books

April 2019 Quarterly Author Newsletter

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Today’s post is a copy of my quarterly author newsletter for April 2019. I’ve been issuing these newsletters for just over a year, and I’m excited to share them on my blog. To read the current quarterly newsletter, you can sign up via my author website via this link. I’ve included a link to this quarter’s blog below to give you a chance to get to know me a little better. In future newsletters, I’ll be adding a new segment about some of my fellow authors!

https://mailchi.mp/be0782029da6/james-j-cudney-iv-author-quarterly-newsletter

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 but with a twist. There are four books: Academic CurveballBroken Heart Attack, Flower Power Trip, and Mistaken Identity Crisis. 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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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: Tear Me Apart by J.T. Ellison

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Tear Me ApartTear Me Apart by J.T. Ellison

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ve read a few J.T. Ellison books over the last two years. When Tear Me Apart came out, I quickly added it to my TBR and looked forward to getting it scheduled in the queue. After reading lots of light cozy mysteries, I needed a stronger thriller or suspense last week and moved Tear Me Apart up on my list. I enjoyed the book a lot and walked away with tons of mixed emotions, ultimately settling on a solid 4 stars.

Mindy Wright is a 17-year-old competitive skier who is likely about to join the US Olympic Team. An accident on the slopes derails those hopes but also reveals she has leukemia. The rest of the book is an explosion of lies and secrets all culminating in discovering (1) Mindy’s real parents, (2) how she became adopted, (3) what happened to several young girls in a psychological institute, and (4) what is the relationship between parents and children versus sisters. Since I don’t want to give away too much about the plot, what you need to know is that this book will delve into how far a person will go to protect someone they love or something they desperately want.

The book starts in complete discord and chaos — in a good way. Different characters lead the first few chapters. We have perspective and POV from a few primary people in the book. We don’t know how everyone relates to each other until at least fifty percent into the book. It’s a suspenseful tale that draws you in… not immediately, but with each unraveling layer of the onion. It’s a bit sweet, sometimes make you cry, but always leaves you with something more to keep discovering. Who’s telling the truth? Who’s leaving out some info and embellishing other history? It’s confusing and all leads to a rather huge explosion.

Let’s start with the good. Character, plot and writing are all solid. They are well-depicted and keep you interested. Ellison chooses to only show Mindy’s point of view in a handful of not-very-important scenes. The focus is on her biological parents and her adopted parents, as well as other interested parties and one kind aunt. How everyone fits together is intriguing, especially once you discover who’s behind the letters Mindy finds in a locked closet in her house.

Let’s dance around the odd. One character goes from completely in control to completely out of control. I can support her slow unraveling… history coming back from the dead… the powers of psychosis taking over… but it was way too far. If you’re crazy, you’ll do some crazy stuff. But I still don’t understand why 17 years later you go off the rails in a spectacularly insane finish. If the secret comes out, it does. You could have kept a bunch hidden and just said: “here’s who your parents were” and “this is how you came to live with us.” Also, we don’t have nearly enough clarity on what was wrong with the bio mother to do the things she did. I understand depression can make you do things you wouldn’t normally do, or feel things you shouldn’t feel, but… the progression wasn’t enough for me to completely believe it. For those reasons, I couldn’t give this 5 stars.

I thought about dropping it to a 3 or a 3.5, but ultimately, I couldn’t put the book down. I found myself in constant attachment and wanting to know how did it happen. Sometimes I poked holes in the explanations only to find those same holes being explored chapters later. It’s OBVIOUS the author went into extreme planning mode and truly wrote a complex thriller. It just didn’t complete the webbing for me. I respect her talent and think because of my obsession to know what happened, I feel comfortable with 4 stars.

Who else read it? What did you think? I will definitely read more from this author. She’s a wonderful storyteller.

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 debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon. 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.

Book Review: Death on Windmill Way by Carrie Doyle

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Death on Windmill Way: Volume 1 (Hamptons Murder Mysteries)Death on Windmill Way: Volume 1 by Carrie Doyle

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

There are lots of reasons why I choose a novel. For instance, I won a giveaway last year for the second book in the Hamptons Murder Mystery series written by Carrie Doyle and enjoyed reading it. Given the author doesn’t live too far from me in NYC and I’ve been to the Hamptons where the books take place, it felt like a good match… so I’m reading the series from the beginning starting with the first one, Death on Windmill Way. 4.5 stars to this wonderful gem that helped me jump out of a small reading slump last week where I tried three books and couldn’t get into any of them. This one left me excited to read again, and I’ll soon be picking up the next in series to keep moving forward.

Antonia moved to the Hamptons ~8 months earlier on a whim. She’d been in an awful relationship, lived in California, and needed a fresh start. She purchased an inn (sight unseen) based on a friend’s suggestion and immediately remodeled it. When the book kicks off, she’s just re-opened post-summer season to good reviews but is still struggling to make ends meet. Antonia slowly learns of a curse haunting past owners of the inn which steers her in the direction of researching the history she should’ve learned about before buying the place (she knows she messed up, too!). Unfortunately, she learns the curse is more than just a rumor – someone has been killing them, but why? Between former and new staff at the inn, some residents in the town, a few friends she makes, and the local reporter, Antonia uses her ingenuity to solve the case. The police aren’t even involved until a second murder takes place, but since it looks like an accident at first, they’re not inclined to do much.

My absolute favorite part of the book occurs when Antonia gathers all the suspects together at a dinner party and one by one picks them off… um, I mean… reveals their secrets or explains why they could be the killer. She leaves someone for last, and it’s a doozy! I had two possible culprits in mind, and I was right with one of them. That said, it’s not obvious, and the weaving in and out of everyone’s alibis and motives is truly a great story. Antonia is a strong lead character, very well developed, but with a few personality traits that might irk some. She’s a tad judgmental (equally against all people in an understandable way) but overly honest and dedicated. I really look forward to see how she develops over the series and getting to meet the rest of the regulars in the town.

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.

Cozy Mystery Readathon – Renaissance Faire Series (Week 4 – Harrowing Hats)

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Our fourth and final book begins this week with Harrowing Hats. For general background and links to reviews on this readathon, you can find them here. Each week I’ll update the list of blogs who will be reading and providing reviews. Feel free to leave comments on the page, too! I finished reading the book while on a flight this week. I’m excited to hear from everyone.  Thank you for participating and sharing this week.

***

The voters have spoken… our winning book series to read in November 2018 is the Renaissance Faire cozy mysteries by Joyce and Jim Lavene. Many thanks to everyone who participated in the last month to choose the category for the readathon, the authors and books series to vote on, and the suggestions to make this as fun as it will be. Since there are 8 books in the series, we cannot easily read them all in one month. We probably could, but there are many of us with other ARCs or pre-scheduled reads, so I think we should do 50%… essentially the first 4 books. Below is our schedule and the books:

 

 

 

In order, they are:

  1. Wicked Weaves
  2. Ghastly Glass
  3. Deadly Daggers
  4. Harrowing Hats

Given how busy everyone is, let’s just focus on getting them all read and reviewed in the month of November 2018. Read 1, 2, 3, or 4 books — however much time you have available. Our tentative schedule to post each review is:

  1. Wicked Weaves – Due 11/9
  2. Ghastly Glass – Due 11/16
  3.  Deadly Daggers – Due 11/23
  4. Harrowing Hats – Due 11/30

I’ll create the new pages and links throughout the next couple of weeks. For now, buy them or order them from your local library. If you have them already – awesome. I can’t wait to get started!

***

Based on last month’s poll, you voted to combine two of the options into a single approach for our November 2018 Readathon. The winner is: “Cozy Mystery Series.” Many thanks to all the voters and promoters for the readathon. I’m very excited to choose a series with 4 or 5 books that we can read all throughout November and post our reviews. Some of the suggestions may have more than 5, but we will only read the first 5. A few have less than 5, so we will just read 3 or 4 depending on what wins. I’ve also chosen authors I’ve never read before but have on my TBR.

November 2018 - Choose 4 Books to Read & Review (1)

You can choose your top 3 series to read.  The poll is open today through 10/12 (one full week). On 10/13, I’ll announce the book series with the most votes. We’ll have three weeks to buy or borrow the books and set the reading and review schedule. Links to the Goodreads description of the fist book are below the poll to help you choose.

Descriptions of Books

Cindy Blackburn – Cue Ball

Betty Hechtman – Yarn Retreat

Nancy Atherton – Aunt Dimity

Ellery Adams – Book Retreat

Julia Buckley – A Writer’s Apprentice

Avery Ames – A Cheese Shop

Nancy Martin – Blackbird Sisters

Kate Carlisle – Fixer-Upper

Bailey Cates – Magical Bakery

Alice Kimberly – Haunted Bookshop

Heather Blake – Wishcraft

Jim & Joyce Lavene – Renaissance Faire

Lorna Barrett – Booktown

Jana DeLeon – Miss Fortune

Lea Wait – Mainely Needlepoint

Laura Childs – A Tea Shop

Krista Davis – Domestic Diva

Daryl Wood Gerber – Cookbook Nook

Eva Gates – Lighthouse Library

Betty Webb – Gunn Zoo

Leslie Budewitz – A Spice Shop

Kelly Lane – Olive Grove

Laura Childs – Scrapbooking

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.

***

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?

Whatbook is missing from ourlist of options_

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.

***

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.

Cozy Mystery Readathon – Renaissance Faire Series (Week 3 – Deadly Daggers)

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Our third book begins this week with Deadly Daggers. For general background and links to reviews on this readathon, you can find them here. Each week I’ll update the list of blogs who will be reading and providing reviews. Feel free to leave comments on the page, too! I finished reading the book while on a flight this week. I’m excited to hear from everyone. I’ve updated the pages with reviews from Jaymi @ Orange County Readers and Carla @ Carla Loves to Read! Thank you for participating and sharing this week.

***

The voters have spoken… our winning book series to read in November 2018 is the Renaissance Faire cozy mysteries by Joyce and Jim Lavene. Many thanks to everyone who participated in the last month to choose the category for the readathon, the authors and books series to vote on, and the suggestions to make this as fun as it will be. Since there are 8 books in the series, we cannot easily read them all in one month. We probably could, but there are many of us with other ARCs or pre-scheduled reads, so I think we should do 50%… essentially the first 4 books. Below is our schedule and the books:

 

 

In order, they are:

  1. Wicked Weaves
  2. Ghastly Glass
  3. Deadly Daggers
  4. Harrowing Hats

Given how busy everyone is, let’s just focus on getting them all read and reviewed in the month of November 2018. Read 1, 2, 3, or 4 books — however much time you have available. Our tentative schedule to post each review is:

  1. Wicked Weaves – Due 11/9
  2. Ghastly Glass – Due 11/16
  3.  Deadly Daggers – Due 11/23
  4. Harrowing Hats – Due 11/30

I’ll create the new pages and links throughout the next couple of weeks. For now, buy them or order them from your local library. If you have them already – awesome. I can’t wait to get started!

***

Based on last month’s poll, you voted to combine two of the options into a single approach for our November 2018 Readathon. The winner is: “Cozy Mystery Series.” Many thanks to all the voters and promoters for the readathon. I’m very excited to choose a series with 4 or 5 books that we can read all throughout November and post our reviews. Some of the suggestions may have more than 5, but we will only read the first 5. A few have less than 5, so we will just read 3 or 4 depending on what wins. I’ve also chosen authors I’ve never read before but have on my TBR.

November 2018 - Choose 4 Books to Read & Review (1)

You can choose your top 3 series to read.  The poll is open today through 10/12 (one full week). On 10/13, I’ll announce the book series with the most votes. We’ll have three weeks to buy or borrow the books and set the reading and review schedule. Links to the Goodreads description of the fist book are below the poll to help you choose.

Descriptions of Books

Cindy Blackburn – Cue Ball

Betty Hechtman – Yarn Retreat

Nancy Atherton – Aunt Dimity

Ellery Adams – Book Retreat

Julia Buckley – A Writer’s Apprentice

Avery Ames – A Cheese Shop

Nancy Martin – Blackbird Sisters

Kate Carlisle – Fixer-Upper

Bailey Cates – Magical Bakery

Alice Kimberly – Haunted Bookshop

Heather Blake – Wishcraft

Jim & Joyce Lavene – Renaissance Faire

Lorna Barrett – Booktown

Jana DeLeon – Miss Fortune

Lea Wait – Mainely Needlepoint

Laura Childs – A Tea Shop

Krista Davis – Domestic Diva

Daryl Wood Gerber – Cookbook Nook

Eva Gates – Lighthouse Library

Betty Webb – Gunn Zoo

Leslie Budewitz – A Spice Shop

Kelly Lane – Olive Grove

Laura Childs – Scrapbooking