“The Diet Fix. Why Diets Fail and How to Make Yours Work” by Yoni Freedhoff, M.D. Harmony Books, 2013. $25.99.

This is not exactly a diet book. Dr. Yoni Freedhoff, family medicine practitioner and blogger at Weighty Matters, offers realistic ideas on how to manage what we consume without requiring one to eliminate foods or go to drastic measures to get healthy in our lives.

In “The Reveal” chapter, he starts out by describing why diets fail and introduces the post-traumatic dieting disorder which follows as a result. In the following chapter, “The 10-Day Reset,” he discusses the 10 steps necessary to maximize success in any diet. The final chapter wraps up by reinforcing how to maintain the reset principles as a part of our everyday life.

This is a straightforward approach to realistic weight management by a recognized weight-loss expert in the field. A good read for anyone struggling to find a healthy path with their own weight management.

— Anna Guerra, Denham Springs

“Above the East China Sea” by Sarah Bird. Knopf, 2014. $25.95.

The best books tell two stories. The one printed on the paper and a second one as the reader digests the author’s words into her own story.

Bird’s book, hopping between World War II Okinawa and the present day, at first seems to be two stories on its own, but, as the pages march on, you realize the two narratives are more like flip sides of a coin.

Tamiko’s and Luz’s stories effortlessly span decades of trial and loss before easily and perfectly arriving at a singular destination. “Above the East China Sea” is a book to be read, then thought over in equal measure. See what story Bird’s book tells you.

— Beth Colvin, bcolvin@theadvocate.com

“The House on Blackberry Hill” by Donna Alward. St. Martin’s Paperbacks, 2014. $7.99.

Abby Foster, a young Canadian woman with no immediate family, inherits an abandoned estate on the coast of Maine from an aunt she never met.

To avoid confronting a painful family history, Abby plans to fix the dilapidated house and sell it.

Abby’s plans change, however, as she unravels family secrets while going through the home’s contents.

Abby is also visited by a ghost, and former occupant of the home, who encourages Abby to investigate a tragedy that happened in the house 70 years earlier.

Complicating matters further is Tom Arsenault, a local contractor, hired to renovate the home.

Like Abby, Tom also has a troubled and painful past, and a mutual, yet complicated, attraction between them develops as they work to bring the home back to its former glory.

A pleasant mix of romance, mystery, and paranormal makes this book an enjoyable summer read.

— Laura Acosta, Baton Rouge