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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Stepping Back, Momentarily

I've decided to take a bit of a break. Things are piling up these days, and while I've made some pretty nice strides in my writing goals, I'm also having a hard time staying motivated. I'm hoping if I recharge for a few weeks, I can come back stronger and ready to get back to work.

Some things that have been occupying my thoughts lately:

1) CODY - I rewrote it in spring/early summer and sent it to my agent. She came back to me with some notes, so I went back into revision mode for a while. That said, I can honestly say I am VERY HAPPY with where CODY is now. And, I'm also VERY PROUD at how much work and dedication I put into this project which, as with all creative endeavors, cycled between feeling like my greatest achievement or my self-inflicted jail sentence, depending on the day of the week. At this point though, I feel like I've put a lot of effort, time, energy, and tears into creating something beautiful (I think), and even if it never gets picked up by an editor, I know I've put my best foot forward.

2) SIX SECRETS - My current WIP may have been a little too high-concept for me to tackle at this point. I spent a lot of time developing the plot points and character sheets for a 6 POV novel, then in my excitement wrote 40K words before even completing the first act of my outline. For those of you who aren't writers, this is basically like reading the length a short novel before anything really exciting happens. I'm now up to 70K words, and yeah, things are happening, but it still feels like pulling teeth. If I ever want to actually sell this manuscript, I'm going to have an editing nightmare to tackle. This is the project I need a break from so badly. I love the characters. I'm invested in the story. But oh my gosh, it is a struggle.

3) School started. New school, same group of students I've taught before (I moved to the feeder high school), which of course has its ups and downs. I already have a great relationship with most of these kiddos, and I love seeing how far they've come in their math knowledge, and to be able to take them to the next level. But mostly, as any teacher can tell you, the job is exhausting. I come home ready to go to bed, but...

4) I have two small children. So add to my teacher exhaustion a heaping dose of parenting exhaustion, and well... writing has taken a back burner. Plus, there are some minor but cumbersome health issues with my older son, who started kindergarten, so I'm trying to make sure I'm focusing enough effort into helping him manage those.

So, what will I be doing these next few weeks, since I won't be writing?

1) Finish beta-reading for a friend, because I'm about two weeks behind schedule and feeling bad.

2) Crocheting, which always has a way of mellowing my mind and getting me back into writing-zone

3) Cleaning my house. It desperately needs it.

4) Getting ahead of the game at work. It's been four weeks since school started, and I still feel like I'm playing catch-up. (Especially if I decide to do NaNo, which I'm debating)

5) Mulling over SIX SECRETS in my mind and trying to decide if and how I can salvage it.

6) Relaxing, enjoying myself, eating better, and maybe even attempting to exercise from time to time.

7) Updating my 2019 Reading Challenge section of this website, because I've read 3-4 books since my last update (I honestly forgot) and haven't posted them.

8) Speaking of... reading more!

Fingers crossed, the break will be just what I needed!

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