Keeper of the Bees by Meg Kassel | ARC Review

 

KEEPER OF THE BEES BY MEG KASSEL

Genre: YA, Fantasy, Paranormal

Source: Entangled Teen Publishing in return for an honest review

Publication Date: September 4th 2018

Synopsis:
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.

Goodreads | Amazon

 *I would like to thank Entangled Teen Publishing for the chance to read and review this book in return for my honest opinion!*

The unique mythology that was first presented in the companion novel, Black Birds of the Gallows, is continued in Keeper of the Bees. We are first introduced to the curse of the bees in the first novel, but are keep quite in the dark about the backstory and details. I enjoyed the first book and found the mythology to be quite intriguing and the story to be unlike anything I had read before. I felt like it left so many questions unanswered and found many of those answers in Keeper of the Bees.

I enjoyed this story so much more than the first. Dresden and his story had me wanting more and to know the why and how of what he was and how he became that way. Although I had slight issues with the romance (a little too insta lovey for me) there were parts of it I understood and like seeing the development. I quite enjoyed the relationship between Dresden and the other harbingers.

Overall this book was a quick read that was layered with mystery and creative mythology that had me guessing until the end. I definitely liked this one better than its companion novel and I am interested to see if there will be another focused on the last mythical being that is only touched on. There is romance, murder and the impending doom that follows the harbingers.

 

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Black Bird of the Gallows by Meg Kassel | Author Interview


BLACK BIRD OF THE GALLOWS BY MEG KASSEL

Synopsis:

A simple but forgotten truth: Where harbingers of death appear, the morgues will soon be full.

Angie Dovage can tell there’s more to Reece Fernandez than just the tall, brooding athlete who has her classmates swooning, but she can’t imagine his presence signals a tragedy that will devastate her small town. When something supernatural tries to attack her, Angie is thrown into a battle between good and evil she never saw coming. Right in the center of it is Reece—and he’s not human.

What’s more, she knows something most don’t. That the secrets her town holds could kill them all. But that’s only half as dangerous as falling in love with a harbinger of death.

INTERVIEW WITH MEG

Top 5 Things readers need to know about the book

  1. It’s a standalone novel with a companion coming out next fall.
  2. It’s a paranormal romance with a hot harbinger of death.
  3. The antagonist is a deeply misunderstood guy.
  4. The antagonist is also a deeply scary guy.
  5. The cover is beautiful and I had nothing to do with the design of it.

 Who/What was your inspiration for becoming a writer? How long have you been writing?

I’ve always wanted to be a writer, but it seemed so unattainable for so long. I always wrote, but it wasn’t until I finished a whole novel, one rainy Maine summer, that I realized if I could do it. And if I could write one book, I could write another. And so I did. It took me seven years from that first (truly horrible) novel to holding a finished book in my hands. Seven or eight complete manuscripts didn’t make it to publication. Lots of fragments of ideas never even made it to the planning stage.

Did your story end up differently then what you had originally imagined?
Of course! Initially, the house next door was haunted and the harbingers of death cleared out the ghost. I had this whole idea of a ghost story weaving in with the plot and by the end of the first draft it was completely cut. There was enough going on without a subplot about ghosts that didn’t do anything but slow everything down. I don’t hesitate to cut what isn’t gelling.

Which of your characters would you say you are most like?
I’m mostly like Reece. We both dislike keeping secrets, love hockey and are fiercely loyal to those we love. Also, we are both not always the best judge of character.

If your book was to be turned into a movie who would you cast as your leads?
I have no idea. Honestly. A decade-younger Scott Eastwood would be the closest fit to Reece, I guess? And for Angie, I can’t even. She’s a colorful mix of personality and characteristics, but in my mind, her face is different to me every time I’ve revised her.

Did you have to research anything for your book?
I researched the lore of crows with human culture—why they are associated with doom and evil in western societies. I also read as much as I could about the myths of harbingers of death, although there isn’t much concrete stuff on them. They aren’t an established creature, like bigfoot, or anything. I also did extensive research on the nature of a certain geological event, but if I get more specific than that, it will give too much away.

What is the one book you recommend to everyone?
EVERYONE? That’s a tall order. Don’t laugh: A.A. Milne’s, Winnie the Pooh. For real. These short stories are funny, sophisticated and expert examples of character development. Ignore Disney and go with the real deal. The writing is superb.

In 5 words how would you describe Black Bird of the Gallows ?

Creepy love story with bees.

 If your characters were in the hunger games who’d win?
Rafette would win, that jerk. It helps to be able to turn yourself into bees and turn everyone else mad.

Which Hogwarts house would your main character be in?
Angie is solid Gryffindor.

 What’s on your playlist?

Milosh: Couldn’t Sleep

Unclubbed2 (feat. Zoe Durant): Need To Feel Loved

London Grammar: Hey Now

SOHN: Bloodflows

The Presets: Promises (Nils Frahm Rework)

First Aid Kit: My Silver Lining

Does the music go with your book?
Eh, not all the lyrics, but the vibe does. These are just some of the songs that I listened to while writing and revising the book.

Meet the Author: 

Website: megkassel.com
Twitter : @megkassel
Goodreads
Amazon

 

Black Bird of the Gallows by Meg Kassel | ARC Review

BLACK BIRD OF THE GALLOWS BY MEG KASSEL

Genre: YA, Paranormal

Publication Date: Sept. 5, 2017

Source: Entangled Publishing in return for an honest review

Synopsis:
A simple but forgotten truth: Where harbingers of death appear, the morgues will soon be full.

Angie Dovage can tell there’s more to Reece Fernandez than just the tall, brooding athlete who has her classmates swooning, but she can’t imagine his presence signals a tragedy that will devastate her small town. When something supernatural tries to attack her, Angie is thrown into a battle between good and evil she never saw coming. Right in the center of it is Reece—and he’s not human.

What’s more, she knows something most don’t. That the secrets her town holds could kill them all. But that’s only half as dangerous as falling in love with a harbinger of death.

Goodreads | Amazon 


*I would like to thank Entangled Publishing and the author for the copy of this book in return for an honest review*

A love story in the midst of mass chaos. A interesting and creative YA paranormal read that presents unique mythology and characters. It dove into the world of Harbingers of Death, beekeepers, and the hidden magic within.Angie is no stranger to traumatic events, but life has been going so much better for her, that was until a hunky boy moved in next door.

I enjoyed Kassel’s writing a lot. She uses great details and paints a beautiful picture. The way the story unfolds was a great pace although I feel like the ending was a little rushed. With 20 pages left I was unsure how she was going to wrap everything up. I liked what Kassel did with the characters and mythology. It was a unique curse that I haven’t read about before in a YA novel.

I did find Angie a little annoying at times. She carried on this whole “woe is me” a little too much. I understand everything she went though and she did have a right to some of her actions and feelings, but she really hid herself too much because of this suppose title of “freak“.I thought Reece was a great character and was really complex. Kassel did a good job at filling out his character and giving him those emotions and feelings that should be associated with someone with his curse. I also found the romance to be very typical of a YA novel. It was too fast and unrealistic. It went from a crush to madly in love in 0 to 60 seconds. The romance felt very Twilight to me. One of the notes I made multiple times while reading was this reminded me of Twilight. It just has the same vibe and a similar type of storyline.

Overall I found this to be an enjoyable and fast read. The unique mythology really intrigued me and was what sold me on the story. I loved the cast of characters and the friendships throughout the book. The reason it did not get a 5 star rating for me was because of the unrealistic romance and Twilight vibes. Although the story was different then Edward and Bella’s I could not stop comparing them and thinking about it throughout the book. The mass chaos and effects of the curse were fantastic additions that added to the overall atmosphere of the story. I recommend this to those who enjoy dark paranormals with mythology and romance.

You might also like:

Twilight Saga by Stephanie Meyer

The Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

RoseBlood by A.G Howard

 

Friday Reads | Weekend of #boutofbooks Edition

downthebookhole

I forgot to do this and post it yesterday so I figured I would play catch up. With the storms going on in TX I have been crazy busy with work. I have been trying really hard to get some reading done and participate in Bout of Books. I am currently reading Black Bird of the Gallows by Meg Kassel with is an ARC I have received from the publisher. I am also listening to The Disappearances by Emily Bain Murphy. I am really enjoying both books. They are both unique in their own ways! 

Have you read this book? What are you reading this weekend?

Black Bird of the Gallows by Meg Kassel | Excerpt Reveal

I’m seriously questioning the wisdom of coming here. Who is this boy? Who are these people? I may not want these answers. Whatever illusion I had been weaving about this being a normal family can’t be true. This is a family, yes, but one putting on an elaborate show to appear to be something they are not. “Everyday life can’t be so bad,” I say lightly, eager to change the subject before I start luring myself down a hole. “You have a beautiful home, a nice family. You’re popular at school. Kiera Shaw certainly likes you.”

He turns his gaze to me, slowly. “Kiera Shaw? You think I like her?”

“I don’t know what you like.” I don’t blink. I don’t look away. “I know only what I’ve seen.”

Reece leans close, gently entering my personal space. Close enough to put me on edge, but not close enough to intimidate. His voice is silk on gravel. His narrowed eyes glitter down at me. “And what, exactly, have you seen, Angie?”

Shivers race up my skin. I want to defuse this so badly, but I feel like this is a challenge I can’t lose. “I’ve seen and heard things that don’t make sense. Things I can’t understand.” I shift my gaze to my crow sitting on a branch above my head. It watches me with an intensity that would scare me if I wasn’t accustomed to it. “Tell me about the crows.”

He shakes his head. “Sorry. Either you know about them, or you don’t.”

My jaw tightens, even as I step toward him. I can feel his body heat. His clean, guy scent fills my senses with a unique magnetism that draws me close. Closer still. “I will find out.”

His gaze sweeps my face, lingering on my lips. “I hope not.” His breath warms my temple, sending a shiver under my skin. “There are worse things out there than a few watchful birds.”

“Like what?” I’m breathless, damn him. My words are barely audible.

His lashes fan low over his eyes. The narrow space between us crackles with tension. “Oh Angie, you don’t want to know.”

Look for Black Bird of the Gallows by Meg Kassel 9/5!