VCA Recaps: Dawn Part 6

 

On to Part 6!

 

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

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

 

This recap will consist of Chapters 9, 10, & 11.

 

Mrs. Boston insists on calling Dawn “Eugenia” until Mrs. Cutler otherwise says and basically tells Dawn not to even go to her parents about it because her grandmother is queen. Dawn is seriously wondering WTF is up with her “parents” who haven’t even bothered to set eyes on her.

 

 

Dawn is shown to her room, which is a really small servant’s room. Welcome home, kiddo. You can tell just how much you’ve been missed, right? Dawn discovers that Mrs. Boston is annoyed with her because Mrs. Cutler fired a woman named Agatha so that Dawn could work instead. Because that is totally Dawn’s fault and not her grandmother’s.

 

 

Finally Randolph, Dawn’s father, shows up to introduce himself. He explains that her mother is resting and in no condition to see her due to her mental health. He also refuses to budge on her name because eventually her grandmother will “convince her” to accept it.

 

As if to rub salt into the wound, Dawn receives the uniform of the chambermaid, Agatha, that she is replacing. She has a tough time getting to sleep that night and in the morning Grandmother Cutler pounces on her for not being up early to do her work despite only yesterday learning the truth about everything.

 

 

Grandmother Cutler notices a picture of Sally Jean that Dawn kept in plain sight and gets so angry about it that she tears it up. Instead of getting to work when her grandmother leaves, Dawn gets dressed and flees from the hotel. She finds herself in the family cemetery, coming across her own gravestone.

 

Dawn decides to return to the hotel and show her grandmother just what she’s made of. She puts on her uniform and discusses the grave with a chambermaid named Sissy, who reveals that Mrs. Cutler had decided to make it after a few years of Dawn’s disappearance.

 

Later on, Randolph comes to tell Dawn that her mother is finally ready to see her. On the way to her room, he explains how emotionally fragile she is. In a really gorgeous sounding suite, Randolph introduces Dawn to Laura Sue, her mother. Dawn learns that her grandmother was the one to name her Eugenia. When Dawn refuses to accept the new name, Laura Sue moans about how difficult all this will be.

 

Laura Sue shows her narcissism right away in making everything that happened to Dawn about her.

“My nurse, Mrs. Dalton, knew you longer than I did,” she whined.

She then tells Dawn that she must spend as much time with her as possible catching up. When Dawn refuses to betray the Longchamps as being bad, Laura Sue again states just how difficult all of this is going to be.

 

She’s quick to assume Dawn’s etiquette and pretty much insults the way her hair and looks are. Laura Sue is not happy that Dawn has to be a chambermaid but promises Dawn that things will get better and one day all of this will just seem like a bad dream. When Dawn and Laura Sue part ways, she realizes just how little warmth her mother seemed to have even though they looked a lot alike. Laura Sue hadn’t even attempted to hug her.

 

 

Dawn tries to settle into her new life, barely ever seeing either of her parents because Randolph is always busy and Laura Sue keeps to her room. Then one day Laura Sue emerges and the transformation shocks Dawn. Instead of seeming frail, her mother suddenly looks very healthy and energized.

 

 

The next day Dawn discovers a dusty attic room filled with things like family photos and newspaper clippings about her kidnapping. Maybe it’s just me but it seems like that would be something you wouldn’t really want to remember. Of course her grandmother finds her in the room and is pissed.

 

Nervous, Dawn starts playing with Sally Jean’s pearls around her neck. She’d been missing SJ so she’d put on the necklace. Grandmother Cutler sees the necklace and is further enraged, accusing Dawn of stealing them from one of the trunks in the room. She grabs the necklace and rips it off Dawn, saying they are hers now.

 

 

When Dawn protests and tries to get them back, her grandmother shoves her to the floor and yells at her for raising a hand to her. She then insinuates that Sally Jean stole the pearls on the day she stole Dawn but Dawn is unwilling to believe it. When her grandmother finally leaves the room, Dawn waits for her tears but they don’t come. She realizes that her grandmother can take the pearls and tear up photos but that her memories can never be snatched away.

 

 

The next day Dawn is given old clothes that Clara Sue no longer wears. When Dawn realizes some of the clothes will still be too big, Mrs. Boston tries to guilt trip her by saying she should be grateful and that plenty of poor people would be happy to them, especially Agatha. It amazes me that Mrs. Boston would say this to someone in Dawn’s position. Yep, a long lost teenager who doesn’t even want to be here is totally responsible for your friend being fired.

 

 

Not too long after, Dawn encounters Philip as her brother and it’s as awkward as you’d imagine. Philip even tells her that he can’t think of her as his sister but Dawn insists that they have to. Thankfully Philip had only supposedly told their grandmother that Dawn was a good friend but I’m sure that omnipresent bitch suspects more. Philip suggests that they keep their past relationship a secret. In her mind, Dawn bides goodbye to her first romantic love.

 

 

Dawn later encounters her wonderful new sister, Clara Sue, who is just as nice to her as she was before. She especially harps on her and Philip’s romantic relationship and how disgusting it was even if neither of them knew the truth. She tries to get Dawn to give her intimate details by playing “nice” but of course Dawn refuses to tell her the truth.

 

The past comes up but Clara Sue is weirdly obsessed with Dawn and Philip’s relationship. Almost like she’s jealous?

 

“I hope he doesn’t forget you are his sister now,” she added curtly.

 

 

After Clara Sue brags about never having to do menial work in the hotel and how she helps out at the receptionist desk, she finally leaves. Dawn gets to thinking about the Longchamps and is inspired to write Ormand a letter. She pleads with her new father to mail it to him and he tells her he’ll try.

 

Dawn decides to try to dress nicer before joining her family (without her grandmother present thankfully) in her mother’s suite. Randolph suggests Dawn play them something on the piano and of course everyone raves about her performance but Clara Sue, who is obviously jealous. In an attempt to hurt her mother for lavishing attention on Dawn, she makes an excuse to go see her grandmother, who Laura Sue obviously has issues with and vice versa.

 

The next day is Mrs. Cutler’s birthday so the entire hotel is full of energy. Dawn has no money for a present so she decides she will sing a song for her grandmother. That night for dinner she takes special care to dress. The rest of Dawn’s family and the guests are pleased with the song Dawn sings for her grandmother but she doesn’t seem impressed at all, though she claps for appearances. You can imagine how this makes Dawn feel.

 

 

The next day Dawn is still feeling down about her grandmother’s song. Noticing, Philip takes her on a tour of the hotel and the grounds. He later shows her to his “hideaway”, which is a little room in the old section of the hotel. Philip admits that he can’t seem to get over her and insists on holding her even though it makes Dawn uncomfortable. When he gets too frisky, Dawn gets him to stop and he apologizes.

 

But of course he has to be creepy not too long after when he turns off the light and says:

 

“In the darkness we can pretend we’re not brother and sister. You can’t see me; I can’t see you.”

 

 

He plays it off as a joke, but still. As they are leaving, who shows up other than Grandmother Cutler? And who else but Clara Sue would have suggested where they may be? Seems like Philip’s “hideaway” isn’t quite as secret as he’d like. Grandmother Cutler marches Dawn back to her office and asks point blank what is going on between her and Philip.

 

Dawn is further offended when her grandmother asks if they did anything that would shame the Cutler family. Her grandmother doesn’t seem to completely buy Dawn’s innocence because she says that Dawn will be responsible for proper behavior when it comes to her and Philip.

 

 

And as if her grandmother can’t get any more controlling, she presents Dawn with a name badge that says “Eugenia.” If Dawn refuses to wear it, she will stay in her room without any food. Dawn is sure that her parents won’t allow this and openly defies her grandmother. Grandmother Cutler laughs and reveals that Randolph brought the letter to Ormand to her and forbids Dawn from seeking any future contact with him. Feeling defeated, Dawn heads straight to her room to begin her punishment.

 

 

Next, Dawn learns more about her past and gets a surprise visitor.

 

 

 

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Camp NaNoWriMo 2018: Week 1

So far my progress for Camp NaNoWriMo is going great! Here are my stats:

 

Target Word Count:15,000

Total Words Written: 7,076

Words Remaining: 7,924

Days Remaining: 23

 

Editing and re-writing, for me, is generally easier than starting a new story but I am very happy with my progress. I’ve changed and added things and feel like my story is getting even better. For someone who really hasn’t written much this year, I am really happy with how things are going. Camp NaNo’s website suggests that I will meet my goal by July 17th if I continue at this rate. I’m aiming to get as much as the story done as I can so if I go past my 15K goal, I’ll be thrilled.

 

Are you participating in Camp NaNo? If so, how is it going for you? Happy writing!

 

Camp NaNoWriMo 2018

So if you’ve been following me for a while, you probably know that I’ve been struggling with my writing for the last couple of years. This year has especially been a struggle with so many things in my life changing. I’ve been doing Camp NaNo since 2012 and as long as I am able, I don’t want to ever miss it or NaNoWriMo.

 

This year, I’m taking it easy, at least for Camp NaNo. I’m attempting 15K of re-writing/editing The Birthday Bash. So far I’ve managed about 4K despite having a late start so I am optimistic that I will accomplish my goal. If I still feel inspired after making my goal, I plan to continue until I’m finished. I will try and do a update every week to keep myself accountable and perhaps my success or failure will help someone else.

 

Are you participating in Camp NaNo? If so, what are your goals? Happy writing!

 

 

Books in June 2018

For 2018, I have challenged myself to read 80 books. This month I read ten! June was also Pride month so I made sure to include some LGBT+ books I’d already been wanting to read into my TBR.

 

New Favorite(s): She’s Come Undone by Wally Lamb, And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson, & The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang.

Least Liked: Endless Night by Richard Laymon

Childhood: The Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary

New Kid’s: And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson

Group Reads: She’s Come Undone by Wally Lamb & Endless Night by Richard Laymon

PRIDE Reads: Every Heart A Doorway by Seanan McGuireThey Both Die At the End by Adam Silvera, The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli, The Before Now and After Then by Peter Monn, And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson, & The Prince and The Dressmaker by Jen Wang.

I mostly enjoyed everything I read this month.

 

My favorite book of June and one of my top 2018 reads. I also read this for Peter’s Book Club.

One of my new favorite graphic novels.

 

My new kid’s read was also a Pride Read and favorite for the month

 

Still loved my childhood read

 

Finally got around to one of my favorite Booktuber’s books (Peter Monn)

 

My least liked book of the month that I read for Peter’s Book Club.

 

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

 

jnc

June Goals Wrap-Up & July Goals 2018

Here are my reading and writing goals for June. Let’s see how I did!

Reading Goals

1. Work on reading The Count of Monte Cristo.

2. Read a childhood book.

3. Read a new children’s book (And Tango Makes Three)

4. Read for Pride month

5. Read She’s Come Undone by Wally Lamb for Peter’s Book Club

6. Read Endless Night by Richard Laymon for Peter’s Book Club

*7 Read book for Mini Book Club if title selected/available in time

 

 

Writing Goals

1. Work on my VCA recaps for the blog

2. Work on editing The Birthday Bash

 

I read a lot of books in June so I’m pretty happy with the goals I achieved. Sadly I didn’t really get into The Count of Monte Cristo though. I wasn’t interested in either book for the Mini Book Club so I decided to skip it this month.

 

Even though I didn’t do much for my writing goals, I still worked on both so I am very happy about that considering how little I feel I’ve accomplished writing wise this year.

 

Here are my goals for July:

Reading Goals

1. Work on reading The Count of Monte Cristo.

2. Read a childhood book.

3. Read a new children’s book

4. Read Hidden Bodies by Caroline Kepnes

5. Read Chances by Jackie Collins for Peter’s Book Club

6. Read Lucky by Jackie Collins for Peter’s Book Club

7. Read Hunger by Roxane Gay for Mini Book Club

 

Writing Goals

1. Work on my VCA recaps for the blog

2. Work on editing The Birthday Bash for Camp NaNo (15K)

 

 

What goals did you accomplish so far this year or are there any you have for July? I would love to hear them!

 

VCA Recaps: Dawn Part 5

 

On to Part 5!

 

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

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

 

This recap will consist of Chapters 7-8.

 

Philip drives a very nervous Dawn to the school for the concert. He kisses her and says some lines that make my eyes roll before wishing her good luck. Dawn feels more confident that the three men in her life have kissed her and wished her luck so she heads to where the other students are going backstage to prepare.

 

 

Of course the girls make a big deal about her pearls and tease Dawn for wearing them. Clara Sue suggests they’re fake. Then they lure her to the bathroom and start giving her compliments about her hair. Dawn can tell something is up right before she is pelted by stink bombs. Of course Louise doesn’t participate but she stands there looking sick.

 

After crying and feeling sorry for herself once the other girls leave, Dawn looks up as Louise approaches and apologizes. Dawn asks her to go retrieve her coat so she can go home, feeling completely humiliated. Louise returns with a new uniform that Mr. Moore had. She’d told him what had happened. Of course, he doesn’t seem to really do anything to the girls but maybe he knows the principal won’t do anything to Clara Sue anyway?

 

Louise then has an idea for revenge–she shoves Dawn’s smelly sweater into Clara Sue’s expensive cashmere coat. Dawn rocks her solo despite Clara Sue being sour grapes about it. As Dawn’s father and brother are congratulating her, Philip approaches. Dawn asks her dad if she can go with Philip for pizza. He reluctantly agrees.

 

As Dawn returns to get her coat, Clara Sue is discovering the fate of hers and of course blames Dawn for it, something Louise had predicted and joked about. When Dawn tells Philip about it, he says Clara Sue is spoiled. Philip and Dawn sit in the rear of the pizza place and everyone comes over to either lavish Dawn with comments or flirt with Philip (such bad taste, girls, even if he is awful).

 

Philip suggests they take the pizza to go and eat it under the stars. We all know what he really wants to do, right? Dawn agrees and she loves the view of the stars down Philip’s “secret road.” Philip surprises her with a french kiss and seems delighted about it and all of the things he will have to “teach” her. As usual, things begin to move too fast for Dawn but she has no idea how to slow it down. Any time she protests, he tells her to take it easy.

 

 

When headlights wash over them, Dawn screams and Philip pulls away as a car pulls in beside them. It’s one of the guys from the baseball team and Philip is furious about it.

 

“I should have come right up here instead of taking you for the pizza,” he said, almost in a growl.

 

 

Dawn asks him to just take her home. When Philip gets to Dawn’s place, Ormand and Jimmy run to the car to tell her that Sally Jean isn’t doing so well. Dawn joins her family in her father’s car so they can return to the hospital. The security guard from before briefly stops them until he double checks about their situation, still giving them hard looks. As they reach the ICU, Sally Jean’s doctor comes over to tell them that her heart just gave out–she’s dead.

 

 

Ormand, Jimmy, and Dawn are all in denial until they see Sally Jean’s body. Jimmy is so upset that he walks out of the hospital and goes home, where Ormand and Dawn later find him. The three of them go into the house and cry together. Sally Jean has a simple funeral ceremony due to money.

 

A few days later, the Longchamps wake to a beating on their door in the morning. It’s the police. They ask for Ormand, then put him under arrest. The security guard from the hospital is there, saying how he recognized him. They are arresting Ormand for kidnapping. When Dawn asks who he kidnapped, the security guard turns to her.

 

“Why, he kidnapped you, honey.”

 

DUN DUN DUN!

 

 

The entire family is taken to the station and Dawn is left in a small room, scared to death and unable to believe what is happening to her. Poor girl just lost her mother and now her father is in jail for kidnapping, supposedly her? Dawn learns that she was kidnapped fifteen years ago and that even her birthday isn’t her true one. She’s in denial about the situation, which I’m pretty sure most teenagers would be. Probably even some adults.

 

To confirm her identity, a police woman asks Dawn to reveal a birthmark under her left shoulder. Dawn learns that Ormand and Sally Jean worked at a resort in Virginia Beach and that they had stolen jewelry and her. Dawn has a fit and instead of understanding how traumatic this must be, the police woman threatens to put a straight jacket on her. Classy.

 

 

A younger male cop takes pity on Dawn and tries to make the situation go a bit more smoothly. As they are taking Dawn out to the car to return her to her real parents (they really can’t come get her?), she sees Ormand and cries for him but he must be very shamed because he won’t even look at her. Jimmy and Fern are already gone, set to be taken in by separate foster parents.

 

Dawn even learns that her name isn’t even her own–her real name is Eugenia. Eugenia Cutler. Cutler. Yeah…as in…PHILIP and CLARA SUE CUTLER.

 

 

Dawn realizes this too and it’s just another whammy for her. Her real parents are Randolph and Laura Sue Cutler. Philip and Clara Sue’s parents. So, Dawn has lost the woman she thought was her mother, the person she thought was her father, Jimmy and Fern, and now her boyfriend. I’m not even sure how I would handle all that. It’s too much.

 

Dawn arrives at The Cutler Cove Hotel. The police remark on how nice of a start it will be but they have no idea. There’s a lot of descriptions for the fancy resort and its grounds and private beach. Fancy, fancy! The police woman makes a snide remark on how Dawn’s better off here. This woman just shouldn’t be allowed to work with the public, much less minors.

Dawn is led to an office inside the hotel where an older regal lady–her grandmother–is waiting. Almost immediately she is finding faults with Dawn and saying nasty things about the Longchamps. Because a girl who thought she was their real daughter and loved them for fifteen years needs to hear all of that! Dawn isn’t taking it though and defends them.

 

Dawn’s new grandmother, Mrs. Cutler, decides it will be too embarrassing for Philip and Clara Sue if Dawn returned to school so she decides Dawn will skip out the rest of the year. Isn’t that illegal? Instead, Dawn gets to be a chambermaid! Great welcome home, huh? When Dawn asks about her parents, they are either busy or not ready to see her yet, like she’s this huge inconvenience. These people are really fantastic.

Dawn meets the head maid, Mrs. Boston. Mrs. Cutler tells Dawn that she will be referred to as Eugenia as long as she lives there despite Dawn’s angry protests. Her name is silly because she was born in the middle of the night, not at dawn like Sally Jean said.

 

So Dawn’s lost her entire family as she knew them, Philip as her boyfriend, her entire life basically being a lie, her birthday, and now her name. But hey, your identity isn’t important or anything. Certainly Lillian Cutler would know nothing about that!

Mrs. Boston leads Dawn out of the office and the poor girl comes to terms with her new Cinderella-esqe existence.

 

 

Next, Dawn learns to adjust to her new life and wonderful family.

 

 

 

2018 Reading & Writing Goals Check-Up

Can you guys believe half of 2018 is over? It has been a pretty crazy year for me and I’m kind of stunned we’re already in June. Since we’re halfway through the year, I thought I’d take a look at the reading and writing goals I made at the beginning of the year and see how I’m doing with those.

 

Reading Goals

1. Read 80 Books Again.

I’m currently at 45.5 books so far so I’m actually ahead of schedule. I don’t see finishing another 35 books being an issue, especially as at least 12 of them will be children’s books.

 

2. Read 1 Classic per month (12 total)

Aside from January and May, I managed to keep up with this goal. However, from now on I have decided to put my focus on the beast that is The Count of Monte Cristo. Then I hope to return to Madame Bovary. I’m not sure if I will be able to finish all the classics I planned initially, but I’m going to try. I definitely want to get my French based classics finished before our trip to Paris (which has been moved to next Spring). At least Phantom of the Opera is out of the way.

 

3. Read 1 book from my childhood per month

So far I’ve been doing great with this and it’s a lot of fun and nostalgia. I may continue this next year.

 

4. Read 1 new children’s book per month

So far I’ve been doing great with this, too, and may also continue into next year.

 

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 haven’t read a single one of these yet. Great reminder for me to pick up a few of these for the summer.

 

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

So far I’ve only read 1 Nonfiction book but I have two planned for this summer and one for the winter so I see completing this goal being no issue. Actually, that should be every 3 months, not 4.

 

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

So far I’ve read one and DNFed another (which I am counting as a half read since I got a little more than halfway). I plan to read two more and if I have time, maybe I’ll do another shorter one.

 

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

I’ve participated in three read-a-thons, one buddy read (sadly the DNF, for both of us), and am in two online book clubs so I’ve been reading a lot of group reads. I feel I’m doing great with this goal.

 

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

I’ve definitely been “shopping” with my new library system. I’m slowly getting through some of my owned books as well. I’ve bought books, but I feel for the most part more intentional with my buying. I usually try to check the library first.

 

10. Finish/Make progress with more series

So far I’ve finished one trilogy (To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before) and am in the middle of the Cutler series for a re-read. I’m hoping to finish the last book in the Dustlands trilogy and reading as many Animorphs and One Piece books whenever I can squeeze them in. I’ve read one Animorphs and two One Piece books so far.

 

Overall, I feel I’m doing pretty good on my Reading Goals.

 

 

Writing Goals

 

1. Edit Our Reasons

This definitely hasn’t happened yet.

 

 

2. Querying/Publishing Investigating

…Nor this.

 

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

Not a single one.

 

4. Edit The Birthday Bash

I’ve actually started editing this so there’s some progress!

 

5. Edit Evil in the Walls

Not yet but I didn’t really plan to until later on this year.

 

6. Edit So Much Rage

Not yet.

 

7. Write a new Horror novel

Probably going to be what I do for NaNoWriMo this year.

 

8. Work on CHALTS

I honestly don’t see this happening.

 

9. Work on Karen’s Not Home

Or this.

 

10. Get published

I’m not sure if 2018 is the year for this with all that has happened–new job situation, new house, etc. But I’m still aiming for it.

 

I figured my Writing goals would be the weaker of the two. It took me a lot longer to get settled in our new house than I thought and I haven’t really had the same drive to write and edit and get published like I used to. I still want to do these things, but I’m just not sure this is going to be the year to do it.

 

Overall, I’m happy with how my Reading Goals are going and I’m OK on how the Writing ones are going. I’m not giving up and definitely hoping to get more done before 2018 is over with.

 

Did you make any goals for 2018? If so, how are they going?