August Wrap-Up + One-Word Reviews

🌸A Lady For A Duke—Extraordinary
🏝Happily Ever Island—cute
🧙‍♀️Everyone Knows Your Mother Is A Witch—historical
🔍Agatha Christie The Body in the Library—logical
📖Girl In Translation Jean Kwok—persevering
💐The Neapolitan Sisters—tripartite
🐝The Bees Laline Paull—scientific
🪴Cosmic Botany—genius
✨Magic of Birthdays—educational
🔮The Modern Art of Brujería—insightful
🌿The language of Herbs—glossary
🌹Flower fables Louisa May Alcott—Enchanted
📎office BFFs—funny

QOTD: How many books did you get through in August? Any favorites? My top 2 were A Last For A Duke and Flower Fables by Louisa May Alcott!

Progress: 55/100

The Complete Language of Herbs by S. Theresa Dietz

The Complete Language of Herbs: A Definitive & Illustrated History by S. Theresa Dietz is an essential compendium for any herbalist.

Plants and herbs have been used throughout history to heal the body—but understanding how to use the medicinal properties of plants in teas, tinctures, and food has become somewhat of a lost art. This book takes us back to our roots, helping us to decode and decipher the lost language of herbs.

The book is presented like a dictionary, organized alphabetically by the scientific name of each herb. Names and varieties are listed, along with symbolic meanings, possible powers, folklore, and facts, making this a unique and new approach to herbal understanding. Illustrations accompany each entry, making it easy for readers to identify and visualize specific herbs. Every common herb is covered, from Sage to Sasparilla.

“All herbs in this book mean something, and they just might have the power to actually manifest a magical effect if the enablement is, at the very least, a heartfelt wish.” Whether you use herbs for cooking, medicine, aromatherapy, or floral arrangements, we should all be using herbs as magical proxies to enhance our power and better our lives.

A huge thank you to Lydia at Quarto Publishing for sending me another amazing Advanced Reading Copy (ARC) of this title. All opinions are my own.

The Magick of Birthdays by Hannah Hawthorn

This book does a great job of introducing readers to the different meanings of the houses and signs, and showing us how we can use that knowledge to better our lives.

There are 12 signs of the zodiac, and every persons birth chart is a circle divided into 12 sections (houses). Each house is ruled by a different sign, and these differences are what make your personality unique. For example, I am a Cancer Sun, Taurus Moon, Sagittarius Rising.

The three most important signs in your chart are your Sun, Moon, and Rising. Your rising sign rules your first house, and it describes the way you present yourself to the world. Your sun sign, the zodiac sign you typically look for when reading your horoscope, describes your inner ego, and your moon sign rules your feelings. From these components, an astrologer can develop a thumbnail sketch of your personality, and by knowing this hopefully you can improve your life.

I was expecting this to be more like The Secret Language of Birthdays, but found it to be more of an astrology spellbook, which actually turned out to be much more interesting than I anticipated. There is so much information packed into this handy workbook, and I can see myself returning to it for reference for a long time.

You can follow author Hannah Hawthorn, creator of @simplywitchedon Instagram and TikTok for daily magickal content!

Thank you to Tarcher Perigree for sending me an Advance Reading Copy of this title. All opinions are my own.

Cosmic Botany by Tanya Lichtenstein

Cosmic Botany by Tanya Lichtenstein is a wonderful guide that pairs plants and crystals together to maximize their spiritual potential and bring inner peace to your home.

“A house is not a home without plants … or crystals.”

The therapeutic effects of plants and gardening have been widely documented – benefits include boosting our mood, sharpening our focus, and lowering our stress levels. Cultivating indoor plants can boost positive vibes and increase the flow of energy into space. They purify air, amplify the sense of well-being and rid you of stress, in the same way that healing crystals do.

Combining crystals with plants should be an obvious pairing, but I literally needed this book to tell me to do it. I love plants and crystals and have a wealth of both in my home so it was super easy to find some good combos. I was able to pair Amazonite with my String-of-Pearls, Pyrite with my Pothos, and Quartz with my Monstera, just for starters! There are some obscure crystals I will have to hunt down for some specific pairings I want to try (looking at you, Your Order Has Been Shipped)! The pairings are given the cutest names, hinting at the spiritual benefits reaped from each crystal+plant combo.

Homebody: Echeveria succulents + rainbow fluorite

For example, my Amazonite String-of-Pearls combo is dubbed ‘Worry Detox’: the carefree waterfall of pearls cleanses and aligns with the detoxifying nature of amazonite to help you wash your worries away. This

Pothos and Pyrite create ‘Abundance Hero’: the humble and dependable pothos meets with the charged bounty of pyrite’s energy to create an energetic and abundant vibrational center.

There are so many great pairings I want to try, and I am so happy for this introduction to Cosmic Botany! Thank you to Tarcher Perigree for sending me an Advance Reading Copy of this title. All opinions are my own.

Cosmic Botany by Tanya Lichtenstein

The Modern Art of Brujeria by Lou Florez

This was a really interesting book that glimpses into Mexican cultural lore and traditional folk magic. Packed full of recipes and prayers, this book is essential for witches of all paths.

Meaning “witchcraft” in Spanish, brujerĂ­a describes or disparages occult religious practices in some Latin American and Afro-Caribbean cultures with indigenous roots.

I chose this book to learn more about Brujeria magic because it is informed by Catholic beliefs, Aztec traditions, and Mexican healing arts. The main focus of the spellwork in this book are baths, candles, cleansings, and agua floridas. It offers a cultural understanding of spellcraft and other traditions of the Global South.

And while it does teach readers about spiritual cleansing through cleaning, candle casting and honoring the saints, it is more than just a reference or lesson book. Dedicated to Mexican-Americans, this book is for those who feel they are both and neither, who are caught in-between. It explores ancestors and descendants, and seeks to reclaim the magical and religious traditions of Mexico. Filled with cultural advice, this book hopes to bring confidence back to the generation of Mexican-Americans who have been assimilated and colonized, and lets readers know that they are not alone.

If you feel a pull back to the magic of your ancestors, this book is written for you.

Thank you so much to Ulysses Press for reaching out to send me an Advance Reading Copy of this title. All opinions are my own.

BOOK TOUR: Happily Ever Island by Crystal Cestari

Welcome to Happily Ever Island, the most pixie-dusted vacation a Disney fan could ever imagine.

Head-in-the-clouds romantic Madison and driven pragmatist Lanie are unlikely best friends, but the two would do anything for each other. So when Madison’s life starts to fall apart, Lanie agrees to join Madison for the test run of Disney’s newest resort experience during their first college spring break: Happily Ever Island—an immersive vacation destination, where guests can become their favorite Disney character for a week. Madison decides to go as the iconic princess herself, Cinderella, with Lanie as bow-wielding Merida. It’s not Lanie’s idea of fun, but she knows Madison needs her, and besides, she could use the break from her strenuous courseload anyway. Plus, maybe she’ll get to shoot things.

But once on the island, Lanie and Madison begin to drift apart. Madison finds herself either missing out or messing up all the enchanting moments she has dreamt her whole life about, and is forever running into their annoyingly perfect (and distractingly cute) vacation’s coordinator, Val. Meanwhile, Lanie unexpectedly finds herself swept up in the magic of it all. She strikes up a secret romance with Prince Charming—but there’s no telling whether he’s just playing a part.

In this delightful YA rom-com inspired by Disney fandom, get swept up in a whirlwind of laughter, tears, and more than just a touch of Disney magic.

Thank you to @disneybooks for sending me a copy of the book and teaming up with me for a great giveaway! Check out how to enter below:

GIVEAWAY
Enter on Bookstagram to win a copy of Happily Ever Island!

TO ENTER
– follow @rosesandreviews (me), @crystalcestari@disneybooksand @storygramtours
– like my Happily Ever Island Giveaway Post on Instagram here
– tag a friend or two who you think will be interested!

RULES
– Giveaway will end Aug 15th at midnight EST
– US ONLY
– not affiliated with Instagram
-must be 18 or have parents permission
-must be a public account

A Lady For A Duke by Alexis Hall

This new racy regency romance is everything and everyone should read it immediately!

I have truly never read anything quite like it. It is a story about a woman trying to find herself, and a man who loves her as she is. But it is more than that—it is also an exploration into identity, femininity, love, change, forgiveness; it is the story of two souls finding love, and learning to accept each other unconditionally.

The Regency Era was not a great time for the lgbtq+ community, and though this is a fiction story, it’s not hard to imagine people actually going through this. Which is incredibly sad, but also empowering, because Viola is truly a role model! Her story is powerful, and important, and valid.

“I am trapped between who I am and who I was, always terrified that one will swallow the other.”

Lady Viola struggles with self-acceptance, confidence, and identity. Her fears and struggles move the story forward and give readers a glimpse into the difficulties transgender people face daily. From navigating the alien territory of finding clothing to fit your body, to being uncomfortable with small daily tasks (needlepoint or tea pouring or letter writing) that women seem to know as second nature, Viola feels behind in her womanhood, as if she missed out on precious and formative moments of girlhood. She also wants to overcome the shame and fear she carries, and pushes to make her own space in the world, for the freedom to live authentically, no matter the costs, which is what makes her such a strong character.

“But it was hard to put into words. It took a long time.”

Duke Justin goes through an inner journey of learning to accept Viola as herself, and eventually understands that she always was Viola, and proves to be an ally as well as a friend. He struggles with addiction, ptsd, and the ghosts of his past, but Viola is able to help his overcome his struggles, just as he helps her. They are very cute together, and they have great chemistry!

“We can make our own world, Viola, with our own rules.”

Light is a huge theme of the book, fading sunsets and shadows show dark, sundials for the passing of time, and echoes to reference the past. Chrysanthemums are also a hugely important theme in the book. Viola returns to this flower again and again, as it means something to her. In the Victorian Language of Flowers, the chrysanthemum represents friendship, happiness, and well-being: everything she wishes for, what her soul seeks.

“Your life is yours, you did what you needed to live it.”

Also. I demand fan art for page 283, and all of chapter 34 & 35!!! The descriptions of Viola’s flowing gowns are to-die-for and I want to see every single bit of her wardrobe! If you are a fan of Jane Austen, Bridgerton, The Courtship, and period drama, THIS is the book for you!!!

Dirtbag Astrology by Alberto Toribio

I always have a great time reading about astrology. I like learning about the associations with each sign, and how it can theoretically guide our personalities impact our day-to-day lives.

Astrology is the study of the influence of the planets and stars on our lives. You probably know your sun sign if you like to read your daily horoscope, but full natal charts can be much more in-depth.

This book is a good beginner’s guide to astrology. It covers mainly sun signs and moon signs, offering a very basic understanding of the foundations of astrology, with simple modern humor. Experts and beginners alike can learn something from this fun little book!

Though this is not a comprehensive guide to every sign, house, and planetary placement, it does introduce us to eclipses and Mercury Retrograde, and discusses tips and tricks for approaching each celestial event.

Thank you to Union Square & Co. for sending me an Advance Reading Copy of this title. All opinions are my own.