March Book Reviews | Reading Roundup

These are the books I read in March. Reviews on: The Spirituality of Jane Austen, The Magnolia Story, and Working Class to College. | Stay gold Autumn

This post includes affiliate links which help support The Spirited Violet.  An * before the book title shows that I chose this book from a reviewing program to offer my honest opinion on the book.

I read some good books this month and was able to get out of the reading rut that I’ve been in here lately.  Admittedly, I decided to change my yearly goal this year to around 30 😉 .  It seemed that as behind as I have gotten that I didn’t want to punish myself with reading 52 books this year.  Also, I’m happy to say that after a few months being on the waiting list for The Magnolia Story at the library, I was able to read it and it was totally worth it!

My book reviews are below and you’re welcome to join the reading roundup with other bloggers.  I use Goodreads rating system for my reviews; you’re welcome to add me by clicking here.  I’m excited to see what you read!


*Working Class to College: The Promise and Peril Facing Blue-Collar America by Robert Owen Carr // 4 stars

I decided to pick up this book thinking it would be a politically charged one.  I wanted something meatier than my current reads and as someone who grew up in blue collared America, I was really interested to see what Carr had to say.  Carr tells a lot of eye opening facts that are both insightful and helpful to understanding how a lot of people see the college system.  Carr explains what he learned from growing up with a very poor childhood, but also pitfalls that many first generation college students and their families take on that lead to crushing debt.  Admirably while giving facts and suggestions for parents and students alike, he tells about his mentoring and scholarship program he created to give back to the same community that brought him up.  Carr made it his mission to help students and he has.  I would recommend this to parents who have children in middle school (but honestly, much earlier) so they can begin setting achievable financial goals and learn more about preparing children for college.  The only reason why I did not give this book a higher rating is because he discussed his mentoring program so much that I often found myself skimming these sections.


The Magnolia Story by Chip and Joanna Gaines // 5 stars

Everyone knows Chip and Joanna Gaines from Fixer Upper, but I sure did love knowing more about their back story and what makes them really tick.  I absolutely loved this book, I love them, and this might be one of my favorite biographies I have ever read!  The writing format switches back and forth between the husband and wife duo by using different fonts.  I think a lot of people who watch the show might think that they just had connections and that’s how they got where they did.  However, I loved reading about how much grit the couple has and what a entrepreneurial spirit Chip has.  The Gaines family is so much more than a TV family.  They have so much substance, are just really interesting, and the whole time I read the book I found it incredibly easy to relate to them and root for them along their journey.  My favorite part of the book is that I found it more story oriented than self-promotional.  A huge turn off for me is when writers try to sell you products the whole book, rather, I felt like I was just sitting in my family room listening to them talk.  I would definitely recommend to anyone!


*The Spirituality of Jane Austen by Paula Hollingsworth // 5 stars

I have admittedly only read one novel by Jane Austen, but I love historical books that give more insight to authors.  Paula Hollingsworth really did a great job at compiling historic facts through letters and Austen’s own writings to really illuminate Austen’s world.  I found myself learning many different influences that Austen had in her family from her own father who was a pastor, her educational upbringing, the realization that she had a disabled brother, and interesting cultural facts of the time.  Even if you aren’t the religious type and you love Austen, I would recommend this book because Hollingsworth really brings a really beautiful biographical account of Austen.  I feel in the future when I read works of Austen that I will be able to understand a lot more of the nuances of writing as well as understand why she portrayed characters in the way she did from this read. 

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 What is a book you’ve read recently?

  • I’ve been seeing the Magnolia Story everywhere recently! I also changed my reading goal for the year a bit…I put it at 50, then got behind, so I changed it to 40. Adding you on Goodreads. 🙂

    • I’m glad to know that I’m not the only one who modified their reading goal haha!! It was a really good book. I like them more now than just watching the show which is saying something 🙂

  • I’ve been seeing the Magnolia Story everywhere recently! I also changed my reading goal for the year a bit…I put it at 50, then got behind, so I changed it to 40. Adding you on Goodreads. 🙂

    • I’m glad to know that I’m not the only one who modified their reading goal haha!! It was a really good book. I like them more now than just watching the show which is saying something 🙂

  • Rebekah Gaspar

    I was given The Magnolia Story for Christmas and am finally going to read it in April! So glad to hear you liked it! 😊

  • Rebekah Gaspar

    I was given The Magnolia Story for Christmas and am finally going to read it in April! So glad to hear you liked it! 😊

  • Ugh! I am dying to read The Magnolia Story! It’s been on my list forever! Your review just makes me want to read it even more! haha One day I will.

    • I had to wait for it for months from the library. I was so excited when I got the notification for it!!

  • Ugh! I am dying to read The Magnolia Story! It’s been on my list forever! Your review just makes me want to read it even more! haha One day I will.

  • I LOVED The Magnolia Story! I listened to it on audiobook, which was read by Chip and Jo… so fun!!

    • I should really get into audiobooks more! I would be able to get more stuff done around the house like I do with podcasts.

  • I LOVED The Magnolia Story! I listened to it on audiobook, which was read by Chip and Jo… so fun!!

    • I should really get into audiobooks more! I would be able to get more stuff done around the house like I do with podcasts.

  • I could read about Jane Austen always. I think she was a fascinating woman, and it’s so great to get an insight into her writing and characters.

    • I definitely recommend it. The author does a great job at sharing about her life. She was a really impressive writer!!

  • I could read about Jane Austen always. I think she was a fascinating woman, and it’s so great to get an insight into her writing and characters.

    • I definitely recommend it. The author does a great job at sharing about her life. She was a really impressive writer!!

  • I’m not a fan of Fixer Upper….I know, I know….but my sisters and my mom are…in fact, I live about 2 hours from Waco, so when my family came down for Christmas/New Years when Evelyn was born, they took a day trip to Waco to visit the Magnolia store….but, everyone seems to love this book and I like reading celebrity memoirs.

    • I like the show okay, but I think they’re fun people. I liked the book a lot though! I’d love to go to Magnolia farms, but I’ve heard it is super crowded and pricey.

  • I’m not a fan of Fixer Upper….I know, I know….but my sisters and my mom are…in fact, I live about 2 hours from Waco, so when my family came down for Christmas/New Years when Evelyn was born, they took a day trip to Waco to visit the Magnolia store….but, everyone seems to love this book and I like reading celebrity memoirs.

    • I like the show okay, but I think they’re fun people. I liked the book a lot though! I’d love to go to Magnolia farms, but I’ve heard it is super crowded and pricey.