Tag Archives: Ray Blackston

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.


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!


Lost in Rooville

17 Sep

Lost in Rooville

Ray Blackston

Publisher: Revell

Publication Date: 2005 

Paperback: 298 pages

Book Blurb:

Australia + woman + ring = ?

Jay Jarvis is pondering commitment. But his math is getting complicated.

Can he survive a trip from the beaches of South Carolina to the Outback with his cluster of crazy friends? Or will the allure of a wild roo-chase spoil his perfectly calculated plans? Ray Blackston’s back with more side-splitting humor, unconventional characters, and electrifying dialogue.

Stand alone or series: The third and, as far as I know, last in the Flabbergasted world. It is a series-ish as all three are set in the zany world Blackston first created with many overlapping character, but the second book strays from the main character, Jay, and switches to Neil. But who cares? Read them all!

Why I read this book: Loved the first two, wasn’t going to miss the third.


I’m just going to warn you now, it’s not possible to talk about this book without spoilers. However I will do my best not to give anything away past the first act.

Jay Jarvis plans an exotic trip with Allie to the outback. While Allie thinks she’s just along for the fun of it, Jay searches for the perfect rock on which to pop the rock. One minor problem is that their crazy will-they-won’t-they-commit friends, Steve and Darcy are along for the ride. In an attempt to get rid of them and find an alone space, Jay and Allie venture hundreds of miles into the orange encrusted outback in a burnt orange Land Cruiser. Not the best of plans.

As usual, this book is split up into three acts. I enjoyed the first act though not quite to the same standard that I had enjoyed the other books. To be honest, the second act dragged for me a bit. It took a while for me to get through. I think this is due to a lack of action/movement and the sad vibe it takes on. I’m used to getting hit with contemplative thinking in the middle of a laugh in these novels, but this strayed from pondering to… well, to unpleasant places. Act three is when it really picked up for me. I’m not sure if it was the change of scenery, but back in some familiar locations my love of these novels and characters returned in full force. I wouldn’t go to sleep until I finished.

Blackston has produced another wacky, I-can’t-believe-that-just-happened tale that will keep you wondering and wandering till the end. If you’ve read the others, this is a must to see how it all turns out for the nutty couples we’ve come to know and love. And I’ve got to say I love the epilogue. I’m usually not a big fan of epilogues (the Harry Potter one comes to mind in particular), but this one was spot on and ended the series on just the right note. All I can say is happy reading and if you’re going to the Australian outback make sure at least somebody knows where you are. 


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.)


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.



26 Jul


Ray Blackston

Publisher: Revell

Publication Date: 2003

Paperback: 327 pages

Book Blurb:

Jay Jarvis just moved east. His dating life’s gone south. What else is a guy to do but go fishing?

Jay is new in town. He’s young, successful, and single, and he’s not afraid to plop down in a church pew to scope out the females. But in the murky waters of the South Caroling singles scene, Jay’s whole world is in danger of being turned upside down.

Stand alone or series: I just found out that it’s part of a series and I couldn’t be more excited!

Why I read this book: I was aching for a good male point of view. I’d just read the most ghastly male POV (point of view) in a romance written by a woman. Now I’m not saying that woman can’t write male perspectives because my creative writing professor tried to smite me when I did so. However from the books that I’ve read in the romance genre, they haven’t turned out so well. Blackston’s Jay hit the mark and had me begging for more.


I’ve always had so much trouble describing this book. There’s some romance in it, by it’s not a romance. There’s some adventure in it, but it’s not an adventure story. It takes several turns that I was not expecting it to take and took me to a place where I did not think it would end up and though it wasn’t at all what I expected I loved it. If I was hard pressed, I’d say Flabbergasted is a story about a man who found God and it changed his life. Now you might argue that this is what most Christian books are about and I would say that this is not most books.

I know this is going to sound silly, but one of the things I really like about it was that it was written by a man. Ray Blackston was able to give us all those little insights about men that I would never think of but when I read all I could do was shout “Yes! That’s exactly what they do!” The way that Jay handles being cornered by three women into having “the talk” and driving in a car with another man for hours on end and being stranded in a creepy place with a bunch of other guys had me cracking up.

Flabbergasted was Blackston’s debut novel and I can see why he’s done so well since. The characters are brighter than the cover, which, trust me, stands out. From a cute, food-flinging missionary to pseudo-single surfer named Ransom to a tall blond with a penchant for speeding and a car named Lime Shebert, the cast of Flabbergasted will stick with you. The snappy dialogue and Jay’s unfettered thoughts keep the pace moving and the reader laughing. But what I love even more than the great voice is how Blackston is able to combine the serious with the silly.

Jay Jarvis takes a journey from hitting up church with the hopes of finding a date to taking a plunge for his faith, even though that could mean upsetting the future he’d so carefully planned. I watched him as her grew and took first baby steps, them leaps and bounds in his walk with God. It was a fun and moving process to watch unfold. Something that made it even more interesting for me is that there is some truth in it. I read and reread bits and pieces—testimonials from people who are characters who might be real people and prologue which I still can’t tell if it’s Ray or Jay speaking (suspicious how close those two names are, isn’t it?) After much, much research I’ve found that about 34% of the novel is true. Which parts? Let me know what you think!

I would recommend this book to anyone—guy, girl, young, and young at heart—and have on many occasions. It’s a great summer read. Keeping checking for more Blackston and the Flabbergasted series. I hope you enjoy!