Reading Fanatic Reviews

Health & Wellness

Narcissist by Keith Coleman

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Narciccism, For Those Being Manipulated by It

This is a surprising book. After having read so many nonfiction books that take a shallow look a topic, this was refreshingly detailed yet concise. The author first describes and then defines narcissism, even using and explaining the detailed clinical definition. Clinical narcissism has an exact definition that the ordinary person may not think of when they hear the term. It is not just merely being self-centered; someone diagnosed with narcissism is manipulative of those with whom they are in a relationship, often to the detriment of the other person. He then digs deeper and discusses the weapons that narcissistic can use against people they interact with. This book is meant for people who are at the mercy of the narcissist, not for the narcissist himself or herself. So a further section gives ideas about how to cope with a narcissist if you must have one in your life. He ends the book with tips on how to overcome narcissistic abuse. If you have a controlling and manipulative person in your life who only seems to think about themselves, whether or not you term him or her a true narcissist, this book will help clarify what may be going on and give tips and strategies for dealing with the situation.

Worthy by Josephine Faulk

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Stunning, Compassionate Blueprint to Help with Early Trauma

I am simply stunned by this book. I like to read in general, and I really love to read good nonfiction. Unfortunately, it feels like it’s harder and harder to find good nonfiction these days. With the ease of self-publishing, many would-be authors seemingly throw up any old thing online for immediate public display and hopeful purchase.

This book is what nonfiction ought to be. This author has written about a very personal and difficult topic, childhood trauma, which she has experienced herself, unfortunately. She also holds an advanced degree, which I imagine taught her good research skills, so she can bolster her own insights and experiences with science. What she has done here is put together the perfect blueprint for someone to heal from childhood trauma. The first chapters describe the symptoms and effects of it. The next chapters are a kind of “where are you now” section, explaining why it’s hard to understand healthy relationships if you suffered this way, why self-care may falter, and the monsters that still lurk even after time has passed. Then, she goes into how to dismantle and get past these traumas. But most remarkable, I think, are the sections on how to build a better now.

This book is meant to give you the baby steps to freedom from the effects of childhood trauma so you can embrace a better life. One might fear that an author with her credentials could be cold and clinical, but this book is far from that. While she has studied the subject in some depth, you can tell this is intensely personal for her. She not only openly shares her own trauma; she gives the impression that she truly cares that you heal and move on. Her compassion, as well as her insights, comes across on every single page. It has to be one of the most beautifully written self-help books that I’ve read. This book is not just for people who suffered sustained childhood trauma but also those who had the odd incident or two that may still affect them today. If you are a person has this in your past, no matter the extent, I highly recommend picking up this book and letting this author gently guide you through the difficulties that are still affecting you to a better place.

Cognitive Behavorial Therapy Box Set

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Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Box Set*

More Pop Psych than Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

This box set contains two books that purport to be about cognitive behavioral therapy. To me, the first book seems like it is more like a short pop-psych book with a little CBT window dressing. The second book gives a lot more information, relatively speaking, about actual cognitive behavioral therapy. I actually think that the order of the books in this set should be flipped. Interestingly, the first book seems to be relatively well edited while the second book needed a good copy editor to help with grammar, punctuation, and repetitiousness. At times, I thought the author’s tone was a little harsh, to “get real,” so to speak. I don’t think that kind of tone actually helps people who want to change their lives positively. All in all, the box set is disappointing because the bulk of it, book one, really isn’t about cognitive behavioral therapy beyond the first introductory chapters.

The Happy Balance by Megan Hallett and Nicole Jardim

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The Happy Balance*

Can Food Affect Your Hormones?

In this intriguing vegetarian cookbook, the authors posit that women can eat in a way that helps keep their hormones in balance, whether they are still menstruating or are in perimenopause or menopause. They even have a section in the book where she described the endocrine system and the hormones that can affect us cyclically or after we are no longer having cycles. Some of the general advice about eating healthy is just that, general—the type that you see in many books or on websites about carbs, sugars, etc. The recipes themselves look creative and fun for those who eat a vegetarian diet. There is quite a lengthy section on breakfast ideas, including juices, smoothies, and breakfast bowls. There are also sections on lunch and dinner (of course), salads (including a lovely one on jarred salads), sides, desserts, and DIY (like making your own nondairy milks and nut butters). Quite a lot of the recipes seem to be involved or time consuming. Most of the recipes have common ingredients, though some do have some offbeat ones that you would need to order online or get from your favorite local health food store.

Love Food, Love You by Sally Plevin

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Love Food, Love You*

Book Lacks Needed Resources

The author states that if you follow her 6-week course of action as detailed in the book, you will come to a better place in your relationship with food. The author has a clear understanding of what motivates a too emotional connection to food. She states that her program will help break these emotional bonds and help you create a more normal approach to food. For each week, the chapter is divided into two sections, one section dealing with eating and the other with thoughts and emotions. Each chapter ends with an exercise that is supposed to help get more in touch with ourselves and our bodies. Supposedly, this book was taken from a 6-week course that the author has done live. I felt like most of the chapters were too short. For all the promises made in the first chapters, I didn’t really see how what she promised could be delivered by what was actually contained in the chapters. I haven’t had the time to actually work through all these chapters to actually say if they are efficacious or not. I do like that the author does try to impart that we need to be kind and forgive ourselves. We do tend to beat ourselves up in our relationship with food, only seeing our failings.

I did receive an ARC of this book. The link to the Table of Contents brings me to a blank page. I hope that has been remedied in the book offered for sale. I found another issue as well. The book does have links to her website for the meditations in the book; I am always glad when books with meditations do that. Unfortunately, I believe she recently had a server move or upgrade. I actually had to do a search on the first week’s meditation to find it as I was brought to a File Not Found 404 page when I tried to follow the link given in chapter one. Here’s the link to the currently available meditations for this book: Unfortunately, not all of them are uploaded; except for the intro one, the text for the rest of meditations was not given within the book itself (so there is no way you can do them yourself without downloading them from the website). There’s a brief bring-to-body-awareness meditation mentioned in one of the earliest chapters before the 6-week adventure begins that is not at the website at all; the last three meditations are missing from the website, too. On the page that does contain the available meditations, she states that they are still in the process of moving things over so not everything is there. I run a website or five myself, and it would seem that it would take longer to type that excuse than to actually upload and link the meditations, but maybe that’s just me!

As four of the main seven meditations are actually missing at the website (and three of these four not actually given in the book), I feel like I can’t give this book a good review until these problems are remedied.

If the book had correct links so the meditations could actually be done (or even had all the meditation within the book itself), I would give this book 4 stars. As the book isn’t actually functional without the links, I have given it a one-star review.

Live Work Love by Terry Williams

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Live Work Love*

Engaging Look at How to Age Well

In this intriguing work, the author explores in depth the concepts in the title within the framework of how to live not just longer lives but better lives. The author states at the beginning of the book that he has read 100 books and 100 research articles on how to age better so we don’t have to. As somewhat of a research nerd myself, I enjoyed both the author’s intent toward backing up his thoughts with data and others’ views as well as the ideas from the books and papers themselves.

The book is divided broadly into the three main categories of Live, Work, and Love. Before this, though, there are chapters about the concept of aging and what that means. The Live section is the longest, with sections on the physical, mental, and social and their 12 controls (like move, sleep, think, learn, care, and touch). The Work section is short but touches briefly on ideas like engaging in work, retirement, and alternate paths. The final part on Love starts with oneself, and subsequent sections spiral out from there to friends, partners, and family.

Despite the strong research element—which might suggest that this could be a heavy and dense read- I found the book to be well written and engaging. As I stated above, most of the ideas researched are quite fascinating, and the discussion presented offers ample food for thought. There’s certainly much to ponder here, and much that I believe would indeed improve the quality of life as one ages.



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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