5 Star Books · Book Reviews

Book Review: Believe Me: My Battle with the Invisible Disability of Lyme disease by Yolanda Hadid

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Believe Me: My Battle with the Invisible Disability of Lyme disease by Yolanda Hadid

Published by: St. Martin’s Press on September 12, 2017

Pages: 288

Genres: memoir, autobiography, health

Rating: 5 stars

Recommend to: people living with chronic illness, caregivers, really almost anyone 

Read with food: watermelon, aloe and honey slush to nourish your body with a tasty treat 

 

Synopsis:

From the star of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills comes an emotional and eye opening behind-the-scenes look at her descent into uncovering the mystery of chronic Lyme disease.

In early 2011, just before her wedding to David Foster, Yolanda fell ill. From an outspoken, multi-tasking social butterfly she became trapped in a paralyzing mental cocoon. She suffered from severe debilitating fatigue, migraines, joint pain, anxiety, insomnia, Bell’s palsy, tremors, muscle weakness, severe brain fog, word retrieval difficulty, memory loss and intermittent loss of eyesight. As a diehard health fanatic, Yolanda always knew she had an infection in her brain, but due to the lack of proper diagnostic testing she landed in a dark maze of medical establishments that were quick to treat her symptoms but without clear answers to the cause. She fought tirelessly and traveled the world to find an answer; her determination left no stone unturned. Her perfect marriage became strained and let to divorce; but the strong bond with her children Gigi, Bella and Anwar was her motivation to fight through the darkest days of her life.

After a year of searching, discharged by Cedars Sinai with a chronic fatigue label, Yolanda Hadid was finally diagnosed with chronic neurological Lyme disease. She was honest, unapologetic, and raw in how she shared her battle with Lyme disease on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and her social media outlets. She received thousands of e-mails and letters, and met families who were suffering, lost, and scared, throughout her journey. She calls, gives advice, and lends support whenever she can to share her words of wisdom and hope.

In her book, Yolanda shares details of the western and holistic treatments she has done over the past five years, lab results, intimate details of her personal diary; her spiritual growth; the trials and tribulations regarding the stigma around chronic Lyme disease, how her relationships on camera and off have been affected by her illness; and how she uncovered the mystery of her own chronic disease through research, hard work and in a matter of fact and systematic fashion.

Review:

Let me start by saying this: I always have a blank sheet of paper as my bookmark to jot down notes as I read, to refer back to later while writing my book reviews. I didn’t write down any notes for this book. Not one! That wasn’t on purpose. I was completely engrossed in Believe Me, and forgot to do anything but read.

I’ve never watched the Real Housewives franchise, so I wasn’t coming into this book as a fan of the show. But I left this reading experience as a fan of Yolanda Hadid. Her strength, courage, tenacity, and kindness in the face of a very difficult chronic illness is inspiring. I learned so much about her journey and battle for health. She embraces conventional and unconventional medical treatments, doing her research to find out what may help her. I learned so much from this book, and I can’t recommend it enough. 

The only slight downfall that I should mention is that Yolanda had a lot of unconventional, untested by the FDA treatments, that cost a lot of money. I hope that people don’t randomly think to try all the treatments without extensive research and guidance by a health care provider. She does warm about this multiple times throughout. 

Believe Me is a book I will be thinking about for a long time. 

3 Star Books · Book Reviews

Book Review: Heart Like Mine by Maggie McGinnis

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Heart Like Mine by Maggie McGinnis

Published by: St. Martin’s Paperbacks on April 5, 2016

Pages: 368

Genres: romance, contemporary romance, contemporary fiction

Rating: 3 stars

Recommend to fans of: sweet romances, hospital romances, good people who experience personal growth, Grey’s Anatomy

Read with food: tiramisu and red wine ~ the perfect pairing to go along with the romantic dates between Joshua and Delaney

 

Synopsis:

Delaney Blair loves her job at Echo Lake’s Mercy Hospital, where she’s developed a reputation for being smart, fair, and driven. When she’s assigned to cut funding, she has to temporarily relocate her office, put on borrowed scrubs, and go toe-to-toe with Dr. Joshua Mackenzie, the interim head of the pediatrics department. His killer smile and rock-star body are distractions Delaney could do without, but she’s determined to stay focused while she brings his budget into line. It’s not working.

Beloved by his colleagues and patients alike, Josh is too busy caring for sick kids to talk numbers with the sexy, stiletto-clad Delaney. Every time they talk business, tensions run high…but so does a powerful attraction neither of them can ignore. When an emergency brings Mercy to its knees, Delaney and Josh must work together to save lives. But can they also find a way into each other’s hearts?

Review:

I’ve had Heart Like Mine on my TBR list for awhile now. I finally got around to reading it, but sadly I was a bit disappointed.

The gernal story line and romance was only okay. I enjoyed it more as a contemporary fiction than romance novel. The romance supposedly checked all the right boxes: lakes at sunset, handsome doctor who loves kids, great Italian food, etc. But it didn’t really draw me in that much.

What did really pull me in was the eye opening experiences that Delaney had on the pediatrics floor. Forced to make budget cuts to the pediatrics unit, she is invited to spend time there by none other than Dr. Joshua Mackenzie. He wants her to really learn how important all the hospital services are to the sick children. Spending time on the unit, Delaney grows as a person and rekindles her passion for her career. I really enjoyed this story line.

I also really appreciated the in depth justification of all the services and personnel required to care for the children. I think it will definitely open some people’s eyes.

I wouldn’t recommend it for the romance, but Heart Like Mine ended up redeeming itself in the end. 

 

Reader Question . . . how do you feel when a book that you’ve so wanted to read ends up being a bit underwhelming? Comment below and let me know! Or just say hi!

Book Reviews

Pitch Dark by A.M. Wilson and Alex Grayson

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Pitch Dark by A.M. Wilson and Alex Grayson

Published by: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform on September 15, 2017

Pages: 430 

Genres: mystery, thriller, suspense, crime fiction

Rating: 3 stars

Recommend to fans of: intense twisted books with satisfying endings, passionate characters, trauma intensive stories

Read with food: Alcohol and nachos 

A shot of whatever alcohol you have lying around to get through the tough traumatic sections (Some cold water if you’re under 21 or don’t drink alcohol) Be safe people!

Football game nachos: quick, cheap, and not that nutritious but it gets some food in your system; much in the keeping of the character of Niko

 

Synopsis:

One girl disappeared. After fifteen years, her cold lifeless body was found on the damp forest floor. Not an inch of her was unmarked by the horrors she endured. Alone, malnourished, abused in horrific ways; this was how she died.

One girl was found walking the streets, covered in dirt and scars. She had no memory of who she was, where she came from, or what happened to her. Even though the marks on her body attested to years of heinous abuse, her strength shone through at every turn.

Revenge and justice were sworn.

Years of searching brought up nothing but dead ends. Detective Niko James was too late to save his childhood friend, but he vows not to let down another.

The clock is ticking and the trail is pitch dark.

Review:

I received this book for free through Goodreads Giveaways. As always, an honest review.

First and foremost, a big trigger warning for torture and sexual assault in graphic detail. It’s definitely intense, and I almost stopped reading the book because of it. That being said, about 10% of the book or maybe less is torture and assault. Also, the authors put a trigger warning at the beginning which I much appreciated.

Niko has spent his entire life caring for people, especially those close to him and in need. As a child, Niko’s friend and neighbor Aislin has a very difficult upbringing. He does his best to be a great friend and protector, even though he’s only 14 years old. Aislin is kidnapped. Niko is devastated and angry. He grows up to be a cop, but never stops searching for Aislin, his North Star.

I had a lot of mixed feelings about Pitch Dark. Overall, I would say that I enjoyed the storylines. The drama, the suspense, and how everything turns out. Works well in the book. It’s the details where I have some issues. Of course there’s the graphic descriptions of the assault. It makes the book what it is, but I didn’t feel it was necessary. At least not to that intensity. Also, the character of Niko is very over the top at times. Obviously he had gone through terrible things, but he acts as if he’s the only one who can solve the case, protect the victims, etc. I appreciate the sentiment and passion, but it gets to be a bit much at times. Also, some of the descriptions are a bit odd and left me asking “do people really talk like this?”

The story overall works well and I’m glad that I read Pitch Dark. I liked the revelations towards the end. The character of Aislin was a welcome breath of fresh air and encouraging strength. I ended up enjoying Pitch Dark, despite my mixed feelings throughout.