Cover Image: The Enlightenment of Bees

The Enlightenment of Bees

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Member Reviews

I don't want to call this a light or easy read because the story does attempt to tackle some big issues and human rights crises, but it didn't have a hard-hitting tone to it, and moved pretty quickly. It felt a little moralistic, but I think the ultimate theme and message of using your own passions to make an impact on the world was worth the read.
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I received this book as an advanced reader copy via Kindle from NetGalley (thanks, #netgalley!). All opinions are my own. 


If you’ve never been to Seattle, this book will make you want to go. If you’ve never been to a lavender farm, this book will make you NEED to go. Being a Washingtonian myself, I really enjoyed the sweet, glittering portrayal of my state — and the author’s tasteful use of imagery  carried throughout the rest of the book. I could feel myself in each location she wrote about — sunny, spring-like Seattle; the warm, idyllic Keys; the chaos and color of India; the depression and hope of the refugee camp... it was all well-done. The initially clean and classy storyline makes the sudden shift into the Indian slums and Hungarian refugee camp even more abrupt and (realistically) shocking. 

Frankly, I found the ending (and the protagonist’s answer to her main problem) very refreshing. Nothing huge/sweeping/“world-changing” (spoiler, maybe?) BUT sweet and real and useful in its own way. And that’s what the reality is for most of us — we can’t all do big Mother Theresa-esque world shifts. But we can each change our corner for the better. How wonderful is that! I love this quote that appears several times:
“A wise friend once told me that the place you are to occupy in the universe is the space where your greatest passion meets the world’s great pain.”

I HAD to knock off a star for one cringe-worthy reason: stereotypes ABOUND. The sexy Hawaiian surfer/farmer saving her from the shark (come. on.). The rich, lonely benefactor (okay, did anyone else find Lars and the whole Stella/Bryan thing a LITTLE creepy??). While in Mumbai, the flannel-clad millennial woodworking hipster asks if the small ethnic restaurant serves “nitro cold brew,” because he’s not “feeling” the authentic chai. Even the corporate, sleek ex-fiancé, clad in his baby-pink polo. I don’t like stereotypes in books, but... well... stereotypes are stereotypes for a reason (typical human behavior). So I understand the “relatable-ness” of each character’s identity... I just found there were a few too many cliches for my taste. 

BUT!! Though I’ve never read anything by Rachel Linden before, this certainly won’t be the last. I read somewhere that she specializes in “stories about hope and courage with a hint of romance and a touch of whimsy,” and I think that’s just a lovely sum-up of this novel. It’s a light and “easy” read - and a total joy.
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Please note: "I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
The main character Mia, loves baking, her boyfriend, and her Nana Alice. She is sweet, without being cloying. At the start of the book Mia has had her heart broken, and feels a bit sorry for herself, as she drifts though her life, try to figure out her purpose. When adventure calls- she jumps at the chance to attend a round the world humanitarian trip with her best friend Rosie. She envisions herself as Mother Theresa, but has no idea how to go about it. 

All frivolity gone however, once Mia begins to experience “exotic” locals outside of what is captured an instagram lens. The book deals with refugee crisis and real human suffering in the world. Everything from, raw sewage runs in the street and child are filthy and hungry all of the time to people “donating” wildly inappropriate clothing to refugees, to riots and pirates. These sensitive subjects are handled deftly, leaving the reader with an understanding of the great need and with the idea that small acts of help are worthwhile. 

I have two pet peeves-1)  I understand the value of specificity when telling a story, but here it is a bit over done: everything from naming EVERY street and Seattle neighborhood that Mia bicycles though, to the brand of beer a guy is drinking “... holding a can of Heady Topper IPA”- It feels like awkward obvious product placement. This seems to be only prevalent in the early chapters.
2) Kai. He is tall, handsome, smart, altruistic, surfs, hardworking, stoic, a hero, and rich . Its all too much.  My advice would be to have him be poor ( perhaps Mom married a hotel manger-happy but firmly middle class. He is just too perfect- no man however wonderful, is perfect, and true loves comes from seeing flaws and loving them anyway. 

I really enjoyed this book liked taking the adventure with her as she tries to figure out what she wants to do with her life, and how she can help people. The book ends with a satisfying conclusion, as Mia finally follows her heart.
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I just finished Rachel Linden's latest book. I could not wait to write a review. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel from start to finish. I will not re-write the publishers description of the book, they do a better job. I will try hard not to give any of the story away, just my feelings and honest opinion. I was very touched by the relationship of Mia and her grandmother. They demonstrated a special bond. The dialog between them showed, love, encouragement, hope and a little touch of friskiness.  Grandma Alice was there for Mia when all her hopes and plans came crashing down. Where do you start when you have to reinvent yourself? You will fall in love with Rachel's well crafted characters.

What an ability for making a setting come to life. It was obvious that Rachel had first hand experience with visiting India or she did a great deal of research. She takes you to the crowded and stinky streets of Mumbai, with the trash and cows everywhere.  I shared with my husband and  his two mission trips there. Rachel's story, took me right back there. Reading her work, helps me think outside of the box. She brings light into the darkness.
What makes this story so outstanding is that it isn't what readers are expecting, but it will be what they need. I received a complementary copy from Thomas Nelson through NetGalley. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.
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The Enlightenment of Bees is a very cute story, I was rooting for Mia the whole time, and I was glad she made the decisions she did - to travel, to choose her own dreams, to try and make a difference. It's hard to not know exactly what you want. I'm older than Mia and still suffer from that - especially the "is my work important enough?" train of thought. 3.5/5.
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Mia West is a 26 year old baker living in Seattle, Washington. Having grown up on a small lavender farm, Mia dreamed of traveling the world and helping others less fortunate. She never knew exactly how she’d become Saint Mia but was confident that when the time was right, her meaningful path would be revealed. When her boyfriend Ethan unexpectedly ends their 6 year relationship, Mia is given the opportunity of a lifetime. Reclusive billionaire Lars Lindstrom lives on an island in the Florida Keys. Afraid to leave the island, Lars creates a humanitarian foundation and funds teams of volunteers to bring aid wherever it is needed most. Convinced this journey will transform her future Mia and her happy-go-lucky best friend Rosie sign up to test their idealistic hearts in some of the poorest, neediest and saddest places on the planet. Highly recommend this enjoyable, heartwarming summer read about friendship, family and selflessness.
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This book lives up the hype surrounding it! I thoroughly enjoyed the story of Mia and coming alongside her during some great adventures. The author does a really good job of transporting the reader to the streets of Mumbai and the refugee camp in Hungary. Mia is on a road to self-discovery after a difficult break-up and she questions what next in her life. The moments of rawness expose many hearts that are seeking their place and purpose. A satisfying read for those interested in going on a journey to see what happens when life doesn’t match our dreams and expectations. 

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
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Best book I’ve read in a long time! I had no idea when I started it that I was going to love it so much. She takes a tough concept and circumstance and turns it into something we can all take something away from. We all have gifts and talents and a perceived idea of what we are supposed to be doing with this life that we’ve been given. We think we need to do more, be more, have more, but really it’s all about using what we have even if it seems insignificant. This was a beautiful story. Highly recommended.
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Mia is an idealistic young woman who thinks she has her life planned out. She will marry Ethan, her boyfriend of six years, run her own bakery and live happily ever after in lovely craftsman cottage with a French bulldog named Butterworth.  Sure she had dreams of traveling the world and helping people in need, but this is the life she’s choosing and she has accepted her future. When Ethan breaks up with her instead of proposing, Mia takes the well-timed opportunity to join her roommate Rosie on a nine week global humanitarian trip. As Mia travels the world with an eclectic cast of secondary characters she learns a lot about herself and the realities of humanitarian work. 

This is a beautifully written book about the struggle to find your place in the world and what happens when both the life you have planned, and then the life you think you are meant to lead, are not what you imagined. 

Thank you to Netgalley and to Thomas Nelson Fiction for giving me an advance copy of this book. I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
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This timely coming of age story is a great addition to any adult fiction collection. Crossover appeal for HS collections where titles focusing on cultural diversity and finding yourself are in demand.
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Thank you NetGalley and Thomas Nelson for the complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

So let me say it’s an enjoyable read. I’m really rating the book 3.5 star (i just rounded up). This book to me was like drinking a nice cup of coffee on a Sunday morning while sitting on my balcony - comforting and unhurried. The story is about Mia West and her quest in life to find meaning and purpose.  Her life was where she wanted it and how she wanted - full of contentment.  A man that she loves, embarking on the next chapter in their relationship and a job doing what she truly enjoys. All until he dumps her instead of proposing, she gets let go and her grandmother - the most important person in her life gets sick.    Nothing like your life being turned upside down to make you rethink your childhood dreams for your future.  Her childhood dream of owning her own bakery like her grandmother changed to that of being like her aunt and traveling the world on a humanitarian mission - “dream bigger”.  Her friend Rosie joined an Intl humanitarian mission and Mia decided to go last minute, sure that this is what she needs.   Here she meets various people, all of whom teach her something about life and herself   At the end of the trip she comes back changed but uncertain of her life track - until that aha moment when she finds that place where “your greatest passion meets the greatest need” (love that quote). 
The title of the book stems from her relationship with bees - as they are divine messengers guiding Mia  in her dreams and in life (heck me i’d run the other way from bees lol)

All in all, it’s a nice read with the ending nicely wrapped up and everyone finding their place. - which as it turns out for Mia, was always right there in front of her - her passion and her gift to making lives better .  I hope you enjoy reading it - for this moments when a nice story is what you crave with a sweet ending
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Thank you NetGalley and Thomas Nelson for the complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

I originally gravitated to this book due to the description. The main character, Mia West, seemed to be at a standstill in life—much like I am in my own life—and I was eager to see if I could find a new “path” for myself through the character’s journey. The story for me was enjoyable…for the most part. I had just finished reading another Syrian refugee story the day before, so I had greater context of the situation as this story’s plot unfolded. 

Generally, I liked the characters that made up Team Caritas and the ways in which they all vastly differed from one another, although they could have used a bit more development. As far as Humanitas Foundation goes, I’ve never been on a humanitarian expedition personally, so I am not sure how realistic that program was. If I’m being honest, I wasn’t sold on the idea and felt it sounded a bit like a sham. Then again, the characters seemed to express those concerns a few times, as well. The writing style itself irritated me (I don’t think "juvenile" is the right word, but something about it didn’t jive with me) and there were points in the story that seemed a bit rushed. Maybe it just comes down to “reader’s preference,” though.

I do want to highlight a few strengths of the novel. Firstly, the relationship between Mia and her grandmother, Nana Alice, was beautiful. I loved the playful dialogue between them and the bond they shared. It was relatable and pulled at my heartstrings. There was a strength that Mia possesses near the end of the novel drawn from Nana Alice’s own life achievements and passions; and I greatly admired that. Additionally, the scenes at the refugee camp were well-written and depicted what was (and is) occurring. I liked the focus on the refugees’ stories and how their journeys, conflicts, pain, and hope affect and ultimately change the lives of the Humanitas volunteers.

I finished this novel in a day, and for a quick read, it was fine. I wouldn’t say I made a significant self-discovery during it, but there were a couple of quotes that resonated with me and have inspired me to find my own life’s purpose. Good story for someone trying to figure it all out.
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Mia has always dreamed of making a difference in the world-- just like Mother Theresa. But when her boyfriend of six years breaks up with her, she loses her job, and Nana Alice is diagnosed with cancer, she decides to go on a spur-of-the-moment humanitarian aid adventure. However, the trip doesn't go as planned either... she really doesn't seem to be cut out for the whole Mother Theresa gig. But then what is the meaning of her life? What will she do with her remaining decades... she's not even 30 yet?! How can she make the world a better place if she's a terrible Saint Mia? 

The Enlightenment of Bees is an important story at its core. However, I feel like the execution is only mediocre. Despite the fact that it's an adventure story full of travel, excitement, and romance, Linden has crafted a tale of inner growth, and that that journey makes for not very interesting reading. The growth that Mia experiences is important, but the way Linden goes about telling that story isn't very entertaining.
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ARC provided by NetGalley 

This was a fun read about a young woman searching to make her life meaningful. The author does a wonderful job handling topics of poverty and the refugee crisis.
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I enjoyed "The Enlightenment of Bees" - a coming-of-age story rooted in the desire to live a life of service.

The plot follows Mia, a young woman from Seattle who embarks on a global humanitarian service trip after the life she had planned falls apart. One of the things I liked most about the book was the way it portrayed the service trip. The characters were very aware that they weren't changing the world with their service trip, but were doing the best they could with the resources they had. I also appreciated the book's analysis on how to use wealth for global service.

The book focuses a lot on the global refugee crisis, and I thought this angle seemed well-researched, which I appreciated. The author's descriptions of cities and cultures seemed authentic and mindful of different world cultures, and as someone who loves travel I enjoyed reading them.

I also really liked Mia as a character. I thought she was well-drawn and seemed genuine. The other characters weren't quite as fleshed out, and a few aspects of their personalities seemed too far-fetched or unrealistic; however, as a whole, the characters worked well together to achieve the book's purpose. I came away from the book inspired, particularly by the line "your purpose is where your greatest passion meets the world's greatest pain."
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Mia West's world is turned upside down when her boyfriend leaves. Mia and her roommate Rosie set out on a trip around the world funded by a billionaire filled with very interesting characters.
I enjoyed this book a lot! The overall plot was interesting, and I really loved the characters.
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I received a DIGITAL Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  														
From the publisher, as I do not repeat the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it as they do it better than I do 😸.														

Sometimes a shattered dream leads to an amazing journey. 

At twenty-six, apprentice baker Mia West has her entire life planned out: a Craftsman cottage in Seattle, a job baking at The Butter Emporium, and her first love, her boyfriend Ethan, by her side. But when Ethan declares he “needs some space,” Mia’s carefully planned future crumbles. 

Feeling adrift, Mia joins her vivacious housemate Rosie on a humanitarian trip around the world funded by a reclusive billionaire. Along with a famous grunge rock star, a Rwandan immigrant, and an unsettlingly attractive Hawaiian urban farmer named Kai, Mia and Rosie embark on the adventure of a lifetime.

From the slums of Mumbai to a Hungarian border camp during the refugee crisis, Mia’s heart is challenged and changed in astonishing ways/ways she never could have imagined. As she grapples with how to make a difference in a complicated world, Mia realizes she must choose between the life she thought she wanted and the life unfolding before her.

In a romantic adventure across the globe, The Enlightenment of Bees beautifully explores what it means to find the sweet spot in life where our greatest passions meet the world’s great need.

This was a great book - I fell in love with Mia and Rosie from the get-go and their adventures were funny and heartbreaking at the same time. (that cottage in Seattle? If they are gone, when can I move in??)  The story was a joy to read and I thoroughly enjoyed it from page one to last. If you are looking for a good read, this is a book to recommend to all of your fellow readers, although some of the situations they ran into are not for the faint of heart. 

As always, I try to find a reason to not rate with stars as I love emojis (outside of their incessant use by Millenials on Instagram and Twitter) so let's give it 🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝
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Good story, fairly strong writing, but the characters did not hold my interest. I didn’t feel invested in the story.
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I was really looking forward to this novel because Cece from Problemsofabooknerd was hyping it up a lot. I unfortunately didnt like this at all and ended up DNFing it around 70% through.
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