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KEEPER OF THE BEES is a tale of two teens who are both beautiful and beastly, and whose pasts are entangled in surprising and heartbreaking ways. Dresden is cursed. His chest houses a hive of bees that he can’t stop from stinging people with psychosis-inducing venom. His face is a shifting montage of all the people who have died because of those stings. And he has been this KEEPER OF THE BEES is a tale of two teens who are both beautiful and beastly, and whose pasts are entangled in surprising and heartbreaking ways. Dresden is cursed. His chest houses a hive of bees that he can’t stop from stinging people with psychosis-inducing venom. His face is a shifting montage of all the people who have died because of those stings. And he has been this way for centuries—since he was eighteen and magic flowed through his homeland, corrupting its people. He follows harbingers of death, so at least his curse only affects those about to die anyway. But when he arrives in a Midwest town marked for death, he encounters Essie, a seventeen-year-old girl who suffers from debilitating delusions and hallucinations. His bees want to sting her on sight. But Essie doesn’t see a monster when she looks at Dresden. Essie is fascinated and delighted by his changing features. Risking his own life, he holds back his bees and spares her. What starts out as a simple act of mercy ends up unraveling Dresden’s solitary life and Essie’s tormented one. Their impossible romance might even be powerful enough to unravel a centuries-old curse.


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KEEPER OF THE BEES is a tale of two teens who are both beautiful and beastly, and whose pasts are entangled in surprising and heartbreaking ways. Dresden is cursed. His chest houses a hive of bees that he can’t stop from stinging people with psychosis-inducing venom. His face is a shifting montage of all the people who have died because of those stings. And he has been this KEEPER OF THE BEES is a tale of two teens who are both beautiful and beastly, and whose pasts are entangled in surprising and heartbreaking ways. Dresden is cursed. His chest houses a hive of bees that he can’t stop from stinging people with psychosis-inducing venom. His face is a shifting montage of all the people who have died because of those stings. And he has been this way for centuries—since he was eighteen and magic flowed through his homeland, corrupting its people. He follows harbingers of death, so at least his curse only affects those about to die anyway. But when he arrives in a Midwest town marked for death, he encounters Essie, a seventeen-year-old girl who suffers from debilitating delusions and hallucinations. His bees want to sting her on sight. But Essie doesn’t see a monster when she looks at Dresden. Essie is fascinated and delighted by his changing features. Risking his own life, he holds back his bees and spares her. What starts out as a simple act of mercy ends up unraveling Dresden’s solitary life and Essie’s tormented one. Their impossible romance might even be powerful enough to unravel a centuries-old curse.

30 review for Keeper of the Bees

  1. 4 out of 5

    C.G. Drews

    I didn't expect to absolutely utterly fall in love with this book, bUT LOOK WHERE WE ARE. This is the kind of book for those of us who fall in love with villains. It's about mental illness and how people perceive it. It's about monsters and murder. It's about the sweetest and softest love of people scared to hurt each other and I just?!? IT IS DARK. AND SOFT™ and I am living for that combination. So this is a companion novel to Black Bird of the Gallows. Going to admit I loved this one more!! But I didn't expect to absolutely utterly fall in love with this book, bUT LOOK WHERE WE ARE. This is the kind of book for those of us who fall in love with villains. It's about mental illness and how people perceive it. It's about monsters and murder. It's about the sweetest and softest love of people scared to hurt each other and I just?!? IT IS DARK. AND SOFT™ and I am living for that combination. So this is a companion novel to Black Bird of the Gallows. Going to admit I loved this one more!! But you don't have to have read BBOTG to enjoy this however it does spoil the first book. But they really are completely separate stories. Just about the same world and the same cursed creatures. Hello to our Harbringers and Beekeepers. Omg so the beekepers were total villains in BBOTG...but here?! Get ready to have your heart mANGLED by Dresden, who is grumpy and tragic and bitter...and utterly adorable. Like he just is SO sour, the precious little bucket, but secretly good inside. He wants to pROTECT. He wants to be free. He's a monster and he's aware of it and I love how respectful his relationship with Essie was. And also how he loved her for who she was, illness and all. MY HEART. And Essie?! I absolutely adore her. She literally just breathes and 3989 people in this book line up to protect her. She's sweet and precious (reminds me of Luna Lovegood) and super soft and lovely. I do like badass heroines, but I also love vulnerable ones. She has an illness (a bit like paranoid schizophrenia) that doctors can't quite pin down...(yes it has supernatural origins)...and I just really appreciated the conversations they had about mental health. There was no scorn of it. Like the hallucinations did make her suffer and she wanted and needed relief, but I never felt like there were "cure" messages or any disparaging comments about mental illness. And it really unpacked how people treat those they don't understand like monsters. It's so sad, but so so true. And ok, romances with immortals vs teen girls CAN be creepy...but this wasn't! Dresden sort of froze at 18 anyway and he's really respectful! Like, once he gets passed thinking he has to kill her! But he doesn't! He won't! HE LOVES HER. Their romance manages to be slowburn and adorable and leaving you waaaanting them to kiss (but Dresden's curse makes that hard). aFdjsakld I ship it so much. Also the friendship of Dresden and Michael was BEST. I actually feel like close male-to-male friendships are unreasonably hard to find?! But Michael is a harbringer/crow and Dresden is a beekeeper and like...they're not made to be enemies, but no one likes beekeepers. They feed of chaos and they make it too. But their friendship is ADORABLE. Like Dresden tries to keep Michael alive and grumps bout calling him a "friend" and then pANICS AND CALLS HIM A FRIEND. And Michael teases him and is like "When I shift into a crow, pls pick up my clothes." And Dresden, actual chaos-inciting villain...picks up Mikael's clothes for him. I CAN'T EVEN. I LOVE THEM AND THEIR SNARK TO EACH OTHER. And I really love the uniqueness of this paranormal world! Scootch over vampires and werewolves, we have HARBRINGERS OF DEATH and Strawmen and chaos-inciting Beekeepers whose mouths and lungs are full of bees. The lore is interesting and backstory is explored. And I'm so captivated! OTHER THINGS I LOVED: ☆ Aunt Bel who was an absolute GOLDEN GEM and fought for Essie's rights and treatment the whole time ☆ the harbringers are still here and they are aWESOME ☆ it basically gave us villains and then UNMADE their villiany ☆ but it also gave us unredeemable human villains who we want to give papercuts and pour lemon juice in them ok ☆ there are fabulous and fierce friendships! ☆ interesting and complex women with great relationships ☆ it's like fast-paced but also has a slower dreamy quality to it ☆ GORGEOUS WRITING THAT I LOVE ☆ the cover is absolutely divine and I wish to just absorb it forever ☆ there's a bit o' a murder mystery in this one ☆ I actually want 9389 more books in this world All in all!? I just SO enjoyed this. It's beautiful and emotional and by halfway through I just realised I would die for Dresden and Essie so like...here, little green book of perfection, let me give you all the stars.

  2. 5 out of 5

    destiny ♎ [howling libraries]

    Last year, I was given the chance to review Black Bird of the Gallows by Meg Kassel, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. There was a character in it who belonged to a group called the “beekeepers”, and I was so fascinated by that character’s entire design that, when I heard this book was being released, I can’t even describe how badly I wanted to read it. I needed more from this gorgeous little world Meg has crafted! I won’t be including any spoilers for Black Bird of the Gallows, if you haven’t read Last year, I was given the chance to review Black Bird of the Gallows by Meg Kassel, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. There was a character in it who belonged to a group called the “beekeepers”, and I was so fascinated by that character’s entire design that, when I heard this book was being released, I can’t even describe how badly I wanted to read it. I needed more from this gorgeous little world Meg has crafted! I won’t be including any spoilers for Black Bird of the Gallows, if you haven’t read it yet, but I strongly recommend reading Black Bird of the Gallows before Keeper of the Bees. “Some creatures are not meant to be loved.” Not only does the story follow a new beekeeper, it’s also a bit of a Beauty and the Beast retelling, which is one of the few retelling themes that I never seem to tire of. If you’re not a big fan of retellings, though, don’t worry—it definitely has its very own feel and holds its own perfectly. It’s got this wonderfully modern vibe, though Dresden’s age lends to this wonderful vintage narrative; between it and Essie’s delightful perspective on the world around her, among other details, I can honestly say I’ve never read a book quite like this one. The curse of the beekeeper ensures that my face is rarely actually seen. It’s certainly not a face anyone would want to see. The beekeepers are so fascinating for a number of reasons: 1. Their facial features are constantly shifting between the features of people whose deaths they have caused, so nobody knows what they actually look like. 2. They have bees inside of them. Like… there’s some legitimate body horror at play when Dresden describes the bees. 3. The bees demand to sting people they choose, based on the person’s energy, and their venom causes the victim to gradually sink into a violent, raging madness. “Are you planning to kill me?” I am a monster. A beast. Lying about it would be pointless. “Yes.” So as you can imagine, it’s pretty rotten luck when Dresden, for the first time in his many, many years, is led to a victim and feels the need to spare her. It’s deliciously angsty from the start, and I loved watching him struggle with these conflicting feelings—does he sting the strange young girl, or let her go despite a massive potential cost to himself or even the entire town? I mean, all I’m saying is that you can’t have a good paranormal fantasy story without a little angst and self-loathing, and Dresden’s got it in spades. I’m so weary of questioning everything I see, of fighting to appear average and ordinary enough to not disturb people. Of course, Essie’s life isn’t easy, either. She sees things that aren’t really there, and the entire town—minus her grandmother and aunt—has basically written her off as a lost cause. Treatments don’t work, nobody can find a diagnosis, and did I mention it’s referred to as the family curse? It’s such a fun twist. A caveat here: since it appears to be a mental illness, there is some ableism throughout the book, and the representation could potentially be uncomfortable for certain readers. Maybe we’re here to give each other what the rest of the world can’t. The story flips perspectives between Dresden and Essie, and I honestly loved them both so very much. They’re both these great, complex characters, and I found myself rooting for them from the very beginning. There is a touch of insta-love, which is usually a huge issue for me, but… I’m as shocked as you guys are to hear me say this in a review: the chemistry between these two is so good, I didn’t even mind. Just trust me on this one. ♥ And then, this singular thought: it isn’t selfish to want more than this. Once again, Meg Kassel has blown me away with this ridiculously lovable couple, a lot of intriguing back story and suspense, and a world that is so full of Meg’s unique lore that I just couldn’t get enough. I am desperately hoping that she will write us yet another story in this world, because now that we’ve gotten to spend time with the harbingers and the beekeepers… I think it’s time the Strawmen get their book, don’t you? Content warnings for body horror, rape, sex slavery, attempted assault, pedophilia, ableism, child abuse, alcoholism (all challenged within text). Thank you so much to Entangled Teen for providing me with a finished copy in exchange for an honest review! You can find this review and more on my blog, or you can follow me on twitter, bookstagram, or facebook!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Carrie

    Keeper of the Bees by Meg Kassel is a young adult fantasy read that is part of the Black Birds of the Gallows series. Now this book is more of a companion novel than second of the series and can be read as a standalone if choosing to do so. The characters and story are different than the first book although the idea of a beekeeper was first mentioned in Black Birds of the Gallows. Dresden is a keeper of bees, cursed to follow the harbingers of death to areas that are marked for death. Inside of D Keeper of the Bees by Meg Kassel is a young adult fantasy read that is part of the Black Birds of the Gallows series. Now this book is more of a companion novel than second of the series and can be read as a standalone if choosing to do so. The characters and story are different than the first book although the idea of a beekeeper was first mentioned in Black Birds of the Gallows. Dresden is a keeper of bees, cursed to follow the harbingers of death to areas that are marked for death. Inside of Dresden's chest are the bees that he keeps and releases that when stinging release a psychosis inducing venom. The harbingers have led Dresden to a small Midwest town where he encounters Essie.  Seventeen year old Essie has never been one that has been considered normal either and is not surprised at all when she sees Dresden. Essie's only fear is that what she is seeing is even there at all since her entire life she's suffered from hallucinations and delusions. What Essie and Dresden find however is that their paths are more intertwined then they could have imagined.  Having read both books in this series I can certainly say now that they do end up being awfully creative even though when starting out I was reminded of other fantasy reads. The darker scenario of areas being marked for doom and the idea of harbingers of death and beekeepers etc is actually quite interesting. However, again we had a case of the old instalove during the opening pages which can be a turn off even with the eventual reasoning behind it. Still overall I thin the series is definitely worth the read and would recommend them.  I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley. For more reviews please visit https://carriesbookreviews.com/

  4. 5 out of 5

    Schizanthus

    I need all of the stars for this one but it feels more appropriate to say it like this: 💛🐝🖤🐝💛 I was initially denied early access to this book and I completely understood why. This is the type of book I’m supposed to want to avoid. The love between this girl and (sort of) boy is insta and as sweet as honey (sorry, I had to go there) so it makes perfect sense that a romantiphobe should steer clear. So why did I beg for it? Because I should have wanted to stay far, far away from its companion, Bla I need all of the stars for this one but it feels more appropriate to say it like this: 💛🐝🖤🐝💛 I was initially denied early access to this book and I completely understood why. This is the type of book I’m supposed to want to avoid. The love between this girl and (sort of) boy is insta and as sweet as honey (sorry, I had to go there) so it makes perfect sense that a romantiphobe should steer clear. So why did I beg for it? Because I should have wanted to stay far, far away from its companion, Black Bird of the Gallows and I really enjoyed that, so I just knew this would be the book for me, despite everything that screamed otherwise. What attracted me to Black Bird of the Gallows was intense insta cover love and I was quite shocked when I also loved the story. This time around, while another gorgeous cover drew me to it, my memory of being drawn into Angie and Reece’s story (and love) gave me the confidence that Keeper of the Bees was for me. However, I didn’t expect to love this one more! Our main characters, Essie and Dresden, are both damaged, victims of cursed lives. People either don’t even notice them at all or steer clear of them. They’re desperately lonely outcasts. Essie experiences a reality that ‘normal’ people don’t and her hallucinations cause people to fear her. Dresden is a beekeeper, feeding off peoples’ fear and condemned to wear the features of the victims of his curse. Their instalove appears doomed from the get go and although this goes against my very being to say this, I was hoping their love would find a way from their introduction. There’s something about the agony of the person they once were fighting against what their curses have transformed them into that I really connected to. Essie’s struggle to distinguish the boundaries between the reality she sees and the reality others see was heart-wrenching. The struggle of a beekeeper, being bound to an existence where over the course of centuries you’re witnessing the worst humanity has to offer with no hope in sight, no known end to your pain or isolation, broke me. While the curses of the harbingers, beekeepers and their mythology are explored in both books, the focus is different in each book. In Black Bird of the Gallows one of the main characters is a harbinger of death, whereas in this book it’s a beekeeper. I always love learning the mythology in characters’ worlds and adore the mythology of this series. Once again Meg Kassel’s writing is gorgeous and intoxicating. While the world of Black Bird mesmerised me, Keeper of the Bees made me a believer and I need more! I was delighted by Dresden’s unorthodox friendship with Michael, one of the harbingers, and I loved Stitches. Now I definitely need a companion book where a Strawman is the focus as I have to know more about these mysterious beings. Essie’s aunt was my favourite entirely human character; her ability to see beneath the curse to the girl Essie truly was made me love her and want her in my life. I know what it’s like for people to see a label or what’s on the surface and to fear or resist getting to know what lies beneath so the insights into the complexities of people, the light and the dark, captivated me. While this book could be characterised as a romance it’s so much more and it’s the so much more that had me hooked. There’s the exploration of mental illness, the murder mystery, the growing unease of an impending catastrophe, the impact of our past on our present and the underlying hope of overcoming that which seems impossible. As this is a companion, not a sequel, you could read this book first but I’d highly recommend you read both because they’re just so good! Also, if you read Black Bird of the Gallows first you’ll be rewarded with a ‘where are they now?’ segment, a fleshing out of the mythology and an appreciation of just how remarkable Essie and Dresden’s love is, along with Dresden and Michael’s friendship, in this book. I am going to provide trigger warnings for child abuse and neglect, paedophilia, attempted sexual assault, alcoholism, suicide, family violence and inappropriate treatment of people affected by suspected mental illness. I personally felt these issues were all dealt with well and in context with the overall storyline but don’t want to presume that because I wasn’t affected by any potential triggers that others won’t be. Thank you so much to NetGalley and Entangled Teen, an imprint of Entangled Publishing, LLC, for the opportunity to read this book.

  5. 5 out of 5

    D.M.

    The Black Birds of the gallows have arrived in your town. You should be scared. Legend has it, if the birds have landed, death will follow. The Beekeeper is attracted to the destruction and the Strawman only turns up if evil plays a hand. Leave town while you still have time! Essie is seventeen years old and anything but ordinary. She struggles with reality. Sometimes she sees more than is really there. She lives with her Aunt and is cursed to follow the path of her ancestors. When she meets Dre The Black Birds of the gallows have arrived in your town. You should be scared. Legend has it, if the birds have landed, death will follow. The Beekeeper is attracted to the destruction and the Strawman only turns up if evil plays a hand. Leave town while you still have time! Essie is seventeen years old and anything but ordinary. She struggles with reality. Sometimes she sees more than is really there. She lives with her Aunt and is cursed to follow the path of her ancestors. When she meets Dresden she knows he's special but how can he be real? He goes against everything she is told is normal. Dresden is a Beekeeper. He literally has a hive in his chest. The bees target people who are full of anger or hate. The bee's sting amplifies the negative emotion within its victim. Dresden accepts who he is. He carries the faces of many. The people who have died at the hand of his bees. Nobody sees him as anything more except her. Essie isn't frightened by Dresden and his Bees. She sees the beauty within. She sees someone who suffers just like herself. In a cruel world there could be someone to cherish and maybe a few wrongs can be put right. Keeper of Bees is a complex story and difficult to explain so I have tried my best to give an insight without giving anything away. This is the second book in the Black birds of the Gallows series. It can be read as a standalone, however Black bird of the Gallows is really excellent and gives background information which will help digest this story. This is a dystopian fantasy romance. It's unique, strange and mesmerising. Another great instalment to this series. 5 out of 5. *I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review. My blog tour date: September 5th 2018.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Annika

    That was... wow. I don't even know where to begin to describe this book. It was so different, unlike anything I've ever read. A Young Adult paranormal romance revolving around a faceless, cursed boy whose body contains a bee hive, who is forever condemned to feed off people's misery, the evil his bees' stings draw out of them. And a girl who's been suffering from hallucinations for years, who's been shunned by the people who should've protected her, who can't tell reality from fantasy anymore. An e That was... wow. I don't even know where to begin to describe this book. It was so different, unlike anything I've ever read. A Young Adult paranormal romance revolving around a faceless, cursed boy whose body contains a bee hive, who is forever condemned to feed off people's misery, the evil his bees' stings draw out of them. And a girl who's been suffering from hallucinations for years, who's been shunned by the people who should've protected her, who can't tell reality from fantasy anymore. An epic love story between two young people who shouldn't have a chance at love, at redemption, yet somehow they find it in one another. A slow-paced yet very entertaining read, incredible, atmospheric writing and, most importantly, so many fabulously developed characters that completely stole my heart. This was hauntingly beautiful, surprisingly creepy, weirdly humorous. And totally addicting. What a read. Color me impressed. ARC provided via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Sophie "Beware Of The Reader"

    “This book is for everyone who falls in love with the villain. This book is for everyone who doesn’t fit a mold—on the outside, or the inside, or both.” 5 “I did not expect to root for this “villain” “ stars. I wondered how Meg Kassel would make me fall for a villain! Let's face it Rafette from Black Birds of the Gallow was a true villain and a beekeeper! The secret is to make your villain human even if he is an immortal cursed to sting people into madnesd with his bees! Have him long for “This book is for everyone who falls in love with the villain. This book is for everyone who doesn’t fit a mold—on the outside, or the inside, or both.” 5 “I did not expect to root for this “villain” “ stars. I wondered how Meg Kassel would make me fall for a villain! Let's face it Rafette from Black Birds of the Gallow was a true villain and a beekeeper! The secret is to make your villain human even if he is an immortal cursed to sting people into madnesd with his bees! Have him long for a friend. Have him show remorse and regret for all the wrong that he's done. Have him wish he could save his girl and the readers with a big romantic heart like me will root for the villain! Now what is this story about? This is the story of Dresden a young fisherman born centuries ago and cursed to become a magical weapon. A war machine infecting enemies with madness with a sting of his bees. Long after magic has been eradicated some creatures like him still exist. Dresden has a fragile relationship with the bees living inside his chest. He can avoid stinging too many people if he lets them sting some. His reluctance to sting many if not necessary was the first sign of his shreds of kindness. That and his friendship with Michael a harbinger of death. Essie is a 17 years old girl afflicted by the Wickerton curse. That's how puzzled doctors have named the unusul madness plaguing many members of that family for generations. Poor Essie. She does not know what is real and what is imagined in all the things she sees. When she laughs pink bubbles escape her mouth. Not real. Her doctor has a forked tongue. Not real but... She is so lonely as no one wants to befriend someone as weird as her. She tries to be as small a burden to her aunt as she can. “A group of teen girls pass by, bent toward each other, giggling at something. It’s been years since I’d attended school. One ugly “episode” that scared some parents and teachers ended my public-school experience. Now, Aunt Bel homeschools me with the help of tutors. I look away from the girls with a pang of longing. For friends. For a sense of belonging. For that underrated state of ordinary.” Honestly you can’t help loving Essie. I double dog dare you! When Dresden and Essie will meet they won't behave in the usual expected pattern. Dresden won't sting her but feel protective. He won't focus on her madnesd but on her light, her kindness and her beauty. Essie won't be frightened by Dresden's constantly changing faces. She'll find him wonderful and handsome. “If you are a burden, I am a nightmare.” “No, Dresden. You are a dream.”   This wonderful picture of a bee has been taken by our fellow blogger Roda and can be fin on her IG account @indigo_acres_apiary Thank you Roda for allowing me to use some of your gorgeous pictures!!! Go visit her account please!   “You are the furthest thing from a monster. You are light and grace and all the things I thought I had forgotten. It’s agony for me to be near you, yet I can’t stay away.” Of course you'll have villains other than Dresden. Black souls let lose thanks to the Strawman touch. You'll have a quest to break the curses. You'll have a threat or two warranting the harbingers of death's presence in town. You will have a personal journey through doubts and madness. You'll have... Many favorite tricks marking YA Fantasy stories as epic love stories. With feather touches Megan Kassel brushes a portrait of two lonely and marginalized souls finding solace and peace in the other one. Separate they were odd; together they are luminous. Shining with hope and beauty. You can be a villain and still worthy of redemption, of love. You can be different and still be beautiful worthy of love just as you are. I discovered Meg Kassel's books through Black Birds of the Gallow who was one of my favorite reads of 2017. She has proven once again her tale telling talent. I received an ARC of this story courtesy of the Entangled Publishing on Netgalley but it had no influence whatsoever on my willing and always honest review!   I want to share some more of Roda's incredible pictures of bees! Enjoy ;-)   Have you read any of Meg Kassel's books? Thanks for reading! Sophie Find me on: Wordpress: Beware Of The Reader Facebook: Beware Of The Reader Facebook group : Beware Book Boyfriends Alert Instagram: @bewareofthereader Twitter: @BewareOffReader

  8. 4 out of 5

    Dani - Perspective of a Writer

    Check out more reviews @ Perspective of a Writer... Dresden is cursed. His chest houses a hive of bees that he can’t stop from stinging people with psychosis-inducing venom. His face is a shifting montage of all the people who have died because of those stings. And he has been this way for centuries—since he was eighteen and magic flowed through his homeland, corrupting its people. When he meets Essie, a 17-year-old girl who suffers from debilitating delusions and hallucinations. His bees want to Check out more reviews @ Perspective of a Writer... Dresden is cursed. His chest houses a hive of bees that he can’t stop from stinging people with psychosis-inducing venom. His face is a shifting montage of all the people who have died because of those stings. And he has been this way for centuries—since he was eighteen and magic flowed through his homeland, corrupting its people. When he meets Essie, a 17-year-old girl who suffers from debilitating delusions and hallucinations. His bees want to sting her on sight. But Essie doesn’t see a monster when she looks at Dresden. Risking his own life, he holds back his bees and spares her. What starts out as a simple act of mercy ends up unraveling Dresden’s solitary life and Essie’s tormented one. The short review... This is paranormal romance at its finest. I kid you not... I'm not exaggerating because this is a blog tour. I legitimately put this on my Best-of-2018 goodreads shelf and for good reason! I'm always up for mental health to twine into the stories I read and it's done to great effect here as a sort of curse that afflicts the bloodline of a family (much like mental illness can). There is this heartbreaking circle to the curses this broken pair have that begs to be explored... and Meg Kassel does that with a tight, emotional narrative that sucked me under from page one. The world building was absolutely incredible... It's our world, a normal, everyday small town, where some mega bad event is going to happen. And paranormal beings who feed off of emotions in the aftermath are gathering to wait for the disaster to hit. We get just enough about the different beings gathering to feel like this is legitimately an underbelly of our world that we flat don't know about! Dresden is totally broken down as he bonds with Essie and resists some of the laws of his condition. And Essie's world implodes just as hugely as people in her family's town react to their visitors. “This book is for everyone who falls in love with the villain. This book is for everyone who doesn’t fit a mold—on the outside, or the inside, or both.” -Meg Kassel Cover & Title grade -> A+ I wanted to read the first book, Black Birds of the Gallows, due to the cover but wondered if the cover was just too gorgeous and covering for weak writing... Well now I can admit I was probably wrong if I go off the sequel/spinoff! I LOVE and adore this cover too and it wasn't doing anything but wrapping an excellent story in even more excellent packaging... There's all kinds of wrong the cover could have taken by going really literal but that mistake wasn't made. And I just love the watercolor technique... Why should you hurry to read Keeper of the Bees too? -The Bee Keeper. GAHHHHHH! First off the portrayal of the bee keeper with literal honey producing bees in his chest was magnificent. There was honey coming up his throat and bees in his mouth... And Dresden's guilt, his rotating facial features between all of his bee-stung-victims, it cloaks him as well as constantly reminds him that he is a horror. And we learn how he came to the moment when he met Essie... I think that was important and powerful! -The Harbinger of Death. In the first book you'll learn about this being more extensively, but I didn't feel like I had missed any essential information. In Michael we get a glimpse of humanity that Dresden doesn't realize he still has and we also learn everything we need to know about how these three beings are connected. It was so natural and rang true, GAHHHH! And since they move in groups we also see how that works and helps Dresden and Essie... -The Strawman. So freakin' scary!! While not of the horror genre there is this legitimate fear of this being that you can't help but feel reading this story... It's perfect for Halloween but also so true to life! He is part of that circle of curses and yet is the Strawman evil?! Well you'll have to judge for yourself by reading Keeper of the Bees too. As a Writer... I find love to be a mega theme in books. I say love because the root of all relationships is love. Whether that's the love of a lover, or the love of a friend or the love of a family member doesn't matter one bit! And no matter how hardened you are to M/F love when its heart felt you can't help but be swept up in the emotions, the bond and the freakin' struggle to not be torn apart! We as human being know the struggle for two human beings to love one another... so we can relate no matter who we are! In Keeper of the Bees Essie and Dresden gift us with that experience. Here are two flawed people, who, through no fault of there own, are cursed... and they find each other because of something equally as bad as what they are burned with. GAH!!! It's so damn tragic and beautiful and you are rooting for them the entire time... The thing that makes Keeper of the Bees even better is that there are a slew of others that feel, express and struggle for love! A friend's love, an aunt's love and a love of hope for others who are also cursed. As a writer I admire how Meg Kassel used what many feel is an overused trope - love - and wove all sorts of different love into the story and gave us Keeper of the Bees! Keeper of the Bees takes us to the center of a tragic disaster and gives us love and hope in the midst of a struggle to save the lives of two cursed people. It's romance, friendship and family and doesn't pretend to take us on an easy journey... so much as a heart shredding one! You'll want to dive headlong into this series! ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Authenticity ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Writing Style ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Plot & Pacing ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ World Building Thanks to YA Bound Book Tours, NetGalley and Entangled Teen for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review. It has not influenced my opinions. ______________________ You can find this review and many others on my book blog @ Perspective of a Writer. See my special perspective at the bottom of my reviews under the typewriter...

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jen ♥Star-Crossed Book Blog♥

    Black Birds of the Gallows was one of my favorite books from last year! So I couldn't wait to read this since we were going to see the world from the beekeepers view. Those creatures terrified me, so I took a deep breath and dove right in. I happily found myself pulled in and I finished this book in one day. Keeper of the Bees was a mesmerizing tale filled with peril, love, heartache, redemption, evil and sacrifice. And I loved being back in this world! She raises one eyebrow, seemingly unimpre Black Birds of the Gallows was one of my favorite books from last year! So I couldn't wait to read this since we were going to see the world from the beekeepers view. Those creatures terrified me, so I took a deep breath and dove right in. I happily found myself pulled in and I finished this book in one day. Keeper of the Bees was a mesmerizing tale filled with peril, love, heartache, redemption, evil and sacrifice. And I loved being back in this world! She raises one eyebrow, seemingly unimpressed. “Are you planning to kill me ?” I am a monster . A beast. Lying about it would be pointless. “Yes.” While this book is a companion novel, it can easily be read as a standalone. Information from the previous book was seamlessly laced throughout this story and was beautifully done. There was no info dumps and it caught us up and gave us a complete understanding of the creatures and the curses. If you haven't read the previous book, the creatures in her story are so unique! They're a breath of fresh air! One day, I will say no to this girl and I will mean it. One day, I will walk away. But not today. - Dresden This time around we followed Dresden. A beekeeper. He had a hive of bees that lived in his chest. When a bee was released and stung someone, it made them even more dark and ultimately lead to their demise. The bees were only supposed to pick those that had a darkness within them. Yet when his bees picked Essie, he stopped them. Essie didn't have an ounce of darkness in her. “You’re safe,” I say again. She closes her eyes. Her breath hitches. Then she does the improbable and throws herself against me, wrapping her arms around my waist. I am paralyzed. Motionless, breathless in my first embrace in a millennium. To be touched… My eyes close as I tremble from head to toe. The pain is glorious, excruciating. The beekeepers terrified me in Black Bird of the Gallows, but Dresden easily captured a piece of my heart. He was one of my favorite things about this book, and as the story unfolded Dresden became everything for me. He was tortured from having to be this monster for so many hundreds of years. And my heart broke for him that he didn't have a choice over what him and his bees had to do. Until he met Essie, and he decided to spare her life. I wanted Dresden to get his happily ever after, especially since we kept getting glimpses of his humanity, heart and the boy he used to be. I lay a hand on his chest, very gently. Barely touching. It’s buzzy and warm with all those bees in there. He jerks at my touch and winces, but his hand brushes my thigh, just above the knee, then tentatively settles there. His gaze drops to my mouth. “Essie.” He breathes my name. He’s close. The air between us zings, honey-scented and charged. “You are the furthest thing from a monster. You are light and grace and all the things I thought I had forgotten. It’s agony for me to be near you, yet I can’t stay away.” Essie was unlike any character I have ever met. She was a sweet girl who loved her family but she suffered from some type of mental illness. Her hallucinations felt real and were filled with the stuff nightmares could be made of. She didn't fit into any type of diagnosis and it was such a huge mystery for why she was suffering. But from the moment she met Dresden, her whole world changed. He quieted the hallucinations and she wasn't afraid of his ever changing face. Or that he had a hive of bees in his chest. Essie was brave, sweet, smart and had the hugest heart ever but I was never able to connect to her. I was so sad that I wasn't able to feel her emotions. I have someone to live for. Someone to fight for. Impossibly, someone who cares about me. It makes me wonder what else is possible. - Dresden Dresden and Essie were hope and heartbreak all swirled together. They both had so much going against them, and friendship and normalcy was something that felt unattainable to them. But together they started to form a tentative friendship. And the moments they were around each other they actually felt normal. It looked like they finally had a chance for happiness, redemption and love. Yet Dresden would eventually be leaving and with Essie's town being marked, there was no guarantee that she would survive it. “Dresden, I don’t want you to go.” It’s all I can say. It’s all I have left. “And I would give anything to stay,” he rasps. “But I want you to live, more.” His eyes close, and he disintegrates into a heavy swarm of bees. It streams through the window and is swallowed by the night. Just like her other book, I found myself enraptured when the action took place. Since Essie's town was marked, something catastrophic was going to happen. And on top of that, there was a mystery within the pages. Murders kept happening and Essie found herself in the middle of it all. It was fun watching the twists and the turns and I didn't figure out what was truly happening till 3/4s of the way into this book. I enjoyed putting it all together! “You… are…” I slide my fingers into her hair, letting thick strands slide between my fingers. “Worth a…thousand… deaths.” Essie’s hand covers mine. “And you’re worth a lifetime of delusions.” When I closed that last page I realized there is still so many stories this world can tell. And I'm hoping and keeping my fingers crossed that there's going to be more, especially so I can get a peak of these characters since the book ended with a hfn. I'd love to step back into this twisted world. I'm not ready to say goodbye to the Harbingers, Beekeepers, Strawmen and even the regular people who give these characters hope, a chance at normalcy and true love. Fingers crossed! PS We got to see our favorites from Black Birds of the Gallows, Reece and Angie. I loved seeing them together, I loved seeing their happiness of being together. It made my heart so happy! *I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book, provided by the publisher. All thoughts and opinions are my own.* For more of my reviews, please visit:

  10. 5 out of 5

    Sofii♡ (A Book. A Thought.)

    *I want to thank Entangled Teen and NetGalley for providing me with this copy in exchange for an honest review* First I must mention how beautiful both covers are, they look amazing together, I just love them. Going to the important thing, I ADORE this book, there is something so atmospheric and unique in it, it's a great companion and although you can read it very well as stand-alone, I personally recommend reading them in order, to go into this one with more knowledge about what the plot is abo *I want to thank Entangled Teen and NetGalley for providing me with this copy in exchange for an honest review* First I must mention how beautiful both covers are, they look amazing together, I just love them. Going to the important thing, I ADORE this book, there is something so atmospheric and unique in it, it's a great companion and although you can read it very well as stand-alone, I personally recommend reading them in order, to go into this one with more knowledge about what the plot is about. 4/5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ You can find this one and more of my reviews on my blog A Book. A Thought. In Keeper of the Bees we know Dresden, he's a Beekeeper, this actually means that he was a normal man until a curse fell on him, a curse that has turned him into a human honeycomb and is condemned to satisfy his hungry bees while he must live forever with the faces of all the people he has killed, one day his way is crossed with Essie's, a mortal girl who usually sees things that aren't really there due to a family curse that has affected her family for generations, so when she sees him, Essie doesn't seem to fear him like everyone else does, and this disconcerts Dresden, making him feel things that he thought was incapable of feeling again. I really enjoyed the way the story is told, we see everything from both the Dresden and Essie points of view and it's super fun to jump from one chapter to another, I love how the author has handled that aspect. So easy and quick to read, it's really a pleasure to have read about these world with supernatural beings as unique as Beekeepers and Harbingers, I think I've already mentioned it in my previous review, but I find something so original in using animals to tell sinister stories about curses, I love that, because although it sounds weird for those who haven't read it yet, I assure you that it works perfectlly and for us who have already seen everything in the paranormal genre, these books take a big turn and gives you something new and fresh for enjoy and discover Dresden's a great main character, as a big fan of villains in main roles, he has conquered me from the first moment. Also, although I had already read about Beekeepers in the previous book, I had never done it in such a deep and personal way, besides this story gives you a new perspective on them, since I hated them in the first book it's surprising to be able to feel empathy for one of them. And although the plot focuses on them, I like to see that there's also a great Harbingers participation, because I love these beings and see their interactions with Dresden was very curious and surprising to me, I liked a lot. There's also something very dark and melancholy about Dresden personality and this makes the book has a very strong atmosphere, you'll see that you can feel in the same place and even understand many of his actions. I liked Essie, although I'm not really crazy about her, I like how she faces her drama, the fact of living with what she supposes is a kind of illness that makes her see terrifying things that really aren't there, it must be so difficult and even so, she takes it in a very positive way. Her character individually doesn't managed to convince me, but I still loved the scenes she shares with Dresden because as a couple, I simply love them. Speaking a bit about the romance because I know it's something that you're worried about sometimes, in this book I think there's some insta-love, they quickly fall in love with each other, which is quite classic in the genre, but still, this doesn't mean that the romance is not good, because it is, SO GOOD, I loved the relationship and the way it grows , there's a lot of "Beauty and the Beast" happening here and love that, it's very magical. I enjoyed a lot especially of the dialogues between the characters, which always seemed very honest I need to repeat that this is a very atmospheric book, reading it has made me feel as if I would be seeing everything as in a television series or something, which always means something good. I would compare it with TVD or Supernatural, because it really gave me that kind of vibes. I'm all for the catastrophes things, this would sound a bit weird lol, but I couldn't wait to know what would happen, if you haven't read the previous book, you probably don't understand what I'm talking about and it would be incredible that you jump to these books knowing little because I know you'll be surprised, the only thing you need to know is that a big catastrophe will always happen where these paranormal beings appear, and this gives me a lot of intrigue. I'm a big fan of the idea I highly recommend this book, especially if you like paranormal books and want to read something new, I know you'll not regret it. This is a unique plot that I'm sure you've never read before, also if you like dark plots, a little creepy vibes and atmospheric stories, yoo'll love this one. Right now I just want to re-read BBotG, I don't know why, but I think I'm not ready to leave this concept yet lol. So UNIQUE

  11. 4 out of 5

    Misty

    Keeper of the Bees has one of the more intriguing (and by intriguing I mean, potentially really, really odd) premises of any book synopsis I’d read this year, which in Misty-world basically translates to, ‘I need to read this and see.’ I needed to know if its oddness would be carried off, or would overwhelm the story; whether it’d be a magical realist bit of amazingness, or an absolute hot mess. Fortunately, it was the former. Keeper of the Bees starts weird and stays weird, but it is that deft, Keeper of the Bees has one of the more intriguing (and by intriguing I mean, potentially really, really odd) premises of any book synopsis I’d read this year, which in Misty-world basically translates to, ‘I need to read this and see.’ I needed to know if its oddness would be carried off, or would overwhelm the story; whether it’d be a magical realist bit of amazingness, or an absolute hot mess. Fortunately, it was the former. Keeper of the Bees starts weird and stays weird, but it is that deft, writerly weirdness that works. From nearly the first moment, I was enthralled and half in love (with the characters, the world, the history, the backstory). It at once feels like a grand, sweeping saga and a small town quirky romance: an epic told on a small scale. If you’re familiar with my tastes, you’ll know these are both things I love – anything with the words epic, saga, quirky or ‘small town’ are pretty sure to end up on my TBR (thank you, lists (and lists) of buzzwords). This didn’t disappoint on any of those levels. It does have a bit of that isolated, small town feel, and it does have the weight of centuries-spanning history at its back, and the two meld together beautifully. Aside from the exceptionally well-done weirdness, the real strength of the story is in its characters.  Dresden, the male MC, reads like the desert in a rainstorm, coming to life again after a century of drought; he’s old and drained and colorless and harsh, until something happens to reawaken him, who he is and who he was, little by little. His interactions with others like him are by turns intriguing, creepy and sweet, and the whole thing gives a feel that there is even more backstory in the author’s mind than we are being given on the page (which – assuming enough is given on the page – is a hallmark of good writing for me; I like an author who knows her world). The female lead, Essie, feels fresh and wholesome in the least saccharine way. It may concern people to hear a book that deals heavily with mental illness be described as “quirky,” but where her family history and her dealings with mental illness could feel exploitative or cheap, they instead feel like simply a part of her. There are oddities, there is at times almost a whimsical nature to her illness and her hallucinations, but it’s never treated as a throwaway joke, and that, I think, makes all the difference. The duality of what is actually going on and what she sees, and her struggle to distinguish the two, works really well as a device to heighten the tension, and to give it a magical realist bent, but it never feels as if that is the sole purpose of her illness. She’s not just sick-as-a-plot-point, and it’s never presented as if, she’d be really super duper grand what-a-girl… if only she weren’t so crazy. Instead, she feels fully realized and dynamic, with an interesting personality independent of the often-bizarre landscape of her mental illness. And of course, the romance is sweet and rootforable, with the story as a whole having a tension that leaves you wondering if everything could ever possibly come out alright in the end. Highly recommended for fans of A. S. King, Sarah Addison Allen, and those with similar lists of buzzwords to my own. Content warning:  mental illness, self-harm, violence, assault. And lots of bees, if that’s not your thing Disclosure: I received a copy of this from the publisher for review consideration. This does not change my thoughts or review in any way. Affiliate links are used in this post. Thanks for helping support this blog!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Wendy Higgins

    Dark, haunting, unique, beautiful, sweet YA paranormal romance.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Alexandra

    Review can be found on *Milky Way of Books* Ahh how I missed Meg Kassel's writing! "Black Bird of Gallows" was a very interesting, scary and emotional read and learning that there was another book tied into this larger world I decided to read it. And I concluded that Dresden's curse was far worse than Reece's. Being a beekeeper means that inside your body you house thousand of magic-like bees which if they sting you will amplify the evil in you and in the end you'll do something evil. Also, Dresd Review can be found on *Milky Way of Books* Ahh how I missed Meg Kassel's writing! "Black Bird of Gallows" was a very interesting, scary and emotional read and learning that there was another book tied into this larger world I decided to read it. And I concluded that Dresden's curse was far worse than Reece's. Being a beekeeper means that inside your body you house thousand of magic-like bees which if they sting you will amplify the evil in you and in the end you'll do something evil. Also, Dresden takes in the face of the bees' victims and wears them in an ever-fluid face which kind of reminded me of the Slenderman. *shudders* When he arrives in a new town he meets Essie, a girl who has hallucinations, and know that her whole family tree is cursed, yet when she meets Dresden, she can see him truly and not the image he gives to the other mortals. The story is very engaging, dark and full of romance which is not rushed and feels realistic with more to come after the book's end. I loved the came appearances and I also wonder if the Strawman, another character, will get his own story. Overall, this is a very well written story with a plot that doesn't go away easily.

  14. 5 out of 5

    ✨ Kaira ✨

    The tale revolves around a boy who was cursed to murder people with bees that livea inside him for centuries, and a beautiful young girl whose insanity runs in the family. The very instant I read the synopsis of this book, I was intrigued and so I read it. Despite how short it is, I can tell the events are well-written, not rushed. The overall plot somehow reminds me of a Grimm Brother's story, I don't know. I felt like if one of the Grimm Brother's is still alive, he would totally write one lik The tale revolves around a boy who was cursed to murder people with bees that livea inside him for centuries, and a beautiful young girl whose insanity runs in the family. The very instant I read the synopsis of this book, I was intrigued and so I read it. Despite how short it is, I can tell the events are well-written, not rushed. The overall plot somehow reminds me of a Grimm Brother's story, I don't know. I felt like if one of the Grimm Brother's is still alive, he would totally write one like this. What I also like about this was the beginning, it immediately caught my attention. There are no introductions anymore or waking up in the morning like a typical ya book, the author just went straight to the most awaited part which is them, meeting one another. The plot was somewhere between amazing and okay, sure, there are its own twists and turns but it somehow failed to really captured my attention simply because I've read so many "plot twist" like this. Nevertheless, minus the "plot twist", I'll say I do love the plot. The world-building was amazing, not too fsst and not to slow. Speaking of pacing, the story is fast-paced which is a good thing. Regarding the characters, if I have to be completely honest, I was a bit disappointed with the female protagonist because I thought she'll have incredible super power and not just a thing with her insanity. Nevertheless, with the male protagonist, I find him just okay. I mean, sure, he's sweet and all that but there's just something missing that I guess the author forgot to fill up. All in all, these two make an amazing protaginist, sure, they're not perfect but at least they didn't stress me up so much. Never did they showed sign of stupidity that makes me wanna roll my eyes heavenwards all day. I csn tell the author made the fenale protagonist extremely kind to avoid complications by the time the "plot twist" was revealed. The writing style is amazing, I have to tell you that. Not too descriptive yet has an ability to make readers feel as if they're in the very story. About the romance, to be honest, one of the reason why I decided to give this one a shot is because of its romance. I have a thing for insane protagonist pairing up with either human or someone who possess strange super powers. However, as I read along, it is somewhere beetween okay and great. Sure, the story itself focused on the romnace but it focused too much on that to the fact I slowly lost interest since I don't see any development in their relwtionship. Aside from the "plot twist", my only complain would be the setting. I think it would be far creepier if and only if the story was set back in the 1800s or so. I just don't feel anytjing that makes the hairs on my back stand up with 21st century. Another thing, even though I stated a while ago I only have complain, I wish the author told us more about the experiment the male protagonist went through. What his sufferings are or whatsoever. Overall, will I ever read another of the author's work? Absolutely for I do love plots like this. How I wish she'll just lengthen the story more and elaborate it deeper.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Mogsy (MMOGC)

    3.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum https://bibliosanctum.com/2018/09/23/... Keeper of the Bees has all the makings of a popular YA modern fairy tale—cursed protagonists, magical villains, and a romance for the ages. It has even been described as a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, though personally I find that comparison to be a bit of a stretch, and, to be honest, a disservice to the world of this book, considering how unique it is. The story is told from the perspective of two teens: one who h 3.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum https://bibliosanctum.com/2018/09/23/... Keeper of the Bees has all the makings of a popular YA modern fairy tale—cursed protagonists, magical villains, and a romance for the ages. It has even been described as a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, though personally I find that comparison to be a bit of a stretch, and, to be honest, a disservice to the world of this book, considering how unique it is. The story is told from the perspective of two teens: one who has been wandering the earth since time immemorial, cursed with a hive full of bees in his chest, and the other is from a small town where everyone knows her name, but only because it is said her entire family line is cursed with madness. Dresden, who was born in a faraway place long ago, was eighteen when he was captured by a wicked queen and turned into a monster whose insides crawl with bees that can cause psychosis and violent tendencies when they sting you. With his real visage having been lost to the centuries, his face now is an ever-shifting composite of all the people whom his bees have stung—all dead now because of him. His only consolation is knowing that he goes only where the Harbingers go, since where the crow shifters gather, death and destruction will soon follow. At the very least, his stings will only affect those whose days are numbered anyway. But then came Essie. Dresden ends up following the Harbingers’ trail to a town in Missouri where something bad is about to happen, for the crows are never wrong. There, he meets a girl who can not only see through his shifting features when his magic usually keeps others’ attention off him, she also doesn’t seem to be afraid. In fact, she doesn’t seem at all bothered by what he is, or that a swarm of angry buzzing bees that live inside his chest. But then she confesses that she sees strange things every day, because she is Essie Wickerton, and like many members of her family, she is afflicted with a mysterious condition that makes her suffer hallucinations. She ends up being quite surprised that Dresden is real. A special bond forms between them, which eventually deepens into something more. But Dresden, who doesn’t always feel in control of his bees, fears he will bring harm to the first person he has ever loved since becoming a beekeeper, and Essie, whose condition is worsening by the day, knows that she is one wrong move away from being committed involuntarily into a psychiatric hospital. Meanwhile, there is a ruthless killer in town, creating panic in this once peaceful community, and as the Harbingers warn, a big disaster is still looming on the horizon. Keeper of the Bees is the second novel of the Black Birds of the Gallows sequence, though I was happy to learn it stands alone because I have not yet read the first one. This book takes place in a new setting and follows new characters, with Meg Kassel providing newcomers with a great rundown of her lush and imaginative world so you can slip right in without feeling like you missed a beat. As a matter of fact, the incredible world-building was the first thing that caught my attention. After all, how can you read the author’s concept of “beekeepers” and not be intrigued? The idea of a supernatural being with a hive of bees in the hollowed-out cavity where his insides use to be is pretty grotesque…but also fascinating. And we haven’t even gotten to the best part. The sting of a beekeeper’s bees contain venom that can trigger the dark instincts of already broken individuals, causing them to kill themselves or others. This effect often goes hand in hand with the Harbingers, who are also former subjects of the twisted reign that created all these magical beings. They can never truly die, and instead they are resurrected into crows, a form that they will live in for a time before assuming their human shape again, but as children. Then they grow, and the cycle starts over, forever trapping the poor soul in this cruel limbo. The Harbingers harvest the energies of the dying, so wherever you find Dresden, there is usually also one or two of these crow-shifters around, feeding off the mayhem left by his bee sting victims. All this is just scratching the surface. There are also the Strawmen, watchers of immense power that strike fear into the hearts of both Harbingers and beekeepers. They are just one example of the many things in this book that I wish we had more time to explore, but as you can see, there is a lot of potential here and simply too much of the “weird and wonderful” to cover. That is why on some level, I think the blurb likening this book to Beauty and the Beast was unnecessary, and even hurts it to some extent, because being so strongly associated with a known fairy tale like that inevitably creates expectations, when the reality is that Keeper of the Bees can stand on its own without the help of any preconceptions. Its world is just SO unique, truly unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. That said, the world-building was perhaps this novel’s greatest strength, and thank goodness for that, because it was probably the one thing that helped bolster my interest in the admittedly humdrum YA romance plot. The only reason I’m not blasting it right now for insta-love is because there was so much else going on in the world-building which effectively masked the fact that Dresden and Essie barely knew each other before advancing to the “I’ll move worlds for you” stage in their relationship. Still, the insta-love was there, just not as obvious in this case. Other aspects of the plot were also pretty predictable, and cliched. Essie herself felt like a throwback to the classic fantasy damsels-in-distress who needed to be saved, and that bothered me a lot more than I thought it would. On the one hand, I applaud Kassel for attempting to create such an interesting female protagonist, but on the other, in making Essie’s condition so debilitating, the author might have gone a little overboard with it and made her character too helpless. All told, Keeper of the Bees is a novel with incredible strengths in some areas, and disappointments in others. The pros include an amazingly complex world full of strange and darkly whimsical creatures and magic, brought to life by Meg Kassel’s rich prose. The superb world-building and the unique ideas found here are probably worth the price of admission alone. However, there are also the cons, with the hokey YA love story and archetypal characters making up the worst of it, though thankfully many of their negative effects are offset by the book’s strengths. I would still happily read more by the author, especially more of this series, if it means seeing more of her stunning world-building at work.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Wendy F

    First of all, how stunning is that cover?! I didn’t read Black Bird of the Gallows -yet. Still, I couldn’t resist requesting Keeper of the Bees on just the cover art alone. I’m not usually someone in love with watercolor, but in this case it resonates with me. There’s a dreamy quality about the cover that matches the horror of Dresden and the delusions of Essie. I love it so much. Now, onto the story itself. I wasn’t really sure what I got myself into when I started reading. Keeper of the Bees ha First of all, how stunning is that cover?! I didn’t read Black Bird of the Gallows -yet. Still, I couldn’t resist requesting Keeper of the Bees on just the cover art alone. I’m not usually someone in love with watercolor, but in this case it resonates with me. There’s a dreamy quality about the cover that matches the horror of Dresden and the delusions of Essie. I love it so much. Now, onto the story itself. I wasn’t really sure what I got myself into when I started reading. Keeper of the Bees has a very strange narration. It’s both stunted and flowing, and I’m not sure how the author even managed to make those two adjectives work in the same novel. It did work though. The prose made the story standout, and feel almost classical. It just fed the beauty of the characters, and despite both of their curses they were both emotionally beautiful. It’s odd to think of a character like Dresden as beautiful. He’s a real life monster who, at the start of Keeper of the Bees, has become jaded after centuries of being cursed as a beekeeper. He stopped caring about who his bees sting, and the destruction those poisoned with madness leave in their wake. Dresden is not a murderer, he just provides the fuel to push those who are evil over the edge. It isn’t until he gets to know Essie he begins to care again. I liked Dresden so much. I admit, I’ve always had a thing for brooders, but Dresden has some real reasons to brood. He was stolen, cursed, and has walked among massacres for centuries. He’s earned the right to walk under a dark cloud. What I like even more was how he set the cloud aside once he met Essie and forged a new connection with her. Essie was so original too. I hate to say I loved her curse, because it was awful. What I loved was how the author described Essie’s hallucinations. The pink bubbles that float out of her mouth when she laughs was almost a perfect way to describe the light inside Essie. I also loved how much I cared about her, even knowing she was an unreliable narrator. Due to Essie seeing things that aren’t real, we’re left not knowing if what she sees is something we should remember. It definitely made for a more interesting plot, and it also kept me from solving the serial killer mystery. I really liked being fooled. I think the only reason I’m not giving Keeper of the Bees 5 stars was because of the romance. There were moments I was hooked by their relationship, especially with how fragile Essie felt paired with the ancientness of Dresden. However there were also moments when I was dissatisfied. It was instalove, but it was unhurried. Maybe my issue was I wanted more relationship closure and I didn’t get that. I think maybe we needed an epilogue. I needed more of a commitment in the end. Time to see Dresden and Essie after the dust settled. Maybe it’ll come in another book. I know I want Michael’s story next. And, I can’t wait to go back and read Black Bird of the Gallows. The lore in this series is spectacular. I’m hooked. Thank you to the publisher for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review. Like this review? Read more like it on Birdie Bookworm!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Kristen Burns

    3.5 Stars Review: *I received an ecopy of this book via YA Bound Book Tours. This has not influenced my review.* It was actually the premise for this book that got me interested in this series. Supernatural beings with faces that constantly change to that of their many victims and chests full of bees that cause psychosis? Now that is different, and totally intriguing. Upon reading the first book, I definitely thought the beekeepers were interesting, and getting the POV of one this time made it even 3.5 Stars Review: *I received an ecopy of this book via YA Bound Book Tours. This has not influenced my review.* It was actually the premise for this book that got me interested in this series. Supernatural beings with faces that constantly change to that of their many victims and chests full of bees that cause psychosis? Now that is different, and totally intriguing. Upon reading the first book, I definitely thought the beekeepers were interesting, and getting the POV of one this time made it even better. I loved all the stuff about the bees roiling in his chest, climbing up his throat, etc. It was creepy-weird, but also cool. And it was interesting to learn more about their abilities, like bursting into a swarm of bees and the way their faces change more and their bees get more chaotic when they get emotional. It was also cool to learn more about the magic in general in this world, including some backstory about how the harbingers and beekeepers came to be. There were also some encounters with a strawman, something we didn't get to see in the first book. Another good thing was the romance. Sometimes the "old immortal dating a teenager" thing can feel unrealistic, but, in this case, it felt believable. It was still kind of instalove-y, but that felt believable enough that it didn't bother me, especially from Dresden's side of things. And I was happy with how healthy things felt in the end. I did feel the book was slow though, and the POVs lacked unique voices. I felt for the characters and enjoyed reading about them, but they just didn't really stand out to me. Other readers may easily connect to them more though. The last thing I want to talk about is Essie's delusions and hallucinations. One thing bothered me a bit, which was that *SPOILER* (view spoiler)[the symptoms turned out to have a supernatural cause and were magically cured in the end. To be fair, I think it was always referred to as a curse rather than a mental illness, but I still wanted to point it out because magical cures can inadvertently reinforce the misconception that illness in real life isn't real or can also be easily fixed. (hide spoiler)] *END SPOILER* That being said, it seemed like a lot was taken into consideration. The book touched on not just symptoms but also Essie's feelings, how it affected her life, and how it affected the life of her aunt who cared for her. And there was one positive moment of realization about her worth near the end that made me happy. However, I will say that I do not have experience with these symptoms, so someone who does would be better suited to discuss this aspect. Overall, I loved the unique premise of this book, and it was cool getting to learn more about some of the different magic and supernatural beings in this world! Original Review @ Metaphors and Moonlight

  18. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Mandina

    Well, I haven't read the first book in this series, so was a little leery of reading this one, but my worries were all for nothing. This is more of a companion novel I guess, so I wasn't missing any knowledge that would keep me from enjoying this one. For me, the story started out a little weird. I was unsure just how I would feel about the characters, if I would be able to get into the story if they were too way out there. But it didn't take long before I was sucked into the story, needing to fi Well, I haven't read the first book in this series, so was a little leery of reading this one, but my worries were all for nothing. This is more of a companion novel I guess, so I wasn't missing any knowledge that would keep me from enjoying this one. For me, the story started out a little weird. I was unsure just how I would feel about the characters, if I would be able to get into the story if they were too way out there. But it didn't take long before I was sucked into the story, needing to figure out just what was going on, who all these paranormal characters were, and just what exactly their role in the story was going to be. Dresden of course sounded pretty creepy at first, as a Beekeeper, having bees that came out of his mouth, as well as the fact that he could change from a human form into a swarm of bees to travel. The Harbingers seemed not quite so creepy, I mean, crows could be a little bit, but nothing like bees would be in my opinion. And then there was the Strawman. Yeah, that would definitely be creepy. While up until now, and most of the time still, for Essie, all of these people didn't seem that far out of the normal compared to things she saw all the time. You see her family suffered from a curse that caused them to all kind of go a little crazy. And as the story goes along, it seems that maybe not only does someone want to kill off the rest of the family members to end the long line of the curse, but at first to even try to blame it on Essie. There were a lot of twists and turns, some things I kind of had an inkling about as I read, and was pleased to see that I had kind of guessed correctly. Other things were total surprises, and I enjoyed being entertained with a new detail I couldn't come up with on my own. I'll have to find time to go back and read the first book, as well as the e-novella that is now available. This is a series that I feel would be good to have available in my school library, and the copy I got to read for this tour is one that I will donate to my school library for sure.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Courtney

    Meg Kassel has another smashing hit on her hands!! This is a companion novel to Black Bird of the Gallows. They can be read separately and not in order and I loved each of these book equally as they very unique in their stories. Keeper of the Bees is a YA fantasy novel about Dresden who is cursed as a beekeeper and Essie who is bound with her own curse. As a beekeeper, his life curse is too infect those who have been marked with a bee sting and then once they pass, he takes on their face - sounds c Meg Kassel has another smashing hit on her hands!! This is a companion novel to Black Bird of the Gallows. They can be read separately and not in order and I loved each of these book equally as they very unique in their stories. Keeper of the Bees is a YA fantasy novel about Dresden who is cursed as a beekeeper and Essie who is bound with her own curse. As a beekeeper, his life curse is too infect those who have been marked with a bee sting and then once they pass, he takes on their face - sounds creepy but it is quite interesting. Essie's curse is one that has been passed down through he family for generations. And it's only considered a curse because it a condition only affects select members within her family. I love the whole vibe of this book - fantasy and mystery with a bit of romance tied in. The whole aspect of how Essie's family curse began and what has happened over the decades with them is very interesting and how Dresden plays into it all makes for quite the entertaining read. The characters, the writing and the the mystery of what is going on in the town; how the Harbingers, Strawman and Beekeepers play into everything - it's ever element playing their intricate part to make up a this amazing fairy tale. I couldn't stop reading this book. Meg has definitely made a name for herself in the YA fantasy genre an I cannot wait to see what she brings us next!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Mandy

    Like a really really really high three crowns??? There was just something so captivating about this book that I wanted both this three and four crown mix. There were a lot of really good things about this book, and then there were the cheesy things that would pop up and make me stop and go omg, but we were doing so well. But overall, I really enjoyed it, and it was such a different, quirky book that I do recommend putting it on your TBRs if you're looking for something extra out of the ordinary. Like a really really really high three crowns??? There was just something so captivating about this book that I wanted both this three and four crown mix. There were a lot of really good things about this book, and then there were the cheesy things that would pop up and make me stop and go omg, but we were doing so well. But overall, I really enjoyed it, and it was such a different, quirky book that I do recommend putting it on your TBRs if you're looking for something extra out of the ordinary. The main thing that I loved loved loveddddddddddd was our main character, Essie. Omigosh, there are not enough crowns for her. I loved being in her voice. I want a million books about her. She is Luna Lovegood fighting of bees that make you crazy and a Strawman with a Scarecrow face. She kicked so much butt, and I was hereeeeeeeeeeeee for everything. As you might have guessed, Essie is a bit of a quirky MC with the Luna Lovegood reference. She is part of the Wickerton family who is cursed and plagued by mental health issues. She seems thing out of the ordinary (like her aunt's hair smoking on fire or her therapist having a forked tongue) and she can't decipher what is real and not real. Since I personally don't have these struggles, I can't confirm accuracy, but it felt like a very well done characterization. Kassel always showcased the benefits and drawbacks of having this illness, the depth that it brings to your friends and family, and the emotions that we all would go through. It felt real and it felt emotinal and Essie was such a pillar of deep emotional and mental strength. The way she saw the world was so much love for me, and it felt like a dream to be in her head. I give Kassel a millionnnnnnnnnnnnn props for creating her and ugh, can we just have a million books with her as the protag? Dresden is our other main character who is a "beekeeper." Basically he has a lot of bees living inside him and once he lets the bees out, they sting people, turning their brains who already had darkness in them into full on insanity. I liked him well enough, but he really just had protective vibe on and he was forever in the angsty, broodiness zone. I wanted a bit more to him, since Essie was so wonderful. Also, their first interaction will have me forever crying because it was just so brilliant. Dresden comes up to sting/eventually kill Essie and she's like, oh, you're here to kill me? Kk, cool, I like your face. It was so brilliant, and totally had me going, wait, what is this book, I NEED TO DEVOUR IT. Speaking of plot/concepts, this is a...I wouldn't say a sequel but more of a companion book to another book called Black Bird of the Gallows. I did read the first one, but truthfully, I don't remember much of it other than there were black birds, bees, and harbringers of death. So, I didn't remember too much of the world, but I still managed to dive into this one easily and perfectly. Seriously, Kassel did such a good job of introducing us to the concepts in a creative and easy manner that was never info dumpy or OMG, GIRL, WHY DON'T YOU REMEMBER THE FIRST BOOK??? GET IT TOGETHER. And the concept was just soooooooooooooooooo interesting. I don't know how Kassel ever came up with it other than totally taking a wayyyyyyy different perspective to the birds and the bees conversation, but it's just so unique. I was like, omg, that's cool. Wait, no, omg, that's cool. Everything read like a mix of a light horror meets great fantasy in a contemporary setting. Trust me, you want this on your fall TBRs. The cheese was the only thing that got me not giving it the fullllllllllll crowns. I mean, the romance happened so fast and so furious and so deeply that I was just like, but wait, what? It was the classic immortal guy having a few moments of interaction and needing to change his entire life around her. I just wanted something slower and more organic but I mean, I get the necessity to move it along but still. And things getting so deeply with "I Love You" after four chapters??? And there were a few other things that had me with the cheese. The mystery was intriguing as well. I picked up on who it might be, but it wasn't into late late into the story. Overall, this was such a different book, and it's really enjoyable. There were a few things that kept me from loving it including some cheese and cliches, but I really recommend putting it on your TBRs. I gave me one of my new favorite main characters, and it has a perfect fall setting. I'm going to put 3.5 crowns and a Jasmine rating for now!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Meigan

    Black Bird of the Gallows was one of my favorite books of 2017, and I absolutely loved the various mythologies used and the curses involved. The harbingers were so creative and interesting, but the Beekeeper was hands-down my absolutely favorite. Creepy, yet tortured, Rafette the Beekeeper in BBotG was a prominent character, but I wanted to know more about him, his curse, his tortured outlook on life and while the Beekeeper in Keeper of the Bees isn’t Rafette, I still got the deeper glimpse into Black Bird of the Gallows was one of my favorite books of 2017, and I absolutely loved the various mythologies used and the curses involved. The harbingers were so creative and interesting, but the Beekeeper was hands-down my absolutely favorite. Creepy, yet tortured, Rafette the Beekeeper in BBotG was a prominent character, but I wanted to know more about him, his curse, his tortured outlook on life and while the Beekeeper in Keeper of the Bees isn’t Rafette, I still got the deeper glimpse into the curse that I was looking for. Keeper of the Bees introduces Dresden, another man afflicted with the curse, who finds himself in rural Missouri after following the harbingers, who can sense impending disaster. When he meets Essie, a girl filled with pain and fear, he doesn’t know what to make of her. His bees are notoriously drawn to people like Essie, but even they sense something is different about her. Faced with the unlikeliest of circumstances, Dresden is now grappling with his humanity which is all by gone after a century or two. Could he be falling in love with Essie? Is such a thing possible for a creature like him? And most importantly, can someone like Essie, who has a sort of curse herself, see herself with someone like Dresden? Where the curses and mythology were my favorite aspect in Black Bird, this time around it was definitely the characters. I absolutely adored both Dresden and Essie, and I loved the vulnerabilities they both had. Essie has spent a lifetime living with what everyone suspects is deep-rooted mental illness that’s been passed down for generations, and her daily struggles with trying to separate reality from hallucinations was certainly heartbreaking and palpably painful. On the flip side, Dresden is fighting his own battle with trying to find the humanity he lost so many years ago. Living as a cursed monster for so many years has taken its toll and he doesn’t know if he can be human again, or even if he should even try. They both have their separate issues to work through, and trying to adjust to having feelings for one another adds and entirely different level of complexity to their already complex selves. While Keeper of the Bees introduced a whole new set of characters in an entirely different setting, I was happy to see many of the same elements incorporated into this new story. And of course, there are several nods to the beloved characters from Black Bird of the Gallows, and that definitely helped tie the two together. But Keeper is a companion novel, and it’s not required to read the first one prior to this, new readers should have no trouble keeping up with events (but I would still say read Black Bird of the Gallows first because I loved it so much!). Bottom line — Keeper of the Bees was such an enjoyable tale with dynamic characters, a lovely romance involving a villain, and such a unique premise involving interesting (and creepy) curses. Highly recommended, and I can’t wait to see what Kassel brings us in future books. *eARC received via NetGalley.

  22. 5 out of 5

    ♠ Tabi ♠

    went ahead and pre-ordered this because it reminds me of a character from Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children that I adored and thus got 2% page time

  23. 4 out of 5

    Ankita Singh

    Keeper of The Bees was a beautiful, sweet story, and I totally fell in love with it.  Dresden and Essie were such complicated yet beautiful characters. It was fun to watch the story unfold from both of their perspectives.  I especially loved how the author wrote Essie's point of view. The bubbles, the snake-like tongue. It was all so believable. It was hard to say whether Essie was imagining something or whether it was real.  I loved the fact that the story did not stretch into a sequel. It was sho Keeper of The Bees was a beautiful, sweet story, and I totally fell in love with it.  Dresden and Essie were such complicated yet beautiful characters. It was fun to watch the story unfold from both of their perspectives.  I especially loved how the author wrote Essie's point of view. The bubbles, the snake-like tongue. It was all so believable. It was hard to say whether Essie was imagining something or whether it was real.  I loved the fact that the story did not stretch into a sequel. It was short, sweet and beautiful as it is.  Keeper Of The Bees is as beautiful as its cover, and I recommend you to check it out!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Kayla

    I got sent this book in exchange for a honest review, all my opinions are my own and thank you so much to the publishers for sending me this book! Previous books in the series: Black Bird of the Gallows - ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Note: The books in this series are companion to eachother. So you can read them individually or as a series. In this book we follow Dresden and his body is a bee hive. The bees come out from his body and sting inducing deadly venom into people's bodies making them dilrious. So you can see why I got sent this book in exchange for a honest review, all my opinions are my own and thank you so much to the publishers for sending me this book! Previous books in the series: Black Bird of the Gallows - ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Note: The books in this series are companion to eachother. So you can read them individually or as a series. In this book we follow Dresden and his body is a bee hive. The bees come out from his body and sting inducing deadly venom into people's bodies making them dilrious. So you can see why we have a problem here. Dresden then meets Essie who already sufferes from delusions and doesn't see a living bee hive when she looks at him. One thing that struck me was how good the romance was. It had the perfect level of love and angst and it was a main plot point but not too overpowering which I thought was fantastic. The thing with these books are they are very fast paced. You are never bored throughout them which I can definitely appreciate. The main couple was excellent but as individuals not so much. It's not that they were bad people, I just didn't get too attached to them. This book is officially published on 4th September and I can't wait for everyone to read it!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jessica (a GREAT read)

    I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest and voluntary review. I was in no way compensated for this review. Meg Kassel returns to her previously visited world but with new characters in Keeper of the Bees. This time, we actually follow the story of one of the beekeepers; the beings with “magic” bees in their bodies that create untold chaos in society. Our beekeeper, Dresden is an eighteen year old boy who’s been a beekeeper for so long he barely remembers his human life a I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest and voluntary review. I was in no way compensated for this review. Meg Kassel returns to her previously visited world but with new characters in Keeper of the Bees. This time, we actually follow the story of one of the beekeepers; the beings with “magic” bees in their bodies that create untold chaos in society. Our beekeeper, Dresden is an eighteen year old boy who’s been a beekeeper for so long he barely remembers his human life and then he meets Essie who sparks something in him that he didn’t realize he ever needed or wanted. Essie isn’t like other girls, in fact she’s cursed. Her family line has BEEN cursed with insanity it seems. Essie suffers from delusions and hallucinations. She rarely knows what’s real and not real and then she meets Dresden who calms the chaos that’s always brewing inside her. The two are an unlikely pair but that’s usually the way of things! Dresden has come to a town that’s marked for death. He feels drawn to it and knows that something bad will happen soon. So he does what he has no control over and infects the already darkened people with a little extra boost of crazy. For a spin, he’s friends with a harbinger who follows him on his travels since harbingers live off of the death and chaos that usually follows the beekeepers. They have a working relationship of sorts, they aren’t overly friendly, but they aren’t enemies either. Dresden has basically always kept everyone at a distance until Essie. But the developing relationship between Dresden and Essie is only part of the story here. There’s also a murderer on the loose in town and he seems to have targeted Essie’s family and people connected to her family. What’s worse is that Essie was the one to find the first body and while she’s not necessarily a suspect, she’s still someone the police don’t want her leaving town since her credibility isn’t so great on the account of her illness. This one was definitely an interesting read since our heroine can be seen as an unreliable narrator. Since she struggles to decipher fiction from reality at times, it does make you wonder what she’s seeing at certain points and whether the threats are real or not. And surprisingly, some turned out to be very real and far closer to the truth than I could have imagined. There were some darker themes attached to this story, I don’t want to say what they are since they can lead to spoilers, but I was pretty shocked by their intensity. While nothing extreme ever really happens to any of the characters, there’s definitely some close calls and the threat of said dark themes and acts are still there. It made of a chilling read! I was also a bit tickled that this took place in Missouri, Concordia, Missouri to be exact which is an hour or so away from St. Louis! While I can’t say I’ve ever been there, it was still pretty cool to be close to my city! And it was in the general area of my neck of the woods, so when things like weather are mentioned, I totally knew what was going on! Lol! Yeah, I just mentioned the weather! I thought the romance developing between Dresden and Essie was very sweet. Yet again I felt like it was that cross between being sort of instant and yet slow building. It’s more like the feelings for love were rather instant, yet the true feelings took time to develop over the course of the book. Both of these characters are somewhat broken and fragile. I rather like that their romance took time to develop. The mysteries that were involved in this one were pretty spectacular! Though I felt like I sort of knew one was about to be revealed and all, the second one was pretty shocking as I really had no clue what was going on in that area! Confusing, yes? Lol. Needless to say I enjoyed the shocking twists that came about in the story! Keeper of the Bees was an intriguing and pretty entertaining read! While I didn’t love it entirely, I did enjoy it quite a bit! I think I was bogged down by the pacing again as at times it felt like I was moving in circles instead of moving forward when it came to certain things, but that was sort of a come and go feeling. It was definitely a worthwhile read and I’ll be curious to see if Meg sticks with this world for a while more! Overall Rating 4/5 stars Keeper of the Bees releases September 4, 2018

  26. 4 out of 5

    Sophia (Bookwyrming Thoughts)

    I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. I enjoyed Black Bird of the Gallows, but if I had to choose between the first and the second, I loved the second so much better than the first. Keeper of the Bees is Meg Kassel's second novel, the companion novel to Black Bird of the Gallows. We're brought back to the world of harbringers and beekeepers in a smol town in Missouri (hey, look, my I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. I enjoyed Black Bird of the Gallows, but if I had to choose between the first and the second, I loved the second so much better than the first. Keeper of the Bees is Meg Kassel's second novel, the companion novel to Black Bird of the Gallows. We're brought back to the world of harbringers and beekeepers in a smol town in Missouri (hey, look, my home state!) and their roles in death. Keeper of the Bees is a bit of a villain story. Harbringers flock to where death happens and "absorb" the energy emitted. Beekeepers usually cause the death by using their bees to sting someone, resulting in them reaching their destruction (aka death). Keeper of the Bees tells the story of Dresden, a boy cursed for eternity, and Essie, a girl who eats peppercorn to discern real from unreal. Dresden is a precious onion with layers despite being Evil™. Most villains are evil and pure evil, but Dresden is a precious little onion who is cursed to be evil. He doesn't want to be evil and shows that he doesn't want to be evil. Throughout the novel, he's struggling to not sting Essie despite the bees inside wanting him to do so. Aunt Bel is amazing, and I just want to hug her. Essie is part of the Wickerton family, a family with members who are cursed to lose their sanity and eventually end up at Stanton House. Essie's curse is not being able to tell what is real and unreal, at least without the help of peppercorns. Both her and Aunt Bel are in a constant battle with her father and psychiatrist when it comes to her mental health and sending her to Stanton House with other members. Aunt Bel is such a strong advocate for Essie and her Grandma Edie, and she refuses to give in to what Essie's father and psychiatrist want for Essie. Reece! Angie! References to the first novel! Do you have to read the first novel? Nawh, you don't have to since Kassel gives the 411 on her world for those who haven't read the first, so you're safe to dive into Keeper of the Bees without worrying about being totally lost, but you should definitely read Black Bird of the Gallows first. Overall, Keeper of the Bees was a delight to read! I loved seeing from the other side of things where the supposed "villain" is in a constant battle to be a better person. This review was originally posted on Bookwyrming Thoughts

  27. 5 out of 5

    Christina Reid

    I wouldn't have realised that this is the second book in a series if I hadn't added it on Goodreads. However, it is perfectly possible to read this as a stand-alone. Characters from Black Bird of the Gallows make a cameo appearance which might please fans of the first book. I had no idea what to expect going in, but I ended up realy loving the characters and the writing I had wanted to read Black Bird of the Gallows before but reading this has bumped it up my priority list. Both Essie and Dresden a I wouldn't have realised that this is the second book in a series if I hadn't added it on Goodreads. However, it is perfectly possible to read this as a stand-alone. Characters from Black Bird of the Gallows make a cameo appearance which might please fans of the first book. I had no idea what to expect going in, but I ended up realy loving the characters and the writing I had wanted to read Black Bird of the Gallows before but reading this has bumped it up my priority list. Both Essie and Dresden are fascinating, yet tragic characters and I was intrigued by Essie's family curse and the small town where she lives where the people cannot accept her oddities. I thought that her struggle was written very sympathetically and realistically. I loved Dresden's friendship with Michael and the creativity of the harbingers, beekeepers and the Strawman. All, unmistakably influenced by fairytales and folklore, but original and refreshing to read. Perfect for fans of the slightly offbeat, like Maggie Stiefvater or Banana Yoshimoto.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    I’m not a big horror fan, but I love the macabre and delightfully creepy. So this book hit all the right notes for me. I didn’t read the first book, but this story is about a different set of characters. So I didn’t have trouble following along. This is a nice YA love story about looking beyond someone’s oddities to find the true person within. You know, the weird stuff about your partner you find endearing? Like how his face constantly changes, or that he’s a walking beehive and feeds off of fea I’m not a big horror fan, but I love the macabre and delightfully creepy. So this book hit all the right notes for me. I didn’t read the first book, but this story is about a different set of characters. So I didn’t have trouble following along. This is a nice YA love story about looking beyond someone’s oddities to find the true person within. You know, the weird stuff about your partner you find endearing? Like how his face constantly changes, or that he’s a walking beehive and feeds off of fear and hatred. Or how she’s so delusional that she’s not sure what’s real or a hallucination - including you. Yah, that kind of stuff. And I can’t forget, the scary straw man. I’ve never disliked a book where one of these made an appearance. (Yes, there have been several, including the Wizard of Oz.) Thanks to netgalley and the publisher for an advanced copy of this book. I voluntarily read and reviewed it. All thoughts, opinions and nonsense about straw men are my own.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    ‘Keeper of the Bees’ is an excellent companion story to 'Black Bird of the Gallows'! I loved the two lead characters, Dresden and Essie, even more than Reece and Angie. Author Meg Kassel skillfully switches narration between Dresden and Essie, and there is so much more to enjoy due to this. Dresden is a Beekeeper, with all the unpleasantness that comes along with it, but Kassel makes him an interesting and relatable character, trying to do the right thing. I enjoyed Dresden and Essie’s tale so mu ‘Keeper of the Bees’ is an excellent companion story to 'Black Bird of the Gallows'! I loved the two lead characters, Dresden and Essie, even more than Reece and Angie. Author Meg Kassel skillfully switches narration between Dresden and Essie, and there is so much more to enjoy due to this. Dresden is a Beekeeper, with all the unpleasantness that comes along with it, but Kassel makes him an interesting and relatable character, trying to do the right thing. I enjoyed Dresden and Essie’s tale so much that I wanted to spend more time in Kassel’s version of our world, and so re-read 'Black Bird of the Gallows' immediately after. Both books are worth investing time in. I voluntarily read a Review Copy of this book. All opinions stated are solely my own and no one else’s. Read more reviews! http://dreamerjbookreviews.blogspot.com #KeeperOfTheBees #NetGalley

  30. 5 out of 5

    Angie

    I can't believe Kassel is going to try and make us feel sympathy for (and maybe even come to care for) a KEEPER!! But I am so here for it and can't wait to get my hands on this one!

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