Family Drama

Book Review: Killing Thyme by Leslie Budewitz

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Killing Thyme (A Spice Shop Mystery, #3)Killing Thyme by Leslie Budewitz

My rating: 4.25 of 5 stars

Spices are essential to making our food and drinks taste better. Leslie Budewitz’s ‘A Spice Shop Mystery’ series is essential to making our cozy mystery reading schedules even better. I want to kick myself for waiting several years before picking up this series, but at the same time the next book doesn’t release until June 2019, so I might have been frustrated waiting that long if I had finished them sooner. With all 3 published ones under my belt, I can say two things: (1) I’m a definite fan and (2) It’s time to move on to her next series which takes place in the NW USA too.

In Killing Thyme, Pepper’s finally got everything under control. Her shop is doing well, Pepper has two great employees to replace the ones she lost in the last book, her mom is coming for a visit from South America, and she’s dating a cute and kind reporter. But with her mom comes a secret from the past hurling quickly like a typhoon at Seattle’s Pike Place Market where you’d never expect one to appear. A fellow store artisan is not who she appears to be… and when she’s found dead early one morning, Pepper’s forced into protecting her mother from being punished for a crime she didn’t commit (at least we think so). Throw in a few cute ‘dates’ with the reporter, a couple of accidents with her friends, and a very curious bracelet that appears from nowhere and you’ve got quite a mystery to solve.

I think the series’ setting has fully fallen into place. We have a wonderful group of supporting characters and stores that make each book connective and fun. My favorite parts besides the murder mystery occur when Pepper goes for her daily walk around the market and catches up with friends we’ve come to adore. Having Arf, her awesome dog, makes it all the more enticing, too. Sometimes she learns a clue, others it’s just more confusion. Budewitz knows how to drop just enough to make us squint and scratch our chin over what’s the truth and what’s a lie. I enjoy this series and was glad to get to know some of Pepper’s family. Her mom’s a hoot and I can only imagine what she was like as a psuedo-hippie nearly 40 years earlier. The best part… we finally learn Pepper’s REAL NAME! Another great installment in the lives of the curious and ‘glamorous’ life in Seattle’s finest market… can’t wait to visit again in June. Thanks for an amazing and strong beginning to my 2019 reads, LB!

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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Book Review: Death Overdue by Allison Brook

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Death Overdue (The Haunted Library Mysteries, #1)Death Overdue by Allison Brook

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

After reading the second book in ‘The Haunted Library Mysteries’ by Allison Brook last year, I ordered a copy of the first in the series, Death Overdue, to read and get current. It’s a great setting and has a little bit of everything for cozy mystery lovers. Carrie Singleton (late 20’s, single) is about to leave Connecticut after visiting her aunt and uncle for a few months when she’s offered a promotion at the Clover Ridge library. Although she wants to escape, a ghost haunting the building convinces Carrie to stick it out. After her first event is held, the author she brought in to discuss new leads in a murder case from ~10 years earlier is poisoned and dies in the library. Carrie investigates to ensure no one thinks poorly of her, but she also finds the challenge an easy distraction to help her decide to stay in town.

Full of great supporting characters and side stories, this series has a lot of potential. You’ve got the ghost of a former employee who died under somewhat mysterious circumstances in a fall in the parking lot (we know that’ll be a mystery in future books!), a few colleagues who dislike Carrie because of her appearance or connection with her uncle as a member of the library board, her thief father who is missing, her sudden attraction with local sexy investigator Dylan, and a whole lot more. I look forward to all the capers and trouble that could happen in this charming New England town.

Brook has a simple yet strong writing style. It’s easy to get lost in the book for a few hours before realizing how far you’ve read. I like the descriptions and dialog as much as the narratives and past details being dropped throughout the story. I am very curious to learn more about Carrie’s aunt and uncle who likely have a very suspenseful and crazy past. This mystery was medium-complex and had a lot of family drama. Ultimately, I thought the killer was a little too easy to identify, but it did keep me guessing a few times in the middle section. I’m curious to see which characters stay in the future books and which ones disappear. There are only 2 in the series so far, but I’m sure a new one will be out in 2019. I’ll be looking for that ARC!

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: The Mother-In-Law by Sally Hepworth

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The Mother-in-LawThe Mother-in-Law by Sally Hepworth

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

I read one of Sally Hepworth’s earlier novels last year and immediately connected with her writing style and storytelling approach. I marked the rest of her books as TBR, then saw The Mother-in-Law available via NetGalley. I was lucky enough to be approved for an ARC earlier this week and began reading it right away. What an emotional and angst-ridden tale about the relationship between several family members who can feel all too real and all too fake at the exact same time. I truly enjoyed this book and give it 4.5 stars. Let’s get into some specifics…

Lucy lost her mother when she was young. Although her father was wonderful, she never felt that connection with an older female who could guide her through becoming a mother, caring for a family, or securing your own position in the world as a strong, intelligent woman. When she meets Ollie, and he wants to introduce her to his family, Lucy is nervous but hopeful it fills a hole that’s been growing for far too long. Unfortunately, when Lucy meets his mother, Diana, it becomes quite clear that won’t happen.

Diana had a difficult childhood and was essentially almost forced to give Ollie up as a baby. When she was kicked out, Diana learned how to build something from nothing and to care for her family when she didn’t even have a place to live. She used that savvy experience to become a major player in an organization that helps young women trying to escape from difficult circumstances in their own country and move to America for a better life. Diana also developed a thick skin and an attitude that no one should be given a handout without working for it in return.

Although the story alternates chapters from Lucy’s and Diana’s viewpoints throughout the decade they know one another, there are other characters who help show what each woman is truly made of. Diana’s husband, Tom, is the complete opposite of her; he’s a lovable, genuine, and thoughtful husband and father who gets sick. Ollie’s sister and her husband are desperate for a baby and go to the extremes to make it happen with or without their family’s support and money. Ollie’s best friend becomes his business partner and wreaks havoc on a complex family relationship. Then there’s the 3 young children Ollie and Lucy have during that first decade. Throw in Diana’s untimely death, mysterious circumstances that make it look like a suicide but also a murder… and you’ve got quite a psychological exploration of what it means to be a parent and an in-law.

This book explores that fine line of how you say things without coming across as insensitive or rude, how you determine when to let a mistake happen so a new parent learns on her own how to care for the child, and how you deal with making a decision when you and your spouse are on opposite sides of how to best support your children. At times, Diana was truly a horrific witch of a human being. You come to realize she kinda knows the way she’s behaving is wrong, but it’s been ingrained in her. When she softens, you want to root for her. You want to believe she will turn that corner and do the right thing. Then she goes in the opposite direction, unlike Lucy, who is nearly consistent almost the entire time. She sucks it up when Diana is rude or distant. She does all the things she doesn’t want to do just so she doesn’t look like she’s being difficult. Until something bad happens, then Lucy blows up.

While 90% of me sides with Lucy, I do understand Diana’s approach. And it works in many circumstances; however, there comes a time when you let someone try to help themselves for only so long before it becomes too late. If you have an excess of money, and your children need it, don’t hold on to it forever if they have put years into helping themselves only to fail for reasons out of their control. Eventually, Diana begins to see the light, but it’s too late. Too much has been set in action, and her death is imminent. Was she murdered by one of these people who felt she went too far? Did she commit suicide because she felt guilty? Was it a freak and unexpected accident? You’ll have to read the book to find out, but I believe it’s worth it.

I couldn’t put the novel down. If I did, within 15 minutes, I kept telling myself ‘just one more chapter.’ Hepworth is brilliant at displaying angst, love, pain, and despair in a family who needs a little therapy to heal and forgive. It’s down-to-earth, regular actions and words that remind you of your own world (not the drama necessarily, but the way people relate to one another) feel comfortable yet push you just enough to question how you think about a situation. I adored this book and would love to give it a full 5-stars, but there were a few items I thought could have been a bit more tidy to be absolutely perfect. The ending is ‘ten years’ in the future which is great, but I would love to have seen some of the immediate drama after Diana’s death. We get a lot, but once the true reason she died is discovered, there’s a bit of a windy wrap-up without a clear enough focus on everyone’s reactions to the truth. I don’t want to spoil this surprise, but ultimately, if you’re gonna throw a curveball at us, give us a few reactions from the rest of the people involved so we sense a complete and thorough emotional see-saw when learning what happened to your family member.

That said, it’s a high recommendation from me… can’t wait to see what others think when it comes out in early 2019.

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.

FREE Book Download: FATHER FIGURE #NA #FamilyDrama #Relationships

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Not only did I release the 2nd book in the Braxton Campus mystery series — ‘Broken Heart Attack‘ — for pre-sale this week, but ‘Father Figure’ is a free download thru 11/21. Please SHARE… thanks.

FREE DOWNLOAD (1)

Description

Between the fast-paced New York City, a rural Mississippi town and a charming Pennsylvania college campus filled with secrets, two young girls learn the consequences of growing up too quickly. Amalia Graeme, abused by her mother for most of her life, longs to escape her desolate hometown and fall in love. Contemplating her loss of innocence and conflicting feelings between her boyfriend and the dangerous attraction she’s developed for an older man, Amalia faces life-altering tragedies. Brianna Porter, a sassy, angst-ridden teenager raised in New York City, yearns to find her life’s true purpose, conquer her fear of abandonment, and interpret an intimidating desire for her best friend, Shanelle. Desperate to find the father whom her mother refuses to reveal, Brianna accidentally finds out a shocking truth about her missing parent. Set in alternating chapters two decades apart, the parallels between their lives and the unavoidable collision that is bound to happen is revealed. FATHER FIGURE is an emotional story filled with mystery, romance, and suspense.
  • Book Blitz: For 5 days, (4/30 thru 5/4) we posted promotions, hints, and feedback
  • Blog Tour: For 5 days (6/4 thru 6/8) we posted reviews and interviews
  • Reviews: Check out some of the early reviews on the books
Watching Glass Shatter

 

#FatherFigure #FreebieFriday #freebies #creativiapub #bookworm #Drama #LGBTQ #AmReading #youngadult #motherdaughter

Watching Glass Shatter: FREE 11/4 thru 11/8

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As part of my thanksgiving in November, Watching Glass Shatter is a FREE download via Amazon Kindle from 11/4 thru 11/8. Download here.

 

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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

Father Figure: My Novel is a FREE Download 8/18 thru 8/22

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Last week, my first novel, Watching Glass Shatter, was available for FREE download. This week, you can now download my second novel FATHER FIGURE for FREE via Amazon as a Kindle e-read from Saturday August 18th through Wednesday August 22nd.

FREE DOWNLOAD

Key Facts

  • Published on April 2nd, 2018
  • Genres: Contemporary Fiction / Family Drama / Mystery
    • ‘New Adult’ with focus on two 18-year-old women in college
    • Suspenseful cliffhangers in each chapter
    • Two timelines / story lines
    • Some romance elements in both story lines

Description

Between the fast-paced New York City, a rural Mississippi town and a charming Pennsylvania college campus filled with secrets, two young girls learn the consequences of growing up too quickly.

Amalia Graeme, abused by her mother for most of her life, longs to escape her desolate hometown and fall in love. Contemplating her loss of innocence and conflicting feelings between her boyfriend and the dangerous attraction she’s developed for an older man, Amalia faces life-altering tragedies.

Brianna Porter, a sassy, angst-ridden teenager raised in New York City, yearns to find her life’s true purpose, conquer her fear of abandonment, and interpret an intimidating desire for her best friend, Shanelle. Desperate to find the father whom her mother refuses to reveal, Brianna accidentally finds out a shocking truth about her missing parent.

Set in alternating chapters two decades apart, the parallels between their lives and the subsequent collision that is bound to happen is revealed. FATHER FIGURE is an emotional story filled with mystery, romance, and suspense.

Recent Review Highlights

  • “A book I stayed up all night to finish. Practical as I am, I’ve never done that before. This is Cudney’s second book and I have read both. He has the ability to create human emotion as specifically required by the characters he creates. He tells this story from the point of view of the two female characters. Surely, he has a deep understanding of and human nature… All the character threads are intrinsically entwined, the twists and turns unexpected. It makes me wonder how this young author understands so much that he is able to turn his knowledge of life into a story such as this. Surely, he has a phenomenal imagination.”
  • “Secrets are unearthed, revelations come to light and you realize that Cudney truly IS a mastermind. A genius scheming writer. He places seemingly innocent facts here and there, fortuitous encounters, little crumbs and we don’t realize all the intricate connections between these threads before a big reveal!”
  • “Father Figure took me down a new emotional highway revisiting places I’d been before and felt uncomfortable visiting again but knew I needed to see to understand these characters, along with some new places that made me feel bonded to these characters in an unusually intimate way. This is a cracking novel that you don’t want to miss.”
  • “The angst I had reading this book, stays with me long after. My heart aches for the characters, yet I see a story that was beautifully written. I never got lost in the course of this book, and in the end I was blown away! Seriously folks, I am letting the emotions I am free falling from write this review.”
  • “Father Figure is powerful, emotional, and breath taking! With a hard-hitting story line, and amazingly dynamic characters, this one is sure to impress! For those who love stories of struggle, heartache, and overcoming obstacles, you need to pick this one up!”

Key Book Marketing Links

 

Father Figure: Book Blog Tour Re-Cap!

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Hello! For five days from June 4th thru June 8th, Reads and Reels hosted an amazing book blog tour to help promote Father Figure across the world. As part of this fantastic week, we held a giveaway and will be announcing the winner tomorrow via Reads & Reels Blog. In case you missed any of it, or want to see a single link with all the wonderful posts, you can find them below or on my author website. We may have a few more reviews being add this week due to some delays, but I’ll update if anything new is posted in the next few days.

Father-Figure-Promo-Hardback-Ereader

I’m so grateful to everyone who participated, especially to Shannon at Reads and Reels, for making this a spectacular week. I’m thrilled with all the reviews and absolutely stunned at the beautiful sentiments, feedback, and shares from friends and followers. I’ve also met a few new bloggers which is always a great way to kick start a new friendship and connection over books and reading. You’ve truly made my welcome home from vacation remarkable and brilliant. THANK YOU to everyone…

June 4th

Reads & Reels (Promo)

Julia’s Picks (Review)

Splashes into Books (Review)

Bri’s Book Nook (Review)

Valerie’s Musings (Review & Interview)

June 5th

Jessica Rachow (Review)

The Book Collective (Review)

June 6th

Beware of the Reader (Review)

Nesie’s Place (Excerpt)

June 7th

Alternative-Read (Excerpt)

Crystal’s Book World (Review)

Touch My Spine Book Reviews (Review)

Audio Killed the Bookmark (Review)

Bobo’s Book Bank (Excerpt)

Jennie Reads (Review)

Dash Fan Book Reviews (Review)

June 8th

By Hook or By Book (Review)

Port Jericho (Review)

Sinfully Wicked Reviews (Review)

Globe Flowers Blog (Review)

Life at 17 (Review)

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Blog Tour Organized By:

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