Sunday, September 15, 2013

REVIEW: "Jack Canon's American Dream" - by Greg Sandora (Virtual Book Tours Cafe Blog Tour)

"It’s the steamy summer of 2016 in Washington, D.C. just days before the Democratic National Convention. A long and painful recession has left ordinary Americans suffering, spawning the hottest Presidential Contest in history. Jack Canon, a man born into privilege, a witness to great social injustice is going to be President of the United States–no matter what! Desperate and corrupt, the leader of the free world orders a hit to slow him down. The plan backfires–the wrong people are dead–a manhunt points to the unthinkable–The President of the United States.

Rewind one year, Jack’s focus on redistribution of wealth and energy has made him powerful enemies. Once his friends, Rogue Billionaires, Oil Sheiks, the Mob, all want him gone. The current President wants him alive–thinking he can win against an unabridged liberal. A Universal Raw Nerve of wealth vs. poverty is exposed becoming a thrill ride as deep machinations of espionage, geo-politics and deception, even murder play out. Kind and charismatic, Jack’s just naughty enough to have you falling for him like one of his loving circle of loyal friends. Of course he’s flawed, a dedicated family man, faithful to one woman, but in love with two. Is it his fault his best friend is impossibly jaw dropping beautiful? Think the crime and passion of the Godfather meets the romance and innocence of Camelot. A story that could spark a movement, a book that can seed a revolution. A heart thumping climax so shocking you’ll pull the covers and draw the shades! One things for sure, through all the drama and suspense, you’ll be pulling for Jack!"

"I’m originally from the Portland, Maine area and lived and worked there for years before moving to Southwest Florida. I am currently working on the sequel to Jack Canon’s American Destiny – which will be titled Jack Canon Clean Sweep. The sequel will be available in about three months.

My Dad and Mom were artists, my father painted and my mother wrote poetry and loved to garden. Most Saturdays we loaded up the 1970 Chevy Impala to trek to a one man show somewhere or other. I took a different track graduating with a business degree; owning and operating an Award Winning Franchise Fitness Center. Currently a professional manager I am living in Florida with my beautiful wife and children, and following my passion.

Some of my other projects include a children’s book called Sammy the Sea Turtle – about an infant sea turtle taken from his nest the night he was to find his way to the sea. Sammy lives with the family until their son – the boy who took him, graduates from high school. On that day Sammy, backpack in tow – begins the long journey home.
My second project in the works involves angels – a man during a visit to Bar Harbor Maine encounters an angel; quite accidentally, he is told – she was not supposed to make him aware of her existence. Only three others have ever seen the real thing. Naturally he falls hopelessly in love with the beautiful creature."

     Politics are important, whether or not we follow every politicians word or merely get involved when it is time to vote.  But who are politicians?  What makes them tick?  How do things work behind the scenes?  Personally, I'm much more interested in politics from a human behavior standpoint than due to any interest in polity...I leave that bit to my poli-sci major husband.  However, even I acknowledge that politics make or break countries, leaders, people.  But what happens when a kind-hearted man pursues a life course which puts him in the midst of a heartless political machine?

The Good
     It is easy to dismiss politicians as figureheads for their mutual parties, individuals more interested in their own personal gain than in keeping campaign promises.  Every four years the media turns into a zoo as reporters scramble to dictate what politicians say word-for-word as American stay glued to the television - how is history going to be made in this race?

     It is easy to forget that politicians, all of them (no matter what mudslingers say) are people.  People with wives, husbands, children, errant family members, pesky skeletons in their closets, etc.  People whose jobs hold much sway over other people, but people nonetheless.  Sandora has created a piece in "Jack Canon's American Dream" that refuses to let readers forget that people are people no matter what office they are attempting to win in the elections.

     Let's see, this book is the chronicle of one man's run for the highest power office on the planet Earth - the Presidency.  Setting it in the future allowed Sandora to avoid some pesky historical stuffs that he would've had to deal with if he were trying to do some sort of historical fiction novel.  Making it first-person meant that we never had to guess what was going on in Canon's mind.  Personally, I really enjoyed this.  First person can be tricky if a writer can't quite get the character's voice right and it morphs into the voice of the author rather than remaining true to the character.  This does not happen here.  Jack stays consistent.  Persistent, stubborn, charismatic, determined, caring Jack. I also really enjoyed how the voice felt like I as a reader was truly inside of his head.  He was in the present dealing with a present issue, then thinking about something that got him where he is today, then thinking about other things that informed the present, and it all tied really nicely together.  Yay!

     Jack is a man who knows what he wants and knows what he had to do to get it.  He wants the Presidencey.  He knows to get that he needs several things: money, money, money.  Oh, and an awesome PR person, killer team working around him, and wife who stands by his side no matter what cute girl works in his office.  Check, check, and check.

     This book is a sneak peek into the behind-the-scenes life of some of the most influential people on the planet.  What is it like to care so much about your country and its people to put yourself, your reputation, life work, etc on the line in order to do what you thing is absolute best for the people?  What is it like to have to be seriously concerned about your family's safety because of your ambitions?  Well, for the answer to that and a slew of other questions - just read this book and ask Jack Canon!

     Reading this book almost feels like a voyeuristic peek into a campaign trailer.  What makes powerful men break down?  How are they and their family attacked?  Oh, this is covered...and much more!  We get everything that happens on a daily basis with Jack, his family, and members of his campaigning team, as we walk with them through one of the most stressful events probably in any of their lives.  "Why put yourself through that much stress," one might ask of the campaign members (in this book and in real life).  My question is this - after you have seen the passion that can drive people when their cause is just, how can one not put themselves through stress if it means they are fighting for what they believe in?

     For the record - I believe in Jack Canon's campaign promises, goals for the country, etc.  Though I'm not terribly patriotic (I consider myself patriotic to God's kingdom no matter where I live), I felt moved by this book to be a little more patriotic if it means the world is a better place for it.

     This book is well-written, engaging, and moves along at a reasonable pace.  There is dark humor in a few places, light-hearted humor in other places, scenes that will make you laugh, cry, grimace, shout for joy, and wish things were better in our country.  The characters will wrap themselves up in your heart strings until the final chapters nail you to your seat until you know how everything pans out. Okay, not literally nail you to your seat, but I definitely nearly fell off my couch when I was reading some of the climatic stuff near the end of the book.  What a whirlwind!  What a ride!

     If someone like Jack Canon were running in the next election and I thought for a heartbeat they were serious about their campaign goals, they'd have my vote (and possibly my volunteer time, which for me is huge) in a second.

The Bugly (bad/ugly)
     You, my dear readers, know that I'm picky.  :)  In the interest of transparency, here's what bugged me about the book:

     There are really, really long dialog scenes here.  Sure, that is expected in a book revolving around the ins and outs of politics.  The problem here is that it got really tricky to figure out just who in the heck was talking at any given time.  I got lost in dialog so much (i.e. not able to figure out who was talking) that frustration set in quite a bit.

     Frustration also set in about the number of typos present.  Tpyos are everywhere.  Generally, I don't bugaboo about this too much because typos are natural when one has worked over something so long they are glazing over the words when reviewing.  However, there are so many freaking typos that I was getting really annoyed.  Now, the good thing is that these typos were mostly punctuation problems.  "Quotations in" odd places, or too many,, periods or commas where they didn't belong.  I'm not typo free by any means, but still.  Sheesh.

     My other major quibble?  There are some inconsistencies within the text.  Minor inconsistencies, but they are present nonetheless.  Jack Canon's behavior towards attractive women also bothers me, but hey...he's human and not blind.  My husband and I always say that we're married, not blind - it all depends on what one does with one's thoughts upon spying someone who gets the jets firing (Chris Hemsworth, anyone?  hubba hubba).

Overall, this is a pretty good read.  It felt somewhat like reading the script for an extended episode of "The West Wing", and it didn't hold my attention as much as some other works have simply because it is political and that doesn't exactly hold my interest much.  That being said, the behavioral analyst within my brain loved the sneak peak into a politician's head.  Politicians, are, after all real people just like us who bleed red, love people, dislike certain foods, and prefer certain music.  What drags my rating down from what I'd probably give it otherwise are all of the typos.  Seriously, they bugged me.  Anyways...

Overall I give this book a 3 out of 5 rating.

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