If there’s anything than can transport you to another place, time, or frame of mind, it’s a good book. Our holiday 2018 gift book guide had tons to delight you. But now it’s 2019 and this is another opportunity to share some great new book titles with you.
Thrill to good SciFi (The Rule of One). Spice up your life with your Instant Pot (Instant Indian). Wake up to better mornings (Breakfast). Revisit a beloved classic with a trist (Pride and Prejudice with recipes). Become inspired to learn Urban Farming (Grow Your Own). Look at mixology a new way (Be Your Own Bartender). Treat your lips to something new you’ve made (Lip Balm Book & Kit). If your relationship fizzled in 2018, get some advice about how to heal your broken heart (Coming Apart).
All of the books in this book review roundup, the first for 2019, on advicesisters.com, are available through the links we’ve provided to order on amazon. Which of these interest you? Which will you choose to read?
Sci-Fi Double Trouble:
I received this book at the Amazon holiday preview, but what a great read! The Rule of One by Ashley and Leslie Saunders (Skyscape 2018). is a gripping sci-fi tale is about identical twin daughters, Ava and Mira.
In the future, the government mandates that all families in the United States have just one child but Ava and Mira’s parents refuse to give one twin.
Instead, the girls pretend to be each other taking turns going to school and being seen in public. Their father is high ranking in the regime so this is particularly challenging.
One day they slip up, and they are forced to flee and eventually, rise up against the government. I’m not saying more as it will ruin your reading journey. However, even if you’re not a sci-fi fan you will find this book absorbing!
The book is available in hardcover, paperback, and MP3 CD formats ranging in price from $8.49 for the paperback to $12.99 for the hardcover version.
If you are a Kindle Unlimited subscriber, it’s free, as is a free trial at Audible. It makes an easy and great little stocking stuffer appropriate for teens and adults.
Instant Pot Indian
Everyone seems to have an Instant Pot (see our review) but else can you make besides classic soups and stews and meat? For more interesting meals, get a copy of INSTANT INDIAN: Classic foods from every region of India made easy in the Instant Pot! By Rinku Bhattacharya (Hippocrene Books/October 2018) .
This book will help you spice up your life, literally, with recipes that have their roots in Indian cuisine. Curries and dals, whole grains, porridges, compotes, and steamed desserts all fit beautifully into the pressure cooker universe.
Cookbook author, blogger and cooking teacher Rinku Bhattacharya has put together a collection of 100 authentic Indian recipes that you really can make in an Instant Cooker Pot.
You will still need to gather some Indian spices and ingredients to make a lot of these dishes, but if you like Indian food it’s worth the investment to get the staples.
Instant Indian features chapters that cover everything from essentials like key ingredients, spice blends, curry sauces, and yogurt-making, to recipes for breakfasts, rice & grain dishes, lentils, vegetables, seafood, chicken and meat curries, as well as drinks, chutneys, and desserts.
Nearly all the recipes are gluten-free, and there are plenty of vegetarian and vegan options as well. There are a lot of curries and rice and the Instant Pot helps you make these faster than on a stove. There are also some interesting desserts such as rice and almond pudding with cardamom…yum!
Big Book of Breakfasts!
This nicely illustrated book is more than just a bunch of recipes for breakfast and brunch, It’s full of information, inspiration and how-tos, and of course, a seemingly endless supply of unique breakfast recipes.
The recipes are, for the most part, do-able with eye candy tempting photos and illustrations. Learn how to make 8 variations of mimosas or bloody marys from scratch. We love books for cooks, but this is so different!
Try making eggs n your instant pot (yes, you can) and tons of muffins. Reading Breakfast might just turn breakfast from the most important meal of the day to the best meal of the day!
Have you ever read a book with food mentioned and wondered if you might re-create some of the recipes?
That’s the idea behind Puffin Plated, a series by the Puffin imprint that gives you deluxe copies of some of the world’s most beloved books with a twist, recipes curated by the likes of Martha Stewart, Giada De Laurentis, Ina Garten, and Trisha Yearwood.
One of the most popular and beloved books is Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. The Puffin Plated Pride and Prejudice include afternoon-tea-worthy recipes from Martha Stewart.
The large, hardcover book is beautifully illustrated with photographs and artwork. The recipes appear at the end of the chapters.
Maybe you won’t make lemon madeleines or cream scones with currants but the recipes are there if you are inspired.
Give this to a special friend for Valentines Day. What fun this would be for a book club selection!
Years ago I was the Executive Director of The Green Guerrillas, a community gardening non-profit. It really made me appreciate the many ways that urban people can enjoy nature, and gardening, even in the smallest of spaces.
Grow Your Own- How to Be An Urban Farmer by Angus Stewart & Simon Leake (By Murdoch Books 2018) is a soup to nuts “how-to” for those who would love to plant (and eat) something they have grown in their Urban setting.
Urban farming is, obviously, not like the type of large setup you’d have on a farm. Plants are grown in pots, on trellises, and small plots of land. You might pant herbs in a flowerpot, but real vegetables need more room.
The book will give you the information you need to try “Urban farming” if you have enough space. It covers not just location but what grows well and how to do it efficiently, safely, and to help your plants thrive.
Even if you can’t grow large amounts of produce, the photographs are beautiful and inspiring. If you ever dreamed of nurturing more than houseplants, this is the book you need.
Mixology A New Way
Be Your Own Bartender- A Surefire Guide to Finding and Making Your Perfect Cocktail by Carey Jones and John McCarthy Countryman Press 2018) is a large softcover book with lots of drink recipes, but not that many photographs of them.
When this book was not yet published I found a bunch of 5 star reviews. Perhaps the well-connected authors got friends to gush. Honestly, it’s a cute book but not quite gush-worthy.
The beginning of the book has basics, but a full page on why there should be sugar in cocktails? The “essentials” are curious. I would not consider Aperol as a must unless you were doing lots of drinks with it.
What is great about this book is that many of the drinks include a unique flow chart that tells you how to personalize the drink.
The same flow chart idea is used to illustrate what you can do with a number of liquors, such as rum, vodka, brandy, tequila or gin…
Most of the recipes are basic and classic with twists that make them modern (with “for a crowd” suggestions). For the most part, they are easy to make. For this and for the flow chars, it gets two thumbs up.
DIY Lip Balm Kit
Make Your Own Lip Balm, why not? Handcrafted Lip Balms A Medley of All-Natural Recipes (Becker& Mayer Books November 27, 2018) is a book and a DIY craft project in a box.
DIY natural products can leave you confused as to how to do them safely, This lip balm box includes the pods, beeswax, and molds to make a dozen lip balms with different flavors and benefits and do it safely.
I tried a coconut oil and vanilla extract lip balm and it was so easy and fun. Effective and emollient, too.
You will receive 5 round, colorful, and stylish lip balm pods, along with beeswax and an easy-release silicone mold.
These luxurious balms are perfect for gift-giving, or for treating yourself. Try it with the kids too (you handle the hot melted wax).
Mend a Broken Heart
I thought I had already reviewed Coming Apart How to Heal Your Broken Heart by Daphne Rose Kingma (Conari Press Reprint November 2018) but I can’t find my review. Apologies if this is a dupe.
This is one of those books you don’t think you need until you do. The books I have written are about how to find a keep a lasting love, but sometimes, people break up. Actually, they break up a lot.
As with many of these types of book, this psychotherapist can’t know your particular story and so the advice is fairly general. However, it’s good advice, and if you’re hurting, it could be helping you.
Give it time, be good to yourself, try something new etc. may seem obvious, but nothing is when your heart is broken.
This book has been in continuous publication since 1987. What I do like most about the book are the stories (fictional, I’m presuming but illustrative of real situations).
No book can help you ease your sorrow when you’re hurting from a breakup, but at least this book could give you some perspective to help you through the inevitable rough patches.