Book Review: The Gardener’s Guide To Starting Seeds Indoors

review-the gardener's guide to starting seeds indoorsTitle: The Gardener’s Guide To Starting Seeds Indoors For Self-Sufficient Backyard Homesteaders

Author: Elizabeth Grove

Genre: Non-Fiction, Gardening

Rating: 5 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

So, you want to grow your garden from the start of the seed…

Perhaps, you have experience starting seeds outdoors but want to discover what it takes to start them indoors!

Or you are a complete beginner to gardening and want to learn from the start of the seed!

Or you are somewhere in between where you have gardening experience but have grown an interest in starting your plants from the seed!

Starting seeds is one of the most important skills to have in becoming more self-sufficient.

And let’s face it, who doesn’t want to start their gardens earlier?

Whether or not you have gardened before, if you have never grown plants from seeds, then that means you have to rely on someone else to get those plants; local stores, friends, etc.

This book will allow you to become 100% self-reliant in growing plants from seeds this season and all the years to come and have the most fun doing it!

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

This was a little gem of a gardening book. I found it to be well formatted, easy to read, well organized, and it provided a ton of information on seed starting. An array of topics was covered, from starting seeds in window sills to using grow lights, hardening them off for the outdoors, and how much sun and water plants need to thrive. I’ll be honest, I don’t have much of a green thumb, and I’ve been struggling to get my seeds to survive past the first week, so I’m really excited to put this information to good use.

If you’re a budding gardener that is interested in growing your own food or even just flowers, I’d highly recommend picking up this book as a beginner’s primer.

Book Review: Beginner’s Guide To Preserving

review-beginner's guide to preservingTitle: Beginner’s Guide To Preserving

Author: Delilah Snell

Genre: Non-Fiction, Cookbook

Rating: 5 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

Whether you’re a gardener, a hunter, or just a curious home cook, preserving food can be a practical way to produce a wide range of delicious flavors—from sweet and summery strawberry jam to spicy kimchi and savory smoked bacon.

The Beginner’s Guide to Preserving is packed with detailed information and beginner-friendly guidance for a variety of preservation methods, plus 65 flavorful recipes to put these techniques into action. Learn the essentials of food preservation, and get instructions for pressure and water bath canning, fermenting, dehydrating, salting, smoking, and freezing.

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This book did a fantastic job of being a fairly comprehensive guide to food preservation. The book contained a lot of information, tips, and recipes for an array of different types of foods. I liked that the book was easy to read, well-organized, and contained information on all of the different ways to preserve food, not just canning. I think the author did a spectacular job of being very thorough.

If you’re interested in preserving food, I would definitely recommend you pick this book up – I think it’s an invaluable resource to have on hand.

Book Review: The Biology Book

review-the biology bookTitle: The Biology Book

Author: DK Publishing

Genre: Non-Fiction, Biology

Rating: 4 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

The science of biology is the story of our quest to understand the living world and explain how its organisms work and interact – whether microbes, mushrooms, or mammals. In answering these and many other questions, we’ve discovered the mechanics of plants, animals, and the human body; explored the mysteries of DNA and genetic inheritance; and learned how to develop vaccines that control diseases.

Written in plain English, The Biology Book is packed with short, pithy explanations of more than 95 momentous ideas in science, from cell theory to evolution by natural selection. Themed chapters explore key areas of the life sciences including ecology, zoology, and biotechnology, tracing the history of scientific thought and introducing the scientists who shaped the subject, such as Carl Linnaeus, Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, Charles Darwin, and Gregor Mendel. Coverage of topical issues such as cloning, neuroscience, human evolution, and gene editing brings the story right up to date. Step by step flowcharts help to unpick complex theories, diagrams demystify biological processes, illuminating quotes make the ideas and discoveries memorable, and witty illustrations enhance our understanding of the science.

Whether you’re new to the subject, a budding botanist or molecular scientist, an avid student of the living world, or keen to keep up with and understand current ethical and scientific debates, The Biology Book is for you.

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This book wasn’t exactly what I was expecting. The book does a good job of presenting a huge amount of information on Biology and its study. If you have more than a casual interest in the topic but don’t want to slog through scientific papers, then this book would be an excellent fit for you.

Although the book is toted as explaining big biology concepts simply, I don’t think that description is entirely accurate. This isn’t a beginner book – it’s more of a mid-range read. It isn’t something I’d recommend to a younger reader, but I do think it’s an excellent source of information, so I’d recommend it to someone who wants to learn more about biology, past what you’d find in the average textbook.

Book Review: Essential Pantry Cookbook

review-essential pantry cookbookTitle: Essential Pantry Cookbook

Author: Jen Chapin

Genre: Non-Fiction, Cookbook

Rating: 5 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

Make creative, flavorful meals with the power of your pantry.

Learn how to serve tasty meals with foods you already have in your pantry, fridge, and freezer. By focusing on 85 basic ingredients—70 long-lasting pantry items and 15 fresh ones—The Essential Pantry Cookbook gives you all the guidance you need to cook up inspired recipes that save you time and money.

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What I enjoyed about this cookbook was how simple the author made it. I love the idea of being presented with a limited list of ingredients and then given a whole host of recipes that can be made with those ingredients. Most of the ingredients given in this book are basic everyday ingredients that almost everyone has on hand in their pantry already, which makes it super easy to just flip to a recipe and get started – I don’t need to prepare much ahead of time or make an extra grocery trip.

I also really appreciate that the author included alternatives to ingredients, substitutions, and information on how long all of the foods keep in the freezer, fridge, and pantry. This is a fantastic basic resource for anyone to have on their shelf – especially if you’re like me, and trying to eat healthy, using mostly whole foods and simple ingredients.

Book Review: The Essential Slow Cooker Cookbook For Beginners

reviewcover-the essential slow cooker cookbook for beginnersTitle: The Essential Slow Cooker Cookbook For Beginners

Author: Pamela Ellgen

Genre: Non-Fiction, Cookbook

Rating: 5 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

Get the most out of your slow cooker with hands-off beginner recipes.

Discover the convenience and hearty flavors of slow cooking with the ultimate starter guide! Begin with a crash course on using and caring for your slow cooker, then explore 100 simple recipes, including roasts, chilis, soups, stews, and casseroles. With plenty of beginner-friendly advice, this slow cooker cookbook makes it easy for you to get a delicious and hearty meal on the table with minimal effort.

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I’m new to slow cookers, but they are quickly becoming one of my favorite ways to make an easy meal for my family that doesn’t require me to stand in a hot kitchen and continually check on the stove. Unfortunately, I don’t know a lot of slow cooker recipes – so I was thrilled to pick up this book for some new recipes and ideas. Thank goodness I did!

Although I wish this cookbook had twice as many recipes in it, I know I’m just being greedy. What I loved about this cookbook was the variety of the recipes, and how simple they were. There isn’t a lot of prep work, or continually checking or adjusting the food. The ingredients for the most part are simple to find, and often on-hand. There is nothing more annoying in a cookbook than finding that every single recipe requires 10 things I’ve never even seen in a store. I’m super excited to try out a lot of these recipes.

I would definitely recommend this cookbook to anyone else who is new to cooking with slow cookers like I am.

Book Review: Survival Medicine

review-survival medicineTitle: Survival Medicine

Author: Thomas Coyne

Genre: Non-Fiction, Survival Guide

Rating: 5 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

When an emergency occurs and help is far away, you want to be prepared to care for yourself and your loved ones. With this practical survival medicine handbook, you’ll have the skills you need to spring into life-saving action. You’ll find out how to prepare for and respond to emergencies when medical help and supplies are not available and keep your family safe in the aftermath of earthquakes, fires, and other disasters.

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This is an amazing little gem of a book for anyone preparing to step into a wilderness situation – or heck, just in general. The book covers a whole host of information on first aid and survival medicine for emergencies, including check-lists, how to assess injury, consent, and treatment. I think this book is invaluable to keep on you, either in your car, or in your backpack anytime you are venturing out into the world.

Immensely helpful. I would highly recommend.

Book Review: Container Gardening For Beginners

review-container gardening for beginnersTitle: Container Gardening For Beginners

Author: Tammy Wylie

Genre: Non-Fiction, Gardening

Rating: 4 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

Whether you’re on a budget, live in a small space, or simply want to raise a new plant or two, container gardening is a practical method for urban and suburban gardeners alike. Container Gardening for Beginners is packed with information and advice for using different types of containers to grow your own vegetables, herbs, fruits, and flowers.

Learn how to get started, from gathering the tools you’ll need to choose the right container and soil mix. Once you’ve covered the basics, you’ll get advice on what you should plant and when, when to water and how, and finally, how you can successfully grow and harvest your crop.

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This is a great little book for anyone just starting in container gardening. It covers a wide array of information that is well-organized, though it doesn’t get super in-depth into any single topic. If you don’t know where to start, I think this is excellent to learn basic information, but I would also recommend doing further research beyond just this.

Overall, I think the book was well put together and well-written, and offers enough information to get you started without bogging you down with too much science when you aren’t that deep into it yet.

Book Review: Herbal Magic

reviewcover-herbalmagicTitle: Herbal Magic

Author: Aurora Kane

Genre: Non-Fiction, Witchcraft

Rating: 3 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

The plant kingdom is one of the oldest magical tools in existence. Known for millennia to have beneficial properties for both physical and spiritual well-being, many species of plants have been incorporated into the spiritual and healing practices of cultures around the world. These magical herbs are considered incredible gifts by shamans, green witches, hedge witches, and every wild woman and wild man.

This guide introduces the magical properties of plants, how to use them, and how to source them, including detailed step-by-step instructions on how to blend them seamlessly into magical recipes to harness their intrinsic powers. Tips for the budding witch cover:

Uses for both common and rare magical plants
Connecting with nature through the process of growing your own plants
Herbal magic lore and herbal magic spell tools
Tea recipes that can enhance your psychic abilities
Spells for attractions, trust, fortune, and friendship
Work with the energies and properties of magical plants to connect deeply with the earth and all the greenery in her dominion and magnify the power of your magic spells.

The Mystical Handbook series from Wellfleet takes you on a magical journey through the wonderful world of spellcraft and spellcasting. Explore a new practice with each volume and learn how to incorporate spells, rituals, blessings, and cleansings into your daily routine. These portable companions feature beautiful foil-detail covers and color-saturated interiors on a premium paper blend.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

I gave Herbal Magic by Aurora Kane 3 stars because this book is really only intended for a very specific audience. There is no practical knowledge here regarding herbs, and though the author included some history, there is little to no reasoning provided for why certain meanings have been assigned to specific herbs.

The narrative came across as a bit woo-woo, with rhymes, flowery language, and over description.

The herbs were described as being intertwined with Astrology for reasons I found unclear, and overall, I don’t think this is going to be a very useful book to those that have a practical mindset towards their practice of witchcraft.

Book Review: How To Cook Healthier

review-how to cook healthierTitle: How To Cook Healthier

Author: Anja Lee Wittels

Genre: Non-Fiction, Cookbook

Rating: 3 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

Learn how quick, simple, and scrumptious eating healthier can be. This easy cookbook is filled with nutritious recipes and detailed how-tos for essential cooking techniques—so you can build healthy kitchen skills that will last a lifetime.

Set yourself up for success with step-by-step tutorials focused on building foundational skills like cooking with water, pan cooking, oven cooking, and grilling. Put your new knowledge into practice with a collection of recipes that incorporate the techniques you’ve learned. Each recipe in this easy cookbook includes nutritional calculations so you can confidently choose dishes that fit your health goals or dietary needs.

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This was an interesting read. There are some fantastic recipes in this book, each with simple ingredients and easy instructions to follow. There are also some really good tips on ways to make your cooking healthier. I appreciated the thorough instructions, tips, nutritional information, and recipe tags – which made it easy to find recipes for certain dietary needs.

I would caution the reader, however, to take some of the health advice with caution, as some of it is outdated and/or disproven by current science. You shouldn’t rely on something like this for health advice.

Book Review: The Ultimate Guide To Astrology

reviewcover-theultimateguidetoastrologyTitle: The Ultimate Guide To Astrology

Author: Tanaaz Chubb

Genre: Non-Fiction, Astrology

Rating: 4 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

Astrology can be a complicated subject filled with technical content such as charting, planetary aspects, and transits. For most beginners, these are confusing and dry details that obscure the most magical aspects of astrology. The Ultimate Guide to Astrology clearly and succinctly explains these complicated facets, thus enabling you to quickly move onto the bigger picture of using the signs and the planets to understand yourself and your life with deeper clarity.
Learn how to quickly set up your astrological chart.

Understand the unique energetic expression of each planet and how it expresses itself in your birth chart.

Discover where each sign sits in your chart and how it impacts specific life areas such as career, finances, health, and relationships.

With this unique approach, you’ll be able to intuitively understand your cosmic blueprint and how to apply it to your life.

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Although Astrology fascinates me and has from a very young age, I must admit that it is a practice that I do not put any credence into. However, if you wish to learn more about Astrology, this book is a fairly comprehensive guide. The book is well-written and well-organized and covers all the different aspects of natal charts and horoscopes that you may ever want to know.

I appreciate that the author didn’t attempt to assign Astrology to any sort of solid science, nor make too many bold claims about the practice – it is simply presented as-is as information for the reader.