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18 Apr 2019   ·   10

10 Books I Read in March

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.

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.)

My Goal of 80 Books Read in 2019

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!

I’m excited that I made more progress on my reading goals this past month, thanks to being able to check out so many great audiobooks for free through the Libby app.

And yes, I know that some people might consider listening to an audiobook as “cheating” a little. Jesse is constantly teasing me about this. But hey, I think that any way you get a book finished is a good thing and I’m going to count it and celebrate it!

a girl at Barnes & Noble

10 Books I Finished in March

I finished 10 books in March — yay! Here’s what I read + my honest thoughts on each of the books:

A photo of A Gentleman in Moscow

1. A Gentleman in Moscow

I’ll be honest, this book was nothing like I expected it to be. And I almost quit listening to it after a few chapters because it was just so slow to develop and I was struggling to follow where the story was leading.

However, because it was highly recommended to me and because I have had it on my To Read list for so long, I decided to keep listening. And I’m really glad that I ended up sticking with it.

It turned out to be so different than my expectations, but it was a beautiful story with a lot of richness and depth. The author’s style wasn’t my favorite and I think it would have been hard to stick with had I been reading it (it’s a l-o-n-g book), but there was something about it that just grew on me more and more as I read it.

Have you read it? If so, I’d love to hear what you thought of it!

Verdict: 3 stars

A photo of The Middle Matters by Lisa Jo Baker

2. The Middle Matters

I read a pre-release copy of this book because Lisa-Jo asked me to write an endorsement for it. It’s a collection of essays she wrote on various aspects of living “in the middle” — those years you’re just in the middle of the mundane or the messy.

Here’s a little info on it from the Amazon description:

The middle is the place where our lives really live. This is the place where we have grown into the shapes of our souls even as we might have outgrown the shapes of our jeans.

The middle is the marrow. The glorious ordinary of your life that utterly exhausts you but that you might have finally started to understand in ways you didn’t at the beginning. Listen, I’m not asking you to seize the day here; I’m just asking you to actually see it. Even if just out of the corner of one eye. The middle is worth remembering while you are actually living it, because you won’t pass by this way again.

So it’s worth slowing down long enough on random afternoons to really look around at your life and your husband and the human beings you are raising together and let it sink in that you’ve grown up and that it’s good. You are living at the very center of what will be your story. Right now. Let’s stop long enough to read a few lines of these lives out loud. Because trust me when I tell you, sister, the middle is worth reading.

Verdict: 3 stars

A photo of Everybody, Always by Bob Goff

3. Everybody, Always

I got an email a recently from a woman who told me she has followed me online for a long time, but she’s been too scared to write in because she knows I’m a Christian and she’s afraid of what I might think of her since she’s so different than me. She felt I wouldn’t want to associate with her because of her choices, beliefs, and lifestyle.

My heart broke when I read her words. And it made me really stop and examine my heart. Am I oozing with Jesus’ love — for ALL people?

Or am I just loving those people who are most like me, who have the same beliefs or viewpoints, or who I most relate to?

If I’m truly following Jesus, I’m not just going to be hanging out with people who are like me.

I’m going to be spending a lot of time with those who are on the fringes, those who are often overlooked, and those who are very different than me.

If I say I’m following Jesus, but I’m unwilling to love those who are different than me, those who have hurt me, and those who are hard to love, I’m not truly following Jesus.

Thanks to Bob Goff for how he inspired me through his book Love Everybody, Always. While I don’t agree with all of his theology, I do 100% agree with his heart for challenging us to love others much more wholeheartedly!

My favorite quote: “If following Jesus doesn’t lead you to the poor, the lonely, and the isolated, you’re not following Jesus.”

Verdict: 4 stars

a photo A Love Letter Life by Jeremy and Audrey Roloff

4. A Love Letter Life

As I talk about on my recent podcast episode with Audrey and Jeremy Roloff, I actually didn’t know who they were until their publicist reached out to me a few months ago and asked if she could send me their brand-new book, A Love Letter Life.

I Googled their names (yes, I did!) and discovered that they are well known for being on the hit TV show Little People, Big World (which follows Jeremy’s family — and which he grew up being part of).

To be honest, I said their publicist could send me their book, A Love Letter Life, but I didn’t expect all that much from it and wasn’t planning to ask them to be on my show. (I’m super picky about who I will invite on the show and only invite people whose work/life has impacted me in a deep way.)

But then, the publicist sent the book, I read it, and I truly found it very valuable. In addition, I just loved their beautiful love story, their honesty, and how well-written the book was (in fact, I wondered if they had a ghost writer for it, but Audrey told me when she was at our house that they didn’t!)

You can listen to the podcast episode I did with Audrey and Jeremy here.

Verdict: 4 stars

Chase the Lion by Mark Batterson

5. Chase the Lion

You all know I’m a big Mark Batterson fan! I have loved and been inspired by so many of his books and this book was no different!

Chase the Lion is a sort of sequel to In a Pit With a Lion on a Snowy Day — which was a book I loved. (You can read my review of In a Pit here.)

Like all of Mark’s other books, this book is brimming with inspiration and quotable statements (Mark is a master wordsmith!) I also love how he weaves so many facts and interesting tidbits and stories all throughout his books.

My only reason for not giving this book 5 stars was that I felt like some of it was pretty repetitive to what I remember In a Pit With a Lion on a Snowy Day being. In fact, until he said otherwise in the book, I thought maybe he had just re-titled the book since the material seemed so similar.

In addition, some people could take his message to mean we need to push so hard that we completely burn ourselves out to the point of exhaustion. Mark has a crazy zest for life and, what feels like, unlimited energy. So some people could feel like they need to be doing way more than they should be doing by reading this book.

Just remember to keep in mind that we all have different capacities and callings and it’s okay to move at a slower pace so long as we are pursuing our own calling. But still, I feel like there’s so much valuable inspiration in this book and I definitely recommend it!

Verdict: 4 stars

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society

6. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society

I read this book a number of years ago and loved it. Then, not too long ago, I watched the Netflix movie they did based upon the book.

Well, after watching the movie and enjoying it, I realized I couldn’t remember enough about the book to compare the movie and the book. So, in an uncharacteristic move, I decided to read the book again.

Only this time, I listened to it (thanks to getting the audiobook for free from the Libby app). I loved that the audiobook is narrated by multiple voices. It’s so well done.

And I ultimately decided that the book is great, the movie is good, and the audiobook is very well done. So I highly recommend all three.

By the way, this novel is written entirely in the form of letters and telegrams. Considering that this book and Dear Mr. Knightley are two of my top favorite books and both are written in letter form, apparently I’m a big fan of that style of writing! (Do you know of other books written in a similar fashion? If so, I’d love to read them to see if I enjoy them as much!)

Verdict: 5 stars

How to Walk Away by Katherine Center

7. How to Walk Away

I’m still not sure what I think of this novel. On the one hand, I felt like it held a lot of richness. On the other hand, it felt like there was a lot of fluff.

It’s the story of a woman who gets badly injured in a small airplane crash and who is paralyzed and in a wheelchair as a result. I felt that there was a lot of value in getting a peek at what it would be like to go through such a horrific experience.

I love stories that help you have a little window into what it would be like to walk in someone else’s shoes… or, in the case of this book, to lose your ability to walk at all.

But on the other hand, it wasn’t from a Christian perspective and it felt like it was missing so much because of this.

However, I felt like the story was well written and believable in most regards (there were a few parts that were just a little too fictionalized to feel true) and I enjoyed it overall.

(Note: This is some language and a few sections that were more PG-13.)

Verdict: 4 stars

How Successful People Think by John Maxwell

8. How Successful People Think

I listened to this short book in less than two days. It has a lot of great nuggets of truth in it and many sections that made me stop and think. (Which was probably a good thing, right, since it’s a book about how successful people think? ;))

It helped me to process through a few situations in life and gave me some good perspective for those. It also encouraged me as a leader that I am approaching many areas of my life with thoughtfulness and intention.

One of my biggest takeaways was to prioritize thinking and spaces in our schedule for thinking. In fact, as a result of reading the book, I blocked off a part of one day each week as my “Thinking Time.”

This Thinking Time is time for me to just be quiet and think through certain areas of my life where I don’t have clarity. It is also time for me to pray, process, and write down thoughts and ideas.

I am already seeing a lot of benefit to this practice and am excited to watch how it impacts the rest of my year!

Verdict: 4 stars

If You Only Knew by Jamie Ivey

9. If You Only Knew

This book was a short read written by well known podcaster, Jamie Ivey. It’s her honest journey of letting go of shame and walking into freedom.

I found some parts so thought-provoking and well-written. Other sections felt like they sort of dragged on and were repetitive. She may have purposefully repeated herself in order to drive the message home? I’m not sure, but I personally thought that it could have been edited down more than it was.

In addition, I felt like she took a long time to get into her story and it made me wonder if she was concerned she would get backlash for choices she’s made and struggles she’s had. Honestly, because of how she set it up, I was expecting her story to be much, much worse and was kind of like, “Oh! That’s all she did?!” after she shared.

(I’m kind of embarrassed to even write that that was my thought process, but it’s true! And hey, I’m all about keeping it real and honest around here. So there ya go!)

Verdict: 3 stars

Option B by Sheryl Sandberg

10. Option B

Many of you are probably familiar with Sheryl Sandberg. She’s the COO of Facebook and the widely known author of Lean In. This book chronicles her personal journey with losing her husband suddenly and the steps she took after his death to survive and process such an unexpected and heart-wrenching tragedy.

While personally, I’m not sure that it’s a book to give to someone who has experienced such a great loss (I think the honesty she writes with could be incredibly painful to someone who is grieving deeply), I found her authenticity refreshing and insightful. Her words will help me better know how to walk with someone well who is grieving and how to be more mindful of how I talk to them and interact with them.

There is a little language in the book. I also felt like a little bit of her political agenda spilled through. There is nothing wrong with having or sharing a political agenda, but I personally felt like it detracted a little from the book.

Verdict: 4 stars

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

18 Apr 2019   ·   2
JCPenney Sandals Sale

*HOT* JCPenney: Buy 1, Get 2 Free Women’s Sandals

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.

Do you need new sandals for summer? JCPenney is currently offering Buy One, Get Two Free on select women’s sandals!

JCPenney Sandals Sale

JCPenney is offering Buy One, Get Two Free select women’s sandals!

There are over 100 styles to choose from! No promo code is needed. Just add three pairs to your cart and you’ll see the discount at checkout.

Choose in-store pickup to avoid shipping costs.

Thanks, Hip2Save!

18 Apr 2019   ·   0
Mini Backpacks

Mini Backpacks for just $17.99 shipped!

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.

The popular deal on these mini backpacks is back!

Mini Backpacks

Jane has these Mini Backpacks for just $17.99 shipped. Choose from nine fun colors!

This backpack has adjustable shoulder straps, a top carrying handle, a drawstring closure, an inside zipper pocket, two outer pockets, and a fold over flap with snap closure.

18 Apr 2019   ·   3
Aromatherapy Necklaces

Aromatherapy Necklace for $4.99 shipped!

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.

Wow! This is such a great deal on an Aromatherapy Necklace — and a great Mother’s Day gift idea!

Aromatherapy Necklaces

Jane currently has these Aromatherapy Necklaces for just $4.99 shipped! Choose from over 25 different styles (but hurry — they’re selling out fast!).

This is such a fun gift idea for someone who loves their essential oils!!

And these necklaces get GREAT reviews.

18 Apr 2019   ·   0
Charmin Essentials Strong Toilet Paper, 48 Giant Rolls

Charmin Essentials Strong Toilet Paper, 48 Giant Rolls only $23.24!

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.

Running low on toilet paper? Here’s a great stock up deal on Charmin Essentials Strong Toilet Paper!

Charmin Essentials Strong Toilet Paper, 48 Giant Rolls

Amazon has this Charmin Essentials Strong Toilet Paper, 48 Giant Rolls for only $23.24 when you clip the $3 off e-coupon!

This is a great stock up price!

Note: Once your order ships, you can go into your Amazon account and cancel your subscription if you don’t want recurring orders.

Thanks, SwagGrabber!

18 Apr 2019   ·   0
Smart Wristband with Heart Rate Monitor

Smart Wristband with Heart Rate and Sleep Monitor only $6.60!

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.

Wow! This is a fantastic price on this Smart Wristband with Heart Rate and Sleep Monitor!

Smart Wristband with Heart Rate Monitor

Amazon has this Hellvery Smart Wristband with Heart Rate Monitor/Sleep Quality Monitor/Steps Counter/GPS Tracker for only $6.60 when you use the promo code UJWVT48C at checkout!

Sign up for a free trial of Amazon Prime to get free 2-day shipping. And don’t forget you can sign up for Swagbucks to earn free gift cards to use on deals on Amazon.

Thanks, SwagGrabber!

18 Apr 2019   ·   1
Personalized Teacher Totes

Canvas Teacher Totes only $8.95 + shipping!

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.

These Personalized Teacher Totes will make a thoughtful gift for your child’s teacher this year.

Personalized Teacher Totes

Jane has these Personalized Teacher Totes for just $8.99 + shipping right now!

Choose from 15 different designs.

Shipping is $3.79 for the first tote and $1.99 for each additional tote shipped within the same order.

18 Apr 2019   ·   0
Converse Hello Kitty Chuck Taylor Shoes Only $24.48 Shipped

Converse Hello Kitty Chuck Taylor Shoes only $24.48 shipped, plus more!

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.

Wow! This is such a great price on Converse shoes. And these Converse Hello Kitty Chuck Taylor Shoes are so cute!

Converse Hello Kitty Chuck Taylor Shoes Only $24.48 Shipped

Right now, Converse is offering an extra 30% off select sale shoes when you use the promo code SPRING30 at checkout! Even better, get free shipping when you create a Converse.com account (free to join).

Here are a few deals you can score…

Converse Adult Unisex Hello Kitty Chuck Taylor All Star Low Top – $34.97 (regularly $60)
Use promo code SPRING30 (30% off)
Shipping is free w/ Converse account
$24.48 shipped after code

Chuck Taylor All Star Washed Out High Top

Converse Adult Unisex Chuck Taylor All Star Washed Out High Top – $44.97 (regularly $60)
Use promo code SPRING30 (30% off)
Shipping is free w/ Converse account
$31.48 shipped after code

Chuck Taylor All Star Suede Mono Low Top

Converse Adult Unisex Chuck Taylor All Star Suede Mono Low Top – $39.97 (regularly $70)
Use promo code SPRING30 (30% off)
Shipping is free w/ Converse account
$27.98 shipped after code

Chuck Taylor All Star Seasonal Color Low Top

Converse Big Kids’ Chuck Taylor All Star Seasonal Color Low Top – $29.97
Use promo code SPRING30 (30% off)
Shipping is free w/ Converse account
$20.98 shipped after code

Valid through April 20, 2019.

Thanks, Hip2Save!

18 Apr 2019   ·   0
Under Armour Girl's Graphic Mystery T-Shirt 5-Pack

Under Armour Girl’s Graphic Mystery T-Shirts (5-Pack) only $40 shipped (Reg. $125!)

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.

Love Under Armour? Grab this Under Armour Girl’s Graphic Mystery T-Shirt 5-Pack for a great price!

Under Armour Girl's Graphic Mystery T-Shirt 5-Pack

Proozy has this Under Armour Girl’s Graphic Mystery T-Shirts (5-Pack) for only $40 shipped when you use the promo code MSM40 at checkout!

This is regularly priced at $124.95, and this is a fantastic deal on this brand!

You get to choose your size, but the colors will be random.

18 Apr 2019   ·   0
Walgreens Photo Print of Crystal and Jesse

FREE 8×10 Walgreens Photo Print (with free in-store pickup!)

Yay! One of my favorite freebies is back — a FREE Walgreens photo print!

{Looking for more freebies? Don’t miss our huge list of 50 freebies you can sign up for right now!}

free Walgreens Photo Print of Crystal and Jesse

Through Sunday, April 21st, you can get a free 8×10 photo print at Walgreens with free in-store pickup.

Just upload your picture on the Walgreens photo site, go to checkout, use coupon code 8X10APRIL and choose in-store pickup. Your total should be $0.00!

Enlarged Walgreens photo of Crystal and Jesse

I love using these freebies to grab fun prints of some of my favorite photos. And then I usually pick out a pretty frame at Dollar Tree to put it in!

This code should work on both the computer and the app, but let us know if you have any issues!

Thanks, Coupon Pro!

18 Apr 2019   ·   0
Schick Hydro Silk 3 Razor

Schick Women’s Razors Deals at CVS!

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.

There are some great deals on Schick Women’s Razors at CVS this week and next!

Schick Hydro Silk 3 Razor

You can get a good price on Schick Women’s Razors at CVS this week:

Buy a Schick Hydro Silk, Quattro, or Intuition Razor at $8.99, Get $3 ECBs (Limit 1)
Use $4/1 printable
$1.99 after coupon and ECBs

OR if you want to wait until next week, you’ll be able to get them for FREE starting Sunday, 4/21:

Buy 2 Schick Hydro Silk Razors at $8.99 each, Get $10 ECBs (Limit 1)
Use 2 $4/1 printables
FREE after coupons and ECBs

Even if you plan to wait for next week’s deal, definitely be sure to go ahead and print your coupons now — just in case they run out of prints before then!

Thanks, Hip2Save!