Monthly Archives: August 2018

The Fight Comes Home

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This We Will Defend cover

Lauren Russell and her family have established a close-knit community in Trout Run Valley of West Virginia. Life is hard in a post-apocalyptic world. While most everyone had prepared by stocking up on supplies they are having to barter with neighbors for garden vegetables and fresh meat from livestock. The clan wants nothing more than to be left alone to subsist with one another. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and a roving hoard of Takers have other plans. The valley will be under siege. Do they have enough to defend their homesteads and families? More importantly, do they have what it takes to survive?

Rudolph’s second novel in the What’s Left of My World Series, This We Will Defend: The Continuing Story of a Family’s Survival, is very much like book one in its meandering pace. There again are several flashback chapters which break of the flow of the story. The most disappointing part of these books is that Lauren’s character is the only one that is really fleshed out. The subplot with Faith Gallo at the FEMA camp is much more cultivated. I can say that this novel was much better edited than the first.

The uniqueness of Lauren’s training instituted by her father from her very early years is what keeps me interested in these books. She is a very complex young woman. While she makes mistakes based on her impulsiveness and desire to know everything her instincts are almost primal.

3 out of 5 stars.

The President As I Remember Them

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The other day I was trying to remember each of the presidents that have been in office since I was born. It’s weird that I remember so little other than what was taught in school. And, to be honest about that I tried hard not to remember anything in history classes. I found them incredibly boring.

Of course, I was too small to remember anything about Dwight D. Eisenhower. But, I do distinctly remember John F. Kennedy. Not because he was president, but because the coverage of his assassination overshadowed my cartoons. Sadly, I don’t remember anything at all about Lyndon B. Johnson’s presidency other than his wife was called “Lady Bird”.

Richard M. Nixon sticks out for two reasons. First, we had a mock election in my fifth grade class, and he won because his supporters promised ice cream. Second, he was impeached. Shocked the snot out of me. I was terrified that something bad would happen to all the US as a result.

The only thing I remember about Gerald R. Ford, Jr. was the fact that he seemed to be clumsy. There was a lot of news coverage about him tripping or something like that.

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Then there was James E. Carter, Jr. We were living in Mississippi at the time he ran for president. My dad was even a delegate in support of him. My dad was from Georgia and I had spent most of my life there. So, we were ecstatic when he won. Unfortunately, he did not live up to my parents’ expectations and they now consider him to be the worst president ever.

With the disappointment of Carter my parents switched political parties and whole-heartedly supported Ronald W. Reagan. His was the first election that I was old enough to vote in. For many reasons Reagan remains dear to my heart and I miss him.

George H. W. Bush’s presidency left no impression on me. I was going through a lot personally at the time which included a divorce.

There is a lot I remember about William J. Clinton’s presidency. I had the chance to meet him when his campaign came to Augusta, Georgia, but elected not to attend the rally. The Monica Lewinsky affair stands out most prominently.

The attacks of 9/11 are what I remember most about George W. Bush’s presidency. Life as I knew it forever changed.

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Barack H. Obama II will forever be known as the first biracial president. Many have decided to call him the first black president. Politics became more polarized than ever before after his election.

The current president, Donald J. Trump will undoubtedly leave quite an impression.

What do you remember?

Survival Skills Tested

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What's Left of My World cover

Lauren Russell isn’t your typical young woman. Her father has seen that she was taught from a very young age the art of survival. Those skills will be put to the test after a catastrophe strikes forcing them to relocate without her dad into a remote valley in the mountains. Will they be enough to help keep her family and friends safe?

Rudolph’s first novel in the What’s Left of My World Series, What’s Left of My World: A Story of a Family’s Survival starts after the family has relocated. It’s a bit slow and I had a hard time getting engaged in the story. The protagonist, Lauren is very intense. She has good instincts but sometimes she’s impulsive.

The book has several flashback chapters which break up the flow and disrupts the storyline. As I’ve already started book two this seems to be the author’s style of writing. While it is fairly well edited there were problems with the use of possessiveness.

Overall it is okay. Definitely not 5-star worthy though.

3 out of 5 stars.

The Art of Falling

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Learning to walk as a child is an amazing thing. There is so much that goes into it. Strength, balance, stamina, coordination, and a whole lot of determination. Falling over and over again is all part of the process. Most times the falls are on a diaper cushioned bum. Some are headfirst but not as often. Once walking has been mastered we take off and never look back. I read a quote somewhere a while back that went something like this: Everything is hard until it’s not. Walking.

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Walking is hard. Falling is easy. As you grow you tend to trip and fall occasionally. If you play sports, there’s a good chance you will fall. Then there are those of us that are not coordinated at all and fall for no apparent reason. Most will dust ourselves off and go on about our day. Some won’t be as fortunate. Knees get skinned, bones get broken, concussions happen, or stitches are needed.

Two years ago, during surgery, I suffered a stroke in my spinal cord. This has left me an incomplete tetraplegic also known as a quadriplegic. They weren’t sure I’d even be able to feed myself let alone ever walk again. My main goal when entering rehab for three weeks was to walk somehow. Of course, they made me learn how to bathe, dress, and feed myself. Those are important too.

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Fast forward to present day, and I can walk some with a walker. I have the strength and determination. What I lack are the balance, stamina, and coordination. From time to time I fall. There’s no getting up and dusting myself off though. I require lots of help to get back up.

Yesterday, my best friend came to take me out to dinner. I texted my husband and he was going to meet us there. As we were headed to her vehicle the rollator’s breaks failed and I pitched forward. My left knee and my right forehead skidded on the concrete parking pad. I have some road rash on my right forearm. And, I lost a lot of hair where the goose egg was.

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My husband came on home. Fortunately, our neighbor and a friend of his were outside. Those three guys were able to lift me using a blanket and put me back into my wheelchair. I went on inside and with my best friend’s help I got cleaned up and we all went on out to dinner.

This morning my legs weren’t having any of it. Of course, they didn’t bother to tell me that until I tried to stand up. I elevator dropped right to the floor by the bed. I was trapped. My husband had to come home to help. Using a blanket again he dragged me into the living room where with the help of pillows and him pushing I got onto the couch. We had to use the slide board to get me into my chair.

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I was so excited and really still am about me starting to drive again. Taking the wheelchair with me is out of the question as I can’t get it into the vehicle. Now that the rollator is being a butt it is out of the equation too. As soon as I get through this minor setback I will go back to the rolling walker. It’s lightweight and easy to fold.

Remember, when life bites you in the ass bite back!

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Time To Get Up

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That annoying alarm goes off. Not that the sound itself is annoying. No, in fact, I picked a sound that I would like to hear first thing every morning. The very fact that it goes off at all is annoying. I’ve always hated the alarm. But, I can’t rely on myself to get up on time otherwise.

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So, the alarm goes off. I shut it down and lie there. There is nowhere that I need to be today. I could stay in bed where I’m comfortable. Yet, I kick the covers to the side and remove my CPAP nasal mask anyway. Immediately I’m covered in cat. Flash is on my tummy kneading away without regard to his twelve pounds alternatingly pushing on me.

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The debate ensues again. And, the earworm attacks. Should I stay, or should I go now? Ha! I gave it to you, didn’t I? Now, I try to remember who sang it. (It’s The Clash, I looked it up.)

Well, hello, Tuffy. I have both cats now. He’s flopped over on his back on my shoulder looking at me upside down. I have no choice at this point. The cats will not stop since they know I’m awake. It’s a go now. Hahaha!

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Why do I even set an alarm with me being retired on disability? Structure. It is essential to me to have some sort of semblance to my former working world. Otherwise, I’d go into a deep depression and stop enjoying life. That is not someplace I want to go.

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I’m still lying here petting both of my cats. My mind is starting to wander as is this blog post. My TBR pile is getting bigger. What will I have for lunch today? Make sure to change the bed sheets. Too bad I didn’t have Gary make me a pot of decaf coffee before he left. Do we have any packages being delivered today? Our cruise is coming up soon. And, so on, and, so forth.

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Finally, I push out of bed and go about my morning routine. It has been twenty minutes since the alarm sounded.

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Trying To Get Home

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James (Rock) Rockwell and his family are on an island off the coast of Portland, Maine when an explosion sends a tsunami their way. Realizing that no one will come to their aid they seek higher ground until they can find a way home. After leaving the island they discover that civilization has dissolved into the chaos that threatens their lives at every turn. Can they adapt and manage to get home? And, is home any safer than anywhere else?

Abrahams combines three novellas, Crossing, Refuge, and Advent into a standalone novel, Pilgrimage: A Post-Apocalyptic Survival Story. The story is loosely based on the The Perseid Collapse series of books written by author Steven Konkoly. It is very well done and follows Konkoly’s timeline. The characters are as real as they get. The family makes heart-stopping mistakes that keep you on the edge of your seat throughout the story. The emotions tug at you as you read about their struggles with the new reality that surrounds them.

Having previously read each of the novellas I was surprised to find as many errors in the combined version as I did. A few were contextual misspellings while the main portion were continuity errors. The story was every bit as good as it was in separate pieces. Abrahams seamlessly transitioned from one part to the next.

James made me want to knock him upside the head on numerous occasions. The man can’t walk without tripping over something.

Even with the mistakes, I would recommend reading this novel.

4 out of 5 stars.

When Black Ops Collide

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Daniel and Jessica Petrovich along with more of General Terence Sanders’s elite Black Flagged operatives are preparing to take down Dr. Anatoly Reznikov once and for all. As the most dangerous bioweapons scientist in the world Dr. Reznikov has been captured and liberated more often than a cat with nine lives. The Mossad has a team going after Reznikov’s handler. Both groups are targeting the same place at the same time. Neither knows the other is there. The fireworks are about to begin!

Konkoly’s latest entry into The Black Flagged Series, COVENANT: A Black Ops Thriller, book 4.5 is right on target. It has all the thrill and suspense you’ve come to expect with this series. Fast-paced action, well-developed characters, and a Russian mafia are all packed into this novella. It is also professionally edited.

This story focuses more on Jessica’s character. While not a back story it does show you how she processes a situation out of the norm for an op. I was not originally a fan of the cold-blooded killers that the Petrovichs are. Konkoly has made them likable and somewhat normal.

5 out of 5 stars.