The Better Liar, by Tanen Jones: Book Review📚

book cover

4.5/5

Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Mystery & Thrillers

Description

Leslie Flores is a woman like many others living in a nice suburban neighborhood, with her husband and one year-old little boy. She has spent the past year working, taking care of her family and caring for her dying father. Her sister, Robin, has long since exited the family. But, upon her father’s passing, she learns that her inheritance is dependent on finding and reuniting with her lost sister. Leslie has to find Robin to get the money she desperately needs to secure her future, but when she tracks down Robin, it’s too late. Robin is dead from a heroin overdose. No one has seen Robin for 10 years, so when Leslie has a random encounter with a young woman, with a strong resemblance to her lost sister, she strikes a bargain with this stranger. Pretend to be Robin for a week and receive half the money, it’s that easy.

It doesn’t take long for both women to realize that that other is not what they seem. Each has secrets that will alter the future, and the past.

 

The Better Liar is the debut novel from Tanen Jones, and I was shocked when I realized this fact. Jones is masterful in her ability to draw the reader into the character’s stories.  I actually felt like I was in the room with these women, could smell the smoke from the cigarettes, and could not put the book down. Jones writes as if this was her fiftieth novel, not her first! I was genuinely surprised by the ending, and I love it when an author can do that😊

I highly recommend The Better Liar, by Tanen Jones

Flower Power Trip: Book Review📚

flower power

by

James J. Cudney

5/5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Kellan Ayrwick and his quirky family are all back for this third installment in the Braxton Campus Mystery Series.  Kellan, now professor Ayrwick, is assisting the Braxton College President, Ursula Power, who is receiving threatening messages. Ursula is worried that her dark family secret will be revealed, when a visiting professor is found stabbed to death during a college fundraising event. Kellan stumbles across the murder scene just as a family friend is discovered standing over the dead body. Unwilling to believe that this friend is a murderer, he now takes on the challenge of solving the crime, all the while continuing to assist Ursula to uncover her tormentor. Are the two incidents linked somehow?

Balancing his penchant for stumbling into crime scenes, along with teaching duties and single parenting his young daughter, is all the more difficult with his continuing battle with his former in-laws, the Castiglianos. How will he resolve his own marital problems, while helping his cantankerous Nana D win the mayoral election and keep her, and her friends out of trouble!

murder series

I am really enjoying this cozy mystery series as each story is entertaining, light-hearted (if you can label murder light 😉) and full of humorous personalities. I truly don’t know where the next twist will come from or how the resolution will play out. As any good series, each book could be read as a stand alone, but I strongly recommend starting from the beginning, as the characters become more vibrant, endearing and relatable as they navigate new challenges. I will be pre ordering Jay’s next book in this series, Mistaken Identity Crisis, ASAP!

On a personal note….I feel blessed to call Jay a friend. He is an outstanding person who I have enjoyed getting to know, and had the great chance to meet in person. Because I stalk him with regularity, it was fun to see a number of “easter eggs” in this last novel. For those who read his blog regularly you will also catch a few of these gems woven throughout the narrative. So fun, thanks for the treasure hunt my friend💕

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About the Author 

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

Purchase Jay’s  current series here!

Academic Curveball

Broken Heart Attack

Flower Power

Author Links

Blog:https://thisismytruthnow.com

Author Website:https://jamesjcudney.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/

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

 

The Killed Conscious, Book Review 📚

Today we celebrate the latest release from author Jordan Antonacci!   The Killed Conscience

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Investigative journalist Emilee Weathers is hungry for the perfect story and not too particular about how she has to get it. Asked to help find new evidence for a convicted serial killer’s appeal, she heads for the mountain town of Pigeon Forg

 When she discovers the body of a recent victim, the questions come thick and fast. Has she happened upon the work of a copycat? Is the real killer still out there? And is there anybody in this neck of the woods she can trust?

 

 

My Review

The Killed Conscious 

Jordan Antonacci 

4.5/5 stars

Emilee Weathers is fresh out of college, with her newly printed degree in Journalism and in a relationship that has lasted too long past its prime, when she gets a call that will change everything.

Detective Nichols from Knoxville PD has reached out to Emilee because of her investigative skill set, and her ties to her home town of Tennessee. A dangerous convicted serial killer has been granted an appeal and may be released unless Emilee can uncover new and compelling evidence against the notorious Valentine Day Killer, better known as VDK, Patrick Liftmen. 

This is the dream shot Emilee has been waiting for, a chance to prove to herself, and her father, that journalism was the right choice. A chance to build her career and an opportunity to be reunited with her childhood friend, Sebastian. As she dives into the details of the case, she realizes that everything is not what it seems. Emilee begins to doubt that the real killer is in custody, and as new victims are unearthed, begins to question her role in the investigation. 

Can Emilee find the proof needed to stop a monster from reentering society? Can she find the strength to end her abusive relationship? And, can she sort through her unresolved feelings for her childhood crush? 

A Killed Conscious is the second novel by Jordan Antonacci. I confess that I have not read his first book and did not know what to expect of his writing style. What a pleasant surprise! Antonacci balances these storylines beautifully. He easily created suspense and thoughtful characters which propelled the storyline forward. I found myself wondering where the narrative was headed and which, if any, of these characters were truly trustworthy. This was a fast read, which for me is a signal of a great story. I constantly wanted to know what happened next, and there were twists and surprises right up to the last sentence. 

The ending is abrupt, so much so that I contacted Jordan to check that I had the entire manuscript! After he assured me that this was, indeed, the end of the novel, I understood and appreciated the tactic.  I will be reading the sequel! I look forward to learning more about Emilee, and enjoying Antonacci’s writing, as he continues to develop as an author.

 

Purchase your copy today!

You can pick up your copy and read more reviews through the links below!

Connect with the author, Jordan Antonacci

Jordan’s blog is Mrhushhush on WordPress.

 

Father Figure: A Book Review📚

Father Figure

Book Cover

James J. Cudney

Author Pic 2

4.8/5

Amalia is 18 and ready to leave her isolated life in rural Mississippi. She is desperate to escape her oppressive and abusive mother, and begin her life while attending college. She is excited, and scared, to have her first romantic relationship. Unprepared and inexperienced she forges her way into the life she hopes is waiting for her.

Brianna is also preparing to leave for college and is looking forward to discovering more about herself and life beyond New York City. Unlike Amalia who had a brother and father, Brianna has only her mother, Molly, who is painfully secretive about her own upbringing. Brianna is naturally curious about the father she never knew and Molly constantly dodges Brianna’s questions regarding her paternity. 

Both Amalia and Brianna are desperate to know more about their place in the world, if they will find love and how to navigate romantic relationships.  Their journeys are separated by two decades, yet are deeply intwined. Will Amaila be strong enough to escape her manipulative mother and find happiness? How will Brianna force her mother to reveal her secretive past and allow her to have a relationship with her father? 

The second novel from James J. Cudney has been a stellar success! You may recall that in my review of his debut novel, “Watching Glass Shatter”, I included the statement that I believed his writing would continue to elevate as he evolved in his craft. What I did not know, at that time, was how quickly that process would occur! Cudney’s literary transitions, balanced so eloquently through these parallel timelines, are both seamless and compelling. There is a delicate edge that an author must maintain to preserve the reader’s interest, and to move the story line at a credible pace. Cudney also ties up loose threads from early on in the narrative, that I did not recognize as significant at the time. I love these surprises! 

James J. Cudney has created a depth and connection to these characters that will hold you captive until the final page! 

Purchase your book today!

Father-Figure-Promo-Hardback-Ereader

Father Figure

 

Watching Glass Shatter

 

About the Author

Author Pic 3

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?

Connect with Jay

Author Links

Blog:https://thisismytruthnow.com

Author Website:https://jamesjcudney.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/

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

Agatha Christie Readathon: The Body in the Library

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Time for our third book for the month, a quick reminder…..

The awesome Jay Cudney is hosting an Agatha Christie Readathon! The plan is simple. We have a week to read one of Christie’s fabulous novels and we post a review at the end of the week.

My approach to this Readathon

I am new to Agatha Christie, and I am also embarrassed to admit that! She is such a well known author, yet I have waited 5 decades to read her classic mysteries. What make this admission even worse for me, is that this is my favorite literary genre! When Jay launched this readathon, I saw it as an opportunity to right a horrible wrong in my life (too bad Jay can’t fix all of those!😢 )

These stories have been discussed, reviewed, studied and examined by minds far greater than mine. You can find many a brilliant, detailed and thorough review in numerous places. So, rather than focus on the storyline, I would like to take some time to discuss my thoughts on each of the novels. I suppose this is my chance to have a book club discussion without the actual book club meeting. Dang, I will miss the wine and cookies 🍷 🍪 !

poirot

Now, onto the review!

 

Synopsis:

Agatha Christie’s

The Body in the Library

A Miss Marple Mystery

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

The Bantrys are a wealthy, upper class couple enjoying their social status, when they get the shock of their lives. The dead body of a young, blond woman is found on the hearthrug in their library. Who is she? Why is she in the Bantry’s library and who killed her? People begin to talk, naturally they believe Colonel Bantry must be involved, why else would a young woman be in his home?

The gossip mill is out of control and Mrs. Bantry looks to do some serious damage control. She calls for her friend and village busy body, Miss Marple. Jane Marple, the village spinster, is dialed into everyone’s business, and is a human lie detector. Her many years of observing her neighbors’ behavior has left her with the uncanny knack of seeing  connections that others miss. She delves into the lives of local dancers, film makers and bridge players in order to find the truth, to identify the girl, and learn the truth of her death. Of course the police have it all wrong and Miss Marple sets it right!

My Observations:

This was a tough one for me. I have no trouble believing that the elder woman is clever, astute and observant. Jane Marple could easily be a brilliant detective. And, I appreciate that Ms. Christie created such a literary character during an age when an older woman would never be cast in that light. However, I struggled with this novel. I was immediately turned off by the gossipy nature of the story. Probably because it mirrors real life, even present tense, too closely. The majority of Miss Marple’s intel was pure hearsay, and she seemed to pick and choose at random, which “facts” were to be believed and which were summarily discarded. She really had a small role in the story, as the police and inspectors were the ones conducting the actual investigation. Miss Marple would just pop in every so often to make a comparison to someone she used to know in the village. From that one example of human behavior, she would negate all the facts. To draw such powerful and apparently, always correct inferences was a bit of a stretch for me. These inconsistencies made the ending difficult for me, as I felt it was borne from a fragmented line of reasoning.

I found it entertaining, and I do love reading the language of the time. I have already read a third of the next novel “The Murder at the Vicarage” and am hopeful that I might find it a more believable story. It may just be that this series is too much of a suspension of belief for me.  😊💕

 

Agatha Christie Readathon: Peril at End House

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Time for our second book for the month, a quick reminder…..

The awesome Jay Cudney is hosting an Agatha Christie Readathon! The plan is simple. We have a week to read one of Christie’s fabulous novels and we post a review at the end of the week.

My approach to this Readathon

I am new to Agatha Christie, and I am also embarrassed to admit that! She is such a well known author, yet I have waited 5 decades to read her classic mysteries. What make this admission even worse for me, is that this is my favorite literary genre! When Jay launched this readathon, I saw it as an opportunity to right a horrible wrong in my life (too bad Jay can’t fix all of those!😢 )

These stories have been discussed, reviewed, studied and examined by minds far greater than mine. You can find many a brilliant, detailed and thorough review in numerous places. So, rather than focus on the storyline, I would like to take some time to discuss my thoughts on each of the novels. I suppose this is my chance to have a book club discussion without the actual book club meeting. Dang, I will miss the wine and cookies 🍷 🍪 !

 

Now, onto the review! Little-Grey-Cells-poirot-35371574-353-500

 

Synopsis:

Agatha Christie’s

Peril at End House

A Hercule Poirot Mystery

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

 

The famous detective, Hercule Poirot has retired and is on holiday with his good friend, Captain Hastings, in the south of England.  It would appear that the gentlemen are in for some rest and relaxation when they have a chance encounter with the young woman who lives at End House, which is an estate near the detective’s hotel. They begin to chat, as one does with a new acquaintance on holiday. Poirot grows concerned about her welfare, and decides to investigate some strange “accidents” that have plagued this young lady. He quickly learns that these accidents are not what they appear and appoints himself as her guardian until he can unravel the truth behind the strange happenings at End House.

 

My Observations:

This is my second Poirot novel and I am quickly falling in love with this series! Christie is marvelous at weaving interesting characters together while developing intrigue and mystery! Hercule Poirot is arrogant, flamboyant and brilliant, a rather complex character to say the least. He is quite confident in his mental abilities and has no real sense of humility. He loves his notoriety and wears it proudly, and backs it up with dogged determination to uncover the truth.

This story kept me riveted and I was completely shocked at the end with a twist I never foresaw. For me, that is the mark of a great mystery, when I am caught totally unaware, and I love it! I am also enjoying the “old language” of Christie’s time, words and expressions no longer in use today. For example, I marveled at the phraseology, when Hastings describes a low point for Poirot and says

I thought he looked rather cast down and not his usual cock-a-hoop self. p. 193

Christie’s writing style engages me as much as her characters’ actions. I will be returning to the Poirot series at the end of our Readathon 😊!

Thank you Jay for bringing me into the fold 📚💕

 

 

 

Agatha Christie Readathon: The Secret Adversary

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The awesome Jay Cudney is hosting an Agatha Christie Readathon! The plan is simple. We have a week to read one of Christie’s fabulous novels and we post a review at the end of the week.

My approach to this Readathon

I am new to Agatha Christie, and I am also embarrassed to admit that! She is such a well known author, yet I have waited 5 decades to read her classic mysteries. What make this admission even worse for me, is that this is my favorite literary genre! When Jay launched this readathon, I saw it as an opportunity to right a horrible wrong in my life (too bad Jay can’t fix all of those!😢 )

These stories have been discussed, reviewed, studied and examined by minds far greater than mine. You can find many a brilliant, detailed and thorough review in numerous places. So, rather than focus on the storyline, I would like to take some time to discuss my thoughts on each of the novels. I suppose this is my chance to have a book club discussion without the actual book club meeting. Dang, I will miss the wine and cookies 🍷 🍪 !

 

Synopsis:

Agatha Christie’s

The Secret Adversary

Tommy and Tuppence series (book 1)

Rating: 4/5 stars

Tommy and Tuppence are good friends, down on their luck and flat broke when we first meet them. With World War I over, and difficult economic prospects, they are having a tough time finding employment in London. So much so that Tuppence proposes they form their own business, The Young Adventurers, LTD. They place an ad in the local paper stating that they “will do anything, go anywhere”, as long as the price is right! When they receive two replies they believe their luck has changed for the better.

Tuppence is impetuous, confident and fearless as she meets with Mr. Whittington to negotiate their first paid engagement. She was unwilling to give her real name to a stranger and quickly pulls a name from her subconscious. However, in doing so, she accidentally provides the name of an actual person who is at the center of a international investigation. Now she and Tommy have to find the real woman, secure important foreign documents and discover the identity of a criminal mastermind!

 

My Observations:

I am still new to Agatha Christie and this is only the second of her novels that I have had the privilege of reading. My first was “Murder on the Orient Express”, which I read only a couple months ago, mainly because I wanted to see how it compared to the movie version. I am so impressed by her ability to create suspense and mystery, working with so little of what mystery writers enjoy today.

Present readers expect high tech crime scene analysis, technology not available to Ms. Christie. She has to weave a tale based solely on character interaction and subtle clues. There is no “in your face”moment. No phone records, emails or videos to discover.

I am also struck by the political incorrectness of the time! Ms. Christie’s sleuths often make deductions based on personal biases and prejudices. To rule out a suspect because he is French or English and to include one because he is German, is astounding to me. But then again, this is where those ingrained prejudices came from, right? I really shouldn’t be surprised.

Tuppence has to fight to be included, at times, because she is a female, so obviously “the weaker sex”. Yet Christie writes her as strong young woman, the fact that Tuppence has to overcome male chauvinism and does so successfully, seems to indicate that Christie is more than just aware of a woman’s role at this time. She too has to work against those societal boundaries, making her accomplishments even more impressive. I wonder what she would make of the #metoo movement.

Although Christie created this strong female, there was still a whole lot of proposing going on! Was marriage really that coveted at this time? Or, is Christie adding in what would be considered gratuitous “sex” scenes, such as they were back then? Many writers of today can’t help but toss in a one night stand or erotic scene, as the heroes are being chased by the bad guys, just to keep the readers interested.

Both Tommy and Tuppence are young, which probably works in their favor as those around them assume they are incapable of putting the clues together to uncover the truth. Tommy is the sensible, thoughtful and analytical foil to Tuppence’s “act first think second” persona. They make an excellent team. Those that underestimated the duo, however, later were impressed at their doggedness and determination to see their role to the end.

I was excited to learn that this is a series and I hope to return to it when we complete the other books on our list. I am glad there will be more adventurers for these two!

Thank you Jay, for hosting this challenge!

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