May Book Finds and Reviews

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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 May.

May Book Reviews 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 May. #bookreviews #bookgiveaway #goodreads

May 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!

No Waste Organic Gardening

No-Waste Organic Gardening by Shawna Coronado

A guide toward a more sustainable landscape with dozens of tips, tricks, and solutions that save you time and money—all while saving the planet, too! A revision of Shawna’s previous title,101 Organic Gardening Hacks, this new book tackles waste-reducing gardening in a clever, accessible way. Plus, you’ll find solutions to common garden problems and plenty of innovative and resourceful ways to reduce your outgoing waste. Conquering the increasingly important art of responsible gardening is a whole lot easier than you might think, with help from No-Waste Organic Gardening.

Merissa’s Thoughts – I really liked the layout of this book, it was very easy to read. I did feel like the recipes seemed to jump around a little bit, even though they were in chapters of a similar topic but it made me wonder a little bit if this was a “repurposed garden” book or a garden solutions book. I think it may have been trying to be both. Overall there are some handy ideas in here that we will likely use in the future, particularly the natural wasp control.

Mastering the Art of Flower Gardening

Mastering the Art of Flower Gardening by Matt Mattus 

A comprehensive and highly practical study of the art of growing flowers, Mastering the Art of Flower Gardening presents expert tips on growing both annuals and biennials (including native and heirloom species) alongside hundreds of lush photographs. This gorgeously illustrated book is based on decades of Mattus’ first-hand experience in his own garden and greenhouse made popular on his blog Growing with Plants. Every variety or species presented is one that he has personally trialed and grown. Mattus sets you up for success by providing everything you need to know about starting seeds, soil, sowing, hardening off, to transplanting, and growing on. Then, in the following chapters, you’ll find tips for growing over 100 different annuals from seed and many summer bulbs, vines like wisteria, and even blooming shrubs like lilacs. Every flower includes detailed information based on his hands-on experience, going beyond the information typically available on the seed packet or a nursery tag.

Merissa’s Thoughts – I am a terrible flower gardener but I’m trying to get better so I was excited to read this book. So far it’s already helping me identify many of the plants that are growing naturally on our property like lavender. I like how there is a small section for each flower/plant that has all kinds of detailed tips on how to care for that particular flower. Just what a terrible flower gardener like me needs!

Garden Alchemy

Garden Alchemy by Stephanie Rose  

This gardening recipe and project book is packed with over 80 ideas to naturally beautify your garden, using organic methods that regenerate your soil and revitalize your plants. By following the processes that are closest to nature, it brings the gardener in sync with the garden, allowing plants to thrive with  less effort and less cost. There’s recipes for mixing your own potting soils and homemade organic fertilizers; step-by-step instructions for building a compost pile, concocting soil tests, and constructing inexpensive DIY seed-starting equipment. There’s are also recipes for natural pest deterrents and traps, garden teas, and growth-boosting foliar sprays to help your garden grow strong all season long. All accompanied by gorgeous, full-color, step-by-step photography.

Merissa’s Thoughts – I was a bit surprised at how much I enjoyed this book! There were so many tips within it that I plan on utilizing this year in my own garden. Everything from propagating new plants to creating a great compost mix. There were also some cute projects within the book (like the seed bombs) that would make nice gifts.

Kitchen Garden Revival

Kitchen Garden Revival by Nicole Johnsey Burke

Elevate your backyard veggie patch into a work of sophisticated and stylish art. Kitchen Garden Revival guides you through every aspect of kitchen gardening, from design to harvesting—with expert advice from author Nicole Johnsey Burke, founder of Rooted Garden, one of the leading US culinary landscape companies, and Gardenary, an online kitchen gardening education, and resource company.

Merissa’s Thoughts – The pictures in this book made my garden look like nothing, the gardens it contained were so fancy! While I really loke the idea behind the book and the idea behind a kitchen garden, we have to remember it’s not the same as a “feed your family through the winter” garden like mine is and like I’m guessing many of yours are. It’s not feasible for me to grow such small amounts of food, it would be too much effort for too little value. If you have a space you want to design for an eye-pleasing garden, this would be a great book for you.


My Pinewood Kitchen – Mee McCormick

Mee McCormick, real food cooking expert and author of My Kitchen Cure, brings a Southern twist to comfort food classics with more than 130 recipes that heal your gut, reduce inflammation, and reverse chronic autoimmune diseases. Best of all? Mee offers a completely customizable approach to adapt recipes for different dietary needs, whether you’re gluten-free, Paleo, keto, or vegan.

Merissa’s Thoughts – I always look for the same thing in a cookbook, how long are the recipes and do they have fancy ingredients? With My Pinewood Kitchen, I felt like it did well with both of my questions. The recipes aren’t too long and the ingredients are generally something you would have in your pantry or growing in your garden. Many of the recipes within the book contained fresh summer fruits and vegetables so this might not be the best cookbook for winter when those items are harder to find, but it will be a great summer cookbook!

May Book Reviews

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

  • Mastering the Art of Flower Gardening
  • No-Waste Organic Gardening
  • Garden Alchemy
  • Kitchen Garden Revival 
  • My Pinewood Kitchen

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.**

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

Merissa Bio

Are you an author or publishing house that wants me to review your book? Send an email with the information to [email protected].

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  1. I love looking through a good garden resource book. Haven’t heard of these before . Thanks for the review.

    1. I read Garden Alchemy first. My soil ph is a bit out of wack and I need to resolve it so I can have a successful garden season. I would also live to read the recipes to get some planting ideas!

  2. Not sure which one would be first. I would probably skim through them all then go back and read thoroughly.

  3. Wow what great books! I would read No Waste Organic Gardening first! Then Mastering the Art of Flower Gardening because I have no knowledge in growing flowers, but I would love to learn!

  4. Garden Alchemy sounds interesting, although I’d probably love browsing the flower garden book!

  5. Garden Alchemy has me very interested! Sounds like a lot of great things to learn in that book to help me with my gardening journey

  6. I think I would read My Pinewood Kitchen first but they all sound amazing. I would live to bring my gardening skills up a few notches.


  7. Ooh I bought my own house this winter and am starting gardens – vegetables, flowers & herbs! These would be so useful!

  8. All of the books look wonderful, but i think i would read the Pinewood one first as I have several autoimmune diseases, of which one of them is flaring up pretty badly right now, so I think that one would help me out a lot.

  9. I’m a terrible flower gardener too! Every year I keep trying my best to have some nice flowers along side the garden.

  10. Kitchen Garden was already on my book list as I’m planning a “pretty garden” for my small front yard!

  11. I would love to read the kitchen garden rival and the flower growing book! They all sound great though.

  12. I would read Garden Alchemy first! Fingers crossed I win this giveaway as it would be tremendously beneficial in helping me grow my homestead dreams for my family. I just had my first daughter/baby at the end of December and I want to give her the best life she could ever have.

  13. All of these sound interesting and I would use any one of them as a reference to my own gardening experience.

  14. Hard to choose. I guess I would read Garden Alchemy first and Mastering the art of Flower Gardening second. We have had a country vegetable garden for nearly 30 years, mostly organic, but it is alway good to keep learning new tricks. Have added perennial flowers over the years and started doing annuals and biennials 7 years ago when our first daughter was married and kept adding as each of her two sisters got married. Back then we were growing in bulk for the weddings, now I just want to have a beautiful garden that is easy to maintain in the harsh climate of northern Vermont.

    1. I would go with Garden Alchemy first. Grew up on a farm and gardened my whole life (be 72 in August) I still love to learn new ways to garden.

  15. That’s a tough choice as they all look wonderful!! I’d maybe start with Kitchen Garden Revival! 🤓

  16. Hmmmm that’s tough one…probably Garden Alchemy cause I have no idea what that would be. Learn something new!

  17. No Waste Organic Gardening might grab me first, but then another might provoke my immediate interest.

  18. Okay….these all sound absolutely awesome!! I would love to read Garden Alchemy first!! Thanks for doing such a fun give away!!:)

  19. I agree that it’s hard to choose one. I would probably read My Pinewood Kitchen first, then No-Waste Organic Gardening. Thanks for the reviews!

  20. I would read my Pinewood Kitchen first- sounds very interesting! I’m always looking for new recipes. The others sound great as well since I am really only in my second year of gardening

  21. I would be most interested in Reading the Pinewood cookbook And trying out the recipes. Although the gardening books also look interesting especially the flower book.

  22. I’d start with Mastering the Art of Flower Gardening. I have Wysteria seed I’d like to grow again. But I’ve read it takes fifteen years before blooming. Wildflowers are also finicky for me.

  23. Entered your wonderful giveaway and I am most interested in the Kitchen Garden Revival book. I have been wanting to start a small garden to provide fresh fruit and veggies for our meals and don’t really know where to begin. This is especially important to me because I worry about store produce that I cannot wash really well, as I worry about e-coli and now most particularly Civid-19. I can wash store tomatoes, apples, pears, potatoes, etc., but I particularly worry about any type of lettuce. Have not bought lettuce since the pandemic started and I really miss salads. Growing my own lettuce would relieve my worries and fresh from a home garden is the best there is!

  24. What a wonderful giveaway. Thanks for the opportunity to be a winner. I would read “My Pinewood Kitchen” first for new recipes this summer. I want to learn more about gardening so I am super excited about the other books also.

  25. The Garden Alchemy sounds interesting and sure hope I win the raffle! Looks like it’s right up there with your LHL book as far as having lots of helpful tips. Thanks for the reviews.

  26. I bet there is a wealth of knowledge in those books. They all look like they would come in handy. I would probably read either Kitchen Garden Revival or No Waste Organic Gardening first.

  27. All the books look great I have started gardening and any help I could get would be very appreciated

  28. I adore kitchen gardens and have one that is so pretty and edible daily. I love to sit on my patio and fuss with the plants,relax and just be! I am learning new recipes and focus now is no waste gardens and growing with worm castings.I am learning to use herbs and edible flowers in bread…awesome! books are my passage to so many worlds and I pass them on after I read them. Have a delicious day and thank you.

  29. Garden greetings,

    These books look very educational, inticing,and versatile.
    I like the kitchen garden revival. I love old victory gardens and ways of producing abundance without waste. Nutrition nuggets of our women folk of the past. How we need to learn basics, teach our children,put up and store the bounty. Teach our neighbors the art of enjoying a warm, bright red, tasty tomato! Help others to read and plan a garden with no waste and the magic combination of vegetables and herbs. To myself be able to read, absorb, and then pass my books on to encourage new thoughts and better gardens.


  30. I would like to read the No Waste- Organic Gardening… I have to get rid of my 4 raised beds cause the soil got compacted.. So now I’m back to a regular garden .. its been a couple years so I think this book would help me get started again.. thanks

  31. Hi Merissa!

    What a lovely set of books this month. I think I would start with the no waste oraganic gardening and then the pinewood kitchen. I am very interested in healing recipes. Thank you for the review.

  32. I would probably read Kitchen Garden Revival, No-Waste Organic Gardening, or Garden Alchemy first. I am a big foodie so these books would be a great addition! 🙂

  33. I absolutely loved your selections of books . Started my first garden over 58 years ago. My husbands family farmed and had a large farm produce stand in this area for generations and we Worked acres for food for many years. Now that I’m older and the stand is now a landscape store I find have a lot of time to read. I have learned so much With each book times are a changing. Seeds are far from what they were when we were younger soil takes more of a beating here each year no longer freezes long enough or deep enough to rejuvenate. It is essential for me to teach my grandchildren the love of gardening . A good library of gardening books is so important . Especially during winter months so I truly appreciate your help. The one idea that i haven’t seen is planting by the moon phases. It does make a difference that is organic and it seems to me people are ignoring it. Have you read any books on the subject? If not I can send you the guidelines.

  34. Pinewood kitchen – can’t wait to take a look at this!
    Thanks for the review – they all look good!

  35. I would read My Pinewood Kitchen first. I feel the same….always looking for recipes that don’t contain 20 different ingredients but do contain items I already have in my house/garden.

  36. Gardening Alchemy sounds like it has some good ideas! I enjoy starting some plants from seed, and would be interested in the flower seeds starting tips in the Master Flower book.

  37. I would love to add any of these books to my collection ~ my husband & I are planning our move from South FL to East TN at the end of this year ~ we can’t wait to begin our official homesteading journey!! We look forward to starting our own organic garden, learning different skill sets, living simply, and taking steps to live a more rewarding sustainable lifestyle.

    Thank you Merissa for the valuable information you share with us all, we enjoy following along on your journey, and I look forward to taking what I have learned from your Blog, and applying it to my own journey!!

  38. Have you ever read the annotated autobiography of Laura Ingalls called Prairie Girl? It is amazing! If you like learning about life during the Little House days and finding out the true stories, it is a must read!

  39. Just saw the question—I have no idea which I would read first. I have a habit of having many books going at the same time!

  40. I would read “Garden Alchemy” first — I have been saving my pennies to buy this book — I heard about it on a gardening blog and have desired it ever since! What a great giveaway this is! Thank you!

  41. All of these books look very interesting. You have given great reviews thank you.
    Once again you are an inspiration.

  42. Hi love watching you on utube I would to get books trying to do better. I would really appreciate the books

  43. Kitchen Garden Revival would be the first to read, followed by No Waste Organic Gardening! After reading all of them, they would be passed to my daughters! We all love gardening, canning, sewing…….


  45. I love your posts, recipes, etc. & have been a follower for several years. Also, I see you don’t live very far from where I live, so a great many of your posts are relevant to things that are useful to me. Garden Alchemy by Stephanie Rose sounds like it would be the most interesting to me.

  46. I haven’t read any of these books. I wold be excited to read Garden Alchemy as it reflects how I want to evolve in my gardening.

  47. What a great collection of reads, I’m not sure where I’d start they all look so good. Maybe browse through each in no particular order and see which has what I need to know the most? No waste organic gardening sounds particularly relevant to where I’m at right now, though. Thank you, Melissa, for the suggestions of new reads to keep me busy.