The Fall Bucket List Book Tag

Even though there are still six more weeks of Fall technically, it feels like winter is already here. Pepper has been outside to build snowmen twice already.I


I was tagged to answer these questions by The Bibliobibuli. Thank you! The tag seems to have been created by Read By Tiffany, but I couldn’t find the actual blog post to link.  






light a scented candle
Pumpkinheadsby Rainbow Rowell. This is cute and not too serious and so much fun! It almost made me think I liked Pumpkin Patches. drink pumpkin spiced lattes
The Testaments by Margaret Atwood is the book I’ve heard the most about this year.
apple picking
The Institute by Stephen King had good friendships between the children. I don’t know if they were fun friendships necessarily considering the situation they were in, but they did find ways to be kids even so. cozy sweater
My heart feels pretty darn unwarmable since my husband’s death, but Love That Dog by Sharon Creech is a recent read that made me feel sappy as Jack started to enjoy his poetry assignments. cinnamon rollsFrom Scratch by Tembi Locke. The main character, Tembi wasn’t a chef, but her late husband, Saro, was and food plays a big role in this memoir. pile of leaves
Joy is another emotion my weathered old widow’s heart has trouble experiencing, but Red, White, & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston made me so happy while I was reading it that I couldn’t have any other answer for this question.

What’s a book that made you happy? Do you play in piles of leaves? Pepper did this past Sunday.

5 Months as a Widow

Five months ago, my husband of 9 years died. Nine years ago this month he proposed to me. There is nothing I hate more in the world than being a 32 year old widow. It’s time for another one of these checkins already. It was a very busy month here, but not much has changed. We’re still just surviving.

I have started using some of our old dishes. First it was the small plates and now the big plates too. I still can’t use the mugs, they are all too sentimental. And I can’t touch a bowl without heading towards an anxiety attack. I think that has to do with feeding my husband his medicine crushed in apple sauce at the end. Honestly just thinking about a bowl from my favorite set of dishes sets my stomach churning with anxiety. So I’m making progress on the dishes front, but there is still a lot of work to do.

I cooked. I haven’t cooked anything more difficult than frozen pizza since my husband died. This week I made an egg sandwich. My husband made them for us for breakfast every day from the time he lost his job until his seizure and diagnosis 9 months later. I am a terrible cook, but somehow I made this edible at least. And I even ate the whole thing. My Jason would have been proud.

I went and had the shots in my eyes done. The shot itself wasn’t bad. They had numbed my eye with drops and I didn’t even feel the needle. The issue I had was unexpected. It was at the surgery center and I hadn’t been there before. It was set up like a hospital. Hospital beds, beeping machines, blood pressure cuffs and finger pulse checkers. I cried the entire time I was there. I managed to not have a panic attack, but the flashbacks were so intense I couldn’t stop my tears. A nurse stayed with me and rubbed my back until I was able to leave.

Not emotional shopping is going well. I made three online purchases last month and they were all intentional purchases for things we needed or wanted and could afford.

We put up our Christmas tree on the 17th of October. Pepper didn’t want to wait any more and I couldn’t come up with a good reason not to. It’s a beautiful tree. We ended up having to get a new tree because our old one was broken, we went with white, something we’ve never had before. And we love it! I taught her a game my husband I used to play. It started one year when I was working three jobs and was sleeping an average of 4 hours every weekend. I was exhausted and frustrated. When I was at my overnight job he would play “I’m thinking of an ornament” via text message. Like eye spy, but with just the ornaments on our tree. I miss him so much. I put his stocking up with ours. We also got him a new ornament for the tree. A custom engraved yoyo. He was an avid yoyo fan.

My husband and I worked so hard to make money not scary. We had a six month emergency fund saved up that we used this year while he was dying. And now every time something unexpected comes up or my main source of income makes big changes to payments my anxiety gets overwhelming again. Unfortunately Pepper and I are one unexpected expense or payday malfunction away from not being able to pay the rent and I just can’t seem to get us ahead at all on my own. We’re making it, but just barely. Everything is more scary by myself.

Pepper is doing well for the most part. She ended up with 4 Halloween celebrations. She’s counting down the days to Thanksgiving. And she is so excited for Christmas. She is having some random behavior issues that could be caused by grief, but are likely caused by her being a very smart and stubborn four year old. She’s thriving and happy for the most part. We’re still working on how to get through our days without backup. It was so much easier to work or clean or to do anything when I could say okay time to play with daddy while I get this task finished. We’re working on it though.

We’re still just taking everything one day at a time. Most days I’m grateful just to have made it to bedtime so I can forget for a while that I have to wake up and do it all again tomorrow without my beloved husband.

The End of Year Book Tag

This is a tag that was created by Ariel Bissett.

Are there any books you started this year that you need to finish?

I am currently in the middle of 6 books and I hope to finish them all by the end of the year. I hope to read other books before the end of the year too. The book I’m most hoping to finish is The Adventure’s of the Stainless Steel Rat by Harry Harrison. I’ve been slowly working on it for a few months. It was a book my late husband loved and one I’ve read and loved previously too, but the edition I have is very old and has teeny tiny print. I just can’t do it with my eyes right now. I really want to try to finish it though.

Do you have an autumnal book to transition into the end of the year?

None that I can think of. I don’t think I read seasonally. I read whatever, whenever. Do you have a suggestion for this prompt?

Is there a new release you’re still waiting for?

There are no more books I’m waiting on. The only two I was excited about were The Institute by Stephen King and The Testaments by Margaret Atwood and they have both been released and read.

What are three books you want to read before the end of the year?

Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman is the last Backman book I have to read.

House of Leaves by Mark Z Danielewski is one that is very intimidating to me, but I would love to read it. I may push that off until the new year though because I think it’s going to take a lot of brain power.

The Princess Saves Herself in This One by Amanda Lovelace is another book I want to read.

Is there a book you think could still shock you and become your favourite book of the year?

I’m not sure if I’ll get to these books by the end of the year, but a couple of contenders would be A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara or A Ladder to the Sky by John Boyne.

Have you already started making reading plans for 2020?

Definitely. I’m looking for a big reading challenge to participate in. Maybe the Pop Sugar or the Read Harder challenge. I also have some goals involving reading more big books and reading more of the books I’ve owned the longest. There will be a full 2020 goals post out at the beginning January most likely.

Are you working on your reading plans for next year?

October 2019 Book Haul

I bought 42 more books in October. This was mostly a large Book Outlet order at the end of September and a few other books from Dollar Tree throughout the month.

  1. Invisible Fault Lines by Kristen-Paige Madonia
  2. 100 Sideways Miles by Andrew Smith
  3. The Arsonist by Stephanie Oakes
  4. The Bone Snatcher by Charlotte Salter
  5. Empress of A Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza
  6. Exit, Pursued by a Bear by E K Johnston
  7. Hold Still by Nina LaCour
  8. The Last Execution by Jesper Wung-Sung
  9. All That I can Fix by Crystal Chan
  10. All in Pieces by Suzanne Young
  11. Anna and the Swallow Man by Gavriel Savit
  12. Remake by Ilima Todd
  13. Pick the Plot by James Riley
  14. Lux Opposition by Jennifer L Armentrout
  15. A Crack in the Sea by H M Bouwman
  16. End Game by James Frey
  17. Never Missing, Never Found by Amanda Panitch
  18. Placebo Junkies by JC Carleson
  19. The Careful Undressing of Love by Corey Ann Haydu
  20. City of Saints and Thieves by Natalie C Anderson
  21. The First Time She Drowned by Kerry Kletter
  22. Mars One by Jonathan Maberry
  23. The Museum of Heartbreak by Meg Leder
  24. The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes
  25. In Her Skin by Kim Savage
  26. Satellite by Nick Lake
  27. Resist by Ilima Todd
  28. The Stolen Chapters by James Riley
  29. Secret Origins by James Riley
  30. Worlds Apart by James Riley
  31. Dear My Blank by Emily Trunko
  32. Curvy Yoga by Anna Guest-Jelley
  33. The Secret History of Twin Peaks by Mark Frost
  34. Jane, Unlimited by Kristin Cashore
  35. The Expatriates by Janice Y K Lee
  36. The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert
  37. Being a Dad is Weird by Ben Falcone
  38. All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai
  39. Dear Reader by Mary O’Connell
  40. Watch Me Disappear by Janelle Brown
  41. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
  42. Magruder’s Curiosity Cabinet by HP Wood

So far I have read none of these books. I am optimistic that November will be a small book purchase month. I’ve done well in October not grief shopping. Nearly all of this haul arrived in October, but was purchased in September. I have a lot of books I’m excited about here, I just don’t know when I’ll get to them.

October 2019 Reading Wrap Up

There were 14 books on my October TBR that I hoped to finish. I finished 9 books in October. Five were on my October TBR and one was still lingering from my September TBR.


I am also in the middle of, but didn’t finish, five books.


November 2019 TBR

This is more of a ‘might be read’ or a ‘pile of possibilities’ than a hard and fast TBR. I made it to only half of the books I wanted to read in October and November will be extra busy with NaNoWriMo writing taking place too. This will be the stack of books I choose from when I decide what to read.

Carryovers: These are the books I started in October, but haven’t finished yet.

The Jason book (books my late husband loved) for the month is Stainless Steel Rat Saves the World by Harry Harrison.

My book on grief choice for the month is The Grieving Teen by Helen Fitzgerald. This was recommended by my grief counselor. I read The Grieving Child earlier this year and it was helpful.

I have three books as part of my haul revisits this month.

The other books I am hoping to read are chosen from prompts Pepper pulled from my TBR jar.

It is highly unlikely that I will make it to all of these books, but I will read as many of them as I can.

November 2017 and 2018 Haul Revisit

Usually for my haul revisit I look at the books I purchased the year previous and choose one that I haven’t read yet to read this month. I started tracking books I purchased in November of 2017 so I now have two years of data. Unfortunately, I still have books from 2017 that I haven’t read yet. I plan to choose 2 books from the 2017 list and 1 from the 2018 list to try and read this month.

In 2017 I purchased 19 books. I have since read 5 of them, unhauled 1, and still have  13 unread.

  1. Luka and the Fire of Life by Salaman Rushdie
  2. The Rules of the Tunnel by Ned Zeman
  3. While My Pretty One Sleeps by Mary Higgins Clark
  4. The Silver Star By Jeannette Walls
  5. The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare
  6. The Slave Dancer by Paula Fox
  7. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
  8. Interesting Times by Terry Pratchett
  9. Rocket City by Cathryn Alpert
  10. Fool Moon by Jim Butcher
  11. Grave Peril by Jim Butcher
  12. Summer Knight by Jim Butcher
  13. Death Masks by Jim Butcher

The Witch of Blackbird Pond was on my October TBR, but I didn’t get to it. It’s short so I think I’ll choose that one as one of these reads and because there are four Dresden Files books on this list I’ll choose the next one in that series too, Fool Moon.

In 2018 I purchased 8 books and have yet to read any of them. That feels like such a waste of money to me. Even if I bought most of them at the library book sale. I started tracking how much money I’m spending on my books recently so at some point I’ll be able to say, I wasted this much money on books this month because I haven’t read any of them. This is so disheartening, but I’m glad to see this issue so I can work on it. These are the 8 books I purchased last year.

  1. Be Your Own #Goals by Kristen Martin
  2. Tangerine by Christine Managan
  3. Rules for the Dance by Mary Oliver
  4. A Virtuous Woman by Kaye Gibbons
  5. Weekly Strategies for Writers by Linda A. Lavid
  6. Self-Editing Fiction for Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King
  7. The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski
  8. The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman

I’m still excited to read most of these. I think for this month I’ll choose Tangerine to try and read.

I hope to enjoy all three of these reads. My full November TBR will be up on Thursday.