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221 of 246 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon June 25, 2011
This was a moderately readable adventure, but the barrage of five-star reviews (all marked as almost 100 percent helpful) has me raising my eyebrows.

First off, what I liked: The plot is decent. A likable young man, Jimmy, is invited to his boss' cabin after the economy collapses, and he and his new cohorts have to defend themselves from various groups of bikers, religious fanatics, etc. Meanwhile, Jimmy's girlfriend, Paula, is missing, and his ex-girlfriend, Julie, is putting the moves on him. The ending looks like it's going to be way too pat, but there is a twist at the very very end that will pique your interest again.

What I didn't like:

* The editing is atrocious. The repeated misuse of apostrophes was especially annoying -- for example, referring to the boss and his wife as "the Dahlgren's" instead of "the Dahlgrens."
* The writing starts out VERY rough. The hit-you-over-the-head foreshadowing was atrocious ("They would find out that very afternoon just how wrong they were" -- that sort of thing). It does improve, though, and the author is at his best when describe action sequences.
* The character development could use a lot of work, especially the women: Julie is tough and pretty. Paula is spoiled and pretty. Patty is kind-hearted. Cindy is smart.
* The obvious political agenda that the author inserted pretty much constantly got old fast -- especially in quotes and such at the beginning of each chapter. I wanted to read a good dystopian tale, not get a political sermon.

This could be a really good read if the author hired an editor who really went over the whole thing with a heavy hand. As it is, I think it's a readable story, but the writing just isn't up to the demands of the plot.
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39 of 46 people found the following review helpful
on April 28, 2012
Like another reviewer I am surprised this book has attracted so many 5 star reviews. There was nothing exceptional about this book, the plot is okay, the characters are reasonably well crafted, and the author effectively weaves in policitian themes and an historic view. They are all good things, and why the book is certainly worth a read.

There are things I struggled with when reading this book. There were holes in the story - for example it just didn't make sense that Ken would entrust Jimmy with stocking the truck with supplies when this was the first time he had even disclosed his survivalist plans. Then there were little things that irked me, at the beginning of each chapter the author includes an historical fact, I didn't have a problem with that ( in fact I thought it was pretty clever), what I didn't like was some of these were repeated later in the book - I got the message the first time I didn't need to read it twice.

Anyway, I paid $2.99 for the book. I certainly don't feel cheated, but I must have missed something that others saw. Happy to give 3 and a half stars - can't see anything that would warrant a higher rating. Having said that I will probably buy the sequel, which means the author certainly hasn't missed the mark
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22 of 26 people found the following review helpful
I really tried to like this book. I loved the idea, especially with the way the world is today. I did learn some unknown facts about the government's control (and FEMA's)..but that wasn't why I purchased this book. I have been reading apocalypse books for several weeks, this was the first one that I considered buying that wasn't about chemical warfare, rather government collapse.
I have not found one character that I like. Even "Jimmy" the lead character is not likable. I got to the point in the book that *SPOILER ALERT* Jimmy's new girlfriend? (I put question mark because I still don't know the answer) Julie, Julia, Janet, June, I am not going to take the time to look up her name, anyway, she is shot. I have no clue if she dies or not, because at the moment Jimmy screams "Noooooo!" I realize that I could care less if A) She is dead or B) Jimmy's heart is broken.
And as far as the wooden wall that they built around the house, after all of the fires the neighbors built ,why didn't they just burn it down?? Maybe they do at the end, like I said, I will not finish it.
I must also say that I have never known anyone like Bill.
He seems to be a character derived from Bill on the cartoon King Of The Hill. That is who I kept picturing when I read...
All in all, I wish I had never purchased this book and I do not recommend it to anyone.
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43 of 55 people found the following review helpful
on May 20, 2012
Lets start by saying that with end of the world kindle books, I get that we're not reading fine fiction. Even so, this book was terrible. To put it simply:

Poorly written and edited
Unbelievable and VERY childish dialogue.
Small blurbs about government to start each chapter.
Ridiculous attempts at foreshadowing.
Simply seemed to be written by a high school student.

I've never written a review before but I just had to do it!
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on May 27, 2013
I have read many post apocalyptic books and Desperate Times is the most unrealistic one I have ever read. Between decisions the charters make. Inviting random people to your retreat? Are you serious? Then letting them in? Dumb decision after dumb decision. If it teaches you anything it teaches "Nice people don't finish last, nice people DIE FIRST!"
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23 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on September 8, 2012
This is one of the worst survival fiction novels I've ever read. The author knows nothing of combat tactics (amateurs using assault rifles on full auto and actually hitting something?) or of weaponry ("fully automatic" M16s have been out of the military inventory for almost 20 years now...M16A2s and M4s use a 3-round burst setting instead...and the idea of police carrying "service revolvers" is similarly outdated). The author also demonizes fundamentalist Christians, but displays his ignorance on this subject as well. The leader of the "fundamentalist" band is Sister Margaret...yet fundamentalist Christians oppose the ordination of women. The idea that a few people could build a palisade wall large enough to surround a compound like the one described in just a few days is similarly laughable. One of the precepts of survivalism/prepping is to buy quality rather than buying cheap. That should apply to this book as well. Save the $2.99 and apply it to something worthwhile.
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22 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on July 19, 2011
This is literally the first book review I've written and I simply needed to voice my opinion given the number of five star reviews. I found this in the free titles on my Kindle and thought the plot sounded interesting, and in theory it is. It's the execution that is horrible. The dialogue is simplistic and unbelievable, the character development is non-existent (pick three basic adjectives about each character and that's as deep as you'll get) and the editing is horrendous. I've actually visited the book's page to find out if it was written by an high school student in a creative writing class. Don't waste your time.
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24 of 32 people found the following review helpful
on October 14, 2011
While I rarely feel the need to give reviews of books, this particular novel was bad enough that I wanted to make some comments, if only in the hopes that the author will see them and take my thoughts into account when he writes his next book.

The first couple of pages were great - the historic context and the opening paragraphs drew me in. But the book quickly lost its steam. The most jarring problem was the frequent reference to what will happen soon - "he didn't know it, but things were about to get much worse", for example. Good storytelling shouldn't rely on constantly foreshadowing events that will happen in the next few pages. At best, the surprise plot turns are ruined.

Additionally, the events of the books were completely unrealistic. The story would have been much more compelling had it followed a timeline which could happen in this society and economy. (For example, checks on the stock market are ignored.) Instead, the author seems to be creating an unbelievable series of events in an effort to prove a political point. I may not agree with his point, but I would have been much more open to the premise had things progressed in a realistic manner. There were also too many irrelevant side stories - the biker gang is one example.

I did finish this book, as I was curious to see where the author took the story. But it was disappointing, as a story with so much potential lost much due to poor stylistic choices.
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32 of 43 people found the following review helpful
on July 12, 2011
This story of an economic apocalypse started out well enough---not particularly well-written, but an interesting premise. However, soon it became obvious that the writer's grasp of both grammar and punctuation had not yet reached a fifth-grade level. In particular, the consistently incorrect use of apostrophes was both appalling and distracting. The overall poor grammar so detracted from the story that after about 25 pages I clicked out and deleted the book. If someone is going to publish a book,even online, can they at least get it edited by someone who has a grasp on the written language? I'd give Desperate Times NO stars if I could.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
This was an engaging and gripping read - I couldn't seem to put this one down, and when I wasn't reading it I found myself thinking about it during the day ready to pick it up again.

The author does a good job of setting the stage for a believable "end of world" scenario with today's financial crisis. These end of the world as we know it books aren't unique, as there seem to be more of them appearing each week (or maybe I am just becoming more aware of them), but what really differentiated this one from others I have read is how the author focuses on a core group of people and following the trials and tribulations of their lives. He gets you into the heads of their characters, especially Jimmy the main character but even to the annoying Bill - all of us have an annoying Bill in our lives - that made you quickly relate and get into the characters and the story.

At the conclusion I found myself wanting more as he left you with a cliffhanger ending and I know there is a sequel - somehow that was pulled from the Amazon Kindle store and every other online Kindle-format bookseller I found. Maybe it was pulled to fix some of the Kindle formatting errors others have talked about in their reviews - while they were slightly annoying, they didn't detract from the story - so here's hoping the sequel gets back on the Kindle site before we all forget about it. It would be a shame to waste the free promotion currently going on with this book.
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