Looking for reviews on some of the latest books about home, gardens, cooking, and more? Here are my reviews on some books that arrived in my mailbox during the month of March.
March Book Reviews
If you are looking for something new to read, here are my quick reviews of some new release books related to home, gardening, cooking, simplifying, or anything else that I found interesting! Be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom of the post to enter to win a giveaway for some of these titles!
With our increasing awareness of reducing exposure to chemicals and the importance of keeping things natural, as well as the ever-growing realization of the environmental impact of disposable plastic packaging, there has never been a better time to go back to basics, embrace natural ingredients and regain control of what we are putting in and on our bodies. The Natural Apothecary: Apple Cider Vinegar, Baking Soda, and Lemons all feature ideas and recipes on how to use these everyday products instead of harmful chemical alternatives.
Merissa’s Thoughts – I’m all about finding more uses for products that I already have in my home so these books seem like a natural fit for my library. Since each book is narrowed down to one product, it gives plenty of space for a good amount of ideas for that item rather than just an overview like you might find in other books.
Your panini press can do a whole lot more than just make a grilled cheese sandwich. Sure, you’ll find classic panini sandwiches such as a robust Cheddar, Apple, and Whole-Grain Mustard or a zesty Chimichurri Steak, but The Best of The Best Panini Cookbook also includes recipes such as quesadillas, croques monsieurs, brats, burgers, salads topped with grilled meats, and even grilled desserts. Dig into over 100 recipes to discover your panini press’s impressive range—including breakfasts, lunches, snacks, and dinners. Author Kathy Strahs, creator of the multiple-award-winning food blog, Panini Happy, will show you how versatile your panini press can be in making unique, fun meals, without the fuss including making things you never thought you could make on a countertop grill or griddle.
Merissa’s Thoughts – We used to serve paninis in our little coffee shop so it was fun for me to look through this cookbook and find some new ideas. My husband has been enjoying sandwiches for lunch so I’m planning on using several recipes from this book. While I did feel like not all of the ingredients in this book would be found in a standard kitchen, they are available at most grocery stores and from experience, I know that just one fun ingredient can make the entire panini something unique and special. If your family enjoys hot sandwichs you would likely enjoy using this cookbook.
Living Off The Grid: What to Expect While Living the Life of Ultimate Freedom and Tranquility is a comprehensive shake-down of what this unique lifestyle looks like in practice. Told through Collins’ much-loved conversational tone, you’ll see complex subjects distilled into easy-to-apply lessons. Let the book calm your anxiety about taking this next step and find out how easy it can be to live a life of freedom.
- Practical day-to-day tips to make off-grid living simple
- Strategies for running a business or telecommuting while remaining mostly unplugged
- Ways to remain socially and professionally connected in your new lifestyle
- How to make the most of your newfound freedom and decreased cost of living
- Mistakes, expensive errors, and bonehead blunders Collins made so you don’t have to… and much, much more!
Merissa’s Thoughts – This book is not a dreamer’s book for living off the grid, it’s an actual guide to the practical aspects. A large portion of the book is dedicated to living in an RV which I found very interesting since our family has personally done this several times at different points in our life, including all of last summer. I found the info to be accurate and helpful for someone that isn’t sure where to start and doesn’t have anyone to personally ask about these topics. Another thing that this book touches on is the financial aspect of off-grid living, a topic that I see avoided in many of the “trendier” books.
Why go green? Author Jill Potvin Schoff’s search for a cure for her infant son’s eczema resulted in her embracing the green cleaning lifestyle.
This practical handbook explains how to eliminate toxic chemical household cleaning agents from your life and replace them with natural, homemade solutions!
Inspired by the author’s experience as the mother of an allergic child, Green Clean provides practical, comprehensive advice for every household cleaning need from kitchen, bathroom, and laundry to windows, floors, grills, decks, and cars.
Jill Potvin Schoff shows you how to green up your chores and reduce your family’s exposure to hazardous chemicals in every part of your home.
Merissa’s Thoughts – You probably already know that if you are looking for homemade cleaning supplies recipes, you can find those on just about any corner of the internet. However, this book may still be helpful to you if you A. Don’t own a copy of Little House Living. B. Want a resource that is offline. or C. Need ideas on how to use the cleaners.
What I found to be the most helpful in this book was the step by step ideas on how exactly to use the homemade cleaners to actually clean your home, inside and out. That’s a topic that I don’t generally see covered on a blog and I thought it might be very helpful if you are new to using homemade cleaning supplies.
This eco-elegant guide to home décor is packed with attractive decorating ideas inspired by the colors, forms, and themes of nature. Author Janet Sobesky shows how to bring a breath of freshness into home decorating by incorporating natural elements into everyday living. Using organic and eco-conscious materials for earth-friendly designs, Janet presents a host of practical suggestions for achieving a comfortable, informal, easy-care, and sustainable lifestyle. With advice for every room in the house, Natural Style includes the latest information on organic fabrics, natural flooring materials, low VOC paints, energy-efficient lighting options, and more.
Merissa’s Thoughts – I’m not much of an interior designer since I prefer a comfy minimalist look but I found the styles in this book to be very pleasing. I loved looking through all of the full color images and felt myself inspired by the simple designs and ideas. I’m not sure how well the “eco-concious” materials would fit into a budget but I still liked gaining the knowledge of what is out there. If you are trying to decorate your home, you may want to give this book a look.
This step-by-step process, to fully surrender to God and then identify the threads of gifts, passions, places, relationships, and sufferings in your life, is not to get what you want but to find what God wants of you. The journal-like edition includes
- a new introduction and perspective from Jennie
- stories and testimonies from women whose lives have been changed by the process
- and the workbook graphics to determine the individual threads and how to weave them together
Divided into forty days, Made for This will help readers not only follow their dreams but also be able to answer life’s ultimate question: Why am I here?
Merissa’s Thoughts – I was excited to check out this book since I’m always looking for a great new study for my quiet times. Each day in the book features a few pages of writing on a topic, some questions to ask yourself or to journal, and some Bible passages to read. There are so many topics covered including uncertainties, spiritual gifts, restlessness, your story, and so much more. I haven’t had a chance to get through the entire guide book yet but I’m looking forward to reading more and reflecting on each of these areas in my life.
Your backyard can come alive by creating an environment with plants and spaces that attract nature’s most interesting and friendly creatures! Colorful butterflies, uplifting songbirds, and lively toads can enhance your personal garden space, giving pleasure to nature lovers of all ages.
Attracting Birds, Butterflies, and Other Backyard Wildlife provides 17 inspiring wildlife-friendly projects that the whole family can enjoy, making getting back to nature easy, educational, and fun! Learn how to fill your yard and garden with the sights and sounds of nature with ideas for homemade feeders, birdbaths, ponds, native plants, protective cover, nesting places, and more.
Merissa’s Thoughts – Since we are learning a lot about nature in our children’s schooling right now, I loved looking through this book. Not only does it have beautiful projects that my husband and I could do to make our yard a more attractive place for wildlife but it also has many very simple family projects that even my littlest can help do. I have a feeling we will be using several of those projects for school in the coming year. If you are looking to make your yard into a natural haven for all types of wildlife, you will definitely want to pick up a copy of this book.
“Starting at a young age, children are plagued with worry and anxiety, yet we are not always good at providing them with the coping skills that will help them overcome it,” explains Reena B. Patel, a parenting expert, licensed educational psychologist, and author. “This is often because parents and educators are not sure what coping skills work, so they can pass that information on to the children in their lives.”
That’s where Patel aims to change things. Her new book, “Winnie & Her Worries,” explores the area of worry and anxiety. While the book was written for kids ages 3-10, the information and coping strategies offered are effective for all ages dealing with anxiety. The book provides examples of common stressful situations, which are often brought on by living in a competitive world that has high demands and unrealistic expectations. The book also provides coping strategies that can be used to help address the fear and anxiety.
Merissa’s Thoughts – As someone that has dealt with anxiety and that has a child with anxiety issues, I looked forward to checking out this book more. The first part of the book is a simple story about Winnie and how she learns to deal with the things she cannot control. The end of the book features several ideas on how you can help your child deal with these issues and learn how to come up with their own solutions in the future. I love the idea of the “worry box” and it will be something we will be creating.
In Vertical Vegetables, author Amy Andrychowicz shows you a thing or two about growing up. Gardening vertically, that is. With practical principles and the incisive background information you’ll need to start, Amy shows you how to build nearly two dozen growing structures, including trellises, arbors, archways, wall pockets, towers, and more.
Bigger yields per square foot may be the main reason for vertical growing, but vertical gardens also offer opportunities that go beyond the purely functional—they can be beautiful, too. Among the many projects in her new book, Amy has included several that are eye-wideningly stunning, especially once the garden has matured. Freestanding or wall-hung, the projects reflect a wide variety of building materials, too, including dimensional lumber, metal re-bar, fabric, and even “upcycled” everyday objects.
Vertical Vegetables is packed with important information, including lists of plants that are best suited for vertical growing. This beautiful project book is your key to more garden produce and improved outdoor living in any space, from tiny and urban, to large and sprawling.
Merissa’s Thoughts – I feel like I saved the best for last in my reviews for this month. I loved this book! Although we currently have space for a large garden, there have been many times and places that we’ve lived in where we did not. There are so many projects in this book that can turn just about any space into a bountiful garden. Even if you do have space for a large garden, you will still love all of the trellis plans that can help prevent disease or pest issues with your vegetables. Such a wealth of information!
Want to win these books? I’m giving away a copy of
- The Natural Apothecary (set of 3)
- Vertical Vegetables
- Winnie and Her Worries
- Attracting Birds, Butterflies, and Other Backyard Wildlife
- Natural Style
- Green Clean
- Living Off Grid
- Panini Press Cookbook
to one winner! Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below to be entered to win all of these books to add to your personal collection. Good luck!
**Please note: I will email the giveaway winner as soon as the giveaway has ended. The winner has 72 hours to respond to the email and claim the prize. If there is reponse, all books will be donated to my local library. Please add [email protected] to your email contacts to help ensure email delivery.**
Have you read any of these books? Which one do you think interests you?
Are you an author or publishing house that wants me to review your book? Send an email with the information to [email protected]