167 – Cowards by Glenn Beck

CowardsI’ve wanted to read a book by Glenn Beck for a while.  As a part of the 2013 Genre Challenge I’m working through, I figured I’d give one of his books a try for my Political read.  Here’s the Goodreads summary.

As we approach the most important presidential election in America’s history, something has been lost among all of the debates, attack ads, and super- PACs—something that Americans used to hold in very high regard: THE TRUTH.

Glenn Beck likes to say that “the truth has no agenda”—but there’s another side to that: people who have agendas rarely care about the truth. And, these days, it seems like everyone has an agenda. The media leads with stories that rate over those that matter. Politicians put lobbyists and electability over honesty. Radicals alter history in order to change the future.

In Cowards, Glenn Beck exposes the truth about thirteen important issues that have been hijacked by deceit. Whether out of spite, greed, or fear, these are the things that no one seems to be willing to have an honest conversation about. For example:

* How our two-party POLITICAL SYSTEM often leaves voters with NO GOOD OPTIONS.

* How extremists are slowly integrating ISLAMIC LAW into our SOCIETY.

* How PROGRESSIVE “religious” leaders like JIM WALLIS are politicizing the Bible.

* How the CARTEL VIOLENCE on our border is FAR WORSE than people realize.

* How “LIBERTARIAN” has been INTENTIONALLY turned into a DIRTY WORD.

* How GEORGE SOROS has amassed enough MONEY and POWER to INFLUENCE entire ECONOMIES.

In some cases, the truth is out there, but people simply don’t want to hear it. It’s much easier, and certainly a lot more convenient, to keep our blinders on. After all, as a quote attributed to President James Garfield made clear, “The truth will set you free, but first it will make you miserable.”

Miserable or not, the truth can no longer be something we hope for; it must be something we live. When courage prevails, cowards do not—and this book was written to ensure that’s exactly what happens.”

It took me a while to get through this book. Not because I didn’t like it, but because it always takes me a while to get through non-fiction. Add to the fact that this book deals with some heavy issues, and it’s no wonder it took me a month to read it.

I really enjoyed this read. I like Glenn Beck. I like his writing style. I like him as a person.

I also think that the more I read this book, the more I realized I’m closer to a Libertarian than I thought.

I can also say I learned a lot. I feel like I had no idea what the drug cartels were actually like until reading this book. You hear the stories on the radio about a random person here and there being killed, but this chapter really exploded the reality of these cartels. The magnitude of their influence is mind-boggling. It’s not even close to “just another gang.”

As a frequent listener of my local Fox News talk radio station, I know a lot about what is going on in the world, but because I haven’t always listened, there are things I didn’t know. Within Beck’s chapter on “The Islamist Agenda”, I learned a lot of background that I hadn’t previously know. I was finally able to connect names and places I’ve heard about to real-life things. This was very helpful to me.

I also really enjoyed reading Beck’s chapter on Education in America. I LOVED his idea of shutting the entire system down, truly identifying the problem, then starting over. I liked how he described it as if our educational system is like a flu outbreak. Instead of keeping the schools open to harbor the flu more, shut it down and sanitize/clean it all out. He’s absolutely right in saying how screwed up our educational system is. Reading this chapter just brought back memories from junior and senior high school and about how much I didn’t learn. I’d like to think the public school district I attended didn’t have another agenda, but I can honestly say I don’t remember much of what I learned, especially about American history.

All in all, I’m very glad I chose this book as my “Political” book for my book club’s Genre Challenge. I’ve wanted to read one of Beck’s books for a while and I’m happy to have delved in. I think this was a great book to start with and hope to read more of his work in the future.


166 – Beautiful Creatures (Caster Chronicles #1) by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

Beautiful CreaturesThis was the March read for my In-Real-Life (IRL) book club.  We chose it based on the fact that the movie just came out recently and we’d all had it on our to-read lists.  Here’s the Goodreads summary.

“Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she’s struggling to conceal her power, and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.

Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town’s oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.

In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything.”

I really enjoyed this book. It was a great pick by my book club and I’m hoping to get to see the movie once it comes out on DVD.

I really liked the two main characters, Lena and Ethan. Their chemistry and relationship in general brought an interesting dynamic to the story. Not to mention the way they could communicate with one another.

I liked Macon, Link, Amma, and Marian as well. They were great secondary characters and brought a lot to the story.

The overall story itself was interesting. I thought the Caster world was intriguing and I liked that their powers were so different and, especially Lena’s, changeable.

The Southern piece of this story was interesting to read about. It was fascinating to read about the tight-knit community that really didn’t like outsiders. I also loved reading about the Southern history.

Overall, I really liked this story. I liked what happened and, honestly, the ending was different than I expected it to be…which I also liked. I plan to read the next in the series, but I will wait a while to read it.

Good book.

157 – City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments #1) by Cassandra Clare

City of BonesThis was the first book chosen for my in-real-life (IRL) book club to read and discuss.  It’s a series I had toyed with starting for a while and was glad when we’d chosen it.  Here’s the Goodreads summary.

“When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder — much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It’s hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing — not even a smear of blood — to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?

This is Clary’s first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It’s also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace’s world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know. . . .

Exotic and gritty, exhilarating and utterly gripping, Cassandra Clare’s ferociously entertaining fantasy takes readers on a wild ride that they will never want to end.”

True Rating: 3.5 stars

I can’t put my finger on it, but I’m just not sure what it was about this book that didn’t grab me. I liked the overarching story. I liked the main characters. I liked the world that the story takes place in. I’m not sure what it was, but I had absolutely no trouble putting this book down for days at a time. With most books that I like the story, characters, world, etc, I can’t get enough. It just wasn’t this way for me and City of Bones.

I’d like to know what happens in the rest of the series, but I’m just not motivated enough to really go and get the next one. I’ll get to them someday.