MoneySavingMom.com
FREEBIE LIBRARY!
Join my email list and get FREE ACCESS to the MSM Freebie Library, including my top printables & eBooks.

Tag Archive: Books Read in 2018

7 Books I Finished in July

Want to know what books I finished in July? In 2019, I’m sharing the books I read each month and what my honest thoughts were on those books. If you love books, you don’t want to miss this post! (You can see all of my book reviews for this year here.)

I set a goal to finish 80 books in 2019 and a second goal that 40 of those books will be books I already own. (You can see which books I picked to read from those I already own here).

By the way, I’m truly loving using GoodReads to track my reading. You all were right! It is really motivational to see my progress! And I’ve been ahead on my goal for the last month!

I finished 7 books in June —- yay! Here’s what I read + my honest thoughts on each of the books:

Becoming Mrs. Lewis

I am so conflicted on what to say about this book. On the one hand, it was a very well-written story that was pretty captivating, but on the other hand, I struggled to like it.

It’s the unconventional love story of C.S. Lewis and his wife. It was both beautiful and tragic and not at all what I expected.

I wanted to like it, but I just couldn’t.

Some of that was because I think there was too much fiction woven in and I didn’t know what was fact and what was fiction — and that bothered me. Some of it was because I was concerned with Lewis’ relationship with Joy when she was still married. If it were true, from my vantage point, it felt like it crossed some lines of emotional attachment that shouldn’t happen between two people when one of them is married.

If I could tie up this review with a bow, I would. But I can’t. Because I just don’t know what to say or think about this book.

Have you read it? If so, please let me know what you thought of it. And please let me know if you disagree with me and why! I really wish I could be persuaded to like it.

Verdict: 3 stars

Begin Again

This book moved me at a deep level. While I felt like sometimes I wasn’t poetic enough to understand the depths of what was being communicated.

It felt so raw and honest and vulnerable and yet so beautiful and rich and inspiring. I didn’t want it to end.

Two of the quotes that were the most meaningful to me:

“We don’t get to the truth while we’re deeply invested in what’s false.”

“God’s story is a narrative of emancipation.”

Of all the books I read in July, this was my favorite… thus, the 4-star verdict.

Verdict: 4 stars

Preach to Yourself

I wanted to love this book and I did love many parts of it. But I felt like it was hard to slog through at times. Some of the chapters felt really long and drawn out.

And yet, some of the sections were so powerful and so important. For instance, this passage is GOLD:

“Many of us — maybe all of us — don’t live what we say we believe… We say we depend on God, but we act like we’ve got to make it happen on our own. We say we believe God can heal, but we’re walking around with decades-old wounds. We say we believe God is at work, but we’re asleep at the wheel of the one life He’s given us.”

So, despite some of the chapters feeling longer than necessary, this book has some very valuable stuff and is worth the read.

Verdicts: 3 stars

Last Christmas in Paris

This book had been recommended to me as one to read since I loved The Geurnsey Literary and Potato Peel Society. It’s the love story of a soldier at war and his friend’s sister at home.

They began writing letters just to keep each other company. But slowly, ever so slowly, it morphed into more. It’s a fairly slow-developing story, but there is a lot of history woven throughout and I learned quite a bit about World War I. (I realized I have read a lot about World War II, but very few books about World War I.)

The book is epistolary, which means the story is told through letters and telegrams. I found it fascinating in the afterward to discover that the authors wrote the bones of this book as actual letters back and forth.

Verdicts: 3 stars

It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way

Lysa always has a way with words to penetrate your heart and challenge you, while also drawing you in with her funny and authentic story-telling.

For some reason, though, unlike her others books I’ve read, I felt like this book was missing something. I’m not sure if it’s because she wrote it while still very much in the midst of the story that is a big story arc for the book or if it was something else. I couldn’t put a finger on it.

I do feel like the book would be a real encouragement to someone who is going through a difficult time when life feelings overwhelming, hard, and just doesn’t make sense.

Verdict: 3 stars

Kind is the New Classy

This is a quick read (or listen) and definitely had some valuable content. However, I have to admit that I was sort of turned off by how the author seemed to drop in unnecessary details that just felt kind of prideful.

I know that we all come at things differently and only God knows someone’s heart, however, I hadn’t said anything to Jesse about this and was listening to the book when he was in the room and he picked up on this same thing, too.

I think there is a lot of helpful inspiration in this book, I just struggled to love it because I kept getting hung up on the presentation.

Verdict: 3 stars

Beauty Maker

Monica asked me if I would write an endorsement for her brand-new book. Since I love her work, I said yes!
Here was the endorsement I wrote after reading it:
In Beauty Maker, Monica invites us on a journey to cultivating more beauty — in our surroundings and in our souls. Her words inspired me to prioritize taking time to create more beauty in our home and to prioritize taking time to be a noticer of the beauty that is all around me.
My favorite part of the book? The rich and yet simple photos that showcase how Monica lives out her message in her everyday life.

Verdict: 3 stars

Important & Super Honest Note:

I’m kind of not wanting to hit publish on this post. Why did I ever commit to writing honest reviews of all the books I read anyway?? I want to be truthful, but I also want to be kind and gracious… and I struggled with how to strike that balance well in my reviews today.

I want you to know that I’m not going to sugarcoat my feelings, but I also know that authors are real people who have put so much effort into their books that it’s hard for me to write reviews that feel like they lean toward being negative.

Ugh. This is the part of my job that is so hard sometimes.

If you felt I didn’t communicate graciously or you are the author of any of these books and you felt hurt by what I wrote, please let me know. This is an area where I’m still a big work in progress and I don’t want to offend or hurt anyone if I can help it!

What have you been reading recently? Any books you think I really need to read soon? I’d love to know!

The Top 4 Books I Read in 2018

Want to know what my Top Favorite Books were that I read in 2018? Well, of the 70 books I read, I picked 4 favorites. These were the four that impacted me the most and are the ones that I will carry lessons from for years to come.

By the way, I realized in looking back over the books I read this past year that I didn’t do a good job of tracking all of them that I read… and that this was the first year where I didn’t feel like I had hard time narrowing the list down to only 10 titles. In fact, as I looked over all of the books I read the past few weeks, there were only four titles I knew needed to for sure be on this list.

I’m not sure if I only came up with 4 titles because I didn’t track what I read as well as I usually do so I’m forgetting about a few titles that I read (but I feel like if I’m forgetting them, then they likely didn’t deeply impact me, right?), or because I didn’t read self-help books, or because I read fewer books this past year than I often do, or because I just picked lots of meh titles?

At any rate, in 2019, I’m finally switching over to using GoodReads to track my reading. I’ve been really impressed with it so far and am excited about using it to keep a log of what I’m reading, my thoughts on the books, and to see my reading progress.

I’m not sure if my account is public? If it is, you can see it here. (I decided that I don’t think I’m going to accept friend requests on it, just because I don’t want to use it like social media, but just to track what I read. Can you see my profile page if you’re not my friend? I wasn’t sure on that. Let me know — I’m new to GoodReads, clearly!)

1. Mom Set Free

This book is SO good. I slowly savored it — reading just a little bit every day — to make it last as long as I could and to really soak in the truths from it.

If you struggle with Mommy Guilt or feel like you are always failing or never doing enough or just can’t get it right as a mom, this book will encourage you in powerful ways!

I shared more how this quote impacted me on Instagram:

It’s not the perfect parenting book. Or the right chore chart. Or whether we feed our kids enough organic food. Or if we homeschool. Or if we give our kids enough opportunities. Or if we protect them enough…

We can’t save our kids, bubble wrap our kids, fix our kids, or transform their hearts.

We can sure exhaust ourselves trying, though. We can stress and worry over them. We can feel frustrated and overwhelmed by their actions. We can live in fear over their futures.

But none of that accomplishes anything worthwhile.

There is one thing we CAN do and that is to pray. And I believe it’s one of the greatest things we can do on behalf of our kids

Because — as I am learning anew — prayer changes us. One thing I try to do almost every day is to I start my day on the treadmill running & praying over the day and praying for Jesse and each of my kids.

It’s an important piece of my day… to acknowledge my need for God’s help in my parenting, to pray for specific areas where my kids are struggling, to thank God for how He’s working in their hearts, to release my stresses and frustrations in parenting to God, and to ask Him to give me grace to love each of my kids in a way that makes them feel loved.

I’ve noticed that this time in prayer for my kids not only calms me and helps me to rest in Christ’s finished work on the Cross, it also changes my heart and attitude toward my kids, too. You see, I’m much more apt to respond to them in grace and love when I’ve just prayed that I can love them well and walk with them well! ?

Here was another quote I loved that really impacted me and here was yet another quote. Suffice it to say, this such a good read and one that I highly, highly recommend!

Note: You can listen to the podcast episode the author and I did together here on The Secret to Being a Happier Mom.

2. Chasing Excellence

I randomly picked up this book called Chasing Excellence from a search on Amazon. I didn’t even know who Ben Bergeron was when I bought the book.

I just was so inspired by watching the athletes at the CrossFit Games that I went on Amazon and searched for, “CrossFit athletes”. It pulled up Tia-Clair Toomey’s book and then Chasing Excellence was recommended, too.

It’s rare that Amazon steers me really wrongly, so when I read the premise for Chasing Excellence and thought it sounded intriguing and worth reading, I bought the book.

Little did I know that this book was going to become the basis for my word for 2019!

This book was one of those that you wanted to read both quickly and slowly. Quickly, because you wanted to gobble it all up as it was so good. Slowly, because you wanted to savor it as it was so good and you didn’t want it to end.

For those who are unfamiliar with the author like I was, Ben Bergeron, is a coach to some of the world’s most well known CrossFit athletes. If you love CrossFit, you must read this book. But even if you don’t care a tiny bit about CrossFit, this book is packed with nuggets of truth and inspiration.

The entire time I was reading Chasing Excellence, I was so inspired and moved and challenged. And instinctively, I knew I wanted to pick the word EXCELLENCE for 2019.

But it also scared me a lot. Wouldn’t this go against everything I had been learning and growing in? Wasn’t my heart’s desire to continue to work on savoring life, not living life at breakneck speed, and not feeling like I needed to hustle and climb a ladder to success?

And yet, I couldn’t get this word out of my mind and heart. So I took September and October to mull over it.

I realized there were many areas in my life where I was settling for mediocrityI wasn’t intentionally pursuing excellence; I was just doing what I’d done for a long time because it was getting me by.

I had gotten stuck in a lot of ruts. They weren’t terrible ruts; but they were ruts and I wasn’t seeing a lot of forward momentum. I also wasn’t feeling super excited and motivated in many parts of my life — especially as a business owner, in some of my personal disciplines and habits, and when it came to growing as a person.

Yes, I wasn’t failing (in most areas). Yes, I was doing a decent job (in most areas).

But do I want to just do a decent job at life? Or do I want to pursue excellence?

Y’all, I want to pursue excellence. And so, it was decided: My word for 2019 is EXCELLENCE. And I’m really excited about it!

Note: Read more about why I chose the word excellence and how I want to walk it out in my life here.

3. Sacred Rest

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would highly recommend it. It addresses rest from a very different perspective than other books I’ve read on this topic and I loved how it wasn’t just about getting more sleep or slowing down or taking a Sabbath.

This book is written by a doctor (Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith) and I thought the author’s medical background shed a lot of wisdom on the topic of rest and how being well rested impacts our lives.

However, what really stood out to me in this book was the author’s differentiation between the types of rest we need — physical rest, mental rest, emotional rest, spiritual rest, social rest, sensory rest, and creative rest. I had never heard rest and our need for the different kinds of rest broken into these categories and I found it very insightful.

In fact, it helped me to understand why I can feel drained sometimes — even if I’ve been getting plenty of sleep. I might not be rested in other areas such as getting creative rest or sensory rest or social rest.

And I loved the practical suggestions that the book gave for ways to recognize which kinds of rest you are lacking in and how to get more of each kind of rest in your life.

Note: Listen to the podcast episode I did with the author on The Real Reason You’re So Tired.

4. Emotionally Healthy Spirituality

My friend, Melissa, gave me this book and said it had really impacted her life. I hadn’t heard of it before and wasn’t sure what I was going to think of it.

Then I started reading… and within a few chapters, I knew it was going to be one of those really life-changing books. The book is all about how our emotional and spiritual health are so tied together and how we often overlook this.

The author talks about how often we seem to think that our past and our baggage and all the things we try to pretend don’t exist or stuff down or not deal with won’t affect us in the long run… but it will!

There are so many things I gleaned from this book and so many sections that challenged me in deep ways. I feel like I will be processing its message for a long time to come.

One of the areas in the book that really encouraged me was to recognize how much the changes I’ve made in the last two years to slow down and savor life more. I realize how these changes have truly allowed me to become so much healthier as a person — physically, mentally, and spiritually.

There were numerous quotes that I loved from the book, but one that I shared on Instagram was this:

“True freedom comes when we no longer need to be somebody special in other people’s eyes because we know we are lovable and good enough.”

In Christ, we are enough. We are loved. We are redeemed. We are forgiven.

When we live in light of this truth, we can walk in amazing freedom and confidence — and we can love other people so much more deeply and authentically.

I’ll be back in the next week to share my list of 40 books I plan to read in 2019. Stay tuned!

What were YOUR favorite books from 2018? Any books you really think I should read in 2019? I’d love to hear! Tell us in the comments!

Other Posts You Might Enjoy:

The 2 Books I Read the Past 2 Weeks

Welcome to my weekly Book-ish post where I share what I’ve been reading and watching recently. If you missed it, you can see my Reading Goals for 2018 and 44 Books I Plan to Read This Year

(Note: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, and we will be compensated when you make a purchase by clicking through our links. Read our disclosure policy here.)

I didn’t get a chance to post a book post last week because were in India, but I’m excited to tell you about these two books I finished the past two weeks.

The first book was Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo. If you’ve gone to India, lived in India, or plan to visit India, I think this will be a very insightful and interesting book.

Honestly, it gave me such helpful perspective as I prepared to head to India for the second time. It was sad, intriguing, and yet it gave me hope, too.

I think it’s so easy for those of us who live in the Western world to feel like we have better answers to how to help or fix poverty. But as this book clearly shows, we don’t really understand at all what it’s like to walk in someone else’s shoes.

Because I had experienced some of what this book talks about and been to some of the areas the book refers to, it made the story come alive in a really vibrant way. It’s hard for me to put into words how it impacted me, but it’s one of those books I’ll be mulling on for a long time to come.

Note: There is a lot of crass language and mature topics discussed in this book. It’s real and raw and doesn’t sugar-coat anything. The author went to great lengths to present the story as accurately as possible and, there wasn’t anything she said that was refuted by people I met in India.

A big thank you to Leigh Kramer for telling me about this book and highly encouraging me to read it.

I’m a big fan of Katie Ganshert and have been wanting to read Wildflowers from Winter for awhile. I think it was her first book and I feel like the depth of her writing and character development has improved quite a bit in her subsequent books, but I still enjoyed this novel and definitely wanted to keep reading it even when I really needed to put it down and go do other things.

When I Find Time to Read

People are always asking me how I find time to read. Honestly, it’s because I love to read, because I’ve chosen to prioritize it, because I don’t have a lot of other hobbies, and because I can’t not read. Also, when you love something, you usually can find ways to get creative to find time to fit it in — even if it’s in the little nooks and crannies of life.

I wrote a post on 3 ways to find more time to read — even when life is busy. And here are 7 more ways to find time to read.

What did you read and watch this past week? Any books or movies or shows you really think I need to read or watch?

The one book I read this past week

Welcome to my weekly Book-ish post where I share what I’ve been reading and watching recently. If you missed it, you can see my Reading Goals for 2018 and 44 Books I Plan to Read This Year

(Note: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, and we will be compensated when you make a purchase by clicking through our links. Read our disclosure policy here.)

This past week, I finished reading Cozy Minimalist Home by Myquillin Smith. I’m not into decorating, but since I surprised myself by loving her first book (The Nesting Place) so much, so I decided to go ahead and read this one, too

I loved her simple and straightforward approach. She walks you through step-by-step details on how to not just be a stuff collector or stuff manager, but how to set up your home so that it serves you and your family and those you have into your home.

My favorite part — since I’m really visual — is where she shares how to quiet a room and what types of thing you should include in a room and shouldn’t include in a room. 

The book was an easy and fun read — and left me feeling inspired to actually decorate (which is a big deal, if you know me well!) In fact, I was reading it at my hair appointment and got so excited that I called Jesse on the phone as soon as I was done to tell him my ideas of things we’re going to re-arrange and redo in our house!

What have you been reading or watching recently? Leave a comment and let us know!

The one book I read this past week

Welcome to my weekly Book-ish post where I share what I’ve been reading and watching recently. If you missed it, you can see my Reading Goals for 2018 and 44 Books I Plan to Read This Year

(Note: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, and we will be compensated when you make a purchase by clicking through our links. Read our disclosure policy here.)

Emily P. Freeman — host of one of my favorite podcasts, The Next Right Thing, has a book coming out in April titled (you guessed it!) The Next Right Thing.

I got to read a pre-release copy of her book on my flight to Wichita and back this weekend and I really enjoyed it and underlined many different quotes. If you are a listener of her podcast there is a lot of overlap between the content, but it was so wonderful to read it in book form and to be reminded of so many of the valuable words of truth in it.

The Next Right Thing is a book you can go back to again and again and each time it will hit you in a new and fresh way. Each short chapter is heartfelt, thoughtful, powerful, and impactful… and leaves you with intentional but simple action steps to take and insightful questions to help you gain more clarity for right now and for your future.

If you struggle to make decisions, you’re in the midst of a big life change, you’d just love some quiet guidance to be more intentional with your days, or you love Emily’s writing and podcast, this book is for you!

When I Find Time to Read

People are always asking me how I find time to read. Honestly, it’s because I love to read, because I’ve chosen to prioritize it, because I don’t have a lot of other hobbies, and because I can’t not read. Also, when you love something, you usually can find ways to get creative to find time to fit it in — even if it’s in the little nooks and crannies of life.

I wrote a post on 3 ways to find more time to read — even when life is busy. And here are 7 more ways to find time to read.

What did you read this past week? Any books you really think I need to read or watch?

My Honest Thoughts on Hillbilly Elegy

Welcome to my weekly Book-ish post where I share what I’ve been reading and watching recently. If you missed it, you can see my Reading Goals for 2018 and 44 Books I Plan to Read This Year

(Note: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, and we will be compensated when you make a purchase by clicking through our links. Read our disclosure policy here.)

Curious about reading Hillbilly Elegy? These is a great, honest review!!

I’ve seen Hillbilly Elegy mentioned over and over again by various different people online and in podcasts. I didn’t plan to read it because the premise didn’t really interest me that much.

But then I saw that it happened to be available on the Libby app, so I went ahead and put a hold on it just because so many people had recommended it.

I started listening to it and almost didn’t continue because there was so much language in it (seriously! Do not listen to this with kids around — there are a LOT of curse words!)

Here’s the part of the premise of the book from the back cover:

From a former marine and Yale Law School graduate, a probing look at the struggles of America’s white working class through the author’s own story of growing up in a poor Rust Belt town.

Hillbilly Elegy is a passionate and personal analysis of a culture in crisis—that of poor, white Americans. The disintegration of this group, a process that has been slowly occurring now for over forty years, has been reported with growing frequency and alarm, but has never before been written about as searingly from the inside. In Hillbilly Elegy, J.D. Vance tells the true story of what a social, regional, and class decline feels like when you were born with it hanging around your neck.

I thought the book was surprising, pretty fair and balanced (I expected the author to lean strongly to one side of the political aisle or the other — and that the book would be more politically charged as a result), and a very insightful look into how our upbringing can affect our life trajectory in such a powerful way.

While I wish there weren’t so much crass language and cussing in the book (though I think it’s likely just the author being truthful and honest to how his family actually talked), I think the book is worth reading — if you can stomach all of the f-bombs in it.

I would be curious to hear from other people who were raised in this same region and social class — to know their perspective on the things he shares. It’s the type of book I’d love to read with a Book Club because I found it caused me to have so many thought and questions and things I wanted to discuss with others who had read it.

Have you read it? If so, I’d love to hear what you thought — whether you liked it or totally disliked it.

When I Find Time to Read

People are always asking me how I find time to read. Honestly, it’s because I love to read, because I’ve chosen to prioritize it, because I don’t have a lot of other hobbies, and because I can’t not read. Also, when you love something, you usually can find ways to get creative to find time to fit it in — even if it’s in the little nooks and crannies of life.

I wrote a post on 3 ways to find more time to read — even when life is busy. And here are 7 more ways to find time to read.

What did you read and watch this past week? Any books or movies or shows you really think I need to read or watch?