Wrong email address or username
Wrong email address or username
Incorrect verification code
back to top
Search tags: survivors-guilt
Load new posts () and activity
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2020-04-13 16:37
Anything is improved by adding a dinosaur, or more!
Mountain Climbing with Dinosaurs - Doug Goodman

I write this review as a member of Rosie’s Book Review Team, and I freely chose to review an ARC copy of this novel.

This is my first book by Goodman, and it was a ride on the wild side.  I suspect it won’t be the last of his books I read, either.

OK, from the title you probably guessed that the book is about mountain climbing. Check! It also has dinosaurs. Check! I chose the book because I thought that, in the current situation (Coronavirus, I’m talking about you again), I needed something that would grab my attention and  keep it away from what has become a reality that feels like a badly written dystopian novel. And yes, it did that, for sure, but it also did much more than that. I know very little about mountain climbing, and I’ve only attempted to climb a climbing wall once in my life (climbing wasn’t a problem, but I didn’t like the ropes and wasn’t good at handling them, in case you wonder), but I’m always intrigued by mountaineering adventures, and well, dinosaurs. I couldn’t resist the combination. But the back story of the climb was fascinating in its own right. The description only refers to it in passing, but the two twins who are the main protagonists of the story (Travis and Brady), are doing it for a very good reason. They have been climbers since they were children, recently survived a school shooting, and are doing the climb in remembrance of their dead schoolmates. Thirteen of their friends died in the shooting, and they’ve decided to climb thirteen mountains and leave a memorial on top of each one of the mountains, one of each of their friends. The book manages to touch on survivor’s guilt, and also on the feelings of those indirectly involved in the shootings, relatives of victims and perpetrators, while at the same time keeping the focus on the climbing and the dinosaurs (and these are not the friendly kind, believe me). It keeps a good balance between pure adventures and more serious topics, and although at times the most technical aspects of the mountain climbing got lost to me, that didn’t impede my enjoyment of the story. I don’t want to go into the plot too much, because although some of it you can probably imagine, there are subtler aspects that are best left for readers to discover.

I have talked about some of the themes of the book. The dinosaurs, that I guess will be one of the main attractions of the book, are not the best-known and most familiar to the general public, and the creatures, that in this story have been brought back to life by Big Pharma, seem well –researched (although I’m no authority on dinosaurs). Not being an expert in mountain climbing, as I said, I cannot judge how accurate the techniques and equipment mentioned are, but they rang true to me, and I again think the research has paid off. The book also deals in themes that I was more familiar with, like the psychological aftermath of a school shooting, and it does so with a fine touch and sensitivity. Although the writing style is completely different, it reminded me of Hunter Shea’s Creature. That also made me think that although the dinosaurs are “real” within the book, they could also be read as symbolising what the twins are going through, and so could some of the other strange events that happen within the novel (and I’ll keep my peace about that as well).

This is not a book with many characters, and most of the action is narrated in the first person by one of the twin climbers, Travis, so we get a very direct perspective on what is going on, and an insight into how he sees events, and also how he remembers the things that happened, and his understanding of his brothers’ actions and feelings. We also get some short inserts where the cameraman interviews relatives and friends of the twins, to help him create the documentary of the climb. These characters are not part of the action, but those fragments offer us a different and larger perspective into the twins, and also into their background and their previous stories. The two twins are the main characters, although the filmmaker and the photographer also play a small part in the main action. But there are other characters that also pertain in the story, because their memory is very much alive, and those are some of the other victims of the shooting, and though we don’t get to know them all individually, we feel them there every step of the climb. The dinosaurs are also characters, and we get enough information about them to get a good sense of their different outlooks and characteristics. I wouldn’t want any of them as pets, believe me!

The writing style is direct, and easy to follow (apart from the use of specific mountain climbing terminology at times), and there is enough description of the mountain, the climbing techniques, and the dinosaurs to allow readers to get a clear picture in their minds (yes, it would make a great movie, if the special effects were done well). There are some instances of telling rather than showing, necessary to provide the information general readers would need to understand the action and the behaviour of the dinosaurs, but they do not interfere with the flow of the story. As I said, most of the novel is written in the first-person, and I know some readers don’t like it, but I thought it suited it well. Some scenes are quite violent and graphic, so I wouldn’t recommend it to squeamish readers. As I always say, I’d recommend future readers to check a sample of the novel and see if they think the style suits their taste.

The ending is suitable to the genre of the book —I don’t think anybody would expect a conventional happy ending—, but I thought it worked well, considering the story and the events. And yes, the epilogue was very fitting. A quick word of warning. The story only occupies 90% of the e-book, and it’s followed by a teaser from another book, although I confess I wouldn’t mind reading Demon Flyer at all.

A solid read, with its scary moments (it did remind me of Jaws at times), and a deeper and more meaningful story than most readers would expect from the title. It demonstrates that any book can be improved by the introduction of a dinosaur, or a few.  Recommended to lovers of mountain climbing, dinosaurs, and to readers looking for creature horror with a bit of backstory and depth.

I’d suggest to the writer and publishers the inclusion of a list of mountain climbing terminology, with links, and also a list of the dinosaurs and their characteristics, as that would avoid distractions and enrich the reading experience.


Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2016-01-19 14:33
Book giveaway contest and review!
My Father's Son - Andy Symonds

Now’s your chance to win a copy of this rare, intimate look into the personal lives of SEAL members and their families. Just post a comment below and a winner will be randomly picked on Monday, January 25, 2016.  US residents only, please, as requested by the publicist.  Good luck!


This is a very well written novel about a young boy whose father is a Navy SEAL. The author, Andy Symonds, is the son of a Navy veteran.  He wrote this book with the input of a retired Navy SEAL.  You can be assured with this type of inside knowledge from both the author and the retired Navy SEAL that the book will be true to the lives of a military family.  This book has been endorsed by the Special Operations community.


Nate is only 13 years old when his beloved father, a Navy SEAL, is killed in action. His father’s fellow SEALs step up to be there for Nate and his mother and younger sister and help them as they grieve and struggle to go on.  The book fluctuates between Nate’s life from age 13 to adulthood and also memories of past days that Nate and his father had spent together.  Parts of the book are narrated by Nate’s father during combat, those parts being truly heart wrenching.


The author very movingly writes about the strain and worry that are daily parts of the lives of a SEAL’s family. They dread the ringing of a doorbell and what news it will bring.  They live every day with the knowledge that their loved one may not make it through that day.  And once that dreaded doorbell does ring, the family members must pick up the pieces of their shattered lives.  It was truly beautiful to watch as the other SEALs became family members and did their best to fill the empty space their friend had left in his loved one’s hearts and lives.  I often had to remind myself that this is a novel and not a memoir as it’s so realistic.


The book not only highlights the sacrifices made by SEALs and their families but also talks about PTSD and survivor’s guilt. While the general public may feel they know how hard it is on these men and their families, this book will open many people’s eyes to what the defense of this country costs these men and their loved ones.


I was given a copy of this book by the publicist in return for an honest review.


Author’s website: www.andysymonds.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/asymondsmyfatherssonbook?ref=hl

Twitter: https://twitter.com/fatherssonbook

Medium: https://medium.com/@fatherssonbook

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14138793.Andy_Symonds

Like Reblog Comment
review 2015-11-22 00:00
Beyond the Surface
Beyond the Surface (The Breakfast Club #1) - Felice Stevens

I think the time has come to accept that Felice Stevens might not be the author for me.

There is a lot of love out there for this book, but me? I really wasn't feeling it. I liked Nick, though. A survivor of 9/11, he struggles with this tremendous amount of guilt, he has a hard time even seeing the light at the end of the tunnel most days. Since I don't have a lot of experience with this kind of thing, I can't really comment on how realistic this is portrayed here. All I can say is that parts of his pain felt pretty real to me.

Additionally, I was 11 years old when the Twin Towers fell, and living in a different country. So even though I can tell you exactly where I was and what was happening around me on September 9th 2011, this traumatic experience means something completely different to me than to every American. My emotional connection therefore might differ significantly from the one other readers might experience while reading this book.

And then there was Julian. I liked him a lot, actually. He was sweet, warm and patient. I just wish he would have stood up for himself a little more. Because, what really drove me nuts, was the whole plot surrounding his "lack of perspective". Don't get me wrong, I loved the new project he worked on after he was betrayed and shunned in the fashion world. BUT. I was absolutely not happy with how people reacted and judged his carreer in fashion. You can think what you want about overpriced jackets, scarfs and color-coded accessories. I for one, have practically no interest in it. Most of the new fashion trends go straight over my head. I also don't have a lot of patience for bling-bling, clothes that "reflect my personality best", or the self-indulgent or the two-faced fashion scene in general. On the other hand, I think it pretentious and wrong to judge someone who makes his dreams come true by being successful in this business. Does a firefighter safe more lifes? Yes. Does the work of a police officer or a heart surgent seem "more important" when it comes to life and death situations? Absolutely. Does that give you the right to judge and ridicule other people, and accuse them of being shallow and dumb over the carrer they choose? Fuck, no!

That's what spoiled the book quite a bit for me. Nobody has the right to put someone else down for his carreer choices. And liking nice things, clothes and trends does not make you a shallow, or stupid, or bad person. And yet, that's how it's portrayed here. Sure, there are more important problems in the world than a fashion show gone bad. Still doesn't make it right to shame other people for their job as a designer. But everybody and his dof felt perfectly in the right to give Julian crap over his carreer. So. Not. Cool.

The writing in and on itself is not my favorite. Some of the dialogue read more like a stringing together of speeches. Some of the conflicts and/or their solutions felt too artifical to me. But it was really the shaming of Julian that did it for me. Maybe I get offended too easily, but that's how it is.

All in all, not a bad book, but not one I will re-read any time soon. 3 stars rounded up because I really liked the MCs.

More posts
Your Dashboard view:
Need help?