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{Book Review} August Books: Winners & Losers

Welcome to the end of August! A beautiful breeze, a cup of coffee and a denial from Amazon saying I can no longer earn commission on any book links because my content on this blog is "not original or beneficial to the consumer." I've never been told I'm not original in my life. Not beneficial I've heard before, but original?? Whatever, I know it's a form email, but it's a little frustrating. Therefore, there are no links in this post. And I used a stock photo above. You're welcome. You want unoriginal? Unoriginal it is.

Today is the August Book Review! There were a couple good ones I'd recommend to you, and if you BENEFIT at all from this or find any of this ORIGINAL, please let me know so I can feel okay about myself again! Or help buy me a coffee so I can feel better: Buy Me a Coffee

I'll go worst to best:

Raised to Stay: Persevering in Ministry When You Have a MIllion Reasons to Walk Away - Natalie Runion: I first came across Runion as an account on Instagram, so jumped on her book as soon as it was released. In a way, if you line up our life stories side by side, we match on some key points, so it was surprising that I actually hated this book so much. Like, threw it across the room and started off on a vent session with friends and my husband. The book begins with the story of her pastor dad being hurt by the church, and then almost dying (thank goodness she yelled loud enough over his bed to heal him! i should have tried that over my dad??), and when she sees all the church people eating donuts and drinking coffee in the hospital hallway she loves the church again! She then returns to the church and desires to join the staff as a worship pastor. It's here that it especially goes off-rails, comparing herself to Joseph (from the pit to the palace!) and lecturing us on how we need to see more of Joseph in the dreams of young people in our churches. I think Daniel is evoked, and then she really hits it hard when she compares those against you to Judas. Note that "those against you" in her case meant church leaders who didn't promote her to jobs on church staff she thought she should have. Uhhh....

It was when she began using the word "favor" 563,809 times too often, that I realized we had two different definitions of: favor, church hurt, healing, and what the church owed us (as staff members). I may do a full review of this book because she touched on some theological issues I think are getting skewed in our day - especially as women in the church. So did I agree with some of her suggestions? Yes. She recommends getting wise counsel and speaking up for yourself, etc. but I felt she was wrong by comparing us to characters in the Bible (you aren't Daniel, Joseph, David, Ruth...none of them. And her having to sit at a desk by the bathrooms at her church job where they don't promote her/don't see her FAVOR given by God doesn't make her anymore Joseph. It's hard, yes. Still not Joseph.)

Rating: 1/10 (the cover is nice). But if any of you want to help me by reading it to discuss, please do!

Be careful how you define your terms and what you think God owes you via the church and your "calling." (especially for those on staff at a church. It's a tricky subject, yes. Let's talk about it sometime...*adds to list*.)

Ascension by Nicholas Binge: A mountain suddenly appears in the ocean and Harold, a scientist, is brought in to investigate. The story is told through letters he wrote while on the expedition. "The higher Harold’s team ascends, the less things make sense. Time moves differently, turning minutes into hours, and hours into days. Amid the whipping cold of higher elevation, the climbers’ limbs numb and memories of their lives before the mountain begin to fade. Paranoia quickly turns to violence among the crew, and slithering, ancient creatures pursue them in the snow." No matter how difficult the climb gets, they are pulled to the top. One of his team members has a faith in God, and they talk about creation/evolution and faith. I think I found those interactions to be the best in the book, otherwise this plot fell a little flat for me (ha! get it: flat? they're climbing a mountain...), but I'd still say it's a book you should try, if that makes sense. (My favorite sci-fi book? Read Dark Matters by Blake Crouch. So good! If you've already read Dark Matters, try this one. You might like it.)

Rating: 7/10. Read to relax after helping your kids with their homework, a feat which feels equal to climbing some weird time-flux mountain.

The Drowning Woman by Robyn Blake: If you like a chick-lit mystery/suspense, you may like this one. It's middling in its writing - as most of this genre is - but it will keep your interest and is good for the carpool line. It's about a lady who is in deep trouble financially so she begins living out of her car. One morning she sees a lady drowning and rescues her. Surprisingly, the lady did not want to be rescued. They begin a friendship and try to help each other get out of the tangle of their personal lives.

Rating: 6/10. Good suspense to read when you're just hanging out in your car, waiting, kinda like the main character does for much of the book. (rated PG-13 for language and I can't remember what else...I hope nothing bad. Can't remember!)

The Wager: A Tale of Shipwreck, Mutiny and Murder by David Grann: Here it is! The winner! Read this book. Buy it for Christmas presents. This book tells the tale of "His Majesty’s Ship the Wager, a British vessel that had left England in 1740 on a secret mission during an imperial war with Spain. While the Wager had been chasing a Spanish treasure-filled galleon known as “the prize of all the oceans,” it had wrecked on a desolate island off the coast of Patagonia. The men, after being marooned for months and facing starvation, built the flimsy craft and sailed for more than a hundred days, traversing nearly 3,000 miles of storm-wracked seas. They were greeted as heroes." Except that six months later another ship landed with three more survivors who said the first group were all mutineers. A court case ensues.

I've recommended this a lot already and for good reason: Grann's writing is phenomenal, informative, and interesting. Fortunately for us, there are pretty good first-person written accounts of what transpired on the ship and during their marooned time. I found the characters, history and the weird way of how there was no communication in those days, and yet the survivors made their way back home fascinating (even the link between Byron the sailor and Byron the poet).

Rating: 10/10. One of my all-time favorite travel/ship/history books ever. Add it to your list now.

And there you have it! August's books - there weren't as many this month, mainly because it's summer and I get a little scattered in summertime! No worries, fall is coming! As for me and my unoriginal content, thanks for being here. I appreciate you. Let me know what books you'd recommend to me for this fall weather reading headed our way!

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