NetGalley Reads: A People’s History of Heaven

NetGalley Reads: A People’s History of Heaven

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Hello and happy Wednesday. November and December of 2019 were good months for me blog-wise because I got four different requests to read and review books, which happens but not that often and not all at the same time. I was invited to be a part of a blog tour for A People’s History of Heaven by Mathangi Subramanian and of course I said yes because I’m always open to reading new books and sharing my thoughts about them with you, especially if they represent identities that are often invisibilized. Let me tell you, if you want diversity, read this book. I would like to thank NetGalley, the publishers and the authors for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour.

I read this book between December 30th, 2019 and January 1st, 2020 and gave it five stars. I actually interrupted my reading of other books to devour this one because I was captivated from the very first page. The very first page is a list of the characters with a brief description of them, and I love it when I get that because I feel that I can get to know the characters even before the beginning of the story. Right from that very first page, I felt similarly about this book as I felt towards The Smell of Other People’s Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock; I felt cozy, I felt like I was part of the characters’ lives and I felt like they would be a part of mine from then on.

From the initial description of the characters, we know that one of them is visually impaired (I’m not sure if this is the correct term to use, but it’s the one used in the book), one is queer, and one is a transwoman. The story is set in India and the story is own voices, so there is also representation for POC. Honestly, reading this book is almost like a must because at least in my case, it drove me away from the same bland setting and the same bland characters and the same bland authors.

Heaven, where the main characters (who are all female) live, is a slum in India that is being demolished by the government and turned into white-washed buildings like huge malls. I read about colonialism in India when I was in high school, of course, but I’d never read a novel that narrated what actual people went through, and it was eye-opening.

Every chapter or set of chapters focuses on one of the characters and alternates between the past and the present. In this way, it’s more like a collection of short stories that are tied up by the events of the present, the seemingly imminent destruction of the slum and the efforts of the women to stop it.

What books that discuss cultures other than the American or the Western one do you recommend? Let me know in the comments.

Happy reading!

Love, Miss Camila

NetGalley Reads: The Long-Lost Secret Diary of the World’s Worst Dinosaur Hunter

NetGalley Reads: The Long-Lost Secret Diary of the World’s Worst Dinosaur Hunter

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Hello and happy Friday. What a mouthful of a title, right? It seems like I’m suddenly obsessed with dinosaurs, but really it’s all part of this month’s theme, have you guessed it? Today I want to share a review of a middle-grade book I found super interesting and easy to read, so much so that I read it all in one day -in one sitting, actually. I’m talking about The Long-Lost Secret Diary of the World’s Worst Dinosaur Hunter by Tim Collins. This book was sent to me via NetGalley for reading and reviewing purposes, so I’d like to thank them, the author and the publisher for the opportunity.

I read this book on December 22nd and gave it for stars. One thing I love about this book is that it is illustrated. To me, illustrations add a lot to the reading experience. As a teacher, for example, I could have my kids read this book and I could use the illustrations to deepen the conversation, to ensure understanding if something in the text was not clear, or simply to provide a visual reference to the story.

The book is written in diary format written by Ann, our main character. Ann is based on Mary Anning, a real “dinosaur hunter.” I love that we have a female main character who is based on an actual historical figure because that challenges many stereotypes that live to this day about boys or men being the only ones interested in or capable of working as paleontologists.

The story starts with Ann digging what she calls “lizard fish” bones where she lives. Her dad sells these bones for almost nothing until someone comes and becomes interested in Ann’s findings. This leads to Ann traveling to London with her dad to talk about the bones she’d been digging to a group of paleontologists and then travel to the New World to continue her expedition and research.

Occasionally, we get these sections titled “Get Real,” which provide factual information to support the fiction we just read about. For example, we get clarification about the type of dinosaur Ann found, or we also get historical facts about the different places she and her dad visit. Like I said, this book has great educational value and I really enjoyed reading it.

What topic would you have liked to learn more about as a kid? Let me know in the comments.

Happy reading!

Love, Miss Camila

January 2020 Thankful Thursday: Week 3

January 2020 Thankful Thursday: Week 3

 

Copy of Copy of THROWBACK THURSDAY.pngHello and happy Thursday. I already read today’s random happy thought and it is so lame that I’m kind of embarrassed. Weirdly enough, it’s been so long that now I feel second-hand embarrassment like it was someone else who felt happy about this lame thing and not me. Anyway, here it is. Enjoy. 

January 16th, 2018: Finding out the birthday of a cute guy makes me happy. 

Good thing MHD doesn’t read because he won’t see this post. Yes, MHD was the “cute guy” I was referring to, hence the embarrassment I expressed in the previous paragraph. We had been talking for a couple of weeks and I asked him when his birthday was because I thought we had something nice going on and that we’d meet in March when I traveled to Baltimore and that it would be awesome. We all know by now how that turned out. Fun fact: I still remember his birthday because my mind is full of useless facts. That made me happy at the time, so at least there’s that.

Sorry for the super lame Thankful Thursday, but I am kind of lame and sometimes it shows. Tell me what’s made you happy this week.

Happy Thursday!

Love, Miss Camila

 

This Was a Complete Shitshow

This Was a Complete Shitshow

Hello and happy Wednesday. I’m one of those people who think if we read solely for the entertainment value, then that’s fine and we’re doing a great job. Because of this and also because I have a blog and like to keep it interesting both for you and me, I create these reading challenges for myself, or I come up with fun TBR lists, and that leads me to read silly books. Well, I can honestly say that nothing so far had been as nonsensical as Hot Pterodactyl Boyfriend by Alan Cumyn. Seriously though, I’m only linking the book because I’m sure many people want to check it out and like me read it “as a joke.”

I read this book between December 26th, 2019 and January 2nd, 2020 and gave it two stars. I didn’t give it one star because I didn’t think there was anything structurally wrong with it in terms of the message it was sending; I don’t even think it had a real message, it was just a shitty book.

This is a good time to tell you that if you’re looking for a serious review of this novel, you will most definitely not find it here. You see, I know this book is a joke, so I read it as such. The reason why it took me so long to read was that I didn’t know this was a 400-page-long joke. The same shitty effect could have been accomplished in 200 pages.

Hot Pterodactyl Boyfriend is a parody of your typical YA romance with some paranormal/fantastical elements, and you can tell by reading the first page. You don’t need to read all 408 pages to make a point unless you want to, in which case, who am I to judge when I did read them? If you’ve read this far into the review and you don’t know what this book is about, consider yourself lucky. This is the story of a young pterodactyl who starts attending a human high school as part of an inter-species exchange program. What nobody anticipates, especially not the main character, is that Pyke, the pterodactyl will come to school and basically mess up everyone’s lives with his charm.

I had a discussion a long while ago about what genre this book might belong to (hi, Sam, I hope you’re enjoying the books I bought and sent to your house thinking I’d live there too, in the future), and I would say it’s a contemporary with speculative elements. It couldn’t be magical realism in my opinion since dinosaurs existed, they aren’t magical creatures. That probably makes everything sound more interesting than it is, but don’t be fooled, this “joke” put me to sleep after just one chapter and it took me way longer than other books do to finish.

What else is there to say? Have you read this book or anything like it? Let me know in the comments below.

Happy reading!

Love, Miss Camila

Brunch With the Girls Makeup Look

Brunch With the Girls Makeup Look

Hello and happy Monday. Sometimes I have to acknowledge the fact that I am a 26-year-old and I have to act accordingly. On such occasions, I take out all my nude-colored makeup and attempt to look like I have my shit together. Last Sunday I met with some old classmates, and I must admit I cleaned up nicely, as you can see in the thumbnail. I’m using Colour Pop’s Good Sport palette, so you know when I reference the names of the shades.  These are the steps I followed to achieve the look:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Primer
  2. Concealer
  3. Foundation
  4. Eyebrows
  5. High Hopes (Crease)
  6. Hooky (Eyelid)
  7. Rookie (Center of the lid)
  8. Blue pencil eyeliner (lower lash line)
  9. Mascara
  10. Bronzer
  11. Blush
  12. Nude lipstick
  13. Metallic lip topper
  14. Setting spray

What is your favorite look when you have a special event in the morning? Let me know in the comments below.

Happy Monday!

Love, Miss Camila

My Ipsy Subscription Ended

My Ipsy Subscription Ended

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Hello and happy Sunday. Today I’m in the mood for a rant, but one that’s been on my mind for a while. If you’ve been here since 2017, then you’re probably familiar with my Ipsy Glam Bag unboxings and reviews. I’d been subscribed to Ipsy basically since it started, and now that my subscription has ended, I have made the decision not to resubscribe or renew, and in this post, I’m telling you the reasons why. Let’s get started, shall we?

1. Every month I get the same type of products

I know that the way these subscription boxes work is by making arrangements with certain brands to be provided with sample or travel-sized products for them to feature in the boxes. I understand that some months might be better than others in terms of these arrangements. However, for a few months there I was getting the same products in my glam bag every single month, and the only thing that changed was the brand. Every single month for a while I would get mascara, a pencil eyeliner (sometimes even from the same brand), a sheet mask, and a lip product. I even got two Ciaté liquid lipsticks that were pretty much the same shade, only one had glitter and the other didn’t. The idea of these subscription services is to explore different brands and products, but if I’m getting the same every time, I won’t be able to really get to know new things and play with makeup, and I’d ultimately have so much that I’d have to give it away.

2. Some stuff I get is not even functional

I pride myself on having a lot of makeup, okay? But that doesn’t mean that I don’t have some useless stuff sitting in my makeup boxes collecting dust. Some examples of totally useless products I’ve gotten on Ipsy Glam Bags include a blue liquid highlighter, a blue powder highlighter, and blue loose pigment. Seriously, though, the highlighters have only come in handy once, when I dressed up as rain for Halloween. When I say I want to be adventurous with my makeup I mean I like wearing bold lipstick colors or bright eyeshadow, not that I want to have a streak of sparkly blue powder across my cheekbone.

3. The quality of the stuff has decreased

This, I think, has to do more with the selection process of the products. Like I said in a previous item, I do think that some months are better than others and that it has to do with the business side of the subscription service. However, to me, the brands have become more commercial, more “drugstore.” Before, I would search for the brands of the products I got and find out they were female-owned and vegan and all these things, and I would feel like I was really supporting a group of people into doing what they love. Now I get the same brands that I could easily buy in stores or online, so the magic has been lost. I’m not saying I’m getting bad stuff all the time, but that the brands are now super commercial, so the overall feel of the bag has changed.

4. The glam bags don’t seem to be personalized anymore 

I cannot attest to this 100% because I checked all the boxes when I did my quiz, which means I was in for a surprise every month. I can say, though, that by looking at other people’s unboxings, everybody seemed to be getting the same stuff. It was as if there were pre-set bags already made and subscribers would get one of them, instead of having a unique bag that catered to their specific tastes and needs. I’m not mad at subscription services that give everyone the same set of products, but if that’s the case, then they shouldn’t advertise that their glam bags are personalized.

5. The Glam Bag Plus is a total joke 

Starting from the whole campaign they did in anticipation, which was a fiasco, to the subscription process itself, and ending with the cherry on top which was the bad, overpriced products, this is a joke. I know now that there’s even a more expensive version of this and I don’t understand how can someone pay for it, but that’s their decision, not mine. Because I was subscribed to the regular glam bag, I was told I had this “early” access to the plus subscription, which meant I didn’t have to wait months for it. I could also change my regular subscription to the plus one by paying like $30 extra or something. What ended up happening was that for some reason that subscription was super delayed, even though they did charge me for it, and that I ended up getting both the regular glam bag and the plus one. Because the plus was delayed, I got it like two months after I was supposed to receive it, and when I opened it, I realized that I hadn’t gotten the makeup bag they advertise or the booklet with information about the products. Besides that, the five items were ridiculous, and so were their prices. I’m still mad about that whole shitshow.

Are you subscribed to Ipsy or any makeup service? Let me know in the comments below.

Happy Sunday!

Love, Miss Camila

Making Signs For My New Classroom

Making Signs For My New Classroom

Hello and happy Saturday. One of my favorite things about being a teacher is actually decorating my classroom, and as I’ve said in previous posts I’m a midpoint between being a DIY queen and buying everything already done or just printing it. Today I’m showing you my process to make cute signs for my classroom. Let’s get started, shall we?

Step one is to print the blank letters. I used a font I found in Word and used the WordArt options to make it look 3D. Then I traced the edges by hand with a black marker. Of course, I’m sure there’s an option to have the letters come out with black edges, but where’s the fun in that?

 

 

You’ll see that I colored and cut each individual letter, so to make the process of setting up the bulletin board easier, and also to ensure that nothing would get lost or misplaced, I got a Ziploc bag and inside I wrote the actual message from the sign. I do that with every piece of decoration in my classroom so that it’s easier for me to store everything.

 

 

 

 

I colored each letter with markers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Laminated the whole thing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And then cut each individual letter.

Do you make your own signs for the classroom or do you buy them made? Let me know in the comments below.

Happy teaching!

Love, Miss Camila