Thursday, March 24, 2016

Hour of the Bees

Hour of the Bees. Lindsay Eagar. 2016. Candlewick. 360 pages. [Source: Review copy]

I adored Lindsay Eagar's Hour of the Bees. Sometimes I wish 'reviewing' books was as simple as saying: READ THIS BOOK. TRUST ME. But it's never that simple. Words have to be found somehow to try to do this book justice.

Carol, the heroine, isn't exactly thrilled that she'll be spending the summer with her family on her grandfather's sheep farm in the New Mexico desert. Her father and grandfather have not gotten along, and so this is the first time he'll be meeting his grandchildren: Carol and Lu. (Or as he likes to call them Carolina and Luis. There is also Carol and Lu's half-sister, Alta.) Since they don't get along, why are they going? For the simple reason that he is getting older, and, he has dementia. He "needs" to be at a facility where he can be looked after closely. Living on an isolated drought-plagued farm miles away from any town is not an option anymore. But as you might imagine, he does not want to go; he doesn't want to leave the home he shared with his wife, Rosa. (Rosa died the same day Carol was born.)

Perhaps the first day was a bit of a struggle full of strange, awkward moments where no one was quite comfortable. But relatively soon after their arrival, Carol becomes drawn to her grandpa like a magnet. She especially loves to hear him tell stories. The stories are vivid and magical, and, they almost always start the same way: Once upon a time, there was a tree...

The family works HARD; it is exhausting work in the heat. And whether the drought has been 'a hundred years' like her grandfather claimed, or just a few years, it is HOT and miserable. Yet Carol finds herself having the best summer of her life. How can this be?!

One unusual thing about this summer is that bees seem to follow Carol EVERYWHERE. She is always seeing or hearing bees. Her grandfather, Serge, claims that the bees will bring the rain. That it was in fact the bees who took the lake--each one taking one drop of the lake as they flew off...

The stories Serge tells feel timeless...and that's one reason why Carol can't get enough of them. But can she actually believe in her grandfather's stories? Will you?

© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

You should know several things before you contact me:

1) I do not guarantee a review of your book. I am just agreeing to consider it for review.
2) I give all books at least fifty pages.
3) I am not promising anyone (author or publisher) a positive review in exchange for a review copy. That's not how I work.
4) In all of my reviews I strive for honesty. My reviews are my opinions--so yes, they are subjective--you should know my blog will feature both negative and positive reviews.
5) I do not guarantee that I will get to your book immediately. I've got so many books I'm trying to read and review, I can't promise to get to any one book in a given time frame.
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Authors, publishers. I am interested in interviewing authors and participating in blog tours. (All I ask is that I receive a review copy of the author's latest book beforehand so the interview will be productive. If the book is part of a series, I'd like to review the whole series.) Contact me if you're interested.

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