Thanks to Shannon over at Reads & Reels for including me in this Blog Tour.
Release Date: April 2, 2018
Published By Creativia
Synopsis: Between the fast-paced New York City, a rural Mississippi town, and a charming Pennsylvania college campus filled with secrets, two young girls learn the consequences of growing up too quickly. Struggling to survive in a claustrophobic, unforgiving world, they embark on a journey to overcome all the pain, disappointment, and horror of their experiences.
Amalia Graeme, abused by her mother for most of her life, longs to escape her desolate hometown, connect with others, and fall in love. Contemplating an impending loss of innocence and conflicting feelings between her boyfriend and the dangerous attraction she’s developed for an older man, Amalia suffers devastating, life-altering tragedies. No matter where she turns, someone or something always steals her hope of finding happiness, protection, and love.
Brianna Porter, a sassy yet angst-ridden teenager raised in New York City, yearns to determine her life’s true purpose, conquer her fear of abandonment, and interpret an intimidating desire for her best friend Shanelle. All the confusion stems from desperately needing to find the father whom her mother refuses to reveal, but the unexpected discovery of a journal leads Brianna to a shocking revelation about her missing parent. Unfortunately, by casting the net to find him, she’s unleashed a tragic history that was meant to stay buried and might now completely change everyone’s futures.
Told in alternating chapters set two decades apart, each girl’s plight unfolds revealing the parallels between their lives and the subsequent collision that is bound to happen. In an emotional story filled with mystery, romance, and suspense, fate intervenes forcing someone to make a dreadful decision that will leave permanent scars.
The red blouse is something important to Amalia, but she loses it when her mother takes another swing to knock down her daughter. This shows how awful Janet can be. Red becomes a theme in the book and aligns with the color of the cabin on the cover.
~ James J. Cudney
Amalia grabbed her bag and keys shuffling everything together to leave with her mother. In her rush, she dropped the bag to the floor. The red blouse spilled from its only protection unaware of the trouble its presence would generate. It was the only article of clothing Amalia owned that made her feel special, nor did it try to hide her body from the rest of the world.
“What is that doing here? I told you to get rid of that yesterday morning.” The room grew a few degrees cooler as Janet’s icy expression penetrated the waning of Amalia’s facade.
“I…I just…forgot it was…in my bag when I brought it here today,” stammered Amalia.
“Give it here.”
“No, Momma. I’m bringing it home.”
“Someday you’ll understand girl.” Janet refocused her triumphant gaze from Amalia to her husband. “Have you got a pair of scissors in this store, Peter?”
Amalia closed her eyes and pictured what could have been if she’d met Bryan at the lake. She chastised herself for foolishly letting down her guard imagining the possibility of something positive happening in Brant. It was merely another one of nightmares masquerading as a silly little girl’s daydream. Fighting back was a lost cause, and so was her blouse. Amalia grabbed the scissors from the rusty mason jar and walked with unparalleled defeat toward her mother.
“Stay right there, child. I’m not gonna be the one to destroy it. Give those scissors to your father.”
Peter’s deep-set eyes grew wide with disbelief despite remaining glued to a pile of dirt in the corner. “Janet, let her keep the shirt, please. She’s not going to wear it anywhere.”
“Cut it up now, Peter. The girl needs to learn another lesson. Apparently, so do you.” Janet banged her fist against the nearest wall rattling the pipes. “Make it quick. Greg will be ready for dinner in three hours.”
As the harassment in Janet’s voice punched holes in his body, Peter’s courage went limp with burden. His shaky fingers, normally quite firm and adept from building his model trains and boats, slid into the scissors. Amalia turned away at the nagging graze of one blade against the other, grateful when the fabric muffled the awful scrape of her last hopes being dashed away for the summer. “I love you Daddy,” she mouthed to his despondent eyes and walked behind her mother to the car praying for silence on the ride home.
I’m not participating in many blog tours nowadays because of my health issues, but I just had to take part in this one for our fellow blogger, Jay Cudney’s sophomore novel, Father Figure. I absolutely loved his first book, Watching Glass Shatter so I’ve been eagerly anticipating this and I’m happy to say it did not disappoint. I was completely captivated from the very first page and finished this in two sittings because I couldn’t tear myself away.
Father Figure is both a character-driven and plot-driven story that’s emotional and powerful and will have you reaching for the tissue box more than once. As usual I’m not going to reveal any spoilers, but suffice it to say Jay has created in Amalia and Brianna two characters who you won’t be able to stop yourself from becoming deeply invested in. In the beginning I did emphasize with Amalia more because of some shared childhood experiences. I also loved how she persevered despite the horrible things she was subjected to. She became a strong, self-reliant woman and I greatly admired her. Brianna is quite different in terms of personality and to be honest, in the beginning, I thought she was a spoiled brat. However, I grew to appreciate her struggles regarding the secrets being kept from her as well as her questions about her sexuality and relationship with her loyal and sassy childhood friend, Shanelle (who is my third favorite character). I have to say that Jay not only captured the voice of sweet, innocent Amalia perfectly, but he also hit all the nuances of being a teenage girl with Brianna. I was really quite impressed. The secondary characters are equally well-rounded and all of them play large roles in the development of Amalia and Brianna. It amazed me how detailed Jay was able to make each of them without slowing down the pace of the story.
Speaking of which…the plot has many layers made up of heartbreak and loss, mystery and suspense, and even some humor to balance the darker moments. There are some difficult issues including: child abuse, death, rape, and sexual identity. Some of these could be triggers for some readers, so I wanted to include that warning. Nothing is overly graphic and Jay includes each subject with sensitivity and as an integral part of the journey each of the main characters go on.
Father Figure is a wonderful read that I can’t recommend highly enough. Expect to get angry, cry and laugh while reading this and be prepared to gasp at the many twists and turns the story takes. I’d recommend this as a perfect choice for book groups not only for the amazing story, but also for the social issues it brings up. I’d also recommend this as a stellar pick for moms to read with their adult daughters. No matter what kind of reader you are, I promise that if choose to pick this up you won’t be disappointed. This is a story you’ll be thinking about hours, days, and weeks after you’ve finished it.
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
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 of myself all the time.
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 the 12th floor terrace, various parts of nature (trees, bushes, flowers, bugs & animals) inspire me to write.
Add to Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/39678792-father-figure?ac=1&from_search=true
~ GIVEAWAY ~
One (1) randomly chosen winner will receive a print copy of Father Figure (Available in North America only)
For those of you who cannot enter the giveaway because you’re outside of North America, Father Figure will be available later this month on Amazon for only $0.99!
Where Else to Find Jay:
Creativia – http://www.creativia.org/author-james-cudney.html
Twitter – https://mobile.twitter.com/jamescudney4
Facebook – https://m.facebook.com/JamesJCudneyIVAuthor/
Pinterest – https://www.pinterest.com/jamescudney4/
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/jamescudney4/
LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/jamescudney4
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