Of Reading and Recommendations :: Final Booking It

It has been a l-o-n-g time since I have done a Wednesday Book Recommendation, but I thought that it was about time that I change that. To top it off, I'm multi-tasking by tying it in with my final review for the 2011 Booking It with Jessica over at Life as MOM. Smart, eh?

First off my original Booking It list for the year held twelve books:

1. Mansfield Park by Jane Austen  2. The Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan 3. The Help by Kathryn Stockett 4. The Wingfeather Saga (1, 2, 3) by Andrew Peterson 5. Who Made God? by Ravi Zacharias/Norman Geisler (Editors) 6. Is Your Church Ready? by Ravi Zacharias/Norman Geisler (Editors)
7. The Case of the Man Who Died Laughing by Tarquin Hall 8. Kim by Rudyard Kipling 9. The Innocents Abroad by Mark Twain 10. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Lewis Stevenson 11. Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte 12. Work and Beginning Again by Lousia May Alcott

I finished and reviewed: 1, 3, 4 (Book 1), 7, and 8.

I started and got stuck on: 2, 4 (Book 2), 5, and 6.

I didn't even touch: 9, 10, 11, or 12.

But least you think I've been a reading slacker, let me give you a few more numbers and details. According to my Goodreads account, I've read 22 books this year. What's that? You haven't joined Goodreads? It's like Pinterest for readers and one more place to waste time online. At any rate, they nicely kept track of my reading for me, so if you want a quick view of what I've read over the last year (including links to any reviews I did), here we go:

1. A Carrion Death 2. The Case of the Missing Servant 3. The Marriage Bureau for Rich People 4. Passanger to Frankfurt 5. Mansfield Park 6. Death of a Ghost 7. Kim 8. Over My Dead Body 9. The Man Who Died Laughing 10. The Golden Key 11. Dancers in Mourning 12. The Crime at Black Dudley 13. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe 14. The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie 15. The Help 16. La's Orchestra Saves the World 17. The Unbearable Lightness of Scones 18. On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness 19. The Weed that Strings the Hangman's Bag 20. 300 Sensational Soups 21. The Money Saving Mom's Budget by Crystal Paine 22. The Second Death of Goodluck Tinubu by Michel Stanley

And I still have about six books going at the moment, including:


I think that's enough to keep me busy for a while, but I'm never one to turn down new book recommendations. And since I was recently involved in an email book discussion with two lovely ladies, I came away with even more books for my "to read" list - most of which are now sitting in my Amazon cart. It's a sickness, an addiction even, but a glorious one. There's nothing quite like holding a new-to-you book, waiting to crack open the cover and discover if it's going to become a new favorite. {happy sigh}

That so nicely transitions me into my book review of a newly discovered (and yet to be published) book, #21 on my list for the year, The Money $aving Mom's Budget by blogger Crystal Paine of Money $aving Mom fame. I was so excited when I got an email from Crystal, informing me that I would be receiving a free preview copy of her new book to read and review. Once the book arrived, I started reading and was finished in two days.

Even if I had not been given the opportunity to review this book, I had it on my list of books to buy and read. Money $aving Mom was one of the first blogs that I found after we returned to the U.S. and I did a search for "saving money" in an attempt to cut our grocery bills and make Peter's paycheck go a bit farther. In fact, "blog" might as well have been a foreign word to me, but I quickly learned to love the deals and advice that I picked up from frugal gals like Jessica and Crystal.

Crystal has done a great job of picking out key points from her personal money saving experience and communicating them in such a way that the reader walks away feeling as though the ideas are possible. Attainable would be another good way to describe it. Instead of pie-in-the-sky suggestions, Crystal presents down-to-earth recommendations, backed up by real-life stories from her blog readers, and gives step-by-step instructions for how to implement frugality into your everyday life. {Side note: could I use anymore hyphens in that sentence?!

In the interest of giving an honest review, I have to add that many of the ideas that Crystal taps in this book come from her blog, so if you are a regular reader of Money $aving Mom, you might be disappointed by the lack of fresh material. That being said, she spends a lot more time on the details and "how to" in the book than she does (or has time for) on the blog, so it's still well worth purchasing. In fact, even as a regular reader, I picked up a couple of encouraging tips about time management, even though the book was technically about money and budgeting.

Crystal presses the point that time management and cutting clutter are keys to being successful with your finances - two ideas that I totally support. I was challenged in the very first chapter by her recommendations and points regarding the setting of goals and how, "...if you don't know where you're going and you don't take the first step, you'll never get anywhere at all." (pg. 2) Ouch. It's a simple truth, one that I know in my head, but it really hit home when it was put out there so simply. It was shortly after I read The Money $aving Mom's Budget that I sat down and created my 30 List. After all, If you aim at nothing, you'll hit it every time.

So where does that leave us? Well, not only do I recommend that you purchase The Money $aving Mom's Budget, but I think you should also consider it as a possible group read if you are involved in a book club or small group. It has the potential to spark all kinds of interesting discussions, as well as promoting personal responsibility and growth - two things that I'm passionate about. Even though the book won't be officially released until January 10th, you could request that it be pre-ordered from Amazon for Christmas. A book shipment notification is always a great gift!

Congratulations on being published, Crystal! But more than that, congratulations on not only preaching it, but living it, and for sharing your experiences with the rest of us. Blessings!

And that does it for me. Special thanks to Jessica for hosting Booking It for the last year and for introducing me to fellow book lovers. It has been a blast and I'm looking forward to the new and improved Booking It in 2012! If you'd like to see what others have been reading, make sure you check out the links on December 10th and 11th - there's still time to find a "must have" book for your Christmas list!

Until next year...Happy Reading!



  1. I'm jealous that you got a review copy! I'll have to eagerly await the January release so I can read it myself!

  2. I think you should read the Wingfeather Saga aloud to Peter. There are some funny pronunciations that you won't "get" just reading in your head. Press on!


A reminder: there are more than 400,000 words in the English language, please use them wisely.


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