Broken Branches – M Jonathan Lee

A Full Five Stars for this Impressive Book.

Broken Branches is a book by M Jonathan Lee published by Hideaway Fall Publishing.

I don’t often hand out a full five stars unless I find the story gripping, the dialogue honest, and the plot involved enough to keep me interested. In Broken Branches by M Jonathan Lee I I found all three.

The story opens up with the atmospheric description of a cursed tree. The cloying branches reaching towards a storybook type cottage but inside it is far from the happy family set up. There is something remaining unspoken between the main characters, we’re confronted by Rachel’s distance from Ian. He believes that if he solves the mystery of his family’s curse then he can reach her.

Whilst we don’t see much from Rachel’s point of view during the story it is in a way mirroring Ian’s own separation from his wife. If this was intentional on the part of the author then it certainly was a masterstroke. There were moments in the story that left you gasping and holding your breath as you read on. The suspense and moments of dread increased as Ian moved closer to the answers he needed.

If you want a story that will keep you guessing until the last pages, a creepy read filled with ethereal touches then let Broken Branches reach out for you…




Triangle of Hope – Michael Meyer – Review Tour

Huge Huge Apologies!!
This post was supposed to go out on the 23rd January but even though I scheduled the post it apparently decided to lurk in my drafts folder!  I’ve been sick this week so have only just got around to updating my blog!
Triangle of Hope by Michael Meyer
Contemporary Fiction

Date Published: December 1, 2014

Publisher: Pacific Books


Life grinds you down, but there’s always hope–and sometimes it can come in the strangest of ways….

TriangleofHope_FINAL.jpgAfter being battered by life’s cruelness, three unlikely friends find themselves drawn to a small Irish town seeking something–anything. Finding solace in one another, their quest throws them together and they make a courageous stand.

Clint Westerly was a success until a choice he makes blows his world all apart. Tanya Wilshire is broke and hell-bent on committing to her mother’s final deathbed request. 84-year-old Seamus Harrington needs to right an ancient wrong before time runs out.

Together, this unlikely trio of unexpected allies forms a Triangle of Hope against all odds, their disparate stories uniting for a thrilling conclusion that will leave the reader breathless.

If you love feel-good reads with happy endings, then TRIANGLE OF HOPE is for you. It is “a book that will stay with you forever.” – Wanda Hartzenberg, Wanda’s Amazing Amazon Reviewers

It is a “fantastic read that will pull at your heart.” – Lauren Alumbaugh, Goodreads librarian



For me, this story had a slow start but this had a plus side in that you weren’t just introduced to characters you were able to get to know them and by the time the distinct story threads finally convened in the latter part of the book you felt as though you were best friends with them.  There were reasons the characters grew close to each other, how they filled a need in them, fill a void in each other’s lives. I was disappointed to reach the end of the book because I felt I could keep reading their stories forever.  There was a good balance between description and narrative, you could see the places the author was describing.

Author Profile

As a recent retiree from a forty-year career as a professor of writing, he now lives in Southern California wine country with his wife, Kitty, and their two adorable rescue cats.

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Camp 80 by Lee Ducote ~ Review

Camp 80 by Lee Ducote

~ Review

Camp 80 (Cedar Branch)Genre: Fiction Humor
Date Published: 22nd August 2016
Publisher: Grave Distractions Publication

What do you get when six retirees find themselves trucked off (not entirely willingly) on a get-acquainted trip before moving into Cedar Branch Retirement Community? A week of outlandish fiascos, hilarious revenge, memorable tears, and most important… laughter. Derrick St. Clair, a social worker for CBC, has led many trips for this eccentric community, but never experienced a crew of new residents like these. One thing of many that Derrick didn’t expect was falling in love with co-worker Katlyn Rose, only to have his crew of creative seniors take advantage of his distraction to plan their own trip, including stealing the van and rearranging the attitudes of three disrespectful young men.
With a lady’s man from Manhattan, two kooky sisters from Arkansas, a grumpy husband from Alabama, and a quiet recent widower from Atlanta, Derrick will find this week one for the books. Take a trip with Cedar Branch and fall in love with the characters that now reside in the number-one retirement community in the South. Who knows—you just might make plans to move in.


There is nothing worse than packing up a house for a move. Putting memories into boxes and organising everything to happen at just the right moment. Just when you start to feel how unsettling this is, along comes a sniggering laugh you can’t control.  The characters are well rounded and easy to like, you can’t help but fall in love with them.  There is a realness to them too, and the little touches like Jack offering to matchmake someone with their own wife and Betty ordering the Long Island version of Ice Tea.
The writing style is easy to follow and down to earth.  Anyone could pick up this book and devour it from cover to cover.  The good news is that it’s the start of the series so there are more books to come.

About the author:

After graduating from high school in 1989 and attending one year at NLU I decided (actually my parents did) I wasn’t ready for college, so I did what every 19-year-old kid does….I moved to the Marshal Islands in the mid pacific.  After a few years, I came home, meet my wife and settle down for a short bit.  I worked construction, opening my own sporting goods store, became a full-time fireman, opened a candle manufacturing company, and even rodeo for a short term.  Just not at the same time.  In 2003 we moved to Franklin TN where I sold fire trucks until 2010 when I moved to Arkansas.  Since here in the Ozark Mountains, I have written eight novels and currently working on my ninth, a new adult novel.  So that’s me in a quick whirlwind.  And yes, if you check out my website or social media you will see me with our pet raccoons, Tucker and Otter.
Contact Information
Twitter: @leeducote
Goodreads: Lee DuCote
Purchase Links


Shake Your Green Thing: Supernatural Witch Cozy Mystery
(Harper “Foxxy” Beck Series Book 2)

I came across Raven Snow just the other day and have downloaded as many books of hers as I can! Then I found out she was looking for ARC reviews – of course,I jumped at the chance!
‘Shake your Green Thing’ is a sequel to ‘Roller Rink Witchcraft: Supernatural Witch Cozy Mystery’ but don’t let that stop you from reading this book, without detracting from the plot Raven covers the events in the first book competently and with enough detail you don’t feel lost. Her characters develop with the story in such a way that you feel they are people you’ve met and are becoming friends with. You see them grow with such a natural progression it’s hard to pinpoint the moment when you didn’t have them in your life. There is nothing that screams sequel at you at all which is great. (The only reason to read Roller Rink Witchcraft is because you’ll be missing out on a great story if you don’t!)
Raven’s writing flows easily across the page luring any reader inside her story. You’ll drift from page to page with delight as the story unfolds in front of you and before you realise it you’ve finished the book! The books have a light-hearted feel to them without being overly comedic giving a balance between the darker crime moments within the story.
Harper ‘Foxxy’ Beck is your average free-wheeling witch who sees to be getting into a habit of finding dead bodies! She’s managed to get herself attached to the delectable detective Wyatt Bennett which has its own complications in the form of his adorable son, Cooper. Before she can say ‘hocus pocus’ she’s falling hard for the both of them. How is she going to handle this alongside solving the mysteries that seem to be springing up in front of her?
The man doesn’t seem to be backing off and she doesn’t seem to want him too… if only the other members of the police force in Waresville shared Wyatt’s attitude. With Foxxy seeming to be their only suspect in a town filled to the brim with witches, can she unlock the mystery before her man has to visit her in jail?
I received a free advance reader copy of this book in exchange for an honest & unbiased review.

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The Vampire Diaries

Season 7. 

I don’t just get it.

I’m trying to follow the time jump of 3 years but there isn’t enough detail about what is happening in 3 years to give you a narrative even when you’ve untangled all the new relationships between the main characters.

Meanwhile Elena is languishing in a coma and can only wake up if Bonnie dies.   Which she totally doesn’t have a track record of doing.

This plot point puzzles me because how many times has Elena been about to die? Klaus alone, was planning to kill her many times and everyone came up with scheme after scheme to keep her alive and now they just let her slumber in the coffin?  Does that make sense?

Then you have the Heretics, powerful witch-vampires who couldn’t figure out how to escape a prison world even though they can wipe out a town in five minutes?  So how are our desperate crew going to combat this threat?

Apparently by not talking to each other or coming up with a plan.

That always works right?

There were major qualms about the show managing to carry on after one of the main characters has left the show and by giving it a time jump as one of the main plot points it has focused the audience on the remaining cast.

Still, if you have un-likeable characters, Julian for example, and you add in an unexplained time jump, plus no sign that you are even looking to solve the Elena problem then you are going to lose viewers.  Pretty sure that I’m going to be one of them.



Author Apryl Baker

So I promised this ages ago but I got busy and didn’t get around to it.   (Sorry!)

I’d like to introduce author Apryl Baker author of nine books that include both ‘Ghost Files’ and ‘Touch me Not’ both of which I’ve read and reviewed on various sites.


I read both books in one sitting.  There were places where the writing wasn’t as good as in others, but the ideas behind the story and the crafting of the characters more than made up for that and you could tell that she loves both writing and respects her readership.   By that I’m not insulting the author, it’s clear to see how with each book she improves  and puts her focus into producing thrilling stories for her audience.

In the ‘Ghost Files’ she introduces us to Mattie Hathaway,  a young girl who can see ghosts.  We know she’s a teenager and struggling with all the normal teenage girl things as well as solving a mystery and satisfying the various ghost who pop up around her.   Some reviewers have commented that Ms. Baker has focused on the relationship aspect too much and it’s easy to see where this criticism comes from.  Put aside pre-conceived ideas though because this book is the start of the series and as I’ve already mentioned her writing is going from strength to strength meaning that her books are more than worth reading.

After buying ‘Ghost Files’ I started following Apryl on Facebook  (okay, more like stalking!) and learned about ‘Touch Me Not’, the first of a new trilogy from her.   Signing up for the ARC (Advance Readers Copy) I received the e-book and devoured it.

This wasn’t the normal type of book that I’d look to buy despite the vast selection of genres I read and a page in I wasn’t overly fond of the main hero character, Nikoli, he came off as arrogant and conceited.   But this is the beauty of Apryl’s writing because you weren’t expected to like him straight away,  in the same way that Lily, the heroine, doesn’t.  Less then halfway through the book and you’re routing for them. By the end you know if Nikoli and Lily don’t end up together you are going to hunt Apryl down and make her re-write it so they do!

I haven’t read much more of Apryl’s work but I intend to.  She’s one of those authors you are going to want to boast that you discovered her back when…

If you want to check her out and I promise that if you do you won’t be disappointed, then the click on the following links:

Amazon Author Page:



Ladies and Gentlemen I present Apryl Baker…


Review – ‘Kevin from Work’

So with a lot of spare time on my hands I get to watch a lot of TV shows… some fresh from the US!  The first one I want to talk about is the show ‘Kevin from Work’ starring Noah Reid as Kevin.  The plotline is very simple, Kevin has been crushing on a girl at work and as he’s about to leave to start a new job in another country he ends up telling her  he is in love with her.

It starts off alright, we see Kevin, his best friend in discussion, his workplace  and the aforementioned girl of his dreams ‘Audrey’, played by Paige Spara.  From there the show deteriorates into a pile of clichés.

Unable to call or email Audrey, Kevin decides to write her a letter and several tries later we see him posting it.   As the morning arrives along with his soberness he tries to get the letter back, first by going to the post box and then the post office.   Failing both of those options he ends up at her apartment to  recover the letter only to run foul of her room mate, whereby he has sex with her to retrieve the as yet unopened envelope.   There he runs into present boyfriend of Audrey and is forced to hand over the envelope and escape.

So there you are,  oh and of course his job falls through and he ends up staying in his apartment (with his sister) and stuck back in his old job next to the “love of his life”.

Why would the writers of this show think it a good idea to lump together so many IQ challenged people in one sitcom?  The sister is the epitome of reality televisions worst characters and the room mate is a sex mad uber-feminist.  The best friend offers no support at all and the boyfriend of Audrey is painted so that we already hate him.
The most offensive part of this is the fact that ‘Kevin’ suddenly has no morals and will sleep with said room mate even though he has feelings for someone else…   What part of that was funny?

In fact what part of this show overall was in anyway fun to watch?

I offer to you ‘Kevin from Work’ … watch at your peril…

Review: Underbelly Razor

The following is from a review I wrote for another site.


Underbelly: Razor 

Airing on Channel 9 on Australian Television this 13-part mini series departs from the previous Underbellys, to delve into the roaring 20’s and depression era 30’s to tell the story of the Razor Gangs of Sydney. The backdrop to this violent gang warfare was the notorious exploits of Tilly Devine and Kate Leigh, the so-called Queens of the underworld.  The pair had an infamous feud resulting in violence and bloodshed.

Tilly was responsible for the running of brothels whilst Kate used the prohibitive licensing laws of the time to operate sly grog establishments. Both of them dabbled in illegal narcotics, notably cocaine which at one time could be legally obtained on prescription.

 The mini series is based on a book by Larry Writer, and aired on Sunday nights boasting warnings of Language, Violence, and Scenes of a Sexual Nature and it seemed as though the often-gruesome nature of the episodes took over from the story telling. There was also prolific use of a voiceover narrative that provided links between the action and historical details. I imagine that some people will have liked this format and others would have found it distracting. For myself I enjoyed the way that they topped and tailed each episode with this and also where it was used within the episode to it felt as though it speeded up the storytelling.

Laws at the time prohibited the carrying of handguns with strict prison sentences if caught carrying such a weapon. Enter Norman Brun, played expertly by Jeremy Lindsey Taylor, who devised carrying cut-throat razors and using them as weapons in a series of intimidations and slashings.  Brun was depicted as a suitably shady character coming from the outskirts of the underworld in Melbourne, and therefore an interloper. He was determined to take over from Kate and Tilly and establish his own empire but ended up coming to a sticky end but not before members of other gangs picked up their own razors.

Jeremy Lindsey Taylor was among an alumnus of Australian talent that livened up the storytelling, not least the often-perfect performance from former Sea Patrol co-star John Batchelor as Wally Tomlinson, the on-off boyfriend and sidekick of Kate Leigh. As Wally, John managed to portray a believable amount of jealously and heartbreak when new boy Bruce Higgs, played by Lincoln Lewis, turned up and conducted a raunchy affair with older woman Kate. 

Finally when Wally left, he just took off along the open road leaving everything that happened behind him and even though I was still intrigued by the story of Kate and Tilly, a small part of me wanted to follow Wally and see where he went next, purely because I didn’t feel as much affinity for the other characters.

Out of the two main characters Kate Leigh, played by Danielle Cormack, was perhaps more sympathetic. The story managed to gloss over her three marriages and other aspects of her life instead maintaining its focus on the feud that she had with Tilly Devine who was adequetly portrayed by New Zealand actress Chelsie Preston Crayford.  As Tilly was reportedly from London, Chelsie did a passable attempt at an English accent even  if it did come across as a bit trying at times.  She stated in a media interview that she modelled her performance on Amy Winehouse, which is perhaps why it seemed a bit over the top on occasions, much like the late singer herself. 

Like many people I often look at the cast list to decide if I’m going to watch something, spotting my favourite actor or actress will have me checking out the show if it’s going to be worth my time and it was the smattering of ex-Sea Patrol actors that drew me in but beginning to care about the antics of Kate Leigh and Tilly Devine kept me watching and not just for the occasional glimpses of Conrad Coleby who played “crooked” cop Constable Wharton “Syd” Thompson.

His portrayal of the character of Syd, who at one time was part of the first drugs squad, seemed to be lacking, not so much the acting as there really wasn’t that much of him in the show to judge him on his portrayal but the character’s actual biograpy. We never got to see why or how he got to be crooked and then there was the surprising relationship he had with the female Constable Edie McElroy (played by Jessica de Gouw) at the end of the series and I think this is where the show was let down, in the details it omitted or glossed over, while admittedly some details were filled in with the voiceover narrative and you can only wonder if there are extra scenes on the DVD release that will fill in the blanks.
Would I recommend this show as one to watch? Overall it was ok but for me while the scenery and the backstories were made interesting to watch the bloodcurdling violent scenes were too over the top to make for easy viewing. Much of the thrown in nudity appeared gratuitous and they could have used more discretion for some of the more violent scenes but then the show was hyped up as an account of the “bloodiest era in history”.