#FreeBook Happy Thanksgiving from Briar featuring an interview from Kelley Kaye Bowles!

On this lovely day before the American Thanksgiving, I am going to share an amazing offer with you! Not only will you get to read an amazing blog post but you also have a chance at a free book! So, take a peek at the content below and at the very end you’ll have a super special surprise… A free book by the author Kelley Kaye Bowles!

First and foremost, Kelley and I asked each other 3 questions about gratitude! Around this time of year, it’s always important to take a step back and reflect on what you’re thankful for (hence the name… Thanksgiving).

 

My questions for Kelley and her answers are as follows:

1. What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving? Ugh—how can I make this anything but cliché? I’m thankful for my children and my husband and my home. I’m thankful to be alive—every day above ground is a good day! On something closer to home, I’m thankful the destructive winds around here have stopped and no California fires are currently threatening me and mine. ~ Kelley

 

2. Who is one person you’d like to say ‘Thank you’ to? I’d like to say thank you to William Shakespeare. I think a lot of what came after as far as studies into humanity and human relationships was explored first by him. But not really, right?!? What about Homer? That guy was born in 850 b.c. and The Odyessy certainly covered humanity and human relationships. So sorry, Briar, I can’t pick only one! I just want to thank WRITERS. ~ Kelley

 

3. Is there anything in your life you take for granted that you’re grateful for? I think I took my parents for granted a lot—they were great! Now my Dad is gone and my mom has Alzheimer’s, so she’s not gone but she is—the interactions we were able to have are gone. I am really grateful to have had them. ~ Kelley

Kelley sent me back three questions, so of course I had to answer them!

1. What’s your fave ‘stop and smell the roses’ activity? (I.e. what’s something you do purely because it makes you feel present or peaceful?) Whenever I’m in an area that has butterflies around, I always take a small moment to admire them. This year I was lucky enough to take that to the max and go to a Butterfly Conservatory. Just watching these beautiful creatures interact with the environment and thinking about how important they are for pollination makes me take a big step back! I feel at peace around them and it really cements ‘the butterfly effect’ – how one little act like a butterfly pollinating a flower can have a big impact on the world.
2. What’s a place in the world where you feel you most belong? That is honestly a very hard question to answer! I’ve always been ‘outcast’ growing up – I liked swimming when my class liked basketball, I liked reading when it wasn’t ‘cool’,  I was interested in grades and spending time with my family when my friends were interested in parties, etc. Which, consequently, made me feel like I didn’t belong for a very long time! This isn’t necessarily a place, but when I’m swimming in a pool I feel like I belong. My life was always dictated by water, so it makes sense that I feel like I belong when I can swim my little legs off!
3. What’s a time you did something that scared you, but now you’re so grateful you did it? This isn’t a happy story, but it’s one that is dear to my heart. Years ago, while my Dad was ill, our dog was also near the end of her life. We had to put her down and I was horrified to stay in the room with her. My parents convinced me that we were truly the best of friends so it was important for her to see me to feel safe. Now, you might be thinking ‘why would she be grateful for THAT’? Well, I’m not grateful for that moment, in fact – I wish I never had to put my dog down. But, that was one of the last days my Father was alive and I am so grateful to share that powerful and emotional moment with him. That’s a hard bond to recreate – two humans bonding over their shared and extremely powerful love of their mutual best friend. Oh man, I have tears in my eyes writing this!

 

If you’ve made it this far, congratulations! Reflect on how you would answer those questions yourself during this holiday season, since this is the season for nostalgia.

Now, time for that free book! Since there’s a four day weekend for the U.S.A, why not spend your time reading a FREE book? Yes, FREE!!

Here’s the links to this AMAZING and FREE book:

Amazon.com – Down in the Belly of the Whale

Amazon.ca – Down in the Belly of the Whale

 

If you don’t know what this book is about, then you’re in luck! I have read this book myself and I’d love to give you a quick summary of this magnificent book.

This YA story is an emotional roller coaster that is all about the strength of families and friendship. Harper has this incredible ability – she knows when people feel ill. Suddenly, she notices her best friend isn’t feeling so well and she takes some action! The book tackles a multitude of real issues that teenagers in a heartfelt story. If you’re looking for a book that feels real and is beautifully written, you’ve found it!

So, get on that buying spree and remember to post a quick review to Amazon once you’re done! Kelley’s book is an absolute must read for those who love the YA genre!

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#GuestPost Kelley Kaye Bowles Takes Over the Bloggity!

Today, on my blog, I welcome the fantabulous (yes, that’s a word) Kelley Kay Bowles/Kelley Kaye. We stumbled across each other, and I fell in love with her books! This amazing author has a cozy murder mystery series as well as one amazing YA novel that truly opened my eyes. When the opportunity came up for Kelley to spread the word about her novel, Down in the Belly of the Whale, I jumped at the chance! She had a really cool audiobook and was willing to share her experiences about making it. So, now is her time to shine! Here is Kelley’s guest post on my blog about her audiobook for Down in The Belly of the Whale.

Once again, thank you Kelley for taking the time to come join the bloggity!

Stay tuned…if you’re visiting on October 10th, 2018 then there is a free book in store for you….

 

When I was three years old, my grandma gave me a book. I don’t remember the title of the book, because I’m old now, but I’ve been assured it was a complex enough book – not a dick and Jane see Spot run, but an actual story.

So apparently what I did was rush up to my mother and say oh mommy will you read this to me?? To which she replied why don’t you read it to me?

So I did.

I guess it took a long time to convince my family that no one had read it to me before, that I just knew how to read, but there you have it. The birth of a story-loving, story-reading, storytelling monster.

Fast-forward to 2017. Insert 20 years of reading aloud to students in the interim, and plop me into a mix which includes a local publisher who is willing to take risks on an unknown. Then stir in a high voice which could pass for 15 (as long as you can’t see my wrinkles) a fancy microphone, a laptop, a chair, and a closet, and Voila! You have an audiobook!

The genesis of the Down in the Belly of the Whale audiobook actually has its own cool story. There’s an intense scene in the book involving a pretext call. You know the one I’m talking about! So during the editing process for the Belly manuscript, I’d just finished a rewrite which I felt really made the scene. . . pop. It actually made me cry, made my heart beat faster, basically affected me emotionally. Which was exactly what I wanted, ya know? So I called the publisher and read the scene over the phone.

She FLIPPED out, loved the reading so much, said, “You have to do the audiobook!” And I said,”YES!”

Ideally you go to a studio to produce a quality audiobook. But, ideally you have a budget with which to do that sort of thing—which I really did not. So we did the next best thing: punt. The publisher found me a high-quality microphone, and I’m one of those people who never gives clothes away (“Bellbottoms will come around again…it’s a cyclical thing!”) and therefore have a closet that’s chock full of sound suppression!

So every day, after the landscapers at my condo complex put their leaf blowers and lawn mowers away, I’d plug the microphone into my laptop and get into my closet. I’d close the door and sit down, do some deep breaths and tongue twisting exercises, and then launch into a chapter.

Each chapter got uploaded to my computer and sent to the publisher. After the first draft, we got into re-records, in some chapters where the voices weren’t consistent, or maybe with volume or pacing issues. I had to completely re-record the last eight chapters because of a mysterious, unidentifiable thump.

Anyway, the entire process took about six months. It was extremely draining. And interesting. And fascinating.
And FUN!

Check out the sample: https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B07FMCKD67/

So if you have a commute, or some housekeeping to do, or you’d just rather listen to stories sometimes, here’s an opportunity! Audiobooks are always less expensive when purchased with the actual, written word version. So today, on World Mental Health Day, “buy” Down in the Belly of the Whale for free on Amazon, and have some audio story time with me for only $7.49! Yay, BOOKS!

 

Purchase Links:

Amazon.ca – eBook
Amazon.ca – Audiobook

Amazon.com – eBook
Amazon.com – Audiobook

Barnes & Nobles – eBook
Barnes & Nobles – Paperback

Chapters/Indigo/Coles – Paperback

 

Find out more about Kelley Kaye on:
http://www.kelleykaybowles.com/
Twitter – @kelkay1202

 

Check out Briar’s Reviews on:
Goodreads – Down in the Belly of the Whale review
Twitter – @ReviewAlholic
Facebook – @BriarsReviews
#BookPlaylist Down in the Belly of the Whale by Kelley Kay Bowles

 

If you enjoyed this book, check out my Top Ten list of other books you may enjoy (which this book is on!!!). Collection 2: #TopTens – Young Adult Part 1

#BookReview Down in the Belly of the Whale by Kelley Kay Bowles

Today is October 10th – World Mental Health Day! To celebrate and make people aware, check out my review of a book that focuses on mental health awareness (and general health awareness too!).

 

 

Down in the Belly of the Whale by Kelley Kay Bowles is a witty and ingenious Young Adult novel that addresses a multitude of tough subject matter in an eye-opening manner.

I don’t know how Kelley does it, but she always manages to impress me. This time around, Kelley has a Young Adult novel that addresses so many tough subjects in one go! Topics such as self harm, child abuse, Multiple Sclerosis, loss of innocence, suicide and not so supportive parents are just some of the many that are tackled in this book. Each “issue” is brought into the story seamlessly and has plot lines throughout the narrative to deal with the issues. Most Young Adult books stay away from the tough yet so very real topics like these, so I have to applaud Kelley for taking the big leap in her story!

My teenage self would have loved a book like this, and I could have learned a lot in the process. On top of the subject matter, the book is written in the voice of a teenager (and it feels oh so real!). Just some of the quotes, such as “I’m going to wear a stunning pair of very expensive jeans that hug my curves like a two-year old with separation anxiety” make this book hilarious! This sitcom-like book creates a fantastic balance between realism and dark topics alongside the silly and goofy one-liners to make the book less depressing.

I did like the character development in this story – both Cora and Harper grow throughout. The change in their attitudes and view points was very obvious as the book went on! I think Kelley did a great job making these characters feel real and like teenagers. Bravo!!

The fantastical side of Harper being able to “sense” when someone is sick, and she’s able to sense mental illness is a big step forward. Mental illness is not always seen as someone being “sick”, rather it’s just an issue to be dealt with. Having a book directed towards teenagers have this point of view makes me very happy and very proud of Kelley’s writing.

Now for the tough part – the negatives. Were there negatives in this book for me? Yes. I felt the ending was rushed, which made some of the pieces being tied together feel less real. Is it necessarily a bad thing? No. It was just something that stuck out to me. Kelley ties up some of the loose ends nicely, but I would have loved a few more pages dedicated to these storylines. Other than that, this book felt flawless.

Would I recommend this book? Heck yes! This book was a fantastic Young Adult novel that I actually got into! I didn’t want to put it down, and I didn’t. I easily binged this book in one sitting, but it could easily be read in bits and pieces. If you like Young Adult novels, books that tackle dark subject matter (in a light-hearted way) or a splash of comedy, then you will love this book! I’d even recommend this to many adult readers, because of it’s amazing way of tackling the rough subjects.

There is a bit of an asterisk on the recommendation side – this book could be a major trigger for some people. Keep that in mind if you plan to pick up this book! The darker sides of this novel may not be suitable for all ages and maturity levels!

Five out of five stars!

I received a free copy of this book from the author Kelley Kaye Bowles in exchange for an honest review.

 

Find this book on:

Goodreads

Amazon.ca

Amazon.com

 

Find out more about Kelley Kaye Bowles on:

Goodreads – Kelley Kaye Bowles

http://www.kelleykaybowles.com/

Twitter – @kelkay1202

 

If you read this review, give me a shout out on Twitter to let me know you read it! @ReviewAlholic

 

And if you enjoyed this review, why not check out another you might enjoy? #BookReview The Sinking of Bethany Ann Crane by K. Kris Loomis

#BookPlaylist Down in the Belly of the Whale by Kelley Kay Bowles

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Today on my blog we have a wonderful guest, the author Kelley Kaye Bowles! I recently read her book Down in the Belly of the Whale (which will be revealed on my blog on October 10th!!! I can’t wait!!), and I wanted to open your eyes to this author just a little more! Kelley offered to provide a playlist for her character Harper to honor World Suicide Prevention Day!

 

Harper’s Playlist

1. Belly of the Whale Burning Sensations ‘Belly of the Whale’   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ZgtKt8K3ho

This is, of course, Harper’s theme song. She feels so isolated in her body – like most teenagers do – that it’s like she is down in the belly of a whale in the bottom of the ocean.

2. Closer to Fine Indigo Girls Indigo Girls – Closer to Fine
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ZgtKt8K3ho

Harper‘s mom, Isabelle, introduced her to this song. Isabelle wrote a paper on this song when she was in college, and she’s loved it and the message ever since. Isabelle definitely feels this way—like the more you can go with the flow and roll with the punches, the better off you’ll be. Harper is trying.

3. No Roots Alice Merton
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PUdyuKaGQd4

This, again, reflects Harper’s life theme. Since she’s not even sure she’s in the right family, she certainly doesn’t feel like she has roots anywhere.

4. The Man The Killers
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w3xcybdis1k

 This song is for Harper’s Uncle Pasta—the gay uncle who lives in the basement. He’s hilarious and awesome—totally The Man! 😜

5. Uptown Funk Bruno Mars
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M1F0lBnsnkE

Harper can’t help but dance to this song—but she only watches the video wiith all the old movies in it, like all the stuff Uncle Pasta watches.

6. Every Little Thing She Does is Magic the Police The Police – Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aENX1Sf3fgQ

Since Harper can envision her glorious future with basketball star Larson McCready—even though she’s never even talked to him—she can imagine him singing this song to her.

7. Breathe Anna Nalick- Breathe (2am)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xdRHSuPxgXo

The ability to say the right thing at the right time is an important and as yet unrealized skill for Harper. This song confirms how scary it is to put yourself out there for others to judge, but the song helps her know she’s not alone in feeling that way.

8. Blackbird The Beatles
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xdRHSuPxgXo

Harper’s father, Michael, is this intense and driven man with very strong ideas and opinions. He’s the one who introduced her to the Beatles, but he was careful to explain that there are only a certain amount of Beatle songs that are genius, and some bubblegum poppy kinds that are lame. This, thankfully, he considers one of the genius ones because Harper thinks it’s beautiful, and feels like she is only waiting for HER moment to arrive…

9. Bohemian Rhapsody Queen
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fJ9rUzIMcZQ

Harper and Uncle Pasta like to headbang to this song.

And, for 10., Harper chose Michael Jackson, because, well, any playlist is incomplete without Michael Jackson! Michael Jackson – Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yURRmWtbTbo

 

 

Find this book on:

Goodreads

Amazon.ca

Amazon.com

Find out more about Kelley Kaye Bowles on:

Goodreads – Kelley Kaye Bowles

http://www.kelleykaybowles.com/

Twitter – @kelkay1202

 

If you read this review, give me a shout out on Twitter to let me know you read it! @ReviewAlholic