Month: February 2019

Book Review: The Riesling Retribution by Ellen Crosby

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The Riesling Retribution (Wine Country Mysteries #4)The Riesling Retribution by Ellen Crosby

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What more can a guy ask for? Mystery, check. Wine, check. History lesson, check. I’ve come to really enjoy reading the ‘Wine Country Mysteries’ series by Ellen Crosby. The Riesling Retribution is the fourth book I’ve read out of almost ten at this point. I’m determined to catch up in the first half of 2019 before the next one is published mid-year.

While I’d classify this as a cozy mystery series on some levels, it isn’t a light and cute one. It’s more heavy on the drama with a slow-build up. There are intimate scenes but nothing with huge amounts of detail. The murders are often a little more visually described, but never gory. It’s usually an education series whether we’re learning about the wine-making process or the Civil War. They take place in Virginia, and the setting is key to the story.

In this one, Lucie is caught up in a tornado that’s sweeping through one of her vineyards. She barely survives the storm only to learn a huge percentage of her crop is destroyed. They will not be profitable this year, but what’s even worse, a human skull turns up from the windstorm. It’s almost 30 years old, just from before she was born, and on her father’s property. Based on what the local police can put together, her father killed the man in order to have an affair with his wife.

A Civil War reenactment explains a major battle in Virginia. Lucie and Quinn have an unexpected connection. We learn about Eli, Lucie’s brother, who’s having marital issues. And someone is causing more trouble around the vineyard with unskilled workers. There is a lot going on, but it all moves the story forward and puts us in a strong place for the next book.

Unfortunately, even with all the wonderful backdrop and content, there was something off in the structure and transitions in the story. There were too many arcs that didn’t gel well together. The murder started off strong but fizzled. Lucie’s relationships were also wishy-washy. I feel like it needed one more content round of editing to tie some loose threads together and give us a couple of power punches to the gut. It would’ve been a solid 4, but I had to drop at least a half a star for several misses. It ends up at a 3.5; I’ll be kind and round up given how much I like this series.

View all my reviews

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. My new book series, Braxton Campus Mysteries, will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations. There are two books: Academic Curveball and Broken Heart Attack. I read, write, and blog A LOT on this site where you can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

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Cover Reveal – February 8th (Bloggers Needed!)

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I am extremely excited to share with everyone that the third book in my Braxton Campus Mysteries will be released in March, 2019. It is titled Flower Power Trip and will be available for pre-sale in the next week. I will have a blog tour in the coming weeks as well as ARC opportunities. The first big step is revealing the cover… and I’m lucky enough to have the support of Shalini @ Digital Reads Blog Tours doing the big reveal of Flower Power Trip on Friday February 8th. We’re looking for more bloggers to help… check out her post via Cover Reveal – Bloggers needed for 8th February 2019. Come join the fun and tell us what you think of the series, characters, description and cover design!

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Overview of ‘Flower Power Trip’

Braxton College is throwing the Heroes & Villains Costume Extravaganza to raise money for renovations to the antiquated Memorial Library. While attending, Kellan stumbles upon a close family friend standing over a dead body that’s dressed as Dr. Evil. Did one of Maggie’s sisters kill an annoying guest at the Roarke and Daughters Inn or does the victim have a more intimate connection to someone else on campus?

As Kellan helps the school’s president, Ursula, bury a scandalous secret from her past and unearth the identity of her stalker, he unexpectedly encounters a missing member of his own family who’s reappeared after a lengthy absence. When all of the peculiar events around town trace back to the Stoddards, a new family who recently moved to Wharton County, the explosive discovery only offers more confusion.

Between the special flower exhibit that’s made an unplanned stop on campus and strange postcards arriving each week from all around the world, Kellan can’t decide which mystery in his life should take priority. Unfortunately, the biggest one of all has yet to arrive at his doorstep. When it does, Kellan won’t know what hit him.

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Watching Glass Shatter: FREE 2/4 thru 2/8

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February is a big month! All of my books will be free for a few days at some point. This week, it’s Watching Glass Shatter, my debut 2017 novel about a family drama imploding from a bounty of secrets. Download here for FREE from 2/4 thru 2/8.

Read Free @A (1)

 

Book Overview

After 40 years of marriage, Olivia Glass thought she could handle the unexpected death of her husband. But when Ben’s will reveals a life-altering secret, she suffers a blow no widow should ever experience.

Olivia learns that she gave birth to a baby who later died in the nursery. Instead of telling his wife what happened, Ben switched the child with another. And as if that’s not enough, Ben’s will doesn’t reveal which of their five sons is truly not hers.

While an attorney searches for answers, Olivia visits each of her sons to share a final connection before facing the truth that will change their family, and discovers that each of them has been harboring a painful secret, just like their father.

Olivia challenges herself to re-assemble and save their relationships. But will the secrets destroy their family beyond repair?

Blog Tour

  • The book went on a 17-day blog tour at the end of 2017. You can read all posts via this one location by clicking here.

Radio Interview

  • The author was a guest on the Artist First radio segment on Tuesday, November 14th from 6 to 7pm. To listen to the recorded 1-hour broadcast for news on the book and author, click here.

Book Reviews & Interviews

  • In addition to Goodreads and Amazon, you can find a central link to some very fun and in-depth book reviews and author interviews here.

Get to Know all 5 Sons and Their Parents

Cassandra M. Baker

Olivia ForgetMeNot

Caleb GlassEthan GlassMatthew GlassTeddy GlassZachary Glass

Book Review: Look Alive Twenty-Five by Janet Evanovich

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Look Alive Twenty-Five (Stephanie Plum, #25)Look Alive Twenty-Five by Janet Evanovich

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When Look Alive Twenty-Five from the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich was published last fall, I devoured the remaining books I’d not caught up on yet. I was surprised to see it already available at the New York Public Library (NYPL) and requested it around Christmas. What a shock when I moved up to #1 in the waiting queue last week. Since I had only a few days to accept it, I happily jumped into the book and finished it within two days. It pushed back a few other items on my reading schedule, but nothing I couldn’t easily re-arrange. I wasn’t letting this one slip through my fingers.

For fans of the series, you’ll get the same thing you get every book but with a small twist. Instead of chasing six to eight felons, Stephanie’s been recruited to manage a diner that her cousin Vinnie’s father-in-law, Harry the Hammer, inherited when someone couldn’t pay back a loan. Vinnie puts Stephanie in charge of keeping the place running well so Harry doesn’t hammer him. Except it seems… all the managers are kidnapped. One shoe is left behind. Six are gone already. Will Stephanie be the 7th? Along the path, she runs into Wulf, the crazy vampire-like guy she met through Diesel. Lula and Ranger help her operate the diner, but one of their tight little family is actually kidnapped. Joe Morelli helps protect her, too, and we learn a lot more about the mob families in Trenton.

Overall, I enjoyed the book. It was a nice change of pace to have Stephanie follow one big mystery rather than lots of smaller ones. Her parents and grandmother play a very minor role, but one of them is part of a big cliffhanger involving Harry the Hammer. I suspect we’ll get to know more about that side of the family in the next book. Lula’s sandwich-making abilities are epic. Ranger’s knowledge knows no bounds. And Evanovich is as funny as ever. I enjoy the books purely because I can laugh out loud without fail.

It feels good to be caught up on this series, but I think I’m ready for it to end. It’s not that the books aren’t good anymore. It’s just that we need something different. While reliable, they are too formulaic. That said, I’ll always read them, and now that I can get #26 possibly as an ARC or the day it’s published, the sweeter it’ll be.

View all my reviews

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. My new mystery series, Braxton Campus Mysteries, will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations. There are two books: Academic Curveball and Broken Heart Attack. I read, write, and blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge –and multiple Readathons. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

Broken Heart Attack: Blog Tour Wrap-Up

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The Great Escapes Virtual Blog Tour for the second book, Broken Heart Attack, in my Braxton Campus Mysteries, comes to a close this week. The last ten days have been a full of fun, laughter, and great reviews. I’m grateful to all the participants and to Lori for running such a wonderful tour. Below are the highlights about the book and all the blogs where you can find interviews, summaries, reviews, and a lot more, including the giveaway which just ended. Thank you!

Broken-Heart-Attack-Main-File

Broken Heart Attack (Braxton Campus Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery – 2nd in Series
Published by Creativia: November 25, 2018
Paperback: 270 pages
ISBN-10: 1731310501
ISBN-13: 978-1731310507
Digital ASIN: B07KGGJX1T

Overview

When an extra ticket becomes available to see the dress rehearsal of King Lear, Kellan tags along with Nana D and her buddies.

When one of them dies of an apparent heart attack in the middle of second act, Nana D raises her suspicions and asks Kellan to investigate the death. With family members suddenly in debt and a secret rendezvous between an unlikely pair, Kellan learns that the Paddingtons might not be as clean-cut as everyone thinks.

But can Kellan find the killer, or will he get caught up his own stage fright?

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BROKEN HEART ATTACK TOUR PARTICIPANTS

January 17 – Here’s How It Happened – SPOTLIGHT

January 17 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT

January 18 – Valerie’s Musings – REVIEW

January 18 – The Book’s the Thing – GUEST POST

January 19 – MJB Reviewers – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

January 19 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – SPOTLIGHT

January 20 – Books,Dreams,Life – SPOTLIGHT (no post)

January 20 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT

January 21 – Mallory Heart’s Cozies – REVIEW

January 21 – Cassidy’s Bookshelves – SPOTLIGHT

January 22 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

January 22 – Bobo’s Book Bank – SPOTLIGHT

January 23 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

January 23 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

January 24 – Jane Reads – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

January 24 – Christa Reads and Writes – SPOTLIGHT

January 25 – Brooke Blogs  – SPOTLIGHT

January 25 – Laura`s Interests = SPOTLIGHT

January 26 – Carla Loves To Read – REVIEW

Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour - BrokenHeartAttack

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About the Author

James is my given name, but most folks call me Jay. I live in New York City, grew up on Long Island, and graduated from Moravian College with a degree in English literature. I spent fifteen years building a technology career in the retail, sports, media, and entertainment industries. I enjoyed my job, but a passion for books and stories had been missing for far too long. I’m a voracious reader in my favorite genres (thriller, suspense, contemporary, mystery, and historical fiction), as books transport me to a different world where I can immerse myself in so many fantastic cultures and places. I’m an avid genealogist who hopes to visit all the German, Scottish, Irish, and British villages my ancestors emigrated from in the 18th and 19th centuries. I frequently blog and publish book reviews on everything I read at ThisIsMyTruthNow via WordPress.

Writing has been a part of my life as much as my heart, my mind, and my body. I decided to pursue my passion by dusting off the creativity inside my head and drafting outlines for several novels. I quickly realized I was back in my element growing happier and more excited with life each day. My goal in writing is to connect with readers who want to be part of great stories and who enjoy interacting with authors. To get a strong picture of who I am, check out my author website or my blog. It’s full of humor and eccentricity, sharing connections with everyone I follow—all in the hope of building a network of friends across the world.

When I completed the first book, Watching Glass Shatter, I knew I’d stumbled upon my passion again, suddenly dreaming up characters, plots, and settings all day long. I chose my second novel, Father Figure, through a poll on my blog where I let everyone vote for their favorite plot and character summaries. It is with my third book, Academic Curveball,, the first in the Braxton Campus Mysteries, where I immersed myself in a college campus full of so much activity, I could hardly stop thinking about new murder scenes or character relationships to finish writing the current story. Come join in the fun!

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List of Books & Blog

Watching Glass Shatter (October 2017)

Father Figure (April 2018)

Braxton Campus Mysteries

Academic Curveball – #1 (October 2018)

Broken Heart Attack – #2 (November 2018)

Flower Power Trip – #3 (March 2019)

Websites & Blog

Website: https://jamesjcudney.com

Blog: https://thisismytruthnow.com

Social Media Links

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/James-J.-Cudney/e/B076B6PB3M/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jamescudney4

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JamesJCudneyIVAuthor

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BraxtonCampusMysteries

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/james-j-cudney

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jamescudney4

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/jamescudney4

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jamescudney4

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/jamescudney4

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Purchase Links

Amazon 

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Braxton Campus Mysteries Book #3: Flower Power Trip

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A new month begins today, and while it’s cold and snowy in New York, spring has blossomed in Braxton, Pennsylvania. Today, I reveal the title of the third book in the Braxton Campus Mystery series due to be published in March 2019.

#3

Overview of ‘Flower Power Trip’

Braxton College is throwing the Heroes & Villains Costume Extravaganza to raise money for renovations to the antiquated Memorial Library. While attending, Kellan stumbles upon a close family friend standing over a dead body that’s dressed as Dr. Evil. Did one of Maggie’s sisters kill an annoying guest at the Roarke and Daughters Inn or does the victim have a more intimate connection to someone else on campus?

As Kellan helps the school’s president, Ursula, bury a scandalous secret from her past and unearth the identity of her stalker, he unexpectedly encounters a missing member of his own family who’s reappeared after a lengthy absence. When all of the peculiar events around town trace back to the Stoddards, a new family who recently moved to Wharton County, the explosive discovery only offers more confusion.

Between the special flower exhibit that’s made an unplanned stop on campus and strange postcards arriving each week from all around the world, Kellan can’t decide which mystery in his life should take priority. Unfortunately, the biggest one of all has yet to arrive at his doorstep. When it does, Kellan won’t know what hit him.

You can add the book to your Goodreads To Be Read List. More news soon on exact publication date, pre-order opportunities, cover reveal, blog tours, and ARC availability.

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If you’re new to the world of Braxton, check out the first two books in the series below.