As a book blogger, you get to know a lot of people, other bloggers, authors, even publishers. Then you get a few, just a few who you become really good friends with. James, Jay, Cudney is one of those few for me. He’s become the kind of friend I turn to for everything, I need to know what colour the sky is? I ask Jay. I need help with my writing, I ask Jay. So you can imagine the bursting pride I felt when his debut novel was picked up by a publisher and how great it was when I was able to hold a physical copy in my hand.
To be part of this blog tour is an absolute honour, as always my review is my honest opinion, I just happened to really like it!
There are a couple of cool happenings going on elsewhere connected to this tour. Jay is running a poll to see who is the most popular character. After reading my review (which will give you some insight) check out the poll here it’s open until the 20th.
There is also a giveaway on Goodreads to win a copy of the book so you definitely want to get your hat in the ring for that. You can enter that one by heading here. The giveaway closes on the 30th!
Jay was also interviewed by Artist First Radio a few days ago. I listened to the show live and it was interesting, funny, informative, and full of information about Jay who really opened up, you can listen to the recording of the show here.
After 40 years of marriage, Olivia Glass thought she could handle the unexpected death of her husband, but when Ben’s will reveals a long-held, 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 the answers, Olivia visits each of her sons to share a final connection before facing the truth that will change the dynamics of an already grief-stricken family. During the visits, Olivia learns that each of her sons has been harboring a painful secret, just like his father.
Olivia challenges herself to re-assemble and save their relationships. But will the secrets destroy their family beyond repair?
Where do I start with this? I still weeks after finishing this novel get riled up with emotion just thinking about it. Olivia Glass, the matriarch of the Glass family has just lost her Husband Ben. At the will reading with her five sons (Five! Seriously who has five kids?!) a secret is revealed from beyond the grave to her alone via a letter. A second letter left for her to pass on to the one son that it pertains to when the time is right.
Her way of dealing with this is to follow Ben’s secretive instructions, keep the sons in the dark, and to visit them all over the next few weeks and spend some time with them, which totally backfires as she discovers, even more, secrets that they are keeping from the family. It’s a big potluck of secrets and lies in this family people!
So, I hated Olivia, seriously hated her. She’s a fantastic character, and she plays her part to perfection. But my God that woman drove me nuts. She’s a control-freak, her need to know everything about everyone and to be the one who decides everything for everyone was infuriating. I swear if my Mum was like Olivia I would disown her, I couldn’t deal with all that bossiness! Wowsers!
The sons though, they are a different story, lets talk about the sons for a bit shall we?
Teddy is the eldest, a lawyer who has worked with their Father. A very serious man and in a marriage that appears to be rocky from our initial introduction to him. I found him hard to connect with for much of the book but I kept thinking there were hidden depths that there were things we weren’t seeing, as his secret unfolds a different side of him unfolds and you see a bigger personality emerge.
Matthew is the character I felt a huge affinity with, I had a LOT in common with Matt and completely connected with the secret he held. I fought his fight with him and was willing him through his situation hoping for him to come out of it. He is a wonderful character and I spent almost every moment he was on the page wanting to wrap my arms around him.
Ethan is training to be a Doctor, he’s the youngest of the brood and came across as happy and loving. His secret is moving. I know someone who went through the same thing Ethan went through and I think that may be why I was so deeply moved by his storyline, it really hit me hard and reminded me of some difficult memories. Ethan has probably the hardest secret to deal with but also the most beautiful and the one most full of love.
Caleb, oh Caleb, I would like a Caleb please. He is adorable, sweet and kind and funny. He’s also been keeping a huge secret from his family for years. I think his secret is pretty darn special, and I wouldn’t mind keeping it for myself as well, but as it’s Caleb secret I’ll let him have it.
Finally, there is Zach. I really fell for Zach, with his tattoos, and Harley. He’s a DJ and just plain yum! His secret is probably the least explosive of all of them, it’s also the one that Olivia gets most hung up on (Mom’s!) He has a wonderful attitude, not taking any shit, with a daughter he loves to the ends of the earth and an ex who he is fighting for custody.
Be warned this is a sob-fest, I cried solidly for the last two hours of this novel, not gentle tears either these were big ugly sobbing tears. Every time I thought I was stopping I turned the page and bam they would start all over. This is an author who doesn’t give us a moment to compose ourselves before dropping another emotional bomb. It’s not all sad though there are moments where I laughed out loud, one scene sticks in my mind and can dissolve me into laughter even now and secured my love of two characters in particular.
Watching Glass Shatter is an absolutely outstanding debut, I couldn’t put it down, I sobbed most of the way through, and I wanted to keep half the characters for myself.
About James J. Cudney
I live in New York City, grew up on Long Island, and graduated from Moravian College in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. I spent ~15 years in a technology career in the retail, sports, media and entertainment industries. Throughout those years, I wrote some short stories, poems and various beginnings to the “Great American Novel” but I was so focused on my career that writing became a hobby. After leaving my position in 2016, I directed all my energies towards re-invigorating a focus on reading, writing and publishing.
Writing has been a part of my life as much as my heart, my mind and my body. At some points, it was just a few poems or short stories; at others, it was full length novels and stories. My current genres include family drama / saga, contemporary and mystery fiction. My first novel, Watching Glass Shatter, was published in October 2017. I am currently in the process of writing my second novel, ‘Father Figure,’ which will be released in early 2018.
Reader & Reviewer
Reading has also never left my side. Whether it was children’s books, young adult novels, college textbooks, biographies or my ultimate love, fiction, it’s ever present in my day. I read 2 books per week and I’m on a quest to update every book I’ve ever read on Goodreads, write up a review and post it on all my sites and platforms.
Blogger & Thinker
I have combined my passions into a single platform where I share book reviews, write a blog and publish fiction: In the blog, I started my 365 Daily Challenge, where I post about a word that has some meaning to me and converse with everyone about life. There is humor, tears, love, friendship, advice and bloopers. Lots of bloopers where I poke fun at myself all the time. Even my dog has a weekly segment called “Ryder’s Rants” where he complains about me. All these things make up who I am; none of them are very fancy or magnanimous, but they are real. And that’s why they are me.
Genealogist & Researcher
I want to be a researcher or historian. I want to reach back into the past to figure out why someone made the choice he or she did and what the consequences were. I want to feel the pressures and culture of hundreds of years ago. I want to trace the roots and find the puzzle of my own history. I want to watch my ancestors from a secret place to know how they interacted with others; and maybe I’ll learn why I do things the way I do them.
Book & Buy Links
Title: Watching Glass Shatter #1
Author: James J. Cudney
Genre: Family Saga, Mystery, LGBTQ, Romance, Mental Health
Publication Date: 8 October 2017
Review Format: eBook
Other Formats: Paperback
Buy: Amazon UK | Amazon US | Book Depository