The Poverty Industry – Foster Care

There seems to be no end to the systems in America that are tainted by the stain of corruption. Have you seen the movie “Poverty Inc”? Did it tick you off? Were you shocked? Dismayed? Disillusioned? Disgusted?

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Are you now extra careful on where you donate your items or money? Perhaps, you have given up donations all together.

Charities are supposed to do good.  “Supposed” being the operative word. The fact is, they do great harm beyond short term emergencies.

Like you, I was angry and shocked at how the Poverty Industry destroys the societies  it claims to protect.

Now, I am irate. Because I have stumbled upon a whole new facet of this corruption.

What if I told you that the most vulnerable of us all; those who have already been abandoned, neglected and abused are being preyed upon by the very organizations who are supposed to protect them?

Does that get your hackles up?

It should.

Because it’s true.

The foster system routinely steals from kids. They hire consultants to help them steal every asset or monetary benefit they can. They can even steal someone’s burial plot. 

Additionally, this stolen money…it in most cases doesn’t even go to help the kids. It’s typically funneled away from anything that directly helps the children. Including pay for those consultants who found it to steal in the first place. 

To add to the outrage, a lot of that stolen money….it was once yours.

Your taxes that is.

Want to know more? Check out the book that I learned it from!

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Book Review “Magic Beach” T. Johnson

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Mikey Sanchez is an 11 year old 5th grader from the inner city. Like most kids his age, he looks forward to summer vacation. However, he had no idea this summer would be one he would never forget. While spending time at his Aunt and Uncle’s beach house in North Carolina, Mikey would meet two new friends, Skip and Danni. Together the trio would form “The Beach Club”. During the summer they would spend time riding body boards, camping out on the beach, visiting the local water park and solving a magical mystery that would shake the entire town. “Magic Beach” is the first volume in the “Beach Club” series by author T. Johnson. Look for additional volumes and other titles by this author in the future.

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First lines: It was the last day of school and Mikey was counting down the seconds. “Three….two….one” RRRRIIIIIINNNGG! The school bell sounded and 5th grade was history.

Magic Beach’s target audience is roughly upper elementary and lower middle school age. I say this with a bit of hesitation because I feel like it could fit a broader age range depending on the child. I read it to my almost three year old son and he ate it up. 

The story is simple but is fun and exciting. It has plenty of relatable points for kids as well as enough action to keep them interested. The adults in the story are realistic and I enjoyed how they played a part in the story instead of taking a back seat. To me, putting adults in stories for kids helps enforce that adults aren’t their enemy. We are their caretakers and friends as well. 

Mikey is a regular kid. His life isn’t perfect but he doesn’t dwell on the things or people he doesn’t have. It was nice to read from such a grounded kids perspective. I think there is way to much emphasis on kids who are in single parent homes losses instead of what they gain from the experience. 

Johnson has written a fun, exciting and realistic (ish) story. I enjoyed reading it and I know my son did as well. 

Total hit in my house. 5 star book!

5 stars

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The Technical Data:

Title: Magic Beach | Series:  The Beach Club |  Author(s): T. Johnson |Publisher: Outskirts Press / Publication Date: 11-21-2012 |Pages: 132 (Print) | ISBN: 978-1432793166  | Genre(s): Action & Adventure (Mid-Grade)  | Language: English |Rating: 5 out of 5 |  Date Read: 7-25-2016 |Source: Copy from author


Weekly Wrap Up

In the name of full disclosure, I’ll give you the 411. (Do people still say that?)

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We’ve let loose a couple of book reviews.

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The next few days will see the release of a few more book reviews.

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In the next few days I will regale you all with the harrowing tale of my emergency appendectomy. 

I’ll also be releasing some information about local candidates that I am volunteering for and endorsing.

It’s going to be a doozy so keep an eye out!

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Book Review “Hibiscus Fruit” Alison Gray

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On leave from her job in Newcastle upon Tyne, following the death of her lover, DS Abby Foulkes is on Skiathos with their young son, Johnny. But just as they begin to relax, Johnny finds human bones in a wood near a Greek monastery on a hillside above Skiathos town. It isn’t long before Abby discovers that this isn’t the first set of bones to be found. When someone disappears from the Hibiscus Fruit hotel where they are staying, Abby is drawn into the mystery.

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First lines: Johnny smiled up at Abby through the damp hair falling across his eyes. His hair was so long. She had meant to get it cut in England before they left. Why hadn’t she? Stupid question. Things had just run away from her after the funeral.

Gray is a true master of deep characters. Hibiscus Fruit is so much more than just another detective novel. This is the exploration of grief, paranoia, parenting and self discovery.

The beginning of the book finds Abby fresh out of her partners funeral trying to spend some quality time with her son while coming to terms with being a single parent. Abby hopes that visiting a place where she has fond memories of meeting her former partner for the first time will help her come to terms with his death and begin to move forward.

In her attempt to do this she comes across a man who is on a similar quest for redemption. However, Abby soon finds that her past is tainted by a mysterious line of serial killings that affect both her past and her future acquaintances and flip what she thought she knew of the world on its head.

Good thing Abby isn’t without skills to combat both mentally and physically these realizations.

Gray’s characters are very introspective. While this usually helps me feel closer to the protagionist, I still came away from this story feeling distant.

The books pace is smooth and steady. There were a few surprises but the antagonists were easy for me to pinpoint and that kind of drug the story down.  The book also leaves you with some loose ends. I much prefer having a solid ending. If it were more transitional I would probably let it go. Sadly, it didn’t feel that way. 

The book was a fun read but had some issues. I’m rating it 3 stars.


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The Technical Data:

Title: Hibiscus Fruit | Author(s): Alison Gray |Publisher: Create Space Independant Publishing / Publication Date: 09-10-2014 |Pages: 364 (Print) | ISBN:  978-1500384920 | Genre(s): Mystery  | Language: English |Rating: 3 out of 5 |  Date Read: 7-10-2016 |Source: Copy from author

WWW Wednesday July 20th 2016

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This prompt comes from Sam over at Taking On A World Of Words. Leave a comment with your list or a link to your blog! Click on the covers for more information about each book.

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What are the three W’s?

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What are you reading next?

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Currently Reading

The Ragged Echo Cover ladys slipper cover


Sing for me cover Private Lucky Cover  Hibiscus Fruit Cover

Up Next

Tattooed Hearts Cover The Virgin of the Wind Rose Cover

The Spectra Unearthed Cover Desert Flower Cover

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What’s on your list?

Book Review “Private Lucky” Melissa Guzzetta

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This true story of survival, determination, and incredible luck will lift your spirits and inspire you to never give up on your dreams! Some people are born lucky. Others make their own luck. As a boy, Hank wanted nothing more than to fly like the fighter pilots he admires in the skies over Amsterdam. When the lives of Dutch citizens are turned upside down with the Nazi occupation of Holland, his dreams will have to wait as he witnesses the tragic unfolding of events affecting those around him before finding himself in a fight for his own life. He must go into hiding before his sixteenth birthday despite the fact that he is not Jewish. After the war, his life takes another unexpected turn when he is enlisted by his father in the American Army in Germany where his inability to speak English results in hilarious missteps at every turn. He can roll with the punches if the Army will teach him to fly, but when he learns that pilot training stopped with the end of the war, it seems he’ll never reach his goal. Undaunted, Private Hank evolves into a suave and popular soldier. He learns what it means to be American, arriving in America broke but determined to pursue his lofty goals in a manner only this quirky and very lucky Dutch-American would even think of trying, flying by the seat of his pants to some of the highest levels of aviation.

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First lines: Whap! Startled, I awoke to a stinging, wet slap to my left arm. Slap! What is this torture? Another two blows in rapid succession caused a body spasm, my defensive reflexes too slow to protect myself. I’m alive?

Private Lucky comes out of the gate establishing a fascinating, hilarious and determined tone that catches the readers eye and doesn’t let go. Immediately we find that Hank is a man whose life is filled with adventure. His story is certainly worth telling and I warn you now, you will have trouble putting this book down.

Knowing what is to come, I found reading the pre-war Holland section difficult. Since this is the true story of a very real man’s life, the usual detachment I have as a reader was stripped and I cringed at the tales of Hank’s boyhood adventures. If only his life could have continued to be full of pranks and mooning over airplanes.

I can not imagine the surreal experience of witnessing your country being attacked and invaded must of felt like.

A sentence from this section of the book moved me to tears.

“I shut my mouth and tried to understand why the music was not beautiful”. This hit me hard. Thinking of Hank as a child at the cusp of all the horror that is to hit his and so many lives, I empathized how it would feel for him. He was just a child watching a parade who couldn’t help but get caught up in the excitement. I think this section of the book fully embodies the sheer naivety of a child.

The book outlines pieces of the war and Hank’s experiences without focusing mainly on that time. The transitions throughout the book are well placed. I felt like Hank reminds the reader and maybe himself that some of those who suffered came out ahead and had more stories to tell. That one period of their lives doesn’t completely define them as a person.

As Hank ages we get to meet Hank of many hats. We have Hank the womanizer. Hank the soldier. Hank the pilot. With his transitional diploma his adventures take him far and wide.

Hank has lived and I believe most likely continues to lead a life to the fullest. Reading history through his eyes was a delightful, humorous and sometimes somber experience. I thank him for his honesty and I applaud Guzzetta for telling it.

My rating for this book is 5 stars.

5 stars

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The Technical Data:

Title: Private Lucky | Author(s): Melissa Guzzetta |Publisher: Good Luck Publishing / Publication Date: 09-23-2015 |Pages: 260 (Print) | ISBN:  978-0986403910 | Genre(s): Biographies & Memoirs  | Language: English |Rating: 5 out of 5 |  Date Read: 7-6-2016 |Source: Copy from author



July’s Submission Picks

Book review submissions are now closed for the month of July. We have a long list of books on our TBR list but once a month we pick a few to move up the list. It was a tough decision but the following made the cut!

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Being someone’s first love is unforgettable. Being their last is immeasurable. Claire Peters should be on top of the world. She owns the radio waves and has a budding movie career. But her heart longs to be rooted. Ten years ago, she fled Martha’s Vineyard to pursue her dream and to make something of herself. But there’s still a void. After a decade of running, she returns to the island hoping to find her happiness with the man she’s loved all her life. When a tragic event shatters Dr. Forrest Desvareaux’ well-balanced world, the Vineyard’s hometown good guy discovers everything in his life is based on lies. Angry and betrayed, he turns to Claire – the one woman who has indelibly marked him. Is it possible to run back to the person who broke you? Forever linked, Forrest and Claire are an unending continuum. But she’s a wildflower and Forrest’s roots run deep on the Vineyard. Can they accept home is not a place but a feeling?

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What happens when our protective systems operate in the shadows? Bev Wilson finds out when the guards arrest her daughter, and Bev finds herself battling a corrupt system in a desperate bid to save her daughter’s life

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After a “safe” punishment almost kills her, Julie Wilson finds herself in the grip of more forces she can’t control.

Rick Westmoreland can’t stop running—from the memories of Julie and what they shared, from himself.

Then a horrific accident sends Rick back to North America and puts him in the sights of the businessman who tried to buy the girl he once loved.

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While investigating the murder of an American missionary in Ethiopia, rookie State Department lawyer Jaqueline Quartermane stumbles upon a magical word square in an underground church that guards the tomb of the biblical Adam.

Drawn into a web of esoteric intrigue, she becomes the target of an elusive mastermind who intends to convince the world that he is the Mahdi, the long-awaited Muslim Messiah of the Apocalypse. Jaqueline’s evangelical faith is tested when she thrown together with a roguish antiquities thief named Elymas, a Jewish atheist. Together they race the Mahdi imposter to find the one relic needed to resurrect Solomon’s Temple. A trail of cabalistic clues leads them to the catacombs of Rome, the crypt below Chartres Cathedral, a Masonic shaft in Nova Scotia, a Portuguese shipwreck off Sumatra, and the caverns under the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

Intertwined with this modern mystery-thriller, a parallel duel is waged:

The year is 1452. One of the most secretive societies in history, Portugal’s Order of Christ, is led by a reclusive visionary, Prince Henry the Navigator. He and his medieval version of NASA merged with the CIA scheme to foil their archenemies, the Inquisitor Torquemada and Queen Isabella of Castile, who plan to bring back Christ for the Last Judgment by ridding the world of Jews, heretics, and unbelievers.

Separated by half a millennium, two conspiracies to usher in the Tribulations promised by the Book of Revelation dovetail in this fast-paced thriller to expose the world’s most explosive secret: The true identity of Christopher Columbus and the explorer’s connection to those now trying to spark the End of Days.

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What do you think of our choices?

Let us know in the comments below!

Five Star Review List

The following is a list of all books that AlliesOpinions rated the full five stars. They are listed by the year the review took place. (For books rated after 2015, click the year to be taken to that years list) *This page is under construction.*

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blue flamingo The Betrayl of Ka Cover aerisia book cover

Hokey Pokey Pirates Cover dream doctor annalise up and down day dream student

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Book Review “Out of the Tower” Alison Gray

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Jemima Forbes is seven years when a mysterious event occurs and her father and uncle disappear from her life one night. She spends her growing years obsessing about this and when she is old enough, leaves home to find out what happened.

Out of the Tower was shortlisted for the Constable Trophy 1992, a competition for the best unpublished novel by a writer from the North of England. It was described by the judges as: powerful, strong, heartfelt, admirably tense, a work of great promise and individuality, carefully thought out and with subtlety, deftness and poetic nature of idiom.

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Out of the Tower is the emotional discovery of Jemima Forbes’ life as it unfolds. The story is lingering and slowly unfurls like the petals of a flower. With each piece of the story one petal after another slowly uncurls until the reader is left with the glory of discovery and the full bloom. 

I found Jemima to be obsessive and neurotic in a lot of ways but must also admit that this could be a product of her upbringing more than who she ultimately becomes on her own. The truth isn’t easy to come by and her questions are generally ignored. When she finally elicits a response the information is patchy and manipulated to justify her mother’s decisions or the consequences of her mother’s decisions. 

Jemima, as a character, really began to take form once she leaves her mothers house. I like to think of it as the mid-way point between who Jemima was pushed to be and who she organically becomes.

Jemima’s relationship with Luc is where the story really starts to take off. These two characters coming together was a good way to intertwine Jemima’s world with that of her uncle. 

This is what the reader later understands to be a stepping stone to the eventual discovery of why her Uncle and her Dada left. A much needed transition.

The ending is not what I would of guessed. It’s an exciting climax in an otherwise slow paced novel. 

I enjoyed reading but have found that this style of story telling is not going to be a favorite of mine. There is far to much introspection to keep my full attention. For people who really enjoy this style of writing I would say this is a great fit for them. The story is very personal and while this is usually not something I overly mind, I find the best genre for me with that level is fantasy.

I would also like to add that the version I was given for review had a number of typos and punctuation issues. One more proofread and revision should have that cleared up relatively easily.

I am rating this book with 4 stars.

4 star

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The Technical Data:

Title: Out of the Tower | Author(s): Alison Gray |Publisher: Amazon Digital Services / Publication Date: 04-16-2014 |Pages: 300 (Print) | ISBN:  B00JRCSLLC  | Genre(s): Literature & Fiction  | Language: English |Rating: 4 out of 5 |  Date Read: 7-1-2016 |Source: Copy from author

Fight Poverty With Education

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It has become increasingly apparent that ending the cycle of poverty rests largely on available quality education and proper nutrition.  Education in Oklahoma is a heated situation. Schools are shutting down. There is a serious teacher shortage. Many students will have to make do without new textbooks this year because of deep budget cuts.

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We must invest in education. Education is the very foundation on which the structure of an innovative and successful society rests.

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To end a broken system we must first recognize all that is broken. No more band aids, no more patching. We must build a secure structure for our children. We must provide avenues to succeed.

If we are to disrupt the cycle of poverty we must break the circle with real and lasting change.

For too long our teachers and children have taken a back seat to tax write offs for big business and corporate welfare. Our state can do better. We can do better. Let us stand against these bad principles and create a state whose name is synonymous with success. Let Oklahoma be a model for innovation.

Help us build a better world.

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