Member Reviews

Thanks, Storey Publishing, for the advanced review copy via NetGalley. (Available 3 Sep 24)

Reading builds empathy. It increases our understanding and acceptance of those we wouldn’t otherwise experience, like different cultures, races, gender identities, and religions. Lately, my reading has led to a deeper understanding of other creatures, namely bees (and octopuses, but that’s a whole different post).

As someone who has always been fascinated by bees, I was thrilled to dive into this book. My cousin keeps a couple of hives at my mother’s house in Maine, and there is a colony in the tree by my front door, but that’s as close as I get to them. They’re fascinating and compelling, but I was only learning bits and pieces about them through various memoirs, non-fiction, and fiction (yes, fiction. Check out THE BEES by Laline Paull) and random Google searches. This book, however, provided me with a deeper understanding and a new level of appreciation for these incredible creatures.

Enter the bee textbook. At only 200 pages with glorious full-page photos, Hilary Kearney (@girlnextdoorhoney) gave me a concise, easily understood crash course in all things bees. While only halfway through the ebook advanced review copy, I knew I needed a permanent copy for my shelf. (Hint: If you pre-order a copy via Hilary’s website, she will sign it for you!)

If you are curious about bees and what makes them tick…er, buzz, you will enjoy this gem. Heck, just get it for the stunning photos!

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I've enjoyed another book by this author before so I was exited when I got approved for this ARC through Netgalley. Hilary Kearney is really good in explaining everything in an understandable way. I really enjoyed all the information, it was really interesting. There are also beautiful pictures, by Eric Tourneret, which makes the information on the page visual. I've enjoyed 'a little book about bees' by her before and I also enjoyed this one. If you want to learn more about bees, this is a great book to start. I would definitely recommend reading this book!

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I want to start off by thanking NetGalley, the author, and publishers for allowing me to read this.

I’ve always had a deep appreciation for bees of all kinds and their cute fuzzy faces but I feel like from reading this I’ve grown an even deeper love and appreciation for them.

The author I feel radiates her passion and love for them throughout the entire book which for me felt like I was sitting in my science class with my favorite science teacher. The one that radiates how exciting science truly is but with bees. The entire time I was deeply engaged and enjoyed consuming the information. I even found myself sharing what I was reading with my friends and family.

The photos, by Eric Tourneret, were so beautiful and such a cool up close look at the bees and the hive.

I truly enjoy this read and I can’t wait to add a physical copy to my nonfiction shelf. This for sure is a favorite read for me for this year!

Final Rating:

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This book is a natural history on the honey bee by a beekeeper and popular beekeeping blogger. It may start a bit grade school science pageant, but by about the midpoint the author has gotten through the preliminaries on what a bee is, and start talking about how it is, more interesting aspects of bee behavior, life cycle, and the sort of narrative that is a hive. And here it takes off, hitting a good balance between the descriptive and the scientific, still in coffee table mode but with detail on recent research to give it heft.

The photography is arresting, intense, close nature photography, which put me off at first. On further consideration, it works. The book, particularly the back 2/3rds, is more science-focused and discussing different research and ideas about bees, and as such the ultra-detailed pictures are part of that, a scholarly investigation of the honey bee as pictorial accompaniment.

While I appreciated the science, of equal highlight is the author's stories and asides about her beekeeping. These are fun. I like that they both include the more anecdotal, but also the author's interpretation of the other material, the way that her experience informs whatever theoretical idea. And in a thread that may be one of the more unusual that I have brought into a review, the book's dedication to the author's son is about his finding a passion equal to the author's, operates as a sort of sub-theme to the book: the world is full of things that have endless depth to them, and what is best in life is to find what that thing with endless depth is for you.

And when the book ends on the author telling about her love of bees becoming a respect for non-charismatic insect species, and a hope that others might find this too, it made this awwneverter smile.

My thanks to the author, Hilary Kearney, for writing the book, and to the publisher, Storey Publishing, for making the ARC available to me.

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This book is absolutely gorgeous!! Its FULL of beautiful photographs and soooo much bee info!!! I'm a second year beekeeper and found LOTS of good information about bees. This book is for those new to bees, those that are already invested heavily in bees and those that are just interested. I can't say enough about the photographs!!! They are truly amazing. Thank you to Netgalley and Hilary Kearney for an ARC of Heart of the Hive in exhange for an honest review. I've preordered a hardback copy for our personal library.

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This book is absolutely fascinating! Whether you have a love or a fear of honey bees, this book will help you gain respect for the incredible roles bees play, not only in our environment, but in their own hive. The organizational skills and proficiency with which bees work, is a tiny societal miracle in the insect world. This book is a definite read not only to educate yourself on the various tasks assigned to each type of bee, but to help you understand these little architects in their hive construction and maintenance, to the care of the queen and her young, and their foraging behaviors. I highly recommend this book!

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I thoroughly enjoy learning so much about Bees and I'm amazed at how much I didn't know. I knew they are beneficial beings but I didn't know how long they lived, how they chose a Queen and how organize they are. The book talks about the individuals in a colony, which bees do which jobs, how they chose a Queen (It's very Soap Opera maneuvers), How a Queen becomes a Queen and how dangerous mating is. It is just amazing what bees accomplish, especially after finding out what it takes for them to survive. It is just amazing.
The beautiful pictures helped me related better to what the author is saying and the way the chapters are set up makes the information more understandable and easy to read.
I highly recommend this book if you want to learn more about bees and a bees life.

I want to thank Storey Publishing, Storey Publishing, LLC and NetGalley for an advance copy of this beautiful story about Bees.

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Greatly enjoyed this book. I was laughing aloud and sharing new bee facts with my spouse left and right. Murder balls? Banana-scented alert pheromones? The gruesome fate of drones after mating? I can see a new Netflix series entitled Game of Drones forming, heh heh.

The pictures were stunning and fascinating. The awe and enthusiasm for the subject of bees was infectious and I enjoyed the lovely mix of both the factual and the mysteriously reverent. The choice of and presentation of sections added whimsy and interest to the book as a whole.

Overall, a great read that took me back to the pleasures of exploration of the natural world in book form. I've been stung twice (once accidental, once with a childish not-recommended-in-retrospect idea to catch a bee) and I feel that both experiences have been zoomed out to a wider context and with a deeper respect for these incredible critters.

Thank you for the ARC!

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