Books I Read Vol 53

Jul 7, 2018 | Books I Read

The Chase

Author: Lynsay Sands

Series: Deed #3

Tags: Highlander-Medieval times-ish, woman in brees, ladies man

Format: audiobook

Rating: yay.


Ladies men are not my flavor of choice, but she was pretty funny.

Our heroine is a sword swinging, brees wearing, foul-mouthed daughter of a laird. Oh, and by the way, super hot. Her betrothed drags his heels coming to wed her because he’s heard stories of her Amazon-like ways but not of her beauty, so he assumes she’s ugly. Hence the dragging. His reluctance makes her defiant so she runs away. So begins the chase.

The chase lasts, as expected, much longer than necessary, with some elements of a murder mystery, mistaken identity, and they end up in love with each other by the end.

Sands specializes in the message, “hey, arranged marriages wouldn’t be so bad, y’all.”

I have a hard time believing whenever this type of opposites attract shows up in romance. Would a smooth talking ladies man be interested in a rough tomboy? Mehhhh….


Of course, we are also dealing with wildly historically inaccurate historical romance, so…


Sex in a barn!

Roll, roll, roll in ze hay…



Surrender to the Highlander

Author: Lynsay Sands

Series: Highlanders #5

Tags: Highlanders! Mursing back to health, poison

Format: audiobook

Rating: yay


If you read a Lynsay Sands historical romance, you will most likely encounter…

  • A gruff, laconic warrior
  • A murder mystery
  • An arranged marriage/marriage of convenience
  • Sexy bath time scenes
  • Sexy bathing in lake/loch/waterfall scenes
  • Sexy romping in the woods
  • Sexy picnics
  • Travelling on horseback somewhere
  • Falling asleep while on horseback in the arms of the hero
  • An older woman surprise villain
  • Cleaning up a castle
  • Villager/castle gossip
  • Hilarious misconceptions of what sex is
  • “How is that going to fit in there??”
  • Some sort of medicinal/herbal knowledge
  • Pastries


It did not disappoint!

I was less interested in the hero. He was gruff in that usual gruff way. He’s part of a band of six(?) brothers and they all sort of blend together.

There was also a boy who was bursting with Adorable Male Importance, and I liked that part. She gave him a job to protect her dog and he took it very seriously, even though her dog is a big ol’ sight hound probably bigger than him.


The Scot Beds His Wife

Author: Kerrigan Byrne

Series: Victorian Rebels #5

Tags: Victorian, Highlander, Wild West, American!, woman in trousers, land dispute, mistaken identity, marriage of convenience, ladies man

Format: audiobook

Rating: Yay!



I think I actually liked this book! And, for a Kerrigan Byrne, it was not too terribly rapey!



I mean, for some reason we had to rehash that flashback scene once again, the one with all the Mckenzie brothers standing around while their father tried to make them abuse a prostitute. Which is FUN. But, it’s only at the beginning and everything else is pretty much mostly consensual! YAY!


The hero was also considerably less angsty. That’s cool.

But, since Byrne’s asshole meter dips into crazysauce, he is still high on the angsty scale. Just, like, doesn’t sleep in the closet or hates to be touched or anything.

He is a Scottish Earl ladies man (again, blah). She is a rootin’ tootin’ American cowgirl, running away from some big bad she got tangled up in. She pretends to be his neighbor, a much absent Scottish heiress that owns the land next to his. He wants her land.

Conflict, ready, go!


I wish there were edited versions of Byrne’s books. Because really, I enjoy most of the angsty adventures. It continues to amaze me that swearing is retracted but this type of violence is a-okay to brandish anywhere.

I wonder what that would look like.

Flashback: The assassin is nine, living in a prison with his mother. The guard comes up and says[“Nice dress,”] to his mother and laughs evilly. He opens to the door to their cell and starts to [play a game of cards with] his mother. “If you want to keep getting this extra food for your son, you will have to [darn my socks],” he said, his hand gripping her hard on her [chair].


The Obesity Paradox: When Thinner Means Sicker and Heavier Means Healthier

Author: Carl J. Lavie

Series: N/A

Tags: Nonfiction, health

Format: audiobook

Rating: blergh.


Is it imperative that all nonfiction narrators need to saturate their voices with snark when reading pop-science books? I don’t think I’ve ever run across a nonfiction audiobook without it.


I knew what I was getting into when I started this book. I knew that, despite the title, the author is still heavily within diet culture. I thought I was strong enough to read this without it affecting my self esteem. I slogged through it until I remembered, oh yeah. Fuck this book. Reading is voluntary.


I got the main points clear enough. Let me paraphrase before I get too far into it.

Guess what? BMI is no indicator of life expectancy.

IN FACT, moderately “obese” people tend to live longer and fight off disease better than BMI “healthy” people.

Some more facts paraphrased:

  • Once sick (for example: heart disease, diabetes), moderately obese people live longer than their sick healthy weight peers.
  • As people age, fat may have an increasingly important role. Heavily paraphrased: the sex hormones that are keeping you healthy (testosterone, estrogen) start to drop off, and fat starts to pick up the slack.
  • Frequency of exercise is a far better indicator of health.
  • A whole bunch of facts just regurgitated from better, more impartial books, What’s Wrong With Fat? and Health at Every Size: that BMI is a joke, etc. etc.


Who would have thunk that a process that our bodies do on a regular and consistent basis, storing fat, helps our bodies rather than hurts them?!

Popular opinion treats fat the same as we do cancer.

It’s evil. Lop it off. Brand new.


In true scientist form, rather than questioning the validity of the structure we have ourselves created with little to no scientific basis (BMI), he sites that it is a “paradox” almost as if it is the paradox’s fault that it doesn’t fit into our own structure.


He is obviously working hard to straddle the fence between Health at Every Size and popular diet culture. Every statistic damning diet culture and our current preconceptions of health seems to be prefaced with the caveat: “I’m not saying fat is good, but…”

I stopped reading before I could get the final section of the book, which is dedicated to “what you should do instead.”

Yes, because what the world needs most is one more cookie cutter response the complicated problem of longevity + BMI.

From reading the reviews, the golden goose in this case is exercise, and seeing a cardiologist. (Guess what his specialty is.)


As far as the onion of fatphobia goes, Lavie only pulls back one layer to reveal the Fat But Fit stereotype. Is it my imagination, or did he completely miss the point of What’s Wrong with Fat? That stereotype is deconstructed in detail. Did we read the same book? Maybe there’s a book out there that’s called What’s Wrong with Fat? I Mean, Besides the Obvious.


And every time he stressed MODERATELY obese (did you see it? Did you see how it’s moderate? That’s like a size 12.) I grind my teeth. Yes, we hear you. Size 12’s are not going to die at 30. I’m sure I’m in the “morbidly obese” section, so it feels like he’s saying, “these chubby people, they are okay, but not YOU. Obviously.”


This kind of reasoning always sends me in an tailspin of questions. The reasoning is cyclical.

BMI implies that bigger is sicker.

BMI is inaccurate and does not take into account many body types and genetic dispositions.

There is a group of “bigger” that is healthier than “normal.”

Therefore, “normal” is a misnomer, and does not mean that people will live longer.

So why don’t we raise the BMI???


Am I crazy in suggesting this? If there is a group that reliably lives longer than any other group, shouldn’t we shoot for that group? If healthy range means more prone to disease, doesn’t it make more sense to raise up the healthy range a bit?

I mean, I still wouldn’t fit in the healthy category. But maybe, when I was 14 and developing curves, with wider hips and with both more muscle and fat on my body than my peers, I would have not despaired at my “obesity” and started to deny myself the pleasures of the world. Maybe I would have grown with natural self esteem, rather than fighting for it tooth and nail every step of the way.

Who knows what my life would be like if I hadn’t thought of myself as fat?


Listen, I’m thinking damage control here. We all know BMI is bullshit. It’s more inaccurate than accurate, and that itself makes it scientifically fraught. But telling scientists, medical professionals, and health insurance companies to just forget about size in general is like telling teens about abstinence.

We know they are going to do it. They can’t help themselves.

So why not make something that is at least a little more scientifically viable? We know they are going to put people in boxes. Give them a slightly bigger box.

The most obvious, simple answer–that I distrust because of how blatantly obvious it is– is to get get rid of the category “moderately obese” since that means nothing other than arbitrary prejudices, and make it all “healthy.”


Oh yeah. That wouldn’t work. Because then insurance and medical professionals could change less people “obesity counseling.”

Sorry, I forgot we were a capitalistic society.


Status quo. Carry on.


The TL;DR of this: don’t read this book. Here’s an article from the Center of Disease Control that is more helpful.

Do No Harm: Moving Beyond Weight Loss to Emphasize Physical Activity at Every Size


On the Radar


Currently Reading:

Splendid by Julia Quinn

The Secrets of Sir Richard Kenworthy by Julia Quinn

The Sum of All Kisses by Julia Quinn

The Beast in Him by Shelly Laurenston

A Night Like This by Julia Quinn

The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory

The Mane Event by Shelly Laurenston

Kill or Be Kilt by Victoria Roberts


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