January 2021 Book Reviews

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I know that it’s been a while since I’ve been getting my book reviews done, but I’m back in action now! Check out this brand new blog post with some brand new books that I’ve been checking out this month. Scroll to the bottom of the post to entire to win the entire collection!

January 2021 Book Reviews

Grow Your Own Spices – Tasha Greer

Book Description: Regardless of whether you’re using spices as a health-boosting supplement or simply to power-up the flavor of your meals, purchasing spices is an expensive proposition. Why pay all that money when you can grow your own organic spices with the easy-to-follow advice found here?

In the pages of 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
  • Tips for harvesting your own capers, mustard, sesame seeds, and even paprika

Let Grow Your Own Spices show you how to spice up your garden, your plate, and your health, with your own fresh, homegrown spices!

Merissa’s Thoughts – I love the concept behind this book! Growing my own spices (besides herbs) is not something that I’ve tried yet but I’m very eager to do it. This book is a wonderful guide to all different kinds of spices and all of the details you need to know to grow them yourself. A must-have for any serious gardener!

Buy It On Amazon Here

Cooking with Kiddos – A.P. DeRosier

Book Description: Cooking with Kiddos features easy recipes for every meal featuring helper roles for your tiny sous chef. These recipes allow your family to not only eat together but cook together too. Written by a stepmom who never used to cook until she inherited a kiddo through marriage and was suddenly thrust into the kitchen with an eager helper standing at her heels. Cooking with Kiddos features recipes the whole family will enjoy. Through trial and error, these recipes were concocted, tested, enjoyed and repeated by the family time and again. Now you too can create meals with your little one, serving up a basketful of memories and a lifelong bond stronger than the bread you’ll break at the dinner table enjoying these delicious dishes.

Merissa’s Thoughts – If you’ve read my blog much you know that I love to bake and cook with my kids when I have the chance and I have one child in particular that loves to cook all the time. With many kids cook books, they feature recipes that aren’t really recipes and all seem to be the same thing (popsicles, fried eggs, etc). Cooking with Kiddos actually features real parts of meals and we appreciated all the real life pictures as well.

Buy It On Amazon Here

Complete Container Herb Gardening – Sue Goetz

Book Description: Complete Container Herb Gardening is the ideal roadmap for success, even for brand-new gardeners. Learn how to:

  • Grow fresh kitchen herbs in small spaces
  • Choose the best containers, soil, and tools for herbal success
  • Make more herb plants…for free!
  • Cultivate unique herbs and spices, like turmeric, saffron, and ginger
  • Design herb containers that are both beautiful and highly productive
  • Harvest armloads of herbs from a porch or patio
  • Tend an indoor herb garden on a windowsill

Friendly, accessible, and packed with practical information, growing herbs has never been easier—even if you have just a small corner of space to spare. Unleash your inner #herbnerd with Complete Container Herb Gardening!

Merissa’s Thoughts: I have big plans this summer to increase my herb production in my own garden because we eat quite a bit of them so I’m excited to use this book more. The best part about this book is that anyone can use the ideas…big garden or not…because all the ideas are for container gardening. There are many different types of containers featured, both indoor and out, and the author also addresses the issues that can come with container gardening as well.

Buy It On Amazon Here

Great British Vegan – Aimee Ryan

Book Description: If you’re craving your favorite British comfort foods, but also want to embrace a plant-based lifestyle, then Great British Vegan is the book is for you.

Whether you’re vegan, flexitarian or merely interested in cutting down on your meat consumption, there’s no reason you can’t still indulge in all your favourite British classics, using easy-to-find ingredients.

With great-tasting, simple to make home-style recipes that will comfort as well as nourish, this book makes sure you’ll never miss out on Sunday roasts, full English breakfasts or afternoon teas again.

This unique take on vegan cooking reimagines over 80 classic British dishes including Full English, Shepherd’s Pie, Banger’s & Mash, Yorkshire Puddings, Beer Battered (To)Fish & Chips, Sausage Rolls, Welsh Rarebit, Scottish Shortbread, Eton Mess and Sticky Toffee Pudding.

Merissa’s Thoughts – My family enjoyed looking through this cookbook and finding all the yummy recipes that it has to offer. I also look for recipes in a cookbook that have ingredients that are readily available and not too expensive and I thought that even for a cookbook featuring a different cuisine that this still fit the bill.

Buy It On Amazon Here


Want to win these books? I’m giving away a copy of

  • Complete Container Herb Gardening
  • Cooking with Kiddos
  • Grow Your Own Spices
  • Great British Vegan

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!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

**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 no response, all books will be donated to my local library. Please add [email protected] to your email contacts to help ensure email delivery.**

Want me to review your book? Email info to [email protected].

Have you read any of these books? Which one do you think interests you?


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  1. This is a really unique compilation. I would probably read the cookbook first followed by the plastic free living. My 11 year old would love the wood burning book! Thanks dor the opportunity.

  2. I always appreciate looking through a cookbook to find a new recipe to try. Love it when the recipe has commonplace ingredients–and not too many of them.

  3. These all sound fascinating! I’ve always wanted to try wood burning and the medical book is intriguing as well. Good for camping/hiking too. Thanks for the giveaway!

  4. Thank you, Melissa, for your book give away. The book I’d start with would be the Catskills Farm to Table Cookbook. I agree with your criteria and I also hope for those points in recipes. The Prepper’s Handbook sounds interesting too; a good resource to have on hand. I like crafts and I appreciate your recommendation of the Wood Burn Book. Lastly, I’d peruse the Say Goodbye to Plastic before giving it to an elementary science teacher friend.

  5. I’d definitely be reading the Preppers medical hand book first. This has been foremost in my mind of late as well. I bought a couple boxes of bandaids in various sizes and 3 tubes of antibiotic ointment . But really what would we do if we had severe wounds that needed immediate help and there was no help. Thank you for the chance to enter this wonderful giveaway.

  6. I would read Say Goodbye to Plastic first. I’m working on eliminating toxins from our home so that’s on my list.

  7. I would read the the medical book first. I think that would be vital information that you need for your family & could help someone else in need.

  8. Curious about the wood burner book and thinking my son would LOVE it. Personally I would like to dive into the Preppers medical book and learn something maybe that I haven’t thought of yet.

  9. I would find them all interesting… first the medical book, as I would love to be more self sufficient in that area. My son would love the wood burning book! And I am ALWAYS trying new recipes. Often yours! 🙂

  10. I love the varied selection of books. They all seem very interesting. Thank you for offering them to someone to read.

  11. Hmmm…I the Encyclopedia of country living has been on my wish list for awhile! Thank you for the chance to win it! 🌻

  12. I would read all four of these books… I would probably start with the “Five Mary’s” one. Thank you for having this giveaway!

  13. I like them all. Would make great Christmas gifts for a couple of people, too! Thank you for the opportunity.

  14. I would love to read the Mexican cookbook first! I am exploring different cuisines and we love Mexico and the food there!

  15. I am so into prepping and everything that entails. All of the books sound like awesome reads. Who doesn’t want to learn new things or expand your knowledge <3

  16. Such an eclectic group of books! I have always loved books and have often joked if I was ever down to my last couple of dollars and had to choose between food and a book…I would choose a book! Love your blog, ideas, recipes, how-to’s, everything!! Thank you!

  17. My friend has an older copy of the Encyclopedia for Country Living and I love it. That would be the book I’d dive into first. Thanks for the giveaway!

  18. This is so exciting, thank you for the opportunity! I love all of your tips and ideas it has really changed my life!

  19. The first one I would read would be the Encyclopedia of Country Living. We moved to a more rural area in a small town in TN a few years ago and absolutely love it. I love reading all your blogs.

  20. Thank you, Melissa, on the heads up for these November titles. They look like interesting reads and good resource books.

  21. Thanks for the opportunity to win a copy of these books. A perfect time for reading as winter is approaching. I’m always ready to gain new ideas.

  22. Would love to have these books, they look wonderful!
    The Mexican cook book sounds just amazing. I would love to try those recipes!!!!

  23. The books all sound fascinating. This journey, I have started this year, could sure use a hand such as these cookbooks.

  24. I would love this collection of books! I would read The Encyclopedia of Country Living by Carla Emery first. Thank You!!

  25. Oh, that isn’t an easy decision for someone who LOVES to read!! I think I would start with the Mexican kitchen one.I moved from MD to AZ and everyone loves mexican food. We didn’t have a great deal of it back east. Then I would move on to the country living one, I LOVE those types of books. But, honestly knowing me, I would have them all going at once!!

  26. These books would be a wonderful addition to my library. “Clean Treats for Everyone” would be the first one I read because the holidays are coming and I’m looking for new clean treats for everyone! 🙂

  27. I would love to read them all!! But I would probably read the Encyclopedia of Country Living first!! Thank you for the give away (and great blog!!)!! ♥️

  28. Made for you Autumn would be the first book that I would read. All of them look interesting but that one captured my attention the most!

  29. I would read the the Instant Pot Cheese book first. I am lactose intolerant and would love the lactose free recipes.

  30. Goodness! How do I chose which book I’ll read first? My best guess will be the Made For You Autumn.
    I can imagine myself taking a quick peak through all of them though.
    Thank you Merissa for the chance to win these books.

  31. Hi Merissa, this is off topic but I couldn’t help but notice the beautiful dog next to you in the picture. Is that an Australian blue heeler ? That’s my favorite breed , he ( or she) is precious. 🙂

    1. She is a blue heeler 🙂 Her name is Kady and she joined us here on our land as a pup just a few weeks after we arrived this spring. We just love her!

  32. WOW!! Container Herb Garden?! Really!? THAT would be my FIRST read! Neat! Thanks for all the info. in the reviews! 😉

  33. I would enjoy reading any of these books. I tell my sister all the time tis and ideas that I have read on the site. I always say my little house lady says…she thinks it’s too funny! Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge and life experience, may God bless your family.

  34. Grow your own spices sounds cool! Last year I started establishing a herb garden and I’m looking to expand it each year!

  35. Fun giveaway! I’d be interested to try growing my own spices…never thought about it, but I bet the flavors would be phenomenal!

  36. I would very much enjoy reading all of your books. I can’t decide which I would start with since I normally jump from book to book, but likely it would be the medical prepping one. Thank you for doing this giveaway–they are always exciting and fun!

  37. Not sure which book I would start with, either the Container Gardening one or growing your own spices. Both look very interesting.

  38. I’d probably look at the “Cooking with Kiddos” book first. We’ll be retiring soon and moving close to one of our grandsons (the other grandkids live in Australia).

    Thank you, Melissa, for offering your opinion on these books and for having a giveaway. I ordered one of the previous books for an Xmas gift and it was great to have a recommendation.

  39. These books are exciting! The Cooking with Kiddos, I would send immediately to my daughter, to share with her daughter! They LOVE to cook together!
    The spice garden, wow I did not know I could grow all of that. I have an awesome porch to do that!!!