Rereading Twilight as an adult

It was always my plan to reread Twilight this year, but with the Midnight Sun announcement I thought I’d better do it sooner rather than later to avoid long wait times on a hold list.

Rereading Twilight

I remember the first time I saw Twilight. My older sister had checked it out from the library and I remember reading the cover flap. I don’t remember what my immediate thoughts were, but it was during the period of the time that I read many of my sister’s library books without her knowing in the middle of the night. Regardless of when I ended up reading it, I loved it. I loved the entire series though I was never Team Edward or Team Jacob (I was Team Jasper). Since then, a lot of criticism has come out regarding the Bella/Edward relationship. I was too young at the time to recognize any potential abusive situations so I was really curious how the books might read as an adult.

So here I am rereading the books over 10 years, a husband, two degrees, and a kid later. I am in as different a stage of life as I could possibly be from when I first read these books. First, I just want to talk about the writing. I found the first person narrative to be really grating. I’ve read other books that were narrated in the first person that didn’t seem so self-absorbed. I didn’t particularly enjoy being in Bella’s head that much. It was also clear to me that Meyer was trying to write in this really lush and descriptive way, but it doesn’t come off smoothly. Her descriptions end up bogging down the entire story. Honestly, I would love to take a red pen to these books because I think that we could cut out about 200 pages from EACH BOOK (probably 300 from the last one). Especially in the last book, I just noticed that it took FOREVER to get through the story. There were so many pages and chapters where nothing happened. Absolutely nothing. We get this huge internal monologue about nothing and when the character comes back to the present, five seconds have passed. It was just so infuriating, especially in the last book when I just wanted to be done.

The plot itself isn’t bad. It’s not a bad story by any means (despite the love triangle). I actually do find this entire community of vampires to be interesting. In the later books it gets more into vampire history and I thought that part was different and perhaps could have been expanded on. It just didn’t need to take as much time as it did.

Characters…this is ultimately where I feel the books really suffer. As a kid, I think I remember liking both Jacob and Edward fine. Bella was just okay for me, even back then. With this reread though, I realize that all of these characters are AWFUL. Bella is extremely codependent. She goes from an over-reliance on Edward to an over-reliance on Jacob. She also has this recurring problem of underestimating the paranormal creatures in her life. Or perhaps it’s less an underestimation of their skill, but an overestimation of their willingness to die for her? Anytime one of the groups (vampires or werewolves) decides to go fight someone, she has this freakout because she thinks everyone is going to die and it’ll be her fault. It’s such a complete overreaction and she does it time and time again. It’s infuriating. Obviously, they’re going because they think they can win–maybe give the paranormal creatures (who you really know nothing about) a little more credit, Bella.

This time around, I can definitely see that Edward is super controlling. In Eclipse, he literally is trying to tell Bella who she can be friends with. She has to ask his permission to do anything and it drove me crazy. It’s also super creepy that he crept into Bella’s room to watch her sleep. That will never not be creepy. He doesn’t start treating Bella as any sort of an equal partner until like…the end of Eclipse. He’s also terrible at communicating with her (as in, he doesn’t).

Jacob is hotheaded and not at all respectful of any of the choices that Bella makes unless he completely agrees with it. My jaw was literally on the floor when Jacob sexually assaults Bella not once, but TWICE. And he thinks he did nothing wrong! He sort of apologizes? But in a way that’s clear that he would definitely do it over again.

And now…the relationships. Bella and Edward quickly jump into being “in love” when “in lust” is more like it. What is their relationship based off of? Nothing of substance, that’s for sure. Bella can’t control herself when they kiss and if that’s not the definition of “in lust”, then I don’t know what is. Even as a kid, I remember being really confused by Bella’s physical overreactions. Later on in the series, Bella finds that she’s actually in love with BOTH Edward and Jacob. I know she’s supposed to be really mature for her age (even though she doesn’t act like it), but I just have a hard time seeing how a teenager could be truly in love with both Edward and Jacob to the extent that she seems to be. It’s just too much.

Lastly, let’s talk about Renesmee. Now, this part of the plot was a tad more of a stretch for me. Why does Renesmee grow and develop so fast? No one knows. On a side note, let’s talk about her name. Renesmee Carlie–the ultimate name mashup. So cringe. The cringiest of the cringe names. So bad. But back on topic, because of her quick development, I had a really hard time keeping an image of her in my head. Does she look like a toddler but act like a ten-year-old? Or is she just like…a mini ten-year-old? On another note, I didn’t love her interactions with Bella. Or rather…I didn’t love Bella’s interactions with Renesmee. I remember this from before as well–Bella never reads like a mom to me. Especially now that I AM a mom, I feel like Bella reads more like an older sister or something. There’s so much internal monologuing about literally everything else, but I just don’t feel from Bella what it’s actually like to be someone’s mom.

Overall, this was a very interesting experience and I’m glad to be done with it. I can safely say that I will not be rereading these books ever again and I have no interest in picking up Midnight Sun. Twos across the board.

Have you read or reread the Twilight series as an adult? What were your thoughts?

NEW BLOG: Slow to the Show

Hey guys! I just wanted to do a quick little plug on here for my new blog Slow to the Show.

Slow to the Show banner

The premise is that I’ll be watching a bunch of old shows and giving my thoughts on each episode. I’m starting out with Buffy the Vampire Slayer and will move on to other shows from there! I’ll still be working on this site as well, but if you’re interested in television as well as books, go give me a follow!

If you check out my About page you’ll find a list of shows that I’m planning on watching. Let me know if there are any I need to add to my list!

Every thought I had while watching To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You [Spoilers]

  • Okay, but who actually needs a recap for this series? It’s not THAT complicated.
  • Kitty remains the best character, “Have you even showered?” This is the Kitty we want and deserve. #JusticeforKitty
  • John Corbett also remains the best actor to portray Dr. Covey.
  • This is clearly too nice of a restaurant for your average teenagers to be going to on a date.
  • Lara Jean not being able to keep her purse on her shoulder is super relatable.
  • Definitely thought they were watching a Youtube video–not chatting with Gogo.
  • I’m loving this sassy Kitty that wasn’t in the first movie. So much closer to book Kitty (but still not quite there unfortunately).
  • Oh man. That Korean food looks SO good.
  • There’s nothing wrong with not dating until college…HAVEN.
  • John Ambrose is the best.
  • Here’s hoping Gen gets more depth this movie.
  • Nope. Still just your basic mean girl.
  • How was Peter supposed to let Lara Jean know he was going to be late when he was literally practicing the whole time?
  • What carnival game gives out snow globes??? And if this means John Ambrose ISN’T going to give her a snow globe at the end, there will be blood.
  • Tree!!!
  • Wow. When I get old this is EXACTLY the kind of retirement community I’d like to live at.
  • I’m getting very anxious about Stormy spilling her Bloody Mary.
  • Classic Lara Jean being a complete spaz when John Ambrose shows up.
  • Does Lara Jean think she and John Ambrose would still be together or something if he’d gotten the letter back in middle school? Because that seems unlikely.
  • Two eggs seems a bit excessive for an egg wash for eight turnovers.
  • Jenny Han cameo.
  • These singing valentines would never actually happen at a real high school, right? Certainly not the high school I went to.
  • Okay, wait a second. It’s just dawning on me that it’s Valentine’s Day and Lara Jean is wearing short sleeves OUTSIDE. IN OREGON. No.
  • I’m glad Subway is still sponsoring these movies.
  • I like the angle of John Ambrose being Stormy’s great-nephew or whatever better than him being another volunteer.
  • All of the sets in this movie are amazingly beautiful.
  • This seems extremely awkward for John Ambrose. Lara Jean has left him alone for a really long time.
  • It is super weird for Lara Jean to just be sitting on the counter like that. Shoes on and everything.
  • Was Ross Butler a character in the last movie? Maybe I DID need that recap.
  • I feel like this scene in the car needs some music or something. It’s weirdly quiet.
  • John Ambrose continues to be perfect for Lara Jean in every way.
  • Who was in charge of setting up the Bingo stuff in the first place? Why are Lara Jean and John Ambrose responsible for draggin everything to the basement?
  • Oh man. Lara Jean is making it so awkward for when John Ambrose finally discovers that she’s dating Peter.
  • Okay. Now I’m imagining the teacher spending hours drawing a chalk octopus on the board.
  • Why didn’t Lara Jean and Peter show up to the time capsule thing together?
  • Chris. MVP.
  • Of course John Ambrose plays piano. Because he’s PERFECT.
  • Fakesgiving sounds great. I would LOVE to have Thanksgiving twice a year! (But I don’t remember this from the book?)
  • Get a bag for the Brussels sprouts, Lara Jean!
  • Lara Jean is being a little too dramatic right now re: Peter and Gen.
  • The picture of Slot Canyon on Lara Jean’s wall seems kind of random? I don’t feel like it really fits the rest of her decor.
  • I don’t totally remember from the book, but I feel like Lara Jean should be trying to get advice from Margot or something. She’s hardly been in this movie!
  • The music video-ish part in the hallway is kind of weird and doesn’t really fit with the rest of the movie.
  • I just feel on such a deep level that Lara Jean and Peter shouldn’t be together. Especially when compared to John Ambrose.
  • I’m glad that Gen did get a little more depth in this movie, but I still feel like the book helps their whole dynamic to make more sense.
  • Old people dancing is the best.
  • More product placement! It just would look so much less staged if SOME of the Bubly labels weren’t directly facing the camera.
  • I’m glad John Ambrose is drawing attention to it snowing so late in the year (he continues to be perfect).
  • GET OVER PETER, LARA JEAN.
  • Get out of here, Peter. This doesn’t happen in the book and now I’m mad that they’re making movie Peter more likable than book Peter.
  • Those construction people are there very early to take down that tree house.
  • Peter and Lara Jean floating into the air at the end…just why. Every once in a while this movie tries to get a shot that’s just a little too weird and doesn’t match the feel of the rest of the movie.

My concluding thoughts–despite their best efforts, I am still strongly on #TeamJohnAmbrose. Peter Kavinsky is better in the movie than he is in the books, and they took out some of the things that made John Ambrose especially perfect for Lara Jean, but it’s still not enough. At least they cut Lara Jean’s “Peter was there first” line.

Reading Stats for 2019

Reading Stats 2019

This is the first year that I’ve really kept a reading log. I’ve done a journal basically ever since I started blogging to keep track of notes, ratings, etc. For my new log I just used a few basic categories: Title, Author, Date Finished, # Pages, Genre, Type (physical vs eBook), Source, Rating, Position in Series, Continue Series?

I liked having some basic reading categories and then the series categories were really helpful for me as well. I have a hard time remembering sometimes if I really want to continue on with a series so I’m hoping this will help in the future.

But now…graphs!

Format

I’m actually really happy with the number of physical books that I read compared to eBooks. I think in the past I’ve read probably 90% eBooks. I’m also surprised by how many audio books I read this year! I didn’t realize it was that many.

Source

I’m so happy with the number of library books I read this year! I think I typically do read a lot of eBooks from the library, but I know a TON of these were physical books that I checked out as well.

Genre

I still read mostly YA Fiction (not surprising) but I’m happy that I’ve started branching out into Adult fiction as well. I’m thinking this year I need to try to increase that nonfiction number too.

Per Month

I’m kind of amazed by how much I read this summer. March was the month I discovered the LumberJanes series, so a lot of those books are those graphic novels. June and December were both moving months so that explains why those numbers are a little lower.

Ratings

Let me tell you, it didn’t FEEL like I had this many 4 star books, but I guess I did? If I had to guess, I would have guessed that most of my reads were 3 or 3.5 stars. Apparently I read better books than I remembered.

So there you go! Making these graphs was really interesting for me and I’m definitely going to keep this same reading log this year as well. I’d also like to give a shout out to my husband who made these graphs for me! Best husband ever.

Did you keep a log of reading stats for 2019? If so, link your post in the comments!

Reading Goals for 2020

New year, same reader! My reading goals for last year were such a success that I decided to do it again! I tried to get a good mix of classics, rereads, and new books similar to last year.

Reading Goals for 2020

So there you have it! What are your reading goals for 2020? If you’ve already posted about it, link it up in the comments!

2019 Reading Goals: A Recap

Wow. 2019 has been a YEAR, hasn’t it? Our family moved not once but TWICE to a different state (Utah to California and back to Utah) and are now settling into our new home in Utah Valley. Luckily, I think we’re done moving for a while. But let’s get to the point of this post, shall we?

2019 Reading Goals

Here’s a link to my original post for those interested, but here were my reading goals for 2019:

I’m happy to report that I pretty much accomplished all of these! I didn’t read quite as many Neil Gaiman books as I’d hoped (besides Stardust, I only ended up reading Coraline and some of his picture books with my son). But all the rest I DEFINITELY accomplished! I’d been meaning to reread Harry Potter for a while and am so glad that I finally did it. My husband and I ended up rewatching all of the movies too as I finished reading the books! It ended up being a really fun thing. I absolutely ADORED The Book Thief and V.E. Schwab’s books. Jane Eyre…not so much for me, but I’m glad I read it.

How did you do with your 2019 reading goals? I’ll be posting my 2020 reading goals soon, so stay tuned!

Weeding my TBR | sharing tips and my own progress

I don’t know about you guys, but when I first started blogging, I threw everything on my TBR! Okay, not everything, but basically any book that got any amount of hype. Here I am, almost five years later and my TBR has grown immensely. There are so many books on there that I have no recollection hearing about. And every time before now that I’ve tried to weed my TBR, I’ve become overwhelmed. Goodreads doesn’t have a very good weeding feature that I’ve found–every time you remove a book from your “Want to Read” shelf the whole page reloads and then you have to rescroll to where you were…it’s a process. So every other weeding attempt has found me giving up after deleting like 10 books, max. But I think I’ve finally found a way to clean up my TBR!

Weeding my TBR

Sort your TBR first

One of the biggest difficulties with my previous weeding attempts is that it’s hard for me to remember what I’ve already taken a look at and decided to keep. When I was still working at the library, we would divide big group weeding projects (thousands of books) up into sections that made it a lot more manageable, so I did something similar here. I alphabetized the titles in my TBR list and just took it one letter at a time–I didn’t have to do everything all at once. There are a ton of different ways you could sort it–author, publication year, page count, whatever! Just pick a way that works for you and stick with it throughout the whole project.

Figure out your weeding standards

Another thing I learned from library weeding–you don’t have to look at every book. If there was something that was in good condition and was circulating well, then we just left it on the shelf. Similarly, if there’s a book on your shelf that you already KNOW you want to read, then just go ahead and leave it.

But for the books you do want to look at, you’ll have to decide what determines if it will stay on your list. Here’s the process I go through:

  1. I reread the synopsis–does it grab me? This is the most important step for me because if it doesn’t sound interesting to me anymore, then I’m probably going to remove it.
  2. I consider the overall star rating. Anything under 3.75 may act as a little warning flag for me.
  3. Last, I consider my Goodreads friends ratings. Most of my Goodreads friends are other bloggers that I interact with and I trust their ratings more than the overall Goodreads rating. If the Goodreads rating is low, but my friends are giving it 4 or 5 stars, I’m more likely to keep it.

You can obviously use whatever standards you want, this is just how I’ve been doing it.

Remember the sunk cost fallacy

Sunk Cost Fallacy is something that we talked about in my Econ classes A TON. Humans act in this really irrational way where we’ll do something even if we’re not enjoying it because we feel like we have to for whatever reason. For example, people will overeat to a point where they’re super uncomfortable at a buffet because they feel like they need to “get their money’s worth”. In my case, I’ll keep a book on my Kindle even if I’m not interested in it anymore because I paid for it. This has been a huge sticking point for me, but finally I think I’ve gotten past it. Don’t let the fact that you bought a book make you keep it on your TBR if you’ve lost all interest in reading it!

How well did it work?

This is the first year that I’ve been trying to keep track of my TBR growth. At the beginning of the year, my TBR was at 383 books. By the beginning of August, I was at 469 books which is an 86 book increase. That’s not even taking into account books that I’ve read from my TBR, so with that in mind I’ve probably added over 100 books to my TBR so far this year.

I started this project towards the end of August, so I’ll use 469 books as my TBR starting point. It’s taken some time to get through it all and even though I’ve been adding books in the meantime as well, I’ve gotten it down to…..drumroll….306 books! That’s a difference of 106! It’s crazy to me that I had so many books chilling on my TBR that I wasn’t interested in reading anymore. It’s almost like I’m starting over fresh! I can now move forward with my lighter, more concise list. It feels like I can actually go to my TBR to pick my next read now instead of feeling crazy overwhelmed by it! I know that I’m actually interested in every book on my list. I was reminded of so many books that I feel EXCITED about and I’m going to try to actually use my TBR in the future instead of just adding books to it.

Reading new-to-me authors (+ popular authors I’ve been meaning to get to)

I participate in a monthly book club and this month’s book was supposed to be Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty. However, after reading it the hosts of the book club didn’t feel like they would necessarily recommend it, so this month’s book club is Liane Moriarty in general with a slight focus on NPS. I’d never read anything by Liane Moriarty though I have heard a great deal about her. I decided for this month that I’d read NPS (since that was the original plan) and that I’d also read Big Little Lies since it’s super hot right now (with the show and everything). And all of that got me thinking about the purpose of this post: how to read new-to-me authors.

discussion posts

I think this is a universal thing, right? We don’t always “find” an author when their debut book has just come out–we usually find them somewhere in the middle of their career when they have a few books already published. This has happened to me with Emma Millls, Victoria Schwab, and Neil Gaiman (just to name a few examples). The question is, when you find someone, what do you do next? I react in a couple different ways:

Reading their published works in order

This is kind of a no-brainer when it comes to a series. For example, with Susan Dennard I was obviously going to read the Truthwitch series in order because duh. But what about when someone has a bunch of standalones? This was the case for me with Emma Mills. I loved her covers and the premise of all of her books sounded good to me. So for her, I decided to start with her first official book, First & Then, and go from there. Even though they were standalones, I wanted to read her books in order in case there were any easter eggs from book to book (I don’t think there have been). Regardless, for some reason it felt important for me to read her books in order.

Not reading their published works in any specific order

For an author like Neil Gaiman, I’ve been jumping around. I’d read Anansi Boys way too young and remember almost nothing about it. Recently, I’ve been jumping around between his adult and young adult books. I think I want to read pretty much everything he’s written eventually, but I don’t feel that same urge to read his works in order.

How do you like to read books from new-to-you authors? Do you do a mixture of the above like I do? Do you do something completely different?

Here’s a list of authors I’ve been meaning to read, let me know how you think their books are best read:

  • Kristin Hannah
  • Taylor Jenkins Reid
  • Julie Buxbaum
  • Erin Watt
  • Nicholas Sparks
  • Ruth Ware
Bonus question: Who are some of your absolute favorite authors?

On Slow and Steady Blog Growth | My Book Blogging Journey

Hello everyone! Some of you have been on this journey with me since practically the beginning, but I think most of you are pretty new (to me, at least). I’ve officially been a book blogger since March 2015 which means I’ve been doing this for almost 4.5 years (yikes). I originally started my blog because I was at a time in my life when I was reading A TON of books, but not retaining much about them. I had just graduated with my undergrad and was working part-time, but my husband was still in school/doing homework, so I had a lot of free time on my hands (thus the much reading).

I was frustrated that I would read a book, but then couldn’t remember anything about it. So I started this blog so I could have a place for my reviews and could hopefully remember more about what I was reading. I had (briefly) run a personal blog before this (super embarrassing and long deleted) so I sort of knew what I was doing, but not really.

My blogging journey since then has had a lot of ups and downs. I would go through spurts where I would post EVERY DAY (sometimes more than once) but then others where I wouldn’t post for weeks. This is what my yearly blog stats currently look like:

Yearly

2016 was clearly my most productive year, but that’s also when I started Library School and I had to do blog posts for some of my classes. Thus, a lot of those views are actually from classmates and don’t really count since, you know, they were doing it for a grade.

My next (and biggest) dip came right after I had my baby in April 2018. Some of you might remember that he came 5.5 weeks early and then we promptly moved up to live with my parents in Seattle for an internship. That summer was a HUGE dip in reading and blogging and it’s been hard to get back in a rhythm since. As soon as I whip out a book, my baby MUST come over and see what I’m doing, so it’s been harder to get reading time in. Despite that, in the beginning of 2019 I recommitted to this blog.

But then, life happens again. Another turbulent April. My grandmother unexpectedly passed away, we had three weddings around that time as well, plus my husband was graduating from Grad School, and then the next month I was trying to wrap everything up at work since we were moving to a completely different state…it was a lot.

Now we’re here. Life has calmed down significantly as we find our new rhythm in California and as I figure out what it’s like to be a full-time stay-at-home mom. I’m hoping to be able to dedicate time to reading and this blog again on a more consistent basis (fitting blogging and reading in at naptime/bedtime).

From a mildly seasoned blogger, I just want to convey the message that it’s okay if your blog isn’t growing as fast as you want it to or think it should. I cannot count the number of posts I’ve seen where someone is like, “OMG I’ve been blogging for 6 months and just hit 1,000 followers thxsomuch!!!” Which is fine, good for them. Honestly, I have no idea how they do it. I’ve been blogging for years and currently have 918 followers–at least half of which I’m SURE are either bots or inactive accounts. Here’s a look at my monthly views since this blog’s inception:

Monthly

So if you’re a new (or old) blogger and you feel like things aren’t happening for you just…don’t get discouraged, okay? Remember why you started your blog in the first place. It’s a journey and it can be frustrating, but in the end you started your blog for a reason and I’ve found significant comfort in regrounding myself in that reason.

I have no idea how my stats compare to other blogs, but those are real numbers and I’m only looking to compare my blog to where I’ve been in the past. This June has been looking much better than last June, so that’s enough for me.

5 Best Reality TV Shows for the Summer

This is a departure from my usual, I know, but in addition to reading books, I also love watching TV! My husband and I have a few reality TV shows that we especially love to watch over the Summer.

Best Summer Reality TV

The Amazing Race

If you love traveling but you’re also broke (it me) then this is a show for you! You get to see a ton of cool places while the contestants travel and their challenges are also fun to watch. Their current season is about to wrap up, but if you have time and want to get a CBS All Access subscription (I know, it’s annoying) then you can watch all the back seasons as well as this current one. I liked this current season especially because the contestant were past Amazing Race teams as well as teams from previous Survivor and Big Brother seasons. Which brings me to…

Big Brother

CBS just does reality TV right (we’re also HUGE Survivor fans). The new Big Brother season starts TONIGHT. Since we don’t actually have real TV, we’ll be watching it tomorrow, so no spoilers! I was actually surprised when my husband got into Big Brother too. He already liked Survivor and The Amazing Race, but I thought he’d think Big Brother was dumb since it’s so much more about the social drama. Much to my delight, he’s just as into it as I am! I LOVE the drama and the social politics and it always gives me such pleasure when people are super petty when voting for the winner at the end. Karma, baby.

America’s Got Talent

I’ve been sort of in and out with AGT the past few seasons, but this Summer, I’m solidly in. I really love Terry Crews and I’m excited for all of the fun dance/magic/comedy/variety acts that they have this year.

Songland

Who else has been watching this gem? It’s new this year and my husband and I have been LOVING IT. It’s fascinating to see the transformation that songs go through from conception to being recorded by an artist. I really hope this show comes back next summer because it’s amazing!

So You Think You Can Dance

My OG Summer obsession…seriously though, I went to the Season 4 live tour and had their poster in my room (aka I liked tWitch before he became Ellen’s DJ). I’m SO glad that they don’t have Vanessa Anne Hudgens back as a judge this year and I hope that D-Trix isn’t just a judge for the auditions. I love the new audition stage plus the 360 cameras. The live show format has changed over time, so I’ll be interested to see what they do this year. I liked last season where the contestants got paired up with each other as in the OG seasons, so I hope they do that again.

What TV shows are you watching this Summer? What are some of your favorite shows in general? Let me know in the comments! And if you want to talk about any of these shows I AM HERE FOR IT.