Brief Thoughts on Recent Reads

The Twenty-Ninth Day by Alex Messenger: This book completely blew me away. First Alex is seventeen years old, and in the Canadian Tundra with a group of friends, The Hommes, on a 600 mile canoe trip. Yep, 600 miles by canoe folks. And then on day 29, he is attacked by a grizzly, and survives. I have to admit, I felt like I was on this trip. We are treated as readers to the first twenty-eight days of the canoe trip – it’s ups and downs, ins and outs, the beauty and the physicality and fun that this trip was. The joy of the meals in the evening, the feeling of accomplishment – that is itself is an interesting read. (and reminds me of one of my favorite authors to read, Pam Houston) Then mix in the grizzly attack and the book becomes next level. The strength, mental and physical, that Messenger displays in this book is amazing and admirable and I would have been crying for my mom immediately, and wouldn’t shame anyone else for doing it either. I don’t want to give anything away so I won’t go into too much detail, but I was mighty impressed. And also by his friends, especially Dan, who was the leader of the group and a trained Wilderness First Responder, and had to treat Alex’s wounds in the middle of nowhere with limited supplies. Fantastic read! (Amazon Affiliate Link)

Dark Salt Clear by Lamorna Ash: Another stellar read. Ash feels herself drawn to the Cornish village and cove that she is named after and heads there to learn more about the people who earn their lives on the cold sea, fishing. I loved reading about a way of life that I knew really nothing about; I’ve sung along to sea shanties, I’ve watched The Deadliest Catch, I know every word to Billy Joel’s Downeaster Alexa, but really didn’t know what the lives of these men and women are like. And I loved learning through Ash’s eyes and experiences aboard the different ships, the different people she encountered. I was struck by one part in particular, where Ash works overnight in the fish sorting warehouse for the morning market – and the other workers talk about the monotony of the job, about how it is a way for fisherman to stay connected to their call of the sea even when they can no longer go out, how they sleep only a few hours in the day so that they don’t become shadow people. This is a beautifully written book about something that doesn’t maybe sound so interesting or beautiful on the outside. I loved it. (Amazon Affiliate Link)

My Favorite Reads of 2020

It was the year of nonfiction for me this year! For the first time ever, my list has more nonfiction than fiction. I did read some great fiction books though as well! I narrowed my list to my top seven. Let me know if you have read any and what you thought!

Let’s begin, shall we?

These were the three standout fiction books that I read this year, and my most recommended to people throughout the year.

Mexican Gothic is hands down my favorite book of the year – it was just so much everything. Plot, characters, quirk, atmosphere, twisty and scary and horrifying. And this cover is amazingly beautiful. Have any of you seen the Instagram posts where people are recreating this cover? I can understand why, it is so rich and warm and lovely.

My Sister the Serial Killer was a surprisingly amazing read for me. I thought I would enjoy it, but not necessarily love it as much as I did. I think it is such a unique take on family relationships and love, and of course, a bit of creep factor as well.

Tuesday Mooney Talks to Ghosts was such a fun fantastic read! I loved it so much. It reminded me of a Westing Game for adults.

The Call of the Wild and Free was a book that really changed our lives! If you are a regular reader here, you may have seen my posts where I talk about how it really spoke to me and about how to frame our homeschooling experience. It is not the right experience for everyone, but it is perfect for us right now.

The Creative Family Manifesto is another book that heavily influenced our lives this year. Because of this book, we were inspired to take drawing books with us on picnics and have lazy days drawing away. I am not an artist by any stretch of the imagination but I am enjoying what I am creating and that is the most important thing…right? Wyatt loves drawing and painting and that is something I want to encourage, and we have art supplies always available to him for when he feels like making or creating. Most nights now he will sit quietly happily drawing away.

The Cider Revival. I just really enjoyed this book! It was a fascinating look at apple orchards and the cider industry, especially all those small cideries out there. Plus, we had a fantastic night of cider tasting after I read this book.

The Salt Path was amazing. I have never read a book like this before. I have read many memoirs of people hiking and walking long distances, but never for these reasons. I loved the journey start to finish, and I am looking forward to reading Winn’s follow up. I am a person who underlines and makes notes in their books and this passage from The Salt Path was just so powerful.

I was a part of the whole. I didn’t need to own a patch of land to make that so. I could stand in the wind and I was the wind, the rain, the sea; it was all me, and I was nothing within it.

What did you read that you loved this year?

Our Favorite Picture Books This Year

A week or two ago, Wyatt mailed a letter to Santa from the big Santa Mail Box in our city – and to be honest, I had no idea that he was going to get a letter back when we did it, but wow did it bring a smile to my boy’s face! And, we found out that Santa loves books too! We have read some fantastic books this year, and I wanted to share some of our top favorites with you.

(this post contains Amazon Affiliate Links)

Wyatt’s current favorite holiday book is the Llama Llama Holiday Drama. I read this a billion times a day, and when I am not, he is looking at it himself half the time. Thanksgiving in the Woods is a fun one that we actually won in a giveaway on Instagram this year- and while we both love it, I think it would be so fun to actually have a Thanksgiving in the Woods one year! I included Ohana Means Family, but it was more my favorite than Wyatt’s. I just loved the illustrations and the introduction to Hawaiian culture to Wyatt. Scout and the Gumboot Kids were a big favorite of Wyatt’s this year, whether on television or reading the books. He really loved The Case of the Wooden Timekeeper. Then finally, all the way back in January, we read Little Wolf’s Song and Winter Walk, and Wyatt loved all the howling in Little Wolf’s Song, and then surprised me by really loving Winter Walk.

Leo the Lightning Bug! This book also came with a CD, and Wyatt still listens to it and flips through the book, reciting parts out loud with it. It reminds me of me when I was his age, listening to books on tape and record and looking through the books. (For Christmas I bought him The Thousand Star Hotel by the Okee Dokee Brothers, which he can flip through while he listens to the story streaming..ah technology.) Nightsong was really cool, and Honey, adorable. Wyatt is a fan of David Ezra Stein. He is also a giant fan of the Little Blue Truck, and he loved this Springtime book. Which reminds me I never bought him The Little Blue Truck’s Christmas! Then finally we found two new to us owl books that we really enjoyed, Tanna’s Owl and Otto the Owl who Loved Poetry.

The Giraffe That Walked to Paris is my favorite picture book that we read this year. I liked it way more than Wyatt, so it is definitely my favorite, not his. I had never heard of this event before and it was sort of sad but neat to learn about it. Anatole was an old favorite of mine that I enjoyed sharing with Wyatt, who also liked it. And then finally, The Salamander Room – this book made me commit to adopting our leopard gecko Harry, which I realize is two different species entirely but it was still a fun way to segue to Harry for Wyatt.

I did miss the library so much this year, browsing the shelves and all the new books. If there are two places I miss going, it is the library with Wyatt and then Ikea with Billy. We would drop the boy off to my mom then head to Ikea and have lunch and shop. We are exciting.

I am looking forward to reading more with Wyatt in the months ahead, especially now as he is picking up letters and can read some of the words himself more and more! He loves reading, and I love that he loves reading!

Book Review: Fox Crossing by Melinda Metz

Goodreads Summary:

The charming village of Fox Crossing, Maine (founded 1805) is the last bit of civilization before the 100-mile wilderness, the wildest and arguably most beautiful stretch of the Appalachian Trail. The little town has something else to offer as well… something rare, something that a few even call magic. It has The Fox. Crossing paths with a black cat is said to bring bad luck. But crossing paths with The Fox is a whole other story…

SOME SAY THE FOX IS GOOD LUCK
In the mountain village of Fox Crossing, Maine, everyone knows the story of The Fox. According to local legend, one of the town’s founders crossed paths with a curious-looking fox with a distinctive white ear and paw. The unusual fox sighting not only inspired the town’s name, it sparked a fantastical piece of folklore that’s been passed down for generations. Some people say that whoever sees The Fox will be rewarded with good fortune, love, and happiness. Others say it’s just a silly folk tale…

WHAT DOES THE FOX SAY?
Annie Hatherley doesn’t believe The Fox legend–even though it was her great-great-great-grandmother who spotted the critter centuries ago. But now it’s part of Annie’s legacy, along with her family business, Hatherley’s Outfitters. For years, Annie’s been selling gear to hikers on the Appalachian Trail. But she’s never seen The Fox–until now. Out of nowhere, this little white-eared vixen leads her to Nick Ferrone, a woefully unprepared hiker who needs her help. The Shoo Fly Bakery owner also spots the sly creature–who takes him to a homeless dog that needs his love. Annie can’t deny that something magical is happening–because she’s starting to fall for a certain foxy hiker named Nick…

My thoughts:

When I saw this book on NetGalley I immediately requested it – snow, a fox, hiking – this book is totally made for me. And I absolutely adored it! I finished it and immediately looked to see if the author had anymore books set in this quirky town of Fox Crossing, Maine. (no, but I am hoping that changes!)

This small town sets right on the edge of the 100 Mile Wilderness in Maine, the northernmost end of the Appalachian Trail, and said to be very dangerous and for experienced hikers only. For the most part, the residents of Fox Crossing are open and friendly, with maybe one or two exceptions. One of whom is Annie, who runs Hatherly’s Outfitters, and is the last shop of its kind before hikers would begin the 100 Mile Wilderness. If they need something, Hatherly’s is their last option – which is good because Annie can be a bit prickly, especially if she feels a hiker is not ready for the trail. Which is how she meets good-natured Nick Ferrone, and from there, sparks and other things fly.

There is also a legend of The Fox – not just any fox, but The Fox. To spot the fox is said to bring luck, good fortune, even love – and there are those who seek The Fox out for just these reasons. Others choose not to believe – how could one fox be around for so long, right?

This book was delightful – I love books set in small towns with interesting characters, and the extra added bonus of a legend made it perfect. I loved every character in this book, which rarely happens. Like I said, I would love to read more about these characters!

If you are looking for some warm and cozy reads this winter, this is definitely one to add to your list.

Thank you to NetGalley for the advance copy in exchange for an honest review!

Book Review: Return to Virgin River by Robyn Carr

From the Publisher:

Kaylee Sloan’s home in Southern California is full of wonderful memories of the woman who raised her. But the memories are prolonging her grief over her mother’s recent death. A successful author, Kaylee hoped she could pour herself into her work. Instead she has terrible writer’s block and a looming deadline.

Determined to escape distractions and avoid the holiday season, Kaylee borrows a cabin in Virgin River. She knows the isolation will help her writing, and as she drives north through the mountains and the majestic redwoods, she immediately feels inspired. Until she arrives at a building that has just gone up in flames. Devastated, she heads to Jack’s Bar to plan her next steps. The local watering hole is the heart of the town, and once she crosses the threshold, she’s surprised to be embraced by people who are more than willing to help a friend—or a stranger—in need.

Kaylee’s world is expanding in ways she never dreamed possible. And when she rescues a kitten followed by a dog with a litter of puppies, she finds her heart opening up to the animals who need her. And then there’s the dog trainer who knows exactly how to help her. As the holidays approach, Kaylee’s dread turns to wonder. Because there’s no better place to spend Christmas than Virgin River.

My thoughts:

I had never read a Virgin River book before this one, but I am familiar with the setting and characters thanks to the Netflix tv series, which I binged earlier this year. So picking this up and reading felt like visiting old friends, although I should read the books too.

This book centers on Kaylee, who is grieving terribly for her mother. She and her mom were very close, best friends, and Kaylee is struggling with her grief and sadness. She has a book deadline due, and finds herself too distracted by her memories of her mother in her home to be able to work, so she takes the advice of friends and heads off to find some space to write, away from the barrage of memories. And the mountains and the town of Virgin River are the perfect spot to find this space. Until she arrives and finds the house she was planning on finding that peace and quiet, destroyed by fire. Luckily the people of Virgin River are helpful and kind, and Jack and Mel, who feature prominently in the tv series, give her a bed for the night.

Unfortunately, Jack has family coming to town and Kaylee can’t stay there for long – after looking at a few places, she learns of a guest house owned by an artist and dog trainer, Landry. She is a bit nervous at first, due to a paralyzing fear of dogs, but between the house being perfect and Landry (also being perfect) assuring her that she will be safe, she moves in.

And from here, the real healing and story begins. Kaylee finds so much more than she was bargaining for when the story began, and the reader just finds so much happy. There are the usual small hurdles that the characters need to conquer, and also the large one of Kaylee’s grief, but this book really is the happiest of happy books.

I picked this up after a particularly stressful month in a particularly stressful year, and it was a wonderful distraction that took my mind off of things. If you are looking for something easy with a HEA, full of warm characters and kindness, this book is for you!

Thank you to Little Bird Publicity for the advance copy in exchange for an honest review!

Book Review: The Conjurer

Goodreads Summary:

Sidra didn’t murder her husband. Yet even a jinni can’t wish away a wrongful imprisonment. Determined to prove her innocence, she returns to her adopted home—a French village renowned for its perfume witches—with her friends Elena and Yvette by her side. Here is where Sidra’s true destiny awaits, but danger also lurks in the village’s narrow lanes.

On her trail is Jamra, another jinni, who’s after more than revenge for the murder of his brother. He also seeks vengeance for the indignities inflicted on jinn by mortals over the centuries. When he learns of an ancient relic capable of unleashing chaos on the world, and that the weapon is in the hands of his murderous sister-in-law, he vows to destroy Sidra to get it.

Relying on a sisterhood of magic, a mysteriously faithful dog, and a second-rate sorcerer, Sidra defends herself using the village’s greatest asset: its perfume. It’s as beguiling a lure as it is a formidable shield. But is it enough for Sidra to protect herself and those she loves from powers yet to be released?

My thoughts:

This third installment in the Vine Witch series did not disappoint. I loved the first two, The Vine Witch and The Glamourist, and I have to be honest, this one might be my favorite of all three. No, wait..maybe it was The Vine Witch. Or maybe, The Glamourist. It is hard to say! I loved them all!

This book made me yearn for a place I have never been, with its descriptions of desert winds and the perfumed scents, such a sensory journey. And I absolutely loved getting to know the character of Sidra more; of the three characters, she is the most mysterious. We finally get to learn her backstory, what really happened to land her in jail, where she came from, and more about the jinni itself.

We see different sides to this hot tempered character- emotions such as vulnerability, fear, loyalty, and even fondness for Yvette. It was also nice to catch up with Yvette, and see how she was adjusting to her newfound ancestry and powers, and also with Elena who we started the series with. I love how their fates have been intertwined and how their shared experiences together has bound them to each other.

This book contains so much, witches and jinni and fairies and powerful, evocative descriptions; romance and danger, evil villains and brave allies. It was a fantastic read, and the very definition of the expression that reading takes you places.

I loved this book and I hope to read more from this author in the future! Thank you to NetGalley and to 47th North publishing for the chance to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: 100 Things to do in a Forest

Publisher Summary:

In an age when people are in search of new and more fulfilling experiences to replace screens and bring families together, this book explores 100 ways to connect with nature and discover the benefits of forest fun. From bushcraft activities like whittling and firelighting to spiritual pursuits like forest bathing and meditation, forest educator Jennifer Davis has brought together activities for people of all ages, helping them to connect with their forests and woodlands, while discovering the healing and restorative benefits of a life lived outdoors.

My Thoughts:

I found this book to be such a fun read, full of great suggestions and ideas! I originally started reading this as an e-galley but I could only get it to load on my phone, and I really don’t like reading on my phone. I had read enough of it however, that I knew I wanted to add it to our family’s collection of nature books – so I ordered it. I am so glad that I did. This book will be one to return to for new ideas throughout the seasons!

A few favorites: A dice-rolling walk, the silence of twenty things, leaf pinning, and a wishing tree. There were a few ideas in the book as well, that did not necessarily need to be done in a forest, just outside. I was happy to see that we already do a few of them, such as wassailing our apple tree in the winter and canopy gazing, one of my favorite lazy Sunday picnic day activities.

Sometimes with list books, I find that there are more suggestions for things I would never do or try than I would actually do. This is not the case with this book though – there were more ideas that I want to try than not, although there are a few I will skip.

This book is also gorgeously illustrated! I am so happy that I splurged on a physical copy as I loved flipping through and looking at the illustrations. They are dreamy and beautiful!

This is a fun book, and definitely a book for those looking for a few more ideas for outside time – which I think many people are doing right now. I could see having our family take turns picking a random number on the weekends and opening the book to reveal our adventure for the day. Overall, a great addition to your home library!

Thank you to NetGalley and Laurence King Publishing for the advance copy in exchange for an honest review!

Book Review: Adventuring Together

Goodreads Summary:

Parents today complain of fragmented relationships with their kids. What parents yearn for–and their kids too–is deep, heart-to-heart connections. But how can parents compete with all the other noise fighting for their kids’ attention?

The answer, says Greta Eskridge, is to break free from regular routines and familiar comforts of home to experience new places and adventures–even if those adventures go awry. From simply reading a book together to going on an overnight backpacking trip, activities together provide unique and crucial bonding opportunities. Adventuring Together highlights Greta’s stories of doing just that, including an array of ideas for outdoor and indoor ventures, what to do when your finances are limited,and how to adventure if your family can’t hit the hiking trail or spend the night at a campground.
 Giving readers the tools to make adventures happen, Adventuring Together is a step-by-step guide for parents–whether in the city or the country–to start building connections today that will last a lifetime.

My Thoughts:

This was an excellent read, and I was already so inspired by it!

Eskridge says right off the bat, that this book is for moms who don’t like hiking or camping without an actual bathroom (or in my case, a private bathroom even), bugs, heights – basically, those who don’t THINK they have an adventurous bone in their body. This book is to guide you out of your comfort zone and build heart connections with your child in the process. It doesn’t mean you need to go white water rafting as a family (unless you want to) but a short canoe ride would suffice, if that is where you are at. Or a short hike down a well tended trail in a nature park. Setting up a tent in your backyard and sleeping out. The adventures don’t need to be huge or epic, just adventures with your family, whatever that looks like for you. The important thing is to challenge yourself, challenge your family, try new things together. Then these adventures become lasting memories.

I am sure that we all have these memories. My mom was a single mom and she got out there and did so much with us, way out of her comfort zone most of the time. I remember one summer on a family vacation, we all went canoeing. My mom, aunt, and I were in one canoe, and my little brother went with my uncle and his family. Well, needless to say, my mom, aunt, and I tipped over and went for an impromptu accidental swim! The river was gentle, and not very deep yet my aunt came up holding onto my shirt like I was going to be lost down the river – and I was a teenager who was also on the swim team! We all ended up laughing and this story became one we told over and over again, always laughing as we did so. This is a memory we would never have had, if my mom had not tried and pushed herself to take her children out canoeing even when she was nervous to do it.

Just yesterday I put this into practice, on a very small scale. Not an adventure or anything exciting, but Wyatt and I are working on a France unit of study this month and I decided one of our projects was going to be building an Eiffel Tower out of wafer cookies. Now, I knew that if we waited for Billy to get home to have him lead the construction that the project would turn out perfectly. But I thought, no, I am going to try to do this with Wyatt on my own, and it might not turn out perfect but it would be something we did together, no matter what. And well.. it was the wonkiest version of the Eiffel Tower ever built out of cookies, but Wyatt and I laughed and laughed while building it, as it fell numerous times and he kept trying to eat while we worked. It was hilarious. I managed to grab a quick photo before it tumbled for the final time…

So while not something big or adventurous, still something that was difficult and new that we did together – and had a blast.

Another point that Eskridge makes that I absolutely love is that traditions make memories. So so true. I try to build little traditions into our lives and I love this idea that these traditions become happy memories that last forever. She adds in some suggestions to get you started if you need a little inspiration. The whole book actually has a ton of inspiration and little helps for parents who need the extra push or information. (like what to pack in your adventure bag!)

Eskridge ends the book with simple guides for some little adventures, such as hiking, and visiting an art museum. I absolutely loved her suggestions for the art museum visit, and can’t wait to put them in practice eventually!

This was a short, informative, and interesting read, and I highly recommend it – especially if you feel that you are not adventurous!

Book Review: The Creative Family Manifesto

Goodreads Summary:

Spark and nurture your family’s creativity–a guide for making creativity an intentional part of everyday life.

When you learn to awaken your family’s creativity, wonderful things will happen: you’ll make meaningful connections with your children in large and small ways; your children will more often engage in their own creative discoveries; and your family will embrace new ways to relax, play, and grow together. With just the simple tools around you–your imagination, basic art supplies, household objects, and natural materials–you can transform your family life, and have so much more fun! This book embraces a whole new way of living that will engage your children’s imagination, celebrate their achievements, and help you to express love and gratitude for each other as a family.

My Thoughts:

My husband grew up in a very artistic, creative family. His mother was always painting or drawing or creating pottery (still is) and she passed this talent and love for art on to her children. When I met my husband in third grade, we shared a double desk and he would draw me pictures. I wish I still had them now! My family is full of creative thinkers, but we are not particularly skilled in drawing or painting, except for my brother and my grandmother. Creativity and fun were a huge part of my childhood, but not necessarily art or drawing. I really want to create an environment full of wonder and art and creativity for Wyatt but I felt I needed a little support, and this book had some wonderful ideas on how to incorporate art into our everyday and lifestyle, and really make it accessible to Wyatt.

A few things that really resonated with me: First, to purchase quality materials for the whole family to use and keep them where your child can use them as they desire. That whole idea of keeping things for nice or special doesn’t work with art supplies. It can be discouraging and frustrating to use poor quality versions of things (we have all had that experience with crayons I am sure!) so I took this advice and invested in some better quality sketch pads, watercolor paints, and colored pencils, as a start. I didn’t buy the top of the line, but I didn’t buy the cheapest there was either.

We have already put our new materials to good use! We have been heading to a quiet spot in the outdoors and spending time sketching and drawing together. I am not an artist by any means but I feel by trying along with Wyatt then I am showing him you don’t need to be in order to enjoy it and do it, and that it will encourage and foster a love of art in him.

However, the book also talks about being resourceful in your materials as well! Don’t limit yourself to traditional items, explore places like the pantry and nature – use found items to create art. I know that we have definitely done this in our home, with all of our Fruit Loop creations earlier in the spring.

Other ideas that I love and that I am going to incorporate into our dynamic is just making fun of the everyday. I try to do this anyway, but Soule had a few suggestions that I loved. One suggestion was a family meeting in bed – I kind of love the idea of all of us piled into the bed on Saturday and Sunday mornings, discussing what we would like to do that day – and to make sure that you make time for art! I also loved the idea of having toasts for accomplishments at dinner – no matter big or small, if they are a proud moment, let’s toast to it!

Soule encourages families to try it all, basically – knitting, painting, photography, embroidery, plays and theater – the only limit really is your imagination. I found this book to be inspiring and can’t wait to see what we all create together!

Book Review: Honey and Venom

From the Publisher:

Considered an “industry legend” by The New York Times, Andrew Coté has one of the most intriguing, challenging, and unique jobs in New York City—maintaining millions of honey bees atop some of the city’s most iconic buildings. His apiaries have crowned the Waldorf Astoria and the Museum of Modern Art; reside on the North Lawn of the United Nations; reign above stores, hotels, restaurants, schools, churches, and synagogues; and are situated in community gardens, and even cemeteries, throughout the five boroughs.
 
In this debut collection, Coté takes readers with him on his daily apiary adventures over the course of a year, in the city and across the globe. Here, among his many duties, he is called to capture swarms that have clustered on fire hydrants, air-conditioning units, or street-vendor umbrellas. Annually, he travels with his father to regions like remote Fijian islands, rural Uganda, Haiti, Ecuador, or Iraq with his organization, Bees Without Borders, where he teaches beekeepers how to increase their honey yield and income via beekeeping endeavors.
 
Written with Coté’s trademark humor, acumen, and a healthy dose of charm, Honey and Venom illuminates the obscure culture of New York City “beeks” and the biology of the bees themselves, from the humble drone to the fittingly named worker to the queen herself—who is more a slave than a monarch. The hive world, Coté reveals, is full of strivers and slackers, givers and takers, and even some insect promiscuity—startlingly similar to the prickly human variety.
 
For Coté, a fourth-generation beekeeper, this is a family tradition, and this personal significance pervades his celebration of the romance and mystery of bees, their honey, and the beekeepers whose lives revolve around these most magical creatures.

My Thoughts:

When I think of beekeepers, I think of pastoral, rural, peaceful settings, a life full of flowers and honey ; Andrew Coté is far from this image. His life and career is globetrotting, star studded, and full of rooftops and city streets, hard work and long hours (although I am sure those rural type beekeepers also work long and hard hours!)

I was pleasantly surprised by this book! I should have realized that the life of an urban beekeeper would be leagues different from those on farms and homesteads, however I never would have imagined the amazing things that Coté, has done in his life as a beekeeper. One such thing is his Bees Without Borders program that he founded to help fight poverty, and he has travelled to such countries as Kenya, Nigeria, and Iraq and others, to teach them beekeeping skills. Some of the stories he had to tell about his travels were were humorous, while some highlighted the dangers he faced in his mission to help others, and bees.

Coté, also had stories to tell of commercials, tv show appearances (Cake Boss, for one), and being a beekeeper to the rich and famous – namely one very famous woman renowned for her lifestyle whose name begins with M. In addition to all of this, Coté, also founded the New York City Beekeepers Association, maintains his own empire of bees, and assists with dangerous bee situations that plague the city – such as a hoarding house whose bees became a danger and nuisance to the city, working side by side with the police in such cases.

I really loved this book – I loved hearing about all of Coté’s adventures, his family history with bees and beekeeping, and the little facts that he threw in about bees as well – such as the fact that the scent of bananas enrages them! This book was a great read and I loved learning about a whole different world, the world of the urban beekeeper.

Thanks to NetGalley for the advance copy in exchange for an honest review.