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The Enlightenment of Bees

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Rachel Linden’s newest contemporary women’s fiction story speaks to the universal struggle of what it means to live a meaningful life where the passions we have meet the needs of the world. At 26, idealistic baker Mia West has her entire life planned out: a Craftsman cottage in Seattle, baking at The Butter Emporium, and the love of her life, her boyfriend Ethan, by her sid Rachel Linden’s newest contemporary women’s fiction story speaks to the universal struggle of what it means to live a meaningful life where the passions we have meet the needs of the world. At 26, idealistic baker Mia West has her entire life planned out: a Craftsman cottage in Seattle, baking at The Butter Emporium, and the love of her life, her boyfriend Ethan, by her side.  But when Ethan breaks up with her instead of proposing on their sixth dating anniversary (with the Tiffany blue box in his pocket), Mia’s carefully planned future crumbles. Adrift and devastated, she determines to find new meaning in her life by helping those in need. Guided by recurring dreams about honeybees that seem to be leading her toward this new path in life, Mia joins her vivacious housemate Rosie on an around-the-world humanitarian trip funded by the reclusive billionaire, Lars Lindstrom. Along with a famous grunge rock star, an Ethiopian immigrant, and an unsettlingly attractive Hawaiian urban farmer named Kai, Mia and Rosie embark on the trip of a lifetime. From the slums of Mumbai to a Hungarian border camp during the refugee crisis, Mia’s eyes are opened and her idealistic vision is challenged as she experiences the euphoria, disillusionment, and heartbreaking reality of humanitarian work abroad. As Mia grapples with how to make a difference in an overwhelmingly difficult world, circumstances force her to choose between the life she thought she wanted and the unexpected life she has built.


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Rachel Linden’s newest contemporary women’s fiction story speaks to the universal struggle of what it means to live a meaningful life where the passions we have meet the needs of the world. At 26, idealistic baker Mia West has her entire life planned out: a Craftsman cottage in Seattle, baking at The Butter Emporium, and the love of her life, her boyfriend Ethan, by her sid Rachel Linden’s newest contemporary women’s fiction story speaks to the universal struggle of what it means to live a meaningful life where the passions we have meet the needs of the world. At 26, idealistic baker Mia West has her entire life planned out: a Craftsman cottage in Seattle, baking at The Butter Emporium, and the love of her life, her boyfriend Ethan, by her side.  But when Ethan breaks up with her instead of proposing on their sixth dating anniversary (with the Tiffany blue box in his pocket), Mia’s carefully planned future crumbles. Adrift and devastated, she determines to find new meaning in her life by helping those in need. Guided by recurring dreams about honeybees that seem to be leading her toward this new path in life, Mia joins her vivacious housemate Rosie on an around-the-world humanitarian trip funded by the reclusive billionaire, Lars Lindstrom. Along with a famous grunge rock star, an Ethiopian immigrant, and an unsettlingly attractive Hawaiian urban farmer named Kai, Mia and Rosie embark on the trip of a lifetime. From the slums of Mumbai to a Hungarian border camp during the refugee crisis, Mia’s eyes are opened and her idealistic vision is challenged as she experiences the euphoria, disillusionment, and heartbreaking reality of humanitarian work abroad. As Mia grapples with how to make a difference in an overwhelmingly difficult world, circumstances force her to choose between the life she thought she wanted and the unexpected life she has built.

30 review for The Enlightenment of Bees

  1. 4 out of 5

    Tammy

    “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 greatest need.” 4 Bee-utiful stars 🐝🐝🐝🐝 Encouraging and uplifting, The Enlightenment of Bees is a lighthearted summertime read about main character Mia finding the right direction for herself while helping others. And that’s what she sets out to do. In a snap, Mia, along with her friend, volunteer as aids with a global “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 greatest need.” 4 Bee-utiful stars 🐝🐝🐝🐝 Encouraging and uplifting, The Enlightenment of Bees is a lighthearted summertime read about main character Mia finding the right direction for herself while helping others. And that’s what she sets out to do. In a snap, Mia, along with her friend, volunteer as aids with a global humanitarian group. It’s a great story with some romance, but also has hard hitting issues such as Hungarian refugee camps and Mumbai’s Indian slums. The author uses current global issues vividly detailed through main character Mia’s experiences, her challenges and the changes they set within herself as an aid worker. Rachel Linden’s powerful message is pretty straightforward. Lead by your passions while making an impact in the world. As lovely a story, as the bees on its cover! Many thanks to Thomas Nelson Publishing and Rachel Linden for this complimentary ARC via NetGalley. All opinions expressed are my own.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Katie (never.ending.reading.list)

    The Enlightenment of Bees is the story of a girl whose perfect life and all expectations are flipped upside down and she goes on a journey to find herself and her new place in the world. While this storyline has been done a million times, the uniqueness in this book is what Mia does next. She joins a humanitarian trip around the world to do good for those less fortunate. It is a beautiful and insightful look at human relations, poverty, love and loss, and chasing your dreams. You can tell that t The Enlightenment of Bees is the story of a girl whose perfect life and all expectations are flipped upside down and she goes on a journey to find herself and her new place in the world. While this storyline has been done a million times, the uniqueness in this book is what Mia does next. She joins a humanitarian trip around the world to do good for those less fortunate. It is a beautiful and insightful look at human relations, poverty, love and loss, and chasing your dreams. You can tell that the author has some personal experience dealing with these humanitarian crises and locals. The settings are wonderfully done and you feel like you're there with the characters. This was probably my favorite part of the story. Although I wish they could have travelled to more locations, I loved where they ended up but hated how it ended so quickly! Linden uses this book to look into the current refugee crisis in Europe with those trying to escape terror and unrest in the Middle East. This was the first fiction book I have read that really tackled this concept and I flew through the pages trying to devour it all. It was truly eye opening and it gave me a new perspective on these current issues. My main problem with this book and the reason I can't give it 5 stars (because I really loved the concept and the story) is I couldn't like the main character. She was such a typical 20 something girl who doesn't realize how beautiful she is and everyone seems to just love. It also had my biggest pet peeve that books can have - the whole "I'm not like other girls." Gah. We get it, you're quirky and don't like trends therefore you're so much better than all the other girls out there. I am so over this technique for writing female leads!!! I almost dnf early on when Mia was being introduced but I am glad I didn't. The rest of the story makes up for her and there is so much more to this than just a love/finding yourself story.

  3. 4 out of 5

    marita lazarus

    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 o 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

  4. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    “Remember, Mia, your place in this world is the space where your greatest passion meets the world’s great pain,” she says firmly. “Go now and find that place.” I really loved this book. There are some parts that are a bit difficult to believe, like the whole Lars scenario, but overall the plot is meaningful and really made me think. I especially appreciated the parts that deal with voluntourism--which is what most humanitarian or mission trips turn out to be. They aren't lasting changes that will “Remember, Mia, your place in this world is the space where your greatest passion meets the world’s great pain,” she says firmly. “Go now and find that place.” I really loved this book. There are some parts that are a bit difficult to believe, like the whole Lars scenario, but overall the plot is meaningful and really made me think. I especially appreciated the parts that deal with voluntourism--which is what most humanitarian or mission trips turn out to be. They aren't lasting changes that will make a difference in the peoples' lives, they are a drop in, feed them pancakes and play soccer, and leave. The "tourist" feels good for having done something, but it's not real. I have long felt like these types of trips need to change, relationships with people in other countries need to change. Getting off my soapbox for now but this book brought out a lot of issues with this... This book is a great combination of topics that resonated with me as a reader. I hope that readers interested in a book with a deeper message about things we don't often think about will pick this one up. I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book, all opinions are my own.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    I received a digital Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 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 changi I received a digital Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 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."

  6. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    Thank you to Thomas Nelson and Just Read Tours for a copy of The Enlightenment of Bees by Rachel Linden. Please see my bio for the book tour landing page as well as the purchase link if you are interested! Synopsis of the book will be included in the comments. The Enlightenment of Bees is a cute read. Following Mia West, within the first few chapters of the book she is dumped by her long term boyfriend, let go from her job, and finds out her Nana has cancer. Set adrift in her own life, she gets t Thank you to Thomas Nelson and Just Read Tours for a copy of The Enlightenment of Bees by Rachel Linden. Please see my bio for the book tour landing page as well as the purchase link if you are interested! Synopsis of the book will be included in the comments. The Enlightenment of Bees is a cute read. Following Mia West, within the first few chapters of the book she is dumped by her long term boyfriend, let go from her job, and finds out her Nana has cancer. Set adrift in her own life, she gets the opportunity to finally act on her own dreams, to travel and help other people. Joining a humanitarian group at the last moment she is soon in Indian slums and then in a refugee camp in Hungary. Will she finally find what she is meant to do with her life? I liked this book, especially the refugee camp scenes. There we get what felt like a real look into the crisis over in Europe and that isn’t what I expected from this book when I started. Mia started out as a little too optimistic for my tastes, she is a little too give up her dreams for others. But she really discovers who she is and what she wants by the end. I like how organically she lost her innocent look at life and grew into herself away from her boyfriend and what he wanted. The Enlightenment of Bees was full of interesting characters and settings and I loved the descriptions of baking and recommend you get some cake before you start this one because you’ll definitely be craving it by the end!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Susan Peterson

    The Enlightenment of Bees is a heartwarming story about a young woman’s quest to find out who she is, and how she can use her skills and passion to make a difference in the world. In a matter of days, Mia loses both her boyfriend and her job, leaving her lost and confused. She embarks on a humanitarian mission that takes her to the slums of India and to a refugee camp in Hungary. The author did a wonderful job of placing me in those places, feeling the despair, the poverty, the distress. Mia was The Enlightenment of Bees is a heartwarming story about a young woman’s quest to find out who she is, and how she can use her skills and passion to make a difference in the world. In a matter of days, Mia loses both her boyfriend and her job, leaving her lost and confused. She embarks on a humanitarian mission that takes her to the slums of India and to a refugee camp in Hungary. The author did a wonderful job of placing me in those places, feeling the despair, the poverty, the distress. Mia was a fascinating character, and watching her grow throughout her journey touched my heart.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jaymi Couch

    I picked this book up solely for the cover. Imagine my surprise to find a story that has all my favorite things. Food, travel, Mother Teresa, bravery, service to others, courage, hope and love. Mia was a nice person who really had good intentions when she signs up for a “humanitarian” service trip. She’s struggling to find her place and purpose. I enjoyed Mia’s journey and could tell the author has experience and knowledge of international issues. I could feel the despair and the poverty in the I picked this book up solely for the cover. Imagine my surprise to find a story that has all my favorite things. Food, travel, Mother Teresa, bravery, service to others, courage, hope and love. Mia was a nice person who really had good intentions when she signs up for a “humanitarian” service trip. She’s struggling to find her place and purpose. I enjoyed Mia’s journey and could tell the author has experience and knowledge of international issues. I could feel the despair and the poverty in the places they visited. I could relate to the feeling of inadequacy- being just one person and how much can you really change things? If you’re looking for a well written, feel-good book you must read this one!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kara

    Wow! This was quite the adventurous ride. Mostly. I understood all too well all the indescribable feelings of visiting another culture for the first time and being faced with all the needs you aren’t certain how to handle. Listening to this audiobook just took me immediately back to my first foray into a different country and culture from my own and every bit of wonder and uncertainty I felt. Mia's emotions as she tried to understand just what this adventure was doing to her insides completely r Wow! This was quite the adventurous ride. Mostly. I understood all too well all the indescribable feelings of visiting another culture for the first time and being faced with all the needs you aren’t certain how to handle. Listening to this audiobook just took me immediately back to my first foray into a different country and culture from my own and every bit of wonder and uncertainty I felt. Mia's emotions as she tried to understand just what this adventure was doing to her insides completely resonated with me! I loved, especially, all the bits once the group arrived at the refugee camp. Those chapters made me fully believe that Ms. Linden has experienced such herself because there was this atmospheric and real quality to all the confusion, the uneasiness felt among everyone there--helpers and refugees alike, and the sheer necessity to do all that you can to help those in need. The way this experience changes every single person in the group and the way they do and don't handle that change well...it all spoke to my heart and my own personal experiences. I will have to say that there was far too many descriptions of the drinks and outfits of the characters. That bit pretty much got old quick and pulled me away from my investment in the story a few times. But that mostly settled down once the overseas adventure began for which I was grateful. Overall, I was able to overlook those bits and would still highly recommend this story for those willing to dig a little deeper into the world and catch a glimpse of life outside of your comfort zone.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Monzon

    I’m really not sure how to start this review. There were so many content things that I really rooted for in this book. The spotlight on voluntourism and even more so on the refugee crisis. I really think more people (I’m looking at us on the privileged side of the world) need to put ourselves in the shoes of those living in poverty and fleeing for their lives so we can make more Christ-like decisions in our everyday life as we answer the question of who our neighbor is and how God is calling us I’m really not sure how to start this review. There were so many content things that I really rooted for in this book. The spotlight on voluntourism and even more so on the refugee crisis. I really think more people (I’m looking at us on the privileged side of the world) need to put ourselves in the shoes of those living in poverty and fleeing for their lives so we can make more Christ-like decisions in our everyday life as we answer the question of who our neighbor is and how God is calling us to help them. Kudos for Rachel Linden for shining a light on the things we too often uncomfortably shove back into the shadows.

  11. 5 out of 5

    BookishLor

    3.5/5 stars ***I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. I enjoyed this light romance that focused on the main character's life and personal choices while she ventured on a humanitarian trip around the world. Synopsis Mia thinks she has her life all figured out and it's amazing. All that changes in one day when she's dumped by her boyfriend of six years and loses her job she loves at the local bakery. Mia's best friend, Rosie, convinces h 3.5/5 stars ***I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. I enjoyed this light romance that focused on the main character's life and personal choices while she ventured on a humanitarian trip around the world. Synopsis Mia thinks she has her life all figured out and it's amazing. All that changes in one day when she's dumped by her boyfriend of six years and loses her job she loves at the local bakery. Mia's best friend, Rosie, convinces her to go with her and take someone's place on a last minute humanitarian trip around the world. Along the way she finds out things aren't always what they seem including what she thought her life should look like. Pacing & Points of View The overall pacing of this story was average and the story was told entirely from Mia's point of view. I read it in a few days and believe I could have easily read it in a day without distractions. Characters I really enjoyed reading Mia's story about self discovery and her journey throughout the world. There were a few side stories and characters that I wasn't completely interested in and I felt there was a little too much time spent wasted on the ex-boyfriend. I would have loved if those words could have been better used for more Mia and Kai scenes! The light soft romance between Mia and Kai were my favorite parts. Overall Overall, I really liked this drama filled, world traveling, and non-steamy sweet romance. It's a good read if you're looking for a lighter romance with all the feels and reminiscent of other stories of self discovery. Thank you so much to NetGalley & the publisher Thomas Nelson for allowing me the opportunity to read this digital ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Kerry *Pale Daughter*

    *2 stars* Wow! Most readers gave this book a 4 star rating but I had a hard time taking it seriously. One of the characters took designer clothes on a humanitarian trip. The fact that some of the characters initially thought that the trip would be a good opportunity to explore different countries seemed shallow and ridiculous. Who would expect to have the chance to visit the Taj Mahal while working to provide relief in the slums of Mumbai? The main character lied in her interview when she said sh *2 stars* Wow! Most readers gave this book a 4 star rating but I had a hard time taking it seriously. One of the characters took designer clothes on a humanitarian trip. The fact that some of the characters initially thought that the trip would be a good opportunity to explore different countries seemed shallow and ridiculous. Who would expect to have the chance to visit the Taj Mahal while working to provide relief in the slums of Mumbai? The main character lied in her interview when she said she was interested in providing medical assistance which, in actuality, her only skill was baking. It was hardly surprising that she proved to be useless when her help was desperately needed to help Syrian refugees. Unfortunately the concept of the storyline failed miserably and I found myself feeling irritated throughout most of the book.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Kathryn

    I have never read any books by Ms. Linden before, but I thought this one looked cute, so I decided to try it. Let me tell you, I am so glad I got the chance to read this amazing tale! As a reader, I generally gravitate towards more emotional and heavy books because I just like them. I’m not usually a fan of light and funny reads, but this one was like a breath of fresh air and, honestly, it wasn’t all that light because of some of the more serious subjects it dealt with. So, what did I like about I have never read any books by Ms. Linden before, but I thought this one looked cute, so I decided to try it. Let me tell you, I am so glad I got the chance to read this amazing tale! As a reader, I generally gravitate towards more emotional and heavy books because I just like them. I’m not usually a fan of light and funny reads, but this one was like a breath of fresh air and, honestly, it wasn’t all that light because of some of the more serious subjects it dealt with. So, what did I like about it? Everything. The writing style was engaging and I immediately became invested in Mia’s life, rooting for her in everything. I was also a huge fan of the characters. I mean seriously, Kai? He was amazing! They were all so well-developed and amazingly 3D and it made me love the story even more. Another thing that really got me about this story was the setting. I have always wanted to travel around the world like Mia and the team did in this one, so I honestly felt like I was experiencing it with them. It was wonderful. Finally, I loved, loved the themes that Linden wove into this story. I, like Mia have dreamed of traveling the world and making a difference in some way. I, like Mia, have been afraid that maybe my passions are too petty and won’t make a difference. And I, like Mia, have been finding out that that’s not the case; God can use our passions to bring Him glory, and that was the major theme I saw in this story.  In the end, I love all the aspects of this beautiful story, but I especially loved Mia’s journey because I have experienced the same things, too and I could very much relate to her. I would highly recommend this story to anyone because it is so beautiful and real and I think many can learn from it! **I received a complementary copy of this book from the publisher via JustRead tours but was in no way required to give a positive review. All opinions and thoughts in this review are my own.**

  14. 5 out of 5

    Fiction Aficionado

    ~4.5 stars~ I find myself in a slightly unusual position as I begin this review: I can tell you I was drawn into this story from the beginning, but I’m not sure I can tell you exactly why. This is my third book by Rachel Linden, and I’ve found that her prose is always an effortless read, but there was something about Mia’s story that grabbed me in a way Linden’s previous two books didn’t. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy her previous two books, because I did. But there was something about this s ~4.5 stars~ I find myself in a slightly unusual position as I begin this review: I can tell you I was drawn into this story from the beginning, but I’m not sure I can tell you exactly why. This is my third book by Rachel Linden, and I’ve found that her prose is always an effortless read, but there was something about Mia’s story that grabbed me in a way Linden’s previous two books didn’t. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy her previous two books, because I did. But there was something about this story that I found more engaging. Something I can’t quite put my finger on. See my dilemma? In many ways, this is a coming-of-age story, although Mia’s a little older than your average coming-of-age protagonist. She’s always wanted to find a way to make a difference in the world, but how do you do that when baking is the only real skill you have to offer? I found my attention wholly captured as Mia embarked on her humanitarian trip, partly because Linden recreates the sensory delights (or undelights, as the case may be!) of Mia’s travels in vivid detail, but also because the trip was so different than Mia expected. In fact, the answer to the question “How can I make a meaningful difference?” seemed to be more elusive than ever just when it should have been coming into focus. Perhaps the key to this story’s engagement for me was simply that I was as clueless as Mia how her story would end. Or perhaps it was the fact that there is something uniquely satisfying about the way disappointment and adversity can tumble us to a place we would never have thought to look for otherwise. Whatever the reason, I found it difficult to put this story down until I’d reached the last page. If you enjoy women’s fiction, especially with an international flavour, this is definitely worth picking up. I received a copy of this novel from the publisher. This has not influenced the content of my review, which is my honest and unbiased opinion.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Robin Bonne

    DNF. Big yikes.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Carrie

    This book HITS THE SPOT!! It’s so refreshing!! ✅ plot moves quickly. ✅ I’m invested in the characters. ✅ great use of foreshadowing with just enough tension ✅Believable dialogue. ✅ Interesting setting I give it an A+! ———— I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. —— #enlightenmentofbees #netgalley #reviewathon #bookshark #booksharks #bookstagram #booklove #summerreading This book HITS THE SPOT!! It’s so refreshing!! ⁣ ✅ plot moves quickly. ⁣ ✅ I’m invested in the characters. ⁣ ✅ great use of foreshadowing with just enough tension⁣ ✅Believable dialogue. ⁣ ✅ Interesting setting ⁣ ⁣ I give it an A+! ⁣ ————⁣ I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.⁣ ——⁣ #enlightenmentofbees #netgalley #reviewathon #bookshark #booksharks #bookstagram #booklove #summerreading

  17. 4 out of 5

    Yi-Hsuan

    OK, so I just discovered that this is considered "Christian Fiction." I didn't get much of that in the actual book, except maybe the "beatific Mia" who wanted to be "Saint Mother Teresa," and perhaps the weird humanitarian effort that Mia joined. Why was it weird? Because it was backed by this billionaire who lives on his own island somewhere in Florida, and who hosted the teams of volunteers so lavishly and honestly, kind of in bad taste for what his mission was. It seemed almost exploitative.. OK, so I just discovered that this is considered "Christian Fiction." I didn't get much of that in the actual book, except maybe the "beatific Mia" who wanted to be "Saint Mother Teresa," and perhaps the weird humanitarian effort that Mia joined. Why was it weird? Because it was backed by this billionaire who lives on his own island somewhere in Florida, and who hosted the teams of volunteers so lavishly and honestly, kind of in bad taste for what his mission was. It seemed almost exploitative...sending some people from privileged countries to India, Thailand, Mexico, etc., to "help out" on the ground, to "make a difference." There seemed to be quite some discontent among the volunteers, because they thought they'd be doing "more" (based on the volunteers' own definitions, without considering what the people actually wanted/needed), so it read very...selfish and kind of entitled. And then Rosie's suitcase was lost, and the billionaire sent over a new suitcase filled with expensive designer name stuff when they were helping refugees... That's a useful example of how "off" this book was. At one point I thought the trip would turn into some kind of reality TV show. That's how...odd it was.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Desiree

    What an amazing, heartfelt read. Mia West is the main character and I truly enjoyed joining her on her journey to find herself. After her whole world comes crumbling down around her, suddenly Mia finds her self in a realization: she has no idea who she is alone or what she's supposed to do with her life. She spontaneously joins her best friend, Rosie, on a global humanitarian trip where she thinks she can change the world. But nothing goes the way she expected. I felt what Mia felt while reading What an amazing, heartfelt read. Mia West is the main character and I truly enjoyed joining her on her journey to find herself. After her whole world comes crumbling down around her, suddenly Mia finds her self in a realization: she has no idea who she is alone or what she's supposed to do with her life. She spontaneously joins her best friend, Rosie, on a global humanitarian trip where she thinks she can change the world. But nothing goes the way she expected. I felt what Mia felt while reading this book: guilt, loss, love, heartbreak, horror, and a sense of feeling powerless. So many emotions to be had on this journey of Mia's. The characters were very well-developed. I could really see them in my mind and I could feel their different personalities and how each had their own part in Mia's discovery of her true self. The settings and the citizens of the poor countries that Mia visited were also well described and took me as the reader right there on the scene. The story was a little predictable, but that didn't interfere with my enjoyment of the book. Another aspect I liked a lot was the importance of the subtly placed bees throughout the story. The bees were in Mia's dreams and they surrounded her in her wakening, always during a time of needed. They were guides and they helped to lead her in the right direction. When the bees were around, Mia knew that all was right in the world for her. This book was the perfect palate cleanser for me after reading a few thrillers and I would recommend this book to book lovers everywhere.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Hudson

    MESMERIZING! THE ENLIGHTENMENT OF BEES by Rachel Linden is mesmerizing! It is a meaningful, coming of age novel that will make you stop and consider your own life choices. I think most of us have struggled with the question of, “What can I do with my life that will truly make a difference in the world?” Linden tackles this question and paints a breathtaking story using beautiful word pictures to describe how quickly one’s life can change forever. Mia has her life mapped out. Perfect man, perfect f MESMERIZING! THE ENLIGHTENMENT OF BEES by Rachel Linden is mesmerizing! It is a meaningful, coming of age novel that will make you stop and consider your own life choices. I think most of us have struggled with the question of, “What can I do with my life that will truly make a difference in the world?” Linden tackles this question and paints a breathtaking story using beautiful word pictures to describe how quickly one’s life can change forever. Mia has her life mapped out. Perfect man, perfect future, perfect plan ... until it all crashes in one fatal encounter. She has absolutely no idea what to do with her life. She desperately wants to make a difference in her world. She feels limited in her skills yet she loves to bake. Her biggest question is, “How can she change someone’s life through baking?” She is blessed with an opportunity to go on an overseas Humanitarian Trip. The trip is almost overwhelming. She finds herself thinking she is going to change the world but quickly realizes how limited her thinking has been. A coworker in India, Shreya, puts things in perspective for Mia with these comments: “This is real life. If we want to help people, we cannot focus on their problems, on what we can see just on the outside, the garbage and poverty. We must enter into their lives, be a part of their community. That is where real change happens, person to person, day by day, when we live life together.” Once Mia takes those words captive she begins to understand the big picture and slowly begins to see how to incorporate her unique gifts to help other people who are struggling in the world. The people she meets and the adventures she encounters will change the course of her life forever. Mia could not even fathom the “better things” that were waiting for her or how close they were from the beginning. I was provided an ARC of this book by Harper Collins Publishing & NetGalley. The opinions expressed here are completely my own and without influence.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Laura Anderson

    Calling all fans of The Great British Baking Show! (Even better if you also love Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat, and Won't You Be My Maybe.) You will love this book about baking, international travel, and trying to make the world a better place. *I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review* Here's the plot: Apprentice baker Mia's life in Seattle is turned upside down when her long-time boyfriend dumps her instead of proposing. In a whirlwind, she joins a global mission team to do some Calling all fans of The Great British Baking Show! (Even better if you also love Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat, and Won't You Be My Maybe.) You will love this book about baking, international travel, and trying to make the world a better place. *I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review* Here's the plot: Apprentice baker Mia's life in Seattle is turned upside down when her long-time boyfriend dumps her instead of proposing. In a whirlwind, she joins a global mission team to do some good in the world. Her journey takes her from the slums of India to the middle of the refugee crisis in Hungary as she meets people who change her ideas of what it means to help others, and how she, personally, can improve the world around her. This book was soooo good. The author's personal experience in international travel was evident on every single page, as I was sunk into the sights, sounds, smells, and streets of other countries. The world was so vivid, it's like the book turned clear crystal blue on the Florida islands, a rich sepia in India, and a gray-green in Hungary. I could taste the food and smell the spices. What a treat for someone stuck in her living room in Pittsburgh! I felt so seen, as the book addressed something I think about all the time- how can I improve the global community when I'm just a little person in my home in Pittsburgh? Can I really make a difference? Do my gifts matter? Mia's journey was so reflective of my own journey, as well as the journey of many other people my age, who see the world as a beautiful but broken place and often feel helpless in the face of such pain. But MY GOODNESS the hope that is spoken on every page of this book! The Enlightenment of Bees offers hope without sugar-coating the truth. Yes, it shows need, but more than that, it highlights the good people of the world and empowers the reader to become one of those. And I have to mention the characters: charming, true-to-life... each one is fully developed, with their own story and life. The love story is charming, the friendship story is relateable in the best ways, and Mia is somebody you are happy to spend a whole book with! Like great pastry, The Enlightenment of Bees was sweet but not cloying, light but rich, fun but satisfying. What a treat! I feel so full of good things.

  21. 5 out of 5

    The Bookend Diner

    Thank you to Thomas Nelson books for gifting me an advanced reader copy of the Enlightenment of Bees by Rachel Linden. Have you ever read a book that felt as if it were just destined for you to read it at that particular time in your life? If you haven’t, well I hope that one day you will because it’s almost… magical. If you have, then you know exactly what I’m talking about when I say that this book, The Enlightenment of Bees fell into my lap at a point in time that I really needed something upl Thank you to Thomas Nelson books for gifting me an advanced reader copy of the Enlightenment of Bees by Rachel Linden. Have you ever read a book that felt as if it were just destined for you to read it at that particular time in your life? If you haven’t, well I hope that one day you will because it’s almost… magical. If you have, then you know exactly what I’m talking about when I say that this book, The Enlightenment of Bees fell into my lap at a point in time that I really needed something uplifting. I fell head over heels in love with this story and found Mia West to be a remarkably inspiring character. But, really author Rachel Linden is the one who deserves all of the praise for her masterfully crafted book about how when life goes all the wrong ways that there are ways to make everything right, again. I felt as if I were walking along with Mia through the slums of Mumbai. I could feel the astonishment in Mia’s realization that the world is not as she always pictured it. My heart broke for the families in the Hungarian border camp as Mia fought to help them begin their new lives; I found this to be a particularly poignant part of the story because, on some level, this hits a little close to home. For me, the sign of a truly beautiful book is when it inspires you to do better, to be better and to see the world in a different light. While I don’t think I’m quite ready to travel around the world with a humanitarian group funded by a reclusive billionaire; I do think that I can think of ways to help my community and to start small. As this book taught me, what you do doesn’t have to be some huge act of good… " In the right hands, a cookie or a pie or a biscuit can change the world. It’s not about the baked goods, it’s about your heart. Almost anything can change the world if it’s done with love if you use it to comfort, encourage, or strengthen someone.” Figure out how to make what you love, change the world and then go for it. is available now and I encourage you to add it to your summer reading list, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. Thank you, again, to Thomas Nelson for the advanced reader copy but thank you, most of all, to Rachel Linden for writing such a beautiful story.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Suzie Waltner

    3.5 Stars I have mixed feelings about this book. It starts out well. Mia’s life falls apart, forcing her to take a hard look at what she truly wants out of her life. Then it takes an odd turn. The humanitarian group is flown to an island in Florida where they’re given what amounts to an all-expense-paid vacation for this group of twenty-somethings. I can see the point of this section—to introduce readers to the rest of Mia’s team members but it was so unrealistic and disproportionate, it was a bit 3.5 Stars I have mixed feelings about this book. It starts out well. Mia’s life falls apart, forcing her to take a hard look at what she truly wants out of her life. Then it takes an odd turn. The humanitarian group is flown to an island in Florida where they’re given what amounts to an all-expense-paid vacation for this group of twenty-somethings. I can see the point of this section—to introduce readers to the rest of Mia’s team members but it was so unrealistic and disproportionate, it was a bit off-putting. Once the group leaves Florida, the story picked back up as they fly to Mumbai then Hungary. While serving, more than one team member mentions they thought they’d be doing more. Linden drives home the truth that for so much of the world, the simple things—food, clothing, love—are what they need most. Overall, the message that our God-given passions and talents can be used to change the world (even if it’s one person at a time) tips the scales for The Enlightenment of Bees. Despite the hiccup in the middle, Linden managed to make me ask myself how can I make a difference in other’s lives? Disclosure statement: I receive complimentary books from publishers, publicists, and/or authors, including NetGalley. I am not required to write positive reviews. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Tressa (Wishful Endings)

    THE ENLIGHTENMENT OF BEES is a story of self discovery as the heroine finds that the life she had planned on has disappeared. She takes a chance to chase a dream, and finds that dreams can change. It's a heartfelt story of facing hard things and finding yourself and love through them. Recommended to women's fiction fans. Mia has always felt that she wasn't quite enough or that her love of baking was enough. She wanted to sacrifice her time and travel helping those in need in some way that would c THE ENLIGHTENMENT OF BEES is a story of self discovery as the heroine finds that the life she had planned on has disappeared. She takes a chance to chase a dream, and finds that dreams can change. It's a heartfelt story of facing hard things and finding yourself and love through them. Recommended to women's fiction fans. Mia has always felt that she wasn't quite enough or that her love of baking was enough. She wanted to sacrifice her time and travel helping those in need in some way that would change the world. I think many of us can relate to this. Few of us find that we can do that grand of a gesture, but most of us find small ways we can better the world. For Mia, she has to figure out for herself who she is and what she can do to make a positive impact in the world. I loved how easy it was to relate to those feelings and to her as a character. It was a tough for her to go through―to figure out what she may or may not be cut out for. All the while she faces some heartbreaking situations in the slums in India and the refugees streaming into Hungary. She is still so unsure of exactly what she will do and who she is, but eventually she figures it out. I loved so many of the relationships in this story! There were old friendships and some newly formed. There was family. I especially loved Mia's brother, Henry, and the background noise and dialogue between him and his kids that just cracked me up and that I could relate to as a mother. I also adored her Nana Alice. What a dear, spunky lady. There was also a sweet romance that I felt didn't take over the story, but was a very enjoyable aspect of it. I liked that the story made me think and appreciate the good things in life. So many of us, particularly us women, feel like we need to be contributing in a meaningful way to the world and we don't always see our own roles as mothers or our own talents as doing that. This was a good reminder that we each have our own strengths and can find a way to use those in helping others. There were a few very small things that I didn't feel quite fit the story. Maybe too many perfect endings to tie the story up, and a few other things that I wasn't completely okay with. However, these were minor. There were quite a few poignant moments in this story and little nuggets of wisdom that I loved. Here are a few: When I imagined this trip, imagined a life of service like Mother Teresa's, somehow I didn't factor in the people I would meet. I pictured how I would touch their lives, but I never thought about how they would touch mine. "I think even small things can change the world for good." "Remember, Mia, your place in this world is the space where your greatest passion meets the world's great pain. Go find your right place." "Almost anything can change the world if it's done with love, if you use it to comfort, encourage, or strengthen someone." In the end, was it what I wished for? I thoroughly enjoyed reading this! It's a story full of heart, finding the world is a hard place, and self discovery, with friendships, family, and romance. Definitely a book worth the read and one that would be a great pick for book clubs. I'm looking forward to reading more from this author! Content: References to drug use, heavy drinking, and some violence. Source: I received a complimentary copy from the publisher through JustReadTours, which did not require a positive review nor affect it in any way.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Karen R

    I enjoyed this book a lot, especially the various settings across the globe. Loved all the referrals to local landmarks in Seattle and Sequim too. The lavender farms in that area are lovely when in bloom! The writing flowed really well, and carried the storyline seamlessly through all the travel segments. It reads more like a clean, general fiction book, kind of a coming of age type storyline. There was little to no spiritual content. It would have given the story more meaning if there had been I enjoyed this book a lot, especially the various settings across the globe. Loved all the referrals to local landmarks in Seattle and Sequim too. The lavender farms in that area are lovely when in bloom! The writing flowed really well, and carried the storyline seamlessly through all the travel segments. It reads more like a clean, general fiction book, kind of a coming of age type storyline. There was little to no spiritual content. It would have given the story more meaning if there had been a little, even just on a personal level. Doing service projects apart from faith seems rather pointless, and finding one's purpose in life before agreeing to marry someone seemed a bit selfish. I guess for some people marriage would be smothering that way though if they had their heart set on a different dream. If you love someone enough to marry them and start a family, there will always be the need for some sacrifice. I liked the wrap up though and how Mia used her experience combined with her gifts to help others. The refugee crisis is certainly a relevant topic today. An eye opening book. 4.5 stars

  25. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    This sweet and pretty cover doesn't give away the rich, deep story within. With the stage set with disappointment the main character is very relatable and easy to like. You can read the summary about the book on any retailer so I’m not going to go into any of those details, I’m just going to tell you why I really liked this book. I loved how the character was nervous about her humanitarian work. I think it’s easy to think that doing any form of ministry for others as being in 100% but there is a This sweet and pretty cover doesn't give away the rich, deep story within. With the stage set with disappointment the main character is very relatable and easy to like. You can read the summary about the book on any retailer so I’m not going to go into any of those details, I’m just going to tell you why I really liked this book. I loved how the character was nervous about her humanitarian work. I think it’s easy to think that doing any form of ministry for others as being in 100% but there is a lot more that goes into that than just knowing you are able to do some good. But the fears she expressed, the dangers she faced, and the confusion over what it all meant I just loved. It was just so honest. I loved that the characters, all of them, were flawed and none of them acted like some super hero going in to rescue everyone. Every one of them needed some rescuing of their own. Hearing on social media about how the author has so many personal connections to the places, people, and humanitarian efforts really was just that sweet bonus also. The message is hard to beat. But I’ll let you read it to catch it yourself. This is a special book. It would be a great book for bookclubs.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Angela Walker

    I borrowed this audiobook from my library via the Hoopla app. Mia has always dreamed of traveling the world and making a difference like her Aunt who offers dental services in Africa. When Mia's boyfriend of 6 years dumps her and she loses her job in the same week its like God is giving her a sign. Mia enrolls in a humanitarian trip with her roommate Rosie and they are immediately off of their adventure of travel and helping others. Through the whole book Mia is discovering things about herself. I borrowed this audiobook from my library via the Hoopla app. Mia has always dreamed of traveling the world and making a difference like her Aunt who offers dental services in Africa. When Mia's boyfriend of 6 years dumps her and she loses her job in the same week its like God is giving her a sign. Mia enrolls in a humanitarian trip with her roommate Rosie and they are immediately off of their adventure of travel and helping others. Through the whole book Mia is discovering things about herself. Her confidence, her passion, what she's willing to do, her motivation. The world was wonderfully described. I can fully imagine the clustered adrenaline driving thru Mumbai and trying different foods for the first time. I've never been out of the continental US but I have befriended foreigners from around the world where they have described life back home. Descriptions of the setting were beautifully done from social media snapshots to meeting immigrants. The struggle Mia has wondering if what she is doing is making a difference. She thought she wanted to be a saint like Mother Theresa. Change the world, help others in need. In Mumbai she made pancakes. Although making a baked treat happens to be Mia's specialty, is talking to a group of kids for a couple of minutes going to make an impact globally? Mia's experience in Hungary was vastly different but she was ill-equipped and unprepared for her tasks, although she did them wholeheartedly to the best of her ability. The experience was devastating. The need was evident but she felt like she wasn’t enough in the short time they were there. There is love in the book, although its not a love story. Love between family and wanting what's best for them. Love between friends and supporting each other. Love interests and realizing its okay to want different things and have different goals.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Hallie Szott

    4.5 When she loses both her job and her boyfriend of six years, Mia West has to reevaluate what she wants for her future. She has always believed she should do “something more,” so she agrees to join her friend, Rosie, on a humanitarian trip around the world. Only, she has much more to learn about herself and her future than she knew. Rachel Linden’s The Enlightenment of Bees is much more than its charming cover suggests. Of course, it is charming with its touches of humor, romance, and whimsy, bu 4.5 When she loses both her job and her boyfriend of six years, Mia West has to reevaluate what she wants for her future. She has always believed she should do “something more,” so she agrees to join her friend, Rosie, on a humanitarian trip around the world. Only, she has much more to learn about herself and her future than she knew. Rachel Linden’s The Enlightenment of Bees is much more than its charming cover suggests. Of course, it is charming with its touches of humor, romance, and whimsy, but it also challenges readers to grapple with how to be in the world and if it’s possible to follow passions and make a difference. It’s an excellent story, and I definitely recommend it. This review is also posted on Hallie Reads. I received a complimentary copy of this book and the opportunity to provide an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review, and all the opinions I have expressed are my own.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Carole Jarvis

    Reviewed at The Power of Words: https://bit.ly/2ZLH8Zm The Enlightenment of Bees is different from anything I’ve ever read and I enjoyed it. I loved seeing various parts of the world through Rachel Linden’s eyes and journeying along with Mia in her search for purpose in life. It's not all light and fluff, however, as Linden delves into some serious and relevant issues. The writing flows easily across the page and a whimsical touch adds enchantment. Many readers will be able to connect with a chara Reviewed at The Power of Words: https://bit.ly/2ZLH8Zm The Enlightenment of Bees is different from anything I’ve ever read and I enjoyed it. I loved seeing various parts of the world through Rachel Linden’s eyes and journeying along with Mia in her search for purpose in life. It's not all light and fluff, however, as Linden delves into some serious and relevant issues. The writing flows easily across the page and a whimsical touch adds enchantment. Many readers will be able to connect with a character who thinks she has a comfortable life planned out and slowly unfolding for her, when suddenly the very framework of that life is torn away – from future marriage to career, and even complications from an illness affecting her beloved Nana Alice. These drastic changes allow Mia’s dreams to resurface and when an opportunity to join a humanitarian team opens up, she jumps at the chance. Some very interesting characters populate this story. The team itself is an eclectic mixture of nationalities and purposes. I was intrigued by the mission’s wealthy and reclusive benefactor, Lars … “Another man with baggage, a man who looks good on the surface but is hiding some flaw beneath” according to Mia. Jazz singer Rosie, Mia’s housemate, and the Hawaiian Kai, with a passion for sustainable urban farming, are appealing characters. I also loved Mia’s relationship with Nana Alice. From the beautiful lavender farms of Washington State, to the slums of Mumbai and a Hungarian refugee camp, the scenes are so vivid that they can actually be experienced. I wished for more character depth from some of the team members, but the refugee stories were very well done and heart stirring. Mia’s emotional coming-of-age journey is eye opening, giving much cause for personal reflection. The Enlightenment of Bees feels more like a general market story rather than Christian fiction, but it helps if you imagine that God is behind Mia’s desire to change people’s lives, guiding and orchestrating the events in her life. That is never explicitly stated, however, and a spiritual connection would have made Mia’s quest much more meaningful and enjoyable for me personally. Still, if you take the book for what it is, The Enlightenment of Bees is a moving, entertaining story. I look forward to more of Rachel Linden’s writing. I received a copy of this book through JustRead Tours. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jo Ann

    For being a light romance, I found this book not only entertaining, but personally challenging. Mia has lost both her job and the future with her long-time boyfriend that she dreamed about and expected. She decides to go on a humanitarian world-wide trip with her friend, Rosie, and discovers some not-so-great things about herself...it’s harder to make the difference she thought she’d be making in the slums of India or the refugee camps of Hungary! Although at times I rolled my eyes, I still find For being a light romance, I found this book not only entertaining, but personally challenging. Mia has lost both her job and the future with her long-time boyfriend that she dreamed about and expected. She decides to go on a humanitarian world-wide trip with her friend, Rosie, and discovers some not-so-great things about herself...it’s harder to make the difference she thought she’d be making in the slums of India or the refugee camps of Hungary! Although at times I rolled my eyes, I still find myself reflecting on my own childhood/early adult dreams of making a difference in our world, and for that, I am thankful for this book! Still reflecting...😊

  30. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    Thanks to the publisher, via Netgalley, for an advance e-galley for honest review. 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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