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Self-Help / Relationships

  • The Good Daughter Syndrome

    by Katherine Fabrizio

    Rating: 9.00

    Plot/Idea: Aimed at helping daughters nurture healthy, reciprocal relationships with their mothers, Fabrizio’s guide breaks down the different factors that influence mother/daughter relationships, helping readers reflect on their own maternal interactions in a holistic, supportive manner. Fabrizio pays heed to individuality, respecting the uniqueness of each mother/daughter relationship while promoting empowerment and healing from hurtful family dynamics.

    Prose: Fabrizio writes fluidly, delivering striking prose that both comforts and confronts readers, always in a gentle and encouraging way. 

    Originality: Fabrizio’s approach—in some ways, normalizing personality disorders to make them more understandable and easy to address—is unique and lends the guide usability in addition to valuable insight.

    Character/Execution: Despite the gravity of Fabrizio’s topic, she manages to make the material appealing and opens the door to curative self-reflection for both mothers and daughters. 


  • Plot/Idea: This is a creative, eloquent book that transforms the concept of children's stories into usable, healing life lessons for younger readers. Sears offers 25 powerful tales, each centered on weighty themes and accompanied by a detailed explanation of the story's lessons, as well as questions for further discussion and recommended activities to build on the story's premise. The end result is a credible and purposeful resource for children and their adult readers.

    Prose: Sears balances writing on a children's comprehension level with providing text and resources geared toward adults; despite this significant challenge, the text is an ideal fit for both audiences.

    Originality: The Magic In Metaphor overflows with originality. Each story, character, conflict, and emotion was obviously crafted with a great deal of thought and imagination, and Sears ensured individual story plots perfectly match themes and built-in lessons for additional reflection. The added section at the end for adult caretakers, parents, teachers, and others is a special, considerate touch. 

    Character/Execution: Sears's execution is practically flawless. The book is well-organized, methodical, and inspiring, though a subtitle may offer readers more specific information on the guide's purpose.   

  • Disruptors

    by Craig Copeland

    Rating: 9.00

    Plot/Idea: Copeland rebrands the idea of innovation, referring to it as disruptions in thinking, and relates the distractions of today’s society to the scarcity of revolutionary thinkers. He deconstructs the term "genius," differentiating it from a high IQ, and outlines eight attributes shared by disruptors as a springboard for readers to achieve personal and professional success. The idea may not feel groundbreaking, but Copeland's affable, practical presentation brings it to life.

    Prose: The prose is direct and easy to understand, and Copeland's straightforward approach is well-thought out and tirelessly researched. He clarifies an intriguing concept, making it thought-provoking while sharing his own experiences as illustrations. 

    Originality: Copeland creates buzz around the idea of disruption, helping outliers introspectively improve their cognitive habits. The unique delivery will recharge readers and inspire them to hone their critical and creative thinking skills. 

    Character/Execution: Copeland commits wholeheartedly to laying the groundwork necessary for reader understanding; extraneous information somewhat bogs down the execution in the beginning, but his eight attributes are clear and well-executed. 


    Blurb: A refreshing guide that not only motivates but creates buzz around critical thinking.

  • Plot/Idea: Young educates readers on how moving a senior into a different living arrangement is unique, offering useful pointers to streamline the process. The guide is well-structured, with a wide array of functional advice readers can use as needed. The inclusion of worksheets, checklists, and other practical tools upgrades this from a run-of-the-mill handbook to a valuable instrument.

    Prose: The prose is down-to-earth and accessible, bolstering the guide’s functionality. Young writes at a graspable level that makes the material transparent and straightforward—a blessing for families coping with transitioning a senior member to new housing.

    Originality: Young’s guide takes the guesswork out of housing transitions for seniors and their families; the pages are filled with sensible, organized instructions and feasible exercises that transform this into a critical and well-rounded handbook. 

    Character/Execution: Young carefully details her recommendations, laying out suggested steps in an easy-to-follow format and including real-life examples that bring clarity to the material. The hands-on resources included throughout make the guide adaptable to a multitude of situations.

  • Plot/Idea: Written with poise and determination, Raven and the Hummingbird explores Joan's Multiple Personality Disorder in an affecting and powerful manner. The years of abuse and molestation she has suffered are brought into sharp focus.

    Prose: Caldwell's text vividly explores Joan's MPD, allowing Joan's 52 alternate personalities to delve deep into the unimaginable trauma of Joan's childhood. This is a tough, uncompromising, and enlightening read.


    Originality: Caldwell enables the reader to experience Joan's triumphs and setbacks on her grueling journey to recovery. She takes a headlong dive into one person's vulnerability, resulting in an extremely powerful text for those interested in psychology, therapy, and personality disorder manifestations.

    Character/Execution: Over the course of Raven and the Hummingbird a profound connection develops between Joan and her therapist, which is captivating to observe. The presentation of Joan's alternate personalities (or "alters" / "parts" as they are referred to) is incredibly moving, especially when dealing with dark characters like Shadowman or protectors like the titular Raven.

    Blurb: A stark and powerful portrait of a tortured mind.

  • How to Talk to Porcupines

    by Allegra Birdseye-Hannula

    Rating: 8.75

    Plot/Idea: Birdseye-Hannula's field guide offers practical advice for anyone who works with young people, especially those who have erected barriers to forming personal connections. The author's approach is direct yet full of compassionate understanding.

    Prose: The author's prose is warm but concise; readers will value the balanced integration of case studies, the author's own experiences, and contextual advice.

    Originality: While certainly not the first book to advise youth workers on handling difficult communications, Birdseye-Hannula's field guide offers a refreshing combination of empathy and advice that is welcome (for instance, the chart on inclusive language stands out); the author's awareness of gender, race, and economic barriers that can exist between adults and the kids they work with is especially valuable.

    Character/Execution: A short, to-the-point guide, How to Talk to Porcupines is a welcome addition to any caregiver's toolkit. Despite its many strengths, and the author's inclusion of helpful anecdotes from her own experiences, the reader may still crave more of her perspectives -- a strengthening of the bond between reader and author would be welcome.

    Blurb: Birdseye-Hannula's How to Talk to Porcupines is a concise guide filled with practical advice to help people who work with young people better communicate with them, especially in "prickly" situations. 


  • Reconstructing Reality

    by Amy L. Rosner

    Rating: 8.75

    Plot/Idea: Readers looking to reprogram their thought patterns through hypnotherapy will find this to be an intriguing and frequently eye-opening book. Rosner provides powerful examples, both personal and professional, while also conveying the science behind rewriting the brain’s reality. 

    Prose: While the writing is engrossing and Rosner's tone is comfortably relaxed, the work may benefit from more scaffolding and restructuring. Some compelling examples are overshadowed by the author's research and contextual ideas.

    Originality: Rosner urges readers to understand the programming behind thoughts and habits rather than relying on medication or more traditional therapeutic paths. The author's professional insights and extensive background lend credence to her assertions.  

    Character/Execution: Though Rosner’s points are engrossing, the immensity of the book’s ideas may sometimes overwhelm readers and cause valuable insights to be overlooked. Regardless, Rosner provides ample experience and detailed methodology to back her intentions.

  • Building a Better Boomer

    by Neil Offen

    Rating: 8.50

    Plot/Idea: Offen's guide is spot on in its treatment of the problems associated with aging—or just being out of touch with the latest technology. While his approach is entertaining and often tongue and cheek, he offers practical advice that both boomers and their caregivers will find useful.

    Prose: The prose is conversational in tone, and Offen sometimes comes across as a stand up comedian, but he broaches a serious topic with wide-ranging impacts. His advice is sound—and just when he gets too serious, he drops bits of sarcasm or a piece of realism into the text, breaking the tension and leaving readers laughing out loud.

    Originality: The humor that Offen evokes from aging—alongside his easy, likable approach—makes a somewhat difficult topic fun and lighthearted in all the right places. 

    Character/Execution: Offen's narrative is comprehensive, addressing a myriad of topics related to aging. His practical recommendations will appeal to a broad scope of readers, and the guide is visually structured in a way that will help readers absorb the advice.

  • Plot/Idea: The Enemy Within skillfully addresses the need for a reassessment of Black American conflicts and struggles, suggesting ways they can be addressed Williams's book will undoubtedly help spark conversation about the social, political, and economic welfare of generations of Black Americans. 

    Prose: Williams's text is written in clear and concise language, the academic approach effectively exposing the perception of Black Americans in a wider social context. The book benefits from a brutal honesty which is refreshing and pertinent. Williams examines the demeaning of Black Americans over the ages, and the lasting impact of the internalization of such messaging. 

    Originality: The Enemy Within is unique in its candid approach to addressing problems facing the Black American population. Williams exposes the nature of racism in a thoroughly thought-provoking and intelligent analysis of the Black American psyche.

    Character/Execution: Williams puts sharp focus on historical oppression of Black Americans and its effect on generations. He integrates illuminating personal anecdotes and detailed studies of key figures from Black American history that further help reinforce his convictions.

    Blurb: A candid critique of the evolution of Black American society.

  • The Wealth Spark

    by James Parker

    Rating: 8.25

    Plot/Idea: The Wealth Spark aims to help create a mindset focused on fostering success and achieving goals. The book provides extremely useful information on how to transform habits, use effective affirmation, take positive action, and ultimately create the optimal mindset for success.

    Prose: Reverend Parker's text is written in a direct and entertaining fashion, at times coming across as if he's giving a sermon to his congregation. His well organized and dynamic text sets out his ideas and objectives clearly even though the book's self-help processes are not entirely original.

    Originality: Written with passion and vigor, The Wealth Spark is a welcome shot of adrenaline, littered with compelling and pertinent anecdotes. 

    Character/Execution: Reverend James Parker beckons the reader on a spiritual journey in the hopes of inspiring self-growth, lifelong learning, and wealth potential. He uses excellent real life examples such as Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant as illustrations of how dedication to growth and excellence can reap rewards.

    Blurb: A passionate and inspiring self-help book.

  • Plot/Idea: Trobak presents a well-reasoned, well-defined treatise on how core beliefs impact anxiety, detailing her argument in an orderly and convincing manner. The concept is easy to grasp, and readers will find a wealth of information for personal growth.

    Prose: Trobak is a skilled writer, with a clear, accessible style that aptly conveys her premise. Though instructional, the text stays digestible for the average reader. 

    Originality: This is a unique approach for a common condition, and Trobak's ideas are a refreshing look at what underlies anxiety.

    Character/Execution: Convincing logic, paired with appealing graphics to illustrate the main points, makes Trobak's case for her, and she maintains a tight focus throughout.

  • Plot/Idea: This timely guide centers on the grind of modern living—and how it affects women desperately seeking balance in their personal and professional routines. Houser urges readers to reclaim their lives through prioritizing well-being, reorganizing goals, and nourishing self-love.

    Prose: Houser's frank approach will strike a chord with readers, and the direct, no-nonsense prose is both refreshing and effective. The guide is compact but bursting with sensible pointers and insight.

    Originality: Though burnout is a common self-help theme, Houser breaks it down into a manageable and entertaining concept, enlightening readers on how to break the ugly cycle while gently confronting flawed thinking that contributes to it.

    Character/Execution: Houser stays laser-focused on burnout throughout, providing readers with a meticulous understanding of how pervasive it can be. Her solutions are equally systematic, starting with self-possession and moving on to incorporate resilience, boundary setting, and more as remedies.

  • Plot/Idea: Yip shares her private conversations with her parents—their beauty, weight, and sometimes pain—that led to rekindling her relationship with them. Through those snippets, she grants readers a view of not just her own story, but also that of her parents, who immigrated to America from China. Her objective—to open lines of communication between children and their parents in order to rebuild their stories—is clearly communicated, and she includes reflection exercises throughout to transform her insights into action.

    Prose: The prose is simple and straightforward, rich with personal stories and direct quotes from Yip and her parents. That intimacy gives the narrative authenticity and deeper meaning.

    Originality: The premise—to support individuals in reorganizing and repairing relationships with their parents—is a phenomenal idea. Yip also pulls out the myths she created for herself in the context of her extended relationships, sketching a model that will inspire readers. Even for those who have not immigrated to the United States, Yip offers value in understanding others' unique perspectives.

    Character/Execution: Despite the strong concepts, the perspectives feel limited to Yip and her immediate family in many ways, somewhat restricting the book's relevance.

  • Effective Discipline the Montessori Way

    by Charlotte Cushman

    Rating: 7.75

    Plot/Idea: Cushman writes to a target audience she clearly defines from the beginning, focusing on re-establishing the foundations of the Montessori method in education. The core of her writing involves training parents, caregivers, and educators to use discipline effectively against the backdrop of Montessori fundamentals. 

    Prose: Cushman writes in direct, practical language that is aimed at increasing awareness of Montessori methods as well as gently confronting trends that inhibit children’s development of self-discipline and self-respect. 

    Originality: The distinction of Cushman’s work is in her carefully purposed pursuit of true Montessori methods, paired with problem-solving strategies for contemporary readers.

    Character/Execution: In addressing the need for loving but structured discipline, Cushman covers what she sees as contemporary trends that undermine parents, teachers, and other caregivers when interacting with youth. The narrative delivers a wealth of information to readers with specific techniques to apply in a variety of situations.

  • Plot/Idea: This strongly written guide will strike a chord with readers seeking how to achieve their goals and live a fulfilling life. Janssen draws on her professional experiences to offer practical advice and functional tips.

    Prose: Janssen writes with enthusiasm, structuring each chapter around easy-to-follow recommendations and reflection activities. The prose is functional and contemporary, supporting the guide's mission to embrace positive change.

    Originality: Janssen's inclusion of real-life examples allows readers to relate and gain perspective from others' experiences, giving the book a seasoned feel.

    Character/Execution: Living All In is well-organized and comprehensible, and Janssen's enthusiasm is contagious—leaving little doubt that readers will discover meaningful help throughout.

  • Plot/Idea: Are You Ready To Try Again? is an insightful text which aims to help parents create a positive environment in which their children can flourish. Montero elaborates upon her personal experiences in a thoughtful and compelling fashion, resulting in a book that provides excellent parenting solutions, as well as brilliant advice on how to soothe challenging behavior and create a low-stress environment.

    Prose: Montero's text is presented in a well-organized and engaging manner, her amiable and conversational tone allowing the reader to form a meaningful and trusting connection with the author. She provides neat solutions and practical exercises throughout the book, resulting in a comprehensive and exhaustive resource for parents.

    Originality: Are You Ready To Try Again? provides effective strategies for parents to utilize in fostering their child's development. In addition to being well-presented, the text is well-researched, displaying an excellent ability to use sources wisely and effectively.

    Character/Execution: Madeline Montero provides sage advice on how to reduce parental stress, develop positive behavioral strategies and equip children with the essential skills necessary for them to reach their potential. Expertly relating her personal experiences as a parent, Montero manages to inspire readers in a balanced and non-patronizing manner.

    Blurb: An inspiring book on parenting and child development.