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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Edelweiss Reads: Mom’s Perfect Boyfriend

Edelweiss Reads: Mom’s Perfect Boyfriend

Copy of NETFLIX TALK_.png

Hello and happy Friday. I probably told you a while ago that I wanted to improve my reviewing game, so today I’ll share my thoughts on a DRC I was provided via Edelweiss. Let’s get started, shall we?

I read Mom’s Perfect Boyfriend by Crystal Hemmingway between August 9th and August 11th, 2019 and gave it two stars. In a few words, I can describe this as a short read but one that is neither memorable nor entertaining. On the plus side, you won’t use too many brain cells while reading this.

According to the first page, this is based on a true story, which I find hard to believe and I think it’s probably a way to hook readers. In that case, the hook worked because it took me three days to read this whole novel, didn’t it? The format also made it a quick read because the story is constructed solely on text messages, emails, and diary entries. That’s something I’m really into, but I honestly felt that I was missing context while reading this book. I consider the texts and the messages as nice inserts that would complement a story, but not as the story in and of itself.

I should’ve known better when requesting this book because I don’t like stories about mothers and daughters in general. It makes me uncomfortable to read about a daughter whose best friend is her mom, and it infuriates me when children don’t treat their parents well. Yes, it was a mistake on my part, clearly, since the title indicated that indeed we would have an exploration of a mother-daughter relationship, and, to make matters worse, there were romantic relationships involved.

As I kept reading, I couldn’t figure out the “point” of the book. Again, I wasn’t (and still am not) sure that this was actually based on true events, so I didn’t quite understand whether the “transcripts” from the mother’s journal were legit or not. Additionally, there were “jokes” related to child molestation, which I never condone and which obviously factored in the two-star rating I gave the book.

This definitely wasn’t the book for me. It wasn’t really harmful or anything (aside from the “jokes” that were completely unnecessary), but I don’t think it was really worth my time. Do you think that you might like this book? 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

Your Next Favorite Read

Your Next Favorite Read

100th.pngHello and happy Wednesday. I never thought that I would be here, gushing about just how awesome Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella is and how you should totally definitely read it, but here I am.

I read this book between March the 2nd and the 16th and gave it a five-star rating. The reason why I loved it so much and I think other readers will too is that this is straight up a funny book. I was thoroughly entertained by it, so I think it would be great if you want to steer clear of the super serious reads for a while. It was also relatable to me. We all know that I love me some shopping.

British authors just get to me. I don’t know what it is about their style that differentiates them so much from American ones, but they manage to write in this fresh and fast way that keeps the reader hooked. I am also impressed by how descriptive they are. I think this is why when I watch the movie adaptation of a book by a British author I always feel that it falls short. To me, the book provides so much more. By the way, I tried to watch the movie adaptation for Confessions of a Shopaholic and I literally stopped it two minutes in. I could tell that the essence of the book had not been captured at all. If given the choice of reading the book or watching the movie, choose the book.

The only downside to this novel was the typos and editing issues that I found here and there. You know how picky I am with that, and how that stuff annoys me. Of course, it’s not the author’s fault, but it’s something that publishing houses should be more careful about, especially since this book is a bestseller.

I loved this book so much that I copied a quote from it and I want to share it with you. In the comments below tell me what you thought about it and whether it encouraged you to add this novel to your TBR list.

“It’s not just Luke, and it’s not just my new job with Morning Coffee (even though every time I remember it, I feel a leap of disbelieving joy). No, it’s more than that. It’s that I feel like a completely new person. I feel as though I’m moving on to a new stage in life -with a different outlook, and different priorities.” 

Happy reading!

Love, Miss Camila

 

A Very Cute Halloween Read

A Very Cute Halloween Read

 

Hello and happy Friday. Let me tell you a story that makes my blogger heart happy.  I’d been getting these emails from Rabbit Publishers promoting a series titled Harry Moon by Mark Andrew Poe, and  I wasn’t really sure whether I’d requested a book from them via NetGalley or what, so I replied to an email saying “hi, you’ve been sending me publicity about your books, and it’s probably because I’m a book blogger and I somehow ended up in your database. I can read and review one of your books if you have them available digitally.” The guy who replied was so nice, and after emailing back and forth for a while, he sent me the digital copies of Wand Paper Scissors both in English and in Spanish. Of course, I am super grateful to everyone at Rabbit Publishers and the author for these copies. Let’s get started, shall we?

I read this book between June 3rd and June 19th, 2019, but I assure you, you can read this in one sitting if you have the time. I rated it four stars and kept thinking about what a great read it could be for elementary students. I love that it has a preface that gives some context regarding the characters in the series. I believe this is the first book, but still, you sort of get an idea of what the book is about. My teacher brain got really excited with ideas about character analysis that can be applied with just the first couple of pages.

I’m a very visual person, so I was really excited to see the colorful illustrations. These books must be gorgeous in physical format (and also a great gift for young readers who are getting into chapter books). I will say, though, that I think readers might need a bit of guidance because there are some “big” words I’m almost certain a fourth or fifth grader will not understand. Again, this is a great opportunity for teaching and reinforcing vocabulary.

Harry, our main character, is an aspiring magician, but his deal is good magic, and I just love how positive this book is. I also enjoyed reading about the societal differences in middle school, that are sadly determined by who’s got more resources and who hasn’t. And yes, there is bullying, and yes, there are scenes that broke my heart because I couldn’t fathom that someone could be so cruel to a classmate for no reason.

Like the title indicates, this is a Halloween read, which you know I absolutely love. It is set in a town called Sleepy Hollow and everything there is spooky. Basically in that town Halloween is celebrated year-round. If you’re anything like me, you’ll love reading about the town and all the crazy things in it.

Finally, this is a book about being decent human beings. Harry Moon’s motto is “do no evil,” which is a message that gets spread among the characters and that is evident throughout the plot. There is no doubt that this message is key for kids of all ages to learn and apply to their lives.

Have you read any of the Harry Moon books? What did you think about them? Let me know in the comments below.

Happy reading!

Love, Miss Camila

Mis Compras de Marzo y Abril de 2019

Mis Compras de Marzo y Abril de 2019

Hola y feliz domingo. A veces mis compras de maquillaje y productos de belleza tienen una temática específica. Por ejemplo, entre marzo y abril de 2019 me enfoqué en productos para la piel. No compré ningunas sombras o nada que realmente le diera color a mi look, sino que me concentré en lo más básico del maquillaje.

Una compra que no fue maquillaje pero que era necesaria fue mi crema Jergens Natural Glow. Todavía no estreno esta porque tengo otras en fila que estoy utilizando y que necesito acabar, pero me encanta el efecto que esta crema va dando en la piel cuando se utiliza con frecuencia.

Para la piel de la cara, compré dos productos que rápidamente se han convertido en mis favoritos. En primer lugar está la Cushion Foundation de Wet n Wild. Creo que el diseño de esta base ha hecho que la aplicación sea un proceso fácil, rápido y sobre todo limpio. Además tengo el Butter Bronzer de Physicians Formula que da ese efecto de bronceado natural que me encanta, y huele delicioso a bronceador.

De Physicians Formula también compré la Super CC cream pero todavía necesito jugar un poco con ella. No estoy segura de que me guste mucho todavía porque creo que es muy líquida  y que esto hace que la aplicación sea difícil. Para finalizar la rutina de maquillaje compré el Facial Spray de Mario Badescu, que se ha vuelto uno de mis productos favoritos para cuando no tengo mucho maquillaje encima o quiero un look más natural.

¿Qué productos han comprado recientemente y qué piensan de ellos? Cuéntenme en los comentarios.

¡Feliz domingo!

Con amor, Miss Camila

This Is What I Needed

This Is What I Needed

 

Hello and happy Wednesday. I am a firm believer that books find us when we need them the most, and I could confirm that when I read Every Exquisite Thing by Matthew Quick. This book will change your life, and if you feel like it doesn’t, then you need therapy. Even if it does, therapy is awesome and you should see a mental health professional at least once in your lifetime.

I’d already read The Good Luck of Right Now by Matthew Quick, so it’s safe to say that my expectations were super high. He’s got this style, that reminds me of Jonathan Safran Foer and that gets to me every single time. Spoiler alert: this wasn’t the exception.

I love that the author’s style is incredibly simple but captivating, and full of deeper, sadder undertones. I think that you need to have been through some sh*t in life to really get this book. The chapters are short, which I highly appreciate. This is clearly a psychological thing, but when the chapters are short, I can read the book faster.

From the beginning, we know that this is not your regular YA/coming-of-age story. I mean, the main character’s only friend at school seems to be her English teacher, and I think we can anticipate that this friendship might not end up in an ideal way. She reminds me of myself because when I was younger, way younger than the main character but still, I was a loner.

Nanette, the main character, becomes obsessed with this book her teacher gives her, and I can relate because there is this one book I have read four times already and it was like a bible to me. She meets the author of her bible and asks him for answers, which is something I should do too since I know the author of the book I’m obsessed with.

Every Exquisite Thing is definitely a must for me. It has made me question things about my life, and if it has that power for someone who is 25 years old, just imagine the wonders it will do for someone younger. I also love what it has to say about those friendships that kids establish with adults, in which the latter become the guides of the former. There is romance, as well, but it is not the main focus of the plot, and it is not your typical YA romance.

I also love the fact that we get inserts of poems in this story, as well as pages from the book Nanette reads and is obsessed with. I am a sucker for books that include different formats within the narration. I’m also a fan of plots that involve a quest, and this story has that. If you liked The Manifesto On How To Be Interesting by Holly Bourne, then you’ll love this book.

What is the book that has changed your life and why? Let me know in the comments.

Happy reading!

Love, Miss Camila