Thursday, 24 July 2014

PROMOTION & REVIEW - THE PRACTICAL PREPPER: A COMMON SENSE GUIDE TO PREPARING FOR EMERGENCIES BY KYLENE & JONATHAN JONES

CEDAR FORT PRESS RELEASE


SPRINGVILLE, Utah--July 8, 2014--Authors, educators and preparedness experts Kylene and Jonathan Jones have created a comprehensive, common-sense guide addressing a myriad emergency scenarios with a wide range of sensible, no-fuss solutions. There's no need to flip out and panic when you have "The Practical Prepper: A Common Sense Guide to Preparing for Emergencies" as your go-to reference for facing any emergency situation. Simple, step-by-step, illustrated instructions are included in chapters covering communication, water storage, water disinfection and purification, sanitation, designer food storage plans, emergency lighting, heating, and coordinating preparedness efforts in our communities--and that's just a sample. "The Practical Prepper" covers every emergency situation imaginable.

The refreshing "keep calm" approach to emergency preparedness conveyed in "The Practical Prepper" is a far cry from the fear-inducing tone of many other preparedness books. Kylene Jones explains, "We wrote this common-sense guide to help real people prepare for challenging times and events. As champions of self-reliance, provident living, and preparedness, we approach prepping in a unique way. There is no feeling of gloom and doom, but rather a sense of confidence and empowerment. Readers learn how to take care of their own needs during a crisis, which enables them to be in a better position to reach out and help others."


MY REVIEW

Title: The Practical Prepper
Author: Kylene & Jonathan Jones
Publisher: Cedar Fort
Release Date: 8th July 2014

BLURB from Goodreads
Earthquakes, hurricanes, civil unrest, economic challenges - no one knows when disaster may strike. Will you be ready? The Practical Prepper is a common-sense guide to emergency preparedness and survival written for real people with real lives. This must-have reference book walks the reader through each step of emergency preparedness covering everything from cooking in a crisis, to home security and protection, to emergency water disinfection. You can be prepared for the challenges the future holds. The Practical Prepper will show you how.


INITIAL THOUGHTS
I totally admit to being really curious about this book. Will it read like a dystopic/apocalyptic fictional story, or will it have real survival techniques? I also remember reading an Interview with author Mike Mullin of the Ashfall Series who states he actually used this type of book to make his post-apocalyptic series more realistic and accurate. The tragedy that triggers off the post apocalyptic scenario in his book was the Yellowstone Volcano erupting.

MY REVIEW
I received an e-copy of this book directly from the publishers Cedar Fort in exchange for my Promotional Spotlight and Review.
The cover image depicts a small house being "protected" by a strong looking pair of hands.
Three "incidents" are represented on the top right side of the cover in small circles, they are Hurricane, Fire and Flooding. There is also a sub title of "A Common Sense Guide To Prepardeness".
I totally admit to being fascinated in the dystopian and post apocalyptic genres in fiction as many people seem to be these days. There is also the constant threats of terror attacks and such that people worry about too.  So I think it's inevitable that you would raise questions such as What if  something awful happened that stopped transport & communication etc. I think this way of preparedness is all the more prevalent in America than here in the UK. In the UK we all seem to wander around with a "it'll never happen over here" attitude.
The book is one that I'd say should be on everyone's book shelf as a reference book, along with a medical reference book too.
As I have said this book is probably deemed to be more relevant to the US and the natural disasters that occur there but who knows what could happen? In the UK we seem to be having more and more crazy weather conditions.
The book suggests many scenarios and provides actions to the scenarios as well as things you can do in "preparedness" to prevent such a scenarios from impacting you and your family so much.
Some of the idea's can be implemented into your regular way if life, such as growing your own fruit and vegetable's. Hey! we could all save money by growing our own. It's just finding the time and space to do so. 
The book also suggests keeping animals, such as chicken for their eggs and meet and maybe pigs and goats. Of course that only works if you have space and you're allowed to keep animals at your property.
Another use of the things you grown mentioned in the book is a bartering system. If money becomes a useless item than things you don't have and need could be bartered for with your own home grown food items.
The laws would most likely change to what is called "Marshall Law" where the "Army" could take the pace of the police. If items become scarce there could be looting and violence. The book suggests arming yourself (a gun or bow and arrows) or and learning to shoot to both kill animals for food (using bow and arrow) and using a bow and arrow or gun for self defense.
The book covers how to find drinkable water or how to purify the water you can find to be able to drink it. 
There's sections on medicines, both keeping a supply of those you need and or substituting with naturally grown items that can be used for common ailments.
There are also lists of things you perhaps would think of, like pet food or food for any livestock you may have.
I found the book a fascinating, informative read. Yet at the same time a little scary thinking of all the things that can go wrong in the world and the realisation of how many things we take for granted on a daily basis. Life would certainly be a lot harder for example without water on tap, or central heating in the winter, or cooking without electricity or gas.
Having said that Kylene And Jonathan have done this "preparedness" and could live fairly well and survive most disasters.
Kylene and Jonathan also suggest getting together with some like minded people so that you could exist in your own small community, and share the work that needs to be done as well as having a perhaps wider skill range. More people = Less Work. More People = More Skills.
So did I enjoy the book? Yes I did   Would I recommend the book? Yes, it's a book that you would want to keep and could dip in and out of for "normal" living too.  Would I read another book by Kylene & Jonathan? Yes I think I would, even though this one is super comprehensive.  Would I read another Prepper book?  I'd certainly check others out too. It would be interesting to read a Prepper book wrote with tips etc for scenario's in a UK setting too.         


BUY LINKS


ABOUT THE AUTHORS


Jonathan is a licensed civil engineer and an avid enthusiast of alternative energy sources; especially solar and wind power. He has served on the advisory board and on the board of directors as vice president for The American Civil Defense Association (TACDA), as secretary/treasurer for a local chapter of Civil Defense Volunteers, as an emergency preparedness and communications specialist, and as a city councilperson, has been tasked with developing the city emergency plan in his own community. He has co-authored numerous articles published in The Journal of Civil Defense on emergency preparedness topics with his wife. He is the co-owner of Your Family Ark, LLC, an educational and consulting business designed to assist individuals and families in preparing for an uncertain future (www.yourfamilyark.orgwww.theprovidentprepper.org). 

Kylene has an educational background in business management as well as in family studies. She has also served on the advisory board and on the board of directors for TACDA and is currently the editor for The Journal of Civil Defense. She has a passion for researching and experimenting, adding a sense of real life to their writing and teaching. A firm believer in hands-on learning, she involves her family in emergency training for everything from fire drills, to living off food storage and garden produce, to turning off the power in the dead of winter just to see if they can survive it. Many powerful lessons are learned from these experiences, the best lesson being that we are tougher than any challenge. We will not only survive, but we will emerge better, stronger people as a result of the adventure.

Jonathan and Kylene make a dynamic combination. Together they have presented in a wide variety forums including; community education courses, educational seminars, preparedness fairs, employee education programs, and community classes. With Jonathan’s extensive knowledge and Kylene’s high energy personality, they have a unique talent for taking a relatively boring topic and turning it into an exciting quest, motivating audiences to join the ranks of the provident preppers.

GUEST POST


Are You Ready?

Extreme weather conditions can cause significant damage and interrupt public utilities, leaving you without power, water and sewer for an extended period of time. In 2013, The St. Jude Storm created 100 mph winds and torrential rain which left 600,000 homes without power. What would you do if your power went out for several days? How about several weeks? Are you ready?

Prepper is a fairly new term coined for individuals who prepare for future unforeseen events. Like everything else, there are a wide variety of preppers. The media likes to portray preppers as knife-in-your-teeth, rat-eating, survive-at-all-costs survivalists who use very little common-sense and are waiting for the complete collapse of society. The preppers on the other end of the continuum are real people who love their families and take practical steps to increase their chances of surviving both natural and man-made disasters.

The first step in prepping is to evaluate your risk. Risk factors vary depending on location and personal circumstances. Some of the more common risks include; house fires, extreme weather, flooding, earthquakes, economic challenges, war-related events, civil unrest, etc. Once you evaluate your greatest risks you can get to work to take steps to reduce the risk. The Practical Prepper guides you through your personal risk evaluation and explores each step to preparing for emergencies.

We will focus this post on one of the most critical resources during any disaster: clean drinking water. The best way to ensure you have clean drinking water is to store some water in your home. We recommend storing at least 2 gallons per person per day for a minimum of 2 weeks. Water is heavy and takes up a lot of space so you may need to get creative.

It is important to understand how to create clean drinking water if the situation outlasts your water storage. Let us briefly review a few basic water purification and disinfection techniques and principles. 

Always clarify water (remove particles) before disinfecting. Microscopic critters can hide in the particles and avoid deactivation. Water can be clarified by pouring it through a clean cloth, coffee filter, paper towels, etc.

Boiling is the safest method of disinfecting water. Viruses, bacteria and parasites cannot survive a temperature of 100 degrees Celsius or 212 degrees Fahrenheit.




Chlorine disinfection is an effective way to disinfect water. However, some protozoa (giardia and cryptosporidium) are resistant to chlorine and may not be deactivated. A good filter should be used in conjunction with chlorine disinfection. Household chlorine bleach has a shelf life of only 6 months for effective water disinfection. Consider using calcium hypochlorite to create a homemade chlorine stock solution. Granulated calcium hypochlorite has a 10 year shelf life. See http://theprovidentprepper.org/disinfecting-water-using-calcium-hypochlorite/ for details. 

Solar Water Disinfection (SODIS) is a great way to deactivate all pathogens using a clear plastic or glass bottle and the sun. Clarified water is placed in the bottle and exposed to the sun for 4-6 hours. This is an inexpensive way to kill all the microscopic critters in the water. See www.sodis.ch for details.    

Note that none of these techniques will remove chemicals contaminants from water. If chemical contamination is a possibility, use a quality filter designed to remove them. We discuss water filters in detail in our book.

You can survive less than 3 days without water. Drinking contaminated water can result in severe illness and even death. It makes sense to prepare ahead of time to ensure your family has safe drinking water during an emergency. Are you ready?

Kylene and Jonathan Jones
Authors of The Practical Prepper – A Common-Sense Guide to Preparing for Emergencies



Wednesday, 23 July 2014

BOOK BLITZ - RIVAL LOVE BY NATALIE DECKER

Title: Rival Love
Author: Natalie Decker
Release Date: 08/26/14
Genre: Swoon Romance

BLURB from Goodreads:
Skylar Fletcher is a proud Harris Academy Bulldog! She has everything she’s ever wanted: a perfect boyfriend, great friends, and her dream college waiting for her in the fall. But nothing lasts forever. Skylar's world shatters when her mom decides it is time to move and drags Skylar, kicking and screaming, into Bobcat territory.

At Delmont High School, home of the Bobcats, Skylar has no friends and is often bullied. To make matters worse, her home life sucks thanks to all-star quarterback Caleb Morgan, nephew of her mom's live-in boyfriend.

At first Skylar and Caleb want nothing to do with one another. But they soon discover they're not that different after all--and each is harboring a secret attraction to the other. But can a Bulldog and a Bobcat ever really be more than friends? And are Skylar and Caleb willing to risk everything to find out? Rival Love is a debut young adult contemporary romance from Natalie Decker.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR



Natalie Decker is the Author of Rival Love. She loves oceans, sunsets, sand between her toes, and carefree days. Her imagination is always going, which some find odd. But she believes in seeing the world in a different light at all times. Her first passion for writing started at age twelve when she had to write a poem for English class. However, seventh grade wasn’t her favorite time and books were her source of comfort. She took all college prep classes in High school, and attended the University of Akron. Although she studied Mathematics she never lost her passion for writing or her comfort in books. She’s a mean cook in the kitchen, loves her family and friends and her awesome dog infinity times infinity. If she’s not writing, reading, traveling, hanging out with her family and friends, then she’s off having an adventure. Because Natalie believes in a saying: Your life is your own journey, so make it amazing!


AUTHOR LINKS


BOOK BLITZ - TIME OF RUIN - ASH AND RUIN BY SHAUNA GRANGER

Title: Time of Ruin 
Sries: (Ash and Ruin #2)
Author: Shauna Granger
Release Date: 22nd July 2014

BLURB from Goodreads

The world has ended, and hope is the most dangerous thing left.

Battered and bruised after barely escaping San Francisco with their lives, Kat, Dylan, and Blue press north – desperate to reach the possibility of a new home.

But strange, monstrous ravens are tracking the remaining survivors, food is becoming scarce, gasoline is running short, and people are becoming suicidal, making survival almost impossible.

And the Pestas are growing bolder. Somehow, their numbers are growing.

The further north they go, the harder it becomes to ignore the signs that they’ve made a fatal mistake. Kat must face the impossible truth that there is no escape, there is no safe haven, and their worst nightmares don’t come close to their new reality.


BUY LINKS
Kobo


REST OF THE SERIES SO FAR


Title: World Of Ash
Series: (Ash and Ruin #1) 
Author: Shauna Granger
Release Date: 2nd December 2014

BLURB from Goodreads
There are two inherent truths in the world: life as we know it is over, and monsters are real.

The Pestas came in the night, spreading their pox, a deadly plague that decimated the population. Kat, one of the unlucky few who survived, is determined to get to her last living relative and find shelter from the pox that continues to devastate the world. When it mutates and becomes airborne, Kat is desperate to avoid people because staying alone might be her only chance to stay alive.

That is, until she meets Dylan. Dylan, with his easy smile and dark, curly hair, has nowhere to go and no one to live for. He convinces Kat there can be safety in numbers, that they can watch out for each other. So the unlikely couple set off together through the barren wasteland to find a new life – if they can survive the roaming Pestas, bands of wild, gun-toting children, and piles of burning, pox-ridden bodies.


BUY LINKS
Amazon US
Amazon UK


EXCERPT
Time Of Ruin
Ash and Ruin Bk#2

Sitting on the bumper again, my jagged nails scratch at the plastic as I fight the urge to tell Dylan to hurry. Blue looks up at me and whines. I shake my head at him and pet him with the toe of my boot. His eyes are dark blue in the evening light. Blue drops his head and looks at Dylan, his ears perked up into two triangles. I follow his gaze. Dylan’s still standing, holding his instruments of destruction, and staring at the raging fire.
Blue pushes to his feet and barks one sharp, loud yelp. My hand drifts over to the rifle by my leg as I let my eyes slide from Dylan’s back to search for the source of Blue’s panic.
“Dylan.” I mean to call to him, but my voice comes out in a strangled whisper.
I swallow as I stand and pull the rifle with me. Across the street, the shadows between the houses are taking shape. They’re no longer the snapping, twisting formless shadows from the fire, but something more, something substantial. Dylan lifts the can of fluid and squirts more onto the fire, making it spike and lick the air.
“Dylan,” I try again, my voice a little louder. The rifle is in my hands now. The stock is pressed into my shoulder as I aim at the shadows peeling away from the deeper black.
Still Dylan doesn’t hear me, or is ignoring me.
Blue barks repeatedly, backing up until he hits the car. I find my voice and scream his name loud enough that it hurts my throat. Finally he looks at me, his face cast in shadows with the light behind him. I can’t make out his features, but I can make out the horde of Pestas behind him.
“Run!” I aim the gun as I walk backward around the car.
Instead of listening to me, he looks back to see what has terrified me so. They shuffle forward, lines of them spilling out into the cul-de-sac. Dylan takes two steps backward, nearly tripping over his feet and making me scream again. I rip the rear door open for Blue to get in the car. Slamming the door behind Blue, I lift the rifle and fire a shot, aiming well away from Dylan. The Pestas cringe in unison, as though they are all puppets controlled by the same set of strings.
“Run, dammit!” I scream.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR





Like so many other writers, Shauna grew up as an avid reader, but it was in high school that she realized she wanted to be a writer. Five years ago, Shauna started work on her Elemental Series. She released the first installment, Earth, on May 1, 2011 and has since released four sequels, with the series coming to an end with Spirit. She is currently hard at work on a new Urban Fantasy series, staring a spunky witch with a smush-faced cat named Artemis.  






AUTHOR LINKS



***GIVEAWAY***





COVER REVEAL - THE UNDEAD:PLAYING FOR KEEPS BY ELSIE ELMORE

Title: The Undead: Playing For Keeps
Author: Elsie Elmore
Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
Genre: YA, Paranormal-Romance
Release Date: 3rd September 2014
Cover Artist: Alexandria Thompson

BLURB supplied by Curiosity Quills Press
When an undead woman with serious de-comp issues stalks sixteen-year-old Lyla Grimm, her hope of rescuing her rock-bottom reputation takes a back seat. Especially once Lyla’s new talent of resurrecting the dead draws the attention of Eric, a Grim Reaper with a guitar and a chip on his shoulder.

While Lyla navigates the gossip-ridden halls, Eric works to gain her trust and discover why Death’s clients aren’t staying down. If she passes on her gift, his death-messenger destiny might be altered. But the closer he gets to Lyla, the less sure he is of his plan. The dead are way easier to deal with than the living.


Gossip explodes, the Grimm family implodes, and desperation sets in. Death wants the gift and a soul. Lyla and Eric face hard choices with hidden consequences. Sometimes life’s choices aren’t really choices at all.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Elsie Elmore lives in North Carolina with her husband and two kids.

With a science education degree from NCSU, she never imagined she would someday write stories that challenge the laws of nature. She loves the color red, has an appreciation for chocolate and coffee that borders on obsession, and wishes fall temperatures would linger year round.

Elsie is a member of several writing organizations: RWA, SCBWI, and WSW.  The Undead : Playing for Keeps is her debut novel. 




AUTHOR LINKS


EXCERPT
CHAPTER ONE
Lyla

My stomach drops when I see the dead woman lying on the table. Convinced the dim light is playing tricks on my eyes, I reach over and flip the switch. The overhead fluorescents flicker on and light cascades down onto the body. Dread replaces the doubt. I move closer for a better look. She’s not peaceful like the others. This is bad, really bad. Mom will go ballistic when she sees this.
“Lyla, what are you doing back here?” Ben whispers and gives me a playful shove.
I flinch, almost coming out of my skin. Ben’s always been better at the scaring game we started a long time ago. While I both love and hate our game, I also suck at it.
I turn and squint at him. “Asshole. This room should be off limits.”
“Language,” he chides and clicks his tongue. After glancing at the body, he steps up beside me and snickers. “You’re in so much trouble,” he says, drawing out each word as if it were a paragraph.
“No, I’m not.”
“Where’s Kate?”
“She’s gone, I guess.”
Kate Huntington, the eccentric beautician with tacky green highlights is gone, and only her handiwork remains. Glittery blue eye shadow and sapphire eyeliner cover the dead woman’s lids. Black mascara coats her lashes so thickly that her eye sockets resemble piles of tangled spider legs. She looks like a showgirl, an old, dead showgirl. I don’t even want to acknowledge the dark foundation, the cherry red lipstick, or the words “I quit” scrawled in eyeliner across her forehead.
“Mom and Dad are going to freak when they find out she left this. Mrs. Weller’s visitation is tonight.”
“Wait.” Ben’s interest shifts and he takes a closer look at the still body. “This is Mrs. Weller?”
“Yeah.”
“Leave her. Nobody will come see her anyway.” His nose wrinkles at the lifeless form. “Everybody hated her.”
“You hated her. I don’t think everyone else did.”
“She was horrible.”
“You’re still holding a grudge? You were in seventh grade when she busted you for taking off during the Chamber of Commerce field trip. Let it go.”
I lean closer to Mrs. Weller’s face. She looks like a sweet old lady, if you ignore what Kate did, but Ben always hated her. Then again, Ben dislikes most of his teachers. They all want him to work harder to meet his potential. Ben has other plans for his potential.
“Whatever. You wouldn’t know. Your nose stays stuck so far up their—”
I elbow him in the ribs. “Grab me a wet washrag. I’ve got to fix this.”
“No. I’m not touching anything in here, her included.”
“I didn’t ask you to touch her. I just asked you to get a washrag. You scared?”
“Disgusted is more like it.”
I huff, walking over to the sink. The room reeks of disinfectant, but it’s better than the embalming room smell that clings to everything like cobwebs.
“Are you worried Dad will mistake your help for interest? You know, this place isn’t the enemy.”
“Easy for you to say. He’s not trying to steal your future.” He crosses his arms. Ben’s senior year has been a struggle about his future. He and Dad both want control.
Grimm Funeral Home is now run by the fifth generation of Grimms. Dad worked here part-time as a teenager and returned after college just as his father before him had and so on and so on.
“What are you doing here anyway?” he asks. “Mom and Dad will be pissed if they catch you back here.”
“I came to ask Mom about spending the night at Cassie’s.”
“But Mom’s not in here.”
“I know. But I couldn’t walk by the door without peeking. And this is what I found.”
The water from the faucet splashes around the big white ceramic basin. Every room down the back hallway has too much white: white walls, white counters, and white cabinets. Everything feels sterile, worse than a doctor’s office.
“You’re really going to touch her?” Ben asks, now standing farther away from the table.
“Yep. I am.” I haven’t thought about it enough to freak myself out, unlike Ben. “It’s just a body without a soul, like a table. No big deal. Well, except for the horrendous makeup.”
“I wouldn’t. Mom and Dad are going to rail on you if you screw this up, which you’re going to do.” He sweeps his dark hair off his forehead while he inches backwards. “You don’t wear makeup. How are you going to know how to put it on?”
“I’ll rely on my artistic ability.” I dab Mrs. Weller’s face with the warm rag. “Besides, I do wear makeup.”
“Lyla, stop.” He points at the table. “Aren’t you supposed to be licensed or vaccinated to do this? What if she was sick or something?”
Is that genuine concern in his voice? “I’ll be fine. Besides, it has to get done. Mom’s got too much going on today and Dad doesn’t know the first thing about makeup.”
“Touching her is a bad idea,” he snaps.



Tuesday, 22 July 2014

BOOK BLITZ - HEARKEN - DAUGHTERS OF THE SEA BY KRISTEN DAY

Title: Hearken
Series: Daughters Of The Sea
Author: Kristen Day
Release Date: 22nd July 2014

BLURB supplied by Mark My Words Book Publicity
When the evil you fear is born from within, who will save us…from ourselves?

Sometimes our souls hear what our minds and hearts refuse to accept. It will whisper its continuous cadence until we're strong enough to glimpse the truth. But when the soul's whispers morph into screams, we're forced to gaze into the mirrors of time and see ourselves for who we really are.

Grappling with her newfound leadership position, Stasia begins to experience a recurring nightmare of murder, as well as curious reveries about a violet-eyed girl who can control the moon. When tragedy grips the Tydes and several important relics are stolen from the Sons of Daimon, Stasia’s Council leaves for the forgotten island of Atlantis. Unfortunately Atlantis harbors its own secrets, and they are all calling to Stasia. As her nightmares become worse and she begins to lose control of her mind, those around her must find a way to reach her…and fast.

Olivia Campbell is used to getting what she wants, when she wants it. But destiny never asked Olivia what she wanted. Being Chosen to be a Paladin at birth had not been something she wanted, and she definitely hadn’t wanted her charge to be Anastasia. Unfortunately their irritatingly persistent Atlantean guide, Sebastian, seems to know all about her and the secrets she’s been hiding. As she fights to protect Stasia from an unknown force, Olivia’s own courage and loyalty will be tested in ways she never imagined. Will she be able to tell Stasia the truth before it’s too late for them both?


BUY LINKS