Reflection

Today, I am finishing up my “Lovely Blogging Awards,” while writing a few book reviews, and thinking of how to word a post about healthcare seen now from both sides of the fence. It amazes me that there should even BE this fence, but much like everything in life you don’t understand, it just IS. So while I am reflecting (and may end up with more than one post today) I think about my ER, Trauma, and Flight Nursing brethren and sisters, as well as everyone everywhere that just needed a way to smile today as once again I post just a small daily inspiration in all of your honors!


Be well my friends! We all need a laugh now and then. Walk with doubt this morning !

~J

The Wolf Road

The Wolf Road by Beth Lewis

I was surprisingly absolutely blown away by this book. When first reading the description I was unsure of what I would be in for, but author Beth Lewis took me on an incredible journey that I am not soon to forget.

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This book is set in post apocalyptic days after Russians “accidentally” drop bombs that kill off most all of humanity while destroying wildlife and vegetation. This breathtaking novel starts at the end of the main characters “old self,” and reverts back to tell her story leading up to that first fateful encounter. (You’ll just have to read what happens, I don’t want to spoil any part of the fantastic finale for you!)

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When we first meet Elka, the main character, she is 18 years old and living as part of the “wild” with a man she calls “Trapper.” Her real parents left her with her Nana to seek fortune in the Northern country when gold reappears in the land after the bombs have created new geographic designs. When a thunderhead blows through and literally blows Elka, age 7, away “Trapper” finds her and fills in a “Daddy” roll for her, even if she doesn’t tell him.

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While learning to live off the land, she no longer interacts with other people. Through the years she learns to become one with nature, hunting and trapping as effectively and efficiently as “Trapper.” Life is good for Elka. She is desperate for a “Mommy,” and breaks one of “Trapper’s” rules in speaking to a woman she finds out in the forest. Elka finds kindness in Missy, and wants her to be her new mommy. “Trapper” returns to find another woman in the cabin and is angry with Elka. When “Trapper” leaves to take the woman in the forest home, fate drops its hand in happiness and Elka finds out that “Trapper” is really a dangerous murderer named “Kreager Hallet.” With her cabin set aflame, the law now after “Kreager” and Elka, she decides to travel North and find her real parents to find a home.

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So, what do a lone wolf pup, a prissy uptight girl, and a wild child, literally, have in common? Why an epic journey of course!

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Elka’s adventures span far and wide, and this book is written as if Elka herself is speaking to you in her uneducated, wild and fierce voice. Elka makes you feel like a friend that is along for all of the madness, danger, pursuits, narrow escapes, hunts, hidden truths, and all the healing this book could pack in. It was so harrowing and breathtaking that at times I could not put the book down for fear of not being there for Elka as she braves crossing treacherous rivers to save the prissy Penelope from her big city ways, or narrowly escape the hands of the “Dandy Man” who crates and ships girls off to the madam’s in the brothels. Were Elka and Penelope doomed to fall prey, or would the law or “Kreager Hallet” reach them first? Could Penelope be as tough as the wild and Elka and the wolf, or would the intense climate changes be the end of poor Penelope? What secrets lie hidden between them?

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I definitely give this book a 5 out of 5 stars for the unique language used, as well as for the way the story sucks you in from the beginning and just won’t let you go. Author Beth Lewis did an amazing job with this intense, action and drama filled novel. If I were you, I would go immediately and purchase “The Wolf Road” by Beth Lewis right now, and find the answers to these and many more intense interactions, including an unforeseen turn of events before the novel is through!

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Well, why are you still sitting there? Go! Now! Read it!

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 As always, until next time….Happy Reading to you all!!!

~J

***I was extremely lucky to receive an ARC copy for review from Blogging for Books and Crown Publishing, as well as the fantastic author Beth Lewis in exchange for my honest review. “The Wolf Road” is author Beth Lewis ‘s first novel. I look forward to her future publications! Thank you to all for this amazing opportunity!***

Amazing Things Indeed…..

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Duplicity

Duplicity, you see, is what divides the whole of me. I realized I have been away a bit from my posts…….well, dear readers, it’s because of my head full of ghosts…

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Spinning and turning their webs and their snares, watching to see if you know I’m not there. Wanting to twist and tie up my words. Wanting my voice not to be heard.

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Don’t worry my friends, I have a bunch of gifts I want to give. Keep your eye on the page for the fun to begin. Alas, my friends, though they try to force me down, I laugh as I know this girl can’t be held down. 

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No need to send rescue, or look through the trees, my reviews will float back to your ears with the breeze.

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Tales for you I have of books and of things, of journeys, and thoughts, and things that you need. So keep watching, dear friends, as I light up the show; my thoughts and my words have no where left to go. 

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Bent, not broken, my words still will be……written by just little ole me………

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I’ll see you REAL soon……

~J

 

 

Uprooted

       “From Root to Flower..”

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Uprooted by Naomi Novik was such a gem to find! I don’t usually read this particular kind of fantasy book, however once my journey into this fantastic story had begun, I could not put the book down.

The story begins talking about Agnieszka, the main character, and the small town she lives in. Her town is bordered by corrupted woods that harbor creatures that lurk in dark shadows and capture the villagers that wander in too far to the woods. In order to hold the woods back from taking the entire village, every ten years a female must be given to the powerful wizard known as “The Dragon,” to serve him without question.

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Agnieszka and Kasia are best friends and both know they will be in the dragons line up this year. They both know that the Dragon will be taking Kasia from their village, and Kasia’s family has made her spend her whole life training for when the Dragon would take her to his tower overshadowing the woods. wizard_s_tower_by_jcbarquet-d5mc33w

As the girls from the village line up, the Dragon walks coldly, assessing each as if picking the ripest fruit from the vine. As Agnieszka and Kaisa stand near each other, knowing that this will be the separation of their friendship for a decade to come, suddenly the Dragon stops, and life for Agneiska is forever changed as she has become the chosen one. Before there can be a stunned cry, Agnieszka is whisked off by the Dragon to his tower by a transport spell, and Agnesika is left sobbing and unsure and alone in the Dragon’s tower.

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What Agnieszka finds is a cold, hardened wizard that sees her as she is, a clumsy, untrained, defiant girl. She drops things, and is always dirty from a spill or from wandering lost in her thoughts, all of which angers the Dragon. What Agnieszka did not know prior to being taken is that she is a powerful witch, just untrained and stubbornly willful. When her best friend Kaisa is taken by a creature from the woods, Agnieszka will do anything, including leaving the Dragon to save her childhood friend. 

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What results from this seemingly innocent gesture is a war that Agnieszka could not have foreseen setting off. From giant praying mantis like creatures, to “walkers”, to the evil in the wood using each captured soul as a means to gain power, a battle ensues for keeping the woods at bay. Throw in a captured Queen and her son now grown and looking to rescue her, and black “corruption” seething and worming through the bodies of those who enter the woods, and a power push for control of lands, you now have an EPIC fantasy read.

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Being naive has a price, but can an all powerful wizard and the clumsy, hard headed witch he is trying to train be enough to fight the armies amassing all around them? What if the Queen, ensnared in a heart tree over 20 years, then rescued is no longer a Queen, but an extension of the woods? How did the woods become so corrupt? Can Agneiszka manage to stop warring countries as well as hold off the woods all while dealing with the grumpy, insensitive, brash wizard she is meant to live ten years with?

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This is a definite must read fantasy book. This was such a refreshing change and the writing is absolutely amazing! This was definitely a 5 out of 5 star novel for me, and this was not my usual genre or preference.  I am so glad I took the chance and read this novel by Naomi Novik and am going to look into her other dragon series and will let you know how that goes as well!

But for now my friends, go take a walk in the woods with Naomi Novik, and hope you too can get out Uprooted!

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Tread lightly and carefully my friends and enjoy your journey reading Uprooted!

~J

Arms of an Angel

As I sit here, writing in Air Force blue, I am reminded of the sharp and painful dream that yanked me to the surface of what is what’s left of my life.

You see, 2 years ago I lost my father suddenly. Well I say suddenly…..but really it was a dragged out painful affair. My dad did have heart problems, and he always said he knew when he was going to die, that an angel told him he’d be sitting in a chair. He almost made it to his favorite chair under his favorite tree to read and drink coffee.

I was always a Daddy’s girl; still am. His death has been the most painful part of my daily existence to this day. His absence. This larger than life man reduced down to a few bits of ash.

How is that even fair? Or even possible? How could someone so amazing just……disappear. I carry a small part of his ash with me and his last thumbprint ever around my neck. I also carry over 30 years of memories of this amazing man.

I awoke this morning having a panic attack, sweating and yearning, for in my dream he was RIGHT THERE….leading me up a hill and smiling and calling me Baby Girl, but I couldn’t quite grab his hand. What I wouldn’t give to hear that again. Or when I would call and he would answer the phone knowing it was me, “Yo, Ritta!” The simple things. The small things. That’s what I miss. One more hug. One more I love you. But, in the end I guess it’s never enough. There will never be a time when I wouldn’t say “Just please give me 5 more minutes.”

There was a huge hole cut out of my soul the day my dad died. A crevice so deep and wide that no one or nothing can ever cross it again. I’m sure if he was alive, he could tell me what happened at each stage of that rocks life. Pressure. Water. Heat. How each layer formed a new place in time. Now my dad joins that place.

I guess I just wanted the world to know that I had the BEST dad ever. He was in the Air Force. Caused trouble for them in Vietnam. He wrecked or lost so many vehicles being silly (or shooting the snakes that crawled up in the heat of the just empty jeep, forgetting it would blow the jeep up also ), that in the end he walked the jungles with his dog to find the VietCong in the trees. Only recently did I find out that my dad, who guarded the airfields, would show the two warring factions in Vietnam and Cambodia where the other was hiding so they could shoot at each other while the American soldiers laughed. A human video game. Until the day the bad guys decided no matter the Americans were showing them where to shoot, that they would shoot at the Americans, and my dad watched a good friend die. He never told me that. He told us plenty of stories that were funny, made his kids laugh. I’m sure inside he felt like I do now. He watched his younger brother and his mother pass on before him, and yet he laughed, and loved. and gave, and was a hero to me. There will never be words that adequately express the hole left in the wreckage of my life.

If you read my blog, then you know I have had many strokes and have a brain aneurysm and that I have all the signs and symptoms of not just pheochryocytoma (cancer on your adrenal glands), but something else is also wrong. I have lost the ability to walk any distance, fall all the time, and generally am getting tired of not being able to be the Emergency and Trauma nurse I have always been. Then, it comes back to me, my dad was sick and dying and KNEW it, yet he embraced life full on. He laughed. He made us laugh. He was a father to my son when my own child’s father turned his back on him. He loved. He gave. He cared about everyone BUT himself. He didn’t complain. He tried to make things easier for us. Yet here I sit full of hate and rage at a disease I didn’t ask for, but he didn’t ask for prostate cancer. His neighbors say the last thing he was doing was joking and laughing with the next door neighbor before the angels came to take him home. This is where I choose to believe my dad died, free among his birds, in his yard, on his terms, not the horrible two weeks and brutal decisions that had to be made. I will say though they tried to throw me out I refused and held my Daddy’s hand while they removed his breathing tube, his last access to “life,” and we had to wait and watch the rest of his body die.

And here I think about my own mortality. Will I be that brave? Can I hold it together for my children? Have I been a good parent? Will they have stories and memories as fond of me as I do of my dad?

With so much ugly and hate in this world, we should all follow his example and give without hesitation, and to love unconditionally. After losing all my worldly possessions, and most of my pride, I allowed a very good friend to post my story on Go Fund Me. I have a long and hard battle ahead. Two very black hearted and evil nurses where I used to work six months ago, tried to claim that my Go Fund Me was a fraud and I was hurting people. How do you hate someone you haven’t seen in six months? I know they haven’t crossed my mind…..until that. Then I had to go an investigation that caused a lot of my “friends” to unfriend me, thinking that because the site was down it must be true. Well, that site is back up after a thorough investigation, and found to be the truth. If you don’t know my story, that is a great place to learn a bit about me. I will say I didn’t handle it as my dad would have. I was hate filled and rageful. How dare they accuse me of lying when I have lost EVERYTHING from this illness.

Yet here in the quiet still of my bedroom, with my two chihuahuas snoring with me, and my heart rate calming down, I see clearly. My dad was leading me to follow his example. To be brave. To be honest. To love without reserve. To be grateful of every moment I have left and smile along the way.

Isn’t it funny how even after death, my father is still such a force and presence in my life, that he has given me the grace to forgive those that spoke ill of me. The courage to get up and face the day. The resilience to try and be the best mom I can under the circumstances we have to work with, and pray that I also gave my children a small piece of my dad. Thank you Daddy for hanging around to kick me in the butt. Sometimes it takes pain to see beauty. Pom La Koon Pops.

 If you would like to visit the Go Fund Me page to just look and read, or maybe donate to a stranger that could be the one to save you, or may have already done so, please take a few minutes, read it or don’t, but I beg you to please just take the one second it takes to hit that “share” button on your Facebook or Twitter. Maybe your donation or your  sharing the message will be the one that saves a life. How would that be as a final message to leave……….hope and goodwill. Here’s the link, just a click away…..Pay It Forward

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~J   

June

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June: by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore

Everyone has “that perfect summer.” You know the one that is magical in your memories. That kind of summer where love blossoms and love fades. The kind where grand parties are held on sprawling lawns, and the lemonade is perfect with Amantha’s secret recipe. These grand and glorious memories are often in the mind of the participants, but also become memories of the very house itself. Or at least that was true of Two Oaks and that magical summer of 1955 when the movie crew came to town. When there was love and magic, betrayal and revenge, dead bodies and dead babies, and what seemed like all the time in the world.

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Or so the house thought. Until time dried and flaked its glorious paint off, and many a rain showers put a hole in the roof that birds and bats took advantage of, and of the last time Jack and June brought love to Two Oaks, with its overgrown gardens and unkempt lawns. Until it became 2015 and Cassie brought life back to Two Oaks.

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Cassie inherits this run down yesteryear mansion that she is in love with, and in turn, the house and its ghostly inhabitants are thrilled to see her too. So much so they show themselves as they were the last party at Two Oaks, and scare Cassie so much that the house decides it needs to be still and patient. The day will come when Cassie’s eyes are open wide and once more Two Oaks will be the talk of the town. Cassie of course comes with her own broken past and unpaid bills. Reclusive until descended on by realatives of this consuming romance between Jack and June.

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This magnificent novel does a superb job of bouncing between June 1955 and June 2015. As intricate and elegant as an empty spiders web, slowly Cassie begins to unwind the events of that fateful summer in 1955 when Jack met June and the whole world seemed right. When Lindie would climb up Two Oaks and get June for a midnight getaway ride on her bicycle, enjoying the night sit and sounds of crickets, and mostly June’s hands around her waist. Linda Sue (Lindie) was the first to tell June that Jack Montgomery was coming to film his next movie right in their very own small town.

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As I read back and forth in time, solving each new mystery right beside them, I found myself drawn to Lindie and her boyish dressing since in the 1950’s people were not so kind on such matters. Younger than June, but with brains and spunk to match, she was an irresistible character. 

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Cassie inherits Two Oaks after her grandmother dies from a brain tumor.Following the clues left behind from a romance so powerful, so secret, so seductive and dangerous Cassie slowly learns of her grandmothers past, and a love so hot it consumed everything around it.

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For me, this novel was captivating. The characters were so vivid and like able, that even though I am not to fond of romance reads, it held enough magic, haunted houses, and mystery that I have rated this fantastic book a 5 out of 5 stars! Any less, and Two Oaks would be dismayed with my review. Everyone knows you don’t make a haunted house angry!

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*****Thanks to Blogging For Books, and the author as I was give an ARC in exchange for an honest review! *****

Defining Yourself

HOW DO YOU DEFINE YOURSELF? WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THE DEFINITION YOU THOUGHT WAS RIGHT CHANGES? DOES FEAR OF THE UNKNOWN INVENT WHO YOU ARE? DOES WHO YOU ARE DEPEND ON WHO YOU ARE AROUND? WHAT DO YOU DEFINE AS THAT WHICH IS YOU? THE UNIQUE YOU. THE HAPPY YOU. THE REAL YOU? CRAZY QUESTIONS THAT POSE A LONGER LINE OF THINKING, LIKE WHO ARE YOU REALLY?

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WHEN I WAS A LITTLE GIRL I WANTED TO BE THE FIRST FEMALE THUNDERBIRD PILOT FOR THE AIR FORCE. I SUPPOSE THAT THIS SUPPORTED I SEE MYSELF AS STRONG AND UNIQUE. THAT I WOULD HAVE THE ABILITY TO FIGHT AND DEMAND THAT AS A FEMALE I COULD FLY A FIGHTER JET JUST LIKE A MAN COULD.

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IN REALITY, I WAS TOLD THAT WOULD NEVER HAPPEN, THE NAVY CAME A COURTIN, AND I DECIDED THAT MAYBE MILITARY WOULD NOT BE THE WAY I WANTED TO EXPRESS MYSELF. (THOUGH I LIVE WHERE ALL THE NAVY JETS LITERALLY FLY RIGHT OVER MY HOUSE SO CLOSE SOMEDAYS I THINK I SHOULD HAND A CUP OF COFFEE OUT THE WINDOW TO THEM!) BUT MAKE NO MISTAKE, I AM A HARD CORE MILITARY SUPPORTER, AIR FORCE BRAT, SISTER TO AN ARMY SOLDIER WHO SUFFERED FROM IED EXPLOSION IN IRAQ, AND MARRIED TO AN ARMY PARATROOPER WITH SEVERAL COMBAT TOURS.

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SO THEN I DECIDED THAT BEING A PEDIATRICIAN WOULD BE THE NEXT BEST WAY TO EXPRESS MYSELF.

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WELL GOOD THINGS COME (I BECAME A NURSE), AND GOOD THINGS GO (I DROPPED OUT OF MED SCHOOL BECAUSE I DECIDED I WAS NOT CUT OUT TO BE SLAVE TO A PAGER).

YET. I  STILL DEFINED MYSELF IN THE CARETAKER OR HELPER KIND OF DEFINITION. ANYONE WHO MEETS ME WOULD SAY THAT I DO TRY VERY HARD TO LOVE ALL PEOPLE DESPITE ANY DIFFERENCES IN THEIR DEFINITION OF SELF THAT MAY PUSH MYSELF BUBBLE A BIT OFF COURSE.

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I HAVE COME TO REALIZE THAT ANY DEFINITION THAT FITS AT THAT MOMENT IS AN OK DEFINITION OF SELF. MY DEFINITION OF MYSELF IS THAT I AM AN EMERGENCY AND TRAUMA NURSE. I HAVE BEEN SINCE I GRADUATED SCHOOL.

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BUT, I ALSO MUST DEFINE MYSELF AS A PATIENT. ONE WHO IS SICK AND FRAIL AND HAS TO GIVE UP THE REIGNS OF CONTROL OVER ME AND BOY DOES THAT PISS ME OFF!!!!!

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I WAS TAUGHT DO UNTO OTHERS AS YOU WOULD WANT THEM TO DO TO YOU. I AM A KIND NURSE. I AM PATIENT, AND OBSERVANT. I NOTICE WHEN THE PATIENT OR THEIR FAMILY IS IN DISTRESS OVER WHAT A DOCTOR JUST TOLD THEM. I SIT WITH MOTHERS THAT HAVE JUST LOST THEIR CHILDREN, AND FAMILIES THAT HEAR THEIR LOVED ONE IS GOING TO DIE. AND EVERY MINUTE I AM HONORED TO BE THERE, EVEN WHEN I HAD NOTHING LEFT TO GIVE.

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I FIND DEFINING MYSELF AS A PATIENT COMES WITH ITS OWN SET OF DEFINITIONS. I NOW AM THE ONE THAT IS WAITING TO BE SEEN. UNLIKE THE REST OF THE PEOPLE I TRY TO UNDERSTAND PEOPLE AREN’T GOOFING OFF, THEY ARE SAVING SOMEONE’S LIFE AND I SHOULD BE thankful NOT angry THAT I AM HAVING TO WAIT. BUT I DO GET THE ANGER NOW.

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AS I USED TO SEE PATIENTS COMING IN NIGHT AFTER NIGHT, I BECAME HARDENED AND LABELED EVERYONE WITH SOCIAL STIGMAS. I DIDN’T MEAN TOO, BUT SLOWLY OVER TIME IT HAPPENED. NOW I FIND MYSELF BEING LABELED AS ONE OF those PATIENTS. OR AS THAT NURSE.

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I GUESS WHAT I WANT TO CONVEY FROM THIS POST IS THAT WE ARE ALL HUMAN. WE ALL HAVE OUR CROSSES TO BEAR. MAKING SOMEONE ELSE’S LIFE MISERABLE JUST SO YOU CAN DEFINE YOURSELF AS POWERFUL AND IN CONTROL IS BULLSHIT!

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WHEN YOU GET UP IN THE MORNING WHAT DO YOU SEE? I’M SURE THAT YOU HAVE THE SAME IMAGE AS ME. JUST A PERSON TRYING TO MAKE IT DAY TO DAY IN THIS CRAZY TIME AND KEEP SANITY AS A PRIORITY AS WELL. THIS HAPPENS ALL THE TIME. WHEN YOU PUT SOMEONE DOWN TO LIFT YOURSELF UP YOU SHOULD BE VERY AFRAID OF KARMA. SHE’S A BITCH.

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I AM PUTTING MYSELF OUT THERE BECAUSE I AM WATCHING THIS HAPPEN TO PEOPLE THAT I LOVE. IT IS HAPPENING TO ME AS A PERSON. NO ONE SAID YOU HAVE TO LIKE OR EVEN LOVE EVERY PERSON YOU MEET, HOWEVER YOU DO NEED TO PRACTICE TOLERANCE AND UNDERSTANDING, BECAUSE ONE DAY IT MAY BE YOU.

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STOP THE MADNESS!!!! JUST BE KIND TO ONE ANOTHER. WE ARE ALL HERE FOR SUCH A SHORT TIME AND WE SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO DEFINE OUR SELF AS HAPPY. I KNOW, TALL ORDER RIGHT?!?!?! IF SOMEONE NEEDS YOUR HELP, RATHER THAN BE AN ASS, OR AN I’M BETTER THAN YOU, REACH OUT YOUR HAND AND HELP PULL THEM UP, NOT SHOVE THEM DOWN.

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***The inspiration for this post came from a sharing of coffee and troubles. You know who you are, and you know what an amazing person you are!***

~J

Legend

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Legend: The Incredible Story of Green Beret Staff Sergeant Roy Benavidez’s Heroic Mission To Rescue a Special Forces Team Caught Behind Enemy Lines by: Eric Blehm

 

This review could not start anywhere but the end. The end is all people want to know. The end is the dramatic part. The end is…well…. the end quite frankly. So I have started this most honored to be written blog with the end. There lies not only one of our American Heroes, but the author that wrote about him, and FOR him, seeking the recognition this hero so rightly deserved. This story occurred “behind the wire,” in one of many missions our Special Operations Groups entered into willingly, without second thought. nor with trepidation. The story itself you will find many heroes in, but the focus of this book is SSGT. Benavidez. The power of this book lies in that it is OUR history. One as Americans people take for granted. Right now there are many SOG groups, faceless and nameless, operating on their own to keep us free.

tn_sparkling-usa-flag5b15dThe author cleverly starts with the end as well. Grab your attention. Keep you reading. Skillfully, Mr. Blehm guides you along the path of meeting Roy Benavidez, a young Texan who was a bit wild, a bit rough around the edges, but who ultimately enters the Texas National Guard, but quickly finds he has a knack for the military. The structure and duty lead him to not want to renew his Guard contract but rather to enter the world of the Army’s Paratroopers. Being short in stature, but HUGE in ego, SSGT. Benavidez starts a path that will ultimately place him in Vietnam……twice.

c119dganimBeing rather personable, and good at being a soldier, he is quickly sent to Vietnam with his friends where he learned from many people how to survive the jungle, and also faced his first almost career ending injury. While on patrol in the jungle, SSGT. Benavidez had the misfortune of stepping on a well hidden “Bouncing Betty” land mine, which didn’t detonate properly. Luckily for SSGT. Benavidez, the land mine did not explode where there would have been no remnants of his person, but instead, blasted the flat metal plate at thousands of miles an hour into his back, sending him into what he later “called “The Darkest White.”

00-1medevac_sMed-evaced” out of Vietnam, SSGT. Benavidez finds himself in a state of in-between. Told he would never walk again due to a twisted spine, and under threat of a medical discharge from the Army he loved so good, SSGT. Benavidez set about refusing to hear the word “no.” Each night he would roll out of bed and practice trying to stand up, just asking for more time. In he summer of 1966, he walked out of Brooke Army Medical Center, of his own power and was desperate to return to his 82nd Airborne unit at Ft. Bragg. Do to his injuries, he was returned to a desk job, but he had learned from his time in the jungle, “always look for a way out.” This he did daily while filing papers until he forged a few documents and was headed off to Green Beret “Q” school, despite his medical limitations.

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Sporting the coveted Green Beret, SSGT. Benavidez longed to get back in the action. While the Army was deciding whether to send him back to Vietnam, (where the mortality of a Special Operator Group or SOG was 100%,) or to South America due to his fluency in Spanish, his friends were being stripped of all identifying information and dropped into Cambodia, the war the President swore we were not in. SSGT. Benavidez was finally told that he would be returning to Vietnam, to a unit on the front line, the hot bed of warfare, but would also be rendezvousing with old friends.

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Without spoiling all of the encounters, and so you too will read this incredible man and his teams obstacles,  I will not reveal how bad the situation was, but needless to say a small group of operators became cut off and were surrounded and even attempts to quick grab them by helicopter were unsuccessful.

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I will say that I could not read this book all in one sitting. The lives and deaths of these brave men were hard to read. Many times I found myself wanting it to be anything but what it was. I wanted to sneak them more ammunition, fix their booboos faster, and I wanted a happy ending. There are no happy endings in war, and the toughest part of this book when you read it is that it is REAL. These brave men did what they did without question, and knowing death may be the only way home.

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 I rated this book 5 out of 5 stars as it may be one of the best novels you read this year. I recommend it to everyone, as it is our history. Honor those that went and gave all so you can sit and read this review without fear.

**I was given an ARC by Blogging for Books and Penguin Random House in exchange for my honest review of this book.**

 

 

 

 

 

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