Book Review The Guardians: The New Homefront Volume 2

The Guardians

This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

I previously reviewed The Last Layover:  The New Homefront Volume 1 by Steven C. Bird as part of Survivor Jane’s preparedness books blog tour.

The Guardians is the second book in the Homefront series.  The story continues to cover the main families from the first book, and introduces two sons of one of the original female characters.

Without giving away too much, one portion of the book deals with fighting the Mexican cartels trying to seize power in south Texas, and another part covers some of the characters in Tennessee who are fighting with marauders.

As far as the story lines, I was not keen on the overpowered cartel.  While I agree that cartels would cause a lot of trouble in a grid down disaster, I imagine they would not be as profitable or have the economic ability to fund a war if the economy collapsed and drug sales went down.  Another aspect of the story I was wondering about was what the federal government was doing and why the states pulled away.  However, there was enough action in the story to keep me turning the pages.

Besides the action in the book, I liked the continuing focus on the small group of characters.   I hope to see the characters continue to develop.  The author also has an extensive knowledge of firearms which provides some good detail.  I look forward to the next installment of The Homefront series.

© Apartment Prepper 2014

 

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Book Review: The Last Layover by Steven C. Bird

the last layover

This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

I had the pleasure of reading The Last Layover:  The New Homefront Volume 1 by Steven C. Bird as part of Survivor Jane’s preparedness books blog tour.

What is the book about?  The Last Layover is an e-book, a work of fiction in which an airline crew finds themselves in a grid down disaster while in a layover in New York City.  They must find their way back to their homes while dealing with violence, loss of infrastructure and chaos.

What I thought about the book 

I was very interested in reading the story, as the topic speaks to one of my fears:  being in a disaster while being far from home.   It was easy to place one’s self in the shoes of the characters.  I  liked the characters and agreed with their choices and actions.

The book initially covered much detail about flying and the piloting life.  While informative, I felt the background info was a bit too long.  I would have preferred more details about what caused the breakdown.  I wondered why the local police and sheriffs were strangely absent – the only detail given was they were protecting their families.  Perhaps some of the questions would be answered in the sequel.  I also felt the last part of the book seemed to be rushed, considering the hardships and roadblocks described getting from Delaware to Ohio, the trip from Ohio to Tennessee seemed to go quickly and without incident.

Overall, I thought it had a good story and I enjoyed reading it.  I thought the characters were very believable and it was easy to relate to them.  The book was fast paced and had enough action to hold my attention and I was able to finish it in a couple of days.  If you are looking for a quick and enjoyable read, I recommend you pick up The Last Layover. 

The Last Layover and its sequel, The Guardians: The New Homefront Volume 2 are available Amazon.

 

© Apartment Prepper 2014

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“If the Ebola Threat were to Escalate, Isolation would be Key” — Jim Cobb, Author of Countdown to Preparedness

Countdown to Preparedness

Today we are featuring Jim Cobb’s latest book, Countdown to Preparedness:  The Prepper’s 52-Week Course to Total Disaster Readiness.

I had the opportunity to read Countdown to Preparedness and found lots of helpful advice.  It breaks down the idea of preparing for both short term disasters into manageable steps that can be done in 52 weeks.  Of course you can take shortcuts if you are able to or stretch out the time period according to your finances and time constraints.  I appreciate the budget minded approach, as many families are daunted by large expenses.

Jim Cobb’s books have been featured on Apartment Prepper previously and we are pleased to have this encore interview.

1.  Given the fears about the ebola virus, what is your current state of alertness (on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the highest level) regarding this issue and why?

As it stands right now, I’d say I’m at a 2.5 or so.  Ebola is on my radar,
but I’m not really losing any sleep over the threat just yet.

2.  If the threat of ebola were to escalate, what is the best approach for a city dweller?

Isolation would be key.  If someone in an urban area were able to quickly
and safely get into a less populated area, that would be ideal.  If that’s
not a viable option, be prepared to hunker down and wait it out, which
could take weeks or even months.

3.  Residents and tourists in Hawaii breathed a sigh of relief as the two hurricanes threatening the islands passed without incident.  Many readers are confused about being prepared while flying to a destination, either for business or personal.   What is the best way to be prepared while on vacation or traveling for business?

When possible, I much prefer to drive to my destination, given that I can
obviously carry more gear with me.  Flying is problematic when it comes to
survival equipment.

It might be seen as being “overly prepared” but what I’ve been doing is
shipping a small box to my hotel ahead of my arrival.  Said box contains a
small amount of survival gear — food, water filter, first aid kit, knife,
etc.  Not a ton of stuff, but enough to give me a leg up if I were to need
to evacuate without having access to my regular kits.

Now for the Giveaway:

Please answer the following questions for a chance to win a copy of Countdown to Preparedness:  The Prepper’s 52-Week Course to Total Disaster Readiness.

Are you prepared for emergencies when traveling?  What steps do you take to be prepared?

The winner* will be chosen at a random “Pick a Giveaway Winner” drawing on Friday,  August 22 at 8 pm Central.  *Winner will be notified via email.  Winner must reply to email notification within 48 hours or another winner will be drawn.

This giveaway is now closed.

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Forsaking Home by A. American – Book Review

Forsaking HomeToday we are looking at Forsaking Home, Book 4 of the Survivalist Series by A. American.  As you know, I am a fan of the Survivalist Series, having reviewed the books in the past.  As soon as I heard the fourth book was available for review, I jumped at the chance.

As a quick summary, Forsaking Home delves into what our main character, Morgan Carter has to do for his family’s survival in the aftermath of the failure of the electric grid.  At the same time, the book also covers the actions of Sarge, who plans to take down a refugee camp run by oppressors.

I enjoyed reading this book and was happy to find out what happened after we left off in the third book.  However, I the book felt divided to me, as about 1/3 of the book dealt with Morgan Carter and his family, and 2/3 dealt with Sarge and the planned take down of the camp.  I would have preferred more of the book dedicated to Morgan, as I was more attached to Morgan’s character than Sarge.

As in the previous books, you can pick up some great survival tips as you are reading Forsaking Home.  The story moves along at a satisfying pace, and keeps the reader interested in the unfolding events.

I like the books overall, and hope this is not the final book in the series.

Now for the giveaway…

If you have not started reading the books, this is a great opportunity!  One winner can win all four books in the entire series.

Going Home

Surviving Home

Escaping Home

Forsaking Home

To enter, please leave a comment below regarding:

What outdoor or bushcraft skills are you most interested in learning and why?

The winner* will be chosen at a random “Pick a Giveaway Winner” drawing on Saturday, July 26th at 8 pm Central.

*Winner will be notified via email.  Winner must reply to email notification within 48 hours or another winner will be drawn.

THIS GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED.

 

3 Signs it’s Time to Bug Out – Interview with Jim Cobb, Author of Prepper’s Long Term Survival Guide

Prepper's Long Term Survival GuideToday we are featuring the book, Prepper’s Long Term Survival Guide, the latest book by Jim Cobb, whom we have interviewed in the past.

Prepper’s Long Term Survival Guide gives vital information on how to survive long after a disaster has struck.  It  teaches readers practical tips on how to cope with problems and challenges that could last months or years in the aftermath of a large scale disaster.

In light of the subject, I sent Jim Cobb a few questions for an encore interview:

1. Hygiene would be a huge issue in a long term disaster especially in
the city – how should apartment and city dwellers approach this?

There are two basic facets to hygiene planning — cleanliness and waste
disposal.

Personal hygiene needs can be accomplished with minimal water, far less
than most people realize.  Hands should be washed after toileting and hand
sanitizer can be used for this purpose, saving water that would normally
just run down the drain.  Sponge bathing can be done with as little as two
cups of water, believe it or not.  Use one cup for dampening a washcloth
and lathering a bit of soap.  Then, use another washcloth, dampened with
the second cup, to rinse.  Not nearly as refreshing as a hot shower, I’ll
grant you, but it’ll do the job.

As for waste disposal, burying or burning are really the only two viable
options.  For either option, I suggest scoping out a nearby vacant lot, if
one is available, for this purpose.

 2.  Security would be even more difficult but crucial in a societal
 collapse:  at the minimum, what are some steps an apartment dweller can
take now?

The “gray man” approach is the first advisable course of action.  Utilize
back doors to apartment buildings, if possible, so you aren’t advertising
your presence by going in and out through the main entrance.  Keep lights
to a minimum at night and cover the windows with landscape fabric to
prevent that light from being seen from the outside.  While your neighbors
will obviously know you are still around, of course, you want to do
whatever you can to keep casual observers from the “outside world” in the
dark, so to speak.

3. Finally, there may come a time you can no longer stay in the city but
 need to bug out:  what are some signs to watch for indicating it’s time
to leave?  Where could one go?

Signs it is time to head for your bug out location:

1) Stores aren’t receiving shipments of any new product.  This indicates a
disruption in the supply chains and is a clue that the disaster isn’t
going to be “fixed” overnight.

2) Reliable information indicating looting and rioting are happening on a
mass scale and possibly headed your way.  By this, I mean you received the
information from a reputable source, rather than your neighbor telling you
her son’s girlfriend’s bestie heard from a guy on her block that a woman
told him she’d heard something about it last week.

3) Emergency services are overwhelmed.  If calls to 911 aren’t being
answered, that’s a strong indicator that you are on your own, at least for
the immediate future.

As for where to go, I strongly advise all preppers, whether they are urban
dwellers or live out in the sticks, should have at least three separate
potential bug out locations planned out ahead of time.  Ideally, these
locations will be in different directions from your home.  For example, to
the north is Grandpa’s old hunting cabin, to the east is your college
roommate’s home, and to the southwest is Aunt Sally.  This way, if the
routes to your primary bug out location aren’t feasible you have backups.

Bugging out is generally the least favorable option after a disaster but
it is important to plan ahead for that contingency.

After I finished reading Prepper’s Long Term Survival Guide I had a list of storage items and other aspects needing improvement in my own household.  Read Prepper’s Long Term Survival Guide and you’ll learn some valuable insights.

Now for the Giveaway:

Please answer the following questions for a chance to win a copy of Prepper’s Long Term Survival Guide

What are your most pressing concerns regarding long term survival where you live?  What are you doing to mitigate these worries?

The winner* will be chosen at a random “Pick a Giveaway Winner” drawing on Friday,  June 27th at 8 pm Central.  *Winner will be notified via email.  Winner must reply to email notification within 48 hours or another winner will be drawn.

 

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Survivor Max – Book Review and Giveaway

Survivor MaxI just finished reading Survivor Max:  Too Smart to Die by Davi Barker.  The story starts out when Max, an 11 year old boy, finds himself in a school lockdown.  He escapes and runs home, only to find that his father who was researching the disease, has already fallen victim to the “plague.”  His apartment complex is overrun with the infected who feed on humans, whom he calls “lamebrains.”  Max must use his wits to to survive, using his Porcupine Freedom Scouts training, knowledge of science and scavenged supplies.

The story is very fast paced, and once you start, is very hard to put down.  Max is a very capable and likeable character.   The story is fast paced and enjoyable to read.  Max does seem a lot older than his 11 years – he knew a lot more than your average middle school child, but this did not detract from the story.

I also liked that Max lived in an apartment complex and the book showed how quickly things can get much worse in a multi-family dwelling.  Max does a good job gathering his resources and rigging up contraptions to foil the “lamebrains” and escape.  The story imparts a great lesson that having skills and a preparedness mindset are essential to survival.  I think the book would be enjoyable for both younger (age 9 and up) and older readers.  I recommend Survivor Max as a fun summer read.

Now for the giveaway…

To enter, please answer the following question in the Comments below:

What is your favorite zombie book, show or movie, and why?

The winner* will be chosen at a random “Pick a Giveaway Winner” drawing on Friday,  June 20th at 8 pm Central.  *Winner will be notified via email.  Winner must reply to email notification within 48 hours or another winner will be drawn.

 

© Apartment Prepper 2014

Show young kids that being prepared can be fun!

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Book Review: The Shadow Patriots by Warren Ray

The Shadow PatriotsToday we are featuring The Shadow Patriots by Warren Ray.

What is the book is about?    The country is in a crisis as the government breaks down and violent riots become commonplace with police firing on citizens.  The Chinese invade California prompting the military to send all their troops west, but the war is a disaster.  As the casualties mount, the government calls for volunteers.  The hero of the story Cole Winters, a middle aged guy, answers the call to fight for his country.  This is where the story takes a twist:  Cole finds out about a plot to kill the new recruits and now he must try to save them while trying to find the truth being these heinous actions.

The book starts out in a slow build-up but it has a good premise and a storyline that keeps you interested.   The author paints a good picture of the prevailing attitudes of the populace:  complacent, self entitled and addicted to handouts.   As the story’s action scenes unfolded, I would have also liked a more detailed description of weapons used as he tended to overuse the generic term “machine guns.”  I had some difficulty believing that there was no uproar over the missing recruits, not even from friends and family who all lost touch with them as soon as they signed up in the recruiting centers.  Granted, the government controlled the media, and the military was weakened; however, even in a media blackout, people would be able communicate over ham radio or even local gossip and word would get around.

All in all, The Shadow Patriots would be a good choice for a weekend read.  I look forward to the next book and hope the author develops his characters and action sequences with more details.

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Tinctures, Salves, Poultices and More

Home Remedies

I have not given much thought to tinctures, salves and poultices until I read the e-book Home Remedies by Alex Smith.   We will get back to what they are in a bit.

First, let’s talk about the book.

Home Remedies is exactly that:  a book that gives cures for common ailments using easy to find household items.  The conditions are listed in alphabetical order, making things easy to find.  One thing I did not expect was, the book also gives tips for general cleaning, deodorizing, doing laundry… even starting an herb garden.  It even includes home remedies for pets!

Now back to tinctures, salves and poultices…  The book gives great definitions of the terms used, as well as examples throughout the book.

What are they anyway?  From what I learned from Home Remedies (paraphrased):

Tincture is a mixture created by soaking an herb in alcohol or vinegar, helping draw out the properties of the herb, while preserving it.  Salve is an oil with wax added.  A poultice is comprised of a bandage combined with a paste or moist mixture and is placed on a wound, rash or other affected area.

Here’s a handful of fascinating things I learned…

  • Cornstarch can help soothe a sunburn
  • Cherries are good for the nervous system and stress relief.
  • Eating caraway seeds can calm an upset stomach.
  • Sucking on a lemon helps relieve nausea
  • Eating a banana helps calm a hangover (replaces the potassium lost)

I don’t want to give away too much… you’ll have to read the book to find out more.  It’s a good book to have around, to help you find simple home remedies for quick relief, until you can get to a doctor.  You get lots of “good to know” tips at $3.99 for the Kindle edition.  It is also available on paperback.

 

© Apartment Prepper 2014

R.P. Ruggiero, BrushFire Plague: The Reckoning – Author Interview and a Giveaway

Brushfire Plague ReckoningThe second book in the Brushfire Plague series, The Reckoning is out.  A brief description from the author:

The Reckoning begins as the Brushfire Plague that has crippled the globe slowly loses its lethality, only to be replaced by the harsh reality of its origin and what this will mean for civilization. 

Driven by his obligation to honesty at all costs, Cooper Adams has made himself a wanted man by exposing the truth he has learned about the plague. After being rejected by those who once viewed Cooper as a hero, he is forced to go on the run with his 11-year old son and his few remaining allies. As he tries to escape to the safety of his friend’s rural hideout, Cooper is faced with the challenge of doing what it takes to survive, while trying to preserve his son’s slowly disappearing childhood innocence.  

                The Oregon that Cooper witnesses along this journey only resembles fragments of the state he calls home. Death and despair are unavoidable and lawlessness is slowly taking over. When he reaches his final destination where he can go into hiding and protect his son while digging more deeply into the truth behind the Plague, Cooper finds himself in the middle of a town’s political and social battle for dominance. When his son is taken as a hostage by a power-hungry local, a guilt-ridden Cooper must use his increasing bravery and leadership skills to gain the trust and support of doubtful residents in order to save him.

 

I reviewed the first book, and had good things to say about it.  This time I was fortunate to have the opportunity to interview the author, R.P. Ruggiero:

1.  Most of our readers live in big cities, and it is a big concern that cities will become unsafe in a disaster especially a pandemic.  What would you advice city dwellers on improving their chances to survive a large scale disaster?
Water.  Store what you can, but invest in water filters.  The gravity-fed ones by Sawyer are around a $100 but will filter thousands and thousands of gallons.  Of course, the Berkey filters are the holy grail if you can afford them.  But, get your water straight.  Then, is food.  Store at least one year if you have the room–but do whatever you can.  For “less than full collapse” scenarios, even a month supply will put you ahead of most people in the city.  Finally, you’ll need to secure your dwelling and/or have plans to do that.  And, if you plan on having a gun on hand, which I recommend, get trained on how to use it and please keep it away from the kids!
2.  What role does having a community play when a disaster happens?
To me, nothing is more important.  Humans live in a society because there is safety in numbers.  Now, a crisis or disaster scenario can flip that–but having a group you can trust will put you in a much better survival situation.  For example, the ‘neighborhood defense’ scenario I set up in Brushfire Plague is actually what happens in real life.  And, the neighborhoods that rally to their own defense are typically left alone by the bad guys!  Beyond the added defensive capacity–you gain access to more resources, skills, and the support a group gives you will be beyond valuable when and if the SHTF.
3.  Many preppers are surrounded by family and friends who do not prepare.  What advice would you give them?
Honestly?  Give them a copy of Brushfire Plague or other prepper or apocalyptic fiction.  I’ll never forget when my wife finished reading Octavia Butler’s “Parable of the Sower” and literally looked up from the book and said, “I now know why you have all those guns.”  The other way to go is to just get them talking about natural disasters and how we might all be ready for them….that’s one way to get others started on the road.  I don’t think preaching or telling people they are wrong or stupid ever gets anyone to do anything!
4.  Please tell us a bit about your background.
Think the strength of Chuck Norris with the street smarts of Ray Liotta and the wisdom of Buddha and you’ll have a pretty good picture of me.  Nah, just kidding.  Well, I grew up loving to read apocalyptic fiction so I guess I’ve always been thinking about how to be ready for “the end” since I was pretty young!  And, in my adulthood, I work with groups that experience a high degree of stress and challenge to achieve their goals.  So, that really helped me focus on group dynamics in the Brushfire Plague series.
5.  When is the third book scheduled for release?  Any plans for other books?
My plan is to release it by early 2015.  I don’t believe in just churning books out as I want to maintain the high-quality writing I feel I have established.  I take my relationship with my readers as a bit of a sacred trust, so this is important to me.  And, then, I hope they return the favor and do reviews online and tell their friends!  I will finish the Brushfire Plague’s core tale with the third book.  But, I might continue in that world with some or all the characters.  Or, I might launch into a new story.  In any case, I will definitely keep writing!  It’s a joy and the feedback has been extremely humbling and rewarding.
Our thanks to R.P. Ruggiero for the interview as well as the giveaway!

Win a copy of Brushfire Plague series, The Reckoning

Just add your comment below:

Have you considered what steps you would take in the event of a pandemic?  What would you do?

The winner* will be chosen at a random “Pick a Giveaway Winner” drawing on Saturday, February 1st at 8 pm Central.*Winner will be notified via email.  Winner must reply to email notification within 48 hours or another winner will be drawn.

© Apartment Prepper 2014

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The Prepper’s Guide to Food Storage – E-Book Review and Giveaway

Preppers-Guide-to-Food-Storage-268-x-403The Prepper’s Guide to Food Storage by Gaye Levy just came out on Amazon Kindle.

Getting started with food storage can be intimidating, and one of the more difficult steps is figuring out what to buy.  This won’t be an issue if you get this book.  The Prepper’s Guide to Food Storage covers everything you need to know to get started in your own food storage plan:  it not only posts an actual list that you can take with you to the grocery store, but also offers helpful tips and reminders.  We all live busy lives, and many of us don’t want to have to deal with complicated charts and calculations on what to store.  At the same time, many don’t even have the space in which to store everything.   The book makes it easy for anyone to get started.

I wish I had this book when I first got started my own food storage plan.  There is a whole section on how to store food for long term storage as well as pitfalls to avoid.  What you won’t find is a lot of fluff – the book is concise, but jam packed with information.

As you may know, Gaye writes Backdoor Survival.  The book is written in the same no-nonsense, up front style that we’ve all come to expect from her writings.  At $3.99, the book will save you a lot more in terms of wasted food and effort.  Whether you’re just starting out, or looking to supplement your current food storage, go get The Prepper’s Guide to Food Storage.

Now for the Giveaway!

One winner will be chosen to win a copy of The Prepper’s Guide to Food Storage.

Just add your comment below:

What is your biggest challenge regarding food storage?

OR

What are your favorite food storage items?

The winner* will be chosen at a random “Pick a Giveaway Winner” drawing on Saturday, December 21st at 8 pm Central.

*Winner will be notified via email.  Winner must reply to email notification within 48 hours or another winner will be drawn.

THIS GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED.
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