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Thanks to James Cudney for including me in this blog tour and providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.

Publisher: Creativia

Release Date: Available Now

278 Pages

Synopsis: 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 an 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 all the answers, Olivia asks her sons to each spend 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. Welcome to being an honorary member of the Glass family.

I think I’ve said before that I’m always a little anxious reviewing another blogger’s book because I hate even the idea of having to give a poor review to someone I’ve gotten to know through the WordPress community. But when Jay, one of my favorite bloggers, announced that his book Watching Glass Shatter, had been picked up by a publisher, I was thrilled and unhesitatingly asked if I could be part of the blog tour. I purposely waited to read it until a few days before I was due to write this post. Last Thursday night I picked it up thinking I’d read for a couple of hours before bed. Four hours and half a Kleenex box later I had finished it and my first thought was: “THIS is a debut?”

Starting with the Glass family patriarch Ben, the story is then picked up by his widow Olivia and her four sons: Ethan, Caleb, Matt, Zachary, and Teddy. With such a large cast of characters and a relatively short length, the personalities of the Glass family very easily could have been under-developed and confusing, but instead they literally leapt off the page. I have to admit at the beginning I thoroughly disliked Olivia. She’s judgemental, interfering and self-involved, but as she spends time with each of her sons and discovers the secrets each of them hides, she realizes that her family isn’t as picture perfect as she thought and that she may have played a role in this. She’s a very complex character and while I still didn’t really like her at the end, I did appreciate her more as she evolved and became a little more kind and empathetic.

Ethan, Caleb and Olivia’s underappreciated yet loyal sister Diane, are without a doubt my favorite characters out of everyone, but interestingly, although I had some issues with Zachary, Teddy and Matt, I wound up having a lot of sympathy for them as well. They’re richly drawn and realistically written, and by the end of the book they’ve all recognized their shortcomings and have taken the first steps to correct them. 

Equal to the character development is the multi-layered plot. Beginning with the secret that Ben kept from Olivia, this theme is continued throughout the book. While each son’s story is unique, the parts of themselves that they’re hiding effect the rest of the family. At the end, while some are further along the road to self-enlightenment and recovery than others, the family unit as a whole is so much closer. While I already had guessed how the actual mystery stemming from Ben’s confession was going be concluded, when the revelation came near the end of the book I was so involved with this flawed family, I didn’t mind the lack of surprise. Indeed, it lent even more poignancy to this already compelling tale.

Watching Glass Shatter is a family drama filled with love, humor and tragedy. It elicited strong emotions in me and I found myself laughing and crying multiple times as I was reading. And, that to me is the true strength of this novel. There is so much emotional havoc, yet I never once felt it was over the top. Instead, all the drama drew me that much closer to the family, even with characters I didn’t care for in the beginning. I absolutely loved Jay’s debut from start to finish and I truly can’t recommend it highly enough. Jay writes with the talent of a seasoned author, so I’m excited to see what he comes out with next.  And, as I’m not ready to say goodbye to the Glass family, I’m thrilled that he’s planning to revisit them in the near future! 

There’s a Goodreads Giveaway until November 30th! Check it out at: https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/263554-watching-glass-shatter 

Watching Glass Shatter is also available to purchase on Amazon. http://mybook.to/WGS

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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 part 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 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 day 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 make fun of 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 very fancy or magnanimous, but they are real and show how I live every day.

A bit of humor: Everything as something else when you live in NYC. For me, it’s the dining room, my favorite space in the apartment, where more than my cooking is on display! As I look out the windows onto the 12th floor terrace, various parts of nature (trees, bushes, flowers, bogs & animals) inspire me to write. Ryder, my 10-year-old shiba inu, usually lays on my feet, growling when I shift position too many times or when I forget to share my food! And although he’s only 20 pounds, he’s quite strong and pushy. But how else do you pen the best story possible without these things by your side?

You can also visit Jay at:

Goodreads ~ https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17128817.James_J_Cudney

Twitter ~ https://mobile.twitter.com/jamescudney4

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

There’s also a wonderful interview with Jay on Artist First ~ 

http://www.artistfirst2.com/Authors-First_2017-11-14_James_Cudney.mp3

And finally, please check out some of these other fantastic bloggers who have participated in this blog tour. You’ll find more great reviews, interesting Q&As with Jay and even an awesome poll on who should play the characters if this gets optioned for film (which it totally should!)

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