Books in February 2019

8.5 Books

New Favorites: Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy (5) & The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden ( 5).
Least Liked/True Crime/Peter’s Book Club: In Cold Blood by Truman Capote (DNFed after 50%).
Childhood: The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks (5)
New Kids: Love is My Favorite Thing by Emma Chichester Clark (4)
Graphic Novel: Soppy by Phillippa Rice (4)

I also enjoyed Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson, Tiny Pretty Things by Sona Charaipotra and Dhonielle Clayton, and Bird Box by Josh Malerman. All 4 reads.

February was a great reading month!


My top favorite for the month. Even better than the first! Adore Solovey!


Also loved Dumplin’, which had a great adaptation as well.



My new kid’s read. I didn’t like it as much as the one I read last year by the same author but it was still enjoyable!



Not at all impressed with our True Crime book read for Peter’s Book Club. DNFed halfway.



My graphic novel pick was adorable and reminded me of my relationship with my husband so much. I just wish there had been more!



My childhood read for the month. I loved it just as much as I remember!




I had a great reading month! What about you? What did you read in February?



Books in January 2019

9 Books

Favorites: The Bear and the Nightingale (4.75), The Stranger Beside Me (4.5), Wonder (4.5 ), and The BFG (4.5 ).

Least Liked: Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie (3 )

True Crime/Peter’s Book Club: The Stranger Beside Me by Ann Rule
Nonfiction: We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (5 but so short I didn’t count it as a favorite)
Crafty: Creative Lettering and Beyond (3.5)
Childhood: Winnie-the-Pooh by A. A. Milne (3.5)
New Kids: The BFG by Roald Dahl
Graphic Novel: The Life Changing Manga of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo (3.5)

I enjoyed everything I read but was disappointed in Murder on the Orient Express.


My top favorite for the month. Loved the writing, characters, & story. Very atmospheric! Highly recommend audiobook with this one for the Russian terms.


Also loved Wonder, which was inspiring and made me cry. Highly recommend, especially for children.


My new kid’s read. I wish I had read this when I was younger. As someone who has struggled with speech issues all my life, I was able to relate to the BFG so much.


I read this for Peter’s Book Club/my true crime read. This was my paternal grandfather’s favorite and I can see why. It was engaging, intriguing, and at times very difficult to read. But I’m glad I finally did!


My graphic novel pick for the month. With a new year upon us and the launch of her series on Netflix (which I loved), I thought this would be a good one to get into. I liked it about as much as her other book. Definitely prefer her in show format because she is such a delight!


My childhood read. I vaguely remember reading this when I was much younger, though they were broken up into different books. I enjoyed it but I do think I prefer the movies and cartoons more.


My nonfiction pick. Short but powerful. Great beginning on feminism.


I had a great reading month! What about you? What did you read in January? And do you like the addition of stars along with the titles?


2019 Reading & Writing Goals

2019 is here, and with it, new goals! I love new years because they are fresh starts. I feel like I was too ambitious last year with writing goals so I’m going to keep it more realistic this year.



Reading Goals


  1. Read 85 Books
  2. Read 1 childhood book per month
  3. Read 1 new kid’s (children or middle grade) book per month
  4. Read 6 classics
  5. Read 6 true crime
  6. Read 6 nonfiction
  7. Read 1 graphic novel per month
  8. Continue to participate in readathons and buddy/group reads
  9. Read more Horror, Thrillers, and books featuring ballet
  10. “Shop” more from my local library and bookshelf


Writing Goals


  1. Be published by the end of the year
  2. Finish Not My House
  3. Finish editing The Birthday Bash
  4. Finish editing So Much Rage
  5. Write for NaNoWriMo


Do you have any goals for 2019? If so, I’d love to hear them! Best of luck with them!


Books in 2018

This year I decided it would be fun to keep stats of my books to see just what I was reading.


But first, here are my top favorites for the year:













In 2018, I Read:


101.5 Books

32.5 Adult
33 YA
1 Adult/YA
11 Middle Grade
24 Children’s


17 were bought this year
2 were gifted
45 came from the library/Overdrive
45 I already owned before 2018
1 was a Giveaway/ARC
42 I listened on Audio (most with physical and/or ebooks)
9 were ebooks (all with physical copies)
All but 1 were read physically (an audiobook I couldn’t find)

Kept 52 Books I Read
Unhauled 11 Books I Read


I read:

19 Contemporary
16 Horror
6 Thriller
10 Fantasy
2 Mystery
8 Graphic Novel
7 Classics
6 Sci-Fi/Dystopian
2.5 True Crime (DNFed one)
7 Nonfiction
2 Historical
1 Action/Adventure
15 Picture Books

Two 1
Three 2
One 2.5
Thirteen 3
Twenty-two 3.5
Twenty-four 4
Eight 4.5
Twenty-eight 5
One DNF @ 50%
One DNF under 50%
Two DNF for later

Very happy with my reading year and for branching out more!






Books in December 2018


For 2018, I have challenged myself to read 80 books. This month I read nine!


Favorite: Even White Trash Zombies Get the Blues by Diana Rowland

Least Liked: Quidditch Through the Ages

Classic: The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus by Frank L. Baum

Group: Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris

Nonfiction: Adventures in Amity: Tales from the Jaws Ride

Childhood: The Mitten by Jan Brett

New Kids: Guess Who’s Coming to Santa’s for Dinner? By Tomie dePaola

I actually enjoyed everything I read this month. A little disappointed that I didn’t get to a couple of others I’d started on, though.


My childhood read for the month


My new kid’s read.


My group read for the month


My nonfiction book for the month. The Jaws ride holds a deep place in my heart so this was a fantastic read.


My classic for the month.


Favorite. The sequel was even better than the first!


What did you read in December and what were your favorites? Have you read any of these? Would love to hear from you in the comments!


December & General 2018 Goal Wrap-up


Last month I decided to do a post with a list of goals I wanted to accomplish in the coming month. Let’s see how I did.



Reading Goals

1. Read Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris for Peter’s Book Club

2. Read a childhood book.

3. Read a new children’s book

4. Read for TisTheSeasonAThon.

5. Read for Cram-a-Thon.

6. Read The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus by L. Frank Baum or Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier for my classic read.

7. Read Cursed With Power


Writing Goals

1. Finish my last VCA recap for the blog (MUST!)

2. Write at least 10K of Not My House.


I accomplished most of my December goals, though I did not get as much done with Cram-A-Thon as I would have liked. I started Rebecca but ended up moving it to next year because I knew I wouldn’t be able to finish and hadn’t gotten in far enough to want to continue into January. I didn’t get much of Not My House done, either. I am aiming to finish the general story in December–it may end up being a long short story or novella instead of a novel.


December was a bit hectic so I am happy I accomplished what I did!


Now, let’s see how I did with the goals I made for 2018 in general:



Reading Goals

1. Read 80 Books Again.

I ended up finishing 101.5! I finished around 80 last year so I think having 24 children’s books and more graphic novels definitely bumped me up, though I read a few chunky books as well (Chances was 800ish pages!).


2. Read 1 Classic per month (12 total)

Sadly, I only managed to read 7, though I had one planned for each month. I believe I got a little burnt out on one a month, especially when I foolishly attempted to read The Count of Monte Cristo within a month.


3. Read 1 book from my childhood per month

I did this and it was so fun that I have decided to continue the tradition until I run out of books!


4. Read 1 new children’s book per month

I did this and it was so fun I have decided to continue this goal. Some of these became favorites!


5. Finish books (9 total) from 2017 (Afterparty, Crank, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Rooms, Slice of Cherry, Quidditch Through the Ages, Harry A History, & Raging Star).

I finished one of these (lol) though I did have the best intentions to read at least 6 of them. I will be attempting some of these for 2019.


6. Every quarter (4 months), Read 1 Nonfiction Book.

I ended up reading 7 nonfiction books so I exceeded on this goal and am really happy I did. In the past I rarely read nonfiction and have discovered most of what I’ve read to be enjoyable.


7. Every quarter (3 months), Read 1 True Crime Novel

I ended up reading 2 true crime books and half of another (DNFed the other half). I had my 4th one but ended up DNFing that after 60 pages. Hoping I will read more next year. One of the true crime books ended up making my top favorites.


8. Participate in more Read-a-thons & Buddy/Group Reads

I definitely did this. Not sure how many I participated in, but there were several. Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon, Spook-a-thon, and TistheSeasonathon were probably my favorites. I also joined two book clubs and read a good majority of the offerings (and found some new favorites there). I also participated in two buddy reads, though the first one we both ended up DNFing the book. This is something I plan to continue doing because it is fun and motivating.


9. Try to “shop” from my owned books & the library

I’m really pleased with myself for doing this more. While I did buy some of the newer/group books, I did try to check the library first. Usually in these cases the library didn’t have the book or it was on a long holding list.


10. Finish/Make progress with more series

I finished the To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before trilogy, read 3 Animorphs, and 2 One Piece mangas. Not terrible, but I was hoping to get through more.


7/10 and parts of the rest are pretty good and I am happy with my reading for 2018.


Writing Goals


1. Edit Our Reasons

Didn’t happen.



2. Querying/Publishing Investigating

Not really.


3. Participate in more Twitter events like #PitMad, PitchMadness, Pitch Wars, etc.

Not a single one.


4. Edit The Birthday Bash

I’ve gotten at least halfway through this, though there will need to be another edit with my beta reader before it’s ready.


5. Edit Evil in the Walls

Didn’t happen.


6. Edit So Much Rage



7. Write a new Horror novel

Started one for NaNoWriMo but I didn’t finish.


8. Work on CHALTS

Did not happen.


9. Work on Karen’s Not Home

Did not happen.


10. Get published

Too much happened in 2018 for me to seriously pursue this, but I am definitely working toward it in 2019.


I didn’t really accomplish any of my Writing goals, but it’s OK. Writing has been challenging for me over the last few years and I am hoping I will find the same consistent passion for it like I used to in the upcoming years.


This post got a bit long so I have decided I will just do a new one for my 2019 Goals. New Year, fresh start!


What were your goals for December, or for 2018, and did you accomplish any of them? If you didn’t, don’t be too hard on yourself. Life is hard and sometimes you’re just not going to accomplish everything (or anything)!


VCA Recaps: Dawn Part 7


On to Part 7! — The LAST part!



Again, this recap will contain SPOILERS so read at your OWN risk!

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 |


This recap will consist of Chapters 12–Epilogue


Instead of returning to her room, Dawn goes to see her mother to tell her about the punishment Grandmother Cutler has decided on until she agrees to wear the name badge. Laura Sue is as helpful as ever, complaining about how disagreements give her stomachaches and how her dinner is ruined now.



Poor Dawn apologizes and tries to get Laura Sue to help but her mother is just unwilling to actually fight for her. She suggests Dawn just wear the name tag when she’s working. At least she does admit that she isn’t as strong as she used to be (if she ever was strong) due to the kidnapping. Dawn is curious so Laura Sue talks more about how it happened.


Dawn learns that it happened at the hotel and that her nurse, Mrs. Dalton, was blamed and fired. She also discovers that Sally Jean had given birth to a stillborn before kidnapping her and were planning to name her Dawn. I’m not 100% sure I believe the last part–seems like a nice way to get Dawn to change her name…



Dawn returns to her room to think about everything she’s learned. Of course Clara Sue decides to come by, taunting Dawn because she’s crying. There’s some fat shaming from Dawn, which I’m not a fan of, even if Clara Sue is a nasty person. Clara Sue can’t fathom why Dawn won’t wear the name tag and denies telling their grandmother stories about Dawn and Philip. After Clara Sue leaves to report Dawn’s “stubbornness” to their grandmother, Dawn decides to try and get some sleep.


So of course Grandmother Cutler barges in later to accuse Dawn of stealing a necklace from a guest’s room. Her room and body are searched, even though Dawn is just wearing her underwear and has a sheet wrapped around her; Grandmother Cutler does the strip search herself. Once dressed, Dawn is ready to go talk to Philip about this awful situation when she discovers she’s been locked in!


Randolph comes to the door and they talk about the past and he again pleads with her to wear the name badge. When Dawn agrees with him to unlock the door, he tells her that his mother must have the key. After he leaves to retrieve it, Philip comes by and unlocks the door–apparently the key was in the lock already. He takes her to his hideaway to show her something–Jimmy!



Jimmy has ran away from his foster parents, all the way from Georgia. As Philip runs off for food and clothing for Jimmy, Dawn listens as Jimmy tells her how his new parents were abusing him. Dawn catches him up on the terrible things she’s endured at the hotel. She becomes confused about her feelings toward Jimmy because she grew up thinking he was her brother when really Philip was all along.


When Dawn returns to her room, Clara Sue is there. After her sister leaves, Dawn goes inside and finds the stolen necklace laying on her bed! She finally decides to take it back to the guest’s room. On the way back, Dawn’s father stops her to give her the name badge she’s agreed to wear. He doesn’t remember the key being in the lock when she asks him about it.



The next day, Dawn wears the name badge and her grandmother tells her that the necklace has miraculously turned up. Dawn denies taking it and her grandmother says that she hopes nothing else is ever taken again. Later Dawn goes to visit Jimmy. They talk about Dawn’s new family and the Longchamps. Jimmy also confesses his feelings he’s always had toward Dawn.


When he says that’s why he has to leave, she pleads with him to stay. Dawn’s always had confused feelings for him, too, and is definitely feeling them now. She introduces herself to him like they’d just met and he plays along with the fantasy. This leads to heavy kissing, petting, and almost sex. Whoa.



They pull away, talk about the possibility of their feelings and relationship, and are about to kiss again when Clara Sue opens the door. It’s like she has this compass that allows her to barge in on moments to ruin. In exchange for her silence, Dawn agrees to clean Clara Sue’s disaster of a room.


When Dawn returns to Jimmy, she panics because she can’t find him right away. When he comes into view, he explains that he was running away from Clara Sue after she attempted to seduce him. Seeing how upset Dawn is, Jimmy agrees to stay for another day.


Mrs. Boston isn’t fooled by who cleaned up Clara Sue’s room. Dawn inquires about her former nurse, Mrs. Dalton, and Mrs. Boston hesitantly begins to open up more about her. Dawn goes to her room to wash up for dinner. As she is about to take to take a shower, Philip comes in and makes advances toward her, unable to accept their new relationship as siblings.



He pushes himself onto her until she begins to scream. Philip is confused by her reaction but quickly flees. Dawn takes a scalding shower afterwards. Randolph comes by after with a receipt proving that Ormand Longchamp has received her letter. She also learns more about what happened the night of her kidnapping.


Dawn takes Jimmy dinner and confesses on how miserable she is at Cutler’s Cove. They struggle with their feelings toward one another and how they used to see themselves as siblings until Clara Sue arrives with the police to seize Jimmy. Of course Grandmother Cutler is furious at Dawn for disgracing the family once again.



Dawn runs off and Sissy comes after her. She only agrees to return if Sissy will take her to Mrs. Dalton’s house the following day. Dawn then confronts Clara Sue. Clara Sue yells that she hates Dawn and that she’s hated her all of her life! She feels as if she was born only to replace Dawn and bluntly tells her that she will do everything in her power to make her life a living hell.

“Never let your guard down with me, Dawn. Watch out for me. Always.”



In the morning, Sissy honors her word and takes Dawn to Mrs. Dalton, who is very elderly by now. Mrs. Dalton decides that it’s finally time to tell the truth and that Dawn has come to redeem her. Dawn learns that she isn’t really Randolph’s daughter—that Laura Sue cheated on him with a singer who was visiting the hotel.  Grandmother Cutler found out and later arranged for the Longchamps to kidnap Dawn to keep the secret from spilling out.



Dawn returns to the hotel and confronts her mother with the truth. Laura Sue confesses that Grandmother Cutler made her “give” Dawn up. Laura Sue goes into total pity mode about how Randolph was always too involved with the hotel to ever pay her any mind and how it was all his fault. Dawn refuses to let her off the hook that easy, calling her weak for refusing to fight for her.



Laura Sue insists on moving forward and forgetting the past, though she does tell Dawn that she’s sorry. Next Dawn confronts Grandmother Cutler about everything she knows. Grandmother Cutler is surprised but paints Laura Sue as being the one at fault for being so needy for attention and how she was never good enough for Randolph.


Dawn insists that Ormand Longchamp shouldn’t be facing prison time for this scandal and once Grandmother Cutler realizes that Dawn isn’t afraid of letting the family’s dark secrets come out, she agrees to make some calls if Dawn will do something for her.


At first Dawn thinks that maybe Grandmother Cutler will want her to go live with Ormand but to her surprise, she wants Dawn to attend a fancy art school in New York. Ironically Randolph later tells Dawn that she will “become the most famous Cutler of all.”



Dawn learns that Fern has been adopted by a childless couple, though their identity is still a mystery. She also realizes that everyone in her new “family” is happy about her leaving, aside from Philip. He thinks Dawn is going away because she told Grandmother Cutler what happened between them and tries to make excuses for raping her. Dawn’s not having it, though, and tells him to leave her alone.



Dawn writes Ormand another letter now that she knows everything. When she next hears from Jimmy, she tells him, too. Jimmy is with a new foster family and doing better than he had been.


On the ride to the next chapter in Dawn’s life, she can’t help but think back to the car rides with her family when they would go somewhere new for a fresh start.



And we’re done! Apologies on how long it has taken me to get this recap finished. I will not be doing the other books in this series at the moment but I may be open to doing a more condensed version of recaps with other books in the future.