Friday, September 2, 2016

The HoneyBee Sisters Series, Books 1 - 3

The Honeybee Sisters Series Banner

About the Books
Sweet as Honey:

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Smart, kind, and good-hearted, the three Christner girls are affectionately known as The Honeybee Sisters in the beloved Wisconsin Amish community where, under the care of their aunt, they’ve grown into skilled beekeepers–and lovely, sought-after young women. . .
Though she has blossomed into a beauty, Lily Christner doesn’t really believe it. Deep down, she still feels like a lonely, gawky teenager. Maybe that’s why she’s all but promised herself to Paul Glick, the one boy who never teased her in her awkward girlhood–unlike Dan Kanagy, whose creative name-calling left her in tears many a time. Now he’s back in town after two years away–and being surprisingly sweet, suspiciously attentive–and making Lily unsettlingly yet deliciously nervous. It seems Dan wants Lily’s forgiveness–and her heart. But can he convince her–not to mention her protective schwesters and aendi–that despite the past, her future lies with him?…
A Bee in Her Bonnet:

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Lively, determined, and independent, Poppy Christner isn’t about to let some vandal keep making mischief on her family’s farm. She’s been outrunning boys and standing up for picked-on children ever since she was a girl–no matter how much her prideful, arrogant schoolmate Luke Bontrager insulted her. So Poppy certainly doesn’t need his interference now, especially since he’s made it plain he prefers demure, ladylike companions. In fact, if Luke doesn’t stop helping her find the culprit–and growing humble and remorseful–she’ll be forced to notice how handsome his change-of-heart is making him. And that could mean falling in love–maybe for a lifetime…

Like a Bee to Honey:

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Shy, skittish Rose Christner is more comfortable tending to the beehives on the family farm and keeping her aunt’s unruly cats in line than attending social gatherings with the rest of the die youngie. A childhood trauma and secret shame keep her heart under lock and key, and Rose just can’t accept the sweet attention she’s receiving from a handsome neighbor. But the more she shies away from Josiah Yoder, the more their families sneakily plot to bring them together. And when a vandal who’s been plaguing the Honeybee Farm starts targeting Rose, Josiah’s steadfast protection—and patience—just may lead her into his waiting arms…

My Reviews
Sweet As Honey:  SWEET AS HONEY is the first book in Ms. Beckstrand’s The Honeybee Series. I have book three to review also, but never did get book two. The series is about three sisters who were raised by their Aunt Bitsy. Bitsy is ex-Amish and she is struggling to raise the girls Amish as their mother wanted. SWEET AS HONEY is about Lily who is engaged to Paul already, but Dan has loved her forever and makes a last effort to try to win Lily’s heart. The four ladies are beekeepers and there is plenty of beekeeping information.
I love Ms. Beckstrand’s stories. The Amish always are rather unorthodox in them and they are so funny! I wish I could write with Ms. Beckstrand’s level of humor. The characters are well developed and Aunt Bitsy is a total dear. I couldn’t help but love her and her gruff ways. Paul was a true villain and I hated that he had Lily so brainwashed she just accepted it. I wanted to tell her to show some self-respect and tell him to get lost! No girl deserves to be verbally abused and lied to as she was. I was glad Dan was so persistent.

I thoroughly enjoyed this story and highly recommend it. 5 stars!

A Bee in Her Bonnet:  A BEE IN HER BONNET is the second book in this series. This is Poppy's story. Poppy is the tomboy of the bunch and Luke is a boy she beat up several times when they were in school.  When he comes upon Poppy with her fingers stuck in the window of a moving car, he is quick to step to Poppy's rescue with a crowbar, but is Poppy grateful? Oh, no. She's mad. 

Poppy does have a broken hand, and Luke wants to be nice and help her out and protect her, so he keeps coming around. But with Poppy's temper and Luke's arrogance, there seems to be no hope. Not only that but the attacks that began in book 1 are still continuing!  

I enjoy reading Ms. Beckstrand's books and this is no different. I read them out of order as I didn't get book 2 until the night before my review was due, so I read book 1, book 3, and am now reading book 2. This review may be edited accordingly when I finish the story.  *** I LOVED this story. Poppy and Luke were great. And I still adore Aunt Bitsy.  ***

You'll be happy to know you'll lose nothing from the stories if you do read them out of order. Recommended. 
Like a Bee to Honey:  LIKE A BEE TO HONEY is the third book in this story. I enjoyed reading Rose’s story—and while the book does stand alone, it does refer back to prior events so fans might want to read them in order. I did read book one and three without reading book two (because I didn’t have it yet) so I can testify that it works. 
 Rose is way too whiny for my taste but I did enjoy the story, I liked Josiah and laughed out loud at how “gut” he is at fixing everything with duct tape, but Rose was just a bucket full of tears the whole story. I was kind of glad when she finally developed a backbone and didn’t cry when she needed to be strong.

Nevertheless, it was a very good story, well-written, with laugh out loud moments. It was also a quick read. If you like humor, unorthodox Amish, and romance, then LIKE A BEE TO HONEY is your type of book. Recommended. 4 stars. 

I received a complimentary copy of these books from CelebrateLit in exchange for an honest review which I have given.

About the Author
Jennifer Beckstrand is the bestselling Amish romance author of The Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill series for Kensington Books. Huckleberry Summer was nominated for the RT Book Reviews Reviewer’s Choice Award and the 2015 RITA® Award, and Huckleberry Hill won the 2014 LIME Award for Inspirational fiction. Both Huckleberry Hill and Huckleberry Christmas appeared in list of top ten inspirational books for 2014.
Jennifer has always been drawn to the strong faith and the enduring family ties of the Plain people and loves writing about the antics of Anna and Felty Helmuth. Jennifer has a degree in mathematics and a background in editing. She and her husband have been married for thirty years, and she has four daughters, two sons, and four adorable grandchildren, whom she spoils rotten.
Guest Post from Jennifer Beckstrand
Lily, Poppy, and Rose Christner are known as the Honeybee Sisters in their Wisconsin Amish community because they keep bees and sell the honey they pull from their beehives. The orphaned sisters came to live with their aunt Bitsy when they were very young. Aunt Bitsy was an Englischer for twenty years, but she is trying to raise her nieces to be gute and devout Amish girls.
Still, Aunt Bitsy is a bit eccentric and has brought some of the Englisch ways with her to the Honeybee Farm. She wears her dangly earrings when she’s in a bad mood, sports temporary tattoos just for fun, keeps a shotgun by the front door, and has a cat named Farrah Fawcett. (Bitsy simply adored “Charlie’s Angels.”)
With the honey they pull from their hives, the Honeybee schwesters make all sorts of appeditlich, delicious, things to eat. Their baking and their beauty attract boys to the Honeybee Farm, so Aunt Bitsy has to keep her shotgun handy to ward off the would-be suitors.
Many of the Honeybee Sisters’ recipes are included at the back of the three Honeybee Sister novels. Many more can be found in The Honeybee Sisters Cookbook available on Amazon and other online bookstores.
I hope you’ll fall in love with the Honeybee sisters, Aunt Bitsy, and their incomparableBienenstich (Bee Sting) Cake—which recipe is included in both the cookbook and Sweet as Honey.
Here is a recipe the Honeybee Sisters would definitely make. My dear friend gave me some of these caramels for Christmas last year, and they are heavenly. The honey is used in place of the more-common corn syrup and gives the caramels a rich, deep flavor. My favorite thing about these caramels is the coarse sea salt that gives the caramels a salty crunch. Yummy!
Honey Vanilla Caramels
1 ½ cup sugar
½ cup honey
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup heavy cream
½ cup salted butter, cut into bits
Coarse sea salt

Line a rimmed cookie sheet with parchment paper. In a clay, enamel, glass, plastic, or stainless steel (non-reactive) pot, combine the sugar, honey, and vanilla extract. Mix everything together using a large rubber spatula or wooden spoon. Cook over medium-low heat until the sugar melts. When the sugar has melted, increase heat to medium and cook until the mixture caramelizes and is a deep amber color. Do not stir the mixture once it starts to boil. Instead, swirl it around occasionally with the pan’s handle. (This will help the caramel cook more evenly.)
While the caramel is cooking, place the heavy cream in a small saucepan on low heat. As soon as it reaches a simmer, remove pan from the heat and set aside.
When the caramel has reached a deep amber color, reduce heat to low and slowly whisk in the bits of butter. Whisk well until the butter is completely melted.
Add the warm cream and whisk until smooth.
Turn the heat back up to medium and cook until the caramel reaches a temperature of 245°. Carefully pour the hot caramel onto the parchment-lined cookie sheet. Let it rest for about 8 minutes, then sprinkle with desired amount of sea salt.
Cool completely (about three hours), before cutting into squares and wrapping with parchment paper.
Blog Stops
August 25: A Reader’s Brain
August 28: The Power of Words
August 31: cherylbbookblog
August 31: Quiet Quilter
September 1: Rhonda’s Doings
September 1: Book Babble
September 2: Lighthouse Academy
September 4: Bukwurmzzz
September 5: Donna’s BookShelf
September 7: Blogging with Carol
To celebrate her tour, Jennifer is giving away five copies of The Honeybee Sisters Cookbook! Click here to enter:


RCraig418 said...

These books look amazing! I love Amish fiction, and I am so glad I found this page! Thank you for the opportunity to win this awesome cookbook! There's nothing better than reading Amish fiction, and preparing a delicious dish from an Amish cookbook! I look forward to reading this series!

Karen G. said...

I have the first two books in the series. Looking forward to reading the whole series. They sound so interesting. Would love to get the cookbook, too. I love cookbooks just as much as Amish books.

Jennifer said...

Thank you so much for having me on today. I hope readers will fall in love with the Honeybee Sisters and their eccentric Aunt Bitsy. She and her cats were so much fun to write!

Jennifer said...

One more thing I forgot to mention. I love hearing from another writer who has read my books. Thank you for your insights. :)

Marilyn R. said...

I haven't read Jennifer's Honeybee Sisters series but her Huckleberry Hlll series was great. I think about Felty when I see different license plates. These are on my list to read.

Karen G. said...

I'm really looking forward to reading the Honeybee Sisters series and the cookbook, too.

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