review

Book Review: Welcome to Crash by Lina Langley

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I read a book from a new genre for me this week: a combination spec fiction with male for male romance and some sci-fi / fantasy elements. It was quite good and I enjoyed both her writing style and her voice. Stay tuned for a profile on the wonderful Lina Langley in a couple of weeks… thought I’d share the review now to give you a heads up and gain interest for Author Alert Fridays! Check out my review below or on Goodreads.

langley

Book Review
It’s always a gamble when you read a book that might be a bit outside your normal genres, but that wasn’t the case with Lina Langley’s Welcome to Crash. I’ve started reading more in the spec fiction realm, choosing this book based on the cover and a few recommendations from others. I was intrigued by the premise, uncertain how much paranormal, science fiction or fantasy would actually be in it. In the end, that wasn’t the primary point of the story; those elements simply added stronger layers and dimensions to it.

A young guy, Damien, struggles to make a relationship work with his hesitant boyfriend, uncertain if they will end up building something together or splitting apart due to outside circumstances. When he meets a stranger at his job interview, Damien’s thrown off his game, quite smitten, but also confused by John’s style, persona and level of interest. Damien will soon find out as he tries to balance being utterly honest with his boyfriend, Levi, and the growing attraction he has to John.

Just when you think you have it all figured out, the story takes a subtle, then giant, shift away from traditional romance to push you into realizing something different is going on… but readers don’t know at first. Damien suffers from some medical issues, is distant from his family and can’t decide what he wants to do with his life. The book is about his struggle to get through college, become an adult and find love; however, too many forces pull him apart until he has to make a decision about what he really wants for himself and in a potential boyfriend.

This is a psychological book – one where love and desire intermingle with need and reality. Characters are well-drawn; once you know the issues keeping Damien and Levi from truly being together, you recognize why it will be difficult and why Damien looks elsewhere. The writing is direct and clear; dialogue feels realistic and the story keeps you guessing throughout each chapter.
I enjoyed it and will be picking up another of the author’s books to try in the next few weeks.

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 @ http://mybook.to/WGS. 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 also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can 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. Vote in the poll and ratings. 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.

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Book Review: Carnegie’s Maid by Marie Benedict

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Book Review: 4 out of 5 stars to Carnegie’s Maid, a historical fiction novel set to be published in January 2018 by Marie Benedict.

carnie.jpg

Why This Book 
I saw this show up on NetGalley and wanted to read something about the Carnegie family. I’ve been on a hunt to read/learn more about all the “tycoons” of America, curious about all the connections between them. I enjoy both fiction and non-fiction, so I requested this one and was approved. I picked it up last month because of a trip to the Vanderbilt Estate, even though it’s a different family. Wanted to immerse myself in the culture before the trip.

Plot, Characters & Setting 
Andrew Carnegie, a leading member of one of America’s tycoon families, has settled in Pittsburgh with his mother and brother. A woman who leaves Ireland to help earn money to send her family back home, learns that the lady’s maid hired for Mrs. Carnegie has died during the Atlantic voyage. She takes her place and becomes Clara Kelly, despite not having all the knowledge a lady’s maid should have. She learns quickly, befriends some of the other staff, even fights with a few. Over time, she convinces everyone she is a good maid, but there is much more to her than they realize; she’s got strong business acumen and become a confidante of sorts to Mrs. Carnegie’s son, Andrew. Their relationship grows and begins to cause a few folks to question what is going on in the Carnegie household. This is a story about the relationship between the Carnegie family and their staff, love between two unexpected souls and the vicious rules of society.

Approach & Style 
I read the Kindle version on my iPad over 3 days. It is about 250 pages with short chapters, told from the perspective of Mrs. Carnegie’s maid during the 1860s in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, America.

Strengths 
The story is simple and complex, quite beautifully told from the maid’s perspective. Only she’s so much more than a maid, and you can hear every bit of pain and love in her voice. Benedict does a fantastic job at transporting us to the setting of the story, which makes it a strong connection. It’s a slow-build to see and feel the love, but quite believable.

I learned a bit about how Carnegie grew to fame and fortune. The book has made me curious to know how much of this story is true, hence why I am on the lookout for a biography on him and the family. A good author makes that happen… thanks, Ms. Benedict!

We only see a glimpse (less than ten years) of the life between these characters, then it jumps to when they are much older. I loved seeing a future glance rather than everything that happened over the years after Andrew and Clara met. Usually I don’t like missing details, but in this story, it worked quite well.

Concerns 
The writing is a little clunky at times; sometimes it’s as it should be, given the story takes place 150 years ago. But on a few occasions, I thought simpler phrases or imagery would have helped with the complexity in the differences between the time period and today.

Author & Other Similar Books 
This is the author’s second book, as she has a debut titled ‘The Other Einstein.’ I don’t know a lot about it, but I am curious to check out the description to see if it’s something I’d want to read.

I read a bunch of historical fiction and have encountered books like this before; however, seeing it about a famous American family, and learning of a potential ‘hidden’ relationship, was different and exciting.

Final Thoughts 
Good read. Quick. Informative. I liked the style. Characters well-drawn. Matches the style of the time period. Overall, better than average.

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 @ http://mybook.to/WGS. 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 also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can 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. Vote in the poll and ratings. 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

365 Challenge: Day 214 – Alert (Are you an author?)

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Alert: a message notification for people to pay attention if you are an author

alert

 

As many of you know from reading my blog, and hopefully not thinking I’m posting too much about it, I published my debut novel this week. It is called Watching Glass Shatter and you can read more about it or purchase it @ http://mybook.to/WGS; however, that’s not why today’s 365 Daily Challenge post is about the word ‘alert’ but instead because it is time for me to give back a little to a select group of my followers. Given how hard it is (I now know!) to publish and market a novel, I’d like to help out my fellow authors by building a new weekly segment on my blog called “Author Alert.” Let me explain…

It is extremely critical for both new and established authors to get as many book reviews on Amazon and Goodreads (and other sites) as often and as soon as possible after their books are released. It helps with marketing, ratings and sales, as I am learning. I’d like to establish a stronger team of authors on my blog who can support one another and share news and tips. On the flip side, I don’t want to be repetitive with my 365 Daily Challenge posts, so this gives me an opportunity to find a word that represents the author and blog about them, similar to my former “Ryder Recommends A Blogger” segment which finished up in August. I was running out of words and had to come up with a new idea!

In the future, I may start up the Recommended Blogger segment again, or run another segment for highlighting other bloggers trying to promote their products / services (e.g. artists, services, etc.), but I’m starting with authors since that’s familiar to me. Since I am at just about 3k followers right now, I hope I can provide opportunities for others as so many of you have given me in the last year. Beginning in a few weeks, the 365 Daily Challenge will host “Author Alert Friday” where I will blog about a published author who is following me on WordPress (and has been for a while). A few ground rules…

  1. If you are not following me but read this and begin following me, I am happy to share more information about you on Author Alert Fridays after we’ve had enough time to get to know one another.
  2. If you are an unpublished writer, let’s chat separately about other ways I can help. This particular segment is for published authors at the moment, but I can help others learn the ropes as I did in different ways.
  3. I may not have read your book, but I will do my best to incorporate it into my upcoming reading list. Even without reading it, we can still promote you!
  4. I want these to be informative and fun, but not lengthy… a teaser to sell the very best of YOU.
  5. I’m open to suggestions, so please feel free to throw out other ideas for my 365 Daily Challenge.

If you’re interested, comment here or send me a private message on any of my social media accounts. I hope we have a good response rate, but if not, we’ll tweak the format and/or keep it as a short run. Start messaging me and I’ll prepare a schedule. And if you are reading my book, please leave a review!

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. 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.

My Novel: Watching Glass Shatter – ON SALE

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I am very excited to announce that Watching Glass Shatter is officially available for purchase on Amazon at: http://mybook.to/WGS. It will be available as an electronic read for the next few weeks, followed by physical copies in November. I also have an author page at Amazon that you can follow, and I would love your feedback on the content. I will be sending a small Amazon/Kindle version content update by end of week with a few extra pages / fixes if already purchased it this week.

Please look at both the author page and the book page — every click and purchase counts to help get this book to the top of its categories so other people can view, purchase and read it. If you purchase the book, I’d love a review on both Amazon and Goodreads, as well as your blog and any other platform you are interested in. Thank you so much in advance for being a part of this team.

If you reached out to me in the last few weeks about participating in a blog tour or any other marketing activities, I will message you separately to discuss how to share a copy of the book for you to begin reading this week.

Watching-Glass-Shatter-Main-File

 

The book is listed on Goodreads at: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36140949-watching-glass-shatter

Please take a look and mark it ‘To Be Read’ in the coming days. Share with your friends and followers. I will have a few Giveaways on Goodreads as well as some posts to share more information with my fellow readers.  It’s very exciting and will become reality very soon. Below please find ways for you to get involved in the launch. If you’ve already messaged me, I’ll be in touch over the next week to discuss next steps. Thank you.


As part of the launch of my new novel, Watching Glass Shatter, I am beginning to plan key marketing activities for November and December. If you are interested in participating, please private message me through email at jamescudney4@yahoo.com or via any of my social media accounts. You can find the links at the bottom of this site. I am considering the following items plus anything else you might want to suggest:

  • Book Review
    • If you’re interested in reading the novel when it’s released, or possibly beforehand as an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC), sign up with your email address on my blog. I will have a few giveaways and freebies for a select number of folks who can help promote the novel.
    • Looking to promote and publish reviews on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, Google+, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, your personal blog and anywhere else you can think of.

book review

  • Blog Tour
    • If you’d like to be part of a blog tour for the first month after it’s released to help promote and advertise the book, let me know.
    • I’m looking to do a 30-day launch party where someone posts on a specific day with advertising and promotion for the book after they’ve read it. I’m open to whatever content you’d like to include to drum up interest.

blog tour.jpg

  • Author Interview
    • Perhaps you’d like to do an interview feature by asking me a set of questions I can respond to on your blog.
    • Let’s talk about options on how you’d like to share more about me and the book with your followers.

author

 

I look forward to everyone’s interest and ideas. Thanks in advance for wanting to be part of the street team to help launch Watching Glass Shatter. Very exciting!

 

Book Summary

A contemporary fiction novel focusing on a New England family’s drama set in current times. The wealthy Glass family has lost its patriarch, Benjamin Glass, sooner than expected. Benjamin’s widow, Olivia, and her 5 sons each react to his death in their own way while preparing for the reading of his will. But it is Olivia who receives a very unexpected confession from her late husband about one of their sons that could shatter the whole family.

Prior to revealing the secret to her children, Olivia needs to figure out which boy Ben is referring to in the confession he left her in his will. While the family attorney is searching for the mysterious Rowena Hector whom Ben says holds the answers, Olivia asks her sons to each spend a week with her as she isn’t ready to let go of the past. But when Olivia visits her sons, she quickly learns that each one has been keeping his own secret from her.

Olivia never expected her remaining years would be so complex and life altering, but she will not rest until she is able to bring her family back together after Ben’s untimely death. Will she be able to fix them or will the whole family implode? We all need family. We all want to fit in. We’re a mix of quirky fun!

 

Book Review: Simply Does It by Melanie Mole

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Simply Does It           by          Melanie Mole

simply does it

Book Review 
Life can be quite difficult, especially when it comes to working hard to afford whatever lifestyle choices you make; however, it doesn’t always have to be that way. If you’re interested in learning how one woman simplified major aspects of her day-to-day, this is the book for you. It’s not a step -by-step-how-to book, or an encyclopedia of all the things stress does to your body. It’s a lovely tale almost written in the form of journal entries with some tips on how the author, the wonderful Melanie Mole, learned to make the switch from hectic to calm.

I ‘met’ Melanie through my blog, ThisIsMyTruthNow, over the summer, and we began exchanging emails each week to share our thoughts on writing and publishing. When she described her book, I thought it was something I’d enjoy, and probably needed to digest to keep myself from again crossing that line into a world of constant stress. I purchased the electronic version in September and read this ~200 page book over three nights just before bed, hoping its messages would sink in overnight. It was an unexpected read, divided into three major sections, each describing and comparing Melanie’s experiences: (1) staying in a nunnery, (2) bonding with dogs and (3) living on a boat and in a caravan. Within each one, she tells how the connections/events occurred, what she felt about them at first and where she ended up when the experience ended.

This is a different kind of book. It’s one where you can casually read it while also diving into a new novel, balancing your love of stories and your interest in making small changes to your life. The messages are simple, everything from ‘never give up’ to ‘balance your risk,’ each providing a short memory or story to drive home Melanie’s point. The language and writing is clear and simple, too, as it’s meant to sink into your mind now and again as time passes. At first, you’ll hear the words and think ‘oh, that’s hard,’ but then you’ll ponder it throughout the day to see which one of the lessons you could try to incorporate into your own life.

Every once in a while, it’s good to take a chance on a new author or a new book topic. I’m glad I did with this one and encourage others to take a look at the book for their own world. It may just give you a different perspective, one you might have heard before, but always need a reminder of. And if simplifying life is not for you, it’s still a fun tale about three experiences many of us don’t have very often in life. I’ve always wondered what it would be like to visit a convent or a monastery… now I have a good sense.

I hope you enjoy the book and take something away to make the future days even better. It’s on sale via Amazon and for less than the price of a cup of coffee as someone has quickly pointed out to me!

About Me 
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write 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 also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can 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. Vote in the poll and ratings. 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.

My Novel: Watching Glass Shatter – BOOK COVER REVEAL

Posted on

I am very excited to reveal the cover of my first book — ‘Watching Glass Shatter’ — in today’s post. I thought about sending out a few teaser messages, but I’ve talked about it for a few months now… it’s time to debut! Without further ado, below is the book cover:

Watching-Glass-Shatter-Main-File

 

In the coming days, I will provide the launch date, places to purchase and the initial marketing plans. I will also share more about the selection of the cover art, explaining how and why it connects to the book. To see more, the book is listed on Goodreads at:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36140949-watching-glass-shatter

Please take a look and mark it ‘To Be Read’ in the coming days. Share with your friends and followers. I will have a few Giveaways on Goodreads as well as some posts to share more information with my fellow readers.  It’s very exciting and will become reality very soon!

Below please find ways for you to get involved in the launch. If you’ve already messaged me, I’ll be in touch over the next week to discuss next steps. Thank you.


As part of the launch of my new novel, Watching Glass Shatter, I am beginning to plan key marketing activities for November and December. If you are interested in participating, please private message me through email at jamescudney4@yahoo.com or via any of my social media accounts. You can find the links at the bottom of this site. I am considering the following items plus anything else you might want to suggest:

  • Book Review
    • If you’re interested in reading the novel when it’s released, or possibly beforehand as an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC), sign up with your email address on my blog. I will have a few giveaways and freebies for a select number of folks who can help promote the novel.
    • Looking to promote and publish reviews on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, Google+, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, your personal blog and anywhere else you can think of.

book review

  • Blog Tour
    • If you’d like to be part of a blog tour for the first month after it’s released to help promote and advertise the book, let me know.
    • I’m looking to do a 30-day launch party where someone posts on a specific day with advertising and promotion for the book after they’ve read it. I’m open to whatever content you’d like to include to drum up interest.

blog tour.jpg

  • Author Interview
    • Perhaps you’d like to do an interview feature by asking me a set of questions I can respond to on your blog.
    • Let’s talk about options on how you’d like to share more about me and the book with your followers.

author

 

I look forward to everyone’s interest and ideas. Thanks in advance for wanting to be part of the street team to help launch Watching Glass Shatter. Very exciting!

 

Book Summary

A contemporary fiction novel focusing on a New England family’s drama set in current times. The wealthy Glass family has lost its patriarch, Benjamin Glass, sooner than expected. Benjamin’s widow, Olivia, and her 5 sons each react to his death in their own way while preparing for the reading of his will. But it is Olivia who receives a very unexpected confession from her late husband about one of their sons that could shatter the whole family.

Prior to revealing the secret to her children, Olivia needs to figure out which boy Ben is referring to in the confession he left her in his will. While the family attorney is searching for the mysterious Rowena Hector whom Ben says holds the answers, Olivia asks her sons to each spend a week with her as she isn’t ready to let go of the past. But when Olivia visits her sons, she quickly learns that each one has been keeping his own secret from her.

Olivia never expected her remaining years would be so complex and life altering, but she will not rest until she is able to bring her family back together after Ben’s untimely death. Will she be able to fix them or will the whole family implode? We all need family. We all want to fit in. We’re a mix of quirky fun!

 

365 Challenge: Day 209 – Tidy

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Tidy: arranged neatly and in order

tidy.png

Every once in a while, it’s good to cleanse your mind and body — to tidy up in a way that makes everything feel better. Nature feels the same way. Since this is the first weekend I’ve been home in nearly a month, it’s time to clean up the outdoor plants and trees, which have nearly all lost their summer flowers. But it also means I must take an inventory to know what spaces are available for a few fall colors to brighten the place up. Tidying up the outdoors in the natural world will give me a good break away from editing my books. My 365 Daily Challenge message is brief again today, as it takes a lot to recover from being out of a routine for so long.

Just like you need to tidy up the physical spaces you live in, you also need to tidy up your mind. As I clean up the terrace today, and prepare for its next season, I will also prepare myself for big changes in the next few months. While my days may not be very different, my novel will officially be out for public review. There will be some negative feedback along with the positive comments; such is life. Even with a thick skin, being judged, or being told something isn’t as good as you think it is, can hurt. But it’s a good hurt when you can turn it around to make improvements in your craft. The important lesson for me, and for everyone who shares part of himself or herself with the world, is to keep tidying your mind — so none of these thoughts sit for too long, nor overstay their welcome.

Negative feedback is often the impetus we all need for taking a giant leap in the right direction for change to occur. Learn to use it wisely and not let it get you down.

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. 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.