The Midwest Book Reviews

Mango books- along with its wonderful authors- are popping up on Gary Roen’s Bookshelf and delightfully reviewed.

Their Last Secret
Rick Mofina
c/o Harlequin
9780778309864, $9.99 pbk, $6.99 Kindle

“Their Last Secret” once again shows why Rick Mofina is one of the best writers in the suspense field. The tale opens with a pact and a situation by three young girls that will have a much greater impact that comes back to haunt them much later in life. One in particular has tried so hard to distance herself from the dark and sinister past. To give any kind of hint as to what it is would ruin the effect of the page turning excitement. “Their Last Secret” is a guaranteed thrill ride all the way to the end. No fan of the genre should miss this one.

Magnolia Blossom
Joanne Fisher
Joannes Books
9781792340031, $20.00 pkb, $3.75 Kindle

To say “Magnolia Blossom” is just a romance story cheapens the true nature of this very well written novel. Taking place in Georgia during the Civil War, author Fisher, has written a complicated fictional tale of how people dealt with the conflict. Maggie Mae the matriarch of the plantation Magnolia Blossom, is reminiscent of the Jimmy Stewart character in the movie Shenandoah, as both refuse to get involved in the struggle. She is determined to keep the property that has been in her family for so long against all odds, including, a female cannot handle the running of a plantation, as well bucking the system on the treatment of her slave workers. Yes, there is romance in generous doses but “Magnolia Blossom is like a fine wine that gets better with age as it unfolds. Set against the historical back drop of one of the country’s darkest periods it is filled with well fleshed out characters and a writing style that holds interest to the last page. Some readers may be offended by the way many of the characters speak. To not portray them in that manner would lessen the accuracy of the composition. “Magnolia Blossom” is a deceiving production that is a fantastic narrative of historical fiction that readers should devour as rapidly as I did.

Out Of Many, One Portraits Of America’s Immigrants
George W. Bush
Crown Publishing Group
c/o Random House
9780593136965, $39.00, $6.99 Kindle $14.99

Former President George W. Bush once again sheds light with prose and his own artistic portraits highlighting some of the best and brightest citizens who all have one thing in common. Every one of them emigrated to this country seeking a better life. Told in each person’s own words they detail their journey to reach the shores of the United States to seek an improved existence. Many are well known like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Henry Kissinger, and Madeline Albright. Then so many are not, to many of us. Their stories reveal the hardships all had to endure to come to America. “Out of Many, One Portraits Of America’s Immigrants” is a beacon of hope for all immigrants that celebrates the melting pot our country really is. “Out Of Many, One Portraits Of America’s Immigrants” should be required reading for all of our politicians in Washington D.C. and throughout the nation to change the policies on immigration to make this a more perfect union.

Natural Remedies for Your Home & Health DIY Essential Oil Recipes for Cleaning, Beauty and Wellness
Laura Ascher
Mango Publishing
9781642505481, $19.95 pbk/$8.48 Kindle

So often we use products that are not the best things for many reasons as evidenced with “Natural Remedies for Your Home & Health.” Laura Ascher shows there are many different things that are all natural, cheaper, environmentally friendlier and safer for humans and pets. Examples are using fresh lemons, ginger, peppermint, that are just as effective but also leave a much better scent for cleaning in the bathroom, killing insects, keeping spotless floors and windows are some of the uses. “Natural Remedies for Your Home & Health is an easy-to-follow guideline to a much safer way of life in many different aspects.

Growing Flowers Everything You Need to Know About Planting, Tending, Harvesting and Arranging Beautiful Blooms
Mike Irving
Yellow Pear Press
c/o Mango Publishing
9781642505504, $26.95 HC/$9.89 Kindle

For those of us who deal with plants and our yards, “Growing Flowers” is packed with lots and lots of great tips on how to produce more incredible plants and flowers than ever before. Some of the aspects are starting out with seeds, a plant from the store and when to put it into the ground, when to water and how much and what to add to the over all health for each type of fern. An added bonus are all the wonderful colorful pictures that fill the pages of this glorious celebration of plants. “Growing Flowers” is an educational tool for better flowers.

Mindfulness for Warriors
Kim Colegrove
Mango Publishing
9781642505174, $16.95 pbk/$11.99 Kindle

“Mindfulness for Warriors” has a lot of good things for helping first responders and their families deal with the challenges they daily face, especially with the Covid menace they see firsthand every day they are on. My complaint with the book is that shortly into it the author states she does not want to reveal very much of the situation she faced of a husband who committed suicide and how he dealt with the pain he was experiencing because she felt it would lessen peoples view of her. To me that is a mistake because it would help for others to know more of her own problems to help her relate better to others the information, she is giving them. “Mindfulness for Warriors” is still a valuable resource for those struggling with the same kind of circumstances.

Happy Snappy Wonderful Places to Go!
Ashlyn Sollinsky, author
Rob Peters, illustrator
Nico 11 Publishing
9781945907647, $10.99, pbk/ No Kindle

“Happy Snappy Wonderful Places to Go” is a beautifully told story in two forms of prose and art that shows the power we all have to relieve boredom. Annie Rosy Rainbow is in her backyard sitting on a swing imagining all the things and places she could be instead of where she is. The best children’s books always have underlying symbolism that can be followed in our lives in many distinctive ways and “Happy Snappy Wonderful Places to Go, clearly does exactly that with beautifully executed story.

Who Do You See Whan You See Me?
Debbie Truncale, author
Phillip A. D’Amore, illustrator
Nico 11 Publishing
9781945907463, $9.99, pbk/ $5.99 Kindle

“Who Do You See When You See Me?” reveals the way many special needs people feel about the way others treat them through the eyes of a child who shows we all have the same wants and desires no matter what. “Who Do You See When You See Me” is an exceptional message to all of us to treat each person with compassion and understanding.

Keeping The City Going
Brian Floca
A Caitlyn Dlouhy Book
c/o Simon & Schuster
9781534493773, $17.99 HC/ $10.99 Kindle

“Keeping The City Going” celebrates many of the unrecognized people who maintain the orderly running of our cities on a day-to-day basis. Some of them are the public transportation people like bus drivers, train engineers, cabbies, or the sanitation officials who pick up the garbage, drive the trucks, postal people and delivery ones who often are not thanked for their contribution. Not to be left out are the medical professionals, fire people and police. All contribute in their own way to the smooth process that we all take for granted. “Keeping The City Going” sheds light on an often-forgotten aspect of our cities many take for granted.

Nerdy Corn
Andew Root, author
Erin Kraan, illustrator
Beach Lane Books
c/o Simon & Schuster
9781534460058, $17.99 HC / $10.99 Kindle

Nerdy Corn” is a wonderful kid’s book filled with beautiful artwork that helps present the timely story Fern is a special Unicorn that other animals harass while making it difficult to be around them until something changes. “Nerdy Corn” celebrates uniqueness in all animals that is an underlying message to all ages to accept people for who and what they are that will make the world a much better place to live.

Gary Roen
Senior Reviewer

Natural Remedies for Your Home & Health

DIY Essential Oils Recipes for Cleaning, Beauty, and Wellness

Revamp your entire home with natural, safer products. Natural Remedies for Your Home & Health contains a wealth of information about natural essential oils, what they are, how they work, and how to use them safely. In this book, find several simple recipes for clean beauty products, and even everyday cleaning products. All of these practical recipes can be used on a regular basis. Plus, discover natural health tips and learn how to make some swaps in the laundry room that will save you time and money!

100 DIY all-natural recipes, numerous natural living tips, and valuable essential oil education―this book has it all. In Natural Remedies for Your Home & Health, author Laura Ascher, the wellness advocate and essential oils expert behind the blog and YouTube channel Our Oily House, teaches you how to:

  • Use essential oils safely and effectively to create a more natural lifestyle for your family
  • Feel empowered to put together homemade skincare products, hair care products, and DIY cleaners
  • Use essential oils for natural remedies for common ailments, and more!

Terpenes for Well-Being

A Comprehensive Guide to Botanical Aromas for Emotional and Physical Self-Care

Herbal remedies to feel better outside and inside. In recent years, cannabis has taken the natural medicine community by storm, with terpenes as the number one conversation starter. To Freedman, dubbed “The Cannabis Sommelier”, terpenes have a depth of complexity, whether it’s helping to set your intention, creating the mood, and now―fusing it with cocktails, cooking, and aromatherapy. With engaging text, informative charts, and recipes for both edible and non-edible terpene consumption, Terpenes for Well-Being provides both a botanical breakdown and comprehensive drug guide to aromatherapy-related techniques for relaxation, natural stress relief, and anti-anxiety treatment.

Cannabis cocktails and aromatherapy. In the tradition of cannabis cookbooks, Terpenes for Well-Being offers terpene-infused food and cocktail recipes to promote well-being. With information on the distinct characteristics of different terpenes, this exciting self-care book offers a hands-on, DIY approach to terpene-infused lotions, potions, foods, and beverages.

Your Story, Well Told

Creative Strategies to Develop and Perform Stories that Wow an Audience

The following is (not) a work of fiction. We’ve all got stories to tell─but how do you make your story the best story? In The Best Story Ever Told, Moth veteran and master teacher, Corey Rosen, inspires you to get on stage and tell your story. Using the best storytelling techniques from improvisational theatre, Rosen designs an accessible guide for all ages and skill levels. Crafted to help ordinary people tell extraordinary stories, this laugh out loud handbook covers everything from how to tell a good story to going off script.

Spontaneous stories to tell. The best storytelling uses improvisation to enthrall, entertain, and keep audiences on edge. Laugh along with tales of performance triumphs (and disasters) and explore ways to tell your story with confidence and spontaneity.

Mindfullness for Warriors by Kim Colegrove

Mindfulness for warriors

Empowering First Responders to Reduce Stress and Build Resilience

A traumatic way of life: First responders have the incredibly difficult job of running toward danger while the rest of us run away. No training can prepare them for what they will see and endure. Kim Colegrove understands what it’s like to watch someone go through that. After 30 years in law enforcement, her husband took his own life. This agonizing experience opened Kim’s eyes to the desperate need for an effective form of stress-relief and support for first responders.

Growing Flowers

Everything You Need to Know About Planting, Tending, Harvesting and Arranging Beautiful Blooms

Revel in flowers in bloom. This beautifully photographed book features simple, and engaging know-how enabling you to grow, harvest, and arrange a cutting garden of flowers. An instructional guide to gardening for beginners or if you’re looking to hone your botanical skills, Growing Flowers teaches everything from caring for a cut flower garden to making simple-yet-gorgeous flower arrangements and botanical bouquets.

An indispensable gardening guide for homebody horticulturists and floral foragers. A flower book with a whimsical twist, Growing Flowers is a go-to reference for those new to herb and flower gardening. Discover flower arranging techniques using blooms, greenery, and even artichokes, vines and berries. Learn about tools of the trade. Get down and dirty with dirt, seasonal rotation, starting from seeds and/or seedlings, and more.

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