Tag Archives: hilarious

Par for the Course

11 Mar

Par for the CourseRay Blackston

Publisher: FaithWords

Publication Date: 2008

Paperback: 241 pages

Book Blurb:

Golf, politics, and romance collide as golf-range owner Chris Hackett meets an attractive political correspondent who turns his world upside down.

Chris Hackett owns and operates Hack’s Golf Learning Center, an eccentric golf range in Charleston, South Carolina. Chris jumps at the chance to step up his game when an attractive new student and political correspondent, Molly Cusack, suggests that Chris capitalize on the highly polarized presidential election. His pitting of Right versus Left means even more income, plus a sharp new girlfriend, and soon Chris, his sidekick, Cack, and their unique golf range are the talk of the town… until someone takes the political insults too seriously.

The question is, will Molly, stick around long enough for Chris to learn the true meaning of “playing politics”? Or is she just another “moving target”?

Stand alone or series: Stand alone

Why I read this book: The Flabbergasted series stole me away. I wanted to check out a new novel by him.

Review:

Blackston is at is again with another all-star cast of wacky, lovable characters. Chris Hackett has found his calling—he teaches golf lessons to beginners at golf range he owns. Cack is happy tending the grounds, telling passersby his views on what is wrong with the world, and insulting customers on a bullhorn every Tuesday during Wack the Cack. When Molly Cusack, a cute, single, outspoken political correspondent, learns of this unusual game she has a new idea. In an election year when temperature run high, why not take advantage of the wide dichotomy and make a little extra cash? On Friday night all the democrats come to take a wack at the right, with Cack shouting political insults at them from his high-powered, wire-mesh golf cart. On Saturday night republicans get the same chance. Soon Chris finds there’s a world of polarized issues—country fans and hip hop lovers, high school spirit teams wanting to wack the opposing team’s mascot and a round of wack the Baptists for eleven atheists (the Christians were given the chance but they didn’t think it would be quite right to Wack the Pagan). But with all this tension abounding, someone is bound to get their feelings hurt and maybe hurt a little more than just feelings.

I greatly enjoyed this book, though I have to say it doesn’t beat Flabbergasted. The cast of characters is as fun as ever. It’s complete with another men’s accountability group, which is always fun to witness. I would love to have seen Molly a little more rounded, we get a limited view of her as she flits about the country. Chris is excellently rounded, we understand him—what makes him tick, what gives him joy, what made him who he is today. Though we don’t have a backstory for Cack we don’t need one, we all know the type and Blackston uses him perfectly.

The book wasn’t as God-centered as the Flabbergasted series. Part of what I loved about that series was the unique insights into faith that it offered. This novel was definitely more golf-centered. I learned terms I didn’t even know existed. This was a fun read and I would recommend it to anyone looking for something light and enjoyable. I’m certainly going to check out other Blackston books, I’ll let you know more!

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Match Point

26 Nov

Match PointErynn Mangum

Publisher: TH1NK Books, an imprint of NavPress

Publication Date: 2008

Paperback: 366 pages

Book Blurb:

Revenge should be as sweet as a mocha latte.

Lauren Holbrook, matchmaker extraordinaire, takes credit for four successful couples now. With her dad happily married and life settling down around her, Lauren feels quite content. That is, until the tables are turned and she’s on the receiving end of the matchmaking! Lauren and her boyfriend, Ryan, devise a plan to make it look as if they’ve broken up so that people will get off their backs about marriage. No problem, right? Until Lauren realizes she’s in love.

Stand alone or series: The third and final chapter of the fantastic Lauren Holbrook series

Why I read this book: How could I not after the first two?

Review:

Weddings and babies, weddings and babies. Lauren’s world is sinking in a flood of weddings and babies. What’s a girl to do but hop onboard? But you know Laurie, nothing in the world could be that easy. She has no plans of matrimony and if she’s dragged to the altar she will be kicking and screaming, or so she thinks. She likes things just the way they are, well except the fact that her father and Joan have outlawed chocolate and coffee in the house! But her friends and family have other plans for her. So when they start ringing the wedding bells, Laurie starts to run away from Ryan. But too late she realizes she’s left her heart behind.

I know I’ve trilled dialogue and characters for the last two posts, but it’s still true! Seriously, could I please inhabit this world it would be so fun! I think I especially miss it now when my Spanish conversations are more halting than when I first learned to drive. But this book, I start to flip through it and before I know it a page catches me and I’ve read thirty more.

I did however do a test. The charm does not work on guys. My dear husband allowed me to read nearly two chapters to him. I didn’t push for more because it was clearly not his cup of tea. He said it was fine but he had as much interest in it as a chick flick, which unfortunately for me is none. I would’ve already been giggling nonstop at that point but no dice. So men, if there are any of you reading this. It’s not for you. Check out my next series review in October—Ted Dekker’s The Circle series. Also man tested. He loved it! The only reason we stopped is because there was food, which always trumps everything in his opinion.

Back to Match Point. Love the titles in this series by the way. They’re short and clever. I’m rather jealous. Lauren has always had a great grasp of everybody’s love life but her own. Now the magnifying glass is turned on her and only hilarity and heart warming-ness can ensue. I definitely recommend this book to women of any and every age. It’s the perfect recipe for those looking for a laugh!

 

ReMatch

1 Oct

ReMatchErynn Mangum

Publisher: TH1NK Books, an imprint of NavPress

Publication Date: 2007

Paperback: 326 pages

Warning: If you have not read MissMatch, everything from this point on is a potential spoiler!

Book Blurb:

There are no do-overs in love. Right?

With two matches under her belt, Lauren’s ready to get back to work. Lucky for her, her job at The Brandon Knox Photography Studio makes it even easier to work her magic on her best friend and boss, Brandon, and the adorable receptionist, Hannah. And since she’s at Shawn’s coffee shop anyway (a girl’s got to feed her caffeine and chocolate addictions, doesn’t she?), why not look for his perfect match as well? But with all her love-connection luck, Lauren’s thrown for a loop when her dad announces that he’s heading out of town for a singles’ retreat. And in the midst of panicking about her dad and potential future stepmom, there’s also that matter of Ryan—love interest or friend? Only time, vats of coffee, and pounds of chocolate will tell!

Stand alone or series: The second in the most excellent Lauren Holbrook series

Why I read this book: Because the first one was so great, duh!

Review:

And she’s at it again! After having successfully paired Ruby and Nick she sets her unwelcome sights on poor Brandon. But she’s so focused on everyone else that she doesn’t realize her little thing with Ryan has turned from a fake relationship to a real one. As if that weren’t enough… Sorry, I got distracted by reading for the last half hour.

The book pulls you in from page one. And hands down, my favorite part is the dialogue. Really, I lap it up. It’s so crazy and quippy and it flies by so fast that when you finish you’ll want to start again just to make sure you caught it all. And of course the dialogue wouldn’t be so great if it weren’t for the fantastic and rather large cast of characters. These people I would love to have as my best friends. They’re the perfect mix of fun, kindred spirit and a little bit crazy. And they’re a great Christian family there to offer the uplifting and Biblical advice you need.

I’m afraid to say much else for fear of giving too much away. You’d think it would be easy to talk about a book that I love so much but it’s hard to describe. It’s just one of those things that you have to experience. I don’t understand how every page can be funny. I don’t know how she does it. However I do know that after looking at one page I want to grab a venti mocha Frappuccino, no whip, and settle in for the next five hours to do nothing but read. The one catch is I’m not sure if this would be as funny to guys… I’m planning to test it out soon on my wonderful husband. Thanks hon! (He doesn’t know yet. He’ll be just thrilled. I’ll keep you updated.) For now I suggest it to all women, the young and single will find it particularly amusing. However the comedy still works no matter what stage in life. I’m in love with the books! Tune in Friday for the review of the final episode of the Lauren Holbrook series.

Miss Match

10 Sep

MissMatchErynn Mangum (an all-time fav!)

Publisher: TH1NK Books an imprint of NavPress

Publication Date: 2007

Paperback: 365 side-splitting pages

Book Blurb:

Lauren Holbrook has found her life’s calling: matchmaking from the romantically challenged. And with the eclectic cast of characters in her world, there’s tons of potential to play “connect the friends.” Inspired by the recent success of matchmaking her sister and new husband, Lauren sets out to introduce Nick, her carefree singles’ pastor, to Ruby, her neurotic coworker who plans every second of her day. What could possibly go wrong? Just about everything.

When Lauren’s foolproof plan begins to unravel, she learns that a simple introduction between friends can bring about complicated results. And as she reconsiders her new role as Cupid (as well as her vow to stay single forever), will Lauren finally decide God’s plan is enough?

Stand alone or series: One of a trilogy. And trust me, you’ll be happy there’s not just one.

Why I read this book: To be honest, it was a long time ago that I first picked up this book. I’m guessing the title and the bright colors on the spine grabbed me as I was walking through Borders. Sniff, I know I’m sad that it’s gone too. And it’s got a fun cover, of course mine is now scratched and creased from the number of times I’ve lent it out and carried it around with me.

Review:

This mile-a-minute novel is sped along by the coffee crazed Lauren Holbrook. She talks as fast as a triple shot of espresso would make your heartbeat and, oh, the things she says. I cannot take this book out in public with me any more because I laugh too loud and too often, and when I try to hold it in I end up snorting. Not a pretty sight.

MissMatch is a modern day, Christian throw back to Jane Austen’s Emma. All the way down to kindly father who thinks marriage is a bother but only because it takes away his beautiful girls. His youngest, Lauren, does not share the same view as she runs willy-nilly throwing her friends together to often disastrous results. What Lauren doesn’t expect is her friends trying to return the favor. I won’t tell you who, you’ll meet him later.

The cast of characters will have you aching with laughter from Dad with his lemongrass tea whom you just want to hug to Ruby who is so tightly wound it can only be fun to watch her come undone to Brandon who won’t stop calling her Nutsy and who’s idea of a good time is watching The Extraordinary League of Gentlemen (which I’d never seen before reading about it in this book, not bad I must say). Each character is wonderfully sketched with their own quirks and quarrels. And each has the somewhat supernatural ability to face Lauren in the battle of wits that is her every day life.

Man, just flipping through the pages and writing this review has me wanting to read it again. I can count on less than one hand the amount of books I’ve read twice, there are too many good books out there to read them more than once in my opinion. However, this is one of the precious few that I have read more twice. It’s just that good. And you’ll laugh every time.

A Delirious Summer

23 Aug

A Delirious Summer

Ray Blackston

Publisher: Revell

Publication Date: 2004

Paperback: 331 pages

Book Blurb:

Would you travel thousands of miles just to get a date?

Neil Rucker’s tempted. His life as a Spanish language teacher in Ecuador affords little opportunity for romance. So when his worst student, stockbroker-turned missionary Jay Jarvis, negotiates a trade of extra credit for a respite in Greenville, South Carolina, Neil’s delirious summer begins.

But the girls of Greenville aren’t waiting for dates. They’ve crafted a plan—a database and an organization—to find Mr. Rights in every denomination and congregation… if only Neil and the other available bachelors show up at the same places they do.

As the girls church-hop in search of the perfect man, Neil struggles to keep up and find the perfect girl among the Neopolitan choices: short, demanding redhead Lydia; thrill-seeking and lead-footed blonde Darcy; and the very tardy but dangerous raven-haired Alexis with the pierced eyebrow.

Between reckless driving, the double-double mochas, and the lessons in crabbing for dinner, Neil will have to figure out who’s the girl for him—a process that would render any guy delirious.

Stand alone or series: A bit of both I’d have to say. This book is second Blackston’s wonderful debut, Flabbergasted. However, A Delirious Summer has a new narrator and follows a new plot line with old plot lines intertwined. It could easily be read as a stand alone but why? Flabbergasted is fabulous… though if you’ve read the book blurb above it’s given away the biggest surprise of the prior novel.

Why I read this book: If you couldn’t tell by the near slobbering above, I loved the first book. Reading the second was a no brainer. I took it with me to the beach because in a shelf full of heavy novels I knew this one would discuss such subjects in a fun and funny way that wouldn’t leave me feeling down while sunning in the sand. (And there was almost a guaranteed beach trip in the novel.)

Review:

I never know how to talk about a Ray Blackston novel except to say: YOU SHOULD READ IT!!!! However, that’s not very helpful for a review.

Blackston is a funny guy who writes modern day Christian novels from a guy’s perspective (which we need more of) in a way that guys and girls can enjoy. He’ll take you to crazy places with even crazier people who you’ll come to love in just a few pages. Not only will you be laughing so hard people on the airplane will look at you funny (they were looking at me), but he also addresses subjects like God’s will vs our will and temptation in a down-to-earth, incredibly relatable way.

Neil Rucker is what he calls an almost missionary—teaching missionaries how to speak Spanish all over Latin America. Now furlough has arrived and he ends up in the lovable, zainy town of Greenville, South Carolina. Swept up in a whirlwind of dates with some of Greenville’s most eligible church-hoppers Neil has no idea what he’s gotten himself into.

You’ll find yourself laughing, affirming “Uh-huh” right along with Quilla and wondering how on earth the characters ended up there, but you’ll never be bored. I know I couldn’t put it down. This is a two thumbs up recommendation to guys, girls, your neighbor across the street you never talk to, that person you always pass in the grocery store and anyone else you can think of.

 

Faking Grace

2 Aug

Image

Tamara Leigh

Publisher: Multnomah Books

Publication Date: 2008

Paperback: 378 pages

Book Blurb:

All she wants is a job. All she needs is religion. How hard can it be?

Maizy Grace Stewart dreams of a career as an investigative journalist, but her last job ended in disaster when her compassion cost her employer a juicy deadline. A part-time gig at a Nashville newspaper might be her big break.

A second job at Steeple Side Christian Resources could help pay the bills, but they only hire committed Christians. Maizy is sure she can fake it with her “Five-Step Program to Authentic Christian Faith.” If only Jack Prentiss, Steeple Side’s managing editor and British hottie, wasn’t determined to prove her a fraud.

When Maizy’s newspaper boss pressures her to expose any skeletons in Steeple Side’s closet, she must decide to deliver the dirt and secure her career or lean on her newfound faith, change the direction of her life, and pray that her colleagues—and Jack—will show her grace.

Stand alone or series: Stand alone!

Why I read this book: I was looking for something I could read without committing a lot of time and money to a series. After reading the “Maizy Grace Stewart’s 5-Step Program to Authentic Christian Faith” on the first pages I knew I was in for a laugh and that was just what I needed.

Review:

You know all those stereotypes about Christians that you kind of wish didn’t exist? Well Maizy “Grace” takes on them all, complete with below the knee skirts and a Crown of Thorns air freshener to snag a job at a Christian publishing company. Expecting to find a group of uptight, Bible beaters, she’s surprised to meet a company full of beautifully imperfect people struggling with anorexia, parents struggling with rebellious kids and men and women who battle with desire just as much as she does.

I love that Tamara Leigh does not shy away from these subjects, and even better is the lens through which she does it. At first, Grace seeks out these flaws to expose the people at the Christian company for the frauds they really are. She finds plenty of flaws in them and in herself.  Yet she doesn’t uncover a group of blatant hypocrites as she expected to find. Instead she finds regular people struggling and striving to do God’s will. This community of loving, accepting people is a great picture of the body of Christ.

And of course, what romantic comedy would be complete without an adorable guy with blue eyes and a melting British accent? However, instead of melting at first sight Jack becomes her nemesis, the questions the authenticity of her claims on Christianity and threatens to expose her secret. What happens between them is well developed and had me on my toes to see what would happen.

Leigh does a fantastic job at creating round characters, full of life and quirks. You can’t help but cheer for them through their many struggles, of their own making or of unhappy accidents. The plot keeps moving and getting thicker as revelations and obstacles crop up for Maizy and her friends. It will keep you reading til the end.

This was one of my top two reads last summer. It’s a quick, fun read that doesn’t shy away from the fact that Christians are not perfect. In fact, it’s often through those imperfections that we can draw closer to God. I recommend this book to all!