Publication Date: April 2, 2018
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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Excerpt (Brianna’s Complicated Feelings)
Brianna and Shanelle have been best friends for years, but something more is brewing and Brianna doesn’t know how to handle it. She’s debating whether to sleep with her boyfriend after prom, but finds herself drawn back to a gift.
– James J. Cudney
“What are we gonna do about Doug?” Shanelle grabbed Brianna’s wrist, led her to the bathroom, and situated her on the toilet seat. She opened one of the boxes from the heaviest bag and considered what to do with a few curlers. “He’s gonna push you to sleep with him. Maybe I should show up to protect you. I could taser him if he does anything wrong.” Shanelle rifled through her cosmetics bag pulling out three types of eyeliner. “Choose.”
“Does it matter?”
“If I taser him? Probably not, though that asshole may get turned on. Hell, I might enjoy watching him piss himself from the electric shock.” She freakishly shook her body and feigned surprise after pretending to become incontinent.
“Not Doug, the eyeliner.” Brianna held up the makeup clueless about which color to select. She’d worn very little of her own following in her mother’s footsteps. Less is more is a motto often chanted around their apartment.
“Oh, my lovely little Bree. We’ll make a woman out of you someday.” Shanelle chose the thickest one and applied a generous line around Brianna’s eyes. “I’m jealous of these high cheekbones. They so perfectly shape your face.”
“Umm, thanks.” Brianna, often incapable of accepting praise, glanced at the mirror, then updated Shanelle about the information she discovered on Lenny’s mail in the jazz club. “Maybe I’ve got a new lead, huh?”
“It’s possible. That would be a big help.” Shanelle shrugged her shoulders, then excitedly changed the subject. “Ooh, grab the bag on the floor.”
Brianna tried to reach for it but couldn’t without bending forward. Shanelle’s hand slipped and traced a line of dark black liquid across her cheeks. “Bree, you’re such an awkward mess.”
“Just finish, will you?” Brianna grabbed the bag and shook a small blue box with a white bow. “You bought me something from Tiffany’s?”
“Yeah, even though you don’t deserve it.” Shanelle capped the eyeliner and opened a tray of varying shades of blue eyeshadow. “You need a darker, smokier color to highlight your eyes.”
“You shouldn’t have bought me anything after the way I behaved last night.” Brianna pulled the bow off the box and removed the lid. A pair of diamond teardrop earrings caused her to swoon. “They’re beautiful. You really are amazing.”
Wow, what a read!!! I knew Jay was a hell of a writer but this one really had me up all night and knew how to hit me with all the right feels to continue reading even though I cried like a baby during some scenes. I have to be honest that there is two things that triggered slightly but they were brief things but felt I needed to bring up there is a quick scene where an animal is hurt and their is some abuse that happened to one of the main characters but even though I had a little bit of anxiety for a moment, I still wanted more and I felt more attached to the characters. I became greatly invested in them and I think that the triggers even made me more attached to them because I felt their pain.
I have been through similar experiences with being abused as a child and have experienced other similar things that the characters also experienced. I became attached, the suspense thrilled me, the drama had my heart and mind going through a whirlwind but best of all it also made me smile at times too. I loved Shanelle and Brianna! They were great characters and Mr. Cudney was brilliant at portraying what young girls go through at a time when they are of legal age but still have so much to learn. Shanelle and Brianna’s friendship and the feelings they I had for each other just made me swoon at times. They were just the cutest and I couldn’t get enough of them together. This has to be one of the best books that I have ever read ever! So relatable, so intense, heartbreaking, but a book that is a must read that you definitely don’t want to miss out on! Another thing I want to comment on with concluding is that the way the dual time lines broke down and you have no idea how things all fall into place is brilliant! I can’t wait to see what James Cudney comes out with next!
Big thanks to Reads & Reels & James Cudney for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review and to be able to receive this opportunity.
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 at 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 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. Ryder, my 10-year old shiba inu, usually lays on my feet, growling when I shift positions too many times or when I forget to share my food! Although he’s only 20 pounds, he’s quite strong and pushy. But how else can you pen the best story possible without these things by your side?
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