Thursday, February 5, 2015

Nefarious by Steven Freeman

I was given a copy of this by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Once I started reading this, I was skeptical about continuing only because I really do not care to read war books. However, since I said I would read it, I did. I'm glad I continued on!

While I still don't like war books, this turned into something different. I wasn't sure how the two separate plots would meld together but, in the end, they did, in a pretty horrific way.

We start off tagging along with Alton Blackwell in his mobile communication unit in Afghanistan. After an IED explodes with casualties and injuries, we follow Blackwell to a desk job while he recovers.

In North Carolina, we follow Jeffrey Finch as he and his son go camping only to have his son bit by a raccoon and contracting rabies.

Finch is the head of R&D at a large pharmaceutical company and plans to create an aerosol rabies vaccine.

Meanwhile, Blackwell is getting back into life and possibly finding a new love interest in Mallory Wilson.

From here, we spiral into a web of deaths, lies and military deceit that is frightening if this really happens in our upper echelons of government. And, trust me, the two plots DO come together.

This book is labeled The Blackwell Files, #1 so I'm hoping for more to come. The characters were engaging and likable and the mystery of the story was so well done that I did not guess the outcome!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Smoke Gets In Your Eyes by Caitlin Doughty

This was another recommendation from Books on the Nightstand....


I neglected my dog to keep listening to this (like dog would be neglected).

I'm not one who is overly macabre about death but having grown up with a pretty serious illness that made the doctors at the children's hospital think I might not make it past age 8, I got acquainted with death early on in my life. Perhaps that is a good thing, since I wasn't the typical idiot teenager thinking I would live forever when I damn well knew I could die at any time. I've since settled into a relaxed relationship with death, choosing to pack as much living in as I can and knowing when it happens, I'm ok with it.

I already chose cremation as my ending. I recycle and try to save the planet and all that good stuff now, why would I clutter it up with my corpse and tomb and casket and yadda yadda? Not for me. I had read about the green funeral and I'm not opposed to that either.

Listening to this book has re-doubled my determination to just go back to nature when I'm done. Let's go to the beginning though....

Caitlin is a 20-something who is fascinated by death and ends up as a crematory operator at a mortuary. She takes us on a journey of learning all about cremation (SO many interesting facts), the funeral "business" (of which I got a bellyful when my dad passed - disgusting), and onward to her journey in becoming a mortician.

If you cannot stomach gallows humor or just basic facts about death, this book probably isn't for you (I'm looking at you, baby tossing). If you can handle it, you need to read this. It's a conversation about death that is long past due. We all will die. There is no way around this no matter how hard rich, white men try to be immortal.Caitlin gives her point of view on what a good death is and, you know, I agree with her. I appreciated being able to travel with her on her path to acceptance and helping to show others that death is not to be feared. Corpses are not something to shy away from and families should take an active part in caring for their departed.

Caitlin also has a Youtube channel called Ask A Mortician that is awesomely informative and funny. I'm now a fan for life.