#Review: Father Figure by James J. Cudney @jamescudney4

Disclosure: In the interest of fairness it’s only right that I let you all know that I was a beta reader for Father Figure and read it twice before publication. I have read the final version one final time post-publication to be able to write this review.

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. Struggling to survive in a claustrophobic, unforgiving world, they embark on a journey to overcome all the pain, disappointment, and horror of their experiences.

Amalia Graeme, abused by her mother for most of her life, longs to escape her desolate hometown, connect with others, and fall in love. Contemplating an impending loss of innocence and conflicting feelings between her boyfriend and the dangerous attraction she’s developed for an older man, Amalia suffers devastating, life-altering tragedies. No matter where she turns, someone or something always steals her hope of finding happiness, protection, and love.

Brianna Porter, a sassy yet angst-ridden teenager raised in New York City, yearns to determine her life’s true purpose, conquer her fear of abandonment, and interpret an intimidating desire for her best friend, Shanelle. All the confusion stems from desperately needing to find the father whom her mother refuses to reveal, but an unexpected discovery of a journal leads Brianna to a shocking revelation about her missing parent. Unfortunately, by casting the net to find him, she’s unleashed a tragic history that was meant to stay buried and might now completely change everyone’s futures.

Through alternating chapters set two decades apart, each girl’s plight unfolds revealing the parallels between their lives and the subsequent collision that is bound to happen. In an emotional story filled with mystery, romance, and suspense, fate intervenes forcing someone to make a dreadful decision that will leave permanent scars.

Review

The name James J. Cudney comes with an assurance of quality, emotional turmoil, romance and suspense all things we learned from his debut novel Watching Glass Shatter. Delving between the pages of his second novel Father Figure all of this things are thrown your way in droves leaving you yet again deeply heartbroken, in love, shocked, and fighting for your favourite characters.

Meet Amalia. The quiet small town girl living a life of parental abuse. Amalia is desperate to escape her hometown, go to college and start her life free from the life which has held her back so far. There was so much of Amalia’s life I felt an affinity to, I cried with her, I cried for her. Some of the scenes are horrific, while others are so inspiring that you want to lift them from the page and see them unfold in front of your eyes. From her first kiss to her first love Amalia stole my heart from the first page and there wasn’t a moment in this book where my support for her wavered. In the light of difficult decisions and some ghastly events, she keeps her dignity and somehow finds a way through.

Meet Brianna. Ansty, confident and filled with questions. Brianna is a girl filled with confusion, but a fire to get the answers. She will happily jump into things like a bull in a china shop and has no qualms about asking awkward questions. Growing up in New York City with a single Mom she knows nothing about her Father and is on a mission to find out before she goes to college. Also struggling with her sexuality she has some big decisions looming on her horizon and a Mom who is staying tight-lipped about everything. Brianna honestly reminds me of myself at that age. She doesn’t really consider people’s feelings before she does things, but the consequences do affect her and make her think twice. She’s hurting and she’s deflecting that hurt to the people she loves most in the world. She makes some epically silly decisions but hey…I’m fairly sure I’m not the only one who can relate to that when they were eighteen?! I am? Seriously?

The two girls stories are told in an alternating fashion…sneaky…very sneaky! Eventually converging so the two stories come together in devastating fashion. I can’t give this one genre. I have thought about this over and over it is romance, suspense, mystery and family drama. This book suits so many readers that I just say delve in and treat yourself.

Father Figure is one of the best books I’ve ever had the pleasure to read. I don’t say that lightly it has torn through so many of my emotions, just writing this review I ended up crying again because everything came to my mind. James J. Cudney is one of the best new writers out there and will be a household name of that I have no doubt.

Rating

Book & Buy Links

TitleFather Figure
Series: N/A
Author: James J. Cudney
Genre: Family Drama | Romance | Suspense | Mystery
Publisher: Creativia
Publication Date: 2 April 2018
Review Format: Paperback
Other FormatseBook
Pages: 415
Buy: Books2Read (Universal Link Redirects to Preferred Retailer)

Most Popular Reviews 2017: Watching Glass Shatter by James J. Cudney @jamescudney4 @CreativiaPub

This week, I am sharing the five most popular reviews this year by visits to the blog. Thank you to all of you for visiting and supporting me, and the blog, but most importantly your support for all of the authors I’ve featured.

I was over the moon when I was going through the stats to find which reviews nailed the numbers for these posts and saw Watching Glass Shatter by James J. Cudney was number two. James is a good friend as well as being an outstanding author and to see that my review that I posted as part of his blog tour on 16 November was well-received really gave me a big smile. I also chose not to tell him about this post so… Surprise!

Description

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?

Review

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.

Rating

Book & Buy Links

Title: Watching Glass Shatter #1
Series: N/A
Author: James J. Cudney
Genre: Family Saga, Mystery, LGBTQ, Romance, Mental Health
Publisher: Creativia
Publication Date: 8 October 2017
Review Format: eBook
Other Formats: Paperback
Pages: 297
Buy: Amazon UK | Amazon US | Book Depository

#BlogTour: Watching Glass Shatter by James J. Cudney @jamescudney4 @CreativiaPub #Review

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.

Description

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?

Watching Glass Shatter - Tour Banner

Review

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.

Rating

Watching Glass Shatter - Tour Schedule

About James J. Cudney

James Cudney - Author ImageI 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.

Author
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
Series: N/A
Author: James J. Cudney
Genre: Family Saga, Mystery, LGBTQ, Romance, Mental Health
Publisher: Creativia
Publication Date: 8 October 2017
Review Format: eBook
Other Formats: Paperback
Pages: 297
Buy: Amazon UK | Amazon US | Book Depository

Review: Last Dance in Havana by Rosanna Ley

Quercus SummerI’m so pleased to be taking part in the Quercus Blogger Book Club this summer. Last Dance in Havana was my first book for the summer and if it is anything to go by it’s going to be a great summer of reading!

Description:
Cuba, 1958. Elisa is only sixteen years old when she meets Duardo and she knows he’s the love of her life from the moment they first dance the rumba together in downtown Havana. But Duardo is a rebel, determined to fight in Castro’s army, and Elisa is forced to leave behind her homeland and rebuild her life in distant England. But how can she stop longing for the warmth of Havana, when the music of the rumba still calls to her?

Continue reading Review: Last Dance in Havana by Rosanna Ley