The Final Detail…

I had the chance during this holiday break to continue Harlan Coben’s Myron Bolitar Series with The Final Detail.
Not necessarily one of my favorites – but this mystery does keep you guessing until the very end.  One aspect of the Bolitar series that I enjoy the most is that Coben enjoys reintroducing old characters and revisiting old storylines.  The books, if read in order, do build on each other.  This book reveals even more about Bolitar’s early sports agency career while also exploring his inner-battle with taking the law into his own hands.
Here is how I rank all of his books thus far…
  1. Fade Away (1996):  The New Jersey Dragons and Unrealized Dreams
  2. One False Move (1998):  The New York Dolphins and Old Mentors
  3. Back Spin (1997):  The PGA US Open and Mysterious Kidnappings
  4. The Final Detail (1999):  The New York Yankees and Failed Drug Tests
  5. Drop Shot (1996):  The ATP US Open and Gang Violence
  6. Deal Breaker (1995):  The New York Titans and Magazine Advertisements
  7. Play Dead (1990):  The Boston Celtics and Australia’s Great Barrier Reef
  8. Miracle Cure (1991):  The New York Knicks and HIV
I plan to read Darkest Fear to conclude the holiday break.  Anyone read it already?  If so, what did you think?
The Final Detail…

Religious Tigers…

I have mentioned many times before of my book exchange with Ryan Smith.  This year’s selections were…

  • I gave my friend Bad Religion.  This was one of my favorite reads of 2015.  I had to give my Aussie friend a taste of American politics as we enter into another dreaded election year.  
  • He purchased a former bestseller called The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival.  Ryan always has a way of sending me books that I never would have read but am glad once I did! 
Now, for those who have been keeping track . . . 
  • I have now pulled from genres which include Sociology, Sports History (twice), Children’s Literature, Fiction, Theology (twice), and Leadership.     
  • He has now sent me works that cover Environmental Policy, Leadership (twice), Christian Living, Travel, Theology (twice), and Fiction.  
What does this say about us?  
I already cannot wait for Round Nine….  
Religious Tigers…

One False Move…

I had the chance during this Christmas break to continue Harlan Coben’s Myron Bolitar Series with One False Move.
One of Coben’s best book so far (one of the best twists to-date).  This particular case shines a bit more light on Bolitar’s early years as well as his deepening relationship with a long-standing love interest.
Here is how I rank all of his books thus far…
  1. Fade Away (1996):  The New Jersey Dragons and Unrealized Dreams
  2. One False Move (1998):  The New York Dolphins and Old Mentors
  3. Back Spin (1997):  The PGA US Open and Mysterious Kidnappings
  4. Drop Shot (1996):  The ATP US Open and Gang Violence
  5. Deal Breaker (1995):  The New York Titans and Magazine Advertisements
  6. Play Dead (1990):  The Boston Celtics and Australia’s Great Barrier Reef
  7. Miracle Cure (1991):  The New York Knicks and HIV
I plan to read The Final Detail during these holidays.  Anyone read it already?  If so, what did you think?
One False Move…

A Trip Around the Sun…

I recently finished a book by Mark Batterson and Richard Foth called A Trip Around the Sun: Turning Your Everyday Life into the Adventure of a Lifetime.  

Batterson might describe this as his best attempt at Tuesday’s With Morrie.  He and his mentor swap stories that illustrate their life lessons.  This is one of his best books for a couple of reasons.  First, Foth adds a lot of new narratives (and Batterson retells many of his favorites).  Second, Batterson reminds young leaders that growing older is not something to avoid but to embrace and that the elder generations should command our honor and respect.  

One of my favorite quotes was when the authors suggest, “New Testament scholar Dr. Gordon Fee said that life is a wilderness, and a compass doesn’t help very much.  A map certainly doesn’t help because you have to know where you are for starters.  What you need in a place you’ve never been before is a guide.  Jesus becomes the Guide to the Father’s house” (527).  

If you are interested in reading Batterson, here are my rankings (to date)…

  1. Primal: A Quest for the Lost Soul of Christianity (2009)
  2. In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day: How to Survive and Thrive When Opportunity Roars (2006)
  3. The Circle Maker: Praying Circles Around Your Biggest Dreams and Greatest Fears (2012)
  4. Wild Goose Chase: Reclaim the Adventure of Pursuing God (2008)
  5. A Trip Around the Sun – With Richard Foth (2015)
  6. The Grave Robber: How Jesus Can Make Your Impossible Possible (2014)
  7. If: Trading Your If Only Regrets for God’s What If Possibilities (2015)
  8. All In: You Are One Decision Away From a Totally Different Life (2013)
  9. Soulprint: Discovering Your Divine Destiny (2011)
Have you read any of Batterson’s books?  How would you rate them?
A Trip Around the Sun…

The Force Awakens…


My wife and I had the amazing experience of watching the latest Star Wars with our church as part of this year’s Christmas gatherings.  What a memory!  In preparation of the new release, we watched the last six movies beforehand.  Here is how I rank all of them (NO SPOILERS)…

  1. Star Wars:  Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back.  Yoda: You must unlearn what you have learned.  No surprises here.  No other movie (to date) can compete with the Yoda-lessons and father-son duel.  Sequels can be better than the originals.
  2. Star Wars:  Episode IV – A New Hope.  C-3PO: We seem to be made to suffer. It’s our lot in life. The original.  Lucas didn’t even believe that this movie would be a success – let alone a franchise.  Look beyond the breakthrough special effects and you will find a soap opera that starts a spiritual conversation.
  3. Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens.  Maz Kanata: I have lived long enough to see the same eyes in different people. I see your eyes… I know your eyes!  I was concerned.  Would Abrams make this next trilogy sacrifice the story in the name of special effects?  I could not be more pleased.  This chapter paid respect to the original storyline without becoming a mere replica.  Honestly, I would probably rank this one as tied for second with New Hope had it not been that I want to avoid being captured by the moment.  A fitting introduction for a new generation.
  4. Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith.  What if democracy we thought we were serving no longer exists and the Republic has become very evil we have been fighting to destroy?  Absolute power, once acquired, is rarely ever relented.  Villains are not born as much as they’re created.  The conclusion to the first trilogy is powerful – full of deception, regret, hatred, and hope.
  5. Star Wars:  Episode VI – Return of the Jedi.  Luke: I’ll not leave you here. I’ve got to save you.  Anakin: You already have, Luke.  Darth Vader is the center of the story from the beginning.  But is he the Chosen One?  A fitting conclusion (at least we thought) to a thrilling adventure.
  6. Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones.  Be mindful of your thoughts Anakin. They’ll betray you. Progression of weaponry – droids, clones, storm troopers. Arrogance and anger go unchecked.  
  7. Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace.  Mom, you said that the biggest problem in the universe is no one helps each other.  Horrible acting and over-saturated effects.  This one is tough to watch.  Jar-Jar Binks is Lucas’ attempt at making a character more obnoxious than the Ewoks.  Horrible actors look even worse when sharing scenes with Neeson, McGregor, and Portman.  CGI is clearly overused and unfortunately while the technology is in it’s infancy. However, there are two really good reasons to watch Episode One.  First, origin stories are just cool.   Darth Maul is one of the coolest villains in the series.
What do you think about my list?  Where do you agree and disagree?
The Force Awakens…