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?

 

 

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May Goals Wrap-Up & June Goals 2018

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

Reading Goals

1. Read Madame Bovary for my classic read.

2. Read a childhood book.

3. Read a new children’s book.

4. Start a new True Crime quarterly read

5. Read Heaven by V.C. Andrews for Peter’s Book Club

6. Read Crazy Rich Asians for Mini Book Club

 

Writing Goals

1. Work on my VCA recaps for the blog

2. Work on editing The Birthday Bash

 

I’m sad I didn’t get to my classic read but May ended up being a pretty busy month for me. I’ve decided that for now, I’m going to put Madame Bovary on the back burner. Going forward, I intend to finish The Count of Monte Cristo before I start any new classics because I really want to read that before going to Paris. Also hope to get to Madame Bovary as well.

 

I accomplished my other reading goals and while I didn’t do any editing, I definitely plan on doing some during June.

 

Here are my goals for June:

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

 

 

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

 

April Goals Wrap-Up & May Goals 2018

 

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

Reading Goals

1. Read The Scarlet Letter for my classic read.

2. Read a childhood book.

3. Read a new children’s book.

4. Finish Perfect Town, Perfect Murder for my True Crime quarterly read (ended up DNFing this one)

5. Read The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher for my Non-Fiction quarterly read

6. Read Red Clocks for my Group Read

 

Writing Goals

1. Work on my VCA recaps for the blog

2. Do a writing prompt for a friend

 

I feel I did a pretty good job for April and tried really hard to finish Perfect Town, Perfect Murder, but it was just too long and repetitive. It wasn’t worth the time to finish it. I’m still counting it for half a book, though.

 

Here are my goals for May:

Reading Goals

1. Read Madame Bovary for my classic read.

2. Read a childhood book.

3. Read a new children’s book.

4. Start a new True Crime quarterly read

5. Read Heaven by V.C. Andrews for Peter’s Book Club

6. Read Crazy Rich Asians for Mini Book Club

 

Writing Goals

1. Work on my VCA recaps for the blog

2. Work on editing The Birthday Bash

 

 

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

 

January 2018 Goals Wrap-Up

 

So January 2018 has been a very stressful and busy month for me. In short, we are moving into our first house and it hasn’t been easy! Hopefully once we are moved in (by March), things will settle down some. The last few weeks have been crazy but I still got more accomplished than I thought I would. I didn’t meet all of my goals, but I feel I did pretty good considering.

 

Reading Goals

1. Read The Count of Monte Cristo for my classic book

2. Read The Rainbow Fish for my childhood book

3. Get halfway through Perfect Murder, Perfect Town (quarterly true crime/buddy read)

4. Read a new children’s book

5. Read The Underground Railroad for my group read

6. Read The House With A Clock in its Walls for a group read

7. Read at least six books.

8. Read Dawn for a series re-read.

 

I’m a little sad that I didn’t finish my classic but I definitely underestimated the size of the book. I’m maybe forty pages in and while it is going along faster than I thought it would, the book itself is still over a thousand pages. I probably should have split this book up between two months to begin with. My revised goal is to finish it next month.

 

Writing Goals

1. Edit Our Reasons

2. Querying/Publishing Investigating

 

I completely failed both of these goals but it’s OK–that’s just how life is. I didn’t expect that we would find a house so quickly. I will probably have to put my writing and editing on the backburner until we are settled in but hopefully having a place to truly call my own will really help where my writing is concerned.

 

So there’s how I did with January’s goals. What were your goals and how did you do? Has 2018 been a crazy year so far for you?

 

VCA Recaps: Dawn Part 1

 

Last year I did a series of V.C. Andrews recaps for the last three books in the Casteel series. It was so much fun that I decided I wanted to do that again this year. The original idea came from the snarky Flowers in the Attic, My Sweet Audrina, and first two Casteel book recaps I saw here.

I can’t remember when I last visited the Cutler series but I do remember most of the major plot points. It will be interesting to revisit this world as a much older reader, though. I’m pretty sure I haven’t read these since I was in college.

These recaps are filled with SPOILERS so read at your own risk! These are more for longtime VCA fans though anyone is welcome to read!

Anyways, I present to you… Dawn! This recap will cover the first chapter.

 

First off, you have to admire the art that went into this cover. Is that red building supposed to be the hotel, though? A hotel with a weird flame tree and fence? Hmm. Here’s the stepback:

Now, the entire Cutler series was written by Andrew Neiderman, V.C. Andrew’s ghostwriter. Supposedly he wrote the series based on notes of hers. I’m not sure how true all of that is but I do remember this being one of the better ghostwritten series.

 

Here’s how the book opens: Momma once told me that she and Daddy named me Dawn because I was born at the break of day. That was the first of a thousand lies Momma and Daddy would tell me and my brother Jimmy. Of course, we wouldn’t know they were lies, not for a long time, not until the day they came to take us away.

 

One hell of an opening!

 

 

 

The story begins with Dawn Longchamp (fourteen) waking to the sounds of dresser drawers opening in another room. She turns to her sixteen-year-old brother, Jimmy, who sleeps in the same bed as she does to wake him but he’s already awake. Okay, already getting some Flowers in the Attic vibes here. Dawn asks Jimmy what is going on and he bemoans that they were going to get a puppy and plant a garden.

 

So apparently they are leaving and for whatever reason this is a surprise to Dawn. Jimmy tells her that their father got home early from work looking frenzied before he and their mother began to pack. And I guess Jimmy just went to sit on the bed while Dawn slept or something?

 

Jimmy says they might as well get up before their parents come tell them to and proceeds to get dressed. Dawn just lays there and watches him. Riight. She then begins to think of how her family is always moving, never staying settled for long. She then decides to get up and as she does, her nightgown dips low enough to reveal her bosom and she catches Jimmy staring at her. Oh Lord.

 

 

Embarrassed, Dawn fixes her nightgown and thinks about how she’s never told anyone that she and Jimmy sleep in the same bed because of how embarrassing it is. Their family is poor so they have to always share a bed. Dawn gets up, shivering at how cold the room is, and has the sense to go get dressed in the bathroom.

After that, she goes to pack right before her parents come out of their room with their own suitcases in tow. Dawn idly asks why they have to always travel at night and her daddy says it’s the best time to do it, glaring at her. Relax, Daddy. Ormand Longchamp is then described as being handsome with sleek dark brown hair and dark coal eyes.

 

“When the day came that I fell in love and decided to marry, I hoped my husband would be just as handsome as Daddy.”

 

Oh, you just wait, Dawn. Anyway, Dawn is ordered to help her mother pack up kitchen stuff and Jimmy begins to take the bags to the car. Jimmy is described as looking like his father in terms of his body and Dawn describes herself as having “China doll features” and not looking like anyone in the immediate family. They also don’t have many photos of family. The one photo they have is of the mother, Sally Jean, when she was younger and “fresh” looking.

 

Dawn figures all of the photos must have gotten lost over the years during their many moves. As precious as her mother’s photo seems to be, this seems unlikely but anyway. Momma and Jimmy are described as looking alike in their features–black hair, dark eyes, bronze complexions, and beautiful white teeth. Dawn has blond hair and freckles–which she pointedly says no one in her family has.

 

Dawn for whatever reason thinks of how her parents told them about her and Jimmy’s births. Dawn had apparently been born on the road before–you know–dawn. Oh, and the birds were singing. This fact will be very important later on. Dawn’s family is really superstitious, or at least her mother really is, and believes whatever a woman sees while giving birth will be what characteristics her child has.

 

“The worst thing was to have a mouse or a rat in the house when a woman was pregnant,” Momma said.

“What would happen, Momma?” I asked, filled with wonder.

“The child would be sneaky, cowardly.”

 

…right. Anyway, Dawn thinks to how she knows so little about her parents family aside that they were both brought up on small, poor farms in Georgia. There apparently wasn’t enough room for Ormand and Sally Jean Longchamp there once they married so they began their travels.

 

Dawn helps her mother pack up the kitchen, both of them sad about it. Jimmy lingers in the doorway to watch and is both sad and angry before Daddy comes in to make them hurry up. Dawn thinks of how fidgety her father is, how he likes to  frequent bars, and his strange, sulky moods. Her daddy finally tells them that it’s time to get going and he glares at Dawn as if it’s her fault. Foreshadowing! Sort of. Even Dawn is baffled by the glare.

The family heads on to the car to move onto their next location. The kids are surprised to learn that their next destination is Richmond, Virginia. Their father has a job waiting for him at a garage there and their mother is sure she can get a chambermaid position. They already have somewhere to live as well so Dawn knows that her father must have been planning this. This makes me wonder exactly where they stayed when they moved in the past. Were all of the other moves spur of the moment?

 

The Longchamps are so poor that they can only afford a one bedroom apartment, meaning Dawn and Jimmy will have to share a room and a sofa bed. This leads Dawn into thoughts about how they both get embarrassed when Jimmy accidentally touched her “where he wasn’t supposed to.” Dawn wishes that she could be like other girls her age with her own bed and privacy. This is so sad. The apartment is so bad to Jimmy that he remarks that he would rather sleep in the street.

 

A few months pass and one afternoon, Dawn’s mother comes home from work much earlier than usual. Dawn is hoping that her mother would bring something else for dinner because all they were down to now were leftovers. But their mother comes in crying and running to the bedroom and dinner is forgotten.

 

Dawn and Jimmy go to comfort her and find out what happened. Jimmy asks their mother if she lost her job and while she says that she didn’t, she admits that she won’t have it much longer. She breaks the news that she is going to have a baby. Sally Jean went to the doctor earlier that day and discovered she’s more than four months along but ignored the signs. Considering both of her children are teenagers, I can see that being plausible. Poor woman probably thought her periods had finally stopped.

 

Sally Jean keeps crying and says she is too old to have a baby. Dawn is worried and Jimmy is angry at their father because apparently it’s all his fault this happened. Dawn later finds him outside angrily throwing a ball against the wall in the alley.

 

“One thing we definitely don’t need right now if another child in the house. Look at what we’re eating for dinner tonight!” Jimmy yells.

 

I don’t even want to know what’s for dinner. A can of beans split between the four of them, maybe? Jimmy continues to go on about the things that a baby will need. Dawn tries to understand how this could have happened and Jimmy has to tell her that sex doesn’t always make a baby. Awkward.

 

“You’ll have to ask Momma about it. I don’t know all the details,” Jimmy said quickly, but I knew he did.

 

Ormand comes home and learns the news. He and Jimmy get into it before Ormand leaves the house, probably to frequent a bar and spend money they need on himself. I think I can see why Jimmy blames him for so much now. Oh, and apparently they are having grits and black-eyed peas for dinner. Jimmy is very unhappy about it.

 

Dawn gets to worrying about her dad and decides to go to the bar to get him later on. And of course, he’s lost track of how much he’s spent.

 

“I don’t like you going in a place like that. You’re smarter and better than the rest of us, Dawn. You deserve better,” Dawn’s father says.

 

Of course Dawn protests that she isn’t better than anyone but if you know the twist, you know exactly what Ormand means.

 

Jimmy is surprised that Dawn went to get their father. Before they go to sleep, they can hear their parents having sex in the other room. Dawn is kind of curious and terrified about it considering her mother’s condition. She asks Jimmy questions about it and he’s obviously very embarrassed because he keeps dodging them and finally tells her to shut up. Then Dawn’s leg accidentally grazes his and he pulls away so far he’s about to fall off of the sofa bed.

 

Pretty eventful first chapter–it’s 23 pages long!

 

Next, the Longchamps have a new addition to their family, Ormand gets a better job, and the kids get a once in a chance lifetime because of it!

 

January 2018 Goals

Hey guys, I know it’s already halfway through the month but I’m going to go ahead and post this anyway, along with an update on how my goals are coming along! Hopefully 2018 will start to get a little less hectic soon.

Reading Goals

1. Read The Count of Monte Cristo for my classic book

2. Read The Rainbow Fish for my childhood book

3. Get halfway through Perfect Murder, Perfect Town (quarterly true crime/buddy read)

4. Read a new children’s book

5. Read The Underground Railroad for my group read

6. Read The House With A Clock in its Walls for a group read

7. Read at least six books.

8. Read Dawn for a series re-read.

 

So far I have finished goal #2 and will probably finish goals #3-8. I’ve read 3 books so far and am in the process of reading 4 more. I don’t usually read this many at one time but there’s some interesting circumstances this month so that’s just how things happened. So far I haven’t had any issues keeping the book’s plots and characters apart, probably because they are all very different books.

At the moment I am reading Dawn, The Underground Railroad, The House With a Clock in its Walls, and Perfect Murder, Perfect Town. I have not had a chance to start my classic yet and it’s over a thousand pages so we’ll see how it goes. I would at least like to get started on that but hopefully I can find a good audiobook to help me along.

 

Writing Goals

1. Edit Our Reasons

2. Querying/Publishing Investigating

 

Honestly, I don’t think I will get either of these done though I have sent Our Reasons to a trusted beta reader at least.

 

So there are my goals for this month and how they are going so far. What are your goals for this month and how are they going so far?

 

2018 Reading & Writing Goals

Happy 2018! I know it’s the middle of January now but it’s been a crazy time. The end of 2017 happened a little faster than I was expecting but all of the posts from that time are finally up. Things may get a little crazy due to personal life but I’m hoping to get a lot of reading and writing accomplished this year.

 

Reading Goals

1. Read 80 Books Again.
2. Read 1 Classic per month (12 total)
3. Read 1 book from my childhood per month
4. Read 1 new children’s book per month
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).
6. Every quarter (4 months), Read 1 Nonfiction Book.
7. Every quarter (4 months), Read 1 True Crime Novel
8. Participate in more Read-a-thons & Buddy/Group Reads
9. Try to “shop” from my owned books & the library
10. Finish/Make progress with more series

 

Writing Goals

1. Edit Our Reasons

2. Querying/Publishing Investigating

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

4. Edit The Birthday Bash

5. Edit Evil in the Walls

6. Edit So Much Rage

7. Write a new Horror novel

8. Work on CHALTS

9. Work on Karen’s Not Home

10. Get published

 

What are your goals for 2018? I’m really going to try and accomplish as many of these as life allows.