Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Garden Allies by Frederique Lavoipierre

Book cover
Garden Allies
by Frederique Lavoipierre


ISBN-13: 9781643260082
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Timber Press
Released: Sept. 28, 2021

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
The birds, mammals, reptiles, and insects that inhabit our yards and gardens are overwhelmingly on our side—they are not our enemies, but instead our allies. They pollinate our flowers and vegetable crops, and they keep pests in check.

In Garden Allies, Frédérique Lavoipierre shares fascinating portraits of these creatures, describing their life cycles and showing how they keep the garden’s ecology in balance. Also included is helpful information on how to nurture and welcome these valuable creatures into your garden. With beautiful pen-and-ink drawings by Craig Latker, Garden Allies invites you to make friends with the creatures that fill your garden.


My Review:
Garden Allies talks about the different types of insects and animals that you might find in a garden. It's not really a practical, how-to gardening guide since the focus wasn't really on the garden but on the animals that you might find there (and elsewhere). The author talked about various categories of animals and wrote a few pages about each category (like worms, bees, wasps, flies, beetles, etc.). It covered things like nesting habits, what they eat, social behavior, and why gardeners might appreciate having them in the garden. Each section ended with profile-type information: their official names, what they look like, etc. Black and white drawings of the mentioned critters were sometimes included, but I didn't find them particularly helpful in terms of insect identification. Overall, I'd recommend this book to those interested in learning more about garden animals.


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Pain Erasers by Michelle Schoffro Cook

Book cover
Pain Erasers
by Michelle Schoffro Cook


ISBN-13: 9781953295514
Kindle: 272 pages
Publisher: BenBella Books
Released: September 21st 2021

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
If you’re struggling with chronic or acute pain, you may find that commonly prescribed medications are often expensive, and often ineffective. They can also lead to unwanted side-effects or serious drug interactions. That’s where Pain Erasers can help. This long-awaited guide to drug-free pain relief offers a wide variety of natural alternatives to help you take control of your pain—and ultimately, your life.

Dr. Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, DNM, a trusted natural medicine expert, will reveal new ways to naturally erase your pain, often permanently! You’ll discover dozens of natural painkillers, from a little-known but highly effective resin from the rainforest, along with such standbys as ginger and turmeric. And to boost the effects of these remedies, you’ll get helpful tips on how to change your diet and lifestyle for optimal health and pain and inflammation management.

Because not every remedy works on every type of pain, Dr. Schoffro Cook guides readers through the best methods for specific conditions, such as back pain, fibromyalgia, joint pain, migraines and headaches, neck pain, plantar fasciitis, temporomandibular joint syndrome, tendonitis, trigeminal neuralgia, whiplash, and more.


My Review:
Pain Erasers talked about some natural remedies for pain. She focused mostly on using essential oils and strongly favored using the doTerra brand. However, she did have an informative section at the end which talked about making changes in your diet to promote anti-inflammatory foods and remove inflammatory foods as well as suggested some useful supplements. She started by telling her story and then doing short profiles on different types of pain. In these profiles, she briefly described the problem and listed the best remedies for that type of pain. For most of the problems, there was a lot of overlap on which were the best remedies (which is probably good news).

She then went into greater depth about each of these remedies. For each profile, she gave the common name as well as the Latin name, a brief history about the herb's use, some scientific information about how it works and how effective it is, information on how to use it as an herb or essential oil, and safety considerations like whether it's safe to ingest and how to safely do that. She also briefly explained other things the herb is good for.

In the safety section, she seemed to start with the exact same warning with only the herb's name changed. I thought it was odd that she was so concerned with dangerous solvent residues in the essential oils. Almost all of her suggested essential oils are steam distilled, so the solvent is water. Also, oregano oil is usually the herb steeped in an oil for some time, the herb strained out, and the oil ingested with food. This is not meant to be deceptive (as she implies) as they don't claim it's an ESSENTIAL oil. Even if an essential oil comes diluted in a carrier oil, they should clearly list that on the bottle.

I've already been using a number of these remedies for my rheumatoid arthritis pain. I generally felt like I knew more about the essential oils than she did. However, this is a good source of information for someone new to the topic of using essential oils and diet for pain relief.


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Herbal Antivirals, 2nd Edition by Stephen Harrod Buhner

Book cover
Herbal Antivirals, 2nd Edition
by Stephen Harrod Buhner


ISBN-13: 9781635864175
Paperback: 480 pages
Publisher: Storey Publishing
Released: August 31st 2021

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
Viruses are smart, mutating, and becoming resistant to antiviral pharmaceuticals. Global crises such as COVID-19, SARS, and dengue feaver spread more quickly than we can develop medicines to fight them. Herbalist and best-selling author Stephen Harrod Buhner has studied the antiviral properties of plants for many years. In this comprehensive guide, he profiles the plants that have proven most effective in fighting viral infections and provides in-depth instructions for preparing and using formulations to address the most common infections and strengthen immunity, safely and naturally. The updated 2nd edition includes an expanded guide to COVID-19, including a review of the most up-to-date medical research and the plant medicines that have been found to be most potent in preventing infection, lessening the impact of the virus on the body, and addressing longer-term effects and co-infections.


My Review:
Herbal Antivirals, 2nd Edition describes the mode of action of different types of viral infections and how different herbs work to prevent these viral infections. The author began with a look at several types of viruses (influenza, coronaviruses, viral encephalitis, etc.). He provided some history about the disease, very detailed information about how that type of viral infection acts on the body, how different herbs block specific modes of action by the virus (thus helping stop the virus), and the dosing and herbs used for different stages of infection. He strongly suggested the use of tinctures as the best way to get a high enough dosing to be effective.

The information on COVID-19/SARS-CoV-2 was written in August 2020, over a year ago, and much of what was predicted (and included in this book) hasn't turn out to be as bad a predicted. I don't know if this section will be further updated before the publish date, but I didn't find a long section of what felt like panic propaganda to be very useful. He did include information about how the virus acted on the body and what herbs should help treat it.

The main, second section profiled several of the most useful antiviral herbs. The author described the common and Latin names of the medicinal herbs, the parts used for antiviral action, the dosage (usually as tinctures, but also powder or decoction), potential side effects, contraindications, herb/drug or herb/herb interactions, a list of medicinal actions, what it can be used to treat, the plant's chemistry, traditional uses, and scientific research on the herbs effectiveness against viruses and such. He also provided information about the plant in general, the habitat where the plant naturally grows and can be harvested, how to grow it, and where to buy it. He ended by describing some other ways (nutrition, some other herbs, etc.) to support the immune system and fight viral infections.


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

Saturday, August 28, 2021

Toxic Legacy by Stephanie Seneff

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Toxic Legacy
by Stephanie Seneff


ISBN-13: 9781603589307
Hardcover: 262 pages
Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing Company
Released: June 1st 2021

Source: Bought.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
From an MIT scientist, mounting evidence that the active ingredient in the world’s most commonly used weedkiller is contributing to skyrocketing rates of chronic disease.

Glyphosate is the active ingredient in Roundup, the most commonly used weedkiller in the world. Nearly 300 million pounds of glyphosate-based herbicide are sprayed on farms―and food―every year. Agrochemical companies claim that glyphosate is safe for humans, animals, and the environment. But emerging scientific research on glyphosate’s deadly disruption of the gut microbiome, its crippling effect on protein synthesis, and its impact on the body’s ability to use and transport sulfur―not to mention several landmark legal cases― tells a very different story.

In Toxic Legacy, senior research scientist Stephanie Seneff, PhD, delivers compelling evidence based on countless published, peer-reviewed studies. Readers will discover the uniquely toxic nature of glyphosate; how glyphosate disrupts the microbiome, leading to gut dysbiosis, autoimmunity, neurodegeneration, and more; why we’re seeing a rise in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, infertility, depression, and anxiety; glyphosate’s role in soil degeneration, water contamination, and threats to wildlife and biodiversity; and important nutritional guidance for conscientious consumers who want to avoid glyphosate-contaminated foods and improve their health.

As Rachel Carson did with DDT in the 1960’s, Stephanie Seneff sounds the alarm on glyphosate, giving you guidance on simple, powerful changes you can make right now and essential information you need to protect your health, your family’s health, and the planet on which we all depend.


My Review:
Toxic Legacy describes how glyphosate is harmful to human health. The book is suitable both for scientists and non-scientists, but it can get technical. The author described in detail the mechanisms for how glyphosate does it's damage in a way that will convince scientists. She tried to describe the detailed scientific information in a way that the common person can follow (especially if you have some science background), but she also summarized her main points at the end of each section in a way that anyone can understand. The first few chapters and the last one are the easiest to understand, and the last chapter focused on what you can do to avoid the harm caused by glyphosate. Many of these suggestions are diet related, like buy Certified Organic food to minimalize glyphosate residue. While not the easiest read, I'd still highly recommend this important book to everyone and I've bought some additional copies to give to family members.


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

Thursday, August 26, 2021

The Plant Propagator's Bible by Miranda Smith

Book cover
The Plant Propagator's Bible
by Miranda Smith


ISBN-13: 9780760369791
Paperback: 192 pages
Publisher: Cool Springs Press
Released: June 29th 2021

Source: Review copy from the publisher through Amazon Vine.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
With easy-to-follow, step-by-step instructions, veteran horticulture teacher Miranda Smith provides a complete reference showing every step for cultivating new plants—whether from seed or cuttings or with techniques such as layering, grafting, and budding.

Propagating new plants from existing ones is not only sustainable but also rewarding for gardeners of all skill levels. The Plant Propagator's Bible offers a solid and complete, go-to reference for expert gardeners but is also a perfect primer for the novice plant lover and horticulturalist. Smith teaches readers, with the support of hundreds of full-color photos and detailed illustrations, the natural process and conditions in which plants grow and reproduce, and shows gardeners how to use these systems to propagate any plant that grows in their garden or greenhouse—or even on their windowsill.

The book features a detailed, step-by-step illustrations and annotated photographs, "What Can Go Wrong" advice explaining potential problems and how to prevent or fix them, and an A to Z directory of more than 1,000 individual plant species—with appropriate propagation techniques for aquatics, ornamental plants, houseplants, shrubs, trees, vegetables, and wildflowers.


My Review:
The Plant Propagator's Bible described many different plant propagation techniques. The first part of the book detailed these various techniques and included a general description of each technique, a list of plants that it works on, step-by-step instructions and illustrations showing how to do the technique, and brief advice about how to handle what can go wrong. The techniques included starting from seeds (including soaking, scarification, stratification, etc.), dividing plants, taking cuttings, layering, and grafting. The book also contained a plant directory for flowering plants and ornamentals, which included information on where the plant is grown, the easiest way to propagate it, other methods that can be used, and potential problems specific to that plant.

I thought that the step-by-step section did a good job of showing how to do the technique. I've done some of these in the past, and I'll try some new ones in the future. I was a little disappointed that the focus seemed to be on non-food plants since the subtitle mentioned "every plant in your garden." I also sometimes felt that the author made propagation sound more difficult than it is. For example, years ago I bought morning glory seeds, simply planted them, and the resulting morning glories have been reseeding themselves in the same spot for years without any action on my part. According to this book, though, you need to scarify the seeds in order to get them to sprout. Overall, I recommend this informative book to anyone interested in learning new plant propagation techniques.


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

Monday, July 26, 2021

The Zero Waste Garden by Ben Raskin

Book cover
The Zero Waste Garden
by Ben Raskin


ISBN-13: 9780711262331
Hardcover: 176 pages
Publisher: White Lion Publishing
Released: April 20th 2021

Source: Review copy from the publisher through Amazon Vine.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
Organic gardening expert, Ben Raskin, shares over 60 unique planning-for-yield guides for key crops. Work out how to make the most of the green space you have got, what to grow easily in it, and how much you will harvest seasonally for zero waste.

Learn how to plant waste-free for any size plot, from balcony containers to 5-metre-square yards. Peppered with root-to-stalk cooking tips, including which crops you can eat straight away, this is a plot-to-plate book for everyone with a green-thumb. Perfect for new and experienced growers, vegans, zero-food waste followers, city gardeners, and the ecologically minded.


My Review:
Hot Button focused on how to make the most of your gardening space and minimalize the waste when using the plants. The author very briefly covered a lot of different gardening techniques. It's enough to get you interested but you'd have to read other books to really learn how to do these techniques. He talked about crop rotation, green manure, interplanting, undersowing, choosing efficient crops, and correct spacing for the crops (including estimates of how closely they can be planted and still give a good yield). He also talked about ways to store the plants after harvest (freezing, drying, fermenting). He then gave profiles on a lot of common garden plants and included information on how much space each plant takes, how much food you get off the plant, growing tips, when do harvest, how to use every useful part of the plant, and how to store the excess harvest for future use. I felt like this was more for a beginner gardener, especially one with limited space, but it doesn't really go into pest or disease control. Its strength is information on minimalizing food waste.


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

Monday, July 19, 2021

A Mudlark's Treasures by Ted Sandling

Book cover
A Mudlark's Treasures
by Ted Sandling


ISBN-13: 9780593197882
Paperback: 208 pages
Publisher: Aurum Press
Released: June 22nd 2021

Source: review copy from the publisher through Amazon Vine.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
Mudlarking, the act of searching the Thames foreshore for items of value, has a long tradition in England's capital. In the late 18th and 19th centuries, mudlarks were small boys grubbing a living from scrap. Today’s mudlarks unearth relics of the past from the banks of the Thames which tell stories of Londoners throughout history. From Roman tiles to elegant Georgian pottery, presented here are modern-day mudlark Ted Sandling's most evocative finds, gorgeously photographed. Together they create a mosaic of everyday London life through the centuries, touching on the journeys, pleasures, vices, industries, adornments and comforts of a world city. This unique and stunning book celebrates the beauty of small things, and makes sense of the intangible connection that found objects give us to the individuals who lost them.


My Review:
A Mudlark's Treasures is about the types of things that can be found on the banks of the Thames, specifically the finds that the author has made. These objects span a long period of time, from before the founding of London to nearly present day. He focused on historical objects. After an introduction describing what mudlarking was in the past and is in the present, he talked about his finds. He put them in groupings of similar types. He briefly described the object found and then gave about a page and a half of information about it and when it was made. The only pictures were those on the cover, and they were small and not very high definition. Numbers labeled what they were and when they were made, and these were later described in the book. However, these were only about half of the total finds that he talked about. Part of the reason I got the book was because I was interested in actually seeing what these objects look like (even in a broken state), so I was disappointed. However, I did enjoy learning the history behind these objects.


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Social Skills for Kids by Keri K. Powers

Book cover
Social Skills for Kids
by Keri K. Powers


ISBN-13: 9781507215753
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Adams Media
Released: June 15th 2021

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
Help your children develop essential social skills—including groups, one-on-one interactions, and virtual communication—with these 150 easy, fun activities to teach your kids how to socially succeed.

From taking turns to making eye contact to staying engaged during conversations, developing appropriate social skills is an important factor for kids to be able to succeed in school and life in general. But how can you tell if your child is really making progress while you read the same stories, have the same conversations, and chaperone the same playdates? The answer is to add some variety to your child’s daily activities with these 150 exercises specially designed to keep your child (and their friends) entertained, all while teaching them effective social skills.

In Social Skills for Kids, you’ll learn everything you need to know about how social skills develop in children and what you can do to support their growth. In this book, you’ll find games to encourage them in group settings, activities that you (or another caregiver) can do alone with your child, and ways to make the most of virtual interactions for social skill development.


My Review:
Social Skills for Kids describes fun activities that teach social skills like active listening, understanding body language, and effective communication. The author started by explaining what social skills are usually present at different ages. She then described some activities suitable for young kids (3+) and worked up to activities for progressively older kids (6- or 7-year-olds). There were also a few things suggested that you can do with 1-2-year-olds to help them develop. There were activities like teaching how loud to talk in different situations, using descriptive language, and giving affective instructions to someone else. For each activity, the author explained the purpose, targeted age, how many people were needed, how to do the activity, and some questions to ask afterward to help the child process what they learned. The directions were easy to understand. These activities were either fun games or interesting activities that kids will probably be willing to try and aren't too tricky to do. Overall, I'd recommend this book to people wanting creative ways to teach social skills.


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

Thursday, July 1, 2021

Human Anatomy for Kids by Kristie Wagner

Book cover
Human Anatomy for Kids
by Kristie Wagner


ISBN-13: 978-1648768637
Paperback: 80 pages
Publisher: Rockridge Press
Released: May 25th 2021

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
Learn what makes our bodies move with the Junior Scientists series for kids ages 6 to 9

Are you curious about what your body looks like under your skin? Do you wonder where your food goes after you eat it? Check out what’s happening inside your body with this kid’s anatomy book. You’ll take a tour of your tissues, organs, muscles, and bones, and find out how they work together to help you move, think, and grow.

Explore a kid’s anatomy book that includes colorful pictures and diagrams show you the names of all your body parts, how your body fights off germs, how snacks become energy, and more. This kid’s anatomy book is packed full of fascinating tidbits, like why your body grows hair and what causes freckles. Try hands-on activities like pulling the DNA out of strawberries!


My Review:
Human Anatomy for Kids provides basic information about human anatomy at a level suitable for kids. It covered various systems in the body (respiratory, digestive, reproductive, etc.). At the start of each chapter, it had a nice photo of a human anatomy model. In the chapter, there were simple diagrams showing the location of the various organs in that system. There were also some activities for the kids to do relating to anatomy. The information didn't get very in-depth. For example, the book listed some different tissue types but only gave a brief, one sentence description of what they did and how they differed. This book was more of a nice introduction to the topic rather than actual teaching text (like for homeschooling).


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Plant-Based Bean Cookbook by Katherine Green

Book cover
Plant-Based Bean Cookbook
by Katherine Green


ISBN-13: 978-1648769726
Paperback: 126 pages
Publisher: Rockridge Press
Released: May 18th 2021

Source: review copy from the publisher through Amazon Vine.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
Beans are an adaptable, inexpensive protein you can integrate into almost any meal. This bean cookbook is full of nutritious recipes that highlight black beans, pinto beans, green beans, chickpeas, split peas, and more. Whether you already follow a plant-based diet or are looking to add more plant-based dishes to your rotation, you’ll discover the health benefits of enjoying beans and learn to easily prepare dishes from scratch with just a few varieties of canned or dry beans in your pantry.

Check out profiles for the most popular beans, along with a chart of cooking guidelines for making beans on the stovetop, or in a pressure cooker or slow cooker. Explore a bean cookbook that includes recipes for snacks and spreads, sides and salads, soups and stews, suppers, and even sweets. Nutritional information is included for each recipe, along with tips for adapting recipes for vegetarian and omnivorous diets.


My Review:
Plant-Based Bean Cookbook is a vegan cookbook that focuses on using a variety of different beans. She explained the basics about cooking and using 18 different common types of beans. In the recipes, she mainly used whole foods or minimally processed foods (like pasta, tofu, plant-based milk). The recipes were healthy and didn't contain a lot of oil or sweetening but used spices to add flavor. Many recipes were not overly hot/spicy, but some did use hot sauce, jalapeno peppers, or other hot peppers.

Most of the recipes served between 4 to 6 people and took around 20-60 minutes to make. Most of the ingredients in the recipes should be easy to get. She included 12 recipes for snacks and spreads, 15 recipes for sides and salads, 16 recipes for soups and stews, 20 recipes for bean suppers, 7 recipes for staples and sweets.

The recipes provided the preparation time, cooking time, how much is made, ingredients, instructions, and cooking tips. Recipes were labeled if gluten-free, oil-free, quick, no cook, five ingredients, freezable, nut-free, soy-free. Each recipe included "per serving" information on calories, total fat, protein, carbohydrates, fiber. There was only one picture of a finished recipe per each section of recipes.


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


Monday, June 21, 2021

Understanding Body Language by Scott Rouse

Book cover
Understanding Body Language
by Scott Rouse


ISBN-13: 9781647390983
Paperback: 172 pages
Publisher: Rockridge Press
Released: January 5th 2021

Source: Review copy from the publisher through Amazon Vine.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
Scientific studies show that people use body language to express their true feelings about a given situation or topic. With Understanding Body Language, you’ll discover essential information and how-to guidance for deciphering nonverbal communication so you can make better decisions about the people and situations you approach every day.

Start by learning how to properly observe people so you can uncover their subtle nonverbal cues without drawing attention to yourself. Then, practice on your friends and family with practical advice to help you better read social gatherings and telltale signs of disagreement. Finally, dive deeper with real-life scenarios you’ll likely encounter, such as dating, job interviews, and workplace interactions.

Explore the science and driving forces behind body language, best practices for your own expression, and tips for successful interpretation of others. Learn setting-specific how-tos to help you feel physically assured in difficult situations, such as using positive body language while on a date and projecting confidence within the workplace. Discover the link between specific emotions and the associated body language so you can apply that vital knowledge in real time and use it to your advantage.


My Review:
Understanding Body Language is a guide to understanding what body language means, with examples of common body language cues as seen in specific circumstances. For example, the author took a situation like a date and broke down some common body language cues and what they mean. There's a drawn picture showing people using this body language to help show what it looks like. He described what the body language looks like, what it (probably) means in that situation, and how to use that information in how you approach that person. The author started by pointing out body language commonly seen in situations like news reports or talkshow hosts, then he talked about social gatherings, signs of disagreement, a date, a job interview, and situations at the workplace. The author also talked about when body language might be different due to a different cultural background or other reasons. Overall, I'd recommend this book, especially to someone who doesn't feel confident around other people. I'm comfortable in social situations and I knew many of the body language signals and what they meant, but I did learn some new ones.


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


Friday, June 18, 2021

Perimenopause Power by Maisie Hill

Book cover
Perimenopause Power
by Maisie Hill


ISBN-13: 9781472978875
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Green Tree
Released: May 4th 2021

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
Empowering guide to menopause that all women need, packed with advice on dealing with symptoms and understanding the most effective treatment options.

Three-quarters of women reaching menopause experience symptoms such as mood changes, insomnia, hot flushes, and night sweats. This is a book for women experiencing perimenopause and menopause who want to understand what's going on with their bodies and how to deal with troublesome symptoms, but also gain valuable insights into making menopause a positive and powerful experience.

Maisie Hill, the celebrated author of Period Power, delves into the science of menopause in an accessible way and provides a whole slew of tips to see women through the challenge of wildly fluctuating hormones.


My Review:
Perimenopause Power is a women's health book focused on the changes that come with perimenopause. The author started by repeating some of the basics about the menstrual cycle found in her book "Period Power." It has some useful information about the changes that happen hormonally and how that causes changes in our bodies and emotions. She talked a lot about each and every thing that can go wrong (mild to serious) and things that you can do about them. This included advice on exercise, nutrition, herbs, and supplements as well as medication. While I agree with a lot of what she recommended, some of the nutritional advice seemed skewed in favor of eating massive amounts of eggs...like 3 eggs per meal. And she seemed to believe the only vegetable source of protein is tofu. Hardly. She tried to be gender-neutral (referring to "people with a womb" rather than "women," for example). While she provided useful information, I felt like this book would be most useful for women who are having problems since she spent a frighteningly long time on that.


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

Monday, May 31, 2021

Herbal Houseplants by Susan Betz

Book cover
Herbal Houseplants
by Susan Betz


ISBN-13: 9780760369555
Hardcover: 176 pages
Publisher: Cool Springs Press
Released: April 27th 2021

Source: review copy from the publisher through Amazon Vine.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
Inside the beautifully illustrated pages, author and expert herbalist Susan Betz lets you in on a little secret: Herbs make great houseplants. And, you don’t need fancy grow lights, expensive potting soil, or high-end equipment to grow them. All you need is a sunny windowsill and the right plant. Learn which herbs perform best as houseplants, how to care for them, and even how to harvest and use your homegrown herbs for culinary creations, household cleaning products, herbal teas, handmade crafts, and more. In Herbal Houseplants you’ll learn the basics of caring for herbs indoors, how to keep indoor herbs productive and pest free, tips for choosing the best herbs for indoor growing, and essential advice for watering, fertilizing, and harvesting. How to grow exotic herbs, like patchouli, tulsi, and Corsican mint. From parsley and thyme to sage and lemongrass—and many herbs in between—tending and enjoying herbal houseplants pays big rewards for little effort.


My Review:
Herbal Houseplants provides some tips about growing herbs indoors in containers. The author started by briefly describing how to take care of herbs in general (how much light, temperature, humidity, watering, fertilizing, pruning, dealing with pests, and how to propagate them). She then provided herbal profiles for various herbs that do well indoors. The profiles included the common name, Latin name, a quote about that herb, a description of the herb and how it is used, good varieties for indoor growing, what it means in floral language, what growing conditions are needed, the best way to propagate it, what plant parts are used, how to harvest and store it, and what pests might be a problem. She talked about herbs for use in the kitchen, for fragrance and beauty, and a bunch of varieties of geraniums. She also talked about preserving and storing your herbs. Overall, I recommend this as a guide to what herbs grow well indoors.


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

Friday, May 28, 2021

The Vegetable Garden Pest Handbook by Susan Mulvihill

Book cover
The Vegetable Garden Pest Handbook
by Susan Mulvihill


ISBN-13: 9780760370063
Paperback: 208 pages
Publisher: Cool Springs Press
Released: April 27th 2021

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
In The Vegetable Garden Pest Handbook, you’ll find the simple, straightforward resources and tools you need to identify common pests of edible gardens and manage them without the use of synthetic chemical pesticides.

Climate change and newly introduced insect pests are changing the world of gardening. Pests that once produced a single generation per year are now producing two or even three, and accidentally imported pest insects have no natural predators to keep them in check. These leaf-munching critters can cause significant damage in short order, reducing your yields and costing you time and money, especially if your garden is out of balance or your plants are stressed and vulnerable.

Whether you’re a new or seasoned gardener, author and garden pro Susan Mulvihill shows you how to handle pest issues by growing healthier plants, properly identifying the culprit, and nurturing the overall ecosystem of the garden. With easy-to-use charts, you’ll learn how to identify common vegetable garden pests based on both the damage they cause and their physical appearance.

DIY pest-control projects, coupled with up-to-date info on the best natural products, physical pest-control tricks, and tips for managing pests with the use of traps and barriers, all lead to a garden where beneficial insects and pollinators are preserved while pest populations are kept in check.


My Review:
The Vegetable Garden Pest Handbook explains various organic gardening approaches to pest management. The author started by describing how to create an environment that encourages beneficial insects and plant health. She then provided charts showing which insects might bother which garden plants and the damage that you'll see for each type of insect. Next were the insect profiles, describing each insect: their life cycle, what plants they attack, what type of damage they cause, their natural predators, and tips on how to control them. Each profile also had a close-up illustration of the insect as well as color photographs of the insect and the damage they do to a plant (to help with identification). She also provided shorter profiles on the beneficial insects: a picture, what it looks like, what it eats, and how to encourage it to stay near your garden.

Then she described various organic pest control methods: what they're good for and how to use them. She also included instructions on how to make relatively simple DIY traps or protective barriers (though some require more construction skill than others). Overall, I'd highly recommend this resource for those gardeners who want to stop pests without using synthetic chemical pesticides.


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

Thursday, May 20, 2021

The New Oil Painting by Kimberly Brooks

Book cover
The New Oil Painting
by Kimberly Brooks


ISBN-13: 9781452184791
Paperback: 176 pages
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Released: May 18th 2021

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
Oil painting is an exciting and adventurous medium, but aspiring artists can feel daunted by complex setups and the thought of using harsh chemicals. The New Oil Painting walks you step-by-step through oil painting fundamentals—which materials you actually need, how to mix paint, how to set up your painting space—and, most revolutionary of all, how to eliminate harmful solvents from your work and replace them with safe, effective substitutes. This instructional handbook is organized into chapters with helpful diagrams throughout illustrating various techniques and tools. Whether you're a true beginner or have been painting with oils for years, you will find that this book has everything you need to build a new, thriving, toxin-free practice.


My Review:
The New Oil Painting explains how you can do oil painting without needing harmful chemicals or solvents. Much of the book focused on supplies and materials rather than on painting techniques. The author explained how to thin colors, glaze, and clean brushes without needing harmful chemicals. She provided lists of where to find the supplies you need. She provided step-by-step instructions along with pictures showing the process of cleaning a brush, for example. She provided a lot of interesting information about how artists historically did these things before resins were added to paints, meaning solvents were then needed. The author also discussed things like why you paint with fat over lean (and what that means), layering, and color mixing as well as briefly talking about storing paintings, painting the sides for display, varnishing paintings, and safety measures. If you're interested in oil painting but have been been deterred by concerns about harmful fumes and chemicals, then I'd recommend this very useful and informative book. However, a complete beginner to painting might feel at a loss on how to apply the information since the author assumed a certain amount of familiarity with painting.


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

Monday, April 19, 2021

How Our Ancestors Died by Dr Simon Wills

Book cover
How Our Ancestors Died
by Dr Simon Wills


ISBN-13: 9781781590386
Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: Pen & Sword Family History
Released: January 19th 2014

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
What were the principal causes of death in the past? Could your ancestor have been affected? How was disease investigated and treated and what did our ancestors think about the illnesses and the accidents that might befall them? Simon Wills fascinating survey of the diseases that had an impact on their lives seeks to answer these questions. His graphic, detailed account offers an unusual and informative view of the threats that our ancestors lived with and died of. He describes the common causes of death - cancer, cholera, dysentery, influenza, malaria, scurvy, smallpox, stroke, tuberculosis, typhus, yellow fever, venereal disease and the afflictions of old age. Alcoholism is included, as are childbirth and childhood infections, heart disease, mental illness and dementia. Accidents feature prominently road and rail accidents, accidents at work and death through addiction and abuse is covered as well as death through violence and war.

Simon Wills work reveals how life and death have changed over the centuries, how medical science has advanced so that some once-mortal illnesses are now curable while others are just as deadly now as they were then. In addition to describing causes of death and setting them in the context of the times, his book shows readers how to find and interpret patient records, death certificates and other documents in order to gain an accurate impression of how their ancestors died.


My Review:
How Our Ancestors Died explains how to find out how your British ancestors died and what the various medical terms mean. The focus seemed mostly on the late 1700s to modern day, though he did comment on occurrences (of plague, etc.) further back in history. The author started by explaining the basic medical practices of the time and how to find death reports. He then talked about specific, common ways that people died, including basic information about the disease or examples of common fatal accidents as well as explaining the words that were used to describe that disease at the time. He covered accidents, childhood diseases, cholera, chest infections, bowel infections, influenza, plague, smallpox, tropical diseases, tuberculosis, typhus, venereal disease, heart problems, epilepsy, stroke, war, wounds, childbirth, suicide, scurvy, execution, murder, starvation, food poisoning, other poisoning, and more. He also talked about historical problems like dietary deficiencies, alcoholism, mental illness, pregnancy, etc. This book contained useful information on finding out how your ancestors died: both where to look for documentation and for understanding what's on the documents.


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

En Plein Air: Light & Color by Iain Stewart

Book cover
En Plein Air: Light & Color
by Iain Stewart


ISBN-13: 9781633228344
Paperback: 128 pages
Publisher: Walter Foster Publishing
Released: April 13th 2021


Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
Geared for beginning artists, En Plein Air: Light & Color introduces a variety of techniques for on-location watercolor painting. Following a brief introduction to the basics of painting en plein air and an overview of the necessary tools and materials, you will learn how to choose a subject and paint a compelling outdoor composition using the subtleties of watercolor to create beautifully expressive subjects and themes.

Other important topics include perspective, rendering the background and foreground, capturing both urban and pastoral landscapes, mastering color to convey weather and time of day, and much more. From choosing just the right subject to awaiting the perfect time of day, let En Plein Air: Light & Color guide you in your artistic travels as you explore this daring and expressive medium.


My Review:
En Plein Air: Light & Color is an art instruction book on watercolor painting. The author focused on urban landscapes and painting outside while viewing your subject. He provided useful tips on these topics (including useful tools and materials) and on watercolor painting in general. He provided several step-by-step exercises to teach various techniques, including perspective, creating good contrasts in value, and how to paint people, cars, and boats with minimal detail so that they don't distract the viewer from your focal point. He talked about choosing colors and creating a sense of light and dark to draw focus and create mood. I felt like he was able to clearly convey information and describe techniques. Overall, I'd recommend this book to watercolor painters who want to learn how to paint on location, urban landscapes.


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

Friday, April 9, 2021

The Natural Medicine Handbook by Walt Larimore MD

Book cover
The Natural Medicine Handbook
by Walt Larimore MD


ISBN-13: 9780593197882
Paperback: 272 pages
Publisher: Fleming H. Revell Company
Released: April 6th 2021

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
When it comes to natural medicines, such as herbs, vitamins, and dietary supplements, you want to make sure you're getting the truth about what works, what is safe, and what is a waste of money. You need evidence-based, trustworthy sources and studies so that you can make wise decisions for yourself and your family.

In consultation with the experts at ConsumerLab.com and Natural MedicinesTM, Dr. Walt Larimore has combed the available research from around the globe to evaluate about 1300 natural medicines or interventions for more than 500 conditions or indications summarized in helpful charts and tables. This highly readable and reliable guide will tell you what natural medicines have proven to be both safe and effective while suggesting the best-value "Top Picks" for health issues such as brain and heart health, digestive and immune health, energy and fatigue, losing weight, keeping hair, skin, and nails young, increasing the quality and length of your life, and many more.


My Review:
The Natural Medicine Handbook talked about the dangers of dietary supplements and how to find safe and effective ones. The author has more confidence in pharmaceuticals than dietary supplements and herbs. He'd prefer that supplements undergo similar testing for safety and effectiveness as prescription drugs and doesn't recommend any that lack testing like this. Which isn't really fair for herbs that have been used safely for centuries, but, hey, he doesn't talk about very many herbs. However, I do agree that supplements should contain what they say they contain and in the amounts claimed and not contain contaminants or undeclared additives. I already knew about services like Consumerlab.com and Labdoor.com and have used them. I also approve of his emphasis on changes of lifestyle, like eating more fruits and vegetables, exercising more, quitting smoking, etc.

The first part of the book covered information like this, but the rest looked at different categories of supplements, like multivitamins, supplements for brain health, hearth health, losing weight, immune boosters, energy boosters, high cholesterol, digestive problems, hair and nail problems, etc. He named certain products that are approved of by Consumerlab and talked about some supplements that he doesn't recommend, explaining the problems with them. I'd recommend this book to those who aren't aware of the potential problems with dietary supplements.


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Castle Builders by Malcolm Hislop

Book cover
Castle Builders
by Malcolm Hislop


ISBN-13: 9781526796615
Paperback: 272 pages
Publisher: Pen and Sword Archaeology
Released: April 30th 2021


Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
In Castle Builders, Malcolm Hislop looks at the hugely popular subject of castles from the unusual perspective of design and construction. We discover something of the personalities behind their creation - the architects and craftsmen - and, furthermore, the techniques they employed, and how style and technology was disseminated. Castle Builders takes both a thematic and a chronological approach to the design and construction of castles, providing the reader with clear lines of development. Themes include earth, timber and stone construction techniques, the evolution of the great tower, the development of military engineering, the progression of domestic accommodation, and the degree to which aesthetics contributed to castle design.


My Review:
Castle Builders is a detailed look at the archaeological evidence for how castles were built in Great Britian, from manors on raised earthworks to carpentry walls, floors, and roofs, to masonry fortification, buildings, and plumbing issues. The author spent a lot of time providing details, from the exact dimensions of the moats to the name of the engineer that headed the building project to the apparent spread and development of different architectural features based on when different castles were built. Some pictures of the described features were included and were very interesting, illustrating his points. If you want to know the layers of subsoil found mounded next to the moat and the implications for how both were created, you'll find that information in this book. Architectural and castle-related terms were rarely defined in the text, though there's a glossary in the back. However, this is probably too detailed to be of interest if you don't know the basic terms already. While the book provided a great deal of information and analysis, it's probably too technical to interest someone with only a casual interest in castles.


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

Friday, April 2, 2021

The Art of Paint Marbling by Rene Eisenbart

Book cover
The Art of Paint Marbling
by Rene Eisenbart


ISBN-13: 9781600588761
Paperback: 128 pages
Publisher: Walter Foster Publishing
Released: March 9th 2021

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
Paint marbling uses a base of thickened water, onto which paint is poured and then swirled. Dipping paper directly into the paint creates beautiful, abstract art that’s easy to do at home using minimal, affordable supplies. Using step-by-step projects with thorough instructions, artists can use a variety of techniques to manipulate colored paint into intricate patterns and create marbled artwork on a variety of surfaces, including paper, cloth, and wood panels. Large, beautiful, and colorful photos accompany all of the projects and techniques. Paint marbling serves as a fun hobby for beginners, a new art form for more advanced artists looking for alternative techniques, and a family activity perfect for artists young and old.


My Review:
The Art of Paint Marbling is an acrylic paint art instruction book. I had thought paint marbling was relatively simple. The author made it sound like there were a number of challenging aspects and skills that took some practice before you got good results. You also need specialized ingredients and specific paints in order to get the correct buoyancy in the thickened water. If you're ready to buy a completely new set up to try it out, this book seems to thoroughly cover paint marbling.

She talked about the equipment, materials, and ingredients you'll need, the basic steps, and step-by-step demonstrations on how to do different techniques to get different marbled effects. She started with the easiest techniques and then built on those to create more elaborate designs. She also talked about troubleshooting problems and how to fix them as well as how to use abstract marbling with multimedia art (watercolor, collage, etc.) I'd recommend this book to anyone seriously interested in trying out paint marbling.


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

Sunday, March 28, 2021

A Visitor's Guide to Victorian England by Michelle Higgs

Book cover
A Visitor's Guide to Victorian England
by Michelle Higgs


ISBN-13: 9781781592830
Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Pen & Sword
Released: February 28th 2014

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from NetGalley:
HAVE YOU EVER IMAGINED what it would be like to visit the Victorian era? How would you find the best seat on an omnibus, deal with unwanted insects and vermin, get in and out of a vehicle while wearing a crinoline, and avoid catching an infectious disease? Michelle Higgs answers all these questions. Drawing on a wide range of sources, this book blends accurate historical details with compelling stories to bring the period to life.


My Review:
A Visitor's Guide to Victorian England is an overview of various aspects of life in Victorian England. It's written as if you're going to time travel back to visit England and need advice on how to fit in. The author covered various topics like temporary lodgings (inns, hotels, etc.), men's and women's clothing, food and drink (from street vendors, inns, etc.), transportation (taking the stagecoach, railway, etc.), shopping and making up clothes, hazards to the health (from food, disease, etc.), courting customs and marriage laws, sports and entertainment (theater, horse racing, etc.), and customs around mourning the dead, going to church, different holidays, and such. At the end, she also gave a timeline of significant events and examples of costs and of wages.

There were some quotes from people who lived during that time period (especially from the late 1800s). The author also referred to information found in other books about life in Victorian England. I've read many in-depth books about the period, so not a lot of this information was new to me. This book was more of a survey of a variety of topics about the time period and would be a good introduction to the subject.


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Christopher Hobbs's Medicinal Mushrooms by Christopher Hobbs

book cover
Christopher Hobbs's Medicinal Mushrooms
by Christopher Hobbs


ISBN-13: 9781635861679
Paperback: 272 pages
Publisher: Storey Publishing
Released: March 30, 2021

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description from Goodreads:
Mushrooms have been used as medicine for thousands of years and their value in boosting immunity, improving memory, and even fighting cancer is being recognized and documented in scientific research. Christopher Hobbs, a mycologist and herbalist at the forefront of contemporary research, profiles the most powerful medicinal mushrooms and explains the nutritional and medicinal compounds in each one. Detailed instructions cover how to select, store, and prepare each variety for use. Whether readers are growing or foraging their own mushrooms, or sourcing them from a local provider, this essential handbook will guide them in making health-boosting medicine.


My Review:
Christopher Hobbs's Medicinal Mushrooms is a detailed guide about foraging, buying, and using medicinal mushrooms. The author included information about how to identify medicinal mushrooms in the wild (including information about dangerous look-alike mushrooms) and how to harvest and process them. He also talked about buying medicinal mushrooms as fresh or dried fruit bodies, powdered extracts, and tinctures, and what to look for in these products. He described the different ways to use them, like in food or as a tea, and provided step-by-step, illustrated directions on how to make your own extracts, powders, and tinctures. He covered details about the different health benefits of the most popular medical mushrooms as well as some lesser known mushrooms and psychedelic mushrooms. In each mushroom's profile, he talked about health-related research findings, gave a summary of traditional uses, provided suggested dosages, and what to look for in commercial products. He also described how to cultivate various mushrooms at home. Overall, I'd recommend this very informative book to anyone interested in medicinal mushrooms.


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Simply Quantum Physics by DK

Book cover
Simply Quantum Physics
by DK


ISBN-13: 9780744028485
Hardcover: 160 pages
Publisher: DK Publishing
Released: February 23rd, 2021


Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
Discovering quantum physics has never been easier. Combining bold graphics with easy-to-understand text, Simply Quantum Physics is an essential introduction to the subject for those who are short on time but hungry for knowledge. It's a perfect beginner's guide to a strange and fascinating world that at times seems to conflict with common sense. Covering more than 80 key ideas from the uncertainty principle to quantum tunneling, it is divided into pared-back, single- or double-page entries that explain concepts simply and visually. Assuming no previous knowledge of physics, it demystifies some of the most groundbreaking ideas in modern science and introduces the work of some of the most famous physicists of the 20th and 21st centuries, including Albert Einstein, Neils Bohr, Erwin Schrdinger, and Richard Feynman. Whether you are studying physics at school or college, or simply want a jargon-free overview of the subject, this essential guide is packed with everything you need to understand the basics quickly and easily.


My Review:
Simply Quantum Physics provides an overview of various quantum physics ideas using graphics and a brief text aimed at beginners. The book started out by describing the makeup of an atom and described some of the various particles that make up everything else. This was similar to the material I'd studied in college, so I was able to follow it. However, while they did a good job of trying to describe the ideas of quantum physics, it seemed like the further I read into the book, the less the people studying the phenomenon even understood what they were trying to describe. The book was a quick read and informative, but it's really only a basic overview. I would have enjoyed a little more detail about how quantum physics is used in current devices. Overall, I'd recommend this book to anyone looking for a basic understanding of quantum physics.


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


Monday, February 8, 2021

A Visitor's Guide to Jane Austen's England by Sue Wilkes

Book cover
A Visitor's Guide to Jane Austen's England
by Sue Wilkes


ISBN-13: 9781781592649
Paperback: 176 pages
Publisher: Pen and Sword Books
Released: October 30th 2014


Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
Immerse yourself in the vanished world inhabited by Austen’s contemporaries. Packed with detail, and anecdotes, this is an intimate exploration of how the middle and upper classes lived from 1775, the year of Austen’s birth, to the coronation of George IV in 1820. Sue Wilkes skilfully conjures up all aspects of daily life within the period, drawing on contemporary diaries, illustrations, letters, novels, travel literature and archives.

Were all unmarried affluent men really 'in want of a wife'? Where would a young lady seek adventures? Would ‘taking the waters’ at Bath and other spas kill or cure you? Was Lizzy Bennet bitten by bed-bugs while travelling? What would you wear to a country ball, or a dance at Almack’s? Would Mr Darcy have worn a corset? What hidden horrors lurked in elegant Regency houses?

My Review:
A Visitor's Guide to Jane Austen's England talked about what daily life was like in England for the middle and upper classes during 1775-1820. The author included quotes from diaries, letters, and such from the time period, including quotes from Jane Austen's letters. She also looked at quotes from Jane Austen's books to help the reader better understand the nuances of what was going on. The information was interesting and provided insights into books written in the Regency period. Overall, I'd recommend this book to fans of Jane Austen's books and those interested in daily life during this time.

The author used a conversational tone, advising a visitor to England about what life will be like or what your options will be. She started by talking about travel, from the different ways to travel to what to expect at lodgings as well as hazards to watch out for, the costs, etc. She then talked about housing (including bathing, using the bathroom, the lighting and heating), what activities you might do (including shopping, gambling, letter writing, sports), what the meals will be like, details about the current fashions for both men and women, and what the different parts of clothing were like. She talked about how young men and women found their marriage partners and the advantages and disadvantages of a long engagement. She finished by talking about options in healthcare, childbirth, death and mourning, and things like quack cures and the sea cure.


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

Monday, February 1, 2021

Grow Your Own Spices by Tasha Greer

Book cover
Grow Your Own Spices
by Tasha Greer


ISBN-13: 9780760368022
Paperback: 128 pages
Publisher: Cool Springs Press
Released: January 5th 2021

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
In Grow Your Own Spices, author and spice-growing gardener Tasha Greer hands you everything you need to know to grow a thriving spice garden, with practical tips and in-depth advice on cultivating over 30 different spices.

Unlike herbs, which consist of the green leaves of certain plants, spices come from the seeds, roots, bark, or berries of plants, which means growing, harvesting, and preparing spices is a lot more nuanced than growing leafy herbs. Start with easy-to-grow seed spices first, such as sesame seeds, fennel, and cumin, then graduate to more challenging spice varieties, such as star anise, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

Spices not only offer culinary flare, there’s also increasing evidence of their ability to fight inflammation and reduce various health risks. Medical usage tips from expert herbalist Lindsey Feldpausch are found throughout the book and offer well-researched advice on how to use homegrown spices to improve your well-being.

In Grow Your Own Spices, you’ll learn how to cultivate your own saffron, the world’s most expensive spice; the best way to tend tropical spices, like ginger, turmeric, and cardamom, even if you live in a cold climate; easy-to-grow spices that are perfect for beginners; the unique way certain spices, such as wasabi, cloves, and cinnamon, are grown and harvested; how to cultivate root spices, including horseradish and chicory; and tips for harvesting your own capers, mustard, sesame seeds, and even paprika.


My Review:
Grow Your Own Spices provides basic planting, care, and harvesting instructions for growing your own spices. The author started with general care information, but then she gave specific advice along with plant profiles. She started with spices that are easier to grow but also included more difficult ones that need more controlled climates and a long period of time before producing. She included spices grown from seed, from roots, and more. Each plant profile included information about that spice, information about growing it and harvesting it, and some information about how to use it or prepare it for storage. While she included some very good information, I think that a beginner gardener would have trouble with the trickier spices without having more experience or advice provided. I've already grown some of the spices from seed, and they're reasonably easy even for a beginner. Overall, I'd recommend this book to any gardener interested in trying to grow their own spices.

She included information on growing allspice, annatto, bay laurel, caper, cardamom, cinnamon, celery, caraway, chicory, cloves, nutmeg, anise, horseradish, ginger, garlic, lemongrass, galangal, fenugreek, dill, fennel, cumin, coriander, juniper berry, lavender, licorice, mustard, nigella, paprika, peppercorns, poppy, wasabi, vanilla, tamarind, turmeric, sumac, sesame seed, saffron.


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

Monday, January 18, 2021

Plant Partners by Jessica Walliser

Book cover
Plant Partners
by Jessica Walliser


ISBN-13: 9781635861334
Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Storey Publishing, LLC
Released: December 22nd 2020


Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
Companion planting has a long history of use by gardeners, but the explanation of why it works has been filled with folklore and conjecture. Plant Partners delivers a research-based rationale for this ever-popular growing technique, offering dozens of ways you can use scientifically tested plant partnerships to benefit your whole garden. Through an enhanced understanding of how plants interact with and influence each other, this guide suggests specific plant combinations that improve soil health and weed control, decrease pest damage, and increase biodiversity, resulting in real and measurable impacts in the garden.


My Review:
Plant Partners is a very informative book about garden plant pairings that help improve the yield and health of your harvest crops. The author talked about cover crops, living mulches, using allelopathy to combat weeds, plants that can be used as living trellises, plants that can be used to lure pests away from harvest crops, plants that help suppress disease in their plant partners, plants that attract beneficial insects, and plants that bring in more pollinators to the garden for an increased crop. She focused on plant pairings that have been studied at universities and such for their effectiveness.

She also talked about related issues, like no-till gardening or studies suggesting the reasons behind why these plant partners work well. The many pictures usually showed how the plants can be planted near each other (interplanted or planted in alternating rows). Her description of how to implement these plant partnerships (when to plant, where to plant, etc.) was also clear to me. Overall, I was so impressed with this book and its usefulness for a home gardener that I bought a physical copy because I'll be referring to it often. We're going to try some living mulch this year along with a couple of the plant partners that were suggested to bring in beneficial insects. I'd highly recommend this book to home gardeners.


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

Thursday, January 14, 2021

The Essential Guide to Adaptogens by Rachel Rozelle, ND

Book coverThe Essential Guide to Adaptogens by Rachel Rozelle, ND

ISBN-13: 978-1647399030
Paperback: 176 pages
Publisher: Rockridge Press
Released: December 8th 2020


Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through Amazon Vine.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
In the world of natural medicine, adaptogens are superstars. These herbs and mushrooms have been used for centuries to help the body cope with stress of all kinds. The Essential Guide to Adaptogens puts the unique healing power of adaptogens in your hands. This up-to-date, research-driven guide walks you through using adaptogens like holy basil, Shatavari, cordyceps, and turmeric to support your body in managing depression, insomnia, hypertension and more.

Explore the history of adaptogens and learn about their wide range of benefits. Discover how they can be harnessed today to benefit immune health, sleep, hormone balance, brain function, and energy. Easy-to-follow recipes will empower you to introduce adaptogens into your lifestyle so you can begin healing, invigorating, and stress-proofing your mind and body.

Get introduced to the medicinal uses of adaptogens, and find out how to safely prepare the right dosage in a variety of forms. Meet each all-star adaptogen and learn its background, benefits, and usage guidelines—then dig into nourishing recipes. Find healthy lifestyle recommendations to further support you in achieving and maintaining optimal vitality and longevity.


My Review:
The Essential Guide to Adaptogens provides information about adaptogens. The author first talked about what adaptogens are and the benefits of taking them. She also talked about where to get them and how to use and store them. She then provided profiles for 15 herbs that included the Latin name, some basic information about the herb, the benefits, how to use it, the recommended amounts for different ways of using it (like a tincture or a capsule), any safety cautions, and a recipe or two using it. Each profile also had a chart showing what part is used, additional names, common preparations, energetics and taste, medicinal properties, and what it's used for. The herbs that she covered were American ginseng, ashwagandha, Asian ginseng, cordyceps, eleuthero, guduchi, holy basil, licorice, maca, rhaponticum, rhodiola, schisandra, shatavari, shilajit, and turmeric.

She then covered several common problems along with some herbs to treat them. She talked about anxiety, depression, irritability, low libido, fatigue, poor concentration, insulin resistance, obesity, and hypertension. For each problem, she talked about the symptoms and causes as well as possible treatments. Obviously, many of these treatments were adaptogens but she also suggested some other herbs as well and their dosing. She also talked about other things you can do that helps, like exercise. The last section of the book talked about self inquiry, breath work, yoga, massage, and meditation. The book included some good information and was easy to understand. I'd recommend it to people that haven't heard about adaptogens before and are interested in herbal remedies.


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.