Archive for February 23rd, 2019

CeeGee’s Gift

After posting the review for Down into the Belly of the Whale I couldn’t resist sharing this book too. Both are worth checking out!!


CeeGee’s Gift by Joy H. Selak

A young girl is born with a mysterious gift.
An old man teaches her what it means to be gifted.
Together they learn the reason we are here on earth is to discover and give our gifts. Everyone has a gift.

Set in a small island town on the Texas coastal bend, CeeGee’s Gift takes readers to a simpler time, when neighbors sat on front porches, kids took off on bikes all day, and the library was the gathering place for all ages. Twelve-year-old Celia Gene Williamson and her friend, old Mr. Tindale, work together to transform her ability to foretell the future into a gift for others—a chance for the people of Southport to prepare for what is to come, or even change their direction and change the future.

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Joy H. Selak 

About the Author

You Don’t LOOK Sick! Living Well with Invisible Chronic Illness, co-authored with her physician was first published in 2005. A fully revised second edition was published by Demos Health in December 2012. The authors take the reader on a journey through the 4 stages of chronic illness, Getting Sick, Being Sick, Grief and Acceptance and Living Well. They believe it is possible to live well, even if you cannot get well and are passionate advocates for compassionate, comprehensive healthcare.

Joy was raised in San Antonio, TX, attended Arizona State University for 14 years, earning 4 degrees. She taught in the English Department at ASU for 7 years, then left academics to become a stockbroker. After becoming ill, Joy turned to writing.

Joy is board president of ZACH Theatre in Austin, TX and through ZACH and MindPOP she advocates for the arts and arts education across the curriculum. Joy was a founder and consultant for A Legacy of Giving, an organization that teaches children to be philanthropists through their school curriculum.

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My Review

5 Stars

Celia Gene, CeeGee, is almost twelve years old and a great kid on the little Magdalena Island. We start the story with her offering to help the elderly Mr. Tindale with his flower beds. But what happens is a prediction and learning about her special ability/curse. CeeGee gets Knowings, a light comes down and tells her different things.

The ones she had three years ago lead to people being hurt or dying and she has locked her ability away for three years and tried to be a normal kid. But this is a constant struggle and she decides to talk to Mr. Tindale to see if he can help her.

This is a touching story of a young girl and a very special yet misunderstood ability. CeeGee is a great kid and it broke my heart to see her struggling with her Knowing. I understand why she thought they were horrible but I was so happy when Mr. Tindale got it through that it wasn’t the case, like when she saved her mom from the baseball. And to see how she used her Knowing was just wonderful.

This is a great story and one that I recommend checking out. I love how it shows to embrace your abilities and how they are really gifts. Joy Selak does a great job with this story. I can’t wait to read more books from her.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.

I would like to thank The Authors’ Assistant for the opportunity to read and share this book.

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Down in the Belly of the Whale by Kelley Kay Bowles

A contemporary story about family and friendship for fans of Eleanor Porter and L.M. Montgomery.

Harper Southwood is a teenage girl who can sense when people will get sick—but so what? She can’t predict her best friend’s depression or her mother’s impending health crisis. Being helpful is all Harper ever wanted, but she feels helpless in the face of real adversity. Now, she’s got a chance to summon her courage and use her wits to fight for justice. Laugh and cry along with this irrepressible, high-spirited teen in her journey of self-discovery, as she learns that compassion and internal strength are her real gifts, her true superpower.

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Kelley Kay Bowles

About the Author

Kelley Bowles Gusich writes young adult novels under the pen name Kelley Kay Bowles and cozy mysteries under Kelley Kaye. Her debut novel, cozy mystery Death by Diploma, was released by Red Adept Publishing on February 2016, went #1 on Amazon for cozy mysteries in August that same year, and is first in her Chalkboard Outlines® series. Book # 2, Poison by Punctuation, was released April 2018.

Kelley’s new young adult novel, Down in the Belly of the Whale, was released May 5th, 2018, by Aionios Books, and won their title ‘Victor Indie Book of the Year’. Look for it in Kindle, paperback, and audio book (narrated by Kelley!).

Kelley taught high school English and drama for twenty years in Colorado and California, but a 1994 diagnosis of multiple sclerosis has (circuitously and finally) brought her to the life of writer and mother, both occupations she adores and dreamed about way back when she was making up stories revolving around her Barbie and Ken dolls.

Kelley has two wonderful and funny sons and an amazing husband who cooks for her. She lives in Southern California.

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My Review

4 Stars

Harper Southwood is a typical teenager that feels like the odd man out from her family, has school issues, and a crush on her lab partner. But where she is not normal is her ability to sense when people are ill. We start the story as she is meeting up with her best friend Cora who has been acting strange and making Harper’s knees itch. Cora tries to play everything off until Harper notices cuts on her legs and learns about Cora’s abuse. As Harper navigates this new world she also learns that her mother is ill also.

This is a deep story. Harper is a wonderful teenager that can annoy you but make you care about her at the same time. She is trying to find her place in the world while feeling like an outsider. My heart breaks for Cora and everything she goes through. I also felt for Harper as we see what her mother is going through too.

This is an amazing story that touches on several hard topics. It tries to balance the darkness with humor which is how I live my life so I could easily see how this was used. Although this story is more of a coming of age story I really would have liked to see Harper’s ability been used more, it was a big draw to me when I decided to read the book.

Overall I recommend checking out this book. It’s a great read on some tough topics that could trigger some people. I love how she tackled these topics. This is the first book of Kelley Bowles that I have read but it won’t be my last.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.

I would like to thank The Author for the opportunity to read and share her book.

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Published: November 2018
Publisher: Paragraph Line Books
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Effete alcoholic Tris Edgar finds a talking raccoon digging through his trash one evening. Tris tells a story of heartbreak, loss and self-defeat, and of his life as an instant celebrity in the internet age. At turns dark and whimsical, Doug Liberty Presents Bandit the Dancing Raccoon is a uncanny fable for the 21st century.

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Praise for Doug Liberty Presents Bandit the Dancing Raccoon:
“Sheppard is a hugely imaginative writer, deftly balancing humor, pathos and lyricism.” -Self-Publishing Review
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When I went to work the next night, Delores wasn’t there. She was supposed to be there. She left behind a note on the back of an order pad that said she was returning to Zanesville, Ohio, and that I shouldn’t follow her because nothing good could come from my following her to Zanesville. She’d double-underlined and capitalized Zanesville in each instance of its use in the note. She helpfully wrote down the address for what she said was her parents’ place in Zanesville at the bottom of the note.
This is how people get in trouble, you know. Not following directions.
It was an adventure. I took the note, left the restaurant, locked the doors and shoved my key under the front mat. I could have tried to drive my car to Zanesville, but it wouldn’t have made it.
I didn’t have much money. I’m not very good with money. This is a problem of mine going way back. All the way back. And all the way forward, too, to the present day. Ask the raccoon, if you can find him. He didn’t appreciate my situation.
I walked down to the Trailways bus station with the intention of buying a ticket to Zanesville, or maybe Cincinnati or Cleveland. I was unsure concerning the geography part of the adventure. Ohio was north. I knew that much.
At the bus station, a dude wearing a white, bellbottomed jumpsuit with “FATTU” spelled out in golden sequins sparkling on his back and sequined flames sewn into the seams from his armpits to his white ankle boots, hired me to ride shotgun with him from Florida to Ohio. I found him pacing around the bus station near the coin-operated TV sets. I’d been on my way to the ticket counter. I expected him to speak in an Elvis-inspired drawl, but he didn’t. His voice was Midwestern flat. There was no musicality to it whatsoever. He spoke quickly, too. “You want to go to Ohio? Let’s do this. Here’s two hundred dollars.” He handed me $300 in twenties. I counted it in front of him and tried to give back the extra hundred. “You keep it! You keep it! Good job! You’re trustworthy. We have a circle of trust going.”
I was wearing my work uniform. We were quite a pair walking out of the bus station to his waiting car, a mid-1970’s Camaro painted gold, like the car in the Rockford Files, glowing under a streetlight. Or was it a Pontiac Firebird? The engine was running. I could see blue smoke rising out of the tailpipe and up into the humid air. It was the rainy season. Everything was wet—ground, trees, people, air. I flung my straw boater onto a palmetto bush growing at the edge of the lot.
Where did I leave my car? Should I have sold my car? It wasn’t worth the effort to think about the car, so I didn’t.
He produced an glass amber bottle of black beauties. The bottle had been around since the 1970’s, like his car. Maybe he’d found it under the bucket seat. I popped a tablet, he popped four. He told me he was going to dictate his novel to me, and I was going to type it all down. He handed me an Olivetti in a brown leatherette zipped case and a roll of paper from a paper towel dispenser. “This is going to be my masterpiece. Type it all down! I’m the new Kerouac!” The speed made me feel like there were invisible live wires under my skin. I kept shouting, “Woop! Woop!” I typed the guy’s masterpiece while he drove. He had an organist’s keyboard built into the dash, and he played it. Bach fugues, mostly, to accompany his dictated writing. There were pipes in the doors. Every note vibrated through them. 
“Her lips were pillows for my psionic mind.” I remember that line. I don’t remember a lot of the rest of it. Most of it was like that, though.
All the roadsigns that I’d read from my annual trips north were still there somehow (Stuckey’s, See Rock City, etc.).
I typed, and the paper kept getting stuck. The ribbon was on its last legs. The paper tore, so I ripped it and tossed it in the seat behind me. I looked back at some point and there were all these curls of typed-upon paper back there.
“Is it done?” he asked me, riffing on the keyboard. “Is it done? Is it done?”
“Yes,” I told him. “It’s done.”
“Cool,” he said, and drove us off the side of a low bridge in Kentucky, bounding over rocks ten feet down before sloshing nose first into the river below.
“I should have asked for more money,” I muttered as the car splashed down.
“What’s that?!” he shouted.
“Never mind.”
We somehow survived. I rolled down the window, climbed out of the car, swam ashore and looked back. The car was gone. So was the author.
About the Author

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John L. Sheppard, a graduate of the MFA@FLA creative writing program at the University of Florida, is a native of Cleveland, Ohio. He lives in Illinois. He wrote a series of books about the adventures of Audrey Novak.
Contact Links
RABT Book Tours & PR
I would like to thank Reading Addiction Virtual Book Tours and PR for the opportunity to share this book.

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