Sunday, March 31, 2019

Quick Pick book review: This is Kind of an Epic Love Story, by Kheryn Callender

  • Opening lines: Riding a bike in the rain with a broken arm is never a good idea, but I'm the kind of guy who likes to make life more difficult, so that's exactly what I do. 
  • Reason I picked up the book: I'm a sucker for YA love stories. 
  • And what's this book about?
  • A fresh, charming rom-com perfect for fans of Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda and Boy Meets Boy about Nathan Bird, who has sworn off happy endings but is sorely tested when his former best friend, Ollie, moves back to town. Nathan Bird doesn’t believe in happy endings. Although he’s the ultimate film buff and an aspiring screenwriter, Nate’s seen the demise of too many relationships to believe that happy endings exist in real life.

    Playing it safe to avoid a broken heart has been his MO ever since his father died and left his mom to unravel—but this strategy is not without fault. His best-friend-turned-girlfriend-turned-best-friend-again, Florence, is set on making sure Nate finds someone else. And in a twist that is rom-com-worthy, someone does come along: Oliver James Hern├índez, his childhood best friend.

    After a painful mix-up when they were little, Nate finally has the chance to tell Ollie the truth about his feelings. But can Nate find the courage to pursue his own happily ever after?
  • Recommended for: Anyone who enjoys a love story, a YA book, or LGBTQ-themed books. 
  • Favorite paragraph: Flo didn't say anything else. We sat there in quiet for a long time. I was afraid to speak. She'd hear my voice breaking. My breath was too ragged. I forced myself to say something. "I just don't want to get hurt."

    She frowned. "No one wants to be hurt. No one wants to risk that. But if we don't risk it ... then we don't give ourselves the chance to fall in love. Then we don't have anything."

    I don't really know what's worse: living without love so that you don't get hurt, or getting hurt repeatedly in an attempt to find it. 
    • Something to know: Nothing that I can think of. This would make a great movie a la Love, Simon style, though.
    • What I would have changed: Nothing.
    • Overall rating: 4 stars out of 5.
    • Where can I find this book? Click here to order on Amazon.
    *Disclosure: I received a copy of this book for reviewing purposes. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.

    Thursday, March 21, 2019

    Book Review: The Murmur of Bees, by Sofia Segovia

    Guest review by: Becki Bayley

    "Do you want to come meet everyone?”

    Francisco was not surprised when Simonopio shook his head. In fact, he was amazed to see the boy there at all, not just because he had been absent for several days, but because Simonopio had never liked being present when strangers visited. Yet here he was, and the smile remained on his face.

    “You’re all right,” said Francisco.

    It was not a question.

    Simonopio nodded as he removed everything he was carrying from his knapsack.

    “What do you have there?”

    Simonopio took out his sleeping bag, placed it on the ground, and unrolled the tight bundle. He took out something wrapped in a rag and handed it to his godfather.

    “Shall I open it?”

    Simonopio nodded again, fixing his eyes intensely on Francisco’s. Whatever it was, the contents of the package were very important to his godson. Holding his breath, Francisco carefully undid the knot in the rag, remembering the day when he saw Simonopio for the first time, when he opened two similar, albeit larger, bundles, to find the boy and his beehive full of bees. So he thought that, in this case, he had better proceed with caution.


    The title of The Murmur of Bees just made me think of something soothing and enchanting. The lyrical prose in this story of a family over several generations was beautiful.

    Official synopsis:
    Book Review: The Murmur of Bees, by Sofia Segovia
    From the day that old Nana Reja found a baby abandoned under a bridge, the life of a small Mexican town forever changed. Disfigured and covered in a blanket of bees, little Simonopio is for some locals the stuff of superstition, a child kissed by the devil. But he is welcomed by landowners Francisco and Beatriz Morales, who adopt him and care for him as if he were their own. As he grows up, Simonopio becomes a cause for wonder to the Morales family, because when the uncannily gifted child closes his eyes, he can see what no one else can—visions of all that’s yet to come, both beautiful and dangerous. Followed by his protective swarm of bees and living to deliver his adoptive family from threats—both human and those of nature—Simonopio’s purpose in Linares will, in time, be divined.

    Set against the backdrop of the Mexican Revolution and the devastating influenza of 1918, The Murmur of Bees captures both the fate of a country in flux and the destiny of one family that has put their love, faith, and future in the unbelievable.


    The Murmur of Bees
    is the story of the Morales Cortez family and their plantation over the course of at least two generations. It primarily surrounds the two boys of the familySimonopio (an infant found and raised by the family’s wet nurse when she’s very old) and Francisco Junior (the biological son who is born after the two daughters are adults). While Francisco Junior’s story is mostly autobiographical, he would never be the same man he is without his relationship with Simonopio, who is around ten years older than him.

    Simonopio is the boy the bees talk to. He is originally found covered in bees, without being stung by them at all. The bees tell Simonopio about things going on elsewhere, and things that will happen. Simonopio does his best to protect his godparents and the others in the Morales Cortez family with this information. To add to the challenge, Simonopio has a facial deformity which makes his language unintelligible to everyone but Francisco Junior.

    Overall, I really enjoyed this book, but found it very wordy. There were a lot of detailed descriptions that were pleasant, but not necessarily always necessary to the story. The book felt like it took me a very long time to get through. The chapters were also told by different characters, which sometimes took me a bit to figure out. I’d give this book 3 out of 5 stars.


    Becki Bayley is a wife, mother, lunch lady and blogger at SweetlyBSquared.com. When she’s not reading, she also enjoys doing laundry and dishes every day to keep her household running.

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