I’ve Been Dying to Tell You About This

I’ve Been Dying to Tell You About This

 

 

Before you read this post, make sure you have read my post I Can Do Better  to know how and where to donate, get informed, support, and follow the Black Lives Matter movement and people from the Black community. Si hablas español, y especialmente si vives en Colombia, lee mi publicación Puedo hacer algo mejor para enterarte cómo puedes apoyar a la Comunidad afrocolombiana. 

Hello and happy Wednesday. For some beautiful reason, the universe and my TBR list have conspired to have me read pretty much only LGBTQ* novels for a few weeks now. I think that’s awesome because for me there are still many people who are unaware of the amount of amazing YA stories that are out (no pun intended) and that feature a main character who is not straight. I also believe that part of my “job” as a book blogger is to raise awareness of all those beautiful stories that have yet to be discovered.

You know that I am always late to the party, so maybe No One Needs to Know by Amanda Grace was a hit a few years ago and I totally missed it. I hope that was the case because I honestly don’t think I’d heard anyone talking about this book and I am not even sure how I found out about it. I’m glad that I did find it because after reading it between April 3rd and 4th, 2019, I gave it five stars.

One thing I loved about it was that it was told from multiple perspectives. Just by seeing the cover we can tell that there is some sort of hidden romance going on, and having the people involved tell their version makes the story more believable and it makes it richer. It also makes it seem more objective if that makes any sense because in a way we can confront what one character is saying by reading that same part of the story according to another character.

You know that I’m not really a fan of love triangles, but I had never read about one like this. Yes, I’ve read about triangles featuring two female characters and one male, but they are always about the two women “fighting” over the guy. This is an LGBTQ* story, so I guess you can figure out how this triangle works. (Hint: it involves a female-female romance). The main character’s love interest is also romantically involved with the main character’s brother, and just to clarify, yes, the main character is a woman. But we don’t get that sibling rivalry which I find annoying in YA because the main character and her brother are actually best friends. I know that this sounds like the biggest, most obnoxious trope of all, but the author had a way of twisting everything and make it healthy and positive, which sadly is rare for YA. Oh, there’s also hate-to-love, but again, it’s super sweet.

My only con is that there were some editing issues. I’m not sure what I meant by that when I wrote it down because it’s been a while, but it doesn’t affect the story or make it any less powerful, so there’s that. If you have any recommendations for LGBTQ* books that you find underrated, tell me about them in the comments below.

Happy reading!

Love, Miss Camila

Edelweiss Reads: Orpheus Girl

Edelweiss Reads: Orpheus Girl

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Before you read this post, make sure you have read my post I Can Do Better  to know how and where to donate, get informed, support, and follow the Black Lives Matter movement and people from the Black community. Si hablas español, y especialmente si vives en Colombia, lee mi publicación Puedo hacer algo mejor para enterarte cómo puedes apoyar a la Comunidad afrocolombiana. 

Hello and happy Friday. Today I’m reviewing Orpheus Girl by Brynne-Rebele Henry. This ARC was provided to me for reading and reviewing purposes so I would like to thank Edelweiss and the author for the opportunity.

I read this book between May 10th and May 11th, 2019, although I could have read it all in a single day, I just really didn’t want to binge read it, and gave it three stars. Again, I could have gone for a lower rating because this book was plain bad.

This story is about a lesbian girl who has a dysfunctional family life and lives with a very conservative and religious grandmother in a very conservative and religious town in Texas. Now the first thing that bothered me was the misuse of the word “queer.” At times it was used as an insult, and at others, it wasn’t. It’s fine if you find the word insulting and you don’t want to use it, but honestly, if that’s the case, remove it from your mental dictionary. I think in this novel it had an overall negative connotation, but since the main character identified as such, I couldn’t really tell.

I know by the title and the references thrown in throughout the book that this is based on Greek mythology, but I honestly had no idea about the myth of Orpheus. It would have been cool to have more context on the story. I could have done a Google research, but I didn’t feel compelled to.

The plot itself was nothing special. You have your two lesbian girls in an ultra-conservative town who get find out and then get sent to conversion camp. Yes, I’ve read versions of that same story, and I can recommend them to you right now because they’re way better than Orpheus Girl. You can read, for example, The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth or The Summer I Wasn’t Me by Jessica Verdi. They aren’t exactly like Orpheus Girl, but the plot is similar enough and you’ll get more from these novels.

Another problem I had with this novel was the writing style. The main character is also the narrator, but she doesn’t talk like a teenager from a small town in the slightest. Even if she were well-read and super educated, which isn’t something I could have inferred from reading the novel (I only knew she liked mythology), the way she spoke was forced. When I think about the author, who’s like twenty years old, I think that even if she talked like that in real life, in the book it appears snobby and pretentious to me. She could have toned it down and made it more natural.

One of the notes I took was “I’m not impressed.” The plot and the writing were not original and didn’t attract my attention. I could have finished this novel in a single day and the reason why I didn’t was that I seriously could not think of spending three more hours reading it. I preferred to leave it for the next day. Look, I’ve read all sorts of love stories, and I think Orpheus Girl didn’t have a solid one. We get snapshots, moments when the main character and her love interest might have shown or expressed their love, but we didn’t have a clear beginning. I don’t know, other than spending a lot of time together, what caused them to fall in love.

Do you know any novels based on mythology that I could be interested in? Let me know in the comments below.

Happy Friday!

Love, Miss Camila

Mediocre

Mediocre

Before you read this post, make sure you have read my post I Can Do Better to know how and where to donate, get informed, support, and follow the Black Lives Matter movement and people from the Black community. Si hablas español, y especialmente si vives en Colombia, lee mi publicación Puedo hacer algo mejor para enterarte cómo puedes apoyar a la Comunidad afrocolombiana. 

Hello and happy Wednesday. Yes, I’m super witty, so of course, I had to reference the title of the book I’m reviewing (and ranting about) today. Sadly, it didn’t live up to the expectation, and if I do say so myself, it wasn’t even close to what I was anticipating. I am talking about Great by Sara Benincasa.

I read this book between April 5th and April 7th, 2019 and gave it two stars. Like I said, my expectations before reading this novel were high because this is a retelling of The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald and I love retellings and really enjoyed the original novel, especially because it was super extravagant.

There is one redeeming quality to Great, and it’s the relationship the main character/narrator/ Nick Carraway has with her father. I don’t think we see enough good parent-children relationships in Young Adult, and it was interesting to read about a daughter who doesn’t hate or resent her father.

I think the author was trying way too hard, and she totally didn’t need to. For one, this story features an LGBTQ* romance, which clearly deviates from the original story. I am all for representation and diversity in fiction, but not when there is an obvious hidden intention. To me, making the main romance a lesbian one wasn’t anything more than an attempt of a rebellious gesture that didn’t really pull through. I mean, yes, two females become a couple, but they are both white, as well as all the other characters in the story, so it’s not even an accurate representation of diversity. Also, I could write an entire essay about how the fact that a homosexual relationship does not necessarily imply that the members of the couple are both homosexual, but I won’t because I really don’t want to make this too long.

So, yes, the story just felt forced because it was trying very hard to emulate The Great Gatsby. Now, before you roll your eyes at me and tell me that was the whole point of the novel, I think it is important to understand that a retelling is still an independent story. What I mean by this is that the author might take elements from the original novel and put them into their own, but they also need to add new elements because that is where the success of the retelling lies.

The author might have had a good idea, to begin with, but it was not well-executed. I felt like I was reading a young adult novel written by a much older person, who was still stuck in the ’70s or something. Actually, had this novel been set in the ’70s, it would have worked way better than it did. I just pictured the narrator as Vivian from Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt reminiscing about her youth instead of a teenager talking about her summer.

Honestly, if you’re torn between reading this or The Great Gatsby, I’d go for the original novel. It was a way easier, faster, and more enjoyable read altogether; and if the LGBTQ* aspect of the story was what drew you to Great, I am sure you can find something better out there. This really isn’t worth your time.

Have you read any retellings that you really liked? Tell me about them in the comments below.

Happy reading!

Love, Miss Camila

Series Saturday: A Southern Thing

Series Saturday: A Southern Thing

Before you read this post, make sure you have read my post I Can Do Better  to know how and where to donate, get informed, support, and follow the Black Lives Matter movement and people from the Black community. Si hablas español, y especialmente si vives en Colombia, lee mi publicación Puedo hacer algo mejor para enterarte cómo puedes apoyar a la Comunidad afrocolombiana. 

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Hello and happy Saturday. We all know that I don’t have guilty pleasures when it comes to books, but there are some topics that might be controversial and that I love. I, for example, and for some strange reason, really like to read about conversion camps. Look, I don’t know what it is and I know it is completely wrong, but those stories always feature someone rebellious fighting for their freedom and a hidden love story, and that does it for me. That’s probably why I picked a book from the series A Southern Thing by Sara York. I also might have gotten that book for free or really cheap. Here’s how I’m doing with the series:

READ

Sending Jack Off to Jesus (Book #2)

I read this between July 2nd and July 3rd, 2016 and gave it three stars. I think this is the only book in the series that actually takes place in a conversion camp. In 2016, a three-star rating was bad, and I can understand it. This is a novel featuring two gay men, but it was written by a woman, so the “own voices” element isn’t there. There are definitely better things out there, is all I’m going to say.

TBR

There are no books in this series that I own at the moment.

WISHLIST

Pray the Gay Away (Book #1)

My Big Fat Southern Gay Wedding (Book #3)

Billy (Book #4)

Is there a series, preferably own voices, that features a queer romance? Let me know in the comments below.

Happy reading!

Love, Miss Camila

NetGalley Reads: My Ladybird Story

NetGalley Reads: My Ladybird Story

Before you read this post, make sure you have read my post I Can Do Better  to know how and where to donate, get informed, support, and follow the Black Lives Matter movement and people from the Black community. Si hablas español, y especialmente si vives en Colombia, lee mi publicación Puedo hacer algo mejor para enterarte cómo puedes apoyar a la Comunidad afrocolombiana. 

Hello and happy Friday. Today’s post is a review on My Ladybird Story by Magus Tor. This ARC was provided by NetGalley for reading and reviewing purposes, so I’d like to thank both NetGalley and the author. Let’s get started, shall we?

I read this book between April 1st and Aril 9th. It actually sort of ruined my average reading pace, as it took me so long to finish it. Let me just go ahead and say that I was super excited about this book, and I was hooked from the very first page. And then it all just fell apart, leading to the two-star rating I gave it.

My Ladybird Story starts with a guy in high school who is being bullied for being “weird,” which was a first for me. Something that really hooked me at first was that as the story progresses, we as readers are able to know how the main character feels, and we share those doubts with him. We doubt at first whether he might be gay, or what is “wrong” with him, as he puts it. Through these thinking processes, we come to realize that the main character might be trans. Again, that is a first for me, and I think there needs to be more representation in YA about trans youth.

Sadly, like I said, these internal debates that were so eye-catching for me at first get lost as the story progresses, and we read less and less of what the main character truly feels. The novel is divided into parts, so there is one for high school, one for college, and two for the life after college. For me, it was like each part was a separate book. I saw little connection between them, and for me, there wasn’t a cohesive flow.

There are several attempts of sexual assault, so if this is a topic you are sensitive about, do not read this book. Assault is handled in a very irresponsible way in this novel, with bits of victim-blaming and a recurring perpetrator who pretty much gets away with it. That’s not my kind of story.

I need to clarify that I know very little about transgender issues. I can only speak from my experience being a biological woman, and I think there might be differences between the way I think about womanhood and the way a transwoman does. I say this because as a feminist I do not agree with gender roles and stereotypical gendered behavior. In other words, to me, it’s not right to describe someone as acting feminine or masculine or to say that a specific attitude or behavior is manly or womanly.

Because My Ladybird Story is about a transwoman, the main character’s best friend gives her “lessons” on how to be a woman. These lessons consist of learning how to properly hold a beer bottle and to blot away tears when crying so that makeup doesn’t get smeared. Basically, the main character is being taught that being a woman means being weak and delicate, and I find that extremely messed up.

I think it’s key to have more works of literature that center around transgender people, but I would not recommend this book because I think it has structural flaws that send readers the wrong messages. If you know of books about this or any other LGBTQ* issue that needs more visibility, let me know about it in the comments below.

Happy reading!

Love, Miss Camila

PS: Ann from Great New Reads sent me this tweet. If you’re interested, do participate.

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June 2020 Thankful Thursday Week 1

June 2020 Thankful Thursday Week 1

Copy of Copy of THROWBACK THURSDAY

Before you read this post, make sure you have read my post I Can Do Better  to know how and where to donate, get informed, support, and follow the Black Lives Matter movement and people from the Black community. Si hablas español, y especialmente si vives en Colombia, lee mi publicación Puedo hacer algo mejor para enterarte cómo puedes apoyar a la Comunidad afrocolombiana. 

Hello and happy Thursday. I got some good news yesterday and if/when I feel like I can tell you about them, I will. I’m happy to read your comments and to see that reading these posts makes your days a little brighter. I know that for me, looking back is always a nice time. I’m sure that what made me happy two years ago will at least get a smile from you.

June 4th, 2018: Being called beautiful makes me happy. 

I mean, how can it not? I love to be complimented even though I’m kind of awkward and never really know what to say. I obviously like to be called beautiful but people I know, or non-threatening strangers. Ugh, I can’t believe I had to clarify that, but you know what I mean by that. I like girls telling me they like how I look and I like guys to do that too, if I know them and if I think they’re cute too. I like it when my family tells me that because they are pretty on board with my makeup addiction and they hype me up when I’m trying different looks. I don’t know. It’s a good thing, right?

What’s the best compliment someone can give you? Let me know in the comments below.

Happy Thursday!

Love, Miss Camila

Puedo Hacer Algo Mejor

Puedo Hacer Algo Mejor

Antes de que lean sobre el libro más reciente que leí o que vean mi último tutorial de maquillaje, siento que es necesario hablar sobre lo que está pasando recientemente en Estados Unidos, que no es más que la continuación de la opresión sistémica (y por eso histórica) contra las personas negras. El asunto es este, yo soy colombiana, y si bien soy fiel creyente de que se pueden apoyar varias causas al tiempo, tengo que reconocer que Colombia es un país racista, donde la violencia y la brutalidad policial muchas veces ni siquiera son noticias porque muchas personas la han normalizado, o porque la población afectada es pobre, campesina, o de grupos históricamente oprimidos. Quiero en esta publicación compartir recursos para que mis lectores hispanohablantes se informen, no solamente de lo que pasa “por allá,” sino de lo que pasa acá, cerquita, a la vuelta de la esquina.

Yo soy blanca, soy latina, soy judía. No es mi lugar hablar en nombre de la población negra (o afro, como se identifica en Colombia), pero me corresponde como una aliada, como una educadora, y como alguien con más de 400 seguidores en esta plataforma, decirles que que nos eduquemos, que leamos autores negros, que sigamos personas negras, que los apoyemos y los apoyemos abiertamente. Yo continuaré haciendo estas cosas. Esto no es un asunto de no ser racista, es un asunto de ser anti-racista, y ahora más que nunca el silencio significa estar del lado de los opresores.

Abajo compartiré links de maneras en las que pueden apoyar a la población afrocolombiana. Por favor, en los comentarios, compartan algunos que consideren útiles. Estaré actualizando esta publicación en la medida en que consiga más información. Sobra decir que pueden dejar de seguirme si esto los “incomoda.”

Para leer

Para seguir

Para apoyar:

Para ver (en Netflix)

Yes Please!

Yes Please!

Before you read this post, make sure you have read my post I Can Do Better  to know how and where to donate, get informed, support, and follow the Black Lives Matter movement and people from the Black community. Si hablas español, y especialmente si vives en Colombia, lee mi publicación Puedo hacer algo mejor para enterarte cómo puedes apoyar a la Comunidad afrocolombiana. 

Hello and happy Wednesday. I am super happy to be reading novels that focus on LGBTQ* topics again. I guess re-inventing my TBR list worked because I am now back to reading more of what I like instead of what I feel that I have to read.

A book I really enjoyed and I think you will too is One Man Guy by Michael Barakiva. I read this between March 25th and March 28th, 2019 and gave it a four-star rating.

Like I said, there’s LGBTQ* representation, but this is not the only reason why I thought this book was awesome. The main character is Armenian-American, and I had not seen that in any YA novel I’d read. This is a novel about identity and understanding what makes you who you are. I love that it’s beyond the typical “coming out” story that some YA authors serve us. I also appreciate that nothing extraordinary happens, it’s just a novel about life, but those are the books I prefer.

I also have good news related to this book. There’s a sequel coming up, so we’ll get more of Alek and Ethan. I requested it on NetGalley, and I hope to get it. If not, it might take me a while to read and review this book, but if I remember to do so, I will.

What sequel are you very excited about? Let me know in the comments below.

Happy reading!

Love, Miss Camila

I Can Do Better

I Can Do Better

Haz click aquí para leer esta publicación en español.

Before you read about the most recent book I read or look at my latest makeup tutorial, I feel like it is necessary to make a statement regarding what has been recently happening in the United States, which is none other than the continuation of systemic (thus historical) oppression against Black people.

I am white, I am a Latina, I am a Jew. It is not my place to speak on behalf of Black people, but it is my place as an ally, as an educator, and as someone with 400+ followers in this platform to tell you to get educated, to read Black authors, to follow Black people, to support them and to be vocal about your support. I am and will continue to be doing these things. If you can’t or don’t feel like protesting, donate, get informed. This is not a matter of not being racist, this is a matter of being anti-racist, and now more than ever, silence is compliance towards the oppressors.

I will share links below of ways you can help, and please, in the comments below, share any that you deem useful. I will be updating this post as I get more information. I followed the first link and donated to Communities Against Police Brutality. Needless to say, you can unfollow if this makes you feel “uncomfortable.”

Donate

Read

Read Audibly

Follow

Study:

Support:

Watch (on Netflix)

2019 Pride Makeup

2019 Pride Makeup

Before you read this post, make sure you have read my post I Can Do Better  to know how and where to donate, get informed, support, and follow the Black Lives Matter movement and people from the Black community. Si hablas español, y especialmente si vives en Colombia, lee mi publicación Puedo hacer algo mejor para enterarte cómo puedes apoyar a la Comunidad afrocolombiana. Hello, happy Monday and happy Pride month! If you know me, then you know I don’t really follow social rules or cues when it comes to my makeup. I do whatever I want whenever I want. That being said, there are some special dates when I go literally all out (pun intended) and create these extravagant, whimsical makeup looks. For a while now, I have put a lot of thought on my makeup for Pride, even if I don’t go out for the parades. Just wearing the makeup is an experience in and of itself. These are the steps I followed to achieve the look:

 

 

  1. Primer
  2. Concealer
  3. Stick contour
  4. Foundation
  5. Powder
  6. Eyebrows
  7. From the Proceed With Caution palette: Warning (outer corner) and Caution (Inner corner)
  8. From the Good Sport palette: Sista (lower lash line)
  9. From the Tetris Block Party palette: Line Clear (lower lash line)
  10. From the Wanderlust palette: Sea Salt (center of the lid)
  11. Purple pencil eyeliner
  12. Mascara
  13. Powder contour
  14. Bronzer
  15. Red blush
  16. Red highlighter
  17. Blue liquid lipstick (half of the mouth)
  18. Green liquid lipstick (half of the mouth)

Have you seen any Pride makeup looks this year? Share them with me in the comments. I need inspiration for 2020.

Happy Monday!

Love, Miss Camila