Thursday, October 9, 2014

Book Review: The New American Herbal by Stephen Orr

 The New American Herbal is described on the back cover as 'a masterful A-to -Z introduction to the full spectrum of herbal plants." This beautiful book, authored by Stephen Orr, would be a great addition to any gardener, cook or crafter's library.

The New American Herbal is an eye feast of beautiful photographs of foods made with herbs, herbs in the garden and other ways to preserve and use herbs. I thought this book offered sound advice and sage wisdom on growing herbs and using them. Each herb detailed in the book has a side bar listed with the most basic information such as where it is grown, how to grow, how tall it gets and other basics to growing any herb. Herbs include the every day herbs we all know like oregano, parsley and tarragon, as well as those not as well known, such as lungwort, epazote and sweet cicely.

I thought several recipes in the book looked appealing to try. Recipes such as: Baked Stuffed Tomatoes with Oregano, Braised Chicken with Tarragon, and Caraway Orange Biscuits. The back of the book contains a well-organized index.This book also has a Resource List in the back which offers guidance on herbal schools, other herbal books to read, and herbal gardens to visit. It is a nice comprehensive reference book that would be especially helpful to someone new to herbs but there is also plenty of good information for those who already know something about herbs and herbal gardening. I highly recommend it.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review. I was not required to write a positive review.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Book Review: Chia Vitality by Janie Hoffman

Chia Vitality by Janie Hoffman is a great guide to overall health--not just a book about chia seeds. Just what are chia seeds anyway, you may ask? Janie Hoffman shares not only what these seeds are, but what they can do for you. In a nutshell, these are little seeds full of protein, calcium, and antioxidants, making them a nutritious superfood for today.

Hoffman shares how chia changed her life--along with her holistic approach involving exercise, meditation and a healthy diet that includes plenty of chia seeds. She includes a 30 day vitality health plan complete with chia recipes. I thought several of the recipes looked good: strawberry chia seed jam, chia chocolate pudding, California fritatta, and chicken chia chili.

Hoffman is the founder and CEO of Mamma Chia, an award-winning organic chi-based food and beverage company. She shares how the idea for this business came about and ways that the business has helped her as a person, as well as her healthy plan with the chia seeds. If you are interested in Chia seeds and their health benefits this is a good book with a lot of information in it. It is also helpful in encouraging the reader to grow as a person and to take their health to a new level and to become more vital in all areas of their life. I appreciated her well-rounded approach to health, a good variety of recipes to try and her encouragement in sharing her business start-up for those that may be interested in starting one. There is a lot of good information in this book in several areas. I highly recommend it.

I received this book from Blogging for Books . I was not required to write  a positive review in exchange for the book.For  More Info  on this book, click the link.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Book Review: Speak: How Your Story Can Change the World By Nish Weiseth

Speak: How Your Story Can Change the World by Nish Weiseth caught my eye because of its emphasis on sharing your story. I believe there is truth in her book, our stories can change each other when we open up and share them. I love that Nish shares how much our stories matter. I agree that we need to hear each other's stories more and judge each other less.

Speak is a compilation of blog posts about how we need to share our stories and hear others' stories to create positive changes in each other, our churches and our part of the world around us. I thought she made some good points in this book. I am older, not part of the millennial generation that she is from, but I have a heart for people's stories. I did find some parts of her book to be moving. I appreciate her encouragement to share our stories, to listen to others' stories before judging, and to focus on using our stories and our lives to make changes one person at a time in the world around us.

However, I also found some aspects of this book to be distracting to me. . .at the end of each chapter, there are comments from others who have read her blog posts that she shared in the book. I just found that distracting. While I have read other books that were blog compilations, this one felt like it more because of that. . .and for me, it took away from the book. I felt like I should have just gone to her blog and read her posts. For me, it took away from the book and I am not sure I would spend money on something I was reminded I could go and read on-line.

I received this book from the publisher at no cost to me. I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for the book.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Book Review: Your Family In Pictures by Me Ra Koh

I received a new digital camera for my birthday last year. . .which I love. I know, I know. . .cell phones take pictures too. . .but mine doesn't very well. The camera I got came with some bells and whistles so I wanted to learn to take better pictures with it.

I appreciate that Your Family In Pictures offers photo ideas for use with your family with clear instructions. While I don't think I necessarily need to make my picture just like the author's, I did want to be able to construct some good photos at celebrations and holidays. I felt this book offered me the tools I needed to do just that. It offers basic ideas for setting up better photos if they are planned and it offered tips for photos during a general holiday. For example, how to get a better photo with fireworks in the sky or how to show more romance at Valentine's Day in your picture. This book offers both practical guidelines for camera settings and it offers creative ideas for making your photos more special. I liked that it offered both. I found all of the instructions to be easy to use.

I would encourage anyone to get a copy of this book that is also a beginning photographer. The author has that audience in mind so I'm not sure a more professional photographer would glean as much helpful information. It offers complete instructions and ideas for 40 photo recipes that pretty much anyone can follow.

I received a copy of this book from Blogging For Books. I was not required to write a positive review.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Book Review: Let's All Be Brave by Annie F. Downs

I wasn't sure I would fit in with this book. I wondered if I was too old for this book, but I liked the thought of "being brave" and "living life with everything you have." It turns out that I not only wasn't too old for this book, but I couldn't get enough of Let's All Be Brave. Annie Downs wrote a book that I think anyone of any age can relate to. I devoured the book in 2 days. I could have read it in one if I didn't have a life outside of reading, LOL.

Annie Downs admits she's not exactly the bravest girl in the world. Yet, she shares her stories, stories from her friends and family, and stories from the Bible to show how God enables us all to be brave. Her words flow in a way that I felt like we were sitting at Starbucks sharing caffeinated beverages and words like no one else is around to hear them. . .one on one with someone who understands that life is challenging for all of us but God really is bigger than those challenges if we take time to spend time with Him and hear His Voice and then do the next right thing for us.

 One of my favorite passages is on page 155 where Annie says, "I don't know how old you are. But I know the lie you hear. You are too young. You are too old. You don't know enough, or you know too much. The truth is that courage doesn't have an expiration date. courage doesn't have a marker that says, "You must be taller than THIS to ride this ride." . . ."You were meant to be brave." Wow, does that speak to a woman who is going to turn 50 this year. . .Yes, I just outed myself with my age. . .But when I read Being Brave, I feel like I can deal with this mile marker age and I can still have a lot to offer this life and God. I just have to keep using the talents I have and doing the next best thing I believe God wants me to. Not that that is as easy as it sounds, but this book helps me see that if I just breathe and take this courage thing one step at a time with God that I really can make it to the finish line some day.

I received this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for the book.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Book Review: Modern Pioneering by Georgia Pellegrini

Georgia Pellegrini says self-sufficiency is the ultimate girl power. I agree. Modern Pioneering makes self-sufficiency a little easier with step-by-step instructions on how to  do everything from  grow a small space garden to crafting mason jar lanterns to fermenting cabbage into hot pink saurkraut.

Modern Pioneering is divided into sections: The Garden, The Home, The Wild and The Rest. The garden section includes information on tools that you need to garden, selecting a garden spot and saving seeds, along with a lot more. It offers a lot of basic information that would be helpful to any beginning gardener. As a more experienced gardener, I already knew quite a bit of the information the gardening information. However, I think the section with recipes offers great recipes for both those who have experience and those with none. Some of the recipes include: Fig and Quinoa Salad, pink pickled eggs, chocolate bread pudding, mint jelly and salmon in a jar. The Wild section offers great advice on using wild plants as food, making a basic lean-to shelter and a pocket-sized 48-hour survival tool kit in an Altoids tin (I loved this! I have my tin ready.) The Rest is a section offers more food recipes like making your own chai spice tea and cheese, along with crafty recipes like making homemade chalk paint and homemade beeswax candles.

I have several projects and recipes marked to make in this book. The pictures and step-by-step instructions are just bright and eye-catching. I truly see this books as both practical and eye candy on lazy days of dreaming what I want to make. I highly recommend it to anyone looking to make things on their own and become more self-sufficient. I thought it had a good index for finding what you are specifically looking for too.

About the Author:
GEORGIA PELLEGRINI's taste for simple food and outdoor adventure evolved as she grew up in the Hudson Valley, on the same land her great-grandfather owned and worked. She followed her passion to the French Culinary Institute and then to Gramercy Tavern, Blue Hill at Stone Barns, and La Chassagnette in France. Georgia is the author of two previous books, Food Heroes and Girl Hunter, and her writing has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Bon Appetit, American Hunter, and The Huffington Post. She has been featured on Today, Jimmy Kimmel Live!, and Iron Chef America. She lives in Austin, Texas.

 I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review. I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for the book.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Book Review: The Rules of Engagement for Overcoming Your Past by Cindy Trimm

Cindy Trimm offers a book that is geared to helping you over come past issues with a specific strategy in The Rules of Engagement for Overcoming Your Past.

This little manual does offer the reader hope for a better life by applying biblically-based techniques and strategies for lasting change. I like the size of this hard copy because it is easy to carry along and read due to the small size. It is also a book that offered a lot of wisdom despite the small package.

Cindy Trimm offers advice on breaking free from: guilt, rejection, abuse and betrayal. Nine chapters offer steps that include re-wiring your mind, breaking free from past ties, healing your guilt and your shame (and she explains the difference), overcoming past abuse, forgiving and beginning again afresh. I found her steps easy to follow. Now, having said that, that doesn't mean that it was all easy to do. There are difficult choices the reader may make during the process. But there is a freeing feeling in completing the process. I think the book is good to keep around as you may want to refer back to it when you begin to feel old habits or feelings creeping back in. The book would be great to look back at to remind yourself of where you are going instead of where you have been.

I would encourage anyone to read this book that needs to change their thinking and begin healing. It also might be a great book to use with a counselor if your issues feel to big to handle on your own.

I received this book from the publisher at no charge. I was not required to write a positive review.