Reviewing the Art of the Review

Next week, you’ll find my second book review.  I’m excited (aiming do do one every two months and, hopefully, more frequently down the road).  This inspired me to pen a quick “refresher” post re writing one (see The ABCs of . . . Reviewing Reviewed).

If you’re new to writing reviews, or are thinking of setting up a book review blog, there are several things to consider, but let’s narrow it down so it’s not overly daunting.

The first thing to do is identify the book by author, title, and genre.  Then, add a bit of background and/or brief overview of storyline/plot.  Easy, right?  Of course!

In subsequent paragraphs, incorporate the following.  Be as detailed or succinct as you deem fit.

♦ Title:  Is it catchy, fitting the storyline/plot . . . good?

♦ Genre:  Does it fit the intended category?

♦ Storyline/Plot:  Is it easy to follow, logical, strong, intriguing?  (What’s the story about?)

♦ Characters:  Who are the main characters?  Were they believable?  Were there quests and issues to add tension, friction, or suspense?  Could you relate to any of them and if so, why?  (You may want to make mention of a favorite character.)  What about character POV: is it is logical / does it work?

♦ Did you like the book?  If you loved the book, state this.  If it was simply another well-written book, say so.  If you hated it, don’t claim you loved it, but be considerate when you provide a reason for not being enamored.  Remember: you didn’t write the book, someone else did.  We all have different writing styles and approaches; let’s respect that.BlogReview2

Make sure to include some author bio info—what he or she has previously written, any qualifications or awards, and website and/or blog links.

When offering a summation/conclusion, include an appraisal.  Would you recommend it?  Is there something you didn’t like about the book?  Maybe it wasn’t a five-star project in your estimation.  Why?  Is there something you would have done differently?

. . . Feel free to ding me if I follow my own recommendations/guidelines.   <LOL>

Father Figure by James J. Cudney

James J. Cudney IV (Jay) has penned a stellar personal-journey fiction novel.   As a fan of searching-for-self stories, where characters pursue truths and eventually realize them, I found Father Figure delivered precisely that—with all the requisite components.

The first few chapters roused distinctive memories and feelings that had long been buried for yours truly and wounds thought closed, proved raw once again.  When an author succeeds in evoking emotion, mission accomplished: the reader has been snared and secured.

The tale entwines the lives of two young women: Amalia in 1984 and 1985, and Brianna in 2004.  Jay has painted them vibrantly, with distinct and different personalities.  He’s captured the conflicting emotions of youthful awkwardness and confusing sexual awakening.  Also effectively depicted are the characters’ personal frustrations and angst, and that “suffering” patience only a loving parent can provide.

Reading Father Figure is like being a fly on a wall; you’re privy to secrets and private/intimate conversations.  Fathers—absent or dead—are key to Amalia and Brianna.  One has lost her beloved dad, the other has yet to find him.  We weave through their lives during crucial periods and in due course discover how they connect—in a rather clever way.

It’s hard not to feel—and despair—for Amalia.  You root for her strength and conviction, and applaud the love she holds for her father despite his flaws and weaknesses.  And you hope (like crazy) she’ll free herself of a self-centered, vicious mother.

Understanding what Amalia has had to endure, it was easy (and emotional) for me to relate to her struggles and emotions.  Brianna was a little more difficult; she was almost too self-absorbed to be likable.  Still, I could appreciate that impassioned search for self and the fixation re finding an unknowable father.

Throughout Father Figure, a strong sense of realism encompasses all senses.  You can see the cityscapes and countryscapes . . . smell grass, freshly baked scones and rich nutty brew . . . hear rural birds and insects, and bustling NYC transit and traffic.

It’s a wonderful, winding tale of quests and findings juxtaposed with twists and turns.  There are happy times and sad ones, and tragic if not terrible moments.  Will Amalia marry her inane beau?  Return to Mississippi to take care of her ailing mother?  Will she find true love with an older gent?  And what about Brianna?  Will she decide her sexual proclivity?  Finally find out about her father?  Return to New York to her mother?  Forgive, but not forget?

The narrative and descriptive components keep the reader engaged.  The novel could have been tightened a tad as it leaned toward long.  But, overall, Father Figure is a compelling suck-you-in-from-the-onset novel.

Rating: star2star2star2star2  4/5 

About the Author

NYC-based Jay is a prolific author and blogger first and foremost, but also a reader and reviewer, thinker, and genealogist and researcher.

After college, he took a technical writing position for a telecom company and spent 15 years developing a career in technology and business ops.  While doing so, he wrote short stories and poems, and—like many—dabbled with the “great American novel”.  Work being what it is, he couldn’t devote the required time to writing, so he left behind the 9-to-5+ world to focus on his passion full-time.

Look for Father Figure, as well as his first well-acclaimed book Watching Glass Shatter, on Amazon.

https://www.amazon.com/James-J.-Cudney

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Genre: Fiction

Setting: Mississippi, New York, Pennsylvania,

Publisher: Creativa (April 3rd, 2018)

# of Pages: 430

ISBN-10: 1980727740

ISBN-13: 978-1980727743