Tag Archive: survival



The Butchers (Breeders #6)The Butchers by Katie French
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There are many different reviews on this book, low stars and high. I’m giving it five stars as I still care for the characters and the situation enough to make it through the whole series. And I look forward to the new book in a takeaway series in the future but in the same place.

What I hate has nothing to do with this book, except the way books have to be labeled. Yes, it is nice to have a guideline of readability levels. But maybe we need something that says, this is gory and has a lot of killing and blood. There is a romantic element but no sex. There are gender issues addressed in the way of this series’ settings.

But here’s my thing: Why do young adult books have to have young adults? I remember being a young adult and loving science fiction. The more, the better. Those characters were men, not anyone that looked like me. Still, I consumed them. Am I happier to see books that reflect every age of me now? Absolutely! I’m not ever depicted in exciting books, adventures, etc. Auntie is the closest to me. I think all of us need a variety of types of characters to get to know. What we relate to are the places, flaws, ability to rise above, etc. 71 year-olds are people who need all that, too!

The reading level is easily accessible by middle grades though a parent or teacher may want to talk to the child about it. Certainly, children these days watch shows on the media that contain all that is here. And for many, the survival of our characters teaches how one might be to be out in the New Mexico desert with bad guys everywhere out to kill you.

But barring all those elements, this story pulls me in. From the very beginning, The Breeders. I do agree that it is hard to differentiate between characters. Even having the title of the chapter as the heads up for the viewpoint, the character Sounds the same until he/she bring up individualized things. I’m not sure how to fix that confusion that happens if you are reading by listening only to text-to-speech. But I somehow got used to it and felt the new chapter beginning.

All-in-all, I loved these books enough to overcome the issues presented. I’m looking forward to reading more by Katie French.

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Review:


The Carolina Diaries: Belle

by Darlene Winters

The Carolina Diaries: BelleThe Carolina Diaries: Belle by Darlene Winters
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I don’t know. This was hard to read. It is hard to review. It feels autobiographical. Though it–

I don’t do this often as I figure people will go read the blurbs themselves. But this and the reviews make me wonder if I read the same book.

“Her cousin wants to die. She has the whole roadtrip to convince her otherwise.

Darlene only knows of one way to help her cousin Belle after a life of disappointments–go with her on a cross-country road trip, head back to California where Belle was born… and where she intends to die.

But deep family resentments and drama rides with them across the country, shedding light on heavy themes like sexual abuse and depression, as well as religion and politics. Growing up in North Carolina, these cousins have a lot of stories to share: some sad, some comical, and some just down right disturbing.

If you enjoyed Little Miss Sunshine and Girl, Interrupted, you’ll want to read The Carolina Diaries with its unique blend of dark humor and even darker perspectives of life past, present and future; the real take-aways being how to cope and heal.”

I found no humor. I wish I hadn’t picked it up. It was exactly what I don’t want to read before bed. All the reality of our daily news lives during this pandemic. And though I agree with the author on a lot of stances, I couldn’t deal with it in my bedtime fiction.

My fault. I saw road trip, my first name, and didn’t read the description.

Maybe if I read it during the day I could see the humor in a suicidal cutter who had lived with so much abuse, of every kind, during a pandemic during the political turmoil of 2020. No. I don’t think so.

The reason I am not giving this a lower rating is the list of good books and ideas the author presents. Unfortunately, the way it’s presented makes me sure the ones who need the information will not see it. Still, there’s a chance I could be wrong.

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My Journey around Mont BlancMy Journey around Mont Blanc by Dan Karmi
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a one-evening read. It makes me feel bad that the journey Dan Karmi took can take a little over an hour to read.

I loved how Mr. Karmi just made the decision to take this hike and got busy prepping and then gets the job done. I enjoyed seeing this adventure through his heart and emotions and connections with others along the way. It is inspirational. It makes me want to get busy and take hikes around here. I just need to do some short trips up my driveway first.

I think my friend in Israel recommended this book. If so thank you. If not I recommend it to her and others who need a little ompf to get out and get healthier. This is still free with Kindle Unlimited so take an hour out and give this a try.

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The Benders (Breeders, #3)The Benders by Katie French
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Book three and aiming to get the next book? I guess I liked it! I am growing to like the characters. Even if the world is dark and they keep finding themself in dangerous places being experimented on or enslaved and lots of running and hiding.

I’ve been listening to the book on Kindle Unlimited. In this case, Audible, narrated by Carla Mercer-Meyer. I love how well she acts out the characters.

This is a dark dystopian series. Yeah, I don’t know why in the darkness of 2020 I choose to read these, but I guess it has kept me more optimistic than others as I know it could get worse. Let’s read these and prevent this from happening!

Now on to number four!

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The Believers (Breeders, #2)The Believers by Katie French
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I finished this book a couple of days ago. Snow, elections, NaNoWriMo, and other distractions got in the way of my review. Sorry.

This is the second book of the Breeder series. The story of the girl looking for her mother and aunt continues. It is far from an easy feat. But Riley and her boyfriend and her brother try to find a way to them.

The story kept me interested. Often I found it nauseating. I think that was the author’s intent. Still, I couldn’t put it down. Maybe it was the train accident effect? You can’t just let it go. You have to look. That is the very reason I just ordered the Kindle Unlimited version. I think the first and second are KU also. So what is there to lose? Find Aunty and Mom!

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Cut by Annelie Wendeberg

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I can’t remember how it was I picked up this book and its sequels. Sorry. Even so, this is a fun apocalyptic read about a young woman trying to survive in a dystopian world with pandemics popping up here and there.

Maybe it is a bit more adventure than a person should read just before sleep. But it didn’t affect me too much.

This was a different take on the post-apocalypse world. A young woman finding her way in a world with few rules that all follow. Micka is a well-developed character with a few quirks of her own. She has lexical-gustatory synesthesia. That on top of learning about menstruation and sexual preference while trying to survive makes her a very interesting person to get to know. Just as she is getting to know herself.

Here is Wikipedia’s definition:
Lexical-gustatory synesthesia is a rare form of synesthesia in which spoken and written … Tip of tongue studies have shown that a word’s lemma may be responsible for eliciting a taste sensation, not its phonologic sound or spelling. Further … development and lead to the over-representation of the flavors of childhood foods.

I have known a couple of people who have variations of this. I know I have a mild case and it often helps me remember or recognize certain words or names that might slip my mind otherwise.

This book was a quick read. Now I have committed the second book because one isn’t enough. Give it a try. You might like it, too.



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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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