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January 26, 2015

Book 2 in 2015

America: Where Great Things HappenAmerica: Where Great Things Happen by Donald L. Gilleland
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What a great book cover! America: Where Great Things Happen by Donald L. Gilleland with the red, white, and blue fonts plus the picture of the American flag sure is fitting for this book which is all about positive things that happen in America. As the author points out in the Preface, wonderful things do happen all across this country however it is barely ever reported. The newspapers and news stations all seem to report on everything negative. If there is a fight somewhere and on the same day a dying woman received a kidney from a stranger, the headline news would be all about the fight and if they even bother to mention the kidney donation from a stranger to save a woman's life, it would be lost somewhere on page 23 or a 15 second quick mentioning used as a filler if time allowed before the news ended. We are bombarded with all this negative news everyday and from every direction and I know I have doubted my faith in humanity many times because of it.

What this book is about is the headlines we don't get to see. It is all true headlines and stories but since they are uplifting and positive, they don't make local or national news. We all hear about how students fail their tests and how they can't even answer simple questions like how many states make up the United States but I don't recall hearing about a seventeen year old in 2012 who developed a test for pancreatic cancer that is 28 times cheaper and faster, and 100 times more sensitive then the current test, do you? (Because I did look it up, I do know these values are now in question.) Even people like Dr. Virginia Apgar, who I do recall the name and what she was known for, I found out a lot more about her and her other achievements that I had no idea she was even involved with.

Due to the nature of the book, there are no characters or plot to speak of since it isn't a 'story'. However, it does cover many different 'subjects' other than people. It includes the Bible, Pledge of Allegiance, and National Monuments just to name a few of them. The timeline is from historical to basically present day events and even the historical are interesting and not common knowledge taught in schools.

I found the book very interesting and easy to read. What I call the "fun facts" came in handy when my adult children came to visit. I worked the them into a conversation which made my children think I 'fell off my rocker' one too many times. (Yes, I had fun with this book.) I recommend this book to everyone.

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January 11, 2015

Book 1 in 2015

The Candidates: Based on a True CountryThe Candidates: Based on a True Country by Matthew S. Hiley
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

As the cover of the book depicts, The Candidates: Based on a True Country by Matthew s. Hiley is a comedy. While the description of the book sounded good, I must confess that it isn't my type of comedy. For the most part I found it rude, raunchy, and down right vulgar however I do appreciate the author writing it. I know that sounds a bit confusing but read on and it will be explained.

I won't recap the whole story since the author already written a good description of what the book is about. However what isn't mentioned in the description is the author writing about things others dare not to mention. Things going on today such as prejudice, stereotyping, and the political games being played. I also couldn't help but notice that although it is full of made-up situations and actions, there is plenty of truth in it if you can get past the fabricated and comedy parts. An example of it is that the candidates picked running mates based on how many 'groups of people' that will vote for them. A running mate who is an Asian, lesbian, amputee, would appeal to Asian and Middle-Eastern, LGBT, handicap, and female voters and that is more important than if that person is qualified for such a position. In other words, what they are is more important than their accomplishments, past records, and if what they stand for what is right or good for the people. It is all a matter of getting into office and promoting their own personal agenda even if it means telling known lies and promises which if you watched the political candidates, no matter what office, is what is goes on in many elections to this day.

The characters in this book don't need to be developed like most books do. They are developed enough to understand who and what is going on during the timeline of the book however it is not a kind of book where you would connect with any of the characters or even have any (or much) feelings for any of them. Keeping that in mind, they are amply developed.

The satire in the book is not the kind of comedy I enjoy but I am not saying it is a 'bad' book by any means, I am simply saying I just don't enjoy this kind of comedy. The best way I know how to explain it is that it is like the comedy of 'The Three Stooges." I didn't find them enjoyable either but millions of people did so I am saying this is just because of my personal taste in humor! They don't go around slapping each other on the head or poke their eyes (they do worse) but to me this is the kind of comedy it is. They set out on an important task and mess it up so bad with their faulty reasoning, bad aim, and down right goofiness that it leads into this snowball effect of things they need to do to 'fix' it and still have yet to complete the original task they set out to do.

As I said, this is not my kind of humor but it doesn't mean I didn't like any of the book. There were parts that I did enjoy and any author that can have his characters compare Dirty Dancing (my favorite movie) to Star Wars and pull it off is one heck of a writer!

I do recommend this for adults only due to the content and language.

*I received a free copy for my honest review.

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