Devotion 💙

Dear Lord, in any way I have ever been ungrateful to You, my Creator, I beg Your forgiveness and pray that You continually show me Your mercy.

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Books & Reviews 📚

Books #139-#141: Just more books

Although I haven’t been reviewing many books lately, I’ve been reading up a storm. Watching my TBR go down is satisfying although I wish I had all the time in the world to sit and read more. Anyway, here are a few books I might have liked or disliked. 😉

Book #139: Never Coming Home by A.R. Wise

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Moving away from traditional publishing is good for many authors out here today, but this book was lazily formatted. CreateSpace has formatted templates, so I was surprised that the author didn’t use one of those. By the way, is CreateSpace still a thing?

This story was okayish, but I was not thrilled about the writing or the characters for that matter. When I first met Lincoln Pierre (the main protagonist), he came off as a humorous fool and he immediately reminded me of Rick Castle. *Ponders* Come to think of it, I wonder if the author is a Castle fan?

Image result for gif castle I didn’t get a good feel of Lincoln in the physical sense. I can’t recall the color of his eyes (was it even mentioned?) and I certainly couldn’t tell if he was blonde or a salt and pepper. As for the ending, it was not a surprise for me and if you look hard enough, the murderer is mentioned at the beginning of the book. 

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This book is not for the faint of heart. It’s gory when it doesn’t necessarily have to, but since Mystery and Thriller authors are trying to out-gore each other, why not huh? 

My favorite character was Bentley, although at times his character was kind of unbelievable given his young age. I thought he was the best overall. love coffeelove coffee

Book #140: The Pursuit of Justice by Ben Matthews

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The author is a Lawyer, but yet, somehow, he wrote this book like a rookie lawyer. Maybe that’s what he was going for given that his protagonist Raymond Jackson just happens to be just that, a rookie lawyer. 

I like the courtroom drama although there weren’t much in this story. I like Raymond Jackson a lot, but it was a turn-off with his bed-hopping ways. No matter how hard I tried, I never got a proper image of his face. He could’ve been brunette, redhead, blonde or Tom Cruise. 

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The dialogue and interaction were great!

What I dislike is the sudden and abrupt ending. It didn’t feel like a promised cliffhanger. It felt as if the story was still in the middle when the author decided that he had enough and hastily wrote ‘The End’. love coffeelove coffeelove coffee

Book #141: Lime Tree Can’t Bear Orange by Amanda Smyth

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Trinidad is a wonderful place, Celia. Everyone who lives here can’t wait to leave. But once they go – to England or Canada or the U.S., they spend their whole lives trying to get back.”

This story starts off slow, but eventually picks up. By the end of it, one cannot help but moan, ‘Poor poor Celia!’ The world seems to be against her since she was born, but she brought it on herself with the actions taken.

This story was easy to read. It was set in Trinidad and Tobago, and the places that the author listed read like a must-visit list. However, I was not a big fan of the plot and the so-call heroine. There is no growth in the 3 years that we follow Celia. West Indian stories have that recurring rape element and this one was no different. I honestly have to say that I dislike Caribbean literature. 99.9% of it leaves the reader depressed because the writer can’t seem to search within him/herself to write something uplifting or simply fun.Image result for gif i'm depressed

Take this heroine, for example, Celia is a bright young thing on track for a university, but then she is raped, and although she is commended for leaving home, the mood shifts to how attractive Celia is, her beautiful skin and lovely hair. Her well being (health & mental) are never touched on again. The author reduced the heroine to rubble: Celia now exits to only serve the men who desire her.

Also, the author mentioned ‘the seventh grade’ which should’ve been 5th standard. We’ve never used the Grade system locally.  This book does not belong on anyone’s bookshelf and I’m glad I did not pay for it. love coffeelove coffee

Bible Study

Genesis part XII: wicked cities are destroyed and Lot is saved.

In case you missed it:

PART 11: Sarai’s name is changed and she is reproved for laughing

PART 10: The Promise of an Heir and Ishmael is Born

PART 9: God renews the promise and a kingly battle

PART 8: Language Confusion and Abram’s Blessing

PART 7: Noah’s Generation, a geographic history lesson

PART 6: Noah leaves the ark and God blesses him

PART 5: The wickedness of the world and the Great Flood

PART 4: The first murder and genealogy of the Patriarchs

PART 3: The Original Sin

PART 2: The making of mankind and the Sabbath

PART 1: Genesis: in the beginning

This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it. Let us approach His Grace’s throne and seek forgiveness. Let us be thankful that we still have breath and let us pray for our fellowmen. Let us also enjoy the things that our Creator has given us freely such as the sweet singing of the birds. 

Welcome back to Bible studies. I trust that you walked with God this week and that you gave Him thanks for bringing you through it. Today, we’re going to cover chapter 19.

Sodom and Gomorrah are destroyed

Scripture in focus: Genesis 19

In the 18th chapter, we left off with Abraham interceding on behalf of the inhabitants of Sodom. The Lord then depart and went His way, but His two companions went down to Sodom. We now come to the controversial chapter of Genesis which many people skip over for the enjoyment of their own burning lust and condemn God for not letting sexual pervasion win. Let’s see how it plays out.

Lot was sitting in the gate when the two angels came to Sodom (19:1). Lot sitting in the gate indicates that he was a leader of some sort (possibly a judge) and helped conducted the city’s affairs. His urgent hospitality to his guests seemed like an effort to protect them from the wicked men of the city, but the messengers wanted to stay out on the street to probably witness the evil first hand (19:2). The angels relent and Lot made a feast and baked unleavened bread and they ate (19:3). I noted that despite having a feast, one important item from the feast stood out: unleavened bread. Was Lot telling us that he was indeed a righteous man living among perverted sinners? And if so, why didn’t he abandon his position and move away?

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Before the household can call it a night and go to sleep, the men of the city surround the house (19:4) and ask Lot to let the men out so they can “know them” (19:5). Base on Lot’s response in 6-8, we know that these men did not come to be hospitable. They wanted to “know them” carnally speaking in ways a man shouldn’t know another man. They wanted to have homosexual relations with the men and if possible, rape them even. It also clearly shows that the evil city participated in group sex. Lot goes outside and shuts the door after him to prevent the men from barging into his house (19:6) and tries to reason with the Sodomites (19:7). Lot then offers the men his two daughters as an alternative (19:8). The first time I read this, I thought it was a horrible thing for Lot to offer up his daughters to be gang-raped. I also understand that it was a top priority to protect guests at all cost over family, but it also shows two things: how low a woman’s place was in the ancient world and Lot did not have enough faith to leave Sodom. He was also trying to show the men that sex was designed to have between a man and a woman.

The men mock Lot and threaten him to move aside; blinded by lust they proceed to push pass Lot to fulfill their desire (19:9). The angels rescued Lot by pulling him into the house (19:10) and striking the men with blindness (19:11). The ‘blindness’ can mean two things: the men were actually struck blind or a darkness covered the area that they couldn’t find Lot’s door. The angels then warn Lot about the coming divine destruction of the city (19:12-13). Lot then warns his family of the pending danger but he was mocked by his sons in law (19:14). The next morning, even before the sun rose in the sky, the angels hasten Lot to take his wife and two daughters and to get out of the city (19:15). The phrase “which are here” may mean nothing, but it could possibly suggest that Lot had other daughters who were possibly married to Sodomites. Used in this context, however, suggests that Lot take his family that is present. 

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Lot lingered, showing that despite knowing how wicked the city was, Sodom was a part of his heart hence the reason why he never considered getting out; he was settled and comfortable and preferred to look the other way. He lingered causing the angels to personally escort him, his wife, and daughters out of the city (19:16). They were given specific instruction to escape to the mountain and not look back (19:17). But Lot’s faith wavered and he did not want to go the place which the Lord suggested (19:18-19). He begs to dwell in a small town (19:20). The Lord accepts Lot’s request and would not overthrow the city for Lot’s sake (19:21); that city was called Zoar (19:22). 

The sun had risen when Lot entered Zoar (19:23) at about the same time brimstone and fire was being rained down on Sodom and Gomorrah destroying them completely (19:24-25). But Lot’s wife disobeyed, looked back and became a pillar of salt (19:26). Abraham got up early the next morning just in time to see the smoke ascend to heaven after the cities were burned and destroyed (19:27-28). Abraham’s prayer was answered when God remembered him and delivered a righteous Lot from the cities before He overthrew them (19:29). 

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Lot eventually feared to dwell in the city he begged to escape to and he went to the mountains to dwell in a cave away from the world (19:30). From the beginning, the angels told him to dwell in the mountain. Now, Lot’s daughters begin to think that there are no men left on earth to lie with them (19:31) which is inexcusable for they spent some time in Zoar to know that there were indeed other people including men on earth. They decide to take matters into their own hands except to trust God because it was now their mission to repopulate the earth. They come to the conclusion that they’ll trick Lot into drinking wine in order to lie with him and preserve his seed (19:32). This desperate action and sin from the girls would suggest that living in Sodom clearly affected them (even more so than Lot) after witnessing so many pervasions which seemed like the norm. They didn’t even think about God once during their plan. 

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They made their father drink wine and the eldest lay with her father and Lot was so drunk that he didn’t hear her come to bed or when she left (19:33). The next night, Lot gets drunk again, and the younger daughter lay with him (19:34-35) and they were both with children by their father (19:36). A person who is drunk is not in control of his actions or thoughts, but Lot had to be willing to drink the wine, and God does not gloss over drunkenness as an excuse to sin. The eldest bore a son and called him Moab (19:37). Moab (meaning ‘from father’) was the father of the Moabites, a people that lived on the borders of Canaan proving to be troublesome for the Israelites. They worshipped the god Chemosh and sacrificed their children to this god. 

Finally, the younger gave birth to a son named Ben-ammi (meaning ‘the son of my people’) and he became the father of the children of Ammon (19:38). These people lived near the Moabites and like their brethren, fell into idolatry. They worshipped Molech and made their children walk through fire. None of their cities exist today for God destroyed these people. I’ll try to explore this false god soon.

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One might wonder why God allowed Lot’s daughters’ sinful acts to be recorded. It’s simple: God wants us to learn from these examples so we know what to do and not what to do. It’s a reason why the Bible is basic instruction before leaving earth. God not only wants us to see the Bible characters at their best; He wants us to know/learn the entire truth about them for it’s an example to/for us (1 Corinthians 10:11). We should take heed of their experience and make good choices. The daughters had no sexual design on their father, their true intent was to repopulate the world, although their actions were wrong. These records are for our caution.

After this, no more is recorded of Lot although he was mentioned in 2 Peter 2:7.

Additional Notes/Recap

^ God condemns homosexual behavior calling it an abomination (Leviticus 18:22, 20:13). ‘Gay’ used to mean ‘happy’ and ‘carefree’ but it was stolen to normalize the homosexual lifestyle. Also stolen was the rainbow which is now used to identify (and even glamorize) the homosexual life that if one were to unknowingly use the rainbow as a logo they’ll be commended for showing their ‘pride’ or stealing it from the homosexual community. The rainbow is a covenant that God made with Noah as a sign to not destroy the world again from wickedness (9:17) otherwise it certainly would’ve been destroyed yet again.

^ God made both men and women in the image of Himself (1:26-282:18-24). The woman was made to complement man and God commanded them to be fruitful and to multiply the earth. Homosexuality is rebellious and is the exact opposite of God’s design for family.

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^ Sodom was more than just sexual pervasion (Reference Ezekiel 16:48-50). They did many detestable things including the practice of cult prostitution and pagan rituals. 

^ In 19:8, Lot suggests that his daughters are virgins, yet, in 19:14, we see that he has sons-in-law. I admit that this threw me off the first couple of times I read it, but looking it up, I’ve come to realize that the sons-in-law were Sodomites who were probably caught up in the sexual sins themselves that they never slept with their wives or they were by binding betrothal, but not by marriage yet.

^ The city which Lot escaped to in 19:22 was called Bela before in 14:2. Today, many people think that Sodom and Gomorrah are buried under the Dead Sea. 

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As always, I encourage you to share what you may have learned during your study of God’s Word or what touched your heart this week in the comment section below.

REFERENCES/AIDS

* The Holy Bible 

* biblestudys.org

* blueletterbible.org

*** Images and GIFs via Google Search

Français ... et autres langues.

French Friday: a French quiz and talking like a Parisian

Bienvenue à un autre édition de vendredi français. 

I have to confess that I haven’t been making the time to learn French weekly, but I wanted to update this category as I haven’t done so in a long time. My schedule is currently messed up and I am adjusting to some changes in the workplace so it’ll be a while before I can have a normal flow of things in my life again. Anyways, the most I got around to learning some French was taking a fun French quiz via BuzzFeed. There were 14 questions and I got 2 wrong. 

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The only other thing I learned was how to talk like a Parisian. Parisians are like their own breed and they’re blunt and even sometimes rude, but they can be nice, too. 

Vouloir c'est pouvoir!

Your turn now. What language are you learning? Is it what you thought it’d be?

Books & Reviews 📚

Book #138: When Dimple Met Rishi

People: This book sucks socks!
Also other people: This book was the best book of the year!
Also, also other people: I was torn between giving it a 5 or a 3.
Me: I’ll make my own decision.

I read this book two months or so ago and I have to say that I am pretty disappointed with one Dimple and the plot. I’ll never stop writing honest reviews for I don’t believe in changing my opinion for anyone. I have so much to say that this might get a little lengthy.

Oohkay, let me warm up first.

Flex my fingers, adjust my computer screen, grab my coffee… Ready!

Purple and Orange Flower Girl Wedding Card

I went into this book neutral because YA rarely lives up to the hype no matter how many Book-tubers swear by the book (I’ve unsubscribed to all of their channels for they almost always have the same boring and repetitive content). I came out hating this book. Dimple was just an awful character although I liked her for the first few pages. She was a nerd and she wanted to pursue her dreams, but then she met Rishi, and in the blink of an eye, her entire character changed quicker than a chameleon changes its skin. 

She was irritating and annoying that I wanted to reach into the book and slap her silly. 

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As for Rishi, he comes from money, but he doesn’t act like it. He’s humble and obedient to his parents even when they set him up to attend Insomnia Con (kind of a party name for a tech convention don’t you think!) to court Dimple. As a matter of fact, Dimple and Rishi’s parents tricked their kids into attending the convention (although Dimple really wanted to go) so they can meet. 

Rishi draws comics and he’s great at it, but he’s keen on following his parents’ dream of him having a great future in business (I think). I love the fact that Rishi was so comfortable with his uncoolness, he was the coolest person in the room. 

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Now, let’s rant in notes as I tear the book apart.

^ I did not get a sense of San Francisco besides the fog named Karl. Yes, the fog in San Fran is called Karl and the author did a great job of reminding us. However, I did not feel transported to San Fran as I did when I read James Patterson’s Women’s Murder Club series. 

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^ I think the author should’ve translated Hindi phrases for non-Hindi readers. I understood some of it for I used to learn Hindi at one point. 

^ An obnoxious group of well-manicured people – a white girl and boy, and an Indian boy – were already trying to take pictures of one another. (Page 65) What? You mean to tell me that black people don’t live and study in San Fran?  I thought it was unnecessary to point out the color of people’s skin for it did nothing here. I would’ve gotten it had Rishi never seen white people in his life, but for some reason, it just doesn’t work here.

^ “This is how it works in the US: In the spring we’re constantly subjected to bunnies and eggs wherever we go, signifying Christ’s resurrection. Then right around October we begin to see pine trees and nativity scenes and laughing fat white men everywhere.” (Page 142). Now, this does not offend me in any way for Easter is a pagan festival and Christmas does not signify Christ’s true birth. However, I think this paragraph was meant to be religiously controversial as Rishi said at the end that he gets to explain Hinduism. Author, stop being so foolish. If a Christian were to go to India now, they’ll be assaulted with Hinduism iconography. If the so-call Christian images are assaulting your senses, pack your bags and leave America for good. 

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^ So Dimple attends a party and drags Goody Two Shoes Rishi along with her. I can’t believe that the author wants me to believe that someone like Dimple who scorns people and social life like the plague attends parties. Just no! It doesn’t work. On the other hand, I can believe that Rishi has never been to a party before besides Diwali ones. 

^ Cue unnecessary dramatic exit: He turned and walked away, the fog swallowing him whole. (Page 353). 

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^ Where is the coding talk? The tech talk? The app talk? The whole point of Dimple attending Insomnia Con was to create a health app to help people and there was hardly any talk of it. This book was pure drivel. 

^ I am going to sound stereotypical, but this scene calls for it: Which respectful Indian boy or girl would be making out in a dark alley and when things get heated, the girl asks, “What? You mean here? We can’t do it here?” and “If you’re doing this because of some old-school concern for my ‘honor’, you don’t need to.” (Page 287). Nice going, Dimple. Really nice going. I can think of all the names in the book to call you, but then, that wouldn’t honor you, would it now?

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^ Insomnia Con is having a talent contest and Dimple wants to do a Bollywood dance. They started off with ‘Dil Na Diya’, but ended up dancing to ‘Dance Pe Chance’ from Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi

I was relieved when I came to the last page of this garbage. It would’ve been interesting to know more about the app and Dimple’s competitors’ apps as well. This story went from its focus on creating an app to a pointless talent show. With all of the ‘careful’ preparations leading up to the show, you’ll think the author would dedicate more than just a paragraph to it (Page 308). I wanted Dimple and Rishi to lose the talent show, but of course, they won for they danced to a SRK song after all. 

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This book was a total mess and you know what else is? Jab Harry Met Sejal and I am contemplating on doing a review soon. The author said that she was inspired by Bollywood movies and she passed for most Bollywood movies are a mess. This writing was cringe to the max.

The author forgot to thank Shah Rukh Khan in the acknowledgments and this book put me off so much that I don’t think From Twinkle, With Love would be redeeming… but I’mma read it anyway.

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COVER

Probably one of the most natural covers I’ve ever seen! I love that the model isn’t airbrushed and you can see all the hairs on her face. 5/5.

VERDICT:

love coffee

*** GIFs and photos used are not mine unless stated otherwise. Credit goes to Google Search.