Book Review – The Expats by Chris Pavone

The Expats by Chris PavoneI am a fan of clandestine fiction. I love Tom Clancy and other, similar stories. So when I saw The Expats, by Chris Pavone, I thought it looked pretty intriguing and decided to read it.

I was not impressed.

The story line was excellent. The plot and character development were really creative, but this story had several flaws, that, to me, seem fatal.

First of all, I had a difficult time reading the novel, simply because of the multiple occurrences of gratuitous sex. Within the first fifty pages, there were four separate times when Pavone added implicit sexual content. Each of these were completely unnecessary and added nothing to the story. Nothing at all. But at least they were implicit, and weren’t too descriptive.

However, by the end of the book, what had been implicit became explicit. The descriptions became graphic and remained completely unnecessary to the plot. Frankly, I was disgusted, and seriously contemplated setting the book aside and not finishing it.

I should have done just that. Because the remainder of the book, especially the last few pages where all the loose ends were tied up, seemed rushed and disjointed. I wondered if I were reading a Hardy Boys mystery, or watching a Scooby Doo episode, where, at the end, the bad guys tell all the explanations of why they did what they did.

Book Review – Breaker’s Reef by Terri Blackstock

Breakers ReefA couple of months ago, I had the opportunity to read and review River’s Edge, by Terri Blackstock. This was the third in her Cape Refuge series. Before I read it, I decided to go back and find the first two novels and read them first. I was glad I did. This series is an excellent set of stories.

After River’s Edge, I was given a copy of the fourth book in this series, Breaker’s Reef. In many ways, this is the best of the four.

The first couple of books were sort of on the amateurish side, although still very good. But with River’s Edge, and especially with Breaker’s Reef, Backstock’s ability to weave a tale of suspense has really been refined.

The story is set in the by now familiar setting of Cape Refuge, a small island off the coast of Savannah, Georgia. Shortly after the events settle down from the previous stories, another murder happens. But this story unwinds in ways completely unlike the previous ones, and twists and turns in unexpected ways.

With all of the familiar faces from the rest of the series, Breaker’s Reef takes the story of Cape Refuge to the next level. Events occur that the reader has suspected from the very beginning, and others occur that are a complete surprise. It’s hard to expand on that without providing something of a spoiler.

Breaker’s Reef is an excellent part of Terri Blackstock’s bibliography, and I thoroughly enjoyed it, with the rest of the series. I highly encourage you to pick up a copy and read it, along with Cape Refuge, Southern Storm, and River’s Edge. You’ll be glad you did.

Question: Have you read any of the Cape Refuge series? If so, what did you think of it? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

If you are interested in reading Breaker’s Reef, by Terri Blackstock, you can purchase it at in print or for Kindle. You can also purchase the first two books in the series bundled together for Kindle, and the third book in the series in print or for Kindle.

I received this book free from Harper Collins Christian Publishing as part of their BookLook Bloggers review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Coffee Break – 04.20.2015

There are a lot of important events that occurred on April 20. Here are just a few of the most important: In 1832, Hot Springs National Park was established by an act of the U.S. Congress. It was the first national park in the U.S. In 1841, In Philadelphia, PA, Edgar Allen Poe’s first detective story, The Murders in the Rue Morgue, was published in Graham’s Magazine. In 1865, safety matches were first advertised. And in 1989, scientist announced the successful testing of high-definition TV.

Coffee Break

The Coffee Avocado Shake – I love coffee. I love Bulletproof Coffee (another recipe here). I love avocados. I think I would love this. I need to try it.

Three Tips To Creating A Family Heirloom – My mind is continually focused on the legacy I leave my children, but what about some heirlooms to go along with it? Here are some thoughts for creating some family heirlooms.

Shell Shock – I loved history in high school and college, so much that I considered pursuing a degree in it. But most of the time you get the big view. I really love the smaller, personal stories, like this one about two sisters who experienced the horrors of WWI.

Memorize Scripture: Philippians 1:9-11

In this week’s passage, we finally see the purpose behind Paul’s prayers for the Philippians. He stated in verse three that he prayed for them frequently. Here we see what he prays for.

You can see his prayers for the Philippians in Philippians 1:9-11:

Philippians 1:9-11

Paul’s prayer is complex. There are at least five different aspects of his prayer for the Philippian church, all of which are connected and build upon one another. The word used here is a different one than he used in verse 4. There, the term was very specific. Here it is a much broader term. This indicates that his concern was for the church as a whole, and a continued prayer that he lifted before God on a regular basis.

His prayer contains several aspects, but each of these fall under the umbrella of the first thing he mentions: love. If the Philippians had an issue that needed to be addressed, it was a lack of love and even dissension that some of the members seemed to suffer from (see 2:3-4 and 4:2). Paul’s prayer is that the church would love, and that would lead into the rest of his desires for them.

Here are the individual aspects of Paul’s prayer:

Book Review – Confound The Critics by Bodie Hodge

Confound The CriticsOne of my favorite topics to read about is apologetics, especially as it pertains to biblical truth found in the early chapters of Genesis. As a minister, I frequently hear arguments and disagreements about what the Bible says about our origins.

So I was very interested to read Bodie Hodge’s book, Confound The Critics: Answers For Attacks On Biblical Truths. However, I was not all that impressed with this book.

Don’t get me wrong. The material presented here is good material, and provides some great information for debates on the topic of creation and our origins. However, I was expecting a book that presented such information in a logical and precise manner.

Instead, Confound The Critics is a series of emails and replies that Answers In Genesis has received and responded to from people who object to the truth found in Genesis, and people who need help defending their faith in God’s Word.

There are more than forty different emails presented, as written, from people who visited the AIG website. Bodie Hodge has included his replies to these emails, and that is what the book consists of. It’s not what I was expecting, and was somewhat disappointing.

Overall, the information is useful, but the format wasn’t. And while I found several pieces of this to be enlightening and potentially useful, this isn’t a book that will see much use in my personal library. That’s unfortunate, because it had the potential to be an extremely beneficial resource.

Unless you enjoy reading correspondence, I would not suggest that you read Confound The Critics. There are better ways to gather the information to answer such critics, in a more organized manner.

Question: Have you held discussions about origins with skeptics or critics? If so, how do you prepare? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

If you are interested in reading the Confound The Critics, by Bodie Hodge, you can purchase it at in either print or for Kindle.

I received this book free from New Leaf Press/Master Books as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Coffee Break – 04.13.2015

April 13 is a day with a lot of history. Here are a few things that happened on this day: In 1796, the first known elephant arrived in the United States from Bengal, India. In 1808, William “Juda” Henry Lane perfected the tap dance. And for the baseball fans, in 1954, Hank Aaron debuted with the Milwaukee Braves, and in 1963, Pete Rose of the Cincinnati Reds got his first hit in the major leagues.

Coffee Break

Making Lampshades And Flowers With Used Coffee Filters – Mixing creativity and coffee can only result in incredibleness. I really want one of the lampshades. Those are beautiful!

Civil War Photography – The Library of Congress has a massive collection of Civil War era photographs. These are extremely interesting to browse through and take in the time period though the eyes of people who lived it.

A View Of Our Sun – NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory has been in operation for five years now, and has captured some incredible footage of our Sun. This video is simply stunning in the creative beauty of our God.