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

 

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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

Horrible Quotes from “Counting to D”

Horrible Quotes from “Counting to D”

Alibris: Books, Music, & Movies

img_0077Hello and happy Wednesday. As promised, today I bring you another post related to Counting to D by Kate Scott. I usually link the book titles so that you can check them out on Goodreads, but since I gave this novel one star because of ableist jokes, I will not link it. I seriously wouldn’t want anybody reading this book, and I gave you a few reasons to explain this in my other post, but I think you need to see for yourselves. I collected some quotes from the first few chapters, which were either cringe-worthy or plain and simple horrible. Let’s get started, shall we?

“Arden knew me so well -way better than my stupid mother did.”

Arden is the main character’s best friend, who’s consoling her after the main character’s mom tells her she finally got a job after over a year of being unemployed, but it happens to be in a different city. Brat much?

“She spouted some garbage about how much she loves me and how we need to stick together as a family.”

This made me even angrier than the “stupid mother” comment. Girl, your mom pretty much raised you on her own and has had serious struggles because she’d been unemployed for a while, and now that she’s found a job so that you can continue to have the lifestyle you know and love, you’re being a horrible human being to her? No, sweetie, that’s not how life works. I am 25 years old, and if my mom decided to work in another city, I’d go with her, and I’d go happily.

“The other girls at our school are serious bitches. If they aren’t making fun of you for being lysdexic they’re teasing you about being an übernerd.”

These are the best friend’s encouraging words when the main character complains about moving because she won’t have any friends. If those girls actually made fun of someone for having a learning disability, then clearly they’re bad people, but calling them bitches doesn’t make you any better, either.

“I spent the period stressing about my lack of a social life instead.” 

This was her first day in a new school, and it was the first class she was taking if I’m not wrong. So it makes total sense that instead of listening to her teachers, she’s stressing about not having friends. I’m telling you, this book is a complete mess.

“These kids were smart. They’d want to be my friends, right?”

Seriously, kid, stop it. This is your first day of class and as important as it is to have friends, you should be focusing on your classes or something. Also, you can’t just assume that someone is going to want to be your friend because they look like they might be nerds.

“The problem was that my best friends were both in San Diego, and the only person I’d talked to in this town had blue hair and facial jewelry.”

The problem is that you’re a narrow-minded little brat, who is so superficial that won’t even appreciate the fact that someone wanted to approach you and talk to you. She was nice enough to start a conversation with you on your first day on class when no one else did, and you care more about how she looks? Wow, you really don’t deserve her as a friend.

“Had I just made a friend? Would survival at this school really be that easy?”

So now you’re not bothered by her looks because you consider her your friend. And I know that teenagers tend to overreact, but “surviving” a school sounds a bit too extreme, especially considering that you made a friend on your very first day. Also, give yourself some credit.

“Agradable encontrarte. Me llamo Nacho”

This is supposed to be the Spanish translation for “Nice to meet you. My name is Nacho.” Only what it really says is “Friendly to find you. My name is Nacho,” because the author most likely used Google translate. The correct way of saying it would be something like “Gusto en conocerte. Me llamo Nacho.” You might think it’s stupid, but Spanish is my first language and including it just for the sake of adding some filler to a bad plot doesn’t make any sense to me. At least make sure what is being said is accurate. Also, Nacho is not short for Nate, it’s short for Ignacio.

“I would have said he looked emo, but his jeans fit properly and his faded black hoodie could pass as baggy, so he may have just been sloppy.” 

Okay, number one, nobody really looks emo anymore, not since 2009. Number two, again with this judgemental girl. This is the second person who talks to you during the first day of school and all you are able to do is look at his clothes and make assumptions about him.

“It was my first day in this town, and I was already crushing on a snack food.”

Where do I start? Okay, yes, I know: PORTLAND IS NOT A TOWN. Now that we got that out of the way, it doesn’t bother me that she developed a crush on the guy who approached her in Spanish class because I was that girl who liked every guy who acted civilized towards me. But, was the “crushing on a snack food part” really necessary? It honestly feels like it’s there so that we’re reminded of what a big nerd the main character is.

Now I want you to help me with this last quote by sharing your thoughts in the comments below.

“I relaxed a little when I saw that the three guys sitting with her all had normal-colored hair.” 

Happy reading!

Love, Miss Camila

This Book Deserves Two Posts

This Book Deserves Two Posts

Alibris: Books, Music, & Movies

Hello and happy Wednesday. I was convinced this book was an ARC and I was going to launch a new series with a review, but I’ll guess that’s going to happen some other day. I don’t know how and why the book Counting to D by Kate Scott came to me, but I read it and now I’m ready to share my review with you. Let’s get started, shall we?

Like the title indicates, yes, there are going to be two posts about this book because it was so bad I decided only one wouldn’t do it justice. Today I’m going to talk about my first impressions, and then for the next post, I’m going to share a little surprise with you.

I began reading this book on March 18th and finished it on March 201th. I think this is the only good thing I have to say about this. It is a quick read, which is totally ironic given the fact that the main character has dyslexia and is illiterate (her words, not mine.)

Now that I’m using my Magical Monthly Reading Planner to write down these reviews, I am including my rating for each novel, and I’d originally given this two stars. My final rating, though, is one star because not only this novel was horrible, it was also full of ableist jokes. Basically, people were made fun of for having learning disabilities. No. Just, no. I always give authors that one extra star for effort, but Kate, you don’t deserve yours.

My general thought about the writing style is that it was clearly written by an amateur. I mean, the first page alone was all over the place, and this didn’t improve as the novel progressed. You know how I hate the “girl moving cities” thing, like seriously, that’s old news. From that first page in which the main character announces she’s moving, I could already know what was going to happen, and I’m sure you can guess it, too. This is probably why it took me just two days to read this book: it was boring and predictable. And while we’re at it, guessed what the main character did? Yes, she released a breath she didn’t realize she was holding. How could she not?

Another thing that really bothered me about this novel is that it was supposed to be a young adult novel, but the author had no idea how 15-year-olds speak nowadays. The dialogs were forced, and some expressions I’d never heard were included. It just added to the things that didn’t let me connect with this story. The main character was totally off for me, and I think if she’d been twelve instead of fifteen and this would have been marketed as a middle grade, maybe I wouldn’t have despised this so much.

Let’s start a blacklist. A list of books we don’t want anybody to read. This is obviously my candidate. Share yours in the comments below.

Happy Wednesday!

Love, Miss Camila

Wish Failed Me (Again)

Wish Failed Me (Again)

Laser Hair Removal.pngHello and happy Saturday. A couple of months ago I purchased some things on Wish and I was so excited about them I planned not one but two posts so that I could show you everything. Yes, Wish had failed me twice already, but sure that was in the past and I was going to get all the stuff I’d ordered this time, right? Wrong. I ordered a lot of stuff (you’ll find out about it in a second), and out of everything, I only got one item.

Basically, like any online store, Wish gave me an estimated time for my items to arrive. One of the items, a swimsuit , arrived before that time, so you can imagine my excitement. I actually thought all of my items would arrive sooner than I’d expected them and that was a relief because I was going to travel and didn’t want my orders to arrive while I was away.

The weeks passed and I got nothing else. I would look at the Wish website daily and notify that I hadn’t received the items yet. Over and over. Today, I checked again and when I went into costumer service, I got a message saying that the date to ask for refunds had already passed. So basically I was told that not only was I not getting my items, I wasn’t going to get my money back either.

I’m not dumb, you know? I’m not going to spend hundreds of dollars on Wish, but still, I wanted my stuff or my money back. Anyway, this is all I “bought” and won’t get.

Princess Heart Ring

Chic Lady Rings 

Heart of Mind Opening Ring Heart 

Women’s Fashion Two Tone

2 PC Shining Cubic Zirconia 

925 Sterling Silver Ring Rose Gold 

Exquisite 14K Gold Gift Ring

There’s more stuff, but I think you get the idea. Have you tried Wish before? What has your experience been like? Let me know in the comments.

Happy Saturday!

Love, Miss Camila