What Has Happened To Freedom?

The United States of America was founded on freedom. Freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and the basic freedoms of life, liberty, the pursuit of happyness, and to follow your conscience. But something has gone very wrong.

We now have to watch what we say, lest certain groups become offended. Even flying our flag with pride, on American soil, can be considered ‘hate speech.’ One of the strongest symbols of our great nation is ‘hate speech’?

And now, certain organizations feel that they can dictate what others do. Now don’t get me wrong. I don’t believe that this is a brand new phenomenon. After all certain corporations have been known to dictate how their employees spend their paychecks, and sometimes even their free time. Be it as simple as certain businesses demanding that their employees pay so much to a certain charity, to the beverage companies firing employees for drinking the competition’s beverages, it happens. And, in my opinion, it’s just as wrong as what is happening now.

Our school campuses, be they primary, secondary, or higher learning, are places to learn. They are places that, by their design, are supposed to prepare their students for life in the world.

So, let me ask you this. How does making boys walk around in red high heels do anything but embarrass them? (Source link: http://chicksontheright.com/blog/item/28491-why-in-the-world-are-rotc-cadets-being-required-to-wear-red-high-heels-why) Oh, I know that it’s supposed to make them understand the threat of sexual violence against women. But do you know what? All this really said was: humiliate yourself, and you won’t be treated like someone who needs to be re-educated with sensitivity training courses.

When has wearing something that you don’t like, or participating in an event that you don’t agree with become mandatory? Wear high heels for a day, boys, or go to sensitivity training and have your GPA docked. Participate in that wedding you disagree with or be fined and lose your business license. Where are the freedoms our great nation was founded on here?

Have the rights of the founders of #Walkamileinhershoes somehow trumped the rights of ROTC boys, who are going into the military, or the other men at these campuses? Have the rights of the gay couples who want to be married trumped the rights of Christian business owners who are afraid of disappointing God if they participate in a gay wedding? Have the rights of nature trumped the basic rights of humans to live?

Well you guys, you’ve got to make your choices. Will you sacrifice your job, business, or GPA for what you believe is right? That’s a hard choice, but not as hard as some have made. Our military and police personnel have made the irrevocable sacrifice for our well-being. They have sacrificed their very lives for our freedoms, in the case of the military, and our security, for both of them.

These groups in the minority of the population have offered us a choice, now. Will we sacrifice our morals, our pride, or our beliefs, going against our very consciences, to keep them happy? Or will we sacrifice our jobs, our financial security, or our grades for what we believe is right? Will you sacrifice these smaller things, that we may walk in the company of those who have made the greatest sacrifice of them all?

Steve Martini’s Trader of Secrets-Paul Madriani 12

I received this book for a fair and honest review.

Overview: Paul Madriani has big trouble. His investigator, Herman Diggs, has been brutally attacked by an assassin who has been stalking the Madrianis for a while. What’s worse, is that the assassin knows where Sarah is. So what is a father to do? Why, track down Liquida, what else? The FBI probably should be handling this, but they are focused on a couple of missing NASA employees. What are the odds that these cases are connected?

Story Telling: Mr. Martini takes us from the United States to Mexico in a multinational jaunt. He doesn’t try to pepper too many of the local idioms or colloquialisms through the story, thank goodness.

Likes: Herman is my kind of bodyguard. He is nearly killed, and shows up for the final showdown by sheer force of will? He can back me up at any time. Paul showed actions that, I believe, most fathers would. His baby was in trouble, and he did what he had to. Bugsy was cute, and show to be quite intelligent for the most part.

Dislikes: Aside from the obviousness of Liquida, I had a few problems with this book. One was with Joselyn. She was nasty at the worst of the trouble, and a dreamer the rest of the time. She wanted to let the feds handle Liquida. Big mistake. It was how liberal she was, really. The government can’t save you. Usually by the time the police or feds get there, it’s already too late. All they can do is catch the crook.

The Federal Government wasn’t shown in the best light. Granted, I could buy of side of the government would try to blame another part like it was shown here. That happens to be why I hated the situation.

Also, the science of Project Thor slowed the story down too much for my tastes.

Now to the biggie. Throughout this novel, there seemed to be a build-up to a final showdown between one of the Madrianis and Liquida. Even Bugsy was shown to be a lot smarter than people were giving him credit for. And yet, the showdown was very unsatisfying. In fact, it felt, well, like it was tacked on. By the way, Mr. Martini, Dobermans have some pretty large litters. Three pups is uncommonly small for the breed.

Favorite Character: Bugsy and Herman definitely fit. Harry was kind of cool. I’m not so sure that I want to get on his bad side. After all, Harry did beat a client up, with the casebook, when he witnessed the man hit the wife that he brought with him for support. Even Paul was cool.

Favorite Quote: Oh, Herman nailed it here. “The last time I looked, trust was a two-way street.”

Favorite Scene: When Paul saw his daughter and decided to make all of those between him and here into bowling pins, was a good show. The best part, Mr. Martini had several different views of the scene.

Conclusion: This was a fun book up until the ending. As it is, it still fits as a good book, but not a great one. Enjoy it if you’re a fan of suspense novels.

Nicole Audet’s Parents For Sale

I received this book courtesy of Dr. Audet for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

Overview: Lucy and Luke have a major problem. Their parents have decided to sell the beloved family dog, Pistachio. Problem, Lucy and Luke don’t want to sell Pistachio. Their solution? Why, sell their parents instead. I don’t think that they have thought this one out very well. Do you want to see how they get out of this mess?

Story Telling: This children’s book was rather interesting. The illustrations were fun. It should catch your child’s attention. But, it is written in the present tense. That just drives me crazy.

Likes: The twins’ attempts at problem solving were pretty cute. And, at least the parents didn’t completely blame there children for Pistachio’s upcoming sell.

Dislikes: Okay, say it with me: a dog is a family pet. Anyone who thinks that a child can take on most, if not all, that a dog entails, well, he or she is fooling his or herself. Also, the way the twins treated the principal was wrong. Lines isn’t a bad punishment. It’s a two-for. It’ll emphasize good behavior and helps improve penmanship.

Favorite Character: It would have to be Pistachio. She tried to warn the twins over that fairy.

Favorite Quote: From Lucy: “Our parents are worth more than a hundred dollars.” She just didn’t seem to get it at that time.

Favorite Scene: The witch crashing into the apple tree was pretty funny.

Conclusion: This is a cute story. I just have one question. The Clark family had a fenced-in yard, why did they have to walk Pistachio?

E.E. Smith’s Boardinghouse Stew

I received this book courtesy of Ms. Nunn for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

Overview: In 1943, a young Eileen Smith was hired to work at ‘Mrs. Mumson’s’ “guesthouse.” (Let’s not upset anyone by calling it what it is, a boardinghouse.) Here is the four month period of Eileen’s kitchen…experiments…and all the gossip that lives in such a close community.

Story Telling: From Ms. Smith’s own words: “Boardinghouse Stew” is her memoir, based on her most famous play by the same name, that, unfortunately for us all, was written some forty-plus years after the facts. As such, even she isn’t sure how much is accurate, and how much is little more than fanciful recollections of ‘the good old days.’

Likes: You have to like Eileen’s work ethic. She is better at the cleaning job than I am. The place wouldn’t look near as nice as it did if I was cleaning it.

Oh, I would like to think that Ms. Smith correctly inferred Teddy’s job (the only real man, other than Doc, in the book.)

Patsy and Doc were cute. But I’ll thank her not to visit Doc while he is with a patient.

Margaret needed those who stood beside her. I’m glad that Teddy and the others were there when she needed them the most.

Dislikes: I’m sure Mrs. Mumson was a kind old lady, but I would work for her. She seemed to short change a lot of people.

Howard was a very bad Christian. Here’s a surprise for all who think like him out there: if it is a sin for a woman to have sex outside of marriage, then it is a sin for a man to have sex outside of marriage as well. I just wish that Teddy had hit him harder.

And Iris. Please don’t start with her. She was a…well…domineering woman who, seemingly, saw the war as a chance to prove her worth.

Favorite Character: I like strong, upstanding men. That is why I liked Teddy. He encouraged others to look on the bright side, but also insisted that they do the right thing.

Favorite Quote: I hope that Doc lived long enough to witness his hopes come true. “I just hope I live to see a world where children grow up with no threat of polio, smallpox, or even measles!” Of course, if he is still alive, he might want to smack a few people right now.

Favorite Scene: The best parts were Eileen’s reaction to Iris wearing the gas mask, and when Teddy gave Eileen the card. Or how about when the tension between Howard and Teddy came to a head? Howard so deserved it.

Conclusion: This was a terrific story. I’m proud to admit that it made my library. Please consider it for yours.

Robbie Vorhaus’s One Less, One More

I received this book for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

Overview: Who hasn’t had dreams that he or she wishes he or she had followed? Mr. Vorhaus has an answer that he thinks will help others fulfill their dreams.

Story Telling: I must be a glutton for punishment, because I keep getting these self-help books. The concept behind this one is the idea of dropping something you don’t find as useful to your dreams, and replacing it with something that will help you accomplish your dreams.

Likes: The concept of ‘one less, one more’ is a good one if done within the proper framework. It’s kind of like: spend less time on Facebook, and spend more time on ‘fill in the blanks.’

Dislikes: Here’s the problem. I disagree with Mr. Vorhaus’s path. I agree with Jesus’ assessment that “out of the heart, the mouth speaks.” and Jesus didn’t have a whole lot of nice things to say about the hearts of men. And isn’t intention a side effect of the ego? Which leads us into my next problem.

It’s my belief that you need the mind, ego if you will, involved when you go for a dream. The heart, mind, and body ought to be in agreement. (Even if the flesh has to be brought under control a la Paul.) God laid down that example in Deuteronomy, and for those who believe that the Old Testament was ‘done away with,’ Jesus re-emphasized it in Mark.

Also there seemed to be a lot of the new-age belief system in the framework of Mr. Vorhaus. And this is what made the book hard for me to read.

On a side note: why do so many think that by cutting all violence out of the entertainment industry, we will make the country better? It may not have been as overt, but several of the ‘good old days’ movies and books were violent. Perhaps the solution is where the viewer’s focus is? My belief though? Evil comes from the heart, not the entertainment industry.

Favorite Quote: Here’s my quote this time. “Enthusiasm means in God, en+theos, from the Greek entheos, meaning inspired–in spirit.”

Favorite Story: I couldn’t really find one that just struck my fancy this time around.

Conclusion: I like the concept, but the way it was laid out in this book doesn’t work for me. And that is why I do self-help books. At least, I can give you a differing view. Perhaps you’ll find more use in it than I did, and then again, maybe this review will help you find your own path to ‘one less, one more.”

Sally Gould’s Dead Scary-The Ghost Who Refused to Leave

I received this book courtesy of Ms. Gould for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

Overview: Adam Castle is a typical teen. He obsesses over his Facebook status, he dreams of being a sports star ( his sport of choice being soccer), and he begrudgingly takes care of his baby sister. The only atypical thing about him is his ability to see and talk to the dead. Just don’t call them ghosts. They prefer to be called earthbound spirits. Edward is the earthbound spirit in Adam’s new house. There’s just a couple of problems here. One: they can’t stand each other. Two: Edward is part of the earthbound spirit Council. Can Adam get rid of Edward before trouble starts? Or will Edward get rid of the interloping humans in his house? And what are Warrior Spirits anyway?

Story Telling: Ms. Gould has written a fast-paced novel. Adam and Edward are painted as largely believable children/teens, even if one is already dead. It just happens to be a serious generational gap. It is written in a first-person (from Adam’s point-of-view) and we have to see Edward’s changes from that viewpoint.

Likes: Adam was willing to find help from anyone, living or otherwise, in order to save his family’s dream home. Yet, he was also willing to consider or even question the collective wisdom of those who deal with ghosts on a regular basis.

Dislikes: Even though Edward redeemed himself at the end, I didn’t like him. I have little regard for those who lie either to me, or about anyone or thing. Let’s just call it a pet peeve.

Favorite Character: I liked Isabel. She was torn between her loyalties, but managed to find a way to help her friend.

Favorite Quote: It comes from Isabel right after Adam hears what Edward intends to do in order to get the Castle family to move out. “Free Will is a basic right.” It’s something that seems to be missing around here these days.

Favorite Scene: It was pretty much a tie between what Isabel did to get attention, or Emily’s reation to adopting Isabel’s dog.

Conclusion: This was a fun story. Enjoy this haunting tale with your children.

Arleen Alleman’s A Current Deception-Darcy Farthing Adventures 5

I received this book courtesy of Ms. Alleman for the purpose of a fair and hones review.

Overview: Darcy Farthing is on a cruise along the coast of Australia. Her husband, her daughter along with her granddaughter, and her best friends– one traveling with her ex husband- are looking forward to a wedding. But, then crazy things start happening. Passengers are suffering from ant attacks. Crazy yellow ants, to be precise. Nothing worse could happen on this cruise, could it?

Story Telling: The byline may say otherwise but this is a mystery. As such, you can play catch the dirt bag.

Likes: Penelope is a great little girl, and seemed to be well protected.

Rachel also seemed to have a pleasant relationship with her biological mother and father.

Dislikes: Ms. Alleman’s political leanings for lack of a better description were almost overpowering. The case in point was the antagonist’s excuse for being a sociopath. I get it, there are horror stories surrounding the foster care system, but it is as near to insulting to claim that is because of that system that our antagonist became who or what he is. There are too many who have gone through that system and are now well adjusted, productive members of society.

Also, there were vast sections of information that both detracted from the story, and gave Ms. Alleman a chance to give her opinion on the history.

Why would any of Darcy’s traveling party go on another cruise after the last time they were on one? Some people just can’t take a hint.

Alice’s thinking seemed to be contradictory to my mind. You don’t claim your husband as the best thing to have ever happened to you, then see a porter as “sexy”?

Favorite Character: The most honorable character I could find was Captain Swenson. He just wanted the best for his passengers.

Favorite Quote: Honestly, I couldn’t find one.

Favorite Scene: This would be when Captain Swenson sees who is behind the attacks.

Conclusion: This is a book that will not be for everyone. If you are one who enjoys mysteries/adventures, you might give this one a go.

D.F. Capps’s Meteor Storm

I received this book for a fair and honest review.

Overview: Poor Carl. He has just been demoted from engineer of the Mars rovers to taking inventory at the Clark Street Storage Facility. It’s nothing really, just an enthusiastic argument over what the public could handle in terms of knowledge. Finding that artifact was worth it. Too bad about the news it carries, though. How many people today would survive going through a massive meteor storm? What will Carl do with his new-found knowledge? And will his actions help anyone?

Story Telling: Well, we have a merger of sci-fi with a pre-dystopian fiction. It was easy to follow, for the most part, and rather entertaining.

Likes: Carl had his priorities in the right place. When he came across the information about the meteor storm, all he could think about was how to get the information out.

The Survivalist Network was well organized. Trent, Tia, and Ed were people that Carl needed in his life.

Dislikes: General Strom was a real piece of work. Nobody has a right to manipulate people like he did. Much of those in power, for that fact, were just plain cold. Their attitudes were nothing short of murderous, at times.

The way that the navies banded together at the end was a bit disturbing to my mind. No one organization should be able to dictate such terms. What authority do you think should have two-thirds of the world?

Also some of the last chapters were hard for me. Yes, I like sci-fi, but I prefer the softer elements. Some of the science just bogged down the story.

Favorite Character: John saw what his dad did during the San Francisco earthquake, and took it to the next level. He wasn’t afraid to get his hands dirty, either, when someone needed his help.

Favorite Quote: Okay, it’s too big to be just one quote, but here we go. ““Hey,” Ed said, “I heard you did good in custody.”

“Thanks,” I replied. “What did they do to you?”

“Probably the same things they did to you. But after going through Interrogation Training in the SEALS, I wasn’t impressed.””

Favorite Scene: There were more than a few. The top one was when John made his stand near the end. His faith and confidence in the American people would either be proven or fail.

Then we have the scenes with Carl and the old guardian, as well as the interactions with Leroy Simms.

And let’s not forget the showdown of Tia, Ed, and Carl against the Frankenwolves. You’ll know that one when you see it.

Conclusion: This is an excellent book. I enjoyed it, and hope you do as well.

Kathryn J. Kappler’s My Own Pioneers-Three Volumes 1830-1918

I received these books courtesy of Mrs. Kappler for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

Overview: Mrs. Kappler has come to the knowledge that she is to be the historian of her family’s association with the Church of Latter Day Saints during the years of 1830-1918.

Story Telling: Mrs. Kappler has tried to write a historical account of her family’s part that was played throughout the years of the Mormon Church.

Likes: The idea of family histories, or legacies, strikes me as a fascinating read.

Dislikes: Like I have implied, I thought that this was a historical account. By Mrs. Kappler’s own words, this was supposed to be a book that would attract the academic reader. This is not what I came across. Mrs. Kappler portrayed the United States Government in an unflattering light. She came out and mentioned instances of the Native American skirmishes against the expansion of the United States, and quite a few of those instances were rather cruel. The only thing I can think of to explain these attacks, that were mentioned, were a form of ‘shock and awe’ campaign. (The funny thing is: those never seem to work on us.) Yet, it was the United States Government’s fault for reneging on the treatises we had made.

When it cam to the inclusion of the Mormons, Mrs. Kappler seemed to have a skewed view of how they were treated, or even if they had instigated the trouble to their misfortune.

Conclusion: This really isn’t a book-set aimed at anyone that isn’t a Mormon. In my opinion, Joseph Smith wasn’t old enough to be called to God’s priesthood, prophets, preachers, etc.. According to the Books of Moses, and Jesus’ own life as an example, he should have been at least thirty years of age when he began his ministry. Neither were his elders shown to have followed the Apostles’ teachings.

Remember, this is a family history. Please have a reputable history textbook close at hand in order to prove Mrs. Kappler’s claims, if you choose to read it.

John Avery’s The Name Quest

I received this book for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

Overview: Mr. Avery has spent fifteen years of his life studying the Bible, and learning the names and titles of God. With this book, he intends to deepen the reader’s relationship with God.

Story Telling: What can I say? This is Christian book. Mr. Avery seems to think that if you can just understand more of the nature of God, then you will love Him all the more.

Likes: Mr. Avery is advocating a personal relationship with God.

Dislikes: I don’t understand why Mr. Avery had to use Hebrew, Aramaic, or Greek in this book. Why is it so hard to have faith that God can and will talk to us in our own language? Going back to the ‘original languages’ seems to be a step toward a spiritual hierarchy. Didn’t God say that He looks upon the heart? It seems pretty rotten for us to say that you need to know the original languages just to get ahead. I wonder if any of those who learn these languages have accounted for linguistic shift?

Conclusion: No, I don’t really have a favorite anything in this book. With all of the extra languages and Bible versions, I felt a bit lost. It was just too many roads; His is strait and narrow.