Book Review:The Rooftop Growing Guide

Living at a high elevation in Flagstaff, AZ with considerable snow in the winter, there are not many flat roofs around to take urban farming to the next level. Still, I was very interested in reading the recently released The Rooftop Growing Guide by Annie Novak to look for new ways to promote and incorporate creative gardening ideas in the community. While we do not have many flat residential roofs, we do have to think outside the box in order to fit personal and community gardens into our urban setting.

The Rooftop Growing Guide is filled with interesting ideas and unique solutions to combat the city garden challenges we face. What may not work on our pitched roofs could work perfectly on an upper balcony or deck. In fact, some techniques like vertical gardening in containers would probably work better on a balcony that faces the sun rather than on a roof completely exposed to the wind, rain and direct sunlight all of the time. From my gardening experience, I think that just about everything in this book can be adapted to any urban setting regardless of the building types.
A wealth of information on every area of city gardening is included in this book. Standards like setting up cold frames and compost bins are sprinkled throughout but this volume also includes much more than just the basics. Chapters touching on rooftop honeybees and rooftop bird habitats show a wholistic approach to the urban farm taking place. Everything from “how to” schematics to zoning and building codes are well written and explained in simple terms. Dozens of photos compliment the text. I recommend this book to anyone looking for a fresh perspective on gardening in limited space.
I received this book from Blogging For Books for this review.

Book Review: Baking 60 Sensational Treats

Book Review: Baking 60 Sensational Treats

As a mother who works full time while juggling soccer practice and softball for the kids and yoga classes for myself, it is very hard to find time and energy to focus on baking. This is unfortunate because all too often the default dessert in our house ends up being unhealthy store bought snacks that filled with preservatives and ingredients that most people can’t even pronounce.

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So I was thrilled when I stumbled across Food 52’s new book Baking: 60 Sensational Treats You Can Pull Off In A Snap. This book was created for the sole purpose of giving people like me quick recipes that don’t take a ton of planning and and are somewhat healthier than a box of Twinkies.

Covered categories include Breakfast Goods, Fruit Desserts, Special Occasion Cakes among many others. Nothing too fancy, but all very very good. As this book says, these are the kinds of recipes that grandma used to make!

You can buy the book on amazon here: http://www.amazon.com/Food52-Baking-Sensational-Treats-Works/dp/160774801o

Instant Happy Journal

The Instant Happy Journal : 365 days of inspiration, gratitude, and joy, by Karen Salmansohn

I love the idea of keeping a journal.  I constantly find myself picking up pretty notebooks, special pens and pencils, stickers and embellishments with the good intentions of using them in my journal.  Unfortunately good intentions is about as far as it ever goes.  So, when I received The Instant Happy Journal, I didn’t expect it to go much further than sitting on my shelf adding to my other blank journals and notebooks.  But when I opened this little book, I knew I had found my way of journaling. Each day gives a prompt and either several lines, numbers, bullets or in some cases a blank page for a drawing.

Here are some of my favorite prompts from the book:

-What’s something you need to finish? Why haven’t you?

-Resentment merely dims your light.  Gratitude grows your light. Light up this page with appreciation!

-Take a few moments to breathe.  Then listen.  What do you need to pay more attention to in your life right now?

-Draw a picture of what your mood would look like if it were a flower.

The pages are colorful and uplifting.  I have only had this journal for a few days, but I can’t wait to see what each day has in store for my, to bring me happiness, and appreciation for my life.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for my review.

Book Review: The Plain Choice

The Plain Choice by Sherry Gore is a true story of choosing to live an Amish life.  I expected more of the reasons she chose to live an Amish life, but she tells a tale of how her life brought her to the Amish life.

This book takes you on a journey through the authors life, weaving through turmoil, grief, and so much more.  The author has a way of writing that puts you right there with her by her side as she recounts her journeys.  I couldn’t put it down after the first chapter. This book is sure to bring a smile to your face in one chapter, and tears to your eyes in the next.

Overall, its a great read.  It really made me appreciate how easy my life has been in comparison to this author.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Book Review: The Printer and the Preacher

The Printer and the Preacher : Ben Franklin, George Whitefield, and the Surprising Friendship that Invented America, by Randy Petersen

When I picked up this book I expected a  a history of the friendship between Ben Franklin and George Whitefield and how it inspired and formed America.  What I didn’t expect was two entirely separate biographies of each Ben Franklin and George Whitefield, compared side by side, which is exactly what this book is.

This book starts by going into detail of how Ben Franklin and George Whitefield were raised as children, their religious experience, and their early careers.  Then continues through each of their lives, intertwining with each others time line here and there, throughout the book.  I must admit that after the first half of the book, I lost interest and was unable to finish the remainder.  I’m sure this book is appealing to many out there, but I just couldn’t get into the dry writing.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

“Unfair” Book Review

At first glance, Unfair: The New Science Of Criminal Injustice by Adam Benforado appears to be just another documentation of police abuse and corruption in our criminal justice system. But after a few pages it becomes apparent that this book is much more than that. It is a psychological study in human behavior and how the American justice system all too often fails to look at psychology when it comes to crime and punishment.

Plea bargaining and coerced confessions leading to innocent individuals going to prison is a common practice in America. Detectives and prosecutors will do all they can to manipulate suspects to do both. Lawyers and prosecutors have an incentive to not present all of the facts and even fool themselves that they are doing the right thing. Society’s trust in the system enables these failures and allows injustice to continue.

While the majority of this book is right on target, I was a little put off at times that the author occasionally goes on a political rant (he seems to be strongly anti gun) and inserts a few opinions that really are disputed by the experts. I also found myself disagreeing with the conclusions of a few studies that were cited. But these shortcomings are few and far between. I would recommend this to anyone looking for a fresh, in depth perspective on what is wrong with justice in America and what we can do about it.

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I received this book from Blogging for Books for my review.

Between the Dark and Daylight

A couple chapters into reading Between the Dark and Daylight by Joan Chittister, I was full of doubt that I could get through the entire book.  It began as somewhat preachy and it took several weeks of the book sitting on my side table before I decided to pick it back up and try to get through it.   I was however, extremely surprised at the depth in the remaining chapters.

Each chapter discusses a contradiction in life.  Chapter eight, “The Poverty of Plenty”, talks about how buying and accumulating things in life can be a form of poverty.  I enjoyed the perspective the author came from on the subject. Chapter 11, “The Energy of Exhaustion” really hit home with me as I read through the book.  I’ve had a difficult time with energy in the past couple of weeks.  Finding it difficult to start new tasks, or even finish what I’ve started, this chapter helped me realize that the exhaustion I’m feeling can actually be a positive feeling, proving that I’ve been working hard.

Overall I would say that this book ended up being way better than first expected.  Not only should you not judge a book by its cover, but this one showed me to not judge a book by its first 20 pages either.

For more information about this book, click here.
Thanks for reading!
Cindy Dorfsmith
I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review