Tag Archive | James J. Cudney

Braxton’s Fall Festival: Day 25 – Playlist

Day 25 (1)

First, I loved this book and I love this series! Definitely check it out if you haven’t!

Haunted House Ghost Playlist:

See below what the author, James “Jay,” and his character, Kellan, have to say about the list!

#1  “Monster Mash” – Bobby Pickett

Jay: I definitely remember dancing to this as a kid at a middle school Halloween event. It kind of makes me think about doing the Thriller dance too. I used to bust some good moves, but those days are in the dust. I have enough energy to workout and chase the dog around. Dancing just ain’t possible these days.
Kellan: Emma has this on repeat all the time! My seven-year-old daughter loves Halloween and jumping out of closets to scare me. Last time she put this on, even Baxter went hiding under her bed. I think the chorus in the background gives him the willies!

#2 “Miracle” – Chvrches

Jay: This is a totally new song to me, but I really like it. Thanks for introducing me. The background sounds are a bit chilling.
Kellan: Oh, this was a crusher. When Francesca showed up on my doorstep last spring, I’d just heard this song for the first time. I couldn’t believe she was still alive after so many years. That was the miracle, but what’s happened to us in the last six months is even more incredible. My heart sometimes still skips a beat when I think about our painful past. But it’s beginning to heal, thanks to what’s occurring between… well, maybe I shouldn’t talk about that quite yet.

#3 “Alligator” – Of Monsters and Men

Jay: I’ve heard this one before but only a few times. It’s got a solid beat, but the throwback to my childhood and teenage years is pretty cool. I used to have a pet alligator.
Kellan: This was playing when we wrapped up the first season of Dark Reality, my television show. My former boss loved the music and played their tracks a lot. I wonder if Emma will like the same kind of music in the future…

#4 “Cloudbusting” – Kate Bush

Jay: Good artist. I haven’t listened enough but will play a few more this month to see if I connect.
Kellan: My sister Eleanor is a big fan. She’d torture with me all this new stuff while I was still living in LA, even leaving messages on my voice mail so when I’d get out of a taping session, I had more things to listen to. Don’t siblings drive you nuts?

#5 “Still Breathing” – Green Day

Jay: For some reason, Green Day has never clicked for me. I like them, but I didn’t actively purchase their albums or download their latest songs. Maybe I should give it a chance again now.
Kellan: Exactly how I feel every single time I find another dead body. “At least it wasn’t me this time” is what goes through my head, but then I feel sad and shock for the loss.

#6 “It’s My Life” – Bon Jovi

Jay: Loved him in the 90s… but after college, I strayed away for some reason. Still a good song, and I can’t deny the power behind the lyrics.
Kellan: Yep… I played it at home all the time to teach my brother a lesson. He’d start fights and when he wouldn’t leave me alone, I blasted the music to tone him out.

#7 “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” – U2

Jay: Classic. Timeless. We all feel this way sometimes.
Kellan:  Classic. Timeless. We all feel this way sometimes. Is there any other response?

#8 “Kisses” – Pales Waves

Jay: You’ve challenged me – I hadn’t even heard of this one, so I just listened to it.The video is awesome, love the warehouse setting.
Kellan: Something about her hair does it for me every time. Maggie used to have hair like she did. I call it the zombie phase, but she was adorable. Her style is much simpler now.

#9 “I Want To Break Free” – Queen

Jay: Oh! I recently watched the Bohemian Rhapsody movie. I truly should’ve been born a generation earlier because I would have had the best time with their music. I still can’t believe it all ended, but the music lives on. Always.
Kellan: Brings back my days in the clubs when I first moved to LA. College kids do the strangest things when they have a few drinks. I was getting my Master’s but still found a little time to break free.

#10 “Werewolves Of London” – Warren Zevon

Jay: Perfect for the Fall Festival. I totally should’ve included a werewolf in the story, but I’d probably have to stretch the books into the fantasy genre, huh? Next time!
Kellan: Great intro with just the music and no words. Even the howling is cool. Now I have a craving for Chinese food too. Thanks!

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It’s Halloween, and excitement is brewing in Braxton to carve jack-o’-lanterns, go on haunted hayrides, and race through the spooky corn maze at the Fall Festival.

Despite the former occupant’s warnings, Kellan renovates and moves into a mysterious old house. When a ruthless ghost promises retribution, our fearless professor turns to the eccentric town historian and an eerie psychic to communicate with the apparition. Meanwhile, construction workers discover a fifty-year-old skeleton after breaking ground on the new Memorial Library wing.

While Kellan and April dance around the chemistry sparking between them, a suspicious accident occurs at the Fall Festival. Soon, Kellan discovers the true history and dastardly connections of the Grey family. But can he capture the elusive killer – and placate the revenge-seeking ghost.

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Connect with James J. Cudney

Now, head to James J. Cudney’s Fall Festival page for games and fun: HERE

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Did you head over to the Fall Festival page?

Review: Haunted House Ghost

Title: Haunted House Ghost

Author: James J. Cudney

Date of Publication: October 1st, 2019

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Goodreads Summary:

It’s Halloween, and excitement is brewing in Braxton to carve jack-o’-lanterns, go on haunted hayrides, and race through the spooky corn maze at the Fall Festival.

Despite the former occupant’s warnings, Kellan renovates and moves into a mysterious old house. When a ruthless ghost promises retribution, our fearless professor turns to the eccentric town historian and an eerie psychic to communicate with the apparition. Meanwhile, construction workers discover a fifty-year-old skeleton after breaking ground on the new Memorial Library wing.

While Kellan and April dance around the chemistry sparking between them, a suspicious accident occurs at the Fall Festival. Soon, Kellan discovers the true history and dastardly connections of the Grey family. But can he capture the elusive killer – and placate the revenge-seeking ghost.

My Review:

This series is so much fun! And when I saw this title and this cover, I just knew it was going to be my favorite. I’m a huge Halloween fan and would seriously just like this holiday year round! Anyway, now that I’m going off course, let me get to my boy Kellan!

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Kellan’s life is full of so much drama and I love it! There’s a ton of mystery to these stories, but what I like just as much is the family dynamic with the side characters. Kellan’s such an awesome dad, and I’ve always wanted that bond he has with Nana D. Seriously, I want my own Nana D! Also, there is some awesome chemistry between April and Kellan in this one! They need to catch a break!

There was talk about Halloween costumes, food, and an entertaining mystery that needed to be solved! Can I also mention that this book had me at skeleton being found in the library! I literally finished this one in less than 24 hours because I wanted to know what was going on! Andddddddd of course there is a cliffhanger, so that leaves me yearning for the next book! Side note: can there just be a Netflix series on Kellan’s mysteries? That would be amazing!

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What is your favorite thing about Halloween?

Review: Mistaken Identity Crisis

Title: Mistaken Identity Crisis

Author: James J. Cudney

Date of Publication: June 30th, 2019

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Goodreads Summary:

A clever thief with a sinister calling card has invaded Braxton campus. A string of jewelry thefts continues to puzzle the sheriff given they’re remarkably similar to an unsolved eight-year-old case from shortly before Gabriel vanished one stormy night. When a missing ruby is discovered near an electrified dead body during the campus cable car redesign project, Kellan must investigate the real killer in order to protect his brother. Amidst sorority hazing practices and the victim’s connections to several prominent Wharton County citizens, a malicious motive becomes more obvious and trickier to prove.

As if the latest murder isn’t enough to keep him busy, Kellan partners with April to end the Castigliano and Vargas crime family feud. What really happened to Francesca while all those postcards showed up in Braxton? The mafia world is more calculating than Kellan realized, and if he wants to move forward, he’ll have to make a few ruthless sacrifices.

Election Day is over, and the new mayor takes office. Nana D celebrates her 75th birthday with an adventure. A double wedding occurs at Crilly Lake on Independence Day. And Kellan receives a few more surprises as the summer heat begins to settle in Wharton County.

My Review:

This series is pretty dang addicting! And let me tell you from the beginning, my queen—Nana D—is back again. I said this last time, but she needs her own book! Seriously! And she’s mayor!

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Kellan’s world spirals once again, and I loved being inside his head. What I really want for him one day is a nice vacation, because this boy deserves it! Throughout this series, he’s had amazing character growth and you feel for him because he always has decisions he needs to make!

The writing was on point, the descriptions were wonderful, and the thing is, the characters feel real here with dialogue that is spoken how people in real life would! The book is fast paced with plenty of mystery, and I already need the next one! Oh, and this is definitely my favorite cover in the series so far!

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What’s your favorite mystery?

 

Review: Flower Power Trip

Title: Flower Power Trip

Author: James J. Cudney

Date of Publication: March 30th, 2019

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Goodreads Summary:

Braxton College is throwing the Heroes & Villains Costume Extravaganza to raise money for renovations to the antiquated Memorial Library. While attending, Kellan stumbles upon a close family friend standing over a dead body that’s dressed as Dr. Evil. Did one of Maggie’s sisters kill an annoying guest at the Roarke and Daughters Inn or does the victim have a more intimate connection to someone else on campus?

As Kellan helps the school’s president, Ursula, bury a scandalous secret from her past and unearth the identity of her stalker, he unexpectedly encounters a missing member of his own family who’s reappeared after a lengthy absence. When all of the peculiar events around town trace back to the Stoddards, a new family who recently moved to Wharton County, the explosive discovery only offers more confusion.

Between the special flower exhibit that’s made an unplanned stop on campus and strange postcards arriving each week from all around the world, Kellan can’t decide which mystery in his life should take priority. Unfortunately, the biggest one of all has yet to arrive at his doorstep. When it does, Kellan won’t know what hit him.

My Review:

This is such a fun series!! I was so excited to be back in Kellan’s head. The thing about Kellan is he feels like a real person with incredibly real choices! And Nana D! Her craziness and witty dialogue is back! I love her and would like a whole book on just her! Even a prequel to when she was younger!

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Kellan has another mystery to checkout and this one is pretty cool! Also there was a neat costume party that I would want to attend … like right now! The side characters are all great with distinctive personalities that don’t feel cookie cutter!

The writing and descriptions were so good! I’m impressed how with each book the plots get better, the story stronger than an already strong story, and a book that is a page turner that I’m unable to put down! It has to be my favorite in the series so far and I can’t wait to see what Kellan’s up to next! Because dun, dun, dun … cliffhanger!!!

 

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Have you started this series yet?

Review: Broken Heart Attack

Title: Broken Heart Attack

Author: James J. Cudney

Date of Publication: November 25th, 2018

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Goodreads Summary:

When an extra ticket becomes available to attend the dress rehearsal of Braxton’s King Lear production, Kellan tags along with Nana D and her buddies, sisters-in-law Eustacia and Gwendolyn Paddington, to show support for the rest of the Paddington family. When one of them appears to have a heart attack in the middle of the second act, Nana D raises her suspicions and asks Kellan to investigate who killed her friend. Amidst family members suddenly in debt and a secret rendezvous between an unlikely pair, Kellan learns the Paddingtons might not be as clean-cut as everyone thinks. But did one of them commit murder for an inheritance?

Kellan’s back in his second adventure since returning home to Pennsylvania. With his personal life in upheaval and his new boss, Myriam, making life difficult, will he be able to find a killer or will he get caught up in his own version of stage fright?

My Review:

This is the second book in the Braxton Campus Mysteries series and another home run! I love, love, love being in Kellan’s head and seeing what shenanigans are going to go down next.

All I’ve gotta say is Nana D is my favorite character, hands down! She’s freaking awesome, and I wish I had a funny grandmother like her! Kind of reminds me a bit of Thelma from Mama’s Family, but awesomer and more hilarious! And that’s hard to top!!

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As with book one, Kellan faces drama and mystery! I was flying through the pages wanting to know what was going to happen with Kellan’s family life and with the investigation. There was great characterization, addictive writing, and a wonderfully developed mystery! By the time I got to the last page, I was like nooooooooo! I have to know what happens next! Can’t wait for book three!!

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Review: Academic Curveball

Title: Academic Curveball

Author: James J. Cudney

Date of Publication: October 15th, 2018

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Goodreads Summary:

When Kellan Ayrwick, a thirty-two-year-old single father, is forced to return home for his father’s retirement from Braxton College, he finds the dead body of a professor in Diamond Hall’s stairwell. Unfortunately, Kellan has a connection to the victim, and so do several members of his family. Could one of them be guilty of murder? Then he finds a second body after discovering mysterious donations to the college’s athletic program, a nasty blog denouncing his father, and a criminal attempting to change student grades so the star baseball pitcher isn’t expelled.

Someone is playing games on campus, but none of the facts add up. With the help of his eccentric and trouble-making nana weeding through the clues, Kellan tries to stay out of the sheriff’s way. Fate has other plans. Kellan is close to discovering the killer’s identity just as someone he loves is put in grave danger of becoming victim number three. And if that’s not enough to wreak havoc on his family, everything comes crashing to a halt when his own past comes spiraling back to change his life forever.

In this debut novel in the Braxton Campus Mystery Series, readers discover a cozy, secluded Pennsylvania village full of quirky, sarcastic, and nosy residents. Among the daily workings of Braxton College and the charming Ayrwick family, Kellan weighs his investigative talents against an opportunity to achieve a much sought-after dream. When this first book ends, the drama is set for the next adventure in Kellan’s future… and it’s one you won’t want to miss.

My Review:

This is the third book I’ve read by Cudney and what I love is how each novel is so different yet each one is equally awesome! Cudney is quickly becoming one of my favorite Adult book writers!

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Academic Curveball kept me on my toes while I tried to figure out the mystery. I also loved Kellan and reading from his POV! He felt real and completely relatable, which is one of my favorite kind of characters. Seriously this author can write some dang good characters!

The setting was seriously cool, and it makes me want to head out to Pennsylvania right now! What you’ll get is plenty of mystery, fantastic writing, and witty dialogue. And that ending seriously has me yearning for book 2!! Highly recommend!

 

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What’s your favorite mystery?

Review: Watching Glass Shatter

Title: Watching Glass Shatter

Author: James J. Cudney

Date of Publication: October 8th, 2017

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Goodreads Summary:

The wealthy Glass family 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. Olivia 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 must figure out which boy Ben refers to in the confession he left her in his will. While the family attorney searches 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. 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 her family is reunited after Ben’s untimely death.

We all need family. We all want to fit in. We’re all a mix of quirky personalities. Will Olivia be able to fix them or will the whole family implode? What will she do when she discovers the son behind Ben’s secret? Check out this ensemble cast where each family member’s perspective is center stage, discovering along the way who might feel the biggest impact from all the secrets. Through various scenes and memories across a six-month period, you’ll get to know everyone, learning how and why they made certain decisions. Welcome to being an honorary member of the Glass family where the flair for over-the-top drama pushes everyone to their limits.

My Review:

Not long ago, I read Father Figure but Cudney, and after, I just knew I had to read Watching Glass Shatter! They are both very different books, but equally as good! Also this one had some interesting secrets!

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What I liked best about this book is it is very character driven. I’m sure I’ve said this numerous times but those are my favorite kind of books. There were a lot of POV’s, and I’ve read books where the personalities feel too much the same or that they are there for no reason. But like Six of Crows (completely different genre), they perfectly fit in the puzzle of this novel.

There were five Glass boys, and each one I enjoyed reading. I’d have to say Caleb and Jacob’s story line was probably my favorite. Also, Caleb talked about the movie 54 and Ryan Phillippe and how he was his crush in his younger years—that reminded me of my Junior High years! Teddy had a great story line, too—a very close second!

I felt for the mom, Olivia, especially. As a mother, sometimes I think I’m doing things not enough or that I could have done things better. But no mother is a hundred percent perfect, we try our best because, and each day is a learning curve. And I loved her character!

There was a choice between Zach Glass and another character that most people would want to whip out the witch hunt torches for, but sometimes, things happen. As long as it isn’t a repetitive circle I believe people should be forgiven.

Overall, this was such a dang addicting read that I finished it way quicker than expected. I will say there is a particular chapter that made me tear up! Cudney just knows how to brings out all kinds of different emotions with his books. I need his next book already!

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How does this book sound to you?