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on June 25, 2011
This is a great little story and I enjoyed it very much. Its kind of short but well worth the read. I gave this book a 5 star, which I don't do that often because, to me, it was so, so, good! I'm not one to be bothered by editing issues too much as long as the story is great and this one was; however, there were a few times I had to reread a short section because I was thrown by editing problems.

I do recommend this book especially if you are into post apocalyptic reads.

I don't like to give stories away in my reviews but since this one doesn't have any other reviews yet for you to get more info if you so choose, I'll give you a little.

It's a story about a young man, freshly out of school working for the county as a reclamation employee. His duty is to go out into the post apocalyptic county and survey old rural subdivisions to look into the potential of turning them back into productive farms. His first assignment was no accidental assignment. He stumbles into what appears to be a nearly vacant subdivision only to find out later that a hidden, well managed post apocalyptic society already exist for one small community.

The story is mostly a recount from a middle aged gentleman from the community that was a major player in the development of the community ... from the time the "event" happened when he was just a kid to the development of the community which it is today.

Once again, its a nice little story and I enjoyed it a lot. I wished it was longer for sure but there might be a sequel, just need to check into it. If so, I will for sure get it.

It's not an action, shoot 'em up type apocalyptic book but rather a post apocalypse book on the rebuilding. Sure there is danger that exist, guns, farming and all that but no shoot 'em up events.

I read all apocalyptic books I can and although this was a little different because there wasn't any "in the moment" SHTF events, I thought it was great.

You can read it in an evening. Probably 3 or 4 hours for me and I am not a fast reader. Worth the .99 cents and maybe even a couple bucks to me but I would have been disappointed to have paid $5 for it.

(I originally gave this a 4 star rating but have edited my review because I didn't understand that it was a novella and counted off a star because it was short. I now understand this and I really love this entire series and its well worth the 5 star in my opinion)
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To start off, this is not a full-length book but the first of a ten-part series of short stories: it will take you less than an hour to read this one. If you read my other reviews, I seem to be on an end-of-the-world reading streak lately.

The author sets you into a futuristic (and believable) outlook of America several decades after a nuclear destruction of organized society, with frequent flashbacks / narrations of what happened immediately after to the surviving families. I could actually visualize the various scenes and situations, and found myself wondering "what if" or "what would I do" while reading not only this one, but the other stories in the series. The author does a good job of wetting your tastebuds and wanting a little more at the conclusion of the story - hence, let's go purchase book 2 of the series. Overall, the series is very good and I highly recommend it.

I will point out I did read all ten of the stories of the series and, while good, it was a little annoying to having just strapped myself in to read for a while then finding the various stories ended and I had to go buy another. Mr. Perkins, if you are reading this review I would encourage you to put all ten stories into one edition and raise the price - your readers will thank you for it (and spend less money) while you will make more off of the 70% royalty!
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I've had my Kindle about a year now. I started reading HG Wells and Jules Verne. Books of theirs I never knew existed. And powered through their libraries. Then I grabbed a couple of more prominent authors and finished the last three Tarzan novels. (That was a trip. Loved it.) Then I delved into new authors, reading reviews like this one. Strangely, they proved helpful and right on. They pulled me into Renewal. I'd already read and enjoyed some in the apocalyptic genre, including Sam Winston's "What Came After," Mainak Dhar's "Alice In Deadland" and Hugh Howey's "Wool" series. But JF Perkins' "Renewal" offers a unique approach, a humanistic one. His characters are well developed and approach each situation as I imagined I would given the situation. He pulled me in slow. I was about to take the first installment on its merits, a decent romp through a ruined world -- one I'd been familiar with ever since my first duck and cover in Seattle's St. James Cathedral elementary school in the 1960s. Terry, the hero, is a pretty laid-back fellow. Bill, the leader of the hidden community, just keeps getting better. Then Renewal ends. OK, I thought, nice concept. Then I stumbled on nine more in the series. I was addicted. This ... is bad ass. I ignored my family, forgot to feed the dogs and kept reading. JF, dude, this is awesome. I give the entire series a thumbs up. And I read a lot. And yes, as a former newspaper editor, I spotted some errors. But to heck with that. This is a heart-felt novel, powerful and filled with a positive message about the freedoms we all hold dear. So enjoy. I did. I'm looking forward to the rest of JF's journeys.
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on August 18, 2012
I have never reviewed a book before because I do not think of myself as the literary type and feel I have no business being a critic. That said, I read a lot averaging 40+ books a year and most books 1000+ pages. What I can say, is that I like stories and Renewal is a good one.

I just downloaded Renewal 10 and learned that it is the final installment.(Sad Panda) Perhaps I am writing this review to delay finishing the series. I really want this story to continue. I want to know more.

I found this book through the 'suggestion' pages of Amazon after finishing "WOOL:Omnibus edition". I highly recommend this series as well. I generally like dystopian novels and the collapse of society themes. What is really special about this book is realness factor and the *absence* of some other common themes I will get to later. There are no fantasy elements of some weird bio-engineered science that kills off humanity. There was a war, but that war and its politics are not important to the story. What we get instead, is a family caught off-guard and a quick thinking father whose instincts are luckily right on target. We watch as this family navigates the loss of society, electricity, food and government.

One thing that made this particular story enjoyable to me was the *absence* of common themes found in other novels, such as religion and political agendas. I have no idea what the authors beliefs are on both of these subjects, and I am thankful for that. It shows me that he has no ulterior motive in trying to get "us" to see that "this" brand of politics bad and the cause of collapse. Neither does he try to push a political system as being the best for the rebuilding of America. What he offers instead is human nature and the idea that we don't need things like government, religion or political systems to rebuild a society that reflects an America that we are all familiar with. This is what made the book special to me. It truly reflects 200+ years of American values, work ethic and human nature without uttering one word about religion or politics.

I also really enjoyed the setting for the story. It allowed us to see how important the farming community is along with a rural people who just seem better at working together to get things going again. I must admit, it is a tad "little house on the prairie", but that is not so bad. David, one of the lead characters does remind me of a southern Charles Ingalls. We also get two stories in one, since the storyline goes back and forth between the beginning, or "Breakdown" and current times, set 40-ish years in the future. You now it is a good story, when you can't wait to get to the storyline, no matter which one you are currently reading. In short, I really liked this book. I hope to see more from the author and definitely would like more of this particular story (though I don't know how it ends yet)

Some suggestions for the author - it is probably time to release this as one novel. When I began reading and subsequently got hooked, I was a little worried about how much I would end up spending to finish it. For new readers, it ends up to be 10 bucks which is totally in line with any other book. However, without knowing how may installments there were, I had no idea what to expect. Another suggestion is to keep on writing! I would love more of this story, or perhaps this story set in a city. I wonder how American values would play out in a larger population with people who don't have access to farms, livestock and whatnot.

Anyways, keep writing! Also, Reddit . com would probably love to have you in a online, written question/answer session as well. Just google reddit and IAMA (I Am A...author of the Book renewal) Contact a moderator there and they will be happy to set it up for you. Many famous authors have already done this, and you can read their session from links in the side bar. Great publicity.
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on July 25, 2012
This is a review of the entire Renewal series (1-10)

I love good stories. Don't get me wrong, huge epics with sub plots and complicated undercurrents are great, but I really love good stories. Characters you grow attached too and relationships that seem genuine. Stories you just don't want to put down. And stories that make you a little sad when they end.

Stories like these are often hard to find, but once I get my hands on one you made a fan for life. Their are very few authors capable of crafting, but I'm happy to say I have found JF Perkins, and he has made a new fan for life.

JF Perkins masterfully weaves several characters in and out of two story lines through out. Each story line (separated by several years) remains fresh and engaging throughout all 10 episodes. These are your typical flashbacks that fill in a couple of details and then promptly forgotten.

This is a tale of the end of the world and survival. It made me think morality and would I be able to hold true to my values when my family had to fight for survival? Could I be strong enough to live rather than just survive? How would my values shift to the next generation?

I could go on and on, but I will leave you with a simple suggestion, read this book.
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on January 15, 2013
I'm a huge fan of the dystopian genre. I picked up Renewal on the recommendation of a friend and LOVED it. What I love most about Renewal is the hopeful, positive spin. Most dystopian fiction paints a pretty bleak view of our future after some major society-destroying event. I don't disagree, basic human greed and selfishness would likely make life a living hell. Renewal certainly contains its share of human depravity, but I like the idea that some good people will always try to do good things. I like to hope that there will always be a spark of decency in us, even as we fight and claw for survival.

TL;DR - Read this book, you won't regret it.

Edit: I just finished Renewal 10. If you're reading this review then you need to read this series. JF Perkins has become one of my favorite story tellers. He's a great writer, his writing is smooth and descriptive, is characters have depth and humanity, and his story telling keeps you coming back for more. The only complaint that I have about the Renewal series is that I'm done reading it ;)
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on March 12, 2013
JF Perkins and "Bill" are two of the greatest story tellers. I was immediately drawn to the characters, and became a part of the world in which they lived. It is quickly evident that this is more than your typical action and adventure story. And while I enjoy good post apocalypse and dystopian story, Renewal is much more than the dark prophecy of a doomed future of many other books. I understood his careful portrayals of events that can lead people to the lost of their humanity, and how in the mist of the lost of everything known values such as love, family, and friendship can still prevail. I appreciated the well thought out survival plans Perkins gave his characters, and how he showed the greatest resources are not the weapons you gather. Thank you for taking me on this journey and reminding me of our potential of our race.
As to the fact that this story has been delivered in 10 affordable installments...I was starting my second part when I realized that my story would cost me as much a full priced book. By the end of that volume I was sure I was getting a really good price (and I liked that I did not have to pay all of it at once.) I have read all ten and it was more than worth the price!!!
PS-Oh...if you were wondering who Bill is buy the first book and begin the adventure.
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on December 10, 2012
Perkins' initial installment of Renewal plays opening act to what has yielded 10+ additional novellas. I'm new to the series and, having only read part one, I am not overly impressed as yet. This post-apocalyptic America takes what was expertly done already in William R. Forstchen's novel One Second After and gives it a bit of a toning down. The characters aren't quite fleshed out yet, so I'm really not sure how they'll progress, but I am confident that there won't be that many surprises. There is a wind of predictability, and Perkins seems a little too eager to hand-feed his audience. A little subtlety goes a long way, but is absent here. Terry is a bit less shocked than he should be, and a little too accepting of a magnificent paradise right up the road. Bill is a bit too amazing and cocksure for believability, as was his father before him. Yet, the little snippet of reading that it was has entertainment value, and it has me somewhat curious. I'll give the second installment a shot and see if I can be hooked into a third one. It must be mentioned that the errors are significant, glaring and continuous. In one single paragraph near the end of the story, we are treated to "They waved sent cheerful greetings" and "By now the sun high enough" and "with and occasional asphalt shingle." These kinds of editing mishaps are frequent and quite distracting. Beta readers would have helped shore up these mistakes and made this more enjoyable for the buyer.
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on October 14, 2011
Loving this series...

This review is not for this book, but for the series as a whole. I have purchased all 10 novellas (currently just starting book 8). The characters are very well developed and I care about what happens to them. I particularly enjoy the dual past/present story line. The editing could be stronger at times but it is pretty darn good for a self-publishing effort! It is refreshing that the author seems to have no real motive other than telling an engaging story. Too many of these prepper "teotwawki" stories have political or overly religous overtones that at times overwhelm the story. I have no problem with people believing what they want but it tends to alienate certain people or groups and it can be difficult to connect to characters that speak/act very differently than people I know in my life. For example, this story presents women in a more positive and realistic way than some books. It is still the men that are driving the story forward but it is better than most. At the end of each story the author gives a little back story on the chapter and a window into his own mind and what he is thinking during the writing process of that installment. This works very well in the serial format. It is very interesting and it allows the reader connect with the author.

The series is not a fictional/instructional manual like many some stories in this genre. It has some ideas concerning building but is light in most other details and that is a-ok in my opinion. I would rank this story up with "One Second After" and "Lights Out" - Both of which I highly recommend. The writing/plot is stronger in my opinion than "Patriots", but Patriots has too much instructional information to be missed.

thanks for reading
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on March 26, 2013
I highly recommend the Renewal series by JF Perkins. Go ahead and buy all 10 of them at once because you will want to read them all together. The books take place in a post nuclear war America but everything else about the books has a 19th century feel. All of the modern comforts of life disappear and the characters are forced to adapt to a completely new world of self reliance. The characters are rich and the story will captivate you. The characters are also forced to make some very difficult decisions along the way and one of my favorite things about the series is how the author creates a dialogue about those decisions. The line between good and evil is discussed and makes for great dialogue.

Even if the setting of this series seems a little outside of your normal taste, I think you will really enjoy the books. They are much more about the characters and their values then about anything else.
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