Digital Reads Reviews

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My first friend in this blogging world, my best friend who listens to all my complaints and who keeps me sane, a blogger friendly, a reader voracious, a reviewer kind, and a writer extraordinary.

He is someone whom I have pinged at all the oddest hours, he is someone I trouble at his early hours before his cup of coffee, make it 2 cups of coffee…he needs that to deal with me.

He is someone I miss when he is busy writing, he is someone I trouble just for fun. He keeps in touch when I don’t, he teaches me diplomacy when I want to be rude, he is patient with me when I am not.

He is my 4am friend, luckily it is 6pm for him, so he is awake. He is intelligent, analytical, but damn honest. His eye rolls and sarcastic comments are hidden, but he is a master at them.

He is brief, just 24 in age, with 3 books under his belt, and 4th on the way. He acknowledges me in the most beautiful way, pleasantly shocking me.

He is the crown prince of the secret land of ‘This is My Truth Now.’ He is James J Cudney, the fourth, and I am his biggest fan girl and I love him always and forever. ♥️ (He better love me back, or else…)

Whew, with this introduction, I better get on to my review!!

My review

One of the first novels I have ever read as a kid – yeah, you guessed it – a mystery. Add a murder to that mystery, it becomes exciting. Add a dash of sarcasm to that, it becomes humorous. To all this, add another murder, mix it with a number of suspects, and it becomes an unputdownable potboiler of a book which is both thrilling and intriguing.

James J Cudney has done it again, he is quite a maverick. His versatility is well shown in the genres he has chosen to write. From family drama to gentle investigation (I wouldn’t call it totally cozy), the author’s writing has progressed in leaps and bounds. He seems to have found his niche in this book, his brilliance is seen in the multitude of layers this story presents.

Writing a murder mystery is never easy, there is always a hidden thread which escapes, but James has seen to it that the book is complete in its investigation, all threads tied in a neat bow. This is the first in the series, and I get to meet Kellan, a single father and an assistant director /researcher of a television show, who comes home for his father’s retirement, and the murder occurs…

Kellan is a well put together young man, who is rebellious at the idea of moving home yet tender with his daughter. He is kind to his mom, yet sarcastic with his sister and Nana. He is strict with his students, yet is a pal to them. Most just seem to be drawn to him, he comes across as curious and unassuming. And he is plenty intelligent. He did solve the murders, read the book to find out how!!

Nana D needs a separate mention here, as she is A CLASS APART. It would be totally appalling if I dared to describe her. I am sure she would slap me funny for being audacious. But her love and her bond with Kellan is enveloped in her sarcastically humorous banter.

The books reads fast, the story is gripping, the dialogs especially of Myriam and April had me chuckling hard. I loved them. The book has everything that would make it a great investigative series. And yes, it does have the exciting cliffhanger which makes me long for book 2.

My rating : 5 stars

Book blurb

When Kellan Ayrwick returns home for his father’s retirement from Braxton College, he finds a dead body 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? Soon after, the college’s athletic program receives mysterious donations, a nasty blog denounces his father and someone attempts to change students’ grades.

Someone is playing games on campus, but none of the facts add up. With the help of his eccentric and trouble-making nana, Kellan tries to stay out of the sheriff’s way. And if that wasn’t enough already, his own past comes spiraling back to change his life forever.

In the debut novel in the Braxton Campus Mysteries Series, you’ll discover a cozy, secluded Pennsylvania village full of quirky, sarcastic and nosy residents.

Product Details

Publication date : 15th October 2018

Publisher : Creativia

65 Responses

        1. I agree otherwise no books, no reviews. It is the heat and sunlight which causes this I think… Just fed up. Since it is evening now, the pain has eased up… 😭

  1. Awww: that intro is so sweet and kind😊 This book I have seen across book blogs everywhere. I have never read anything yet by him: but just like Didi he has been on my to read list forever. As I finally got around to reading a book by her: I hope to read one of his books this year as well. Wonderful post Shalini😊

      1. Yeah the way you write about him and his book conducts your fondness pretty much 😁☺️ I added his book to my tbr, though I made a decision not to buy any new books until I read all that are on my shelves 😅 (it’s incredibly hard😂 unfortunately my decision didn’t include ARC-s that I don’t pay for😅 so I have no idea when I’ll get to the end of my bookshelves 🤣)

        1. I have too many too… I keep putting the books and leaving them there… Hehehe one day I will get to it, or whoever inherits my kindle will get to it 😂😂

    1. Well… I do trouble him so much… My GoTo guy!! 😂😂😂
      Thank you. I was worried about the review. My headaches are killing me…

  2. I downloaded one of this author’s other books (thanks to your recommendation) but I haven’t yet got around to reading it.I just may have to push it up the list and get started on it sooner. 🙂 The only thing that would put me off is the cliffhanger. Nice review, Shalini. And a very nice complimentary tribute to your friend. Have a great rest of the week! 🙂

    1. Cliffhanger does not affect this story, Leslie… I am his beta reader and his friend… Hehehe I wouldn’t have allowed him to give me an incomplete story. It is a gentle murder mystery which kept me guessing… The cliffhanger just tells you about the topic of the next book… 😂😂❤️❤️😘😘
      Have a great week, darling 😘

    1. Cliffhanger is for the next book, got nothing to do with this story, this is a complete murder mystery, a fun cozy read. I would say gentle investigation!!

  3. ‘…luckily it is 6pm for him,’ 😂😂😂

    You guys having each other’s backs is just gold 👌👏 I don’t know how Jay’s churning out book after book these days!!

    1. Jen, how do I comment on your post from WordPress reader? Please do something, it doesn’t accept my comments. Check your setting and allow people who are on WordPress to post comment directly without having to go via the browser.
      Thank you

  4. ♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️
    100% agree with your heartfelt words. There are simply some awesome people out there. Thank goodness we’ve been able to connect through our love for books 😘😘😘
    And well… Academic Curveball is a pretty great one to gush about!

    1. Aaah cozy babe, you do know you and I don’t just connect over books, we have…. BOB!!!! 😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂
      How could you have forgotten him?!!!
      I agree the author and the book are awesome….

  5. Great review, and even better sum up of the human behind the book!! I always imagine the rolling of eyes and shaking of heads thats kept hidden behind all that consistent kindness 😉😂… definitely 24!

  6. Great review Shalini. I can’t wait for the second one either. That cliffhanger will keep me looking for it. I also loved Nana D, she was such a sassy grandma. I wish I was more like her, I am such a wussy grandmama.

    1. Hehehe… Baby, I knew him before you, and I trouble him, a lot!!! More than you can imagine… You will leave me if I do that😉😉😂😂

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