Book Review: Just Add Watercolor By Helen Birch

Just Add Watercolor by Helen Birch is a collection of 200 modern watercolor paintings from upcoming and established artists. Along with each painting is a brief description of the work, along with tips and ideas for the aspiring artist.

What stands out instantly as you flip through the pages is the medium bending creativity of the artists involved. In painting after painting you will find the limits of watercolor pushed to a whole new level. This makes for a fresh and inspiring viewing experience.

Measuring only 5 x 7 inches this book is small and compact and won’t take up much room on your bookshelf. But that also has its drawbacks which, in my opinion, is the only downside to this title. The photos are small and do not do as much justice to the paintings as a slightly larger book could do.

All in all, this book will inspire amateur and professional painters alike. And those like me, who are not artists but appreciate the beauty and thought provoking qualities of artistic expression, will find it an excellent addition to their collection.

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

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Book Review: The Allergy Fighting Garden

The Allergy-Fighting Garden by Thomas Leo Ogren takes the science of gardening to the next level by explaining exactly how to eliminate the steadily increasing problem of allergies that often come with  a successful green thumb.


Ogren attributes the cause of increased allergies specifically to the sex of plants losing their 50/50 natural male / female ratio. This is largely due to the United States Department of Agriculture making recommendations in the 1940s that led to a much larger male plant population.

After explaining the cause, Ogren gets to the solutions and has several chapters on what we can do to push back against allergies in our gardens. Plant selection, hedge barriers and air flow are just a few of the solutions offered.

Finally, (and this is the brunt of the book) Ogren provides a massive A-Z plant guide with allergy rankings. Meaning this is much much more than a “how to” book. It is a reference that will be returned to again and again throughout each gardening season. At 247 pages, it is worth the investment.

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