Blogs From Around The World
Featuring Jay Cudney
I am delighted to share with you a blogger I discovered on Goodreads several years ago. I was amazed at Jay’s energy… several honest and detailed reviews each and every day! After I started digging, I discovered that he is a multi-faceted man: he’s a reviewer, author, blogger, an avid genealogist, a person who loves to cook, and has a cute fur baby named Baxter. His blog has almost nine thousand fans, and he has over twenty-five hundred Goodreads followers (he is also a top reviewer on GR). One can literally spend hours on his blog, it’s so interesting. I challenge you, dear reader, to try it only for a few minutes!
A little about Jay (in his own words):
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures.
He gives a detailed reason why he reviews books
Folks often post their thoughts and reasons why they choose to read, but it is with less frequency they attempt to explain why they want to write a book review. Let’s see if I can do some justice in that respect…
Google tells me there are currently 130 million published books in the world. Let’s say an average reader can get through 25 books per year (one every 2 weeks) and let’s say on average, people spend 40 years of their life actively choosing and reading books. Putting those numbers together (isn’t basic math fun?), we’re working with about 1,000 books per reader per lifetime on an average across the board of typical readers. With 1,000 to choose out of 130,000,000 options (not even counting what will be published in the future), the % has so many decimal places, I’d be lost just thinking about how to choose which book to read without having some up front data… hence the value of a good book review.
As a reader, when I choose a book, it’s usually based on genre, setting, author, marketing/advertising, and feedback from others. Who goes to a book store, library or digital collection and just grabs the first book “off the shelf” without having done some type of research or had a conversation about it with another human? Not this reader…
As a writer, I only have so many opportunities to grab a potential reader’s attention. I may get lucky if someone shows up at a book store, library or digital collection and selects my book because the cover looks good or (s)he saw an ad about it or it’s in the genre that most appeals to him/her. Ultimately, more readers come from good feedback, word-of-mouth and familiar connections — not just by happenstance.
As both a reader and a writer, I believe a book review can capture everything all at once — if it’s done properly. A book review opens the door for anyone to potentially come across the book and increase the chance it will be purchased or borrowed. Authors need to create a digital and online presence so their name pops up in search engines and in as many social media sites as possible. Readers are more savvy with technology these days and innately search the Internet to find out as much as they can before they actually make a purchase.
When I write a book review, I’m passionate about it because it’s likely I chose that book, I wanted to read it and I have something to say whether it’s good or bad. I want to share what I’ve learned and help others avoid a pitfall, find a treasure or just be amused with me — especially since my style tends to be 75% factual & direct with a fun 25% reserved for sarcastic humor. (I can’t help my personality shining through).
And so for me — as a reader and a writer — a book review serves the single most important connection between those two worlds. When I write a book review, I ensure I can provide all of the following to the person reading my review either in the review or with a link to the appropriate site:
- Author’s biography and list of additional works
- Summary of the book
- What was good in it
- What could have been better
- Images of the book
- Rating of 1 to 5
- Would I read it again or recommend it
- Biography on me as the person writing the review. Readers want to know if they would like you or agree with you in real life. Facts such as:
- What else have you read — maybe you’ll lead me to more good books
- What are your favorites — what did I not read that I should have
- What are your credentials — informally of course since we’re usually not editors and publishers in addition to readers and writers
- What is your style — sarcastic, overly positive, humorous, dry, witty, harsh…
When I write a book review, I want to accomplish all of the above (and more) and post it on as many websites as I reasonably can (it takes time!) for others to find; however, it’s also a valuable tool to help me as a reader when people comment on my review, follow me or like what I’ve said. In turn, I can then check out people I find interesting and maybe discover a new friend, a new book or possibly a new site I didn’t know about.
It’s all connected. And it can be overwhelming to keep up. But if you have a core of places to look, people to trust and options to consider, you as a reader are lucky to be able to choose the best 1,000 books of your lifetime. And that’s what I hope for when I am reading a new book and as a writer looking for new fans of my work: A BOOK REVIEW!
Jay sent me one of his recent book reviews. Enjoy!
The Skeleton Stuffs a Stocking by Leigh Perry
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The Skeleton Stuffs a Stocking is the 6th book in the ‘Family Skeleton’ mystery series and was written in 2019 by Leigh Perry. I’ve previously read and reviewed all the books in the series, and this one is definitely my favorite thus far. It seems each newly published tale is better than the last one. Before you read them, you need to know a few things to truly embrace the series.
Georgia is ~40ish adjunct English professor in New England. Her parents are both full-time professors at a different college, and she has a sister, Deborah, and a teenage daughter, Madison. There is also one other key person in Georgia’s life: Sid, a walking, talking skeleton. Now that you’ve picked your teeth off the floor and/or closed your mouth, stay focused! This series might have its roots in a bit of paranormal fun, but its heart and soul is truly realistic and wonderful. Few people know about Sid, so he’s more like a computer who can secretly interact with others to help George solve murders in her spare time. In this case, Madison’s dog brings home a bone. Georgia thinks it’s part of Sid, as the dog likes to bite the skeleton, but it’s not. From there, the entire family gets involved in solving this murder, including Georgia’s on-again/off-again boyfriend, Brownie, a carnie she came to know in an earlier book.
First off, the series has some of the best humor. When you have a dog and a skeleton, the trouble is endless. Toss in a few murders, and Georgia needs to be on her toes 24/7. She always is, but every once in a while, she slips up… and watching her back herself out of the situation is hilarious. Her colleague Charles is a main focus in this case, as he knew the person who likely belongs to the skeleton. Ten years ago, the two had been courting… and that’s all I’ll say, as I’m not a spoiler. Perry’s last few books in the series have been the kind you can’t put down. I tried to just read an hour’s worth, but I finished it all in a single setting. You breeze through them in a good way. They’re the perfect length and have a fine balance of complexity and levity.
I’m rarely a science-fiction or fantasy reader, but this series is one I won’t miss. I jumped on the chance to get an early copy of this book when I saw it was available on NetGalley. I wanted to save it until Christmas, since the book has a holiday theme, but I couldn’t last… I succumbed to the taunting as the lovable skeleton called to me every single time I opened Kindle. “READ ME” Sid said… so I did. And it’s fantastic. Clever and witty, full of heart and soul. It weaves back and forth seamlessly from Georgia’s personal life to Sid’s quest to be as real as he can possibly be to investigating the prime murder case. Georgia is beyond methodical, and I believe she can solve the case each time.
The conclusion is fierce… both in the mystery and in Georgia’s personal life. I pushed through about ~30 pages so quickly once the killer was revealed and the big-time chase scene got underway. It was a great ending, and I love the last two pages. I didn’t expect it to happen, and I’m not entirely sure how I feel about it yet, but it was thoroughly shocking in a good way. Can I please have the next one for Christmas in my stocking, Sid… this year? Thanks!
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. My new book series, Braxton Campus Mysteries, will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations but with a twist. There are five books: Academic Curveball, Broken Heart Attack, Flower Power Trip, Mistaken Identity Crisis, and Haunted House Ghost. I read, write, and blog A LOT on this site where you can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.
I think you’ll agree with me, Jay is a blogger to follow. Not only for his wonderful book reviews or his own book launches, but because he truly sounds like a nice guy, a guy you’d like to hang out with and talk books.