Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Book Review - Honey Queen

Happy Wednesday, good people of the blogosphere! Today, I bring you another book review. This one wasn't on my TBR for the year, but I won a paperback at Utopia and took it on a trip with me. I devoured it. This title will go into the 2015 Time for Books Review Team pool. As of today, there are 373 book reviews posted there. You must check them out. Amazing authors on that list! Anyway, enough of my gabbing! Here's the book up for review today:

Title: Honey Queen
Author: Christina Mercer
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy/Mythological Romance
Length (print): 284 pages
Buy Link: Amazon Paperback $11.99

A Regional SCBWI "Best in Show"

Love is honey sweet, but it comes with a fatal sting . . .
Melaina Maris needs wings to fly the gap between loving Sam and her family's ancient curse that forces carnal love and then kills the male lovers. She won't let the same fate that killed her father befall another. She refuses to allow her goddess-created bloodline to continue. But there's no easy way out, specially after the curse turns her into the Honey Queen--savior to honey bees--intensifying her charms.

To help her fulfill the curse's demands in the least harmful way, her grandmother takes her to mate with terminally ill Boyd. But Boyd's gay. And an expert in mythology. Instead of having sex, Melaina learns how she might summon the goddess who created the first ancestor bee-charmer and cursed her bloodline. Melaina's magic--tears to save honey bees from endangerment--could be enough to persuade the goddess to end the curse. But an unexpected discovery soon changes that hope, spinning Melaina into a swarm of love, friendship and death.

***Will not appear in review elsewhere. Let me tell you, the cover and interior of this book blow me away! What a wonderful job by the designer. Love the branding with the bees. So amazing! I'd like to see the author's name a bit more prominently, but that's just a nitpick of mine :)***

Let's get to the review!

I won a copy of this book in a drawing at Utopia, a conference for women writers. I can't begin to tell you how excited I was, because I'd had my eye on this novel for a long time, but hadn't had an opportunity to add it to my TBR. Well, having a paperback turned out to be the thing that got me reading it (on an airplane, no less). I dove in and devoured this book in a little over twenty four hours. Now that you know how I came about a copy, let's get to my thoughts on what's inside.

From a Reader's Perspective:
What an interesting premise for a novel! I have to say, I've never read anything quite like it. Mythology, sure, but honey bees? I fell in love with the main character right away. Watching her struggle through the curse made me smile because she's funny when she's frustrated. Melaina's grandmother was awesome. I adored the interactions with her and the guys chasing her granddaughter. Quite a spry old lady. Tears of the Honey Queen being the savior of the bees was a great twisty idea.

Romance in this novel was a slow burn that had been building over the years. Take two characters that have known one another since childhood (and seem destined by the gods to be together), and you have a recipe for perfection. However, the romance didn't play front and center, even though it was the reason Melaina wanted to be free of the curse. It was beautifully complex.

Another thing I got into was the description of the cars. You can tell the author likes American classic muscle by the way she describes Melaina's vehicle. Roaring, even. I loved it!

Pacing was awesome, and didn't let up on the action from page one. Like I said above, I read all 200+ pages in just over twenty-four hours. There was never a time I felt like things were dragging.

One detail threw me off, and I mention it because it was questioned, clarified, then stated again several times. Melaina talks about how she's the last in the line of descendants from the goddess Aera. But the last daughter has always been the last in line--the only one left--until she procreates. There's one place where the characters mention how Iliana had two daughters, but then it's clarified when we find out one of those daughters died. So there's always been just one. Gran was the last when she was a teen, Melaina's mother, then Melaina. I just didn't quite understand why this girl was the most important "last" one.

From an Editor's Perspective:
Plot, grammar, and punctuation were all on the up and up. Nicely done!

1 Star for making me love the main character and her Grandmother
1 Star for the fresh idea
1 Star for pacing and wonderful humor
.5 Star for the slow romance
-.5 Star for the confusion
1 Star for editing
Overall: 4.5 out of 5 stars! I round up, so this book gets a 5. Recommended for those who like a good dose of gods and goddesses and a fresh story idea.

What do you think? Have you read it? Plan to?

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!


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