Father Figure Blog Tour Plus Review

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Book Cover.jpgFather Figure

Publication Date: April 2, 2018

Genre: Contemporary Fiction/ Drama

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.

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My Review:

This book will absolutely drag you in and will not let you go until you finish it. I started this book one morning and was finished with all 400+ pages by the next afternoon, even when taking breaks from reading to do other activities.

Both Brianna and Amalia have their own unique stories to tell. Brianna is trying to find out about her father, and decide whether or not she wants to date her best friend Shanelle. Amalia wants to start making her own life and her own decisions away from her abusive mother, and she is attracting the attention of her brother’s best college friend at the same time. She has to fight with herself between what she wants to do and what her mother wants her to do.

Out of the two storylines, I definitely liked Amalia’s better. I felt that she was more mature in a way, and I was definitely more sympathetic towards her. Brienna was very pushy towards her mom about her father even though it may not change anything and even though her mom was clearly uncomfortable with talking about it. She was quite wishy-washy throughout the book and really hurt those who were around her. I didn’t dislike either of their stories as nobody is perfect, but Brianna did rub me the wrong way with some of the things that she did.

I did enjoy seeing Brianna mature throughout the novel. It would not have gone the same way if she hadn’t been so immature in the beginning. Overall, it was a nice change of character that I could appreciate.

The worldbuilding of this novel was creative. Even though this novel was based on real life, it took place in 1984 and 2004. This meant that to a current reader, both time periods would have to be described in order to get the full picture of the storyline. The plot moved quite smoothly, and once I got started I could not stop. I thought that every twist was addictive. Every time Brianna got close to finding something out, it switched back to Amalia’s storyline where we find out something new about her. I thought that this method of storytelling was very good, and it kept me engaged throughout the entire book. I didn’t find any editing errors in the copy of the book that I read on Amazon. Everything was simply perfect for me.

I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a new mystery drama novel that takes place over two storylines.

Overall Rating: 6/5

 

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Excerpt (Brianna’s Complicated Feelings)

Brianna and Shanelle have been best friends for years, but something more is brewing and Brianna doesn’t know how to handle it. She’s debating whether to sleep with her boyfriend after prom, but finds herself drawn back to a gift.

– James J. Cudney

“What are we gonna do about Doug?” Shanelle grabbed Brianna’s wrist, led her to the bathroom, and situated her on the toilet seat. She opened one of the boxes from the heaviest bag and considered what to do with a few curlers. “He’s gonna push you to sleep with him. Maybe I should show up to protect you. I could taser him if he does anything wrong.” Shanelle rifled through her cosmetics bag pulling out three types of eyeliner. “Choose.”

“Does it matter?”

“If I taser him? Probably not, though that asshole may get turned on. Hell, I might enjoy watching him piss himself from the electric shock.” She freakishly shook her body and feigned surprise after pretending to become incontinent.

“Not Doug, the eyeliner.” Brianna held up the makeup clueless about which color to select. She’d worn very little of her own following in her mother’s footsteps. Less is more is a motto often chanted around their apartment.

“Oh, my lovely little Bree. We’ll make a woman out of you someday.” Shanelle chose the thickest one and applied a generous line around Brianna’s eyes. “I’m jealous of these high cheekbones. They so perfectly shape your face.”

“Umm, thanks.” Brianna, often incapable of accepting praise, glanced at the mirror, then updated Shanelle about the information she discovered on Lenny’s mail in the jazz club. “Maybe I’ve got a new lead, huh?”

“It’s possible. That would be a big help.” Shanelle shrugged her shoulders, then excitedly changed the subject. “Ooh, grab the bag on the floor.”

Brianna tried to reach for it but couldn’t without bending forward. Shanelle’s hand slipped and traced a line of dark black liquid across her cheeks. “Bree, you’re such an awkward mess.”

“Just finish, will you?” Brianna grabbed the bag and shook a small blue box with a white bow. “You bought me something from Tiffany’s?”

“Yeah, even though you don’t deserve it.” Shanelle capped the eyeliner and opened a tray of varying shades of blue eyeshadow. “You need a darker, smokier color to highlight your eyes.”

“You shouldn’t have bought me anything after the way I behaved last night.” Brianna pulled the bow off the box and removed the lid. A pair of diamond teardrop earrings caused her to swoon. “They’re beautiful. You really are amazing.”

Available on Amazon and from Creativia

About the Author

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James is my given name; most call me Jay. I grew up on Long Island and currently live in New York City, but I’ve traveled all across the US (and various parts of the world). After college, I spent 15 years working in technology and business operations in the sports, entertainment and media industries. Although I enjoyed my job, I left in 2016 to focus on my passion: telling stories and connecting people through words. My debut novel is ‘Watching Glass Shatter,’ a contemporary fiction family drama with elements of mystery, suspense, humor and romance. To see samples or receive news from my current and upcoming books, please subscribe with your email address at my website: https://jamesjcudney.com

What do I do outside of writing: I’m an avid genealogist (discovered 2K family members going back about 250 years) and cook (I find it so hard to follow a recipe). I love to read; between Goodreads and my blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, I have over 500 book reviews which will give you a full flavor for my voice and style. On my blog, I started the 365 Daily Challenge, where I post a word each day that has some meaning to me, then 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 show how I live every day.

A bit of humor: Everything doubles as something else when you live in NYC. For me, it’s the dining room, my favorite space in the apartment, where more than just my cooking is on display! As I look out the windows onto a 12th floor terrace, various parts of nature (trees, bushes, flowers, bugs & animals) inspire me to write. Ryder, my 10-year old shiba inu, usually lays on my feet, growling when I shift positions too many times or when I forget to share my food! Although he’s only 20 pounds, he’s quite strong and pushy. But how else can you pen the best story possible without these things by your side?

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R&R Book Tours

Life with My Idiot Family: A True Story of Survival, Courage and Justice over Childhood Sexual Abuse Review

Life with My Idiot Family: A True Story of Survival, Courage and Justice over Childhood Sexual Abuse by [Picard, Kathy and Gary]

 

This novel is an inspirational story about a woman who had to fight her family, and eventually the government to receive the justice she deserved. She went from being a scared girl, who didn’t even understand that she was being abused by her father, to being a strong woman who wanted to fight for the rights of herself and other survivors. The pacing is perfect, and the novel takes you on a journey throughout her life, from abuse to advocacy.  I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a story about the life of a strong and inspirational woman.

Read my review on the Online Book Club here: http://forums.onlinebookclub.org/viewtopic.php?f=24&t=61974

Overall Rating: 6/5

 

On the Edge of Gone Review

On the Edge of Gone

The meteor hits on January 29, 2035. That day, Denise, Iris, and her mother are supposed to go to their shelter. Instead, they cannot contact Iris, and on the way to their shelter, they come across Denise’s teacher who needs help. While transporting them to their shelter, the meteor is about to hit and Denise and her mother have to join them in their shelter. However, they are not in a normal shelter but instead are on a ship that plans to escape Earth to the twin planets in a few days. Denise and her mother can only stay for two days and they must leave, but Denise doesn’t think that she and her mother will make it outside of the ship.

I found this @CrankyAutistic’s list of books with autistic main characters written by autistic authors. I had seen this book sitting in my city’s digital library, but I had never actually picked it up. Boy, am I glad that I did.

Denise was such a strong main character. Her sister was missing in action, and her mother, although somewhat lucid, is actually a drug addict. She is trying to fight for her keep on the ship, but she is also fighting her mother as she has drugs and could potentially get them kicked off the ship. It has been like this for awhile after her father left and her sister has been in and out of the house.

An important point was brought up in this book. Denise says that people did not diagnose her as autistic because they thought that she was just a “maladjusted Black girl”. This is a problem now, that kids of color do not get diagnosed because racist adults simply think that it is normal for children of a certain race to act that way, or think that they are just acting out. It is important for people to really recognize the signs, especially in boys, and not just chalk it up to a kid acting out.

I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a diverse dystopian novel with an autistic main character, that has a very interesting plotline that brings up important social issues.

Overall Rating: 5/5

Fight For My Way Series Review

K-Drama Reaction: Fight My Way | Episode 1 – AHJUMMAMSHIES

We are introduced to Ko Dong-man, Choi Ae-ra, Kim Joo-man, and Baek Seol-hee. Dongman has been best friends with Seol-hee and Aera since they were children, and he was friends with Kim Jooman while he was in high school. He used to be a taekwondo star when he was in high school, but after a tragic accident during one of his games, he vowed never to fight again. Now, he lives in an apartment complex with his high school friends, and he works as an exterminator. He wishes he could do better for himself, but since he never went to college, he doesn’t know what he could possibly do without returning to fighting.

Aera has wanted to be a TV announcer/reporter ever since she was a young child. Not going to school has caused her to not qualify for many of the positions she interviews for, but she is determined to be successful someday. For now, she is experiencing disappointment after disappointment as she maintains her job as a customer service representative/welcome person at a department store.

The two must overcome their obstacles in order to follow their dreams.

I absolutely adored this show when I watched in in either November or December, but I just never got the chance to write a proper review.

This K-drama is very realistic, which is why some people didn’t like it, but it is why I absolutely adored it. In real life, there are no perfect endings, there are no perfect relationships, and no one lands the job of their dreams without hard work. It is difficult for an adult without a college degree to land a job while competing with college students that have internships and recommendations, and this show really emphasizes this point.

I also like the point that this show really emphasizes the joy in the small victories. Aera, Dongman, Jooman, and Seol-hee have fun together just by sneaking up to the roof for some drinks, or having breakfast together in the mornings before they head off to work. It shows that in real life, you do not necessarily need money to be happy.

I also really enjoyed Seol-hee and Jooman’s storyline of the office place romance. I won’t spoil too much about it, but it definitely wasn’t a storyline that I was bored by.

I would recommend this story to anyone looking for a sweet and realistic romance show.

Overall Rating: 6/5

The Earl’s Defiant Wallflower

The Earl's Defiant Wallflower (The Dukes of War, #2)

Oliver returns from war to find that his father has died, and has left him penniless. He must find an heiress to marry that will provide him with the money he needs to build up his estate and pay his servants.

Grace is in England living with her grandparents in order to satisfy the terms of her dowry. However, her mother is living in America and needs medicine from the money Grace’s dowry will give her.

The two find themselves coming together, but with both of them needing the money that neither has, they should be working harder on staying apart.

This was probably one of my favorite historical romances that I have ever read this year. It had a very unique storyline, and I enjoyed hearing about Oliver’s life as a rich child or Grace’s life with her parents. Their romance was very sweet as well, and I found myself rooting for them to be together throughout the entire story.

I would recommend this story to anyone looking for an engaging and unique historical romance that will entertain you during these boring winter nights.

I received a complimentary copy of this book.

Overall Rating: 5/5

Wonder Review

WonderAuggie was born with a facial deformity, and the constant hospital visits have kept him from going to school. He likes learning at home with his mom, and no one stares at him there. However, he is about to enter 5th grade and finally start public school at the local Beecher Prep. Auggie wants to be treated normally because nothing is wrong with his brain. However, some people at his school can’t seem to get past his face. Auggie knows that he will simply have to find a way to show everyone that his face has nothing to do with his personality.

I love this story, yet I don’t focus that much on Auggie throughout it. My favorite character of this entire story is Via, Auggie’s sister. I feel that the siblings of those with either a mental or physical disability are the true heroes. In this case, Auggie simply had a facial deformity and no disability at all, but Via always defended him when other people stared as they were outside. Even though she was stressed about going to high school, she still had to put on a brave face when her brother was having a bad day. Being a big sister is stressful, being a big sister to a brother who has constantly been in and out of hospitals and who is in danger of being bullied daily is extremely stressful. Yet, she doesn’t hold any permanent grudges against him, and usually just tries her best to take care of her problems by herself.

Overall, this is a story that I feel that everyone should read. It speaks about acceptance and looking past the outward looks to the personality beneath. I read this sometime between 7th and 9th grade, and I do not regret reading it in the slightest. This book and Out of My Mind truly made me see the world and the people in it differently. These should definitely be required reading in schools!

Overall Rating: 5/5