Adult Book Review

Father Figure by James J. Cudney

The Book:

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Book Title: Father Figure

Book Author: James J. Cudney

Page Count: 415

Publishing Date: April 2nd, 2018

Publisher: Creativia

Date Read: April 16th, 2018

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 an 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.

Through 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.


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The Review:

Father Figure is powerful, emotional, and breath taking! With a hard-hitting story line, and amazingly dynamic characters, this one is sure to impress! For those who love stories of struggle, heartache, and overcoming obstacles, you need to pick this one up!

Oh my word, I loved this one so much! This may be the fastest that I have ever finished a 400+ page book because it was so damn good! I was pulled in from page one and gripped until the very end!

The story was told from two different character perspectives, in two different time periods. We learned of Amalia’s struggles with growing up with an abusive, super religious, mother in the 80’s. We learned of Brianna’s struggles, almost 20 years in the future, of finding herself and her own sexuality all while trying to search for the father she never met. And, we saw how each of these strong, brave girls battled their obstacles and tried to grow and overcome social and moral issues.

This was an incredibly powerful story. So much of it was unpredictable, and gave those “ohhhh,” moments. James found so many ways to leave bread crumbs in the story that foreshadowed upcoming events without making those events lack luster or unsurprising. There was never a dull moment, but at the same time, the story was never too overwhelming for me. Everything felt perfectly placed.

The subject matter, though definitely not overly graphic, is meant for mature audiences, and those who don’t have strong triggers (which is never a bad thing, just something to consider). It was a heartbreaking story of abuse, confusion and experimentation with budding sexuality, rape, and loss. It was how Jay went about these issues that made the story so powerful and emotional, and worth the read. He approached these issues with sensitivity, and brought them to light as reoccurring issues that still need to be discussed and taken seriously, but he also made something beautiful come out of these issues and created a story that could touch hearts and lives.

As I read this, I pictured an amazing Lifetime movie in my head. I could see everything so clearly, and the characters, and story, really came to life. There was sarcasm, wit, humor, passion, heartache, loss, love, and friendship. It has been a while since a book has left me this hungover! If you love hard hitting fiction, and don’t have triggers from the above mentioned content, then I’d highly recommend this book! It was one of the best I have read in quite a while, and I can tell it’s going to stick with me!


Thank you to the author for providing me with this free e-copy in exchange for my honest review!

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Author Interview:

The lovely Shalini at Book Reviews by Shalini recently had a rousing Q & A with the author, James J. Cudney, so I decided to share the first part of it with you all. Make sure you head over to Shalini’s page to read the entire Q & A session and show her some love and give her a follow!

Bold: the original questions set by me

Blue italics: James J Cudney IV

Red: Me, the interviewer extraordinaire

I have always wanted to do something different, and since I have already reviewed the book Father Figure, I decided to grill James J. Cudney, the fourth, crown prince of the land, This Is My Truth Now.
You know it’s a real place, right? Any time you tease that I haven’t responded to a comment on some social media platform, it’s because I am visiting my homeland, This Is My Truth Now. It’s somewhere in Europe, I believe, but it’s also got an element of time travel, so I can’t be certain. Nor am I permitted to reveal the exact details. (Wow!! I need someone to investigate this!!

Initially I thought I would char and burn him with the most serious, boring questions I could think of. But I realized I couldn’t do that to him (I am kind at those rare times)
There are many times you are kind. And when you are not, I just assume I’ve done something wrong to deserve it. Seems fair, right? Oh, and thanks for making this one of the kinder times.
You wish, don’t you?? Look at the questions I have for you… (cackle of a laughter follows..)

So let’s try humor.. (not that I am humorous, but I can always make fun of James J Cudney, the fourth… Oh I mean fun WITH Jay😉) 
All humorous escapades need audience, and I can’t think of one better than Nina, my cozy babe. Nina, get the popcorn and the drinks (the soft ones, we know what happens when both you guys drink… Refer Twitter )
Oh, wait, you’re just trying to be funny now? And I thought all along… never mind. I feel like you’re going somewhere with this drinking and cozy thing. Perhaps we need a cozy mystery series where a trio investigate… a lush, a flirt and a professor. I’m not saying who is who, but while one tries to discover the crime, another just makes a mess of it. The third is of course the one with all the sense who solves it finally.
Well, Nina and I know who is a lush… We got to see the effects of it first hand a few days ago😂😂 (Refer Twitter)

Hey Jay, thank you for being part of my blog. I have written many posts on you and on your books. So this post, I’ve decided that it would be more interactive. You get to ask questions too… And make fun WITH me… 
There are many others who would ask you about your book and your writing, so I will keep to borderline questions, some humorous ones.

My first question: Who is your book boyfriend and where would your first date be?
What??? Did you start the questions before the interviewer??Just to remind you, you are the interviewee (cackle like a witch…)
My book boyfriend would be Roarke from the J. D. Robb series (Eve Dallas’ husband. I hate her for having him. I WANT HIM!!!). With Roarke, everyday would be a date… He is so fucking sexy!!! The lady in me says dinner and dancing. But the woman in me says BED!! Hell yeah!!

Now let’s start the real interview…
You and me are like the characters in your book Father Figure, 2 parallel lives from different time zones like Amalia and Brianna, yet having their meeting point. Was it gradual for you, getting to know me? I liked you from day 1. Are you the sort who would get to know people slowly or do you make the occasional snap judgementsHmmm… I’m a bit stuck on trying to decide which of us is Amalia and which is Brianna. I think I’d like to be Amalia only because I already live in NYC and that’s where Brianna is from. (Sheesh.. Focus, babes) Aww… you liked me from day 1, that’s kind to hear. I knew you couldn’t be mean to me. (blush blush) I’m a mix of both. If someone does something bad or that I don’t like, I will immediately write them off in my head. If I’m presented with facts or an opportunity to see them in a different light, I can change my mind. But I won’t actively go in search of changing it once I’ve seen that negative side first. As for you… I did immediately like you, but it’s gradual to get to know someone, so it probably took a few comments and posts before I knew you were more than just a random drive by responder. Did I just make up a word again? (Again??? What else did you make up?? The mystery deepens. Nina, this one is for you to investigate.)

There is one question that is always going to be in my mind how are you today, brief or debriefed? (To the audience, this has been an ongoing joke between us since many months. It has all kinds of innuendos. But it has a bond too between Jay and me)
Well how do I answer this question without a more detailed explanation? And then you’d accuse me of not being brief. So… in physical terms, I am boxer-briefed. In figurative terms, I’m debriefed because I’ve just revealed the secret. That said, they do not match the outfit, which is always a concern of Roda’s @ Growing Self blog. Between the two of you, I worry more about my briefs than I ever have before. Keep it up and I’m goin’ commando from now on. Except at the gym. (What? Where? When? Tell me the time and place, I am there. Till then a pic would suffice. cackle, cackle… Come to me, said the spider to the fly)

My second question: What other country would you live in and why?
Since I have never traveled anywhere, I would love to travel Europe and then probably settle down in Switzerland, coz the Alps look beautiful, and I am fed up of living in humid heat, would love the cold and snow.

When I started blogging, I knew Jay the blogger, when did Jay the author start developing? Was blogging the stepping stone for writing novels?
I wrote a lot as a kid in grammar and high school. When I went away to college, I took many creative and business writing courses. I won a few awards for poems and short stories, but my need to make a living outweighed my desire to write fiction. I led a very different life for the fifteen years after college where it was all about technology, finance, contracts, and people management. I wrote a few pieces from time to time, but I could never find enough time to focus. I began the blog a few months before I left my job in 2016 as a way to force myself to connect with people and find some ‘friendlies’ who might tell me whether I had a voice and talent. From there, I decided to give it a chance and wrote the first book. Now the second is done. And the third, well… I’ll keep that to myself a bit longer. I like to keep busy is all I’ll say. (Oh yeah I would love to be busy with you, if you get what I mean😉😉)

Book Reviews by Shalini

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35 thoughts on “Father Figure by James J. Cudney

  1. Thank you so much Adrienne. This is so wonderful. Lively review and I am so happy you liked my whacky interview. Jay was gracious and I went bonkers. Hahaha but all in good fun. Or maybe not….

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Jay has written all the characters very carefully and I liked the way he wrote the abuse in Amalia’s case especially in the college campus. It raised my goosebumps

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Adrienne when you say “This was an incredibly powerful story. So much of it was unpredictable, and gave those “ohhhh,” moments. James found so many ways to leave bread crumbs in the story that foreshadowed upcoming events without making those events lack luster or unsurprising. There was never a dull moment, but at the same time, the story was never too overwhelming for me. Everything felt perfectly placed.” you’ve said a thousand times better than I Jay’s enormous gift in this book!
    And I am happy that I am not the only one seeing this book turned into a movie!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Adrienne,

    Thank you for this thoroughly detailed and beautiful review. I’m truly blessed with the support of so many wonderful people. For me, when I create characters, it’s all in. If they have a few lines or an entire main arc, they need to be real and feel real. I want them to have a voice that stands out. Sometimes there’s little time to fully flesh them out, but there’s something to remember about them so that I can see their true potential / life beyond just the book. Whether it’s a movie or a TV series or a book sequel, I know it starts with character and plot. Big hugs, thank you so much.

    To everyone responding,

    You’re making me blush! Lenny was one from the beginning where I knew his importance in bringing the story together at some point. But I must admit, Janet drove me more than Riley. I felt Janet’s venom as I wrote her lines. She was my favorite to write for, but not to imagine!


    Liked by 2 people

    1. You are so welcome my friend! You truly have a talent, and I have not read many authors that can make such an impact with both the story and characters like your books make. It’s really great to have a little more understanding to how you create your characters and bring them to life!

      Liked by 1 person

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