For the Sake Of Tradition

For the Sake Of Tradition

Hello and happy Wednesday. Around this time last year, maybe a little earlier, I read a book by Matthew Quick that greatly impacted my life. While I was reading that book I went through a strange breakup and a few weeks after that I got fired. But Matthew Quick and his words got me through that. Now, thankfully, I’m in a totally different place in life, and maybe that’s the reason why Love May Fail by Matthew Quick didn’t hit me as hard as the other books from him I’ve read.

I read this book between January 13th and the 26th, 2020 and gave it three stars. To say I’m disappointed is an understatement, but we’ll talk about later. Clearly based on my introduction, we can all agree that the expectations were high and sadly they weren’t met.

This was an adult novel but for some reason, I thought it would be a young adult and I was confused for a while. Portia, one of the main characters and the first we’re introduced to, is unlikable and this is done on purpose. She’s meant to be petty and to have controversial opinions, and to clarify, no, this isn’t why I didn’t give the book three stars; Matthew Quick’s books aren’t everyone’s cup of tea and his characters aren’t either.

The book starts with Portia, who has decided to kill her husband after she finds out he’s cheating on her yet again. The guy owns a pornography company (or however you call those, I’m not very familiar with the industry) and she has been unhappy with him for a while. As I’m writing that premise and going through my notes, it’s obvious to me that this is why I didn’t like the book, this is why it didn’t hook me from the beginning: I didn’t feel like I was reading a Matthew Quick novel. That being said, as I kept reading, I found more of the author I know and love, but it wasn’t enough.

I said we had main characters, in plural, because this book is divided into parts and each is narrated by a character. They all belong to the same story but we get to find out more about their lives and their particular thoughts. After Portia catches her husband having sex with a much younger woman in their own bed, she flies back to her hometown and makes it her mission to save the life of her old high school teacher, who Portia finds out had been beaten up five years earlier. Nathan Vernon, the teacher is one of the characters, and so is his mom, Sister Maeve, a nun who Portia meets on her flight to her hometown. There, back home, she also meets Chuck, who had been Mr. Vernon’s student two years before Portia was. You can see how this does resemble a Matthew Quick story, right?

If you’ve read anything by Matthew Quick then you probably already know that mental illness is a recurrent topic in his novel. This particular book has mentions of suicide all the way through, so keep that in mind when considering whether you should read this book. There is also a scene in which an animal jumps and gets hurt, which leads to their death, and I wasn’t prepared to read about that, so be wary of that as well.

Have you read anything by Matthew Quick? If so, what do you think about his books? Let me know in the comments.

Happy reading!

Love, Miss Camila

This Is Chick Lit

This Is Chick Lit

Hello and happy Wednesday. December 2019 was an odd reading month for me because I read a whole lot but around Christmas, I got really close to having a reading slump. Like I said, I was reading one, sometimes even two books a day and then the time came for me to read two big books and the motivation I’d had just drained. One of those books was The Horse Dancer by Jojo Moyes, but I’m glad I managed to finish it.

I read this book between December 21st, 2019 and January 12th, 2020 and gave it three stars. With this book, I took several pauses, so it isn’t really that it was hard to read or anything, I was simply interrupting my reading to tackle something else that maybe was shorter or a quicker read for me. Now that I can reflect upon my impressions, I can say that I overanalyzed the story a bit much as I read it and it ultimately wasn’t that deep.

We get a prologue, which is set in the 1960s, so I was convinced that I would be reading a historical romance and I wasn’t thrilled about that. The prologue takes place in France, where a young horseman is going to attempt a complicated trick for a show he’s putting on, and a young Englishwoman who’d previously come to see the show and had fallen in love with the man. I know some of you probably think that would be a super cute story, but I didn’t want to read about that and thankfully I didn’t since the main characters of the story weren’t the lovebirds but their granddaughter and this lawyer who comes into her life by chance.

By the title, it’s obvious that this story is about horses, so I knew that I was going to get into something I wouldn’t fully understand. If you like horses and you know the names of the tricks and all of that, then maybe this is the book for you. Like I said, though, there are two main characters, a teenage girl and a lawyer, and at first, we read about them separately until their paths cross. Natasha, the lawyer, knows nothing about horses, and we actually read about her professional and romantic life. Sarah, the girl who is the horseman’s granddaughter, is the one fascinated with horses.

The storyline is honestly way simpler than what I’d originally thought, and the link between the two main characters is more straightforward than I’d predicted it to be. That being said, a lot of this story is exposition and another big chunk is simply fluff. This book is over 400 pages long, and it would’ve done perfectly without 150 pages. There are two scenes that depict attempted sexual assault, so trigger warning for that.

At the end of the day, though, this was really the story of a woman who reconnects with her ex-husband and finds her happily ever after. I cried towards the end, so that should tell you something (although to be fair I do cry a lot). This is clearly women’s fiction and I’m sure many readers will find it worthy of a five-star rating.

Do you like books with animals? I’m always worried that they might get hurt, so I don’t think I do. Share your answers with me in the comments below.

Happy reading!

Love, Miss Camila

 

NetGalley Reads: The Dog Walker’s Diary

NetGalley Reads: The Dog Walker’s Diary

NETFLIX TALK_ (3).png

Hello and happy Friday. Usually, when I’m reading a book and I change my mind about it, it’s for the better, but sometimes I’m reading something awesome that all of a sudden turns out to be less than. This is what happened to me with The Dog Walker’s Diary by Kathryn Donahue, a book that was sent to me for reading and reviewing purposes. I’d like to thank NetGalley, the author and the publisher for this opportunity.

I read this book between October 9th and October 11th, 2019 and gave it three stars. There’s this distasteful “joke” at the beginning about the main character’s behavior being similar to the one of a person with Tourette’s, schizophrenia, and Asperger. Oh, and “anorexic” is never an appropriate adjective. Look, if as an author, you can’t find enough adjectives to describe someone’s behavior that you must make fun of mental illness and neurodiversity, maybe you shouldn’t write at all. If that alone is cause for you not to read this book, I get it. I, however, kept reading and found myself drawn to the story…until halfway through. I’ll further explain this later.

The main character of this book is a man in his forties who has two dogs and finds himself hiring this dog walker. Besides his narration, we get his and the dog walker’s/ love interest’s entries in a “dog diary,” which is their way to correspond. I thought this was super original and it was a nice way to see, and not be told, how the relationship between the characters evolved. The characters are called Daniel and Annie, by the way.

Daniel is strange, and he admits to this. He is very superstitious and awkward, and he admits to being incapable of falling in love. He is also afraid of redheads, which is very unfortunate considering Annie is a redhead. However bad he might seem, he is absolutely adorable with his dogs, which to me helped redeem him as a character. Annie is very smart and witty, and in her diary entries, he writes stories to Daniel about his dogs’ past lives, which I found amazing.

If you’re reading this expecting a traditional romance novel, look elsewhere. Although the relationship between Daniel and Annie develops throughout the first half of the book into a romance, this is not really the center of the plot. You see, Daniel is a literary agent, and he becomes interested in Annie’s stories but is also weary at the fact that maybe she contacted him with the sole purpose of getting them published. We also read about this subplot in which Daniel gets a client who wrote a masterpiece and he wants to publish it.

Because the story alternates between what Annie and Daniel writes and his narration, I got Big Fish/ My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry Vibes, where you have this fantastic story with other-worldly characters, but it has some truth to it. So far I’ve been talking wonders about the first half of the book, but what really troubled me was the second half.

There’s also a potential love triangle that has the characters fake-dating each other at some point, but I was down for that since I knew they were perfect for each other and would end up together.

A little over halfway through, the story starts focusing way more on Annie and Daniel’s romance, and for a person who’s read so much, I know that nothing good comes from two characters who get together when we still have 50% of the story to read. Also, I didn’t like that Annie’s stories stopped abruptly and we didn’t get them anymore. I know that by having the characters be a couple, the written correspondence didn’t need to happen, but it would’ve been nice to have a story thrown here and there.

So, the characters do get together and then it was like someone had changed the book I was reading because the plot didn’t make any sense. We start getting these silly plot twists and time jumps, and honestly, it was as if the author had gotten bored with the story and wanted to end it in any way possible. It would have been better to have the two halves of the book divided into their own separate books, in which case I wouldn’t have read book two.

Have you been negatively surprised by a book you loved at first? Let me know in the comments below.

Happy reading!

Love, Miss Camila

 

 

El Final

El Final

Hola y feliz miércoles. Terminé de leer la serie Calendar Girl de Audrey Carlan, y el día de hoy quiero compartir con ustedes lo que pensé del último libro, que narra la vida de Mia durante los meses de octubre, noviembre y diciembre.

La forma en la que la autora nos introduce a este libro me gustó mucho. Algo que ya había notado de esta serie, es que hay detalles que se parecen mucho a la de Cincuenta Sombras de E.L James. Tal vez esta vez la similitud se me hizo aún más evidente porque acababa de terminar de leer Más Oscuro, pero en todo caso el tema de los cuadros de Mia que Wes le compra a Alec parece casi copiado textualmente de Cincuenta Sombras, cuando Christian compra las fotos que José le tomó a Ana.

En este último libro, Wes y Mia se comprometen y evidentemente después de todo lo que pasó en los meses anteriores, lo único que quieren es estar juntos todo el tiempo, pero su actitud era un poco exagerada (y molesta). Al comienzo, Mia y Wes tratan de lidiar con el estres post-traumático de Wes de la forma que ellos conocen mejor: con sesiones de sexo salvaje cada diez minutos. Después resuelven ir a donde una psicóloga que trate a Wes, y esto realmente mejoró mi percepción frente a la autora y a esta parte de la historia.

Si leyeron lo que pensé del libro anterior, ya saben que no no me enganché tanto como con los dos primeros, y esto mismo pasó con el último. Lo leí todo porque quería saber cómo terminaba la histora (y por las sesiones de sexo salvaje de las que hablé antes), pero en verdad no tenía muchas expectativas frente a este libro.

Siento que en parte la autora se estaba quedando sin ideas, y que tuvo que recurrir a situaciones viejas, como los celos de Mia frente a Gina, que a estas alturas de la historia no tenían ningún sentido ni agregaban nada a la trama. Algo que la autora hace, no sé realmente si de manera inconsciente o no, es explotar una situación de manera que se vuelve absurda e inverosímil. Por ejemplo, en el primer libro todas estaban embarazadas, mientras que en este pareciera que todas las parejas estuvieran comprometidas.

Y, claro, algo que a Audrey Carlan también le encanta es darnos un milagro en cada libro. En este, el milagro sucedió nada más y nada menos que durante la cena de Acción de Gracias, cuando Mia recibe la llamada de que su papá por fin se despertó del coma. Lo peor de todo esto es que, a pesar de ser un libro muy cursi, hubo momentos que me hicieron llorar, y eso es lo que yo busco siempre que leo erótica.

En los comentarios me gustaría que me dijeran qué series han leído este año y si las recomiendan o no.

¡Feliz lectura!

Con amor, Miss Camila

 

If You’re In Need of a Superhero

If You’re In Need of a Superhero

Hello and happy Wednesday. I don’t know if I’ve told you this before, but I’m a crier. I cry almost every day for various reasons. I am easily moved by TV shows or ads, songs, movies, and, yes, books. Books that make me cry are usually special for me, and My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry by Fredrik Backman is no exception. This book quickly became one of my all-time favorites, and in today’s post I’ll tell you why.

The author’s style was super captivating, and I know some people might find the language a bit complex at times, but to me it was just fantastic. I think he brilliantly managed to tell the story from a seven-year-old girl’s point of view, without over-simplifying any detail like some authors do when talking from a child’s perspective.

I love the fact that this book explores a grandmother-granddaughter relationship; it is something I had never read in a book, and it’s both refreshing and heartwarming. I think this, combined with the author’s style I previously talked about, makes the story appealing and enjoyable to different types of readers. Personally, I’m mostly into YA, and this book clearly doesn’t fall into that genre, but it’s a treasure, and I think young readers will love it as much as adults do.

If you know me, you know that I tend to find links or points in common between books or movies. This book gave me an “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” vibe, and I was living for it. I’m talking about the book by Jonathan Safran Foer. The movie is good, but doesn’t do the book justice. Anyway, if you read that book and then you also read My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry, you’ll understand where I get the vibe from.

And while we’re at it, this book also reminds me of The Good Luck of Right now by Matthew Quick. There’s something in both novels that just destroys you inside a little bit, but in a good way, you know?

This book is harsh at times, and nothing is sugar-coated. Elsa, the main character, gets bullied at school in horrible ways, and yet it’s the first time I’ve read about it so explicitly in a book, especially if we take into account that we’re talking about a seven-year-old. Yes, I’ve read about bullying, but it is the stereotypical deal you watch in movies and TV shows. What Fredrik Backman described was brutal, but it’s also real.

Something that got me hooked to this book from the start was the brilliant ways in which fantasy and reality were intertwined. When I say brilliant, I mean you never stopped and wondered what could be real and what couldn’t; it was all part of the universe Elsa’s grandmother had created for them.

The last three chapters broke my heart into pieces and then stepped on them. I bawled while reading the last three chapters. And I mean, I could only stop to catch my breath and clear my eyes of tears to keep reading.

Now, in the comments tell me about a book you’ve read recently, which became one of your all-time favorites. Who knows? Maybe I’ll read and review it next!

Happy Wednesday!

Love, Miss Camila

It’s Good Enough

It’s Good Enough

Hello and happy Wednesday. You probably already know that I’m not really into adult books because I’m a child at heart, but every once in a while I’ll read one and share my thoughts on it in here. Today I’m bringing you a review of The Opposite of Maybe by Maddie Dawson. Let’s get started, shall we?

My first thought with this book was that it was sort of predictable, but the truth is that not much happens, so it’s not a big deal.

At first I thought the characters were dull, you know? Like not much was going on in their lives. I think that was the author’s intention, at least at the beginning.

I grew to like this book enough to read it all, but there were things I didn’t like at all, for example, the fact that Rosie, the main character, who gets pregnant at the age of 44 when having unprotected sex with Jonathan, her boyfriend, is always insisting on her baby needing a father. Like, I get it, you’re old, but babies don’t *need* a father to grow healthy and happy.

The story revolves around Rosie’s life after she decides not to move with Jonathan to the other side of the country and realizes she’s pregnant. I like the fact that the plot is not about Rosie’s love life, but it’s about several aspects of her world and the way she sees things now that she’s going to have a baby.

It is all in all a good book, nothing too great or exciting, but entertaining enough. Do you have any recommendations of fun adult books? Let me know in the comments!

Happy reading!

Love, Miss Camila

If You Want an Addictive Read

If You Want an Addictive Read

Hello and happy Wednesday. Today I bring you a book review that has nothing to do with sports or athletics. No, this book that was kindly sent to me by NetGalley and Emma Cline, the author for reviewing purposes, is about a cult, and trust me when I tell you, you won’t be able to put it down until you’re done with it. 

The first thing I noticed about The Girls is that the author’s style is absolutely flawless, and I think is one of the things that made this book so addictive. The author grabs your attention in such a way that you just keep reading, wanting to know more.

I’m all for first impressions when it comes to books, people, and makeup products, and with this book what you get is a very promising prologue, that already throws hints as to what the story is going to be about and has readers hooked from the start.

Although the book revolves around a series of events that took place when the main character was fourteen years old, it is not a YA novel. This is one hundred percent adult, and you can definitely tell by the complexity of the writing style. And even though I was super into the book, it took me a while to get used to it.

Evie, our main character, is in many ways a typical fourteen-year-old, and at first I thought that’s why she felt so attracted to Suzanne, and older girl who is a part of the cult. I changed my mind as I kept on reading that Evie is indeed attracted to girls and has always been.

There’s a bit that I understand was a part of the novel that couldn’t be omitted, and this is the whole sexual content, especially the scenes regarding Evie and Russell, the cult leader, and Mitch, one of his friends because they are both grown men and Evie is a minor.

All in all I liked this story and appreciated the fact that it’s different from what I usually read both in genre and plot-wise, but I was expecting more at the end, I feel that so much anticipation was built and then it fell flat, which is why I ultimately didn’t give it a five-star rating. Still, it’s a read I’d recommend and Emma Cline is an author I’d want to read in the future.

Thanks again to NetGalley and Emma Cline for this ARC. Now I’d like you to tell me about a book you read that’s different from what you’re used to.

Happy reading!

Love, Miss Camila