The Hawthorne Legacy (The Inheritance Games #2)The Hawthorne Legacy by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It was cute. Not amazing. The love story felt forced. There were far fewer games or puzzles in this book than there were in the previous installment, which was disappointing, because without the puzzles and with a cringe-y love story, there simply wasn't a lot to keep readers wanting more. The characters showed very little growth or depth and the prose was just okay.

Overall, an adequate follow-up to the Inheritance Games.

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Happy New Year!

2018 is winding to a close, 2019 is just around the corner, and it's time for this lady to be thinking about her plans for the coming year. I'm not great at resolutions. I very rarely keep them. But I do like having goals and making plans. Last year, my main goal was to get a book published. That didn't happen, but you know what, that's okay!

Because I learned so much about the writing/publishing industry, and one of those things I learned was that publishing is a very slow process. One year ago, I had no idea what steps to take. If someone had said something to me about "querying a manuscript" I would have been so lost. So while I didn't achieve my official 2018 goal, I think I did way more. I learned, I grew, I made some difficult choices, I put myself out there, I did some very scary things (not least among them pitching my manuscript in person to agents!) and I came out of all those experiences stronger and better.

I want that for 2019 as well. I want to keep growing, keep learning, keep moving forward in this process. Because I know that the authors who make it are the ones who keep at it, who don't let the setbacks stop them forever, who learn from their mistakes and come back stronger.

However, because I'm a list-oriented person, I've made some specific things to work on:

1) Edit 2 manuscripts to submission-worthy status. Write at least 2 new first drafts of manuscripts. Write, edit, and submit at least one short story a month (12 total seems totally possible, right?) One thing I've discovered in this process is that I like to bounce between projects. I tried moving from a month long first draft writing session in November straight into editing the same work in December and let me say, I was burned out. Completely burned out. So then I started a brand new, completely out of left field, not my normal type of thing project and oh... my... God... I love it so much! I'm so into this story, I just want to work on it non stop. It's actually making edits a lot easier, because I can work really hard on a chapter of Forty Weeks, then I can let go and day dream about the secret project.

2) Another goal of mine which is largely out of my hands... get a publishing contract, either for Cody or for Alyssa. Or heck, if I manage to get another MS submission worthy, for that one. (Nothing I have is anywhere close at this point though). However, this is entirely up to the publishing houses, and as everyone knows, publishing is a highly subjective business. The sheer number of manuscripts that get submitted on a daily basis compared to the number of manuscripts that get picked up. Well, it takes a thick skin, and if it doesn't happen in 2019, it'll happen in 2020, or 2021, or so on. It takes time. It takes patience. But it will happen!

3) Read more. This sounds silly, but I spent all year focusing on writing, that I didn't read as much as I would like. This year, I'm going to be doing my best to work through the categories in PopSugar's 2019 Reading Challenge. You can find the list HERE. And with each new book I read, I'm hoping to do a quick blog post on this website. Probably going to create a new page for that. Keep a look out.

4) Which brings me to my next big goal. Keep this website up to date. Work on it at least once a week. Blog posts, book reviews, editing the "Current Projects" something. Weekly updates.

Those are my writing goals. But I also have my personal goals.

5) I need to keep learning Spanish. At this point, I feel like the only reason I'm not making progress with learning a new language is total laziness. I have Rosetta Stone. I work in an environment where I hear Spanish on a daily basis. I could totally engage with this environment more, and force myself to practice and learn. So, this year, I'm getting back into my lessons. Thirty minutes a day on Rosetta Stone, and practicing what I learn with the people I work alongside. Because it's important. My students' cultures are important, and my learning Spanish so I can communicate better with them and their families is really the least I can do to show them how much I value them and their cultures.

6) Another personal goal... I'd like to learn how to knit. 2018 was the year of the crochet. 2019 will be the year of the knit. I'm already working on a scarf, but my ultimate goal is to make my son a sweater. A real sweater! Crazy, right?

7) Finally, since it has to be said, I'd like to *sigh* lose some weight. I'm now at the heaviest I've ever been, besides being pregnant, and I'm not happy about it. Salads and whole grains, here I come!

What are your goals? What are you going to do to make 2019 a successful year for you?

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