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Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Book Review and Review Copy Giveaway: Flabbergasted: A Novel

You may not see the whole picture till the end of the book, but then you should understood the title “Flabbergasted.”
by Ray Blackston
Format: Paperback
Number of Pages:
Genre: Christian Fiction
My Rating: 4.5 of 5.0

Book Description
Publication Date: May 1, 2010
When Flabbergasted stormed on the scene in 2003, the reviews came fast and furious: "Good writing and an ample dose of humor make this as charming as Bridget Jones's Diary from the male point of view."--Library Journal "Blackston's novel will tickle your literary taste buds with a relational gumbo of quirky characters."--Christian Book Previews "Amazing. A novel that is simultaneously serious, hilarious, and impossible to put down."--The Dallas Morning News "With a colorful cast of quirky characters and a plot full of surprises, this is one of the feel-good novels of the year."--CCM Now this summertime favorite about a single stock broker looking for love in the murky waters of the southern church singles scene is repackaged with a hot new look.

Jay is a stock broker who has recently moved to a city in South Carolina. His realtor agent recommends the best way to meet girls in this Bible Belt town is to attend church.

The very first morning in church young singles group he spots an intriguing young woman.  He soon learns that the young lady, Allie, is an elder’s daughter and home temporarily for a visit from her missions job. Jay joins the group for a weekend beach party where he makes several new friends and furthers a friendship with Allie.

There are lots of fun characters and fun circumstances in this novel. The inside cover flap introduces many characters in a unique way that sets the humorous tone.  I loved the subtle humor and Mr. Blackston’s portrayal of real - as in flawed - Christians ranging from casual (here to meet a mate) to hyper, turn off, religious snobs, with some sincere believers in between.

There are also some wonderful Christian questions (what car would Jesus drive?) and surprisingly deep insights. Although I was rather surprised that several characters did not directly share the gospel message with Jay, I loved how the author allowed him to see the difference in their lives until a point when Jay gets the message from a well delivered sermon.

Jay is offered a profitable position in New York and is about to head off to the ticker tape jungle. He decides to take a quick detour to the jungles of Equador to visit Allie and invite her to visit him in New York.  How will the simple beauties and life of children in the missions camp effect Jay’s view of success and life goals? It is well worth the read to find out!

I picked this book up as a summer read for our Ladies’ Book club not really knowing what to expect. We were all pleased and agreed that the writing was fun and the message was worthwhile. It makes a great group read for discussion too.

I had the print book at home but since I was out of town I picked up the kindle and then the Audible version to listen to in the car. The narrator does a good job with character voices and a great job delivering the subtle humor, sarcasms and sincere proclamations. I can recommend the audio version if you prefer listening, although I was glad to have the print and kindle versions to note significant phrases which is hard to do with audio. 
Officer giving speeding tickets while the ‘caravan’ of kids headed out to Myrtle Beach.
“Lemme tell you something boys. I been in church for most of my forty-eight years, and I think Jesus would either drive the Lincoln, or if pressed for time, maybe one of those muscle cars. You know, the power and the glory.” Location 196.
Allie to Jay after they drift out too far and out of control caught the ocean currents - can you picture this as a statement of our lives?
“Really dumb to just float off and drift blind and not peek at least once to see where we were.” Location 748.
This was our Ladies' Book Club pick for June 30.
This was set in Greenville, SC for my Where Are You Reading Challenge. I will also add it to my New Author challenge.
The reason I saved this review for July 4 is my own personal thought combined with part of the book’s message. One preacher gives the message:
“We have taken ‘Holy, Holy, Holy’ and turned it into ‘vague, vague and very vague’... all this vaguery and the need to be inoffensive has saturated our country...." Location 1566.
I can’t help but see that in my beloved country today.  Americans are so blessed with abundance that we are spoiled. We do not appreciate our freedoms; we give too little credit to those who fought and continue to fight for freedom. We do not appreciate the simple ways of life and the most important purposes of life because we are smothered in our materialism and in vaguery, political correctness. We squander so much while we barely see the poverty and day to day struggles to just live that exist all around the world. How sad.

TO ENTER THIS GIVEAWAY for my Review Copy:

1. Visit the author's website and tell me something you find of interest. This is required for entry.

2.  For an extra entry, become a follower on any media (GFC, Twitter @MSEREADS, Facebook fanpage: , Goodreads or Linky - links on right sidebar) or tell me if you are already a follower.

It isn't necessary to use separate entries unless you want them in different chronological order.
(Two total entries possible.)

* This contest is only open to residents of US and Canada.
* This contest will close 10 PM (Central) on July 13, 2012.
The winner will be randomly selected from all entries.
Winners will have 72 hours to respond by email or the winners form linked in the announcement. 


  1. In a 2004 interview he said is advise to aspiring writers is to "Make sure that your goal is to improve as a writer, not to gain the status of 'getting published.'"

    lkish77123 at gmail dot com

  2. I am a GFC follower

    lkish77123 at gmail dot com

  3. I am an email subscriber

    lkish77123 at gmail dot com

  4. I am an RSS subscriber

    lkish77123 at gmail dot com

  5. I like you on facebook... Linda Kish

    lkish77123 at gmail dot com

  6. Ray is from Greenville, South Carolina

    gfc subscriber

    dlatany at gmail dot com

  7. I think it's interesting that he used to be a buyer and broker.

    I follow via email.


  8. Ray serves on the missions committee of his church, and has traveled to rural Ecuador on a summer missions program.

    gfc - mamabunny13
    mamabunny13 at gmail dot com

  9. I liked the latest news feature on the author blog.


  10. I'm a follower




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