Tag Archives: Fiction

Book Review – Academic Curveball by James J. Cudney

My Book Review – Academic Curveball (Braxton Campus Mysteries #1) by James J. Cudney.

James

 

Academic Curveball by James J. Cudney

My Review

Academic Curveball, by James J. Cudney, is the first of six Braxton Campus Mysteries.  I have both the eBook and audiobook. I listened to the audiobook.

The story is told in first person from Kellan Avrwick’s Point of View. Kellan works in Hollywood for the TV show Dark Reality. He returns home for his father’s retirement as the president from Braxton College. He expects to meet with a professor, Abby Monroe, who did some research for the next season of Dark Reality. Toward the end of the retirement party, through Lorraine Candito, his father’s assistant, he finds Abby’s body in Diamond Hall’s stairwell. Upon the initial examination of the crime scene, Sheriff April Montague declared that Abby was hit in the head before falling down the stairwell.

After Abby’s death, his father asks him to take over Abby’s class. He accepts the invitation to stay longer to do his own investigation. By checking out the grade book in Abby’s office, he discovers a grade change in one student. Over the course of two weeks, he meets with people such as his sister, his nana D, a former Braxton friend Connor Hawkins and other people who give him hints on the suspect. He also runs into Lorraine’s brother, who is Abby’s husband in getting a divorce with Abby, and some male and female students who might be suspect. One evidence even puts his father among the category. Kellan has a way to get people talking and give him information he was seeking.

He reports to his boss Derek and Sheriff Montague on every hint he discovers. In between teaching classes, meeting with people and going to the gym, he visits nana D for delicious desserts.

The story is full of fast-paced twist and turn throughout the chapters. I love mystery, especially murder mystery. I follow every hint and make my guess of the murderer. Even though there are many characters, the author makes every character distinctive so the reader can easily keep track of them and their relationships to other characters. Each character’s action is revealed in a seamless and engaging dialogue. In the end, Kellan cleverly assists the arrest of the least expected murderer. This is a lighthearted read. I highly recommend this book.

Amazon and Goodreads rating

image1

James J. Cudney

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 began working in technology and business operations in the sports, entertainment and media industries. Although I enjoyed my job, I wanted to re-focus on my passions: telling stories and connecting people through words. In 2017, I published my debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, a contemporary fiction family drama with elements of mystery, suspense, humor, and romance. From there, I wrote another family drama novel, Father Figure, and created the Braxton Campus Mysteries, a light investigation series about a humorous guy dealing with murders and the drama of a small town. Many of my books are available in print, electronic, and audiobook formats, and we are beginning to release foreign language translations. To see samples or receive news from my current and upcoming books, please subscribe with your email address at my website: https://jamesjcudney.com.

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 1,000 book reviews which will give you a full flavor for my voice and style. On my blog, I share several fun features, including the Book Bucket List, Tips & Advice, Author Spotlights & Book Alerts, and the 365 Daily Challenge, where I post a word each day that has some meaning to me, then converse with everyone about life. You’ll find tons of humor, tears, love, friendship, advice and bloopers. Lots of bloopers… where I poke fun at myself all the time. Even my dogs have segments 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 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. Baxter, a two-year-old shiba inu, constantly tries to stop me from writing so I can play with him and keep him amused. How else can you pen the best story possible without these things by your side?

Contact the Author

Blog 

Amazon Author Page

Goodreads

Twitter

Facebook

 

 

Book Review – Flowers and Stone by Jan Sikes #RRBC

Book Review – Flowers and Stone by Jan Sikes #RRBC

0-reading-logo11

 

Flowers And Stone by [Sikes, Jan]

 

Blurb

The epic love story begins here!
A hot Texas summer, dim-lit honky-tonk bars, a young naïve fledgling go-go dancer and a wild rebel Texas musician set the stage for this story.
1970 in Abilene, Texas finds young Darlina Flowers trying to figure out how to fit into the world she is most attracted to – the nightlife, live music and go-go dancing. Luke Stone, a veteran Texas Musician believes he’s lost all reason to care about his music career, his health and most especially his heart. A chance meeting with Darlina changes everything. But, is it too late? Has fate already determined the outcome? Join Luke and Darlina on a passion-filled journey up and down Texas roads while Luke and his band entertain crowds along the way.

 

My Recommendation

Flowers and Stone is the first book of the series I read.  This fictional novel is based on the real lives of Jan and Rick Sikes portrayed as Darlina Flowers and Luke Stone. The story quickly revealed that the nineteen-year-old girl Darlina fell in love with the thirty-six-year-old country western singer Luke Stone the first time of meeting him. She soon found out he was married with children and seeing another woman, but it didn’t deter her love for him. Luke had drinking and other problems but fell that Darlina was the best thing happened in his life. Luke was in jail for a crime he didn’t commit, but Jan’s love was deep and strong and knew that he was the man she would love forever.

Jan’s excellent writing takes the readers to the scenes and shows the twists and turns of their journey. I look forward to reading the rest of the series.

My Amazon and Goodreads Ratings 5.0 of 5 Stars

 

Jan Sikes

 

About the Author

Multi-Award winning author, Jan Sikes, began her writing career as a young girl. Her first work was a gospel song. She had an uncle whom she loved dearly, but he was an alcoholic and his drinking caused such family discord that at times, resulted in him being banished from their home. So, she wrote a song about Uncle Luke finding Jesus. That is her first memory of feeling the passion deep down to her toes for writing and for music.

When her husband passed away in 2009, she thought someone would come along and write the story of his unique and inspiring life. She awoke one morning to realize she was the only one who could write it, since she was the only one there with him through it all. So, she took several Creative Writing courses at local community colleges and went to work.

Her books are true stories about the journey of two people moving through adversity in order to grow and learn to become better humans. She believes with all her heart there is something worthy of sharing in these stories. Bits and pieces of wisdom, hard-learned lessons and above and beyond all, love…True love that you read about in fiction stories and yet this is truth. The old saying that truth is stranger than fiction fits these stories.

She also releases a music CD of original songs along with each book that fits the time period of the story. Why? Because the stories revolve and evolve around a passion for music.

Jan has also developed several writing workshops that you can get more information about on her website.

She is widowed, lives in North Texas, volunteers at music festivals, has five incredible grandchildren and serves on the Board of Directors for the Texas Authors Institute of History, The North Texas Book Festival and the Texas Musicians Museum.

 

Contact the Author

Amazon Author page: https://www.amazon.com/Jan-Sikes/e/B00CS9K8DK?ref=dbs_p_ebk_r00_abau_000000

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7095856.Jan_Sikes

Website: http://www.jansikes.com

Blog: http://www.rijanjks.wordpress.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorJanSikes

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/rijanjks

 

 

 

May Speculative Fiction – One Hundred Million Dollar Man

Pixabay image by Brigitte Werner

 

One Hundred Million Dollar Man

 

He gazed in the mirror, examined the right side of his body. The crisscross intertwined wires on his arm and hand resembled the veins and blood vessels.  Screws joined the wires at the junctures of the shoulder, elbow, wrist and finger joints. The metal on his right chest resembled the rib cage except it extended to the waistline. Inside the rib cage was a mercury-like lung. He smiled and switched the focus on the right arm, beamed with the left eye, zoomed in and out to magnify the images. He blinked and the zooming was gone. He blinked again, any movement of the dust in the air caused an acute alertness.

“Honey, your manager Mr. Pacheco is here.”

“Thank you, dear. I’ll be right there.” He folded the right hand into a fist with a squeeze, the skin on the face and the right side of his body closed with no trace of wires and metal.

“Hi Ron.”

“Xylon, let’s step outside to talk.”

Xylon crabbed a shirt to put on while walking outside.

“For the next fight, Mr.  Marlow wants you to do a knockout in 15 seconds. That would put you on #1 of the Heavyweight Knockouts. He doesn’t want to mess around with the sissy exchanges.”

“No problem, Ron.”

“He also wants you to blow his brain out.”

“I can’t do that. His wife and my wife are friends.”

“You don’t have to kill him, just make sure he doesn’t bounce back.”

“I can do that much. I’m just not a killer.”

“You’re lucky. When the car crashed into the side of our car, it smashed half of your body. I phoned Mr. Marlow, and he instructed me to take you to Dr. Lebedev’s lab. Doc’s experiment was 1% from being perfect but Mr. Marlow wanted him to fix you anyway.”

“I’m thankful Doc saved my life.”

“We’ll take you to Dr. Lebedev for maintenance once a month. We can’t guarantee what you got is all you need to be alive. Mr. Marlow made a one hundred million dollar investment on you. He also made an investment on Dr. Lebedev’s research to perfect you.”

“I owe Mr. Marlow my life.”

“You do. He has great plans for you. He wants to pay a visit to the Federal Union Bank next Tuesday. Your eye will come in handy and you’ll unlock the code for the vault within 30 seconds.”

“This is going too far. I’m a fighter, not a criminal, Ron.”

“You don’t want to argue with Mr. Marlow. He saved you and wants your family to have a comfortable life.”

“What does it have anything to do with my family?”

“This is the end of our conversation. We’ll pick you up next Tuesday at 1:00 p.m.”

 

~   ~   ~   ~   ~

 

This post is written in response to Diana Wallace Peach‘s May Speculative Fiction #Writingprompt. If interested, click the link to find out how it works. You have until May 23rd to submit a response. Happy Writing!

 

May Speculative Fiction – One Hundred Million Dollar Man

 

March Speculative Fiction Prompt – The Cage

The Cage

“You can drop me off here, Aiden.” Kyla grabbed the purse at her feet.

“Are you sure? It’s a long walk home for you.” Aiden turned off the ignition, reached his hand over to touch Kyla’s shoulder, met her eyes with his puzzled look.

“I’m okay. I don’t want to wake up anybody.” Kyla wanted to get out of the car but was not in a hurry.

“But it’s dark.”

“Don’t worry.”

“Be careful. Text me when you get home.” He rubbed her shoulder with one hand and touched hers with the other.

“I sure will.”

“I’ll text you when I’m ready.”

“Okay.”

I’ll take the cross walk here. The whole town is asleep. Kyla pulled her cardigan sweater tighter across her chest.

Good, the light is out in the living room. I’ll go in from the back of the house, just in case. She unlocked the door and opened it with a slow motion, listened to any faintest squeak.

“Hey sis, you’re late to come home.” Cole’s silhouette popped up from the chair in the kitchen.

“Uh, Cole, why are you still up? You scared me.” Kyla moved into the moonlit area of the kitchen.

“I thought you worked from 6:00 to 10:00 p.m. tonight. I wanted to borrow money from you to go camping with my friend tomorrow.”

“No problem, Cole. I made good tips tonight. How were things at home?”

“Same thing. She cried and yelled at Dad all night.”

“Do you want to come to my room to talk?” Kyla tiptoed to her room. Cole slid his feet close to the floor, not to kick anything by accident.

“Sorry, Cole for getting us in this situation. I thought Mom was bad, this bitch is hell.” Kyla pulled the clothes out from her drawer and closet.

“Well, sis, how did we know?”

“Mom jumped on me every second she got and didn’t let us see Dad. I wanted to stay away from her.”

“The day we came to Dad’s place was the same day he brought Josie and her kids home.”

“She never liked me and made me her slave for two years. All she does is crying, yelling, sleeping and making more babies.” Kyla grabbed more things from the bathroom and threw them in the bed.

“She couldn’t touch me because Dad didn’t let her.”

“Good for you, Cole. At least you could go to school. I’m her slave during the day and work in the restaurant at night to earn my allowance. She made me sick.”

Kyla yanked a duffel bag from the closet and shoved all the stuff from the bed into the bag.

“What are you doing, sis?”

“I’m going away with Aiden. He’s picking me up in a few hours and driving to Los Angeles. If we leave by 5:00 a.m., we’ll be there in the evening.”

“What? She’d be mad and get Dad to go after you.”

“By the time she opens her eyes, I’d be long gone. Besides, I just turned eighteen thirty minutes ago.”

“Text me when you get there, sis.”

“I will, Cole. I’ll be back to get you when you finish high school.”

~

March Speculative Fiction Prompt – The Cage

February’s Speculative Fiction Prompt – The Land of Sweet

This post is written for  February’s Speculative Fiction Prompt hosted by D. Wallace Peach.

 

Pixabay image by Marianne Sopala

The Land of Sweet

“It was a fierce battle our Mouse King and the mice soldiers had, Mickie.”

“Yes, he stabbed the Nutcracker and almost killed him.”

“But Clara threw the slipper at the King to distract him, and the Nutcracker took the chance to kill him.”

“I know, Milenko, he was our King, but he treated us in Mouseland horribly. We had no power for a civil war. Now Justice is served.”

“It horrified me when the Nutcracker thrust his sword through the King’s chest. The other soldiers killed all the mice soldiers. I was afraid that they would kill us too. My heart almost jumped out of my mouth, so I ran as fast as I could and dashed into your house.” Read more

March 22: Flash Fiction Challenge – Inconceivable Dream

Charli Mills at Carrot Ranch shared her passion, determination, and joy to follow her dream. Please read her exciting story here. With no surprise, the March 22 Flash Fiction Challenge is: Follow Your Dream. Write a story in 99 words, no more, no less.

Inconceivable Dream

“I had the same dream twice, Eric.”

“What dream was that?”

“I was flapping my arms flying higher and higher.”

“Some people fly in their dreams.”

“Well, Gorge, last night IN my dream I woke up, talking about my first dream with my sis.”

“That was your second level of inconceivable, deepest desire in your subconsciousness. What do you want to do when you grow up?”

“I don’t know.”

“Close your eyes. Take a deep breath and breathe out slowly. What do you feel you want to do?”

“A pilot.”

“Follow your dream. You’ll see breadcrumbs along the road.”

~

Charli Mills at Carrots Ranch: March 22: Flash Fiction Challenge – Follow Your Dream

« Older Entries