Tag Archive: survival



Pulse (Pulse Effex #1)Pulse by L.R. Burkard
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

What if a solar EMP hit and all electronics, even in cars and landline phones stopped working and it was in the middle of one of our coldest winters? Good plot premise.

Three teen girls from the same clique at school can’t get to each other or school. Written in their points of view in their journals, first person. And not too much teen romantic angst.

Sounds like my kind of book.

If it had stayed with the above status I would have loved it.

It was a political anti-everyone that isn’t them propaganda. Gun carrying prolifers–only ours, no one else’s counts. Judgemental as all get out.

I believe the best Christians are humble and caring for others. No matter whether they think or look like me or not. ‘We are all made in the image of God.’ ‘Judge not lest ye be judged.’ ‘Thou shalt not kill.’ The christians in this book represent a lot of people who pick and choose which verses to preach believing it makes them more holy.

Stepping off my soapbox now. There were plenty of different scenarios in how folks are dealing with this new world. In real life right now, we are going through a very cold snowy winter so a lot is believable.

Hunger is the first and biggest problem in this story as there are no stores or ways to get food. As abhorrent as a lot of the book is, the writing is good and I didn’t throw it across the room because there are all kinds of people in this world and this story is from one kind of view.

Which is why I felt shooting that many people, thinking they were in the right and others who were hungry were wrong… was wrong.

What would I do if I lived through the situation our main characters were in? Is there a way as we prepare for such as this that we try to share our abundance. As we prepare we have to remember that our case of food is kept in our car or home and the catastrophe is an earthquake, volcano, or fire and that case of food is destroyed. When we are prepared but but end up the hungry ones, how would we like to be treated? I have rarely missed a meal. I can’t imagine being that cold, tired, and hungry.

Regardless of politics, I’m glad I read it. I won’t bother with the rest of the series. There are a lot better sci-fi’s to see the post-apocalypse through a more open-minded prep and love.

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The Hot ZoneThe Hot Zone by Richard Preston

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Do I say “Research?” It is due to the fact that I am writing a fictional ‘zombie’ book for NaNoWriMo that I picked up the Kindle and Audible versions of this book. My zombies are merely sick people. I am not a medical person so I needed some input on how it all starts and how contagious it all is. As it turns out it isn’t as bad as Ebola, but the gore of my book might evolve due to this book.

Meanwhile, this is a book I put off for decades. I remember a guy named Jason at the school I worked at that came up to me with the paperback. He was so excited about it. But the more he talked the squirmier I got. “And it’s a true story!” He exclaimed. I started watching shows like Outbreak. We saw it in the theater. Remember that sneeze? I nearly ran out of there when someone coughed.

I grew–good or bad, I guess that’s for others to judge. But lately, I can watch a disaster movie, or The Walking Dead and notice only the social reaction to the monsters or the disease or the overwhelming snow. So I thought I could now face this book.

Reading happens at bedtime. Bet you can guess how this book blended into dreams. And since I listened as I read the Kindle with the Audible, that voice! Richard M. Davidson’s voice. What a deep bass and excellent for the genre! Creepy and authoritative! Wow!

What I learned is that my characters in my book were dressed properly to deal with their strains of disease. And I learned I never want to be anywhere near someone coughing! If I was a germaphobe before… well, let’s just say there isn’t enough hand sanitizer in the world for me!

Knowing this is nonfiction made this even more frightening. It doesn’t seem like it was that long ago there was an Ebola scare. What a horrid disease! And this author did a poetic job of helping the reader to see it and feel it. If you haven’t read it yet, climb out of your hiding place and give it a try. Forewarned is forearmed as they say. Might as well get the Audible version to make it even more real. I will try to read more of his books now. Time for more vitamin C and Airborne!

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The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection from the Living DeadThe Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection from the Living Dead by Max Brooks
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

While I’m waiting for my characters to come out of hiding, yes, they are literally behind boulders during a volcano as Exploding Ebolic Zombies surround while being shot at by corrupt police… I thought I’d get some of my past due reviews written.

When I was telling my son about my upcoming (and now current) NaNoWriMo zombie novel, he dug out this book. It is an actual handbook that uses some well thought out ways to survive Zombie attacks. It is done tongue in cheek yet if you think about it, these ideas could save you during any kind of catastrophe. It is well-written. And the font easy enough for me to read during the day. But since most of my reading happens at night, before bed (yeah, zombies before sleep didn’t help much), I added the audible version so I could lean back and really think about what the author was telling us. Marc Cashman narrated this quite well. Though it is written in handbook form the narration was authentic sounding and keeps the reader/listener engaged.

I highly recommend this book for those who can take the humor with the survival facts. It will help my future writing as I rethink: how safe are my characters behind those boulders? And where is an exploding zombie when you need one to attack those cops?

Oh, just enjoy the book!

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Waiting for a Miracle: Historical NovelWaiting for a Miracle: Historical Novel by Helen (Wininger) Livnat
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I finished reading this a few days ago. I hate it when I finish before I am ready to sleep. I start the next book and forget to get back to the last book to review. But this one needs a review!

There cannot be enough books about the Holocaust. We need to look at it from every angle to make sure it doesn’t happen again. This book presented another point of view. It is from paternal journals handed down from the time of the first world war. The great-granddaughter is conveying the story. All the way to her own life.

All in all, it is well told. It doesn’t quite fit into my goal of reading books by strong women with strong women as main characters as Helen (Wininger) Livnat only tells her story at the end and it feels she left much of her own life out to give her forefathers the say of what happened in those horrid times. And that’s fine with me. She includes what is happening to the females at that time as best she can. The stories are coming from journals of the men so she’s telling what she inherited. None of it is fiction. We’ve read the histories, we can see the truth. We need to take warning.

It is always hard to give a rating to someone else’s life. So in that, I’m sticking with the five-star rating. There were errors, grammatical mostly–near the end, a ‘there’ that should have either been ‘they’re’ or ‘their’ (I can’t remember which now) is one example. In fact, the ending could use an editor’s eyes. But it didn’t take away from the truth and horror of the story or the warnings. And I think that there may have been some translation problems in that I think Russian was the first language. But I’m guessing.

Like I said, it is the story that is the important issue here. I think everyone should read this. It is enjoyable watching the families and the sons adjust and still love no matter what the outside world is doing. It is amazing what we can do when we do it for love.

Yes, there are a lot of tears. Even near the beginning. So have your Kleenex handy. But there are big joyous moments as well. Life and love bring us generations of stories and struggles. Well worth the read. But I’m repeating myself. I just want people to pick this up when they can and take it into their souls.

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Review: Room by Emma Donoghue


RoomRoom by Emma Donoghue

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow! I think this has been the best book I’ve read in a long time! And though I’m sure the writing was spectacular, I believe that Michal Friedman (Narrator), Ellen Archer (Narrator), Robert Petkoff (Narrator), and Suzanne Toren (Narrator) made this story come to life. It was nice to have an actor for each character. No male straining his voice to sound like a woman nor a woman attempting to beat out a bass voice. I do see that Michal Friedman, a woman, played the sweet child, Jack. But she sounded so natural that I think it was a good fit. Just an aside, and I hope it is in error I say this, but I read on the internets in this quick research that Michal Friedman has passed while giving birth to twins. Please let me know if you find out otherwise. I just wanted to finish my review tonight and not get caught up in yet another ‘shiny chicken’ (ADD distraction) moment.

Before you become afraid of sinking into a story about kidnapping and sexual abuse, realize that this book is from the viewpoint of the 5-year-old child who is quite happy in this room with his mother. So he doesn’t see the bad that is happening to his mother. He gives us light to what most children would love to have, their mother’s full-time attention and love. But don’t think this is a child’s book either. This boy is very grown up and super intelligent. Through this boy’s eyes, the author moves the story quickly. In fact, though I thought this was going to be a boring read so as to quickly go to sleep at night, I was still reading at 3 in the morning. And it took me a few days to finish. Lots of story here!

I can’t wait to watch the movie, but I have a feeling this version will be my favorite. Please give it a try, especially if you can get the audio to go with it.

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Life as We Knew It (Last Survivors, #1)Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Every now and then a person needs a good disaster movie or book. I’ve yet to figure out why. I think it is watching how predictable those in charge cause even more problems and how the human spirit can rise to the occasion in spite of everything. By the way, this one doesn’t have zombies. Imagine that!

I bought this Kindle book and its Audible companion quite a few years ago and just forgot about it. I don’t know what brought it to mind now, but I am glad I found it again.

Not only is the story engaging from the very beginning, Emily Bauer’s narration keeps it all alive. I love that this particular disaster stays rather calm in the crises as the mother tries to get her family prepared and she fiercely protects them.

The story starts with a family that is probably as familiar as our own, divorce included. It shows how love is still there even where the living together failed. And the children of this break up are not less well off, just different.

As the world becomes spread out because of the lack of working communication devices, the daughter keeps her diary going. It is through her communications with herself that we learn the story of life after the meteor hit the moon and causes tidal waves, earthquakes, volcanos and more. The global mess becomes personal as this teen tries to adjust from boys and kisses and proms to washing the laundry by hand and staving off hunger.

I highly recommend this book. There was a lot to learn here for all of us.

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Fever 1793Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I finished this masterpiece a couple of days ago. It was part of my anti-depression about my husband being in the hospital while I was home with fibro-flare. In this case, I would say misery loves company. Or… at least things aren’t as bad as it was then.

This was a birthday present from me–to me! I had picked up the whispersync for voice also so I was able to listen to Emily Bergl’s narration. I have to admit she is not my favorite narrator. But once she was into the story I felt drawn in and forgot that there was a narrator.

Laurie Halse Anderson always amazes me with her works. This book is no exception. Wow! The amount of research that she dug through to write this fiction is overwhelming! This is based on a real epidemic that happened just a few years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Yellow Fever takes over. But no one knows yet that it is due to the mosquitoes. Medicine was still in its infancy. Through Ms. Anderson, we get to see what could have happened to a young girl, her family and her community.

Okay. Confession time. I have never been a history buff. I did have a fabulous professor in college that made me appreciate it a bit. That class was when I was in my forties. So imagine how long it was that I hated history. I think with books like this I might have been able to relate to historical events as a middle grader on. This younger generation is so lucky to have such writers as Laurie Halse Anderson!

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Life of PiLife of Pi by Yann Martel

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Did you see the movie? I did, a few times. I loved it. I rarely like reading a book after seeing the movie. The pictures imprint in my mind of characters and places which can mess with my own interpretations of what I read. But the movie followed the book so well that I didn’t need to divorce myself from the movie. It was like watching the deluxe version of the movie with bits that maybe had to land on cutting room floor for time constraints. As usual the book got more into the mind of the main character. But not a lot more. With the ongoing narrative in the movie, you were able to get into his head anyway.

I was better able to enjoy this book because I was able to borrow it through Amazon’s Kindle-Unlimited program and then I picked up the Whisper-synch for voice. By speeding up the narrator’s voice, I was able to read the book in a more comfortable speed for me without losing the brilliant narration. By the way, there were actually two narrators: Jeff Woodman and Alexander Marshall. To tell you the truth, I don’t know who was who. But whoever it was they did an excellent job.

You know, I feel I may have to read this again sometime. I loved the time on the ocean and then on that little island. I still feel I can taste the salt spray and see the fluorescent brine in the night sea. I will probably watch the movie again. There is a depth to the character and plot that feels healing to me.

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Review: World After


World After
World After by Susan Ee
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was another book to keep me up until 3 in the morning. This series is so exciting! It involves so much action that from the beginning, in book one, until now the end of book two, one is caught up in the story. Susan Ee’s writing keeps you captured in her world.

It was so long ago that I read the first book that I was a little worried that I would have to go back and read book one again to remember all that had happened but Ms. Ee does a marvelous job reacquainting the reader with ‘World Before’and ‘World During’ that it all flows quite well as we step into ‘World After’.

Book one had us meeting Penryn, her little crippled sister, and their mentally ill mother. The world was hard enough for poor Penryn to live in then the Angels and Demons decided to cause the apocalypse. Survival was the theme in both of these books. But there is a minor (?) romance between Penryn and an angel.

This book continues the survival, fighting, and romance. Penryn is quite the character and struggles to help her family and the other humans to survive. She learns to use the angel’s sword and tries to save everyone. She is quite spunky and able to hold her own no matter what.

I was about a third of the way in the Kindle version of the book when I realized that I had the Audible version of the book that I had purchased a while back. I must admit that the narrator, Caitlin Davies, was able to read the story exactly how I had been hearing it in my head. What is nice about having the audio version is you get to hear how the names should be pronounced. In this case I had been calling Raffe ‘RAF’ with a long ‘A’ sound and silent ‘e’. Apparently it is ‘Rawffa’. Sounds a lot better the right way, I must admit!

Though almost all threads have been tied up, and the ending is sweet, there is enough to let me know there will be more. Yay! I do really enjoy this series. Oh, and those who don’t believe in angels demons or the bible will still enjoy this series as a fantasy. I recommend it to all for a fun adventure.

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Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women's Prison
Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison by Piper Kerman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have to admit that I picked up the hardback copy from the library after watching the series on Netflix. The tree version hurt my eyes to read so I went ahead and bought my own Kindle version. I’m glad I did. This book was worth every penny! I could listen to text-to-speech while I read. It might have been even better to have the audio-version with human voice but this was just fine.

The beginning was very satisfying as it mirrored the Netflix version. The book proceeded from there a little less raw. It did feel like Ms. Kerman was putting a good spin on her experience in prison. The Netflix version puts in a lot more drama. Which is the real version? I don’t know but I feel like it may fall somewhere in between. I think the Netflix may take other stories about prison life and show other things that may go on.

Piper Kerman’s writing kept me engaged and wanting to know what was happening next. I was impressed with her zen attitude and reserve while describing some of the horrid things that go on in prison life. Even though I am twice her age I could identify with feelings she eloquently expressed.

Everyone should read this book. Men and women alike, all ages and races. We can all appreciate the message and maybe help create a better world.

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