July 2019 TBR

I don’t have a good history with TBRs. I never stick to them or I choose too many books and set myself up to fail before I even begin reading for the month.

This month however, I’m feeling overwhelmed with reading choices. As a project to keep myself busy on the first day Pepper and I were home alone all day after Jason’s death I entered all of my physical books on to my to be read shelf on Goodreads and there are just over 600 of them.

I am also having trouble making decision since Jason’s death. I can’t think straight most of the time because the grief is so overwhelming.

With Pepper’s help we chose a few prompts from my tbr jar and I ended up with 2 books I had already started before July began and 6 books to hopefully start and finish in July.

I let her choose prompts and I chose the books to fullfill them until I had enough books to need to read 50 pages a day to finish them this month. And then I remembered to add a book I was already reading to the list and ended up needing to read 57 pages a day. So I’ll see how this goes. I like looking at the small stack of books I hope to finish this month. It simplifies things for me a bit for me and this month I really need that.

July is my father law’s birthday and it’s also my late husband’s birthday. And my husband’s family will be in from all over the country this week. They were hoping to arrive before his death, but missed him by three and a half weeks. It’s going to be a hard month all around I think.

The two books I was reading when July began were

  1. Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
  2. Grief Day by Day by Jan Warner

The prompts and books chosen from the tbr jar are:

  1. 5 Star Prediction- Beartown by Fredrik Backman
  2. Shortest Book- How to Make Big Bucks from big Blogs by Brandon Colker
  3. Blue- Where’d You Go Bernadette? by Maria Semple
  4. Sequel- Above by Jason Chabot

The book I chose to read from my July 2018 haul revisit was:

  1. Fingertip of the Tongue by Sarah Rice

The only other book I have plans to read this month is From Scratch by Tembi Locke. It was sent by a follower and I look forward to reading it, but can’t handle too many grief books at once right now. So I need to finish Grief Day by Day first and then will begin this one.  Thank you again for thinking of me and my sweet Pepper, Kristin!

This may be way too ambitious considering I only finished 2 books in May and 2 books in June, but I also need some simple decision to be made for me. Reading is the best distraction for me right now while everything is so hard. I’ve also been up in the night due to nightmares about my husband and reading is one of the only things I can do that won’t wake Pepper up as well.

Even if I don’t finish them all, I hope to read some good books this month.

What do you plan to read in July?


July 2018 Haul Revisit

In July 2018 I aquired these eleven books.

  1. Leap Frog by Nathalie Molina Nino and Sara Grace
  2. The Self-Love Experiment by Shannon Kaiser
  3. Real Love: The Art of Mindful Connection by Sharon Salzberg
  4. Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert
  5. The Poisoned City by Anna Clark
  6. Dangerous Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Sto
  7. Ninja Timmy by Henrik Tamm
  8. Hate List by Jennifer Brown
  9. Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes
  10. Fingertip of the Tongue by Sarah Rice
  11. Love & Magic by John Hanlon

Of these I have read three; Big Magic (4 stars), Year of Yes (4 stars), and Love & Magic (5 stars).

I haven’t started any of the others. I only managed to complete 2 books in May and 2 books in June. Now that things are settling down a bit (the hundreds of doctors appointments are the only thing I don’t miss about my late husband) I hope to get more reading done. But I’m still feeling rusty and there is still so much to do. I’m going to pick Fingertip of the Tongue to try and read this month. It’s a very short collection of poetry, only 144 pages. Hopefully my reading picks up a bit this month.

What are you planning to read in July?


Blog Update and Mid Year Book Freak Out Tag

This is my 200th blog post. Yesterday also marked the 1 year anniversary of my first blog post back. I blogged for a brief period of time and then picked it up again later, and then my husband lost his job and our lives went in to a tail spin. The blog got dropped. Two  and a half months in to no income my husband said I should get back to my blogging and I never looked back. Even while my husband was battling cancer and dying I still posted at least Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday every week. During the battle I posted every single day of February for birthday month and we were in the hospital for part of that. I am proud of my consistency. Thank you all for following me here. There are 273 of you at the time of writing this post.

This year has been the hardest and most challenging and most life changing of my life. I went from a wife and mother freelancing and homeschooling to a 32 year old widowed single mother just trying to get by. All in one year. I don’t know how I’m still alive honestly. But I am so glad you are all here to join me on this journey.

My reading goal for the year was to read 78 books. So far I have read 38 books. I am exactly on target to finish 78 by the end of the year. I really wanted to read more than the 136 I read last year, but with the cancer and death and what I’ll need to be able to take care of in the aftermath I don’t think that’s going to happen. But I am still on target to reach my official goal.

The Mid Year Book Freak Out Tag is one I did last year. There are 15 questions.

1. Best book you’ve read so far in 2019

I’ve given 14 of the 38 books I’ve read this year 5 stars. This is a toss up between And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer and Kings of the Wyld. But I think I’m going to choose Kings of the Wyld by Nicholas Eames. This book made me feel every emotion but none more so than joy. It was the book I read as I watched my husband finish dying. It will always have a special place in my heart because of the happiness and mental escape it brought me as I struggled in real life.

2. Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2019

The best sequel I’ve read would have to be In An Absent Dream by Seanan McGuire. I love this whole series.

3. New release you haven’t read yet, but want to

Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid is the book I wish I had already read this year. My aunt that started the Gofundme for us actually ordered it for me and it should be here this afternoon. I can’t wait to dive in. I really enjoyed The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo and have heard such good things about this one as well.

4. Most anticipated release for the second half of the year

I have two choices for this one too, but I’ll go with The Testaments by Margaret Atwood. This is a sequel that takes place 15 years after The Handmaid’s Tale.

5. Biggest disappointment

The Twin by Gerbrand Bakker. I don’t have a review of this book posted yet because it’s part of a color coded TRB and I still haven’t finished the last book in that set, but it’s coming soon hopefully. As a spoiler I only gave that book 2 stars.

6. Biggest surprise

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty. I assumed I would enjoy this book, but was expecting candy fiction the kind you find in the checkout at the grocery store and even people who don’t read on the regular find themselves picking up for the beach because they saw it on some talk show. And it was or could be, but it was so good and so complicated, not nearly as simple as I expected. I gave it 5 stars. There were so many elements of this story that the author brought back together and her writing kept me flipping pages faster and faster. I loved this book and have since ordered another of her books to read at some point soonish.

7. Favorite new author (Debut or new to you)

Fredrik Backman. I had read one of his books last year and really enjoyed it. I read three others of his back to back this year and it cemented him in my mind as my favorite author. Then I bought the rest of his books. I have four more to read. I’m a bit worried about the sadness while I am still early in to my grief journey. The sad is always balanced nicely with humor, but I may not be in an emotional state to feel the balance at this time. I can’t wait to finish his books and begin my rereads though. I plan to start my rereads with A Man Called Ove.

8. Newest fictional crush

Clay Cooper from Kings of the Wyld by Nicholas Eames. The way he interacted with his little girl made my heart hurt with missing my Jason and seeing him interact with our daughter.

9. Newest favorite character

Princess Magnolia AKA The Princess in Black from The Princess in Black series by Shannon Hale. These are fantastic little chapter books. My daughter and I loved them all. The Princess always has to fight monsters and send them back to Monster Land. The adventures are fun and cute. She slowly has her friends joining her in the monster battles. This is a wonderful series.

10. Book that made you cry

And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer by Fredrik Backman. This short little book is only 97 pages. It follows a grandfather and a grandson. The grandfather is losing his memories and his grandson is trying to help him keep the most important ones. This book hit me particularly hard as my husband’s memories were in the danger zone of disappearing due to the rapidly growing brain tumor.

11. Book that made you happy

As my husband would always say, I don’t read nearly enough happy books. I struggled to choose even one from the 38 I’ve read this year. But I’ve decided to choose The Princess Bride by William Goldman. Finding our favorite movie quotes and scenes within the pages of this book made me smile.

12. Favorite book to film adaptation you saw this year.

The Princess Bride is the only book and movie I’ve seen this year. I read at least one other thing that has been adapted, but I haven’t seen the show.

13. Favorite review you’ve written this year.

I have no idea. I don’t really consider what I write a review.

14. Most beautiful book you’ve bought so far this year (or received)

Island Beneath the Sea by Isabel Allende. I could not leave this cover behind.

15. What books do you need to read by the end of the year?

Pretty much all of them. As a means of distraction and staying busy on the first day Pepper and I stayed at the apartment all day on our own after Jason’s death I added all of my physical books to my to be read shelf on Goodreads and I have 606 physical books that I haven’t read yet. Oh my goodness. I had better get reading. A few top priorities will be Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid, From Scratch by Tembi Locke, Bloody Rose by Nicholas Eames, Beartown by Fredrik Backman, and It’s OK That You’re Not OK by Megan Devine.


How are you doing on your reading goals for the year?

Recent Read: Kings of the Wyld

Kings of the Wyld by Nicholas Eames

My rating ✰5✰

Picture and quote from Goodreads


Clay Cooper and his band were once the best of the best — the meanest, dirtiest, most feared crew of mercenaries this side of the Heartwyld.

Their glory days long past, the mercs have grown apart and grown old, fat, drunk – or a combination of the three. Then an ex-bandmate turns up at Clay’s door with a plea for help. His daughter Rose is trapped in a city besieged by an enemy one hundred thousand strong and hungry for blood. Rescuing Rose is the kind of mission that only the very brave or the very stupid would sign up for.

It’s time to get the band back together for one last tour across the Wyld.

This book has a lot of baggage for me. It was the gift I received at the last holiday we had as family with my husband still living and largely conscious. I was reading this book the whole last month of his life as I watched him degrade day by day. I read it to him in the hospital and while holding his hand as he got closer and closer to death first in our home and then his father’s house where he finally died. This book was by my side or in my purse during all of the worst parts of my husband’s death. It was the last book I was reading as a happily married woman and the first book I finished as a newly widowed single mother. Even so I loved this book. I think I would have loved it even more without all of this negative surrounding it.

This book was so much fun! From a battle where everyone had erections, to getting robbed by the same group of thieves multiple times and then rescued by them, to a wizard getting beat up by his own magical weapon, this was just a crazy and fun ride. I was constantly impressed with how the author managed a cliff hanger at the end of every single chapter. I wanted to just keep reading, even when I really couldn’t.

This book made me miss my Dungeons and Dragons days a whole lot. I used to play with my late husband. I don’t know that I could ever play again at this point due to missing him so intensely, but this book gave me all the excitement of the various battles and stories along the way to the main mission. And the overall quest, to save one of their daughters, was amazing to follow as well.

The characters were all so wonderful. Fully crafted and complex and so fun to get to get to know. I enjoyed every minute of this bloody and hilarious adventure. My husband would have adored this book. There were so many points in the story where I could picture his face as he would have laughed.

The end had me in tears wishing for the same thing for myself and knowing that I could never have it.

This story was so worth the wait it took for me to get a copy and to read it. It is definitely one of my new all time favorite books.

Books I Want to Reread

I almost never make time to reread books, even ones I really love. I always mean to, but there are so many books I haven’t read once yet that it feels like a waste of time, for me. That wasn’t always a thing. I remember reading books dozens of times when I was a child or a teenager. But I rarely reread things as an adult. I am going to share a handful of books I would love to reread and maybe convince myself to actually do so.

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman was the first Backman book I read. I read it in May 2018 and gave it 4 stars. I now consider him my favorite author. I would love to reread this book again now because the main character is a widower that just wants to die to be with his wife and I am now a widow who, much of the time, just wants to die so that I’m not in pain any more. I’m worried this book might do more harm than good at this time though, so the reread may wait a bit longer. (I am not actually suicidal. Please don’t worry.)

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee. I consider this my favorite book but never finished a reread. I read it in November 2017 and gave it 5 stars. My only worry with a reread of this one at this time is, because Percy and Monty are so cute together, it may just make me sad with my current life situation.  I definitely want to reread it at some point and finish my annotations though.

She’s Come Undone by Wally Lamb. This was my favorite book from the time I was in college in 2005 until 2017 when I read the previous entry here. I identify with Delores in a different way each time I reread this book, but it’s been a few years. I don’t think I’ve done a reread since becoming a parent. Now I’m a parent and a widow. I think I’ll find all sorts of new things to relate to on a read through this time.

Insomnia by Stephen King is a book I read long enough ago that I don’t remember much of what happened. I would guess I read it almost 20 years ago. I suffer from some anxiety and depression induced insomnia from time to time so that makes the concept and the title catch my attention again. I remember liking it and I owned 2 copies when I went through all of my books yesterday to add them to Goodreads.

Limitless by Alan Glynn is a book I read between three and nine years ago. I know it was before I started tracking my reading and it was after I met my husband because we both read it and enjoyed it enough to watch the movie.

The Host by Stephenie Meyer is a book I read in December 2017. I gave it 4 stars. It was a 5 star read to me until the epilogue. I remember it being exciting and something I had never read before. I loved the concept. I think it would be fun to reread.


Do you reread books?





2019 Book Haul: Books 51-75

Thanks to emotional and grief shopping and yard sale season starting I’ve acquired 25 more books in just six weeks. These are books 51-75 that I acquired in 2019.

  1. A Nearly Normal Family by M. T. Edvardsson
  2. Sweet Forgiveness by Lori Nelson Spielman
  3. Ginny Gall by Charlie Smith
  4. The Daughter’s Tale by Armando Lucas Correa
  5. An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
  6. The Girl He Used to Know by Tracey Garvis Graves+
  7. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
  8. The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa
  9. The Singer’s Gun by Emily St John Mandel
  10. The Princess Saves Herself in This One by Amanda Lovelace
  11. You Can Stay Home With Your Kids by Erin Odom
  12. The Hunted by Charlie Higson
  13. Original Fake by Kirstin Cronn-Mills
  14. What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty
  15. No Happy Endings by Nora McInerny
  16. It’s OK That You’re Not OK by Megan Devine
  17. Grief Day by Day Jan Warner
  18. Last Night in Montreal by Emily St John Mandel
  19. The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney
  20. Hillbilly Elegy by JD Vance
  21. The Far Field by Madhuri Vijay
  22. About Grace by Anthony Doerr
  23. Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
  24. The Tourist by Robert Dickinson
  25. The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris

Of these 25 books I’ve read so far only The Handmaid’s Tale and that book I read back in college. And I started Grief Day by Day.

Have you read any of these? Are there any you think I should prioritize?

Shortest Books on my TBR

I don’t have anywhere near all of my books on my Goodreads to be read shelf. That will be a huge process and I might tackle it soon, now that things are settling down a bit and we may be packing to move. (The apartment just doesn’t feel like a home any more without Jason.) But for now, my Goodreads to be read shelf has all of the books purchased in 2018 and 2019 as well a smattering of other random books I had plans to read soon. There are 153 books on this shelf and 13 of them have unknown page numbers. Starting with the entries that have page numbers listed I’ll look at the five books I own physically that have the fewest pages.

Number 5: The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr and E B White

This book has 128 pages. This was part of the 12 books on writing I wanted to read this year. It’s a style guide for writing. I read it in college, but haven’t since.

Number 4: Weekly Strategies for Writers: Tips on Writing, Editing, Publishing, Marketing & More by Linda A Lavid

This book has 122 pages. It is another book from the 12 books on writing I wanted to read this year. It has 52 tips to improve your writing life.

Number 3: Sophie Washington: Secret Santa by Tonya Duncan Ellis

This book has 120 pages. I won this in a giveaway on Facebook It is a children’s book. Sophie gets an unexpected gift and tries to find out who the secret santa could be.

Number 2: A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf

This book is 114 pages. This is listed as a feminist essay. It’s something I’ve always meant to read, but have yet to do so.

Number 1: The Knowing: A Bulwark Anthology by Brit Lunden

This book is 65 pages. It is another book I won in the same giveaway. It is a short paranormal story about Bulwark, Georgia where strange things happen.


I’m feeling like I’ve fallen behind in my reading this year with everything that has happened in my life in 2019 so I may try to pick up a few of these shorter reads to get some quick wins under my belt.

Have you read any of these? Do you have any short book recommendations?