How To Be Discerning in the Books We Read

How To Be Discerning in the Books We Read

This post was originally written for Literary Cafe as a guest post. For those of you who haven’t read it, enjoy!

I’ve been passionate about books for as long as I can remember. There’s something about falling into a world created by an author that’s simply magical – the feeling of sinking deeply into characters’ heads, of exploring realms, of reading words that seem like liquid gold.

 

And yet something that’s equally important to me is this idea of discernment; of being intentional regarding what I read, and knowing that the views presented, whether upfront or not, will influence me in some way.

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Book Review: The Insatiable Quest for Beauty

Wow! It’s been a while since I’ve done Book Thursdays. The lovely Tiffany Dawn emailed me at Christmastime and asked me to review this book. It looked good, so I agreed, and I found it to be a great book. Read on for the full review.

iqb-book

Title: The Insatiable Quest for Beauty

Author: Tiffany Dawn

My Rating: 4/5 Stars.

My Review:

The Insatiable Quest for Beauty was a worthwhile read for me. It addresses questions and problems we all face from time to time, regarding not feeling beautiful or valued and trying to find the answers to those questions in all different places, including in relationships, disordered eating, obsession with appearances, and more.

 

Cutting to the heart of the matter, Tiffany does not discredit wanting to look good at all. Looking good is a good thing, but only if it doesn’t become an obsession or addiction. If we go to destructive habits like dating toxic people for attention or trying to lose excessive weight when it’s totally unnecessary, it damages us.

 

Additionally, looking in the mirror and telling yourself “I’m beautiful” every day isn’t changing the problem. The issue is being so self-absorbed that you cannot think of anything else but yourself, whether positive or negative.

 

Tiffany makes the point that we must keep our eyes on God. We must look to Him to remind us that we are unconditionally loved, and not just physically attractive. We must take the focus off us ourselves and realize the One who truly matters – our Lord.

 

The Insatiable Quest for Beauty is about more than finding confidence within ourselves, but about being confident in how God sees us. He sees us as blameless and pure because of what Jesus did, and not because of what we do.

 

I don’t particularly struggle with my appearance, but it was a good read and I am glad that I read it.

 

The format and writing were not my favorite, but they did not take away from the content and impact of the book. If I were writing it, I would have done it differently. The “coffee date” style and the chapter organization, along with the broken-up format made it unique enough to stand out, and perhaps other people will like that aspect of it more than I did.

 

Lastly, I didn’t agree with completely everything that was said (more on a theological aspect than anything else), but the message of the book was definitely valuable enough for me to read the whole book and enjoy it.

 

I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not influenced in any way. Thank you, Tiffany!

 

Find my review on Goodreads and also on Amazon.

 

*aj

The Crossways BLOG TOUR – Author Interview + Giveaway!

The Crossways Blog Tour Header

Yesterday, I shared my review for The Crossways by Morgan Elizabeth Huneke. See that here, or scroll down if you’re on the Scattered Journal Pages home page.

Before I begin, I’ll share about the book, about Morgan, and then we’ll get on with the interview.

The Crossways Cover

About the Book

“M’lady, it has been fairly well confirmed that the Redona was hidden away by the merfolk at the conclusion of the Great War instead of destroyed as was commanded. My brother has confirmed to me Joseph’s belief that it was concealed at the Crossways.”

Toarna pressed her fingertips together in thought. “It must be recovered and destroyed as was at first intended.”

Emily, Allan, Jill, and Joey have been reunited with their long lost ancestors. But with that reunion comes the true beginning of their quest: free the rightful king of Calhortz so that he may be restored to his throne. The Redona, the only object that can free him from his long imprisonment, is rumored to be concealed in The Crossways, a mountain across the sea which cannot be entered.

A slave since birth, Adriel’s resentment and hatred towards the strytes only grows as his family is continually ripped from him. He longs for the freedom the Time Captives are prophesied to bring, but he doubts their existence, just as he doubts God’s love. Circumstances in Calhortz are so dire. How could they ever improve?

Who can enter The Crossways? Will the king ever be freed? Or will the slaves of Calhortz lose all hope of freedom before it is even offered to them?

The Crossways is the second book of the Time Captives trilogy, a tale of faith, family, fantasy, and a fight for truth and freedom.

Buy Now

Kindle ~ Paperback ~ Signed Copy

Goodreads link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25990964-the-crossways

 

About the Author

Morgan Huneke Profile

Morgan Elizabeth Huneke is a homeschool graduate who lives in Georgia. She has enjoyed creating characters and writing stories since early childhood. Her other interests include reading, playing the piano and violin, and politics. She is the author of Across the Stars and The Experiment.

You can connect with Morgan on her website, blog, Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and Pinterest.

And finally, the interview. 😀

Hi Morgan! Thanks for joining me here at Scattered Journal Pages. Tell me a few things that most people won’t easily guess about yourself.

*racks brain for something that’s not obvious* I have a hard time hiding things, and I’m super easy to read, but I’ll try. I don’t really like to watch TV just for the sake of watching TV. I like watching it when there’s something I want to watch. Which does happen a lot, but sometimes I don’t feel like watching anything. I’ve gotten “why did you do that?” from my sister for turning the TV off after the news. Hmm, I have an irrational fear of the wheels falling off our minivan while I’m driving. Not really sure where that came from. I don’t like to sit around and do nothing. It bores me and I feel like I’m wasting time, even if the reason I’m sitting around doing nothing is because I’m sick or I have a migraine or something. I’m really bad at foreign language. I’m pretty good at English, and it’s so easy. But when it comes to foreign language, forget it. I’m not really the best at geography either. I prefer to focus on things I like, like history and literature and music and writing and sewing (when I feel like it) and watching kids.

When did the idea first come to you for the Time Captives trilogy, and how long was it before you started writing and developing the books?

I can’t exactly remember, I didn’t start putting dates on things until a few years later, but I think sometime in 2011. I came up with some things then, but I finished Across the Stars and The Experiment before starting it, so a lot of things got thrown out. I mean, a lot. I started actually writing it at Disney World on December 10, 2012, so it was probably about a year and a half between the idea and actually getting the prologue down on paper.

How long does it usually take on average for you to write and publish a new book?

About 2½ to 3 years, which flies right in the face of my thinking I’m a slow writer. My ideas do usually sit in my brain and simmer for a while before I actually start putting them down on paper, though, so that adds a good bit of uncounted time. And there are little snippets of stories sitting on my computer that I won’t count towards writing time until I actually get serious about working on them. So from the time I get serious about a project to when I publish it is 2½ to 3 years. Except The Experiment. That was a year and a half.

Which character in any of the Time Captives books do you most relate to, and why?

Probably Jill, because we have the same personality type. I swear, I gave her a personality type before I even knew my own! But she’s sweeter than I am and more willing to step outside of her comfort zone when need be. But there’s some of me in all of them. I can relate to Emily and George and Abigail and Adriel and Jonathan…okay, yeah, I relate to Jonathan because I channeled all my Narnia love into him. Is that a problem? 😉

What was the hardest aspect of this book and trilogy to write?

The Time Captives. They were really difficult characters to work with. While other characters like Adriel and Grant jumped onto the page with full personality, the Time Captives didn’t want to let me in. And they were always dragging their feet about their quest. Plus there’s so many of them. I’m never writing a story with that big of a main group again. My poor brain just can’t handle it all.

Do you plot out and plan your stories before or while you write?

A little bit of both. I always have a general idea of what’s going to happen before I start a story. At least, with the stories I’ve been able to finish. Basically, I start with a beginning, an end goal, main characters, and a few scenes from the middle that may or may not end up in the book. For some stories, like my outer space dystopian, I had the full storyline written out. But with that, I ended up scrapping it and just writing down the major plot points. For Time Captives, I restructured it so many times that the plot points weren’t written down until I was halfway through. I like having plot points beforehand, so I know where I’m going. However, I rarely plan any deeper than that, I like to figure it out as I go along, unless I run across a point where I’m stuck, and then I stop and plan it before continuing.

What do you hope that readers will take away from The Crossways?

Primarily the Gospel. This is actually my first book with an explicit Gospel message. But also that God uses everything, even the worst of circumstances, for good. And that being dishonest is never worth it, even if it seems so at the time.

Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions! I wish you the best with your release of The Crossways.

Thanks for having me! I enjoyed it.

Giveaway

Join in the excitement of Time Captives and enter to win a special prize! The first prize winner will receive a signed copy of The Crossways. The second prize winner will receive an eCopy of The Crossways in the eBook format of his/her choice. Giveaway open to U.S. residents only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

For more stops on the blog tour, go to http://morganhuneke.blogspot.com/2015/10/release-day-for-crossways.html

*AJ