Category Archives: Self-Help

Lose the Diet: Transform Your Body by Connecting with Your Soul by Kathy Balland

Lose the DietLose the Diet: Transform Your Body by Connecting with Your Soul
Author: Kathy Balland
Publisher: Blissful Publications, LLC


The cover of Kathy Balland’s book, Lose the Diet, says ‘Transform your body by connecting with your soul – right there the title is intriguing. As writer on a site called Spirituality Guide, this view for a weight loss book raised interest before I turned the first page.

The premise is fairly straightforward – a spiritually astute person might be able to determine much of the contents just from the cover. Balland proposes that dealing with our body is less a matter of finding the right things to remove from our diet and more about getting in touch with our inner selves and finding the reasons for our weight problems.

The idea is more a connection of two currently popular fields than a radical new field – Balland has managed to link together the burgeoning weight loss fads with a New Age growth paradigm – I think it works.

A minor quibble I had was the need for editing – a number of times in reading the book I had to stop and re-read sentences to try to understand just what is being said – the lack of a comma, or a strange juxtaposition of words, would catch at my attention and detract from the flow of the book.

What I would’ve liked to see in the book is more references listed. There are studies and findings quoted without source notes – while I do know some of the sources for the information she is talking about, I know a lot of people who will dismiss much of it as New Age quackery, simply because there is no source referenced. In our world, many are fixated on the authority of the white coats.

But for those who do need such backing for the premises behind the book, they could check out ‘The Genie in Your Genes’ by Dawson Church – much of what Balland is suggesting as the best way to address our lives and problems will be seen there.

I think the hardest part for anyone who wants to lose weight will be, in reading Balland’s book, simply getting out of the diet mindset, where everything is about what goes in the mouth. She has done a good job of covering the aspects of a life change that will, if followed, bring about not just a change in weight, but also an increase in satisfaction with life and a deeper appreciation of one’s Self, which can only be a good thing in any life.

I think Kathy Balland has produced a book worth the read, and perhaps worth applying even for those who have issues other than weight. It is an easy read with logical chapters that leads the reader through a consistent process – certainly a step up from the diets she is telling us to chuck out.

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Filed under Health and Fitness, New Age, Self-Help

On My Own Now


On My Own Now:  Straight Talk from the Proverbs for Young Christian Women who Want to Remain Pure, Debt-free and Regret-free
Author: Donna Lee Schillinger
Publisher: The Quilldriver

Reviewed by:  Cheryl C. Malandrinos

Are you concerned over what decisions your daughter might make once she’s out on her own?

Are you a young woman searching for guidance now that you no longer live with your parents?

Are you a pastor seeking to guide young single women in your church?

Do you know a young woman living on her own or soon to be living on her own who would benefit from some Godly guidance?

If you answered yes to any of these, then you’ll want to pick up a copy of On My Own Now: Straight Talk from the Proverbs for Young Christian Women who Want to Remain Pure, Debt-free and Regret-free by Donna Lee Schillinger.

In this interesting and thought-provoking exploration of the book of Proverbs, Schillinger takes young women along a journey that will help them to make better, safer, and more sound decisions.

The author takes a unique approach to the book of Proverbs by reversing the gender in many of the proverbs from “he” to “she” and Schillinger includes a modern day translation of Proverbs 31:10-29 about the traits of a good woman at the back of the book.

Exploring such topics as how Proverbs applies today, staying pure until marriage, dealing with anger and jealousy, developing good habits, tithing, using passion to make a positive impact, and the importance of not making rash decisions, Schillinger shows how the book of Proverbs can guide young women to be the women they want to be and stay that way.

On My Own Now can easily be used as a daily devotional, each section concluding with a thought for the reader to hold on to, such as “What I can’t have honestly, I simply won’t have.”

Its hip cover and conversational style will attract young women, and Schillinger is careful to get her point across without being overly preachy. There are also word bubbles throughout the book that capture important portions of the text to focus the reader.

I have to admit that the overuse of the exclamation point made it lose its effectiveness for me; but in the hands of a younger woman, that may not be the case. I also found a portion of text where I stopped to ponder the impression a young woman would be left with when reading that passage.

It is found on pages 179 through 181. The chapters in this section deal with friendship, and these particular pages cover depression and finding help when you need it. Schillinger talks about chemical imbalances possibly being a cause of depression and how modern medicine can help if we aren’t too proud to ask. She first suggests creating good eating, sleeping, and exercising habits, and then if that doesn’t make the reader feel better after 21 days she should start taking multivitamins, St. John’s wort, and other supplements recommended by a pharmacist. She then goes on to say that if this works, “don’t stop taking them…vitamins are something our body needs every day for the rest of our lives.”

While the author does make a point to mention that St. John’s wort may interact poorly with some medication and to talk to a healthcare provider if the reader is on any prescription medication, it seems it would be safer and prudent to suggest the reader talk to her healthcare provider or a registered dietician about adding supplements to her diet prior to taking anything.

On My Own Now, is an excellent resource for young women on how to use proverbs to guide their lives. I am going to talk to our pastor about purchasing copies of this book for female high school graduates from our church.

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Filed under Christian nonfiction, Non-Fiction, Self-Help, Teen Non-Fiction, Women's Issues

Grit for the Oyster

Grit for the Oyster 250 Pearls of Wisdom for Aspiring Writers
Author: Suzanne Woods Fisher, Debora M. Coty, Faith Tibbetts McDonald, and Joanna Bloss
Publisher: Vintage Spirit

Reviewed by:  Cheryl C. Malandrinos

Filled with helpful advice and inspiration, Grit for the Oyster 250 Pearls of Wisdom for Aspiring Writers by Suzanne Woods Fisher, Debora M. Coty, Faith Tibbetts McDonald, and Joanna Bloss is a must read for all aspiring writers.

Broken down into four sections, not a single page in this book is wasted. Readers can expect to find motivational quotes from successful writers, Biblical Scriptures, anecdotes from the authors, prayers tied into each pearl of wisdom, and questions to reflect upon.

More than just a book that will help you move your writing career forward, Grit for the Oyster will change not only how you pursue your writing career, but also your perception of that career. A powerful motivator that will increase your self-confidence and draw you closer to the One who has called you to write, this book should stay close by your computer and lift you up when you need it most.

Grit for the Oyster will help the aspiring writer to get started, to find her voice, to handle interruptions, to deal with rejections, fear of failure, moments when she feels like giving up, and so much more.

An excellent daily devotional for every writer who seeks to glorify God with the written word.


Filed under Devotionals, Non-Fiction, Self-Help

Dear God Let Me Lose Fat Amen!

Dear God Let Me Lose Fat Amen?
Authors: J.R. Paine and Dr. S.N. Gupta, Ph.D.
Publisher: BookSurge, LLC
Reviewed by:  Cheryl C. Malandrinos



Are you seeking for a way to better understand the nutritional value of foods? Do you know the difference between nutritional calories, killer calories, and fat calories? Are you tired of the roller coaster of gaining weight, losing weight, gaining weight…?

If you said yes to any of the above, you’ll want to check out Dear God Let Me Lose Fat Amen! by J.R. Paine and Dr. S.N. Gupta. In this book the authors have managed to squeeze a monsterous amount of information into only 50 pages and those 50 pages could make all the difference in your eating habits.

Paine and Gupta discuss how obesity and being overweight are not beauty issues, but “life and limb” issues. They provide anatomical information on the stomach and show the reader what her body does with the food she eats. You’ll find out more about protein, complex carbohydrates, fiber, “friendly” and “unfriendly” fats, water, salt, and sugar.

This book teaches you how to gain or lose a pound of fat a day, provides helpful weight control formulas and dieting information. The last several pages include motivational material that can be used to keep you from overeating and encourage you to exercise.

When this book came in the mail it’s small size made me think this might be one of those quick weight loss programs, but Dear God Let Me Lose Fat Amen! is a truly remarkable approach to weight loss because it not only provides you the information you need to make smart choices about your diet, it also provides the motivation to stick with your new lifestyle and it encourages the reader to speak with her doctor and nutrition professionals. And while I don’t see me posting all the pinups around my house, I know that the “Foods to Eat and Love” chart–which groups healthy goods into five categories–will be stuck to my refrigerator and encourage me to make healthier selections when putting together my grocery list.

My only disappointment is that the editing is sloppy. I found numerous typographical errors–four of them on the first page of the book.

Speaking as someone who struggles to maintain her weight, not to lose it, I see Dear God Let Me Lose Fat Amen! as being the answer to a lot of people’s prayers as society moves toward healthy living.

If you are at all interested in what you put into your body and how your body uses it, then buy this book!


Filed under Health and Fitness, Self-Help

The Truth (I’m a girl, I’m smart and I know everything)

The Truth (I’m a girl, I’m smart and I know everything)
Author: Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein
Publisher: Enchanted Self Press
Reviewed by: Elaine Raterman

The Girl is in fifth grade, she’s in love with the new boy in school, she hates it when her parents fight, and she’s here to tell us The Truth

The Truth is 115 pages of observations told from the perspective of a young girl on the verge of adolescence.  She isn’t a girl growing up in the 21st century, she is a girl of a past generation, but she still talks about many things young girls today can relate to – boys, school, parents, siblings, friends, teachers, growing up. 

This is also a wonderful book for the parents of girls.  Sometimes it’s hard for adults to remember what childhood feels like, this book helps bring some of that back, and helps build understanding across the generations. 


Filed under Self-Help, Teen Non-Fiction

Kiss Me, I’m Single: An Ode to the Solo Life

Kiss Me, I'm Single: An Ode to the Solo Life
Kiss Me I’m Single: An Ode to the Single Life
Author: Amanda Ford
Publisher: Conari Press
Reviewed by: Dorothy Thompson

I am so very, very impressed with this book, I can’t even find the words to describe the joy I’m having at received it to review.

Kiss Me, I’m Single: An Ode to the Solo Life by Amanda Ford is one of the best and most fun reads I have read in a long time.  

Amanda Ford’s wisdom on being single shines like a star in the dateless horizon for those women (and men!) who have tired of the dating rituals and want to finally say I’m happy with myself and there’s not a darn thing wrong with it.


As Amanda says in her book, “Love has nothing to do with another person; it is a condition of your own heart.”


Inside these wonderful pages of singledom wisdom comes refreshing antidotes that the author herself has gleamed from years of being single.  Who’s more perfect to write about being single than someone who has been there, done that?  Not only that, she’s an expert in her field and the proof is in the pages of this entertaining book.


But the main point Amanda is making with this book is that it’s okay to be single and once you fall in love with yourself, everyone else will fall in love with you, too!

Kiss Me, I’m Single: An Ode to the Solo Life by Amanda Ford should be on every singles’ bookshelf as a testament to being proud of who they are.

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The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Enhancing Sexual Desire

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Enhancing Sexual Desire
Authors: Rachel Greene Baldino and Judy Ford
Publisher: Alpha (Penguin)
Reviewed by: Dorothy Thompson

Who doesn’t want to enhance their sexual desire?  Who wouldn’t want to make their sexual relationships top priority?  Who wouldn’t want to reawaken their sexuality?

Stop with the questions.  Now we can find the answers to those questions and lots, lots more in Rachel Greene Baldino and Judy Ford’s latest self-help book for those looking for strategies to boost their sexual desire, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Enhancing Sexual Desire (Penguin). 

I throughly enjoyed this book because as a baby boomer who has seen better days in the romance area, romps in the bedroom tend to get put on the back burner.  As more time goes on, you only get buried in that long dark hole and sometimes it’s really hard to find that intimacy you once shared with your loved one.

After reading Rachel and Judy’s book, my sex life has greatly improved because they have shown me steps to take to change bad habits and rejuvenate that tired, sagging libido.

Inside you’ll find tips for successfully navigating the six stages of love relationships.  You’ll also find satisfying suggestions that will help you get back in touch with your sensuality.  And, you’ll also find ways to spice up your sex life and discover your personal intimacy style.

This is a very thorough how-to manual to feel passionate again with your loved one and who wouldn’t want that? 

It’s wonderful to feel passionate again!  I highly recommend The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Enhancing Sexual Desire to keep those love fires burning!

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Filed under Relationships, Self-Help


Author: Donald Collette
Publisher: Trafford Publishing
Reviewed by: Cheryl C. Malandrinos

If you’re looking for help, if you’re looking for hope, if you’re looking for encouragement, look no further than Sermonsnacks. This powerful devotional will inspire you along life’s journey and make the ordinary seem extraordinary.

Donald Collette chose the best Scriptures and perfectly matched them with thought-provoking comments to put together a devotional that is powerful, yet easy to read. Using Scriptures from both The Message and the New International Version, Sermonsnacks offers help, hope, and encouragement for every facet of your life: to build your faith, for the times when you are in pain or suffering, for the times when you’re lonely, and for help with work and your finances. When you seek help, hope, and encouragement in your family life, in your marriage, and in your senior years, Sermonsnacks will be there with words of Biblical wisdom and insightful, inspirational commentary.

I will keep Sermonsnacks by my bedside and read it every day as part of my morning and evening prayer ritual.

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Filed under Devotionals, Self-Help

Achievement Journal: You Are More Than Enough by Judi Moreo

Achievement Journal: You Are More Than Enough
Author: Judi Moreo
Publisher: Stephens Press
Reviewed by: Dorothy Thompson

Have you ever wished for a mentor to help you achieve your goals and dreams?

Achievement Journal: You Are More Than Enough by motivational speaker and author Judi Moreo can fulfill the job. Written as a guide – with blank spaces for you to fill in to chart your progress – it helps you to focus not only on what you have accomplished in the past, but directs you toward that future you always dreamed of and directs you in the right direction. Set against the backdrop of affirmations scattered throughout, Judi guides you through the steps with such precision and foresight, it is no wonder she is the perfect person to write this book.

Ms. Moreo explains why success is a conscious decision and how to not only chart your goal and dream chart, but also how to acknowledge and reward your progress.

She takes you from the starting point where you realize who you are, all the way to the end where she helps you to understand that you have the ability to create the life you want to live.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone who needs to take a reality check and realize they are more than enough.

If you are a fan of Judi Moreo’s other book, You Are More Than Enough, as I am, you’ll love this companion journal to help you progress through life with a determined set of goals and purpose. Highly recommended!

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Filed under Non-Fiction, Self-Help



Author: Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein

Publisher: AuthorHouse

Reviewed by: Cheryl C. Malandrinos

More than just a collection of stories celebrating Jewish traditions. More than the personal reflections of a woman seeking to fill a void. Delight is a journey to enlightenment that you’ll never forget.

In this book by Positive Psychologist Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein, women can find a way to celebrate life in a meaningful way. Holstein takes readers along on a journey from her lack of involvement in the Jewish faith to her complete commitment as a member of the Judaic tribe, sharing with readers the delight she discovered in the revelation that we are all connected. And at the end of a story, Holstein draws readers into her discovery by providing them musings, ponderings, and reflections on how they, too, can discover delight.

When I read the back cover of this book I immediately grew concerned. What did a book about Jewish traditions have to do with me? Could a woman with little knowledge of Judaism and its traditions relate to any experience within its pages?

Delight had everything to do with me. And yes, I could relate–totally.

Dr. Holstein speaks with candor about what set her upon this journey, her fears, her insecurities, and how these experiences helped her to understand about the connection we have to each other. The ponderings, musings, and reflections after these stories allow the reader to fully grasp the message being relayed and provide an opportunity for her to practice learning how to find delight.

If you are seeking a way to find joy like you’ve never known, you must read Delight. It will help nourish your mind, body, and spirit in ways you might not expect.

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Filed under Self-Help, Women's Issues