Wednesday, September 7, 2016

The Honeybee Sisters Series by Jennifer Bekstrand

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?…

My Review of Sweet As Honey :  

The honey is sweet, but the sisters are sweeter. Three girls were taken in by their Aunt after their parents were killed. Now they have been growing up Amish for quite a while. Aunt B isn't your typical Amish woman either, she was an Englisher for a long time until she gave all that up to raise "her girls". Together the four of them run a apiary and live a rather happy lifestyle.  

They only problem is, the boys! Aunt B is funny, she knows things like if you feed a boy, he comes back. She should know more about mouse traps, but we can give her and the cat, Farrah Faucet, a pass on that one. 

This book focuses on Lily. She has an almost engagement to Paul, a young man who I simply didn't care for at all. She also has a young man who loves her more than he can say, but because of his past, Dan may have lost her before he has even gotten a good change to win her heart. 

Overall I really liked this story. I had one aggravation, which is Lily taking so long to make up her mind about some major issues. That drug along pretty badly for me. I was ready to just about scream because she was so slow grasping certain concepts and making certain decisions. Even so, I really enjoyed Sweet As Honey and I'm off to read the next book in the series. 

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…
My Review:

Poppy can drive anyone up a wall, except her sisters and most of the time, her Aunt B. This book was, to me, not quite as strong as the first or third books, but it was still a good read. I wouldn't have wanted to skip this book in the series. Will she ever learn to stop sounding like a record stuck on one track? I had a hard time with this sister. Poppy has so much to work through, and so does Luke. Meanwhile, the issues happening on the honeybee farm haven't gone away. 
So many questions need answers! I would plea with the author, if you have Luke in future books, PLEASE keep that boy out of the kitchen. What happens to him was jarring and about made me pass out. (Shiver!)

Even so, this book is an important progression to the series and I wound up happy with the outcome. I liked the new cat, Billy Idol and Lenard Nimoy. They were wonderfulgute additions to the story. 

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 Review: 

Rose is a darling, she really is. I love how she shows forgiveness, and strength, even when fighting fear and weakness. I did get frustrated that this poor gal has no ability to control her tears, but she is trying. The mystery of who has been causing so much trouble on the farm hasn't been solved yet, but wait till you get to part. I really liked what happened there. I felt that this book was stronger than the second book. Perhaps I just connected more with the story. The cats were again, amazing and very gute, and the roles the cats had in all three of these books made the books even better. I liked the theme of this book, overcoming fears, forgiveness, kindness, bravery, and most of all, God's love. 

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 Christmasappeared 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 Englischways 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 incomparable Bienenstich (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.
(Adapted from
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August 25: A Reader’s Brain
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August 31: cherylbbookblog
August 31: Quiet Quilter
September 1: Rhonda’s Doings
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To celebrate her tour, Jennifer is giving away five copies of The Honeybee Sisters Cookbook! Click here to enter:


Karen G. said...

I'm really looking forward to reading this series. They sounds so interesting!

Carol E. Keen said...

I think you will enjoy them! Thank you for coming by and commenting.
Blessings, Carol :)

Jennifer said...

Thank you for having me on your blog today. It is beautiful. The Honeybee Sisters and their eccentric Aunt Bitsy will hopefully make readers laugh and fall in love at the same time. I've shared some of my favorite recipes at the back of each book, and there is a whole slew of recipes in "The Honeybee Sisters Cookbook." Thanks again and enjoy!

Jennifer said...

Thank you for having me on your blog today. It is beautiful. The Honeybee Sisters and their eccentric Aunt Bitsy will hopefully make readers laugh and fall in love at the same time. I've shared some of my favorite recipes at the back of each book, and there is a whole slew of recipes in "The Honeybee Sisters Cookbook." Thanks again and enjoy!

Carol E. Keen said...


Thank you! I had a lot of fun with your post, because I was able to use the colors of the sisters's dresses for my font colors. That was fun. (Grin!) Yes, there are several recipes, and I have The Honeybee Sisters Cookbook coming up on my blog soon.
Thanks for dropping by, and posting. It was lovely to see you here.

Blessings, Carol :)