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.

My Sunday-Monday Post!

My Sunday Post is hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer

Sunday Salon is hosted by Deb at Readerbuzz

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date

Last week was sort of crazy – I had my virtual conference, where I watched about two hours of workshops a day. I have lifetime access to them so I can just keep going though so that is good. I learned so much! Then Wyatt had a 90 second focal seizure on Wednesday – it was terrifying for us both. It required another call to his neuro and raising of his meds so please keep your fingers crossed and say all the prayers that this dose is the right dose. Needless to say, my reading was not really on par last week. I did finish my book Honey and Venom, and the review should be up this week. It was pretty fascinating!

Reading This Week:

Then this week I am reading the same books I posted as reading last week, since I didn’t get to them.

Posted Last Week:

I did post once or twice last week – I talked about Paris in July here and then about our Homeschooling, Deer Week Summer Edition here.

Watching:

We watched The Order Season 2 this week – start to finish. It was so good! Now we have to wait all over again for a season 3 – if there is one! We also watched Nancy Drew, which I am loving as well. For movie night, we watched The Current War (Amazon Prime) with Michael Shannon and Benedict Cumberbatch. It was really really well done – and highlighted to me how little I know about that part of history, and how much Billy knows. The movie is a little confusing I think if you are not familiar with the whole A/C vs. D/C debate, or Tesla’s contributions, at least in my opinion. Billy had to explain some things to me as we watched which made it easier to follow. I really enjoyed the movie though, despite my lack of knowledge, because, well, now I know more!

My Sunday-Monday Post

My Sunday Post is hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer

Sunday Salon is hosted by Deb at Readerbuzz

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date

This week was a pretty good one, despite everything going on around us. We took the week off of schooling, as I have decided we are going to continue on through the summer, just less formally and with weeks off here and there. Then Billy took a few days off work too, so we just had fun bumming around the crib, as my dad says. Saturday was the summer solstice, so we did some fun sun art, ate summery foods, and then just hung out in the backyard, enjoying the night and letting Wyatt play in the sprinkler. For Father’s Day, I don’t know what we are doing yet honestly- COVID is making things hard. Then this week I have a virtual conference for Charlotte Mason, a homeschooling style I want to learn more about, and of course, we begin our schooling again. It is going to be deer week around here, partially because deer make me think of summers up north, and partially because the new Buck Moon starts today (Sunday the 21st).

Read Last Week:

I loved The Glamourist!!! I loved The Vine Witch last year, and I really enjoyed this return to the world that Smith has created. I still haven’t finished Honey and Venom, but I should finish this week.

Reading This Week:

I probably won’t have a ton of time with the conference workshops, but if I manage to get some reading time in AND I finish Honey and Venom, then I am going to start these.

Our family loves making and creating things, so I am very excited to start The Creative Family Manifesto. And then Opium and Absinthe is one of the Prime Reads free books for the month, and I love Lydia Kang! I was completely sucked in to The Impossible Girl, The November Girl, and a A Beautiful Poison, so I am very much looking forward to reading this one.

Posted Last Week:

Book Review: Summer at Lake Haven by RaeAnne Thayne

Summertime..

Watching:

We are all over the place with our tv and movie watching right now. We are watching The Order (Netflix), Nancy Drew (CW), and Rosemary and Thyme (Britbox). Nancy Drew the reboot is really fun – kind of dark and grown up and weird all at once. I like when they poke fun a little at the less modern ways Nancy would have accomplished things, like in one scene she goes to pick a lock and it is locked with a key card instead. For our movie nights, we are having a hard time finding anything. We watched I Capture the Castle on Friday night, but then last night couldn’t decide on anything, so we are going to try again tonight, since Billy has tomorrow off. It’s like an extra weekend night! Although I finished off the gummy bears so I need to resupply..

Stay safe all!

My Sunday-Monday Post!

My Sunday Post is hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer

Sunday Salon is hosted by Deb at Readerbuzz

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date

Last week was a pretty good week. Wyatt and I did some fun things, then Friday my mom came over and we socially distanced a picnic dinner. She brought her dinner with her and we had ours, just simple stuff so that we could spend our time talking and enjoying the weather. It was such a nice time. Then Saturday I got brave – I masked up and went to my favorite nursery to pick out some flowers. And it was a good experience. It is a giant nursery, all outdoors, it wasn’t crowded at all, and 99% of the people were masked. They had arrows on the floor to mark one way aisles, 6 feet distancing for the lines, and the cashiers had new plastic shields up. I was scared but soon sort of relaxed as I browsed, since there really wasn’t anyone around me. I went with a list but since I was going so late in the season knew I might have to make swaps. The only things I didn’t end up getting were snapdragons (my favorite!) and lettuce plants, but I bought pentas and swiss chard instead. Then I spent the rest of the afternoon planting everything. Today my brother is coming by to rototill my last little area that I need to work on and then I will be set for this year’s makeshift garden.

Read Last Week:

I read Summer at Lake Haven and it was just I had hoped, a light easy summer read. Perfect for my mood last week. Review coming very soon! I also started Honey and Venom, which I am also enjoying, but didn’t finish yet, so I will be reading it this week as well. I am learning some crazy things about bees – like the scent of bananas enrages them! So don’t eat bananas and then go around bees. Thanks to NetGalley for the advance copies of both!

Reading This Week:

I have been waiting a long time to read this! I pre-ordered it a million years ago because I loved The Vine Witch so much, and yay, now it is here! I love witchy books and this world that Smith created is so fun.

Posted Last Week:

Homeschooling: Bee Week!

Small Steps

Picture Book Review: Under My Tree

Watching:

We are still watching Rosemary and Thyme, and we have one episode left of When Hope Calls. It’s not as good as When Calls the Heart, but I do like the relationship between the sisters. Both of the movies we watched this weekend left me unsettled. I enjoyed them both, but I felt sort of sad after watching both of them. We watched The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher, which is apparently based on a true story, and then The Bookshop, starring Emily Mortimer and Bill Nighy, whom I adore in everything. Both were excellent, but definitely left you with lots to think about. These movies are both on Amazon Video.

And that about sums it up for me! Stay safe everyone.

My Sunday-Monday Post!

My Sunday Post is hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer

Sunday Salon is hosted by Deb at Readerbuzz

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date

Last week sort of went by in a blur. It’s funny how some weeks go by so slowly, and others fly by. I think last week seemed to go by so quickly because we were able to get some decent outside time in. We have been spending a chunk of our mornings and afternoons outside and it is wonderful! All that sunshine. We head back in during the heat of the day and do other projects then, but the mornings for sure are ours. We also shopped at a small farm over the weekend – Trillium Woods Farm near Lansing, MI. We placed an order online for different meats and then went to their drive-thru pick-up. I have always wanted to start supporting small farmers and this year I really am going to do better. Our own little plantings are doing well, our peanuts and radishes and carrots and beets are coming along!

Read Last Week:

I talked last week about how this book really resonated with me, and it really does. From start to finish, I devoured this book, and feel like I am on the right path for my child. Everyone has their own journey and I think this is part of ours, at least for now. I even joined the Wild and Free community online!

Reading This Week:

I am so excited to read this new RaeAnne Thayne book – it is just the right time for this summery type read. I am also looking forward to Honey and Venom – we are learning about bees this week and it seemed like a good time to start this one as well!

Posted Last Week:

Currently..June

Homeschooling: Ladybug Week!

Watching:

So this week we have been watching Living the Dream, When Hope Calls, and Rosemary and Thyme. For our movie nights this week we tried watching Winchester until it scared me too much and we had to turn it off lol. Then Saturday we watched This Beautiful Fantastic – and I loved it so so much!! I see myself watching it many many more times. Can a movie become an instant favorite? If so, this is one. It is beautiful and if you love books or gardens or quirky or unlikely friendships this is the movie for you.

Stay Safe everyone.