Review: The Illustrated Herbiary by Maia Toll

Title: The Illustrated Herbiary
Author: Maia Toll
Publication Date: July 7th, 2015
Publisher: Storey Publishing, LLC
Genre: Non-Fiction
Pages: 176
ISBN: 1612129684
Source: ARC from Publisher

Synopsis (from Publisher):
Rosemary is for remembrance; sage is for wisdom. The symbolism of plants — whether in the ancient Greek doctrine of signatures or the Victorian secret language of flowers — has fascinated us for centuries. Contemporary herbalist Maia Toll adds her distinctive spin to this tradition with profiles of the mysterious personalities of 36 herbs, fruits, and flowers. Combining a passion for plants with imagery reminiscent of tarot, enticing text offers reflections and rituals to tap into each plant’s power for healing, self-reflection, and everyday guidance. Smaller versions of the illustrations are featured on 36 cards to help guide your thoughts and meditations.

Maia Toll spent a life-changing year apprenticed to a traditional medicine woman in Ireland. She mentors spiritual wellness seekers, practitioners, and teachers through her online program, The Medicine Keepers Collective, and is the founder and owner of Herbiary, a natural products store with locations in Asheville, North Carolina, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Maia has taught Botanical Medicine at West Chester University and at the Amazon Center for Environmental Education and Research in the Peruvian jungle. She lectures at hospitals, universities, and herbal conferences and runs her own Deep Magic Retreat in the North Carolina mountains during the witchy twilight of autumn. She blogs to an international following at maiatoll.com and lives in Asheville, North Carolina.

I have Celiac Disease. When I was attending the PLA (Public Library Association) Conference in Philly back in March, I got sick off of cross contaminated food. For the first two days I was there I was miserable with a migraine, sleeplessness, stomach problems, inflamed lymph nodes, and fatigue. One day, when I was meeting up with some conference friends at Reading Market for lunch, I stumbled upon the Herbiary.
I’m generally drawn to any place that looks like it was plucked fresh from a wildwood, so I went to see what I may find. I told the girls at the counter I was needing something for lymphatic health, and they lead me to a burdock and red root compound. I also decided to purchase some Moon Drops to help me sleep, and off I went.
Within 10 hours of taking the compound I finally felt better and slept through the entire night. I was able to enjoy the rest of the conference without issue! I decided to look this “Herbiary” up and was ecstatic to find this book was releasing...but not until August!
Back up a little. Herbalism is something I’ve taken an interest in over the last year or so. My family doctor is a Naturopathic Doctor, and I’ve always favored natural pathways to health. I knew how to use plants once they got to me, but cultivating the plants themselves is something I’ve never done before. So, I moved into a house and started a garden and learned to wildcraft. Because of this, Maia Toll’s approach to building a relationship with the plants came through to me in a language I wanted to understand better. That’s why I preordered the book back in April and anxiously awaited its launch (and attended the online watch party!).
The Illustrated Herbiary is one of the most gorgeous books I have ever owned. Kate O’Hara’s artwork is lavish and inspiring. I fell in love with it the moment I saw it online, but when I had it in my hands the metallics brought it all to life.
Each section has a beautifully illustrated interpretation of a plant, followed by Maia Toll’s commentary on the importance of that plant. After we are introduced, Toll provides a ritual and reflection to know our plant better. A ritual may be a meditation or a recipe, and the reflection will give us a focus.
In the back cover of the book, all those illustrations are provided as oracle cards for easier meditation. I love this aspect of the book. In the last several pages, you will find images or them laid out, and advice on how to use them.

If you are looking for a textbook on herbs, this probably isn’t what you’re looking for. If you’re looking for a practice to connect more with your herbs, then I highly recommend it.


Teen Book Review: Warcross (Warcross #1) by Marie Lu

Title: Warcross
Author: Marie Lu
Series: Warcross #1
Publication Date: October 4th, 2018
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd.
Genre: YA
Pages: 402
ISBN: 0241321441
Source: Publisher

Synopsis (from Publisher):

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu - when a game called Warcross takes the world by storm, one girl hacks her way into its dangerous depths. For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn't just a game - it's a way of life. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down players who bet on the game illegally. When Emika hacks into the game illegally, she's convinced she'll be arrested, and is shocked when she gets a call from the game's creator, the elusive young billionaire Hideo Tanaka, with an irresistible offer. He needs a spy on the inside of this year's tournament in order to uncover a security problem . . . and he wants Emika for the job. 

In this sci-fi thriller, #1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu conjures an immersive, exhilarating world where choosing who to trust may be the biggest gamble of all. 

Amazon | Goodreads

Marie Lu is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Legend trilogy and The Young Elites trilogy. She graduated from the University of Southern California and jumped into the video game industry, working for Disney Interactive Studios as a Flash artist. Now a full-time writer, she spends her spare time reading, drawing, playing Assassin’s Creed, and getting stuck in traffic. She lives in Los Angeles, California (see above: traffic), with one husband, one Chihuahua mix, and two Pembroke Welsh corgis.

If you fancy being transported into a fictional world within a fictional world, this book is for you. If you like a main character who can really show others who’s boss just by being her smart self, this book is for you. In fact, if you enjoy something as general as amazing, super descriptive and creative writing, then this book is most definitely for you.
Warcross was written for you, my dear fellow book lover, as it was made for me.
It follows Emika Chen - rainbow-colored-hair, all around super chick – around a futuristically situated world where a virtual reality game, the one-and-only famed “Warcross”, becomes more of a reality for some than real life actually is. She’s a bounty hunter, a hacker, and most importantly a teenager trying to make ends meet after her father dies with massive amounts of debt leftover to pay.
Warcross, to her, was a way of life. Without it she wouldn’t get paid and probably would be rotting away on a street corner. That’s why when she accidentally glitches herself into the next Warcross championship, life as she knows it… will never be the same after Hideo Tanaka (aka Warcross creator, aka genius, aka most times annoying, aka predictable love interest but overall a puppy who cooks and takes care of his parents, also, he is a liar and that makes him real but so infuriating) calls her as a wildcard in the next games. She is suddenly thrown into a darker world, with the promise of the light at the end of the tunnel being just beyond her reach (also 10 million dollars which made me go on a mental rant because c'mon Hideo, why?! Just 'cause you're rich doesn't mean you can bribe people with money, geez).
I went into this book as blindly as you can get. Seriously, I didn’t even read the description. At first, I thought this would be a slightly-twisted version of Ready Player One because when it started mentioning glasses and virtual stuff I was all like… !!!. Turns out I wasn’t close. The two books touch on some similar technology but they cannot be compared in the slightest, story-wise. This is a YA, pure YA.
The thing I loved about this book was the immense detail Marie Lu used to describe the world. I have no knowledge whatsoever in coding and programming, even less with VR, but it made me want to understand Emika and the decisions she had to make throughout the story. This book was like a pure shot of adrenaline, all set in an alternate world where technology rules. Even though in reality, I’m not a huge fan of unnecessary tech but that’s beside the point. There are also lots of quotable quotes (??) in this book that I want to reuse.
The ending though!! I have to say that my senses have been honed down to a sharp point when it comes to guessing endings and plot twists (because I’ve read so much, in so many genres) but man… this ending caught me off guard.
Half-completely (hey I guessed Sasuke would make a comeback and he did, I just never imagined him ACTUALLY BEING ZERO and wanting to murder his brother).
I don’t want to spoil anything else so I won’t say anything else about it. Just, wow. That ending.
Also, major cliffhanger so beware.
Anyways, this is great for when you’re in the mood of something not quite like any other books in YA but still want that teenager-y feel to the story. I found myself falling in love with the idea of the game, not so much with the characters (though Emika was pretty great, she just seemed to be conveniently placed throughout). Also, be prepared to fangirl over the Phoenix Riders because they’re absolutely amazing and the diversity is insane. I give this a whopping 5 stars.
Great job you genius Marie Lu. Now give me the sequel, pretty please.