The Ardent Swarm by Yamen Manai and translated by Lara Vergnaud is set in Nawa, a village in Tunisia. There is political unrest at the time, which I think is at the time of the Arab Spring, approximately 2010.
Sidi is a reclusive beekeeper. He doesn’t pay too much attention to anything besides trying to find out who or what is killing his hives. Through his research, he finds out that the responsible party are killer hornets.
Bees are really fascinating creatures. Sidi, Sidi’s niece, Jannet, and her husband, Tamar, also discover that Japanese bees have a way to protect themselves against hornets.
In the book, it is called an ardent swarm. One of the meanings of ardent is “burning.” It is a real action in which the bees form a ball around the hornet. The bees vibrate their wings until the ball’s temperature rises. The temperature can reach 118 degrees. So the unsuspecting hornet is burned to death and the bees clean up the crime scene. No one will ever know that a hornet was there.
Sidi is desperate to begin a new colony that can defeat the hornet. He needs a Japanese queen bee. Jannet and Tamar visit Japan and find several queen bees. Will the queens survive the trip to Tunisia? Will introducing a Japanese queen help to defeat the killer hornets?
Queen bees and their colonies will love this book. Also, beekeepers will find it interesting. Honestly, you can be allergic to bees and still enjoy The Ardent Spring.
If you are a killer hornet, then you might not be interested in a book about bees.
Seattle-based singer/songwriter, Kaylee Elizabeth, will be releasing her debut album, Playing with Fire, on June 11. Write it down on your calendar! Set an alert so you remember to support the release of this new album!
The lyrics seem very heartfelt and honest. Kaylee spent time in Ireland studying traditional singing. I think you can hear the influences of her time in Ireland in her singing and songwriting.
Her music reminds me a little bit of Joni Mitchell and Carole King. Maybe someday she will find someone to be the Carole King to her Joni Mitchell. She might not need a partner but collaboration can be good for the creative process. On this album, she had the help of several musicians including Jessica Dobson (Deep Sea Diver, Beck, The Shins), Sean Lane (Pedro the Lion, Perfume Genius), Michael Porter and Zander Hawley.
“The saying ‘playing with fire’ encapsulates the tension that this album holds for me,” she explains. “It also explores the fleeting and temporal nature of things and how realizing that delicacy gives perspective. This album shares my doubts, prayers, and gratitude of the last handful of years.”
Well, this is a good album to play while you dance around the computer room with your needy cat. Dancing with cats isn’t scientifically proven to be bad for the creative process. We made it through most of “Passing Through” before he was ready for his next adventure. I enjoyed “Playing with Fire” without the company of the needy cat.
You won’t need a dancing pet to enjoy this album. Hopefully, you will also be a new fan of Kaylee Elizabeth.
I have watched this video on repeat. I’m not even a little bit sorry. When you have a chance, check out the “Frida Kahlo” video from Lion Babe of New York City. They also have some amazing band merch. I’m a Leo and would like all of my clothing to say Lion Babe from now on.
Why: They have signed with Lovely Records and will be releasing an EP in July. Sweet Teeth worked so hard to get a record deal so give their record a spin. Lucky for us, the EP will also be available on vinyl.
Also, their reason for you to listen: 7 tracks of bittersweet and straight-forward alternative rock, performed with a ton of energy and heartwarming honesty.
Did you know that Julia Child was a researcher for the Office of Strategic Services? She wasn’t a spy but she helped spies do the spying. Julia Child came up with a shark repellent, which is still used at this very moment. She met her husband through working at the OSS. Spying brought two people together in marriage.
Do you have what it takes to be a spy? If my cover is being a clumsy, awkward, stressed-out person then I could definitely be a spy.
The Secret Stealers begins in Washington D.C. during World War II. Anna Cavanaugh is a gifted French teacher but she wants to do more with her life. She has recently been widowed and questioning how she can get out of the slump that she is in. Her parents really want her to move back home but Anna is not a fan of that plan. Eventually, Anna wants to return to France but at the moment the country is occupied by Nazis.
Anna has known William Donovan, who was the head of the Office of Strategic Services. He was an actual person who had an amazing career. He hired Anna to work as his personal assistant. She worked her way up to spy training and then an actual spy. Her goal of going to France might actually happen. Of course, it’s going to be dangerous. She cannot go to a country occupied by Nazis as herself. The OSS creates a backstory for her and train her before sending her to France.
Anna arrives in France but it has changed with the Nazis hanging out all over the place. She’s willing to risk her life to end the Nazi occupation. Her parents are not excited about this new career as a spy. However, they do eventually come around and are very proud of her. I think her mom still wants her to relax at the beach and read trashy romance novels. It’s a great idea but it’s not the right choice for Anna.
Julia Child is friends with Anna. I didn’t make the connection that it was the Julia until the end. Maybe I shouldn’t tell you but Julia Child might be one of my favorite people of all time. I couldn’t keep it a secret. So maybe I wouldn’t be a good spy after all. hmmmm . . . . Good to know.
If you love stories about women taking charge of their own life and taking the road less traveled, then you will enjoy The Secret Stealers.
If you don’t like Julia Child or if you love Nazis, then you are all mixed up. You should love Julia Child and hate Nazis. Work on it and come back to this book later.