Keeper of the Bees by Meg Kassel Blog Tour!

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Hi hello and welcome to my stop on the Keeper of the Bees by Meg Kassel blog tour, hosted by YA Bound Book Tours! Today, I get the opportunity to share my thoughts with you on this wonderful companion novel to Black Bird of the Gallows. If you're interested in seeing my thoughts on that book, check out my review here! Be sure to stick around after the review for an exciting giveaway. Let's get started!
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Title: Keeper of the Bees
Author: Meg Kassel
Pages: 304
Genre: YA Fantasy/Paranormal
Release Date: 04 September 2018
From Goodreads: "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."
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Last year, almost to the day, I shared my review on Black Bird of the Gallows. It's no secret that I love pretty much every single book that Entangled Teen releases, but this one just absolutely blew me away. It was such an incredible story and when I found out that there would be a companion novel involving one of the super creepy Beekeepers, I was ecstatic! Keeper of the Bees definitely did not disappoint me, but rather exceeded my expectations entirely.

Plot:
Dresden is cursed. He is a Beekeeper, a creature with a chest full of bees (literally) that he cannot stop from stinging people with their psychosis-inducing venom. His face is ever changing and shows the victims of the deadly stings. He's been this way for centuries- since he was eighteen years old and magic flowed through his homeland and corrupted his people. Dresden follows harbingers of death in order to somewhat control his bees and have them sting those that are about to die anyway. But after arriving in a Midwestern town that's marked for death, he meets a girl named Essie. She's seventeen and suffers from debilitating delusions and hallucinations and Dresden's bees want to sting her on sight. But when Essie looks at Dresden, she doesn't see a monster- she's fascinated with his constantly shifting face. Taking a huge risk, he holds back his bees and prevents them from stinging her, and what begins as a merciful act ends up unraveling both Dresden and Essie's lives. Is their romance strong enough to unravel a centuries-old curse?

It should be noted that you do not have to have read Black Bird of the Gallows in order to read Keeper of the Bees. This is actually a companion novel and can be read on its own! Although if you have read the "first" book, you'll already be aware of the creatures called the Beekeepers. Even after reading Black Bird over a year ago, I still get chills when I think of those creatures. It may just be the thought of them or it may be the way that Meg Kassel wrote them, but either way, they're spooky. So I was a little nervous to read this companion novel at first, not going to lie. But honestly, I am so glad I did! It's still filled with the author's beautiful imagery and haunting prose, but it just made the story that much better for me. I loved the alternating perspectives with Dresden's gloomy and angsty outlook and Essie's incredibly positive and sunshine-y voice. They worked together so well to provide a balanced read that really makes you feel like you're reading some kind of fairy tale. I just couldn't get enough of how...good these two were. Both Black Bird and Keeper are perfect pickups for the Fall season! You get a wonderfully eerie vibe paired together with characters that are sure to stick with you and writing that just screams...well, just screams in general. Once again, Meg Kassel has written a book that will hook you from the start and leave you wanting more from this world once you finish!

Characters:
I loved Dresden and Essie so much and I want to protect them with my life. I feel that the author really has a talent for writing realistic (well, as realistic as a boy who's cursed to live with poisonous bees in his chest can be) and memorable characters. I fell so hard for Angie and Reese in the previous book and loved the way that Meg Kassel made me do the exact same thing for these new characters. Their dynamic really allows the reader to dive into this book and the connection the two of them have is undeniable. Typically, I hate insta-love and I'm never afraid to point out that I hate it. But trust me, their connection and banter and just the two of them individually make the insta-love absolutely perfect. Dresden and Essie balance each other out so well and you really can't help but want the absolute best for them in every way possible. Meg Kassel truly has a way of bringing the characters that she has created to life and making you instantly want to know everything about them. You laugh with them, you cry with them, and probably in the case of the Beekeepers/Dresden, you're a little bit creeped out by them (but you also want to see them be happy and loved because Dresden deserves some happiness okay). 

Also, sidenote, now that we've had books about the harbingers and Beekeepers, I think it's time for a standalone novel about the Strawmen, yeah? Yes, please.

Writing:
I'm pretty sure I absolutely gushed over Meg Kassel's writing in my review of the previous book but we're gonna do this again because I just cannot get over how much I love it. There's something about her writing that brings everything about this book to life. Her descriptions are unlike any other and she has the ability to completely consume the reader in the best way possible. I love getting lost in the words she's put on the page because they hook me every single time and I never want to stop. She's an author that draws out the story in a way that makes you want to push on and read more instead of being annoyed that the story is moving slow. This is a world that is so rich in detail and lore and I am so excited at the prospect of more stories about the creatures that inhabit the world.

Keeper of the Bees is a companion novel that is full of haunting and fantatical writing, characters that will work their way into your heart, and a plot that will keep you turning the pages. It's a fantastic continuation of the world that Meg Kassel has created and is sure to become a favorite creepy Fall season read! 
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About the Author:

Meg Kassel is an author of fantasy and speculative books for young adults. A graduate of Parson's School of Design,  she’s been creating stories, whether with visuals or words, since childhood. Meg is a New Jersey native who lives in a log house in the Maine woods with her husband and daughter. As a fan of ’80s cartoons, Netflix series, and ancient mythology, she has always been fascinated and inspired by the fantastic, the creepy, and the futuristic. She is the  2016  RWA Golden Heart® winner in YA and a double 2018 RITA® finalist for her debut novel,  Black Bird of the Gallows.




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Giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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Thank you so much to YA Bound Book Tours for allowing me to take part in this tour! I had so much fun reading this companion novel to a book that I absolutely loved and I'm so glad that I had the opportunity to share my thoughts on it. Have you read either Keeper of the Bees or Black Bird of the Gallows? Let me know your thoughts on them in the comments below! Thanks for stopping by and I'll see you in the next chapter!

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