Tag Archive | James J. Cudney

Review: Hiding Cracked Glass

An ominous blackmail letter appears at an inopportune moment. The recipient’s name is accidentally blurred out upon arrival. Which member of the Glass family is the ruthless missive meant for?

In the powerful sequel to Watching Glass Shatter, Olivia is the first to read the nasty threat and assumes it’s meant for her. When the mysterious letter falls into the wrong hands and is read aloud, it throws the entire Glass family into an inescapable trajectory of self-question. Across the span of eight hours, Olivia and her sons contemplate whether to confess their hidden secrets or find a way to bury them forever. Some failed to learn an important lesson last time. Will they determine how to save themselves before it’s too late?

Each chapter’s focus alternates between the various family members and introduces several new and familiar faces with a vested interest in the outcome. As each hour ticks by, the remaining siblings and their mother gradually reveal what’s happened to them in the preceding months, and when the blackmailer makes an appearance at Olivia’s birthday party, the truth brilliantly comes to light.

Although everyone seemed to embrace the healing process at the end of Watching Glass Shatter, there were hidden cracks in the Glass family that couldn’t be mended. Their lives are about to shatter into pieces once again, but this time, the stakes are even higher. Someone wants to teach them a permanent lesson and refuses to stop until success is achieved.

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My Review:

When I heard there was going to be a sequel to Watching Glass Shatter, I was super excited and ready to see what Cudney would bring to the table next! And! He did not disappoint!

As always, the writing was astounding, and it was a page-turner from beginning to end. It was good to be in the Glass members’ heads again! I love that it is multiple POV, like the last book, so we can truly see what’s going on! I’d say it’s very character driven which is right up my alley, but there is also the perfect mystery and atmosphere as well!

I’m a big fan of secret letters too so when that came in to play, I was ready to find out what exactly was going on! And yes, there are twists, but that is expected from Cudney who seems to be a master at those! Overall, this was an excellent sequel and if you enjoyed Watching Glass Shatter, you will definitely be pleased!

About The Author

Background

James is my given name, but most folks call me Jay. I live in New York City, grew up on Long Island, and graduated from Moravian College, an historic but small liberal arts school in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, with a degree in English literature and minors in Education, Business and Spanish. After college, I accepted a technical writing position for a telecommunications company during Y2K and spent the last ~20 years building a career in technology & business operations 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 in technology and business that writing became a hobby. In 2016, I refocused some of my energies toward reinvigorating a second career in 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 focus is family drama fiction, cozy mystery novels and suspense thrillers. I think of characters and plots that I feel must be unwound. I think of situations people find themselves in and feel compelled to tell the story. It’s usually a convoluted plot with many surprise twists and turns. I feel it necessary to take that ride all over the course. My character is easily pictured in my head. I know what he is going to encounter or what she will feel. But I need to use the right words to make it clear.

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 reviews, write a blog and publish tons of content: TRUTH. 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 dogs have had weekly segments called “Ryder’s Rants” or “Baxter’s Barks” where they complain 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 love history and research, finding myself often reaching back into the past to understand why someone made the choice he or she did and what were the subsequent consequences. I enjoy studying the activities and culture from hundreds of years ago to trace the roots and find the puzzle of my own history. I wish I could watch my ancestors from a secret place to learn how they interacted with others; and maybe I’ll comprehend why I do things the way I do.

Websites & Blog

Website

Blog

Amazon

Next Chapter Pub

BookBub

 

Social Media

Twitter

Facebook

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Pinterest

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What is a sequel you loved just as much as the first book?

Avocado Bliss .99 sale + more!

Hey guys! Guess what! Avocado Bliss is on sale for .99 for a limited time! I hope you guys check out this fun and emotional story full of pitfalls and bliss!

Amazon * Barnes & Noble * iBooks * Kobo

Avocado Bliss Cover

Dacre Vinson has spent the majority of his life in quite the predicament—even the surf and his books can’t erase his Type 1 diabetes. But when Dacre’s family moves to a new Mexican town, an eccentric girl obsessed with trees offers him a job on the spot, leading to what could be the perfect distraction from his problems.

Salbatora Tames has one true love, her avocado farm. Her family constantly nudges her to be more social, but Sal much prefers the dirt, the sun, and the solitude. Besides, trees listen better than people do.

For Sal and Dacre, their job won’t stay easy breezy for long, not when an avocado delivery to Palenque, Mexico pops up on their radar. Together, they embark on a road trip across the jungle, where they form a tighter bond. However, as obstacles arise, their new-found troubles may lead to more woes than bliss.

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My good author friend, James J. Cudney, is also having some amazing .99 sales on these awesome books!

Father Figure * Flower Power Trip * Mistaken Identity Crisis

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Did you grab your copy of Avocado Bliss?

Review: Frozen Stiff Drink

Title: Frozen Stiff Drink

Author: James J. Cudney

Date of Publication: March 18th, 2020

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Goodreads Summary:

A winter blizzard barrels toward Wharton County with a vengeance. Madam Zenya predicted the raging storm would change the course of Kellan’s life, but the famed seer never could’ve prepared him for all the collateral damage. Nana D disappears after visiting a patient at Willow Trees, leaving behind a trail of confusion. When the patient turns up dead, and second body is discovered beneath the snowbanks, Kellan must face his worst fears. What tragedy has befallen his beloved grandmother?

Kellan’s brother Hampton learns essential life lessons the hard way after his father-in-law accuses him of embezzlement. While trying to prove his innocence, Hampton digs himself a deeper hole that might lead to prison. Sheriff Montague wants to save him, but she receives the shock of her life as the past hurtles forward and complicates her future.

Between locating Nana D and solving the scandalous murder of another prominent Braxton citizen, Kellan and April’s worlds explode with more turmoil than they can handle. Too bad neither one of them knows what to do about the psychic’s latest premonition. The suspicious deaths happening around town aren’t ending anytime soon.

My Review:

This series has been so much fun! Each book gets better and more entertaining! I love Cudney’s writing and the way he can put the unexpected into his stories!

I’ve loved seeing the character growth in all the characters in each book! Kellan is such a likable character and being in his head is the best! And nothing can come easy for my boy! I also seriously love the sweet moments between Kellan and April, even though they have a lot of chaotic things going on!

There was a certain scene of bickering between Nana D and Kellan that had me laughing out loud too! I’m serious when I say this needs to be a Netflix series already! Cudney also knows how to write cliffhangers dang good, leaving me yearning for the next book!

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What’s your favorite mystery book or movie?

Cover Reveal: Frozen Stiff Drink

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BOOK BLURB

A winter blizzard barrels toward Wharton County with a vengeance. Madam Zenya predicted the raging storm would change the course of Kellan’s life, but the famed seer never could’ve prepared him for all the collateral damage. Nana D disappears after visiting a patient at Willow Trees, leaving behind a trail of confusion. When the patient turns up dead, and second body is discovered beneath the snowbanks, Kellan must face his worst fears. What tragedy has befallen his beloved grandmother?

Kellan’s brother Hampton learns essential life lessons the hard way after his father-in-law accuses him of embezzlement. While trying to prove his innocence, Hampton digs himself a deeper hole that might lead to prison. Sheriff Montague wants to save him, but she receives the shock of her life as the past hurtles forward and complicates her future.

Between locating Nana D and solving the scandalous murder of another prominent Braxton citizen, Kellan and April’s worlds explode with more turmoil than they can handle. Too bad neither one of them knows what to do about the psychic’s latest premonition. The suspicious deaths happening around town aren’t ending anytime soon.

BOOK LINKS

Amazon Link Coming soon

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/49989079-frozen-stiff-drink

About the Author

AUTHOR PIC JAY

James is my given name, but most folks call me Jay. I live in New York City, grew up on Long Island, and graduated from Moravian College. I spent fifteen years building a technology career in the retail, sports, media, and entertainment industries. I enjoyed my job, but a passion for books and stories had been missing for far too long. I’m a voracious reader in my favorite genres (thriller, suspense, contemporary, mystery, and historical fiction), as books transport me to a different world where I can immerse myself in so many fantastic cultures and places. I’m an avid genealogist who hopes to visit all the German, Scottish, Irish, and British villages my ancestors emigrated from in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Writing has been a part of my life as much as my heart, my mind, and my body. I decided to pursue my passion by dusting off the creativity inside my head and drafting outlines for several novels. I quickly realized I was back in my element growing happier and more excited with life each day. My goal in writing is to connect with readers who want to be part of great storiesand who enjoy interacting with authors. To get a strong picture of who I am, check out my author website or my blog. It’s full of humor and eccentricity, sharing connections with everyone I follow—all in the hope of building a network of friends across the world.

When I completed the first book, Watching Glass Shatter, I knew I’d stumbled upon my passion again, suddenly dreaming up characters, plots, and settings all day long. I chose my second novel, Father Figure, through a poll on my blog where I let everyone vote for their favorite plot and character summaries. It is with my third book, Academic Curveball, the first in the Braxton Campus Mysteries, where I immersed myself in a college campus full of so much activity, I could hardly stop thinking about new murder scenes or character relationships to finish writing the current story. Come join in the fun!

List of Books

Watching Glass Shatter (October 2017)

Father Figure (April 2018)

Braxton Campus Mysteries

Academic Curveball – #1 (October 2018)

Broken Heart Attack – #2 (November 2018)

Flower Power Trip – #3 (March 2019)

Mistaken Identity Crisis – #4 (June 2019)

Haunted House Ghost – #5 (October 2019)

Websites & Blog

Website: https://jamesjcudney.com/

Blog: https://thisismytruthnow.com

Social Media Links

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/James-J.-Cudney/e/B076B6PB3M/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jamescudney4

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JamesJCudneyIVAuthor/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BraxtonCampusMysteries/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/jamescudney4/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jamescudney4/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/jamescudney4

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jamescudney4

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What’s your favorite mystery?

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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Purchase on Amazon!

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?