Book Reviews 2018
January 14, 20202018It almost seems inconceivable today that the Mona Lisa could go missing. If you go to the Louvre today, the Mona Lisa is protected by two armed bodyguards. She has more security than some people. She also is encased in bullet proof glass. Her fortress is impenetrable; she sits in the keep of the castle where she can rest easy. But this wasn’t always so. 100 years ago, paintings in the Louvre were hung on the wall without any protection, including the Mona Lisa. In August of 1911, the painting was stolen. It would be nearly 48 hours before anyone would notice. Pablo Picasso would be the primary suspect. And R.A. Scotti delivers a delightful tale of the thievery that would make the Mona Lisa famous. This isn’t a very long book, but the mystery and intrigue give it a sense of momentum. Without giving too much away, I thought the ending was both satisfying and comprehensive enough to satiate all the open ended questions. A nice little read! [...]
January 14, 20202018Hacking is a profession that is becoming more and more important in the modern era. No longer is it unacceptable to be called a “hacker,” because, as we know now, there are good and bad hackers. Kevin Mitnick was probably one of the first, if not the first, hacker in the modern sense. Growing up during the technological revolution, Kevin cut his teeth on “phone phreaking,” where the caller would jump around the system to make phone calls free of charge to whomever he or she wanted. Mitnick discovered that he could make people do what he wanted by what he called “social engineering.” For example, he could get a piece of information and call a phone company, sound like he knew what he was talking about and get whatever he wanted out of them. This is a topic that Mitnick frequently references; master this and it doesn’t matter how technologically savvy you are. This is the basis of his story: social engineering is a theme that continues to haunt Mitnick as he becomes more and more notorious for being a criminal, preying on those less fortunate (read: more ignorant) than himself. What is interesting is that through this entire sage, Mitnick doesn’t steal people’s credit cards or identities; he is just interested in seeing if he can do it. Eventually, the local police get involved. Then the state police. Then the FBI! What ensues is a chase that is reminiscent of “Catch Me if You Can.” Mitnick uses all of his ingenuity and social engineering to wiggle his way out of trouble. You can probably guess how this ends. I won’t ruin it, but this book isn’t as satisfying as I thought it might be. It’s less technical than you might think, but it still doesn’t read as interesting as it might sound. 3/5 [...]
January 14, 20202018There are certain books that make you cringe at a few parts. In the instance of “Gosnell,” most of the book is painful; painful in two ways: from the graphic, detailed, descriptions of what transpired and from heartbreak. Kermit Gosnell was an abortionist. His job was to terminate pregnancies in a legal manner at his clinic in Philadelphia. The key word is, “legal.” According to the law, there is much red tape relating to abortions: particularly when and on whom they can be performed. Gosnell, according to the authors, became America’s most prolific serial because he murdered the babies he was suppose to abort. But more on that later. The authors explain that Gosnell was found out because of the pill mill he ran out of his clinic. He was giving prescription drugs to drug dealers who would distribute them around Philadelphia. When the police obtained a search warrant for his clinic, what they found was a house of horrors. Trash was everywhere, two cats roamed amuck, blood stains marred the blankets and chairs in the post-op room; chaos abounded. What was even more disturbing was the piece of fetal remains placed everywhere, including jars of babies feet that decorated some of the space. What began as a drug bust turned into a murder case. Was Kermit Gosnell a murderer? The law states that babies can be aborted in Pennsylvania up to 24 weeks. The authors state that one even one second after 24 weeks, the fetus becomes a person, and therefore it is considered murder. This is how Gosnell became America’s most prolific murderer according to the authors. The substance of this book will shock you; it will turn your stomach. This is not a book that is for or against abortion (although by the end, you may as well be against). But it is a book on the travesty of how Kermit Gosnell got away with so much and the failure of the health care system in Philadelphia. Read this book. [...]

A River in Darkness: One Man’s Escape from North Korea

The American Spirit: Who We Are and What We Stand For

The Lost City of the Monkey God

The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution

Even If You Don’t: A Love Story

The Martian

Yes, Chef

Gosnell: The Untold Story of America’s Most Prolific Serial Killer

The Stormlight Archive: The Way of Kings

All-American Murder: The Rise and Fall of Aaron Hernandez, the Superstar Whose Life Ended on Murderers’ Row

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

The Remains of the Day

The Stormlight Archive: Words of Radiance

The Stormlight Archive: Oathbringer

Endure: Mind, Body, and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance


Cork Dork: A Wine-Fueled Adventure Among the Obsessive Sommeliers, Big Bottle Hunters, and Rogue Scientists Who Taught Me to Live for Taste

What the Dog Saw and Other Adventures

After the Prophet: The Epic Story of the Shia-Sunni Split in Islam (2018)

I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life

Astrophysics for People in a Hurry

For We Are Many (Bobiverse #2)

A History of the World in Six Glasses

Jurassic Park

Vanished Smile: The Mysterious Theft of Mona Lisa

North: Finding My Way While Running the Appalachian Trail

Preaching That Changes Lives

The Feud That Sparked the Renaissance: How Brunelleschi and Ghiberti Changed the Art World

The Cuban Affair

The Rooster Bar

Star Wars: Last Shot: A Han and Lando Novel

When Breath Becomes Air

Only Human (Themis Files #3)


Mistborn: The Final Empire

Hell Divers

God Save Texas: A Journey Into the Soul of the Lone Star State

Star Wars: Thrawn: Thrawn (2018)

Ghost in the Wires: My Adventures as the World’s Most Wanted Hacker

PROOF: Finding Freedom through the Intoxicating Joy of Irresistible Grace (2018)

Gut: The Inside Story of Our Body’s Most Underrated Organ

The Girl Who Smiled Beads: A Story of War and What Comes After


Springfield Confidential: Jokes, Secrets, and Outright Lies from a Lifetime Writing for The Simpsons

Christianity Considered: A Guide for Skeptics and Seekers

Insurgence: Reclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom

Jurassic Park: The Lost World

The History of Jazz

How to Lose a Marathon: A Starter’s Guide to Finishing in 26.2 Chapters

Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything

Survival Guide for the Soul: How to Flourish Spiritually in a World that Pressures Us to Achieve

Brief Insights on Mastering Bible Study: 80 Expert Insights, Explained in a Single Minute

Star Wars: Thrawn: Alliances

The Bible Unfiltered: Approaching Scripture on Its Own Terms

A Mouse Divided: How Ub Iwerks Became Forgotten, and Walt Disney Became Uncle Walt

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Super Mario: How Nintendo Conquered America

Star Trek: Captain to Captain

The Darkness and the Glory: His Cup and the Glory from Gethsemane to the Ascension (2018)

Mistborn: The Well of Ascension

Mistborn: The Hero of Ages

English History Made Brief, Irreverent, and Pleasurable

Michelangelo: His Epic Life

Scientism and Secularism: Learning to Respond to a Dangerous Ideology

Michelangelo and the Pope’s Ceiling (2018)

Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company that Addicted America


What is the Gospel?

The Interdependency: The Collapsing Empire

Love Your God with All Your Mind: The Role of Reason in the Life of the Soul

The Consequences of Ideas: Understanding the Concepts that Shaped Our World (2018)

On Desperate Ground: The Marines at The Reservoir, the Korean War’s Greatest Battle

The Interdependency: Consuming Fire

The Reckoners: Steelheart

Tactics: A Game Plan for Discussing Your Christian Convictions

Firefight: the Reckoners book 2

Ethics and Moral Reasoning: A Student’s guide

Calamity: the Reckoners book 3

Skyward: Skyward


The Lost World of Genesis One: Ancient Cosmology and the Origins Debate (2018)

Legion: the Many Lives of Stephen Leeds

Reckoner’s: Mitosis

Tell the Truth: The Whole Gospel Wholly by Grace Communicated Truthfully & Lovingly

Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God

The Great Evangelical Recession: 6 Factors That Will Crash the American Church… and How to Prepare


Knowledge of the Holy


Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup

Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

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