Saturday, April 18, 2015

Allegiant (Divergent #3) by Veronica Roth (Goodreads Author), Emma Galvin (Narrator), Aaron Stanford (Narrator)

4 out of 5 stars  ****

The dystopian trilogy of Divergent concludes with Allegiant, the sequel to Insurgent. The factions in this world unravel while chaos blossoms in the human qualities necessary for survival. Families are torn, heroes and heroines emerge out of tentative trust, and sacrifice becomes commonplace as the elusive truth becomes known; but not by all, and not all at once. 

Veronica Roth keeps the reader interested along daring episodes of life and death chapters. Somehow, a love story exists on a thread sewn throughout the trilogy, and the climactic ending hinges on this relationship. The yearning to be normal is also a common thread throughout Allegiant and this bonds many of the characters who change their allegiances because of it.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Explore the Bible Adults Minor Prophets Spring 2015 by George Guthrie (Editor)

5 of 5 stars  *****

The Explore the Bible series is such a penetrating dive into the meaning of the Word. The Minor Prophets, the subject of this book, are brought to life as they warn and teach, the people of their day, about their relationships with God, themselves, and each other. The warnings and teachings are not just relegated to those ancient times. Typical of the Bible, the Minor Prophets' writings are applicable to today's issues and today's population. Mankind eventually reverts to its fallen ways and requires the wisdom of the prophets, who predict the Christ Jesus, to repent and obey the laws of God. Even after the sanctifying gift from the blood of the cross, the arrogance of today's leaders mimic the behavior of those in the days of these prophets. The inspired words of these Minor Prophets explain the hope as well as the tragedy concerning the eternal soul. The lesson is that God's mercy and grace warrants daily effort to walk with His Holy Spirit. 

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow, Scott Brick (Narrator)

5 of 5 stars  *****

A deeper understanding and respect for Alexander Hamilton is the result of listening to this Audiobook, expertly narrated by Scott Brick. The scope of Alexander's life is comprehensive in this rendition educating this reader to the man's humble beginnings and his thirst for knowledge and stature. 

At such a young age, Hamilton reveals an uncanny gift for absorbing whatever he reads and possessing insight into using that information. He is also a remarkable judge of character at an early age. These qualities, recognized by his elders, transport him off of St Croix, where he discovers, first hand, the brutality of slavery, to America's northeast. Once in America, Alexander's burgeoning life links him to the very best this country offers in gentlemen, leaders, educators, lawyers, and politicians. Alexander proves himself to be one of the best, hard working intellectuals and charming gentlemen of his era. 

The Revolutionary war campaign teaches him about courage, honor, leadership, and decisive decision-making while being George Washington's right-hand man. Before the Revolutionary War ends, Hamilton has the foresight to design a solvent plan for recovery and growth immersing himself in every detail of the undertaking. He is responsible for so much of America's infrastructure concerning its economy, military, foreign policy, and trade protocols to make the new government self-sufficient.

This biography also shows the tender side of Alexander Hamilton with his family, devotion to friends, especially George Washington, and his social prowess to converse with nobility and the average citizen. Hamilton trusts the government and upper class more than he trusts the average man, however. This leads to his notorious battles with Thomas Jefferson, who thinks quite the opposite and is most wary of the government. This causes Hamilton to appear like an elitist; but the fact is, Hamilton trusts neither group; he just thinks the upper class in government are the best chance to deliver stability in society. 

Alexander Hamilton's demise occurs in America's most famous duel, an outlawed behavior that is still practiced circa 1800s. He is shot and killed by Aaron Burr, the Vice-President of the United States at the time. The body of this biography explains the intricacies leading up to this infamous duel before revealing the repercussions that ensue. 

Ron Chernow masterfully interweaves the significant people and events into Alexander's life. His style makes for an engaging account of a truly great mind who is partly responsible for the construction and survival of young America. Society owes so much to this man with a rarely-seen work ethic, intellect, ambition, and keen insight, who dies in his prime.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Miracles and Massacres: True and Untold Stories of the Making of America by Glenn Beck

5 of 5 stars  *****

Glenn Beck is a marvelous writer, a thorough investigator, and follower of Truth. This book demonstrates his storytelling ability as he pens 12 of history's Miracles and Massacres. The stories range from the Revolutionary days of America right up to the present day's encounter with a fundamentalist ideology that threatens the world. 

The author admits his style is the by-product of reading Bill O'Reilly's Killing series: Killing Lincoln, Killing Kennedy, Killing Jesus, and Killing Patton. This style reports facts while immersing one in the time and place of events. It also transports the reader into the minds of characters and illuminates the appropriate environments while seemingly unrelated segments converge into a familiar historical place in time. 

All 12 stories are slices of Americana, her citizens, and their actions. They build, prosper, and defend the core values written in the United States Constitution which delineates America's freedoms and liberties. One discovers that the great American experiment does not start out smoothly nor does it proceed without obstacles from mankind's fallen attributes; such as, greed and covetousness. The natural path of a blessed nation takes for granted what so many gave their careers, fortunes, and lives to begin and develop for their legacy. The Providential aspect of these stories points out that it is each generations responsibility to properly learn America's history and be the loving concept envisioned; the one that destines greatness and justice for all, the envy of the world.