Tag Archives: environment

Botanicals with Benefits: Develop a New Relationship with Your Garden: The Edible Flower Volume by Kerry Hughes Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

In author and ethnobotanist Kerry Hughes takes readers on a unique journey to not only identify the common flowers in our gardens that are edible, but the many different functions that these plants can serve aside from being edible, in the book “Botanicals with Benefits: Develop a New Relationship with Your Garden: The Edible Flower Volume”. 

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The Synopsis

(Revised & Expanded!) Kerry Hughes—Ethnobotanical Explorer—would like to take you on a journey to explore plant uses of the plants under your very nose! Did you know that many of our common garden plants have multiple uses that you can access and incorporate into your life?

This Edible Flowers book is the first in a series of books about Botanicals With Benefits. The edible flowers featured in this book are all common garden plants, and they all have more uses than just being edible flowers. There are so many ways in which garden plants work for us, or could be working for us, but until now, there have only been a few places to learn about this vital knowledge. More than ever, now is the important time to begin learning this knowledge, as our lives have been changed forever by a pandemic. Whereas globalism had centered the perspectives of our lives around a global economy, today it is important to start looking inward.. and Kerry would like to show you that there is no better place to start looking than in your own backyard.

This book series will show you that the plants around you can enrich your life with edible flowers, teas, foods, medicines, cut flowers, meaning, aromas that can be applied to the body or in the house, and much more. They are right there for the picking and there is no better way to start your journey than with just one plant…

This Revised & Expanded edition includes 5 more focus plants and larger font for easier reading.

The Review

A truly engaging and mind-blowing read, author, and herbalist Kerry Hughes does an amazing job of connecting the reader with the material through imagery, thought-provoking writing style, and pure knowledge. The fascination and passion for which the author writes really do connect with the reader immediately, drawing them further into this world of plants, and their impact on us as a whole.

What stands out is that this book doesn’t feel like a simple how-to guide or textbook-style narrative. Instead, the author takes the time to balance the history and educational aspects of edible plants with knowledge of the various different plants this book covers and illustrates the ways that these plants can be applicable to things like food, medicine, and even skincare. 

The Verdict

A remarkable, thought-provoking, and engaging read, author Kerry Hughes’s “Botanicals with Benefits: Develop a New Relationship with Your Garden: The Edible Flower Volume” is a must-read educational and cookbook stylebook on edible plants and their many applications. The book is a great start to an ongoing series that allows us all to have a better understanding of the world around us, our impact on it, and its impact on us and our bodies. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Ethnobotanist, Herbalist and Author, Kerry Hughes – with a 20-year record-of-success in natural product development – is driven by a tenacious fascination with the potential health enhancing role plants can play, and her purpose is Ethno-Botanical Discovery and strategically innovating and expanding the boundaries of new natural product development. Through this, Kerry has catalyzed significant phyto-product breakthroughs that have been applied to bring to market new, efficacious and profitable products that not only heal people but also protect our threatened global biodiversity.  

Kerry’s love of natural products has compelled her to write and speak frequently on a variety of subjects. Her writing includes the recently published Botanicals With Benefits: Establish a New Relationship with your garden (2020), as well as these in-depth text books: Understanding Socio-Ecological Systems through Decoloniality: Convergence of Indigenous and Western Knowledge (in press); The Incense Bible, Taylor & Francis (2007), one of the first scientific reviews & examinations of incense, The Health Professionals Guide to Dietary Supplements, Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins (2006), a peer-reviewed guide to herbs and nutritional supplements, and Botanical Medicines: The Desk Reference for Major Herbal Supplements, Haworth Press (2002) an in-depth text-book on the medical aspects of many of our top supplements. Additionally, she has authored over a dozen articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals on various natural product topics. 

Kerry is the Founder of EthnoPharm; a consulting business focused on Natural Product Discovery and Development.  She is also on the Scientific & Medical Advisory Boards for Amare Global, Good Pharma and Hilma, and is on the Advisory Board for Global Food Forums. Kerry has acted as a consultant to the United Nations through the International Trade Centre (ITC) for international development projects involving botanicals and authored essential oil and organic reports for the Market News Service (MNS). As the Director of the US office of The Institute for Market Ecology (IMO), an eco-product certifier, she helped to co-develop and establish the Fair for Life Social & Fair Trade Certification in the US market, the highest-bar global Fair Trade certification standard. Today, she continues her work with standard development on the soon-to-be launched Certified Regenerative standard by A Greener World. 

Kerry has a background in Ethnobotany and Biochemistry, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry, and a Master of Science degree in Agriculture with an emphasis in Ethnobotany and Soil Science from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, California.  She is also a certified Clinical Herbalist by the Berkeley Herbal Center, A Level 1 & 3 Certified Australian Bush Flower Essence Advanced Practitioner, and has helped teach at the Berkeley Herbal Center & The Herbal Academy of New England. 

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A Diary in the Age of Water by Nina Munteanu Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

A young, blue-skinned humanoid girl named Kyo in a world-shattered future discovers a diary that tells the tale of humanity’s destruction and the importance of water in author Nina Munteanu’s “A Diary in the Age of Water”.

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The Synopsis

Centuries from now, in a post-climate change dying boreal forest of what used to be northern Canada, Kyo, a young acolyte called to service in the Exodus, discovers a diary that may provide her with the answers to her yearning for Earth’s past—to the Age of Water, when the “Water Twins” destroyed humanity in hatred—events that have plagued her nightly in dreams. Looking for answers to this holocaust—and disturbed by her macabre longing for connection to the Water Twins—Kyo is led to the diary of a limnologist from the time just prior to the destruction. 

This gritty memoir describes a near-future Toronto in the grips of severe water scarcity during a time when China owns the USA and the USA owns Canada. The diary spans a twenty-year period in the mid-twenty-first century of 33-year-old Lynna, a single mother who works in Toronto for CanadaCorp, an international utility that controls everything about water, and who witnesses disturbing events that she doesn’t realize will soon lead to humanity’s demise. 

A Diary in the Age of Water follows the climate-induced journey of Earth and humanity through four generations of women, each with a unique relationship to water. The novel explores identity and our concept of what is “normal”—as a nation and an individual—in a world that is rapidly and incomprehensibly changing. (Inanna Publications)

The Review

The author has done a fantastic job of instilling both horror and hope into this narrative. The way the author weaves both post-apocalyptic and sci-fi elements into real-world threats to our environment, in particular water, made this a gripping novel that was impossible to put down. 

Character development and imagery played huge roles in the story here, as the author wrote the narrative in a journalistic style that showcased four generations of women who had ties to water. Both the bond these women shared and their struggles in the face of environmental disasters made the story much more profound, especially when real-world facts about current political administrations and actions against the environment were included, making this fictional sci-fi world feel much more realistic.

The Verdict

A must-read sci-fi and post-apocalyptic read with an eco-twist, author Nina Munteanu’s “A Diary in the Age of Water” is a hit. The beautiful way the author relates these characters to the audience along with numerous facts both historically and scientifically that readers were treated to make the story come alive in a way most aren’t able to accomplish. An eye-opening story for those who are still on the fence about climate change, this is the perfect fall read for both sci-fi readers and eco-interested readers alike. Be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Nina Munteanu is a Canadian ecologist and SF, fantasy and eco-fiction writer. She has published eight novels and a dozen award-winning short stories translated into several languages. Her novels are mostly eco-fiction and thrillers that explore humanity’s tense co-evolution with technology and Nature.

Nina is also editor of several publishing houses and ezines. She teaches writing at the University of Toronto and George Brown College. Her three textbooks “The Fiction Writer”, “The Journal Writer” and “The Ecology of Story” are used in colleges, universities, and writing institutions throughout the world. Her latest non-fiction book “Water Is…” explores the many identities of water (www.TheMeaningOfWater.com). Find more on Nina and her work at www.ninamunteanu.ca.

The books that appear on my bookshelf are all books I recommend. You will not find a book on my shelf or a book review from me that is not a recommended book; if I don’t like it, it won’t be here.

Togwotee Passage by L.G. Cullens Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

A young man escaping an abusive household finds a journey of self-discovery in the midst of the natural world clashing with man’s world in author L.G. Cullen’s novel “Togwotee Passage”. 

The Synopsis

Togwotee (toe’-ga-tee) is the name of a challenging mountain pass in the Absaroka Mountains of northwest Wyoming. In the title of this fictive tale it’s a metaphor for the main character’s physical and cognitive passage through the seasons of life’s chaotic landscape.

The story begins with a dysfunctional family life in the 1940s that stains Calan’s outlook. When the abuse escalates to life-threatening, an intervention introduces him to wilderness on a grand scale, as well as a Shoshone friend with a differing perspective of life. This but fledgling steps in a life of unexpected twists and turns.

With off-the-beaten-path experiences and intimately relatable characters, this tale is a thought kindling journey of mind and spirit, complemented with expressive illustrations.

Literary Eco-fiction, Adventure, Nature

The Review

A well-written coming of age meets literary adventure story with a theme focused on nature and it’s placed in man’s growing world, “Togwotee Passage” is a fantastic read with a full cast of characters readers will instantly connect with. The sad yet familiar story of a young child growing up in an abusive environment and forced to begin anew after a particularly explosive event hurls the readers into a new chapter of the protagonist’s life that changes their interaction with the world from that point on. 

The friendship between Calan and Derek throughout their expanding lives gave a deeper sense of connection with the overall theme of the novel as well. The emotional growth of these two characters as they took on life and watched as the world of man began to encroach on the natural world as a whole, perfectly illustrating the personal journey the protagonist underwent as a whole.

The Verdict

A heartfelt evenly paced read, author L.G. Cullen’s “Togwotee Passage” is a must-read novel. A story of overcoming hardship, discovering your place in the world, and forming lasting bonds takes center stage as the characters grow and take a fully realized journey that is not to be missed. Be sure to grab your copy today! 

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

L. G. Cullens was born and raised in 1940’s Wyoming with Shoshone friends (his naturalist grounding), served in the military, and pursued careers first in civil engineering, then computer sciences, and finally, in his fifties, woodworking decorative arts. Since, with diminished dexterity he’s turned to writing. A natural sciences passion throughout his lifetime is evinced in his art and writing.

Additional writing by the author and others as well as book reviews and artworks, all on a natural world theme, can be found at https://lgcullens.com along with a contact form.