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review 2018-01-27 00:10
Dark Retreat by Grace Hamilton
Dark Retreat (EMP Lodge Series Book 1) - Grace Hamilton

There was much I liked about this book. First, the world as we know it is no longer there with all it’s technology and governments and such. While everyone believes that a large powerful EMP is the reason, the details are left sketchy, which I found very believable in this new world of limited communications. While folks begin to explore and rely on herbal medicines, they also concede that they can’t cure everything and diagnosing without medical tests is very challenging. The stage is set well and now we just need a good plot and some interesting characters.

I liked Megan at first. She’s determined to find safety for her daughter and she stumbles upon a remote cabin. Pretty soon, she meets the family that lives there: Wyatt, his brother Chase, Chase’s wife Willow, the men’s mother Rosie, Willow’s young son, and also someone’s neighbor Albert. There’s also the guard dog, Duke. Each character brings some skill to the table and I was pleased that Megan was able to pull her weight from the beginning with her hunting and snaring skills.

Now I did get a little tired of Wyatt man-splaining so many things to Megan. Yes, he’s got skills she needs to learn and she’s a willing student, but after the first round or two, I really felt it was venturing into the ‘pat you on the head, you’re such a good student’ realm. We’re often shown, step-by-step, how Wyatt makes a water filter or a food dryer but when it comes Megan’s skills, we’re just told and it’s very brief. So I would have liked some balance there.

Meanwhile, the plot thickens as a shifty character enters the story: Kyle. He’s out for trouble and we know it from the start. Too bad these well meaning preppers want to think the best of everyone. I liked that Kyle brought so much tension and danger to the story. It’s not just about surviving the elements; it’s also about surviving other people.

Megan’s character does get a little whiny later on. She’s got big trust issues and those push her into making some silly and possibly deadly decisions. If I knew more about her background, this might have come off better but as it is, it felt mostly like drama for drama’s sake. Toss in the near insta-love and you have some cookie cutter plot mechanisms in play. Wyatt was falling for Megan by Day 2 and I felt, at that point, it was more about loneliness and perhaps lust than about love. It’s OK for characters to acknowledge that. Still, I was happy with how their friendship deepened towards the end of the book.

Setting aside my quibbles, I felt the pacing of the story was good. I was never bored and I liked that even as they solve one problem, or are planning for a future harsh winter or such, a new problem crops up. There’s also the varying personalities that everyone has to get along with. The setting/world building is what shined in this book for me. 4/5 stars.

The Narration: Andrew Tell did an excellent job with this narration. At first, I was a little concerned because our primary character is Megan and I wasn’t sure Tell could pull off a female voice for the majority of the book. He did just fine as Megan. In fact, all his female voices were feminine and each was distinct from the other. I did sometimes confuse Wyatt’s and Chase’s voices, but they are brothers and needed to sound similar. Tell makes a great grumpy Albert. 4.5/5 stars.

I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Grace Hamilton. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

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review 2017-08-11 12:16
Choices by hunters_retreat
Choices - hunters_retreat
An engaging fanfic in which sentient android Jensen ends up on the run with deliveryman/cyber specialist Jared.

'He had no idea why Jared wanted what he did from Jensen. He was just a used up sex toy that had grown a soul.'
Source: archiveofourown.org/works/5989495
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review 2017-02-22 16:17
Retreat to Shelter Creek - Lee Carver

Retreat to Shelter Creek
Book starts out with Ashley and she's back in town, helping her grandmother, living at her place while she goes through chemo for cancer. She also is getting divorced from her husband as he's taken up with a woman who he got pregnant. He also closed out all her accounts which were her earnings.
Story also follows Austin who has a son who lost his wife to cancer. He's the roofer and he wants the pig also as he hopes to breed with several of his.  He has family land problems after his father had passed away and others tell him their father told them they could have the land after raising crops on it for ten years. He and his brother and mother can't find any documents stating that or deeds...
Ashley decides to take on the first grade teaching position as she is broke and other arrangements have been made for her grandmother's care. Love mysteries surrounding all the devastation that occur and clues leading up to who caused it...
Love how the community is there for anybody who needs the help. Love the career of Austin as the details are so explicit and oil exploration information you know the author has done her homework correctly.
Feel so at home with this book as we had picnics in our travels with our own food-such good memories.  Lots more twists and turns to this story. so much action, romance, adventure and scriptures and passages posted about the immediate problems they are each trying to get help with.
Other works by the author are highlighted at the end.
I was given the book by the author via Book Fun (The Book Club Network) and this is my honest review.

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review 2016-09-14 20:10
Review: The Retreat (After Trilogy #1) by Kelly St. Clare



Earth is ruined. Humankind destroyed. And it’s old news.


Romy’s life is simple—for a genetically enhanced space soldier; pick up space junk with her four friends, and stave off the invaders fixated on stealing Planet Earth.


It isn’t much. But it’s temporary—only another 850 years to go, give or take.


When her crew tangles with a gulp-worthy alien mothership, Romy’s return to Earth is brought forwards at hurtling pace.


Strength comes from the unlikeliest of quarters.


As does leadership.


…As does betrayal.







***Disclosure: I received a free copy in exchange for a review.***


What’s Good: a well-paced read that can keep you turning the pages.  The premise is intriguing, even knowing the hammer’s gonna fall.  Once stranded upon Earth, things change in more ways than Romy and her friends could’ve imagined.  Despite all the teen drama & angst that dominates the book it never gets too bogged down by it.


Dialogue, while usually stilted, is often funny.  Houston, a medical doctor, is a walking rifftrack- always with a quip or one-liner, even at the wrong moment.  He needs more page time.


The plot, while nothing new, has a few wrinkles to it that’ll hold your interest.  Threads are woven together pretty nicely and there’s not a lot of wasted pages.


What’s Bad: the usual.  Main character Rosemary, aka Romy, is pretty much the Chosen One, evidenced by her nickname (instead of Rose or Rosie).  Except for one or two exceptions nearly every character is straight from Central Casting including Atlas- the mysterious, enigmatic leading man who leads the encampment and, of course, falls completely in love with Romy after about two weeks.


Despite the new wrinkles it’s still a YA novel and quickly falls back into the same old same old, so what felt kinda fresh becomes stale.


There’s also not enough about the Critamal- the aliens that humanity is fighting.  Once the crew is stranded on Earth the focus naturally shifts, but the alien invaders are all but forgotten, and not a whole lot was supplied about them to begin with.


Being a YA novel, there has to be artifical drama that makes no sense.  Romy & her crew are super-soldiers: enhanced reflexes & strength, nanobots in their bloodstream, etc.  Yet when faced with the threat of sexual assault suddenly Romy has no skills whatsoever, let alone presence of mind to simply punch him in the jaw and let someone know what’s happened.  Or at least level a few threats of her own.  Granted, this scene was groundwork for later developments, but it still didn’t make any sense.


What’s Left: an interesting arc that needs to get out of its own way.  Less reliance on the YA cliches and tropes and tell the story.


3/5 stars.

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review 2016-09-07 00:00
The Retreat (The After Trilogy Book 1)
The Retreat (The After Trilogy Book 1) - Kelly St. Clare Romy, Thrym, Elara, Phobos and Deimos are all members of knot 27. And as all other knots their job is to protect Earth from the Critamal until Earth repairs itself. Earth was destroyed many, many years ago and humans can’t survive on it yet. Romy wants so bad to go to Earth but that won’t be possible for another 850 years. So for now Romy is content to do her job of cleaning of space debris.

One day Romy and her knot are called to battle the Critamal. Somehow they end up right in the middle of the battle facing off with the mothership. The next thing they know their ship is spinning out of control. Romy wakes up on Earth; a little sooner than she was anticipating; with her knot and half of the ship missing.

Romy soon learns that everything she has been told about Earth and the reason they have been fighting the Critamal may all be lies. After she learns of these lies Romy and her knot maybe in danger. Romy is determined to find the truth if it kills her but she won’t put one of her knot mate’s life in danger. She will protect them until she takes her last breath if that is what it takes to keep them alive. Can Romy find the truth? Can she save her knot mates? Can she save herself? What will Romy do?

The Retreat has been one amazing journeys and I have been very happy in being a part of it. The Retreat will take you down roads you have not traveled before. I love seeing Romy with her mates and how well they got along with each other. They had the best relationship; better than most. Their knot was the only family they knew and they treated each other as such. I would love to read more about Romy her knot mates and Atlas. There was another character I would also like to know more about and that is Nancy. Yeah a character with my name, cool. I can’t wait to read the next book. I just know it is going to be just as amazing as the first.
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