plant-based.” While health gurus may not like it, an apple pie does use a plant!

Interestingly, when she actually gets to the topic of veganism, she gets it sooo wrong. She states that there are basically two types of vegans these days: fruitarians and raw food enthusiasts. Ummm, nope! I daresay most vegans are rather more garden variety types (no pun intended) who simply eschew anything meat based or produced by animals—though I prefer to define any diet by what is included rather than what it does not. Fruitarians and raw fooders are a small fraction of veganism, not its two core modern components.

She has a very long section that looks into the benefits of a plant-based lifestyle, no matter how it is defined. Sometimes she gives actual study references, but she doesn’t usually state the year of the study or whether they have been duplicated, the latter being a cornerstone of proper scientific research. And she also does seem to draw big conclusions from small studies, which is always a danger when using research to back up claims. I would have liked to have seen a list of references to these studies at the end so that the savvy reader could actually look up the studies and draw conclusions himself or herself.

In a book that touts in its subtitle that it gives you a meal plan, I find it laughable that these two books combined only give about 20 or so recipes. In the recipes themselves, she manages to contradict herself quite often. That is to say, that she uses ingredients in the recipes that are plant fragments (which she advises against), overly processed (like vegan butter) as well as ingredients she has said you should not use or use sparingly (like sugar and oils)–and sometimes in rather large quantities. Some recipes don’t sound half bad in concept, but there are a few relative misproportions in some ingredient lists and outright mistakes. For instance, in the first soup recipe in the main book (not the cookbook), she states that you should use 50 teaspoons of salt. In the recipes that are in the main book, she did use a bizarre way of writing out ingredients, putting the amount in parentheses at the end of the ingredient line and writing fractions as decimals. So she probably meant to say 0.5 teaspoon. That bizarre way writing ingredients did not carry through, thankfully, to the cookbook portion of the bundle. Those ingredients were written out like a typical cookbook. The author should have taken care to be consistent in all parts of this bundle.

There are certainly other issues with this book, but I’ve gone on long enough. If you have an interest in a plant-based, whole-food diet, I would recommend looking at other books because this one is just too rife with errors and inconsistencies to be of much use.

[NOTE: I did not correct punctuation and usage errors in the quotes.]

Narcissistic Mother by Mia Warren

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Available at Amazon only
Free with Kindle Unlimited

Narcissistic Mother*

Style Improvements Needed, But Good Info

I recently read this author’s other book on changing your life after narcissistic abuse and was curious to see what her take was on parental narcissism; the other book was more about narcissism within a romantic relationship. The author herself states at the beginning of the book that she herself has a narcissistic mother, and I believe that her background has colored the rest of the book in both positive and negative ways.

The book is structured cleanly, with background definitions and explanations at the start, the effects of narcism, and a section ending on what you can do to heal from parental narcissistic abuse. The author seems to have pulled a lot of her information that isn’t clearly personal from the works of writers in the psychology field. In fact, some lists that I mention later below seem to be directly taken from other authors.

Within the chapters themselves, I think the author should have formatted each section to make it easier to read. Much of the background and explanations are written like a list–like a list of traits of a narcissistic mother or the forms of abuse that the narcissist will use. These are written just as sequential paragraphs that start in a very similar and boring fashion, like “the second sign of _____ is… [new paragraph] The third sign of _____ is…” Some of these lists go on for 10 or more signs, examples, or trades, so this can get tedious. It would have been more readable if the author had listed each sign as a subheading of the section within the chapter.

That said, if you believe you have a narcissistic mother (or father), this book will help you get clarity on precisely what that is, what it has done to you, and what you can do to heal now that you recognize that it is an issue.

Mindfulness by Olivia Telford

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Available at Amazon only
Free with Kindle Unlimited


Practical, Helpful Mindfulness Exercises

Mindfulness definitely seems to be a buzzword these days. This book attempts to define it and help you use it to help your life, both dealing with the negatives and cultivating the positives. The book is relatively simple and straightforward beginning with the definition of mindfulness, some simple exercises, and meditation information and techniques. The first section after that goes into detail about destructive negatives, like stress, anger, and anxiety, that mindfulness could potentially help with. The next section looks at how mindfulness can be used to help build better habits (or beat bad ones), relationships, and perhaps a better life. Both of these practical sections have a little article about the topic and include mindfulness exercises that the author believes will help. One tiny little thing bugged me. The author clearly states at the beginning that mindfulness is not meditation, yet she includes meditation in the subtitle, perhaps making the potential reader think that meditation is the only way that mindfulness can be achieved or that this book is only about mindfulness through meditation. As noted above, meditation does have its own chapter, but the exercises in the rest of the book don’t focus on meditation.

I think this is a solid introduction to mindfulness that contains simple, practical exercises could be helpful if you have issues like I mentioned above.



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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