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Publisher's Summary

Three months after life as she knows it was decimated, Megan Wolford has only one goal: protect her daughter, Caitlin, at any cost. When a mysterious illness strikes Caitlin down, Megan is forced to forage for medical supplies at a remote lodge. The last thing she wants is help from her fellow survivors when so many in her life have let her down - but soon she'll find herself with no other option.

Ex-Navy SEAL Wyatt Morris is doing everything he can to hold his family together after the tragic death of his prepper Dad. So when Megan enters their lands, he is mistrustful at first, despite feeling drawn to her. He won't turn away an ill child though - no matter how deadly the world has become. But the arrival of another stranger named Kyle soon gives them all a new reason to be suspicious.

Wyatt knows he'll have to forge alliances in order to keep his family safe, but trusting the wrong person could be a deadly mistake. When Megan and Wyatt discover her daughter's illness may be linked to Kyle's arrival, it sets off a race to discover the truth before it's too late to save Caitlin - and the rest of the Morris clan. Can they work together for survival...and something more?

©2017 Relay Publishing (P)2017 Relay Publishing

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Natalie @ ABookLoversLife
  • 06-08-2017

Enjoyable.

This follows Megan and her daughter Caitlin. Caitlin is deathly ill and Megan is trying to find a way to save her. She stumbles upon a remote cabin that seems abandoned and breaks in to see if there is anything there to help her daughter. Extremely tired, she falls asleep only to wake up to some people in the cabin. Thankfully the people are friendly to her and agree to help Caitlin. She is hesitant to accept their help because so many people have let her down, but Caitlin is too sick to go anywhere.

This was an enjoyable read, though a little.... too easyish for Megan and Caitlin. It's hard to believe that they would stumble upon people who are so nice and so prepared, but that could be just my cynical self ;) I also rolled my eyes a bit at the predictable romance!! It felt too fast.

I did really like all the characters though. Megan is well prepared and knowledgeable in a lot of things and is well able to look after herself, but I liked that she didn't know anything and was willing to teach the family things, whilst also learning things herself. I liked the family too, especially the dog ;) They were all well written and developed!!

In all, a good solid start to what I'm hoping will be a great series. I liked the extra mystery within the post apoc element. Like life isn't hard enough, they have to figure out what happened Caitlin! I'm looking forward to thee next one.

Andrew Tell was awesome. It's been a while since I've listened to one that was narrated by him, but he is as good as I remember. He has a wide variety of tones and voices and even though the majority of the book is from a female perspective, it didn't feel like a man was narrating. Thoroughly enjoyed his performance.

I was voluntarily provided this audiobook for free from the author, narrator, or publisher. This in no way affected nor influenced my thoughts.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Tammy G.
  • 29-08-2017

I loved this book.

Where does Dark Retreat: EMP Lodge Series, Volume 1 rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

It ranks high on my list because it is a woman writer and women have a completely different look on survival and the SHTF. I love that she still had shopping list for the preppers and some gun porn, for my husband who also loved the book.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Wyatt

Which scene was your favorite?

When she killed Kyle.

Any additional comments?

I did have some issues with a few things about Wyatt.. Navy Seal, COP... You don't have to be those things to be good at surviving. But I felt the story moved along at a very nice pace. I was sad that the book ended. I hope there is another one coming. My husband called the book the An Apocalyptic Romance Novel. I loved the connection between them because it was believable and made sense that this can or will happen. People will connect and fall in love even in the worst of times.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Mary Snodsmith
  • 08-08-2017

Good start

I enjoyed this first of four in the series. Just to let you know I am an audio "reader". I forgot to check to see if the rest of the series came in audio form and am disappointed that they are not. Are you going to provide audio versions? If so, I would like to be advised so I can continue with the rest of the books. Usually I check ahead just to make sure because it is so disappointing to find a series that I'm enjoying, only to find that the audio versions aren't available. Good luck with your stories and keep 'em going for those that see better than I.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Brian
  • 28-07-2017

A Strong Female Led Post Apocalyptic Tale

3.5 out of 5 stars

The story follows a mom and her daughter in the days and weeks following a devastating CME. They are forced to make hard decisions and the daughter is even in great danger as she is seemingly getting sicker and sicker.

The story itself (outside of what I write to finish this review) was an enjoyable one and one that not a lot of authors write. Most of the time they write about escaping to a comfortable place with love and family — not the struggles of a single mom and a sick daughter (I’m not giving away too much here). I like that the story revolved around Megan and her daughter Caitlin.

There was some atypical (or typical depending on the stories that you normally read) romance involved in the book that, in the beginning, felt out of place, but as the book continued, felt a little more in place. Sometimes I think that the romance is “too easy” in situations like this, but then again I’ve never been thrown into a situation like this, so who knows.

Megan as a character was pretty likable. She has some character flaws that made her believable, but there were some of them that felt like Hamilton was trying to make sure that we as readers understood. While there’s nothing wrong with pushing a point — some of them felt a little overdone.

The story had a nice arc though and I felt like I was getting an enjoyable (and slightly different) story out of the book. It’s one thing to have strong female characters written in novels, it’s made even better that she wasn’t totally helpless. Sure Megan had to learn other survival techniques, but she was better off than most people (men included) would be in this sort of situation. Things felt a little too easy for them and the story kept going back towards being an almost post-apocalyptic romance tale.

Honestly, I don’t always write about the bad in a book because I am really good at putting on what I call my “movie goggles” and letting a story take me away. There was a part in the intro of this story (and in the series title) where it talks about an EMP. But when Hamilton writes what happened it sounds like it was really a CME (Coronal Mass Ejection) caused by the sun. These two things are not the same and should not be written as the same. I can understand having both of some sorts (a CME by the sun and an EMP by a country we are at war with). But calling a CME an EMP really brought me out of this book. BUT if you can look past that (which I did) this book is full of the typical post-apocalyptic fillings that will make most PA fans happy.

This is my first Andrew Tell book in a while and I’m really glad he narrated it. He has such an easy to listen to voice that makes any story flow.

I received a free copy of this book. It has not affected my review of my opinion.

If you enjoyed this review, please vote for it! Every vote helps. If you'd like to see more books like this please check out BriansBookBlog DOT com.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Lynn 2 Girls and a Book
  • 22-12-2017

Great intro to Grace Hamilton and Andrew Tell

Audio Book Review

The story and performance of Dark Retreat EMP Lodge #1 was fantastic. Grace Hamilton wrote a compelling post apocalyptic tale that Andrew Tell brought to life with his rich voice.

After a EMP virtually shuts down the entire world chaos ensues. Megan is just trying to keep her and her daughter safe and create some semblance of a normal life. Her daughter, Caitlin, falls ill with a mysterious illness while they are traveling. That's when Megan stumbles upon a cabin in the woods.

Wyatt, his mom, brother, and friends have created a pioneer home in the mountains which Megan happens to stumble upon. Unbeknown to all them, there is a con man following Megan.

You can kinda see where this is going. I don't want to add spoilers!

The MC, Megan, is strong, resilient, and brave. Her love for her sick child and her ability to stand in the face of danger not only for her child but the newfound family she finds in Wyatt and the others. I found myself cheering her on.

Andrew Tell is a fantastic narrator. He did a wonderful job bringing this story to life. I look forward to checking out other work from him.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Kindle Customer
  • 10-08-2017

loved

I was voluntarily provided this free review copy audiobook by the author, narrator, or publisher.

I really enjoyed this book. If the world ever ends I hope I am like the family in this story. I also enjoyed this narrator, very pleasant to listen to. I look forward to hearing the others in this series.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Joseph Mahoney
  • 09-08-2017

Another take on the EMP Apocapylse

This story follows Megan and her deathly ill daughter Caitlin. The pair stumbles upon a remote cabin. Megan breaks in hoping to find life-saving supplies but it appears that it is pretty well picked over. Megan is extremely tired keeping vigil over her child and falls asleep. The owners return. Luckily they are kind and offer to care for Caitlin and help them. Megan is hesitant to accept their help because in the new and old world people suck and can not be trusted. but Caitlin is too sick to go anywhere. This was enjoyable but predictable. The characters were well written and fun. This could be a good start to a great series as long as they stick with the same narrator.

I really enjoyed the narration of Andrew Tell. Mr. Tell did an awesome job. This was a great performance and I look forward to hearing more of his work in the future.

This review copy audiobook was provided by the author/narrator/publisher free of charge via Audiobook Boom.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • TinkerMel
  • 18-07-2017

Dark Retreat

What do you get when you add an EMP, a Dash of romance, a pinch preparedness, and added in scented old-fashioned values, an con man. YOU get a great story with a fluffy dog in it as well.
I read a lot of WSHTF books, though I love them, they are all the same.. good but all the same.
Well this is book is different.. it has a great storyline, and great tips in it as well. The characters are well-developed; and I was ever in the situation, this is the family I would want to find. Narration was amazing. I would recommend this book to anyone that loves apocalypse books that is looking for something lighter with a tad bit of romance in it.
and NO cliff hangers!

I was voluntarily provided this free review copy audiobook by the author, narrator, or publisher.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 18-07-2018

Week story

Forced to make myself read until a women had to "teach" navy seal to humt...really?? wasted credits. but describes useless details with painfull detail.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • DabOfDarkness
  • 27-01-2018

Holds potential to be a good series

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.