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Academic Curveball – Won the 2018 Critters Award

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Academic Curveball was nominated for a 2018 Critters award in the ‘Other Novels’ category. There were ~15 different categories and hundreds of submissions. Voting was held over the last few weeks…

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I’m grateful for the nomination and the support… especially since it led to my book winning this year’s award for Best Other Novel! I am so excited that the first book in my Braxton Campus Mysteries series won. You can see current standings here.

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Thank you to everyone who voted!!!

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VOTE for Academic Curveball – Critters Award

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Friends,

Academic Curveball has been nominated for a Critters Workshop award in the ‘Other Novels’ category. I’m grateful for the nomination and the support. The polls are opened through January 14th. I’d love your help if you want to promote the first book in my Braxton Campus Mysteries series. You can see current standings here.

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To vote, go to this page. You will scroll down, find ‘Academic Curveball’ and click the radio button. It will be under “Other Novels” if you can’t find it. You will need to enter your email address and then click “Confirm” in the email once it arrives in order to complete the voting process. If you don’t want to create an account, you can skip that process and opt out of any emails once done. This is to ensure voters aren’t able to vote multiple times.

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If you’re up for voting in other categories, check out my friend, Brian L. Porter’s, two books which are also up for awards in different categories: (1) Last Train to Lime Street (Mystery) and (2) Cassie’s Tale (Non-Fiction) . Thanks!

Books Missing From Our Options List?

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The life of a reader is complex and overwhelming. No matter how hard you try, you will never be able to read every book in existence. For every day you live, hundreds of new books are being published and made easily accessible. I’m only hazarding a guess, but I wonder if nearly every possible type of story has been written already and we are just unable to find something new and fresh. Between physical and electronic books, self-published and traditional published books, and recommendations or new discoveries, there are so many books out there, how do we really know if we’re finding that perfect book for us… you know, that book that meets every possible need you might have. Characters. Perspective. Point of view. Plot. Time period. Language. Length. Balance of dialog and narrative. Genre. You name it… the list could go on and on.

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Have you ever thought about that amazing book sitting on some physical or virtual shelf somewhere… calling your name… wanting to meet its perfect match?

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The life of an author is complex and overwhelming. No matter how hard you try, someone will always have a problem with your book. Readers are a picky crowd. I know this because I’ve written over 700 book reviews in the last three years and find myself often thinking about the positive and the negative in whatever it is I’ve just read. As a writer, when I conjure up my next story, it often comes from some spark that called out to me… ‘Write about me, Jay… readers will love this story.’ While that little idea’s voice might be right, there is a completely different and opposite viewpoint to consider. Rather than dream up the story on my own, what if I said to someone:

What kind of book is missing from the plethora of novels that is our options list?

Give that some thought for a few moments… you’ve got your favorite genres, authors, series, or topics. You often gravitate to those first… then come the ARCs, beta reads, giveaways, and committed reviews we throw our hat in the ring for… and then there are the recommendations from friends or book review sites that dazzle us. Is that everything? Are there other ways to locate that book we haven’t yet to find? When I thought about these questions, I came to one conclusion first above all else:

What is still missing from our choices?

I’d love to hear from everyone over the next week as many of us sit down to eat our Thanksgiving meals… wish our international friends a happy holiday if we live elsewhere… or think about the many things we’re grateful for. This is a book-related post, so I’m not going to itemize everything I want to give gratitude to… purely focusing on books… I’m grateful for all the authors and readers out there. So tell me what’s missing in this wonderful literary canon we have in the 21st century.

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I’ll organize all the response and create a poll later this month to see what we collectively think is the biggest type of book missing from our lives. I’m excited to see everyone’s input. Thank you for sharing it with me and everyone else.

Book Review: Body on Baker Street by Vicki Delany

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Body on Baker Street (A Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery, #2)Body on Baker Street by Vicki Delany

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

One of my favorite features of the cozy mystery genre is the ability to weave together multiple themes and story-lines that carry over throughout each successive book in the series. In ‘A Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery’ series by Vicki Delany we have just that and so much more. I have read a couple of the author’s series and find myself on a kick to catch up on them all in the next few months so that by 2019, I’m ready for the latest releases. I just finished Body on Baker Street and give it 4.5 stars for its clever plot, witty dialog, and memorable characters.

Gemma and Jayne run a book shop and tea room with an ode to Sherlock Holmes. Gemma’s got an on-again/off-again relationship with a local detective, but it also puts her in conflict with another detective who doesn’t like Gemma very much because of her amateur sleuth activities. It makes for good conflict. In this caper, a famed author holds a signing at the store, but all is not as it seems. The author isn’t truly the author, and her closely-kept staff have bigger connections than we initially realize. The books compromise some characters in the Sherlock Holmes canon which angers a few readers and fans, but it also ignites some passionate ones who love the changes. Which person took their emotions too far and killed the author with a lovely dose of poison?

As characters, Gemma and Jayne are both likable and well-drawn. Jayne is the more reasonable one as Gemma thinks of things like breaking into a policewoman’s desk to find clues. That’s guts! The cat wandering the store makes for fun antics. The literary tones and references always make me smile. I enjoy the side stories and always look forward to the red herring clues. With at least 5 or 6 possible suspects, each has a true motive and were near the tainted water bottle. It makes for a solid mystery where it’s less about alibis and more about who couldn’t help themselves but commit murder.

Delany’s style is always fun and easy to read. It’s got chops, too. I enjoy the story’s developmental progress as it draws us in. I am reading the next book in the series in a few weeks so I’ll be ready for the one she is about to publish – number 4, A Study in Scarlet!

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. The debut book, Academic Curveball, in my new mystery series, Braxton Campus Mysteries will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations. 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.

Academic Curveball (Braxton Campus Mysteries Book 1) – By James J. Cudney IV

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Jina,

This is a fantastic intro to my new book… thank you so much for sharing. Please check out Jina’s original post, and then read up all about her books, too!

J

via Academic Curveball (Braxton Campus Mysteries Book 1) – By James J. Cudney IV

Book Review: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

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4.5 stars to The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. I found this book on the shelf in my building’s resident library and brought it home. I’d wanted to sample a Green novel but wasn’t sure which one. ‘Let It Snow’ was also there, so I took it, too! I added both to my Monthly Book Bucket List on my blog, and this was the book followers selected in my September Reads poll. Thank you so much. I adored the novel and was very excited to see so many other fans.

Cancer and death are rough topics. Kids or teens with the disease are even harder. Throw in an author whom Hazel is dying to meet (pun intended) and her first love, could this have any more tug on our heart strings? Maybe a little, hence the 4.5 stars, but I’d still recommend this book as one to get to when you can. I read a few of the negative reviews where they talk about the characters feeling like cardboard or the plot being too much too handle. For me, I thought it was all quite powerful and had lots of depth. There were a few surface qualities, but they’re easily overlooked when 90% of the book is definitely solid.

I knew there would be death. I wasn’t sure who, and I was somewhat surprised by when and how. I also was shocked at the incident with the author in Amsterdam. I never saw it coming — neither the initial meeting or the one weeks later. Wow! He’s got quite a personality… I’m not sure I’d have the strength to deal with writing about this topic in a book. It’s painful and horrifying. I wouldn’t want to interview patients with cancer as I’d feel too much of the emotion and the fear. I don’t think I’d do it justice in my words, but many times, Green conveys exactly what I would think if it had been me. Kudos to him for doing it justice on many levels.

The metaphors are strong. The language is simple. The messages are clear and direct. In the end, I found the whole thing charismatic (in terms of liking the characters) and emotional, though it didn’t actually make me cry like a few other books have in the past. I’m a little off in my reviews this week, probably because I’ve been reading a book a day and can’t seem to come up with the right words afterward. That said… I’m glad I read this one and definitely look forward to another Green novel. Suggestions on what’s next? Oh, I guess I need to see the movie, too… right?

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About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I 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 – words and humor. 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.

Author & Book Alert: All Systems Down by Sam Boush

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I’m back today with another author spotlight… and this time it’s the Cyber War series debut by Sam Boush: All Systems Down. If you love apocalyptic thrillers, this is one for you… especially with that cover. A fireball, an unsuspecting city, crazy programming codes, and murky water — what could possibly go wrong in this society? Definitely read the Kirkus review below; it’s incredibly enticing! I’ll be reading it sometime in the next few months. Perhaps a future buddy read together?

What’s even better than the cover —  there are still 3 days left to snag this intense ride for only .99 cents. In September, it will go back to full price, so grab it now while you can!

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Key Links:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36672702-all-systems-down

https://www.amazon.com/All-Systems-Down-Cyber-War-ebook/dp/B078CXKYQF

https://twitter.com/thecyberwar

http://cyberwarbooks.com

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Kirkus Reviews

ALL SYSTEMS DOWN Sam Boush Lakewater Press (284 pp.) ISBN: 978-0-9944512-7-9; February 8, 2018 – BOOK REVIEW

“In Boush’s debut thriller, a North Korean cyberattack cripples America’s infrastructure, sparking chaos and leaving the country vulnerable to a military invasion.
Brendan Chogan first senses trouble afoot during his job interview for a security-guard position at a Portland, Oregon, robotics company. A computer virus is apparently affecting the building, which then loses internet access. A report comes in by phone that the internet is down across the country. It’s merely the beginning of a North Korean strike against U.S. systems, and soon citizens nationwide lose their cellular service and electricity. Panic ensues, and Brendan realizes that he, his wife, Vailea, and their 8-year-old twin daughters may not be safe. Meanwhile, hacker Xandra Strandlien’s boss at U.S. Cyber Command sends her to Oregon. Intelligence on Chinese-Russian joint military exercises has led to a fear of a post-cyberattack armed invasion, and the Oregon area, which has no military bases nearby, is a potential target. As Brendan and Vailea struggle to secure their home and stockpile food and water, they encounter allies, including Xandra and a couple of U.S. Navy fighter pilots who lost contact with their supercarrier. When an invasion indeed materializes, this small group works together on a mission to upload malware to the enemies’ servers. Despite the fact that the attack is nationwide, Boush concentrates on the characters in Oregon, who later include vacationing campers from Los Angeles. It’s a wise choice, as the story mixes smaller battles (such as characters fending off would-be intruders at the Chogan house) with large-scale ones; Xandra’s plan, for example, entails jumping from a low-flying plane into a river. The author also richly details the cyberattack’s chaotic aftermath; for instance, Vailea gets a workout in a grocery store that’s besieged by a horde of frenzied shoppers: “She gasped for breath, muscles straining like treading water.” Interestingly, the most striking character is a relatively minor one: Sierra Eigelb, a random survivor who first appears about halfway through the novel. Her newfound affinity for killing turns her into a terrifying villain. The story’s swift pace leads to a surprisingly thorough wrap-up. A tightly plotted tale with characters that could energize a planned series.”

 

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I 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 – words and humor. 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.