May 2019 Glam Bag Plus

May 2019 Glam Bag Plus

Hello and happy Sunday. Just last week I was telling you about my subscription with Ipsy ending and the reasons why I’m not resubscribing. Yes, the Glam Bag Plus I was anticipating so much arrived over a month after the end of my subscription. I get that I’m going to have to wait more time to get my stuff since it arrives at a P.O Box in the States and then is sent to Colombia, but this box was actually sent to me after May was over, which means it wasn’t a mailing problem but an Ipsy problem. I don’t know, it felt like when someone says they want to give you a present and then they’re so shitty about it that you’d rather not get it, only this wasn’t a present but a subscription service paid with my money.

Because I’m being more conscientious about what I buy, I did my research and found out that only Il Makiage, which is the mascara brand, is male-owned. I think 4-1 is a nice ratio and an empowering example for Ipsy subscribers, considering that Ipsy itself is female-owned. Now,  that’s just about the only positive aspect of my experience with the Glam Bag Plus. The box itself was a pain to open and it was all tattered and smushed. My first thought when I saw it was “things in the glam bag are more protected than this.” I don’t know, it might sound silly and like I’m being extremely nitpicky here but if I’m paying $15 extra for this service, the quality of the packaging should improve, no? Additionally, I thought that on the first month of one’s subscription you got a makeup bag, which I didn’t, and I didn’t even get one of those booklets that come with the products.

As you will going to see just about now, the products didn’t make up for the crappy experience. In my opinion, they were unnecessarily overpriced and I wouldn’t even consider buying them myself. I’d rather spend those $25 on Colour Pop makeup.

GlamGlow Bubblesheet

Ipsy price: $7.65

Real price: $9

Nudestix

Ipsy price: $30

Real price: $30

YENSA Tone Up Primer

Ipsy price: $28

Real price: $35

Wanderess Palette

Ipsy price: N/A

Real price: $25

Il Makiage Mascara 

Ipsy price: $25

Real price: $25

If anything, my price research concluded that Ipsy’s prices are actually lower than the real ones, which is awesome since I always think the estimated prices of items in subscription boxes get inflated. I’m pretty sure we have another month of the Ipsy Glam Bag Plus and then we’ll be done with this subscription service. What did you think of it? Do you like it when services have “upgrades” like this one? Let me know in the comments below.

Happy Sunday!

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

My Ipsy Subscription Ended

My Ipsy Subscription Ended

Subscription Revision.png

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

NetGalley Reads: The French Impressionist

NetGalley Reads: The French Impressionist

NETFLIX TALK_.pngHello and happy Friday. I’m super distracted this morning, but that needs to change right now because today I bring you a NetGalley rant. NetGalley in a way is like online dating. There are these books that you wouldn’t be too impressed about based on the cover and description, but then you read and you’re absolutely amazed. And there are this shiny pretty covers that are super promising but that don’t amount to anything. That being said, I’m always happy to have access to free books and to be able to share my thoughts on them with you.

I read The French Impressionist by Rebecca Bischoff between October 14th and October 19th, 2019 and gave it one star. The basic premise of this book, and what we find out on the very first page is that the main character has lied so that she could travel to France during the summer. She’s staying with this family she refers to as “her new family” and as the first chapters progress we are told that she is actually running away from her home in the States and that, although she has somehow tricked a bunch of people to believe she’s only going to spend the summer abroad, her plan is to stay in France forever.

At first, I thought we would have some sort of magic realism thrown into the plot because the main character, whose name is Rosemary, is staying with a family of artists and in her room, there’s this mural that sometimes lights up. It’s not magical realism, but more of the beginnings of a mystery plot that sadly isn’t well developed. I think this is one of those stories that had a lot of potential but the author just made all the wrong choices.

We find out that Rosemary has set up this whole plan to escape her house because her mother is extremely controlling, to the point where, at the age of fifteen, Rosemary has never been around guys her age. Although I liked that plotline and the whole idea of her plan to be free, it was hard to believe that we were dealing with a fifteen-year-old. I think she could’ve been eighteen and the story would’ve worked much better.

I’m inclined to believe this is a debut novel considering some mistakes the author made. For example, we were told what the main character was going through, but it wasn’t like we were experiencing it with her. The main character has some sort of speech pathology, and her diagnosis isn’t even specified until much later in the book, which was odd, but also could have been that the author added this fact to make the story interesting and mentioned a speech pathology after a quick Wikipedia search. Besides that, given her condition, Rosemary cannot pronounce her name properly. We are told this, but we are never told how she pronounces her name or why is her pronunciation incorrect. By the way the whole “communication disorder” was handled, I don’t think this novel is own voices, so I cannot speak about the representation in this aspect.

I thought this book was plain bad and I was going to give it two stars, but then the main character decides she will lie about her mom’s boyfriend abusing her so that she can stay in France forever, and we all know that’s the kind of thing I can’t accept. I don’t even understand how a platform like NetGalley would promote a book with this kind of plot. It is plain wrong and it sends a horrible message to all readers, especially those within the young adult age range. Additionally, the main character’s best friend has cerebral palsy and the way Rosemary talks about her is just disgusting, making fun of her friend’s disabilities. Seriously NetGalley, you can do better.

Do you have any recommendations for stories based on big shady schemes? Let me know in the comments below.

Happy reading!

Love, Miss Camila

 

NetGalley Reads: Under the Dusty Moon

NetGalley Reads: Under the Dusty Moon

 

Hello and happy Friday. Today I tripled my moving goal according to my Apple Watch, and it shows because I am very close to falling asleep as I type. And yes, I’ve already taken a nap on the bus because being a teacher is tough, especially on a Friday. It was also very tough to read Under the Dusty Moon by Suzanne Sutherland, which was provided to me in exchange for a review, so I’d like to thank NetGalley, the author, and the publisher. Let’s get started, shall we?

I read this book between August 3rd and August 8th, 2019 and gave it one star. It’s one of those books that misled me at first and made me think it was a middle grade when it totally wasn’t. Maybe it was the cutesy cover or the title, which to me suggested like a camping adventure among friends or something, or maybe it was the completely juvenile tone the main character had. Anyway, don’t get confused, this is a YA novel and there are mentions of sex and drug consumption. I’m not against the former, but the latter was unnecessary.

Pretty early into the novel, we are introduced to the main character’s mom, who used to be in a famous Canadian band years ago and is now a solo artist. You’d think, like I did, that the novel will revolve around the main character’s relationship with her mom (if I keep saying “the main character” is because I can’t remember her name), but it’s just one of those slice-of-life type of novels in which we just follow a character around for a while. In this novel, we suffer through her issues with her mom, the lamest romantic relationship in the history of trashy YA, and her adventures as an amateur videogame developer. I’m making it sound way cooler than it is.

I think the author had many chances to salvage this story, and she just ignored them. We’ve all read this story before because it’s full of tropes, and on top of that, it’s poorly written. There was no originality whatsoever, no wow factor, and that made the novel pretty boring. The main character, for example, was written to be relatable because, of course, all teenage girls have issues with their moms, but to me, she was pretty much the opposite. She was overly whiny and, honestly, most of the times she hated on her mom for absolutely no reason. We need more healthy relationships portrayed in YA, not the opposite.

The reason why I gave this one star and not two was a “joke” about child abuse made after the mom pokes her daughter or something. No, just don’t. Additionally, there is a comment about how one of the characters’ house is in a nicer neighborhood because the main character lives in a place where there are immigrants. The child abuse “joke” was plain stupid, but the comment about a neighborhood not being “one of the good ones” because immigrants lived there is simply unacceptable.

Do you know of any novels, YA or middle grade, that portray healthy relationships between parents and children? Tell me about them in the comments below.

Happy reading!

Love, Miss Camila

Another Cookie-Cutter YA

Another Cookie-Cutter YA

Alibris: Books, Music, & Movies

Hello and happy Wednesday. When I read the title The Night We Said Yes and saw the cover image, I thought I was going to be presented with something similar to How to Get Away With Murder, you know? Like, what did those four friends say yes to? Why are they all standing in what looks like the middle of the beach, or a deserted football field? And then I read the actual novel by Lauren Gibaldi and was very disappointed.

You know that once a book has let me down, I will find other flaws in it, and since I discovered that this was a teenage love story instead of a college murder mystery, well, let’s just say that I kept my eyes peeled for things that annoyed me. Now, I’m going to be totally hypocritical here and say that the main character was super negative. She does mention having being hurt in the past, which explains why she’s so bitter, but still.

A redeeming quality of this novel is the fact that it is a summer read, and we all know that those are my favorite books and the ones I read the fastest. I also appreciated that there was a gay character, only to find out that he was in the story as a filler and that wasn’t even present for 90% of the plot. Seriously, what was the author’s goal with that? To say that there is representation because out of all her (white) characters, one is gay? Technically there are two gay characters, but we are never introduced to one of them, we just learn from him because the other characters in the book talk about him.

Something that annoys me big time is when I can predict the plot of a book. Remember how I mentioned that the main character was bitter because she’d been hurt? Well, she’d been hurt by this Matt guy, and he’s mentioned earlier on in the novel. Also, I know he’s important because there is a companion novella titled Matt’s Story. The plot twists, right?

I really enjoyed the flashbacks and flash-forwards, and I really appreciated the fact that what happened in the past was narrated in the past tense. I think this was a clever choice by the author to give us a hint as to where we were standing in the story. It’s also one of those plots that take place on a single night, which I’m undecided about.

Like I said at the beginning, I thought there was going to be some depth to this novel, and that it was going to be more serious. At some point, it even gave me vibes similar to How to Love by Katie Cotugno or Finding Cinderella by Colleen Hoover. But no, there’s no depth to this book. It’s literally a novel about teenage drama. I didn’t appreciate the shallowness one bit.

Have you read any YA novels lately? Were they any good? Let me know in the comments.

Happy reading!

Love, Miss Camila

NetGalley Reads: Fall in One Day

NetGalley Reads: Fall in One Day

 

Hello and happy Friday. If you read last week’s post, then you know that I have a pretty long TBR list to tackle, which means that there are many ARCs I have to read. Now, usually I can read a book in a week or less, but there are some that are such a pain that it takes me way more than that. An example of this is Fall in One Day by Craig Terlson. A digital copy was provided to me for reading and reviewing purposes, so I’d like to thank both NetGalley and the author for it.

I read this novel between May 12th and June 11th, 2019 and gave it two stars. There are several reasons that explain both the rating and the time it took me to read it. On one hand, I had a hard time figuring out the generalities of the story. I didn’t understand whether it would be all told in the past or if we were getting flashbacks and flash-forwards. The perspective thing was also tough; I didn’t know who the narrator was and what their role in the story was until I was already advanced in my reading.

Basically, this is the story of a teenager who gets kidnapped by his father, who hallucinates, whether it is because of drugs or schizophrenia, it is unclear. We get the perspective of his best friend, a teenager who is set to understand the mystery of the disappearance and find the missing kid. It was not an easy read, and it wasn’t a fast read either. I know these stories must have an appreciative audience, but I wasn’t it.

One of the reasons why I was so confused at the beginning of the story was the title. It might be that English is not my first language, but when I read “Fall in One Day,” I thought we were getting insta-love. There is nothing romance-related in this novel, so keep that in mind if you plan to read this book. Since the narrator, who is also the main character, is a teenager, he talks like one, but I don’t know if the grammar mistakes he makes are intentional or if the author really writes that way. All I know is that it was annoying. There are scenes about suicide attempts and suicide, so be mindful of that. There is also domestic violence, so if you are sensitive to those, I would not recommend this book.

Do you know of any mystery/ detective young adult novels that I might enjoy? Tell me about them in the comments below.

Happy reading!

Love, Miss Camila