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Book Review: Black Sparrow by A.J. Griffiths-Jones

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Black SparrowBlack Sparrow by A.J. Griffiths-Jones
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Black Sparrow is a thrilling adventure that completely surpassed my expectations… and that’s only because the plot was so tightly woven and the characters were so incredibly complex, it just floored me in a super positive way. This was the second book I’ve read by A.J. Griffiths-Jones, and while I really enjoyed the first one, this was truly a fantastic and memorable read of a different level. I definitely recommend this to those who like international connections, religious beliefs buried in character’s logic, and tons of surprises in the story.

There are several main characters that connect to two primary travelers on a flight to Paris. One is a young Muslim girl who longs to be with her French boyfriend and to escape the clutches of her very religious and overprotective parents. Another is a man nearing retirement who must finish one last contract before he can decide where to spend the remaining years of his life. They notice one another at the airport and again on the plane, but what they don’t know at the time is how connected their lives will be for the subsequent week. Throw in a hotel owner, the young French boyfriend, the extended Muslim family, and a couple of other people who fill out the story, and you will truly not know what to expect. This is an adventure I will not forget anytime soon!

This wouldn’t be a proper review if I didn’t tell you how much the Muslim girl’s family thoroughly annoyed me beyond any reasonable expectation. I understand different religions have different beliefs, and I respect it. I recognize that there are extremists who fail to understand the delicate balance to a successful life. I get that there are still men in this world today who think they can control women. But all of it can still develop an intense hatred for the way some of these people behave — and thanks to the phenomenal style of delivering these character’s emotions and motives, Griffiths-Jones successfully pulled that utter frustration and anger from me. She created such tension and drama, I wanted to leap into the book to hurt these people.

As if that wasn’t enough, the torture of some characters was simply brilliant. After several chapters of thinking someone will suffer a certain type of pain — BAM — you’re thrown for a loop and down a different awful pathway. I hated it and loved it at the same time. Hated it because of the end result, loved it because I didn’t want to put the book down. All-in-all, this story will take you up and down several peaks only to slap you with the truth in the end. It’s often difficult to keep things under wraps for voracious readers, but this time I didn’t see the end coming.

Part of me believes that I was so engrossed in the story and the wonderful writing tone that I didn’t want to think about what would happen… I just wanted to experience it as the words hit each page. That’s the kind of story and book that makes you thrilled by an author’s talent. A strong recommendation for me on this novel. Be prepared, there are some extremes, and while the author is merely choosing characters and beliefs that aren’t always the reality, it definitely happens and represents the truth of what some people experience even in today’s modern society. Sit back and enjoy it… and let your passion develop for a multitude of reasons. It’ll be the kind of read that prompts you to shake the book or tablet like a madman at times!

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 but with a twist. There are five books: Academic CurveballBroken Heart Attack, Flower Power Trip, Mistaken Identity Crisis, and Haunted House Ghost. 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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Book Alert: Sea Scope by Debbie DeLouise — FREE Download from 6/14 thru 6/18

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Today, I am sharing an alert on a wonderful book I read last month. Sea Scope by Debbie DeLouise is available as a FREE download for the next five days. If you want to learn a little more, check out my review or a message from the author below.

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I’m gifting my readers with a copy of my new release, Sea Scope, featuring a murder by a lighthouse.  Don’t miss the chance to get a great summer read for free. Get your free book here from June 14 to 18:

mybook.to/SeaScope

Sarah Collins needs an escape. Mourning her brother’s death and the impending breakup of her marriage, she accepts an invitation to return to her childhood home in South Carolina, where her family operated an inn.

She hasn’t been back to Sea Scope for twenty years; not since she and her brother Glen discovered a body by the nearby lighthouse. She never understood why her parents left Sea Scope so suddenly, or the reasons behind her father’s suicide.

After Sarah returns to the inn, she faces long-buried memories, text messages and strange clues. Something is not right in Sea Scope.

Reunited with people from her past, she tries to figure out what’s going on in her childhood home. As the past and present collide, she must face truths about her family, and what happened that summer day by the lighthouse. But will she survive to tell the tale?

Check out my other books and stories on my Amazon Author Page 

Cobble Cove Cozy Mystery Series

https://debbiedelouise.com

If you’re a Kindle Unlimited subscriber, all my eBooks are free.

Book Review: The Crimson Deathbringer by Sean Robins

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Today, I’m sharing a book review and an alert: Sean Robin’s sci-fi thriller, The Crimson Deathbringer is only .99 as a Kindle download from 6/12 thru 6/16. Check it out @ Amazon where it was HOT NEW RELEASE earlier this month. I read the book last week and have posted my review below. Scroll down to see it… and you can check out the author’s website for more information on his books and news.

The Crimson DeathbringerThe Crimson Deathbringer by Sean Robins
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Alien Invasion! Future Coming Faster Than We Think! Hold On To Your Senses! My experience in this realm consists of Star Trek and Star Wars, plus a handful of other books I’ve read in the sci-fi genre in the past year. It seems I might like this genre more than I thought… after a few excellent authors I’ve added to my list this year, I’m adding another one with Sean Robins, writer of The Crimson Deathbringer, published in 2019.

When I first read the title, a bloody crash came to mind. After starting the book, I thought… this doesn’t seem all that sci-fi. It’s more post-apocalyptic world settling, but then… all hell breaks loose. What I commend the author for most… is starting with great characters and a solid story. I was immediately pulled in by the first couple of characters we’re introduced to. And then, when the aliens invade, I felt even more connected with the story. There are two different alien races, and I had to choose which one I liked. Rather than provide more details on the actual plot, here’s what you need to know: Young love. Strong female fighters. Bonds of friendship. Trust in a species you haven’t ever encountered before. Cool technology with mind altering systems. Betrayal. Humor. Just the beginning of this series.

Interested? Sounds kinda intense, and it is… but don’t think there aren’t laugh out loud moments and some good old-fashioned romance. Robins includes tons of references that even a clueless guy like me picked up on. I knew several from Star Wars, Star Trek, and Game of Thrones. There were others I vaguely knew of, but it all made for a witty and clever approach to telling the story. Love blossomed between unlikely characters and world domination was a clear theme. Has it hit too close to home? Possibly, but only in the good ways.

I like Robins writing style. It’s easy to digest without the clunk of super-sci-fi stories that sometimes go over our heads. There is A LOT of all that futuristic stuff, but it’s described in a very understandable manner and it makes you kinda interested in exploring it more. Until, of course, death happens. No alien invasion can be successfully thwarted or pulled off without pain and loss. I’m happy to say that 1 of my 2 fave characters survives this international / foreign / outer galaxy war, but I did have to hold back a tear or two when some bad things happened. As an author, I know what it’s like to do that to someone you’ve created whom you love… which tells me I know Robins painfully made this decision, and probably because it was the right one.

We’re left with a bit of a “what could happen next” moment at the end, but I’m along for the ride. Looking forward to the sequel!

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 but with a twist. There are five books: Academic CurveballBroken Heart Attack, Flower Power Trip, Mistaken Identity Crisis, and Haunted House Ghost. 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.

Book Review: Recycled Love by George Henry

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Recycled LoveRecycled Love by George Henry
Recycled Love is the second book I’ve read by George Henry. While undeniably the same witty and strong writing style, there is a huge difference in the ultimate genre of the story and the complexity of all the relationships between the characters. Since I am a larger fan of mystery than I am action adventure, I must say, I found this one even better. That said, both are jam-packed full of thrills and suspense, so you’ll enjoy either no matter which you choose.

One of my (if not the most) favorite books is ‘And Then There Were None’ by Agatha Christie. When you have ~10 possible suspects in a murder(s), and you knock them off one by one, it’s kinda exhilarating to see how it all turns out. While Recycled Love doesn’t kill off victims one by one, it does throw out a cast of ~10 suspects for a previous string of murders. Through (mostly) the eyes of Dan, we get to know all his traveling companions, eager to discover which one (or couple) is lying about their identity. Where this reminded me a bit of the Christie tale (not in style but in format and POV approach) is that the author carefully drops enough clues that we as readers should’ve realized much sooner what was going on. Henry gives us ~10 suspects but he also gives us ~10 very different backstories, motives, and versions of chaos to unravel.

The characters are well drawn. A few were absolutely horrible people, but they served their purpose. One in particular (a certain ruthless mother) was the most unrealistic person I could’ve ever met…but her over-the-top dramatics were truly fantastic to witness and experience. From there, the traveling companions all grow exorbitantly decisive and intense. Henry throws us back and forth in deciding which couples should get together. Sometimes it’s a shocker, others it makes sense. What popped the most for me in this story was the severity of the international antics that occurred. It mostly takes place in India and Nepal, and Henry takes great care to show the kinder and the more miserable aspects of living in these countries, dependent upon your wealth and connections. I couldn’t possibly tell if this happens in the real world but from a book’s perspective, it made for excellent drama.

If you like action/adventure, a bit of romance, tons of suspense and thrilling chases, as well as an intense psychological ride of the mind, drugs, and alcohol, you’ll come away with a wonderful new author to add to your top lists. Be prepared, you will never be comfortable because Henry likes to jolt you when you least expect it.

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 but with a twist. There are five books: Academic CurveballBroken Heart Attack, Flower Power Trip, Mistaken Identity Crisis, and Haunted House Ghost. 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.

Book Review: By Chance by E. Denise Billups

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By ChanceBy Chance by E. Denise Billups
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

By Chance, written by E. Denise Billups, focuses on three women who have a shared, unknown connection in the beginning of this supernatural story. Although they start out as colleagues working on a TV home remodeling show that gives a house away each year to one lucky entrant, they become friends over time and support one another through multiple difficult, personal situations. They also have varying degrees of paranormal abilities, enabling them to predict what might happen and to recall memories from long ago. When they each receive a peculiar gift one holiday morning, they turn to each other to protect themselves from a harmful entity seeking vengeance.

Enter Tom and his family. He appears to be a man suffering from something awful that occurred in the past. He previously won the home giveaway contest, but after time, things went awry. We never quite know what happened, but he wants to punish the show for its lies and the unfairness it’s caused in his life. He makes a difficult decision to leave his family in order to travel around the country to get revenge against the show, stalking and hunting down the three women (and a few others) who were part of his downfall.

Told from different perspectives, we learn the history leading up to Tom’s anger through the eyes of different situations and characters. At the same time, we watch the women try to discover who is out to get them, as Tom’s notes and presents are purposefully confusing. The women are also unable to clearly see Tom’s identity, and nothing indicates he is past winner, at least in the beginning. As the events unfold, and Tom unravels, he makes mistakes which lead to someone figuring out his identity. But then, they can’t actually find him. They just foresee the final encounter, which doesn’t bode well for their futures. What can the trio do to stop him?

While the supernatural abilities are important to the story, they aren’t what made this such a great read for me. Billups created memorable characters with painful history and wonderful, outgoing personalities. I believed the kindred spirit and friendship among the three primary women, and they kept my attention throughout the tale. The concept of the story was intriguing–a home giveaway contest gone wrong. Or did it? There is a heightened psychological aspect to this story because at times, we are unsure who might be involved in the entire situation. It creates good suspense and makes for a very easy read.

This isn’t a whodunit tale, nor is it focused on what actually went wrong with the house that was given away. It’s more a story of perspective and overcoming challenges. The main plot takes place over about a year, and the subplots are plenty–we see all the new relationships and events in the women’s lives while the stalking continues to occur. Sometimes it’s the things you don’t know that will haunt you in the end.

Tom suffers through a lot, but we won’t find out all the details until much further in the book than you’d expect. I turned the pages quickly on a flight halfway across the country, and before long, it’d ended. Pacing and timing were strong, and I found myself invested in the outcome. The ending was a nice surprise, and I realized how much I enjoy Billups’ writing style. A definite recommend from me for fans of something that blends a few genres and turns out a solid story.

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 but with a twist. There are five books: Academic CurveballBroken Heart Attack, Flower Power Trip, Mistaken Identity Crisis, and Haunted House Ghost. 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.

Book Review: Vengeance on Tyneside by Eileen Thornton

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Vengeance On Tyneside (Agnes Lockwood Mysteries Book 3)Vengeance On Tyneside by Eileen Thornton
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Vengeance on Tyneside is the third book in the ‘Agnes Lockwood Mysteries’ written by Eileen Thornton. I’ve previously read the first two installments in this cozy series and was excited to devour this third one during the last few days. The books revolve around Agnes, a ~50ish widow with two grown sons, who has moved back to a place she once lived in years ago. In the past two books she had a flirtatious relationship with a detective on the police force, but in this one, they’ve officially become a couple. The only problem… Agnes feels an obligation to meddle, and she’s often the one to stumble upon a body in the oddest of places. It makes for a good read!

In Vengeance, she’s walking near the river when a faint voice calls out for help. By the time Agnes calls for an ambulance, the woman is too injured to further help. Agnes tries to let the situation go, and she takes a room in a hotel that she has been frequently living in while looking for a new flat to buy. It’s then she realizes some of the employees at the hotel might be involved in the murders. Two more people are killed, and a third is seriously injured. Who is behind these awful killings? And what are they trying to accomplish? Agnes works with her taxi cab driver to travel all around town collecting clues and following the police, including her detective boyfriend, Alan.

Alan tries to be understanding, but he just wants her to stop interfering in his case, especially when the Superintendent wants a quick arrest. Agnes believes they’ve arrested the wrong guy and sets out to prove it. Unfortunately, it kills much of the romance between her and Alan and almost drives them apart. By interviewing hotel employees, some passersby and a few friends of the victim, Agnes begins to piece together the gravity of the situation but puts herself in danger. Luckily, someone comes to her rescue before she ends up the final victim. I would never stay in that hotel if I valued my life. Phew, she is one lucky dame when it comes to visiting that storage room. Ouch!

Thornton has created quite an elaborate protagonist. She could match Poirot and Marple with her eccentricities, and there are moments I’m dumbfounded at how she gets away with getting so involved in a murder investigation. At the same time, it creates such clever tension, I enjoy all the impacts she creates with her insinuations and prying ways. I’m not confident this police force would solve the crimes without her help. Thornton’s simple but direct dialog and personalities find fun ways to clash, leaving readers shaking their head at all the antics. While it’s not outwardly funny / sarcastic, sometimes it comes across that way purely by body language or what isn’t being said between Agnes and whomever she’s chatting to. It’s a great technique from this savvy writer.

The books are easy to read… easily devoured in 3 hours. I split it in two sessions, but I could’ve quickly and happily read through it all at once. Agnes is clearly pictured–Thornton ensures we know who she is and what she is capable of. While she has minimal cohorts, the few who do help always make for good entertainment and action. We haven’t met her family yet, and I’m hoping in the future, Thornton throws us a visit or two to see if anyone can possibly put Agnes in her place. So far, she gets away with everything… but every hero needs an antagonist. I’m dying to meet Agnes’s future friendly foe!

Kudos to Thornton for delivering another fine installment in the series. It’s light reading, more about the process a nosy woman goes through to solve a crime with minimal access to technology and evidence. She relies on her intuition and old-fashioned techniques to break a case. I like those kinds of mysteries, and I recommend this one to anyone else who does too.

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 but with a twist. There are five books: Academic CurveballBroken Heart Attack, Flower Power Trip, Mistaken Identity Crisis, and Haunted House Ghost. 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.

Download ‘Flower Power Trip’ for only .99 from 5/10 thru 5/14

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The 3rd book in the Braxton Campus Mysteries series is on sale for only .99 cents from 5/10 thru 5/14. You can download it to your Kindle here. This book was released on March 30th, 2019 and has been getting rave reviews from mystery fans all around the world. You can visit all the posts from the blog tour the book went on last month.


Flower Power Trip (Braxton Campus Mysteries)
3rd in Series
Creativia (March 30, 2019)
Print Length: 270 pages
Digital ASIN: B07NDK76WF

Description of Book

At a masquerade ball to raise money for renovations to Memorial Library, Kellan finds a dead body dressed in a Dr. Evil costume.

Did one of Maggie’s sisters kill the annoying guest who’d been staying at the Roarke and Daughters Inn, or does the victim have a closer connection to someone else at Braxton College?

As Kellan helps school president Ursula bury a secret from her past and discover the identity of her stalker, he unexpectedly encounters a missing member of his family. Everything seems to trace back to the Stoddards: a new family who recently moved in.

Between the murder, a special flower exhibit and strange postcards arriving each week, Kellan can’t decide which mystery in his life should take priority. But unfortunately, the biggest one of all has yet to be exposed – and when it is, Kellan won’t know what hit him.

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!

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)

Mistaken Identity Crisis – #4 (June 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

Purchase Link – Amazon

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 five books: Academic CurveballBroken Heart Attack, Flower Power Trip, Mistaken Identity Crisis, and Haunted House Ghost. 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.