Book Review: The Last Layover by Steven C. Bird

the last layover

This post is by Bernie Carr,

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

Emergency Essentials/BePrepared

Emergency Essentials/BePrepared


Book Feature: Liberators and Interview with James Wesley Rawles


This post is by Bernie Carr,

Today we are featuring James Wesley Rawles’s latest book, Liberators.  As you know Mr. Rawles is the author of several books, and is the founder of SurvivalBlog, one of the first survival and emergency websites.

What is Liberators about?

America has experienced a socio-economic collapse that spreads throughout the world.  Looting and rioting affect all major cities.  The book follows Afghanistan War vet Ray McGregor as he makes his way from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula to his parents’ ranch in Bella Coola, British Columbia, in remote western Canada. His old friend Phil Adams, a Defense Intelligence Agency counterintelligence case officer joins him in his journey.

Lightly populated Bella Coola, the home of Ray’s parents is not devastated by the chaos but is taken over by a foreign occupation.  Ray and Phil become key members of the resistance in a war that will have far reaching effects.

From Amazon:  Liberators depicts a world that is all too conceivable and terrifyingly familiar. Fastpaced and packed with authentic information on outdoor survival, self-sufficiency, and small-unit tactics, James Wesley, Rawles’s latest thriller will resonate with his dedicated fanbase and encourage new readers to prepare for anything from lesser disasters to the dreaded worst-case scenario.

 Interview with James Wesley Rawles

1. Do you feel the UN has designs on the U.S. in terms of taking control?

Yes, the globalist camp that rules the UN clearly has domination of the US in their long-term-plans. They simply cannot allow a bastion of liberty to survive if they have any hope of instituting global; government.

2. In your book there was a fictional invasion of Western Canada by China. China has been flexing its muscles of late – do you think China would end up owning us, or invading us?

That threat was accelerated in the novel for the sake of drama. Presently, since they lack blue water navy and the requisite transport, the PLA cannot project force across the Pacific. But in another 15 or 20 years, that threat could indeed be manifested.

3. In the story, one of the pseudo governments took over Fort Knox. In our current economy – gold has been dropping in price, “financial experts” say it’s not coming back up anytime soon, however the affluent are buying up large amounts. What is your take on gold right now?

I believe that gold and silver are both undervalued. My preference is for silver. At less than $18 per Troy ounce it is presently a bargain. Buy it cheap and stack it deep!

4. The oil boom in Wyoming, North Dakota etc. has attracted a lot of newcomers to these areas – has your opinion changed on which states are still good for bugging out or establishing a homestead?

My advice is essentially unchanged. The Bakken oil shale development simply represents further diversification of the economy for Montana. However, I would avoid living in the immediate vicinity, because of the many “camp follower” vices that are inevitable in boom towns.

5. The ebola virus is a concern for many, and at lot of advice point to the possibility of having to hunker down in your home and stay in isolation. However this may be difficult for apartment dwellers living in the city. What would be the best approach for apartment dwellers?

I would say extremely difficult, because of sanitation issues that would be created by backed-up toilets (in the event of a power grid collapse and subsequent failure of civic water supplies), or simply hazard one or more bodies in your apartment building that are not removed promptly-or removed without full attention to contaminating body fluids.

6. Most of my readers are city dwellers who are not able to relocate to a small town or rural area due to their circumstances – what are some options if they had to bug out?

Because you may only have ONE trip out of Dodge, you need to pre-position the vast majority of your food and gear at your intended bug out location. Without those supplies, you will just be another hungry person to feed, for the locals. Be part of the solution—not part of the problem.

7. I understand your next book will be a non fiction book. Can you give us an idea what it will be and when is the expected publishing date?

It is titled Tools for Survival. It is a comprehensive book that covers everything from guns to sewing machines. That book will be released by Penguin in December.

Our thanks to James Wesley Rawles for the interview.  Liberators has just been released and is now available in Amazon and other bookstores.  Like his other books, you’ll get involved in the story, and learn some survival techniques at the same time.


© Apartment Prepper 2014


Rivers: A Novel by Michael Ferris Smith Book Review and Giveaway

RiversI had the opportunity to read a review copy of Rivers:  A Novel by Michael Ferris Smith.  It is a tale about a few remaining stragglers who crossed paths in a world that is constantly battered by never ending storms and hurricanes.  The story follows Cohen, who lost his wife and unborn child a few years earlier, as he tries to continue surviving in a devastated area, long after the region was declared unfit for living.

The constant misery and greyness of the weather pervaded the entire atmosphere of the book.  There is really no explanation of what is caused the violent weather patterns  it just is.  The idea of having daily storms pounding one area of the country may be a bit hard to accept at first, but as I continued on, I found myself suspending my disbelief and becoming more accepting of the idea.  The writing is rich with vivid images and story moves along in a fast pace that the reader quickly becomes caught up in the story.

You are not going to pick up any ideas about living through a disaster, but it portrays how people react to life threatening situations and their mental states are depicted quite thoroughly.  Many of the characters have done evil things to survive, though they would not inherently consider themselves evil.  They “just had to.”  The road to hell is indeed paved with good intentions.

The story moved along in a good pace, and it was easy to become “immersed” in the story, so to speak.  The characters are well written, however I had trouble relating to characters’ choices.  In many instances, I did not feel a connection with the characters, and disagreed with many of their actions.  In spite of this, I still felt invested enough to  find out how they fared.  Not wanting to provide any spoilers, I won’t say how the story ends.  Though this is a completely different story, there are some parallels to The Road, by Cormac McCarthy, in the struggle to survive and find redemption.

All in all, Rivers:  The Novel is a highly engrossing book and I liked reading it.

Win a Copy of

Rivers:  A Novel

Just add your comment below:

Have you experienced a hurricane or flood?  Describe your experience.

The winner* will be chosen at a random “Pick a Giveaway Winner” drawing on Saturday, November 30th 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.  

I look forward to reading your entries.  Good luck!
Emergency Essentials/BePrepared

Emergency Essentials/BePrepared

What Doomsday Films and Shows do for Preppers

The World's End

There have been a variety of doomsday movies recently:  World War Z, This is the End and The World’s End just to name a few.  Some are action-adventure, suspense or even comedy, but the theme is the same:  the end of the world as we know it (TEOTWAWKI).  In addition, there are a number of reality shows such as Doomsday Preppers,  Doomsday Castle and others that deal with people trying to prepare for disasters.

These type of shows are so prevalent, but what do they do for the average prepper?  Do you watch these shows?

As with everything else, I see the Pros and Cons:


  • They get people to imagine what they would do in such as situation.
  • Once people start thinking about various scenarios, they start talking about it, and a dialogue is always a good thing.  I’ve mentioned in a past article how watching The Walking Dead was a good conversation starter about preparing for actual disasters
  • The idea of prepping becomes more acceptable.


  • The more outlandish characters featured may cast preppers in the “nutty” category, and not to be taken seriously.
  • If the story is too far-fetched, it can make people more detached and consider disasters as being “only in the movies”
  • Fear of being labeled

I’ve personally seen several of these type of movies, watch episodes of Doomsday Preppers, as well as survival shows such as Survivorman’s Survival Secrets.   At the very least, I think these shows get people who may never have considered it, thinking about the need to prepare.  Some people may appear more extreme than others, and thus may be labeled as a “fringe” element, while others will fear being associated as one.

All in all, the way I see it, we’re all better off if everyone became more prepared for emergencies.  I’m not even talking about doomsday, or anything collapsing; natural disasters and financial disasters can and do happen.  If survival and prepping shows get people to start preparing for any emergencies then that is a good thing.

An upcoming new show that I will watch

2073779_blackouts-a-history_wpqcl4sp5hrctsdllz4ccbpndxncurxrbvj6lwuht2ya6mzmafma_610x343I just heard about a new show that I am interested in seeing and here is a brief description:

AMERICAN BLACKOUT:  a two hour special is coming up on Nat Geo about what can happen during a catastrophic blackout across the United States.  No cell phone service, no ATM withdrawals, no working street lights, no available gasoline … no escape.   From what the Nat Geo rep told me, American Blackout combines user-generated footage from recent real blackouts and disasters like Hurricane Sandy intercut with the feature film.   It will follow the struggles of ordinary Americans wrangling through the chaos, and witness one prepper family who prepared for the worst.

The show will air on On Sunday, October 27, at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

 Here’s a trailer to American Blackout

What would you do if power was gone?


Water is one of the biggest needs when it comes to survival.  Whether bugging out or sheltering in place, you can never have enough clean water for survival: For your water purifier needs, please visit:

 For beginning preppers

Good ideas for building a food storage plan can be found here:

DebtProof Living

What You Should Know about Pepper Spray

Pepper SprayI have a couple of pepper sprays in key chains that are getting old so I started looking into replacing them.   There are actually several types to choose from, and the more I read up on the topic, the more I learned.

Mace versus Pepper Spray

  •  Mace is a chemical irritant that is similar to tear gas.  Pepper spray’s main ingredient is the pepper derivative oleorsein capiscum (OC)  Pepper spray will cause inflammation and a severe burning sensation of the eyes, nose, throat and skin.
  • Pepper spray works quicker than Mace.
  • Mace does not work on persons who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, but pepper spray works.
  • I also found out that “Mace” is now also a brand name that makes pepper spray products which confused me at first, but now I know.

Now that we have cleared that up, we can take a look at the various types of pepper sprays.

  1. Foam – a heavy, thick liquid, similar to a shaving cream consistency.   This is the type I am considering, as it is less likely to be affected by wind.  Also, if your attacker tries to wipe it off, he will end up rubbing it deeper into the skin causing even more irritation and pain.
  2. Stream or broken stream – Much like getting squirted by a water gun, the stream or broken stream will deliver a large amount of pepper spray with a longer range.  The downside is, the canister will get used up faster.
  3. Forced cone – This is the most common type that key chain type pepper sprays emit.  The range is about six to 12 feet, covering an area roughly the size of a human head.  The mist is finer than the stream type, but there is some risk of blowback if you are outside on a windy day.
  4. Fogger - this covers a larger area and delivers an even finer mist than forced cone.  It is good for crowd control and protection from bears.  Because it is like a mini fire extinguisher releasing a large amount of spray, there is some risk of blow-back but the attacker will go down even in windy conditions.

What if You Accidentally Spray Yourself?

In spite of careful precautions, sometimes accidents happen.  Here’s what you need to do:

  • Do not touch or rub the affected area as this will spread it and make it worse
  • Remove clothing that has come into contact with pepper spray, and bag it up to keep it separate from other clothes
  • Wash the area with lots of cool water
  • Do not use anything oily or greasy on the area.
  • If the discomfort persists, get checked out by a doctor.

 How Long Does Pepper Spray Last?

Pepper spray comes with an expiration date, usually a year from purchase.  The pepper spray itself does not become ineffective over time, but the spraying ability may be compromised.  The nozzle may be blocked, or the propellent may no longer work.  You don’t want to be carrying something to protect yourself and find out that it doesn’t work at the time you most need it.

Some manufacturers recommend testing the spray periodically.  To do this, you go outside and note which way the wind is blowing.  Spray away from yourself, making sure the wind is blowing AWAY from you.  However, testing it does cause the product to get used up.  To be on the safe side and avoid the risk of accidentally spraying yourself, use your best judgement and replace the sprays every 12-18 months.

 Legal Stuff

Pepper spray is legal in all 50 states, but some states have certain restrictions in size, strength, age of carrier (must be over 18 in some states).  Check on your own state’s regulations or the local police department for rules about carrying pepper spray.  It is illegal to carry it anywhere on a plane (whether on your person or luggage) and is prohibited in Federal and State buildings.

 The Proper Mindset

You need to have the right mindset to be able to use your pepper spray should the need arise.

  • It should be within easy reach.  If you are walking or jogging alone, you should have it either in your hand or front pocket.  There is no point having it in your purse or your car’s glove box if you are attacked.
  • Be aware of where the nozzle location and where you are about to spray.   If you are outside, be aware of where the wind is blowing.
  • Take a moment to envision various scenarios and plan ahead.
  • Aim for the eyes and face.
  • Always have an exit strategy.

Just having pepper spray does not mean you are assured of fending off an attacker.   As with many aspects of preparedness, having the right mindset will help push the outcome in your favor.



For beginning preppers

DebtProof Living


Book Review: 299 Days


299 days coverpage


I received review copies of 299 Days:  The Preparation and 299 Days:  The Collapse by Glen Tate, and now making progress on my fall reading list.  These are the first two installments of a book series about the challenges and struggles of Grant Mason, a suburban dweller who awakens to the need to become prepared for the difficulties ahead.

The story’s premise of a gradual collapse of the country’s economy due to overspending by all branches of the government is plausible and a bit “too close for comfort.”  You can imagine something list this unfolding before your eyes, and therefore it is easy to put yourself in the main character’s shoes.  Any person who has felt the need to prepare will also be able to relate to his challenges of trying to convince his family to prepare.  How do you deal with someone who is in denial, even as you see your worse fears coming true?   This is a struggle that would resonate with many readers.  I don’t want to give too much of the story away so am trying to refrain from revealing too much detail in this review.

I enjoyed the pace of the story which is engaging and entertaining enough to make the reader want to continue.   The writing style can be a bit choppy at times, and some of the political generalizations may be something you’d have to overlook depending on your inclinations.   Not a major flaw, just an observation:  the second book, The Collapse seemed a bit short, compared to the first book, and could have been easily combined with the first book.

Overall, I enjoyed the story and would continue to read the subsequent books.  I look forward to reading the entire series, as well as additional works by Glen Tate.




For beginning preppers